Actions

Work Header

The Counting Days

Work Text:

The only sound in the room is Danny’s breathing, laboured, trying to keep himself under control. Steve listens, listening for the sound of back up that they missed while staking out the building, for sirens, for any sign that someone is sending help. They need to get out of here, and it needs to happen fast, but Danny isn't moving, still standing there staring at Reyes' body.

"Danny."

In the dim light, he can see Danny's minute twitch, but he doesn't reply.

"Danny, come on." He puts a hand on Danny's shoulder and Danny pulls away, tugging out from under his grip, turning towards the barrel still sitting there. Leave no man behind. Steve doesn't argue with that. "Okay," he says, more to himself than to his partner. He steps past Danny, heading for the drum.

"Steve." Danny's voice is cracked with emotion. "Steve, I--"

"Yeah." He looks over his shoulder. "I know."

--

Steve makes calls. Favours he's owed, favours other people will collect later, he doesn't care right now what debts it leaves him with. He gets Danny out of the basement, up the stairs and into the twilight with a mixture of coaxing and threats, and it makes Danny angry, but it does the job. He makes calls while driving them to a hotel that's far enough from the hot zone to put some distance between them, and in a rough enough neighbourhood that no one is going to ask questions about the specks of blood on Danny's shirt or the gun tucked in Steve's waistband.

He pays for the room in cash and pushes Danny in the right direction, getting a glare for his efforts. Danny's exhausted his words, which is more chilling than if he were yelling. Steve unlocks the door and shoves him inside, locking it again behind them.

Danny watches him as Steve puts their bags on the bed and rifles through them, getting Danny clean clothes and soap and shoving it at him. "Go take a shower."

"What?" Danny's incredulity is laced with fury.

"Go take a shower," Steve enunciates. "You have blood and tissue on those clothes and we need to leave as soon as possible."

Danny shoves him against the door, fist pulled back and ready to strike. Steve absorbs the impact, the air knocked out of him as he brings up an arm to protect his head. "You think I give a fuck about that, Steven?"

The punch he's bracing for doesn't come and he shoves Danny back, far enough off him that he can handle Danny if they do come to blows. "No. No, I think you don't give a shit about anything right now, and I get it, man, okay? That's why I'm here."

Danny narrows his eyes, but he doesn't say anything, the fight going out of him.

"Look," Steve tries again, "take that fucking shower. We're gonna be on the first flight out of here and you need to be--" He doesn't finish the sentence, because Danny really doesn't give a shit about risk factors, forensics, or escape strategies.

Danny looks at him. "I'm not going to turn tail and run because you-- Matty--"

"I'm taking care of that."

Danny is in his face again. "The fuck you are, Steve, he's my brother, I'm not going to--"

Steve shoves him back. "You think I don't get it? Trust me, okay? We're not leaving him, I'm dealing with it, go shower before I make you!"

Danny is itching, spoiling for a fight and there is a second there that Steve thinks he's going to be Danny's target practice, but then he deflates and takes the offered clothes, heading for the bathroom. Steve breathes out slowly, taking a seat on the bed, trying to clear his head because he definitely has to be the brains of this particular operation. He pulls out his phone, replies to messages and emails and sets things in motion, and if he's adding up the costs of this operation in his head, he's not planning to share the tally with Danny.

--

Danny takes a long shower. Steve knows why, doesn't look up when he walks back into the room smelling of shower gel and damp.

Danny clears his throat, voice a little unsteady. "Shower's yours."

"Yeah." He finishes typing a sentence and sends his email before looking up. Danny is still standing near the doorway to the bathroom, wet towel in one hand, t-shirt in the other. There's a bruise on his shoulder that the heat of the shower brought out on his skin, and Steve looks at it before checking Danny for other injuries.

"What?"

He meets Danny's gaze. "Nothing. You okay?"

Danny's eyes are tight. "You are not subtle, Steve."

Danny's anger is goading his own, and he tries to reach for the calm he's trained to, but it's hard because it's Danny in front of him, Danny who asked him to come with him as if Steve hadn't told him a hundred times the answer is always yes. He gets up. "Get some rest."

"You think I take orders from you now?" Danny laughs. "You think I'm just going to do what you say, just going to get on a plane and leave my brother behind because the great Steve McGarrett says he's got it all in hand?"

Steve rubs a hand over his face. "Fine, don't get any rest. Sleep on the plane. But we're leaving in the morning, Danny. Matt-- I'm taking care of him, okay?"

"I'm just supposed to trust you?"

He folds the sting of that question away. "Yeah. Yes, Danny, listen, I got friends, we're getting Matt home, but you staying here to wait it out, it's not an option."

"No? Fine."

And Danny heads for the door, where Steve left the key in the lock as a precaution, and he's moving to intercept Danny before he can think this through. "You wanna hit someone? Okay, come on, I'm right here, I can take it."

"Get out of my way."

He shakes his head. "Not gonna happen."

"Steve, I don't want to do this, but I will."

He looks Danny in the eye. "I know."

"Son of a bitch!"

Danny aims true and the punch strikes the door next to Steve's head, and he manages not to flinch too hard. "Danny. Danny."

"No, you don't get to Danny me, with your phone calls and your survival skills and your--" There's a gesture instead of words, and Steve catches his fingers, catches Danny with his other arm around his waist, pulling him in. Danny fights him, shoving him away, heading towards the other end of the room as if to put as much distance between them as he can. Steve watches Danny's shoulders as he breathes, fighting himself as much as he's fighting Steve.

Danny stays there for long minutes, and Steve moves from the door, sitting on the edge of the bed again and waiting him out. When Danny looks up, his cheeks are wet and Steve wants to go to him, wants to forget where they are and why, but he's the one carrying this mission so Danny doesn't break under the strain.

"Matty--" Danny sounds lost.

"I know," Steve says again. There wasn't enough left of Matthew Williams to identify him on the spot, but that doesn't mean they don't both know who it is Reyes killed.

"I always knew--Matt was a stupid, stupid idiot and he--but I thought--"

Steve recognises the hope Danny was clinging to, hope against hope because you have to, and he's intimately familiar with that feeling. "I know," he says, helpless.

Danny looks at him wordlessly, and Steve feels a chill inch down his spine.

--

Danny stretches out on the bed after a long time, and Steve finally feels like he can take his eye off the ball for five minutes. "I'm going to shower."

"Yeah."

Danny doesn't look at him when he speaks, but it's good enough for Steve, so he grabs clothes and a towel and heads into the bathroom, taking the opportunity to bag Danny's discarded clothes along with his own and wipe down the floor before stepping under the spray. He scrubs down thoroughly, making sure he cleans under his nails and in his hair. He feels the throb of bruises he hadn't realised he'd acquired, pokes at one particularly vicious one on his side to feel the damage to the rib underneath. He'll live.

He dries off, dresses, taking the plastic bag and setting it by the door so they can discard it in the morning. Danny is lying on his side, watching him through slitted, puffy eyes. Steve feels a tug in his chest and shoves it down ruthlessly. He ignores Danny's gaze and checks his phone. "We're flying at seven fifteen." He looks up, seeing Danny gearing himself up for anger. "They're taking Matt on a military transport to Fort Worth at noon."

It's like he's cut Danny off at the knees; he deflates, looking away. "Thank you."

Steve sets the alarm on his phone, puts it down on the nightstand next to the gun, and checks that the room is ready for departure at a moment's notice, only then sitting down on the bed.

"You--" Danny lifts his head. "I'm sorry. Thank you, for everything."

Steve glances at him and nods. "All part of the deal, Danny."

Danny makes a half hearted gesture. "No, no, most guys wouldn't-- no. Only you."

"Yeah." Steve closes his eyes.

--

Danny's stopped fighting him by morning, follows him as Steve navigates their way around San Vicente in the dawn light, getting them to the airport and on a plane before any police officer who might be investigating the death of Marco Reyes and his men can connect it to the two Americans who entered the country the same day.

"Are you sure?" Danny says as they're boarding. "Matty--are you sure?"

"I'm sure." He's as sure as he can be, and that's going to have to do for Danny. He makes him a silent promise that if he's failed, he'll go back and fix it, without Danny, without anyone to stop him or slow him down.

Danny nods, but he's still hesitant, antsy, twitching as if he's looking to escape. Steve wants to snap at him, but he doesn't, absorbing Danny's nervous energy, giving Danny the aisle seat even though it's making Steve feel claustrophobic.

--

Danny falls asleep in the middle of the flight, drops off when fatigue catches up with him. Steve's seen it happen before, men falling asleep mid sentence, keeling over when their mind switches off. Danny slides down and lists against Steve's shoulder, his warm breath ghosting over Steve's skin. He feels something twinge in his chest, in the spot that Danny always takes up with his loud mouth and big gestures, and he stares ahead, memorising the stitching on the seat cover and the way the dots above the i's in Hawaiian Airlines have started fading before the rest.

--

Danny wakes quietly, stirring and running a hand over his face, and Steve can see everything hit him in the silence. Danny absorbs it, looks at Steve's shoulder and then at his face. "Sorry."

"Hey, as long as you're comfortable."

"Yeah." Danny frowns. "Did you sleep?"

"I'm fine."

"Yeah, see, that's not what I asked you." There's a hint of Danny's old belligerence, but there isn't a lot of power behind it.

"I'm fine," Steve repeats. It's only been 24 hours; he's been without sleep for longer and coped.

Danny puts a hand on him, patting awkwardly, and the warmth of his skin makes something loosen in Steve's chest.

"Danny--"

"Yeah. Yeah." Danny sinks down, and after long, long seconds rests his head against Steve's shoulder again.

--

They land and Steve switches his phone back on, Danny peeking over his shoulder as the emails come in. Steve pulls up the right one, the one confirming Matt's body is on the correct flight, and shows it to Danny. Something relaxes in Danny's face.

"Okay." He takes a deep breath. "Okay."

"Yeah." Steve drops their bags in the back and gets in the driver's seat, and Danny follows, automatically putting his seat belt on. Steve glances at him. "Home?"

Danny rubs a hand over his face. "Yeah, okay."

--

He drops Danny off and then doesn't know what to say. "I'll call you when I know more." Danny nods tiredly, looking lost and empty. "I-- you want me to stay?"

"No, go get some sleep, do your thing." Danny waves a hand in his direction. "I gotta--"

Steve nods. "Okay." He heads back to the car, watches the door close behind Danny before starting the truck and driving away. Fatigue is pulling at the edges of his concentration, making him impatient, and when he's finally home, dropping his bag by the door, the silence is a relief.

He does all the things he normally does, opens the windows, checks the fridge, and unpacks his bag. When he's done he heads upstairs, putting his phone on the nightstand before kicking off his shoes. He's out before he can think about anything at all.

--

The phone wakes him and he grabs it, checking caller ID before taking the call. Hickam Airbase is efficient; the petty officer on the other end is calm and professional. He mentally notes all the relevant information and thanks her before cutting the call. There's an email from Chin sitting in his inbox, but nothing from Danny, no call, no text. Steve gets up, ignoring that absence, heading for the shower and turning it up hot.

There's a long way to go in this and he doesn't know where Danny is going to end up when they're done. He doesn't let himself think about that, either, pushing it down where he can keep it to examine it another day. Shutting the water off, he dries off and gets dressed, grabbing his phone before heading down the stairs. He needs food, enough of it to sustain himself for a while, and then he needs to call Danny.

The tuna sandwich doesn't taste like much, but he chews it and washes it down with juice, and then he can't put it off any longer.

--

When Danny answers he sounds tired, taking a second too long, and Steve knows Danny didn't want to take his call. "Yeah?"

"Hey."

"Yeah, hey," Danny replies wearily. "What's up?"

He opens his mouth to speak and then doesn't know what to say, forcing out the words because there is no way to make this easier and it's not like Danny can forget. "Matt-- I just got a call from Hickam, the plane with his body is arriving at nine."

"You said Fort Worth," Danny says after a beat.

Steve blinks. "That was the first flight out. They had a plane heading west from there, so I called in a favour." He didn't, he's owing one now, but Danny doesn't need to know.

"A favour," Danny repeats slowly, but he doesn't challenge it. "Yeah, okay, thank you."

"I thought-- I thought you'd want to be there, so-- pick you up in an hour?"

"I can--" Danny pauses. "Yeah, sure, see you." He hangs up.

--

Danny has showered and changed his clothes, but the dark circles under his eyes are still there. Steve wants to do something, wants to fix it, but Danny's face tells him it wouldn't be welcome. Danny gets in the truck, slamming the door and leaning his head back. "I appreciate this. I know I didn't say it, but you-- thank you."

"Yeah." Steve smiles briefly. "I know."

"You know," Danny repeats. "Yeah, you know."

Steve doesn't argue with him, doesn't ask him what he means, just drives north. "Max is meeting us."

"Max, huh. Okay. Thank you for that, too."

Steve nods when he catches Danny's eyes. "Any time, buddy."

--

Max is solemn and composed as they watch the plane descend, greeting Steve with a calm, "Commander," before turning to Danny. "Detective, I'm sorry for your loss."

Somehow, they are the first condolences Danny has had and Steve realises he's not even said anything. He watches Danny pack it away, shaking Max's hand. "Thank you," he says, and there's a warmth in his tone that makes something ache in Steve's chest.

They watch the plane land in silence, a smooth landing with barely a bump, and then they're unloading the cargo. Max goes to speak to the crew and Danny doesn't follow, just stays behind and watches the crate as it gets rolled down the ramp, the quick salute of the servicemen as they pause at the bottom, and then they put it in the coroner's van.

Steve puts his hand on Danny's shoulder, and he doesn't shake it off, just stands there, watching silently.

--

It's late when he hears movement downstairs, someone messing with the lock, and Reyes' dead body flashes through his mind as he reaches for his gun. He heads down the stairs silently, squinting at the figure that's in his living room.

"Steve, it's me." Danny's voice cuts through the darkness before he clicks on a light. "Don't go all ninja on me now."

He takes a deep breath and lowers the gun. "You couldn't call?"

"Yeah, I could call." Danny blows out some air. "I didn't know I'd end up here when I got in my car, so I didn't call."

That explains that. "Okay. You want a beer?"

"A beer. No, I don't want a beer."

Danny's constant repetition is a sign he's still trying to pick a fight, and Steve resigns himself to being Danny's target practice. "What do you want?"

Danny looks up. "I didn't want to be alone."

He nods slowly. "You wanna come up?"

Danny blows out a breath, but he starts up the stairs, so Steve leads the way, putting the gun aside. He flicks on a light, watching Danny take off his shoes and socks, sitting down tiredly on the edge of the bed. He wants to reach out and touch, but the line of Danny's back is telling him to back off, so he settles for watching Danny move, watching him get up and strip down to his shorts before sliding under the covers. Steve lies on his back, waits, but Danny doesn't come to him.

He sighs, closing his eyes even though he's not tired, and then he hears Danny shift abruptly. When he opens his eyes Danny is leaning over him, sliding one leg over Steve so he straddles his waist, finding his hands and holding him down. He lets Danny kiss him like that, kisses him back. "Danny."

"Shut up."

He tests Danny's grip. "Danny."

"Shut up, shut up, come on."

Danny moves against him, hard against Steve's thigh, and he shifts to use his knee to push Steve's legs apart, and Steve is not about to lie here and take that. He bucks Danny off and rolls them over, using his weight to push Danny into the mattress. Danny growls and Steve kisses him to cut off that sound. "You want it like this?"

"Fuck you." Danny rubs his hard on against Steve's hip, and Steve smiles, reaching down to pull down his shorts. Danny's hand is on him as soon as he's done, cupping his ass and squeezing, pulling him in.

"Come on," Steve says, softer now, feeling Danny move, and Danny wrestles with his own boxers before Steve feels the hot line of Danny's erection against his skin. Danny's face doesn't show pleasure, only need, and he gets that, is okay with being that guy right now.

Danny doesn't make a sound as he moves against him, holding Steve in the same grip, keeping him in the right place and he leans in to kiss Danny's cheekbone, to nose at the stubble there, feeling the moment Danny stiffens and comes with a soft cry. His grip on Steve's ass lessens and Steve shifts, lining up with Danny's hip, the soft skin there that he knows so well, thrusting against him as he lifts his head to look at Danny.

Danny's eyes are red rimmed and empty, looking at him with a desperation that Steve knows he can't fill. He comes on Danny's skin with a groan, ducking his head, lying down to catch his breath. After a minute or so, Danny pushes at him until Steve shifts off him, and Danny hands over tissues before cleaning himself up.

Steve waits for him to pull away and leave, but Danny doesn't go. Danny stays there, on his own side of the bed, rolling onto his side and switching off the light, plunging the room into darkness.

--

He drives Danny to the airport, handing him his bag. "Call me when you get there, okay?"

Danny nods slowly. "Yeah. I will."

"I'm sorry I can't come with you."

"You've done enough." They look at each other and then they both look away. "Steve."

He drags his eyes back to Danny's face. "Yeah?"

"I have to do this. I have to take Matty home. When I get back, once this is over, once I deal with all of this--" There's a gesture, encompassing the entire airport, or maybe the entire island. "You and me, Side Street Inn, I'll buy you dinner."

Steve feels a smile creep up. "Yeah?"

"I owe you one."

Steve nods slowly. "I'll take that dinner. But there's no score, Danny."

Something slides over Danny's face, but he gets interrupted by his boarding call. "I've told Chin to keep you alive while I'm gone, so don't go doing something stupid and get him into trouble, okay?"

"You think I can't take care of myself? Huh? That it?"

Danny laughs, leaning in for a hug. "Tell yourself that, babe, whatever lets you sleep at night."

Steve embraces him, holding him close for a second too long. He looks Danny in the eye. "I sleep just fine, D."

"I know. I know you do." The miles between them go unsaid, but that's the way they've always been together. "I'll call you." Danny turns and heads for his flight, and Steve watches him till he disappears through the doors before going home.

finis.