The sensation of something holding him down, restraining him, caused Steve’s eyes to fly open. He threw his right arm back into whatever was behind him, and in one move had flipped over and was straddling Danny. His hands were pressed into Danny’s upper arms, holding him down.
Danny had been fast asleep, and by the time he registered what was going on, he was being held down. It took a few seconds for him to focus, but once he did, he looked up into Steve’s wild eyes.
Steve was wide-eyed and un-focused. He was breathing heavily. Danny stared into Steve’s eyes, and tried to decipher what was going on in his head. He couldn’t move, and his arms were beginning to hurt.
There was no response.
That seemed to break him out of whatever state Steve was in. He blinked, and then began to look around. It wasn’t until he laid eyes on Danny beneath him that he realized what was going on.
Steve’s expression went from confused to horrified in a matter of seconds. He shuffled backward, barely managing to get his feet beneath him as he backed away from Danny, nearly falling off the bed. He backed into the wall opposite the bed and then sank down till he was seated. Like in the shower, he pulled his knees up to his chest.
“I… I’m sorry…”
Danny sat up and moved to the edge of the bed. He put his feet on the floor and then knelt down in front of Steve.
“Steve, what happened?”
Steve hesitated at first, but knew from earlier that he’d feel better if he just talked about it. He didn’t look at Danny when he started talking.
“It was a… a nightmare, but different.”
“Different? What do you mean?”
“Instead of seeing Jenna being… shot, it was… you. I had to watch you die… and there was nothing I could do to stop it.”
Danny reached out and placed his hands on either side of Steve’s face.
“Steve, look at me.”
Steve relaxed into the touch. He shifted his eyes to look at Danny.
“See? I’m right here. Nothing happened to me.”
“He’s still out there, Danny.”
“I’ve already lost so much. I can’t lose you too.”
“You aren’t going to lose me. I wish you’d get it through your head that I’m not going anywhere.”
Danny’s heart was breaking. It was more than the words Steve was saying. It was the vacant look that had come over him. At least when Steve had cried earlier, Danny could see the emotions all laid out for the world to see. What he saw at that moment, though, scared him. It was as if Steve had locked himself down, much like he did on the job. Danny called it ‘going into SEAL mode.’
Danny had tried to keep Steve from going to that place, but from the looks of things, he hadn’t succeeded. So, he did the only thing he could think of to try and break him out of it. With his hands still on either side of Steve’s face, he leaned in and kissed him.
It was very tentative, because he really wasn’t sure how Steve would react. At first, there was little to no reaction. Then Danny could feel Steve tense up, like he was just realizing what was happening. The tension eased slightly after that, with Steve finally returning the kiss. There was little emotion behind it, but it was something.
Danny pulled back and opened his eyes. Steve’s eyes were just opening as well. The look Danny saw there wasn’t nearly as closed off, but it was still void of emotion.
“Babe, please don’t shut me out. You asked for my help, and I’m doing my best here, but you have to try. I know that I can’t promise to always be here, but I will do the best I damn well can. I know what you’ve been through in the past, especially recently, is taking a toll on you, but I know for a fact that you are the strongest person that I have ever met. If anyone can get through this, it’s you. So, please… can we get up off this floor now? My knee is killing me, and if you haven’t noticed, we’re a little naked.”
Steve was quiet, but he looked down at himself and then back at Danny. He didn’t move, but he did relax quite a bit.
“Okay… you just relax. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Danny stood up, grabbed some clothes from the dresser, and went into the bathroom. He returned a few minutes later dressed with his hair fixed. He walked over to where Steve was still sitting.
“You ready to get up?”
Steve cleared his throat. “Yeah… can you give me a hand?”
Danny reached his hand out for Steve to grab. As soon as Steve was standing, he immediately grabbed Danny in a hug.
“Whoa! Warn a guy!”
Steve tensed and made to pull back, but Danny returned the hug, not allowing Steve to pull away.
“Steve, don’t freak out. I was just surprised is all.”
They stood there for a few minutes. Steve pulled back first. He looked down at Danny.
“I’m a mess. How am I supposed to work like this?”
“Don’t worry about that right now. Everyone will understand if you need more time. I’ll even talk to the governor myself.”
“I need to work. Sitting at home, especially alone, is making me crazy. I can’t escape all these thoughts.”
“Have you considered talking to someone?”
“I thought I was.”
“Yeah, okay, but I meant a professional.”
“Just think about it, okay. For now, why don’t you get some clothes on?”
Danny sat on the edge of the bed and waited for Steve to finish getting himself together. He looked around the room and his eyes landed on the two pieces of paper on his bedside table.
“Um… babe? I kind of forgot to call in this morning. We had a visit while we were asleep.”
“You know… never mind. I’ll give Chin a call later.”
Once Steve was dressed he walked back toward Danny. Danny stood.
“How ‘bout some food. I’m starving.”
“Okay.” Steve smiled.
Danny looked into his eyes. He could still see the pain there, but the emptiness appeared to be gone, at least for the moment. He knew that they still had a long way to go, but for the moment, he’d take what he could get.