Love I get so lost, sometimes. Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart. When I want to run away, I drive off in my car, but whichever way I go, I come back to the place you are. – In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
Sometimes, Danny would sneak out of the house and drive. He wouldn’t say anything, he’d just go. It was a release of sorts. He didn’t consider it running away… not really, because he always went back.
Steve had a way of knowing when Danny was out on one of his drives. There was always a change in the air; usually preceded by a change in Danny’s mood. There was also something that he would notice in Danny’s eyes; something that shouldn’t have been there. He knew well enough to just let it go. Danny needed it. Steve swam, and Danny drove. It was therapeutic.
Most of the time, when Danny went on one of his drives, it was after a particularly difficult case. They always got together as a team once all the paperwork was finished, grabbed a few beers; whatever felt right. Then, after dropping Steve at home, he’d take off alone. Steve had asked a few times where he was going, but Danny would always say, “Nowhere… just driving.”
Steve always worried, and had contemplated on several occasions whether he should follow him. He never did, though. He trusted Danny enough to know that he wouldn’t do anything stupid. He had too much to lose. So, Steve sat in front of the TV and waited.
After North Korea, Danny wasn’t able to take his usual drive. He couldn’t leave Steve alone long enough to get the chance. Nearly a week later, after Steve had been home for a few days, Danny couldn’t stand it anymore. He needed to take his drive, to get rid of all the pent up anger and pain he felt. He just couldn’t bring himself to leave Steve alone. So, in a totally un-Danny-like move, he asked Steve to go with him.
“Come on Steve, I need to drive. Let’s go.” He picked up his keys and walked to the door.
“What? Are you sure you really want me to come along?”
Danny sighed. “Steve, are you coming or not?”
Steve stood slowly, and then followed him to the car.
Danny drove in complete silence. Steve spent equal amounts of time watching where they were going and watching Danny. He could see that look in his eyes. He wondered if it had been there the whole time he was recovering.
Danny turned off the highway and onto a narrow road. He pulled to a stop when the road ended. He turned off the car and got out. He never once said a word.
Steve got out of the car and watched as Danny disappeared into a thick line of trees. He waited for a few moments and then followed. What he found amazed him.
It was breathtaking. On the other side of the trees was a clearing. It was a small, isolated beach, surrounded by trees. Danny was standing in the middle of the beach, digging his toes into the sand; his shoes a few feet away. He had his hands in his pockets, and he was staring out at the ocean.
Steve walked over and stood next to Danny. He didn’t say anything, opting to wait on Danny.
“I stumbled on this place a few months ago. When I told you I was going nowhere, I meant it. This is, for all intents and purposes, the middle of nowhere. There isn’t anyone or anything for at least a mile in all directions.”
“Why did you bring me here? This place… it’s yours. I didn’t even know about it.”
“This… place… it’s perfect. Or at least it is now. I’d come out here to unwind, let off some steam, but there was always something missing. Now… now it’s perfect, because you’re here with me.”
Steve couldn’t speak past the lump in his throat. They had been together officially since shortly after the team had been reinstated. Danny’s drive time had been the one thing that they had never shared, until that moment.
“Damnit, Steve!! I almost lost you! I almost… wasn’t able to look into your beautiful eyes again. I don’t think I could have made it if we hadn’t gotten you back.”
Steve pulled Danny toward him and embraced him in a hug. Danny broke down. When his knees buckled, Steve guided them both to the ground. It was a little awkward, but once they were seated, Steve held Danny.
“I’m here. You didn’t lose me.”
Steve had had his version of a breakdown the day after they got back home from North Korea. Danny hadn’t given himself the opportunity until that moment to have his. As Steve held him, he looked out over the ocean. It was a completely unobstructed view of one of the most beautiful sunsets he’d ever seen. He thought back, realizing that most of the times Danny had taken his drive had been before sunset, and he’d come back home well after.
“Danny. You with me?”
Danny pulled back and looked up into Steve’s eyes. “Yeah.”
Steve looked back out at the sunset. “It’s beautiful.”
Danny turned his head to look. “Now, it’s perfect.”