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Surfacing

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The office is eerily quiet as Danny makes his way to his desk. Most have cleared out for the night, but some remains, and Danny tries hard not to notice how they're all resolutely not looking in his direction. Tries hard not to look for Martin.

He feels bone tired. Exhausted, even, and it's been a shitty day, and an even shittier month. He wills the images to stop playing through his head, but they keep going, flickering back and forth, slowing down and speeding up, like an old movie of really bad quality, and it's all too much, and it's all just--pain. Too many hurt faces, too many haunted eyes, and he isn't sure what hurts him the most; the look in Martin's eyes when he finally was face to face with him again, or the look in Ryan Wallace's eyes when he pushed that button.

Danny never wants to see another 15-year old want to die that badly.

Danny never wants to see the pain in Martin's eyes again.

All too much, and Jack's words keep ringing in his ears, and some part of Danny wonders if he's headed for a breakdown--if he's been heading for it since he was a kid and first registered his father screaming at his mother, and he realized for the first time that home wasn't supposed to be like that.

He knows there's irony there, that he escaped a childhood of instability and anger and no real family, to a life that exists solely of hate and sorrow and anger and returning people to their families.

Danny sits down wearily at his desk, and he knows the people around him are whispering about his fuck-up tonight; knows Jack or Sam or someone has told someone something that has rapidly spread through the office grapevine. By tomorrow morning, everyone in the entire Bureau will probably know, and Danny's lucky if he's getting away without a serious reprimand, a mark in his file. Thinks maybe Jack should give him one. Danny knows he's not at the top of his game, but he hopes it will pass. He can bounce back from this, he knows so, he just needs a little time.

"Hey, man," Martin says from beside him, and there's that damn cane again.

Danny doesn't quite trust his voice to speak right now, but still manages to get out a "Hey," in return. His voice sounds hoarse and choked and strange to his ears, and Martin has to be deaf not to notice it.

"I heard about tonight," Martin offers, and Danny busies himself with his computer. Starts typing up his report, or at least pretends that's what he's going to do. Doesn't wanna talk to Martin about this right now, and it's insane how painful it can be just to have the man near him. What if it will always be like this? What if this thing between them has finally crossed the line from good and incredible, into dangerous and distracting, and he can no longer do his job around Martin?

They haven't talked about the thing between them; hell, haven't even really seen each other since Martin got shot. Since Danny saw him get wheeled away in the hospital, front covered in blood and bullet holes in his torso and doctors and nurses hovering over him and keeping pressure where they needed and preparing his body for surgery, and Martin probably has no idea what he really means to Danny.

Danny's not sure what to do about any of it. Doesn't wanna talk to Martin, but knows he probably should, because there was something there. This thing was more than just fucking, wasn't it? Good fucking as it was, wasn't there more to it, even unspoken? Isn't it still? But the haunted look in Martin's eyes from earlier, betraying his smile, flashes in Danny's mind, and something in his chest curls up in pain.

"I, uh--" he starts, and then has to pause and clear his throat as it closes on him. "I got some paperwork to do."

Martin backs off slowly, then sits down at his own desk and nods a little. "Yeah, okay," he says, and for a moment Danny thinks that's it. But then Martin takes a deep breath, and continues, "but Danny--"

That's all Danny can stand to listen to, so he quickly gets to his feet and hurries out of the room, muttering quickly that he has to go to the bathroom. It's not that far from the truth actually, because he does feel kinda sick, and even looking at Martin right now would be too hard. He passes Jack on the way down the hall, but Jack thankfully doesn't have anything else to say to him, but rather continues on without even glancing at Danny. Jack's gaze is focused solely on Martin through the glass walls, and Danny's shamefully relieved.

Once he's in the men's bathroom, he locks himself in one of the stalls, sits down on the toilet and leans his head against the wall.

Jesus, Jesus, and it really feels like he's losing it, like he's heading for a major breakdown.

Ryan Wallace flashes in his mind again, so broken and shattered into a thousand pieces, possibly irreparable forever, and so prepared to die... Willing to push that button and trigger the bomb, because Danny--

--because Danny--

Shouldn't have pushed him, shouldn't have pleaded with him, Danny knew that, goddamnit, Danny knew that! Danny's no negotiator, nowhere near Jack's league, and not even Jack had wanted to talk that kid down. They all knew how close Ryan was, they all knew, which was why Jack hadn't wanted to talk the kid down himself, had wanted to wait for the Bomb Squad, and yet Danny has pushed, because he'd honestly thought--

Danny's eyes sting, and he closes them rapidly, wanting desperately to go to sleep and wake up to find it all a bad dream, all of it. Wants the past few months to get erased, because first there was Raffi and then there was Martin and then there was Ryan, and Danny never wanted any of it.

He doesn't know how long he's been sitting there when he hears the doors open, and then Martin's hesitant voice. "Danny?"

Silently taking a deep breath, Danny steels himself, because looks like this is unavoidable. Might as well meet it head on, and if Martin's come in here looking for him, one of them at least, is determined to talk.

Up from the seat and out of the stall, and there Martin stands, leaning half on his cane--ugly, goddamn cane--and half on one of the sinks by the mirrors. Danny looks at his face for the first time in hours, and once again registers how bad Martin looks, in spite of the slight smile he's got on his face. Eyes hollow and sunken in, skin pale, and a five o'clock shadow that Danny's really never seen him have, and his suit--

--and for a moment, all Danny sees is the blood. Red, red, so much of it, and he has to find something to staunch the flow with! Has to stop Martin from bleeding out, and how much blood does a human body hold? How much could you lose before you bleed to death? Danny struggles to remember, and how come he can't remember any of the CPR, how come he can't remember what to do? Move him, not move him, and the blood is still pumping out, slowly covering Martin's entire shirtfront--

"Martin--" Danny croaks out just as a bubble of blood appears on Martin's lips--

--and then Danny's on his knees on the floor of the men's room, shaking and shivering, and Martin's standing above him, frantic with worry and grimacing in pain as he struggles to sit down next to him.

"No, no," Danny protests, blinking harshly as his brain registers his surroundings. "No," he repeats, climbing to his feet and preventing Martin from injuring himself further. "I--sorry, I'm sorry, I--I'm fine, I'm--"

"You're not fine," Martin protests, and Danny looks at him again, really looks at him. He's still grimacing in pain, but there's no blood. No red shirtfront, no dark street and no bullet casings and no bodies.

For a long moment Martin just looks at Danny, and Danny isn't even sure what to do anymore. If Martin expects him to say something, or if Martin wants to say something, and finally, tentatively, he meets Martin's eyes. Expecting to see pain, haunted pain, and--not finding it.

Somehow, Martin's entire body language changes, and one corner of his mouth twitches up a little. Looks at Danny like he was a scared child, and it both infuriates and soothes Danny, and Danny's not sure what to think anymore.

"I spoke to Jack," Martin says quietly, one hand still gripping Danny's arm, supporting him like Danny is the one hurt, here. "He said you could take off, do the paperwork tomorrow."

Danny knows why. Knows Jack is still angry with him, and doesn't really want him around right now. He can't blame him. Danny's still trembling, little tremors all through his body, because it was so real, and he was so sure he was there--

"Come on, let's get you home," Martin says, and this is all fucked up. Martin's leading Danny out of the men's room, when it's really Danny who's supposed to take care of Martin, isn't it? Because it's not Danny who got shot, Danny was fine, but Martin wasn't. And it all just serves to remind Danny that he didn't take care of Martin, and guilt floods him. He didn't even go to see Martin at the hospital, or at home after he was released, because--because--

Danny can't help but think that if he had gone to see Martin, maybe--just maybe--things would be completely different right now. Maybe Martin wouldn't have looked at him with those haunted eyes when they met in the hallway, and maybe Danny wouldn't have been trembling his way through a flashback on the floor of the men's bathroom. Maybe Martin would have come into the office and told Danny with a slight grin and a glimmer in his eye, You left your jacket when you caught the game this Saturday, or Hey, man, good to be back. Maybe they'd have spent a few nights together, doing nothing but holding hands. Maybe Danny would have gathered up the guts to say everything he didn't, but should have.

It doesn't matter now, anyway.

Danny didn't go to see Martin, they didn't hold hands, and Martin came back to the office with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes, and a cane that Danny positively loathes.

Martin doesn't say anything as Danny gets his stuff from his desk. He remains quiet as they enter the elevator, as they exit in the lobby or get out on the street to hail a taxi, and Danny almost starts a little when he gets into the taxi and Martin carefully gets in next to him. Rattles off Danny's address to the driver, and is Martin coming with him?

Danny stares at Martin the entire drive, but Martin still has that calm expression on his face, giving a little comforting smile every now and then. When they pull up in front of Danny's building, Martin pays the driver and gets out with Danny, and yeah--it definitely looks like Martin's coming with him.

Danny feels numb and tired and confused, and he isn't really sure what Martin wants. He doesn't want Martin to ask questions tonight, doesn't want him to ask why Danny didn't come to see him at the hospital, doesn't want him to ask what happened tonight. He wants Martin to leave him alone. He wants Martin to stay with him and bullshit about sports with him and help him regain a sense of normality. He's got a headache from hell.

Briefly closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose, and Martin obviously noticed, because in the elevator up, he puts one hand on the nape of Danny's neck and massages gently. Little squeezes with his fingers that would be wonderful if Danny wasn't so confused about why Martin's here. By the time they enter his apartment, Danny's just more tense.

"Listen, Danny," Martin starts to say the second the door closes behind him, and Danny resists the urge to groan. Closes his eyes and steels himself for the questions and the accusations. But they never come.

Instead, Martin wraps both his arms around Danny, holds him close and lets the cane drop and clutter noisily to the floor. For a moment Danny is worried, worried Martin will lose his balance and fall, but Martin's weight is steady in Danny's arms, and he doesn't fall. Doesn't even stumble a little.

Danny isn't sure what to think. Not sure what to do or how to act, so he does the first thing that comes to his mind, and wraps both arms around Martin. Feels surprisingly strong muscles under Martin's suit, and just holds on for dear life, because Martin's here and he's alive, and there's not a single trace of blood in sight, and it's all so damn overwhelming. Martin smells faintly of sweat and aftershave, and Danny turns his face into his hair. Breathes deeply and takes in Martin's smell, the feel of him, and registers that Martin is mumbling something in his ear, something he can't make out, but it doesn't really matter.

Right now, all that matters is that he can feel Martin and hear Martin and smell Martin, and he's here, and why isn't he mad? Why isn't he accusing and hurt? And Danny really doesn't care, as long as Martin stays with him, and stays alive, and isn't lying dead in the middle of the road.

"Jesus, Danny," Martin says, "Jesus," and Danny realizes he's shaking again, shaking so badly that Martin's shaking with him, and maybe they're both shaking?

"I thought you were dead," Danny says suddenly, and he didn't even know he wanted to speak, didn't know that this was something he was longing to say, to get off his chest. "I thought you were dead, and you were bleeding, and your eyes closed, your eyes closed as I was looking at you, and you were in so much pain, and your eyes closed--"

Danny's eyes sting, and Martin rubs soothing circles on Danny's back as the words continue to spill out. Falling, tumbling from his lips, until it's all just babbling, really, and still Martin doesn't let go of him. Danny babbles, and he needs to make Martin understand, because Danny has never ever been so scared in his life, not even the first time a perp pulled out a gun and pointed it squarely at Danny's face, not even when he realized for the first time that he's been on the verge of going down a path he doesn't wanna go down so many times, and some part of Danny will never be the same again.

Martin could have died. Danny could have died. And maybe if he had been a little bit smarter, he tells Martin, maybe if he'd done something different, or maybe he'd listened to Jack, and maybe if someone had listened to Ryan Wallace... So many things that all brought Danny here, and Danny never wanted to end up here.

Eventually the words dry up, and Danny's wheezing, gasping for breath, and Martin's somehow still standing with his arms around Danny, both letting Danny hold him up and holding Danny up.

"I know," is all Martin says, then pulls back just the tiniest bit, just enough so he can see Danny's face.

"I wanted to come see you," Danny says.

Martin raises one hand briefly to Danny's cheek, and it feels funny against his skin. Tears, Danny realizes, Martin's wiping away tears, and then Martin gives him a smile. Warm and comforting and with a little of that spark in the blue eyes that Danny noticed the first time he laid eyes on Martin Fitzgerald.

"I get it now, Danny," Martin explains softly.

Danny doesn't think Martin gets it, and he struggles to get the words out of his throat, the right words, the words he need to say, but it's hard.

"I--Martin, I--" he starts, but Martin cuts him off.

"I know," Martin repeats, and looks Danny directly in the eye. "I know."

Understanding dawns on Danny, then--finally--and it's a thousand worlds off his shoulders, and he hugs Martin close, mindful of any lingering pain from his injuries, but completely unwilling to let him go completely. Danny's still scared, but it helps that Martin knows, it helps so much, because this was not what Danny had in mind when he first knocked on Martin's hotel room door in Madison, Wisconsin. This was not what he had in mind at all! This was as unexpected for him as it probably was for Martin, and who would have thought that Martin would be the one to roll so easily with the punches?

Danny's never been good with love.

And they can fumble on together, but at least now Martin knows how Danny feels, at least now he knows what's important in all this. Martin knows it all, and he knows that Danny can crumble and break, and he's seen it, and he understands.

Strange, Danny thinks as his lips meet Martin's, that Martin is the injured one, but Danny was the one who felt the pain. Strange that bullets can hit one body, and cause just as much pain in another. Strange that Martin turned out to be the strong one. It's maybe just another way they fit together, another way they can make this work together, and they have a long way to go, but this--this day and this moment right here--it helps at least.

They stand there for a long time, just holding on to each other and holding each other up.

End.