Chapter 1: Crisis Mode
It’s one of those days where they’re in the Camaro chasing suspects and Steve has an expression of unholy glee on his face as they pursue at a dangerous speed that Danny knows for certain is way above the legal limit.
“Hey, McGarrett… Remember, partner here with a daughter! Can you slow it down a bit? I’d like to live to see Gracie’s next birthday!”
Steve flashes Danny his Aneurysm Face but slows the car down a few measly miles per hour – probably more for Gracie’s sake rather than because of Danny’s rant. The car they are pursuing screeches to a stop at the pier before the suspects, Manson, Smith and Arco jump out and begin to make a run for it in opposite directions. The Camaro has barely stopped completely before Steve and Danny continue their pursuit on foot.
Manson had been seen shooting at Kono, killing a HPD officer as well as wounding several others during the gunfight that had erupted after FBI agents, HPD and Five-0 had burst into safe house a few miles from the pier that was used as part of a clandestine drug-smuggling operation. Shots had rung out as the drug lord, his bodyguards and the drug dealers opened fired on all the teams with automatic weapons.
Meanwhile, Danny is chasing Smith, the kingpin of the drug ring and his bodyguard, Arco. Smith has a briefcase full of money – about $5 million – from the deal done today. If Five-0 is able to catch him red-handed with the money it will be all over for Smith. They are heading toward the end of the pier where a boat is waiting with its motor running. Danny hopes to catch them before he reaches the end of the pier, but Smith manages to leap onto the boat and signals, screaming for the captain to go.
”Dammit,” Danny swears as he makes one final lunge. Reaching out with his hands, he manages to tackle Arco from behind, knocking him to the ground with a loud thud. As Arco wrestles to get out from under Danny, he ends up rolling them both off the end of pier.
Steve is halfway back to the Camaro with Manson in handcuffs when he hears a very loud splash. Turning around, he sees Danny and Arco falling off the pier and into the water. Worry bubbles when Steve does not see Danny’s head reappear, but he breathes a sigh of relief when the familiar head of blonde hair pops up out of the water with his arm around Arco, hauling him in. He grins, now having seen evidence that Danny can, and does swim when the need arises. Certain that Danny can handle things from here; Steve returns to the Camaro and shoves Manson in the back seat just as his cell phone rings. He reaches into his cargo pants’ pocket to pull the device out before he answers, with a gruff “McGarrett.”
Steve focuses on his conversation with Chin who informs him that Kono has been taken care of by the paramedics and everything is fine. She will be riding back with him and two drug dealers to HQ. Chin also tells him that HPD backup should be there any minute.
As he hangs up with Chin, Steve scans the pier for Danny, but doesn’t see him anywhere. He should be on the pier by now cuffing Arco. Something is definitely very wrong. Frantic and worried, Steve takes off down the pier, arriving at the edge just in time to see Arco struggling against Danny’s hold. Danny’s grasp was slipping as he struggled to tread water while keeping his head above water. Although Danny can swim, Steve had underestimated how much larger and stronger Arco is compared to Danny as Arco’s arm slams hard, spraying water everywhere. Arco slides out of Danny’s hold and Steve sees the reflection of something silvery as he raises his arm.
“Danny, watch out,” Steve shouts as he sees Arco bring his arm down and the blade of the knife shine in the sunlight. Before he can even move, Danny’s falling back into the water, flailing and struggling to stay afloat as the water around them gradually turns red. His head bobs up and down out of the water once, twice…. Then, Steve doesn’t see Danny come back up a third time. Just as Steve is about to dive off the edge of the pier, Arco climbs back up onto the pier before lunging at Steve with the switchblade glinting dull red with Danny’s blood. The deadly weapon misses Steve’s face by mere inches before he goes into Ninja SEAL combat mode, kicking Arco and sending him crashing to the ground. For good measure Steve stomps hard on Arco’s hand to release the blade, drawing a groan of pain from the bodyguard. He punches Arco with full force and knocks him unconscious.
Footsteps come crashing down the pier as HPD arrives on the scene to haul the unconscious Arco and handcuffs Manson away for questioning. Steve is scanning the surrounding water for any sign of Danny. Running to the edge of the pier, Steve immediately dives into the water and searches for Danny. He spots him a couple of yards away floating unconscious several feet below the surface – a cloud of blood surrounding him. Steve swims over, noting the stab wound in Danny’s abdomen and carefully wraps his arm around Danny’s chest, ensuring that he does not touch the wound. He takes him back to the pier where Duke is waiting. Steve pushes Danny out of the water and leans him back on the top rung of the ladder. Duke pulls Danny up onto the pier and lies him down gently onto his back. Steve is hovering over Danny, leaning down to his face to listen and feel for his breathing, but Danny isn’t breathing. Duke applies pressure to the knife wound and Steve begins CPR. “Steve, the ambulance is already on its way,” Duke assures Steve quietly.
Steve nods as he begins chest compressions. “C’mon, Danny. Breathe, Danny, breathe!” His eyes are scanning Danny’s face for any signs of life. He grabs Danny’s wrist to feel for a pulse, but is horrified to find none.
Duke sees the stress, strength and effort Steve is putting into the chest compressions as well as the concern on Steve’s face. “Hey, Steve, you need me to take over?”
Steve doesn’t look up or break the rhythm. “No, Duke. I got it,” he mumbles.
He figures that that would be Steve’s response, but still wants to help. He continues to put pressure on the wound. The sound of the ambulance siren slowly escalates until it arrives. Steve sees it out of the corner of his eye as he continues CPR before he looks down at Danny when he stirs. Danny rolls over to one side, and then suddenly starts coughing up seawater violently before inhaling deep breaths.
“Welcome back, Danno,” Steve gazes down at him as relief and fond affection overcomes him. “You’re okay now. I got ya. Help is right here.” He puts his hand on Danny’s shoulder and gives it a gentle squeeze.
Danny blinks and tries to focus on Steve’s face, looking slowly from Steve to Duke. “Thanks, guys,” he whispers gruffly as the pain from the stab wound makes Danny’s breath hitch and wince. He scrunches his eyes shut.
Steve moves aside to let the paramedics Mando and Lu roll the stretcher right next to Danny. “Good job, Steve,” Mando says and gives him a gentle pat on the back, “We’ll take it from here.”
Lu gives Steve a quick shoulder hug. “Steve, once we get Danny up onto to the stretcher and into the ambulance, you can ride with us,” Lu says reassuringly.
“Thanks, Lu,” Steve smiles weakly. “You know I will.”
“Yup, as always,” Lu replies as a grin appears on his face.
Steve is relieved to see Lu and Mando. Steve knows them well as they have treated him and the rest of the team many times - too many to keep count. Not only are Lu and Mando experienced paramedics, Steve knows that they know all about the Five-O Ohana - how he and Danny’s bond is as strong as steel like blood brothers (or perhaps something more?) , how Chin fiercely protects, loves and cares about his young cousin, Kono, and all the extended Ohana members (Rachel, Gracie, Kamekona). Steve never needs to explain or ask anything of Lu and Mando – they just know all. The Five-O Ohana treats Lu and Mando like extended relatives as they are always there for them.
While Lu and Mando get Danny into the ambulance, Steve calls Chin.
“Howzit Steve? You get Smith and his thugs,” Chin asks.
“Chin. Danny’s been hurt bad. We almost lost him,” Steve tells him. Chin can hear the urgency, panic and stress in his voice. “One minute, Danny had things handled and the next Arco stabs Danny, leaving him to drown. I’m riding in the ambulance with Danny. Meet me at Queens Hospital.”
Chapter 2: Intensive Care
Danny has made it to the hospital. Steve apologizes profusely for not having Danny's back. He vows to make it up to him by being his nursemaid at the hospital and at home.
Steve is riding to Queens Hospital with Lu and Mando monitoring Danny. Steve has a very guilty and concerned look, fear in his blue-gray eyes. “Danny, I’m so sorry,” Steve says softly as he reaches out to hold Danny’s cold hand, “I should have had your back and not assumed that you could handle it. It’s all my fault.”
“Don’t worry, Steve. Danny will be okay. It’ll be a long haul between his drowning and his knife injury, but he’ll pull through,” Lu assures him as she reaches out to put an assuring hand on his shoulder.
Mando puts in his two cents. “Danny can’t stay down long. He’s always moving and talking – hand talking,” Mando says with smile.
“Thanks, guys. We’re grateful you both are here for all of us,” Steve says.
“No prob, brah. Just doing our job and trying to be on top of any calls that suspiciously sound like one of the Five-O Ohana is down,” Mando jokes.
Steve is grateful to have their reassurance and support, but still can’t shake the fear that Danny’s in bad shape and that he could lose him this time. For Lu and Mando’s sake though, he puts up a calmer, assured front. He suspects that they are not fooled though.
Danny remains unconscious as Lu started an IV drip of morphine as soon as they got into the ambulance. Once they reach the hospital, Steve continues to hold Danny’s hand as he walks briskly alongside the gurney with Lu and Mando as they head straight for the OR. “Danny, pull through, Babe. I can’t be without you,” Steve leans over to whisper so he can’t be heard before Danny heads through the OR doors where Steve is left behind to pace and worry.
Chin and Kono are already waiting for Steve when he walks back to the ER waiting room. “Howzit, brah,” Chin greets Steve, “How’s Danny holding up?”
“Looks pretty serious,” Steve responds gravely – his face ashen, his eyes expressing fear and panic, his body tense and straight and his fists balled, “Lu and Mando say he’ll pull through, but Danny took on a lot of water and lost a lot of blood while he was under. I don’t know.”
“C’mon, Boss. He’ll be okay. Danny’s stubborn and always comes through no matter what,” Kono says lovingly as she reaches up and puts her arm around Steve’s shoulder and gives him a squeeze.
Steve leans into Kono’s squeeze and uncharacteristically pulls Kono into a hug. Kono nearly breaks into tears with Steve’s unexpected move. She knows now how much Steve is worried about Danny as she shoots a look toward Chin. Chin gives her a nod as his expression turns serious and tense as well.
Steve contacts Rachel to tell her what happened. She tells Steve she’ll be there as soon as she can line up a sitter for Gracie and Charlie. She makes it in record time within an hour of hearing from him.
Waiting for news on Danny is unbearable for Rachel and the Ohana as all four of them fall silent in their own worried thoughts. Steve hasn’t sat down and continues to pace or lean on a wall for a few moments before he resumes pacing.
Finally after what seems like days instead of hours, the surgeon comes out to speak to Steve, who unbeknownst to him has been listed as Danny’s next of kin. “Mr. McGarrett, we have cleaned, sterilized and stitched up the knife wound in Mr. Williams’ abdominal area. The good news is that the wound was relatively clean considering the fact that he’d been submerged in the ocean for a short period of time and none of his organs were injured. We have also x-rayed his lungs and cleared out all additional fluid. We will continue to have him on a morphine drip until at least tomorrow and also have on an antibiotic trip to ward off any infection. He will be heavily sedated and is not likely to be awake into early tomorrow morning. Once he wakes, we’ll have a better idea of how he is doing and a better prognosis.”
While Steve has taken a breath in relief, he still appears eager to see Danny. “Doctor, I know he won’t be awake tonight, but can I see him anyway?”
The doctor can see Steve’s urgent need and yields to his request. “Yes, you can all see him in pairs for five to ten minutes, and then come back tomorrow when he is awake.”
Steve nods as he heads for Danny’s hospital room with Rachel. Fortunately, Danny has a private room. Steve leans over Danny. “Hey, Danno. The doctor had some good things to say about your condition. Hang in there.”
Rachel leans over to give Danny a quick peck on the cheek before she speaks. “Danny, Grace and I as well as Stan are hoping that you will be recovering straight away. Grace sends her love and told me to tell you to get better soon. I’ll bring her round as soon as you are able to have visitors tomorrow.
Rachel looks up at Steve. “I’ll just take leave now and give you a few moments alone. I shall see you tomorrow. Please ring me should you have any update on his condition. Thank you for saving him. He would not be alive if not for you.”
Will do, Rachel. Thanks. I’ll keep you posted, “Steve said – his eyes not leaving Danny’s face.
Once Rachel is gone, Steve runs his hand through Danny’s hair and gently takes Danny’s hand in his. “You’re going to be okay, Danny. You’ve got to be,” Steve says.” Steve is a bit astounded at the level of fear and concern he has for Danny right now. It is slowly dawning on him that he has stronger feelings for Danny than he would have ever thought. Perhaps, they are more than partners on the job. Steve puts aside those thoughts for now as he bids Danny good night.
He sees Chin and Kono just outside the door and ushers them in. He waits outside the room and watches through the glass at Kono and Chin by Danny’s bedside and he can see tears streaming down Kono’s face. It is then that Steve vows that he is going to do everything he can to take care of Danny until he is well.
Since the team has no cases at the beginning of the next day, Steve heads back to the hospital first thing in the morning while the cousins head out to get food for Steve and themselves and head there afterwards. They guess that Steve hasn’t eaten since the accident. Steve quietly enters Danny’s room. Danny is still asleep, but he’s stirring as if he’ll be up any minute. Steve moves a chair as close to Danny’s bed as he can without getting caught up in all the IV’s and equipment. As Steve stares at Danny’s sleeping face, he can’t help but replay the sight of Danny on the dock, wet, pale, unconscious and not breathing in his mind. He can feel the panic he felt yesterday as tragic scenarios swirled in his mind – Danny’s death, how he’d have to tell Chin and Kono that Danny was gone, how he’d have to go see Rachel (and maybe Gracie, too) to tell them that Danny was dead and finally how he’d have to call to Jersey to tell Danny’s family the bad news. Steve was terrified for those brief few minutes of Danny leaving him forever until Danny opened his eyes and coughed up all that water. Now as he looks down on Danny’s face, he still looks pale but there is a bit of color to his face that was not there yesterday. Danny was dry and warm again and his hair was wildly spiking in every direction. Steve wishes he’d hurry up and wake up so he could see Danny’s beautiful blue eyes focus on him.
Steve didn’t know how many minutes he was sitting there looking at Danny and thinking until Danny began to stir uncomfortably. Steve watches intently as he struggles to open his eyes. Danny opens them half –lidded, turns slowly to look at Steve and attempts to focus on him.
“’Morning, Danno. How are you feeling,” Steve asks quietly and caringly as he puts his hand on Danny’s shoulder.
Danny licks his lips and opens his mouth to answer. “Tired. Achy. How’d I get here,” Danny says – his voice low and scratchy as he hasn’t spoken in a day.
“Do you remember what happened,” Steve asks, unconsciously rubbing Danny’s shoulder and bicep.
Danny glances quickly at Steve’s hand and sighs comfortably, tension seeming to ease a little. “Yeah, a little. Arco and I fell off. Holding him in water was hard. He broke
away. I felt the stab. Struggled to stay floating. Then, nothing,” Danny manages to get out in a sleepy dopey voice.
“I jumped into the water and pulled you in. Duke helped me get you onto the pier. You weren’t breathing so I did CPR on you while Duke put pressure on your stab wound. Lu and Mando came to the rescue and we wheeled you into OR.”
“Thanks, Babe.” Danny’s voice was drifting and groggy. “I owe you one.”
Steve winces at his comment. “No, Danny,” Steve’s voice sounds pained and guilty, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t have your back. I thought you had it handled. It’s all my fault you are here.”
“Oh God, Super SEAL,” Danny says sarcastically with very little energy behind it, “Shit happens. Arco was just a gigantic lug.”
“Well, still,” Steve counters, “it’s me that owes you one. I’m going to be here for you and take care of you when you get out. It’s the least I can do.”
Danny gives Steve a weak grin and his ocean blue eyes sparkle. “You. My ‘Florence Nightingale.’ This I got to see.” Danny licks his upper and lower lip.
“You thirsty, Steve asks.
“’Mmm hmm,” Danny answers.
Steve buzzes for the nurse. As she shows up, Steve tells her,” Danny has been awake for about five or ten minutes. He’s still groggy, but remembers what happened.
Could you please get him some water or ice and his doctor?”
“Sure. I’ll be right back.” The nurse turns to walk out the door. Danny swears that he sees her grinning and snickering quietly as she leaves. "Impressive, McGarrett,” Danno says, “You might make a great nursemaid after all.” Danny is now grinning widely.
Steve’s heart flutters. “Shut up, Detective! I’m still your superior,” he says jokingly as his voice is playful and ligh
“Uh-huh,” Danny responds sarcastically, “don’t you pull rank on me while I’m lying here helpless.”
“Ok,” Steve pouts, “I’ll be outside for a minute. I want to call Rachel, Chin and Kono to let them know you are awake and being your snarky self.”
Steve dares to feel hopeful about Danny’s recovery.
Chapter 3: Waves
Steve has plenty of time to contemplate his feelings as Danno spends a lot of time sleeping on pain medications.
Steve remains at the hospital to watch over Danny. For once, he feels extremely grateful for the governor’s support as he diverts most of the casework to HPD, keeping Five-O’s activity to a minimum.
Over the next few days, Steve has a lot of time to think as Danny is only awake for short periods of time – still heavily dosed with pain killers and antibiotics. Steve is overwhelmed by the waves of emotion crashing over him in the quiet of the room where all that can be heard is Danny’s soft snoring and the shuffle of hospital personnel with their machines. He feels raw, vulnerable and lost. Fear engulfs him as he realizes how truly close he came to losing Danny. Guilt plagues him as he realizes how many times Danny has had his back – constantly in danger of being shot and/or blown up as a result of his actions. Danny never yields in his duty and loyalty to Steve as his partner. Then, there’s a matter of their relationship they have that defies label or definition. They are clearly work partners who are so in sync that people constantly make the comment, “How long have you two been married?” Steve considers Danny has best friend. Never has he spent so much time with someone, enjoyed their company and felt safe enough to share his feelings and secrets. Danny’s straightforward, honest and sincere manner makes Steve feel like he can tell Danny anything. Just like Chin and Kono, Danny is Ohana. Danny shares his life with Gracie with him as Gracie affectionately refers to him as “Uncle Steve.” Lastly, there are deeper feelings that Steve can’t face, but can’t escape. Steve gets distracted when he looks straight into Danny’s deep blue eyes, sparkling like the ocean. Seeing Danny smile and laugh, hearing him rant makes him giddy and happy. Steve is fascinated by Danny’s broad shoulders and chest and his round tight ass. He steals looks at them when Danny isn’t looking his way. The feelings are so intense, yet vaguely familiar that he feels like a teenager in love. Only Steve isn’t a teenager. He has sexual thoughts about Danny and dreams of being with him for good. Adult love with his male partner and best friend is not a road he can venture down. Steve buries these feelings deep, deep down where his deepest fears and grief lie – his mother’s death, his father’s death, being sent away and abandoned by his father and separated from his sister, the grief and loneliness he felt in Annapolis, the ominous fear he felt that he was leading his men into death every time he went on missions with the SEALS.
Burying his feelings enabled him to focus on the real task at hand – providing Danny with care and comfort until he is fully recovered again. It’s all about getting Danny better, not about his selfish issues. He watches Danny sleep, feeling relief at hearing every breath Danny takes. Danny is alive and healing. He can only get better from here.
A couple of days later, Danny is awake for longer periods of time, back to his chatty self as Kono and Chin visit after work. Rachel stops by daily with Gracie - Danny’s face lights up and simply glows. Gracie is drawing pictures of him and delivering them daily along with a long summary of her day. She also says that she is working on a surprise for him that she plans to give him when he gets out of the hospital. Kamekona brings his favorite Filipino fried chicken to Danny like he did when Danny was recuperating from Sarin poisoning. Danny is honored that Kamekona actually brought him dark meat instead of eating it on the way – a feat of immense thoughtfulness on the big man’s part. Duke comes by to check on him, too. Being at Queen’s has its benefits as Malia, Lu and Mando come by during their shifts. Danny is all smiles. Steve sits back to watch Danny come to life when friends visit.
After visiting hours, Steve keeps him company, getting to know more about Danny’s childhood, his mischievous antics with Matty (which occasionally makes him sad), his baseball days and his early experiences as a rookie in Newark. Danny keeps trying to get Steve to talk more about himself and manages to drag some stories out of him. Steve tells Danny that, despite the fact that Danny thinks that Steve was not held as a baby, his mom was always hugging him. She was an extremely affectionate person. Mano taught Steve how to surf when he was four years old. His mom was there when he first wiped out, not freaking him out, but holding him, giving him a hug and sending him back out there for a second try. She spent special days out alone with Steve when Mary was a baby. She’d get a sitter for Mary. They’d go for shaved ice, swimming in the ocean behind their house, building sand castles and sometimes “coffee” with dad at the precinct when he had a minute. Danny seemed amused and touched by the stories.
Sometimes, they talk less and play poker or watch TV. Danny seems to be getting better every day. However, Steve can still see when Danny’s in pain as it shows up first in Danny’s eyes which start to squint and glaze over. He also notices that Danny grows uncharacteristically quiet. Steve picks up on his subtle frown and wince. The one thing Steve and Danny have in common is their stubbornness and resistance to taking pain killers. Steve knows that and makes Danny take them at the first signs of pain.
Danny rests peacefully in a drug induced sleep.
Five days after his life threatening incident, Danny is discharged into the care of Steve. On their way to Steve’s house, Steve stops by Liliha’s Bakery.
Danny’s eyes grow wide. “Are you really stopping for malasadas? And real coffee? Damn, Steve! I must be special!” Danny stares at Steve with a twinkle in his eyes and the widest smile Steve has even seen.
Steve’s heart skips a beat as he grins back at Danny. “Yes, Danny. You are very special. I’ll be just a second.” Steve steps out of the Camaro and heads into the bakery.
Chapter 4: Tender Loving Care
Danny's POV. Steve is treating like Danny is the most special person in the world. Danny begins hoping again that Steve does love him a little. indeed being a nursemaid to Danny - pulling Danny's shirt off to examine his wound, cleaning and rebandaging the wound, administering meds. Providing care for Danny, both of them start with falling in love with each other.
Finally, a Danny-centric chapter! Sorry, but trying to edit, but having trouble with spacing. I give up so some conversations belong in new paragraphs. I'm a stickler for that type of thing.
A wide grin and a sheer look of ectasty graces Danny’s face as he stuffs his mouth full of malasadas and washes it down with delicious fresh Kona coffee – neither of which has had in what feels like an eternity. Even though there are dark circles under his eyes and a pale tone to his face, his whole disposition seems to have changed almost instantly – he’s happier, brighter and alert. It’s really no surprise that he looks this way because Danny is feeling special, feeling loved by the one person who is nearly his whole world – Steve. Danny has the passenger window open with the warm ocean breeze blowing through his hair. “’Dis!. ‘Dis here iz da best t’ing you could hab done fo’ me today! T’anks sooo mu’h, Babe,” mumbles Danny with his mouth full. He looks over at Steve - gratitude radiating out of his eyes.
Steve chances a quick glance back at Danny and can’t hold back the laughter. “Jeez, Danno, you think you got enough stuff in that mouth of yours? I can barely make out what you’re saying,” Steve says and grins widely. “You’re very welcome. I’m glad that you are a man of simple pleasures. Anything to make you happy.”
Danny’s heart flutters at Steve’s words. He is quiet on the ride at home, recognizing all the time and effort Steve is taking to care of him. Deep down in a part of his soul, Danny allows himself to hope that Steve might just love him a little bit, too.
Steve pulls the Camaro into the driveway of his house. He runs to the other side in time to open the door for Danny and give him a hand out of the car. Danny winces, his lips a tight line, as he lets out a soft, sharp grunt as he stands up. He tries to hide it from Steve by staring down at the front of his shirt, shaking all the crumbs from it then licking the rest of the sugary mess off his lips. Out of the corner of his eye, he could have sworn that he saw Steve staring at him and licking his lips in temptation. Nah. Danny thinks he must be imagining things. Once more, he bends over just slightly, placing his right hand on top of his bandaged wound before straightening up again. He grabs Steve’s forearm for support and walks slowly towards the door. Steve is staring at Danny his face full of worry and guilt.
“As soon as I get you settled, you’re going to take a pain pill. What I just saw as you came out of the car clearly tells me it’s way past time,” Steve says firmly but with concern.
Just as they get to the doorstep, Kono opens the front door. “Welcome Home, Danny,” Kono gently hugs him and gives him a peck on the cheek.
“Hey, Kono,” Danny gives her a weak smile. “What are you doing here?”
Steve wanted Chin and I to get things ready for you We made up Mary’s bedroom upstairs, brought over some comfortable clothes for you along with some of Gracie’s stuff for when she visits, and stocked the fridge full of healthy food and ‘Danny food.’”
“What’s ‘Danny’s food,’” Steve and Danny manage to say almost simultaneously.
“You know, the less healthy stuff – ice cream, chips, candy bars, mixed nuts and bacon. There is no way Danny will survive his stay here with just the healthy stuff, Boss!”
“Hmmmm,” Steve says, “we all seem to be spoiling him with all these sweets and junk food.”
That’s because I’m special,” Danny teases.
Chin comes out of the kitchen. “Howzit, Danny? I see Bossman got you home in one piece.”
“Yup, all in one piece,” Danny says attempting a smirk, but not quite succeeding. “Don’t think you’re fooling me for a minute, Danny,” Steve scolds him as he gently pulls
Danny in the direction of the stairs towards Mary’s bedroom. Without words, Kono follows her bosses upstairs and heads for the first aid kit in the bathroom followed closely behind by Chin holding a glass of water and the bottle of pain pills he picked up from the pharmacy.
“I’m fine. Just sore is all. Will you all stop treating me like I’m helpless? I can take care of myself,” Danny says defensively.
“Sure, Danny, that’s what your mouth says but we all know different. We aren’t blind, brah. Let Bossman look after you for a change,” Kono winks over at Steve.
Danny frowns, shrugs and lets Steve guide him into Mary’s bedroom.
“Here, Danno, have a seat.” Steve moves him towards Mary’s bed to sit down. “Let me take a look at your wound while I change your bandage. “ Having left the necessary things within Steve’s reach, the cousins quietly leave the room and head down the stairs, exchanging an all knowing smirk between them. Danny slowly lifts his arms over his head as Steve gently pulls off his shirt. Danny looks up into Steve’s face and sees a look that Danny’s never seen before on Steve. He can’t help but stare because it’s a familiar look that he can’t or won’t quite name. Before either of them can utter a word, they are both staring down at some point on the floor – any point, but Danny’s bare chest and Steve’s tented crotch.
Steve runs a warm wet washcloth over and around Danny’s bandage before gently and carefully pulling it off. “You okay, Danny?”
“Yeah, barely. How’s it look,” Danny would look, but he’s afraid to see Steve’s hand. His touch alone was conjuring wickedly sexual images in Danny’s mind. Not a good thing to be thinking, feeling and imagining about your partner and best friend.
Steve is careful not to put his fingers too close to the wound, but stares at it for a moment. The cut looks fresh, tender and red. The stitches are still raised, not yet sealing new skin together. The cut is about three inches in length. While it’s clean and sewn neatly, it’s too early to tell whether it will be infected later or not. Danny can’t look Steve in the eye. He knows that Steve is staring at it with guilt.
“Well, Babe, does it look okay,” Danny’s voice sounds small and insecure.
“Ummm. So far so good,” Steve utters softly. “Let me hurry up and get a clean bandage on it.”
Steve turns to grab new bandages and sees that the first aid kit, pain meds and water were already there. Danny wonders when the cousins came and went because he doesn’t remember seeing or hearing them and yet there were all the things Danny needed.
Steve finishes up quickly, helps Danny get back into a loose, comfortable gray t-shirt. He hands Danny his pain meds and water. “Here Get up for a sec and I’ll turn the bed down,”
Danny takes his meds and swallows down the water, then stands up as he’s told. This time, Danny nearly doubles over before Steve catches him. Steve decides just to lie Danny down on top of the bed, opens the closet door and reaches up to the top shelf for extra blankets.
Danny squints up at Steve and mutters, “Thanks, Babe. Sorry I’m so much trouble. I guess I have been up too long.”
“It’s okay, Danny. You better get some rest. I’ll be right here,” Steve replies softly as he unfolds a soft pale blue blanket and covers Danny. Steve heads to a bookshelf in the corner, grabs a book, puts it on the seat cushion of a pale blue easy chair right next to it and then pulls the chair over from the corner of the room up to the side of the bed. Steve settles into it and looks down at Danny’s face, “Are you comfortable?”
“Uh-huh,” Danny mumbles. The last thing Danny notices before he drifts off is a hint of Steve’s sweet scent in the soft, warm blanket and the sound of the waves outside Mary’s window.
Chapter 5: Awakening the Nightmares
Steve still feels guilty for not having Danny's back and blames himself for Danny's near-death experience. He begins to have nightmares about the incident. Sometime later, Danny weans off his prescription pain medication. While he and Steve are happy that he is more alert and awake, Danny starts to obsess about what happened. He shares similar nightmares and experiences with Steve. Lots of rambling angst from both of them.
(I suck at these summaries!)
NOTE: JULY 30, 2016
It's been over four years since I’ve touched this fic. Part of the reason was because I wrote other fics in response to specific episodes. In addition, I've worked on a couple of birthday fics that are long past due. (One of them still is). Lastly, my real life has kicked me in the ass for the past four years - husband’s sudden death in October 2012, adjusting to a new life, single parenting and now my oldest starts college next month. I thought in order to return to this fic, I needed to finish all the others, but the muses say write this weekend on this one. Thank you to those of you along the way that made comments. Thanks to my beta, Simplyn2deep, who’s hung in there with me for a long time.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
By day, Steve works hard to nurse Danny back to health. He still couldn't let go of the guilt he feels, abandoning Danny and seeing how close he has come to losing him. By night, he has nightmares seeing Danny’s near fatal accident over and over again.
Sometimes his dreams portray the incident as it actually happened. He sees Danny’s lifeless body out of the water - blood pooling from his wound, his face a bluish hue and completely still. He knew he was dead. He sees himself performing CPR, hoping that he wasn't too late to bring Danny back to life. The nightmare ends there failing to show that Danny was alive.
Another version of the nightmare shows Steve coming too late. Danny lies dead, Chin and Kono hold on tight to Steve as they watch the paramedics pack up their stuff, put a white sheet over Danny’s face and walk away.
Steve wakes up screaming, crying and shivering through a cold sweat. Once he is fully awake, he quietly pads down the hall to Mary’s old room to check on Danny. He was knocked out on prescription pain medication so he doesn’t see Steve kneeling at his bedside listening and hearing Danny snuffle and snore softly. After a few minutes of watching him, Steve feels relieved and returns to bed. Once he drifts off to sleep, the nightmares start again.
Pillow in hand, he goes to Danny’s room, watches him breathe and settles down on the floor beside him, falling into a restless nap before waking up a couple of hours later. Steve gives up sleep and heads downstairs. Opening the refrigerator, he pulls out a bottle of beer, walks outside to his chair and waits to watch the sunrise. He set up Joan’s night monitor in Danny’s room so he could continue to listen to Danny snore. There would be no more sleep for Steve tonight.
A few days later, Danny begins to wean himself off the pain medication per instructions from his doctor. Steve was ecstatic because Danny is awake and alert more and more. Danny is relieved for feeling more and more like himself. While he continues to improve under Steve’s care, Danny sees the dark circles under Steve’s eyes and the tight expression he has to keep his fatigue at bay. He sees the guilt in Steve’s eyes despite constantly praising and expressing his appreciation to his best friend.
Danny's patience wears thin as Steve rushes around frantically to accommodate his needs. Danny suspects that Steve is overworking to compensate for the blame and guilt he’s places on himself for not having Danny’s back and the fact that Danny almost died because of it. It makes Danny feel dizzy and constrained. He has had enough of this.
Danny stops Steve, grabbing his arm after he brought Danny his lunch and attempts to return to the kitchen to get him a drink. Steve turns to look at Danny in confusion. He pulls Steve back to the couch and motions him to sit down. Danny grabs the remote and turns off the TV. Steve doesn’t look at Danny, instead he stares at the floor, fidgiting and frowning.
“Hey, Babe, look at me,” Danny says as he places his fingers under Steve’s chin gently lifting Steve’s face up look at him. “I know you’re still feeling guilty for what happened to me, but it wasn’t your fault. Please stop taking the blame for something that was beyond your control. I thought I had Arco, but I underestimated his strength. He got the better of me and that had nothing to do with you. Arco is to blame. Even if you were there, you could have been injured, or worse, killed. Please stop torturing yourself. It pains me to watch you carry the guilt day after day. I feel dizzy and suffocated watching you push yourself and run around to take care of me as if you are trying to compensate for what happened,” Danny’s eyes are sad.
“I appreciate all that you do for me and care for you more than you know. I can’t even begin to express how much you mean to me,” Danny stumbles and backtracks to hide his desire to want Steve as more than a friend. “You are my best friend. While I am grateful to have you take care of me, you need to slow down, relax and let go of the guilt. That’s what would help me most in my recovery right now. The last thing I want for you is to be exhausted and burnt out. I love you, Buddy.” Danny desperately wishes he could truly say ‘I love you’ as a lover and a partner for life.
Steve stares deeply into Danny’s eyes, processing all that was said to him. “Okay, Danno. For your sake and comfort, I’ll try to surrender the guilt." 'Easier said than done,' Steve thinks to himself, but he would do anything for Danny. If it means surrendering the guilt by burying it deep inside the recesses of his mind, then he would.
Danny could see Steve’s guilt lift and replace it with something else that looks a lot like fondness. 'I’m just seeing things,' Danny thinks to himself. It’s fondness he is showing towards me as his best friend and nothing more.
About a week later, Danny is fully off the pain medication. He uses over-the-counter pain relievers only when he really he really needs it. He is more or less back to himself. His knife wound is healing nicely, but not quite to the point that he can be alone. He needs to stay with Steve so that he can look out for signs of infection and for the wound to fully heal. At least that’s what Steve tells him when Danny mentions that he’s fine to return to his apartment. Steve wants to keep him there as long as he can.
As Steve watches Danny heal, he is having fewer nightmares. Getting more sleep enables him to back off being a mother hen to Danny and keep his emotions intact. He can’t risk Danny seeing his attraction for him. He holds himself back to the safety and familiarity of their close brotherly friendship.
Danny, on the other hand, is feeling more and more anxious at nighttime. With nothing to distract him, he ruminates on his feelings of panic and fear when he was stabbed. He panicked when he couldn’t free himself from sinking. He felt fear as he began to drown. His last thoughts being how much he loves Grace and Steve and his despair at never being able to see them again. He remembers being pulled under before everything went dark. Shortly after that, Danny begins having nightmares. He is screaming, “No, no, no! Help me! Steve! Grace!” before bolting upright, breathing heavily, breaking into a cold sweat and shaking uncontrollably.
Steve comes running and barges into Mary’s room to take hold of Danny’s shoulders, to shake him gently, to look at his face for any signs of recognition before hugging him close and murmuring that it was just a dream and he was safe while he was rubbing his back. He continued to hold him moving his hand up and down his back until Danny’s breathing was back to normal and his shaking ceased.
“Are you okay now?” Steve looked concerned. Danny nodded in response and Steve went to Mary’s dresser to get a clean dry t-shirt. He helped Danny take the clammy, sweaty shirt off and change into a clean one. Danny rested his head on his pillow and Steve straightened his sheet and blanket, tucking Danny in.
“Call if you need anything,” Steve says as he pats Danny on his shoulder and reluctantly walks back towards his bedroom.
Just as Steve drifts off to sleep, he hears Danny screaming again. Looking at his clock, he notes that it’s been about two hours since the last time Danny’s panicked voice woke him up. Steve rushes back to Danny where he finds Danny sitting up in bed hyperventilating. Quickly, Steve gently grabs Danny’s legs; swing them out of bed until his feet hit the floor. He pushes Danny’s knees open before guiding his head down between his legs.
“Danny, take slow deep breaths. C’mon, Danny, you can do it. Slow down, take deep breaths, in and out,” Steve says slowly and gently. “That’s it, Danny. That’s good. Keep it up. Breath deep and slow.”
Danny slowly lifts his head and looks at Steve. He looks wrecked. His eyes are wide but attempting to blink tears away. His arms and hands wander in the air and Danny seems lost, searching for something someone to ground him. Steve takes Danny’s hands and wraps them around his neck and wraps his own arms around Danny, rubbing his back with one hand and running his fingers slowly through Danny’s damp hair. Danny holds Steve’s neck a little tighter and rests his head on Steve’s shoulders while Steve continues to comfort Danny with his hands. They stay like that for a couple of minutes before Steve loosens his grip and turns his head toward Danny.
“You calm now? Do you feel better? You’re safe, Danny. You’re safe.” Danny looks at Steve’s face. His beautiful blue eyes still look terrified and stormy. His expression barely holding himself together. Danny blanks out for a few seconds before nodding and finding his voice.
“Yeah, Babe. I’m better, but not quite okay yet. Can you stay a little longer,” Danny whispered, sounding small and uncertain.
“Sure, Danno. Take all the time you need,” Steve responds back in a calm whisper. He goes back to holding Danny, rubbing his back.
Danny feels safe and rests his head back on Steve’s shoulder.
All comments and productive feedback are appreciated.