"That crazy mother—did you see that?" Danny asked, poking at the sleeve of his brand new Van Heusen, now ruined. "He tried to bite me! Hopped-up bastard actually tried to bite me. You know, the more time I spend on this paradisiacal island of yours, Steven, the more I just want to climb aboard the next thing smoking and—"
"Sorry, didn't catch that," Steve said, coming up in front of him, Kono and Chin trailing behind. "There was this whining in my ear."
"Oh, funny. You made a—what the hell?" Danny pointed at the bloody grip Steve had on his forearm. "He bit you? When did he bite you?"
Steve shrugged. "I was trying to protect his head when I was putting him in the patrol car. He lunged right at me."
"Jesus Christ. What an ingrate!"
Chin broke in. "It's that new drug he was trafficking, bath salts. I read the memo on it. Makes 'em a little rabid."
"Well, I think that's just a new low in uncivilized behavior. It's the end of days, people." Danny clapped his hands together. "No excuses, Steve—I'm taking you to the ER."
"Well, yeah. I'm gonna need a couple of stitches." Steve pulled his hand away to show off the bloody mess.
"Nice one, boss!" Kono gave an appreciative whistle, making Steve look unbearably smug.
Danny grimaced. "Thanks for that lovely picture in my mental scrapbook."
"My pleasure," Steve said as he led the way to the Camaro.
"Hey, a million times I told you—no bleeding on my upholstery!"
"The 'zombie drug' they're calling it, can you believe this? My life, you're welcome to it—it's up for grabs," Danny muttered at his phone screen while waiting for Steve to come out from behind the magic curtain. He heard Steve talking earnestly to the doc, something about antibiotics, and then Steve came whizzing out way too soon with a bright white bandage on his arm and the familiar fistful of discharge papers.
"Already?" Danny tucked his phone in his pocket. "Don't they want to give you the death of a thousand needles?"
"Nah, I'm good," Steve said.
Danny frowned. "What, not even a rabies shot? Because I swear that guy was foaming at the mouth."
"Got everything I need at home."
"Hang on a second." Danny grabbed his arm, careful to stay above the elbow. "Seriously, Steve—not even a prescription?"
Steve stopped semi-patiently and leaned in to say, "Can this discussion wait until we're out of this place?" and then he walked on, leaving Danny with no choice but to follow.
Because paperwork waited for nothing and no man, not even zombie-bitten partners, apparently, they ended up back at five-oh. Chin and Kono had already processed the king pin of the operation and all his little minions, including the biter, Felton, Danny was glad to see, otherwise he would have been tempted to take a swing at the guy just on principle.
"I got a tooth impression," Kono said smugly. "So we can get him for the assault. Did you get a photo at the hospital?"
"Steve said his doctor did."
"I'll follow up."
There was still all the casework to tidy up, though, and by the time Danny lifted his head it was after seven. He rubbed his eyes after sending everything off to Steve's mailbox, and then followed the electronic trail with his feet.
Steve had his arm propped up on his desk and was peeking under his bandage.
"Hey, none of that," Danny said, then took a second look at his pale, slightly sweaty face. "Okay, that's it—you're benched. I'm taking you home."
Steve got to his feet and blinked slowly. "Yeah, I am kind of wiped," he said, and tossed Danny the keys. Which was surrender of a different kind in and of itself, so Danny didn't hassle him about what they'd discussed earlier, just jerked a nod. But it was troubling.
So, of course, he made it ten minutes into the drive, chewing on it the whole way, before he had to say, "Do you have the faintest idea how many microbes are in human saliva? Do you? I have to ask, because there's no way that junkie drug-runner even brushes his teeth on a regular basis, let alone flosses—"
"Danny..." Steve turned his head and gave him a tired look. "I know, all right? I just don't have a lot of options."
"What the heck are you talking about? We live in the age of modern medicine." Danny reached the driveway and pulled to a somewhat screeching halt right in front of Steve's garage. "There's this thing called penicillin, Commander Machismo. I'm pretty sure you've heard of it; it's not a recent invention."
"Oh, right, I've heard of it," Steve said, following him out of the car a little more slowly and dragging his tac vest out of the back seat. "It's just that I'm allergic."
"Allergic. Like Gracie. So fine, there's—"
"Erythromycin, Tetracycline, Doxycycline," Steve ticked off, his vest tucked under his arm as he reached for his keys. "Those were fun. Hives, hypertension, muscle pain, nausea, rash, difficulty swallowing."
Danny swallowed in sympathy.
"So, yeah. There is one I haven't reacted to. I'm keeping it in my back pocket in case I need the big guns, you know? Someday I'll really need the help. Until then, I let my body sweat the small stuff." Steve dropped his keys in the little bowl by the door and slung his tac vest under the coat rack before taking off his holster. "What?"
"What? What do you mean, what?"
"Don't give me shit, Danny. I've been through this before and I know how to handle it. Doc Watanabe scrubbed it down good and stitched it up real nice—you should see the job she did, these really nice simple interrupted stitches, each one was pure finesse, I'm not kidding."
"Listen to you with the art appreciation. Sounds terrific."
"Yeah, it is terrific. It probably won't even scar."
"If it doesn't get infected," Danny said evenly.
Steve rolled his eyes and headed toward the kitchen. "If it doesn't get infected. I'll keep my eye on it."
"Because if it does—"
"If it does, I'll know what to do," Steve said, annoyingly self-assured, as if he didn't know how dangerous puncture wounds were or what disgusting things people's mouths were.
Danny envisioned Steve thinking he was just fine then rising from his bed like a delirious, feverish zombie and trying to drive himself to the hospital only to run into a lamppost and die from a simple concussion.
Steve stopped with a bottle of juice halfway to his mouth and stared at him.
"What?" Danny said defensively.
"Now you have a look like I don't know what."
"Me? I don't have a look. You're the one with the look, and the chunk gouged out of your arm and your face is getting red."
"My face is not red." Steve put a hand up to his own cheek.
"Oh, like you can tell your own temperature." Danny leaned over, but Steve batted him away.
"Quit it. You're deluded—I can't possibly have a fever already."
"Maybe not, but it's just a matter of time, my friend. Just a matter of time before you're a feverish zombie with necrotized flesh hanging off your arm. And I'll be the one they call to shoot you through the head to end your unholy reign of terror."
Steve put his hands on his hips and glared. "Fine. You want to stick around and watch me turn into the walking dead? Be my guest."
"I thought you'd never ask."
Because Steve was the most sadistic bastard on the planet with a sick sense of humor to boot, and also because he was apparently in pain and wanted Danny to suffer as well, they ended up shotgunning episode after episode of The Walking Dead.
"Oh, my God that is—seriously, the most disgusting, I have never in my life, why didn't they just—Jesus! His putrid guts! Jesus, no! My eyes, my eyes!" Danny was literally forced to slap his hand over his face while Steve cackled demonically beside him.
"That was pretty gross," Steve said with total satisfaction. "They're going to have to dig another well."
Danny got up to get another beer "Just tell me, please, when they've left that godforsaken farm. I can't stand that place. It was much more fun when they were on the road trip through hell."
"Yeah. This is kind of boring. But at least the kid is getting some action."
"Seriously? That's your big take-away?" When Danny came back from the kitchen it was to find Steve had slumped even lower on the couch, his head tilted back and his legs sprawled, bad arm still propped on a pillow. Steve's eyes were closed.
Stealthily, Danny picked up the ear thermometer from the coffee table with only the faintest click.
"Not a chance, Williams."
"It's been at least three episodes since the last time."
Steve huffed out a breath. "Fine."
Danny rocked the probe into Steve's ear, ignoring his faint grumble, and pressed the button then waited for the beep before pulling it out.
"Ha," Danny said, but the victory was bitter. "Ninety-nine point eight."
"So, a little above normal. No big whoop."
"No big whoop. No big whoop. Who says things like that? Are you from Cleveland all of a sudden? Am I hearing you right?" Danny wiped down the thermometer and dropped it on the table amid the weird mix of guns and ammo-type magazines and science journals. "So, what now, smart guy?"
"Now, I do a little hot compress, along with some homeopathic stuff, and take some Tylenol, okay? Don't get panicky." Steve held his hand up.
Danny took it and pulled him to his feet. "I'm not panicking. Who says I'm panicking? My partner's turning into a flesh-eating zombie—"
Steve bumped into him hard, effectively shutting him up. "Put some water on to boil, would you?"
"Great. Now I'm delivering babies," Danny muttered.
Steve wasn't kidding about the hot compress, emphasis on the "hot." He had some sort of set up with a tub and clean washcloths and this nasty, rust-colored medicine that he patted the wound down with first, and then he dropped the washcloth in the boiling water. He put some sort of waterproof bandage on the wound before he wrung out the cloth and laid it, steaming hot, right on the bandage, and then sat there gasping while Danny fidgeted over him.
Steve kept rewetting the cloth with steaming hot water for about half an hour before calling it quits and re-wrapping his wound with sterile, dry gauze. Then he took two Tylenol and a whole series of homeopathic junk, big green and brown horse-pill looking things, and kicked back on the couch with two big bottles of water before they started watching The Walking Dead again.
"This makes no sense," Steve muttered after a while. "They should secure the perimeter with a sonic alarm system and maybe some claymores with warning flags for the not-dead people."
"Uh-huh," Danny said. He nudged Steve's good arm. "Drink some more water."
Steve lifted the bottle, but sloshed some on his chest on the way up.
"Fuck. Fever's going up, huh?" Danny asked worriedly.
"Nah. Well, maybe, but my arm doesn't feel like it's burning, so that's a good sign," Steve said. "Means my body is responding, but it's just a reaction."
"That makes no sense at all."
"Been through this enough." Steve tried to drink again; Danny couldn't stand the clumsy motion and helped steady the bottle against Steve's lips. "Thanks, Danno," Steve said afterward. "This is kinda fun. Usually I'm holed up alone in some crappy hotel or off-base housing or, shit, couple of times..." he waved the bottle.
"Let me guess—you can neither confirm nor deny the jungle, desert and-or forest your reckless ass was hunkered down in while our idiotic armed forces left you without medical attention."
Steve gave him a reproachful look. His eyes were almost completely bloodshot.
"Sorry." Danny collapsed back on the sofa. "Hey, let's see if they ever get off this fucking farm."
Apparently they did not. Or, if they did, it didn't happen on Danny's watch. Steve slowly drifted into a mumbling, rambling sleep, occasionally rousing enough to demand more hot water. He made a lot of interesting faces while it was going on; Danny decided, of all of Steve's faces, these were his least favorite. He patted Steve's shoulder and murmured some shit he didn't want to be held responsible for later, but Steve seemed okay with it, even smiled a little, a soft smile of thanks.
Danny refused to think his guts were mushier than any three-week dead zombie's.
Eventually, Steve took some more Tylenol and fell into a heavy sleep. Danny went upstairs into the guest room and crashed, but set the alarm to go downstairs and check on him later.
Morning saw Steve still asleep and looking a little better, less red and sweaty. Danny snuck in a temperature check and found he'd dropped below a hundred, which was great news.
After sneaking outside with a fresh cup of coffee and some toast, he called up Chin.
"Did you know this idiot is allergic to most antibiotics?"
"Well, yeah, brah. Max told me after he stitched Steve up that time."
"Jesus, that's right. He got shanked, for Christ's sake."
"Yeah, Max had to go for the only antibiotic Steve isn't allergic to."
"Well, he's fighting this off without any."
"Good for him." Chin didn't sound particularly concerned, which was very irksome.
"Infections kill people, you know!"
"Well, you're there, Danny. He's in good hands, eh?"
Chin was right about that. "Anyway, he's doing better, but I'll keep you posted."
"I'll let Kono know. You're a good friend, Danny."
By late afternoon, Steve was pale and a little shaky, but his fever had broken completely and he wanted shrimp. "Garlic shrimp. Garlic is good for the immune system, brah."
"You are completely and utterly bonkers, you know that?" Danny couldn't help grinning though. Damn it.
"Tell Kamekona he's a lifesaver. Literally."
"What do I look like, chopped liver?"
Steve stared at him for a long moment before smiling softly. "Nah. You're a coco puff. The very best." His smile brightened. "Hey, bring some of those back while you're at it."
"Kill you, I swear to God, McGarrett. I'll use a hoe, like that blond Amazon did on the barn zombie—swoosh-thunk! Right through the melon! You won't even feel it."
He left Steve cackling on the sofa and talking about brains and cranial bone density and shit.
Danny's life. Welcome to it.