Danny Williams never called in sick. In nearly a decade of partnering with Danny, Steve could count on one hand the number of times Danny had even left work early for anything less than Grace or Charlie. Gunshots and collapsed buildings aside, the man was ridiculously healthy.
So when Steve arrived at HQ to find a message from Danny saying he was ‘home sick in bed, save the world without me today, Steven’, obviously Steve’s natural and immediate reaction was to toss the metaphorical keys to the kingdom to Lou and head straight back out to his truck.
It wasn’t until he pulled up in Danny’s driveway that it occurred to him that he should have called first. He debated just walking in unannounced, but opted for a less heart-attack-inducing approach, knowing how highly strung his partner was even on a good day.
Steve: u ok?
Steve: you dont get headaches
Danny: fuck off
Steve: im in your driveway
Danny: fuck off please
Steve: let me in
Steve: i have a key
Steve: im not leaving
The lack of witty banter from Danny’s side had Steve a bit concerned. The long pause afterwards had him frowning. He let the truck door slam behind him and he could practically feel the long-suffering sigh from inside the house.
Steve: put your pants on im coming in
Steve paused as he was slipping the key in the lock, his mind catching on whether Danny meant ‘no don’t come in’ or ‘no I won’t put pants on.’ He closed his eyes briefly and decided on the former, then let himself into the house.
It was fully dark inside and utterly silent. Steve headed cautiously toward Danny’s bedroom, expecting a rant about breaking and entering, or ‘no means no, Steven’ but there wasn’t a peep from Danny and that made Steve very worried indeed.
Danny’s bedroom was almost pitch dark, the blackout curtains over the window blocking everything but the thinnest sliver of morning light. Steve could make out the shape of Danny on the bed, a lump of blanket and the line of his back and shoulders. He crept closer, feeling his way around to the side Danny was facing. The bed dipped under him as he carefully sat down, tipping Danny toward him.
Steve rested his hand gently on Danny’s shoulder, reassured by the warmth he felt but registering no fever. He slid his hand up to Danny’s head in the dark, feeling the unexpected coolness of a damp towel over Danny’s eyes and temple. “Danno?”
Danny heaved a soft sigh. “Ass,” he whispered, reaching up to catch Steve’s hand and bring it down to the bed between them. He didn’t let go, or push him away, which Steve took as a good sign.
“Do we need to call your doc?” Steve turned his hand in Danny’s and surreptitiously counted the pulse beneath his index finger.
“Just a migraine,” Danny replied, shifting on the bed and lifting his other hand to adjust the towel over his eyes. “It’ll pass.”
“I didn’t think you got migraines like this,” Steve said, cocking his head as he tried to recall this happening before.
“Used to all the time, back when...Rachel. Not in a long time now.” His voice was rough and low, and Steve could hear the pain that each word cost him.
Steve took a deep breath, taking stock, making a plan. “Okay. Have you taken meds?”
Danny made a vague gesture with his shoulder. “Tylenol, for all the good it does.”
“Don’t you have anything stronger?”
“I’ve got some Vicodin from the last time you got me shot,” he replied, and there was the lightest thread of humor there so Steve just huffed at him, unoffended. “I didn’t want to take it, in case the kids need me.”
“That’s noble of you, but I’ll take care of anything that comes up. Where’s the bottle?”
Danny pointed in the general direction of the bathroom, and Steve went to find it, closing the door behind himself and turning on the light. He blinked at the sudden brightness and searched in the mirrored cabinet, finding the plastic pill bottle shoved back behind some hair gel and a bottle of aftershave. He hesitated before touching the aftershave, then pushed it aside to grab the pain meds, refusing to lift the cologne to his nose to breathe it in.
He pulled a clean hand towel from the nearby shelf and soaked it in cool water, then gave himself a hard stare in the mirror, like a nonverbal lecture to himself to keep his motives pure.
When he returned to Danny’s side he settled himself more firmly at Danny’s hip, getting comfortable. Danny made a questioning sound when Steve lifted the old cloth from his face, and his eyes were just a soft flash in the darkness.
“Hey,” Steve said, touching Danny’s forehead with cool fingers, and Danny made a soft sound and lifted into the touch.
“Hey,” he replied hoarsely, swallowing.
“Where does it hurt most?”
“Everywhere. Knives in my brain.”
Steve shook out a pill from the bottle and grabbed the glass of water on the night table. “Here,” he said, sliding his hand back to cradle Danny’s neck, coaxing him up to wash down the pill. Danny sank back slowly and Steve was reluctant to let him go. He gently moved his fingers up and down the tense neck muscles, cradling the back of Danny’s head and feeling out by instinct where the pain was gripping him the most.
Danny made a soft sound almost like a whimper, flexing his neck into the touch.
“This okay?” Steve whispered, placing the new cloth against Danny’s temple and stroking lightly.
“Better,” Danny replied, and Steve could sense Danny watching him. “You don’t have to stay. It might take a while.”
Steve frowned, setting the cloth aside and moving both hands to Danny’s temples, applying gentle pressure. “I already told Lou that any world saving was on him today. I’ve got a more important mission.”
Danny scoffed weakly. “I’m not a mission, you goof. It’s just a headache.”
“‘Just a headache’ is so bad you can barely argue with me. I’m not leaving until I can get a full on rant out of you, anything less would be egregious neglect on my part.”
“You are such a schmuck, you know that? I didn't think you even knew the meaning of 'egregious.'”
“That’s the spirit, Danno. Now shut up and let me help you.”
Danny sighed and relaxed under his hands. “Fine. But I’m not responsible for anything ridiculous that I say or do while under the influence of narcotics.”
“Deal. But if you start singing show tunes I reserve the right to film it.”
“It’s more likely to be Disney songs. Last chance to bail before ‘Let It Go’ gets stuck in your head for days.” Danny’s grin was clear in his voice, and Steve felt a wave of relief that Danny was already able to joke.
“It’s a small price to pay. The blackmail material alone is worth it. Now shut up.”
“Make up your mind, do you want me to rant or to shut up?”
“Rant later, shut up now. I haven’t even started to help you yet.”
Danny swallowed and Steve felt the convulsion against his palms on Danny’s cheeks. “You’re helping, Steve.” He wrapped his hand around one of Steve’s wrists, holding on.
Steve suddenly couldn’t handle the weight of Danny’s gaze on him, so he carefully replaced the new towel over his eyes and cleared his throat. “When did this start?”
“I was making coffee when my vision started to go. It starts like a rip in fabric that gets bigger every minute until all I see is jagged black lines and then nothing at all. I called HQ, pulled the shades, and went back to bed.”
“Jesus Christ, Danny, why didn’t you just call me first?” Steve didn’t mean to let his anger show through, but he did a bad job of it.
Danny shrugged. “I knew it would pass eventually. The blindness only lasts an hour or so, then it’s just pain.”
Steve stared up at the dark ceiling for a minute, gathering himself. He sorted through different responses to that, and in the end all he could say was, “Next time, just call me, okay?”
“Okay,” Danny promised, surprisingly agreeable.
Without ceremony, Steve climbed onto the bed and moved up on Danny’s other side to sit against the pillows. Danny turned blindly toward him, questioning with his reaching hand. “Come here,” Steve ordered, and Danny shifted his head onto Steve’s thigh facing away without any complaint at all, docile as a lamb. He let out a long sigh and Steve felt some of the coiled tension release.
It was an easy, natural thing to run his fingers through Danny’s hair, to slide with gentle pressure over clenched jaw muscles and nape of neck, relishing with guilty pleasure the opportunity to touch as much as he wanted. Danny moaned when Steve pressed his thumb into the junction between neck and shoulder, and Steve shivered at the sound.
“Steve, god, babe. You’re an angel.”
Steve took a deep shuddering breath as a streak of fire settled itself low in his belly. This might turn out to be his worst idea in a long history of bad ideas.
“Yeah? You want more of this?” Steve winced even before the last word left his lips. His voice sounded like he’d scraped it over gravel.
“Little bit deeper here,” Danny whispered, gesturing at the base of his skull at his nape. “But gently.”
Steve complied, focusing on keeping his breathing slow and even, and letting himself fall into the rhythm of the gentlest, most intimate platonic massage he’d ever administered. Danny seemed to drift for a bit, muscles becoming more lax under Steve’s hands and his breath shushing out hot on Steve’s thigh. Steve, who prided himself on being able to know the time within minutes even without a watch, lost track of the time passing. He only knew that as much as he longed for Danny’s pain to subside, he equally wished that this would never end--Danny’s cheek resting in his lap, the quiet stillness of the dark room, the outside world far away. Just Steve and Danny.
Eventually Danny took a longer than usual breath and let it out on an audible sigh. His fingers, which had come at some point to rest on Steve’s calf, twitched and flexed.
“Okay there, partner?” Steve leaned forward a bit, trying to see Danny’s expression.
“Better, babe. So much better.” He slowly sat up, using Steve as leverage to push upward. The wet cloth fell forgotten from his eyes, and Steve gathered it up in hands that felt suddenly empty.
“Headache gone?” Steve had to clear his throat in order to get the question out.
“Nah, won’t be gone for a few more hours, probably. But right now I simply don’t care,” he explained, and Steve could hear the grin in his voice and see a quick glint of teeth in the dark.
Steve nodded solemnly. “You’re so high right now, aren’t you?”
“Just a wee bit, Steven. Not too high to tell you that your massages are hands down better than any sex I’ve had in recent memory.” His hand fell heavily onto the center of Steve’s chest and stayed there.
Steve’s shoulders shook with stifled laughter and not a small amount of terror. “Oh my god, you’re the touchy feely type, I should have known.”
“Just, like, how are you like this, even?” Danny continued as though Steve hadn’t spoken.
“Was that a sentence in English? You sound like Grace.”
“You know, like. This golden ratio of gorgeous and ass-kicking awesomeness.”
Steve blinked, utterly nonplussed. “Um. Raw eggs and yoga, I guess.”
“Bullshit, you don’t do yoga.” Danny scooted up and pressed into Steve’s side, resting his head on Steve’s shoulder.
“I do yoga, I do yoga before I swim every morning, Danny.”
Danny groaned and Steve felt it in his own stomach. “Of course you do, Captain America. Do you ever sleep? That’s what I want to know.” He poked Steve in the ribs and Steve flinched, grabbing Danny’s finger.
“I sleep, you know, when it’s appropriate.”
Danny twisted his hand within Steve’s and locked their fingers. “Let me tell you something, ‘appropriate’ sleep means not getting up at five am every day--”
“--every day to exercise. ‘Appropriate’ sleep means having a reason not to get out of bed that early every day.”
“Danny…do you have a point?”
“You need more sleep. I’m just looking out for you,” he explained in a reasonable tone as he turned his face into Steve’s neck and nuzzled just below his ear.
Steve cleared his throat and squeezed Danny’s hand hard. “I was expecting Disney songs, to be honest.”
“Let it go, Steven,” Danny said softly, brushing his lips over Steve’s jaw, flicking a little with his tongue.
Steve went from zero to hard so fast his blood pressure went haywire and he saw stars. “Danny, hang on,” he protested shakily, disentangling his hand and scooting away from him on the bed. “Narcotics, and all that. There are, ah, consent issues here, jesus christ what are you doing?”
Danny had followed him as he moved, clinging like a limpet to a rock, sliding his hand up Steve’s thigh while his mouth slid in a natural trajectory down Steve’s bicep and forearm. “I’m consenting, believe me. I’m high but I’m not that high, Steve. You know we were bound to get here eventually. You know it.”
Steve nodded jerkily. “Yeah, maybe. Yeah. But today, Danny? I’d rather you remember something like this.”
Danny heaved a sigh and his hand came to an abrupt stop over Steve’s incredibly obvious erection. “You have no idea how Vicodin works, do you? I’m not blackout drunk, I’m in a lot of pain looking to feel better, and just a bit hazy around the edges. It’s a marshmallow topping on a cactus salad, and yes I know that doesn’t make sense, but seriously Steve, just kiss me already.”
Steve’s pulse was racing, and he felt panicked with indecision, and the feeling of Danny’s hand on his dick. “What if you regret it.” He couldn’t even phrase his worst fear as a question.
Cool fingers slid up Steve’s cheek. “I regret a lot of things about my life, but you aren’t ever going to be one of them.” He slipped his mouth over Steve’s bottom lip and hovered there, waiting. “We’re already here, Steve. We’ve been here.”
"Fuck," he whispered, his breath shuddering out as Danny's lips tickled his.
"I'm trying to, babe," Danny replied, and then Steve gave up any pretense of not wanting this with every cell in his body.
What hit him hardest, as they kissed, was not the sensation so much as the taste; he tried to understand how he knew the flavor of Danny's mouth like he'd been here before. He didn't taste like anything in particular, and yet it was like his scent was distilled into some kind of heady purity on Steve's tongue that just said 'Danny.' After ten years Steve knew Danny's scent like his own.
One of them was panting and the other was making tiny rhythmic moans into the dark, and Steve didn't care which. Danny slid closer and swung his leg over, and then he was settled in Steve's lap, snug up against his erection.
"I knew it, I knew how you'd be. You're just so…did you know? Steve, did you know? Did you?"
"Yeah," Steve replied, raw and rough, a feeling like bees buzzing in his belly as he wrapped his arms around Danny's shoulders, stretching up one hand to cradle Danny's skull. "Yeah, I knew."
Danny started rocking gently, slow like honey, tipping his head back into Steve's hand. "So good, just keep--yeah like that," and Steve didn't know if that meant keep gripping Danny's skull to ease the pain, or keep tugging with the other hand that had slid down to cup Danny's ass. He opted for both, until Danny interrupted him by leaning back to rip open his fly and then Steve's, and then a quick shifting around and the cold air in the room hit his cock. Steve hissed and bucked upwards, bumping Danny's dick and slotting against his hip like it had always fit there.
"Babe, babe," Danny moaned, tipping forward to rest his forehead against Steve's, and Steve was helpless to do anything but move his hands back to where they had been before, holding tight but letting Danny lead.
"You still with me?" Steve couldn't help but ask, thinking of altered states and pain induced decision making, and Danny put his hand on Steve's throat, just hard enough for Steve's fight or flight reflex to stir.
"Stop talking, I swear to god Steven, you know the answer so just stop talking, stop thinking. We both know that's my job," he said, nipping Steve's jaw softly, a little whisper of pain.
Steve pulled Danny's mouth back to his and made sure neither of them could talk anymore. They rocked together until Danny's breath hitched and his muscles locked, and Steve felt a hot spread of wetness slide against his own cock and he was helpless to do anything but tighten his grip on Danny harder than he'd meant to, biting at Danny's mouth as he came.
In the aftermath Danny was limp against Steve's chest, boneless and breathless, and Steve just held on like Danny might fade away. Too long wanting, now too perfect to be believed.
Prickles of tears sparked behind Steve's eyes, and he swallowed hard, trying to shake it off. "So…pain kink?"
Danny huffed. "'You' kink, more like." He shifted and his soft cock nudged warmly against Steve's. "We could create new kink together, I bet."
Steve surprised himself with laughter, feeling lightheaded. "How's your head?"
"Orgasms are great," Danny sighed, and Steve laughed some more.
"I love you," Steve said on a grin, then stilled as a wave of ice hit him, and his eyes widened.
"Yep," Danny agreed. "I know." His hands smoothed down Steve's ribs, which had frozen on a sharp intake of breath.
After a few moments Steve began to breathe again. Danny was still there against him, his hands still moving gently over Steve's skin. Steve cleared his throat. "You love me too."
"Yep." Danny sat up slowly and rested his lips on Steve's. "You know," he said thoughtfully, shaping the words into kisses, "I usually need another day to recover after a migraine. So maybe you should stay, just to make sure I'm okay."
Steve nodded seriously. "I understand. Do you think the world can go two days in a row without needing to be saved?"
"I think the world owes us a lot, Steven. I think, maybe just this once, that we're more important than the world."
"Yeah, I think I agree with you."
Danny gasped. "I'm sorry, did I just hear you use the word 'agree' in reference to me? Oh my stars and garters."
"There's the snark I was waiting for," Steve said, grinning into the dark.