Danny has no idea exactly how it happens. One minute he's handing over their suspect, who appears to be as high as a fucking kite on his own designer drug, to HPD, the next the suspect has wriggled free. Danny's half turned away, not expecting the guy to put up such a fight, when he gets hit in the face with something wet. Through damp eyelashes, he sees Chin get the guy in a headlock. Danny grabs a cloth off of the kitchen counter and wipes at his face. A few seconds later, he realizes that maybe it wasn't just water that the guy threw at him.
At first, it's just a tingle, and some warmth where the stuff hit him. In no time at all, the tingle is a vicious stinging and the warmth is burning and it just keeps getting worse. His eyes start to sting and water and he has to close them when the burn gets too bad. He's just about to rub at them when strong hands catch his wrists and he knows it's Steve without being able to see him or hear him. There's something in the way Steve touches him that is just unmistakable and it's a sad reflection on Danny's life that the reason he knows it's Steve's hand on him is because Steve can be very tactile when he thinks Danny's hurt.
He doesn't know why Steve is here or how he knows Danny's in trouble, because the last time Danny saw him, he was having far too much fun chasing the second suspect, who thought that running was the best possible option.
"Hey, what's up?" Steve asks, voice low, like he doesn't want anyone to hear, or he's trying not to panic Danny. Danny does not like the odds that it's the second option.
"I don't know. He threw something at me before Chin bounced his head off the kitchen counter. I thought it was just water, but it's starting to burn."
"Burn?" Steve repeats, as if he's just checking, but Danny can hear the concern under the calm tones. He can't quite place it, and he tries opening his eyes again before he can think about it. This time the burning is worse and he slams them shut immediately, but the burning doesn't seem to ease off any. "Danny? Keep your eyes closed, and don't rub at them. Keep your hands away from your face, OK?" Steve squeezes Danny's wrists and drops them.
He hears Steve calling for Kono, then Steve's voice, pitched too low for Danny to make out what he's saying. He hears Kono too, and he can pick up the worry in her voice easily enough. She's a good kid, and she's already a great cop, but she's still a rookie in a lot of ways, and it shakes her when one of them gets hurt. Danny doesn't know if he wants her to learn to deal with that quickly, or if he hopes that she never does.
The burning is getting really bad and the urge to rub at his face is strong, but he balls his hands into fists and tries to concentrate on something else. He senses Steve's presence a fraction of a second before there's a hand around his elbow and he's being gently tugged to his feet.
"Come on, there's an ambulance on it's way. How's the burning?" Steve asks as he steers Danny through the house. Danny can hear the sound of their footsteps on the tiled kitchen floor, then the muffled noise as they walk across the carpet. He tries to remember how big the living room was, but he can't seem to convert the visual memory into the number of steps that he needs to take. He trusts Steve not to let him walk into anything, but as tears start leaking from his tightly closed eyes and the burn becomes almost unbearable, it's hard to concentrate on anything. In the end, Steve slings an arm around Danny's waist and more or less drags him across the hallway and out of the front door.
He half pushes, half lifts Danny up the steps of what Danny presumes is the ambulance and he wonders what McGarrett said to get them here so fast. When the paramedic touches him, he tries not to flinch. He swallows down the threatening panic enough to sit and let the paramedic examine him.
"Here," Steve's voice says from right next to Danny, "I kept the glass that held whatever this guy threw at Danny."
Danny wants to make a crack about Steve finally getting the hang of police work, but he's spending too much energy on not clawing at his own face to put the words together right in his head.
The medic makes Danny lean forward and he starts gently pouring something cool over Danny's face. The burning doesn't stop entirely, but it does ease enough that Danny suddenly realizes that he's been breathing heavily for some time. It takes him a couple of attempts to open his eyes enough for the medic to wash them out. He tries not to let the panic take over when even as the stinging starts to fade, he can't see anything but darkness.
He hears the medic explain that they need to get him to the hospital to get his face and eyes properly flushed. He's not in the least surprised when they ask Steve if he's riding with Danny and he says yes. Danny is more grateful that he can articulate at this moment, but when Steve's thigh presses against his and their arms brush in a way that's far too casual to be accidental, he knows that Steve understands. He knows he shouldn't doubt it, this partnership, the push and pull and give and take between them, but sometimes he forgets how strong it is, how deep it goes, how much they do, have done and would do for each other, for the team. He mocks Steve when he calls them ohana, but he knows it's true, all the same.
It's Steve who guides and helps him out of the ambulance when they finally get to the hospital, but Danny can sense the medic hovering in the background. He knows what real fear is, has felt its merciless grip before, when some strung out junkie waved a loaded gun in his face, when he's been in a car that ended up in the river, ice cold water rushing in and stealing the breath from his lungs. He's always been able to use the sudden clarity, the calmness that comes with knowing that this might just be your time to die to make the right choice, do the right thing. But what he feels now is more the kind of childish terror that he remembers from being a kid and getting separated from his mom in the mall.
He fights the panic, keeps his breathing steady, uses the senses he has left to remind himself that he's not totally helpless, but if he's clutching Steve's arm just a little too tightly, well, Steve doesn't seem to mind too much.
A nurse gets him settled into what he assumes is an exam room. Steve stays with him for about two minutes, then gets impatient and starts pacing, before finally laying his hand on Danny's arm and telling him he's going to find the doctor. It's no consolation at all that Steve sounds pretty freaked out too, but it's also not exactly surprising. Steve has a protective streak a mile wide, however much he tries to deny it and he and Danny, well, they've always been just a little too close.
Steve's been unusually interested in Danny's life from the start, been far too keen to be involved and to involve Danny in his. Danny's pretty sure that Steve isn't like that with most people, even Chin and Kono, but sometimes it's hard to tell what's Steve being clueless about how normal people interact and what's being driven by something else.
The nurse comes back before Steve reappears, and Danny gets to relive the unpleasant sensation of having his eyes flushed again. Halfway through, the doctor arrives, and Danny can pick out the sound of Steve's footsteps, following closely behind.
Danny has to fight back panic when the doctor shines a light into his eyes and he can't see anything but the faintest hint of light. He obviously isn't that successful, because Steve's by his side in a second, hand warm on Danny's shoulder and voice concerned, but soothing. Steve stays with him through several other tests, only leaving to take a call from Kono.
When he comes back, Danny can sense the change, the extra tension in him and he hadn't realized that he'd become so attuned to Steve's mood that he can tell without looking what face Steve's wearing. Steve tells the doctor that they've gotten some preliminary information on what Barnes threw in Danny's face and that they think that it was some kind of drain cleaner, probably something lye based.
The doctor makes a noise that Danny doesn't like the sound of and then tries to pull Steve to one side. Danny is almost able to drag up a grin when Steve refuses, and he can just imagine the stubborn look on his partner's face. In the end, the doctor gives in and explains that there's nothing that they can do. There's too much swelling in and around Danny's eyes for them to be able to tell how much damage has been done. All they can do is treat the burns on Danny's face and send him home to wait and see if his sight comes back.
Steve starts arguing as if he can somehow browbeat the diagnosis into changing. When his voice starts creeping up towards a shout, Danny reaches out until his hand bumps into Steve's arm.
"Hey, Steve, babe. Stop. Hey. You listening to me?" He hears Steve take a breath and then the tense muscles under Danny's hand loosen a little.
The doctor makes a quick exit, telling them he'll get a nurse to come tend to Danny's face and arrange an appointment for a week's time. Steve lets out a breath, long and slow, as if he's trying to calm down. His hand landing on Danny's knee makes Danny jump a little, but Steve doesn't take his hand away, just squeezes, gently. Danny's really not sure what to do with that kind of helpless, resigned gesture from Steve and he hates that he can't see Steve, can't help either of them.
The nurse arrives a few minutes later and makes Steve stand at the end of the bed, out of the way. She doesn't try and make him leave, and Danny wonders if she's just got a better bed side manner than most of the nurses he's met, or whether she's heard about them. Even if today's doctor hasn't said anything, it's not like one or other of the team isn't in here on an almost weekly basis and they all tend to hover around each other like anxious parents. Or spouses. Hell, Danny's on first name terms with half of the porters here and he's pretty sure that between the four of them, they've been in every examination room in the ER.
Once the nurse has finished applying a thick, greasy, sharp smelling cream all over the burns on his face, Steve goes off to sign the release papers. While he's gone, the nurse hands Danny a prescription, tells him to use the eye drops three times a day, clean and treat the burns on his face and to try and stay out of bright light until the burns have healed enough to let him wear dark glasses.
When Steve comes back, Danny is arguing with the nurse about whether or not he's leaving the hospital in a wheelchair or not. Steve takes Danny's side, which is a bit of a surprise, and makes Danny ask if he's a pod person, but he's grateful for the support. Steve walks behind him, a hand on Danny's shoulder, gently and carefully steering him through the hospital lobby and out to the parking lot.
"Hey, how'd the car get here?" Danny asks.
"Chin had one of the uniform guys drive it over," Steve replies.
"You know, that man is too smart for his own good."
Steve laughs and then tries to help Danny get in the car. He fusses about getting Danny settled until Danny finally slaps his hands away and tells his over protective partner he can buckle his own damn seat belt, even without his sight. Steve backs off and just gets in the driver's seat without any further attempts to be helpful.
They don't really talk much on the way back to Steve's. Danny's tired and his face hurts and he's
trying to resist the urge to open his eyes, just to see if he can see anything. He forces himself not to think about how he might not get his sight back; that he might not get to watch Grace grow up, or be able to do the job he loves, or see Chin's knowing smirk or Kono rolling her eyes or, God help him, Steve's stupid, smug face.
Danny can guess what's going through Steve's mind, despite Steve's attempts at pretending he's calm and stoic. Danny knows he's got a mother hen streak that's even wider than Danny's and he'd bet that Steve's spent as much time looking at Danny as he has watching the road. When he catches the rustle of Steve's clothes again, he turns towards Steve.
"Eyes on the road, McGarrett."
"What?" Even if Danny didn't know him so well, he can clearly hear the guilty tone in Steve's voice. How the man ever managed to do any undercover work is quite beyond Danny's understanding.
"I'd like to make it to your place in one piece, so stop looking at me and pay attention to driving."
"Your sight's coming back?" Steve asks and he sounds so incredibly happy and relieved and Danny feels like a complete ass for getting Steve's hopes up, even though he didn't mean to.
"No, but I know you." Danny tries to keep his tone light, but they both know there's a whole mine field of of emotions underneath that comment.
"Oh, you think?" Steve asks, and Danny's grateful for the banter, for the normality, for anything that'll distract him from the fear that's there, just under the surface of each and every thought.
"Yes. You, my friend, are an open book."
Steve snorts and they end up bickering all the way back to Steve's place. It's frustrating that Danny can't see Steve, but the truth is that he actually doesn't need to to be able to read him. They've worked together long enough and been in enough intense, desperate situations together that Danny can tell a hell of a lot just from Steve's voice, from the pauses that last just a second or two too long, from the way he shifts in the drivers seat.
It's not the same as being able to see, but it leaves him feeling a little less adrift and helpless.
Steve pulls into the driveway and he's out of the car before Danny's even got his seat belt undone. Danny doesn't jump when his door opens, because he was expecting it. Steve, being Steve, just can't help himself. Danny takes a breath and reminds himself that he can't shoot McGarrett, no matter how much he wants to. Not even in the leg, or any other, non-vital, areas.
Steve actually manages to restrain himself from offering to help Danny out of the car, but he still stands close enough that Danny's arm brushes him as Danny takes a step towards the house. He can sense Steve at his shoulder, wanting to help, but knowing better. He's so close as Danny makes his way slowly towards the house that Danny ends up expecting Steve to tread on his heels. He'd jab Steve with his elbow, or stop suddenly or something if he didn't realize that Steve's really just trying to curb his natural instinct to help, whilst staying close enough that he can steer Danny away from any potential hazards.
The attention and concern might be flattering, if the feel of Steve's breath on the back of his neck wasn't such a potentially disastrous mix of disturbing, annoying and arousing. Whilst he's normally more than capable of dealing with McGarrett, Danny is in no way equipped right now to deal with the first two emotions, let alone the third.
Danny's not an idiot. He's well aware of the heat and the tension that all too often flows between him and Steve. He's pretty sure Steve feels it too, because as oblivious as his partner can sometimes be, he's not stupid either. Danny isn't sure if the reason they haven't actually done anything about all that tension is because they're both carrying too much baggage, are too worried about screwing up a pretty damned good working relationship, not to mention the team dynamic, or because they're both just cowards looking for excuses and reasons to play things safe.
If he doesn't get his sight back, not acting on that crazy attraction may not to be Danny's biggest regret ever, but chances are that it'll be fairly high on the list. There's no way he's starting anything with Steve though, not if he can't be on the job with him, can't be there to keep Steve in one piece.
It's not that he doesn't trust Chin and Kono to have Steve's back; he knows that they will, that they'd do as much to keep Steve, and each other safe as Danny would. It's just that Steve can be a force of nature sometimes;. powerful, consuming, devastating, and it's so, so easy to be swept up in the maelstrom of destruction that he creates. And it's natural to end up watching the chaos all around, when what you really need to be watching is McGarrett, so that you can catch that moment when he's about to cross the line from reckless to suicidal and pull him back from it. And Danny thinks that maybe they've all come to rely on him being there and doing just that, even Steve, especially Steve.
Danny knows he can't always be there; isn't always there, even now. But he also knows that there's a world of difference between not being there because he's running down a suspect, or interviewing a witness and yet still just a phone call away, and not being there because he's become a liability to the team, because he can't do his job anymore.
"Wait," Steve's voice is closer than Danny expected and it makes him start a little, which gets him a hand on his shoulder, fingers stroking in what he thinks is meant to be a soothing way over the sensitive sweep of his collarbone. He suppresses the shiver that wants to run down his spine, and stays still while Steve pulls his hand away, sliding gently over Danny's shoulder blade and around his bicep before falling away.
Danny doesn't remember Steve being quite this handsy before, even when Danny'd been shot and Steve had been convinced that he was bleeding out, and he really, desperately, hopes that it isn't going to last, because he likes it far too much and if Steve keeps touching him like this, Danny's sure he'll go insane inside of a week.
He makes himself concentrate instead on what his other senses can tell him. He can hear the sound of Steve unlocking his front door and going inside to turn off the alarm. Now that he's not able to see, he finds that he can pick out sounds that he would have ignored before; the beeps as Steve punches in the alarm code, the soft creak of the floorboards under his feet, the jingle of Steve's keys.
When Steve comes back and takes hold of Danny's elbow, Danny's expecting it. He sighs, but it's mostly for effect, because as good as his memory is, there's just no way he's going to be able to navigate Steve's house on his memory of where all the furniture is alone. He puts a hand out and when it bumps into the front door frame, he starts counting his steps in his head, letting Steve steer him with a gentle touch and soft words in his ear.
Steve's hand is warm through the cotton of Danny's shirt and every so often, he'll flex his fingers, a gentle almost caress across the sensitive area in the crook of Danny's elbow. Combined with the soft words that Steve uses to help guide Danny, his voice close and low, a simple tour of the ground floor seems absurdly claustrophobic and shockingly intimate and Danny hates that it makes him uncomfortable, because he's never been uncomfortable around Steve and he doesn't know how to deal with it now that he is.
He counts his steps, stretching out his hand when Steve tells him to, fingertips learning the texture of the couch, the smooth finish of the dinning table, hearing Steve tell him when he's moving into the kitchen, trying to remember that the cutlery drawer is the third from the left, and that the mugs are kept in the wall cabinet to the right of the sink.
Despite the distraction of Steve's closeness, Danny is still touched by how thorough Steve is as he tries to make sure that Danny can be as self sufficient as possible. He wonders, briefly if Steve's been in this position; helpless and dependent on someone else, because he's more understanding that Danny would have expected for someone who hasn't been through it themselves. But then, Danny knows that Steve cares far about people than he would be prepared to admit.
The house isn't that big, but by the time Danny's had the grand tour of the ground floor, he's tired, worn out by the effort and frustration of having to try and make sense of the world around him without something he always took for granted, and drained by the low, slightly sickly thrum of arousal that having Steve so close has caused.
He wonders if it's too early for bed, and is hit by a rush of panic when he finds that he has no way of telling whether it's day or night, let alone the actual time. A wave of fear swamps him, so sudden and so strong that he's on his knees before he even realizes that he's falling. He's aware of Steve's voice, frantic and scared, calling his name, and of Steve's hands, moving over Danny's arms and shoulders, stroking and clutching at Danny in equal measure.
It takes Danny much longer than he'd like to get himself under control. He helped so many witnesses and victims through their panic attacks, but he never expected to have to deal with one first hand. He concentrates on slowing his breathing; taking long breaths in through his mouth and blowing them out through his nose. Steve's hands slide down his arms and strong fingers tangle with Danny's own, while Steve rests his forehead against Danny's, murmuring words that Danny can't quite hear over the fading sound of his own pulse.
Danny wonders what the hell they must look like, sitting on the floor of Steve's house, holding hands, foreheads pressed together, Danny clammy with sweat and cold with fear. He can't remember ever being this scared, this helpless, not even in the darkest days following the implosion of his marriage, when all he could think about was the fact that he was losing the two most important people in his life and he didn't know how to make it stop hurting.
When he can finally hear, Steve's saying "Hey, man, it's going to be OK." He's clearly trying for comforting and calming, and missing by a few hundred miles.
He wants to be angry that Steve's talking to him like he's a scared child, but he bites back the words itching at the back of his throat. He'd do the same thing if their roles were reversed, because there isn't anything else that Steve can do and Danny knows it's got to be killing Steve to be helpless, just as much as it's killing Danny.
"I know you think you're Superman," Danny says, hearing the despair thick in his voice, "but not even you can perform medical miracles."
"No, it's going to be fine. You'll be back to normal in a few days, Danno, this is just a temporary thing," Steve sounds mostly certain, as he squeezes Danny's hand, and the only reason Danny can hear the hint of doubt in his voice is because he knows Steve so damned well.
"Stop. I know you're trying to help, but I know what the odds are here, and they're not great."
"I just want to help, Danny. I want..." Steve trails off and for once, Danny can't put a face with the tone. It's frustrated, concerned, wistful and something else that Danny hasn't heard before, or at least, hasn't heard so clearly before.
"Yeah," Danny says, leaning back and putting some distance between them. Steve lets him pulls away, although his fingers tighten around Danny's before he lets go. Danny thinks he ought to say something else, but he can't think of a single thing that won't take them down a path he's not prepared to walk right now.
The silence stretches for a few, unbelievably long seconds, then Danny hears Steve moving. He flinches a little when Steve's hand lands on his shoulder, but Steve doesn't let go, just grips tighter.
"Come on man, lets get something to eat," Steve says and Danny isn't really hungry, isn't even sure that he can stomach food right now, but he just nods and after a second, holds out his hand.
Steve doesn't even pause, just wraps his hand around Danny's and pulls him to his feet. Danny allows himself to be guided to the dinning table. He hears Steve pull out a chair and then he's shoved gently into the seat. He can sense Steve hovering, and Danny would bet anything that his partner is trying to find the right thing to say. When Steve leaves without a word, Danny breathes out, slowly and rests his head in his hands, wincing when he touches the sore and puffy skin around his eyes.
He doesn't know how long he sits like that, before Steve comes back and Danny hears him set a couple of plates down on the table.
"Just sandwiches and chips," Steve says, in a tone that in a normal person might be apologetic. There's a pause, then he reaches out and takes hold of Danny's wrist, tugging his hand carefully away from his face, "Here," he says, when he's manoeuvred Danny's hand so that he can feel the soft, doughy texture of the bread under his fingertips.
"Thanks," Danny says, and he means it on so many levels. Steve doesn't reply, and instead uses his grip to move Danny's hand to the right, where there's a glass, filled with something cold, if the condensation on the side is anything to go by. He hopes it's beer, suspects it's something else.
They eat in silence. Danny takes small bites at first, until hunger overcomes the emotional stress. The glass is full of orange juice, cold and tart, making his mouth water as he savors the taste. He doesn't know if it's coincidence, or just another example of Steve's never ending quest to know and remember everything about Danny, but the sandwich is cheese and tomato, one of Danny's favorites.
Once he's finished eating, exhaustion catches up with him again, and despite the fact that he's been known to get by on as little as three hours a night for up to a week, let alone all the sleep he's lost since he ended up partnered with Steve, he can barely stay awake.
"Hey, you look like you're about to drop," Steve tells him, concern and affection in equal amounts in his voice.
Danny doesn't like the way he wants to lean into that voice, wants to let Steve take care of him. It's so much easier when it's Steve who's been hurt, who needs someone to look out for him and remind him that he's human and that it's not a weakness to let other people help. Sometimes, he's not sure which of the two of them is more fucked in the head, although he blames Steve entirely for the loss of his sanity. Steve and this crazy island.
Danny stands and makes his way carefully and slowly through the house, trying to visualize the layout in his head as he goes. Steve doesn't try and direct him, but he's right behind, yet again close enough that Danny can smell the scent of cologne and gunpowder and sweat. It's a smell that Danny's intimately familiar with, having spent long hours stuck in the car, or confined spaces with his partner. He's pretty sure he could pick Steve out of a line up just by scent alone, even before this blindness. What that says about his life, he doesn't want to contemplate.
He makes it up the stairs without too much trouble and when he pauses at the top, uncertain which way to turn, Steve gently touches his right arm. Danny turns to his right without thinking, an extension of the non-verbal language that they've built up over the months of working together, finally slotting into place.
The bathroom is small and it doesn't take Danny more than a few seconds to feel his way around, trying to memorise exactly how many steps from the door to the toilet and then to the basin. Steve taps the back of Danny's hand, lightly, then grips Danny's wrist and turns until Danny's hand is palm upward. Danny closes his hand around the thing that Steve presses against his palm, and realizes that it's a toothbrush.
"Toothpaste is on the shelf," Steve says.
Danny reaches out until his knuckles rap against something solid. He feels along the shelf until he finds the toothpaste.
"I'm going to lock up. I'll be back in a minute," Steve tells him. Danny waits until Steve's footsteps move away. He's grateful for the space, because he's certain that getting toothpaste on the toothbrush without being able to see is going to be a messy business.
He's just rinsing for the final time when he hears Steve return. Steve waits outside, then when Danny comes out, he uses a gentle touch here and there to steer Danny down the hallway and into what Danny assumes must be the spare bedroom. Steve lets him walk around the room, feeling his way past the furniture. There's a chest of drawers, a table and the bed. Everything is pushed back against the walls, which means he's far less likely to trip over anything when he's moving about. He wonders if Steve did that while he was supposed to be locking up, or whether he's just that much of a neat freak.
"We'll have to head over to your place tomorrow to pick up some clothes," Steve tells him, "But in the meantime, I found you a t-shirt and pants for bed."
Danny holds out his hands and Steve puts the clothes into them.
"Thanks. For everything," Danny says, struggling to stop it sounding like he's giving up or saying goodbye.
"Danny, it's fine. Really," Steve hesitates, then "We're partners. That won't change, no matter what happens."
Danny can tell there's more there than Steve's saying, and he can also tell that Steve's looking for something from Danny, but he's too off-kilter, too tired and definitely too freaked out to deal with that.
"Yeah, sure," he feels like an ungrateful bastard as he basically dismisses Steve's concern. "I'm going to crash now."
Steve seems reluctant to leave, but he does, closing the door softly behind him. Danny wants to bang his head against the wall. As hard as he's pushing to keep Steve at arm's length, Steve's pushing just as hard to get closer, it seems. Sometimes, he has no idea what goes on in that crazy, fucked up brain of McGarrett's.
He strips out of his work clothes, and pulls on the top and pants that Steve gave him. The t-shirt is soft and fits well enough, if a little snugly around the shoulders, but he has to roll the bottom couple of inches of the pants up. The bed sheets are crisp and cool when he climbs into bed. He's not expecting sleep, but it comes, surprisingly quickly.
He wakes later, jolted out of a dream he can't quite remember, legs tangled in the bed sheets, sweat dampening the hair at his temples and the nape of his neck. He blinks, disorientated for a few seconds when the darkness doesn't recede, then he remembers. He rolls onto his back, rubbing a hand over his face.
The skin around his eyes feels hot and raw and he blinks back a few tears as his eyes water. He can't tell what time it is, but his internal body clock, and the fact that the rest of the house is silent, makes him think it's probably the early hours of the morning. He climbs out of bed and makes his way slowly across the room. When he gets into the corridor, he pauses for a moment, getting his bearings, before heading to the bathroom, one hand sliding along the wall as a guide.
When he's done, he goes back towards his room, but halfway there, his hand collides with something warm and solid and he starts. He takes a half step, half jump backwards. A hand grabs his arm and Danny's other fist is swinging before he thinks about it. He misses, although his knuckles brush something.
It takes Danny a second to recognise Steve's voice, and when he does, the sense of relief is quickly followed by a sense of frustration.
"What the hell are you doing, creeping around at night?" He asks, yanking his arm out of Steve's grip.
"It's my house, Danny. And I heard you moving about, I just wanted to make sure that you were OK." He sounds genuinely contrite and Danny, despite everything, is warmed by the concern.
"Yeah, OK. Thank you. But you didn't have to scare me half to death, you know."
"I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't thinking."
"Yeah, well, that's nothing new," Danny says.
Steve makes a sound that Danny thinks is meant to convey disgust, and he can image the look on Steve's face. The pang of regret that he might not get to see all of Steve's stupid faces again is as sharp as before.
"Danny, you OK?" Steve asks, voice full of concern.
"Oh, I'm just peachy. I'm blind and my partner, who apparently thinks he's a ninja, has just scared about ten years off of my life. What the hell could possibly be wrong with that?" He sighs and resists the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose. "I'm about as good as I'm going to get, OK, so stop asking stupid question and let me get back to bed."
Steve lays his hand on Danny's shoulder and Danny forces himself not to lean into it, not to ask for something he knows he shouldn't want. He's very grateful when Steve lets go and Danny hears him moving away. He doesn't go far, obviously waiting to make sure that Danny makes it back to his room OK. Danny guesses that Steve's probably almost as freaked out as Danny is, and it's bringing out his protective streak, but right now, it's the last thing that Danny wants.
He finds his way back to the room, and closes the door behind him. He goes back to bed, but this time, sleep doesn't come for a long time.
The next time he wakes, the room is much warmer and between that and his internal clock, he's thinks it's probably mid morning. He can hear the sound of movement downstairs and the scent of coffee teases him. It's an effort to drag himself out of bed, because he's not sure what the hell he's got to get up for.
There's a hot, sick feeling his his gut that he remembers too vividly from the dark months when his marriage to Rachel was falling apart. It's not just the loss of something he considers precious, it's the fact that there is nothing he can do to change it. He hates that sense of helplessness, of his life and future being out of his hands. Last time he had Matty to keep him grounded, to keep him sane. This time, he's got Steve and although there was blood and decades of knowing each other between he and Matt that got him through, there are layers to his relationship with Steve that sometimes feel like they run as deep, just in different ways.
He hears the door to the room open and the scent of coffee gets stronger.
"Danny, you awake?"
"Yeah. What time is it?" He shifts and sits up.
""Just after ten," Steve says. Danny hears him walk across the room and put what sounds like a cup on the bedside table. He's clearly trying to make more noise than usual so that Danny can tell where he is.
"Give me your hand," Steve asks, but he's already taking hold of Danny's hand as he says it, fingers warm and gentle against Danny's. He presses what feels like a mug into Danny's hand. Danny curls his hand around the mug and takes a cautious sip. The coffee is obviously freshly brewed and made with cream and sugar just in the way he likes it.
"Thanks," he tells Steve.
"There's breakfast downstairs," Steve says, patting Danny's thigh awkwardly, as if he doesn't really know what to do with his hands, but thinks he should do something.
Steve waits for a few seconds, as if he's expecting Danny to say something else. Danny grips the mug a little tighter and drinks some more. Even through the cream and sugar the taste is bitter and he has to stop himself pulling a face.
"OK. I'll let you get up. I've left towels out on the rack to the left of the shower, and there's some stuff in the shower. Uh, you need any help, give me a shout."
Danny nods, feeling as though there's a lump the size of a golf ball in his throat. He's grateful and angry and frustrated and scared and he really needs Steve to leave now. He waits until he hears Steve's footsteps crossing the room and the the landing and finally, moving down the stairs, then he reaches out until he touches the bedside table. He carefully sets the coffee mug down, then climbs out of bed and goes across to the bathroom, shut the door behind him, heads to the toilet and promptly throws up the coffee.
When he's done, he sits back on the cold bathroom floor and runs shaking hands through his hair. He half expects to hear Steve knocking on the door, but there's silence outside. He wants to stay where he is, doesn't want to have to drag himself into the shower and pretend to face the world like this is just any other day, but he's not ready to have to explain to Steve why he's curled up on the bathroom floor, shaking like a leaf.
He goes through the motions of getting ready without any particular care or attention. The towels are where Steve said they would be and the shower gel/shampoo stuff smells kinda like the sea and maybe a little bit herbal as well. It smells like Steve and that's more of a comfort than Danny wants to admit right now.
Getting toothpaste on the toothbrush isn't that difficult second time around, but he's not ready to try shaving yet and figures that since he won't be going to work, it doesn't matter anyway. When he gets back to the bedroom, he reaches for the clothes he was wearing yesterday. He doesn't like the thought of putting them back on, but he doesn't have anything else to wear. Instead of a creased and sweaty shirt and crumpled pants, his hands find what seem to be a pair of lightweight pants and a t-shirt, neatly folded on the chair by the dresser. Steve's clothes, obviously, and despite the situation, there's a squirming knot in his stomach at the thought of wearing Steve's clothes that's a little bit lust and a whole lot of despair.
He nearly misses his footing twice, making his way down the stairs, but he manages it without breaking an ankle or his neck. He makes it across the room without bumping into anything, although it takes him five minutes, but what should feel like an achievement just feels like an acceptance that this is how his life is going to be now. He has to reach out and steady himself against the kitchen doorway, trying not to imagine spending the next few decades in permanent darkness.
The hand on his arm makes him jump and his first reaction is to haul back his arm, ready to throw a punch, his brain not fast enough to override his body for the second time in just a few hours.
"Woah, it's just me. Calm down."
Danny's tempted to throw the punch anyway, just to teach Steve to stop sneaking up on him like that. He curbs the urge, if only because throwing a punch and missing again would be more humiliation that he can take right now. He does yank his arm out of Steve's grasp though.
"God's sake Steve, stop creeping up on people," he says, knowing he's being unreasonable and irrationally angry and not caring; anger is better than the misery that's chewing its way through his gut like an ulcer.
"Danny, I was calling your name for a couple of minutes. You totally zoned out on me, man."
Steve sounds worried and Danny panics a little when he can't remember how long he was standing there before Steve touched him.
"Sorry. I guess I'm just a bit..." he spreads his hands and trails off, unsure how to explain what he's feeling, even less sure he wants to.
"It's OK," Steve says, in a voice that's trying far too hard to be cheerful and pretend everything's fine. "Come on, I've made breakfast and there's some coffee left."
"Steve, stop. Stop mothering me, stop being so, so helpful, OK? I'm freaking out enough already, I don't need you making it worse by being so damned nice. It's making me crazy." He can't stop his voice rising as he speaks. He rubs his eyes with the heels of his hands, trying to stem his frustration, then winces when he catches the sore skin around his eyes; hating the tears of frustration and pain that escape.
"Danny," Steve says and he's closer than Danny expects.
Danny braces himself, expecting a touch, but it doesn't come. He has the crazy thought that Steve can actually be taught to act like a proper person, but he doesn't dwell on that, more concerned with trying not to lose his shit twice in as many days.
"Tell me how to help you. What do you need?" Steve sounds so sincere that it's almost painful to hear. "Hey, don't, you're hurting yourself." He pulls Danny's hands away from his face. Danny takes a step backwards, but Steve doesn't let go; instead he holds on just a little tighter. Danny tries to twist out of Steve's grip and takes another step away. Steve moves with him this time and something halfway between panic and anger rises in Danny again.
He doesn't realize that he's still backpedaling until his back hits the wall or the door frame, he can't tell. His eyes are stinging and he's not sure if he wants to curl into a ball and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist, or if he wants to start throwing punches. Steve's barely a step away, still holding Danny's arms pressed between them, too close, and Danny can't tell if it's too much, or not enough.
"Danny..." Steve trails off, uncertainly.
When Danny feels him shift, he gets a sudden flash of insight, and jerks his head back, out of the way. Steve's chin slides against Danny's, harsh scrape of stubble against stubble and the back of Danny's head hits whatever is behind him hard enough that he gets a couple of flashes of light across the inside of his eyelids. It's the first thing he's seen since he got a face full of acid and bitter bile burns the back of his throat.
"Careful," Steve says, dropping one of Danny's hands and cupping the hand behind Danny's head as if to try and protect him. Danny tries to squirm away, out of Steve's grasp and out of his reach, but Steve doesn't let go. "No, Danny, stop it. Please."
It's strange to hear Steve say please, as though he really means it and Danny knows better, he really does, but he's always been a sucker for that tone of plaintive appeal and his second of hesitation is all Steve apparently needs. One hand is still holding the back of Danny's head, and he uses the other, still clasped around Danny's hand to tilt Danny's head until Steve can kiss him, gentle and careful, as if he's afraid he's is going to break. Danny thinks he might, no matter how carefully Steve touches him.
He knows better, but he's done fighting; worn down by fear, by the weight of what he might have lose, by all the things he's already lost, by the constant need he's had for Steve since he met him, by the want that flows between them and most of all, by the knowledge that this is going to be more than friends with benefits, more than fuck buddies; this is real and serious. He lets Steve kiss him, soft, barely there kisses, and curls his free hand in Steve's shirt, rubbing the soft, warm cotton between his fingertips, letting the touch ground him.
There's no telling how long they stand there, in the doorway of Steve's kitchen, kissing like this isn't something new, like they have all the time in the world to do nothing but share breath. Eventually, Steve pulls away, and rests his forehead against Danny's.
"This is a really stupid idea," Danny says, because he needs to fill the silence before Steve says something that will change everything, irrevocably, "even for you."
"Not really," Steve replies, and he's still holding Danny's hand "and even if it is, I don't care."
"I do," Danny says, and he knows he should push Steve away, put some space between them, but he doesn't. He just stands there, Steve so close that he can feel the warmth of his body, the movement of Steve's chest as he breathes, while they talk as if this is nothing serious, just another normal day. He doesn't want it to be so easy to be with Steve, like this, because it's just going to make everything that much worse if he doesn't get his sight back.
He lets go of Steve's shirt and tries to slide out from between his partner's body and the wall behind him, but Steve doesn't let him go, just moves with him.
"It's not like you to run away. What are you afraid of?" Steve asks, and Danny wonders why, of all the time they've know each other, Steve has to pick now to be so understanding and perceptive.
"You. Me. Us. Everything. What happens if my sight doesn't come back? If I can't go back to Five-0? I don't know how to be anything other than a cop, Steve. I never wanted to be anything else." He hates how vulnerable he sounds, how scared, but it's the honest truth.
"It doesn't matter. We'll find a way, work something out," Steve says, as if it's a simple thing, as if he can make reality bend to his will, just because he wants it to.
"I am not going to sit at home like some kind of army wife, waiting to see if you'll make it back in one piece without me there to keep you from killing yourself in some stupid and reckless way."
He shoves at Steve, halfheartedly, "Where's my gun? I'm going to shoot you this time, I fucking swear." Danny chokes, caught somewhere between laughter and tears.
"Danny, it doesn't matter. You, Kono, Chin, me, we're family, ohana. Nothing is going to change that. If we have to get some kind of voice recognition software, label everything in braille, install automatic doors, then we'll do it." The hand still holding the back of Danny's head moves and Steve's thumb strokes across Danny's temple, down to brush over his cheekbone, soft and mindful of the burns there. "You're not going to stop being an great detective just because you can't see. And I don't want anyone else as a partner."
"You just don't want to have to do your own paperwork," Danny says, warmed despite himself with Steve's words.
"I don't want to lose you," Steve replies, soft and sincere.
The confession isn't really that much of a surprise, because Steve's never been good at stopping what he wants when it comes to Danny bleeding through, but he wasn't expecting Steve to actually come out and say it. For a second, Danny's struck dumb, because although he's always been the one to lay everything on the line, to never hide what he's feeling, Steve's always been the brave and reckless one. He can't do anything but offer Steve the same honestly in return, "You won't."
"Then stop trying to run," Steve says and Danny doesn't need to see to know what's going to happen. He gives in to the inevitable and tilts his head up to meet Steve halfway, like he's been doing since they first met. When Steve kisses him, he gives as good as he gets, lips and tongue and teeth and there's fire and blood under the surface. He doesn't know whether to be exhilarated or terrified at how good they could be together, like this.
Steve steers them both through the house, herding Danny with kisses and lingering touches. Danny isn't sure where they're heading, but he trusts Steve to get them there in one piece, more or less. They strip each other as they go, and although they manage to stay in their feet, Danny can't help but laugh when he hears Steve bump an elbow or a knee, maybe, into something solid, making him curse viciously. Of all the ways Danny thought this might go, when he thought about it at all, it wasn't like this, bright laughter and bittersweet, aching want; he'd imagined something fiercer, something darker.
They're naked by the time Steve pushes Danny down onto the couch, fabric cool and soft under his skin, Steve warm and real when he drops into Danny's lap. Danny wishes he could see how Steve looks, naked and needy; wants to see where the tan lines end, watch the expression on his partner's face when Danny wraps his hand around Steve's dick and strokes, one long, firm movement that makes Steve suck in a breath and exhale Danny's name on a shaky breath, even as his hands are moving over Danny's body. His lack of sight gives the pleasure of wringing that sounds out of his partner a sharp, stinging edge that makes Danny dig the fingers of his other hand into the firm muscle of Steve's thigh, his hip, his chest, hoping he's leaving marks on Steve's body the way Steve's left marks on Danny's soul, even if both sets of fingerprints are invisible to him.
Steve worms a hand between them, trailing his fingers down Danny's stomach, nails lightly scratching the sensitive skin of Danny's hips, using his palm to rub against the underside of Danny's cock, before he shifts, knees digging into Danny's thighs a little. He tangles his fingers with Danny's and wraps their joined hands around both their dicks. Danny groans and screws his eyes shut, not caring that the tender skin around them aches and burns as he does. Steve shoves a hand into Danny's hair and slumps forward so they can kiss, wet and messy and breathtaking.
Danny has no idea which of them comes first, he just knows that he's gasping and shivering out his orgasm while Steve's shuddering and panting above him. He still thinks this is insanity, but he's high on adrenaline, fear and endorphins and the feel of Steve, warm and heavy in his lap, like a big, drowsy dog, all loyalty and the need to be loved.
He misses the weight when Steve finally slides off of him and sprawls on the couch next to him, their bodies touching from shoulder to hip. Danny has no idea what to say, feels loose and sated, the tension and panic buried under his post orgasm high.
Finally, Steve gets up, pulling Danny up after him.
"I think we need a shower, and then, maybe, back to bed? I mean," he says, a tiny hint of uncertainty underlying his words, "what's the point of a day off if you can't spend it in bed, right?"
"Who are you, and what have you done with the real McGarrett?" Danny asks.
"Shut up," Steve shoves him, gently, to the stairs, then guides him up them and into the bathroom, his hand on Danny's shoulder.
He makes Danny wait while he fusses with towels and other stuff and the water temperature., then he herds Danny into the shower and crowds him up against the cold tiles so that he can kiss him again, slow and deliberate, like he's trying to make a point.
When he finally lets up and they get to the business of actually washing, Danny winces a little when the warm water hits his face. Steve distracts him by running slick, probably soapy hands over Danny's body; smoothing over the curve of Danny's shoulders and biceps, tracing the line of his spine, thumbs stroking across his nipples, cupping his ass. Danny returns the favour, learning how soft the skin of Steve's inner arms is, the sharp jut of his hip bones, the slightly rough feel of the hair on Steve's legs when Danny rubs against the grain. He drinks water from Steve's skin, tongue chasing drops over Steve's chest.
The touching isn't about sex, but it's intimate and erotic and Danny feels caught up in some kind of spell. It's the only reason he can think of for why he actually forgets about being blind and just lets himself get lost in this craziness. He thinks he ought to hate that Steve can apparently make him accept any kind of insanity as normal these days, but he's lazy and sated and it's futile to start fighting against this now. They can't go back, there's only forward or out and Danny isn't ready to walk away, even though he knows he might have to.
When their fingers and toes start wrinkling, Danny badgers and complains until Steve lets him leave the shower. He hands Danny a towel, then leads him to what Danny guesses is Steve's bedroom. He's never been in the room before and the pang of regret that he can't see it is a sharp kick in the gut. He knows it's only been hours, but he wonders if it's ever going to stop hurting.
Steve pulls him under the soft, smooth sheets of the bed and then curls around Danny, like he thinks that Danny needs protecting, or comforting, or maybe because he's worried that Danny might try and slip away while Steve's sleeping. Danny doesn't protest, because there's no point. Now that he's let Steve in this far, he knows that Steve's never going to let go again, not really. Danny knows, because that's how he feels about Rachel. He's accepted that she's moved on, he knows that they're not going to get back together, but he loved her and she's the mother of his child. He is never going to be able to just forget that, even though he's moved on now too. So he allows Steve to hold on to him, because he understands.
They're awakened later by the sound of Steve's phone. Danny stays where he is when Steve rolls away to answer it. He doesn't open his eyes, unwilling to face the fact that all he'll see is darkness. From snatches of conversation, he knows that it's Kono calling to see how he is. He isn't surprised by the wave of warmth and misery that rushes up at the thought of Kono and Chin. Family, Steve had said earlier and Danny knows it's true.
He dutifully takes the phone when Steve passes it over and just talking to Kono lifts some of the despair. She's bright and bubbly and so obviously concerned for him that he wants to see her, just so he can hug her. When they finally hang up, Chin's voice wishing him well in the background, he thinks that maybe, just maybe, Steve is right, and he can still be useful to his team, because he really isn't ready to give up the family that he's fallen into and grown to love like they were his flesh and blood.
Tears prickle at the corners of his eyes and he rubs them away, trying to clear the smear of blurry light and dark from his vision.
It takes him a good ten seconds of rubbing to realize that it isn't some kind of illusion; he can actually see something. Nothing distinct, just a hint of light and shadow, but it's more than he could see when he first got up.
"Steve? I can see something," he says, sitting up, breathless with hope and fear that he might be wrong.
Steve bolts up next to him, scrambling round until he's in front of Danny. Danny can see a vague dark shape that he thinks might be Steve and he reaches out. His hand bumps into Steve's shoulder. Steve clutches Danny's hand, grip a touch too tight, but Danny doesn't care.
"What can you see?" Steve sounds hopeful and thrilled and scared and Danny would wonder why if he wasn't too busy trying to not get his hopes up.
"Not much, mostly just a little bit of light and some shadows. Nothing clearly though."
Steve doesn't reply, just leans in and kisses Danny, gently, then pulls away and Danny feels the bed move and then floorboards creak as Steve gets out of bed.
"Cone on, lets go celebrate with what I can salvage of breakfast," he says.
They spend the day around the house, although it's more than a little surreal. Just before Danny's about to snap at Steve for hovering around him, Steve decides to go for a run or a swim or something, Danny doesn't care what, as long as it gets him out of Danny's hair. He submits to wearing the dark glasses that Steve gives him before he goes, and teases Steve about actually following doctors orders for once. Steve puts the radio on before he leaves, to give Danny something to listen to, he says. When Danny's sure that he's out of sight and earshot, moves through the house, slowly, trying not to strain his eyes, but unable to stop trying to stop making the vague shapes look like something recognizable.
Steve reappears a long time later, a little out of breath and sounding weary, and not long after he's back, Danny hears a bike pull up outside. He doesn't need Steve to tell him it's Chin and Kono, he'd recognise the sound of that beast that Chin drives anywhere.
He makes Steve promise not to say anything, just in case his sight doesn't come back all the way. He can tell that Steve doesn't want to keep it from them, but he agrees, reluctantly.
When Kono wraps her arms around Danny by way of a greeting, Danny does exactly what he wanted to do earlier and hugs her tightly. He can practically feel her smile, pressed against his neck. Chin hugs him almost as tightly, once Kono's finally let go, and claps him heavily on the back, which Danny returns, with a little extra. Steve appears with beer and Danny actually enjoys the yeast and hops smell and the cool, slick feel of the bottle in his hands. Chin and Kono talk about light, safe subjects. Nothing serious, and virtually nothing about work. But they make it seem natural, as if they're not really trying to skirt around potentially sensitive topics and Danny loves them just a little bit more. He still can't see much, but if he concentrates, he thinks that he can just about tell the difference between them, although he acknowledges that he could be fooling himself.
Steve invites them to stay for dinner and they accept. They end up eating grilled chicken, baked potatoes and salad outside. Kono's laughter is clear and bright and infectious; Chin's dry wit is bitingly funny and Steve laughs and every time he hands something to Danny, their hands touch and linger in a way that Danny knows isn't accidental. Under the voices, and the sound of the sizzling meat he can hear the ocean, and under the scent of Kono's perfume and the grilled chicken he can smell salt and the tang of Chin's cologne.
He guesses it's pretty late when Chin and Kono go. They leave the bike at Steve's and share a taxi, bickering good-naturedly about who's paying. Standing next to Steve, seeing them off feels strangely domestic and Danny's full of beer and good food and he's buoyed by the love and affection he shares with his team, and he suddenly can't remember why he ever thought getting involved with Steve would be a bad idea.
Danny's not stupid, he knows that Steve's strange mood today is probably motivated by a fear that if Danny gets his sight back, given his protestations about starting something with Steve, that he's going to call a halt to a relationship before it starts. He wasn't entirely wrong about it, either, which just makes Danny feel like a selfish bastard. It wasn't as if Danny was ever actually going to turn Steve away, not once they'd taken that step beyond just friends and partners, but Steve couldn't know that for sure and as Danny knows, all too well, when you want something as badly as he thinks Steve wants them, it's easy to be consumed by your fears, well founded or not.
So when he feels Steve turn away after he's closed the front door, he reaches out and latches on to his partner. He can feel the muscles of Steve's forearm tense under his touch, but he ignores it and uses the grip to pull Steve in, until he's close enough that Danny can slide his hand up Steve's arm, grip the back of Steve's neck and drag him down for a clumsy and slightly off center kiss. Steve corrects the angle and then Danny's being pushed up against the front door, Steve's long, lanky body pressed against his. Danny curls a leg around Steve's hip and the way that Steve groans into Danny's mouth has Danny's hips grinding forwards in response.
This time, they actually make it up the stairs, Steve leading. Once they get to the bedroom, Danny strips as quickly as he can, hearing the rustle of Steve's clothes as he does the same. Danny sinks down onto the bed, and Steve follows. Steve is all hands and mouth; lingering kisses to Danny's neck, bites and nails dragging over his collarbones and fingers gently pinching his nipples, sucking bruises at his hip bones. When Steve slides his mouth over Danny's dick, Danny's back arches and he curses. Steve's sloppy, but enthusiastic and Danny can't stop talking, telling Steve how fucking good it is, how much he wants it. He comes hard, hips lifting and the choked noise that Steve makes just makes Danny's gut clench in a way that's not entirely unpleasant.
He wants to return the favour, but Steve's clearly too desperate. He crawls up Danny's sweat slick, panting body and leans over Danny's chest, one hand braced on Danny's shoulder while, from the way he's shaking, his other hand is pulling at his dick. He comes over Danny's chest and the noises he makes, broken and needy make Danny wish he could get it up again, so that he could find out if Steve sounds like that when he's getting fucked.
They clean up and end up in bed, side by side, shoulders and legs touching. Danny has no idea if he's going to get his sight back properly. He has no idea how he's going to get back to work if he doesn't. He definitely has no idea how he's going to avoid making the same mistakes with Steve that he made with Rachel, but he's going to try. Whatever it takes, he's going to do his best to make it all work, somehow.