This week had taken its toll on Steve, in more ways than one. He’d lost another friend, a former SEAL comrade no less, in Carson Rhodes, but at least unlike Nick Taylor he was still one of the good guys at the end. And if that wasn’t enough, a bout of radiation sickness appeared from nowhere, so to say that Steve was emotionally and physically done was an epic understatement.
And for a reason Danny couldn’t understand, Steve still wanted to watch the SEAL documentary on their TV planner that they’d recorded a while ago. He’d protested, but Steve’s regular puppy-dog eyes have nothing on a sick Steve’s puppy-dog eyes, so sighed as he pressed play and relaxed back into the couch, wordlessly raising an arm so Steve could take his usual spot against his side.
As the program played and depicted various SEAL missions and techniques, Danny kept stealing glances at his lover. He knew that Steve was a highly decorated Navy Lt. Commander, and had been in some horrible and dangerous situations. But… getting visual reminders from time to time - whether it was out there in the field with Five-0 and seeing Steve’s (sometimes stupid) battlefield stunts firsthand, or on the small and big screens like this - reminded him what what Steve really used to do, and what he was truly capable of.
Steve, who also knew the exact way to cook vegetables so that Charlie would eat them with complaining. Who still went for runs with Grace sometimes before stopping for shave ice. Who recently took care of Danny and his kids when they got hit by that nasty stomach bug, which included endless loads of washing, his supply of electrolyte-restoring drinks and very little sleep for all four of them. Who yesterday - even though the nausea from radiation sickness was almost unbearable - helped Grace with researching colleges, Charlie with his maths homework, and then made a romantic dinner for Danny to come home to when he came back from taking the kids back to Rachel’s.
Danny smiled and felt a warmth spread throughout his chest, from his heart. But then the program showed a mission going wrong and SEAL’s dragging their dead and injured comrades over rough terrain, and Danny sent a silent prayer up to gods, even those that he didn’t believe in, thanking them for keeping Steve safe on his missions both past and present so that he could come back to him. Then the program mentioned the physical and emotional lasting effects such experiences have on those involved. He felt his heart clench in sadness as he thought about similar experiences that Steve’s been through - and those were just the ones he knew about, he was sure many more were hidden behind a sign marked ‘Classified’.
Numerous times Danny’s had to bring Steve out of a nightmare, muttering random nothings as he rocked the crying man back to sleep. His upbringing and subsequent military lifestyle meant that Steve never had a real place that he could call ‘home’, or family or even real friends to talk to about anything troubling him. The documentary briefly mentioned DADT and it’s eventual repeal, and Danny bent his head to press a lingering kiss into a sleeping Steve’s hair as he remembered how his lover told him of his anguish with keeping his struggles with his sexuality a secret. Steve nestled closer to Danny with a little moan of contentment, but frowned as he couldn’t get comfortable, and Danny rolled his eyes with a chuckle before he readjusted them on the couch so that Steve was stretched out on top of him, safely in his arms.
For all that Steve disputes that he has PTSD, Danny is firmly of the belief that he does. He knew it took a lot for Steve to finally admit to him that depression and anxiety trouble him, and he was so, so proud of him when he came back from seeing a doctor with a prescription for antidepressants. But every time that Danny tentatively brings up the subject of PTSD, Steve insists that he doesn’t want to talk about it. And as much as Danny wants, almost needs him to, he’s never been one to force unwanted hurt on anyone that he loves. And he loves Steve very much indeed, so he’ll wait until the time is right.