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Equilibrium

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Steve stares at the report he needs to finish, but his mind is occupied by the talk he had with Danny a few weeks ago. The news that Danny was worried about him to the point of not sleeping at night left Steve shaken to the core, and it didn’t change at all even after all these weeks. He knows that Danny worries about him constantly; he makes that much obvious with his actions and his rants but this kind of worry was on an entirely different level, and Steve’s not sure if anyone ever was scared for his wellbeing like that, his own family included.

After their heart to heart, Steve decided to watch Danny closer ashamed that he didn’t pick on his partner distress. What he found terrified him, every time he caught Danny looking at him, the skin around his eyes tight with worry, the resigned slouch of his shoulders and the sad twist of his lips caused Steve’s chest to tighten painfully.

Because apparently, their talk didn’t placate Danny like Steve hoped but made it a whole lot worse instead.

Steve touches his abdomen where he was shot three weeks ago and the wound, almost healed now, itches under his fingertips. He squeezes his eyes for a moment and takes a deep breath. Nothing absolutely nothing could prepare Steve for the terrified expression on Danny's face when he was shot there. That look haunted Steve in his sleep. The sheer terror in those blue eyes, trembling lips when Danny shouted his name with desperation, his pale exterior. He looked like he was about to shatter into thousand little pieces and Steve was the one responsible for it. It scared Steve that someone cared about him so intensely. He wanted to pull Danny close, say to him that he’ll be more careful next time, wipe the worry away from his face but he didn’t, and he watched day by day how that worry was eating Danny alive.

He glances down at his report and with a sigh finishes it because it’s Friday and He and Danny are the only ones left in here. He dismissed the rest of the team, Danny included, but his partner refused to go saying that someone needs to keep an eye on him to finish all the paperwork, which wasn’t the real reason at all but Steve didn’t argue with him.

Once the report is ready, Steve gets up and makes his way to Danny’s office. He slows down his pace when he catches Danny’s slumped form through the blinds. He sucks in a breath because it’s all kinds of wrong for his partner to be so still. Danny is a constant motion and loud mouthed attitude not the exhausted line of his shoulders and resigned arch of his back.

Looking at him like that breaks Steve’s heart, and he knows that since the kids are with Rachel for the weekend, Danny will be all alone and most likely won’t sleep at all.

So he braces himself and opens the door to Danny’s office with more force than he anticipated. The blinds flutter in the wind he caused with his entrance.

Danny looks up at him utterly unamused. He’s so pale that the dark circles under his eyes look like bruises and Steve has to swallow a sudden lump in his throat.

Danny blinks at him then glances at the door and sighs. “I swear to God, Steve you need to control your freakish strength a bit more because I like this door, and if you destroy it you’ll pay for the repairs.”

Steve smiles leaning on the doorjamb, “I’ll write it off as expenses.”

Danny rolls his eyes. “Of course you will.” He flicks his hand but it’s sluggish at best, not the usual flail he does it with. “So what can I do for you? If you say that I have to finish your paperwork, I swear I’ll smack you over the head with my laptop.”

Steve huffs out a laugh, the knot in his gut loosens up a bit. “Grace and Charlie are with Rachel for the weekend, right?” Steve asks and waits for the answer he already knows.

Danny doesn’t reply right away, and the silence is too heavy for Steve to bear, but then Danny looks up at him again and nods so he walks into his office, rounds the desk and sits on the edge of it right next to Danny’s elbow. “Want to come by and drink some beer? There’s a game going on TV later, too.”

Danny looks at him, quirking his head to the side. “Yeah, sure, why not.”

“Yeah?” Steve grins, and Danny gives him an exhausted smile.

“Yeah, I finished anyway.”

“Come on then.”

Steve all but jumps off the desk causing Danny to shake his head at him.

~~*~~

Once they exit the Iolani Palace they go straight for the Camaro and before Steve can say something Danny hands him the keys and without a word, he goes straight to the passenger seat.

Steve stands there, with the keys, suddenly feeling cold because Danny must be more tired than he thought if he willingly gave Steve his permission to drive his car. He eventually walks up to the Camaro, opens the door and gets in.

Danny has already the seatbelt on. His head lolls to the side, and he blinks at Steve when he’s inside. “Took you long enough. Did you have a sudden epiphany on the mystery of the Universe or something?” He smiles at him but it’s a shadow of his real one, and Steve realizes how much he needs Danny to give him a beaming smile that lights his whole face up.

The silence stretches and Danny looks at him expectantly.

“Kind of, yes,” Steve says not really looking at his partner.

Danny hums, and that’s pretty much it. He’s eerily silent the rest of the way to Steve’s house, and it worries Steve even more because his partner is apparently on the verge of being sick from all the worrying and Steve can’t have that.

~~*~~

When he finally pulls over Danny is out of the car before the engine is even off and promptly gives Steve a heart attack when he dangerously sways on his feet.

He jumps out of the car like it’s on fire to help him, but Danny’s already unlocking the door and coming inside to disarm the alarm.

Steve almost stumbles at the easy familiarity he does it with. It shouldn’t surprise Steve that much because he let himself into Danny’s house in a similar manner many times, but having Danny who’s tired beyond belief going into his home like it was his own, trusting and comfortable, moves something in Steve he can’t quite understand, yet.

He hears a loud bark and a thud and all but runs into the house only to stop in the threshold to the sight of Danny flat on his ass with Eddie all over him, licking at his face and barking happily.

Steve freezes, taking the scene in and when Danny laughs, tired but happy he’s not ready for the painful throb in his heart.

“I love you, too buddy,” Danny says kissing Eddie on the snout, his nose and between his eyes and Eddie gives as good as he gets, nuzzling into Danny’s neck.

Steve mind shuts down for a second, and he just looks, trying to commit that view to his memory. “You ok there, partner?” He finally asks, and Eddie looks up at him the same moment Danny does and maybe he shouldn’t compare Danny to a dog but they both have what Steve could only call a dopey smile on their faces, and he can’t help the grin that stretches his mouth in response to that.

“Come on, Eddie, go to your dad, I need to sit on something that isn’t floor, not that it’s not comfy, but the couch is much more preferable.” Danny ushers Eddie to him, giving his belly one last rub before he hefts himself up.

He goes to the couch on shaky legs, and Steve watches him like a hawk, ready to catch his friend if he keels over but he successfully makes it, and Steve let’s out a breath he didn’t know he was keeping in.

Eddie barks at him and his attention goes back to his dog, he kneels down to scratch him behind the ears.

“Missed me?”

Eddie licks him on the cheek in answer, his tail wagging a mile a minute. Steve smiles because it's impossible not to and he glances at Danny only to catch him looking at them with a fond smile streching his lips.

“Beer?” He asks, and Danny nods turning back to the TV, smile still firmly in place.

Steve stands up and goes into the kitchen, his emotions astray. He feels like he’s on a rollercoaster and it’s scary to feel so much and not be able to identify half of what it is. He’s terrified about the future, he wants to grow old with a family of his own, but he also knows that it’s wishful thinking on his part. The Doctor was clear enough about this, and he had a hunch that maybe Danny knew about that, too.

He opens the refrigerator and takes out two Longboards trying to steer his thoughts in other directions but to no avail. He’s worried about Danny being concerned about him as absurd as it sounded, it scares him that there’s someone who cares so much about him and it scares him even more that he cares about someone like that, too.

He leans his forehead on the cool metal for a second and when he shakes out of his reverie he goes back into the living room. He stops dead in his track when he looks up and finds Danny curled in the corner of the couch with his head on the armrest and arm thrown around Eddie who’s head is snuggled under Danny’s chin. Danny is smiling softly, worry lines smoothed out and Steve needs to lean on a wall to keep himself up.

Eddie blinks at Steve, and Danny hums nuzzling closer, tucking his nose into Eddie’s fur.

Steve doesn't know how long he stares, but eventually he comes closer, he puts the bottles on the coffee table as quietly as he can and takes out his phone.

He’s not sure about the need to take photos at all, but before he realizes he already has a bunch of them, probably more than strictly necessary. He doesn't have much time to think about it because his attention snaps back to Danny when he grunts in his sleep and Steve kneels beside him in an instant, ready to wake him up and put him to bed. He moves his hand up, and it hovers over Danny’s shoulder for a second.

There’s a wild strand of hair over Danny’s eyes, and it’s so unusual that Steve just moves his palm over and takes the hair out of his face, fingertips brushing his cheek. He startles when Danny nuzzles into his hand, letting out a soft, keening sound.

He blinks stupidly for a second or two until Eddie whines at him. He moves his hand to curl it around Danny’s nape, and then he flicks his ear with his thumb.

After a moment Danny stirs.

“Come on, buddy we’ll put you in bed.”

Danny looks at him blearily and nods weakly.

He’s warm and pliant under Steve’s hands when he pulls him up. He sways on his feet, and when Steve steadies him, Danny just tucks his nose in Steve’s collarbone and slumps there. The burst of fondness Steve feels at that almost sweeps him off his feet.

~~*~~

He moves his partner upstairs careful about the steps and leads him into the bedroom. He helps him remove his shirt and pants and steers him to the bed gently pushing him down. Danny doesn’t protest, and it’s a testament to how exhausted he must be to let himself be manhandled like that. He watches as Danny steals his side of the bed making himself comfortable there.

Like he belongs.

His epiphany is broken by Eddie who barrels into the room almost knocking Steve off.

The dog jumps on the bed, crawls under the sheets and lies down by Danny’s belly. Danny scoots closer circling his arm around him, nuzzling his face into the fur and sighing with content.

Steve feels something big and hot unfurl in his chest that makes him almost drowsy, he removes his clothes in a haze before he goes under the duvet. He doesn’t know what to make out of the swirl of emotions he feels or why he didn’t put Danny in the guest room or why he decided to lie right there next to him.

~~*~~

He falls asleep few hours later only to be woken up by the sun peeking through the window. He feels heavy, and when he glances down, he sees a mop of blonde hair and feels a stubble scratching his collarbone. Danny’s arm is thrown over Steve’s chest, their legs tangled and Steve blinks at his partner owlishly.

Danny grunts, nuzzling his nose into the hollow of Steve’s throat and Steve is surprised at the giggle that springs free from his throat. He feels a grin on his skin, and when he glances down, Danny’s looking at him like it was normal for them to wake up in the same bed on a lazy Saturday morning. Danny just smiles at Steve before he yawns and rolls over to lie on his back. He stretches like a big cat until his spine pops. He lets out a sound that Steve classifies as borderline indecent. He notes that the whole situation is weird, almost surreal but there’s a strange feeling of rightness to this, especially when Eddie runs into the room, jumps on the bed and greets Danny with kisses.

And Danny laughs, less exhausted now and it’s the best sound Steve heard in a long time.

“Ok, I’m going to take a shower and you two freaks of nature go for your daily swim or run or whatever tremendous exercise you’re doing in the morning. I’ll make some breakfast in the meantime.” Danny says getting up from the bed.

Steve nods, and when Danny disappears into the bathroom, he lets out a long sigh and throws an arm around his eyes. His chest is too tight as he tries to make sense of his feelings.

He’s not sure it’s possible.