Danny watches in horror the storm clouds that are getting closer and darker by the minute. The wind is stronger, too and he’s glad he found this little alcove to shelter himself from it and the rain. He swears under his nose and threads his hand through his hair in resignation. He would like to say he doesn’t know how he ended up in this predicament but that would be a total lie. He blames Steve which is a lie, too but the phrase is comforting in a way after all these years of knowing the super SEAL that most things in Danny’s life aren’t anymore.
Danny is the only one to blame for this situation, really and he’s painfully aware of that. He chose the petroglyphs with premeditation because he knew it would be the last place Steve would look for him, knowing Danny and his hate for hiking. In hindsight, Danny can admit the idea was ridiculous and insane, especially since he disabled the GPS in the Camaro and left his, turned off, phone in there. Thanks to his wonderful idea of wanting to be alone, because he’s not hiding (he’s absolutely not), he’s going to die in a damn storm of the century.
He sighs and hugs himself some more when the wind blows, he shivers and tries to push himself into the wall and trying not to panic because this little alcove might be open and Danny can see everything but it’s still quite small and his fear of small spaces just claws its way under his skin. Again he has only himself to blame.
His teeth clang particularly loud and in his moment of weakness, he really wants Steve here with him, which would be countermeasure because Steve is the one he’s hiding from. Well, not hiding, trying to have some space from.
How in all hell Danny could make such a mistake is beyond him, to forget himself like that.
The worst thing is, he’s not even sure how Steve’s going to react because lately, they’re just arguing constantly and not in a bickering sort of way they used to do. He’s not sure when it changed exactly. There’s this awful tension between them and it irritates Danny so he complains not really meaning anything by it but Steve doesn’t react like he used to (he still does, sometimes), with irritation and exasperation now it’s annoyance and anger and being passive aggressive most of the time. It makes Danny angrier and the loop is going.
Danny doesn’t want to admit it but he’s scared, he’s terrified that Steve is finally fed up with him and he’s going to leave. Which is ridiculous, Danny knows that, but the irrational fear is still there and the stupid dreams he’s having after being shot in the quarantine are messing with his head even more. The vision of the future when he was on the brink of death was a nice change of pace for once and he liked that, he liked that a lot it also left him immensely confused. Then the dreams started and they were so damn realistic that it started to slowly break his sanity and it was like the dam was broken because the feelings were just spilling over and he was overwhelmed by it. It also made him helluva grumpy.
In a way, he should be glad that he’s not going in the field as much as he used to and when he does he’s rarely paired with Steve. Which is a hell and a blessing wrapped into one neat package of his soon to be a full blown crisis.
The vision of the future was quite different to what he’s used to and he doesn’t complain because it was good, really good and if he died on that day, at least he would die happy and content. Having Steve by his side was nice, too. Very nice. He wasn’t exactly sure what his relationship with his partner was in this vision but he had his suspicions. Then the dreams started and they’re just confirmed that. Really it should freak him out but it didn’t and he realized he wanted that for a long time, he was just particularly bullheaded in letting these feelings out, into the surface.
The dream Steve was more like Steve from the first three years of their partnership. Trying to get under his skin and bickering about stupid things and giving Danny that goofy smile, which Danny seriously came to love. He misses that, especially those smiles even if he would deny such thing to his dying breath.
There’s a thunder rolling through the sky and Danny almost jumps out of his skin. He’s an idiot, that’s what he is. He’s going to die and no one will ever find his body. It doesn’t help that he’s utterly exhausted and sooner or later he might actually lose consciousness and that would be dangerous.
Maybe Steve will find him? Although he’s not sure if he wants to face him. He sighs. He’s not sure of anything anymore.
He became delusional. At first, he didn’t mind the dreams, they were few and far between. They didn’t affect his life at all, besides looking at Steve with a somewhat calculating look from time to time. Then the dreams became more frequent and so realistic that he found himself craving the easy affection that was between him and the dream Steve. The lazy kisses, the hugs and playfulness and shockingly enough the bossy side of Steve.
He wanted all of this so much that it eventually became his downfall. Hence hiding in this godforsaken place.
The wind blows and the rain is so strong that Danny can’t see a thing. He mulls over the idea to just get up and go back, maybe he’ll be lucky enough to not break his neck. He dismisses the idea pretty quickly when the rain picks up.
~~~~ *10 hours earlier* ~~~~
Danny is tired. Not physically but emotionally. This morning he woke up from one of his dreams and for a long moment, he was confused when he didn’t find Steve by his side only to be disappointed when he realized it was just a dream and it wasn’t real no matter how real it actually felt in sleep. It didn’t help when they were busy with a though piece of a case that drained the rest of his strength. They closed the case, yes; but only after two and half a week of dead ends and broken nerves. Add to it the problems with the restaurant and here we are.
He rubs his temples trying to will a headache away but to no avail. He looks over from his office and sees Steve in his own office looking blankly down his laptop. Danny sighs, he really wants to go there and drag him to either of their houses and just curl by his side which is impossible because they’re not in fact in this kind of relationship no matter what his stupid brain seems to think. He still could go and drag Steve out but after the death glares he sent Danny’s way the whole day, he’s not sure if it’s a good idea. Granted Danny’s been a real asshole as of late but he blames his stupid dreams for that and the lack of sleep and a whole lot of other things that contributed to his stress. Mostly though it’s because he can’t have Steve that way and it’s just frustrating. Those damn feelings are frustrating. He feels like he can burst open any minute now because he wants. He wants so much it’s unbearable and that’s just messed up.
So, yes. All these emotions that finally broke free they made him extra grumpy, he’s painfully aware of that. He can’t blame Steve for being a jerk, too. If Danny had to stand someone like himself all the time, he would be pissed, too. Which is saying something.
He grumbles and looks down on his report, the letters start to get blurry and he rubs his eyes. It doesn’t help at all and now he feels like he has sand in his eyes which looking how he’s on this sand infested island is quite possible it might be an actual sand. He groans and puts his head on his arms. He’s tired and hurting and miserable. The clock on the wall is too loud with its tic tac, tic tac and he groans with frustration, his head feels entirely too heavy. He’s pretty sure his synapses have a very loud drinking party because it certainly feels this way.
The absolute worst thing is, that he thinks that maybe Steve feels the same way. Thinking back to that boat fiasco all these weeks ago, Danny is pretty sure this is what Steve meant by saying that he feels the same way before he actually heard what Danny had to say. If it’s true it also means that Steve doesn’t want to go there and that… that’s just a nail in the coffin of Danny’s feelings, really. It leaves a bitter aftertaste in his mouth but even so, he’s going to respect Steve’s wishes. He was oblivious to these feelings for all these years so maybe he’ll be able to will them down somehow. Of course, if he won’t go completely mad with these happy dreams he’s having.
He groans some more trying to push his head into the desk.
“Go home, Danny.”
Danny looks at Steve and promptly closes his eyes when the light hits him and the pain flares. He whines, doesn’t mean to but the pain is too much and he just doesn’t care anymore. Steve’s by his side in an instant.
“Danny? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” he starts through gritted teeth, “I just have a killer headache.” The pain flares once again and he trembles, making a pain streaked noise in the back of his throat. He feels nauseous and when Steve’s hand finds it’s way to his cheek and then nape he leans into it, letting out a shaken sigh.
“Your neck is completely stiff, come on I’ll take you home, I’ll give you a massage and then you’re going to sleep,” Steve says with the voice that usually is reserved for missions. He pulls Danny up and when the words Steve said register in his brain he rears back knocking the chair on the floor and almost falling himself if not for Steve strong grip on his arm.
Danny’s heart is like a frightened rabbit and Steve frowns at him before his face morphs into a full-blown worry when he notes the dark circles under his eyes and his pale exterior.
Danny breaths heavily, eyes big and on alert, his head swimming. He curses silently when Steve tentatively touches his cheek again and moves his head from side to side to inspect something.
“How long it’s been since you slept, Danny?”
He blinks at him, mulling over the question, he glances quickly at the calendar which doesn’t go unnoticed by Steve.
“How long?” He asks, his tone a little harsh but his eyes while insistent, are full of worry. Danny is caught in them for a second.
Steve shakes him and Danny blinks, “are we talking full sleep or naps count, too?”
His partner grits his teeth, “full night sleep, Danny. When?”
He closes his eyes for a moment, the fact that Steve is so close doesn’t really help and on the other hand, his presence is all he wants right now. “Four maybe five days ago but I…” He tries to focus but the pain flares again and his legs almost buckle from under him. “I took few naps since then.”
Steve stares at him, the disbelief seeping into his features, he ushers Danny closer. He puts his arm around Danny’s waist while Danny grips the shirt on Steve’s back, leaning his forehead on his bicep.
“And how long, exactly this naps were?” Steve asks, his voice strangled.
Danny hums, “one or two hours.”
Steve grips his waist a little tighter while he walks them out of the building. “And how many of them did you have?”
He frowns, “did have what?”
“Naps Danny. How many naps did you have?”
“Three… maybe.” He sighs, “I don’t remember.”
Steve clenches his jaw, “fuck, Danny…”
“I would…” He bites his tongue from finishing that he would very much like that. Instead, he swallows around the lump in his throat.
Steve manhandles him into the Camaro, opens the glove compartment and rummages through it until he finds painkillers, between handgun and a grenade.
“Why’s there a grenade in my glove compartment?” Danny asks staring at it with half-lidded eyes.
Steve shrugs but doesn’t answer, he just takes a bottle of water from the back seat, which requires a bit of maneuvering but he manages to retrieve it. He takes Danny’s palm and pushes two pills out, they pop out of the blister and softly land on his hand.
Danny stares at them for a long moment before he finally pops them into his mouth swallowing them with the help of the water Steve puts to his lips, like Danny so much out of it that he couldn’t do this by himself, which he could. He glares at Steve but it must’ve lacked the heat behind it since he drinks the water obediently.
Once Steve takes away the bottle, Danny buckles up. His movements a little sloppy but he manages, and finally he slumps in the seat with a deep sigh.
Before Steve starts the engine he calls Lou to tell him that he takes Danny home and if he wants he can take Steve’s and Danny’s lunch because they’re taking the day off and it would be a waste of food. After a moment of exchange, Danny wasn’t listening to, they finally take off the parking lot and onto the street.
“I’ll take you home and you’re going to sleep.”
Danny makes a noise of protest, “kids are with Rachel.” He looks out the window, “It’s too empty…” He yawns and rubs his eyes, “don’t like it.” His head lolls to the side and he catches Steve looking at him. “Eyes on the road…Steven.” He says over another yawn. His headache became a constant buzz in the back of his head, he hopes the painkillers are going to start working soon.
Steve shakes his head and looks at the road he says something but Danny doesn’t hear him, his eyes already closed.
When he stirs he’s in bed he recognizes immediately. He smells Steve and he smiles into the pillow before he sits up abruptly. He looks around frantically, sure enough, he’s in Steve’s bedroom. He needs a moment to ground himself and when he’s sure it’s not a dream he relaxes slightly and looks at the watch on the nightstand. He calculates that he slept for almost five hours, which is great, because he feels better, not by much, he still feels exhausted, but the headache is gone and his mind is a little clearer, at least for now.
He falls on his back with a quiet ‘oomph’ and slings an arm over his face, he’s surrounded by Steve’s scent and it’s getting to him. To think that three weeks ago the dreams were a nuisance but he could manage alright, going through the day like nothing happened, at least nothing much. All it took was almost three weeks of one of the toughest cases they encountered as of late. The lack of the needed amount of sleep combined with these dreams and onslaught of feelings that just kept flowing out finally got to him.
Now he’s on a verge where he can barely differentiate the reality from the dreams. He’s sure that if not for the stress and exhaustion he would be able to tuck it all inside. He would learn how to live with the love threatening to rip him apart. He wonders how in all hell he was oblivious to these feelings over all these years, because there’s no doubt in his mind that he loved Steve for a long time, maybe even from the beginning, it just never crossed his mind that what he felt for him was something more than a brotherly kind of love. Now though, these dreams put everything in perspective and he realized that what he had with Steve was in ways much better than what he had with Rachel and isn’t that funny? That he was more married to his work partner than to the woman he once claimed to love?
He hears soft paws thumping on the wooden floor, that creaks here and there, and another pair of steps following close by. Soon enough Eddie barrels into the room jumping on the bed and tentatively touching Danny’s cheek with his nose. Danny slings his arm from his face and pats the dog on the head, Eddie waggles his tail and Danny cracks a smile before he pulls him to the side and hugs him, which makes Eddie so much happier. “Good to see you too, buddy.”
Danny looks at Steve, who’s leaning on the doorjamb, looking at them with a soft smile. He looks relieved and at ease, arms crossed over his chest loosely. Danny hides his face in Eddie’s fur and smiles tenderly at Steve who blinks at him and for a moment Danny thinks they’re on the same page. The sudden want strikes him catching him off guard so he nuzzles into the dog’s neck trying to get his feelings in control. It’s the reality, not the dream, he needs to get a hold of himself.
“Yeah, still tired, though but not as sleepy.” He sits up and rubs his face with his hands, letting out a groan. “I would drink a tank full of beer, now.”
Steve grins, already stepping back. “Don’t have a tank but a few Longboards could be arranged.”
Danny leans his elbow on one knee while he scratches Eddie on the belly with his other hand. “You’re a blessing, babe.”
Steve stops and blinks again, then he smiles a big goofy smile of his that Danny loved so much. “Pizza?”
“As long as it doesn’t have any pineapples on it.”
Steve shakes his head fondly and goes down already calling for the pizza. Eddie hot on his heels, which leaves Danny alone in Steve’s bedroom once again. He lies on his side and curls into a tight ball, trying to calm down his stupid heart, after few seconds he reluctantly gets up.
He comes down once he finds his socks and shoes. He finds Steve on the lanai.
Steve quirks a brow at the mess that is his hair but Danny looks at him in warning and Steve holds his hands up. “Well for my defense I wanted to say, your hair look really fluffy.”
“So?” He asks without the usual annoyance behind the words, which apparently catches Steve off guard.
He opens his mouth and something crosses his face before he turns to look at the ocean, clearing his throat. “Nothing, it’s really unusual to see you with your hair that way.”
Danny hums and takes the six-pack of beer from Steve’s hand and goes to their chairs. Steve goes after him but he turns on his heel when the doorbell rings.
Danny puts the beer down and touches the chairs, sliding his fingers over the backrest noting every scratch and place where the paint fell down. He wonders idly if it’s possible for these chairs to survive until Steve and Danny get all wrinkly and old. They look so battered already, they will need to renovate them. He shakes his head and looks up when he hears Eddie running. Steve is standing by the door to the house staring at Danny with a calculating look.
“Are you going to stand there and let the pizza get cold or what?” He shouts which spins Steve into action and he walks with two boxes of pizza.
“Something on your mind?” Steve asks offhandedly but Danny knows better and just shrugs his shoulders.
“Just thinking that we should paint the chairs and put something to prevent them from turning into dust from all this sand, sudden downpours, and constant sun.”
Steve nods, opening his beer and taking a slice of his pineapple infested pizza, “good idea.”
Danny takes his own pizza which was exactly the way he liked it, he almost moans at the flavor that explodes on his taste buds. That’s one more thing since they tried to wrap this tiring case, he barely ate anything. “Fuck, this is sooo good.”
Steve laughs and Danny grins, even if his cheeks are full of the pizza and he certainly must look like a chipmunk.
They spend almost two hours talking about stupid things, drinking their beer and finishing their food. It’s nice, so nice in fact that when Danny stands up and sweeps the empty bottles into a bag, he forgets himself. He feels relaxed in a way he only feels in his Steve infested dreams lately, so when he takes the empty bottle from Steve’s hand, and Steve looks up at him, smiling and gorgeous and everything Danny wants, needs, he bends slightly down and with a soft smile of his own kisses Steve straight on the lips, murmuring, “thanks babe.”
When his action catches up with him he straightens up, the bag with the bottles falling down from his suddenly slack fingers. Steve looks at him with wide eyes and Danny feels a dread settle in the pit of his stomach. He jerks back and before he can think he walks into the house and when he hears a noise of the chair suddenly knocked out, he starts running.
“Danny!” Steve shouts after him.
Danny takes his car keys from the table in the living room and barrels out of the door, he jumps to his car and with trembling hands he puts the keys in the ignition. He pulls out of the driveway just as Steve shows in the door, eyes frantic.
“Danny! Danny stop!” There’s a desperation in his voice Danny doesn’t catch over the panic that clutches at his chest.
Steve runs up to the car but Danny steps on the gas and drives away, leaving Steve standing on the street by his house shouting after Danny.
Danny holds himself tighter and rubs his arms to warm up, it doesn’t do much besides getting him more frustrated. He’s bone-deep cold and he’s going in and out of consciousness. It’s dark already and the rain still goes strong, occasional thunder lightning the sky. He shudders and curses himself for the hundredth time. He tries not to think what the rest of the team is going to think about his cowardly departure and hiding like an idiot in the middle of the jungle. He’s not really in the jungle, he knows that but the exasperation keeps him from falling asleep.
Really, he feels embarrassed about the whole thing, he acted like a teenager with lack of control instead of acting like an adult and face what he had done, eventually trying to fault it on the temporary lapse of judgment, lack of sleep, or the amount of beer, or all three of them.
Danny doesn’t cry much even if he’s emotional kind of guy but right now, right now he feels like crying his eyes out. He feels powerless, defeated and completely stupid for running out like that.
The lightning bolt strikes somewhere and it’s the last thing Danny remembers before his eyes close up and he falls asleep, curled into the corner of his little alcove.
He dreams of Steve finding him and taking home, lecturing him on the dangers of going off like that. He dreams about cuddles and safety and their restaurant being a huge success.
“Danny! Danny!” Someone shakes him.
For a second he thinks there’s an earthquake going on, then he frowns still engulfed in his dream. Dream Steve usually wakes him up more gently and a whole lot more creatively.
He feels a hand on his face and a strong chest by his arm. He nuzzles into the hand letting out a soft, trembling sigh. He opens his eyes but instead of dream Steve there’s his Steve, he blinks his eyes trying to focus but a shudder goes through his body and he trembles violently. Steve cradles him into his chest and Danny tries to focus, his thoughts in shambles. He feels disoriented before he remembers where he is when he catches the sight of their surroundings.
“Danny, you hear me? Look at me.” Steve says, his voice shaken, desperate, there’s something more that brings Danny to look up at him.
He blinks his eyes to disperse the black spots and focus on Steve’s face. “What…’teve?”
Steve hides his face in Danny’s hair, inhaling and letting out a shaky breath, “what the hell did you think, Danny?”
Danny tries to move but his body is stiff and shivers shake him every few seconds. He doesn’t answer, his jaw hurts and his head swims.
“What the hell did you think, running off and hiding here like that,” Steve says squeezing Danny like his life depended on it or maybe Danny just delusional and it’s a wishful thinking on his part.
Danny moves his jaw and opens his mouth, “at least I changed my shoes.”
Steve laughs brokenly before he looks down and sure enough, Danny’s wearing the hiking boots Steve bought for him a long time ago.
“You have no idea how hard it was to find you, Jerry was looking through the street cameras in hope to find the Camaro.”
Danny mumbles something under his nose, a confirmation, he’s not sure, everything hurts too much. His head lolls to the back, he thinks he hears a chopper in the distance, at least the trembling stopped.
It’s good it’s not raining anymore.
“Danny? Hey, Danny!”
He wonders why Steve sounds so panicked.
Danny wakes up to the constant beep beep of the machines he vaguely recognizes. He blinks his eyes to adjust to the slightly dark room. He moves his arm up which is a task in itself, he notes a VI and with a deep sigh, he lets his arm fall down on the bed.
Great, he’s in the Hospital.
He moves his head to the side and with a startle he sees Steve. He’s slumped down in the plastic, very uncomfortable chair, which he knows because he talks from the experience. He stares at him not quite sure what he’s doing here, which would be a lie because Danny knows why Steve’s here. It’s what they do when the other is hurt. He lets his eyes wander and he notes that Steve’s chin rests on his collarbones, he’s dozing off, his chest rising up and down. Danny's hand itches to touch and Steve the ever Super SEAL slowly blinks his eyes as if he knew what Danny was up to.
“Danno?” Steve’s voice is hoarse and Danny winces in sympathy until he realizes that his throat must be no better.
“Yes?” He asks, squinting his eyes and trying not to crawl into the sheets and hide from the now watchful eyes of his partner.
Steve stares at him and it’s unnerving, something must’ve shown on his face because Steve sighs, shaking his head. “We’re going to talk.” He fills a glass with water and takes a few sips, he refills it and hands it to Danny, “and you’re not going to run away, again.” He finishes sternly.
Danny winces but takes the glass with a grateful nod and promptly empties it. He really didn’t realize how thirsty he was until now.
“Do you want to talk now?” His eyes must look really desperate because Steve stares into them for a long moment before he shuts his own eyes closed and he pinches the bridge of his nose. “Honestly, I would rather talk now…”
Danny makes a noise of protest and Steve gives him a look that for all means and purposes looks like exasperation.
“But it wouldn’t be fair so we’re going to talk once you’re out of the Hospital.”
“Do we…” Danny swallows around the lump in his throat. “Do we have to?”
Steve rubs his face in defeat, “yes, we have to and we will. Don’t think I’m letting you off the hook. Not this time.”
Danny looks up at the ceiling, “alright, alright.”
Silence fills the room and Danny considers falling asleep just to let out of the awkwardness. He clears his throat, “team?”
“They don’t know anything, I only told Jerry when I couldn’t find you. He went through the video feed of the street cameras.”
He feels Steve’s eyes on him but he doesn’t dare to look. Steve doesn’t move from his spot on the chair.
“Then the storm came and I didn’t know where you were.” He sounds almost accusingly, “imagine my surprise when Jerry told me where your car is. I put two and two together and knew where I had to look for, then I remembered the storm and I…” his voice shakes and Danny glances at him, “hundreds of scenarios went through my head, Danny. Hundreds of images of you lying somewhere with a broken neck.” He finishes harshly, his knuckles white from how tight he’s clutching at the armrests.
Danny squeezes his eyes feeling guilty. “I’m sorry.” He manages out, he’s not sure what he’s most sorry about, being stupid or putting Steve through this. He bites at his lip and when he looks at Steve he’s met with such intense stare that he sucks in a breath.
Steve stands up and goes to the door, he stops with his hand on the doorjamb, “you’re going to stay for the night but tomorrow you’ll be discharged and we’ll talk then.” He says, voice strangely strangled.
Danny doesn’t sound any better when he answers with ‘yeah.’
Steve’s leaves the room and Danny finally takes a deep breath.
It’s going to be a long night. He swallows audibly a few times, his insides squeeze into a tight ball but he knows that he needs to talk to Steve.
He’s terrified of the outcome but knowing Steve, knowing how hard he fought for Danny to stay on the island, maybe just maybe he’ll forgive him this temporary moment of weakness.
Maybe they still can be friends.
He slowly falls into a restless sleep.