|A Simple Fix
Author: Faye Dartmouth PM
Danny helps Steve pick up the pieces; Steve returns the favor. A tag to 1.10.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Drama - Steve M. & Danny W. - Words: 3,099 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 80 - Follows: 6 - Published: 11-24-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6501079
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: A Simple Fix
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: I've said it before, but it's always worth repeating. I love this show so very much. This tag was inspired primarily by some comments from moogsthewriter in a post-ep discussion. This tag gives a little extra closure to what both Steve and Danny went through in ep 10 (and a little bit of ep 9). Beta provided by moogsthewriter and sendintheklowns.
Summary: Danny helps Steve pick up the pieces; Steve returns the favor. Tag to 1.10.
Steve sighed. He stood with his arms crossed over his chest, one hand rubbing over his mouth. Somehow, every time he looked, the entire thing just looked worse.
He'd managed to clean up most of the loose debris from the floor, but it was due for some high powered vacuuming when he was done, just to be sure. He'd boarded off the broken windows, and was thankful that Hawaii's temperate climate made them a flexible priority. Things were mostly in order, but the damage to the house itself was another story.
Not that he hadn't made progress. The bullet riddled walls were stripped to the studs and he'd already gotten a good start on removing most of the damaged woodwork. It had taken him longer than he had anticipated, but if he was going to take the time to fix it, he was going to take the time to do it right. That said, it was becoming increasingly clear that even after he replaced the two-by-fours, he'd still have to replace the drywall in some areas and use fresh plaster for the holes that could be patched. All that was before anything resembling painting took place. On top of that, at least one door was a lost cause, and he had to replace the frame around most of the windows on the first floor.
He had supplies - poor quality not withstanding - and he had tools. And he had a weekend in front of him to focus on the job at hand.
Looking back at the damaged house, Steve's confidence wavered. He was tired and there was a lot of work to do. He liked to think of himself as a hands on kind of guy, but after a week with 5-0, the prospect of manual labor made his back ache just in principle.
Of course, tackling the suspect at the triathlon probably didn't help him much.
Wincing, Steve rubbed absently at his back, readjusting his grip on his hammer.
Maybe he should have considered taking Kamekona up on his after all.
Before he could contemplate that concept any further, there was a knock at the door.
Steve turned, putting his hammer down on the coffee table and moving quickly to the door, a little grateful for the reprieve. When he opened it, he was surprised to see Danny standing there.
His partner was shifting from foot to foot, running one hand over the back of his neck. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
Danny gave him a look. "Something wrong?" he asked.
There were a lot of things wrong, but Steve didn't know where to begin. Instead, he shrugged. "No tie?"
"I'm off duty," Danny replied with a shrug of his own. "Ties are a part of being professional, but I do own other clothing in my wardrobe."
For some reason, that thought was perplexing. "I sort of thought they might be an extension of your neck," Steve mused.
Danny offered him a forced smile. "That's funny. Really," he said. After another beat, he looked expectant, nodding toward the door. "You going to invite me in?"
Steve suddenly remembered his manners and stepped out of the way. "Usually you just walk in without knocking," he reminded him. It had been one of Danny's more annoying habits, but no matter how hard Steve had tried to break him of it, his partner was persistent. It was one of Danny's many oddities. He pissed and moaned about getting a warrant to do anything but didn't think twice about invading Steve's private property.
Danny shrugged, moving past him. He gestured with one hand absently from inside Steve's living room. "Only on official police business."
Steve nodded, closing the door behind him, somehow unconvinced. "So you're only an inconsiderate stick in the mud in the name of the law," he said.
Danny moved farther in, looking up at the damaged walls. "Yeah, something like that," he said, and his voice trailed off, the thought hanging almost incomplete between them.
Steve waited for more. With Danny there was always more. A biting remark. A snide criticism. A story about how things were different in Jersey.
But watching his partner, Steve wondered if maybe there just wasn't more today. Danny had been a little off all week. His normal barbs had been blunted, his entire demeanor subdued after closing the case with Rachel.
Steve had picked up on it right away, but Danny hadn't wanted to talk about it. Insulting each other with backhanded compliments was their usual means of coping, but Danny hadn't even given that much effort. Curious as he was, Steve had never wanted to push it, not even in jest. There was a time for joking, and Steve had seen enough of Danny and Rachel to know that for as much of the story he did know, there was a lot he didn't - and more he probably would never have a chance to know.
More than that, he didn't need to. If Danny wanted to talk, Danny would talk. Until then, Steve would humor his poor lunch choices and keep things as normal as possible.
Of course, it was hard to keep things normal when Danny showed up in jeans and a t-shirt and knocked at his door on a Saturday.
After a moment, Danny turned, looking at Steve. "At least I can say I become a normal person on the weekends. You, I figure, are a demented superman all the time."
Steve crossed his arms over his chest and smiled. It was a familiar routine, even if the insults were new. "You know, if you wanted to insult me, you could have just texted me."
Danny looked grim, throwing one hand out and scrunching his forehead. "What, and miss the look on your face?"
Steve continued to nod. "It's okay to admit that simple technology still eludes you."
The other hand went out as well. "Eludes me?" Danny repeated with a heated air of incredulity. "The only thing that eludes me is why people want to waste their time punching tiny buttons when they can just open their mouth and talk to someone."
Classic Danny logic. An attempt at deflection that Steve saw through immediately. He tried to keep himself from grinning when he asked, "Did you try turning it sideways?"
Danny's nose wrinkled and he gestured at nothing somewhat frantically. "I don't have to turn it sideways. I don't have to do anything. Phones are for making calls, not a game of hide and seek with letters."
Steve couldn't help himself. Sometimes, it was just too easy and way too much fun. "They don't text back in Jersey?"
Danny made a dismissive noise, moving one hand up in the air and then moving it in to scratch his ear. Steve had come to know that as Danny's subtle way of being flustered. "I'm sure they do, but I wouldn't know since I don't have the privilege of living there anymore."
It took effort not to laugh. Instead, Steve pursed his lips, trying to look serious. "So if you're not here for texting advice, why are you here again in jeans and a t-shirt on a Saturday?"
Danny shrugged. "I've got Grace this weekend, but she had this pool party thing she wanted to go to and I was out this way," he said, his voice trailing off a little. Then he shrugged, gesturing toward the walls in a grand fashion. "And I figured you might need some help."
Steve stared at him. "Some help?"
"With the house," he said. He shifted his feet and used one hand to move through the air randomly. "It looked like you hadn't gotten very far the last time I was here."
"I haven't had a lot of time," Steve admitted. The triathlon case had been time consuming, and even with the witnesses in custody, there'd been a mess of paperwork, especially when trying to keep in contact with the other cities where robberies had taken place.
"Exactly," Danny said. "And with these kinds of projects, it's best to get them done. Finish them quickly or they never end."
The advice gave Steve pause. He cocked his head critically. "And what would you know about that?"
Danny looked a little surprised. "Know about what?"
"How to repair a house," Steve pushed.
Danny made a face. "I don't know. I just know how."
"You know how to repair a house," Steve confirmed. He nodded to the damaged wall. "You can replace woodwork? Plaster walls?"
Danny rolled his eyes. "Yes, I know how to plaster and replace woodwork," he said. He pointed to the bullet-riddled door. "It's a simple fix. I can even help you hang a door so it will close right."
Steve knew Danny was a good cop. He knew Danny was a good father. He knew Danny was good at ranting and talking with his hands. He knew Danny was excellent when it came to random facts about New Jersey and even better at finding flaws in even the most simplistic plans. But in all of that, he had never pegged Danny for a Bob Vila wannabe.
In fact, the idea of it left Steve momentarily speechless.
Steve's incredulity must have been obvious.
Clearly uncomfortable, Danny repositioned himself, crossing his arms briefly over his chest before one hand got loose and moved in some type of nonverbal self defense. "When Rachel and I got married, the only thing we could afford was a piece of crap house. I bought it and fixed it up for her. I redid the bathroom, the kitchen, all the bedrooms. Laid the carpet, replaced the lighting, added insulation to the attic so we didn't freeze to death in the winter. Even got halfway through finishing the basement."
There was a note of pride in his voice that was hard to miss. It was something to think about. Danny carefully applying plaster, taping off woodwork to paint. Cutting boards and hanging insulation. It didn't seem like something Danny would enjoy.
Though, when he thought about it, Steve wasn't sure what Danny really would enjoy.
Of course, most repair work wasn't for the enjoyment, but because it needed to be done. Steve could probably live with bullet holes, but to think of the years his father put in this house, it didn't seem right.
He wondered if Danny had taken the time for Rachel, to make it a home for her. To try to make a place where she felt at home, where Grace could play.
Shaking off the image, Steve's eyes narrowed. "Only halfway?"
Danny's face darkened a little bit and he tucked one hand in his pocket, using the other to rub his nose. "Rachel got the house when we separated," he said, shrugged a little. His gaze flitted away. "Of course, she sold it right away, but she still got it."
He said it quickly, but Steve could hear the underlying pain. For everything Danny had tried to give Rachel, it had never been enough. And not because Rachel wanted more and not because Rachel didn't realize how much work it was, but because a nice house and a steady paycheck couldn't change the fact that Danny still went to work each day and Rachel never knew if he'd come back. Nothing changed that. Sometimes, not even love.
Not that he could say that anymore than Danny wanted to hear it.
Steve gave a small tilt of his head. "Doesn't exactly say much about your remodeling skills," he pointed out.
Danny scowled with appropriate annoyance. "No, it doesn't say much about Rachel's tolerance for lesser things," he said.
It wasn't exactly true, and they both knew it. However, everyone had some denials they needed, some scapegoats to hold onto, and Danny had never denied Steve his and Steve wasn't about to take away Danny's.
Danny bucked himself up, taking a breath and pulling his hand out of his pocket and holding it out expectantly. "Now are we done with the chitchat because if we want to get anything done, we better get started," he said. "Grace's party only lasts for a few hours."
Danny paused, reaching over to pick up the hammer from the coffee table. With it in hand, he looked back at the wall, a little critically. "Damn," he said. "They really did a number on this place."
Steve followed his gaze, and his stomach tightened a little. "My dad would be pissed," he said. "Always kept the place up immaculately."
Danny nodded for a moment. "One weekend of hard work, and we'll have it just like it was," he promised.
Steve stopped and looked at his partner again. Really looked at him. "We will?" he said skeptically. "I thought you only had a few hours."
"Until I have to get Grace," Danny said, his eyes meeting Steve's. His mouth turned down in a nonchalant frown. "She's actually not bad with a hammer, but just don't tell her mother that we spent the weekend playing with nails or she may sic her lawyer on me."
Danny said it so plainly, a simple matter of fact. And not because he liked fixing houses and not because he didn't know what else to do with his time. But because Steve needed the help and Danny understood that. He understood that Steve didn't want to do this - not alone. Somehow, implicitly and completely understood.
Danny's brow furrowed uncomfortably. He gestured, hammer still in hand. "Are you just going to stare at me or are you going to hand me some nails so we can start getting to work?"
Danny was going to help him repair his father's house. Steve couldn't use a hammer and nails to fix the things in Danny's life that needed repair, but it wasn't about that. Whether or not Danny knew how to hang drywall or retexture a wall, it was about being there. Putting the time in, working side by side.
That was what partners did. They replaced woodwork and follow each other's leads and played backup even in the most foolhardy plans. They ate lunch together and fought in the car and even when words couldn't fix it, they showed up on a Saturday and tried.
With a sigh of exasperation, Danny moved past him, leaning over to pick up a box of nails. He shook his head. "Fine," he muttered. "I guess I'll get them."
For a moment, Steve had one last hesitation. "You sure you want to do this?"
Danny looked at him, face scrunched with confusion. "Am I sure I want to do this?" he asked. He threw his hands out as if the answer was obvious. "I'm here, aren't I?"
That was what mattered. That was why it was worth it. That was why while Steve had sympathy for why Rachel left, he would never truly understand. Because Danny was difficult and abrasive, he was opinionated and stubborn, but he was always there when it mattered. Always. Without fail.
Steve smiled. "Yeah," he agreed. "You are."
"Good," Danny said, moving toward the wall. "So you have new beams to replace these?" He leaned over, pocketing the nails and picking up a piece of wood. "I hope you're not seriously considering using these."
Steve shrugged, following him. "What, they're the best the island has to offer."
Danny snorted. "I'd believe that," he said. "But seriously, we need to get you something that's not going to fall apart in two years because I may be giving you this weekend, but I don't plan on doing it again for another ten years. At least."
Steve frowned in consideration. "Ten years?"
"Assuming you haven't gotten me killed," Danny amended, putting the piece of wood down and picking up another.
"I didn't almost get you killed this case," Steve said.
"No? So me hiding in a pantry with two killers in the house was just normal?"
Steve shrugged. "It's by far one of the least dangerous investigations we've had so far."
"Yeah, because you're comparing it against the time I got shot and the time we were holed up in your house with a dictator," he scoffed, weighing another piece of wood. "This one will do. You ready?"
"You sure you need me?" Steve asked. He motioned to Danny and his pile of wood. "You seem to be doing quite well by yourself."
Danny glowered. "Shut up and give me a hand or I'll start hammering your head instead of the wood."
"You're an angry person, you know that?" Steve said.
Danny shook his head. "Yes, I know that," he said. "That's what makes me normal, unlike the rest of you laid-back freaks on this so-called paradise."
Steve didn't reply, but he didn't have to. Danny's rants often required no input from him, and from the sound of him, he was just getting started. It was probably going to be a long weekend, at this rate.
Long, but productive. Careful, deliberate work, covering up bullet holes and replacing wood. It wouldn't change what had happened - nothing could - but it would help Steve move on.
And with every joke Steve tossed at Danny, with every diatribe he offered back, it wouldn't change what Danny had been through with Rachel - nothing could do that either - but it would help Danny move on.
And from where Steve was standing, Danny at his side, the entire thing somehow seemed to look a whole lot better.