Summary: Set right after the season finale What you see is what you see. Spoilers for thatand On The Job, Tanglewood and more.It's been a bad few weeks for Danny Messer. It's about to get worse when he suddenly falls seriously ill.
Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Messer or any of the characters in the fabulous show CSI: New York. I'm writing this fanfic for entertainment purposes only and am not earning a cent from it.
Seriously, he shouldn't have gone in. He should've just pretended that he didn't care, but he wanted to know so badly that his feet were walking before he could stop them. And he found himself in Mac's office, eventually asking the question:
"Me and you. We good?"
It seemed as if a long silence stretched between the two of them before the former Marine answered: "We'll see."
Danny supposed that was good an answer as any. Better than the stony silence that Mac had given him the last time they had a "talk" in his office. Back then, Mac's lack of response towards the end had hit him like a sack of bricks in his gut. This time …well, he'll just have to live with it. At least there is some hope that they're gonna be okay.
As he walked out of Mac's office, he tried to suppress a shiver than ran through his body. He cast a furtive glance towards Aiden and heaved a sigh of relief when he realized that she was so busy with the reports on her desk that she hadn't noticed his little moment of weakness.
Bad enough that she was nagging him about the psych evaluation. He didn't need her to nag him about a simple cold now.
On his way out of the exit, Danny shrugged on his coat, cursing the persistent cold that had nagged him for almost a week now. It wasn't bad. He could just ignore it – had ignored countless of colds before that, so he had good practice. But it got in the way of his concentration at a time when he needed it most.
And it chose to attack him at the best time too – just a few days after the disastrous IAB investigation on his role in the cop shooting.
He got into his car and promised himself that he'd spend the weekend sleeping. Suppressing yet another shudder, Danny muttered to himself: "Better than facing Hillborn on Monday." He pictured Chief Dwight Hillborn's sour face and grimaced.
It was as if the IAB, annoyed that they couldn't bring any solid charges against him, wanted to make his life as difficult as possible on his way out of their investigation. It didn't matter that he'd already earn a permanent black mark in his record and that he was off the promotion grid – you just don't shoot one of your own.
And he didn't have any doubt that they'd be interested in the results of the psych evaluation.
Thinking about the whole cop-shooting affair and the impending "formality" with the IAB soured his mood so much that by the time he reached his apartment, he was grumpy enough not to greet Mrs Ecklemen knitting at her usual spot in the lounge area. But Shannon, his next door neighbour, was harder to ignore.
"You okay, today?" she asked as he inserted his key into the door to his apartment. She gave him a bright smile and brushed a lock of blonde hair away from her face.
Shannon didn't know about the cop shooting. Just knew that he had a hard time at work the past few weeks.
He wanted to brush her off with a curt, "Fine", but Shannon had this ability to make him smile – just like Aiden did, actually – no matter the situation.
He gave her a wry smile. "As good as it can be," he said vaguely.
"That bad, huh?"
He gave her a weak smile.
"Well, you know what? Sandy says thanks for not reporting Rocky last week," she threw him another dazzling smile as she leaned against the doorjamb. Sometimes it mystified him why a gorgeous blonde bombshell like Shannon would be throwing him smiles like that. Not that he complained.
Sandy, by the way, was her cousin from Iowa, who tried to smuggle her mutt Rocky into the apartment two weeks ago. They would've been successful if not for him suddenly stepping out to the corridor while they were opening the door. Instead of reporting them in, he'd given Rocky an ear scratch – which made promptly made the mutt his slave.
"Sure thing. If you tell me, the super's being an ass with the ban on pets," he said.
"Yeah, you're telling me. I mean, Rocky was such a sweetie. Not even a single bark."
Not one who excelled in small talk, he ran out of ideas for topics fast. "Uh, so …" he gestured awkwardly towards his door.
"Oh, right!" Shannon smiled sheepishly. "I'll see ya." She gave him a last smile before slipping into her apartment.
Danny closed the door to his apartment behind him and muttered, "Danny, you schmuck. When are you going to ask her out already?"
As he walked into his simple one bedroom apartment, he shrugged off his coat, tossed it one side and removed his car keys. That, he tossed on the dining table. With a heavy sigh, he sank into the beat up sofa in the living room and buried his head in his hands.
Damn, he ached. His body felt like a tonne of bricks, and it was hard to maintain a façade of health when he was going around trying to help Mac with the coffee shop shooting case. Then there was the psych eval, which drained him even further. At the end of the day, he wondered how he had the strength to even stand, let alone confront Mac.
"Man, Danny Messer. How you've fucked up," he muttered into his hands.
It could've been much worst, he supposed. They could've foundout just how far he was entangled with the Tanglewood Boys. Not that he's a naive fool who thinks that they'd never find out. He knew that Mac, being the kind of investigator he was, would discover the whole truth one day. He was just buyin' time. Now, they were both dancing around each other. Mac is now suspicious about him while he tried hard to allay Mac's suspicions. And Mac knew that he was being played.
Everything he's worked for … it all comes to nothing. Because it's true what they say – you can't leave the past behind. It comes running after you and when it catches up, it'll never let you go.
"He's trying … but…" he had sighed and closed Danny's report when Stella had asked him earlier. He pretty much still felt the same way. Danny might be trying, but he's trying for all the wrong reasons.
Maybe he should've listened when Deckman, his former partner, had hinted that Danny was a loose cannon. Watching Danny crucify himself with the cop-shooting case not only frustrated him, it made him remember Deckman's words about the man.
"Maybe you should reconsider, heh?" Deckman said as he wolfed down his hot dog.
Mac frowned. "Danny Messer is a fine Detective, Deckman. And an even better CSI."
"Sure," Deckman replied, not taking his eyes off his meal. "But the guy has secrets."
"Everyone has secrets,' he shot back.
This time, Deckman stared him right in the eye. "But your secrets don't put others in danger, does it?"
After the Tanglewood case, Deckman's words came back to haunt him. Secrets. And Danny seemed to have them. And he was not parting with them anytime soon. He remembered how surprised and disappointed he was when Sonny hinted about Danny's involvement with the Tanglewood Boys. At first he e thought it was just Sonny trying to rattle him. But the more unpredictable got, the more his suspicions grew. He wanted to give Danny the benefit of the doubt, but his behaviour lately had been making that more than impossible.
Deckman must've known more than he had let on. He would've followed up on that after the Tanglewood case if not for the unfortunate fact that Deckman died of a heart attack a month after their earlier conversation.
"Hey, how did that date go?"
He looked up in surprise at Stella, still dressed in her knockout number, standing at the door to his office much like she did a few hours ago.
"What are you doing back at work at this hour?" he asked in surprise. The office was shrouded in darkness except for the light from his computer monitor.
"Could say the same for you," she shot back, giving him her trademark grin. "So? Spill!" she demanded as she seated herself on the seat in front of his table.
He shrugged. "We had a couple of drinks. Dinner …"
Stella nodded. "And you drove back here to do some late night work?" she said, making it sound as if it was the lamest thing he ever did.
"No, I dropped her off first. Then I drove back here to do some late night work."
Stella gave a short laugh and arched an eyebrow. "One step at a time …." She drawled.
"How about your date?" he said in retaliation. It was only fair that she got the same grilling.
She leaned back, crossed her arms and grinned mischievously. "That's P and C."
"Doesn't sound fair," he deadpanned.
She only gave him another grin and her gaze shifted to the opened folder on his table.
"Danny's psych evaluation? You're more concerned than you let on, Detective Mac Taylor," she said, her tone serious.
Mac sighed heavily and rubbed his forehead tiredly.
"Hillborn's not willing to let it go. Danny and I got to meet him on Monday."
"What in the world for?"
"A 'formality'. His words. Hillborn is interested in the psych evaluation. He thinks that Danny is … 'not good for the field'. Probably wants to see if he still has a case."
"No matter what they say about Danny, we know he's a capable CSI. Once the 'formality' is over, it's over." she said hotly, her voice firm.
Mac mulled over what she said, wishing to God that it was true.