Title: Heard It Through The Grapevine
Beta: Alex/Odysseus and Onigami/Lorne
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not even the socks I'm wearing. I stole those from my sister.
Don watched as Sheldon moved around his apartment, unpacking his bag, putting away the cards, flowers and chocolates he'd gotten during his stay in the hospital, and finally, much to Don's surprise, four bags of groceries that he hadn't even noticed. He had, however, noticed Sheldon himself. The normally calm, centered man could not stop fidgeting. He was nervous, Don concluded. But… about what?
"Shel?" he asked, from his 'supervisory' position on the couch.
His eyebrows flew up into his hairline as Sheldon started; nearly dropping the carton of orange juice he was holding. He tried to get up, then thought better of it as his abused torso protested even the smallest movement. He lay back on the couch, looking up at the other man intently.
"Shel?" he asked again, this time with a hint of concern in his voice.
"Sorry," Sheldon gave a smile that even Don could see was forced, "You startled me, that's all…"
Don gave him his best interrogation look, "It's not all, though, is it?"
Sheldon looked at Don, then looked away, almost flinching at the look in the detective's intense blue eyes. He kept his head down, staying silent and still for a moment. Then, when Don thought he wasn't going to get any kind of answer, Sheldon slowly shook his head.
"So what is it, Shel? Ya know you can talk to me, right?" Don said, still trying to look the other man in the eyes.
Sheldon stayed quiet, not wanting to say anything, but wanting to say everything at the same time. He kept his head down. Don sighed, wishing for at least the hundredth time since he got home that he could move more than a couple of inches without hurting. He wanted to reach over and put his arm around the dark-skinned man's shoulder, turn his head to face him and demand to know what was going on. But he knew that would more than likely land him back in the hospital. So he settled for nudging Sheldon with his foot.
"Come on, Shel…" he spoke softly, still craning his neck to try and see Sheldon's face.
When he didn't get an answer, Don sighed again and changed tactics, "Stella told me, ya know… about the thing with the music…"
Sheldon's head snapped up, "She what?!" he made a move to get up, more skittish now than ever before.
"Hey! Hey, easy, go easy…" Don soothed him as best he could, poking him again with his toe, wishing he could do more.
Sheldon shook his head again, finally turning his eyes up to meet Don's, "You don't understand… it was my fault!"
"What, Shel?" another nudge with his foot, "What was your fault?" Don tentatively tried reaching a hand out to him, but hissed in pain as his injuries burned.
"That!" Sheldon exclaimed, pointing to where Don was now holding his ribs gingerly.
Don frowned, uncurling his hands from his abused ribs, "How? How is this, your fault? It ain't your fault, Shel…"
Sheldon looked at him, self-recrimination and doubt in his eyes, "It is. I didn't get to you in time. Something was going to happen that day. I knew it. And it didn't get there in time," his head turned away and he slumped back down on the couch, carefully, to avoid causing Don any pain, even in his misery, careful of Don and his injuries.
Another nudge with Don's foot didn't make Sheldon look at him. However, a sharp kick in the stomach, did. As the doctor let out a pained grunt, turning to glare at the homicide detective, Don scowled at him, reaching out a hand, ignoring the burn in his side. Sheldon now had two choices, reach over and take Don's hand, letting the detective sit back on the couch, or don't take his hand and watch him do more injury to himself. His gentle nature won out. Sheldon reached over reluctantly and took hold of Don's hand, allowing himself to be pulled towards the other man as Don sank back against the couch cushions.
Not letting go of Sheldon's hand, Don gave it a gentle squeeze, "Hey, hey… Now you listen and listen good. Not one damn bit of this is your fault. Mac blamed himself too, but it ain't his fault either," he squeezed Sheldon's hand again, tugging until the doctor turned his face back to him, "It ain't nobody's fault 'cept the crazy son-of-a-bitch who set that bomb, ya hear?"
He waited for Sheldon's reluctant nod before he would release his hand. He knew the doctor didn't believe him. He also knew that something more than the blast was bothering Shel. Don rested himself back against the pillows, looking at the doctor. He frowned sympathetically, intense blue eyes never leaving Sheldon's downcast face.
"Shel?" Don asked softly, hooking a foot around the other man's knee to stop him shying away.
There was no answer from the dark-skinned man, so Don tried again, "Shel, what's bothering you? It's not the blast… well… not just the blast…"
Sheldon's head turned to him, slowly, eyes still downcast, "No… it's not just the blast. The blast just made it worse."
Softly, as though he were talking to a frightened animal, Don spoke, "Made what worse, Shel?"
"I nearly lost you… I heard it twice… heard you nearly die, twice…" Sheldon shook his head, "And I'm still not making any sense."
But despite the pain medication that had fuzzed up Don Flack's head, despite the doctor's confusing words, things slowly began to fall into place in Flack's mind. Sheldon had only gone looking for his, Don's, mobile number in the GPS tracker. Sheldon had, according to Danny, brought out his EMT kit; which hadn't seen the light of day since 9/11. Sheldon had, according to Stella, been all but having a panic attack when he realized that he couldn't use his other abilities to help with the blast case, Don's injuries. It all came back to him, Don belatedly realized. Every bit of Sheldon's pain and insecurity since that day had come back to… him… to Don Flack.
"It's makin' more sense than ya think, Shel…" Don said this last quietly, his eyes still locked onto Sheldon.
He locked his foot more firmly around Sheldon's knee and hurried on, "Shel… Shel… it's ok… it's ok…" he said as the doctor's eyes widened and he tried to stand up, "Shel, hey, hey…" he reached his hand out, wincing as his ribs pulled again, "Sheldon…"
The use of his full name made Sheldon pause, giving Don time to continue, "Sheldon… Shel… it's ok… hell, it's more than ok," the lanky homicide detective blushed slightly before continuing, "It's actually the best news I've heard since the blast."
Sheldon stared at Don like the proverbial stunned mullet, "Best…?" he managed to force out.
Don nodded, looking up at him, "Best news ever…" he reached out a hand towards him again, "Come on, Shel, little leeway for the cripple, here."
Sheldon smiled softly, taking Don's hand and allowing himself to be pulled towards the other man. Without letting go of Don's hand, Sheldon shifted slightly, easing himself so he rested above the other man, his weight on his hips and arm. He looked down at Don, marveling at the look in his eyes. Then, careful not to hurt the injured man, Sheldon leaned down and chastely pressed his lips to Don's, smiling into the kiss as the other man sighed happily.
He pulled back, still leaning on his arm and hips, grinning as Don slowly opened his eyes and said, "So… still lookin' for that Thai, doc?"
Sheldon eased himself back so he was still sitting comfortably next to Don, "Well, yeah… why do you think I came home with you?" he grinned good-naturedly as the homicide detective gave him a mock-pout.
He stood up carefully, making sure he didn't bump Don in the process. Making his way over to the phone he ordered what Don thought was enough food to feed an army. Then he sat back down, resting a hand on the other man's thigh. He waited until the food arrived, eating and watching the other man. He watched as Don's eyelids drooped, head nodding. He poked him gently.
"Don… Don, come on… I'll save you some food… pain pills, then bed, I think…" Sheldon eased his arm around Don's back, helping him up.
The two made their way slowly down to the bedroom, Sheldon easing the injured man down onto the bed. Don's face was already pinched with pain even from that short walk. Sheldon sighed, reaching out and tipping two pain pills into Don's hand. Don pulled a face but obediently popped them into his mouth, accepting the glass of water Sheldon held out with a wan smile. Sheldon lay down next to him, facing the other man and stayed there, one hand resting on Don's uninjured hip. He moved his hand in slow, soothing circles, watching as the pain pills took effect and Don's eyes slowly closed, his breathing evened out and he began to snore lightly.
Sheldon had had every intention of getting up straight afterwards, but as Don's breathing evened out and he slowly relaxed, so too did Sheldon, the doctor's eyes slipping closed and following the detective's into sleep. He blinked his eyes open the next morning, glancing over at Don's still-sleeping face. He smiled, noting how peaceful and boyish the detective looked in sleep. He watched the other man for a while, before carefully easing his way out of the bed.
Quietly, he made his way down to the kitchen. He opened the fridge and eyed off its contents. Don couldn't exactly eat leftover Thai for breakfast. He debated for a minute, before finally pulling out the carton of eggs. Scrambled eggs was something he could do without causing the next natural disaster to hit New York. He nosed around Don's kitchen, opening and closing drawers until he found everything he was looking for. Then, brandishing a wooden spoon he began the task of making breakfast.
As he snooped around the kitchen trying to find Don's coffee, Sheldon was struck by the silence. He normally had music playing in his apartment, not just for the obvious reason of wanting to hear what the day had in store for him. Sheldon frowned, glancing around the kitchen until his eyes settled on an old radio, nestled between, ironically, the coffee and the coffee pot. Grabbing the coffee with one hand, Sheldon flicked on the radio, then grabbed the coffee pot and pulled it towards him, humming along to the song that floated out from the speakers.
been a hard day's night, and I'd been working like a dog,
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log,
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright.
So why on earth should I moan, coz when I get you
You know I feel OK.'
Curiosity won out and Sheldon closed his eyes, letting the music flow over him and through him. He listened carefully, holding his breath in anticipation, waiting, listening, hoping. He let out his breath in a sigh, not hearing anything in the song. He turned back to the stove, reaching for the wooden spoon again. Then he froze.
Intermixed with the melody, a breathy moan met his ears, 'Damn, Don…'
His eyes widened almost comically, the wooden spoon falling from nerveless fingers, 'God… Shel…' was followed by a sigh that hitched halfway through.
Sheldon reached out a hand he refused to admit was trembling and switched off the radio. Taking a deep, calming breath, he bent down and retrieved the wooden spoon, rinsing it off in the sink. He smiled to himself, eyeing the radio over his shoulder. Some things were better if you didn't see them coming…