Author's Note: It started as a drabble challenge, and then I decided I wanted to see where it would go. Special thanks to Cindy for her encouragement! Thanks to everyone else who's been reading; I hope you continue to enjoy my stories.
There is nothing worse than feeling sick, except feeling sick in paradise. The sun continues to shine irritatingly bright. The heat coming from the sun is uncomfortable, not soft and warm like the heat from a cocoon of blankets. There is one thing worse than being sick in paradise; that is being sick in paradise with unfinished paperwork up to your ears, and trying to hide how awful you are feeling. It's miserable, exactly how Danny's day was going, and it was barely ten o'clock.
Dan tiredly rubbed his eyes, and swallowed an aspirin with a gulp of now lukewarm coffee. Discreetly pinpointing the locations of the other office occupants, Dan pulled open a desk drawer and rummaged through until he found what he was looking for. A tiny first aid kit was housed on the bottom of the drawer covered by a random assortment of mismatched files and loose leaf papers. If Danny was lucky a small thermometer could still be found in the tiny kit. Yes, there it was. He removed the thermometer carefully, hoping to keep the small tool concealed from the others in the office. Danny looked at it for a moment. He felt so miserable that he must have a fever, but he was not sure if he really wanted to know. Right now he could keep pretending he was fine. If Danny discovered he did indeed have a fever he was uncertain if he could keep himself from collapsing.
"Danno" Steve's sharp voice came from near the doorway of his cubical. Danny swiveled around quickly, wiping any traces of illness off his face while unobtrusively sliding the thermometer in his hand under the files covering his desk.
"Yeah Steve?" Danny said hoping his tiredness didn't betray him in his voice.
"We just got the evidence we need to pick up Kramer. Let's go" Steve led the charge to the door, with Danny following close behind, albeit more slowly.
Jenny looked sympathetically at the young man in the cubicle. Danny looked miserable, she was sure he wasn't feeling his best. She had been quietly observing his slumped shoulders and head in his hands before reaching into her desk for some aspirin and tissues, and standing to give them to the youngest detective. Then Steve came out of his office and immediately Danny's slumped shoulders and the look of illness disappeared.
A moment later Steve bolted to the door, with Danny following him, somehow managing to look much better than the slumped shouldered figure she had seen moments before. She shook her head and returned to her work. Normally she prided herself on her powers of observation, but everyone could have an off day she supposed.
The car ride was awful, Danny wanted nothing more than to slump against the door and rest his warm head against the cool window. He couldn't do that, especially now that they were so close to getting Kramer, he wanted that creep badly.
The car rolled silently to the curb, a feat in itself; normally Steve's driving could be heard miles away. A matching Mercury pulled up behind the first and Kono leapt from the car.
"Kono," Steve called quietly to the Hawaiian. "You and Danno take the back." Kono nodded his acknowledgement before hurrying around to the back of the house. Danny trudged along behind, trying to keep a spring in his step so he wouldn't alarm his friends. He needn't have worried about them noticing. Kono had rounded the corner and Steve was intent on making his way to the front door.
Kono was already in place when Danny reached the back of the house. Drawing his gun Danny followed the detective's example. They waited in silence.
"Kramer," Steve bellow broke the silence. "This is McGarrett." A scrambling could be heard through the house. Danny and Kono positioned themselves to stop the escape. "Come out of there with your hands up." The back door rustled and burst open. A body hurtled through the air towards Danny, who didn't have time to brace. Truth be told, with the way he was feeling he could have been given a five minute warning and still wouldn't have been ready to hold back the man who outweighed him by at least 30 pounds.
Danny went down with a jarring thud. Luckily Kono was better prepared and brought down Kramer just as Steve rounded the corner of the house. Seeing that Kono had the suspect secure Steve headed over to his youngest detective.
"Danno, you okay?" Steve asked concerned.
"Yeah, I'm fine Steve," Danny said waving him away. Sure he was fine; he just didn't know how he was going to get up. He ached, bones, muscles, even his skin. Steve reached down and gave Danny a hand up. Danny accepted reluctantly, but grateful. Steve pulled him to his feet and Danny let loose a groan. At Steve's concerned look he answered. "I'm fine Steve. Kramer's just built like a lineman, and I'm not as young as I used to be."
Steve slapped Danny on the back, the latter trying to hide his discomfort. "Book him, Kono."
Danny had followed Steve out of the office, now he followed him in, hobbling. Jenny looked up in concern.
"Don't worry Honey," Steve reassured. "Danny's just not as good a football player as our suspect was." Jenny smiled but the concern didn't leave her eyes.
Danny shuffled his way to the coffee pot. He clasped the steaming cup in his hand, wishing he could fit into the warm mug, but physics went against him. He must have a fever, the tackle had hurt but it hadn't been anything that would leave this achiness in his joints. First chance he got he was going to take his temperature. Little did he know the secretary sitting behind him was thinking the same thing.
The office was a bustle of activity for the next hour. Danny had slouched in his chair only to be miraculously revived any time someone came near. Jenny watched the scene play out again and again. When Kono stopped in Danny's cubicle after booking the suspect Danny was instantly rejuvenated to crack jokes with his friend. Chin came by looking for a file and Danny made another miraculous recovery. Steve checked again on Danny, still a bit worried about his fall earlier, but Danny had regained instant health, for those few minutes.
Danny's miserably slumped posture was a clue to his feeling ill. Jenny hadn't been a cop's secretary all these years without picking up a thing or two about observation. And now she could stand no more of it. She began to brew some hot water for tea and decided to summon Steve for his luncheon meeting several minutes earlier than necessary. Without question Steve trusted his faithful secretary's judgment and left the office. Now only Danny and Jenny remained in the office. Both knew Danny was sick, so there was no reason for him to try to hide it any longer.
Jenny picked up the mug and walked quietly into Danny's cubicle. Danny's head was turned away from the door.
"Danny?" Jenny questioned, startling the young man. He turned, hiding something behind his back, and went into his perky routine.
"Hey, Jenny." His acting skills were fading now as the toll of the morning was wearing on him. His face looked flushed and his eyes were tired and sick. Jenny handed him the cup of tea.
"You don't have to try to keep up this routine. I can tell you're feeling lousy," Jenny smiled sympathetically at him. "You don't look so good."
Danny let down his guard. "I don't feel so good," he admitted. Jenny reached over and put a hand on his forehead.
"Oh, you're really warm," she said, surprised he could obviously have such a fever and still manage to fool more than half of the office into thinking he was alright.
Danny brought his hand from behind his back. He was holding a thermometer. "I've been trying to take my temperature, but I keep getting interrupted."
"Let's take it now, everyone's gone." Jenny commanded slipping into her mothering mode. She quickly shook down the thermometer and stuck it in her patient's mouth. Danny sat looking miserable while Jenny carefully kept watch on the time.
"100.5, Danny, you should go home and get some rest." Jenny said after reading the number.
"No, I've got too much work to do, and it will just keep piling up," Danny argued. "Besides, my temperature's not too high."
"It's high enough," Jenny began before she realized she wouldn't win this argument. But she knew who would. She would just wait until Steve came back and made it an order. "Alright, but why don't you lie down on the couch in Steve's office for a while. I'll let you know before he gets back." Danny reluctantly agreed to the nap and it wasn't long before he was sound asleep.
The mothering instinct in Jenny caused her to continue to check on the young man as he slept. He was beginning to feel warmer than before and she was starting to get worried. Danny murmured indistinguishably in his restless sleep. He sighed and shivered and looked just like a sick little boy. Jenny gently brushed his sandy curls off of his damp forever and continued her vigil next to Danny waiting for Steve or one of the other detectives to come back to the office. She debated calling Steve out of his meeting, but decided against it when she suddenly thought of the one person who had more authority than Steve McGarrett. She hesitated a second before picking up the phone and calling Dr. Bergman.
Steve walked through the parking lot enjoying the glorious sunshine. He was glad he had decided to walk instead of drive. He needed to take more opportunities like this, and increase his vitamin D intake.
"Steve," he heard his name being called and looked around for the voice.
"Doc, what are you doing here?" Steve asked when he had located the owner of the voice stepping out of his car.
"Jenny called me and said I should get over here right away, something about Danny," Doc let the unasked question hang in the air.
"Danno got tackled by a suspect this morning. He said he was okay though," Steve's worry kicked into over drive.
"Well you know the kid; he's always 'fine' until it turns into something serious." Realizing what he just said the duo fairly ran up the stairs and burst into the office.
"Jenny?" Steve called when they entered the empty office. Quickly Jenny crossed to the door, put a finger to her lips and shushed the boss.
"What's going on?"
"Danny's asleep on the couch. He's got a fever," Jenny voiced concerned.
Steve entered the office and looked down on the youngest detective. His face was more flushed than before. Steve frowned.
"How long has he been sick?" Doc asked setting his bag down on Steve's desk and began to rummage through it.
"He's been sick all morning, and trying to hide it. After you left, Steve, I took his temperature and convinced him to take a nap. He's been getting warmer all afternoon"
Steve crouched next to his young friend "Danno?" Steve put a hand on Danny's shoulder and tried to gently wake him. "Wake up Danno."
Danny grunted uncomfortably, and shifted in his sleep. A moment later his tired blue eyes opened and he looked up at Steve. Then he looked around embarrassed to have been caught asleep on the couch.
"Sorry Steve, I must have dozed off." Danny said sheepishly as he started to sit up.
"No, you stay there, Danno. You're really sick" Steve said placing a cool hand on Danny's warm forehead. "And you've got a fever, bruddah."
"I don't feel very warm," Danny shivered involuntarily. Jenny magically appeared and pressed another cup of hot tea into Danny's hands. He huddled over it, thanked her and then scolded. "You promised you'd wake me."
Doc stepped into Danny's line of sight now, eliciting a groan from the youngest detective.
"Danny, I hear you're not feeling so well. What have you gotten yourself into this time," Doc teased as he set his bag on the coffee table.
"I'm not that sick. They didn't need to call you," Danny grumbled shooting a look at Jenny and Steve.
"Well, Dr. Williams, I think you need a second opinion." Doc said as he pulled a thermometer out of his bag. "Keep this under your tongue, and don't talk." He instructed before turning to Jenny. "What did you say his temperature was before?"
"100.5, that was about an hour ago. It looks like the nap made him feel worse though," Jenny replied. Doc nodded and reached for Danny's wrist to check his pulse. Doc grunted then pulled the thermometer out of Danny's mouth.
"You're temp is up, 101.7" Doc commented. Danny nodded absently when he heard the number. Yep, now that he knew his fever was high there was no way he was going to make it anywhere. Doc asked a few more questions and continued his examination, poking and prodding. He gently felt the gland in Danny's neck. Doc grunted every so often and pursed his lips. Then he turned Danny's head slightly and pulled the collar of Danny's shirt away from his neck. "Mmhm," he said when he saw a small red dot.
"Well Doc?" Steve asked impatiently, worry about his young detective's sudden illness.
Doc turned and looked at Steve. "It's chicken pox," he stated simply.
"Chicken pox," Steve repeated incredulously
"Chicken pox?" Danny croaked out.
"Chicken pox," Doc reaffirmed.
"Didn't you have them as a kid Danno?" Steve asked.
Danny shrugged, "I don't really know. I don't remember and there isn't even anyone I know to ask."
Steve looked sympathetically at his young colleague. He remembered when he'd had chicken pox as a child. The whole experience was miserable, and he wouldn't wish that on anybody, especially Danno.
"So, what do we do Doc?" Steve asked.
"Not much. Wait it out and treat the symptoms. Lots of rest, fluids, he'll need someone checking up on him," Doc replied. "I'll give you a list of thing to get and do Steve. Right now, just get this boy home and in bed." He patted Danny on the shoulder. "I'll be by to check on you later too. Just remember, no scratching."
Danny had insisted that they stop at the store on the way to his apartment, to save Steve a trip later. Danny trudged up the stairs to his apartment with Steve following behind, arms laden with packages, which he wouldn't let Danny carry. Danny made an initial protest, but in all honesty was relieved when Steve ignored him. He wasn't sure he would have made it up the stairs if he had to carry something. Danny opened the door and entered the kitchen to help Steve put away the packages.
"No, Danno, go get into bed. I can manage this," Steve said as he started putting packages away.
"Thanks Steve," Danny started to leave and paused at the doorway. "And I'm sorry," Danny apologized.
"What, for getting sick? That's not your fault. No one asks for chicken pox," Steve brushed off the apology.
"Yeah, but if I had gotten them when I was supposed to, I wouldn't have them now," Danny countered.
Steve stated at Danny in disbelief. "Now I know you've got a fever, apologizing for not getting sick as a kid!" Steve exclaimed. "Go to bed you need your sleep." He watched Danny leave, and tried very hard not to stomp around the kitchen like he felt like doing. He knew Danno could have an overworked sense of guilt, but this really took the cake. Imagine apologizing for not getting chicken pox as a kid, ridiculous!
It was early the next morning when Steve quietly let himself into Danny's apartment. He had checked on Danny twice yesterday after leaving to go back to work. Both times Danny had been sleeping, so Steve had refilled juice glasses, fixed the blankets, checked Danny's temperature and left without disturbing the ill young man. And Danny had remained oblivious through it all.
Steve silently eased the door to Danny's bedroom open. Danny shifted restlessly in his sleep. Steve walked quietly up to Danny's bedside. He looked compassionately at Danny; the young man's was covered in chicken pox. Steve gently placed the back of his hand on Danny's forehead. Danny stirred in his sleep. Slowly his blue eyes flickered open and came to rest on the figure standing over him.
"Steve?" Danny whispered hoarsely.
"How are you feeling?" Steve asked.
"Miserable," Danny answered sitting up. "I'm hot, I'm cold, and I itch." Danny said and as if to emphasize a point he twitched his itching nose.
"Well, don't scratch," Steve warned sternly. "Did you see that list Doc made? There was a lot of stuff on there that might help." Steve picked up the list. "I remember when I had the chicken pox my mother swore by an oatmeal bath."
"Yeah, I saw that on the list, but I thought I might fall asleep and drown. Though now that might be a better alternative than the death of a thousand itches," Danny grinned weakly.
Steve smiled too. "I've got some time before I need to be in the office. I'll stick around; knock on the door if you're too quiet." Danny nodded. "I'll get you some more juice, and then I'll fix your bath."
"Thanks Steve," Danny said gratefully. "I know you don't want to hear it, but I really am sorry. I know there a lot of stuff to do at the office, and I'm sorry I got sick."
Steve smiled at Danny. "I know Danno. Don't worry about it."
Jenny finished taking a message for Steve and stood up. "Anything else Steve?" she asked.
Steve sat deep in thought for a minute. "Jenny," he finally began. "Am I really that much of an ogre that Danny thinks he has to apologize for getting sick and taking time off?"
Jenny smiled. "I think Danny just learned from the best," she replied, as she started from the room.
"What do you mean?" Steve's question stopped her.
"Danny's your protégé, he's learned a lot from you, and even picked up on some of your bad habits. How would you feel right now if you had the chicken pox? Probably upset that you needed to take the time off, probably trying to take over the investigation, by phone if necessary." Jenny laughed quietly.
Steve looked at Jenny, knowing she was more than right. "You know, you're really smart, pretty lady."
"Well, you can't work with a couple of super cops without picking up some of their observations skills." A wide grin split her face. "For me it's more of self-defense, someone has to tattle on you fellows when you're sick."
Danny curled into the side of the couch. His blanket flowed like a shroud around him. He was just so sick and tired of being sick and tired. Danny stared at the TV, his eyes blurred and crossed. He couldn't keep them open a moment longer. Then an itch tickled its way across his spine. Danny squirmed, and bit his lip. He closed his eyes. There the itchiness went again. He tried to ignore it, but the message was screaming loud and clear. He shifted, and his back scraped against the couch. A moment of relief, and it wasn't really scratching, he rationalized.
A knock sounded softly on the door. Danny contemplated getting up to answer it. "Come in," he croaked, deciding that he was finally comfortable enough that he didn't want to move.
Steve entered the apartment, and tried not to smile at the sight of his friend's spots covered in pink lotion. "I guess Jenny was here," Steve said, swallowing a chuckle that tried to escape.
"Why didn't you warn me?" Danny asked.
"And what would you have done?"
"I don't know, pretend I wasn't home. I never thought I'd be wearing cosmetics," Danny grumbled.
"It's not a cosmetic—" Steve began but Danny interrupted.
"It's from a drug store, and it's pink."
Steve couldn't hold back the laugh this time. "She's one determined woman," Steve said. "She just cares about you."
Danny cracked a half-hearted smile. "Yeah," he agreed.
"Is the lotion helping?" Steve asked.
Reluctantly Danny replied, "yeah, but don't tell Jenny." He closed his eyes.
"You don't need to keep me company, you can go back to bed," Steve said.
Danny shrugged, "I'm too tired to sleep." He laid his head back on the arm of the sofa.
Steve didn't attempt to argue the logic of that statement. "How about something to eat?" He asked instead. Danny cracked an eyelid. Seeing that he had Danny's attention he continued. "I've got some soup."
Danny wrinkled he brow contemplating the meal. "Maybe some soup," he decided finally. "Just a little bit."
Danny made his way to the table against Steve's protests. Danny did have a valid argument; it's tough to eat soup without a tabletop. Danny sipped his soup quietly, and nibbled on cracker while Steve cleaned up the kitchen. The stubborn itch made its way between Danny's shoulder blades again. He rubbed his back against the chair.
"Danno, don't scratch," Steve ordered catching him in the act.
Danny's eyes opened wide in innocence. "I wasn't scratching."
"Technicalities don't count," Steve replied keeping a scrutinizing eye on his friend. A few minutes later Danny's eyes were drooping again and his head nearly dropped into his soup bowl. "Alright Danno, let's get you back to bed."
Steve helped Danny through the apartment, and getting him settled in for a nap. Danny knew embarrassment would probably overtake him when he remembered this in a few days, but right now he didn't care.
Steve started to exit the room when Danny called out to him. "Steve, how long am I going to be sick?"
"Doc said probably three or four more days, until all of you spots are crusted over. Then it'll still be a few days so we're sure you won't start an island wide chicken pox epidemic."
Danny chuckled at the thought, and soon drifted into an exhausted slumber.
It was five days later before Doc decided that Danny was well enough to return to work, for light duty only. A few stubborn scabs clung to Danny's face and neck, but his fever had dissipated and no new spots had appeared for several days. After the long boring days at home it was good to be back in the office, even if he had to take some good natured ribbing.
Danny perched on his corner of Steve's desk listening to the briefing of the day, and discovering the goings on of the week. It seemed like he missed a lot of excitement.
The meeting wrapped up and Danny prepared to follow Chin and Kono out of the room when Steve called out, "Danno."
Danny turned back to his friend. Steve clapped a hand on his shoulder. "I just wanted to say, next time tell me if you're feeling ill. There isn't a case, or anything, that is more important than your health."
Danny flushed, "sure Steve."
"Promise," Steve pushed.
"I promise," Danny said.
Steve watched as Danny left the office. Why he have the strangest feeling that this wouldn't be the last time he had a similar conversation with his detective?
Title Translation: Maʻi puʻupuʻu liʻiliʻi : small pox (I decided that was close enough :) )