"There is no sanctuary of virtue like home."
Disclaimer: H50 isn't mine.
A/N: Thanks to amblue36, I noticed that a paragraph or two got cut when I posted this. I took out the last sentence, don't worry - there'll be a second follow-up chapter for this. Sorry for the confusion...
It was 8:32 in the morning.
Danny Williams glared at the clock, then through the office to his partner's empty desk. 16 minutes had passed since he'd arrived in the office. 16 minutes and he'd realized he was alone. Alone, and perhaps a little anxious.
Because Steve McGarrett should have been in his office 32 minutes ago.
Chin and Kono were in the office as well, at their separate desks, exchanging long worried glances with one another before casting askance looks at Danny. Danny was almost certain, from the way their shifty gazes meeting his seemed to gradually increase as the minutes passed, that his face may have finally gotten stuck in its current expression, brow wrinkled and lips tightly pursed.
8:33 AM. 33 minutes had passed since Steve should have been in this office.
SEALs weren't late. It was a rule or something.
Danny felt the vein in his temple pulsing. "The man wants me to rupture a blood vessel. That's what this is," he said to himself. "He wants me to feel a logical amount of concern, so that I will eventually rupture a blood vessel and he can ninja out of some shadowy corner and watch me suffer."
He was alerted to the office phone ringing, and glanced up just as Chin answered it. He watched Chin for a few minutes, reading out the play of emotions that ran across the typically placid Hawaiian's face. First there was curiosity, then he glimpsed surprise in the widening of Chin's eyes. Finally, surprise faded with the appearance of lines of concern, and Chin glanced up to meet Danny's gaze, lifting a hand to motion the detective to join him. Danny scowled and grumbled under his breath, propelling himself from his chair to stalk out to meet Chin and Kono.
"Uh-huh," Chin was saying. "Yes, I understand. Someone will be right over. Thanks, Doctor." He hung up the phone, and looked up to meet the curious gazes of his teammates. "Uh, that was the hospital. Apparently Steve needs someone to pick him up from the ER."
"What?" Danny turned, marched into his office to grab his keys, and came back out before either Chin or Kono could speak. "I don't even want to know. I don't want to know what happened to the idiot—I can only assume he inhaled and attracted the interest of some passerby criminal who immediately noticed who he was and therein decided to do him some harm…or maybe he caught sight of a, I dunno, a bank robbery in progress and decided to go all mask-and-tights and got his dumb ass shot. I don't know, I don't want to know. Clearly I can't leave the man without supervision for a few seconds, let alone a few hours. He's a freakin' animal. An animal who needs a freaking keeper. That is what I am now, I'm a freaking zookeeper. I am Noah. This is my Arc." He swept a hand toward his and Steve's offices, then finally paused in his rant to observe the twin expressions of amusement before him. "What?"
"So you're going to get the boss-man, then?" Kono asked.
Danny threw up his hands in exasperation. "Obviously, that is my purpose on this godforsaken island. To be a good father to Grace, and to go and pick up Steve Mc-freaking-Garrett from the hospital then babysit him to make sure he takes whatever meds they put him on." He walked away as he spoke, and it was the only reason he missed the chortling he left in his wake.
Danny was still fuming when he reached the hospital. He tamped down his immense frustration to muster up enough calm to politely request directions to Commander McGarrett's room. Normally, he'd take the opportunity to introduce himself to the pretty blonde with the nice smile who led him to his partner, but not today.
Oh, no, today he had a one-track mind, and it was directed at expressing his appreciation for McGarrett's lack of communication and abundance of minutes—33 to be exact—that Steve had been late before anyone had thought to contact his partner.
He stopped short, thoughts and expression drawing up a sudden blank, when he entered the room and laid eyes on Steve.
"What the hell happened to you?" Danny sputtered.
Glaring at him from where he was perched on the edge of a gurney, Steve struggled to pull on and tie his last combat boot while keeping his left arm in the sling it was currently sporting. Aside from the sling, Steve wore a thick layer of gauze around the same wrist, some road rash along his jaw along with splotches of red that Danny knew would become bruises, and a thick square bandage above his brow. Danny also caught peeks of gauze around Steve's v-neck collar, and observed the padding of more gauze wrapped around the SEAL's chest before he met the commander's glassy-eyed gaze.
Danny drew himself up, brows lifting in surprise at the succinct response. "Nothing? Seriously? You're really going to sit there looking like you just went through a meat-grinder and tell me 'nothing.' You do realize I'm your ticket out of here, right?"
Steve's lips pursed, eyes darting away. Danny recognized the tactic for what it was. Steve was considering his options. Danny shook his head, and looked aside to the nurse with him. "What is he on right now? Can he walk home?"
"I wouldn't suggest it. He gets a ride, or he stays here for observation," she responded, merely quirking a brow when Steve leveled her with a dark glower.
"You get a ride, or you stay here." As he spoke, he shifted his hands as though to weigh the options. "Your choice, big guy."
Steve met his gaze and held it. Danny returned the stare, rising to the unspoken challenge. After a moment, Steve released a deep breath. "Fine," he said.
"Good choice. Now, seriously—what happened?"
Steve stared at him stonily for another moment, then his eyes lowered and glanced away. If Danny didn't know any better, he'd say his partner was blushing. "In the car?" Obviously, the man wasn't feeling himself. Danny nodded, and proceeded to sign the paperwork agreeing to keep an eye on Steve and stating that he was going to drive the man home.
They let Steve walk out of the hospital—well, not really let him so much as Steve finally got fed up and just walked out—and Danny marched the taller man to the Camaro, where he directed him into the passenger's seat. He waited until they were on the move before he glanced sidelong at his partner. "Well?"
Steve heaved a heavy, agitated sigh. "I…well, I sort of fell out a window."
Danny almost wrecked the car. He swerved back on the road and shot a disbelieving glance at Steve. "You what? How exactly does one sort of fall out of a window?"
"Well, there was…well…" Steve stammered, indicating that he might be a little more heavily drugged than Danny originally anticipated.
"Well?" Danny prompted again firmly.
"There was a cat." Steve's voice grew small, and the fingers of his good hand fidgeted with the wrappings on his wounded wrist. Danny pulled up to a stop light, and turned to stare agape at his partner, who for all intents and purposes looked like a scolded child.
"There was a cat," he repeated slowly. "You fell out of a window because there was a cat."
"It climbed the tree then got stuck on the roof," Steve explained as if that clarified everything.
"Okay…" Danny refocused on the road.
"I'm gonna have to fix those shingles," Steve mumbled to himself.
"Yeah, no. I don't think so, Ace Ventura. I'm taking you home, you're going to sleep, then I'm going to fill your prescriptions because God knows you won't." He paused, thinking about something. "So you fell out of a window trying to save a cat." Steve nodded, then winced at the pressure it put on his sore head. "So what happened to the cat?"
Steve paused, and blinked at him. "Huh…I don't remember what happened to the cat, actually."
Danny shook his head. "Y'know, I'm really, really thinking you need a keeper."
"Like I'm an animal?" Steve's grin was amused, eyes bright. "You gonna be my keeper, Danno?"
"Oh, God. You're high." Danny shot him a glare. "First, you are an animal. Second, sit still. Start counting the bullets you've fired in the last six weeks or something. You'll be home in a few minutes, then you can sleep it off."
"'m not tired."
"Right, and I'm a native." Danny felt completely justified speeding a little bit in order to get the taller man home sooner, so he didn't have to carry him. Because he was not doing that. Ever.
It didn't take too long before they reached the house, and examining the rooftop, Danny could easily see what Steve had been talking about. Several broken shingles were missing out of the rooftop near the window that Steve must've fallen from. No cats in sight, though. Danny shook his head, and rounded the car, opening the door for his partner.
He watched in amusement as Steve clumsily climbed from the car, swaying slightly as he straightened. Danny hovered a little closer than usual—he didn't like seeing his partner unsteady on his feet—and followed Steve into the house, guiding the taller man to the couch when he stumbled.
When Steve was comfortably settled, Danny raised an eyebrow at him, a smirk tugging at his lips. "I'm going to go call Chin and Kono, then I'll get your prescriptions filled and come back. You are going to stay on this couch, sleep off the stupor, and avoid windows and stairs, you got that, kitten?" Steve's glassy eyes glared at him. "What?"
Danny looked thoughtful, then nodded with a shrug. "Yeah. I like it."
"You are not calling me 'kitten.'"
"Oh, but I am." Danny patted the SEAL on the head, mouth quirked in a grin. "Now, be a good boy and take a catnap so I know you're not trying to climb out on any rooftops while I'm away." Steve's glare sharpened, but he said nothing, just settled down on the couch on his uninjured side. Danny waited until his partner closed his eyes to sleep before he nodded in approval. "I'll be back soon."
"Mmkay…" Steve nodded as he slurred.
Danny hesitated a moment longer, retrieving a blanket from over the back of the couch before he draped it over his partner. Satisfied with that, he pulled his keys from his pocket and left the house quietly.