Title: Skin Deep
Summary: From a prompt by embroiderama: The guys wrap up a case, and Danny finds out that Steve's been hiding an injury, all the while he's been running around and fighting like a ninja. He yells at Steve and takes care of him at the same time.
Rating: PG-13, pre-slash
Disclaimer: If they were mine I would totally move to Hawaii. Unlike Danno, I really like pineapple.
Warnings: swearing, no spoilers
Neurotic Author's Note #1: So apparently it's Steve's turn to get whumped a bit. I was nicer to him than I was to Danno, and this got a little more… I dunno, not quite schmoopy, but kind of close.
Neurotic Author's Note #2: This is comment-fic that was written at 2am. No beta, no nothing.
Neurotic Author's Note #3: Hawaii 5-0 brings out the slash writer in me. This is pre-pre-pre-slash, but nonetheless. There's a whole bunch of UST that kind of happened while I wasn't looking.
There are two words in the English language that Danny Williams would give anything not to hear come out of Steve McGarrett's mouth ever again, and they are 'cover me.' That's the thought that keeps looping in his mind as he crouches behind a convenient stack of crates in the half-empty warehouse that Steve I'm-secretly-a-ninja McGarrett just launched himself into without waiting for back-up, never mind that the place could be crawling with, like, six thousand Yakuzas and maybe a whole bunch of south American drug lords for good measure.
Not surprisingly, they've been met with a hail of bullets, and while Danny flatters himself that he's a good shot –if not quite the crack marksman that McGarrett-the-closet-winter-biathlete is– even he knows that seventy thousand to one are bad odds. Okay, so maybe there aren't seventy thousand of the enemy, and maybe he's actually not doing too badly as he brings down a couple of the bad guys and cuffs a third, but that's really not the point. A few seconds later and the sound of sirens fills the air, announcing that the cavalry has arrived, as usual ten minutes behind Commander Steve backup-is-for-pussies McGarrett.
Steve jogs up to him, looking a little sweaty and breathing hard, Danny is pleased to note. For a while there he was beginning to resent the fact that he was the only one who came out of these fights drenched in sweat, while Steve always looked like he'd stepped fresh off the pages of the Well-Dressed SEAL, or whatever magazine was fashionable in that crowd.
"I swear to God, McGarrett, if the next words out of your mouth are 'book 'em, Danno,' I will not be held responsible for my actions!"
Steve arranges his face in what Danny assumes is meant to be an expression of contrition, but it's so insincere that he rolls his eyes. He holds up a hand to forestall anything he might have to say.
"No! Don't even, okay? I cannot deal with your suicidal disregard for protocol right now. You've done this so many times now that not only have I lost track, I am now entirely convinced that you are, in fact, trying to commit suicide by bad guy. Kind of like a reverse suicide by cop. You need psychiatric help, my friend. I mean it!" he glares when Steve's face breaks into a grin.
"Suicide by bad guy, Danno?"
"Don't you 'Danno' me, you lunatic! You could have gotten killed. Hell, I could have gotten killed, and I don't want to die in this place, surrounded by water and volcanoes and goddamn pineapples! I especially don't want to die prematurely, either, and if I do, it'll be on your head!" Danny stalks off in the direction of the car, though Steve keeps up with him with his customary ease, much to his added annoyance. The man's a giant, and it makes storming off in a huff really, really difficult.
"And before you even think of arguing with me about whether or not –wait, what?"
"I said okay. And I'm sorry. It's just that I saw an opening, and I didn't think…"
"You never think, McGarrett, and that's the problem! And I only partially accept your apology," he adds, "because I'm pretty sure you're only saying that now, and the next time we're in a similar situation, you're just going to do it all over again."
Steve leans on the roof of the car, adjusts his vest, then dangles the car keys. "What if I let you drive home. Would you forgive me then?"
Danny snatches the keys before he can change his mind. "No, but it's a step in the right direction. What's up with you not wanting to drive, Rain Man?"
"You keep questioning it, I'm just going to take that as a signal that you don't want to drive ever again," Steve hasn't bothered to buckle his seat belt, and it puts Danny's teeth on edge. He slides down a little in the passenger seat, folds his arms over his chest.
"I can't believe you haven't even taken off your vest. Aren't you uncomfortable like that?"
"Figures. It's probably like a second skin, like those nasty-ass fairy tales about those girls that are seals during the day."
"Not that kind."
There's no time to shower or get a change of clothes, just the usual bustle of activity following an arrest. Steve disappears into the men's washroom for about ten minutes, and comes out looking a whole lot less sweaty, and with a fresh shirt, much to Danny's annoyance. He makes a mental note to start keeping spare clothes at the office. There's always a ton of paperwork to be filled out after a huge bust like that, and even more paperwork thanks to Steve's little escapade this afternoon. Danny barely looks up from his desk until the sun starts to set, sees Steve still filling out forms –manually, bless his little Luddite soul– head propped against his hand. He looks about how Danny feels, tired and kind of haggard, which, come to think of it, is really freaking unusual.
Danny shoves his chair away from his desk, and goes to perch on the edge of Steve's instead. "How about we call it a night? You actually look tired, and I don't even remember the last time that happened."
"I'm fine. I just want to get this done," Steve mutters, staring at the papers on his desk. Danny peers over the small lamp and frowns.
"Yeah. Even upside-down, I can tell you're filling that in wrong. Come on, the paperwork will still be here tomorrow, I promise. In fact, if we're lucky, the papers will have had a wild orgy during the night and reproduced, and we'll have even more forms to fill out when we get back."
For a moment he thinks he's going to have an argument on his hands, but Steve just blows out a quiet sigh, nods, and pushes the papers to the side. What Danny isn't expecting, though, is the very obvious wince when Steve gets to his feet, and reaches out to grab the edge of his desk.
"Hey, woah," he jumps to his feet, hooks an arm under Steve's to steady him. "You okay? What's going on with you?"
Steve surprises him yet again by giving him a sheepish smile. "Would you buy it if I said it was just a head rush from standing up too fast?"
Danny snorts to show exactly what he thinks of that. That's when he spots the rust-coloured stain on Steve's shirt, just above his belt. Before Steve can move, he's reached out and tugged the shirt up, revealing a makeshift bandage that's all but soaked through with blood.
"Okay, seriously, what the everloving fuck, McGarrett? You're injured and you didn't say a damned word all afternoon? And don't say it's a flesh wound!"
"It's just a scratch, Danny," Steve neatly sidesteps the order. "Barely worth mentioning."
"A scratch. Sure. Which is why it's still bleeding, six hours later."
"It's not still bleeding," Steve objects. "I just moved wrong and that must have started it up again."
"And once again, you fail to grasp my point," Danny jabs a finger at Steve's chest. "And my point, McGarrett, is that you have an injury that is bleeding, when you should, like a sane, rational human being, have told me, or Chin or Kono for that matter, and gotten yourself checked out and –oh my God. Oh my God, this is why you let me drive. Asshole!" he socks Steve none too gently on the shoulder, and Steve winces again. "You're fucking unbelievable. I am going to get the first aid kit. When I get back I want you stripped and with your ass back in that chair, and I am going to ascertain the extent of this supposed scratch of yours."
"You have a filthy mind, McGarrett. Pants and shirt."
Danny makes a show of stomping out of the office, grabs the large first aid kit they keep in the main room, and all but stops dead in his tracks when he returns to find that his orders have actually been followed. Even exhausted and bloodied, Steve without a shirt on is something to look at. Danny swipes a tongue over his lips unconsciously, rakes a hand through his hair, and wills himself not to have contextually really inappropriate thoughts about his mostly-unclothed partner.
He drops to a crouch by Steve's chair, grateful for once that the desk top lamps only shed a minimal amount of light, and delicately begins to peel away the blood-encrusted gauze and tape.
"I take it that you tried bandaging this yourself?"
"I do know the rudiments of first aid, you know."
"Rudiments is right," Danny purses his lips, angling the lamp better so he can survey the damage. There's a nasty-looking laceration running along Steve's waist, about four inches long, maybe a little more. "What did this?"
"Bullet. Lucky ricochet. I was bending the other way, and it creased me. No biggie."
"Jesus, McGarrett. Well, you were lucky, but this is going to need stitches, so we're going to get you dressed and then you get to pick: emergency room, or the nearest clinic."
"Can't you do it?"
Danny stares at him flatly. "Are you out of your mind? What do you think this is, the goddamn trenches? I am a cop, not a damned doctor, and there are competent medical professionals less than thirty minutes away."
Steve shifts uncomfortably in his chair, his expression stuck somewhere between Aneurysm Face and Protocol Is For Pussies Face. "Come on, Danno. I hate hospitals. You've done this before, haven't you?"
"Yes, but that is not the point!"
"Sure it is. Anyway, I'm not giving you a choice. Either you do it, or I'm just going to go home to sleep off this day."
Danny is pretty sure that the sudden sharp pain in his temple is the result of a Steve McGarrett-induced mini stroke. "For fuck's sake! Fine. But you're taking tomorrow off, or no deal."
"Christ. Okay. This is going to hurt."
"Just get on with it, Danny, and quit bitching. You're worse than, like, ten women combined."
Danny levels another glare at him, then opens up Steve's bottom drawer where he knows Steve keeps a bottle of the good stuff, and hands it over.
"The only up side to field medicine. It's that or Tylenol, so drink up."
Wordlessly Steve tilts the bottle back, swallows, and motions to him to carry on. It's been a while since Danny's had to do anything other than rudimentary first aid on anyone –and even then it was applying ice and ace bandages. He's only ever had to put in stitches once, and the idea of sticking a needle into his partner's skin is more than a little harrowing. But if he doesn't do this, then at the very least it'll scar, and at worst it might get infected, so he steels himself and sets about carefully disinfecting the wound site with the swabs from the first aid kit.
He can feel Steve watching him intently, his gaze all but boring into him, and it takes all his concentration not to let his hands shake out of sheer nervousness. Sweat trickles down his spine, and he forces himself to take deep, even breaths, to focus on the task at hand, and works in silence. To his credit, Steve holds himself very still while Danny works, the only indication that he's feeling anything at all the hitch in his breathing when the needle goes through his skin, a slight flutter of his stomach muscles. Without thinking Danny smooths his thumb against the skin above the laceration in a soothing gesture, and Steve relaxes a fraction under his touch.
Finally Danny rocks back on his heels, sets aside the needle and suturing thread. He carefully reapplies another alcohol wipe to the now-neatly stitched injury, fishes out some clean gauze and tape, and binds the whole thing up again, adding an extra two layers so that when Steve gets dressed again, his pants and belt won't rub against the cut and irritate it or pop the stitches.
"All right, Robocop, you're all set."
Steve takes another drink from the bottle and nods. "Thanks."
"Don't mention it. I still think you should have gone to the hospital. I did the best I could, but you're probably going to have a scar."
"I would have had a scar anyway," Danny's heart skips a beat when Steve leans back in his chair, exposing the line of his throat, and lets his eyes close. He resists the impulse to reach out and stroke his fingers against the five o'clock shadow that's forming near Steve's Adam's apple, and settles for squeezing his knee.
"Hey, you with me?"
"You gotta level with me, Steve. Do I need to take you to a hospital?"
Steve shakes his head. "No, I'm good. Can I ask a favour?"
"Sure. Name it." Danny regrets the words as soon as they're out of his mouth, but it's too late to take them back.
"Could you give me a lift home?"
He lets out a breath he didn't realize he was holding. "Of course. Like I'd let you drive in your condition, anyway."
"I'm not pregnant. Condition," Steve snorts softly.
"Yeah, well. You're the one asking for the favour, so you better be nice with the guy in control of the car keys as well as the first aid kit. Give me a second to put this all back where I found it, and I'll take you home."
Once he's made the return trip with the first aid kit, he finds Steve making a half-hearted attempt to pull on his pants. His face has turned greyish with pain and exhaustion, the day having finally taken its toll on him. For a moment he debates telling Steve the several dozen ways in which he's been acting like an idiot today, but the look on Steve's face convinces him otherwise. Wordlessly he reaches over and helps him to his feet, gives him a hand to tug his pants carefully to his waist, and waits while Steve fumbles with his belt buckle and zipper.
"You'd make a good butler," Steve jokes weakly as Danny holds his shirt for him and helps him thread his arms into the short sleeves.
"You call me Jeeves and I will kick your ridiculously tall behind," Danny informs him. "Wounded or not."
The drive back to Steve's place is uncharacteristically silent. Steve leans back in his seat with his eyes still closed, and Danny can't find it in himself to speak. For once, he doesn't have anything to say. He throws a couple of worried glances in Steve's direction, wondering just how much blood he's lost, but he doesn't look like he's going into shock or anything –just exhausted by the day's events.
Steve rouses when they get back to his place, and mostly makes it to his front door under his own power, though Danny hovers nearby, a hand not quite brushing his elbow in case he decides to take an unexpected header. Steve turns to him with a smile that Danny can't quite decipher.
"You want to come in?"
He hesitates, swallows, then nods. "Yeah. You know, just to make sure you get in all right. I don't want you to spend the night passed out on your kitchen floor or something."
Steve smiles and shakes his head as he lets them in, quickly entering the code on his alarm system. "Wasn't planning on going to my kitchen."
"Whatever. You know what I mean."
"Yeah, I know."
Danny sighs. "Okay, tough guy. Humour me and go to bed. Hey," he catches Steve's elbow when it looks like he wobbles a bit. "Come on. Pretend I'm being a pain in your ass and insisting you lean on me until I can get you horizontal. And, yeah, let's pretend also that that came out sounding a whole lot less… whatever."
The statement is met with a chuckle. "Your seduction technique sucks."
"Yeah, well, I do better when someone hit my car with theirs. Gives me an opening."
Danny can't help but notice that Steve hasn't objected at all to leaning on him as they climb the stairs, and he can feel warmth seeping through the thin fabric of his shirt. The sensation isn't an unpleasant one, and he bites down sharply on the inside of his cheek to keep himself in check. Steve doesn't quite stumble on the landing, but Danny gets the impression that it's a close thing, and the expression of relief on his face is unmistakable when they get into the bedroom and he's able to ease himself onto the bed.
"You good, babe?" Danny cringes as the words leave his mouth, but then, he tells himself, he calls a lot of people 'babe,' so maybe it'll go unnoticed.
Steve cracks an eye open. "Fine."
"If I leave you here, you're going to sleep in your clothes, aren't you?"
Danny heaves a long-suffering sigh, then bends over and pulls off Steve's shoes one after the other. "Don't make me undo your pants for you, McGarrett. There's that whole thing about helping those who help themselves, remember?"
He makes a special point of thinking about his beloved and long-deceased grandmother as he helps Steve out of his clothes, and that helps a little bit, though not nearly enough. Luckily, he's pretty sure his partner's too out of it to notice, and he mostly manages to get him under his sheets without any mishaps, although at one point Steve clutches reflexively at his arm.
Steve shakes his head, doesn't relinquish his hold on Danny's wrist. "Yeah."
"Talk about mixed messages," Danny scrubs a hand over his face. "Listen… this is probably a spectacularly bad idea, but… do you want me to stay?"
"You don't have to."
"That's not what I asked."
There's a pause, and Danny thinks there probably isn't a word adequate enough to describe his astonishment when Steve Fucking McGarrett actually bites his lip (and damn, but that is unfair), refusing to meet his gaze.
"McGarrett, don't insult me. If I wasn't sure, I wouldn't have offered. Do you want me to stay or not?"
He gets a quick nod, gaze still averted.
"There. Was that so hard?" he pats Steve's knee. "It's settled, then.