The last chapter was a bit of a filler, but I hope this one is more to everyone's enjoyment.
I'm thinking that being tortured would kind of play on your mind, no matter how badass you were...
Danny threw Steve his door keys and the big SEAL fumbled them with his good hand, hissing with pain. "What the hell, Danny?"
"Still think you're okay on your own, huh? Don't need any help?"
Danny scooped the keys off the floor, ignoring Steve's scowl and opened the door. "Yeah, you're so good you can't even open your front door." And he picked up the bags, and walked into the house with Steve following behind like a surly teenager. Dropping his partner's stuff down by the sofa, he went into the kitchen, opening the fridge and checking the cupboards, until Steve came out to the kitchen to see what he was doing.
"Yeah, feel free to rummage round my house, Danny. My diary's upstairs, want me to go get it?"
Danny didn't even miss a beat, he knew Steve was still hurting so he let the sarcasm slide, for now – although he wasn't sure how much longer his temper would hold. As soon as Steve had started to feel better, the arguments had begun. First it had been about how long he had to stay in the hospital, then when he'd moaned at the doctors enough so that they had given in and discharged him, the arguments about how he planned looking after himself had begun. Chin had tried to broker some peace by suggesting that Steve call his sister to come stay with him for a while, but everyone had agreed that Steve needed to relax and rest up, and Mary McGarrett was about as far from relaxing and restful as a person could had called Catherine to let her know what had happened but she was on top secret manoeuvres and there was no way she could get leave for at least a month. The cousins themselves had offered to stay with Steve but logically, Danny was the best choice and they all knew it. It didn't mean that either of them had to be happy about it.
Steve had continued to insist he didn't need a babysitter, that he was fine, even on the ride home from the hospital, and whilst Danny was glad that Steve was on the mend, if he didn't stop bitching, he was going to put a bullet in the big SEAL's head – or his own - he hadn't quite decided.
"You have no food in the house, Steven. What are you intending to eat for lunch? Breakfast cereal with lumpy milk or green bread and cheese sandwiches? You choose and I'll make it for you."
"I can get take-out. My hands are not so busted up that I can't use the phone, Danny."
"What, so you're going to live on Kamekona fried shrimp for the next week?"
" I like shrimp."
"Or you could stop being such an ass and just let me help you out here. I know you're like a one-man-army kind of guy, but even armies need back up once in a while."
Steve grumbled something that Danny couldn't quite make out and leaving his partner to it, he eased himself down into an armchair in the living room. He was too tired to argue, everything still hurt too much and all he knew deep down that he should take a minute to get his breath back, both literally and figuratively, but it wasn't easy.
For the first few days after his rescue he'd been so dosed up on morphine that he could barely remember his own name, let alone what had happened to him, but as his thoughts became more lucid, memories had begun to push their way through his mind's defences. Memories he wasn't sure that he wanted.
He remembered losing control and rolling the car after the tyre had been shot out, then there was a big blank chunk of nothingness, and the next thing he remembered was waking up tied to a chair with Li sitting opposite him, grinning like a shark.
And then the fun had really begun.
He had tried as hard as he could to not think about what had happened in that barn, the things they'd done to him. Okay, so they'd basically tortured him for a couple of days, it wasn't anything that hadn't happened before. He'd been in bad situations in the past, been captured by hostiles, beaten for information. What Li had done was really nothing all that new, nothing he couldn't handle. His shoulder was a mess but it would heal, his wrists would be scarred, but scars faded, bones fixed themselves, fingernails grew back, lost blood got replaced. He'd been trained to deal with situations like that. Hell, his instructors in Annapolis had practically waterboarded his whole class during hell week. You sucked it up, chalked it down to experience, and moved on.
It's what he'd had to do virtually all his adult life so why would this be any different?
"...thing you want me to get?" Danny voice suddenly yelled, snapping Steve out of his thoughts, and he looked up at the blond detective who was peering down at him with an expression that fell somewhere in the middle of concern and extreme annoyance.
"I said I'm going to go to the store to get you some food. Is there anything you want me to get? Powdered egg? Protein shakes? Jerky?... That is all you eat, right?"
Steve gave him his most withering look. "Quick, take me back to the hospital. My sides are splitting."
"Yeah, I know. I'm hilarious and I'm going shopping, for you, so be nice or you really will only get powdered egg and jerky. Now, what would you like?"
Steve sighed. "I don't know, Danny."
"You don't know what food you like?"
Steve shrugged lopsidedly. "Bread?Milk?"
Danny clenched his fist, took a deep breath and forced himself to stay calm. "Yes, Steven. I will get you bread and I will get milk, that goes without saying. What I'm asking is if there's anything besides basic human sustenance that you would like me to buy you? Most people when they are sick, they like certain things that make them feel better – I myself like Chicken Noodle soup when I'm sick."
"But I'm not sick." Steve interrupted.
Danny knuckled the space between his eyebrows. "Okay – one, you are sick. The nice doctor in the hospital told me. And two, if I get hurt I still like the goddamn soup. So just tell me what soup you like so I can go to the store and not hurt you some more. How's that?"
"I like Chicken Noodle too," Steve replied.
Danny threw his hands up in the air. "Great. Chicken Noodle soup all round then. I'll pick up your pain meds too while I'm out."
"I don't need any painkillers, I'm fine."
Danny opened his mouth, then snapped it shut and turned on his heel without saying another word, grabbing his car keys and jacket off the kitchen counter on his way out, leaving Steve wondering if they'd just had an actual real argument.
He wasn't deliberately trying to wind Danny up – not any more than usual anyway, but he wasn't used to having someone around trying to look after him. Apart from the guys in his unit, Steve had pretty much been on his own since he was sixteen years old and having someone actually take interest in his wellbeing was kind of an alien concept. Danny looked genuinely worried every time he jarred his shoulder or knocked his wrists and it was making him feel worse than he did already. He still remembered Danny's terrified face peering down at him in the barn and he didn't ever want to see an expression like that on his friend's face again.
Danny was a good guy, hell, he was the closest thing to family he had apart from Mary, and he just wanted things to get back to normal between them.
He just wanted everything to get back to normal…
"Get a grip, McGarrett!" Steve muttered under his breath and he let himself sink into the chair in the warmth of the afternoon sun that shone in through the big picture window. In the distance he could hear the waves breaking gently against the strip of beach that made up most of his back yard, and he closed his eyes, willing himself to relax. He was home, he was safe and mostly in one piece, and Li was locked away for good this time – everything was going to be fine.
So why couldn't he get rid of the ball of dread that had settled in his stomach?