We Have a Situation
Word Count: 2,506
Pairing: Nico/Dani (eventually)
Spoilers: up to 1x06, goes AU in the middle of it.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. I just break things.
Summary: She thinks he thinks everything's a situation. Trouble is, he's right. She just doesn't know it yet.
Author's Note: I felt there were a lot of directions things could have gone in around episode six, and I think a lot of us wanted a certain someone to crash a certain party, and I did at least that much...
Here goes my attempt at a chaptered fic for Necessary Roughness. Eek.
"I'm still the same man you fell in love with. I haven't changed," Ray said, and a thousand things went through Dani's mind. Had she always been blind, then? Was he always cheating on her? Had she been that much of a fool? That wasn't love, overlooking all of that. What had she let herself become if she had refused to see it? See what he was—what she was. She was not that person. If the blinders existed before, they were off now, and she could see it all so clearly...
She knew where this was going, she knew what it would lead to, and she could not do it. She could not sacrifice her self-respect and her dignity and everything else that she was and take him back. No, because if he meant only half of what he'd said to her in that bathroom, then she would be trading her independence and love for condescension and patronizing. He'd be "humoring" her, "letting" her have her career and her patients and her degree when she had earned the degree on her own, had made the career and school work with having kids, and she did not need him to support her or indulge her.
"But I have," Dani insisted, patting Ray's chest. She wiped her mouth and turned to walk away. A part of her wanted to go back, but she knew that she couldn't. She couldn't take him back. She had changed. She was not willing to be his doormat or project anymore. Whatever he really thought she was, that wasn't her.
She hurried across the room until she almost smacked right into something tall, dark, and unexpected. She stared up at Nico, blinking in confusion. No, this was not happening. He was not here. There was no reason for him to be here, so he was not here. He had better not be here. And he had better not have seen anything that happened on the dance floor.
Then again, it was Nico. He probably had.
"We have a situation."
"A situation? You interrupt my high school reunion for a situation?" she demanded. She swore it was always like this with him. Was there anything he didn't consider a situation? "Nico, this had better be one heck of a 'situation' for you to interrupt me right now."
He nodded. "It is."
"Really?" she asked skeptically. He didn't exactly exaggerate, but these people had their own timetables that were not exactly cohesive or even considerate when it came to her life and responsibilities at home. She had other things to take care of besides the Hawks. "Then why aren't you telling me what it is?"
"We don't have time for you to make a scene," Nico said, taking her by the arm. She shook her head, trying to figure out if she should elbow him or drag her feet. She wasn't going to be dragged off no matter what. She was sick of her life being interrupted by some crisis for the team. They had very different definitions of crisis than she did. Pittman had different definitions, and Nico followed them, for reasons she didn't even want to know. It couldn't just be about money, right? Nico didn't seem like a man that cared about money, so what was it about Pittman that had Nico's loyalty? Dani tried to tell herself she didn't want to know. This was not the time, anyway. "I'll explain on the way."
"You'll explain now," another voice interrupted, sounding like someone in a bad movie.
"Ray!" she cried, turning around to look at her soon-to-be ex-husband. She shook her head. This was not happening. Not Nico, not Ray. She was going to wake up and find that this was a nightmare. As soon as Matt showed up with Laura on his arm and the band started playing It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To, she'd wake up. "This is none of your business. Go away."
"Not until he explains what's going on," Ray insisted stubbornly. She grimaced, wanting to strangle both of them, Nico for pulling her away and Ray for being Ray. "Who is this guy, anyway, Dani? Is he the reason you won't take me back?"
"That has nothing to do with him," Dani almost shouted, waving vaguely in Nico's direction. She hadn't even met the man before the divorce started, and sometimes she wished that she hadn't. Nico had nothing to do with the end of their marriage, though. "It's about me, and it's about you. I am not who I was, and you are who you were. Plus, you cheated. More than once. There is no good reason why I should take you back."
"I can think of two. Lindsey and Ray Jay."
"Oh, no, you don't," she objected immediately. She really wanted to hurt him now. "You do not get to bring our children into this—"
"TK was in a car accident," Nico's words derailed her entire rant, and Dani's attention immediately went to him. TK in an accident? How bad? Had he been drunk? What happened? She had so many questions... "Not his fault, for a change. He was T-boned by another driver. His injuries were minor, but he was driving with Cherise and the boy she claims is his son."
Dani winced. This could not be good, no matter what. "How are they?"
"The boy has a broken arm and a few abrasions, but the mother's condition is serious. She may not come out of surgery, and even if she does, there is a chance of brain damage," Nico explained. Dani shook her head. This was horrible. "TK was driving. Even though he was not at fault—"
"I know. He must feel so responsible," she agreed. Damn it, he should not have been driving at all. He would never learn. Still, TK needed her. She had a promise to keep. "You know where they are? You're going to take me straight there?"
Nico nodded. "Car is waiting outside."
"You're not leaving. Dani, you're not leaving," Ray insisted, and she frowned at him. Who was he to tell her where she was or was not going? He had no say here. "I don't care what kind of story this guy gave you, but you can't use it to run away from me. We're not finished talking."
"Yes, we are."
Ray grabbed her arm as she tried to leave, and she looked down at his hand coldly. Nico moved around, removing Ray's hand in a move so fast she barely saw it, twisting it up behind Ray's back. "We do not have time for you to hassle the good doctor. Touch her again, and I will snap your arm in two pieces, understood?"
"Nico, that was completely unnecessary," she told him, taking hold of his arm firmly and dragging him away from Ray. The sooner they were out of this room, the better. No more music, no more memories, no more stupidity. She stopped to yank open the door. "You didn't have to do that."
Nico gave her a slight shrug as he followed her outside. "Maybe not."
Nico just shrugged again as he went around to the driver's side of the car in front of the door. She shook her head again. When was he going to learn boundaries? Ray was not really that bad of a man. Sure, he'd cheated, but he didn't deserve to have his arm broken in two. She got in the passenger side and pulled the seat belt down, buckling it. "You said TK's injuries were minor. How minor?"
"He'll be sore for a few days from the air bag opening into his chest. A cut on his forehead. That's it," Nico reported. "I am afraid the damage will be more psychological than anything else."
She nodded. She'd agree with that. "Thank you. For coming to get me. You could just have called."
"I had be sure that you would come."
She frowned. "What makes you think I wouldn't?"
He didn't answer.
By the time that she got to the hospital, Dani was quietly fuming. Nico had refused to answer her question, had actually not said a single word since she asked. He resolutely ignored her, not responding to any of her questions, including whether or not he heard her at all. She was now even more certain that he had deep psychological issues, none of which he was willing to deal with.
She forced herself not to think about Nico anymore. She needed to focus on TK. The accident would be traumatic enough, even if TK was one of the ones who wouldn't admit to any trauma. She didn't have any idea what affect the rest of it would have on him. Drivers tended to feel responsible after an accident. They always felt there was something they could have done to prevent the accident. Passengers helpless. They felt powerless to change what had happened to them. Frequently, they blamed the driver, compounding his guilt, whether it was reasonable or not.
She stopped in the waiting room. "TK?"
He looked up from his hands. She could see the small bandage on his forehead, the one Nico had mentioned, and his shirt was open. It was hard for her to see any bruises, but she had to assume that they were there. "Doctor D. Didn't think you'd come."
"I told you I'd bring her," Nico told him, and TK nodded. Dani glanced back at him. She hadn't realized that he'd caught up to her. She'd left him to park the car, too pissed to spend another minute with him, and now he was here. She sighed. He needed to find somewhere else to be because she could not do this with him here.
"I know, I know," TK muttered. He lowered his head again. "I know I promised not to cross the lines, respect the boundaries, Doctor. D. I shouldn't have sent Nico for you."
Dani's eyebrows went up, and Nico shook his head. "I told you that I'd get her and that you were overreacting to the boundaries because you're still in shock."
TK didn't answer that, but it didn't really matter. She knew that his head was all over the place right now. He was going through so much, and it was all over his face. Even as a therapist, Dani felt a bit overwhelmed. She sat down and touched his hand. "I'm here. I want to be here. Believe me, that reunion was not what it was cracked up to be."
"I don't know what to do," TK admitted. He shook his head. "It was just—one minute we were hanging out at the park, doing our thing, and then next, everyone's hungry. Mad hungry, crazy hungry. So we're just going for some food, right? A couple blocks up to the kid's favorite restaurant, that's all it was going to be. Not a long trip or nothing. Just... The light was green. Green. Green means go."
"It's going to be okay, TK. These things happen. Accidents happen," she reminded him gently. Nico moved away, and Dani felt herself relax a little, more able to focus on TK. "What you need to know, even if you're not ready to accept it yet, is that this is not your fault."
"I shouldn't have been driving."
"That's true, since they took away your license and you've already been in trouble for it before," she agreed, and he moaned miserably, "but that is not the issue now. You did what any reasonable driver would have done and went through that green light. That was not an error on your part. There was no way you could have known that someone would run the red light."
"But I shouldn't have been driving. If I hadn't been driving, none of this would have happened."
"You don't know that. No one knows that. It could be that things would have been worse if you hadn't been the one driving. You don't know. I don't know. No one does," she said firmly. She tightened her grip on his hand. "Listen to me. These things that you are feeling are natural. They are understandable. You need to feel them, all of them, just let them happen, and we will get you through this, each and every one of those feelings, all that is going on around you, okay?"
TK nodded distractedly. She had a feeling that he wasn't really hearing anything that she said, but that didn't matter. It didn't make what she was saying any less valid. Maybe some of it would get down to his subconscious, and even if it didn't, she was here for him. That was what mattered.
Still, it was going to be a very, very long night.
She caught a whiff of coffee on the air and looked down to see a cup sitting next to her chair. She was going to need that to get through the night, several of those, actually, but how the hell had it gotten there? She frowned a little, thinking that the black she'd seen for a brief moment—just before it disappeared around the corner—had to have been Nico. He'd brought her coffee. He'd put it so close to her that he could have touched her, had probably breathed on her. She hadn't even heard him.
She suppressed a slight chill. That had to be the SEAL training, right? She was going to have to tell him not to do that to her when she saw him next. She didn't scare easily, but that didn't make it unsettling. As nice as the gesture was—Nico thought of everything, didn't he?—she didn't want him to do this stealth stuff around her.
Dani reached down and picked up the coffee with her free hand. It was surprisingly good for hospital coffee. Had Nico gone somewhere else to get this for her? That was above and beyond, really. She reminded herself that coffee or no coffee, she was still mad at him. And she was here for TK, damn it. Nico should be the absolute last thing on her mind right now, and yet she had to fight her instinct to go after him.
TK. Here for TK. He's the situation. He's the patient. Focus on your patient.
Why the hell was that so difficult?
If she was going to have someone keeping her mind busy, distracted from her patient, wouldn't it be Ray, her ex-husband, after all that happened tonight? She'd actually kissed Ray. TK was badly traumatized. He needed her.
Nico was a problem that was just going to have to wait.