The Color Red

By Jen (Jenthetrulysly)

Steve usually had no problems with the color red. It was a bright and pretty color. If he was to believe what the Chinese said, red was the color of luck and good fortune. However, as a cop he knew that it was also the color of fresh blood, of death and devastation. As he stared at Danny's peaceful face and observed the usually lively and exuberant features lax with unconsciousness, it scared him because it made the ex-Jersey cop somehow look much younger, and much more vulnerable like this. He was sitting by Danny's bedside and thinking at some point of asking Chin to bring him a fresh change of clothes; it wouldn't do to have Danny reawake and see him encrusted with blood, long turned brown and crusty, on the fabric of his shirt and cargo pants.

The former Navy SEAL was thankful that the man lying on the hospital was unconscious, as his body began the slow and at times tedious path to recovery. After all, Danny had been through quite a lot and he knew that the young detective would be hurting. He could still hear the echoes of Dan's bloodcurdling screams and pleas for help, as Steve was held at bay behind the brick wall of the warehouse as snipers shot at them from the rooftops, making sure that there was no way the dark haired detective could reach his partner. The door to the hospital room swung open with a dragged out groan and Dr Jones entered. His expression was set in the grim one that Steve realized meant there was no good news. With a heavy heart, he seized Danny's limp hand in his as he turned to face the good doctor. A few seconds later a nurse came in carrying a large swathe of bandages and a bowl.

"What have you got?" Steve spoke into the room. He really didn't want to know, because then he would have to face the inevitable. He would never be ready for it, but the time will come eventually, and there was a very high chance that it was to come sooner, rather than later. He squeezed Danny's hand in his slightly.

The doctor sighed and flipped the page over on the clipboard he was holding. "It's not looking too good, Steve. The injuries Danny sustained are putting huge amounts of stress on his body." He glanced over to the bed, where the nurse had begun to peel the sheets off Danny. At the first sounds of rustling fabric Steve turned around to face Danny and felt his heart seize up with something akin to horror as he saw the huge spot of blood fanning out from the young detective's body, which had already stained the stark cotton bed sheets red. The color of Danny's blood was now burned into his memory, something that will continue to haunt him until his dying day. "He's too weak for surgery, we have to try and let him stabilize for a bit before we can even consider putting him under anesthesia."

"Can't you give him something to stem the bleeding?" Steve growled angrily, getting up to pace the length of the cramped room. Sunlight streamed in through the window, illuminating the dust plumes in the air and making the red of Danny's blood all that much brighter. Agitation burned white hot through his body and he felt so restless with pent up energy and frustration at the fact that there was nothing else he could do for his friend. Danno's life was on the line and here they all were, just talking. It was very distressing to see him like this, but he knew that if their roles had been reversed, Danny would have been the one waiting for him to regain consciousness in week old clothes with the trash can overflowing with empty Styrofoam coffee cups. Now that the young man was so vulnerable like this, it was the least he could do for him. He would stay here until his partner awoke, no matter what.

"We can only give him pain medication and continuous blood transfusions at this stage." Jones said sadly as he crossed the room to where Steve was standing by the window. "Then hope for the best."

"The best isn't good enough!" Steve roared, causing the nurse to flinch. "There must be more that can be done!" It was deeply unsettling to see Danny like this; he was much more used to the sight of the detective in full motion with his voice burning with passion and that maniacal gleam in his eyes, hands waving through the air. While it was plentiful he had come to take it for granted. Now that there was complete silence on Danny's part, he never imagined that there would come a day that he would miss all the rants and the raving, only to long to hear them again.

The physician laid a hand gently on the taller detective's shoulder as he gently spoke. "You know we are. All of our thoughts are with Danny. Even if he were to wake up, his life will be significantly different. He'll also need special care and someone to keep an eye on him at all-"

"That can be arranged," Steve cut across smoothly, looking at the doctor. "For now, focus on getting Danny better. Make that top priority. Please."

They both turned around to regard the young man who looked deceptively peaceful. Steve felt a lump form in his throat as the air rushed out of his lungs when he caught sight of all the raw meat that formerly constituted Danny's left arm. He was thankful that a sheet had been covering this; he very badly wanted to get away from all of this at the moment. Bile rose as he saw the metallic bowl filled with bloody bandages. The scent of antiseptic was strong in the air as the nurse continued her work, cleaning Danny's wounds. He watched transfixed as she peeled the thin sheet down to his badly charred toes and began working on cleaning and re-bandaging both of his legs and feet.

"Steve," the doctor began cautiously. The physician's tone of voice caused Steve to snap his gaze to Jones, who sighed. "Medicine is not like a Five-0 case. There is no absolute cure for anything. We can only do our best." There was a pause before he continued, his voice much softer. "When was the last time you had something to eat?"

He ignored Jones until the physician sighed audibly and said something about bringing him a steak sandwich and a bottle of water. Steve barely noticed the doctor checking the nurse's bandaging technique. When he was done, he left Steve all alone with his now silent partner. As the twin sets of footsteps faded into the distance the lead detective sat down on the chair next to the bed and resumed his bedside vigil.

It was the least he could do, because this was all his fault. Danny wouldn't be in this position if Steve had not ordered him to enter the dragon's den and walk right into the trap they had set. That trap was meant for him, not Danny, and the fact that the unconscious detective had taken his place willingly and unquestioningly did funny things to his heart, making it beat a little faster as affection for Danny stole over him. In the heat of the moment, when Danny was at the mercy of the perpetrators, he was screaming for Steve to help him, for Steve to make it all stop as they did their very best to break both his mind and body. Steve could not do anything more, he had approached the scene but was held back by gunfire, which formed an unbreakable wall between them.

Maybe if he told himself that enough, he could start to believe it. But believing it did not make Danny's injury heal any faster nor did it reduce the massive amount of blame he heaped on himself for Danny's current circumstances. It was a moot point, and he wondered why he even bothered in the first place. Words were empty and useless here, when his partner's life was most at stake; when there was no room for error. Also, he didn't know whether the young man could ever forgive him for failing to come to his aid when he needed Steve the most. For failing to save him when it mattered the most. He managed to get away from the ordeal with some truly horrific gashes and cuts but Danny had paid the ultimate price.

Steve continued to watch his friend as the red seconds hand on the clock ticked over, as minutes bled into hours, and time became irrelevant, as bright red stained white.