Danny's head hurt. A slow, pulsing pain that seemed to beat in time to his heartbeat. Hangover. And it felt like doozy. The kind of hangover that kept you horizontal for the rest of the day. Fuck.
What day was it? He couldn't imagine having gone on a bender if he had to work the next day, Steve would have his head, which meant it had to be the weekend. Not a Gracie weekend. He didn't drink when she was coming over. Had it been a team's night out thing? Was he at Steve's then? They usually ended up there after a few drinks, and with how far gone he must have been, there was no way they would have let him drive. And Steve had this thing about Danny taking a cab back to his apartment. Waste of money, bad neighbourhood, him choking in his own vomit… It didn't matter how often Danny told him that he hadn't puked since 96. But yeah, usually he ended up on Steve's couch and they spent the next morning being uncharacteristically quiet together to avoid aggravating their respective headaches.
He opened his eyes to test his theory. At first he wasn't sure what he was looking at, until he twitched and he realized he was staring down at his own bare legs. How the hell had he fallen asleep sitting on a chair? When he lifted his head he became aware of the god awful crick in his neck and he groaned when the pounding in his head increased in intensity. Why the hell did he do this to himself?
He closed his eyes again for a few moments, waiting for the pounding to recede a little and then he cautiously opened them again. In front of him was a bare concrete wall. His gaze dropped down to the floor, bare concrete, and then flitted to the left and right. Concrete. What the hell? How the hell did he end up in someone's basement? Whose basement was it anyway? This wasn't Steve's house, or Kono's or Chin's...
He tried to move his arms, wanting to rub his face, but found he couldn't. They were tied behind his back. His heart sped up and the adrenaline that rushed through him finally woke him up entirely. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. What the hell happened?
Don'tpanic. He took a deep breath. First things first…He pulled on the bonds that kept his arms locked, first gently, and then with all the strength he could muster. They didn't have any give in them. He curled his fingers and with his one hand he could just reach the ties around the other. It was thick plastic. Felt like those heavy duty industrial zip-ties that were used to bind cables together. There was no way he could loosen them, or cut through them with anything other than a sharp knife or a pair of cutting pliers, and they were tight enough that he knew he'd never be able to slip out of them. He tried to bend forward a little but there was little room to move. Not only were his arms tied together but they were also firmly tied to the sturdy chair he was sitting on.
Giving up on his arms, Danny focused on his legs. He could tilt sideways just enough to see that his ankles were bound to the legs of the chair with the same kind of zip-ties that held his hands behind his back.
So…moving was pretty much out of the question. That sucked. Of course, he probably could jerk violently enough to tip himself over, but really, what good would that do? It was only in movies that the chair conveniently broke into manageable pieces. In this case it would most likely end up with Danny in an even worse position than he was in now, with a few new bruises or maybe a broken arm as an added bonus. No, he would do better to stay where he was.
He twisted his head around, trying to take in as much of the room as he could. In the corner of his eye he could just make out a heavy looking door. They'd placed him with his back to it. Probably a conscious decision on their part, designed to keep him off balance, a psychological advantage for his abductors.
The door had no handle on this side, and he was sure he would find it locked tightly.
Up near the ceiling on the wall in front of him he noticed something he hadn't before…a camera. His stomach dropped. That was bad news. It meant this wasn't a spur of the moment thing. Someone had thought this through, had taken the effort to prepare this place, to install a camera. That meant they were less likely to have made any mistakes.
Or maybe they hadn't prepared this room especially for Danny, maybe they did stuff like this on a regular basis. He wasn't sure which scenario was worse.
He tried to think positive. Steve would be looking for him. It was just a matter of time before the man found out Danny was missing. Wouldn't take more than a day, day and a half at most. Even during the weekends they ended up hanging out together or at least calling about something or other, and Steve wasn't the kind of man who interpreted an unanswered phone call as 'he's probably busy'. If Danny failed to answer his phone two times, Steve would be driving over to his apartment to check on him, and if Danny wasn't exactly where he was supposed to be, Steve would have no compulsions at all about tracing Danny's phone, putting a BOLO out on his car, questioning his neighbours, or otherwise invading his privacy, and calling in the cavalry known as 5-0. He just needed to stay alive for however long it took them to find him.
A shudder ran through his body. Fuck, it was cold. He'd been left in only his boxers and the air in this basement or bunker was decidedly frigid, colder than he would expect for a basement or cellar. Did that mean he was higher up somewhere?
A tiny little red light blinked on the camera. They had to be watching him, had to know by now that he was awake. It wouldn't be long before they came in here to make demands, or gloat or kill him, whatever it was they wanted.
He listened intently, trying to discern any movement outside of the room, but he didn't hear a thing. He wished there was a clock somewhere, he felt like he'd been sitting here, awake for half an hour already, but his sense of time was probably distorted, in all likelihood no more than a couple of minutes had passed.
He started counting in his head.
When he reached eight hundred, he stopped. It was driving him nuts. Eight hundred seconds, how many minutes was that? Dividebysixty-Fuck, not even fifteen minutes. It felt like he'd been counting for an hour. Patience really wasn't his thing. He was sure Steve had some kind of SEAL trick to pass the time between torture sessions. He'd have to ask him some time, might be useful for the next time this happened.
He tried to remember exactly what happened. It was Friday, he remembered that much, and it had been a pretty slow day, a day for getting caught up on Steve's paperwork and Kono and Chin were looking into a cold case.
Usually they ended up going for drinks on Friday night, but this time Kono had a date and Chin was going out to dinner with Malia. Steve had looked at Danny expectantly, but Danny had gotten it into his head that he was spending way too much time with Steve, and this…thing between them was getting more and more noticeable. Danny wanted to spend time with Steve, wanted it maybe a little bit too much. So he'd figured some space would be good.
Boy did he regret that now.
If he'd gone home with Steve, they would have had steaks, and a couple of beers and Danny would have ended up spending the night on the couch and maybe he would have come back to a trashed apartment or something, which would have sucked but was still way better than being here, without Steve.
Unless they'd gotten Steve too… His throat tightened at the thought of Steve sitting in another room like this. No, he decided, just- no. They didn't have Steve. They just had Danny here for some reason and Steve was going to get him out by making full use of the 'full immunity and means' thing, even though they didn't really have that anymore.
Another shiver wracked his body and he had to consciously relax his jaw to keep his teeth from chattering like a freaking machine gun.
He went back to searching his memories. He'd gotten into his car, he was sure about that because he remembered adjusting the seat and the mirrors and fiddling with the radio. Steve had changed it to some ridiculous channel again; just to spite Danny, he was sure. After that, there was nothing. Just a big hole where his memories should be. He didn't remember whether he made it home. He didn't even remember whether he'd made it out of his parking space.
The memory loss was consistent with a blow to his head, but it could just as well be the result of being drugged.
Time passed, excruciatingly slowly, and nothing happened. No one came into the room, there were no sounds whatsoever, and Danny was beginning to understand how solitary confinement could be a serious punishment. He was tempted to scream, tempted to try and lure someone into this room, just so something, anything, would happen. But he managed to restrain himself. The last thing he needed to do was to speed up whatever was happening out there. If Steve needed anything, it was time.
His thoughts drifted back and forth between Grace and Steve and occasionally Rachel. He thought about New Jersey, but mostly about Hawaii and Steve's house. A few times he nodded off, his head awkwardly tilting forward or back.
When he finally heard a sound behind him, he jerked violently because he wasn't expecting it anymore. The door opened and a tall, broad, eastern European looking guy stepped into view.
Danny swallowed. Showtime. "Nice place. You wanna tell me what I'm doing here?"
The guy didn't say a word.
"Come on," Danny needled, "you can tell me…what am I gonna do, right? It's not like I'm going anywhere."
The man didn't react at all. He didn't smile, he didn't look angry, there was no emotion on his face whatsoever. He held up a bottle of water. The seal was still on it. In front of Danny's face he turned the cap off and pushed it against Danny's lips.
For a moment Danny thought about resisting, spitting the water out, spitting it into the man's face…but who knew how long they were planning on keeping him here? He wasn't even sure how long he'd been out for.
So he drank.
The guy wasn't even violent about it, just tilted the bottle so the water kept flowing until Danny had to stop to take in a few breaths.
The bottle was three quarters of the way empty and the guy capped it and walked away.
"Please," Danny called after him. "Can you just tell me what you want?"
There was the sound of the door closing and then it was quiet again. Danny wasn't sure what to make of it. Obviously their first aim wasn't to kill him, why care if he was hydrated if they were going to kill him soon? Which meant they either didn't mean him any real harm, or they wanted him alive until they'd reached a certain objective.
He hoped for the former, but experience taught him to expect the latter.
One thing was for sure though; he didn't like the look he'd seen on thug nr.1's face. The complete lack of emotion, either positive or negative, scared him. The man acted like Danny was no more than a job. Like he was an animal that needed to be fed and watered…an animal you didn't need to bond with because it was going to the slaughterhouse anyway.
Steve had better hurry up.
For a little while Danny was fully alert again, but he heard no more sounds and eventually his thoughts started to drift again. Gracie's birthday was in a couple of weeks. It fell on a Monday this year and he had her the weekend before. Maybe they could go to the Honolulu Zoo. It had been a while since she'd been there and the last time she really loved it. Maybe he could get Steve and Kono and Chin to come too. Grace adored them.
He was going to have to be on the lookout for presents too. Even though step-Stan had more money to spend, Danny knew his daughter and he knew what she liked better than anyone, except maybe Rachel. But Rachel sometimes let her dreams for Gracie get in the way of what Gracie herself wanted.
Steve would probably want to get Gracie a present too. He had last year. The date was probably programmed into his phone.
Gracie was really becoming a little lady. Sometimes he could see glimpses of the woman she was going to be…the best of him and Rachel combined. For now she was still his little monkey though and he had a little time left before he needed to start worrying about boyfriends, drinking and drugs.
He wondered what Kono had been like mid-puberty. He had no problem imagining her as a little wild-child. Maybe once Gracie hit that age he could ask Kono to have a few 'heart to heart's with his daughter. Because as much as Danny hated the thought, there was going to be a time when his monkey was going to rebel against everything her mom and dad told her. A wickedly cool aunt like Kono would have a better chance of getting through to her then.
He hoped that even if Danny wasn't around anymore, his team would still keep in touch with his daughter.
Danny started nodding off again, reality shifting into strange scenes that seemed to make complete sense, even if they didn't.
He wasn't sure how long he drifted in and out of sleep but eventually wakefulness got the upper hand again. He wasn't sure why, would rather pass the time dozing, until he recognised the pressure in his lower belly. He needed to pee. Fuck.
It wasn't an immediate problem yet. He could hold it for quite a while longer, but eventually he would need to go. The pressure in his bladder made it impossible for him to drift off and he hated it because time was warping again in ways that made minutes feel like hours and at least when he was dozing it didn't bother him that much.
He jerked in his bonds when the door opened, caught off guard again. "There-", Danny had to swallow and start over because his throat was too dry. "There you are. I was wondering when you were coming back… I need to piss, you mind showing me where the facilities are?"
The guy from before walked into his line of sight, but Danny heard something behind him too, there were two of them. The person behind him grabbed onto the chair, Danny could feel the warmth of the man's hands against his back, but he didn't do anything else.
The guy in front of him turned to look at the camera and then took a little step to the side so he wasn't 'blocking the view' so to speak.
Danny felt his stomach drop violently, this couldn't be good.
Thug nr.1 raised his fist and threw the first punch… and then another…and another.
The first blows were to Danny's face and Danny tried to move with them, trying to avoid a broken nose or jaw.
The man progressed to open-handed backhands next. The slaps weren't intended to do maximum damage, but they hurt like hell anyway and he could feel blood running from his nose and from a cut in his lip.
Then blows started raining down on the rest of his body and in a sudden moment of clarity he realized why the other guy was standing behind him. He was bracing the chair so Danny wouldn't tip over from the force of the blows.
Danny tried to keep his stomach muscles tensed to catch the blows, but after a painful jab to arm he relaxed them for just a moment while he gasped in pain. Bigmistake. The next punch to his stomach sank in much deeper and suddenly he couldn't breathe and nausea swept though him like a freaking tidal wave. He could only spare a brief regretful thought for his puke-free streak before his stomach tried to expel its contents. There really wasn't much to expel.
There was a moment of pure panic when he still couldn't breathe and he was sure he was choking on his own vomit, and then he suddenly had his air back. It was only then that he noticed that the blows had stopped and he was alone again.
Danny forced himself to breathe slowly. In…and out… He needed to stay calm. He spat out a mouthful of stomach acid and blood. Some of it had dribbled down his chin and was now staining his boxers. It was joined by the blood that was slowly dripping from his nose and lip.
If he ever got out of here, he would take great pleasure in shooting these guys. Please, please,letmegetoutofhere.
He shifted painfully in his seat, and then he noticed there was more wetness than the blood and puke could account for. Simultaneously he realized the pressure in his bladder was gone. Apparently somewhere during the beating Danny's body had decided it had more important things on its mind than bladder control. There was a short moment of intense shame, but then he shook it off, who could blame him under these circumstances?
The shivers came back violently, but that was good. Not exactly pleasant, especially now every move he made hurt like hell, but it was good. Steve had taught him that. If you were going to die from hypothermia, you stopped shivering first. No hypothermia for Danny.
He forced his thoughts back to his daughter. Gracie's first word, first step, first birthday, first dentist visit…He thought back to last year's birthday party. He'd taken her swimming with the dolphin's again. Steve had come with them and impressed her with his awesome swimming skills. He thought his daughter might have a little crush on Steve. Apparently it ran in the family. Danny snorted at the thought.
It was hard to sleep with all of his aches and pains, but apparently he managed it anyway, because somehow between one moment and the next the blood on his face and chest had dried, leaving his skin feeling tight like that time Gracie had talked him into taking a clay skin-mask with her.
He wished he hadn't woken up.
There were faint tapping noises coming from outside the room. At first Danny thought it was raining…but then he realized the sound was all wrong and besides that, how could he possibly be hearing rain in this basement, cellar-whatever the fuck it was.
The sound came in short, irregular bursts. He was supposed to know what it was…it was a familiar sound, he knew that much, but his addled brain just couldn't find the word for it.
Then the door slammed open violently and three men with balaclava's and assault rifles rushed in.
Danny closed his eyes and thought about Grace.
"Hey, little buddy, hang in there a little longer, we're getting you out of here."
Danny blinked his eyes open in shock, and his brain took a little longer than normal to get caught up with the situation. "Who-", a cough wracked Danny's body."Who you calling little?"
The three men had their balaclava's pulled up now and Danny was pretty sure he didn't know them. One of them pulled out a mean-looking knife and knelt behind Danny's chair. Danny tried his best to ignore the pain when the sawing motion jerked painfully on his injured wrists.
Another guy was holding a radio and talking. "Yeah, we got him right here- No- Yeah- Fine." Then he was holding something to Danny's ear and Danny heard the most perfect sound in the world. "Is he on yet? Danno? You there? Listen Danno, you're going to be fine, alright? We've got it all under control. We'll have you out of there in no time. I'm on my way right now, okay?"
"Yeah Danno, it's me. Listen, I've got to-" There was a sudden guttural scream from the other side of the line and Danny tensed all over.
"That wasn't me." Steve sounded a little winded. "As I was saying, I need to go now, but I'll be with you in a couple of minutes."
The line went quiet. "Stupid, crazy, freaking ninja SEAL" Danny muttered. "Like I need any more stress." But he couldn't keep the loopy smile off his face. It made his lip start bleeding again.
The guy who had the radio patted his leg. "You're exactly how he described you."
Danny was just about to enquire what that was supposed to mean when the guy behind him finally got through the ties. Danny's arms were free but when he moved them the pain was so bad spots floated in his vision. His ankles were loose not long after that and two of the men lifted his arms over their shoulders and helped him up. Danny was barely able to put one foot in front of the other, so he was half dragged, half carried out of the room. There were long hallways with flickering lights and they passed several corpses. Danny was stupidly pleased to recognise thug nr.1 amongst them.
Then they turned a corner and figure was rushing towards them and Danny had one moment of panic before strong arms wrapped around him in a hug that felt much, much better than it should in his current physical condition. He relaxed and buried his face in Steve's neck, not caring who saw or what they thought about it. "I knew you'd get me out," he muttered.
It was a mad rush out of the compound and into the back of an army truck and then Danny was sitting there in his blood and piss-stained boxers with six other men who were armed to the teeth. It was the strangest feeling ever.
Steve sat next to him, running his hands over Danny's body, undoubtedly checking for injuries. "How are you doing buddy?"
Danny felt a little bit like his strings were cut now he was finally safe. He slumped down a little. "I'm cold," he said quietly. It sounded weak even to his own ears.
Steve sucked in a sharp breath and then seemed to stop breathing altogether. Danny turned his head to look at him and that right there…that was aneurism face. Danny wondered for a moment where it came from until he remembered his own words. 'I'mcold.' And wasn't that exactly what they said in the movies when they were about to die from either in- or external bleeding?
He needed to fix it. Get that look off Steve's face. "I don't suppose you've got a blanket or anything lying around? I mean, I'm kinda naked here. Not asking for a shirt and tie or anything but-"
And then he couldn't talk anymore because Steve's lips were on his. The kiss was rough, innocent and tasted a little bloody and when it ended Steve's pressed his forehead against Danny's and looked into his eyes. "I'm sick of waiting Danny."
"Well, who the hell told you waiting was a good idea anyway?"
There might be a second chapter. I'm not sure yet.