gyzym: (Steve/Danny b&w)
[personal profile] gyzym
Riiiight, so. I sat down tonight to write a post-ep, because it's not really an ep for me until I've written something, because I'm nuts. Instead, I spent far too long watching next week's preview over and over, and then, er. Basically "Steve looked tired in this episode" and "what the hell is Steve doing sitting on a bench when there is WATER he could be SPLASHING IN (like the big puppy he is) RIGHT THERE," coalesced into. Uh. Writing a fic that I think is about PTSD without actually using the term PTSD? Kind-of-ish like Hills Like White Elephants, only not about abortion and not actually in anything like the same style and it kind of did its own thing without my go ahead and I'm, uh, reaaaaaaaally no Ernest Hemingway. In any number of ways, literary talent included.

In short: I have a pretty good idea of how this happened, but I don't really have any idea what it is, and I'm posting it. Whatever. BEGONE FROM MY FOLDER, FANFICTION, or something.

leave the weight in this place behind [steve/danny, 1800 words]

Steve's not sure how they end up on a bench watching the surfing--well, no, that's not quite right. It's easy enough to figure out how Danny got here, because when placed in front of a body of water Danny will inevitably get as far away from it as is possible without overtly revealing his discomfort. It's more that Steve's not sure how he ended up on the bench, his legs aching from running down suspects and up mountains, his hands flexing pointlessly in his pockets. He could be out there helping, guiding kids in and out of the water, laughing with Kono and her boundless energy, but he can't quite manage to get up.

He's tired. Steve is tired, in a bone-deep way that he can't quite parse, that doesn't really make sense. There are a lot of things he's gotten used to being over the years--disillusioned, furious, desperate, even scared--but tired isn't one of them.

"It's getting to you, isn't it," Danny says, a few minutes after some impossibly adorable kid asks him about his haircut. It's a quiet thing--well, for Danny--and less a question than a sigh, but Steve catches it anyway, raises his eyebrows. "Oh, don't look at me like that, McGarrett, I'm not trying to impugn your--no, you know what, fine, look at me like that, you do what you want, no skin off my back, it's still true. It's getting to you, and trust me, babe, take it from me, it's better to just admit it. You've got the face on, don't think I don't know that face."

"You think I've got a face for everything," Steve says, forcing out a laugh to cover his tracks. Danny doesn't even pretend to take the bait, just looks at him, the corner of his mouth turned down.

"This is not that kind of face," he says. "I mean, don't get me wrong here, you do have a face for everything, that is so true it's not even funny, your face is like a rubber mold of Rambo emotions and weird…puppy…whatever, not the point, because this face? This is not a Steve McGarrett face."

"What kind of face is it, then?"

"You," Danny says, and sighs, runs an agitated hand through his hair. "Jesus, Steve, you look like a cop."

For all Steve has kind of wanted this--has thought, in an absent sort of way, that it might be nice to hear his partner say anything about his status as a police officer other than "You're not one," --it doesn't really feel good. Danny's looking at him like he's a particularly upsetting case file, or a death certificate, or a crime scene, and the fact that those are the things that come to mind probably mean he has a point.

"You're full of it," Steve says, which is a weak play, but it's all he's got. "You feeling alright? Been bodysnatched? Because the Danny Williams I know is pretty big on insisting I'll never--"

"Weehawken, '99," Danny interrupts. "I'd been on Vice two months, and lemme tell you, babe, Jersey crime families? They are the guppies of the organized crime world, they eat their young, okay, and I know it, because I saw it and, look, point is, I saw a guy shoot his own kid, saw it right in front of me, I still remember it like it was yesterday. Nothing I could've done, but it'd been a hard couple months to start with, helluva thing to see, and next morning I looked like you do right now, that's what I'm telling you here."

"I'm fine," Steve says.

"That," says Danny, jabbing him lightly in the chest, "is exactly what I said. A week later Rachel--Jesus, it wasn't even a year then, me and her, I'm lucky she didn't leave me just for that--she had to come drag my sorry, drunk ass out of the bar."

"Why?" Steve says. He wants out of this conversation like he wants his next breath, but he knows Danny's like a dog with a bone when it comes to things like this, knows his only hope is to send him further down memory lane and hope he abandons his original objective. "You try to arrest someone?"

"No," Danny says, matter of fact, turning to look out at the ocean. "I called her and begged her to take me home, told her I couldn't take it, that the shit I'd seen was gonna kill me if I kept thinking about it. She was good about it--Rach was always good at shit like that, keeping her head when I couldn't, you know how it is--but I must've scared the hell out of her, falling apart like that."

"Oh," Steve says. He knows he should say something else, but he's not quite sure what it would be. He shifts, uncomfortable, against the bench, looks down at his hands, clears his throat, but can't find whatever words would be there if his brain was working properly.

"Happened again after I got tased in '02," Danny says, his gaze at the water going a little vacant, "and again in '07, that time was rough; vic reminded me of my sister, I think. Doesn't really matter what set it off--Rach and I were all over the rocks by then, but she came and got me when I called. She'd still come get me now, probably."

"But she wouldn't be your call now," Steve says. He means it to come out firm, commanding, but it's more of a question than anything else, and he could kick himself for that. Danny turns back to him, smiles a little, shakes his head.

"You are hard to deal with some days, you know that?" he says. "No, she wouldn't be my call now, that would be you. Please just let your weird hindbrain have that one, that is not my point."

"Did you have a point?" Steve says, honestly curious and maybe--just maybe--a little nervous. "I know that's hard for you, coming to a point, but I haven't got all day."

"My point," Danny says, jabbing him again, "is that you, you play at Superman like it's your job and you know what, I am okay with that, I am good with that, it turns out that works for me even though it's crazy. But there is a difference, okay, Steven, there is a difference between thinking you're Superman and actually being him, and hey, you know what, even Superman had a like--a heart, right, or maybe more than one, or some kind of alien--you know what, whatever, you are a human being, that is my point, okay? You are a human being and this is getting to you and you can say so. You don't even have to say it to me, hell, if you don't want to, I get that, I really do--but talk to someone or just, Jesus, tell yourself, because it eats at you if you don't, and I know you know that's true."

Steve looks out towards the water, at the crowd of kids smiling and laughing even though their lives are difficult in ways he can't imagine, and thinks about war. He saw terrible things as a SEAL, things that still keep him up at night, things that make his blood run cold even now, but it was always--there was always something he could say to himself, bedded down wherever there was space, blood boiling with useless energy. This is the price we pay, one of his COs had said once, voice trembling with purpose, and Steve had believed it, let it well up in him, let it carry him through. But this--these are pointless tragedies, splashing across the news and fading into the background; a daughter so desperate for affection that she'd turned to the unthinkable, a child, not even born yet, who'll never know their father. This is the price that everyone pays, and even useless energy has abandoned him, and Steve's given more death notifications in the last six months than in the six years before combined, and--

"It's getting to me," he admits, voice low, almost lost on the sound of the waves. He feels better and worse for saying it, for letting his shoulders sag, for showing the weakness and abandoning the pretense entirely. Danny, next to him, sighs and bumps their shoulders together, puts a hand on the base of Steve's neck and rubs, gentle, slow. He's silent for awhile--one of the things Steve's come to know about Danny is that he can shut up, when he really needs to--and he doesn't do anything at all, apart from move that hand up and down. He just sits there, a lightening rod in his stupid tie, pulling Steve back to the ground.

"Come on, then," he says finally, standing up and offering Steve his hand.

"Where're we going?" Steve says.

Danny smiles down at him, a little thing, his eyes crinkling slightly at the corners. It's not a sad smile, but something just shy of it, something that says I get it and I wish I didn't and I'm sorry.

"I'm taking you home," he says.

"Chin's not here yet," Steve says, "we should--"

"Hey," Danny says, quiet again, and Steve sighs, gets up, says, "Yeah, yeah, you're right."

For all the times Steve's driven Danny's car, it's the first time Danny's been behind the wheel of the truck; even with a broken arm Steve had insisted on driving it, mostly to prove that he could. Danny talks the whole way to the house, easy chatter about nothing in particular, and Steve is so grateful for it that he could kiss him. That's what he does, in the end, when they pull into the driveway--he leans across the gearshift and eases his mouth over Danny's, draws him close like he's looking for something.

And Danny…Danny makes a noise, something between a sigh and a groan, and kisses back. They're not, generally, the type to do this kind of thing without purpose behind it--Steve's long suspected Danny is that type, deep down, but hasn't known how to ask, if the truth of it was even something he wanted to know. Now Danny reaches up to cup Steve's jaw with his palm, runs his thumb over and over the tender skin under Steve's eye, and kisses him like he doesn't have plans on doing anything else at all.

It's only when Steve's in the house--when both his feet are on the ground, when he's got a beer sweating onto his hand, when the walls around him are familiar and very much his own--that he realizes how much he wanted to be here. He feels his limbs go loose, some of that bony-weary ache slipping away, feels tired still, but less like it's going to crush him.

"Hey," he says, "Danno. You'd be my call too, you know."

"I would fucking hope so," Danny says, but he doesn't quite manage to hide his grin as he pushes past to grab for the remote, letting his hand settle briefly on Steve's hip as he goes.
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July 2011

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