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20 April 2013 @ 10:45 am
The Writing on the Wall 1/3  
Title: The Writing on the Wall 1/3
Written for: stevedannoslash Spring Fling
Rating: R (Pre-slash Steve/Danny)
Words: ~16,000 (yes, it got out of control, as usual.)
Warnings/Spoilers: Deals with what could be considered domestic abuse. Please see the prompt for more information about the content. No spoilers.
Summary: In retrospect, Danny knew he should have paid attention to the writing on the wall. But he refused to see what was happening to his best friend until the proof was impossible to ignore.
Author's note: Thousand thanks to kaige68 for proofing and for handholding. Her patience and reliability are the reasons this story is seeing the light of day. Thanks also to mcdanno_isa for the amazing cheerleading!
Prompt: (posted anonymously): Abused Steve! Steve shows up to work one day sporting a massive black eye, or a busted lip. The team wouldn't think anything of it, maybe Steve getting hurt during night maneuvers, but something about Steve's demeanor raises Danny's suspicions. As Danny digs deeper into the matter discreetly, his horrified by what he finds out is happening to the man he is secretly in love with.

I tried to adhere to the prompt but my muses took a bit of a left turn. I hope this works for the person who left the excellent prompt.

Part 1 (it's too long for one post)
Part 2==>
Part 3==>

Also posted on A03.
~o0o0o0o~


Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it's addressed to someone else.  ~Ivern Ball

Danny was standing by the trunk of the Camaro tightening the Velcro on his TAC vest when Steve came lopping over to get his. Danny already had it out, waiting for Steve who smiled his thanks.

They were about to enter an office building where a suspected drug cartel had their headquarters, the tip from a reliable source telling them the head of the local cartel was there. Danny leaned against the side of the Camaro as he watched Steve put on his vest, shaking his head when he was done.

“You don’t have it tight enough, babe,” Danny said, undoing the Velcro under Steve’s right arm and repositioning it so Steve’s vest fit much more snugly around his body. Danny looked up at Steve’s sharp intake of breath, his expression questioning.


“I must have pulled a muscle yesterday when we were tackling those suspects,” Steve said with a shrug.

“Did you get it looked at? No, of course not. Look who I’m talking to.” He shook his head, putting a hand over Steve’s when he tried to loosen the strap. “You need to leave it or it won’t do any good.”

“It’s not helpful if I can’t breathe,” Steve pointed out as he batted Danny’s hand away to readjust the fastening.

“Fine. But if you die from a bullet, don’t come crying to me,” Danny warned, taking out his rifle and handing Steve’s to him.

“I promise,” Steve agreed, checking with Chin and Kono to make sure they were ready as well.

The raid in the office was textbook, the bad guys trying to first talk then shoot their way out but in the end, they were all arrested. The raid meant an end to a significant portion of the cocaine distribution in Oahu.

“We need to celebrate this win,” Kono said when they were in headquarters, still buzzing from the success.

“I agree,” Chin said, fist bumping Kono. “You don’t have Grace tonight, right?”

“I don’t so I’m in. Some place besides Kamekona’s shrimp truck,” Danny said, calling to Steve.

“Yeah?” Steve said when he emerged from his office.

“We’re going to celebrate. You can pay,” Danny decided.

“Can’t. I have plans,” Steve said with a smile. “Have a good time.” With that, he left headquarters, the other three staring silently at where he had been.

“Well,” Kono said, looking at Danny. “What’s he up to?”

“I’m as much in the dark as you,” Danny said. “Let’s go eat.”

Kono and Chin exchanged a look but did not argue. If Danny didn’t know what Steve was doing, they certainly had no information to share about his mysterious disappearance.

~o~

Danny, Kono and Chin had been in the office for an hour the next morning when Steve arrived, looking fresh and winded, the color high on his checks.

“Catching some early waves, Boss?” Kono asked with a smile.

“They were prime,” Steve said, going into this office without any further conversation.

Kono looked at Danny over the tech table but Danny could only shrug. “What did you two fight about?” she whispered.

“A fight? No. We didn’t have a fight.”

“Then why is he avoiding you?” she asked. She turned her black eyes of doom on Chin who automatically agreed with her.

“He has been stand-offish. You sure you didn’t fight?” Chin asked.

“Don’t you think I’d know if I was one half of a fight?” Danny asked. “I haven’t really seen him in the past couple of weeks. You know since Charlie’s had the flu, I’ve had Grace more than usual. And Steve’s been busy.”

“Busy,” Kono said in disapproval.

“I’m not his keeper,” Danny pointed out.

“You have been up until now,” she said.

“If you want to know what he’s up to, go and ask him,” Danny suggested, turning to go into his own office. He didn’t need the cousins reminding him that things between him and Steve had been…strange for the past few weeks. He couldn’t pinpoint it exactly, but their relationship had developed a distance Danny hadn’t felt since they’d pointed their guns at each other over the Marquis. Danny was 99% sure he hadn’t done anything to make Steve angry but there was something different about his demeanor that Danny couldn’t name. He was certain that his extra time with Grace wasn’t the cause. He was a little surprised that Steve hadn’t insisted on taking advantage of the Grace-time, to spend all of it with them.

If Danny was truthfully with himself, which he tried to be the majority of the time, he had allowed the spark he held for Steve to flare after Catherine’s last visit. She came to announce that she was engaged to a man she had dated off and on for several years, in between rendevouses with Steve. Steve already knew when she told the others, his smile of congratulations genuine and heartfelt. But the time Danny and Steve spent together hadn’t increased. Now, it had diminished even further, Steve not as available as he had been when he was still seeing Catherine.

Danny discovered not having Steve monopolizing his free time had given him too much of it. He tried to tell himself it was for the best. That too much time spent together was good for neither of them. But that honest side of him was forced to conceded that he missed Steve, the way he and Steve used to be.

Deciding it was Steve’s issue to work out, Danny turned to his computer to tackle the paperwork created by their successful bust the day before.

“Lunch,” Kono said a few minutes later.

“What?” Danny said. “We just got here.”

“It’s almost 1:00, brah,” Kono said, leaning one jean clad hip against the edge of his desk.

“Oh,” Danny said, checking the clock on his computer. “Where are you going?”

“I don’t care. Ask Steve what he wants,” Kono suggested.

“Why aren’t you asking him?” Danny asked up to her.

“Just go,” Kono insisted, pointing toward Steve’s office.

Danny sighed but stood and crossed over. He knocked on the glass door, Steve holding up one finger. After he had disconnected from his call, he waved Danny in.

“What’s up?” Steve asked as he slipped his phone in his pocket.

“Lunch,” Danny said. “What do you want?”

“I have to run out,” Steve said with a disarming smile.

“Okay,” Danny said, backing out of the way so Steve could leave his office. “Will you be back?”

“Of course,” Steve said. “I’m just going to lunch.”

“Okay,” Danny repeated. He turned to Chin and Kono to discuss what they wanted but they were still watching Steve with twin frowns on their faces. “What?”

“Did you talk to him?” Chin asked when Steve was out of the offices.

“I asked about lunch but he has plans,” Danny said.

“Plans,” Kono said, studying Danny. “You need to fix this.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Danny insisted.

“That could be the problem,” Chin said. “You need to find out what you didn’t do and do that.”

“This isn’t about me,” Danny said, trying to figure out why he was being blamed for Steve’s unusual behavior. Not that his behavior was completely off-kilter but neither did he seem to be entirely Steve-like.

“Doesn’t matter,” Kono said, crossing her arms over her chest and frowning at him. “Fix it.”

“Okay,” Danny sighed. “When he comes back, I’ll talk to him.”

“Good,” Kono said with a nod. “We’ll go pick up lunch.” She grabbed Chin’s arm and pulled him out of the offices, leaving Danny to his thoughts.

They had just finished eating when Danny’s phone rang with Steve’s ring tone. “Hey,” Danny said.

“Danny,” Steve said, slightly breathless. “Since nothing is going on, I’m going to knock off now for the weekend.”

“Okay,” Danny had to agree.

“Call if you need anything,” Steve said, hanging up before Danny had a chance to respond.

“What’d he say?” Kono demanded.

“He’s not coming back,” Danny said, looking at his phone like it had betrayed him in some way.

“Not coming back?” Chin repeated, staring at Danny.

“That’s what he said,” Danny confirmed.

“Fix this,” Kono demanded, throwing out her trash before going into her office to frown at her computer.

~0~

Danny waited until Saturday morning to call Steve. He had considered calling at least every 30 minutes since Steve had left on Friday but didn’t know what he’d say. He tried to quell his nervousness as Steve’s phone rang until it went to voice mail. “Hey. It’s me. Give me a call when you get a second?” That wasn’t what Danny really wanted to say but he didn’t think what he wanted to say could be left as a message. And what was it he was going to say? ‘Why are you acting so weird? Even for you?’ That would be nice.

Danny didn’t bother to suppress his disappointment when Steve failed to respond to any of the subsequent messages he left. And he wasn’t in his office when Danny arrived Monday morning. Danny wasn’t usually first in but when the waves were breaking just right, he’d been known to arrive well before the others.

Chin and Kono got to the office about half an hour after Danny, neither of them knowing anything about Steve’s whereabouts. Danny called Steve’s cell phone but hung up when he spotted him out the window, jogging up to the building. All three of them were waiting by the tech table when Steve tried to make a casual entrance.

“Well?” Danny asked, staring at Steve.

“Sorry,” Steve said with a shrug. “Alarm didn’t go off.”

The other three exchanged a look before returning their stare to Steve.

“When was the last time you needed an alarm to tell you to get up?” Kono finally demanded.

Steve shrugged, trying to ease toward his office as though they wouldn’t notice his retreat.

“I called you Saturday,” Danny said, forcing Steve to stop moving. “You didn’t call me back.”

“I didn’t get a message,” Steve said.

“I left you a voice mail. I asked you to call me back when you had a chance. I also called you Sunday,” Danny told him.

“I didn’t get the messages,” Steve repeated. “What’d you need?”

“No. You know what. Never mind,” Danny said, going into his office and turning his back on the window that faced out.

“Talk to him,” Chin suggested, Kono nodding in agreement.

“I didn’t get his messages,” Steve said in his own defense.

“Apologize,” Kono demanded.

“For a technology failure?” Steve asked.

“When was the last time you went an entire weekend without talking to him?” Kono asked. Her expression said he was not going to worm his way out of doing as she asked.

“I’ll talk to him,” Steve agreed, holding up both hands in surrender. He knocked lightly on Danny’s door, waiting as Danny swiveled his chair to frown over at him. “Can I come in?”

“You are the boss,” Danny said, looking up at him with a blank expression, not even his eyes revealing any of his thoughts.

“I really didn’t get your messages,” Steve told him.

“You said that,” Danny said in monotone.

“What did you need?”

“I didn’t need anything. Grace, however, wondered where you were when you had promised to come rollerblading with us,” Danny said.

“Was that this weekend?” Steve asked in dismay.

“On Sunday. We went to the park and pretended we were having a good time. Grace was a trooper and only asked me if you were okay three or four times. I told her as far I knew you were fine,” Danny told him.

“I’m really sorry. I completely forgot that it was this weekend,” Steve said in sincere regret.

“If you’d called me back, I would have been able to remind you. I know, I know,” Danny said, holding up a hand when Steve tried to explain. “You didn’t get the messages. Except I also called you Sunday morning to remind you and you didn’t answer. I texted you from the park and you didn’t respond.”

Steve stared at him, guilt washing over his face. “Is Grace really mad?”

“Disappointed. Sure you were in the hospital because she can’t believe you would have blown her off if you were able to walk. I called the hospitals so she’d stop worrying,” Danny said.

“I’ll make it up to her.”

“No you won’t. And she’ll get over it. Blowing me off, or Kono or Chin is bad enough. But this was Grace,” Danny said, his voice almost too calm and too quiet. That was a sure sign of danger.

“I’ll call her when she gets out of school and apologize,” Steve said.

“No. Not yet. I’m not ready for her to have the chance to forgive you. Because I still haven’t.”

“Danny,” Steve said in request.

“No. Unless we have an active case, I have your paperwork to finish,” Danny said, turning away from Steve to focus back on his computer.

“All right,” Steve said, leaving quietly and going into his own office.

Danny periodically looked across at Steve’s office, wondering what he should do. He was still too angry and too disappointed to discuss it rationally with Steve. He understood that Steve had his own life but he’d promised Grace. Danny had never known Steve to let down Grace and it hurt his heart that Steve had forgotten about her. Forgotten their plans but Danny refused to allow his thoughts to dwell on his own disappointment.

Each time Danny glanced over at Steve’s office, he was on his phone. A couple of times, Danny could tell he was speaking loudly, his face hard in anger. Danny couldn’t imagine who it was he was talking to like that and briefly considered having Chin or Kono dump his phone. But that was a violation that Steve would never forgive.

None of them were especially surprised when Steve said he was going out to lunch and would be back in an hour. They had accepted the new reality that Steve no longer chose to spend his time with them as they had been accustom.

He was gone for closer to two hours before he returned. When he got back, he was sporting an ugly scrap on his right arm. It was still red, an ugly bruise blooming out from the mark dead center on his forearm.

“What’d you do?” Danny asked his anger submerged by his concern.

“I tripped and banged my arm,” Steve said, shrugging it off. “It will be fine. I’ll ice it.”

“This is ugly, Boss,” Kono said, studying it. “Do you need to go see your doctor?”

“Of course not,” Steve said. “It’s just a bruise.”

Kono looked over at Danny who was staring at mottled skin until he felt Kono’s eyes on him. He shrugged and she nodded, returning to her office. Danny went into his, staring over at Steve who was favoring his right arm though he was trying not make it obvious.

They didn’t get called for a case so spent the rest of the afternoon in their offices, Kono sending Danny silent hand gestures to go and talk to Steve. Danny refused, silently pleading with Chin to call her off. He raised his hands, excusing himself from their battle of wills.

At precisely 5:00, Steve turned off his computer and left with a hasty goodbye.

“That’s it,” Kono said. “We’re following him.”

“No we aren’t,” Chin said. “We have no reason to.”

“But he’s acting so weird,” Kono protested.

“That’s not reason enough to tail our boss,” Chin told her.

“Danny,” she said, appealing to him for support.

“He’s a grown man. What he does when he’s not here is his business,” Danny said. But they were words he did not believe. In truth he was starting to become more concerned by the hour. But there was nothing they could actually do, especially since Steve’s behavior was not illegal or outside the bounds of propriety. “Whatever it is, he’ll tell us in his own time. Or he won’t. You know he can get some strange ideas in his head.”

“I’m disappointed in you,” Kono told him, shaking her head sadly. “He’s your best friend. You should care enough to snoop on him.”

“He’s not my best friend,” Danny said, clamping his mouth shut when he realized what he’d said aloud.

“Brah,” Chin said in sympathy.

“He does things his own way for his own reasons,” Danny reminded them. “At least he’s not running off to North Korea.”

“Can you be sure he isn’t planning to?” Kono asked firmly.

“No,” Danny said.

“Maybe you should give him a call,” Chin suggested evenly. There was no judgment in the words or tone but Danny felt like he wasn’t being given much of a choice. Chin was not one to interfere where he was not welcome and for him to be the suggesting Danny needed to call Steve was nearly impossible to avoid.

“Go over to his house,” Kono said. “You always stopped by. Before.”

“Before,” Danny sighed.

“You two really didn’t fight?” Kono asked, more sympathetic than disappointed this time.

“No. We’ve barely spoken…well. I’ll call him,” Danny finally said, pulling out his phone.

“Let us know?” Chin asked.

“If I find anything out, I will,” Danny promised, returning to his office. “Hey,” he said when Steve answered.

“Did we catch a case?” Steve asked, more anxious than was his normal reaction.

“No. I’m…well, we’re all wondering….have I…or we…done something to…annoy you?” Danny finally managed to ask.

“Annoy me? Of course not,” Steve said.

“Okay,” Danny said, thinking about what else there was to say. If Steve wasn’t angry, then that was that, he supposed. Steve had a life outside the office. Danny’s life revolved around his teammate and his daughter. That didn’t mean it was the same for the rest of them. “Okay,” he repeated. “I’ll let you go.”

“Okay,” Steve said, disconnecting before Danny could say anything else.

“Well?” Kono asked, staring at Danny as though she could read the answer inside his head.

“He’s not annoyed.”

“Then what’s going on?” Kono asked.

“He has a life. That seems fairly straight-forward to me,” Danny told her.

“Danny,” Kono said, entering the rest of the way, a look of undisguised sympathy on her face. “Don’t pretend you aren’t hurt. I know better.”

“Why should I be hurt?” Danny asked quietly. “We aren’t joined at the hip. We’re friendly. That’s it.”

“Friendly,” Kono repeated. It sounded so stupid when she said it, Danny had to flinch.

“Okay. More than friendly. But we aren’t dating,” he said, full air quotes accompanying it. “I’m not his keeper.”

“No, I don’t suppose you are,” Kono said. “Come have dinner with me and Chin.”

“Where are you going?” he asked her, enjoying her sunny smile.

“Wherever you want,” she said, holding her hand out to him. He automatically took it, following her out into the main office to discuss dinner choices with Chin.


part 2===>
 
 
 
McDanno Isa O'caanmcdanno_isa on April 20th, 2013 03:35 pm (UTC)
OMG
OMG your new baby is here!!
Not even read already cuz I'm so thrilled, today I woke 6pm for see if you already posted!!
'm Going read now!!
Thanks babe, and I'm still here cheerlading!!
GO TKEYLA GO TKEYLA GO TKEYLA

lol.. Xxox
Are 6 dogs too many?tkeylasunset on April 20th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
Re: OMG
It is here!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

<3<3<3