melissas_corner: (Steve/Danny)
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Author's Notes: Before Your Love was supposed to be a one shot but my Danny muse decided he didn't like how it ended. I don't personally know anyone suffering from PTSD but I did research treatments. I tried to be respectful of people who are suffering from mental illness. Please take note and read, or not, with your own mental health in mind.
Sequel/Series: Before Your Love
Summary: Now that Steve's home, and not dead, Danny does what he can to help him heal.
Warnings: None really.
Spoilers: All aired episodes are fair game.
Beta: Dru

Danny's POV:

I'm so stunned that I do the only thing I can think of: I slam the door in his face. It's not like he's really there, right? I'm missing him so badly that my subconscious has conjured him and it's his ghost that's standing there. I mean, he's dead, right? So he can't actually be standing there.

The door starts to open and I back away. I think about getting my gun but decide it'd just be worthless against a ghost. By the time the door's all the way open, I'm backed up against the tree.

He's frowning at me from the doorway. "Not the welcome home I was expecting."

When he starts to approach, I panic. "You're dead!" I exclaim and instantly feel guilty because up until this moment, I didn't truly believe.

He looks down at his body and pats it as if to make sure it's still there. "Don't feel dead."

I rush him and pound my fists on his chest. "You don't get to make jokes, you son of a bitch!"

He takes my wrists in his hands, stopping me from assaulting him further. "I know, D. I'm sorry."

"Sorry!? You're fucking sorry?" I roughly pull my wrists from his grasp. "Four months, Steven. Four months we've believed you to be dead. I had to tell my daughter that you're not coming back. I made her cry. You made her cry. Hell, you made me cry. I hate to cry, Steven." I pace away from him, waving my arms wildly in the air when suddenly something occurs to me and I spin back to face him. "Don't take this the wrong way, but why aren't you dead?"

"Yeah, about that…" He rubs one hand along the back of his head and that's when I notice his hair's shorter than it was the last time I saw him and his skin has a grey undertone.

"Oh, my, God! You've been injured!" I jump forward and grab his upper arms. "Sit before you fall over." I lead him over to the couch and push him down on it, sitting on the cushion next to him.

"I'm fine, Danny." And now he sounds tired.

"I don't think so. Where have you been?"

He frowns in concentration and I worry that he has memory loss. "I don't know everything that happened but I spent the past four months in a hospital in Germany."

I slap his arm. "And you couldn't call a person?"

He blinks at me. "Yeah, because nothing's as romantic as getting a call from your dead lover." I narrow my eyes at him. "Not a conversation I wanted to have on the phone, Danny. Besides, I knew you would want to come and bring Grace and I couldn't allow that."

"Couldn't…" I sag back against the couch. "I don't understand."

"I have a TBI and I didn't want Gracie to see me struggling like that."

"But you're better now, right? I mean, they wouldn't have let you come home if you weren't. Right?"

He winces and I know I'm not going to like the answer. "I left AMA which is severely frowned upon in the military because doctors outrank even the Chiefs of Staff."

"They make you sign away your first born?"

"Something like that."

We fall silent, each lost in our own thoughts. I'm finding it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that my boyfriend has returned from the dead. "How'd Cath take the news?"

"Haven't told her yet."

I turn to frown at him. Catherine's his best friend. I figured he'd tell her first. "Why not?"

"Because you and Mary deserve to know first." Just when I think I can't love him anymore than I already do, he goes and says something like that.

"So how'd Mary take the news?"

He chuckles softly. "Pretty much like you did. Only she slapped me, then hugged the shit outta me and told me she loves me."

I lean over to wrap my arms around him and squeeze tight and whisper, "Aloha au ia 'oe" in his ear. He turns his head and captures my lips with his. God, how I missed kissing him, holding him, being held by him.

As always happens when we touch, a spark soon turns into a raging inferno and we're grabbing at each other, panting heavily into each other's mouth. Things are getting a bit too frantic but before I can call a halt he pulls back and rests his forehead against mine. "Please, Danny." The pleading note in his tone has my dick twitching.

I don't have to ask what he wants, it's the same thing I want and right now I can't think of a good reason to say no. "Okay."

His eyes open wide in surprise and that big goofy grin that I love stretches his cheeks wide. "Yeah?" I nod and he jumps up, his exhaustion obviously pushed to the side by the prospect of finally getting laid. "C'mon!" He grabs my hand and pulls me up the stairs and into the bedroom where he once again attacks my mouth.

I push him back a little. "Whoa, Sailor. What's the rush?"

"Ten months, Danny," he says through gritted teeth.

"I know, Babe. Doesn't mean we can't take this slow. It is our first time, after all."

"I don't think I can wait anymore, Danny."

There's something…off about his tone and I look closer, seeing things I overlooked in my excitement at seeing him alive. His eyes are a bit wild around the corners, almost like that of a frightened animal. And he's shaking. Just barely, but shaking nonetheless. If I didn't know him like I do, I wouldn't notice either thing. But as it is, I have a feeling I need to start looking for a way to call a halt to this and get him to agree to wait.

"Danny?" His questioning tone tells me I've been staring too long.

Cursing myself under my breath, I close and lock the door. I don't think Grace'll get up during the night but I don't want to take any chances just in case I can't get Steve to wait until later to have sex. Seeing her father and his boyfriend fucking is no way for my little girl to learn about the joys of gay sex.

Stepping closer to him, I slip my hands under his shirt. "Sorry, Babe. Can't seem to stop staring. It's not every day my lover comes back from the dead, ya know."

He quirks a small smile and begins removing my shirt slowly, his palms burning twin paths up my torso. I don't remember his touch being so hot.

Once both our shirts are off, he licks his way back into my mouth and uses that to try and distract me from him backing me across the room. We topple to the bed when the backs of my knees hit the edge of the mattress. He uses his thighs to get me to scoot back enough so he can kneel between my legs on the edge.

His kisses take on a frantic edge and I try to calm him with gentle caresses of my hands. When that doesn't work, I tug on his hair. After a few seconds he gives up the snack he's made of my earlobe to lean back and frown down at me. "What?"

"Slow down. There really is no rush. Grace cried herself to sleep so I'm not expecting her to wake until closer to dawn."

"Grace's here?" He looks around the room as if he thinks she's in here with us.

"Yeah. Stan took Rachel to Boston to spend the holiday with his family so I have her for the week."

"Okay." He blinks and sits back on his heels. "Wait, Rachel agreed to spend Christmas apart from Grace?"

"I insisted. First Christmas without you was not going to be one without Grace, too."

"I see." He grins at me and I know that my distraction tactic didn't work. He's got a one track mind these days.

But I can't let him continue. I place one hand in the center of his chest, stopping him from kissing me. "I want to know what happened."

"I told you. I have no memory from being hit on the head and waking up in a hospital bed in Germany four months ago."

"What did the doctors say?"

He shrugs. "Part of the TBI. I may never regain those memories."

"So you weren't in a coma?"

He shakes his head. "According to the unit that found me, I was lucid and hiding with a family of goat herders."

"Huh. What else did the doctors say?"

"Danny…" I know he doesn't want to talk but I don't care. I just raise one brow. He sighs. "Possible PTSD."

"Possible? Did they actually meet you?"

"Ha, ha." His eyelids droop. It's obvious, to me at least, that he's dead on his feet.

"We don't have to, Steve."

"Ten months, Danny. Don't want to wait any longer."

"I know, Babe, and I don't want to wait either. But the fact remains, you're dead on your feet. Not to mention your recent head trauma, which hasn't fully healed yet."

He rolls off me to lie on his back to my right. "But I want so much!"

"I know you do, Babe. And we'll get there. Just need to be patient a bit longer."

He closes his eyes and nods his head slowly. It's painfully obvious that he's more tired than he wants to admit. "Let's get you undressed." I attack his boots first, then his pants. "Here,-" I tug on his shoulder to get him to sit up. "-put these on." I hand him a pair of his favorite sleep pants.

He puts them on with his eyes still closed, then lies back down on the bed. I chuckle softly at the sight of him curled up like a little kid with his hands tucked between his knees. "C'mon." I shove on his hip. "Get under the covers, ya big baby." He grumbles but lets me manhandle him until he's tucked into the bed, clutching my pillow.

With a shake of my head, I pick up my cell phone and hit speed dial number four. "You have any idea what time it is?" Chin answers on the third ring.

"Yeah, sorry. I was hoping you'd still be awake and would want to know some news before you come over later."

"Is it bad?"

"Not at all. But it is, um, well, hard to believe."

"I'm listening."

And now that the moment of truth is at hand, I find I have no words. "Well, uh, Steve… Steve is…"

"Danny?" I can hear Chin's annoyance and so just blurt out the rest.

"Steve arrived home about twenty minutes ago."

"They found his body?"

"No, I mean he's home."

"Wait, you're saying Steve's alive!?"

"Yeah. Looks like the Army-" Steve interrupts me with "Navy, Daniel" which just makes me roll my eyes because, hello, unconscious man is correcting me. "-I mean the Navy, actually, it was probably the Marines, just assumed he was dead based on the small puddle of blood next to the hole in the ground."

"Was the blood even his? I mean, did you ever ask Cath that?"

"No, I never asked. I figured the military would check something like that. But right now he's curled up in my bed unconscious."

"Odd way of saying asleep."

"Well, he didn't fall asleep so much as pass out, so he's unconscious."

"Where's he been?"

"Germany. And before you ask, he didn't call because he didn't want Grace to see him recovering from a TBI. Although I have a feeling he's far from recovered."

"How'd he convince the doctors to let him leave?"

"Didn't. Left AMA."

Chin chuckles. "Sounds like Steve."

"Yeah, look, sorry about calling so late but I want you to be prepared."

"Sure thing, Brah. How about we push everything back to two-ish?"

"Sounds good. Could you do the notifications? I'm not in the mood for questions. Tell everyone they'll get answers eventually."

"No worries. The doctors say anything else other than the TBI?"


"Knew that already."

"Yeah, but now it's official. I can bet you they're insisting on therapy this time."

"Yeah, I'm sure they are. Try and get some sleep, yeah? We'll see you around 2."

"Okay. Night, Chin."

"Night, Danny. Mele Kalikimaka."

"Mele Kalikimaka, to you, too."

"Danny?" I can barely hear Steve due to his face being buried in my pillow but what I can hear sounds so pitiful.

"Right here, Babe. Just need to brush my teeth and change for bed. Okay?" I run my fingers through his hair, then go unlock the door on my way to the bathroom.

"'Kay." I'm not sure he actually regained consciousness for that conversation and it worries me a little.

While in the bathroom brushing my teeth, I look up TBI symptoms just to put my mind at ease. What I discover calms me. Since it's been four months since he sustained his injury, his current unconscious state is nothing more than the effect of air travel on a person recovering from a serious head injury.

He barely stirs beyond curling closer to me when I slip under the covers. He mutters something and rubs his cheek against my shoulder. Once I've settled down for sleep, I feel him relax even more and slip further into slumber.

I lie awake for a while, just watching him sleep. He looks so much younger when asleep, his face free of the worry lines it wears during his waking hours.

Eventually the soothing sound of his soft breathing coupled with the sound of the waves crashing against the beach lull me to sleep. My sleep is peaceful in a way it hasn't been since he told me he was being deployed; peaceful and deep, despite having Grace in the house.

Despite how deeply I'm sleeping I wake the instant I hear Grace's special knock on the door. It's something we started back when Rachel and I were still married. We didn't want her to walk in on us having sex so we taught her a special knock. Now she uses it to make sure I'm dressed.

I have just enough time to prop myself up on one elbow and hold up a hand before she's in the room enough to see Steve sleeping next to me. "Shh." I put one finger to my lips. "Don't wake him."

"I told you!" she hisses, approaching the bed and climbing up on it.

I shift to give her space to lie between us but Steve tightens his grip on my waist and makes a noise in the back of his throat that reminds me of a wounded animal. "Easy." I murmur, petting his hair. "It's just Gracie."

"Gracie?" He opens his eyes half-way and smiles at her, scooting back enough to let her lie between us, facing him. "Hey, Baby Girl."

"Hey, Uncle Steve." Grace pats his cheek. "I told everyone you weren't dead but they didn't believe me."

"Yeah, adults can be stubborn like that." I can tell he's fading again.

"Grace, why don't you and I go open presents and let Uncle Steve sleep some more."

Grace's head whips around so she can glare at me but before she can protest Steve speaks up. "Stay. Please." He sounds so pitiful that I can't find the heart to say no.

"Okay. I guess some more sleep won't hurt. It is a holiday after all."

Grace kisses my cheek and snuggles down with her head on Steve's chest, a contented smile curling her lips. When I lift my gaze from my daughter's happy face to Steve's, I find him watching me from heavy-lidded eyes. The look in them is what I'm sure is in mine when I fear Rachel's trying to take Grace from me. It's almost as if he's daring me to try and separate them.

"She's my daughter, you know." He nods. "Just so you remember. Her safety is my number one priority." He nods again and closes his eyes.

Only once his breathing evens out again, do I allow myself to relax enough to fall asleep as well.

Part two

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-07 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you SO much for writing a sequel! I'm so glad your Danny Muse agreed with the commenters on the other story & decided there was more to be said in this "'verse".

I think this is a great start & I'm really looking forward to the rest of the story. I really felt for both Steve & Danny in trying to reconnect after so long apart--especially Steve's combination of apparent fear of being alone now as well as (I think) fear that Danny & Grace will, somehow, be taken away from him, & what I read as Danny's fear that Grace would somehow be hurt by Steve--either as a result of the TBI or the PTSD.

I did notice 1 small thing though--you wrote Danny as locking the door to the bedroom so that, if he & Steve did consummate things, Grace wouldn't walk in during it. But if you wrote Danny UNlocking the door, I seem to have missed it somehow (& I reread from where the door was locked more than once to be sure I didn't miss him unlocking it). Grace seemed to be able to get into the bedroom without the door being unlocked (& neither Danny or Steve let her in either).

Anyway... Great job! I'm really enjoying the story & looking forward to the next part.


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