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Adrenaline

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Danny isn’t exactly squeamish, at least not for the average person, but he definitely has moments where he doesn’t quite pass muster as a cop. They see a lot of awful stuff, and while some of it has stopped making him lose his lunch, there are just some things that he can’t manage.

One of those things is looking at fresh wounds on Steve.

Danny runs through the emergency department, pausing long enough to look at the board and figure out what room Steve is in, before continuing on his mission. When Danny throws the curtain aside, there’s Steve. His pants are in the trash and his boots and socks are in a bag on the floor by the wall. Danny can see from where he is that Steve’s in a world of hurt.

“Hey, babe,” Danny manages as he gets closer to the bed.

Steve turns his face to the side. “Hey.” His voice sounds like gravel under a boot.

Danny puts a hand on Steve’s shoulder and uncharacteristically, Steve reaches his hand up like he wants Danny to take it.

Danny grabs an empty chair from across the room and settles next to Steve, clutching the outstretched hand in his own. “Your leg looks like shit. What’d you do? Stick it in a wood chipper?”

Steve flinches hard as the nurse does something to his leg, and he grips Danny’s hand painfully. “Fell through a plate glass table.”

“We’re making good headway on getting the pieces out,” the nurse helpfully interjects.

Danny realizes that now is probably the right time to remind Steve why running off without back up is stupid. “If you had waited like a normal person, you wouldn’t be here right now, you do realize that?”

Steve groans and squeezes his eyes closed. Danny looks down to see the nurse pulling a nauseatingly large sliver of glass from Steve’s thigh. It plinks innocently as it lands in the tray with the other pieces.

“Yeah,” Steve finally answers, sounding a bit out of breath. “I figured that out, but thanks for rubbing it in.”

Danny pats Steve’s hand. “I’m always here to help you with all the heavy stuff, like thinking.”

Steve glares at Danny and opens his mouth to say something, when the nurse mutters, “Shit.”

In an instant, the look on Steve’s face goes from playful, if pained, annoyance, to worry.

She presses her thumb hard over the wound on Steve’s leg and then pushes the talk button on the radio on her lanyard. “I need Dr. Wickfield to ED4. I’m pulling glass and we got a bleed.”

Danny stands up to get a better look, and yeah, that definitely qualifies as a bleed. Even with the pressure she’s applying, there’s still a fair amount of blood seeping out from under her thumb.

“How bad?” Steve asks.

“Nothing to be worried about,” the nurse replies at the same time that Danny says, “You’re leaking like a sieve.”

“That’s helpful,” Steve says with a tight smile.

A moment later the doctor and another nurse hustle in. Danny watches as they check Steve’s vitals again and then apply a compression bandage to the wound.

“How are you feeling?” the doctor, presumably Wickfield, asks.

Steve shrugs a little. “Tired, a little cold.”

The doctor frowns and pokes the monitor next to Steve. The blood pressure cuff reinflates and Danny watches, waiting for the read out. Now Danny, doesn’t know a whole lot about medicine, but he knows that this reading is lower than the last one, which was lower than the one before that.

“Danny,” Steve says suddenly, but even as he says it, Danny watches Steve’s eyes roll back in his head.

“Doc!” Danny shouts.

“It’s probably just low blood sugar,” the doctor says reassuringly. “He hasn’t suddenly lost so much blood that he’s in danger.”

A nurse pricks Steve’s finger and sure enough it reads fifty-six, which he is informed is quite low. Danny watches — and right now he’s feeling like he’s doing a hell of a lot of that to no great effect — while one nurse pokes Steve in the arm with a suspiciously large needle. Danny’s not sure what all goes into it, but the next time they check his blood sugar it’s sixty-nine.

“I’m going to go ahead and do the locals on these cuts here,” the doctor informs Danny.

Danny has this weird feeling about it because Steve has never said why he won’t get locals, just that he doesn’t like them. But lots of people don’t like getting locals, pretty much everyone who’s ever had one falls into that category. He ignores the weird feeling that this isn’t right and hopes that maybe this means he won’t have to listen to Steve’s bitching during stitches this time.

By the time that Steve blinks groggily up at Danny, the doc is already well into suturing the first cut.

“What happened?” Steve mumbles.

“Fainted. Low blood sugar,” Danny relays.

“SEALs don’t faint. We just lose consciousness,” Steve says blearily.

Danny waves a hand. “My sincerest apologies to your idiotic sense of pride.”

They lapse into silence for a moment and Danny gets distracted thinking about what Junior, Tani, and Lou are up to. There’s still a lot to be done, but no one said anything other than “go” when they heard Steve was at the ER. But Danny’s brought back to the present by the subtle tremor in Steve’s hand.

“Steve? What’s going on? You alright?” Danny asks.

“I’m having a little trouble catching my breath,” Steve admits.

Immediately, the doctor is leaning over Steve and peering in his eyes with a pen light. “Any chest trauma? Punches, kicks, blunt objects to the torso?”

Steve shakes his head. “No. It’s just- I feel like I can’t get a full breath. My throat hurts like I’m being choked.”

If he didn’t know Steve like he does, Danny would miss it, because Steve’s voice is steady as ever. But in all honesty, Danny’s never seen Steve so panicked.

Danny takes his free hand and puts it on the top of Steve’s head, ignoring the doctor as he rechecks Steve’s vitals. “Hey, buddy. Talk to me.”

“I don’t know, Danno. It just hit me all at once.”

Danny nods. “I know you’re all Mr. Professional Badass, but have you ever had a panic attack?

Judging by the way Steve’s expression falters, he has. Steve looks away from Danny, but the doctor joins the conversation, leaving Steve no room for escape. “Barring some sort of internal trauma that we’re not aware of, panic seems to be the answer. Have you ever had one before, even just a one-off?”

Steve nods. “Yeah, two. Both times when I got stitches. First time they wrote it off as shock, but the second time we figured out it was the epinephrine in the lidocaine.”

Suddenly, Danny feels like shit. He should have known there was more to it. He should have listened to his gut. “Oh,” he says softly.

“Danny?” Steve asks.

“When you were still sort of out of it from the blood sugar, they gave you locals. I figured the reason you never got locals was because of some weird SEAL thing. I didn’t know…”

Steve takes a deep, shuddery breath. “It’s not your fault. I should have told you.”

“How can I help?” Danny asks.

Steve’s squeezes Danny’s hand, but even with his hand so firm it still shakes. “Just stay. Nothing you can do.”

“Yeah, yeah, of course,” Danny murmurs, running his fingers through Steve’s hair.

“I can leave until you feel more settled,” Wickfield offers.

Steve shakes his head. “Might as well make use of the local.”

Danny gets it, he does. Stitches suck enough as is, and now that he realizes why Steve’s been toughing it out all this time he can’t help but sympathize. But Danny also hates this because Steve never allows himself the time he needs to recover from one thing before pushing right into something else.

“I understand. Let me know if it’s too much and I can stop,” Wickfield says.

Steve nods and Danny can see how his hard fought calm is beginning to crack. The trembling is visible now and according to the monitor, Steve’s respiration and heart rate are through the roof.

Danny moves, careful to stay in Steve’s line of sight, and sits on the edge of the bed. He wishes he could do more than watch as Steve’s symptoms worsen. It’s not that Steve does anything beyond shake and squeeze Danny’s hand to a pulp, but Danny knows anyway. Steve won’t look at him, won’t say a damn word; he just looks at the ceiling and breathes through his nose like if he exercises enough control it’ll fend off the effects of a drug induced panic attack.

Steve is still doing his best impression of someone trying not to cry after eating too many habaneros, when the doctor strips off his gloves.

“I’ve finished everything where we injected the locals. I’ll give you a while to come down before I come back to finish up,” he says quietly.

Steve nods stiffly but otherwise doesn’t react.

“Thanks, Doc,” Danny says. “I’ll keep an eye on him and let you know when he’s feeling better.”

Wickfield nods and then quietly slips out of the room. Danny turns back as Steve loosens his grip on his control, or maybe it just slips away from him now that the pressure of unfamiliar eyes is gone. The tightly controlled tremors turn to full-body shakes and silent tears roll down Steve’s cheeks.

“Hey, babe. I know how bad this sucks. I’m here. I’m not gonna go anywhere.”

Steve nods, just enough that Danny can see, but he keeps his gaze fixed ahead. Danny hates the stony silence, the whole stoic suffering routine, but then again there really isn’t anything to say. It’s not like something happened that they can manage. It’s just waiting. And eventually, despite how it all feels like it’s dragging into next year, Steve’s vitals slowly even out and his breath comes a little deeper.

“I think I’m alright now,” Steve says, trying to let go of Danny’s hand.

Danny laughs and grabs Steve’s hand tighter. The monitor still reads Steve coming in with a heart rate of ninety-five. “You can wait five more minutes.”

Steve turns his head and glares weakly at Danny. “What are you my mother?”

“No. I’m far better than that. Now rest for a minute before you let Dr. Dickfield come back and poke you full of tiny holes,” Danny order sternly.

Steve tries to stifle his snicker of amusement and for a moment it works, right up until it doesn’t and he’s laughing. Danny can’t help but laugh, too, even if the joke was low hanging fruit of the worst variety. They laugh until they’re crying because that’s probably something normal people do when they’re slightly hysterical. But the day isn’t over, not by a long shot because Steve’s leg still looks like he got felt up by Edward Scissorhands, and despite how unfortunately typical something like this is, at least it’s manageable, even if it sucks.

Finally, they both settle down. “Alright, you ready?” Danny asks.

“Already said I was. You were the one-”

“Oh, shut up. Just shut up,” Danny mutters as he presses the call button.

The tinny intercom buzzes to life. “Nurses’ station. Everything alright?”

“Yeah. Wickfield-” Steve snickers again and Danny waves a disapproving hand. “-said to let him know when Commander McGarrett was doing better.”

“Will do,” the nurse chirps.

It’s only a couple minutes later that Wickfield pops back in. “You’re looking significantly better,” he observes with a smile.

“Yeah, feel better, too,” agrees Steve.

“Alright, well you ready to feel a whole lot worse for a while?”

Steve nods. “Let’s do it.”

Danny won’t lie and say that he likes this part, but he’s not going to give Steve the same level of shit that he used to about it. He’s just glad that, maybe, the worst is already over.