(AN: So, I've been away from fics for a while and I know there's another fic I've yet to complete but this doesn't mean I'm back back I just couldn't sleep. I hope you like it though)
Dani opened the door with one hand, the other still firmly wrapped around Malcolm's bicep, trying to keep him from face planting.
"Okay, the doctor said you need rest so, go put on your PJ's and get into bed."
As a detective for major crimes and a very beautiful woman (if she did say so herself) the words that just left her mouth were not words she thought she'd be saying on a Saturday night. But there she was.
She had to admit it was a little bit funny, Bright practically dangling in her hold as she let go of the door and picked him up from the floor where he'd dropped, one hand now gripping his waistband to keep him on his feet.
"I knowww what the doctor said. I was there." His words were slurred but this time it was not because of any exploding drugs.
Dani rolled her eyes and gripped him harder as he tripped, yanking him back up before he could unbalance them both.
"Uh-huh. Do you remember why your head hurts?"
Malcolm was quiet for a moment, thinking, or trying to. It was more like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands.
"Noooo. How do you know that it hurts?"
Dani sighed and helped him to his bed, sitting him down and kneeling in front of him to take off his shoes, hand having to shoot out before she even started, in order to keep Bright from toppling sideways and onto the floor.
"Because I was there when your head got smacked into the wall. Hold still and tell me if you're gonna puke, I don't want you doing it on me."
She undid his laces and pulled his shoes off, feeling all at once their mountain of differences as she spotted the designer label. They came from completely different worlds and backgrounds. His dad was a serial killer, hers had been a hygienist. And yet they somehow worked as friends.
"I'm not gonna throw up. Your hair is way too pretty to throw up in. I didn't mean to say that out loud."
Dani was only half-listening anyway, trying to figure out how to get Bright into his pyjamas without crossing a boundary neither of them were ready for yet.
She stood and placed her hands on her hips, Malcolm's huge eyes blinking up at her as if confused as to how she got there so fast.
"I'm going to get you some water and some meds, are you okay to get yourself changed?"
Bright blinked, thinking for longer than he should have needed to before he held up a shaky thumbs-up.
Dani nodded and hoped he wouldn't fall over as soon as she turned around.
"Great. You get started and give me a shout when you're finished."
She turned before he could make the unwise decision to nod and made her way to the kitchen, familiar enough by now. She filled a water glass and located Brights medicine cabinet which was full enough that it didn't fit in the bathroom and instead took a whole shelf in the pantry like some bizarre kind of spice rack.
She grabbed some anti-inflammatories and antiemetics before giving a visit to sunshine and offering her some sunflower seeds just to pass the time. She was starting to get worried once all the grunting and huffing and puffing from Bright ceased but he eventually called out to her.
"I need to brush my teeth."
"I don't think you could stand up long enough to-" She turned around, hoping he was dressed and finding that he was in fact dressed but he was also face down on his bed, half falling off and looking exhausted.
She hurried over and dropped the glass of water and pills on his bedside table before grabbing him and rolling him over, away from the edge.
"Would you please stop falling over?"
Bright looked up at her from where she pressed him down to his bed, hair flopped half over his eyes.
Dani sighed and brushed the hair away, pressing the backs of her fingers against his pale cheeks.
"I'm starting to think you signing out AMA was a bad idea."
Malcolm didn't argue this time, though he had at the hospital. "I'm okay. Just dizzy."
Dani took the glass and pills from his nightstand and offered them, not letting go of the water even as he took it in case his hand slipped.
He sat up slowly, her hand on the back of his neck easing him upwards and keeping him steady as he sipped at his water and downed his meds.
"Do I get a nightcap?"
Dani put the water back down and hardened her gaze, voice unamused. "No. Get under the covers and lie down."
Bright snickered at her expression but did as he was told, wriggling until he was safely under his sheets and blanket, sighing into his pillow.
"Can you help me with my restraints?"
Dani obliged, having done so before and she tried not to outwardly react at how much more intimate it was than any of the other things she'd done to take care of Bright that night. Her fingers brushed against his and he shivered but his whole body seemed to relax when the too-familiar weight of the leather cuffs settled around his wrists.
She couldn't imagine trying to sleep that way but Bright refused to sleep without them. She understood why but to have your sleep, something that was supposed to be healing and relaxing, an escape for most, be an ordeal you needed safety restraints for was...it was so unbelievably sad.
She couldn't keep the softness from her voice, the need to try and make something better for the fragile man in front of her. Her hand ached to brush his hair back again but she kept it firmly placed in her lap.
"Do you need anything else?"
Bright shook his head, a tiny movement that was less likely to aggravate his headache but his eyes were sad, fingers curling to his palm nervously.
"I'm sorry you have to take care of me all the time."
Dani tilted her head, lips pressing together as she gave in to the urge and lifted her hand tugging Malcolms blankets up on his chest and tucking in the sides. She couldn't help it, she needed something to do with her hands as she spoke, to escape his sad eyes.
His eyebrows pulled together, lips pouting just a little in his confusion.
"What? You hate it when I do that."
Dani nodded and raised her eyes to meet his, steeling herself so that she wouldn't back down. Friends were new to her too but she needed him to know that they were in fact friends.
"Yes, I do but seeing as you're concussed I'll let you do it just this once. Looking at my body language and behaviour tell me what it looks like I'm feeling. Do I look bothered to be here?"
Bright blinked and opened his mouth as if to speak but instead took a breath and flickered his eyes over her, nervous and quick.
"Uh...you're leaning in, shoulders are dropped and soft, unlike at work when you have them slightly stiffened all the time. You're relaxed and comfortable and your hands are still cold but you're initiating contact when you don't strictly have to."
Dani couldn't help the smile that tilted one corner of her mouth just a fraction. Even with his noodle scrambled he was still so observant.
"And what does that tell you?"
Malcolm's own shoulders softened, breath leaving his mouth in a quiet puff, tension dissipating from his lithe form.
"That you want to be here."
Dani lifted her hand again, this time dragging the backs of her fingernails through Brights hair, pressing her fingers against his pressure points to bleed the stress from him. His eyes rolled back a little in pleasure and she smiled.
"Yes. I don't mind taking care of you. That's what friends do."
Malcolm opened his eyes again and smiled up at her, the softest, sweetest smile as if from a child. A child that couldn't believe he'd made a friend. And all on his own too.
"Thanks, Dani. I'm lucky to have you."
She smiled wide as her eyebrow raised and she tilted her head back. "You sure are."
Malcolm blinked slow and sleepy, his smile just the same and he yawned, restraints rattling as he got himself comfy.
"Will you stay until I fall asleep?"
There was the child again. Wanting to be taken care of and protected from all the evils the world had to offer.
Dani nodded before she'd even thought about it but she didn't need to. It was where she wanted to be.
She slipped her hand into Malcolms, squeezing once as he closed his eyes. "Of course. Goodnight, Bright."
His fingers gripped hers, warm against her permanently chilled skin and Dani watched him begin to drift off.