A/N: Alright, guys. I know. It's not a "Not Again" update, but it's something. And it's Hawaii Five-0 with McDanno bromance/bonding/whump. So I hope that makes it better? Haha. Anyway. I tend to write novels instead of one-shots (especially for H50), so I thought it would be good practice to attempt a 1,000ish word story, and this is what came from that. Not 1,000 words, but at least it's not 10,000. Heh.

Fair warning: I feel like I've read a H50 fanfic kind of similar to this, but I can't recall if I'm simply imagining the dozens of ideas I've had for one-shots, or remembering an actual story. I also have 1,500+ favorited fics and have not been able to find the one I'm thinking of. Soooo, if you wrote a story similar to this, I apologize. I'm not trying to steal your thunder. Lol. Send me a message and I'll give you full credit for the idea. ;)

Standard disclaimers apply: I don't own H50 or anything associated with it. The only payment I get comes in the form of reviews I receive. ;) *hint, hint* Also, I am not a medical professional by any means, but did a tiny (tiny) bit of research concerning migraines and ETs (essential tremors) and found that they are linked. Sometimes. At least, in theory. Thus, this story was born. We'll just say that they are linked, eh? For the sake of the story. Because #SteveWhump.

Contains a few expletives, but nothing else.

Okay, I'm done rambling. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts. Xx

"You've got to be kidding me."

Danny Williams pauses in the doorway of Steve's living room, hands on his hips, and glares furiously into the depths of the darkened room, brow furrowed in anger.

"You have got to be kidding me, Steve. You didn't come to Charlie's party last night because you're tired. And today, you're too busy. I have too much going on right now. That's what you said. And I can clearly see why! You're too busy laying around the house, watching football, and sleeping."

Then, Danny's eyes fall on the empty beer bottles scattered across the coffee table, proof of the kind of "busy" Steve had been, and his anger kicks up a notch, teetering on the edge of fury.

"Seriously, Steve? Are you drunk?"

All things considered, however, Danny can't blame Steve if he is drunk at 3:00 p.m. on this lovely, sunny Saturday afternoon. Danny almost wishes he is one too many beers into a drinking game himself.

Their latest case had been a tough one, and that carried over and added up to one hell of a week for the entire team.

Monday morning, bright and early, they found themselves embroiled in a particularly nasty murder/suicide investigation involving a Navy SEAL on leave, his pregnant girlfriend, and the SEAL's disapproving mother; an allegedly "open and shut investigation" that turned out to be so much more.

It was the kind of case that left a fixed, bitter taste in Danny's mouth, silenced Tani's and Junior's usual cheerful banter, and forced Steve into a hard, unreachable shell of his usual exasperating, recklessly endearing self.

As the week progressed, Danny couldn't blame his partner if Steve's tone was a bit sharper than it needed to be; his patience a bit lacking at unexpected times.

He doesn't hold Steve's knife-sharp, bitter overreactions against him, especially when the former SEAL's eyes are so damn haunted with the hurt and guilt and betrayal that have been a constant presence since Doris died.

Hell, since long before that.

That expression has haunted Danny more times than he cares to remember; a constant memory behind the smile, a thousand, heartbreaking stories in Steve's eyes when he thinks nobody is looking; a pain that Danny has tried to erase for years.

The muted, masked ache, disguised by the confrontational distrust that Danny had seen the day they met; guns in each other's faces - unapologetically, recklessly impulsive - in John McGarrett's garage.

And this case hit hard, and close to home - too close - and Steve had reacted as one would expect him to react; with anger, and a rock-hard, tight-lipped resolution to bring the suspect to justice.

No matter the cost.

Which they'd done. Eventually.

Afterward, Steve flashed his goofy smile and laughed in all the right places, but Danny knew what's going on in that tormented brain of his; he knows the names and faces of the ghosts that haunt Steve's dreams; he's learned to recognize the tells.

Most of all, Danny has experienced (first hand) the guilt that the former-SEAL takes home with him daily, no matter the outcome. No matter the case, or the victim, or the reason.

This, however, is the final straw.

It isn't a contest; it isn't a matter of who owes who. He isn't holding a tally against his best friend, keeping count of the favors given and received.

It isn't really about Danny's kid at this point, either.

Charlie - the kid who asks about his Uncle Steve every night before bed; the kid who had quite literally burst into tears when Danny told him that Steve couldn't make it to last night's pajama party - understands some things better than Danny's own neanderthal partner.

And, despite his adamant denial of the fact, Steve is fragile right now in a way Danny has never seen him before. And Danny gets it. He really does. And he might have let it go, had Steve not texted him that very morning with a short "Can't make it to Kamekona's today."

Six, short words. Nothing more.

No "Hey, buddy, sorry I couldn't make it to this get-together that we've been planning with the team for over 2 months." No sign of a simple "Hey, Danny, can't make it today, despite the fact that I swore through my teeth that I'd be there, even if Oahu freezes over."

Nothing more than an excuse, without the satisfaction of a reason.

It isn't even the fact that Steve had missed their get-together. It isn't that big of a deal; they'll do it again, probably within the next few weeks.

No, what rubs Danny the wrong way is the studied precision of it all; the silent, subtle ways Steve is withdrawing into himself; putting up walls and cutting them out… the underlying, bone-deep fear that Danny is losing him, and there's nothing he could do to stop it.

So, grumbling, Danny gave up his once-a-week opportunity for an afternoon nap and stomped over to Steve's house on a Saturday afternoon with the intention of shoving the juicy fact that he, Steve McGarrett, badass and SuperSEAL extraordinaire had reduced Charlie Williams to tears in his partner's face.

Part of him wants an explanation; a reason for Steve's last-minute opt-out of the much-anticipated team gathering; to own up to his actions, to admit that he is hurting and needed help from his friends - his ohana - now more than ever.

But mostly, he has to make sure Steve is okay.

Danny is worried, as is the rest of the team. It isn't like Steve to ignore all Danny's texts; to not answer Tani's calls; to decline Grace's multiple FaceTime attempts.

No matter how "busy" he is.

As it is, Danny has one hell of a rant built up; words that he had been swallowing for almost a week... words that he had deemed as unnecessary, but never went away. They were simply waiting, simmering beneath the surface; increasing in severity and intensity over the past few days.

And now, at the sight of Steve swaddled on the couch, surrounded by empty beer bottles, all he wants to do is strangle him, smack some sense into him, and hug him.

Repeatedly. And all at once.

"Steve," Danny growls, voice slicing through the air like knives, "Are you seriously fucking drunk right now? That's not going to help anything. It's not going to change the past and it sure as hell isn't going to change the future."

From the depths of his couch, ensconced in blankets, a sleeved arm thrown over his eyes, Steve turns in the direction of his friend's voice and mumbles something unintelligible.

"What?" Danny tries to swallow the venom in his tone, but he's pretty sure he fails spectacularly if Steve's visible wince is any indication.

"Danny… m'not… please, please… shut up." The SEAL's voice is barely audible in the stillness of the room, and the pleading quality only makes Danny all the more indignant - and desperate.

"You should know by now, Steven, that telling me to shut up usually has the opposite effect." Hands clenched at his sides, Danny crosses the room in two swift strides, and throws the curtains wide open, letting in the brilliant afternoon sunlight; highlighting the dancing dust particles floating in the air.

Steve lets out a strangled gasp, and Danny can feel his blood pressure rising, a pulsing behind his eyes that only makes him more impatient; more confused; more worried - as he spins back around to Steve's barely visible form, eyes searching for the dark-haired man's face amongst the pile of cushions and blankets.

"What the hell, Steve? What is going on with you? You know, I understand that the past few months have been really screwed up, and I know this week was especially hard for you. And I'm sorry, babe. I really am. But this takes everything to a whole new level. Last night, I understood. But today? You promised you'd be there - hell, you planned the damn thing - and then you text me at the last minute and don't even show up? You won't answer your phone, or text anyone back. And now you're drunk? What's going on?"

There is no response; Steve simply burrows down even further in the blankets, a pillow materializing out of nowhere that is immediately smashed over the dark-haired man's tightly closed eyes.

"Come on, babe," Danny pleads, forcing his voice into a softer cadence; hoping this will accomplish something when his normal approach falls predictably short, "Don't do this. Are you just going to ignore me now? After everything we've been through? Because that's real mature, you know, just a real sign of-"

He takes another step closer, and, at the unnatural silence from his usually audacious partner, the warning bells building with each passing moment go off with clarifying intensity, chiming loudly in his mind, puzzle pieces falling into place with numbing swiftness.

"Steve? Can you hear me?"

"Danny," Steve whispers finally, hoarsely; pleadingly, fingers clutching the pillow over his face with a white-knuckled death grip, "Please… Close the curtains… please… stop talking… god..."


The darkness of the room, the softness of Steve's voice, the pleading cadence that is never, ever a quality heard in SuperSEAL Steve McGarrett's habitually demanding tone, the pillow plastered over Steve's eyes with white-knuckled desperation, the cry of agony torn from his throat when Danny flung the curtains aside…

Well... shit.

With an uttered curse, Danny leaps towards the window, tripping over his own feet in the process, and yanks the curtains shut, once again throwing the room into heavy darkness and drawing an audible sigh of relief from the barely visible form on the couch.

"Steve?" Danny moves closer, padding across the wooden floor silently and lowering his voice to a gentle murmur that is usually reserved for one of his children. "Steve, talk to me."

"D'nny… m'not drunk… Beer's f-from Junior and Tani…"

The pillow falls away from Steve's head, and Danny lets out another soft curse, wincing in sympathy. Steve's quiet reservation and stubborn refusal to socialize the evening before, and his last-minute cancellation this morning become crystal clear at the sight that meets his eyes.

McGarrett is ghastly pale, his face leached of all color, purple shadows under his eyes, dark lashes standing out in stark contrast against his ashen cheeks, and for a moment, Danny swears his vision is going blurry because Steve is outright shaking; his entire body wound so tightly Danny's amazed he hasn't flown into a thousand pieces, teeth clenched tightly together, eyes still squeezed shut against the dim beam of light that creeps between the heavy curtains.

"Shit, Steve…" In an instant, Danny is at his side, one gentle hand on the man's sweat-soaked forehead, another gripping his wrist as Steve writhes, teeth clenched together, lines of pain etched into his pale features with such intensity, Danny's heart crawls up into his throat. "Shit, babe, I'm sorry… I'm sorry… why didn't you tell me?"

There is no acknowledgment of his presence whatsoever; no sign that Steve has even heard him, and the growing panic in Danny's chest ratchets up a notch.

"Steve, come on, talk to me." The clammy skin beneath his fingers is cool, thankfully, so Danny immediately rules out a fever. That doesn't account for the tremors, however, unless…

"Steve?" Danny's voice is low; apologetic, hands gentle on Steve's sweat-soaked face, eyes glued to his friend's bloodless, pain-twisted features as he whispers, "Steven. I need you to tell me what's wrong."

He knows.

He abso-fucking-lutely knows what's wrong, but he needs to hear it from Steve himself, just in case.

Just in case the idiot ran into trouble on his trip to the gas station and ended up with a severe concussion when he pissed off the wrong people and couldn't keep his mouth shut, or got pistol-whipped by a crook while attempting a citizen's arrest, or passed out from some hidden injury and bashed his head on the coffee table, or wiped out on his surfboard and gave himself permanent brain damage.

He wouldn't be surprised at all. The possibilities are endless where Steve is concerned.

The single word explanation, however, gritted out from between clenched teeth, only confirms the conclusion Danny had already come to.


And a bad one, from the looks of it. Guilt floods over him with crushing intensity, a tidal wave crashing against the shore, his own sharp words echoing back to him with savage precision.

You have got to be kidding me.

Are you just going to ignore me now?

What the hell, Steve?

Keeping his voice low, Danny forces the guilt back - his guilt won't help Steve - and asks, "Have you taken any meds yet?"

"N-no," Steve grits out softly, slits of green peering at Danny from between narrowed eyelids, "Couldn't stand up. Too d-dizzy."

Damn it, Steve.

Self-sufficient, stubborn idiot.

"Hang on, babe." Moving as quietly as possible, Danny hurries into the habitually immaculate kitchen, and rifles through drawer after drawer, shamelessly tossing the neatly organized contents until he finds what he's looking for.

Of course, the former-SEAL would have it tucked away in the darkest corner of the junk drawer. Out of sight, out of mind. No visible signs of weakness allowed.

Of course.

"Hang on, Steve," Danny murmurs again, as a half-strangled groan from the next room meets his ears. Hastily shaking out two Excedrin Migraine tablets from the white bottle and filling a nearby glass with water, he's back at Steve's side, hands gentle as he raises Steve's shoulders enough to tip the tablets into the man's mouth, followed by the water to wash them down.

By the time Steve has settled again, eyes clenched tightly shut, head still buried beneath the blankets he's cocooned in, Danny swears his partner has lost what little color he had left; his ashen skin is almost translucent against the worn leather of the couch, each breath coming in ragged, gasping heaves, lines of pain etched so deeply around his best friend's eyes, Danny is sure they'll be there permanently.

"Steve," Danny crouches beside the couch and places a gentle hand on Steve's shoulder; a lifeline to ground him; to bring him back. To keep him here. There is no response, just the whistle of McGarrett's raspy breathing echoing around the dim room, "Babe, should I take you to the ER?"

He hates to ask; hates to even mention it, but, as much as Danny - and the rest of the team - swear Steve has a death wish, they all know that it's not true. Despite all evidence pointing to the contrary, the act of self-preservation was still there. Deeply hidden beneath layers of duty and responsibility and guilt, perhaps. But still there, just the same.

Danny tightens his grip slightly on the trembling, sweat-soaked shoulder. "Babe, you gotta talk to me."

Steve has had migraines before; they're usually stress-induced, and were usually - thankfully - few and far between. Recently, however, they've been more frequent, and when they come, it's like he's been hit by a freight train. Despite that, the former SEAL knows his limits. Danny only wishes he could read the man's mind to avoid asking a question that will undoubtedly send shards of glass through Steve's already tortured skull.

"No." When the reply finally comes, it is breathless; half-strangled, but clear enough. "Just a migraine, D'nno," he mumbles softly, "It'll pass."

And, with a sympathetic sigh, Danny allows his feet to slide out from under him, and, leaning back against the couch, wraps one hand around Steve's clammy wrist. The pulse thudding beneath his fingers is strong and steady; a bit erratic, perhaps, and much too fast, but nothing too far out of the ordinary to cause alarm.

Small comforts, babe, Danny allows, grudgingly, allowing his head to fall back against the arm of the couch with a small sigh, Small comforts.

It takes nearly 45 minutes for the tremors to stop completely; for the medication to start working in earnest, and by the time Steve relaxes, body going limp as he sinks into the cushions with a sigh of strangled relief, Danny is about ready to drag the stubborn SuperSEAL to the nearest hospital and hook him up to a morphine pump, reservations be damned.

But, squashing every instinct that Steve should be in the hospital, he waits, patiently, his partner's hand still clutched in his, until those familiar blue eyes drift open slowly and settle blearily on Danny's worried face.

"D'nno?" Steve's voice is raspy; harsh, as if he's swallowed rocks, but the lines of pain around his eyes have lessened slightly, and Danny allows himself a sigh of relief as McGarrett peers at him from between heavy eyelids; still far too pale, but - thank God - no longer alarmingly unresponsive.

"Steve? Babe, you okay?"

"Yeah," Steve replies softly, reaching a hand up to massage his temples gingerly and shooting a wan, unconvincing smile in Danny's direction, "I think so."

"Steven, I swear to God…" The threat is implied, and Steve raises an eyebrow at the blond man as if daring him to continue; to prove him wrong...

...Which Danny could absolutely do in a total of two seconds; all he'd have to do was speak louder than a whisper, or pull open those curtains again, and-

"Honestly, Danno. I swear. I'm fine."

Danny raises an incredulous eyebrow at the man's pale face, noting the almost imperceptible tremor in the hand Steve rubs across his shadowed face; the lingering grayness to the lined features; the dark purple shadows beneath the ex-SEAL's eyes, a cloud of haggard exhaustion settling over him like a blanket.

"Yeah," Danny huffs, and rolls his eyes for dramatic effect, "Sure you are, babe. You're absolutely fine."

"I promise, Danno," Steve assures him, unconvincingly, face tightening with poorly concealed discomfort as he pushes himself up shakily on one elbow, then into a semi-upright position, hands braced against the couch to keep himself from toppling back over. "Seriously. Relax. I'm okay now. Those meds usually kick in pretty fast; I'll be fine after a few hours of sleep."

"Did you get any sleep last night?" Danny asks, swallowing the sharp retort on his lips at Steve's "relax" comment, and resigning himself to the fact that his partner was determined to have his own way. As usual.

"No," Steve is unconsciously rubbing his temples again with a trembling hand; irrefutable proof that he's a little less fine than he claims to be. "When I got home, I was too tired to do anything, and by the time the migraine hit, it was too late. You know how they are."

"What?!" Danny exclaims, horrified at the thought of his partner - his best friend - all alone, in too much pain to make any attempt to help himself; to alleviate his suffering; unable to even ask for help. "Steve, why...! Why the hell didn't you tell me?"

Unfortunately, he does indeed "know how they are", and he wouldn't wish the intense agony of Steve's blinding - if rare - migraines on his worst enemy.

"Couldn't call," Steve murmurs softly, "Too loud. Had to use talk-to-text to send the message this morning."


Six, short words. Nothing more.


"Damn it, Steve!" Unable to sit still a moment longer, Danny hauls himself to his feet and paces back and forth, shooting furtive glances in his partner's direction. "You could've talk-to-texted me, or just told me last night before you left! Or, better yet, you could've stayed put and let us help you. And," he glares at Steve meaningfully, "Excedrin doesn't work that fast. At least, not where you're concerned. I can tell you still have one hell of a headache, babe. I've known you for far too long for that to work on me."

Steve lets out an amused chuckle, one hand pinching the bridge of his nose, eyes once again squeezed shut tightly as Danny maneuvers carefully around the coffee table and collapses weakly onto the pile of blankets currently scattered across the couch.

"Wasn't trying to hide it from you, Danny… just didn't want to bother you with it. Especially after that case, and you being away from home all week..." Steve raises haunted eyes to the blond man's face, and hesitates, as if gathering his thoughts before continuing in a soft voice, "About what you said before… about me not being there, Danny, I'm sorry I-"

"Steve," Raising a hand to interrupt, Danny keeps his tone low, and does his best to swallow the guilt currently burning his insides like a hot coal, "I was angry and frustrated and shouldn't have said half of what I did. It wasn't your fault."


"Steven McGarrett, would you listen for once in your life?" Danny growls impatiently, raising an eyebrow; daring Steve to interrupt him again, "It's not your fault you had a migraine that made it impossible for you to make the meeting, let alone move from the couch. And yes," Danny shoots a knowing glance at Steve, "I'm still pissed at you for not telling me last night what was wrong, but I get it, babe. I really do. And, for the record, I want you to bother me, okay? I'd rather know you're okay, even if it means I don't get my full 8 hours of beauty sleep."

"Wow." Steve's lips quirk upwards into a crooked smirk, amusement spreading slowly across his pale face, "Did Danny Williams really just admit that he shouldn't have said as much as he did and that he needs regular beauty sleep? Quick, write it down. Somebody, document this occasion."

"Har har, very funny," Danny rolls his eyes, a fond smile spreading across his face, despite his best attempts to hold onto the superior, insulted frown that was giving the former SEAL so much amusement. "You, on the other hand, Steven, are completely predictable. Honestly, I'm fine? How many times have I told you to save that for when you actually are fine? Not in pain or bleeding out or hiding a life-threatening injury from your partner. And knowing you, that's a term you will never be able to use truthfully, you neanderthal."

"Old habits die hard, Danno," Steve mutters absently. Then, a moment later, "I was planning on coming to Charlie's pajama party, you know," Steve says quietly, shifting painfully in an attempt to alleviate the tension still tying his neck and shoulders in knots. "But after what happened to that kid… that poor girl, and… I just couldn't… and then today, obviously…"

"Hey," Leaning forward, Danny grips Steve's wrist firmly and squeezes until Steve raises tired, haunted eyes to his, "I know. Believe me, babe. I know. It's okay. We all get it. I just wish you'd talk to me instead of shutting me out."

Something like guilt flashes over Steve's face and Danny could kick himself for the umpteenth time in the past hour; guilt was not something Steve needed more of.

Sleep, rest, closure, a therapist… yes.

Guilt? Not so much.

"Sorry, Danno," Steve murmurs, eyes sliding from Danny's face and slipping shut again with a heavy sigh, oblivious to the silent chastisement going on next to him, "Like I said, old habits die hard, you know."

"Yeah, yeah," Danny leans back into the softness of the couch, Steve's wrist still clasped in his hands, the slow, steady thump, thump, thump beneath his fingertips a soothing mantra that reminds him that Steve is here; that Steve is okay. Because there have been way too many times - some of them much too recently - that he hasn't been so sure. "That's a ridiculous reason. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. I've heard that before too, Steven. And guess what? It's a proven fact that old dogs can learn new tricks. It just takes longer."

"How much longer? Until they're too old and senile to remember what they were doing, to begin with?"

"What am I, the resident dog trainer? A few months? Years? I don't know, just longer," Danny frowns in annoyance, doing his best to keep the worry off his face as Steve's huff of amusement morphs into an expression of pain, a trembling hand once again kneading the dark-haired man's brow.

"Well, you're the professional, I guess, so I'll take your word for it."

They sink into a comfortable silence, Danny watching the sliver of sunlight crawl its way slowly across the floor, Steve slumped with one arm thrown across his face, his breathing settling into a slow, steady pattern.


"Yeah, babe?"

"Thanks for worrying about me." Steve's arm slides away from his eyes, and a fond, half-amused expression settles on the former-SEAL's face, nearly chasing away the haggard exhaustion etched into his features. "I can always count on you to worry about me, whether you need to or not."

"I always need to worry about you, Steven," Danny says, frowning pointedly, "See these gray hairs?" Gesturing to the silver strands tangled amidst the blond, "They're all named 'Steve'. Each and every one of them. What would you do without me? Somebody has to keep you alive." Danny smirks affectionately at his friend, and finally releases the arm still clutched in his hands, gently shoving the man sideways until Steve's head comes to rest comfortably on the arm of the couch. "And you're welcome. I'll always worry about you, babe. That's what family does."

"Yeah. Ohana." With that, Steve's eyes slide shut, his body melting into the softness of the couch, and Danny lets his head fall back against the couch, eyes still fixed on his partner's face.

Steve is still much too pale; exhaustion and strain etched into the lines around his mouth, but the worry - the guilt - has lessened, at least. With a deep sigh, Danny allows his eyes to drift shut, a brief smile crossing his lips as Steve's last word echoes through his mind.


That's what they are. And no matter what, it's what they'll always be.

Steve's steady breathing has already deepened into that of someone dead to the world, and Danny chuckles to himself as a soft snore fills the air, the former-SEAL's face lax and untroubled in its oblivion.

Danny has a million things to do. Kids to play with, dinner to cook, a yard to weed, teammates to chastise (honestly, who leaves their empty beer bottles laying around someone else's house?)... but a quiet afternoon is sounding more and more appealing by the minute.

Maybe there's time for a Saturday nap, after all.


Thanks for reading, guys! I'm still hoping to get back to "Not Again" and finish it. Thank you for all your support, patience, and devotion to these characters. You're why I keep coming back. ;) xx