by Juli

July 2006

“Detective Taylor?”

Mac looked up as the doctor entered the room, reluctantly pulling his eyes from Danny’s face. The younger man appeared to be sleeping quietly, but since they didn’t know for sure what he’d been drugged with, to say that Mac was worried was an understatement.

“You got the tox screen back, then?” Mac had been perched on the side of Danny’s bed, but rose to address to physician. Stella, who’d been sitting in a chair next to the bed, also stood.

“Yes,” she responded readily and his stomach unclenched a little at her unshadowed, smile. “It’s Rohypnol, just as we thought.”

Stella gave an audible sigh, as though she’d been holding her breath until they found out if Danny was going to be okay. Mac, however, was silent, being torn as he was between relief and anger. Relief, because the drug itself wasn’t dangerous and anger at the kind of acts the criminals that used it tended to be capable of.

Danny had wanted to go to the new bar, excited at its reported baseball theme. Mac was supposed to meet him, but had been late. Almost too late. He hadn’t liked the look of the place the moment he walked in and had immediately started looking for Danny. Mac found him out in the alley, along with three other men.

Mac had forgotten he was cop. Forgotten he’d been a Marine. All he’d been aware of was the dazed, confused look on Danny’s face as he knelt in the alley, facing the three strangers towering over him.

Events after that were a little fuzzy. Mac vaguely remembered impressions of yelling and fists meeting flesh. When he stopped seeing red, the three goons were laying on the alley’s floor like broken dolls. Once he’d determined that the threat had been neutralized, Mac ran to Danny’s side. The younger man had collapsed, but his vitals were steady. It had done little to assuage Mac’s worry.

An hour later and, finally, at the doctor’s words, Mac felt he could relax a little.

“That’s great news,” Stella smiled at Mac, expressing the relief that Mac didn’t feel ready yet to share.

“He should sleep at least another ten hours, given the amount still in his bloodstream, but he’s going to be just fine.” the doctor went on to explain. “We’ll keep him here overnight.”

Mac frowned. “Is it necessary for him to stay in the hospital? I’d like to take him home.”

The doctor pursed her lips as she considered. “Typically when someone is in a drug-induced sleep state, we like to keep them for observation, at least until they wake. If Mr. Messer has an adverse reaction to the drug and vomits, for example, he could choke of he were in the wrong position.”

“I’ll be with him the whole time,” Mac promised. He smiled tightly at the woman. “No offense, Dr. Phillips, but I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be a lot more attentive than your nurses have the time to be.” His expression hardened when the physician didn’t look convinced. “Besides, if you look, I think you’ll find that Mr. Messer has made me his medical proxy. One way or another, he’s leaving with me. Tonight.”

Mac knew that he was being an ass, but he couldn’t help it. He had an almost frantic need to get Danny home. If he was being honest with himself, he would admit that he just wanted his lover in his territory, where he could absolutely ensure the younger man’s safety. Danny just looked so damn young and vulnerable in that hospital bed and when Mac thought about what those punks’d had in mind for his lover. . . .

Stella stepped forward before things could get ugly. “You might as well give in to the inevitable, Dr. Phillips. He really is as stubborn as he sounds.” She grinned at the other woman. “Which is actually a good thing, because Danny’s twice as bad. Mac can keep him in line.”

The doctor smiled as she turned to leave. “Well, I guess it would be okay then. I’ll notify the charge nurse that Mr. Messer will be checking out.”

“Good,” Mac said to her retreating back.

He looked again at Danny and bent to kiss his forehead before pulling back the covers of the hospital bed.

“Mac, what are you doing?” Stella sounded worried.

“What does it look like?” Mac didn’t even bother to turn his head towards her. Instead, he slid his arms underneath Danny’s back and legs. “I’m taking him home.”

“Mac.” This time there was a definite tone of laugher in Stella’s voice and Mac finally looked at her. “Are you sure you want to be the one to tell Danny that you carried him through the hospital with his ass hanging out for everyone to see?”

Mac glanced down. Danny’s clothes had been removed and bagged as evidence. Currently the younger man was dressed only in a hospital gown which, like all of its brethren, was designed to tie in the back. Sure enough, if he carried Danny out, his assets would be on display.

“You suppose they have some scrubs we could borrow?”

As it turned out, the hospital did. Mac made Stella leave the room while he dressed Danny in them. Danny would be freaked enough when he woke and found out that he’d been stripped, twice, while unconscious. Besides, Mac trusted Stella with his life, but not with a chance to peek at Danny without risking the younger man catching her at it.

It wasn’t long before Mac had Danny’s clothes changed and the sleeping man bundled into a wheelchair for the trip down to the SUV. Mac insisted on pushing it, much to the hospital volunteer’s annoyance. The woman followed him, glowering every step of the way, and when he finally got down to the vehicle, Stella wasn’t above teasing him about it.

“I know you’re excited about springing Danny from the hospital,” she added. “But don’t you think a parade’s going a little far?”

Mac pinned her with a look and she held up her hands as though in surrender. With a grunt, he lifted Danny into his arms and carefully got him situated in the back seat. Mac climbed in after him and gathered Danny close, the younger man’s head lolling against Mac’s chest.

“He’s going to be okay, Mac,” Stella reassured him. Mac looked up, meeting her eyes in the rearview mirror. “He’s a tough kid.”

Mac forced himself to smile. “I know, Stell. Thanks.”

Stella dropped them off at Mac’s apartment building. He had a feeling that she wanted to come up with them, but it was late and Mac assured her that he’d have no problem getting Danny up to his place by himself. He didn’t meet another soul as he carried Danny in and as they rode the elevator, for which Mac was profoundly grateful. With any luck, Danny would never think to ask about this part and not find out that Mac had carried him into the apartment like a bride being carried over the threshold.

Once inside, Mac hipped the door closed and made for the bedroom. He cursed under his breath at his own Marine-inspired compulsion that drove him to make sure the bed was made before he left every morning; it would have been a lot easier to get Danny under the covers if they hadn’t been pulled up quite so tightly.

It took some tugging and a lot of maneuvering, but Mac persevered and got Danny tucked in. It disturbed him how pliant Danny was, not waking while he was dressed at the hospital, transported home, or manhandled into bed.

When Mac pulled the covers up, though, Danny sighed deeply and snuggled into his pillow. “Mac,” he murmured, never opening his eyes.

“Danny?” Mac asked, cupping the back of his lover’s head. “Can you hear me?”

He got no answer, only heavy breathing as Danny’s drug-induced slumber continued. Mac smiled ruefully. It was his pillow Danny was wrapped around; his scent that no doubt got through to Danny, even with the Rohypnol.

Mac toed his shoes off and climbed in with Danny, curling up behind his lover and burying his face in the nape of the younger man’s neck. As an experienced cop, Mac knew that Rohypnol was not as benign as Danny’s current peaceful sleep would make it seem. In addition to amnesia and confusion, the drug could cause nightmares. He had no intention of leaving Danny, not even as far as the next room, not while Danny was vulnerable to its grip.

Exhaustion, however, wore away at Mac’s attentiveness. He’d had a very stressful evening and it was late. Coupled with coming down from the adrenaline rush of subduing Danny’s would-be attackers in the alley and the warm comfort of Danny’s sleeping body, Mac drifted off.

“No! G’way. . . .”

The sound of Danny’s frightened voice cut through Mac’s sleep like a knife. He was sitting up and turning on the bedside lamp before his eyes were completely open, already reaching for Danny.

“Danny, it’s okay,” Mac called softly. “It’s Mac, everything’s all right.”

Danny flinched from Mac’s touch, something he’d never done before. Without waking, he moaned again. “Nooo. . . .”

Mac felt ill. He wished he had the men who’d drugged Danny in front of him again. This time, he wouldn’t hold back at all.

“Danny, it’s Mac,” he crooned again as he tried to pull Danny into his arms. “You’re safe, Danny. Everything’s gonna be okay.”

“Get offa me!” Danny cried out, struggling wildly in Mac’s grip. His movements were frantic, but uncoordinated due to the Rohypnol. Mac was afraid to hold him too tightly, though, worried that Danny would hurt himself. “Mac, help me!”

Dismay at realizing that Danny didn’t recognize him made Mac loosen his grip even more. By this time, Danny’s eyes were open, but so dazed-looking that it was obvious he wasn’t seeing what was really in the room. The young man backed frantically away from Mac and soon ran out of mattress. With a yelp and soft thump, he fell the floor.

“Oh, God,” Mac scrambled across the bed and, with some trepidation, looked down.

If nothing else, that short fall seemed to have knocked the nightmare right out of Danny. He peered up at Mac, blue eyes bleary with sleep and confusion.

“Mac?” He asked in a small voice. “Whatcha doin’ up there?”

Mac couldn’t help but smile. Danny looked more like one of Peter Pan’s lost boys at the moment than he did a tough-as-nails CSI.

“Trying to take care of you,” he answered the younger man, holding out a hand to him.

Danny took the help up, letting himself be pulled back onto the bed. “Don’ take this pers’nal, but I don’ think y’doin’ a g’job.”

Mac settled back again the headboard, bringing Danny with him. The younger man’s eyes were already starting to close and Mac knew the drug was still effecting him strongly. Looking at the clock, Mac realized they’d only been home a couple of hours. It would take a more significant amount of time for the Rohypnol to work its way through Danny’s system.

“I know,” Mac finally addressed Danny’s comment as he arranged his lover’s plaint body on top of him. “Forgive me?”

Danny patted him on the chest, his movements clumsy. “Yeah. ‘S’good, Mac.”

Burrowing as close as Mac as he could, Danny sighed and closed his eyes, the way he went utterly limp making it clear that he’d been pulled under again by the drug. Mac ran his hands down Danny’s back, kissing the top of the other man’s head as he prepared himself for a long night.

“Mmmmpph. . . .”

The soft noise had Mac’s immediate attention and he gladly put aside the newspaper. Danny was beginning to stir, the slight frown on his forehead indicating that his waking wasn’t entirely happy. Mac sighed. Danny had been plagued with nightmares all night, but hadn’t really regained consciousness again. Whenever Mac had detected the slightest tension in the younger man’s body or heard the tiniest whimper, he’d croon softly to Danny and stroke him until Danny quieted.

Needless to say, it hadn’t been a truly restful night for either of them.

Finally, near dawn, Danny had settled into a more normal sleep pattern and Mac had been able to get some rest himself. Even so, he’d been up by noon and had left Danny for brief moments to take care of some basic necessities, like changing into a comfortable pair of sweats, getting in the newspaper or receiving a telephoned report from Stella.

Mac watched Danny’s face avidly. It was a favorite pastime of his anyway, but at the moment he just wanted to monitor his lover’s condition. He smiled in encouragement when he saw the barest slit of blue eyes, even though he knew that without his glasses, Danny wouldn’t be able to see much of anything.

“Hey there, sleepyhead,” he called out softly. “I’m glad you could join me.”

Danny blinked at him, hair all disheveled and eyes still half-glazed with sleep. “Mac?”

“Yeah.” Mac bent forward and claimed a sleepy kiss from his partner. Even though he was only partially awake, Danny’s lips softened and opened automatically for the older man.

Mac pulled back from the kiss, if reluctantly. Danny was still under the effects of the drug and wasn’t really capable of making a choice at the moment. As much as he’d love to take that pliant body into his arms and make love to Danny, doing so before Danny’d regained his mental faculties wouldn’t make Mac any better than the men who’d drugged Danny in the first place.

“Wh’happened?” Danny asked as he slid his arms around Mac’s waist and he leaned into the other man’s warmth.

It was typical of Rohypnol victims to have amnesia of the events just prior to being drugged, so Mac wasn’t too worried that Danny was confused. Nor did the slurred words bother him, except as another indicator of how his lover’d been drugged.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” Mac asked gently.

Danny frowned. “Gonna meet you at t’bar, after shift.”

Mac nodded. “A place called the Seventh Inning Stretch. Except I was late.”

“I fell asleep waitin’ or somethin’?” Danny asked, beginning to talk a little more clearly as he woke up more.

In spite of himself, Mac chuckled. “No. Apparently another patron was harassing a waitress and the bouncer was busy, so you took care of it and escorted the gentleman out.”

“I did?” The frown was back as Danny listened to Mac’s story. And it was obviously a story to him, as though it had happened to someone else.”

“You did,” Mac confirmed. “A little while later, a woman claiming to be the waitress’ sister bought you a drink as a thank you.”

“T’was nice of her,” Danny smiled, resting his head on Mac’s shoulder.

“Not really,” Mac contradicted him. “She was a friend of the man you kicked out of the bar. She slipped Rohypnol in the drink and, after you started to get woozy, she and a couple of other of the man’s friends hustled you out into the back.”

“Get outta here,” Danny protested, lifting his head from Mac’s shoulder to glare at him. “I’m too smart to be slipped a Ruffie.”

“Your tox screen says otherwise.” Mac tapped Danny on the nose with one finger. “And when you’re feeling better, you and I are going to have a long talk about accepting drinks from strange women.”

“Awww, Mac,” Danny whined. “No fair bustin’ my chops f’somethin’ I don’t remember.”

“Who said anything about busting your chops?” Mac asked, leaning in closely in order to get right into Danny’s face. “But I guarantee you that when you and I are finished discussing the issue, you sure as hell won’t be tempted to do it again.”

He bent down and claimed Danny’s lips in a fierce kiss. This time, he didn’t let up until he felt Danny squirming against him. “What’s wrong?”

“Mac, I gotta go,” Danny panted as soon as Mac let him talk. He made as though to get off the bed.

“You’re not going anywhere,” Mac stated flatly, grabbing Danny by the waist and preventing him from getting up. “The Rohypnol’s not completely out of your system and you’re not exerting yourself until it is.”

“I mean, I gotta GO,” Danny complained, wiggling frantically. “Mac, I’m about to burst here.”

Mac grinned sheepishly as he realized the other man’s problem. Danny’d been asleep for over twelve hours and his bladder was probably full to the point of pain. Conceding the point, Mac slipped off the bed and steadied Danny as the younger man gracelessly scrambled off the mattress.

“Whoa,” Danny yelped. Once he’d made it to his feet, he’d shrugged off Mac’s helping hands, only to find himself listing dangerously.

“Feeling a little dizzy?” Mac asked, not unkindly. He slipped an arm around Danny’s waist and began guiding him towards the bathroom.

“It’s like havin’ a hangover and bein’ drunk at the same time,” Danny complained. “Except I didn’t get to do the fun part t’get that way.”

“Let that be a lesson to you,” Mac teased.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Danny waved him off. “No drinks from strange women. I got it.”

“You’d better,” Mac warned, voice laden with equal measures of promise and threat. Danny shot him a nervous glance, but for once knew better than to say anything.

By this time, they’d made it to the bathroom, but Danny stopped short of letting Mac come in with him.

“Mac, I been pissin’ all by myself for years,” he stated flatly. “I got it.”

Danny was swaying unsteadily on his feet, but Mac figured saving the potential harm to Danny’s pride was worth taking the risk.

“All right,” Mac gave in. “But hold on to the wall. I don’t want you to fall and crack your head open on something; I just got a new rug in there and I don’t want blood all over it.”

Far from being offended, Danny snorted and kissed Mac on the cheek before staggering into the bathroom. He made an ostentatious display of keeping one hand on the wall at all times, before turning and smirking as he closed the door in Mac’s face.

Mac chuckled at his lover’s stubbornness, it doing more than anything else to reassure him that Danny was doing okay. Figuring he’d be able to hear well enough if Danny needed him, Mac moved back to the bed, busying himself with straightening the covers. He soon heard the water running and turned just as the bathroom door opened. One look at Danny’s pale face and Mac forgot all concerns about the younger man’s pride. He hurried to Danny’s side and grabbed him.

“Okay, not the best idea I ever had,” Danny admitted once Mac had gotten him safely to the bed. He lay flat on his back and stared straight up at the ceiling.

“Here, eat this, it’ll help.” Mac held out a piece of toast he’d prepared earlier and had ready.

Danny looked at him in disbelief. “You got to be kiddin’ me, Mac.”

“It’ll help settle your stomach,” Mac explained patiently. “And, besides, I’m not letting you take an aspirin for your headache on an empty stomach.”

The younger man hadn’t complained of a headache, but Mac knew he had one and that it was probably pretty bad too. Not only was it typical of Rohypnol, but Danny had that crease in his forehead that meant he was in pain.

Maybe because of his aching head or maybe because he’d reached the limits of the infamous Messer pig-headedness, but Danny finally took the proffered piece of toast. He glared at Mac while he chewed, but he ate it and that was all Mac really cared about. The glass of water and pair of aspirin were similarly accepted and when they were gone too, Danny sighed and laid back down.

“How t’hell can I be tired when I slept the whole friggin’ day?”

Mac stretched out next to him. “You haven’t slept all day, just half of it. Besides, the drug won’t be all the way out of your system for 72 hours.”

“Peachy,” Danny grumbled.

Knowing that the grumpiness hid frustration at not being at peak performance, Mac ignored Danny’s attitude. Instead, he reached over and stroked his hand through Danny’s hair. Danny sighed and relaxed, the motion soothing him as it usually did when he had a headache.

“Feels good,” Danny murmured.

“Try and sleep some more,” Mac suggested.

Danny shook his head. “If I sleep now, it’ll be a bitch tryin’ to sleep tonight.”

Mac’s grin was sly as he lowered his head for a kiss. Just before their lips met, he said, “Well, then, maybe we just won’t sleep tonight. I’m sure we can find something else to do to pass the time.

When their mouths parted, Danny was smiling.

“All right, then, when you put it like that,” he agreed. To Mac’s surprise, though, instead of snuggling back into the covers, Danny sat up and started taking the shirt of his borrowed scrubs off.

“What are you doing?” Mac demanded.

Danny gave him a wide-eyed stare of disbelief. “I’m not sleeping in jammies, like a kid, Mac. Next thing you know, you’d have me in those sleeper things with the feet in them and a butt flap that won’t stay closed.”

Mac swallowed heavily, his mind having shorted out over the butt flap mental image. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“Pervert,” Danny grinned.

He tossed his shirt to the floor and lifted his hips from the mattress, wigging out of the loose pants and similarly disposing of them. Mac helped him under the covers and Danny sighed in contentment. . . until he realized Mac wasn’t getting into bed with him.

“Hey, where you goin?”

Mac shrugged. “You need to rest, Danny.”

“I will, I promise,” Danny vowed as he grabbed at Mac’s hand. “You look pretty wiped out too.”

“I’m not the one who was slipped a Ruffie,” Mac reminded him. That’s when Danny played his trump card.

“I’ll rest better if you’re with me,” the younger man said simply. Without his glasses on, it was easy to see the sincerity in his eyes and Mac was a gonner.

“All right,” Mac gave in. “But we’re just sleeping.”

“Absolutely,” Danny agreed, relaxing since he’d gotten his way. “No funny stuff until I can stay awake for all of - . . . what’re you doing?”

Mac stopped, one leg on the bed and the other still on the floor. “What? I’m coming to bed, like you asked.”

“Not with your clothes on, you’re not,” Danny insisted. “That’s not the way we go to bed, Mac.”

Since Danny was right about that, Mac didn’t argue the point. He just silently and efficiently stripped off his sweats. Danny watched him, his gaze appreciative despite the fact that he could barely keep his eyes open. As soon as Mac got under the covers, Danny plastered himself against the older man.

Mac had to admit it felt good. It eased something inside him to have Danny draped over him like a blanket, sleepy but more animated than he had when deeply unconscious due to the Rohypnol. The thought of the drug made Mac tighten his arms around his lover. Danny not only didn’t protest, but snuggled even closer. Mac was profoundly grateful. If he’d been even a few minutes later in that alley, something terrible would have happened and this easy intimacy with Danny probably would have been ruined forever.

Mac kissed Danny gently and that’s when something occurred to him.


“Wha?” Came the sleepy response. It looked like Danny was already only half-awake.

“I didn’t finish telling you what happened last night,” Mac explained. He’d been distracted first by the need to lecture Danny about taking drinks from strangers and then by the whole desperate bathroom need. “Don’t you want to know the rest of it?”

“I know t’rest,” Danny said and then yawned real big. “You came an’ you took care of it.” He patted Mac’s chest fondly. “You always do, always will.”

The unconditional faith humbled Mac. He knew he didn’t deserve it. He’d failed Claire, after all, and almost failed Danny by being late last night. He looked down, preparing to tell Danny just that, but the younger man was already asleep.

Mac smiled ruefully. Danny trusted him and, like a wild thing, Mac knew that trust was not easily given; had to be earned, even. Mac would just have to make sure he was worthy of it. With a final kiss to the top of Danny’s head, Mac gave in to the tiredness that was no doubt making him melancholy.

But trust or no trust, they weren’t still having that talk about taking drinks from strange women when Danny was awake enough to fully appreciate it.

~the end~


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