Summary: Four unconnected moments between Mac and Danny. Spoilers for that one with Danny’s brother, whatever that one was.
Author’s Notes: karaokegal batted her eyelashes a while ago and asked for some M/D. It’s not my best work but I tried. I just can’t ship them.
Always travelling but not in love
Still I think I’m doing fine
Wouldn’t it be a lovely headline;
‘Life is Beautiful’ on the New York Times
Danny spends a lot of time around dead people. It’s not fantastic for your social life. Dead people aren’t very fond of taking you out for coffee or sharing a joke with (unless it’s particularly bad taste and bleak, and only then if you try not to laugh too hard), and a lot of the time people aren’t really at their best when you’ve got them either dead on the table or convicted for murder. Danny spends a lot of time discussing gunshot residue and causes of death and lividity but none of that really gets him a date and if by chance he happens to find a date, blood spatter patterns aren’t a turn on (as it turns out). One night stands are all right; there’s no need to discuss with them the horror of finding a little girl’s dead body in a dumpster, but Danny has to talk to someone. So the only people he can really socialise with are those like him; the other CSIs. Like a dark-haired, supremely damaged head detective with a vulnerable smile that breaks his heart every time.
Mac has known Danny for years, and sometimes he wonders whether he can count him as his best friend. They’re fairly close, when it matters, spend more time together than is probably healthy, and have some kind of connection that Mac can’t quite have with anyone else (not even with Stella. That’s a friendship of a different sort. At least, he kind of hopes it is). But there’s another part of him that knows only too well that he doesn’t own Danny, doesn’t have any kind of monopoly on his attention, and really, he’s afraid of pushing it because he could lose him. So he watches Danny flirt with Lindsay and looks from one to the other and feels the distance between him and them yawn like a ravine he could kill himself trying to get through.
The sickness gnaws endlessly at Mac’s stomach. That cigarette butt has just turned their whole department upside down, and the determination that Mac is running on makes him feel nauseous. Danny looks broken, and when Mac eventually goes to see him at the hospital, the helplessness worsens. Danny’s brother probably just died to save him from being convicted, and the tears are running from his eyes. Mac finds the strength within himself to pull Danny close, to let him know that he’ll be there, he’ll always be there. Danny clings to him desperately, and Mac silently promises himself that he’ll always be strong enough for both of them.
Danny has been working all night and he can barely see, glasses or no glasses, and he must look like a panda from the dark rings around his eyes. His hands are shaking and his throat is dry and if he has to squint into a microscope for just one more minute he will break something. He’s getting nowhere and frustration has seeped into the lab around him.
“Hey,” Mac says softly, walking in behind him. “Take five minutes out. Grab a coffee. Get some perspective.”
“But-” Danny begins, turning around and rubbing at his aching eyes.
“That wasn’t a request,” Mac adds, but there’s a smile quirking the corner of his mouth. Danny obediently snaps his latex gloves off and removes the white coat before walking towards the door.
He smiles gratefully at Mac, who smiles back, and squeezes his shoulder for a second too long. It’s a little thing. But it’s everything.