Through Dark Times

Summary: - What might happen to Martin in the second half of season 4.

Disclaimer: - Don't own Without a Trace or its characters, nor am I making any money from this fic.

Danny glanced over at Martin, who looked pale and drawn. The two men had barely exchanged a word since Dornvald had decided to change their lives forever all those months ago. Stopping at the red light, gave Danny a chance to look at Martin properly. He knew he should have visited Martin more at the hospital and at home – in fact he should have visited Martin full stop, but he hadn't - a true friend would've. But the guilt was too fresh. The guilt ate away at him everyday and night. Every time when he tried to visit Martin, he had stood outside Martin's door, and he had felt dizzy, he felt weak – but that was because he was weak. He couldn't even find the strength to visit one of his greatest friends, who had almost died in his arms on that dark, wet night in May. Jack, Sam, Viv and Martin's doctors had told him that he had saved Martin's life. Martin's mother had thanked him repeatedly; even Victor Fitzgerald had produced a tense smile and nod in his direction. But did they not understand what that small – now barely visible - scar on his forehead meant? Did they not understand that he was the one that should have been shot that night not Martin.

A honk of a horn behind him pulled him out of his thoughts and caused him to rapidly blink away the flashback that he knew was coming. He quickly shot a fleeting glance across at Martin again. How could he have been so self-centred, when Martin was so obviously continuing to suffer? He had stupid nightmares and flashbacks of the shooting – but that was his punishment for not getting shot. Danny mentally hit himself – he was thinking about himself again. But maybe that was what he was – a self-centred jerk – more like a self-centred, lucky jerk. "Hey man are you alright?" Danny asked nervously although he already knew what the answer would be and he knew that answer would be a lie.

"I'm fine," Martin said as he tried to produce a small fake smile, despite the burning sensation in his gut. It was as though someone sticking a white hot knife into his gut and slowly twisting it.

Martin didn't understand why he couldn't tell Danny the truth – it was Danny for christ's stake. Danny had been there – Danny had saved his life. Jack had told him what Danny had done and he was amazed, although he knew shouldn't be. He didn't understand but at the same time he was glad that Danny had been avoiding him. He knew that Danny had probably found someway to in which to blame himself. He wanted to shake Danny and yell at him telling in no way in hell was it his fault. That he was the reason he was alive. But how could he do that when he could barely look at his friend and he doubted he had the strength to shake Danny without causing that stabbing sensation in his gut which brought tears to his eyes.

Martin fingered at his jacket but silently groaned as he remembered that he had finished his prescription yesterday. He ran a hand through his damp, untamed hair and wondered how he was going to survive the day without them.

"Ok," Danny said not believing Martin's fake smile or shaky 'I'm fine' statement. The same statement was that he was all too familiar with. He needed to find out just what the hell was going on with Martin before it was too late - but in the middle of a case wasn't the time.

"So what's the deal with the kid's father?" Danny asked referring to their latest case.

"Nothing much," Martin replied relieved that Danny had changed the subject. "He basically abandoned Michael and his mother when Michael was two. But he's never late on his child support payments. He's also set up a college fund for Michael. He has a successful business and no record. From all accounts he's an upstanding member of the public."

"Then why did he abandon his kid?" Danny asked tensely knowing that childhoods were a sore subject for both men.

"I don't know. He obviously wants the best for his kid and maybe he realised with all his work he could never provide that life with all the hours he works."

Danny nodded, silently knowing that Martin was talking as much about his childhood as Michael's. He had a bad childhood; his father had beaten the crap out of him whenever he had a chance. But he still didn't know who had the worst childhood. Sure the abuse he had endured had nothing short of hell on earth – but having a father that was never around and when he was pushed you so hard yet never praised you. It was probably one of the reasons why both men were so desperate for Jack's approval.

Danny pulled up beside the house that was registered in Tom Davis name – the missing kid's father. It looked abandoned; in fact it looked as though no one had lived there in years. He glanced across at Martin who still looked terrible. "Hey man are you ready?" Danny asked.

Martin looked across at Danny before he found himself staring at his feet. He felt tremors running down his hands as he unholstered his gun and checked it. "I'm ready," he replied in strongest voice he could muster, but he knew it sounded weak.

Why couldn't he move on – Danny had – of course Danny hadn't had a couple of pieces of lead pumped into him. He was so glad when he had found out that Danny had got out of the ambush/shooting/mess/hell – call what you want – unharmed. But it still remained that Danny was of much stronger character than he was. He was a Fitzgerald he wasn't suppose to feel pain or fear. He wasn't supposed to be weak – his father had drilled that into his head from an early age.

Sensing that Danny hadn't moved he slowly looked up trying to avoid his friend's concern eyes. "Danny I'm ready, let's get this over with," Martin repeated.

"Ok," Danny replied slowly. He stepped out of the car checking his gun as he walked towards the building. "Looks like no one's been home for years," he commented.

"Yeah," Martin said sounding distracted. He felt the icily cold wind whip around him. He closed his eyes tightly as he tried to ignore the pain in his gut and nausea that threatened. He felt tears blurring his vision and tried to control his breathing. He was so focused on self control that he didn't notice the gunman that loomed at the window.

Danny scanned the area looking for any possible dangers. His eyes travelled over the window, seeing the threat he quickly moved into the shadows behind a bust up crate expecting Martin to do the same. He peered out from the crate to see Martin hadn't moved.

"Martin get down," Danny yelled pointing towards the window hoping he wasn't too late.

Martin vaguely heard Danny's warning above his hammering heart and looked towards the direction that Danny was pointing. He felt as though his heart had stopped beating and he some how managed to stumble behind a wall before the first shot rang out.

Danny watched as Martin stumbled behind a wall, then he heard a shot ring out, not knowing if his friend was hurt or not, he quickly calculated the distance between. He knew it would be extremely risky but he had to make sure Martin was alright – he had to make it up to him. He checked the space that lay between them again before he shot across. He heard what felt like shooting erupting around him. He felt a sharp burning sensation on his arm before he crashed down beside the startled Fitzgerald. "Martin are you alright," Danny asked breathlessly. "Hey man are you alright?"

Martin blinked a couple of times before he replied. "Are you going to give me a chance to reply?" Martin blinked again he heard a voice it sounded like his, but he had no idea he had just spoken. It was then his senses came alive. The gunfire sounding like a hundred atomic bombs being detonated next to his ear drums. He blinked again to a crumpled, concerned Danny with blood covering his arm staring at him. "Danny?" he tried.

"Martin are you alright?" Danny asked again his concern growing by the second.

Pulling himself out of his daze Martin drew his gun and started shot back and who or whatever was shooting at them. He paused briefly to reload, he took this chance to answer Danny's question. "I-I'm fine. But you're not, Danny you're bleeding."

Danny quickly glanced down at his arm to see Martin was right. "It's nothing, it's just a graze," Danny replied tensely.

Martin nodded and started shooting again noticing Danny had done the same. As quickly as the shooting at started, it ended. He slumped down the wall feeling breathless and shaky. He felt sweat running down his back and his forehead. He felt Danny tap his shoulder and say something about stay put and he was going check the place was clear. He knew he should go and help Danny but he felt like hell. He felt bile rising in his throat, he tried to hold it in – but couldn't. He turned his head slightly and emptied what little of what was in his stomach. He looked up to see a very concerned Danny staring at him.

"Man you look like hell," Danny said eyeing his friend with great concern. He knew Martin was recovering but he hadn't realised just how bad Martin was until this moment. "Hey let's get you up and sit by the car."

"B-but Danny you're bleeding," Martin said between gulps of air.

"Yeah, yeah we'll sort that out too," Danny replied absentmindedly. He dragged Martin to his feet, slinging Martin's arm across his shoulders they slowly made it to the car. He eased Martin down so he was leaning against the car. Wincing he shrugged off his jacket and draped across Martin's shoulders. He bent down so his eyes where level with Martin's glazed ones.

"Hey Martin it's alright now, just breathe ok," Danny coached resting his hand on Martin's shoulder.

"Danny your arm is bleeding," Martin repeated in a monotone voice.

"No, it's not. It's stopped," Danny said as tapped his arm and sat down next to Martin. "So are you going tell me what's up?"

"It's so screwed up, I'm so messed up. I can't Danny, I can't," Martin stammered.

"Man this me you are talking to, 'Danny Taylor' the king of screw ups. I highly doubt it's worse than anything I have done."

"I-I," Martin started, but soon found the words spilling out unable to stop them. "I tried to get a new prescription but they wouldn't give me one. It hurts like hell, but they still won't – I don't think they believe me. It was suppose to last me two weeks, but it lasted me one. I'm so screwed up Danny."

Danny wrapped his arm and around Martin's shoulders and pulled him into an embrace letting his friend cry into his shoulder. "It's ok, Martin it;s ok, we going to sort this out," Danny reassured. "I promise you man."

"Jack will find out, then I will be kicked out of the FBI and my Dad will disappointed. My Dad will never speak to me again, I will bring shame to my family's name," Martin said as he continued to ramble.

"That won't happen man," Danny said as he rubbed Martin's back. "Because they are never going to know, we are going to sort this out and no one apart from us are ever going to know."

"And then I won't be able to get anther job and then-and then I-I will probably end up face down in a gutter with a needle sticking in my arm," Martin rambled not being in the right state of mind to comprehend Danny's words.

"No Martin you're not, because none of those people are ever going to know," Danny said as he tried to reassure the rambling Martin.

"A-are you sure?" Martin said looking up, suddenly feeling as though a great fog had lifted.

"Yes," Danny replied as he stood up. He uncapped a bottle of water and handed to Martin. Walking around he found the first aid box and started to patch up his arm. After taking his spare shirt for trunk he came around to face Martin again. "How about I deal with locals while you sit here and catch you breath, then we head back to the office."

"But Danny your arm," Martin protested.

"Man I told you it was a graze and the hospital would exactly the same thing I have done," Danny said trying not to wince. He looked up to see a couple of squad cars arrive on the scene. "Gotta go man." With that Danny stood up and started to brief the NYPD cops.

After about fifteen minutes Danny and Martin where headed back towards the office. There was a tense silence in the air which Martin choose to break. "Jack is going to be so mad with us. Did you see the bullet holes in the car?" Martin asked looking down at his cell phone and swore.

Danny nodded tensely. "Yeah he's going to be mad. I doubt he will let us out of the office until we are at least forty," Danny replied. Hearing Martin swear, he glanced across at the slightly tense and pale Martin. "What's up?"

"I forgot to recharge my cell, can I borrow yours, to phone Jack."

"Sure," Danny said tossing his phone across to Martin.

Martin caught the phone but almost dropped it again in horror. He stared that the bullet lodged firmly in the now dead phone. "T- there's a bullet in it Danny, was the phone on you when it was shot?"

"No," Danny said as he looked at his bullet ridden cell phone that Martin was holding up. "It came off my belt when I moved behind your wall – it must have got shot then."

"Oh," Martin replied tensely. "Jack is so going to kill us."

"No he won't. Think about it. If he kills me, you're a witness and vice versa. So he has to kill both of us and that gets messy and it's pretty difficult to get rid of two bodies," Danny joked lightly hoping to raise Martin sprits.

"Danny you have to tell Jack about me."

"No way man, I said I would help so that's what I am going to do. Remember I am pig headed and stubborn so you ain't going to change my mind," Danny replied.

Martin leaned back in the chair and smiled as he realised how lucky he was to have a friend like Danny Taylor. "So are you going to tell him or am I?"

"No one is going to tell him Martin," Danny said as he pulled into the parking lot.

"Not about that," Martin said as he stepped out of the car and started walk towards the elevator. "Tell him about the shooting."

"Some how I don't think we will have to," Danny replied stepping into the elevator behind Martin. "Safely in numbers remember Martin, safety in numbers."

"I was thinking about using you as bait actually," Martin joked. But he could feel his shoulders begin to tense.

"Funny, Fitzy really funny," Danny tensed. "I was thinking the same. Seriously though man, we are friends, I am going to stick by though all of this shit."

"Thanks Danny," Martin replied as the elevator pinged and doors begin to slide open. "Let's face this fire breathing drago-" Martin stopped as the open doors revealed a tense looking Jack Malone.

"What the hell happened? Are you two ok?" Jack said firing off questions anger and concern evident in his voice. "Why the hell didn't you phone me? I had to find out about this from the NYPD."

Danny stepped forward. "Jack relax, we're both fine, it wasn't that bad."

"I will be the judge of that," Jack replied tensely. He looked the boys up and down. They looked fine, and Martin appeared less tense than he was before, but he still wasn't convinced. "What's this about fire breathing dragons?"

Danny winked and mouthed 'you are so screwed' behind Jack's back. Everything was far from normal, but despite everything Danny finally thought things were getting back to normal.