Strength in the Night by Skylark

Summary: Missing scenes from 'Off the Tracks'.

Characters: Danny and Martin

Rating: PG

Martin was worried about Danny as he had been sitting in the car outside the garage Rafi had wanted to buy for half an hour now, and there had been no sign of him coming back out. Martin decided to leave it a while longer before going inside to investigate, and just to trust that Danny could handle whatever he had found inside.

For the last two days, Martin had watched Danny get more and more tense and wound up as their search for Rafi had turned up evidence that his life had fallen apart, and he had slipped back to his old ways. It had only been a matter of time before this got to Danny, and Martin had been surprised that Jack had allowed Danny to question Luis Vega with him. So when Danny had lost his temper and flown at Luis, Martin hadn't been surprised, and had been ready to prise them apart. Since then things had gotten worse with the discovery of Carey Chase dead from an overdose. Martin hoped that they had gotten there in time to prevent another tragedy.

Eventually, just as Martin was about to give up, Danny appeared with Rafi. He was pressed against Danny's side, with Danny almost holding him up as they shuffled together towards the car. Martin quickly got out and opened the back door for the two brothers and then drove them in silence to the FBI office. His passengers stayed quiet, and just sat huddled together on the back seat of the car.

+ + + + + + +

Two hours later, Rafi had been processed, and Martin was again driving Danny, this time to see Sylvia. Danny had rung her earlier while Rafi was being processed to let her know that they had found him, and had promised to go and see her as soon as he could. He spent the journey looking out of the window into the cold New York night, making no attempt to talk to Martin. When the car pulled up outside the apartment building, Danny took a deep breath before getting out of the car.

"Thanks for the lift Martin," he said, with an attempt at a smile "and for everything you've done today. I appreciate it. Go home and get some sleep, and I'll see you on Monday".

"No problem Danny, that's what friends are for. I can stay and give you a lift home when you've spoken to Sylvia," Martin said.

"No need. I'll get a cab home later," Danny protested. "Thanks for offering though." With that, Danny straightened up and walked away towards the entrance to the apartment block, looking to Martin like a convict going to the gallows, as he gathered all his remaining strength for the ordeal ahead.

As Danny disappeared into the dim hallway after Sylvia let him in, Martin started the car, ready to leave. The haunted look on Danny's face as he had walked away stopped him though. What would Danny do when he left Sylvia and Rafi's home? He had been strong all day throughout the search as he had been kept busy, and since they had found him, Danny had needed to be the strong one to help Rafi through the crisis. Now he would be using up his remaining strength to help Sylvia, as the relief of finding Rafi alive passed and she realised what this would mean for her and Nickie's future, with Rafi back in jail. Who was there to be strong for Danny? Martin decided he couldn't just leave without being sure Danny was okay. So he turned off the engine, and waited.

Just as the sky was starting to lighten with the approaching dawn, Martin was woken from his light doze by the sound of a nearby door closing. He looked out to see Danny leaving the building, looking as if he had aged 20 years in the last few days. His shoulders were hunched and he stood still as if he wasn't sure of where he was or what he should do next. Martin could see his face was slack and his eyes glazed over. He quickly got out of the car, and walked towards Danny, who didn't register his approach until Martin gently touched his shoulder and said his name.

"Martin, What are you still doing here?" Danny asked.

"I wanted to make sure you were okay, and got home safely. Come on, get in and I'll give you a lift," Martin said as he put his arm around Danny's shoulders to coax him towards the car.

Danny let out a deep breath and muttered "Thanks" as he gave in to Martin's urging and got into the car.

Danny was having trouble getting the seatbelt fastened when Martin had rounded the car and gotten in himself, so he leant over to help Danny before starting the car engine. Danny leaned his head against the headrest and closed his eyes; knowing that Martin would get him home safely.

The journey didn't take long, and then Martin was again trying to attract Danny's attention. He seemed a bit disoriented as if he didn't realise where he was or how he had gotten there. Martin undid his seatbelt and helped him out of the car, and then took his keys off him to open the door to the block of apartments.

As they waited for the elevator to the second floor, Martin watched Danny, worried about his lack of response to what was going on around him. He was very tired, as Martin was himself, but this was not like Danny. He was usually so alert and confident, cocky and full of life, and it hurt him to see his friend like this. Martin was wondering what he could best do to help him as they rode up to Danny's floor and walked along the hallway towards his apartment. Martin opened the door and watched as his colleague looked around his home as if he hadn't seen it in weeks and wasn't sure what to do.

"Come on Danny, time to get you to bed. You need some sleep," Martin urged as he locked the door behind them.

Danny headed towards the bedroom; when Martin followed, he saw Danny sat on the bed in the dark, not moving. Martin turned on the main light as he walked into the room, and Danny flinched as the room was suddenly lit up brightly. Martin quickly crossed the room to turn on the bedside lamp, which was not so bright, and then turned the main light off again. He turned to his friend, who was still sitting hunched over in the same position as before, then went over to sit next to him.

"Let me help you. You need to get undressed and into bed now," Martin murmured as he helped Danny off with his suit coat and then shirt, with Danny sitting there as if he was a puppet with his strings cut, unable to help him. Next Martin slipped to the floor by the side of the bed and took off Danny's shoes and socks, then pushed Danny down to lie on the bed so he could get at the fastenings of his belt and pants. Once they were off, Martin stepped away to lay them over a chair by the wall.

The sound of the belt chinking nearly covered up the sound of a muffled sob from the bed, but he heard it and quickly looked round. Danny was now curled in on himself in the foetal position, with his fist to his mouth as he tried to cover up the sobs being released from his throat, even though he couldn't stop the tears that streamed from his bloodshot eyes. Martin climbed onto the bed beside his distraught friend and gathered him up in his arms. Danny resisted for a few seconds, then as soothing words were murmured into his ear, he let go of his attempt at control, and gave in. Martin kept his arms around Danny, stroking soothing circles on his back, with Danny clutched onto his shirtfront.

Eventually there were no more tears left, and Danny quietened, and then shivered in the cool room. Martin let go of Danny to get him under the bed covers, which provoked a murmur of protest from the still upset man.

" It's okay, I'm not going anywhere, I just want to get you warm," Martin soothed.

"Don't go, I don't want to be alone," Danny whispered, and Martin looked down to see that the covers on the other side of the bed had been turned down for him in obvious invitation. He was a bit unsure about staying the night with Danny, especially in the same bed, but would do it if that was what Danny needed.

He looked into Danny's red-rimmed eyes and asked, "Are you sure?" and when he received a nod in reply, Martin removed his clothes down to his underwear and got into the bed, then turned out the light. Danny immediately cuddled into his side, and Martin put his arm around his friend and closed his eyes.

They fell asleep like that, both exhausted from the events of the last few days. Tomorrow Danny would need to face what had happened, and be strong to help his brother, tonight he didn't need to be. He was safe and Martin was there to be strong for him.