"Danny, you're back," Lindsay exclaimed when she walked into the trace lab. "How do you feel? Are you doing okay?"
"Hey Linds, yeah, I'm doing okay," Danny said. "Come here, let me give you a hug. Mac told me what you did, thank you. I didn't realize you'd understand and I'm sorry 'bout that. I shoulda given you the chance, but I was so used to hiding that I just did it."
She hugged him carefully and then sat down next to him. "I don't blame you a bit for hiding your relationship, Danny," Lindsay said. "I don't talk about Pete and Joe much, but they're important to me and if Mac makes you happy, then you grab that and run with it."
"We're living together," Danny admitted. "I think this is long haul."
"Oh, Danny, that's great," Lindsay said. "Stella, look who's back."
"Hey Danny, you need to eat something," Stella said. "You have lost way too much weight. Lunch is my treat today, what do you want?"
Danny couldn't help the grin. "I just haven't been hungry, Stella. The meds screwed me up but good. Mac's been force-feeding me supper every night," he said. "I'm eating, I swear I'm eating. It'll just take some time."
"It all will," Stella said. "Mac says you're back in the lab for now. Anything you need to talk about?"
"Nope, I'm just finding my feet again," Danny said. "I'd have to be in here anyway, least until the cast comes off. Mac and me talked, we're not hiding anymore. It's going to make things harder for us here at work, but we've got more support than I thought was possible. Lotta officers aren't too happy 'bout it, but because we're here and not working directly with them, I think they're gonna ignore us."
"You and Mac are pretty respected in the department, Danny," Stella pointed out. "That's going to carry a lot of weight while things are in such an upheaval. Now, I have to ask, what about Flack?"
"He made it pretty clear he don't want me near him again, so like I told Mac. He has his beliefs, I have mine, I can't force mine on him," Danny said. "It hurts to lose my best friend like that, but if he can't stand to be near me, then it's his loss. I've got you two, Mac, Adam, Hawkes and Sassy. You're my family and you make me feel like things really can be okay in the end."
"They will be," Mac said from the doorway. "Now if we could all get back to work, that would be good."
Danny ducked his head with a grin and went back to the report his was working on one-handed. "I can't wait to get this cast off, Mac. Typing's a bitch right now."
"You'll manage," Mac said. "I'm heading out into the field with Lindsay. Will you be okay here?"
"I'll be fine. Shoo."
"All right, see you when I get back," Mac said with a grin.
"What are you doing here?"
Danny didn't even bother to look up. "Working," he replied. "Which is more than you're doing, Flack."
"Messer, can we talk?"
"Not unless you're going to apologize for everything you've said and done," Danny said. "Which I doubt because no one changes their minds like that and means it. Mac and me, we're not ashamed of our relationship and we never once let it get involved in work. Not until you dragged it in here. Guess that backfired on you, Flack, 'cause we've got backing from the brass."
Flack sighed. "I've never heard that much anger in your tone before."
Danny looked up and caught sight of Mac standing behind Flack. "You almost killed me, Flack," he said. "I think I'm allowed to be angry. Just because I didn't file charges against you for what you did don't mean I ain't done with all this. You had your chance, Flack. It passed. Mac, did you need me?"
"Just wanted to make sure you're okay," Mac said. "Detective Flack, I seem to recall telling you not to go near Danny. Do you want to tell me what you're doing here?"
"I wanted to talk, but I guess it's not happening," Flack said. "See you guys later."
"He might still come around, Danny," Mac said softly when they were alone. "Do you want to think about forgiving him?"
"He coulda done something when I was down sick," Danny said. "I don't think I can trust him again, Mac. Might be able to work with him again, as long as there's someone else on the case with me, but I don't think I can be his friend again. Not after everything that's happened. How do I know that's not guilt making him talk to me now?"
"You don't and it's all your choice, Dan. I just wanted to make sure you'd thought this through," Mac said. "It sounds like you have. I won't tell you to listen to him, but maybe don't ignore the possibility?"
"Yeah, maybe," Danny sighed.
"Your dad always overdoes," Mac commented to Sassy later that night. Danny had lasted through dinner before falling asleep on the sofa. He was still light enough that Mac was able to move him to the bed without trouble. "I don't know what we're going to do with him, Sass."
She curled up next to Danny's side and started purring. Mac grinned. "Yeah, that's true, we love him," he said. "One thing that is never going to change."
Summary: Danny is back in the lab after his injuries and is realizing that his family is more supportive than he ever realized. Don't own, don't claim, no money made here.