Fandom: Hawaii Five-0
Characters: Primarily Danny and Steve - GEN
Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine.
Summary: Tag for Episode 5.07, Ina Paha. He'd seen him battered, he'd seen him bloody, but until this moment, he'd never seen him broken.
Author's Note: I've only written one other H50 story, also triggered (ironically enough) by Wo Fat's sadistic torture of Steve. Not sure I want to explore why that particular event makes me want to write about these characters. I wrote this for my dear friend, lovinjackson, because I promised, and for kristen999 who wanted to see something from Danny's perspective.
This is the first time I've written from Danny's PoV (but given it's my second H50 story, that's not exactly a shocker), and I've no idea if I'll get it right, but I wanted to at least give it a go. Also? What I know about hallucinogenic drugs could barely fill a thimble, so read this for entertainment purposes only and try not to judge too harshly. If you do read, I hope you enjoy.
Kaikua`ana is Hawaiian for "brother."
The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
Henry David Thoreau
Detective Danny Williams had been suffocating for nearly a full day.
Invisible fingers began to slowly close around his throat the moment they found the car, angry tread marks his first indication that Commander Steve McGarrett hadn't voluntarily left his dad's old boat of a vehicle abandoned on the side of the road. He'd tried to push is worry into the deal with it later file within his brain, the one he'd created the moment Grace was born to help him compartmentalize and prioritize. It was how he'd coped with Rachel leaving, how he'd managed to acclimate to life in Hawaii, and how he'd survived four years with a partner who seemingly had very little regard for the sanctity of a safe life.
It had been impossible.
Every minute that ticked by tightened the virtual grip until he could barely keep himself from tugging at his collar. The constant Hawaiian heat seemed to build, even in the climate-controlled environment of their Five-0 squad room, and soon his button-down was sticking to the valley of his spine, sweat gathering at his waist and neck. He heard his voice twist around words as he spoke to Kono, to Chin, and he worked to steady his words, but it took almost more focus than he could muster.
Because Steve wasn't there. And nothing about that was okay.
It wasn't hard to determine that Wo Fat was involved. Danny couldn't think of another person as determined – and sadistic – as Wo Fat when it came to extracting information from McGarrett. There was no telling what the man wanted this time; Steve's past with Wo Fat was as complicated and confusing as a Stanley Kubrick movie.
To Danny, though, it didn't matter what he wanted. What mattered was that the bastard had his friend. Here. On US soil. In their city. There was something twisted and wrong about that reality.
This time Steve hadn't been dashing to the rescue of a friend, stupidly planting himself in the middle of South Fucking Korea where rescuing him was nearly an exercise in futility. He hadn't been storming a detention facility in search of answers only to nearly be blown to bits. No, this time, the heroic jerk had actually been behaving himself. He'd simply been driving that damn car that he spent hours refurbishing, only to have it break down on him in rather inconvenient places.
In fact, when they'd first discovered the car, Danny had felt a familiar surge of irritation, thinking the car had broken down and Steve had simply went for help, not thinking to call and check in. But then they'd found the blood. And the tread marks.
And it became very, very difficult to draw a full breath.
"Dammit, Steven, where the hell are you?"
It became a bit of a mantra, reverberating in his head as they chased down leads, crashing against dead ends, even bringing Jerry into the mix.
Where the hell are you? You need to be here. What's happening to you?
Kono's quiet tension bled into Chins grim determination and stabbed through Danny to splatter across Grover. They were all tangled up in the idea that their boss, their friend, their family had been taken from them, right under their noses.
They knew what Wo Fat was capable of. Most of them had seen Steve after Korea. They'd helped heal him. And none of them wanted a repeat. They had to find him. Soon.
When Adam all-but ran into the Five-0 squad room with a potential location for Wo Fat, Danny felt a surge of adrenalin shoot through his system. It hit him with dizzying speed, earning him a look of harried concern from the ever-watchful Kono. He frowned, shaking off her gaze as he grabbed his Kevlar and piece, hurrying out of the building on Chin's heels.
He had to ignore the tremor in his hands and force himself to grip the wheel of his car, blinking away the sensation that it shouldn't be him behind the wheel at all. He had to quell the twist of nausea that threatened to overpower him as they headed down the narrow Honolulu back streets toward the dry cleaners. He made himself to breathe – in and out, slow, controlled, purposeful – and unclench his jaw, narrowing his focus on Chin's taillights, his only concern getting to that building as fast as fucking possible.
The problem wasn't simply that Steve was gone. It wasn't even that Wo Fat been the one who had taken him. It was that Danny couldn't not see that dingy basement in Columbia, hear the metallic clank as the barrel holding his brother's body was wheeled out, smell the death and rot around him, feel the utter hopelessness of being too late.
Too late to save his brother. His family. His blood.
He'd lost Matty and he could not – he could not – lose Steve.
Swallowing a helpless, panicked whimper as he rotated the steering wheel in a tight left, Danny pressed his lips tight against his teeth, admitting, if only to himself, that he'd bought into Steve's easy definition of ohana long ago. He defined himself by that big, danger-magnet of a goof ball.
As much shit as he gave Steve for his reckless behavior, he needed it. He thrived on it.
He needed the unknown, needed to complain about it, and needed use it to appreciate the epic normalcy of his life outside of Steve. He needed the noise and the light and the energy and the confusing chaos that was Steve McGarrett in his life; he didn't know who he was without his friend offering him that echo.
Not that he'd ever willingly admit that. He was a bit afraid that if he did, he'd been indoctrinated into the SEALs before he knew what hit him. He was comfortable grudgingly acquiescing and contrarily reacting to every crazy idea that popped into the other man's head.
Lights reflecting off the white-washed buildings around the dry cleaners, sirens announcing their arrival, they pulled up and piled from the cars, vests on, guns at the ready. Danny felt tension screaming through his system, his entire focus on finding Steve. If the man wasn't here, Danny was pretty sure he would snap like a too-often plucked guitar string.
Chin was first through the door, but Kono and Danny drew up on his six without delay. Danny knew Grover was behind them, but didn't stop to check on the big man's progress. His only thought was to find Steve. Before it was too late. Before there wasn't anything left for him to find and he was wheeling his best friend away in a barrel.
He felt something snarl inside of him, his heart curling at the edges as they moved as a unit through the front office and through to the back where the workers looked up in startled protest of their intrusion. They made their way through the loud, humid laundry area, the smell of detergent hitting his eyes and making them burn. Words exited his mouth, his Jersey accent strong in his haste to move through the room, get past these people who may be innocent but were in his way, dammit.
Striding forward, one hand out in a calming gesture, the other gripping his weapon so tightly it was a wonder the gun didn't melt in his hand, Danny heard himself speaking, but the moment they broached the rear door spilling one by one onto the landing above the stairs – another set of stairs leading down into God knows where to find God knows what – the words died and turned to dust in his mouth. He barely registered the man advancing up the stairs toward them.
He simply pulled the trigger. Threat eliminated. McGarrett-style.
Part of him – the old Danny, the man he'd been back in Jersey, the man who still had a brother – flinched at how quickly and coldly he had been able to dispense death. But that was before some psycho nut job had decided to take his best friend. That was before Matty had been killed and stuffed into a barrel.
That was before.
Kono had been standing close enough to him as killed the first man that he felt the heat of her bare arm against his, felt her flinch slightly, but say nothing. She had his back. So did Chin. They were ohana. And nothing was going to change that.
Moving forward, he jerked in surprise as two men fired on them. If there had been any doubt that this was the right location, it was erased in that moment. They each instinctively took cover and Danny had a moment to register the hard-jawed, stone-faced expressions worn by Kono and Chin as they fired back before he popped of several shots of his own, dropping the man who was attempting to ventilate him.
Heart slamming against his ribs, invisible grip curled tight around his throat, sweat gathered along his hairline, Danny moved forward to the door at the end of the crowded hall, the only door they hadn't cleared. Steve was behind that door; every nerve-ending in his body screamed it at him. His hand shook as he pushed the door open, his weapon ready to take out anyone who was not Steve on the other side.
The smell hit him first: the metallic tang of blood, the acrid smell of gunpowder from a just-fired weapon, rusty water pipes, and something almost ozone-like in the air. The sight that met his eyes turned his blood to ice and dropped his heart to the pit of his stomach. One second he wanted to scream, the next he felt as though he might pass out. He felt himself shaking from the inside out.
Three bodies lay sprawled on the floor midst a cacophony of pouring water, broken furniture, broken pipes, an IV pole, and other devises that Danny wasn't able to catalogue in the abbreviated sweep of the room. One body belonged to an African-American woman. Another to Wo Fat. The third—
He heard it. The break in his voice. The plea. He heard it over the pounding of his heart.
No no no no please no, not now, not like this, no!
He tried to look back to the others, catching sight of Chin's grim face and clenched jaw from the corner of his eyes. He couldn't, just…it was too much to take in. He was moving forward before he was truly ready to be in that room. Glancing down at Wo Fat, he saw the bastard was well and truly dead, a hole like a third eye in the center of his forehead, a pistol laying limp in his outstretched hand.
Another gun lay near Steve's hand, his friend's face turned away from the door. From Danny.
"Steve, you all right?" He was crouching down at Steve's side, the weapon he'd wielded to get into the room suddenly absent from his hands, reaching for his friend, needing the contact to reassure himself that Steve was alive. Alive.
"Hey! Come on," he whispered.
Steve flinched, jerking away from his touch, eyes open and frantic as he looked wildly around. Dimly, Danny was aware of Chin crouched on the other side of Steve, Kono perched like a hawk at his shoulder. He had no idea where Grover was but at the moment it didn't matter because Steve was pushing upwards, his bloodied face turning toward Danny.
"You all right?" Danny asked stupidly, needing to hear his friend's voice.
There was a deep laceration to his forehead, his face was a myriad of cuts and newly-formed bruises, and there were marks on his chest that Danny wasn't able to identify right away. But what had that hand at Danny's throat turning to ice were Steve's eyes: pupils blown wide, expression harried and anxious, confusion clouding them in a way Danny hadn't ever seen before.
Hands at Steve's chest and shoulder, Danny helped ease his friend upright, gut clenching at the tremor he felt course through Steve's body.
"You all right? Yeah," he nodded in return when Steve gave him a brusque, automatic nod.
"Yeah," Steve managed, wounded eyes tracking beyond Danny's shoulder, searching for someone. Danny was about to reassure him that Wo Fat was dead, he couldn't hurt Steve anymore, when Steve spoke again. "Yeah, where's my father?"
Danny felt his heart pause. Literally stop, right there in his chest as if someone had hit a button on the remote controlling his life. He couldn't breathe. Steve's gaze became more frantic as his eyes tracked past Danny, over to Chin, then back toward the door.
"Where's my father? I want to see my dad."
Swallowing, Danny willed his heart to beat again and glanced quickly at Chin, registering the pain etched in the older man's expression.
"Buddy," Danny croaked, moving a hand to the base of Steve's neck. He could feel the muscles there shuddering. "Your dad died four years ago, okay? All right?"
For a moment it looked as though Steve didn't believe him, but then he nodded, just once, quick like he had known, but Danny saw that he hadn't, not really. Whatever had gone on in this room…in that one moment, Steve had truly believed his father would be walking through that door.
"You're all right," Danny whispered, needing it to be true as much for himself as for Steve. He kept his hand on Steve's neck, resting the other on the man's heart. "You're all right."
Steve nodded again and then Danny's world folded in at the edges as his friend's expression collapsed, anguish so real and raw that Danny heard Kono utter a small whimper behind him. Steve broke before him, tears held at bay through God knew what sort of torture spilling from his blue eyes as the truth crashed against him. It was as though they were watching Steve experience his father's death first hand.
Danny wanted to hit something. He wanted to bring Wo Fat back to life and kill the bastard all over again. He wanted to pull Steve into his arms and hold his friend as he would Grace. He wanted to get that goddamned heartbroken look out of the other man's eyes.
But before he could do more than draw a breath, Steve pulled it in: the tears, the pain, all of it. He took a shaky breath and nodded.
"I'm good," he said in a voice so raw Danny was unsure how it even held weight. "L-let's go."
"All right?" Danny glanced at Chin whose sober expression said everything that needed said in that moment. "Yeah, let's go."
It was clear standing on his own was well beyond Steve's strength in that moment. As Danny and Chin grasped him beneath the shoulders and pulled him to his feet, Danny saw more bruising along the man's torso and back, and what looked like puncture marks on the back of Steve's neck. That, coupled with the glimpse of an IV pole and a bag with yellowish liquid attached to it, gave Danny some indication as to the basis of Steve's confusion. He made a mental note to have someone collect the liquid and have it analyzed.
Once on his feet, Steve swayed dangerously and Danny and Chin stepped close, wrapping their arms around his waist and pulling his arms across their shoulders. The tremors Danny had felt beneath his grip moments ago seemed to amplify and Steve's breath turned slightly ragged.
"Let's get out of here," Steve implored softly, his fingers twisting in Danny's shirt sleeve.
"All right? Yeah," Danny nodded, feeling as though he were literally unable to say anything else.
He needed a restart, something clean and new, something not here, not this room, not this broken man in his arms. He needed to be somewhere else. They began to slowly move forward, Steve's pain evident in the small breathless grunt he uttered at the first few steps. As they drew abreast of Wo Fat's body, however, Steve froze.
"Wait, wait," he breathed, his eyes pinned to the body.
Danny looked at his friend's profile. Steve's lips trembled around words he couldn't make out, his eyes growing more haunted the longer he stared. He looked back down at Wo Fat and saw Kono stretch to her feet, stepping forward so that she blocked Steve's view of Wo Fat's face.
"C'mon, let's go, yeah?" Danny encouraged, turning Steve.
This time the other man brooked no argument. Kono led them out, her slim frame sturdy and strong, her weapon at the ready. Danny saw Grover then, saw the big man take in the scene in the room behind them, and felt him cover their six as he and Chin moved Steve slowly through the laundry room. Steve didn't make a sound and Danny felt him work to pull upright, to walk on his own power, but unable to do so for more than a few seconds.
"We gotcha, buddy," Danny said softly, tightening his grip on Steve. "We'll just get you outside. You'll be better outside."
He had to tighten his grip on Steve's waistband and felt Steve's fist twist in his shirtsleeve once more.
"This way," Kono called back to them, the first words she'd said since they arrived at the dry cleaners.
Danny and Chin followed her without question and Danny saw that she had turned to the right, avoiding the bodies and the stairs, taking them through a hallway with office doors scattered throughout, toward a glass door exiting to the outside. With each step, Steve grew heavier in his grip and Danny felt Chin's arm cross his around Steve's back, the other man working to hold their friend upright.
Steve's feet began to drag and his breath rasped loudly. His head was still up, his eyes on the bright Hawaiian sun that spilled through the glass door at the end of the hall, but Danny could feel him fading, as though the strength ebbed from him with each step. Danny's lip curled in anger. That this happened, that it was possible.
That the bastard had the audacity to grab Steve from his car in broad daylight, beat him, drug him, torture him…and for what? For what?
"Danny, slow down."
Chin's voice broke through his mental rant and Danny blinked looking over at his friend to see that Steve had dropped his head low. He was still walking, still with them, but not for much longer. He'd started to lean heavily on Danny, his side flush against him. Danny could feel the heat from Steve's skin through his Kevlar.
"Hey, babe, you with us?" Danny shook the arm he grasped that was slung over his shoulder. "Just a little more okay?"
Steve nodded and Danny felt the muscles along his back tense up as he lifted his head. Looking forward, Danny suddenly saw Grover outside through the glass door. He could see the man was on a phone, pacing in front of the entrance, and he hoped with everything in him that he'd called an ambulance. Kono loped head, pushing the door open and a zephyr of fresh air smelling of salt and sunshine curled down the hall and wrapped around the three men.
Steve breathed in, brought his head up further, but didn't pull away. Turning sideways, the trio stepped from the building and Danny saw to his immense relief that a bench was bolted to the sidewalk just to their left. He nodded and Chin followed his lead, easing Steve down on the bench, his bruised back resting against and ad for a local realtor.
"Called for a bus," Grover said. "Be here in five."
Danny simply nodded, not pulling his arm from around Steve's shoulders.
"I'll go out to the front and guide them over," Chin said, moving away.
Grover followed, his dark eyes lingering for another moment on Steve. Kono said nothing, simply crouched once again, this time in front of Steve, her eyes soft and worried and pinned to Steve's face.
"You with us, Steven?" Danny said, gripping his friend's shoulder.
Steve nodded vaguely, his eyes hooded, his gaze pinned to the sidewalk just shy of Kono's position. Danny took in the line between Steve's brow, the way his friend's lips pressed tight, and knew that whatever was playing through the SEAL's mind was nothing good. He tugged Steve slightly closer.
"You made it out of there, babe," Danny said. "You made it."
"He's gone," Steve muttered, his tone slightly confused and detached; Danny saw his eyes shift quickly to Kono, then away again. "He's gone."
"He's gone, Boss," Kono answered him. "It's over."
"He's gone," Steve whispered and to Danny's astonishment, his chin quivered, a tear sliding from the corner of his eye to collect in the dried blood on his jawline.
Danny looked over at Kono, blinking in surprise. He'd thought, as she had, that Steve had been referring to Wo Fat. But the tears—
"It all seemed…," Steve exhaled slowly, the breath skittering across his teeth and skipping out to the air between them. "It was so real."
Danny said nothing; simply held his friend. Kono reached up and slid her slim fingers into Steve's limp hand. She murmured something in Hawaiian, words unfamiliar and too softly spoken for Danny to detect, but they drew Steve's eyes and Danny saw his lips fold down in a frown, his body shuddering with suppressed emotion as he nodded.
The lights of the ambulance and back-up from HPD drew Danny's attention away from Kono and Steve's joined hands and he started to rise. The moment he moved away from Steve, however, the taller man began to slump sideways and Danny immediately repositioned himself.
"Hey," Danny said quietly, his hands once more on Steve's shoulders. He'd always had to find contact to show his concern; Matt had complained he was way too handsy when they were kids, had always squirmed out of Danny's reach.
Steve leaned into it.
"I gotcha, okay? I'm not going anywhere."
"Danny." Steve spoke his name like a sentence. As though it was everything he could and needed to say.
"I know, buddy," Danny said softly. "I know."
The moment the EMTs arrived, the sensory overload was too much for Danny to collect all that was happening around them and categorize into any sort of compartment in his brain. Deal with it later was no longer an option. It was deal with it now, or not at all.
He lost track of his team; Kono had been gently eased aside to make room for the men who were currently checking Steve's vitals. He hadn't seen Grover or Chin since they went around to the front. He knew someone needed to close the scene, catalogue the evidence, supervise the care of the bodies, but he couldn't move. He couldn't leave Steve now if the bench had been on fire.
An EMT with gray hair and crazy-blue eyes was trying to get Steve to give him information about what had happened to him as he carefully inspected the bullet graze at his temple.
"I…uh, I d-don't…," Steve stammered. "It's all mixed up, I can't—"
"They fucking tortured him, okay?" Danny broke in, unable to listen to Steve's tangled syntax and hesitant confusion. He waved his free hand before the EMT's face in a slicing motion. "They drugged him with who the hell knows what, they beat him," he glanced askance at Steve's chest, finally recognizing the marks on his friend's skin, "and they electrocuted him. That enough information for you?"
The EMT rested steady eyes on him a moment. "Are you injured?" he asked.
"Me? No, why're you askin' me that?" Danny frowned, drawing his head back in surprise.
"You're pale, sweaty, and your hands are shaking," the EMT pointed out.
"I'm fine," Danny muttered, looking away. "I'm fucking fantastic, okay?"
Steve slumped forward a bit, resting his head in a cupped hand propped by his elbow resting on his knee. Danny felt his frown crumple a bit as he looked at Steve's curled form, the bruises showing plainly now on his bare back.
"Just take care of him, would ya?" he pleaded quietly.
"We got him," the EMT assured him, standing and calling for a gurney.
"I can walk," Steve said, his voice directed at the ground.
"Steven. Don't, just…," Danny rested his hand back on Steve's shoulder. "Just don't, okay?"
"I can walk, Danny." Steve practically growled, straightening up and frowning, not looking at Danny.
Before either he or the EMT could move to stop him, Steve pushed to his feet. He took one step and his knees buckled, pitching him forward directly into the EMT's reaching arms. Danny surged to his feet, looking in alarm at Steve's closed eyes and lax face.
Two other EMTs brought a gurney and the three men lifted Steve's limp form to the white mattress, quickly strapping him down and wheeling him toward the opened back-end of the ambulance. The gray-haired EMT glanced back over his shoulder.
Right. His job wasn't done. It didn't stop with finding Steve. It didn't stop with ending the bad guys. It didn't stop with yellow crime scene tape and counting spent cartridges and filling out paperwork.
It stopped when his partner didn't need him anymore. And Danny suspected if the hollowed-out look in Steve's eyes was any indication, his job wasn't going to be done for quite some time.
He hurried after them, ignoring Grover's shout and Chin's worried eyes. He did spare Kono a quick nod, but then was climbing into the back of the ambulance to sit on the bench next to where the gurney was fixed to the floor. The doors were shut and they were on the move before Danny had a moment to acclimate. The gray-haired EMT was in the back with Danny and Steve, the other two men in the front, one on a radio repeating the stats barked at him from the man working on Steve.
Danny tuned them out, keeping his gaze on his friend. As he watched, Steve's eyes blinked open sluggishly, but the widened. He started, rather violently, pulling away from the EMT's hands and trying to press himself against the wall, prevented from moving by the straps holding him to the gurney. His panic was palpable; it filled the interior of the ambulance with a pressure that seemed to draw the air in close, like cellophane.
Danny surged forward.
"Steve—hey, hey! Steven, hey!" He grabbed one of Steve's flailing hands, his other hand resting on Steve's shoulder. "Easy, buddy, it's okay. Hey, it's okay."
Steve blinked at him, his lashes tented with sweat and tears, his blue eyes red-ribbed and swollen. "Danny?"
"Yeah, you big goof, it's me. You're okay, you're in an ambulance."
Steve dropped his head back, his eyes roaming the interior of the ambulance as though trying to put meaning to the word Danny tossed his way.
"We're heading to the hospital. Get you checked out. You okay?"
Steve nodded, his brow furrowed. The EMT asked him to rate his pain and Danny watched as Steve's eyes rolled closed.
Danny blinked, surprised that he'd been so transparent.
"I'm going to give you a mild analgesic," the EMT told him. "We can't give you more until we know what sort of drugs were pumped into your system."
"Bad ones," Steve muttered quietly, his eyes still closed.
"Your pulse is very erratic, Mr…."
"Steve." The EMT nodded, glancing once at Danny before continuing to address Steve. "Your pulse is rapid and your heart is skipping beats." Danny felt his heart follow suit at those words. "You were exposed to electricity?"
"Can you tell me anything about that?"
"Taser," Steve replied. "Coupla times."
Danny's eyes traveled the burns on Steve's chest.
"I'm going to attach an IV, okay?" the EMT told him. "Need to get your fluids and electrolytes balanced to try to even out your heart rate."
"'K," Steve sighed, tugging his arms upwards, against the straps keeping him safely in place.
"Steve?" Danny questioned, frowning at his actions.
"Get 'em offa me, Danny. Don't wanna feel 'em."
Danny looked down at his friend's wrists and saw that the leather straps that had apparently held Steve captive were still attached. He couldn't believe he'd missed that. The EMT easily swapped places with Danny so that he could insert the IV and Danny began to unbuckle the straps from his wrists and ankles, noting the ragged edges where Steve had torn himself free, and the resulting bruises beneath.
"There you go, pal. You're free."
"Thanks," Steve whispered, closing his eyes and turning his face away.
The EMT took advantage of the position and pressed a square of gauze against the bullet crease on Steve's forehead. Danny simply watched as Steve lay still, allowing himself to be tended to, still, quiet, pliant; something was off. Something wasn't…Steve. Maybe it was the drugs, but Danny felt there was more. Something Steve couldn't face. Something that caused him to not meet their eyes, even when they were staring right at him.Continued in Part 2.