Beta: The ever patient samjohnsson, who made sure that everyone else could understand what I was trying to tell them.
Author's notes: So, show of hands: how many people thought I was just going to drop this fic and never, ever update again? Looks at raised hands. For shame! Would I do that to you? (Actually, I am definitely the type of person who would, but don't worry—this fic is not in any danger of being dropped anytime soon.)
Edit: Alright-y peeps, if I may clarify: I am a proud Canadian citizen and while not excessively patriotic, the jokes about Canada were not made with malicious intent.
Disclaimer: Between now and last chapter I failed to get the rights to Hawaii Five-0. Damn. Thus, this is just me borrowing the characters and putting them through a zombie apocalypse because I thought it would be fun. \o/
The plan is to "try not to die". Well, that's Steve plan. In Danny's opinion, it's really more of a goal. A good… no, a great one, that Danny can totally get behind due to a long term personal investment in his continued existence, sure, but just a goal nonetheless.
Which means it's just a tiny bit too general for Danny's tastes.
But then, Danny supposes, that's where he comes in. Because when Steve has a goal in mind, it usually involves a lot of things; running, the gleeful breaking of many, many rules, interrogation methods which more often than not ignore any and all ethical repercussions. There's also usually a demonstration of Steve's elite Navy SEAL skills, (though Danny suspects it has less to do with the skills and more that Steve may or may not have a masochism kink,) pitifully disguised as a one-on-one battle with a trained and/or armed opponent (which, of course, frequently ends with Steve sporting far too many injuries). Danny's job, then, is to balance that out. Usually he does this with erratic hand motions, the listing off of (in a raised tone that may or may not be recognized by some as a "shout") the many procedures and policies that Steve has so generously forsaken, and, most importantly, making sure that the various bodyguards and/or henchmen and/or partners that Steve's opponent undoubtedly has with them will not (cannot, because Danny got to them before they could get to Steve,) interfere with Steve's moment of badassery.
Kind of nice to know that backing up Steve McGarrett was a profession still needed in the zombie apocalypse era. And his mother had wanted him to be a lawyer. Ha.
The point is that Steve's got a goal but it's Danny who Steve trusts to take care of the little things, Danny who covers Steve's three, six, and nine o'clock when the man goes charging in, Danny who's responsible for Steve because the Navy went and taught Steve to have this thing about playing the fucking hero which gives him this irritating compulsion to try and do everything himself while neglecting his own safety.
Steve's just lucky that Danny is really freaking awesome at his job because it turns out that surviving a zombie apocalypse?
It's really fucking hard.
The thing is, they'll need food.
So far, the gas and the water are still running but if this is an emergency (and yeah, Danny's betting that this is an emergency of epic proportions), then he's not willing to put much faith in them staying on for much longer. Then, when the power is cut and the fridges go warm, food supplies are going to go bad fast.
He knows this isn't an appropriate moment to remind Steve that pretty soon, he's going to have to eat preserved food, like, ninety percent of the time, all year round, but oh, the sweet, sweet temptation. Then again, and Danny turns a little green at the thought, the other ten percent can be spent eating fresh, home grown fruits—like pineapple. A pineapple slice he can handle, but pineapple as a staple food? When (not if, when) this whole zombie apocalypse thing blows over, he's going to the nearest standing church and having a nice, long, relatively one-sided conversation with God about the great injustice that is his life.
They'll need water.
Danny's Aunt Susan went through a phase where she called herself an "environment preservationist". Basically, what that translated to was a ban on chips in her presence, ("They fill those things with nitrogen, Danny-boy. Did you know that? Every time you open one of those crinkly containers of fried potato goodness, you kill our atmosphere, just a little. Remember that."), a honed skill in the art of recycling, ("Daniel Williams, please tell me that I did not just witness you throwing that newspaper into a garbage can. It's called recycling. Try it out sometime. Maybe you'll manage to save one tree for every thousand you just got cut down because you're sending recyclable material to the landfill.), and a surplus on the knowledge of water ("Laugh all you want Danny, but you have to be nice to Canadians because when fresh water gets in high demand, guess who we'll be turning to. Well, that or we should maybe prepare to take them over. Not like it'll be that hard. Do they even have a military? Don't give me that look—I'm just joking. Kind of.")
Admittedly, all he remembers about the last concept is something about aquifers, pollution and acid rain, and that the biggest reservoir of water that humans have access to comes in the form of groundwater while the smallest is surface water. It's important though, that last little tidbit of knowledge, because it means that he knows that all the water that comes gushing out of the taps, the fountains, the showers, it's being pumped up from underground. Best case scenario, the water will stay running. In the worst case scenario—and yes, this is the one Danny's preparing for because he's a total Boy Scout that way—Steve and he are going to need to become intimate with the locations of the fresh water streams running through Oahu.
See, this is why islands are so fucking useless. Surrounded on all sides by water and not a drop of it suitable to drink. What kind of death is that to brag about in the afterlife? 'Hi, my name is Danny Williams. I died of thirst while surrounded by water.' Great.
They'll need weapons.
Okay, no, they don't need weapons. Danny's aware of the weight of his pistol in his holster and Steve keeps a hand wrapped around the handle of his bloodied aluminum bat like it's been crazy-glued there. It's just… aside from hand-to-hand, that's it, and that makes Danny rationally concerned.
From what Danny understands, zombies feel no pain, no fear, no muscle fatigue and only stay down when they're brain's too damaged to tell them to stand up again. Danny has a bad leg, a low chance of getting in a headshot with his gun if he's trying to hit something outside of point blank range, and what essentially amounts to twenty-seven bullets. Steve's got an aluminum bat and both Danny and himself to defend with it. If Steve even suggests going in hot with their guns (or in this case, gun and bat) up, Danny is going to beat him unconscious with his shoe and then spend precious moments mourning his partner's apparent lack of self preservation.
So basically, strictly speaking, no, they don't need weapons… but Danny sure as hell wants more of them.
They need shelter.
And this, here, is the big one. From what Danny can tell, there are two ways of approaching this. One: bunker down somewhere you consider safe and wait out the infection; or two: travel until you find somewhere worth bunkering down in.
Given that they're still in his shithole apartment, it's not so much a choice between the two options and more that there's only one option for them to go with—they'll go with option two. He just doesn't know where they'll be travelling to because, in his opinion, there wasn't anywhere safe per se; just somewhere a little less dangerous than everywhere else.
Not that he's complaining of course—it's the end of the world. He'll take what he can get.
Just… where the hell is that?
"Okay, I'm going to ask one more time because this seems really, vitally, difference-between-survival-and-being-today's-lunch-special important. We're going where?" Danny inquires as he and Steve prowl around the apartment in search of useful items.
"Headquarters," Steve grunts back.
"Headquarters," Danny repeats as he watches Steve yanks open a cupboard and pulls out a box of granola bars.
"Yeah," Steve confirms as he grabs the flashlight and extra batteries from the drawer below it.
"You mean the one with lots of fragile glass doors and fancy computer equipment that won't be much help once the power shuts off? That headquarters?" Danny asks as he throws in a roll of duck tape to the little pile Steve's started in the middle of the room.
"I mean the one that has a weapons locker with a couple of assault rifles-" he says, voice fading as he leaves to recover anything useful from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.
"You want to go all the way to headquarters for a couple of assault rifles?" Danny questions incredulously, pausing momentarily.
"I didn't finish," Steve answers irritably, returning with medical gauze and a bottle of Tylenol in hand. "You never let me finish."
"You'll have to forgive me," Danny says exasperatedly, finger jabbing in Steve's general direction, "because I have this thing where I still want to be alive by the end of whatever hare-brained scheme you're trying to propose so excuse me for pointing out the parts in your plan liable to get us killed."
"See that's your problem Danno," Steve says. "A total lack of faith. Believe it or not I have done this once or twice before."
"You're saying you've had to survive on an island infested with non-living, cannibalistic, people-like organisms before?"
"Well, maybe not that exactly. Though there was that one island in the south…"
"Ah, but I'm not supposed to tell you about that because I'm pretty sure that mission is still considered classified."
Danny snorts. "Of course it is."
"That's not the point," Steve deflects.
"You had a point?"
"The point is that we," and here Steve pauses to point at Danny and then himself, "are going to Five-0 headquarters."
"Yeah… no. I'm not seeing where exactly that got slipped into the conversation."
"And you call yourself a detective."
"Yes, actually, I do. You know why? It's because I'm great at detecting things. For example, right now I am detecting a surplus of insanity being coupled with the self preservation of a lemming. I am also detecting a sudden urge to beat you unconscious with my shoe. Finally, I detect that these two events are not unrelated in the least!"
"Did you just compare me to a suicidal gerbil?"
"Is that honestly the part you have a problem with?"
"Because if you are, I'd just like to point out that jumping off a cliff once or twice does not make me lemming-like."
"There are… so many parts of that sentence I want to yell at you for that I have been momentarily stunned into saying things at an acceptable decibel level."
Steve shrugs. "I try. Is this everything?" he asks, gesturing towards the little pile.
"Probably," he acknowledges and watches as Steve starts shoving things into a backpack he picked up somewhere. "Oh, and Steve? I just want you to know, that if this plan of yours leads me in any way, shape, or form towards jumping off a cliff, I'm going to push you off before you get the chance to leap off of your own free will."
"No worries," Steve assures, shouldering the bag. "There's no cliffs in the foreseeable future; just the Five-0 headquarters."
"Right, the headquarters," Danny repeats. "You're speaking, of course, about the one with glass doors, fancy computer equipment, and a weapons locker with a couple of assault rifles."
"Actually Danno, I'm speaking about the one where we're expected to rendezvous at with a certain Kono Kalakaua and Chin Ho Kelly so that we can figure out where we need to be heading to get to evac."
Danny glares. "You couldn't have just said that in the first place?"
Steve looks at him in mock surprise. "Why detective! Do forgive me—it seems my memory's going because as I recall, I did try to tell you but then somebody rather rudely wouldn't let me—ow!"
Danny feels totally justified in punching Steve in the arm. Steve wonders if it's worth it to point out the irony of the situation.
(When he decides that, in fact, it is, Danny whacks him in the shin with his cane.)
They're walking to headquarters.
Initially, there hadn't been a problem; from Danny's place to the beginning of downtown, they'd been able to use Steve's truck with little difficulty. (He and Steve riding, for once, in total silence. Steve focussing entirely too hard on the road and Danny studiously ignoring the bloody handprints against the glass windows, the static on the radio that doesn't provide answers, and most importantly, how the people, if one can still call them that, are much closer than they appear according to the message on the side-view mirror, as they chase after the automobile.) It's at the intersection between Queen and Kamakee Street where the road became too congested for them to follow via vehicle.
'It's like a movie,' Danny notes absently. 'All those vehicles strewn haphazardly about, doors ajar and belongings left behind when their owners took to the street and ran.'
"We're going to have to walk," Steve says aloud and Danny flinches from the sudden break in the silence.
"Yeah," he agrees while he watches a man stumble about aimlessly further down the street. He can see more of them behind him, in the dim light the sun brings with it as it rises over the horizon, their awkward gait making them easy to pick out as they move back and forth between the abandoned cars.
Steve doesn't glance at Danny's knee but he can tell he's thinking about it. "I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it," Danny replies despondently. On a good day, for an average, healthy person, it would be around a four hour walk between here and Five-0 headquarters in Pearl City. When he thinks about how often he'll need to rest to avoid stressing his still tender knee and the possible roadblocks the fleeing have generously left behind that they'll undoubtedly encounter, he adds to the figure.
Silently, Steve reaches out and grasps Danny's hand, giving it a squeeze before climbing out of the car, backpack slung over his shoulders and bat at the ready. Sighing, Danny steels himself and follows suit.
(If he's honest, Danny will admit that it helped a little.)
"It's official," Danny mutters quietly. "Zombies suck." Beside him, Steve glares at him in a way that can either be interpreted as shut the hell up or of course not, you idiot—they bite. Knowing Steve, he probably means it to be the former but he's definitely thinking the latter. Danny huffs but obeys the silent order. The only thing that sucks more than zombies, after all, is being eaten by them.
On the other hand, in terms of afterlife stories, it marginally beats out dying of thirst while surrounded by water. On the other, other hand… its being eaten alive. Apparently, Danny Williams is not destined to die a good death.
Steve nudges him and shoots him a look that screams stop thinking stupid things and focus will you Danno?
Danny waves his hands around in an arbitrary manner attempting convey an I'm not thinking stupid things and if I am, it's all your fault message. Steve rolls his eyes because yeah, he gets it.
They travel down Queen's Street at what Danny thinks to be an unnecessarily slow pace. Their steps are slow and sure and quiet as they creep down the sidewalk towards Cummins Street, avoiding the shadows and watching for the giveaway flickers of movement in their peripheral vision.
Danny hates, hates, hates this.
Instinct screams at him to avoid being out in the open, to find cover and stay there, but they can't, not yet, not here, so Danny just bites his lip and ignores it. Ignores the pools of congealed blood he has to step over. Ignores the way these puddles lack actual bodies to pool under. Ignores the eerie silence that's replaced the usual sleepy murmurs of downtown life as people prepare for just another day.
He wonders, vaguely, when this all started, wonders how this all started and why, of all places, the island of Oahu was where it had to happen.
(Despite this, though, he's immensely grateful that Grace is not on Oahu right now. Grateful for Stan and his out of country business trips, grateful for Rachel wanting to accompany him, and grateful to himself for giving in to his ex-wife's demands and permitting Grace to go with them even though it's fucking October and there's no reason for her to be going on a mini vacation now of all times. Because Canada, that beautiful frozen wasteland, is far, far away from Oahu and thank God, thank God that at the very least, Grace is safe. If nothing else, his daughter is safe and alive and not in a zombie infested land and fuck, he'll put up with the rest of this shit without excessive complaining so long as that notion stays true. Dear God, let it stay true.)
Danny shakes his head in a vain attempt to clear it. It's neither the time nor the place to be thinking these questions. He wants answers but for now, he'll have to wait.
As they walk, Steve covers the right side, glancing into window shops and darkened back alleys warily while Danny watches the left, taking note of the distance between them and the nearest zombies. It's hard for him to find anything to be grateful for when it comes to the living dead but he's glad that, at the very least, the fuckers have terrible eyesight.
(When they'd first gotten out of the car, both he and Steve had been prepared for the zombie Danny had been observing to attack them, especially when it turned and looked directly at them. A nerve-wracking moment had passed between the two of them as the zombie continued to stare in their direction before it turned and progressed with its ambling path.
That was when they learned Zombie 101 lesson two: zombies can't see for shit. Lesson one, of course, had been learned back in Danny's apartment: zombies stop trying to eat you when there's a bullet in their brain. Danny had let out the breath he'd been holding and thought that if all Zombie 101 lessons were going to be like this, it was more likely that he'd die from an anxiety-induced heart attack than an actual zombie.)
There's a teen-aged girl wearing a waitress's uniform across the street stumbling in the opposite direction that has Danny's full wary attention, which is why he almost trips across the body. Thankfully, Steve catches his arm before he can actually fall, yanking him back with enough force that Danny finds himself leaning against Steve's chest.
"Watch it," Steve hisses into his ear, hand still firmly gripping the crook of Danny's elbow. Danny looks up at him, sarcastic response on the tip of his tongue but stops when he notices that Steve's staring perplexedly at the corpse—an older gentleman, hair already a snowy white and glassy, pale blue eyes staring up at the sky. Danny notices that a pair of cracked wireframe glasses lay brokenly on the road no more than an arm's length away. Letting go of Danny, Steve crouches, peering at the corpse intensely.
"What are you doing?" Danny whispers, fighting the urge to smack Steve upside the head. "Are you trying to get bitten?"
Steve shakes his head and gestures for Danny to take a nearer examination of the body as well. "Look," he says pointing to the man.
Danny glares at him. "A corpse? Really? Because I hate to break it to you sweetheart, but those aren't all that uncommon during a zombie apocalypse."
Steve frowns and grabs an impatient fistful of Danny's shirt, yanking him down until he's awkwardly crouching too. "Just shut up for a second and look, won't you? This is important. What, exactly, do you think is wrong with this picture?"
Danny glowers again but looks. All he sees is a dead man missing an ear and whose abdominal cavity has been torn open, intestines pulled out with bits and pieces strewn messily around him. All he sees is the wedding band glinting on the left hand and the broken glasses lying uselessly on the street. All he sees is a tragedy. Batting away Steve's hand he bites out a forceful, "A lot of things. Steve, just… do you really think now is the best time to be doing this? Because if you do, then I feel it is of utmost importance for me to fulfil my duty by playing the Spock to your Kirk and point out the illogicality of you deciding to do this now. So let's go, okay? Let's go and you can tell me all about your G.I. Joe epiphany or whatever when we're not standing out in the open."
Steve stares at him. "…Illogicality?"
Danny rolls his eyes. "When this is over," he says, leaning down so that he's muttering heatedly right into Steve's ear, "I'm buying you a fucking dictionary. Remind me: when the zombie apocalypse is over, go to the nearest Barnes and Nobles and invest in a dictionary. If nothing else, I can hit you with it. Now get up and let's move, Commander."
Steve scowls but finally, finally rises gracefully to his feet. "I know what illogicality means," he points out as his hand once again finds Danny's elbow and Steve begins to drag Danny away.
"Oh yeah?" Danny challenges, pulling slightly in the opposite direction. "Alright hotshot. Care to try your hand at defining 'exasperating'?"
"Sure," Steve agrees amicably, adjusting their pace at Danny's resistance until they're moving at a speed that's makes Steve walk a little slower than usual and forces Danny to walk a little quicker and works perfectly fine for the both of them. "I believe the dictionary says, 'see Danny Williams.'"
Danny makes a face at Steve's cheeky grin. "Smart ass."
"That one's defined as, 'see Steve McGarrett,'" he says with a wink. Danny blows him a raspberry.
(Nothing's changed but Danny feels like the tension's lessened, if only slightly.)
The windows to the gun shop they find on their way to Ward Ave are barred, but the door has been thrown open, allowing for easy entry into the dark building.
"No," Danny says upon seeing Steve's look.
"You're the one that said you wanted more weaponry," Steve points out, already walking towards the entryway.
"Of course I did. You know what else I said? I also said malasadas count as a valid breakfast food and that hanging a man off a twenty story building is not a proper interrogation technique so you shouldn't do it. Did you listen then?"
"I listened," Steve protests. "I just had a differing opinion. And the malasada thing shouldn't count anyway—you agreed that pancakes—"
"Hey, hey, hey! What do you think this is? A conversation? I'm still talking here, buddy, so you'll just have to wait your turn." Steve rolls his eyes but gestures for Danny to continue. "Thank you. So to continue where I left off… no, no you did not listen. So then why, Steve, why are you choosing now of all times to listen? You know what? Don't answer that. Not now anyways. Answer when we're far, far away from the looming, shadowy, ominous looking—"
"Okay, now you're just being overly dramatic," Steve says dryly as he sets the backpack down and searches for the flashlight.
"Excuse me? Excuse me?" Danny questions incredulously, and yeah, maybe he is being a little overly dramatic but mostly he wants to not get eaten. "Overly… okay, fine. Let's say, for argument's sake, I admit to being slightly exaggerative towards the endangering qualities of the store—"
"Admittance is the first step," Steve pipes in, smiling endearingly in a way that totally makes Danny want to punch him in the face.
"Still talking. So, I admit to slight over dramatization. Then what? What happens next?"
"Then," Steve says slowly, "we both agree that the gun shop is not that bad and since we both agree, we go inside. See? Another example of how we make a great team and have a perfectly compatible working relationship."
"Ah. I get it. So that's how it goes, huh? Then I admit nothing. I'm not being overly dramatic. I'm being the god damn voice of reason. Have you honestly never seen a horror movie before? Shady looking building with an ominous looking doorway leading into a dark room—how can you not feel the danger that is obviously radiating from there! It's like the perfect movie cliché for bad things to happen!"
"This isn't a movie, Danno," Steve tells him blandly, flashlight in hand.
"Oh really? It's not? Well, there are zombies in Hawaii of all places, so you'll have to forgive me if my grasp on reality is just a little bit tenuous."
"I forgive you," Steve replies solemnly. "We good to go or should I look the other way for a few minutes while you have a supposedly internal monologue outlining all your nefarious plots?"
"You're fucking hilarious. A real stand-up comedian in the making. No, I think I'm ready. I guess I'll, reluctantly mind you, follow you into the menacing abode since I know the beauty of Shakespeare will just be lost on you, you unappreciative cretin. Oh but Steve," Danny says, snagging the back of Steve's shirt just before they enter, "when this all goes to hell? I reserve the right to say 'I told you so.'"
Steve snorts and clicks on the flashlight. "Sure, Danno."