Title: The Eleventh Hour
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: I don't know why my muse insists on me writing longer fics, but it did, and so here's my first H50 chapter fic. This will have 13 parts, I believe and I should be posting on a regular schedule. Much thanks to geminigrl11 for providing a beta and consistent encouragement and squee. As for my other beta, moogsthewriter, let me just say that almost anything I write these days is ENTIRELY her fault. I mean that in the best way possible of course because if she makes me insane, she also makes me smile :) Any remaining mistakes are entirely my own.
A/N: This first chapter is a bit on the short side, but the action starts quickly from here on out. I promise :) Also, general note, title was snagged from the song "The Eleventh Hour" by Jars of Clay, which was going through my head while I wrote the majority of this.
Summary: This was all Steve's fault. The entire case had been Steve's idea, after all. And now, here they were. Handcuffed to chairs, back to back, in a deserted warehouse, in the Middle of Nowhere, Hawaii, with two idiots holding guns threatening them.
It was a normal day.
That was to say, of course, that it was anything but normal. Because with a partner like Steve McGarrett, normal was a foreign concept, almost a complete impossibility. Because normal in Steve McGarrett's world involved a multitude of firearms and a full array of armed conflict. The more shots fired and things that went boom, the better.
And that didn't even begin to touch on the other abnormal normalities of life with 5-0. There were frequent high speed chases, often involving an exchange of weapons fire and the destruction of personal property. There was a total disregard for police procedure. In the world of Steve McGarrett, full discretion and means apparently meant that it was okay to infringe on a suspect's rights at any point in the proceedings, including but not limited to: bashing their face in, drugging them and taking them in, and forcibly entering private premises.
Oh, and hanging suspects off buildings and throwing them in shark cages.
With this amount of insanity, it was a wonder that the worst Danny had done was tie a guy to the hood of a car. There was no feasible way he could be expected to stay sane under such conditions, because what kind of job involved making the utterly and ridiculously abnormal a part of everyday life?
In short, being Steve's partner was throwing Danny's world off its axis, and he found himself creating new ways to compromise police procedure in order to rectify Steve's incessant disregard for it despite Danny's tried and true training to the contrary. Sure, he could give up and just follow along with it all, but then Danny would become like Steve, and there was no way he was ready to start stripping his shirt and carrying around a bathing suit in his back pocket like some possessed superhero with a martyr complex that just wouldn't stop.
And it wouldn't stop. Ever.
It was all Danny could do to get up in the morning, come to work, and ride it all out-all the high profile cases and questionable investigative techniques and endless amounts of peril.
And still, he did it. Not without complaint, because, well, he liked to complain, but he still figured that getting up and showing up on time was worth something. Because one of them had to be vaguely aware of normalcy and since no one on the island seemed aware of time or professional attire, Danny really did figure it was up to him to keep it all going. If he didn't, they might all get sucked into a vortex of insanity, and Danny wouldn't find his way out until he could afford a plane ticket back home to visit his mother.
Who, for the record, would probably disown him if she knew what he was really up to in Hawaii.
Hell, he'd probably disown himself if that were entirely possible, but he needed the job and as much as Steve and the rest of the team probably deserved to flutter off into tropical oblivion for the extent of their antics, Danny was somehow responsible for them, albeit against his will, and he was the kind of guy who took responsibility seriously.
So when Danny had a normal day, it was really anything but, and the fact that he was getting used to that sort of pissed him off more than anything else.
To think, he actually liked doing paperwork now. It was the only time he felt safe, able to fall back into familiar routines and patterns. Where police protocol mattered and his extensive knowledge could thrive in its proper context.
In fact, that was what was on Danny's plate today and he was downright giddy. They'd managed to wrap up a case yesterday, something ridiculous involving arms dealers and gangsters, and Danny was taking some time to finesse the paperwork. As far as he was concerned, he could spend the whole day on this. After all, if he was in his office, then he wasn't off getting shot at or driving onto boats or something equally asinine and dangerous.
And really, as few perks as his job at 5-0 had, he had a nice office. With a big desk and file cabinets all his own and a chair that didn't hurt his backside after ten minutes. He got to put up pictures of Jersey and the city and Grace and this was the good kind of normal.
A half hour of pure bliss.
Until Steve showed up.
He had a file in his hand and he made a beeline to Danny's office, knocking once before coming in.
Tossing the file at Danny, he said, "Read that on the way."
Danny lifted his eyebrows, fingers still at the computer keys. "Read what on the way where?"
Steve nodded. "Our next case," he said.
"I'm still finishing the last case."
Steve made a face. "We finished that yesterday."
Danny inclined his head. "Yeah, and we engaged in a massive exchange of gunfire that led to the hospitalization of two suspects. We have to account for every bullet. Oh, and I have to explain why we had probable cause to enter the premises or we risk the entire case getting thrown out of court for improper procedure."
Steve didn't quite roll his eyes, but he came close. "You can finish that later."
Danny balked, leaning back in his chair and swiveling a little, arms in front of him. "Later? You mean, between raids and busts? Or are we looking at a nice old-fashioned chase today?"
Steve smiled a little. "Neither," he said. "We'll start off simple, just like you like it. A little investigation."
Danny's eyes narrowed.
"Look at the file," Steve said emphatically. "I even got a warrant this time, just to make you happy."
Danny's face lit up and he reached out to the file with new interest. "You mean you know how to get a warrant?"
This time, Steve did roll his eyes. "You'd better come now, or I'm driving," he said, and promptly turned to the door.
It only took Danny a minute to ascertain that the warrant was in fact legitimate, signed by a judge and all, and then realize that if he wanted to keep his car in one piece for another day, he'd better get off his ass and follow. Quickly.
Because this was just a normal day for Danny, and he knew all too well what that could mean.
The car ride was long.
Not just because traffic on the island was stupid, but because Steve didn't seem capable of providing a straightforward assessment of the facts. Every time Danny asked a question, they seemed to get waylaid on some side point, and more than once ended up arguing about the music on the radio.
If the warrant was a step in the right direction, Steve's desire to play backseat driver was two steps backward, and no, it didn't matter if Steve was in the backseat or the passenger's seat or the driver's seat: he was insufferable.
Worse, their destination was a warehouse.
A damned abandoned warehouse.
It looked intact, but the windows were dusty and the parking lot was empty. Empty warehouses, whether in Hawaii or New Jersey, were bad news as far as Danny was concerned. They were ideal hotbeds for criminal hideouts, and if working a case with Steve made him nervous most of the time, working a case with Steve that involved a supposedly abandoned warehouse set him completely on edge.
Of course, it didn't help that they were actually on the trail of an escaped convict. Sure, they'd been there and done that, but this is what Danny did know from Steve's piecemeal delineation of the facts: Andrew Blaine, convicted felon, had made his escape on the down low, making it out of the joint without being seen. The cops were still trying to piece that one together, and the governor had assigned 5-0 to track the son of a bitch down.
And he was a son of a bitch. He'd been in for 15 years on charges related to drug trafficking and Steve's best working theory was that Blaine was after some of the missing money that was never recovered upon Blaine's arrest.
So they had a felon on the loose with the means and capabilities to break out of prison without anyone noticing while also possessing the proper motivation to continue breaking laws on the outside in order to right some criminal sense of karma when all was said and done.
And none of that really explained to Danny why they were at a warehouse.
"Seriously," Danny said, looking up at the warehouse. He still had his hands on the wheel, hopeful for some kind of reprieve. "Why are we here again?"
Steve sighed, with some semblance of exasperation. He was sifting through the file again, and didn't look up. "I told you. This address is listed on Blaine's records. He owned it before he went into the joint."
Danny squinted out the window, appraising the low-lying building again. "Not exactly prime real estate," he mused.
Steve glanced up. "Still looks nicer than your place."
"Ha ha," Danny said. "Instead of thinking of ways to insult me, why don't you tell me why this place actually matters?"
Steve looked down again. "Blaine sold it right before he was convicted," he said. "To some guy named Malcolm Barnes."
Danny shrugged. "Is that supposed to mean something to me?"
"No, Barnes doesn't have a record."
"So, I will ask it again. Why are we here?"
Steve drew a breath. "How much do you think a place like this costs?"
Danny considered that. "In this over-inflated wasteland? A mil?"
"So why did Barnes pay out five million?"
Danny lifted his eyebrows. "There's something extra special here worth buying, then."
"And something worth selling, too," Steve agreed.
"The missing cash?" Danny asked.
"Hard to say," Steve said, looking up at the building again. He glanced back to Danny, a small smile tugging his lips. "But there's one way to find out."
Danny groaned. "Shouldn't we have brought backup?"
Steve gestured at it. "It's abandoned. No sign that Blaine's been here. I just want to see what's inside."
"These things never go the way you tell me they will," Danny protested.
Steve made a face, shrugging. "Isn't this how police work is done? Finding a lead and following it?"
"Yes, it is," Danny agreed, turning to look at Steve fully. "And if we were in New Jersey, I would normally say, no problem. Let's go into the creepy warehouse with no backup. But here? With you? I'm not sure it's even safe for me to be sitting in the same car as you half the time. I mean, you carry your gun around like it's an extension of your arm, not a last resort!"
"I like to be prepared."
"Being prepared is carrying a pocket knife and looking for little old ladies to cross the street," Danny countered. "You are a walking disaster. Just being close to you decreases my life expectancy by ten years."
Steve stared at him. "Are you done?"
Danny sighed, bristling. "Do we have anything else on this place?"
"Just that it's been vacant since Barnes bought it," Steve explained. "That doesn't seem too bad, does it?"
Danny worked his jaw stubbornly. "We should still have backup."
"We have a warrant," Steve assured him.
"And where are Chin and Kono?"
"Looking into Blaine's known contacts," he said. "Now are you coming, princess?"
Danny scowled. "You at least could have told me to bring a vest."
Steve opened his door, getting out. "I promise if bullets start flying, you can hide behind me," he said, moving toward the door.
Danny followed, getting out and keeping pace. "You know, I may take you up on that."
Steve smirked just a little, pulling his gun as he approached the door.
Danny pulled his as well, moving gingerly on his feet now as they approached. Vacant or not, anything tied to an escaped convict was potentially problematic, and if Danny had learned anything from his time with 5-0, it was that luck didn't break their way often-at least not without extensive gunfire involved.
At the door, Steve sidled off to one side, and Danny fell into position along the other. Tentatively, Steve reached his hand out, testing the knob.
When it opened easily, Danny tensed, and Steve's gaze lifted to meet Danny's.
Steve nodded, pulling his gun a little higher.
Swallowing, Danny pushed away his inner commentary and did the same. There was a time to complain and there was a time to focus. With his life and Steve's on the line, it was definitely time for the latter.
Steve nodded once. Danny nodded back.
Then Steve kicked the door all the way open, moving in high.
Danny followed, pulling up low, letting his gun lead.
Heart pounding, he took in the room. Saw the empty office, with a lone desk and a few chairs. The boxes stacked along the far wall. Small debris scattered throughout.
No movement. No danger.
Steve was moving quickly, clearing the corners and checking the office. Danny took the remaining crevices, turning back around to get a good look at the door they'd entered through.
"Clear," Steve said, lowering his gun and walking back toward Danny.
Danny nodded, letting his own gun down, but not quite able to still his heartbeat, to shake the feeling. Something was wrong. This was too easy.
Then he saw the movement, fluttering from above. Someone landed behind Steve. Danny lifted his gun in an instant, opening his mouth to call out a warning when everything went black.