OK, folks, here is the epilogue. Thank you so much for reading this story. I am overwhelmed and humbled by all responses and comments and will do my best to reply to each of you as time allows. I'll admit, I have to write for me because the voices in my head tell me to :), but it is nice to know that others like what I've put down.
Now...after reading a lot of Hawaii Five-0 fanfic, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that several of you won't like how I ended this. Sorry, but this is what was in my head, so I had to go for it.
Chapter 12 – Epilogue
Friday, 11:15 a.m.
"Sleeping Beauty, you want to wake up or should I carry you over the threshold?"
McGarrett jumped. "Not asleep."
"I heard snoring."
"Did. Anyway, welcome home."
"About damn time." McGarrett opened the car door and slowly maneuvered his legs outside before gripping the dash with one hand and the car's frame with the other. Even with the support, he grunted as he stood.
"I could have helped, you know," Williams groused at him, coming to meet him on the passenger side.
"I'm not an invalid."
"Could have fooled me. You walk like Great Papa Williams. And he's eighty if he's a day."
"That from the man who has the cane. And for the record, I don't need a babysitter."
"OK, cheap shot about the cane, but I'll ignore it. I'm keeping it for an emergency. Which while partnered with you, is an every day situation. As for the sitter, I seem to recall having this conversation several times in the last couple of days. I say you need a sitter, the doctor says you need a sitter, Kali says you need a sitter…"
"Don't need one. Promise." Steve let go of the car door and began slowly walking around the side of his house.
"Hello! The door is over here. Just where the hell, do you think you're going?" Danny yelled at him, grabbing the bag from the back seat. "The only reason you are here is because you told the doctor you would stay in bed…which isn't that direction."
His partner kept walking toward the water. "Later. I just need to see…" he paused and took a deep breath as he stared at the beach that was his back yard. He eased into one of the wooden chairs facing the water and sat, staring into the horizon, soaking up the sunshine and fresh air. "I just need to feel it. I can't stand being cooped up."
"You really love it, don't you?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I do. Kind of concerned there for a few minutes that I wasn't going to see it again," he admitted. "You know—"he paused, searching for words, staring at the ocean, the sky, anyplace but at the man next to him.
"What?" Danny prodded.
"You said I was lucky not to remember what happened."
"Absolutely. Wish I could forget it."
"Well, I do remember parts of it."
"Really? Do tell."
McGarrett sighed and slowly shook his head. "When it happened, it was a given - I knew I was dying. But then I heard your voice and I wasn't afraid any more. I knew you were on the job."
"Yeah." He finally looked up at the man standing beside him. "Thanks. Chin said you saved my life. A couple of times. What I don't remember is you pulling Paulson off me. That was the second time I thought I'd died." He grinned, glancing back up at an embarrassed Danny. "Chin said you went airborne at the doorway and tackled him."
Danny shrugged, accepting the thanks. "Yeah, well, he had already pissed me off. Seeing him choking you just made me madder. But while we're on the subject…"
"Here it comes." McGarrett sighed.
"We need to talk about your frickin' Superman complex and your need to over-compensate in everything you do."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Chin, Kono and I were talking—"
"Oh, joy. What now?"
"Seriously, you have got to be more careful." Danny began to pace, using his hands for punctuation. "Paulson knew you would react just like you did and jump in front of the governor. He read you and knew that's what you would do. And it almost got you killed."
"Danny, I can't—"
"Hear me out," he held up his hands for silence. "Don't be so predictable. Next time, knock someone to the ground or something and fall on top of them. Hell, use your super powers and fly. I don't know, just mix it up and keep people guessing."
McGarrett rolled his eyes. "You're nuts, you know that?"
"Yeah, I'm your partner, I'm nuts all right. I've got a list a mile long of ways you can get us killed."
"Another list, huh? Not surprised at that one."
"What the hell's wrong with lists? It's how I keep things organized. Like any good cop should. I'm detail oriented. It's right up there with doing things… By. The. Book." He slapped his fist against his other palm for emphasis.
"And I guess I need to remind you…once again… that I'm not a cop, I'm a SEAL. We don't rely much on lists."
"What a surprise that is."
"Danny," Steve sighed, then held up his hand to halt his partner while he gathered his thoughts. "I get things done the way I was trained. Which was on-the-job training and case studies of what worked and what didn't in any given situation. Not by rulebooks and lists. But I'm trying to learn your methods, too. Sometimes. But there are times when sitting back and waiting just isn't going to happen. You've got to understand that."
"I'm not done with you yet, McGarrett," he grinned. "I'll hold onto the fact that you're still 'teachable'. But, for the record - don't make a habit of getting shot up. You scared the shit out of me."
He was almost finished with his latest rant when he remembered to add, "And, by the way, you owe me a new shirt."
Steve laughed. "Put it on my tab."
"That you will never pay. Now…get up from there. You need to get inside. Besides, I have a surprise for you."
McGarrett sighed. "What now? And I really am serious about you staying here with me. I know for a fact that you are supposed to pick up Grace tonight. You can't spend time with your daughter if you are watching me sit here—"
"Lay here. In bed, remember?"
"Ah, there it is." Danny emphasized with his hands. "We…" he made a circle in the air. "That's an 'everyone who knows you' we… know you can't just 'do nothing'. Therefore, the baby sitter."
"Quit saying that word."
"You can't even put on a pair of shoes by yourself," Danny yelled, waving in the air.
"Hello. Hawaii." Steve spread his arms to encompass the space around him. "Flip flops, Jersey, qualify for shoes, too. I'm perfectly capable—"
"—Stop arguing! You need someone to stay with you. Now get your butt in gear and go into the house."
McGarrett sighed and slowly got out of the chair, turning toward his back door before stopping in his tracks. Framed in the doorway was Catherine Rollins.
He swallowed, turned to Danny, then back to Catherine who began walking toward them. "How? You?"
"I pulled some strings," Williams said with a grin. "What? I hope you didn't think I was going to put your sorry ass in bed."
"You really did this?"
"You aren't the only one with the governor's phone number, you know."
Catherine reached him and wrapped both arms around his waist. "Hello, you."
He grinned down at her suddenly feeling much better about his home incarceration. "Hello, yourself."
"Now that's what I call a shit-eating grin," Danny laughed, staring at his partner's face.
"I - uh can't believe you're here," Steve admitted, kissing her on the forehead, before hugging her, mouthing 'thank you' to Danny over her shoulder. As a 'thanks-I-owe-you-one', they did a manly fist bump behind her back.
Catherine pulled back to get a good look at him then cupped her hand against his unshaven cheek, touching the cut on his lip with her thumb. "You look tired."
"He is, Catherine. I swear he snored all the way home. And his final words to his doctor were, 'I'll go home and straight to bed'. Maybe you can help him get there."
She grinned at McGarrett who smiled back at her. "I'll give it a shot."
"You know…I am kind of tired."
Williams groaned, then grinned at the two of them. "Here's his bag. All the meds are inside. And his favorite nurse will be by tomorrow just to check up on him."
"You didn't tell her where I live, did you?"
"Damn straight. You're going to love her, Catherine. Her name is Kali, she's about 'yay high'," he measured about five feet off the ground, "and boy can she make him jump." Leaning closer, he whispered, "And she scares the piss out of him."
"Oh, she does not, Danny. She's a grandmother, for crying out loud."
"Just wait, Catherine. You'll see. Oh, and the doctor said to make sure he takes the pain pills. He gets really cranky without them. Although," he stopped, in thought, "if he doesn't take them, Kali can take care of that, too. Her drugs come with big, pointy needles. "
"I'm not cranky," McGarrett swore, his eyes wide, remembering said needle in his backside.
"We'll take care of it if you are," she promised, kissing a bruise on McGarrett's cheek. "See you tomorrow night, Danny?"
"Absolutely," Williams agreed.
"What's tomorrow night?" Steve asked, a confused look on his face.
"Remember that sushi you promised to buy before all this happened?"
Steve touched his forehead, attempting to "remember". "Um, no, not really. You know, brain's kind of fuzzy and all."
"You weren't hit in the head, you Moron, but I'll gladly give you a fuzzy brain. We're all coming for dinner tomorrow. I'm bringing Grace, too. Even though she talked to you the other night, you were drugged to the gills and sounded embarrassingly drunk. I don't think she's convinced it was you."
"Wasn't drugged," McGarrett argued.
"So you say. But remember, I watched that big old needle getting shoved into your cute little tushie."
The commander turned six shades of red. "Yeah, well, she should be brought up on charges. She just did that because I spit out her stupid pills."
"Word of warning, Steven. Do not call the person waving a needle at you a 'demented sadist'. It's just not very smart."
"Duly noted. Now, what about dinner?" He looked at Catherine. "You'll get to meet everyone. Oh, and Danny, I'll pay."
"Hell, yeah, you're paying. In fact, the hospital gave me your stuff last week." He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a platinum American Express card. "So there is no doubt that you're paying." He kissed the card and put it back into the pocket.
"Hey! That's not fair."
"And I'm buying my new shirt," Danny added, turning and sauntering away, hands in his pockets. Over his shoulder, they heard, "And Grace needs new shoes….and a pony."