Title: Strategic Ops
Disclaimer: The usual. Nothing is mine, unfortunately.
Author's note: This was a fun little plot bunny that came hopping into my head. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. As always, all mistakes are mine, and mine alone. Reviews are always welcome and very much appreciated!
Summary: When the hospital dismissed Steve at 3:00 am with a swollen knee, stitches in his head, and orders to rest, Danny knew it was up to him to make sure the orders were followed. Because left to his own devices, Steve would always get into trouble.
Danny got up late.
Of course, he had also gone to bed late. Last night had been another eventful case resolution, with four bad guys in jail and one good guy in the ER. Luckily for Danny, that person was not him.
But it was Steve, and that always required far more effort and babysitting than should ever be necessary. So when the hospital dismissed Steve at 3:00 am with a swollen knee, stitches in his head, and orders to rest, Danny knew it was up to him to make sure the orders were followed. Because left to his own devices, Steve would always get into trouble.
It was after 4:00 am before Danny had settled Steve in bed, swept his house, removing anything that even remotely looked like work, and collapsed into his own bed back at his apartment.
So, if there was ever a time where it was warranted to sleep until noon on a Saturday, this was it. Upon waking, Danny stretched, took a quick shower, and rummaged through his fridge, looking for something to eat. He then decided to call and check-up on Steve, who picked up on the second ring.
"Hey Steve. How's it going over there?"
"Fine" Steve replied chirpily. Obviously, he had been up for a while. Or maybe he just always woke up fully alert- some weird hold-over from his seal days. Or maybe a genetic flaw. Perhaps both.
"You sound awfully bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for someone who got his head bashed in just a few hours ago. What are you doing?"
Steve hesitated a split second before answering. "Nothing."
"Nothing? I've never known you to be doing nothing. Now, what are you really doing?" Danny prodded.
Danny shook his head. "Still not buying it."
Steve sighed. "Ok. I'm evaluating tactical approaches to strategic ops".
Danny's eyebrows shot up as he started looking for his keys. "Excuse me? Did you say you were 'evaluating tactical approaches to strategic ops'? Because even though I'm not entirely sure what that means, I'm pretty sure would be strictly against doctor's orders."
"It's fine." Steve reassured. "Don't be such a worry-wart."
"I wouldn't have to be a worry-wart if you could simply do what you're told."
"Well," Steve replied crossly, "you took my computer and all of my work files and I can't just sit around all day twiddling my thumbs. What did you expect?"
"What did I expect?" Danny's voice raised in pitch. "What did I expect? I expected you to rest! I expected you to take it easy! I expected you to sleep late and eat cold leftover pizza!"
"Yes! Cold pizza! Or Wheaties! Or bullets! Or whatever Iron Man eats for breakfast!" Danny closed his apartment door, locked it, and walked quickly to his car.
"That's really not my nature." Steve replied simply.
"Tell me about it!" Danny exclaimed as he started the car. "I'm well acquainted with your nature, which is to go off half-cocked, get into trouble, and blow things up! So now I'm going to have to come over there and waste my Saturday making sure you don't mess yourself up more than you already have!"
"That won't be necessary."
"No. No it shouldn't be necessary, but it is necessary, and why? Why do you ask? Because you, my friend, think you're Superman and don't realize when you need to take it easy!"
"I thought I was Iron Man."
"Iron man, Superman, Aquaman… it doesn't matter! On any given day, you will try to impersonate one, if not all, of the members of the entire friggin' Justice League!" Danny nearly shouted.
"Iron man was in the Avengers, not the Justice League." Steve replied calmly.
Danny squinted, pinched the bridge of his nose, and sighed. "Just stay put and stay still. I'm already on my way."
He hung up the phone, still fuming, and drove the rest of the way to Steve's house imagining all insane and potentially harmful ways Steve could be "evaluating strategic ops" or whatever it was that he said he was doing. He was still muttering underneath his breath when he pulled into Steve's driveway and parked.
Danny hopped out of the camaro, slammed its door, and started yelling before he even made it to the front porch. "McGarrett, I swear, if you have…" Danny yanked the front door open, then stopped short and fell silent as, for once, words failed him.
Because of all the scenarios Danny had imagined on the drive over- Steve running through hand-to-hand combat drills, performing reconnaissance on his neighbors, or even recreating the Tet Offensive in his back yard- he had never expected the find this.
"Are you…" Danny's voice trailed off as he stared, open mouthed, at Steve.
After a few seconds, Danny furrowed his eyebrows, tilted his head, regrouped and tried again.
"Are you… watching… a soap opera?"
Steve innocently looked up at Danny from the sofa and shook his head. "No, I'm evaluating tactical approaches to strategic ops."
Danny laughed gleefully. "Are you kidding me? Cause it looks like you are sitting on your butt watching The Young and the Restless."
"It's not The Young and the Restless, it's Days of our Lives. And if you are going to go off on one of your tangents, which I suspect you are, you need to get your facts straight."
Danny's eyebrows shot up. "I need to get my facts straight? You're kidding, right? The only fact I need to know is that Steve the super SEAL is sitting on the sofa, popcorn in hand, watching chick TV."
"You know," Steve replied tersely, "if you kept an open mind to creative tactical strategic ops, you might learn something."
"I might learn something about 'creative strategic ops' from a soap? I didn't realize they were the new resource for planning raids and catching crooks. Maybe we should just ditch the entire 5-0 playbook and replace it with tactics from Soap Opera Digest."
Steve rolled his eyes. "Don't be ridiculous."
"Of course." Danny nodded sagely, folding his arms. "That would be ridiculous, since we don't have a playbook. Unless it's to hack off as many criminals as possible and use a lot of ammunition."
"Works for me." Steve glared. "Are you done yet?"
Danny smirked. "Maybe. We'll see. It depends on what you tell me next. But go ahead." He waved he hand, encouraging Steve to speak. "Enlighten me with the unfailing tactical wisdom of daytime TV."
"Ok then." Steve nodded and gestured toward the TV. "Let's start with Stefano here."
"Oh. My. Goodness." Danny interrupted. "You know his name. You actually know his name."
Steve rolled his eyes again. "Of course I know his name. It's not hard to catch on, so try to pay attention here. Stefano wants to kill EJ, because he's jealous that EJ is sleeping with Nicole."
"Well, I would personally want to kill EJ simply because he has a stupid name. What kind of a name is EJ anyway?"
"It stands for Elvis J …"
Steve couldn't even get the rest of the name out before Danny burst into laughter and doubled over, laughing so hard that he eventually sat down on the arm of the sofa to try and catch his breath.
"Elvis…" Danny choked out, and then broke into another fit of laughter as tears rolled down his cheeks.
Steve sighed and waited until Danny could compose himself before continuing.
"So anyway, Stefano wants EJ out of the way, which I kind of understand" Steve mused. "Nicole's not really EJ's type and she'd be much better off with Stefano anyway."
"What," Danny smiled, "being a ninja Mr. Wizard is not enough for you? Now you're a marriage counselor too?"
"Nah, nah. Don't be silly. Besides," Steve waved his hand dismissively, "none of these people are married anyway. At least not to each other."
Danny started laughing again, but upon seeing Steve's irritated face, tried to pull it together.
"So," Danny finally asked, "how does any of this have anything to do with strategic ops."
Steve folded his arms, narrowed his eyes, and leaned back into the sofa cushions. "Well, I was getting to that, but you keep laughing."
"By all means, please continue" Danny motioned again with his hand while trying to stifle a laugh, which came out as a weird snort.
"Ok. So, Stefano decided to blow up EJ's house and to make it look like an accident."
Danny raised his eyebrows. "And exactly how does he plan on doing that?"
"He's going to stage it as a natural gas explosion."
"Well then, Stefano is an idiot. That would never work." Danny shifted from the arm of the sofa to the seat. "Natural gas smells too bad. If there was enough gas in the house to cause an explosion, EJ would notice it the second he walked in the door."
"Right." Steve continued earnestly. "But natural gas is primarily ethane, which is odorless. It only smells bad because t-butyl mercapten is added to it. "
"So, all Stefano has to do it get some non-smelly ethane into the house and let EJ blow himself up." Danny leaned forward, elbows on his knees, as he slowly continued thinking out loud. "The explosion would burn up all the gas, so when the fire department and police arrive, nobody would ever suspect anything other than an unfortunate accident. "
Danny leaned back into the sofa and rubbed his face and back of his neck with his hand. "Huh. That's pretty smart, actually."
"Exactly!" Steve smiled triumphantly. "See? That's evaluating tactical approaches to strategic ops!"
Danny chuckled. "You know, it would have been a lot easier and, should I add, saved me a lot of unnecessary stress if you had just told me you were just considering the feasibility of soap opera murder plots."
"Yeah, well," Steve smiled broadly. "You say tomato…"
"Yeah, yeah. Right." Danny grinned. "So, is there going to be anything else to 'evaluate' this afternoon, or was that it?"
"Well, in a few minutes, the Salem police are going to get back the ballistics report on the slug they pulled out of Doctor Walter's evil twin."
Danny laughed. "Then it looks like we are going to need more snacks." He picked up the empty bowl and headed to the kitchen.
"Popcorn's on the counter." Steve called after him, smiling. "I like mine with extra butter."
Authors note: If anyone is a soap opera enthusiast, you have my sincere apologies. I tried to research plot lines, I really did, but then I wanted to run away screaming after only a few minutes. So, I borrowed names and had some fun. I hope you can forgive me. :)