Title: Valor Rests Between a Rock and a Hard Wave
Author: Alice I
Betas: Faye Dartmouth, Oughtaknowbetter, FraidyCat
Rating: T for mild vulgarity
Warnings: Mild vulgarity, NO slash, no parings, characters kept in cannon
Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. I am earning no money or other benefit from this work other than the satisfaction that someone will enjoy the story.
Spoilers: Anything up to and including the episode with the fake tsunami.
Summary: People he loves have been killed, kidnapped, or strapped with explosives, but it is his partner's sightless eyes that will haunt him forever - Not a death fic
A/N - I want to give all of my betas a heaping helping of thanks! This story was supposed to be a quick little two or three chapter tale, but blossomed into this multi chapter fic. Personally I blame Oughtaknowbetter for all her "show don't tell" business! LOL! OKB should get some credit for the title. I struggled so much with it and ultimately ended up using one of her early suggestions with a twist. All of my betas are excellent authors and they have helped me to make this a very well written tale so they deserve many many kudos!
My Merlin fans please see my profile for a note just for you.
Valor Rests Between a Rock and a Hard Wave
"I know women who get ready for work faster than you do, Danno."
Steve sat on the arm of the sofa in Danny's living room, his mind a jumble of thoughts. A gnawing feeling of disquiet had been steadily growing, but Steve pushed it to the back of his mind, not really knowing the best way to attack the problem.
He picked up the small framed picture of a little girl, wondering not for the first time if he ought to pursue the same sort of happiness in his own life. The past six months had proven to be the most difficult in his life. Being back home was both a blessing and a curse for the ex-Navy SEAL. The island had a way of getting under his skin, making him relax his guard when he shouldn't.
Danny poked his head out from his bedroom, his tie not yet knotted and his dress shirt only half tucked in. "Keep your shirt on. Perfection takes time, ya know," Danny retorted, running his hands carefully across his hair, pretending to make sure every strand was in its place. "And stop calling me Danno," he added with a smirk before he turned back toward his room.
Steve couldn't help but smile at the Jersey native's antics. McGarrett had felt vulnerable and on-edge ever since the Governor had thanked him and his team for a job well done during the fake tsunami crisis. Nonetheless, it remained a fact; Danny had become one of the bright spots in his new life as the head of the Governor's special task force. He got up and walked over to the door of the bedroom.
"Come on, princess! Time's a wasting."
Danny paused, and deliberately spent an additional moment staring into the mirror, adjusting his tie. "Time's a wasting? What happened to Island time, Brah?" Danny countered, sarcastically.
Steve glared at the back of Danny's head, the man who had somehow, despite all indications to the contrary, become his best friend. "I don't understand you, Danny," he said, setting the picture frame down on the short desk just inside the door. "You claim to hate the beach..."
Danny's hands came away from his tie and took on that frenetic motion that indicated the Jersey native was about to launch into another one of his famous tirades. "I claim to hate the beach?"
Undeterred, Steve continued speaking over the man, ticking items off on his fingers as he went. "Yes, you claim to hate the beach, you can't stand pineapple, and you make Tony Soprano look positively intellectual. If it wasn't for your daughter, you wouldn't even be here, in this 'pineapple infested hell hole' ,which I might add, is my home you are dissing."
Danny shook his head and Steve could see the small smile turning up the corners of his lips in the mirror. The detective spent one last moment admiring his image in the mirror. "You just love me because I'm a damn good detective."
That's true, Steve thought, he is...not that the ex-Navy SEAL was about to admit it out loud. Not to Danny's face. Not that it would matter: Jersey Boy could ferret out the truth of a situation with more clarity than any other cop Steve knew. The mainlander had an incredible eye for detail, with better instincts than anyone Steve had ever known, and that included his Navy buddies who had been trained to see past the obvious. Steve considered himself fortunate to have met Danny Williams: brutally honest, even with himself, willing to admit his own short-comings. There wasn't anyone that Steve would rather have protecting his six.
A moment later Danny moved past Steve, still standing in the door frame, dressed and ready for work. He grabbed the picture of Grace on his way out, and set it carefully down on the shelf where Steve had got it. With the generally cluttered appearance of Danny's apartment it seemed a little odd to Steve that the man was compelled to put the picture back in its rightful place in the living room.
"You know if you didn't insist on wearing a dress shirt and that tie you could be ready a lot faster."
Danny's wardrobe had always been a point of contention between the two men. Danny dressed like a mainlander and because of that he didn't fit in as effectively as he could have, but Danny didn't care. He wanted to dress like he was from the mainland.
Danny lifted the end of his tie up indignantly and began, "First of all, if you would drive your own truck to work once in awhile, you wouldn't have to take may car all the time then have to come and pick me up. And I'll have you know..."
"Yeah, yeah, it's your favorite tie because Grace gave it to you for Father's Day."
"That is incorrect, Steven. This is my second favorite tie, and yes Grace did give it to me... at Christmas."
"Oh, I see. That explains the red dots down at the bottom of the green tie?"
"Those aren't dots, genius. They're Christmas tree ornaments."
Steve stood up and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender. "Okay, so tell me, genius, why are you wearing a Christmas tie in April?"
Danny actually looked a little embarrassed as he turned away to grab his holster and service weapon. "I had Grace over the weekend and never got to the laundry. This is what was clean."
Danny glanced over at Steve just in time to see him roll his eyes impatiently. "What? Why are you so grumpy lately anyway?"
Steve had been able to hide his edginess from the rest of the team even if Danny had begun to pick up on it. The most effective means to keeping Danny in the dark about his concerns, was to continue to engage in what he considered his partner's preferred method of communication; that being the art of arguing.
"You are seriously gonna use Grace as an excuse? You aren't exactly a model for Better Homes and Living."
"What? My place isn't that bad." Danny defended, as he picked up breakfast dishes - or were they dinner dishes from the night before? - and tossed them in the sink.
Steve shrugged the explanation off and said, "So, you ready now?"
Before Danny could answer him with a classic snarky remark, the Jersey detective's cell phone emitted a ringtone that Steve didn't recognize.
Danny pulled his phone from his pocket and answered with a bright smile on his face. "Good morning, Monkey."
He was silent for a moment listening to his daughter, his smile melting and his expression growing grim. His free hand came up motioning his daughter to settle down even though she obviously couldn't see him.
"Grace, honey, calm down and tell me what happened," Danny said, as he indicated to Steve that they were leaving.
He grabbed his keys from the table by the door as he passed it, and absently tossed them to Steve as he continued to talk to Grace.
Steve slid into the driver's seat and without asking, drove in the direction of Grace's private school while Danny continued to speak to his daughter. The tone of Danny's voice and his serious expression told Steve that something had seriously upset the little girl.
"What have I told you about listening to Tommy? The kid is a pathological liar. So tell me, besides what Tommy said, what makes you think that Juliette is dead?"
That raised Steve's eyebrows but before he could listen in further, his own cell phone demanded his attention. He eyeballed the small screen in-between turning left at the corner and dodging the SUV aiming for the same spot. Crap; Governor Jameson was calling, and that meant that Lt. Commander McGarrett was going to break the law by conversing on his cell phone while driving.
He flipped open the phone. "McGarrett." Steve's face grew hard and serious as he listened to the Governor speak. "Did you say Juliette Kahoa, Governor?"
That got Danny's attention, and he turned to Steve.
"Governor, where did Juliette go to school?"
Steve realized that emphasizing Juliette's name while accelerating would alert Danny, but using the past tense when referring to the girl caused his partner's face to pale a shade as well. It looked like Grace's classmate Tommy might actually be right... again.
"Grace, I am coming to see you right now. Just stay in class and stay calm until I get there, okay?" Danny hung up his phone and looked at Steve obviously waiting for an explanation.
Steve dialed a familiar number, putting the device onto speaker so that both Chin and Kono could listen to the pair in the car.
"Okay, listen up. The Governor has assigned us a new case. She wants us to take over an HPD open file involving a series of serial rapes and murders that have been occurring all over Oahu. We have the case now because the latest victim found, was the ten year old daughter of Congressman Daniel Kahoa."
Steve saw how furious his partner's eyes became as he spoke. This one was going to hit Danny hard.
"Kono, get in touch with HPD and get everything they have on the case so far, as well as anything you can find out about Jared Milton, Juliette's driver. She never made it home from school yesterday and no one can find either the driver or the car. Put a BOLO out on the car. Chin, go see Max and find out if he was able to get any information from the bodies that will lead us to the killer. Also, check any traffic cams around the school yesterday at 3:00. We need to find that car, and fast.
"Danny and I are headed to Juliette's school to interview the faculty and maybe some of the kids to see if anyone noticed anything out of the ordinary. Since she didn't come home she may have been grabbed at the school."
"You got it, Steve." Chin answered for both of them at Five-0 Headquarters, hanging up in order to get to the task at hand.
Steve glanced at the man in the passenger seat beside him, watching the profile of his partner staring out through the window. Danny, usually an unstoppable fountain of chatter, hadn't said a word and there was a pained expression on his face. "What're you thinking?"
Danny stuffed his phone back in his pocket, refusing to meet Steve's eyes. "I'm thinking that maybe I don't want to call Rachel about this. Grace had a sleep-over with Juliette last week. She is... she was, in the class above Grace, but they were still friends. What if Grace had been with Juliette when she was taken?" His hands clenched, the knuckles whitening. "God, Steve, it could have been Grace."
This hit a little too close to home for the Jersey native. Steve could hear the fear in his voice. "Danny, it wasn't Grace, but you should consider calling Rachel. She'll find out about it as soon as Grace gets home, and if she doesn't hear from you, especially since we are now on this case, she's going to be upset. Wouldn't you be?"
Danny glared back at him. "What, now you're an expert on marriages?"
"You're divorced," Steve pointed out, carefully keeping his eyes straight forward on the road.
Danny snorted. It wasn't tough for Steve to read the man; clearly Danny was hunting for some witty quip to throw back at him and was failing. After a moment he huffed and pulled out his cell, while Steve pretended that he wasn't listening to one half of the conversation.
"No, Rachel, I can't do that."
"Rachel, I swear I just heard about this like two minutes ago."
"You can't do that, Rachel. This is hard enough for Grace. She's never had to deal with the death of a friend before. Taking her out of school will scare her, make her feel like she isn't safe. I'm almost at the school now. I'll talk to Grace and reassure her that she is safe there, but I don't want her driver to pick her up today."
There was a pause and Steve could almost hear Rachel's high pitched voice over the phone. Once again Danny's hands went into motion in a placating gesture that Rachel could probably picture clearly. "Okay, okay, do you want me to send a HPD officer to escort you?"
Danny raised his eyebrows at what ever it was that Rachel was saying. "All right, Rachel. I'll tell her to expect you this afternoon, and I promise I'll call you as soon as we know anything." There was another pause, and Danny turned away from Steve facing the window speaking quietly. "Rachel,... be safe."
Once Danny hung up the phone, there was a moment of awkward silence. Steve finally broke it asking, "What did Rachel say when you offered to send an HPD escort?"
"Oh, that. Well let's just say that I think anyone who even looks funny at either her or Grace will be very sorry. Rachel can be deadly fierce when she needs to be."