Chapter 4. Family.
Pushing open the door to his partner's hospital room, Danny walked in leaving Chin to park the car and Kono talking to Steve's sister.
On first inspection of his friend he realised he was once more off the ventilator and in its place was the oxygen mask that Steve loved so much. He was fairly certain that was much better than having a tube shoved down your throat but then Steve didn't always think like a normal human being.
Upon arriving at the hospital the Doctor had assured them all that Steve was going to be okay, that the chemical hindering his recovery was finally out of his system and the antidote had been given.
They had waited a while before calling, apparently waiting to make sure that the drug was doing its job before telling his team of his condition. Danny would have promptly told them that he would have appreciated being told immediately but he was just too relieved to hear that Steve appeared to be getting better. He was going to recover. But it was one thing to be told it but Danny wanted to see it for himself. He needed to see it for himself.
Danny stepped up to the bed and his eyes automatically looked up to the screen beside the bed to check Steve's vitals. Last time he had been in here he had seen Steve's heart flat-line. It was something that you didn't forget very quickly. Now, it seemed to be beating. That was a good sign.
Looking down at his partner, Danny noted that his eyes were closed. He still looked a little flushed and sickly. But there was no longer an air of panic surrounding the room. Doctor Collins had warned him upon his arrival that there could still be complications, that there could still be problems if the damage done was too great. The good news was that he was already responding. Doctor Collins was confident.
He placed his hands on the rails of Steve's bed and took a deep breath. He was tired himself. Aside from the small respite at Christmas Eve with his friends and daughter, Danny had felt on edge for way too long. He was sick of worrying about his friends. He was sick at the prospect of losing them being all too real. He realised that danger came with the job description but it seemed like it was one thing after the other lately.
"You really know how to stress a guy out, you know that?" Danny spoke to the unconscious commander. "If it's not hanging people off buildings or driving like a maniac – in my car – it's you trying to check out early." He'd already lost a partner – an ex partner - and wasn't prepared to lose another one so soon.
Danny kept his voice down as he spoke, not wanting to disturb his friend's rest. "Well let me tell you something. No-one on this team gets an out. If I have to stay on this god forsaken island then so do you. Besides, Grace would never forgive me. She seems to like you. Why? Is a mystery." He rambled.
Danny lifted his hand and ran his fingers through his hair and glanced at the door. It wouldn't be long before his team followed him in.
Looking down again, Danny saw that Steve's eyes were open, looking at him. When had that happened?. He looked beyond tired, like his eyes would slip shut again at any moment. But Steve was a stubborn son of a bitch. His eyes would close when he allowed them to close and not any sooner, Danny was sure of it.
"Well hello there, Partner." Danny smiled down at his friend. "I hear we have some good news."
Steve raised his eyebrows but remained silent.
"Well," Danny shrugged. "Maybe not good news for my sanity," he continued, leaning in closer when Steve mumbled something underneath the mask. He wrapped his fingers around Steve's wrist when the former SEAL reached up clumsily for it. "No. Leave it. And no getting excited."
He wasn't having a repeat of what had happened last time they'd had a discussion in this room. He had gotten excited and had almost ended with the worst case scenario … Steve dead. That memory was fast and clear in his head and he was not having a repeat performance.
"There is no need for you to know anything, say anything or do anything," Danny scolded. Right now Steve wasn't in any condition to do anything crazy. Give him some time and Danny knew he'd be trying to get up and sign himself out. The man was his own worse enemy. But not right now. Not even Super Steve was getting out of bed. And Danny sure as hell was not going to allow him to get himself all worked up. "All you need to do, my friend, is lay there and recover. And then you can be a pain in my ass once more."
"Happened?" Danny finished asking the question for him. Steve's voice was barely audible, slurred and looked like it took all too much effort right at that moment which went against Danny's order of relax and recover.
"Looks like Victor Hesse got the last word in your little altercation after all. But," Danny took a seat beside Steve's bed. Steve tracked him with a bleary gaze, his eyes slipping closed as Danny lowered himself into the chair but as predicted they flickered open again. The man was fighting to stay awake. Always fighting. "But it's all okay now. Everything is going to be okay."
That wasn't the entire truth. They knew what happened, they knew how it happened but they were still in the dark about so many things. Victor Hesse may have been the one to put explosives around Chin's neck and he may have been the one that had brought Steve McGarrett down to deaths door and he might have had motive but he wasn't the one in charge. That much was certain. He was taking orders. He was scared.
Steve continued to look at him and Danny knew that expression. He was waiting for answers. Even in that muddled, drug hazed mind he was still looking for answers. Danny sighed. "This was a warning, Steve, but … but its over for now. Look, I promise I'll tell you everything we know as soon as you can sit up in bed and hold a conversation without that being a strenuous task."
Danny knew what Steve was asking. "You're okay, I'm okay … everyone is okay. We're all here safe and sound. Don't worry. I promise."
Steve nodded, sighed, breath fogging up the oxygen mask once again.
"Just relax, Buddy. We've got this." Danny told him as the door to the room quietly opened to admit the other members of their team. This was exactly what Steve needed. He needed to know and see that everyone was fine and then he could concentrate on himself.
He hadn't meant to make connections to anyone. He'd come to Hawaii to do a job, to find the truth. He'd come to Hawaii to keep himself afloat. He'd been there because of family. He hadn't meant to make new friends, friends that he would die for without hesitation. He hadn't meant to allow himself to accept a whole new family …
But life had a funny way of turning things upside down and surprising you.
He hadmade friends. He had found himself in this family unit of Five-O and now there was more reason to stay. There was reason to make some kind of a life.
He'd even go as far as to say he was happy. The people around him mattered and what they all did mattered.
But allowing people into your life also came with a downside. It meant you were allowing yourself the possibility of hurt and loss. Sometimes it made you do crazy things, like stealing from HPD Lock-up to save a friend from dying at the hands of the enemy. It meant that hospital stays didn't just affect the injured party but the whole family unit. They all knew that those god-awful chairs were just as hard to spend time in as a hospital bed. Five O didn't just protect the Island ... they protected each other. When one of the team was hurt, they all hurt.
Just standing there, all that had happened in the last week seemed to roll around in his head. The sun beat down, its warm rays trying to assist with vanquishing recent memories.
A lot had happened, Five O had almost lost two team members in matter of days. But the good guys had won and all members of their unique family were alive. The enemy was behind bars. They were safe. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath and allowed the serenity to melt away recent stresses and troubles with the sound of the small waves rippling past him.
The water swirling around his lower body as he stood in waist deep water felt soothing. He traced his fingers across the surface. Being out in the fresh air reminded him that he no longer had to stare at white suffocating walls, no longer did he have to deal with nurses and doctors with disapproving glares. It was all over and done with ... for now.
He could breathe freely … figuratively speaking.
"What do you think you're doing?"
The shout from the shore brought him out of his musings. His serenity was shattered by the familiar exasperated tones of one Detective Danny Williams.
Instead of answering his partner straight away, Steve looked back up at the sky, squinting at the afternoon sun shining down on him. It was bright and warm and welcoming. Danny's voice on the other hand wasn't so much.
Closing his eyes, Steve dropped his chin to his chest and chuckled quietly. He was glad that Danny wasn't close enough that he could hear the wheeze of his lungs. There was still a tightness in his chest. Lethargy plagued him more than he thought it would. He had learnt his limitations in the short swim he had taken against doctors orders, against Danny's orders.
His partner had been like a nagging mother hen for his entire stay at the hospital. Preventing Steve from getting out of bed when he'd wanted to have a private chat with Victor Hesse himself, bringing him food from outside the hospital and keeping him apprised of what was going on … just enough to satisfy him until he could do his own leg work. So far the Hesse had been tight-lipped no matter how hard they pressed. That wasn't a good sign.
Steve turned in the waist high water, scrunching sand with his toes as he did so. It was time to head in before Danny had a coronary.
He hated how tired he felt. A light swim in the ocean and his chest had been burning. Steve McGarrett didn't do weak … but he definitely wasn't as fit as he'd been trying to portray. He'd hoped that being released from the hospital would set things right, that things could get back to normal straight away.
Apparently the doctors knew what they were talking about.
Looking towards his partner, Steve noticed that Danny wasn't alone. There was movement up at the house. His team, his family were here.
The further he got out of the water the heavier he felt. By the time he reached the shoreline and stepped over to where his visitors were waiting by his beach chair, Steve felt like a heavy wet sack of arms and legs. He pushed himself forward.
"Hey Danny," Steve greeted.
"What are you doing?" Danny skipped the pleasantries, staring at Steve incredulously.
"Hello to you too," Steve answered dryly. He caught the towel his partner threw at him and wiped his face dry. "What are you doing back so soon?" Danny had dropped him home only a few hours before. He looked over at the house and then back to Danny. "What's going on?"
Danny's frown didn't dissipate. "No, no, no … don't think you're going to re-direct and change the subject."
"What?" Steve feigned innocence. He proceeded to wipe the towel over his chest, drying himself off.
"You know what."
Steve sighed. "I believe its called swimming. I was swimming. Nothing out of the ordinary, Danny."
"Let me ask you a question..." Danny began.
Steve rolled his eyes. "Oh here we go."
Danny continued like he hadn't said anything. "Do you - in your neanderthal brain - know the meaning of 'taking it easy', of 'no strenuous activities?" Danny held his hands up, offering up the chance for Steve to answer him.
"You know, some people find swimming a relaxing thing to do."
"Some people aren't Super Navy SEAL Steve McGarrett. The poison seems to have gone to your brain and made you forget that I know you ."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"That means, my friend, that taking it easy isn't something you know how to do." Danny was working himself up to full on rant.
"Have you looked in a mirror lately? Gotten that vein in your forehead checked?" Steve tapped his own forehead in reference.
"That vein wasn't there before I met you." Danny mumbled. " You're supposed to be taking it easy, not swimming in the fucking ocean, an ocean that has rips and waves and … sharks."
Steve tried not to laugh. "I'm fine."
"No … You're not. You got out of the hospital this morning, Steven."
"I'm aware of that, Daniel. What's your problem?"
"What's my problem?" Danny asked, his voice a higher pitch, both eyebrows raised as he stared back at Steve. "You're seriously going to ask that? Could it be that Chin just recently nearly got his head blown off by Victor Hesse? Could it be that my partner came this close to dying in the hospital." Danny held his hand up, his finger and thumb barely an inch apart indicating just how close Steve had come to death. "Or the fact that there is someone else out there messing with us? Despite what you may believe, you are not Superman. The doctor sent you home to rest and the first thing I find when I come back here is you out in the ocean. I didn't bring my daughter here to find you drowned or worse..."
"Gracie's here?" Steve asked in surprise.
Danny looked back towards Steve's house and then back at Steve. "She wanted to make sure you were alright. She was worried after I ran out on her on Christmas morning to save your sorry ass."
Steve hadn't been made aware of the complete details of what had happened when he'd been found. In fact most of his memories were sketchy from well before he got home on Christmas Eve. It hadn't occurred to him – and it should have – that he had messed up Christmas for everyone. "Oh, I'm sorry, man ..."
It was Danny's turn to roll his eyes. "Something tells me that you aren't apologising for your swim against orders."
"I didn't mean to ruin your Christmas with Grace." He did feel terrible. He knew how much Danny valued his time with his daughter.
"As much as I hate to admit it, you're not responsible for every horrible thing that happens on this island." Some of the tension that had been almost vibrating from Danny dissipated a little. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine … honestly." He was tired and his body ached and his lungs weren't happy with the exertion his little swim put him through, but all in all he was doing okay. "Ready to start working on the rest of the puzzle and whatever else comes our way." He was more than ready.
"Yeah well … rest first, then puzzle solving."
"So you never answered my question. What's everyone doing here?" Steve asked.
"I wasn't the only one you scared, you know. Kono and Chin wanted to come and welcome you home. Kamekona offered to supply food and it suddenly turned into a party. Looks like you wont be welcoming in the new year alone."
"Thanks, Brother, for everything."
"Yeah … well … you're welcome. How about we go back to the house and let everyone else see how 'fine' you are?" Danny suggested, pointing his thumb over his shoulder in the direction of the house.
Steve nodded and started towards the house and the rest of their unconventional family. His partner walked beside him.
Together, as a team, no matter what warnings they received, they could beat anything.
A/N: If you got this far thank you. I again apologise and promise to NEVER make anyone wait this long again. Thank you soooooooo much for your time!