Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett laid in his hospital bed, trying not to think too much about his most recent encounter with Victor Hesse, while, at the same time, needing to do just that. Something Victor had said yesterday had upset and bothered Steve but he just couldn't seem to be able to put his finger on it. Maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe it was, as the doctor was insisting, the trauma of the chain of events that had ultimately landed him in the ER and, shortly thereafter, this hospital room... but, more likely, it was these stupid painkillers the doctor insisted he continue to take. Regardless of the reason, Steve knew in his gut that it was something he needed to know.
He already had Chin and Kono making every attempt possible to locate his sister, who had chosen this time of all times to volunteer with the Habitat for Humanity, and could, literally, be anywhere in the world right now. To be honest, Steve was counting his blessings because if Five-0 couldn't find her easily, then neither could Hesse. Still, every minute he wasn't in contact with his little sister, just served to jack up his anxiety that much more.
Thankfully, he shouldn't be in the hospital much longer. His injuries were healing nicely. Truth be told, all he really needed was a bit of rest. Granted, he had some bruised ribs - maybe a cracked one, too - multiple bruises and contusions on his back and legs from the billy club, and, of course, the broken finger, perhaps a bit of freezer burn as Danny liked to put it... but, all in all, he was feeling ready to get back in the game. I mean, yeah, the painkillers probably had a little something to do with that but, whatever, Steve had to get out there and find Hesse before Hesse found Mary! And maybe, just maybe, once he got these drugs out of his system, maybe he'd be able to remember whatever else it was that Hesse had taunted him with in that fish packing plant.
Unfortunately, Danny had other plans and was currently arguing his case on why Steve should remain in the hospital for who knew how long. But, despite his eagerness to get away from the overbearing nurses and the smell of antiseptic, Steve couldn't help but be a little amused at the sight of his partner pacing back and forth across his hospital room. Door to window and back again, hands waving in the air as he spoke.
"Danny, I'm fine," he said for what seemed like the millionth time.
"'I'm fine', he says. 'I'm fine'," Danny repeated, barely sparing Steve a glance as he continued his mission to wear a hole into the unsuspecting ceramic tiles beneath his feet. "Well, excuse me if I'd prefer to hear that from the doctor, Mr. Freeze."
Steve sighed at the new nickname Danny had taken to calling him once the hypothermia scare had dwindled into a distant 'what coulda-been' memory. "I'm good to go, honest."
The detective stopped at the foot of McGarrett's bed and stared at him incredulously. "Good to go? Good to go? Let me tell you something, you are anything but good to go," he stated, emphasizing the last three words by making quotation marks in the air with his fingers. "May I remind you that you almost died yesterday? Almost died, Steve. As in dead. As in no-longer-breathing-heart-not-beating-in-the-ground... DEAD!"
Okay, so much for it all being a memory. "Well, now, that's a little overly dramatic, don't you think?" Steve did his best to hide the smirk that was threatening to make itself known but knew he was failing miserably. Nevertheless, his partner turned a million shades of red and McGarrett was pretty sure implosion would occur in t-minus 5 seconds. 4... 3... 2... 1...
"Overly dramatic? Overly dramatic?"
Right on time. "Look, Danno, I've had worse, okay? And that's without the hospital stay."
"Yeah, well, that was because you didn't have someone around who cared enough about you to make sure you took care of yourself. In case you haven't noticed, things are different now."
Danny's blatant honesty, quite literally left Steve McGarrett speechless. Though his lips did quirk ever so slightly at the pink tinge suddenly making itself known on his partner's cheeks when he realized that he had, once again, failed to engage the brain-to-mouth editing device.
The doctor's entrance rescued Danny from his own mortification. His complexion quickly returned to normal, which apparently made it possible for him to see the smile on Steve's face. Deliberately ignoring the SEAL, Danny returned his attention to the doctor, intent on grilling the poor man on every detail of his partner's condition.
Steve beat him to the punch. "What's the verdict, doc? When can I get out of here?"
The doctor raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Not for another few days, at least."
Danny spread his arms out in a 'See? I was right!' gesture. "Thank you," he exclaimed to the doctor.
"A few days?" Steve exclaimed. "No way. I am not staying here for three days."
"You might notice," Danny pointed out, smugly, "that he said 'three days, at least'." He turns to the doctor for confirmation that he clearly didn't need. "Am I right?"
The doctor nodded, not at all sure he wanted to allow himself to be pulled into this particular argument.
"Danny - " Steve said, somehow managing to mix both a whine and a growl into that one word.
"Steve - " Danny returned, in a way that emphasized that neither tone affected him in the least.
At that moment, an especially beautiful nurse entered the room. Her long dark hair spilled over her shoulders and her short white dress accentuated her curves perfectly, with just enough buttons left open to send the imagination of every man in the room into rampant overdrive.
"On the other hand," Steve muttered. "A longer than usual hospital stay might not be completely out of the question."
Danny threw his hands in the air in exasperation. "Of course! Why didn't I think of that sooner." Addressing the nurse this time, he said, "Excuse me?"
"Yes," she asked, her smile managing to disarm even Danny's current frustration with his stubborn partner, causing the detective to completely forget what he was going to say.
After a moment, his memory returned, however. "Could I possibly ask you to come into this room two, maybe three times a day? I'll even pay you, if it will keep this stubborn SOB from checking himself out AMA."
The nurse looked at Steve first, who just smiled and said, "Please, excuse my partner, he's a little acronym-happy today." Her gaze then went to the doctor for some kind of confirmation that these two weren't in the wrong ward of the hospital. The doctor simply nodded and shrugged.
"Well, it's kinda my job," she told Danny, her own tone more than a little amused.
"So, that's a yes, then?"
"Sure," she said, raising her eyebrows at the doctor, as if to say 'Are these guys for real?'.
She then moved over to the bed to check Steve's vitals. For his part, Steve busted out the big guns and gave her his best I'm-adorable-dontcha-just-wanna-hug-me smile... and Danny shook his head when she seemed to swoon almost instantly.
When Danny entered the room early the next morning, he had a large manila envelope in his hands and his mood was noticeably more serious. Steve knew something was up but the painkillers made it near impossible for him to gauge his partner's mood with any certainty. His groggy mind feared the worst, however...
"Mary?" Steve asked, somewhat panicked.
"What?" Danny was confused at first, then realized exactly what his partner was asking. "No, no. Mary's fine. I mean, we haven't been able to find her yet but there's no evidence that Hesse has either." He placed a calming hand on Steve's shoulder. "It's okay, Steve. You can breathe now. Breathe."
Taking his partner's advice, McGarrett forced his heartbeat to slow and pulled air into his lungs. She's the only family I have left.
Steve hadn't realized that he had voiced his fears aloud until his partner responded:
"Look, she's your baby sister. I get that. And we are going to find her. But let's get something straight. She is not the only family you have. Okay? You told me not so long ago that I'm not alone on this island. Logically, that would mean that neither are you."
Averting his eyes, Steve gave a quick nod. After a moment, he cleared his throat and returned his gaze to the detective. "Okay. So, what have you got?"
Danny gave McGarrett's shoulder a quick squeeze, then got back to the business at hand. He pulled an 8x10 black and white photo out of the envelope and handed it to Steve. It had clearly been taken with a telephoto lens. "What am I looking at?"
"I had called one of my contacts near Kaaawa to ask him to do some reconnaissance for me, see if Hesse had been in contact with anyone in or around the fish packing plant within a week of your abduction."
"And?" Steve prompted.
"Well, look here," Danny told him, directing his gaze to a couple sitting at a table outside a small cafe. "The guy in the photo is Hesse, no doubt about it. We're still waiting on the identity of the woman he's with. Might be an accomplice. Might be the subject of the other 'more important things' you said Hesse had mentioned. Either way, she's definitely a person of interest."
Steve peered closely at the photo in silence for several long moments. "When was this picture taken?"
"Well, that's just it. While my guy was looking into Hesse's possible whereabouts last week, he happened upon the man himself and did some surveillance of his own."
"What are you saying?"
"Steve, this photo was taken yesterday afternoon. Just a few hours after he locked you in that freezer."
McGarrett simply nodded, then: "Listen, Danny, I'm a little tired. Could we maybe pick this up again later this afternoon? I think I need to get some sleep."
"Yeah. It's these painkillers. They're really doing a number on my energy level."
Danny instantly put his hand to Steve's forehead, checking for a fever in a somewhat mocking manner, though his concern was still more than evident. Steve gritted his teeth but forced himself to endure the child-like treatment. Seemingly satisfied that his partner wasn't going to die from a too high fever, Danny capitulated, albeit reluctantly. "Okay. I'll, uh, I'll see you later today, then."
"Good," McGarrett said, sliding further down onto the bed and closing his eyes. "Thanks, Danny."
After a brief argument with the doctor, Steve signed the release papers which stipulated that he was leaving the hospital AMA, put on the spare clothes that Danny had brought to him on the condition that he remain under doctor supervision for as long as the doctor deemed it necessary, and slipped through the hospital's sliding doors. He felt more than a little bit guilty for breaking his promise to his partner but this was an unforeseen circumstance...
"Going somewhere," a voice asked from behind him.
McGarrett spun around to find Danny leaning casually against the exterior wall of the hospital, one leg bent up so that the sole of his shoe was pressed against the brick. The smug detective even had a magazine in his hands as if he had been passing the time while he waited for the SEAL to pull something just like this. Maybe he had. Huh. Steve had to admit, Danny's skills at deduction never ceased to amaze him.
"This isn't what it looks like," Steve attempted, having the good grace to look contrite.
"Really? Because it looks to me like you're breaking a promise - a promise you made to my face, by the way - and checking yourself out AMA."
"Okay, it is what it looks like. But I can explain."
"There's no need to explain."
"Nope. Something about the photo caught your interest and, figuring you couldn't trust me, your partner, you decided to try to dupe me into thinking that you, Super Seal aka Energizer Bunny, were tired so that I would leave you alone to do whatever foolhardy thing you have in mind to catch Hesse on your own. Does that about cover it?"
"Yes," Steve admitted. Then, quickly added, "Except for the not trusting you part."
"Really. Of course, I trust you, Danno."
"Right. Which is why you confided in me instead of trying to get rid of me."
"I wasn't trying to get rid of you," he began, but retracted his words as soon as he met Danny's glare head on. "Okay, I was trying to get rid of you. But it wasn't my trust in you that I doubted. It was your trust in me."
"Okay, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What kind of drugs did they give you, anyway?"
"Danny, I'm serious."
"Fine. What is it that you think would make me not trust you?"
"It's crazy, Danny. It's completely crazy. I mean, I'm even questioning my own sanity, here."
"All the more reason for you to tell me what's going through that head of yours. You recognized the woman in the picture, didn't you?"
"Yes. I mean, no. I mean... I think so."
"Well, thank you for clearing that up, Captain Articulate."
"Danny. The woman in that photo. The woman sitting at that cafe with Hesse... she's my mom."
The detective stared at Steve for a long moment, one eye brow raised. "Your mom? You mean, the woman who died in a car bombing when you were sixteen years old? That mom?"
Danny grasped Steve by the elbow and began to lead him back into the hospital. "You're right. You are crazy."
McGarrett easily slipped from Danny's half-hearted hold and stepped a few feet back towards the parking lot. "Don't you think I know that," he exploded. "My mother has been dead for close to nineteen years. There is no way she had brunch with Hesse yesterday afternoon. Yet, I could almost swear that's her in the photo."
Steve's chest heaved with the exertion of saying that all in one breath, his hand moving to his ribs automatically to try to quell the sharp pain developing near his lungs.
"Okay, okay," Danny said in a calming tone, his hands raised in supplication. "Let's say it is your mom, for argument's sake. How is that possible? I mean, are we in an episode of Supernatural, here? Should we call in Sam and Dean Winchester?"
"I don't know how it's possible, Danny. I just know what I see."
Instead of leading Steve back into the hospital, Danny guided him to his car and opened the passenger side door.
"Where are we going?"
"To Kaaawa to do some investigating of our own," Danny explained. "I mean, that is what we do, isn't it?"
Steve made a move to step around Danny but the shorter man blocked him.
"No way. I'm driving."
"Seriously, Steve, would you allow someone pumped full of painkillers and seeing his long dead mother in recent photographs drive a motorized vehicle?"
The SEAL thought about that for a moment, then said, "Good point," and slid into the passenger seat.
A few moments later, they were pulling out of the parking lot. Steve glanced at his partner, his head cocked to one side, and asked, "Since when do you watch Supernatural?"
"What? I don't."
"You knew their names, Danno."
"Can we just focus on the case, please?"
Steve chuckled softly. Thankful for a bit of levity, something he could always count on with Danny Williams as a partner... well, most of the time, anyway. Usually, just when he needed it most.
"Besides," Danny pointed out, "you knew I said their names correctly."