A/N I know this chapter is fairly short but I'm a little stuck on how I want to end this and, you've all waited so long, I wanted to at least give you something. So, I broke the final chapter into two. I hope you enjoy this installment.
The world instantly started moving in slow motion for Steve. He had been watching Jacob closely, the kid's finger hadn't even been on the trigger, so the shot hadn't come from his gun. Which left only Hesse!
Even as the sound of the gun shot ricocheted off the walls, Steve was holstering his gun and throwing himself through the air, a move reminiscent of his high school football days, before becoming the quarterback - except this time his motivation was much more than winning the state championship. This time his little brother's life was on the line. And he prayed he was not too late.
His nightmares of trying - and failing - to save his mother, his father, even Mary, came crashing back to the surface of his mind! Although, the death of his sister had been created solely in his subconscious, the loss of his parents was all too real. And, now, Hesse was trying to hurt Steve more than he had ever hurt him before, saving the best for last, so to speak. Jacob. Steve's newfound little brother, had become Hesse's new target. It wasn't that Steve loved Jacob more than he had his parents, but he had grown quite fond of him over the past week or so, a feeling which could possibly be called love - something the SEAL wasn't quite ready to analyze just yet. Plus, Jacob was just an innocent kid. Somehow losing a child always felt worse.
He heard the breath explode from Jacob's lungs as he made contact, tackling the kid to the floor of the warehouse with no regard for his own life. In the same move, he wrapped himself around Jacob, shielding him from Hesse... but Hesse wasn't there! Wait. He was there, but he was laying on the ground.
Steve's eyes swept the room, finally falling on his partner, smoke still rising from the barrel of his gun. Danny gave him a quick nod to indicate everything was under control. Taking Danny at his word, Steve pushed himself to his knees. In one swift movement, he tucked Jacob's gun beneath his waistband at the small of his back, then checked on Jacob, whose eyes were transfixed by a not so still Hesse. "You okay?" No response. Steve hooked a finger under the kid's chin and turned his face to meet his own. "Jacob. Are you okay?" Jacob nodded but his eyes were somewhat glazed over. That's when Steve took notice of the feverish heat emanating off the kid, the sweat pouring down his face. "Crap, kid, you're really burning up." Looked like another trip to the hospital was in their immediate future. He ran a hand through the boy's hair, then gave his neck a quick squeeze before returning his attention to his partner who had already made his way over to Hesse. Steve stood and tossed the final set of handcuffs, reserved specially for Hesse, over to Danny, who made quick work of slapping them on the wrists of their long time adversary. After that, the detective began tearing parts of Hesse's shirt into strips to form a makeshift bandage.
"Good work, Danno," Steve said sincerely. "Thanks."
Danny gave him his trademark lopsided grin which was always a precursor to some snarky comment or another, but the words never came. Instead, Danny's eyes whipped over to something a few feet to Steve's left. The SEAL turned just as Jacob snatched the gun from Steve's waistband and aimed it at Hesse, once again.
Now, Steve didn't really care much whether this monster lived or died. In fact, not too long ago, he had wanted him dead himself. But Steve couldn't allow Jacob to be the one to pull the trigger. He didn't want Jacob to ever have to deal with the emotional repercussions of taking a human life - monster or not.
"Jacob, kid, you don't want to do this."
"He killed my mother! He deserves to die!"
"I know how you feel," Steve ventured.
"How could you possibly know?"
"He killed my father, too."
Jacob's attention flicked to him for an instant, then returned to Hesse. "You're lying." The gun was shaking even in his two handed grip. "Why should I trust you?" He jutted a chin toward Hesse. "He says you've been lying to me since the first day I met you."
"Consider the source, Jacob." Steve knew he hadn't been totally truthful but he hadn't lied in the way that Hesse was trying to lead Jacob to believe. He'd been trying to protect the kid, not hurt him. He slowly made his way to Jacob's side, taking advantage of his current lack of focus.
Jacob didn't know who to believe anymore. He felt sweat dripping into his eyes again but couldn't swipe it away without taking one hand off the gun. Exhaustion had his arms lowering somewhat, the gun felt so much heavier than it had just moments earlier.
Hesse started to say something but, before he could aggravate the situation even further, Danny took one of the strips of cloth and stuffed it into the killer's mouth.
"Quiet, you," Danny told him, pointing at him as if reprimanding a child.
Hesse glared up at him but, with his hands cuffed behind his back, there was little he could do about it. Nor was he able to do much more than buck in surprise when Danny used more force than necessary to press the makeshift bandage to the wound. Then the detective hauled him to his feet, not caring at all when Hesse grunted in pain.
"Get him out of here, Danno," Steve said, more request than order.
Jacob turned at the sound of his voice, surprised to find him so close, then whipped back to face the now standing Hesse and Danny. "No," he yelled, bringing the gun up to bear on Hesse once again.
"Jacob," Steve whispered gently. "This isn't the way."
A tear slipped free and slid down Jacob's cheek and he did his best to wipe it away with one shoulder. "It's the only way. It's justice."
"No, it isn't, buddy. C'mon, give me the gun."
"No," Jacob insisted, mortified that the word had come more as a whimper than anything else.
"Your mom wouldn't have wanted this, Jacob."
His hands shook more than ever as his finger found the trigger, wanting desperately to put a bullet in the retreating back of Victor Hesse. "It should've been me," he said, so softly that if Steve hadn't been so close he never would have heard it.
"Hey," Steve told him sternly. "Don't ever say that!"
"She said it. She said it should've been me," he muttered, taking one hand off the gun and wrapping his arm around his middle, as if in physical pain. And, with his recent illness, maybe he was.
"Who said that, Jacob?"
"My mom," he admitted. Before Steve could argue that, Jacob said, "I'm all alone, now. I've got no one."
It was impossible for McGarrett to miss the tears in the kid's voice, the unbearable pain he was trying so hard to hold back. Steve quickly decided that now was the time for him to cross that emotional threshold and beat his way through the barriers Jacob had so carefully erected. The same walls Steve himself had put up all those years ago. But Steve's dad hadn't allow him to suffer alone. Steve certainly wasn't going to let his kid brother do it.
He easily removed the gun from the trembling hands and pulled Jacob toward him. As he wrapped his arms around the quaking shoulders, the boy's struggles were weak but persistent. Jacob wasn't alone, not by a long shot, but Steve knew that now would not be the best time to tell Jacob that he was his brother. Not after what Hesse had said about Steve lying to him, and certainly not with the kid's current emotional state. So, he just whispered into Jacob's sweat soaked hair, "You're not alone, buddy. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere."
Jacob practically vibrated with the effort of keeping the torrent of emotion coursing through him under control. He gripped Steve's shirt with one fist, alternating between pushing him away and pulling him closer.
"It's okay, kid," Steve told him. "Everyone's gone. It's just you and me, okay? You have to let it out before it kills you, buddy. Just, please, trust me enough to help you through this."
Jacob shook his head vigorously, still making a valiant effort to extricate himself from McGarrett's hold. But, after a brief moment, a sob tore itself out of the boy, literally folding him in half in Steve's arms. A second one quickly followed. Then another. Steve supported Jacob's weight at first, then lowered him gently to the ground, coming to his knees next to the boy, holding him tight against his chest. The sobs continued to shake the small form in his arms, he could feel the tears soaking his shirt, as the kid finally grieved over the loss of his mother. Not to mention the pain of the years spent being beaten by Scotty, something else Steve was going to want to talk to him about. But not now. The kid had enough to deal with, without Steve opening up old wounds.
Finally, the sobs receded and Jacob leaned even more heavily against Steve's chest. Upon closer examination, Steve saw the heavy lidded, unfocused eyes. Steve tucked Jacob's head beneath his chin, slipped an arm beneath his knees and scooped him up into his arms.
The kid struggled weakly against such a blatant display of vulnerability. "I c'n walk," he insisted, though his voice was not much more than a mumble.
"Sure, you can, kid," Steve replied, eating up the floor of the warehouse with a purposeful stride. "Sure, you can."
A/N For those of you still following this story, I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter. And thank you all so much for sticking with me! ~Kelcor