The day the team of specialists Five-O had come to know on a first-name basis brought Steve McGarrett out of the induced coma they'd put him into sixteen days prior, nobody but medical staff was there to witness it. Not that anything monumental happened, besides the fact that Steve's brain was kind enough not to explode and kill him instantly, and that every single monitor stayed the same. When Chin got the notification from the head nurse handling Steve in ICU, and relayed it to his colleagues, it was in the midst of one of the fiercest gun battles Five-O had ever been part of.
They'd found the heads of the Yoshitomi Group all right, and true to form they were outgunned by at least ten times Five-O's complement on a good day. The arsenal that Danny, Kono and Chin had brought with them was backed up within minutes by every available HPD officer and some who'd gotten called in and were therefore still dressed in civvies covered by TAC vests. There were more cars and vans and trucks in the vicinity of the beach house in which the kingpins were currently trapped than Danny had ever witnessed on a single bust.
Kono and Chin whispered fiercely with the chief while Danny moved with a dozen HPD officers to a grove of Naio that would, realistically, not protect them from bullets, but which provided good enough cover for Danny to issue a few short, sharp commands that had the officers nodding and soon fanning out to surround the east side of the house while Danny and a lieutenant provided them with some serious bullet-spraying cover.
This was it. They had to either get them into custody or kill them all, and Danny knew which he preferred because in spite of the fact that today was Steve's live-or-die-optional day, no matter which way it went he wouldn't be able to face the aftermath unless he knew the bastards who'd caused the whole thing to begin with were taken care of. The cop side of him warred with the you-tried-to-blow-us-up-and-nearly-killed-my-partner side. For the first time in his life, the need to actually kill rather than be concerned about legal justice gripped his insides like a vise.
And that right there was more than just a little unnerving. Danny peeked out from the largest Naio tree and Lieutenant Mahaulu leaned out from the other side of the grove. Danny decided not to think too much about the fact that just knowing Steve had apparently made him as much of a lunatic as he'd always accused his partner of being. When the hell did Danny Williams ever seek revenge?
In a sudden moment of complete clarification, he finally got it. He finally understood the look in McGarrett's eyes every time some lead on Hesse or Wo Fat had come their way. When Jenna Kaye had joined them, when Hills had been murdered. Understood exactly why Steve had chosen to confront Jameson rather than take a nap, and it had nothing to do with having a death wish at all. It had to do with revenge.
No, he wasn't stupid, he managed to think as he let another spray of bullets loose and eight more officers showed up in his and Mahaulu's Naio grove. He barked at them to get around to the west where there was admittedly less cover than the east side, but he had a piece of artillery that would've put a gleam in Steve's eyes and he wasn't afraid to use it. No, he didn't really know how to shoot a bazooka, but he knew it would have a kick and so as soon as the officers began moving, he fired.
Knocked him on his ass, which he quickly recovered from, lamenting that it had hit his left shoulder and shit, that was going to leave a fresh bruise on top of the fading one from having been strung up like a side of beef. But still, he wasn't stupid, as an explosion from the house led to screaming in Japanese and a fireball that Steve would have been mesmerized by. Danny wasn't stupid because all the while, logically, he'd known Steve taking the task force job had been about avenging his father's death. Which had turned into also avenging his mother's death, and that's what had driven Steve all along.
Yeah, Danny knew that. But because he'd never felt anything like it, he hadn't known it.
Chin raced up to him in a running crouch, clapped him on the back, gave him a wink and headed into the fray. Danny dropped the bazooka to the sand and nodded at Mahaulu as he pulled his nine mil from its holster. Time to bring the shit down.
Ten minutes, ten very short and very long minutes combined later, it was over. Kono was sporting a developing bruise on her right cheekbone and a trickle of blood on her left arm, but she was making up for it by zip-tying Ayumu Sato's hands so tightly behind his back that the sixty-something head of the group in question was begging for mercy. At least, that's what it sounded like, though none of them spoke Japanese.
Chin was pushing five cuffed group members out the front door of the beach house, which was way more wrecked than it had any right to be in the still beauty of a Hawaiian afternoon, headed for the paddy wagon that was waiting out in the driveway. Danny was speaking quickly with the governor on the phone, explaining that not only had they taken the Yoshitomi Group down for good, but that four simultaneous raids in Wahiawa, Lihue, Kahului and Kalaoa were going down as they spoke to nab the crystal meth stashes Yoshitomi had strategically placed throughout the islands of Hawaii.
The governor was pleased. Chin re-entered the house as the call ended and their eyes met. Kono approached them, shoving Sato at two female officers who very happily escorted him outside. Chin's eyes darted to his cousin's and then back to Danny. Not a word was spoken as the three filed out of the house, removing their vests as they walked to Kono's car. All three vests got tossed into the back seat with Danny as Chin slid into the front passenger seat and Kono started the engine.
The ride was silent until they were almost at the hospital parking lot. Kono looked at Danny in the rearview mirror, a small smile breaking the tension in the car. "Steve would have fallen in love with you today if he'd been there," she said, grin widening. "Bazooka?" she teased. "Really?"
Danny snorted out a laugh and Chin chuckled. "He's rubbing off on me," Danny said by way of a defense he didn't really mean.
Kono parked the car and the three of them checked each other over to make certain they were at least moderately presentable to walk into a hospital ICU ward without getting too many stern glares from the staff. Chin used the inside of his shirt to wipe the dried blood from Kono's arm. Kono rubbed a black mark from the left side of Danny's neck and Danny brushed some ash from Chin's right shoulder. Suitable for consumption, their faces seemed to confirm, and shoulder-to-shoulder they made their way to their fallen leader's room.
Everyone got out of their way. If it wasn't the steely determination in their eyes, maybe it was the brick wall they presented when they unconsciously refused to move out of step even once as they made their way through the corridors. Kono in the middle, Chin to her right and Danny to her left were Five-O, badges prominently on display, weapons holstered but not hidden from view. Even though most everyone they passed knew them on a first-name basis, no one stopped them or tried to converse with them.
When they reached the door to Steve's room, they stopped and seemed to take in a breath together and exhale it together. The same nurse from the very first time they'd stood there suddenly appeared behind them as though her sole purpose was to watch for them, and give them the one piece of advice they needed before they could proceed.
"He's deciding," she said softly, and all three turned to look at her. "Give him something to come back for."
Three pairs of eyes exchanged looks and only because they wouldn't fit three abreast through the door, they shifted into a single file with Danny leading the way. Chin went to the other side of the bed, leaving Kono and Danny on the near side. Six hands gripped the metal rails, and Five-O leaned forward just a bit. Chin looked at Danny and smiled. Kono elbowed Danny in the arm.
"We got 'em, partner," Danny said. "Now get better so I can give you what you promised me I could."
Kono raised an eyebrow that mirrored her cousin's from across the way.
"Get your minds out of the gutter," Danny muttered good-naturedly. His eyes didn't leave Steve's face. "The governor says we have only one job now," he continued, voice steady and sure. "And that is to get his task force leader back in place, so here's how we're going to do it." He looked up at Chin. "I've got Grace this weekend, starting twenty minutes from now, so Chin's taking first shift and we're going to read to you, we're going to talk to you, we're going to tell you how it's going to be from here on out, and you're going to listen to every word and you're going to heal and you're going to take this job back that I do not want."
"And then, Kono's taking the next shift, and then after that, tomorrow morning when my daughter is freshly scrubbed and sufficiently stuffed full of unhealthy breakfast cereal, she is going to come here and she's going to read you the book she has to finish as part of this weekend's homework, and then you're going to listen while I help her write her book report. And then I'm taking her to the zoo and Jenna's going to come and talk to you about her latest investigation into the Yakuza and that's just how it's going to be because right now, partner, I'm in charge and you can't do a damn thing about it until you wake up and start ordering me around again."
"You know," Chin said with a wry grin, "you could've said that in about a tenth of that many words."
"Not what he's expecting," Danny said, nodding down toward the bed. "Everything normal, right?"
"From where I'm standing, yeah," Kono said, elbowing Danny again and trying to refrain from letting out a giggle. "Come on, Current Boss, let's go help HPD wrap this up while Cuz starts working his magic."
Danny nodded, resisting the urge to reach out and actually touch Steve in one of the few places not covered by casts or bandages or tubes or wires, just to reassure himself of the fact that Steve was going to stick around after all. Secretly, though, he knew that in spite of his previous assurances to himself, right now at this very moment he neither hated Steve nor wanted to punch him. Because Steve making it through coming out of the coma meant Steve would be Steve again, even if he was minus a kidney and even if he had a pin or rod or two scattered throughout his body.
Steve was on the way, and if Danny had to spend the next two years getting him back to the top where he belonged he would because, well, yeah, that's just what partners did. He looked at Chin and then Kono again. That's what your team did for you. That's what your ohana did for you. No matter how much you felt hatred for someone risking their necks for you, once you realized that the hatred was more at yourself for how you reacted to the thought of that someone actually dying to save your life, the fuse just sort of went out, for better or for worse.
And so they'd take that. They'd take the fact that maybe Danny's bluster had lost an awful lot of its edge, seeming to resign itself to the fact that really, that's all it had ever been to begin with, was bluster. That maybe Kono would never get the image of Steve cocooned around Danny out of her mind's eye for the rest of her life. That maybe Chin would never stop being concerned even when Steve was at one hundred percent, that he'd get himself and Danny into some other half-crazy stunt that would put them all right back here in this very same position.
It would be a long road. Nobody kidded themselves about that. And eventually the governor would need his task force out running someone down or mowing someone over or hauling someone in, and all before Steve was ready to be in charge again, but that was okay, too. Because they were Five-O, and that meant a lot more to them all than just engraved letters on a badge. It meant everything, and in spite of Danny's protestations, the cousins pretty much figured the punch would be forthcoming at some point when Steve decided to piss Danny off on purpose just to get it.
Because that's how they were. None of them individually really made sense without the others anymore. It was what it was and not a single one of them would have it any other way.
Danny looked down at Steve as Kono let out a small gasp. He couldn't help the smile that burst forth on his face as his partner's eyelids began to flutter. In spite of everything, Steve and Kono and Chin Ho had given him a reason not to hate Hawaii after all.
But there was no way he'd ever let Steve know that, no matter how indescribably beautiful his eyes looked when at last they became visible and focused directly on his.
Danny Williams had an image to maintain, after all.