Aloha everyone! I apologise for the insane time it took me to write this! My muse decided it needed a holiday so packed it's bags and ran away. I hunted it down though, with some help from a former SEAL, a Private Detective Vampire and a transplant Surgeon.
This is from an amazing plot bunny given to me by the lovely Zhalenn. Thank you so much. I hope this lives up to the great idea you passed on.
Disclaimer: They're mine i tell you, MINE! The men in white coats say otherwise BUT I KNOW THE TRUTH!
ps: Sockie1000 - the muse came back, i thank you and your encouragement for that!
The sun crept across the sky. Its slow moving arc throwing shadows across the land, changing the perception of the day as the hours marched on. Wait here they said, not far from the point of return they'd said. A short walk for a long wait. Noon they said.
Birds called in the distance, signalling the approaching of dusk as the lone figure stood in the failing light. His vigil had left his eyes tired and his mind worried. Five hours late. He didn't know enough to know if that was a normal occurrence for these people. Their mouths had spoken the words but their eyes had betrayed their meaning. These things never run on time. Honestly nothing is wrong, just scheduling issues.
Something happened, I can't tell you what. You'll have to wait and see. And hope.
Five hours he'd waited. Five, long and suffocating hours without a hint of apology from the uniformed men that ran here and there. Going about their day as if nothing was happening. He wished it had been the same for him. Just another routine day.
Routine was an antiquity these days.
The coffee he'd bought earlier lapped at the sides of the throwaway cup. It's warmth long gone. It's comfort a façade.
He laughed but the sound held no humour. The coffee in this place was throwaway, as was their appreciation for life.
He knew that was a lie, but felt the need to follow the false anger anyway.
Certain specialties meant you could be recruited to any team, any division, anywhere. Reserves could be called back to active duty in one phone call. One, seemingly inconspicuous phone call. He'd never entertained the possibility as even being something to worry about. But it had happened. In the blink of an eye everything had changed. It was just the way it was, whenever needed, you went where you were sent.
The explanation sucked. Just like the situation. If you were no longer active they shouldn't have the power to rip you from your life and place you god knows where into the middle of god knows what. Without explanation to your family, both blood and bond.
It's just the way it is, don't worry about it. I'll be back before you know it.
He laughed again, this time choked on a sob and drank down the cold coffee.
He watched as more uniformed men went about their day. Following orders without hesitation. He envied them. Their absolute devotion to both the work and each other meant they were never alone. Through Five-0 he'd tasted that. He liked it. No matter what there was someone he could call on. Someone he could count on.
Until that someone was summoned away on what he was sure had to have been a fools errand.
He shook off the anger as the thought followed hot on the heals of reason.
A breeze blew across his sun slicked skin. The evening was approaching. Yet there was still no sign. Guess they don't run on normal time. He laughed, looked away as a uniformed man glanced his direction. They all knew what he was waiting for. They all understood the worry and impatience. That should have been a comfort, but he found none. No one should have to wait for news like this. No one should have to wait around, without explanation. Schedules can be disrupted, he'd agree to that. But five hours was four hours disruption too much.
He ran his hand through his hair again. Took a deep breath and pushed himself off of the car. He'd walked this path countless times before. Up to the hanger, around, back past the car up to another hanger, around. Back to leaning against the car.
As the sun began to dip behind the large buildings the other side of the runway, a noise reached his ears. His eyes searched the sky for a sign. In the distance, just beyond the tree lined ridge above the ocean, lights appeared. They were high, but falling fast. He pushed off the car again. Having been fooled once before, three hours prior, he still couldn't tame the beat of his heart to the possibility this may not be the plane approaching with the cargo he so desperately craved.
He stepped forward as the plane lost altitude. A Corporal caught his eye and nodded.
This was the moment he'd been waiting for. Five long hours all came down to these last few minutes. His questions would be answered soon. The extent of the 'injuries' would be apparent in only a few short minutes. The frustration from the lack of information that had been forthcoming could soon be forgotten.
The plane dipped, it's landing gear coming into full view as the pilot manoeuvred to bring his precious cargo home. The roar of the engine was the soundtrack to the reunion. One long month of silence broken by the deafening sound of approaching jubilation or horror. He was about to find out which. As the plane came to a standstill time seemed to stop. No one moved, no one breathed. Everything came down to this moment.
The door latch moved slightly. It was almost as if they were trying to build up the tension on purpose. He stepped further forward, no longer caring for the rules of the runway. If the door wouldn't open then he'd damn well blow it open. His silent threat entered the ether and the door moved again, raised up and out, then pulled back out of view. Stairs were lowered from the small plane. It could have been a two seater for all he cared. As long as the pilot had what he wanted next to him then he didn't care about any other cargo.
A figure leaned into view, shielded his eyes from the strong sunset and looked out. He was medium sized, red headed. Inconsequential to the man waiting impatiently on the tarmac.
The red head made his way slowly down the steps to the safety of the ground beneath. He saluted the uniformed men that came to help him with his bags. He was nobody to the impatient man using all his will power to not run forward and begin a search of the plane himself. Taking another step forward his eyes searched the small windows. He caught a glimpse of a figure making its way toward the exit. A black bag came into view, the hand that held it was strong and tanned. The arm that followed was muscular and tattooed.
Steve squinted across the tarmac, his eyes finding Danny easily. The Detective was practically bouncing on his feet with impatience. Steve smiled, would have waved if he could, and started down the steps.
Danny was temporarily overcome with relief. He'd been told his partner had been injured on the mission, but no one could tell him how bad. His imagination had conjured up everything from a paper cut to injuries worthy of Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July.
Steve looked tired. No, scratch that, he looked absolutely exhausted. His right arm was in a sling, bandages poked out from the sleeve of his T Shirt. His right hand was a mass of white. There were bruises across his face. Old and fading, but still too prominent for Danny's liking. Steve limped slightly as he made his way down the last few steps and toward his waiting friend.
Danny had yet to move. His brain still processing the visual before him while trying to ignore the nightmare his dreams had conjured up.
"Hey. You ok?" Steve tried to gauge his friend's emotional state. He knew Danny had been told he was being sent back due to injuries sustained in the field. That was all the Navy would say to next of kin. As much as Danny had argued that Mary should be next of kin, Steve was glad he'd chose Danny instead. There was no need to worry his sister needlessly. Danny was the one who would decide if Mary needed to know anything. A burden the Detective hadn't been too sure he'd wanted to shoulder.
Steve shook Danny's shoulder when the other man failed to speak. "Danno?"
The familiar nickname jolted him from his thoughts. He blinked, realised it had been too long since he'd done that as his eyes welled slightly. He'd blame the need for moisture, not the overwhelming relief that had stolen his voice.
Danny smiled, gripped Steve's arm and then pulled him into a tight hug.
"Danny, I'm ok."
Danny released his friend and cleared his throat before he spoke. "Yeah? Well you look like shit. They wouldn't tell me anything. Not one damn thing."
"I know, I'm sorry. It's procedure."
"Yeah well, Navy procedure sucks."
Danny looked up at Steve, noted the bags under his friend's eyes, the paleness of his skin and the slight tight set of his mouth. Pain bleached out in every feature.
"You ready to go home?"
Steve paused. His eyes held Danny's. One word had stopped his heart and held his breath. One word he'd never thought he'd hear again. He didn't trust his voice so nodded and allowed the other man to gently lead him toward the car. He was home. He was safe.
He was alive.
Oh come on, you know me better than that, there's plenty of angst still to come!