Disclaimer: I own nothing from or related to Hawaii Five-0. I also don't own the Navy, Navy SEALs, any type of aircraft, or an army of insurgents. All of these go to their respective owners, and I receive no profit from the story below :)
Hello and welcome to my first posted H50 fic! Brief notes: this is pre-series, meaning you're mostly just going to see Steve and a few male OCs. There is some blood/gore/violence, but nothing too graphic. No romance whatsoever.
Before we begin, I have to give a huge, heartfelt thank you to Shakespeare's Lemonade for being my wonderful, marvelous, incredibly awesome beta on this. To say I appreciate it would be an understatement :D
Now, dear readers, onward!
That was all he needed right now. Focus. He could handle that.
Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett reopened his eyes, glancing quickly around the inside of their aircraft. His team sat in various states of tension, whether controlled or not, each going over their mission in his head, committing every aspect to memory. Across from him Lt. Cameron Wiles was nearly bouncing out of his seat in excitement. Catching Steve watching him, he grinned broadly and offered a joking salute, clearly looking forward to the chaos they were about to enter. It was good to have a maniac like Cam around, if only for the entertainment it provided.
Next to Cam sat the ever stoic Aaron Anders, AA. His eyes were closed, his head tipped back, looking for all the world like he was taking a poorly timed nap. Steve knew him well enough by now, though, to know he was "centering himself," taking a few minutes to clear his head, focus, and mentally prepare. He would be serving as sniper for the night, and according to him, balance was key to success. That kind of comment was usually met by some smart-alec remark from Cam, and the thought nearly made Steve snicker.
Finally, sitting next to Steve himself, was Jon Valencia, the team baby. Checking his weapon for what must have been the tenth time in as many minutes, he was sending off waves of nervousness to the others. One might have felt bad for him, if one weren't a member of a team of elite Navy SEALS, in which case one would merely find this type of mindset unacceptable.
Being the good sailor he was, Steve took action.
"Yo, Jonny!" even yelling his voice was hard to pick up over the various rattles and thrums of the military plane, but Valencia looked up immediately.
Steve grinned at him, "What're you doing?"
Jonny looked down at his weapon, over at a now fully aware AA, briefly at the snickering Cam, and finally back to Steve.
"Just making sure everything's working, sir," he said, although he sounded rather uncertain.
Steve nodded, and held out his hand. Jonny looked utterly bewildered.
"Give me the gun."
The younger man complied, albeit reluctantly. Steve carefully grabbed the weapon, drawing it over into his lap were he proceeded to examine it in a most thorough manner. He checked each and every possible mechanism, made sure all the ammo was in good order, ensured everything was spotlessly clean, and at long last handed the gun back to Jonny. He slapped the young man on the shoulder.
"Looks good!" he assured as he leaned back, flashing a grin at Cam, "Now you don't need to check anymore."
Jonny took a moment to process that. A frown settled over his face and he dejectedly sat back, clipping the gun in place. Now that a superior officer had made the call, rechecking the gun would probably be considered offensive. And one simply did not offend Steve McGarrett. Cam, upon seeing this pathetic expression, proceeded to bust out laughing. AA snorted, and Steve chuckled, even as all of their radios buzzed to life.
"Begin prep for jump. ETA, thirty minutes," the voice of their pilot, Steve could never remember her name, or maybe he'd never heard it, drawled over the airwaves before going silent again.
Steve bobbed his head once, "You know what that means boys. Put on your masks."
Affirmatives rang out and the final jump preparations began. Each man placed a mask over their mouth and nose, flooding their systems with 100% pure oxygen. Thirty minutes later, the back end of the Osprey slowly opened, the five men lined up and ready, masks now replaced with small, portable oxygen tanks. Steve rolled his neck, taking slow even breaths and praying to whatever deity was out there that his and his team's gear wouldn't malfunction any time soon. A small thrill of nervous energy shot from his stomach to his forehead as the black sky came into full view.
Cam went first, most likely ducking out with a shout stolen by the wind. AA waited only a moment and stepped calmly out after him, as though it were the most normal thing in the world. Steve was up next. He turned briefly to grin at Jonny, smacking him on the shoulder, before launching himself out into the cold, inky black night sky.
The sensation that met him could only be described as peaceful. There was no sound when dropping out of an aircraft this high, only the dull throb of the atmosphere whipping by his face. Free-falling from 25,000 feet was a surreal experience, one he never grew tired of. His goggles set the dark night ablaze with green light, and looking down he could just make out the expanse of desert beneath him. The moment was short lived, however, as almost immediately he deployed his chute, directly over AA. It was a bit of a jolt, he would probably be at least a little sore by tomorrow, but not as bad as a HALO would have been, so he counted his blessings. He knew Cam was below them somewhere, keeping track of their position, and Jonny was probably already in position over his head.
Thus they came to the boring part.
He kept his brakes stowed, using his feet to angle and steer along with Cam's directions below. Their target location was about thirty one miles from the drop zone, and Cam's navigational ability would be key. His team had practiced these HAHO jumps a hundred times before, had utilized them on various missions, and while Steve never tired of the initial rush of falling from such extreme heights, he did get tired of drifting endlessly in pitch black skies, praying that the straps holding him in his harness didn't decide to fail. Some men, like AA, would use this time to reflect on their place in the world. Most me, like Steve, begged gravity to work just a little faster.
It took a good twenty minutes to make landfall. Every man quickly disconnected their chute cables. They landed within a few yards of each other, courtesy of the stacking technique, and quickly converged on their commanding officer. Steve briefly flashed a glance over each man, assuring himself no one had had any unfortunate mishaps 25,000 feet in the air, before motioning to AA.
AA glanced at the hand held GPS, "Looks good. Landing was within the planned parameters. Our target is about three klicks northeast."
Steve nodded, "Then let's move out."
The base was silent when they arrived, their intel was good, and no information had leaked on their intentions, partly because just about no one new what those intentions were save for a select few higher ups. Steve lightly ran his fingers over the cool metal of his M4A1 rifle, he could feel Jonny practically breathing down his neck. A terrorist cell had set up camp here, and supposedly they had some sensitive information that had the higher ups chomping at the bit for a chance to see. All the team had to do was go in, grab some files off a computer, and get out. Simple enough. On paper.
Unfortunately, this wasn't paper.
Missions like this had high casualty rates. A small element of men going into a heavily guarded compound to retrieve carefully encrypted files with nothing but themselves as backup and an Osprey for emergency only air support. Air support that could very well kill both friend and foe in the small area. Missions like this required the highest degree of focus, and Steve's mind was like a laser sight, directed at their objective and safety and nothing more. With a little luck, they may actually make it out alright.
Past experience suggested otherwise, but optimism is a good thing, right?
AA's voice came quietly over Steve's earpiece; he was in position. Cam gave the same report only seconds later.
It was show time.
Getting past the guards wasn't hard. They were poorly trained, bored, and, in some cases, drunk. Steve and Jonny barely had to acknowledge their presence. Creeping through an enemy base, however, always presented some challenges. This was different from coming in with an entire platoon or even a squad, in which they could wreak havoc and annihilate everyone in their way. This was covert, and that was a little more complex.
Steve pressed his back against a wall to one of the buildings as someone stepped out of a doorway. Jonny mirrored him on the other side of a narrow road, both of them well out of sight. The younger SEAL's concerns had dissolved, and his face was fit to an expression of intense concentration as he extended a small mirror on a telescoping rod out and around the corner just enough to see. A moment later he signaled the all clear.
Steve rolled around the corner, keeping low and alert. AA occasionally gave a report on the locations of hostiles nearby, using his superior position on a rise in the landscape to his advantage. The target building was up ahead. Cam would already be setting charges on another structure, because one could never have enough explosives in a plan. Steve grinned slightly, adrenaline rushing his senses. It was a good feeling, an alive feeling, a focused feeling. He was ready.
To get to the target, they had to cross about thirty feet of open, well lit ground. This was where Cam, the gleeful pyromaniac, came in. Steve clicked his radio twice. Five clicks met the request, and seconds later a shock wave rocked the compound. Shouts of alarm and shrieks of terror filled the air as a bunker at the far end erupted into flames. Men poured out from their hiding places, waving to each other, shouting commands, and all rushing...away from their intruders.
They waited only a minute before making the mad dash over open ground, spinning around the back corner, and approaching the back door. They paused, listening for pursuit, for any indication that they had been detected.
Creeping along they kept their heads ducked under the sills of the few windows above them, pausing on either side of the one closest to the door. Steve nodded to Jonny, and the younger man quickly twisted just enough to peer into the room. He leaned back a moment later, after rapidly scanning the room inside, and signaled the all clear.
One solid kick had the door knocked out of the way, and both SEALs smoothly slid through its frame, guns at the ready, scanning the already dark room with night vision goggles. It was empty. They moved on to the next, and got the same result. They briefly split up to check two rooms at once, before converging again a moment later. Jonny motioned to the room he had just come from. This was it.
Steve slid into the dim lab, noting the poorly constructed computers connected by all number of tangled wires. It looked more like something one would use to blow up a small country than to store any kind of information, but hey, they were terrorists. Probably not the highest paying job for your standard, run of the mill, murderous grunt or suicide bomber.
AA would be better at hacking the monstrosity, but Steve was good enough, it would just take a little longer. He quickly drew a small drive out of one of his many vest pockets, searching only briefly for the correct port on the back of what he thought had been a computer tower at one point. Tapping some keys, he drew the monitor to life, being immediately prompted to give a password.
He resisted the urge to sigh, pulled up a chair and sat down heavily. Time to work some magic.
"Approaching your position. How's the target?" Cam's voice filtered through his earpiece.
Jonny was the one to answer, "We've located the hub. Need a few minutes."
"I give you five, tops," AA informed them, and as he was the one with eyes on their enemy, his word was probably sound.
Steve winced internally. He wasn't entirely sure that would be enough, but he would have to make it work.
Cam arrived not a minute later, taking his time to fully examine the entire structure, looking for any terrorists hiding in the corners. He found none, and returned to the room, bouncing in to peer over Steve's shoulder.
"Nice encryption," he muttered appreciatively, "Too bad you have to screw with it."
Steve grunted in reply.
He was almost there, just a few more keystrokes and...perfect. The firewall crumbled, the scans stopped, and the system fell easily into his hands. Allowing only a small grin of triumph, he started the download. He wasn't ready to relax yet however, because this was the part where things usually decided to turn south. As much as he liked to be optimistic, realistically AA would be calling in to report—
"You're compromised, they're closing in on your position. Get out now," AA's voice snapped.
Steve looked down at the screen, "How much time?"
Not sounding entirely pleased that his commander was apparently intent on staying for a bit, AA replied, "Thirty seconds."
Steve nodded, the download should take twenty. They had time.
Jonny and Cam moved to the door, weapons tightly gripped in their gloved hands. Steve fingered the flash grenades in a pocket, contemplating the best way to deploy them as he watched the download bar continue its slow journey. He wasn't nervous. His training siphoned all anxieties into sharp motivation, determination, and, of course, the ever important focus.
"I hear them," Jonny hissed.
Steve willed the bar faster, hands slipping to his own rifle.
"Right outside," the youngest SEAL continued.
The bar came to just before the end of its route...and stopped.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me," Steve ground out.
Cam came up behind him, still keeping the gun trained on the entrance to the room. Immediately seeing the problem, the younger man groaned loudly.
"Seriously? What is this, Windows Vista?"
Steve smacked the side of one of the monitors, "Crappy computers."
"DIY project gone horribly, horribly wrong," Cam agreed, "Terrorists really need to upgrade and consider their priorities."
Steve kicked the computer. It's already roaring fans hitched, sputtered, and returned to full volume. At almost the same moment, a loud bang followed by agitated voices filled the air.
"Company," Jonny muttered, leaning back against the wall by the door.
"No, really?" Steve growled back.
The bar twitched a fraction further. This was insane.
"Embrace the suck, brother," Cam snickered, and Steve was glad he had gotten used to such disturbingly chipper behavior from the man.
They could hear their company pounding through the structure, running into rooms, looking for the intruders they knew were somehow inside. Steve ran a hand through his hair. This was quite possible the stupidest thing he had ever seen occur on a mission. It should have been a statistical impossibility. Evidently it wasn't.
Just when he was about ready to shoot the machine and be done with it, three things proceeded to occur at the exact same time.
One, the download bar abruptly jolted the rest of the way, proudly displaying its accomplishment.
Two, AA shouted over the radio to get out, get out now you idiots!
And three...the world exploded.
The shouting of the hostiles pouring into the building was drowned out by thundering gunfire that echoed in the confined space. Cam's battle cry and Jonny's sharp report to AA rang out only briefly before all was complete and utter chaos. Steve grabbed the drive, stuffed it in a pocket, and let loose a spray of gunfire on the computer station.
"Let's move!" he bellowed over all the noise, and his boys released a massive barrage of automatic weapon's fire on the insurgents, driving them backwards.
He joined them, and a moment later, they were rapidly retreating down a hallway, able to hear, but not see, their pursuers. It hadn't really been their desire to attract so much attention, although Steve was prepared for the possibility. Still, he really hated being on the run. Gunfire erupted behind them, pinging too close for comfort of the metallic walls.
"We could really use some cover fire right now, AA!" Steve yelled into his earpiece.
He was answered when they opened the back door, only to see the guard on the other side very nearly explode at the force of a .50 cal bullet through his brain. Not a pleasant sight, by any means, but Steve would take it. They bolted out into the open, laying down a blanket of bullets as they went. Stealth wasn't key anymore, speed was, and they could do speed.
He could hear one of the others, he wasn't sure which, yelling over the radio for immediate evac, and he heard the short, curt response of their pilot. His mind wasn't on these minor details, however, it was more focused on not dying. Cam would tell him that was a worthy thing to concentrate on.
This focus, however, was cut abruptly and rather rudely short when a bullet ripped through his thigh. Pain screamed through his nerves, but, to his relief, he managed to keep his voice to only a breathy "Oh." He stumbled, fell to the ground. Cam yelled something, grabbing the back of his tac vest. He was nearly dragged on his face, but managed to scramble to his feet, staggering along by Cam's side. Jonny laid down cover fire, and AA continued his firestorm from the hills.
Going was harder now, his breath coming in short, pained gasps that he knew weren't from fatigue, but from the beginnings of shock, loathe as he was to admit it. Pain radiated up his thigh, into his torso, and down to his toes, even with the copious amounts of adrenaline pumping through his veins. He continued to fire his weapon, but more wildly now, just hoping he was hitting something because those dots dancing in his vision weren't helping him aim all that much.
With Cam's arm under his arm and around his upper torso, Steve easily felt it when the other man lurched with a pained grunt, nearly falling over. They didn't stop, but he guessed it wouldn't be to far-fetched to assume Cam had just taken one to the shoulder. Great.
"Get us out!" he boomed into his radio at the pilot who really should have been there by now in his humble opinion.
"Copy. Coming in now," the woman informed him, sounding far to calm for his liking.
The fact that they weren't dead yet probably qualified as a miracle, he wasn't sure. With a mob of angry insurgents charging after them, AK-47s blazing, they probably should have been hit a little more than this. Steve chalked it up to good luck. Or maybe it was just the darkness. Yeah, probably that. He wondered if he and Jonny were hitting anything either, as Cam had given up on shooting now that his right arm was hanging rather uselessly at his side.
They were nearly out of the compound when finally the dull thudding of "chopper" blades broke through the night. The Osprey turned on all its spot-lights, angling them blindingly downward. One torpedo fired from its underbelly, pounding into the earth somewhere behind the fleeing SEALs. A line dropped gloriously from the heavens, and in quick order Jonny and Cam had the most injured member of the team strapped in and ready to be pulled up. Normally he would complain, but right now, he was just too dang tired to really care.
The hand that dragged Steve into the aircraft wasn't that of the pilot, thankfully, but rather a more familiar face. AA offered him a small grin, helping unhook him and ushering him further inside as he dropped the line again. Jonny came up next, which really wasn't unexpected despite Cam's own injuries, the youngest SEAL simply didn't go last in Cam's book. Still, it took a bit longer than the others would have liked for the tug on the rope indicating they could lift their last man up out of the war zone below.
He was dragged in by the hands of Jonny and AA together, and immediately sprawled out in the middle of the floor, breathing hard. AA turned to the cockpit, yelled something, and they were off, cutting the lights and going dark over the once again empty landscape. After the wild energy just moments ago, the relative still and quiet was almost unnerving.
Even with their enemies far behind, however, they weren't yet out of the woods.
"Naturally it would be you two that come out with extra holes while Jon and I are unscathed," AA commented dryly.
Cam, although his breathing was now a bit more ragged, grinned a bit at Steve, "Yeah, bro."
He extended his fisted hand toward his commander, and Steve lightly tapped it with his own knuckles. AA gave only a faint hum of disapproval.
"Bullet's still inside," Jonny reported from where he was examining Cam's shoulder.
Cam groaned, not so much from pain as from exasperation, "I thought the bad guys were supposed to be suckish shots. What's with this?"
Jonny snorted, "That's in the movies, brother. We don't have it that good."
Cam nodded sagely, "Amen. Our lives are forfeit."
AA was carefully pulling away the fabric from Steve's thigh, examining the bloody, mutilated mess of the bullet's exit wound. Steve suppressed a hiss of pain, tipping his head back and closing his eyes. As the adrenaline wore off he was beginning to feel the full effects of his injury, and it wasn't a pleasant sensation.
"Through and through," AA confirmed, "Good and bad. Good; there isn't a hunk of lead in your body. Bad; your leg looks like bloody hamburger."
Cam made a gagging noise, "Thanks for the mental image, A, now Burger King will never be the same."
Steve managed a strained snort at that. He was trying to focus through the pain now, trying to keep it all under control, trying to ignore the building dizziness and the way he was starting to shake.
"Stay awake, Boss," AA interrupted his concentration, "You've nicked an artery, no sleeping."
Steve cracked open one eye to glare at him, only to find himself suddenly lying on his back, gasping for breath, both eyes wide and blurry. For one incredibly confusing moment he had no idea what had just happened, or even where he was until it occurred to him by the steady cadence of AA's voice, telling him to breathe through it and he was fine, that he had just blacked out momentarily.
With a muttered curse he finally managed to bring his vision back into clarity, focusing in on AA's remarkably calm visage, "What'd you do?"
At least, that's what he tried to say, but it came out a bit more like "Wa'jew'duh?" AA got the point.
"Applied a pressure bandage without warning you," at the completely lost look he got, he added, "Sorry."
Steve just dropped his head back with a dull groan. Just the way he loved to end a mission. Injured. He couldn't really focus so well now, however, as everything was getting a little fuzzy around the edges, and his leg was really, really hurting right now, and why the heck was everything so funny sounding?
AA was still working around his leg, and Steve lifted his head just enough to try and see what was going on. He was surprised to find his entire pant leg soaked in dark red fluid, and a small pool of it gathering under the appendage. It occurred to him that this was a bad thing, but he couldn't muster the energy to really care.
"Hey, boss? Bro, come on, missions not over yet, don't go sleeping on the job," Cam called from somewhere.
Steve, however, barely registered someone had even spoken before slipping fully into unconsciousness.
He was in a hospital. Or infirmary. Or something. It really depended on whether he was on land, on a boat, or in the air. Or in America, or China, or Iraq, or Africa...
Anyways, it was definitely a medical facility, because it smelled like antiseptic and he could distinctly hear a non stop beeping that was really, really getting on his nerves. Something itched on the back of his hand, a light pinch on one finger, and an even more uncomfortable and unwelcome sensation he would rather not think about a little further south. His mouth tasted like dirty cotton, which meant he'd probably been out for a couple days at least, and his throat felt raw, like he had been on a respirator recently. So a bad one then.
"Dude. Boss. Open your eyes."
Ah, Cameron. The ever present devil on his shoulder and pain in his head.
He contemplated just pretending that he was still asleep, but figured Cam already knew he was rising towards consciousness. With a resigned huff of breath just bordering on a sigh, his eyes fluttered open with a bit more effort than it should have taken. His field of vision was immediately filled with the beaming face of his subordinate and friend.
Cam looked much more like a child on Christmas than a full grown Navy SEAL seeing his commanding officer wake up from what may very well have been a coma for all Steve knew, but that was just Cam. Now where were the others...
"You've been out for three days, blood loss from a cut in your femoral artery, you were briefly on a respirator, only went into cardiac arrest once, and are expected to make a full recovery."
Steve rolled his head to the right, giving his eyes a moment to focus on AA who watched him mildly over the top of his book. Jonny was seated nearby, grinning broadly.
"Good to have you back, sir," the youngest member quietly added.
Steve was slowly making his way out of the fog that came with being drugged up to your eyeballs and managed a slight nod of thanks. He shifted back to looking at the still abnormally gleeful Cam, only now noticing the sling on his friend's arm. Cam followed his gaze, and, impossibly, his grin widened.
"I busted it good," he said with far too much pride, "Screwed up my clavicle."
"He went in for surgery around the same time you did, bled all over the place. We owe the pilot an apology by the way," AA broke in, already becoming engrossed in his reading.
At Steve's worried look Jonny reassured him, "He means the blood you two got all over the upholstery. Doesn't come out easy, and plus I think Cam must have complained her into a stupor. AA may have yelled a bit too."
"I didn't yell, I instructed," AA snipped.
There was a pause.
Both Cam and Jonny turned back to their boss and said, in unison, "He yelled."
Steve snickered as Cam and Jonny proceeded to tell him everything else that had transpired in the time he had been out, with the occasional correction from AA. These were not only his subordinates and teammates, they were his friends, his family, although you would be hard pressed to make him say it out loud. He trusted these men implicitly and wouldn't trade them for anything.
"So when are we busting out?" the question was posed by Cam, and all eyes turned mischievously to Steve.
His lips twitched and his mind, though still a tad foggy, started conjuring up a master plan of epic escape. As he started to explain the awesome strategy that would free them from the clutches of their hospital captors, somewhere in the back of his mind he thought this was the life. This team would always have his back, whether they were fighting off hordes of terrorists or an army of angry nurses, and he could count each one as a close friend. Yes, he was sure this was where he belonged, and he was happy and proud to be here. Never mind what the future had to bring, he would take that when it came, for now he sat back and enjoyed his team, his friends, his family.
Five years later...
It had been years since Steve worked with his old SEAL team. At one time he hadn't ever thought he would have another team like them, and in his most optimistic moments he even let himself dream they would always be a unit together. Things hadn't quite worked out that way. In the SEALs, a team was never permanent, circumstances could tear them apart in an instant, or over a period of many years. Both were true for the element Steve had so proudly lead.
Today, Jonny ran with a new team, and Steve had reason to believe the young man was a fantastic asset to SEAL Team 6.
AA sat behind a desk somewhere in DC, a picture of his wife on one corner, son on another, and a cane leaning on its edge.
And Cam...Steve looked down at the smooth stone at his feet. Cam had come home for the last time three years ago, escorted by soldiers in uniform and draped by a flag.
Steve himself was on reserve, and had something new to fill the void. A new job, a new niche, and, above all, a new team. Two men and one woman, people he would die for, and who he knew would do the same for him.
The calm, rational one who anchored him.
The fiery, youthful one who kept him optimistic.
The uptight, strong-willed one who kept him sane.
They weren't just his co-workers, or even just his friends. They were family, his ohana. Just like the SEAL team before them.
"Hey, Steve! You coming?"
Speaking of uptight, strong-willed friends.
Steve grinned softly to himself, tossing a quick "Coming!" over his shoulder. Danny huffed loudly slouching against the door of his Camaro, but otherwise waiting patiently. Steve shook his head, giving a curt nod to the polished, engraved stone he stood before.
"You'd like him, bro," he glanced back at the blond detective, who appeared to be dumping sand out of his shoes, yet again, "He's a crazy haole. Maybe you can meet up someday."
The stone said nothing in return, but Steve felt just a little comfort in making the invitation. He new the man he spoke to would agree wholeheartedly. With a final, small smile at the piece of rock, he turned around and walked away. He had a new team to care for, a family to lead.
AA would tell him not to kill anyone, to remember he needed to balance his mind.
Jonny would call him sir, respectful as ever as he advised him to be cautious but strong.
Cam would remind him in his own unique way to have a blast above all else, especially with copious amounts of C4.
And he would, or at least, he'd try to. He owed them that much.
So, jolting into a light jog, Steve headed back to the Camaro, his partner, his job, and his family. His brothers of the past may be part of him, but the time for memories was over for now. Now it was time to focus on the future, on his family. And Steve could handle that just fine.