Author's note: I wrote this as an add on / missing scene to before the story line was resolved in .

Decision

By Marisha

Steve stared at Joe's back as he limped away in the darkness. A horn blared behind him and forced Steve out of his bewilderment. He waved for the car to pass. Brushing his hand over his face, he tried to wash away the last minutes. He looked over his shoulder. Joe had disappeared.

Damn it! Again Joe left him standing in the rain dumb folded like an impertinent schoolboy. He was not a teenager, confused and hurting at the academy and Joe wasn't his instructor any more as he had just pointed out so clearly. Steve smacked the steering wheel and eased his truck back into traffic.

Damn it! He had just started a war with the Yakuza to save Joe's ass without so much as a warning to his team. Another head on decision, without considering the implications as Danny would yell at him. He had to do what he thought was right.

Without knowing all aspects, as Chin would undoubtedly object and had already pointed out earlier when he asked him how much he really knew about Joe and what went on the last ten years.

Damn it! Steve thought he knew the guy, respected, and loved him like the absent father that had pushed him away.

Joe wouldn't betray or double cross him.

Steve felt it in his heart, but his mind couldn't ignore the suspicious signs that didn't add up lately. The little lies and roadblocks Joe had been building to slow Steve down and to keep him out of arms reach when he closed in on finding out what his father's dealings with Wo-Fat really were all about. His heart knew Joe wanted to protect him, to shield him from hurt like any father would and to do anything in his power to keep Steve out of harm's way, but would he or had he already crossed the line to do it? Steve wanted, needed to know – even if the truth would kill him as it had his father. Even if it broke his heart.

Steve straightened up in his seat tightening his jaw muscles. He was a SEAL - trained to deal with emotions: to compartmentalize them and observe the facts as an outsider. He had dealt with them and would do it again. The result will always justify the means. Not knowing was what was killing him. His mind was strong, he thought, strong enough to withstand all attacks.

"But your time with 5-0 has weakened you," a soft voice whispered spitefully in his mind and Steve slumped back into his seat.

True. Accepting a new team – civilians – accepting them into his life, into his heart, lowered his defenses. His team was not a well-oiled machinery like his SEALS were, not in the same way anyway. They were individuals with their own joys and worries and he let himself get sucked in to caring about them, desperate for a bit of warmth and friendship that the camaraderie of a SEAL team couldn't give him.

Would that be his downfall in finding the truth about his father? Did he jeopardize his mission by letting his team into his life? Steve rubbed his chin, as his thoughts continued to swirl in his mind.

No. His team enriched his life and they had proven themselves endless times. They made it perfectly clear they stood behind him – after voicing their considerable doubts or critiques. Hell, they even rescued him from North Korea where his single-mindedness had let him - deceived by a friend. Steve swallowed hard, swallowing the lump in his throat.

Would Joe be disloyal to him, too? Had he changed so much in the last 10 years, that he would betray Steve?

Steve's chest tightened and he took a deep breath to fight against the black hole threatening to pull him under. The tightness eased up and dropped into his stomach churning its way through years of unyielding trust.

He couldn't lose Joe, too. He had already lost his father to neglect in contact and finally due to Victor Hess. Letting Joe walk would be like losing a father all over again – for a second time.

Steve sat up, looked over his shoulder as he signalled and eased into the traffic. He might give Joe some leeway to let him cool off, but he would stand by him and continue to protect him by monitoring his moves. After all, Joe would probably lead him to all the answers.

The End