Authors Note: So this is an alternate version of episode 2x15. I loved the episode, thought Scott Caan was brilliant but I needed to do my own take on it. Especially because I love a hurt Danny and a worried, comforting Steve. It contains some spoilers so if you haven't seen that episode yet this is your fair warning. Hope you enjoy 3
Lost In Desperation
"Hello partner..." Danny's heart, which had been pounding furiously in his chest since first hearing of Grace's abduction, skipped several beats when Rick popped his head in the window. As he climbed in the car Danny was torn between begging this man for mercy to let his precious daughter go and ripping the gun from his hands and putting a bullet in his head for laying his hands on Grace.
"Ya look good" Before Danny could even form a response past the bile rising in his throat he felt the butt of a gun connect with his cheekbone, sending his head snapping back. The pain that flared through his head was nothing compared to the deep seeded ache he felt in his chest at the thought of Grace scared, alone and possibly hurt.
He didn't bother raising a hand to his cheek, he knew the skin was split, could feel the blood running down his face. It didn't matter, none of it mattered. Rick could put a bullet in his skull and he would die happily as long as his little girl was safe.
Danny was a talker, he could spew bullshit til the cows came home. His conscious mind wasn't even aware of the things he was saying, his subconscious knowing that he had to placate this man, try to get him to see that hurting Grace wasn't the answer.
Promising to kill Rick turned to begging and pleading. None of it made a difference. Rick was hellbent on making Danny suffer and before he knew what was happening they were in the parking lot of Ala Moana Park arguing over murdering Stan.
"Three shots, center mass..."
Danny's heart was racing.
He couldn't do this, he wouldn't shoot an innocent unarmed man.
But he had to.
He had no choice.
His hands were shaking, he couldn't stop his own voice from faltering as he begged to not do this. Danny was pushing Rick and he knew it. He had to be careful just how far he pushed him because Grace's life still hung in the balance.
"Get out of the car D!"
Danny's heart skipped a beat at the sound of Steve's voice. Almost immediately he felt the press of a gun against his temple.
"Put the gun down!
His team, his friends. They were here. Of course they were here.
"What did you do huh? What did you do?" The gun pressed even harder against his temple as Rick became enraged, causing Danny to squeeze his eyes shut. When he opened them, Steve was in view. Full combat gear, standing in front of the car, gun aimed at Ricks head through the windshield.
"Drop your weapon and get out of the car!" SEAL Steve was in full effect, and Danny knew if given the opportunity, he was going to rip Rick apart, limb by limb.
"Just tell them where Grace is alright, that's all they want...just tell..." Danny was cut off by Rick pressing the gun so hard into Danny's skull that he forced his head to lean sideways.
"Shut up." Rick seethed through gritted teeth.
Danny closed his eyes to gather his thoughts. If this was going to end with a bullet in his brain then the last thing he was going to do on this earth was make sure Grace was safe. No matter the outcome, he had to get Rick to tell the others where she was.
"Lower your weapon!" This time it was Chin's voice that pulled Danny from his thoughts. Opening his eyes they locked immediately on Steve's. In the few seconds their gaze remained intact, the message was clear. Grace would be saved, no matter the cost.
"You tell them where Grace is and they'll leave, that's all they want Rick..please..."
"You think I'm stupid D? You forget who you're talkin' to?"
"No, alright, just listen...tell them, tell them where she is and I'll go with you..I'll get you out of here...I'll help you Rick...I swe..."
"HELP ME? How D? How you gonna help me? Like you did ten years ago? That how you're gonna help me?"
"They'll listen to me Rick, they will...You tell them where she is and I'll go with you, I'll help you disappear. They won't follow us...I swear Rick, just tell them...please"
Steve watched through the windshield. He was using every single ounce of his restraint to not send a bullet straight through Rick's brain. Anyone who looked at him would see a highly trained SEAL, cool, calm and collected. You would never know by his steel glare and steady hands that his heart was racing, that he was panicking. His partner was being held at gunpoint by a crazed ex-con dead set on revenge. Steve knew that no matter what, Danny would want his first priority to be Grace. But what Steve also knew was that in the end, if Rick couldn't get revenge on Danny by hurting his daughter then he would gladly kill him as a back up plan.
So Steve steadied himself, using every bit of training he had to hide the fact that it was killing him to see his partner so distraught. Steve knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wasn't the gun currently being pressed into his head that had Danny so frazzled. He knew Danny would die in a heartbeat if that meant Grace was alive and well. That scared the shit out of Steve. It meant Danny wasn't thinking clearly. It meant that all of the training Danny had as a cop was out the window, all bets were off. Danny would barter his own life for Grace's. Steve would not let that happen.
He couldn't hear what either of the men in the car were saying. He could only see the words 'please' and 'Grace' in constant replay on his partners lips. The beads of sweat on Danny's forehead, dripping down and mixing with blood on his cheek. The look of desperation in his eyes. Something Steve never wanted to see again.
He could only see Rick coming apart at the seams, the vein in his neck popping, the anger and fear emanating from every pore. The way he gritted his teeth and seethed at whatever Danny was begging of him.
Steve wanted to end it, wanted that look gone from his partners eyes. He wanted to watch as the life bled from Rick's body. He wanted to kill him. He wanted it to hurt. He wanted him to know that nobody was going to get away with hurting his partner or his family. But he couldn't do any of that, not until they knew where Grace was.
"This ends now Rick. Put the gun on the dashboard and step out of the car" Chin's voice was steady and powerful.
"Tell them Rick...please..."
"Shut up.." Danny swallowed hard. It was quiet for a moment, save for the sound of his own shaky breathing and furious pounding of his heart.
"A'right, this is what we're gonna do...you listening out there?"
Steve took a few steps towards the drivers side of the car.
"Stay right there!" Rick yelled.
Steve froze in place when he saw Rick not only push the muzzle of the gun harder against Danny's temple, but he suddenly held another underneath his realized it was his back up piece, the one he kept on his ankle that Rick had taken earlier.
"Ok Rick, ok...just take it easy..." Steve raised one hand in supplication, the other never waivered from the aim he had on Rick.
"Listen up COMMANDER...In thirty seconds, my dear old partner and I are gonna hit the road. You and all your little HPD friends are gonna stay far away. When I know for sure that nobody is following, I'll call with the location for Grace."
"I can't let you leave here with my partner Rick, tell me where Grace is and I'll do everything in my power to help you."
"Your partner huh?" Rick's laughter shook the weapons digging into Danny's flesh.
"Well he was my partner first, ain't that right D? You might want to reconsider McGarrett, this ones not very loyal..." Rick grew serious again, tapping the gun against Danny's head. Danny bit his tongue and dared a glance at Steve. He could see his jaw clenched tight, eyes flickering with anger.
"Now, unless you never want to see sweet little Gracie again, I suggest you follow my directions"
"Not gonna happen Rick"
"Steve.." Danny warned. "...do what he says"
"It's Grace...please.." His voice shook, laced with emotion as their eyes met, Steve was beat and he knew it.
"This is all very touching, but DANNO has to go now...and I swear to God McGarrett, anyone follows us and your partner here is gonna need a closed casket funeral. We clear?"
Steve was torn. All of his training screamed at him to take out the threat, to not let his best friend out of his sight. Allowing Rick to leave with Danny was a risk, a huge one. So many things could go wrong. Rick could be lying, probably is lying. He could leave here, never call about Grace, shoot Danny, dump his body and disappear. Every scenario played through his head in vivid technicolor.
Then Danny looked at him again. Bright blue eyes, glistening with unshed tears, drenched in fear. The look was clear. Danny needed him to do this. He needed Steve to let him go so that Grace would be safe. There was no decision to make. He had to let them go.
He sensed Chin moving slightly to his right and with a quick look in his direction he caught the nod he gave.
"Okay Rick, we do it your way..." Steve lowered his weapon, knowing full well that Chin and Kono remained in position. "...but now it's your turn to listen."
"Is that right?" Rick snickered. Danny had no choice but to keep his head straight forward, both guns digging into his flesh.
"Yeah, that's right.." Steve's voice was low but powerful, threatening. Out of the corner of his eye Danny could see Steve bending over until his face was in plain sight for Rick. Danny knew that Steve was aiming for eye contact with Rick, so whatever he was about to say would be clear. So that Rick could see in his eyes that he wasn't fucking around.
"...you have my word that you won't be followed. But Rick, I promise you, if you're lying-if you go back on your word...there won't be any place you can run that I won't find you. If you've hurt that little girl, I will end you..."
Danny closed his eyes, feeling a tear escaping from his right one. The thought of Grace being hurt was too much to bear.
"...And Rick, if MY partner doesn't come back alive...you'll be begging me to kill you. Are WE clear?"
Rick, the sick bastard that he was, laughed.
"I guess we'll find out won't we?...Drive" He ordered.
As Danny put the car in reverse and backed out, he locked eyes once again with Steve and gave a small nod. He tried to convey with one look everything he wanted to say.
Take care of her.
At the same time he was receiving Steve's message, loud and clear.
I'll find Grace.
I'll take care of her.
I got your back partner.
This is not goodbye.
As the Camaro disappeared from sight Steve was on the phone immediately, telling HPD to have all units stand down and wait for further instruction. He turned to Chin who was already on his tablet activating the small magnetized tracking device he had slipped onto the Camaro during the standoff with Rick.
"You got them?" Chin nodded.
"Heading south on Kileia. How do you want to do this?"
"We're gonna follow them..." Steve spoke as they ran towards his truck. "..Chin you're with me, we stay one mile southeast at all times. We can't risk him seeing us, but we have to be close enough to get to them."
Steve and Chin climbed in the truck.
"Kono, you wait here. I want you ready when we get the location on Grace."
"Got it boss"
Rick eyes were in continuous motion, watching the roads, the mirrors, the sky, looking for any sign that they were being trailed. Danny's eyes never strayed from the road in front of him. Clearly Rick had done his homework, he seemed to know the streets better than Danny did, taking them on a path with no foot traffic and barely any vehicles. It would be difficult for anyone to be following them without Rick noticing, but that didn't fool Danny. His team was close, that he knew instinctively. Steve was a SEAL for Christ's sake. He knew how to track without being seen. Although Steve would never risk Grace's life, Danny knew his partner would never abandon him.
Danny quickly realized they were heading towards the docks. He began to wonder if this was all part of Ricks original plan. Surely he would have considered all possible outcomes. He had ample time to plan his attack so he was more than likely prepared for anything.
"We've been driving for twenty minutes Rick. No one is following us. Make the call." Danny was growing impatient.
"Who the hell said you were in charge? I'll make the call when I'm good and fucking ready!"
"GODDAMMIT RICK! I've done everything you said, make the fucking call!" The result of Danny's outburst earned him the gun one again aimed at his head.
"Call or no call D, all they're gonna find is a body...it's too late"
The implication of Rick's words hit Danny like a freight train. Overwhelming grief and anger coursed through his body. He shook with rage, turning his eyes from the road to see Rick's face. What he found made him want to vomit. Rick was grinning, the mother fucker was grinning like he just hit the lotto.
"...I told you I was gonna make you suffer..."
"YOU SON OF BITCH!" Danny lashed out, catching Rick off guard, knocking the gun from his hands. The car swerved with his actions, absentmindedly Danny righted it while continuing to strike out at Rick. Slamming on the brakes both men shot forward in their seats. It gave Rick the upper hand for a moment and Danny caught a fist to the jaw, snapping his head to the side. He turned back just in time to see Rick raising the second gun towards him. Danny caught his hand and they struggled.
Blind rage was a powerful thing. Danny used one hand to wrap around Rick's neck, while the other tried to wrench the gun from his grip. He could see Rick scrambling for something, the other gun perhaps. Danny had a death grip around Rick's throat and his face was turning bright red from the lack of oxygen.
"I'll fucking kill you..." Danny spit through clenched teeth. His fingers tightened as an image of Grace's lifeless body flashed through his mind.
Rick gave up on the quest to locate the other weapon and instead put both hands into the struggle for the one between them. This gave Rick the advantage and soon the gun was once again aiming in Danny's direction.
In the silence of the car, a single shot rang out.
"C'mon c'mon c'mon." Steve chanted, one hand wrapped tightly around his cell phone, waiting for it to ring. It's been too long, something was wrong.
"They stopped, a mile away." Chin reported, just as Steve's phone rang. Chin eyed him hopefully as Steve looked down at the screen.
"Not them..." He saw Chin deflate as he tapped the accept button on the phone.
"...Kono, they haven't ca..."
"Boss we found her, we found Grace!"
"What? How? Where?"
"HPD got a call from someone at a Waikele Self storage. They heard shouts coming from one of the storage lockers. They broke the lock and found one very scared little girl that matched Grace's description taped to a chair behind a stack of boxes. I'm pulling in now, we got her boss." He could hear Kono's smile through the phone.
"Is she okay, is she hurt?"
"It's her! I see her! She's okay! Grace!" Kono was short on breath as she ran to Grace. A tear streaked face turned in her direction.
"Auntie Kono!" Grace's voice sent a rush of emotions through Steve's body. He rubbed at his eyes as they stung with tears and he felt Chin's hand squeeze his neck. He could hear the rustling of clothing and he could just picture Kono wrapping her up in a tight hug. For a few moments all that could be heard was sniffling and Kono whispering soothing words.
"Uncle Steve?" Her voice sounded strained, undoubtedly from hours of screaming for help.
"Gracie, you okay sweetheart?"
"Yeah, I want to go home. I want my mom, I want Danno" His gut clenched at the mention of his partner.
"I know you do honey and I'm going to bring him to you as soon as I can okay?"
"Now I want you to go with Kono, she's going to take you to the hospital so the doctors can make sure you're okay, your mom will be there waiting alright?"
"Okay, bye Uncle Steve"
The phone had been passed back before Steve could respond.
"She really okay Kono?"
"Seems like, she's a tough kid."
Like her dad, Steve thought.
"No kidding. Listen, go with her to the hospital. Stay with her and Rachel. We're right behind Danny."
"Go get him boss, keep me posted." With a click Kono was gone, the phone silent.
"Where are they?"
"A mile northwest, Sand Island"
Danny let out a blood curdling scream, his hand flying to his thigh where the bullet struck. Rick coughed and gasped for air now that the vice grip Danny had on his throat was gone.
"Get out of the car."
Danny tried to control his breathing, in turn attempting to control the pain shooting through his leg. He pressed down, looking down to see blood seeping through his fingers. He let out a groan.
"I said get out of the car!"
"How could you do it Rick? How could you kill her?" Danny sobbed, he lightened the hold he had on his thigh, not caring if he bled out. If his baby was gone then he might as well be too. He didn't even register the fact that Rick had gotten out of the car until his door was pulled open and he was being yanked out. He stumbled, the use of his left leg gone. He threw himself at Rick in an attempt to tackle him to the ground, but Rick was ready for him and pushed him instead towards the passenger side of the car. The combination of grief and blood loss was making him dizzy and he fell to the ground. Rick wasn't having any of it.
"Get up!" Rick hauled him up and shoved him into the passenger seat, quickly fastening the handcuffs around Danny's left wrist and locking the other end around the handle above the door.
Racing to the other side of the car, he got in and peeled away.
"How could you?" Danny panted.
"Oh shut up, stop your fucking whining. Your kid is fine, you really think prison hardened me that much that I would kill a fucking kid?"
Danny's head shot up and stared unbelievingly at Rick.
"She's fine, alive and well. I didn't touch her."
Rick came to a stop right before the beginning of the pier and got out of the car. Danny's body was flooded with emotions. She was ok, his baby was alive. Danny's vision swam in and out, with his left hand secured above him, he reached awkwardly with his right hand down to press on his left thigh wound which was still bleeding. Now that he knew Grace was alive, he had to stay that way too.
"You on the other hand, not so lucky." Rick was back. Danny rolled his head in his direction.
"Don't you think I had a plan D? I told you I had a lot of time to think about how I was gonna make you suffer. I'd say job well done. How'd it feel thinking your precious monkey was dead?"
Danny couldn't see straight, blood loss was making him weak. He tried to see what Rick was doing but everything was blurry.
"Now, think about how she's gonna feel when she finds out her Danno died trying to save her. That's a lifetime worth of therapy right there. The guilt will eat away at her for the rest of her life. But don't worry D, I'm sure Step Stan will get her the best psychologist money can buy."
" 'M gonna kill you" Danny panted, blinking hard to clear his vision. He didn't like what he found. Rick was rigging two metal pipes, one against the brake pad and one against the accelerator. The engine revved hard, Rick put the car into drive and closed the door. In his hand he had the end of a piece of rope that was tied to the pipe pressed to the brake pad.
"You'll have to catch me first buddy, and seeing as how you're all tied up at the moment that's gonna be pretty damn hard."
"Go to hell"
"See you there D" And with one pull of the rope the Camaro shot forward. The end of the pier was coming up fast. He didn't have time to even make an attempt to stop the car. He pulled on the handcuffs that was keeping his left arm from being of any use. Even if he got to the steering wheel it wouldn't matter. The car was racing down the short pier. There wasn't any time to even maneuver his injured leg over the console to knock the pipe away and step on the brakes. Before he could brace himself his body became weightless as the car briefly went airborne.
Danny's body shot forward with the force of impact, pulling harshly at his shoulder. The airbag deployed and would have slammed him in the face if his left arm hadn't been blocking it. Water immediately began rushing in through the open windows as the car sank. Danny pulled furiously at the handcuffs, he even attempted the jersey slip to get free but Rick had fastened them too tightly. He screamed and grunted with effort. The water was filling quickly, and in no time at all it was up to his neck. He took a deep breath and braced himself to be completely submerged. He continued pulling at the cuffs as the water rose over his head. Then he remembered the pipe, down on the floor board. If he could get it then he could pry the handle off the car and free himself. He stretched his right arm across his body, adrenaline allowed him to push past the throbbing pain that shot through his left shoulder as it strained with the effort.
He moved his hand around, feeling for the pipe that had been wedged against the seat. He felt nothing. His eyes stung as he looked frantically through the dark water, searching for the pipe. He caught a glint of metal, but it was further away than he had hoped. The impact must have knocked it loose. There was no way he could reach it.
Black spots began to dance across his vision. Darkness creeping along the edges as he ran out of air. He put every ounce of whatever energy he had left and pulled at the cuffs. It was no use.
This was it, he was going to die here. An image of Grace flashed in his mind. She was smiling, alive...happy. He felt a moment of peace.
Just as he was about to let go, open his mouth and let darkness claim him, he felt a set of strong hands frame his face and press an open mouth against his own. Fresh air seeped into his starved lungs and he opened his eyes.
Steve's truck roared through the streets. Him and Chin pulled into the docks just in time to see an explosion of water off the end of the pier. They didn't need Chin's nifty little tracking device to know it was the Camaro.
"Get HPD, medics and coast guard down here now!" Steve was so focused on getting to his partner he didn't realize that Chin was already on it, barking orders into his phone.
As they reached the pier they saw a boat pull away and caught a flash of Rick as it sped out into the ocean. Steve slammed on the brakes, barely giving himself a second to throw the truck into park before he jumped out and broke into a run towards the end of the pier.
"That's him! Go Chin, go!" Steve shouted right before he dove into the water.
There was a strong suction pulling him in the direction of the still sinking Camaro. It was completely submerged and from a distance Steve couldn't see into the car. He swam hard, utilizing every bit of sea training he had gotten as a SEAL. As he neared the drivers side he began to panic. The last time he had seen Danny he had been driving. What if this was a diversion? What if Danny was on that boat with Rick? Reaching the door he grabbed on and looked in, his relief at finding Danny in the passenger seat was short lived. His eyes were closed but Steve could see he was still trying to hold his breath. Time was of the essence, Danny didn't have the kind of training he did. And in a state of panic he would run out of oxygen faster. Steve pushed himself up and swam over the roof over the car, before pulling himself down once again and leaning into the open window. Praying he wasn't too late, Steve grabbed Danny's face. He pressed his mouth to Danny's and blew outward, pushing in what little air he could. His heart leapt when Danny's eyes shot open and he greedily sucked in the air.
Pulling away he knew they had little time, seconds maybe before they both ran out of air. His eyes followed Danny's arm as he yanked it on the cuffs, showing Steve the problem.
Danny watched as Steve backed away and felt around in his pockets. He was running out of time, the little bit of oxygen Steve had supplied was diminishing and he felt the need to open his mouth and suck in air growing. He tried to remain calm. Steve was here now, he would get them out.
Steve knew somewhere in his pocket was a key for the handcuffs. He mentally cursed as his hands fought with the wet material of his pants. He glanced at Danny and saw wide eyes. His time was running out. Steve too was beginning to feel the effects of no oxygen. He dug deep and pushed past it. Failure was not an option. Finally he felt what he had been looking for and gripped it as he pulled his hand from his pocket.
As he leaned in to release the cuffs, he saw Danny's body jerking. He turned his head briefly and saw the same wide eyes filled with panic as his mouth opened and water filled his lungs.
Steve chanted in his head. Danny was drowning. There was no time to feel fear, he focused on the cuffs, slipping the key in and shimmying it until he felt the telltale click and they opened. This time when he looked at Danny he was still. Mouth slack, eyes closed.
Steve's lungs burned as he pulled Danny's body through the open window. His own vision began to dim but he couldn't give into it. He wouldn't. He called upon his training to push through, to carry him towards the surface. It wasn't over. Through the gray edges of his sight he saw light, he was close. He tightened his grip on Danny and used every last ounce of adrenaline he had to push him upward.
As they broke the surface of the water Steve gasped in air. It hurt, his lungs burned. He wanted to take a minute, breath in as much as he was no time, Danny was dead weight in his arms. He kicked, dragging Danny along as he headed towards the ladder on the pier. Suddenly there were hands, pulling Danny away from him. He fought it, not wanting to let go. But then they were pulling him too, hauling him up the ladder. He realized it was several HPD officers.
They tried to get him to stay where he was, to catch his breath, as they began chest compressions on Danny. But Steve wasn't sitting by while his friend wasn't breathing. Pushing one of the officers away he put his own hands to Danny's chest and pushed.
"We got blood! Where are the medics?" Steve tore his head to the side and looked to where the officers were ripping at the pants on Danny's left thigh. As soon as the material was gone blood seeped from the gruesome hole. Steve didn't have time to be shocked at the knowledge that Danny had been shot because a glorious sputtering and coughing came from below him.
Turning back he saw Danny trying to expel the water from his lungs. His eyes were pinched tight and he gasped.
"It's okay, you're okay Danno. I got you. Just breathe." Steve supported his shoulders and turned his body to the side just as the medics arrived. One began working on the gunshot wound while the other tried putting an oxygen mask over Danny's nose and mouth.
Danny put up a struggle, fighting the attempts of the medic. He gasped and coughed.
"It's okay Danny, it'll help.." Danny shook his head and turned weary eyes to Steve, grabbing onto his shirt.
"Grace.." He managed to rasp.
"She's okay Danny, she's okay..." Danny's relief was immediate. He sunk back, fresh tears pooling in his eyes while he allowed the mask to be put into place.
"...She's at the hospital with Rachel and Kono. But she's fine.." He rushed to add, seeing his partners distress at the mention of the hospital. "...she's fine. Shaken up but she's okay, she's not hurt. She's one tough cookie, just like her Danno." Steve smiled and was rewarded with a small one from Danny. He could feel the tension leaving Danny's body. Unfortunately it wasn't just due to relief.
"His blood pressure is dropping, he's going into shock...we gotta move!" The medics shouted.
The grip Danny had on Steve's shirt released. Steve watched as his partners eyes closed again. This time, they didn't reopen.
Hours later, Steve dozed in a chair beside his partners bed. The bullet had been removed through surgery and the minor artery that had been damaged was repaired. Danny had lost quite a bit of blood, but the transfusions seemed to be working. His blood pressure was almost back to normal and his vitals looked good. Steve considered it a miracle and a blessing that he was even alive.
Straightening up a little in the chair his eyes roamed over his partners body. A bruise on his cheek surrounded a small cut. His left arm was immobilized and in a sling, he had wrenched his shoulder pretty badly. The doctors said the force of impact from when the car hit the water almost dislocated his shoulder. From the position Steve had found Danny in, with his arm cuffed across his body, he was shocked that it hadn't popped from it's socket. Not to mention the obvious struggle Danny had put up with the cuffs. His left wrist had a white bandage wrapped around it, the skin having rubbed completely off from the metal digging into his flesh as he tried desperately to free himself. It made Steve's gut twist at the thought of all Danny had gone through. The fear, anguish and pain.
The doctors said he should make a full recovery. Some physical therapy to help get his leg back in shape and he would be as good as new in no time at all. The only thing they had to watch out for was pneumonia, as was a risk anytime a too much water got in the lungs. But the doctors were optimistic. Steve was too. Danny wasn't going anywhere. He had some recovery time ahead of him but he would be okay.
Danny felt like he had been floating, his body levitating somewhere between heaven and hell. As awareness began seeping back into his body so did flashes of memory from the days events. It zoomed past as if he were playing it on fast forward. The call from Rick, the initial terror he felt at the knowledge that she had been taken. The way he raced around downtown Honolulu playing Rick's game. Being told he had to shoot Stan to save his daughter. The panic. His team. The deal they made. The car. Rick telling him Grace was dead.
He came to with a gasp of panic, eyes shooting open.
"Hey, hey...it's alright..."
"Grace..." He choked out. The overwhelming grief causing him to pant for air.
"It's okay Danny, she's alright...look..." Following Steve's nod and downcast eyes he found Grace, curled up sleeping soundly in a tight little ball against his right side.
He tightened the arm that was somehow wrapped around her causing her to shift in her sleep and move closer. He lips found the top of her head and he kissed her. He kept his face there, buried in her hair, inhaling the sweet scent of her shampoo. He couldn't stop the tears that began to fall or the smile that lit up his face. He looked up at Steve in question.
"She's okay. They found her in a storage locker near Waikele Shopping Center. Turns out she's got a set of lungs like her father, screamed until someone heard and broke open the lock." He tried a smile, knowing eventually Danny would be proud of his daughter for getting herself rescued. But right now the pain was still fresh, the fear was still there. He knew all Danny was picturing was his little girl alone and scared.
"Danny, she's gonna be okay." He said softly.
"Was she hurt? Did that bastard touch her?" His voice shook and Steve shook his head immediately.
"No Danny, I promise you she's fine. Doc said she was a little dehydrated, gave her some fluids and released her. Rachel took her home while you were in surgery but she wouldn't sleep until she saw you. She's exhausted, but she's okay Danny. She's okay."
He watched as Danny deflated. His own exhaustion catching up to him.
"You had me worried there for a minute..." Danny turned tired eyes back up to steve.
"... Thought I was gonna lose you."
"Can't get rid of me that easy. Besides I'm the one usually chasing your goofy ass all over the island, it was your turn." Steve chuckled.
"Yeah well, don't go making a habit out of it. You're the backup, remember? Not the other way around."
"How could I forget?" Danny rolled his eyes, but he knew that Steve would travel to the ends of the earth to have Danny's back. Just like he did when Steve was taken in North Korea, just like he would tomorrow and every day after that.
"What about Rick? Did he get away?" He saw something flicker in Steve's eyes.
"You don't have to worry about him, he's never going to get near any of you again." Steve's voice was lethal as he sat back down in the chair.
"Danny, do you trust me?"
"With my life"
Steve swallowed hard, he felt tears well up in his eyes. He knew the weight of those words. Danny wasn't just talking about his own life, but that of his daughters.
"Then you just close your eyes and get some rest so you can get back to chasing my goofy ass all over the island." Steve joked, causing Danny to smile, but he didn't close his eyes. He stared at Steve as he tightened his grip on Grace.
"It's okay partner, you just rest...I got your back."
Steve settled back into the chair, watched Danny bury his head into Grace's hair and close his eyes. A few minutes later, in the quiet darkness of the hospital room came a muffled sleepy voice.
An hour later Steve's phone woke him from a fitful doze. He answered quietly, not wanting to wake the sleeping figures in the bed.
"Howsit brah, how's my favorite haole and little shorty doin?" Steve sat straight up at the sound of Kamekona's voice.
"They're ok, resting."
"Good, you tell them I got a plate of shrimp and a shave ice with their name on it when they're up to it."
"You got it. Anything else?"
"Yeah brah, I wanted to let you know the status of the Jersey Devils..." Steve caught the double meaning right away.
"Looks like they're out of commission, permanently brah"
Steve let out the breath he had been holding.
"I never liked hockey anyway"
"You and me both bruddah. You ever see a big guy on skates? Not a pretty sight, and painful on the bum"
Steve smiled, running a hand over his face.
"You got it brah"
After hanging up the phone Steve's eyes fell upon the bed and smiled. Danny and Grace were alive, clinging to one another for dear life in their sleep. When the sun came up in the morning they could begin to put this nightmare behind them. Steve would be there every step of the way.
A week later Steve and Grace splashed in the water behind his house. His eyes occasionally making there way to Danny, who sat in the chair up on Steve's lanai currently talking on his phone. His left leg was propped up on a small table, his arm now free of the sling. Their eyes met and he watched the expression on Danny's face change from peaceful to tense. Steve frowned but was brought back to Grace when she squealed with laughter as she splashed him. He turned back and laughed with her, picking her up and pretending to throw her in the water.
The little girl was resilient. Even after the ordeal she had been through she was all smiles. Every time Rachel brought her to the hospital to visit Danny she would climb up and the bed and sit close by, always touching him, and he her. It was like they needed to reassure themselves that the other was there. They were closer than ever. Rachel had been angry at first that her daughter had been caught in the middle, but after talking with Steve about all Danny had endured on that horrible day she had softened. She had allowed Danny as much time as he needed with Grace.
After being released the previous day, Danny had gratefully accepted the offer Steve had made to let him recover at his house. It was a win win for everyone. Danny got to be comfortable while Steve doted on him. Grace was spending the weekend with them. Steve got the comfort of being able to keep an eye on his family.
Steve looked back to the beach while Grace practiced her backstroke. Danny was limping down toward the water, leaning heavily on the cane, a bit awkward in the sand. He stopped just at the waters edge and gave a slight twist of his head, signaling for Steve to come there.
"I'll be right back Gracie, you keep practicing and don't go too far."
"Okay!" She replied happily, waving to her father before going back to her backstroke.
"What's up? You okay?" Steve asked as he emerged from the water to join Danny in the sand.
"So I just got a call from HPD..." Steve raised his eyebrows in question.
"...they found Ricks body washed up on a jetty on the north shore."
"Yeah, looks like the sharks got to him. That's what Max says anyway." He eyed Steve suspiciously, but with amusement.
"Hmm, what a shame. Terrible way to go."
"Look, I really don't want to know how that happened but uh...thank you. I don't think Grace or I could have handled a lengthy trial. Steve shrugged and put on his best innocent face.
"Your welcome, but I didn't do anything. Rick escaped by boat, sharks got him. Seems pretty cut and dry to me."
Danny ducked his head and laughed again.
"Whatever you say, but thank you anyway. For everything." He nodded towards Grace.
"No thanks necessary, we're partners, it's what we do. We ride together, we die together." Steve laughed, clapping Danny on the shoulder as he rolled his eyes.
"Really? You're gonna quote Bad Boys to me? How is this my life?" He asked, raising his face towards the sky.
"Uncle Steve! Come on!"
"Go, watch my kid. Make sure she doesn't drown like her old man."
Steve's laughter and smile disappeared as he glared at Danny.
"Too soon?" Danny asked.
"Too soon." Steve confirmed.
"Alright alright, go. Teach her how to be a fish. I'll just be up there turning into a lobster." He turned, hobbling back to his chair, mumbling something about the stupid Hawaiian sun blasting him in the face. Steve laughed, turned back to the water and dove in.
Danny made it back to his chair and plopped down. Squinting, he watched Steve pick Grace up on his shoulders. Her smile, brighter than the sun, melted his heart. He could relax now with the knowledge that Steve, his real partner, would keep her safe.