A/N: this is my fist foray into the Five-0 universe but nowhere near my first fic. Although I'd love insight on how I got the character voices down. I'm a stickler for Canon so I hope I pegged the Steve/Cath relationship right but please tell me if I didn't. Im asking for constructive feedback, not to be told what a crap job I did, y'know?
All in all, enjoy and please let me know what you think!
Danny's been slugging away at his backlog of paperwork for a couple of hours when suddenly, he's had enough. It's Saturday night and he doesn't have Grace and the case is wrapped up. He's pretty sure he heard Kono and Chin get back from HPD about three minutes ago so they're about done too. He slaps the pen down on top of the open folder he's working on and goes to find Steve. He wants a beer and his team to share it with.
He gets in the door to Steve's office and freezes, his greeting dying on his lips.
He finds him sitting behind his desk, the chair pushed back about three feet, utterly still with his elbows on his knees and his hands open and stiff, the expression on his face something Danny's never seen before. After all the shit they've been through together, that's saying something. The look on Steve's face is something between shock, fear and panic.
Danny's suddenly very, very nervous.
"Steve? You okay? Hey Steve?"
To his complete and utter astonishment, Steve doesn't say a single word, just shakes his head slowly in a clear negative.
"He's not okay. Damn. Okay, what is going on," he mutters as he shoves in the glass door. Danny's on his knees besides his partner's chair, a hand on his back in three seconds flat.
"What's wrong? Tell me what's the matter. Are you sick? Did something happen? C'mon Steve. Tell me what's going on 'cause you're kinda freaking me out, here," he says, because hell if he can't see Steve's carotid fluttering wildly on the side of his throat, awfully, awfully fast. He looks at him, really looks at him and Danny's brow furrows even more. Steve's pale and sweating, breathing fast, heart beating so hard he can feel it through the hand he's got on his partner's back.
Steve doesn't answer, just draws in another stuttering breath.
"Hey, McGarrett? What are you trying to pull, huh? This a joke? It's a joke right? Yeah? No? Is it? 'Cause it ain't funny if it is. Seriously. Cut it out. Okay, okay fine, you got me. I'm officially freaking out. So give it up. Like now. That's enough. Show's over. Hey Steve? Hey! Anybody in there? Steve? Yo Steven!"
It's then he sees the cell phone on the floor just under his partner's extended hand.
He grabs it and flips on the screen. There's a call still showing up, ending about four minutes earlier. The caller ID says Cath. Crap. Maybe this isn't a joke after all.
"Okay, okay. Something happened. Did something happen to Catherine? Something happened to Cath or someone else. Is it someone else? Is it Cath? It's bad isn't it? Yeah. This is bad. God. Shit. Okay," he says, putting a hand on the back of Steve's neck and shoving his head between his knees. "Breathe, babe. Take it easy. Deep breath in, slow out. C'mon, super Seal. I know you can do it. That's it. Good, keep breathing. I'm gonna be right back. Don't move. Stay," he says firmly, sprinting towards the bathroom. He slams the door open and turns on the closest cold water tap. He grabs a handful of paper towels and runs them under the water till they're nice and cold. As he wrings out the excess water, he can't help but look at his mirror image. If he didn't know better, he'd swear he'd just caught his partner in the middle of a panic attack. Problem is, Navy Seals, reserves or not, don't do panic. Ever. Never ever. So it's not what this is, except it kind of looks like it is.
He sprints back to Steve's office passing a startled looking Kono.
"Nobody comes in here, okay? You got me?" he tosses over his shoulder, making sure to look her in the eyes. He sees her freeze, uncomprehending but she nods anyway. Kono's good like that.
He gets back to Steve, which for once has listened to him and not moved. He puts the paper towels on the back of his partner's neck and gets back down to his knees.
"Okay, McGarrett, now you tell me what's going on because I know Cath called you and now you look like you're having a panic attack and since Seals don't ever panic, this is something else so out with it because you're really starting to freak me out."
He doesn't get a reaction this time either. Steve is stock still, save for breathing like a winded horse. Danny crouches low to look at his face and what he sees isn't reassuring. Steve's pasty white, swallowing constantly through panting breaths.
"You sick? Are you feeling sick? You gonna puke because I don't do well with puke," he mutters as he grabs the waste basket from under the desk and places it strategically, just in case. He's not exactly fine with someone puking but he's got a kid; he developed some sort of partial immunity right around the time Grace was three. Daycare kids are famous for bringing home stomach viruses and his daughter had not been different but he figures needling Steve can't hurt, because if his partner doesn't answer him sometime soon…
He's starting to really worry. This silent, unwell-looking man beside him isn't his partner; nowhere even close and he's seriously contemplating calling for help.
"C'mon, Steve. Talk to me. I can't help if I don't know what's wrong. Hey, c'mon man, answer me. Steve. Steve? Steve! Hey, hello? Anybody home? Yo! STEVEN!" he finally snaps. That gets somewhat of a reaction. Steve jumps and lifts his head up partway.
"Steve? You there?" Danny asks, putting himself in his line of sight.
"I don't…" Steve's head drops back down and he draws in a shaking breath.
"Deep, slow breaths, babe. C'mon, enough of the freaking out shit. What the hell is the matter with you anyway? What happened?" he asks, abrasive as usual but with an edge of concern instead of anger. "Something happen to Cath?" he asks gently.
"No. Yeah. I… Yeah." A pause. "No. Maybe… Yeah," Steve answers, grabbing the paper towels off his neck and wiping his face with them.
"Well that makes perfect sense. Maybe I should take you to the hospital. Got knocked on the had one too many times and it's finally-"
"Would you shut up and give me a minute?" Steve snaps, a lot more like his usual self.
"Ah! Here's the McGarrett we all know and love. Welcome back, babe. Mind telling me where you went there for a minute? Cause if I didn't know you better, I swear you were having a panic attack."
"Danny, please, please shut the hell up for a minute, all right?" Steve asks quietly, almost begging and McGarrett doesn't do begging so Danny can't do anything other than comply because he suddenly remembers who called. Maybe something bad, really bad, happened to Cath or some other close friend of Steve's he doesn't know about. He was so relieved at getting a reaction…
"Okay. Just tell me if you're all right. Physically, at least," he adds quickly.
"Okay. You want some water?"
"Okay. Do Not. Move."
He takes the two steps to Steve's mini-fridge, worry not quite quelled. Steve's back with it but this passive, subdued attitude of his is just not right. He pulls the door open a little hard, jostling the contents of the fridge. There's surprisingly few bottles of water and protein water and a hell of a lot more beer than he'd thought he'd find in there but he bites back the comments on his tongue. Steve begged him for some quiet and he's gonna give it to him. If he just found out his on again off again, I think he cares way more about her than he's ever said girlfriend died, well…
"Here," he says, willingly keeping his voice low.
Steve grabs the water and wrenches open the top, tossing the cap in the trash between his feet before kicking away the can. Danny watches him guzzle the water like he's spent a year in the desert.
"Hey not so fast. You'll make yourself sick."
The look he gets in return is pure McGarrett annoyance. "I'm fine," he says.
"You are? You are. Because you were making a damned good impression of a panic attack. Correct me if I'm wrong but hyperventilation, sweating-"
"Danny," Steve cuts in. "Enough. I'm not in the mood."
Danny's eyebrows reach his hairline. "Not- Not in the mood? You're not in the mood? Well excuse me for being concerned finding you almost catatonic and huffing like a train behind your desk, your cell on the floor and you're not in the mood?"
"She isn't… God she isn't even my girlfriend…" Steve says, shaking his head, completely ignoring his rant. And he feels like an ass. Obviously, Steve's gotten another load of bad news and isn't taking it well. At all. Problem is, he doesn't know what the right thing to say is. And as usual, his mouth takes off before his brain does.
"She's not even your girlfriend? Since when? Every time she's got leave, you spend it together, mostly in a bed, I might add. The ambassador's daughter's case, the fake tsunami and more recently the fundraiser ring any bells? And you're freaking out because she's dead?" he says and instantly wants to strangle himself. "Now to me, that's normal. It's called grief," he adds, a lot more softly.
"She's not dead. She's pregnant."
He can't help it. He doesn't even try to contain it. It's loud, and possibly the last thing Steve needs but he just can't hold back the roar of laughter that escapes him. When he's through the first guffaws, he lands a solid slap in the middle of Steve's back, almost sending him off his chair and to the floor.
"Congratulations man!" he gleefully says.
Steve looks up at him and the genuine terror in his eyes stops Danny dead in his tracks. "This is really freaking you out, isn't it?"
"Hence the panic attack," Steve says thinly.
"Oh come on, Steven. This is great news! When is she due?"
"I dunno. She just found out. She's on the next flight out of the Gulf. She should be here in a day or two." And then, Steve turns to look at him, face etched in fear and something akin to sorrow. "How am I gonna do this, Danny?"
Steve's that worried about not cutting it as a father? Danny tosses his head widely and shakes a finger at him. No. Steve McGarrett will make the most devoted father in the world. Time to nip the self-doubt in the bud. "What do you mean, how are you gonna do this? You're gonna be a great dad! I've seen you with Gracie-"
"Danny. It's not that. What about Wo Fat?" Steve asks, his expression so totally vulnerable and afraid it tears Danny's heart out. "He ever finds out I have a kid, someone I care about… What my father had to do, put us, himself through…"
Yeah. Now, Danny has a better idea what's going on in Steve's head, especially after having seen Danny go through Grace's kidnapping, after Steve being there and picking up the pieces of his breakdown once that horrible day was done. Steve had been the rock he'd needed then, hadn't said a word about Danny losing it completely for a little while.
"Yeah, okay," he says. "I get it. You do care about Catherine, as in love her, don't you?"
Steve shakes his head and looks at the floor. "I do. More than I ever thought I could. We've… There's no name to what we do, what we have. I mean… when I was still active, it was mostly about sex and connecting with someone who understood, you know? But there's always been this… something more."
Danny is content to nod. Never, ever has Steve McGarrett opened up to him like this and he isn't about to let his mouth get in the way again. "And now?"
"Now?" Steve chuckles. "I've known for a long time I'm in love with that girl. Now that I'm always here… But with Wo Fat and… And now…"
"Hey, hey, stop this. Stop. Just stop. Right now. This is good news, Steven. Great news even. And yeah, the bastard's still out there but what can you do? Not live your life till you catch him? Well I'm sorry babe but that's letting him win. So don't. Besides, this kid 'll have the whole of Five-0 to protect him or her. And Catherine too. Although knowing you, any girlfriend of yours has got to be able to kick ass."
Steve nods widely and laughs a little. "If the SEALS did accept women, Cath would be a regular GI Jane."
"Yeah but she's taller than Demi Moore isn't she?"
"Danny, you've seen her for maybe four hours."
"I've- I've… Oh come on. You think I can't tell a person's height or how you feel about her? I'm a detective, Steven. I read people for a living and I'm really, really good at it. You should know! I've told you this before and you're my partner, so ergo," he points out.
"Okay okay. Right. Fine. Point taken."
"And what is this about you two not being officially together? Bullshit. I've never seen you flirt since we've met and everybody knows you have a girlfriend and what her name is. And do not bring up that waitress at the Hilton. I know you did not call her despite her scrawling her number all over your cast. And you seem to forget, early on in our partnership, I figured you out."
"See? I'm a smart guy and I'm a good judge of character. So. You good now?"
Steve smiles crookedly, a shaky ghost of a thing, still far away from his usual unflappable self. He sits up and nods minutely. "Yeah. I'm good. Thanks Danno."
"All right! Come on! Let's go celebrate!"
"Don't," he says, putting a finger in Steve's face, vividly remembering how it ended the first time he did that. "Do not. 'Danny' me. C'mon. We," he says, swinging his finger at them both and around the office, "are going out for a celebration, and you're buying, daddy-o."
"Funny. Real funny Danny." Still, Steve gets to his feet. Danny ignores the steadying hand he puts on his desk to rise and the stumbling step he takes. Instead, Danny walks out of the office ahead of him and calls out.
"Hey yo Chin! Where's Kono?"
"Watching the door, brah. Said you didn't want anyone in here…"
"Oh, right. All's good. We'll get her on the way out. Come with. We're having a celebration. McGarrett's buying."
"Really. What's the occasion?"
"Steve's girlfriend's pregnant. Our Super Seal's gonna have a baby dolphin," Danny crows happily, drawing Steve down to put his arm over his shoulder.
Chin's face splits into a wide grin and he grabs Steve's hand, pulling him into a hug. "Ho'omaika'i 'ana! Congratulations, Steve! That's wonderful news!"
"Thanks," Steve says, a genuine smile on his face despite the lingering fear in his eyes.
Danny knows the road ahead isn't an easy one for his friend, that his girlfriend and unborn child (okay he thinks future wife and child) are already in danger and he prays to God Steve doesn't have to make the choice his dad made, to have to send his loved ones away but right now that doesn't matter. The only thing they can do is live in the now, prepare for the future and hope for the best.
"Did I mention Super SEAL had a panic attack over this?" he crows to Chin.
"Really." Chin clearly doesn't believe that.
"I did not have a panic attack."
"You did. Said so even. It's okay, though, just prove there's a normal human being under that tough outer layer of yours. I mean."
"Danny I did not panic!" Steve grinds out firmly. "Freaked out a little bit, maybe."
"You didn't- A little bit," he says dryly. "What do you call the –"
"It's called shock, Danny. Big news will do this to you,"
"Your words and I quote: hence the panic attack."
"I did not." The look Steve gives him is pure intimidation, full of willingness to make Danny eat this words but the lingering paleness and hint of terror behind the blue eyes kill it.
"You did," Danny challenges firmly.
"Did not." Steve honest to goodness pouts.
"Did too!" Danny brags, going for the jugular because it's what they do and that, above all else, will make Steve feel better, bring him back towards normal.
"Let's just get out of here," Steve says, finally cracking a real smile.
"Lead the way, daddy-o."
Steve turns and gives him that crooked eyebrow, annoyed face thing. He stares Danny down, waving a finger back and forth between them. "Is this gonna be a new thing, now?"
Danny gives him his best, brightest smile, cocking his head and squaring his shoulders. "Yes. And you, are going, to love it."