A/N: Alright, this is the last chapter + epilogue. It's long. But I didn't find a good way to split this part up. Enjoy reading! (more A/N at the bottom. Because there are more things I want to say.)
Danny was uncharacteristically quiet as they sat together and waited for news on Steve's condition, but Chin decided to attribute the change in behavior to the concussion he had suffered only hours earlier. Danny sat on the bed, with Grace sleeping curled up in his arms. He was barely able to keep his eyes open and kept dozing off, but always woke up after only a few seconds, his eyes immediately searching out the direction in which Steve had been whisked off far too long ago.
Chin was grateful that the ER staff had allowed them to stay where they were and that Danny and Grace could rest in a bed instead of the uncomfortable chairs in the waiting area. Because it felt like an eternity until, finally, a short, portly man in scrubs came walking towards them.
"Y'all with, uhm, Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett?" he asked with a thick accent that Chin couldn't exactly place, reading the name off a chart he was carrying. "Wow, that's quite a mouthful now, ain't it?" The doctor looked up from the board and around the small group, smiling broadly.
"Uhm, yeah," Chin said, offering the man a hand to shake. "Chin Ho Kelly."
"I'm Doctor Walker, I was-"
"How's Steve?" Danny interrupted, scooting to the edge of the bed, clearly intending to get up and go see for himself how his partner was doing. Pika, however, who had patiently waited with them – probably hoping for a chance to score Kono's phone number or something – silently put a heavy hand on his shoulder, effectively keeping him on his ass. "Is he gonna be okay?"
"He's gonn' be just fine . . ."
". . . Detective Danny Williams," Chin supplied, a relieved smile spreading across his face.
Danny blew out a deep breath, as if a huge weight had just been lifted off his chest. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he slumped down and buried his head in his hands for a moment.
"He lost lotsa blood from that gunshot wound in his thigh and things were not lookin' all too good there for a while, but we got him stabilized eventually." Doctor Walker looked over the chart for a moment before he continued. "There was no damage to the bone so the leg should be fine in a coupla weeks, dependin' on how well the muscle heals."
"What about his hand?" Danny asked, looking up at the doctor, clearly worried again now after the initial relief of finding out that Steve was going to make it out alive at all. Permanent damage was a whole different story. "It looked pretty bad."
"Three clean breaks. We set 'em, splinted 'em and they should heal just fine." Doctor Walker smiled fondly, clearly proud of his work. He let his gaze wander over the clipboard in his hands again, mumbling something under his breath. ". . . what else do we got . . . Ah, right. Same goes for the broken rib on the left. Coupla more cracked on that side, too . . . Those are gonna be uncomfortable for a while, but on the bright side, there are no signs of internal bleedin' or anythin' messy like that."
"So . . . he's gonna be okay?" Danny asked, looking somewhat disbelieving at the physician.
"Ain't that what I told y'all right away?"
"Yes, it is," Chin agreed, shooting Danny a look. "What about his head, though?" he asked, the big bandage on Danny's nose reminding him of all the fresh bruises on Steve's face when they had found him. "He's already had a concussion before he got the crap beat out of him again tonight."
Danny gaped at him. "He what? He had a concussion before this?"
"Mild, according to the doctors, but yeah," Kono told him, worry still etched on her face. "You owe me twenty bucks," she added with a tight smile.
"Well," Doctor Walker said, checking Steve's chart yet again, "scans are lookin' good; no fractures or signs of bleeds. Little bit of swellin' but that's to be expected. He should come outta this with nothin' but one helluva headache, but we won't know for sure 'til he wakes up."
"When will he wake up?" Danny asked, looking ready to start struggling against Pika's firm grip on his shoulder to get up and finally go see Steve.
"That's tough to say," Doctor Walker said with a shrug. "We had to put'im under to fix up the leg and set the fractures, but that should've worn off by now. His body's gonna need lotsa rest to recover though, so he might just as well be out of it for a while." He glance at the people standing and sitting in front of him again and squinted his eyes a little. "Y'all look mighty tired. Maybe it's best if you go home, get a good night's sleep and come back in the morning."
Nice try, Chin thought as Danny swatted away Pika's hand and uncoordinatedly shuffled himself off the bed, mindful not to disturb Grace who was sleeping through all of this peacefully, but with great determination nonetheless. There was no way in hell Danny was gonna go anywhere before he had seen for himself that Steve was going to be fine.
"Can we see him?"
Doctor Walker pursed his lips while he watched Danny stand on wobbly legs for a moment. "Well, he ain't gonna be great company for a while-"
"He never is," Danny muttered under his breath and, judging by the way his face suddenly turned a little redder, Chin suspected that the comment had been just a reflex. Smiling to himself, he shook his head a little. It felt good to know that everything was going to be just fine, no matter how much Danny was blaming himself for what had happened.
"- but, sure, why not. I'll have a nurse show you to his room 'soon as we got him settled. Don't overdo it, though, Detective. Looks like ya both need some rest."
"Thank you, Doctor Walker." Chin shook the man's hand again. "We won't be too long."
"Alright," the man said and smiled at them again. "Well folks, it was nice meetin' y'all." With a nod of his head, he turned around and left.
A few minutes later, a nurse pushing an empty wheelchair arrived and – to everyone's surprise – Danny put up almost no resistance when she told him that he was going in the chair to see Steve, or not at all. Doctor's orders.
With Grace still sleeping on the ER bed, Chin offered to stay with her while Danny and Kono went to see Steve and Danny accepted gratefully. Kono, on the other hand, just shot him a knowing look, making clear to him that she was onto his plan. Chin would wait until Danny could be convinced that Grace was better off sleeping the rest of the night in her own bed and then make Kono drive the two of them home. As soon as everyone else was gone, Chin would find himself a comfortable chair and sit with Steve for the rest of the night, making sure he wasn't alone when he woke up in the morning.
Chin watched Kono wheel Danny down the corridor and sat down next to Grace. He pulled his cell phone out and sighed. There were some difficult calls to be made. Mary would be worried, even though he was now able to assure her that her brother was going to be okay. Then there was the Governor. She would definitely be pissed and he'd rather let Steve deal with her . . . but then the boss had been through enough already. And who knew when he'd be coherent enough to make that call himself.
Chin wasn't entirely sure whether he should give Catherine Rollins a call. Her and Steve's relationship status was a bit of a mystery to everyone. But he figured that it couldn't hurt putting her in the loop either. For all he knew, the two could have a date planned some time in the near future and she'd only be worried if Steve just didn't show.
Then there were the two FBI agents. Conrad Bixler had asked Chin to give him a call as soon as there was any news.
And Rachel. Yeah, no way in hell.
So Chin pulled out Bixler's business card from his pants pocket. But before he started dialing, he decided to take pity on Pika. On the back of one of his own cards, he quickly scribbled Kono's name and phone number. She would probably kill him for it but Chin thought the guy deserved a little reward for all the trouble they had caused him tonight. "Here you go, brah" he said with a smile, handing the card over. "Just give her a couple of days."
Pika accepted the card with a huge grin. "Thanks, man," he said and slapped Chin on the shoulder. "I really appreciate this. I mean, I felt like it wasn't really a good time to ask her, but I didn't just wanna leave either, you know. She's a really cool girl. And it was kind of nice hanging with you guys. I mean, despite the circumstances and all. Obviously. I'm really glad your friend is gonna be okay."
"Thanks," Chin said, a little taken aback, "for everything."
"Yeah, sure man," Pika said nodding, looking down at the card in his hands. "I'm gonna get out of here then . . . if you don't need me anymore. I mean, if you wanna go check on your friend too, I can totally watch her for a while," he offered, gesturing towards Grace.
"I don't think it's a good idea to have her waking up with no familiar face around. But thanks for the offer."
"Sure, man. Sure. Alright, see you around, brah." He slapped Chin on the shoulder again and left.
He was back in the bright room again. He could tell even before he opened his eyes.
Great. Waking up in a hospital room two days in a row was just . . . great.
He felt different this time, though. Number. Like he was wrapped in a big wad of fluffy cotton or floating in the ocean. He could even feel the waves. Hear them crashing on the shore . . . calling his name.
Wait a second.
"Hey, Steve, you awake?" He knew that voice.
Taking a deep breath, Steve squinted his eyes and then carefully tried to open them, one by one. The left didn't seem to fully cooperate, but given the blurriness of his vision he didn't really think it would've made much of a difference.
There was someone in his line of sight, hovering above him, and Steve squinted again to try and make his eyes focus a little more.
Dark hair, huge smile.
"Chin?" he asked, his voice sounding raspy and hoarse. He absently tried licking his parched lips but his tongue was heavy and dry.
"Yeah, brah. It's good to see you awake." He smiled again and turned away for a moment. "Here, take a couple of sips," he told him, holding a cup with a straw to his mouth.
Steve accepted the offer and didn't even try to move one of his arms to hold the cup himself. Everything below his brain was still feeling nicely floaty and detached and he wasn't sure his arm would even move in the right direction if he tried. He took a few sips – small ones, he knew the drill – and, good lord, that was one delicious cup of water.
"Thanks," he said, the word leaving his throat with much more ease now that he had emptied the entire cup. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Chin press the call button before he settled himself in a chair next to the bed.
"How're you feeling?"
Chin chuckled and shook his head.
"Don't feel much of anything, actually," Steve clarified.
"Yeah, they got you on the good stuff."
"Danny and Grace okay?" He vaguely remembered Kono telling him that they were safe, but he needed to hear it again, just to make sure he hadn't dreamed that part.
"They're fine. At home and resting." Steve only barely felt the reassuring hand Chin put on his shoulder. He let his eyes slide close again and sucked in a deep, relieved breath.
Okay, shit. That hurt.
He tried to shift in the bed, his left hand instinctively moving to where the pain was in his side.
Fuck. His hand, too?
He looked up and, for the first time, realized that his left hand and forearm were wrapped in gauze, with only the index finger and thumb sticking out.
"Try not to move so much," Chin told him and, hey, thanks for the warning. "You got three broken fingers, a broken rib and a gaping hole in your leg. All courtesy of Carlos Fuentes."
"Remind me to send flowers," Steve ground out through gritted teeth, trying to ignore the increasing dull ache in his jaw. He carefully maneuvered his injured hand to rest on his chest so that he could press the arm against his side in an effort to ease the pain a little. His body was feeling a hell of a lot less detached all of a sudden. "Where is he now?"
"FBI has got him in custody," Chin said, pressing the call button again. "They have officially taken over the case."
Steve just nodded. "Speaking of FBI custody. What about Danny?"
Chin sighed and, with a shrug, sank back into his chair. "I haven't heard anything official. Bixler said he and Agent Lake would see what they could do, but the higher-ups might still come after him. But they don't really have anything solid. Not with Kipton in the wind and with all the evidence missing."
The door opened and a pretty, young nurse came walking in. "Commander McGarrett," she greeted him with a warm smile, "it's good to see you awake again."
"Again?" Steve blinked, looking confused over to Chin. "I don't remember."
"Well, there's not much to remember," the nurse answered before Chin could say anything. "You were still pretty out of it from the anesthesia." She quickly checked the monitors next to the bed and then started fumbling around with the IV in his right hand. "I'm Joanie, by the way."
Steve just nodded. She was a little too perky and the shrill sound of her voice was aggravating his headache.
"So how are you feeling, Commander? Are you in any pain?"
"Well, I am now." He blamed the concussion for actually saying that out loud.
"Huh?" Joanie looked at him questioningly.
"Headache," Steve clarified, exchanging a look with Chin who could barely hold back a chuckle. "Other than that I feel fine as long as I don't move. Or breathe too much."
"Oh, okay. I'll let the doctor know." Joanie smiled brightly again, giving his arm a little squeeze. She then grabbed his chart from the foot of the bed and made a few notes on it. "Can I get you anything else for now? Maybe a little something to eat?"
Now that she mentioned it, he actually did feel a little hungry. "That'd be great."
"Good," she squeaked excitedly. "I'll get you a tray."
"Thanks," Steve muttered, wondering if he had made the right choice by giving her a reason to return to his room so soon.
"Chipper, isn't she?" Chin asked after Joanie had closed the door behind herself.
"That's one way of putting it."
"She's been in and out every half an hour or so, asking me if I needed anything."
"How long have you been sitting there?" Steve asked and carefully tried to push himself up on his right arm to get into a more upright position.
"Well, it's a little before noon now, so . . . about ten hours," Chin replied, glancing at his watch.
"You didn't have to stay all night," Steve said absently, surprised by how long he had been out.
"I wanted to."
"Thanks. I really appreciate it." The gesture meant a lot. Not only was it nice to wake up to a familiar face and to know that there were people who care about him. He was glad that someone had been there to immediately assure him that Danny and Grace were actually both fine. "And thank you for getting me out of there," he added after a short pause.
"Any time, brah. You'd do crazier things for any of us." Chin smiled. "Oh wait, you already did."
Steve snorted. "How mad is Danny?"
"Danny's never really mad at you, brah, he just worries really loudly."
There was knock on the door and a moment later, Kono's head peeked inside the room. Her face lit up with a huge, dimply smile when she saw him awake. "Hey boss, howzit?" she grinned and walked into the room. "You up for some visitors yet?"
"Hey Kono." He smiled back at her. "Come on in."
She sat down on the edge of his bed and put a hand on his right leg. "How're you feeling?"
"Not too bad, actually." With Joanie out of the room, the headache had almost disappeared again and, since he was carefully not to move too much, he didn't really feel any of the other injuries either.
"Good, cause Danny's on his way over here."
"Great," Steve said sarcastically, even though he was actually looking forward to seeing him and getting first hand confirmation that he was, in fact, okay.
"Hey, Chin," Kono said, turning around to him. "Did you give my cell number to anyone last night?"
"Did I give your cell number to anyone? Why?"
"I got a bunch of really weird texts this morning, all from the same number, which I don't recognize. You didn't by any chance give my number to a certain new FBI buddy of yours, huh?"
Steve could swear he saw Chin blow out a small, relieved breath. "I did not give your number to Agent Bixler, if that's what you're suggesting." He got up from his chair and put a hand on Steve's shoulder again, giving it a light squeeze. "I'm sorry, but I got to go. The Governor wants a word in person."
That didn't sound good but judging by the look on Chin's face he would much rather answer Jameson's questions about the case right now than answer to Kono about the phone number thing.
"Sorry you're gonna be the one catching the heat," Steve said, putting his uninjured right hand on Chin's, silently thanking him for taking over his responsibilities.
"Don't worry about it. I'll see you later."
"He's hiding something," Kono said after Chin had left the room. "And I swear to god, if he gave my number to that creepy FBI guy-"
She was cut off by another knock on the door. A moment later Joanie walked in, carrying a tray of food. "Oh, you have another visitor, how lovely," she chirped with obviously faked enthusiasm and smiled sickly sweet at Kono. "I managed to snag this for you Commander," she said, setting the tray down on the bedside table. "We actually don't start serving lunch for another half hour. I hope a fruit cup for dessert is okay. I forgot to ask whether you'd rather like pudding or Jell-o, but I figured a few vitamins would be good for you."
As if there was actually any real fruit in those fruit cups.
"We have a delicious vegetable soup on the menu today. I hope you're gonna enjoy it." She smiled brightly at him again and then looked around the room. "Aww, look at the beautiful weather outside. I'm just gonna go ahead and open up that window for you so that you can get a whiff of fresh air in here."
Her high-pitched voice was like fingernails on a chalkboard to him, making his head hurt like someone was redecorating inside it with a jackhammer.
"Alright Commander," she squeaked, "is the headache any better at all? Because Doctor Walker is in surgery right now, so it's gonna be a while until he can take a look at you. But if think you can't handle it then I can go find someone else to give you something stronger for it."
"It's fine, it's a lot better, actually," Steve lied, attempting to smile at her. At least it would be as soon as she was out of the room.
"That great news," Joanie beamed over-enthusiastically and walked to the door. Finally. "Okay then, I'm gonna let you eat your soup now. If you need anything else, just push that little button and I'll be right in." She winked at him and – with yet another bright smile – left the room, closing the door behind her.
"Wow," Kono groaned as soon as the door had clicked shut, apparently not bothering whether or not Joanie was actually out of earshot. "I'm sorry boss. If I had known you'd get stuck with her I would have just let you bleed right out. Jeez, she's giving me a headache," she added, blowing out a long breath.
Steve just smiled at Kono. "I'm glad you didn't," he said quietly, putting his good hand on hers, which was still resting on his leg. "Thank you, Kono."
She smiled back at him and bit down on her bottom lip, her gaze dropping down to their hands. "You scared the crap out of me, boss," she admitted after a short pause, her voice timid and unsteady. "For a moment there I thought for sure you were gonna die."
"Hey," Steve said and gave her hand a quick squeeze, urging her to look back up at him. "I'm gonna be fine."
"Yeah, I know." She slightly shook her head as if to clear the daunting thoughts from her mind. "I'm glad," she added and looked back up at him, smiling again. But this time it looked forced, the smile not quite reaching her eyes.
"Kono, what is it?" Steve asked, not letting go of her hand.
She sighed and then chuckled sadly. "It's just . . . all that blood . . . completely ruined my favorite pair of pants."
"Right." Steve couldn't help but smile at that, even though he knew that this was not really about her pants. She was scared of losing him, scared of losing any of them. And the thought that she would probably have to face a situation like this again was terrifying to her. Hell, it was terrifying to him, too, to think that maybe next time they wouldn't be able to save one of their own. But that kind of fear just came with the territory. You never really got over it, you just learned how to deal with it better over time. And Kono was still learning.
"You mind giving me a hand with that tray? I'm starving."
"Sure." Kono slipped her hand out from under his, hopped off the bed and maneuvered the side table over the bed. "Wow, that looks really disgusting," she commented when she removed the plastic cover from the bowl of soup.
"It kind of does," Steve agreed, idly eying the thick, greenish gunk. He grabbed the spoon and carefully stirred a couple of times, afraid the whole thing would suddenly come alive and attack him.
"I'm gonna text Chin and tell him to bring by some real food later," Kono decided. "What are you in the mood for?"
Steve opened his mouth to answer, but was once again interrupted by a soft knock on the door. A moment later, it was opened and Grace's head peek around the corner. "Uncle Steve?" she asked carefully and stayed by the door, apparently unsure whether or not it was okay for her to come in.
"Hey, sweetheart," Steve smiled, relieved to see her safe and unharmed. "It's so great to see you."
She beamed at him and tentatively came walking into the room and over to the side of the bed.
A few seconds later, Danny came through the door, too, closing it behind himself. "Hey," he said, hanging back by the door and shoving both hands deep into the pockets of his jeans. He was clearly uncomfortable for some reason. There was a huge white bandage covering his nose, some bruising on the side of his jaw and a cut on his forehead.
"Hey, Danny, are you okay?" Steve couldn't help but ask, a worried frown creasing his eyebrows.
Danny just rolled his eyes but chuckled at the same time. "Am I- Yeah, I'm okay, Steven. I'm fine," he muttered and walked a few feet closer to the bed. "How- how are you doing?"
"Fine," came the automatic response, before he had even thought about it.
"You- you don't look fine. You look terrible, actually," Danny said, removing one hand from his pants pocket and waving it in the general direction of Steve's face.
"Oh, I look terrible? Have you looked into a mirror lately?"
"I have, as a matter of fact. Have you?"
"No," Steve admitted and looked over to Kono, who had slumped down in the chair Chin had previously occupied.
"Don't look at me, brah," she just said, raising up both hands defensively. "Neither of you is gonna win a beauty pageants any time soon."
"What happened to your hand?" Grace suddenly spoke up. She still stood next to the bed and looked curiously at his left bandaged hand that – now that he was sitting more up – rested across his abdomen.
"I told you, monkey," Danny said, crossing the rest of the distance to the bed and putting a hand on her head. "Uncle Steve got hurt when he fought with the bad guys."
Grace looked up at him for confirmation and Steve nodded and smiled at her, even though 'fighting with the bad guys' was kind of an overstatement. But then, Grace didn't really have to know the details.
She nodded slowly. Clearly, she wasn't buying the story. Smart kid.
"Hey, you wanna know how he really hurt his hand?" Kono asked, leaning forward in the chair to be on eye-level with Grace. "I was there."
She nodded enthusiastically.
"Well, when he was fighting with the bad guys, he hit their boss really, really hard, right in the face." She tipped against her nose and grinned up at Danny. "You really should have seen him, his nose is all crooked now."
Grace smiled. "Like Danno's?"
"Hey, my nose is not crooked."
"It is a little bit," Grace said in all seriousness.
"She's right," Kono said, still grinning at Danny. "But I can assure you, it's nowhere nearly as messed up as the bad guy's."
Grace smiled, satisfied now.
"Hey Gracie?" Kono said, getting up from the chair. "How about you and I go downstairs and see if we can find Uncle Steve a decent dessert?" She gave the fruit cup on his tray a sideways glance.
She nodded, but turned around to her dad first. "Can I?"
"Sure, monkey." Danny mouthed a 'thank you' when Kono walked past him and she gave his arm a short squeeze in return. "Bring me something, too," he added.
"Play nice, guys. Don't kill each other," Kono called over her shoulder before she and Grace left the room.
Danny walked over to the chair and, with a deep sigh, he let himself heavily plop down in it. "So, uhm, how's the leg?" he asked after a moment of uncomfortable silence and awkwardly scratched the side of his head, eying Steve's left leg that was propped up on some pillows.
"It's fine, Danny."
"Hey, listen, Danny-"
"No," Danny cut him off, locking eyes with Steve for a moment, but then his gaze dropped to the floor. "No," he said again, his voice unsteady and unusually quiet. "First, you listen to me." He got back up again and started walking towards the window, turning his back on Steve.
From the bed, he could see Danny take a few deep breaths and run a hand through his hair. Steve felt like he should say something no matter what. But he didn't know whether he should apologize for being stupid, getting himself hurt and making Danny worry about him, or if he should rather tell his partner that he had to stop blaming himself for all this, that none of this was really anybody's fault. So he decided to wait. And listen. Just like Danny wanted him to. All Danny needed to do now was start talking.
"When they took Grace from the van . . . I thought I'd never see her again." Danny stopped and wiped a hand across his face. He still didn't turn back around, just stood there, staring into the bright sky outside. "I tried to do something to stop them, but . . . I couldn't. I've never felt so helpless in my entire life. Grace, she's . . . she's the most important thing I have in the world and . . . I couldn't keep her safe." He almost chocked on the last word.
"There was nothing you could have done, Danny."
"Do you remember when we met, you and I, and I told you I came here because it was my job now to make this island a safe place for her?"
"Of course I remember."
"I've never . . . trusted anyone to keep her safe, except for myself. That's why I followed Rachel here in the first place. So, when I woke up in that van and she was just . . . gone, I-" He broke off and blew out a shaky breath, unable to finish the sentence. "I failed her."
"I'm not finished. Just . . . let me get this out, okay? Please."
"When I came here, to Hawaii, I expected a lot of things. Bad things, mostly," he added with a humorless laugh. "But I never thought I find someone here who would so . . . stupidly and recklessly, risk his own life to keep my little girl safe."
Finally, Danny turned back around. He looked directly at Steve for a moment, unshed tears swimming in his eyes. "I don't think I'm ever going to be able to thank you for everything you've done for her, and for me, in the past two days." His eyes dropped down to the floor again and he once more buried his hands deep in the pockets of his pants. "You risked your life twice to safe hers. I got to take her home with me and tuck her into bed last night and I owe that to you. I screwed up . . . this thing with Matt . . . I didn't think about the consequences and . . . it almost cost me seeing my little girl grow up. I just . . . I don't know how I can ever make this up to her . . . or to you, or Chin and Kono."
He brought a hand up to his face, covering his mouth to try and stop himself from crying and Steve wanted nothing more than to get up and do something about that. To make it better somehow. Hug him maybe. But getting up wasn't really an option for him right now, not with his leg laid up as it was and with all the wires attached to him. So words would have to do. He wasn't usually good at words, but he could try. For Danny, he could try.
"Look, Danny, I don't think you have anything to make up for. We've all made mistakes and this was definitely not the last time any of us will mess up, but . . . if you think you do have to make it up to her, then just do it by being the great father for her that you have always been. I've seen you with her, how much you love her. Just . . . make sure she knows that she'll always have that. That's all she'll ever need. All she needs is you. You do your best to keep her safe and we'll be there if that's not enough."
There was so much more he wanted to say. Don't be like my dad. Don't ever think you're gonna keep her safe by pushing her away. It'll only end up hurting her more than you ever could by staying around.
But then, words were really not his thing.
"And I will personally make sure that you'll get to pay that college tuition in full."
Danny choked out a snort. "I'm gonna hold you to that," he said in earnest, sniffing his swollen nose as good as he could. "I'm sorry you got hurt," he added after a moment and slowly walked back to the chair, sitting down next to the bed again. "Grace told me you took a bullet for her."
Steve shrugged. "It was just a graze."
"That bullet from Fuentes wasn't."
"No," he admitted, looking down at his leg.
"Almost got you killed."
"Yup," Steve said absently, moving his left foot up and down to see if that hurt. It did. And Danny noticed him scrunching up his face at the pain.
"So the leg is not fine after all." Statement, not a question.
"You're quite the conversationalist, you know that?"
Danny just rolled his eyes at that, a hint of a smile crossing his lips.
They just sat in silence for a moment and, suddenly, Steve felt he was getting tired, still feeling the effects of the massive blood loss. But he didn't want Danny to notice, didn't want him to leave just yet. But his eyelids grew heavier with every passing second and he involuntarily slid further down in the bed.
"Hey, you look exhausted," Danny noted, looking a little worried. "You should get some rest. I- I should let you sleep. I'm gonna-"
"Stay." Steve tried to stifle a yawn. "Just . . . a few minutes."
"Yeah, sure." Danny looked a bit perplexed, but leaned back in the chair nonetheless. He closed his eyes, folded his hands over his belly and stretched out his legs.
"Hey, Steve," Danny said after a little while.
"Yeah, Danno, we're good," Steve muttered before he drifted off to sleep.
When Steve woke again it was dark in his room with only a dim light coming from a lamp on the nightstand next to the bed. He blinked a couple of times, trying to clear his vision.
"Hey," a familiar voice called softly from the other side of the bed.
Steve turned his head and saw Catherine sitting in the chair next to the bed, smiling at him. She was wearing her uniform and her hair was tied back in a firm bun behind her head.
"Hey. Wh- what are you doing here," Steve stammered, surprised to see her at his bedside.
"Eating your pudding," she replied and held up a small cup and spoon. "This is really good."
"How did you-"
"Chin called me early this morning," Catherine explained, setting the pudding cup down on the side table. "He said something about a date he thinks we have planned . . .?"
"Do we?" Steve asked. He was pretty sure they didn't, but he couldn't be entirely sure with all that fog and fuzziness in his head.
"No," Catherine confirmed.
"So . . . what are you doing tomorrow?"
"That's funny." Catherine smiled, shaking her head.
"What, do you want me to spoon you chicken soup and watch you sleep all day?"
"Sounds like a great plan."
"Hmhm," she simply noted – neither confirming nor denying that they were on for tomorrow – and reached for a cup of water. Steve gratefully took a few sips when she offered it to him.
They just looked at each other for a moment and Steve realized that he was really glad to have her here with him. It felt right somehow.
"You didn't have to come," he said after a while, his concussed head not able to figure out what exactly her being here meant for their relationship . . . or whatever this thing between them was.
"I wanted to," Catherine said in earnest, but then frowned a little uncertain. "I hope . . . it's okay."
"No, yeah, I mean . . . I'm glad you're here," Steve tried to assure her. He smiled, trying to make sure she understood he really meant it . . . And there was something in her eyes that told him she did.
"You want some of this?" Catherine asked, holding up the pudding cup again.
"Definitely." Steve reached for the cup but then had to realize that, with his busted left hand, he couldn't exactly hold the cup and the spoon at the same time – which made eating pudding an almost impossible task.
"You need a little help there?"
"I guess," Steve admitted with a sheepish smile.
"Come here," Catherine took the cup and spoon and started feeding him.
"Wow, I don't remember hospital food tasting this good," Steve said around a mouthful of delicious chocolate pudding.
"That's because it's not. I think Grace left it here for you." She reached for a piece of paper on the side table and handed it to him. It read 'Chocolate is my favorite, I hope you like it too'. Underneath was a small drawing of him and Grace at the beach, both wearing diving goggles and snorkels.
"I'm sorry I started eating it," Catherine apologized. "I came here right after my shift and I didn't have a chance to grab dinner on the way. Besides, I didn't expect you to wake up at all today. Your doctor was in earlier and said you needed a lot of rest and . . . that pudding just looked really, really good."
"You came here right after your shift?" Steve asked and, yeah, maybe the uniform should have been a hint. "You really didn't have to." It wasn't like he wouldn't have done the same if the situation had been reversed. But still, it surprised him a little how much she seemed to care about him. That she was sitting there next to his bed, after a long day at the base, just watching him sleep when she didn't even expect him to wake up.
"Well, I have to admit that the words 'massive blood loss' did have me a little concerned. And even though Chin assured me that you were going to be okay . . . I was worried about you." She leaned forward in the chair and gently ran a hand through his hair. "You scared me," she added quietly.
"Catherine," Steve started, but he didn't really know what to say. Maybe he should tell her he was sorry for scaring her. Maybe he should tell her that she shouldn't worry about him. Or maybe he should admit that he was kind of glad she did.
"Shhh, it's okay," Catherine whispered, bringing her forehead to his, her hand still gently stroking through his hair. "You're gonna be okay," she added after a moment, and Steve felt like it was more to reassure herself than him.
"Hey, can I help you?"
Edith stared for a moment at the pretty brunette in short-shorts and a tank top opening the door who was smiling fondly at her. Not that she had expected McGarrett to open the door himself. The guy had been shot and almost bled to death not four days ago, so she was surprised that he was already home at all. But she hadn't particularly expected a . . . what, girlfriend to greet her at his door. He just didn't strike Edith as the kind of guy who cared much about anything but guns and explosives. And little Gracie. But then, she had been wrong about him before.
"I'm Special Agent Edith Lake," she said, pointing a finger awkwardly at herself. "Is Commander McGarrett around? I'm sorry for dropping by unannounced. I just have a few questions about the case, I won't be long."
"Yeah, sure, come on in," the pretty brunette said with another polite but honest smile. She opened the door a little wider and stepped aside, waving Edith inside. "He's out on the lanai," she said, closing the door behind Edith. "Just go on right through."
"Thanks," Edith said, offering a smile in return. She walked through the living room and – wow – someone had done some serious cleaning since the last time she had been here. Everything looked perfectly in order, no more signs of the chaos those three kids had wreaked here not a week ago.
"Can I get you anything to drink?" pretty brunette offered from behind her.
"Oh, no, thank you. I'll really just be a minute."
"Alright, I'll be in the kitchen," she said, jerking a thumb in the direction. "Let me know if you change your mind."
Edith awkwardly smiled again and nodded. What a sweet girl. God bless her for putting up with a guy like McGarrett.
She turned back around to the French doors leading out to the lanai and spotted McGarrett sitting in a deck chair facing the ocean, his left leg propped up on small stool. She softly knocked on the door before pushing it open, feeling like a creepy stalker invading his privacy.
"Where have you been so long, I've missed you."
Edith froze halfway through the door. God, this was not awkward at all.
"Uhm . . ." she stammered, feeling like this was a great opportunity to ease the tension with a cute little joke, but her mind was completely blank. So Edith just puffed her cheeks and waited for him to look around and notice that she was not the pretty brunette.
It took a moment, but eventually, McGarrett pushed himself up a little in his chair and moved to turn around. He winced in pain and grabbed his left side with his uninjured hand and – damnit, Edith, try using your brain next time.
She quickly moved a few more steps out so that McGarrett could see her while sitting back in his chair. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to- I just-"
"Do you ever knock?" McGarrett grunted as he lowered himself against the backrest of the chair.
"Huh?" Edith frowned, but then she remembered that the last time she had been in his house, she and Bix had burst in, guns drawn. "Oh . . . I didn't. I- Your . . . friend let me. The- the one I guess you've been missing." Yeah, really smooth, Edith.
McGarrett just gave her a lopsided smile and closed his eyes, taking a few deep breaths, his right hand still pressing against his side. "Is there any particular reason why you're here or did you just miss me?" he asked after a moment.
"That's . . . hilarious." Edith gave him a look and sat down on the edge of the chair next to his. "There are two reasons, actually. Officially, I'm here to see how you're doing. And to apologize for almost getting everyone killed . . . I guess."
"It wasn't really your fault."
"It . . . kind of was, actually."
McGarrett looked at her and sighed. "Well, apology accepted."
"Thank you," Edith said, not sure she was going to be able to forgive herself for the error in judgment she had made regarding Kipton. If she had flagged his ID then Detective Williams and his daughter would never have gotten kidnapped in the first place.
"Unofficially, I'm here to give you the heads up for when you give your statement to the agents that have taken over the case."
"What do you mean?" McGarrett frowned.
Edith sighed. "I'm sure you've heard that the D.A. has decided to drop all the charges against Detective Williams because he was only trying to help his brother, who was blackmailed by Fuentes."
McGarrett nodded. "So?"
"Well, there's a guy in I.A. who's coming after your partner's badge for this whole mess. That's why he's still suspended."
"What?" McGarrett stared at her with a mix of anger and confusion.
"Yeah. And he's being backed by the Assistant Director of the Bureau, who's putting pressure on the Governor to not interfere and let the investigation run its course."
"That's . . . great," McGarrett groaned, this time clearly not from pain, but in frustration. Sighing, he let his head drop against the backrest of the chair and stared up into the blue sky above them.
"Look, I know this sounds bad but this guy doesn't have anything solid. With all the evidence gone and Kipton still missing, all he really has are our statements."
McGarrett frowned again, his gaze dropping back down to Edith. "What do you mean?"
"Look, the only thing that indicates that your partner has ever even been in contact with his brother is the fact that he gave us the name of the motel. But the cameras and microphones in the interrogation room were switched off when he told us, so all this I.A. guy has is what we tell him." Edith gave McGarrett a meaningful look, hoping he would catch her drift.
"You're saying we should lie."
"I'm saying we should . . . agree . . . on how we figured out where to go looking for Matt Williams."
McGarrett pursed his lips and looked at her suspiciously. "And you're okay with this? You would lie for Danny?" he asked, clearly skeptical.
Edith smiled. "I owe you guys one."
"You could get into a lot of trouble."
"Are you trying to talk me out of this?"
"So, what are we 'agreeing' on?" McGarrett asked, making one-handed air quotes.
"Not sure, but we'll figure something out." Edith smiled at him again and got back up from her chair, smoothing out her pants awkwardly. "Well, I guess I'm gonna get going then. I'm glad you're doing better, Commander."
"Hey, uhm, I'm having everyone over for beers and steaks later," McGarrett said, waving a hand in the direction of the grill. "How about you give your partner a call and guys join us."
"You really think it's a good idea to invite Bixler and Officer Kalakaua to the same barbecue?"
"Kono can handle him," McGarrett said and smiled confidently – maybe even a little proudly.
Sighing, Edith nodded. "Okay, but I'm not taking any responsibility for him."
A/N: (part 2) I hope you didn't mind the surprise Steve/Catherine there at the end... and I hope you are not too disappointed that I left the Kipton and Matt storyline open... but this story was really more about the team and how much they care about each other. Also, with Matt it's just that I don't want to "seal his fate" as long as he could still pop up on the show again. I really hope they will bring him back at some point and wrap up that storyline. And Kipton... well, maybe I will one day write a sequel (also because I have grown quite attached to Edie and Bix) and bring him back and figure out what he's been up to... if he's even alive at all. I don't know. We'll see.
And last but not least I want to thank everyone again for reading and reviewing! I really appreciate the support. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! You all made this a wonderful experience for me :D