Gracie was her normal bubbly self again at dinner and the Williams' clan was again very thankful to Commander McGarrett for his role in that.
When Danny made his way back to the hospital it was eight o'clock and Steve was sleeping.
Chin was curled up on the couch and Kono was reading a book at bedside, "How's he doing?"
She smiled up at him, "He's bushed. He ate pretty well and walked to the bathroom but he's been out for about an hour"
"How bad is his pain?"
"He's sore Danny. But you know Steve, he's not complaining. How's Gracie?"
"She's great now. He always seems to have the magic words for her. Damn it Kono, he saved her life and look at him...his shoulder is so fucked up"
"Danny stop. He's going to be fine. He's tough and determined. We'll be there to help him"
Danny sighed deeply, "I'm sorry...I know. Why don't you head back to the hotel and get a good night's sleep" He motioned over to Chin, "Take Prince Charming there with you"
She smiled, "We're fine here bro"
"He's doing better. We can start taking shifts"
"Alright, but you call us if you need anything"
"You know I will honey"
Soon Danny was sitting alone, watching his best friend and sending out a prayer of thanks but also a prayer for Steve's continued recovery. Kono was right and their boss was certainly a stubborn son of a bitch, but this injury could be the end of his career and that thought sent chills down Danny's back.
At about eleven o'clock Steve woke, moaning softly.
Danny jumped up and took hold of his hand, "Hey buddy. You alright?"
"Danny...what time is it?"
"It's uhh, ten fifty. Why? Do you have a hot date or something?"
"Don't I wish"
"How's your pain, do you need any meds?"
"I'm okay. Is everything alright with Gracie now?"
"Yeah...you're not a father...how do you always know the right thing to say?"
"I don't know. She seems to listen to me pretty well"
"Yeah, you're going to come in real handy when the boys start coming around!"
Steve chuckled, "She's such a great kid Danno. You've done an amazing job with her"
"I think most of that credit needs to go to her Mom"
"Don't sell yourself short partner. You're a wonderful father"
"Thanks man...for everything. She's back to her normal self. What did you say to her?"
Steve went over his conversation with Gracie and then he helped Steve up and to the bathroom.
They then sat quietly for a few minutes and out of the blue Danny asked, "Steve, who's Jennings?"
Steve looked at his partner with surprise, "Jennings? Why do you ask?"
"When we were carrying you out of the woods and then again when you were delirious here, you looked me square in the eyes and called me Jennings. You were obviously reliving a battle in your head. You mentioned Warren and saving him"
Steve leaned his head back and took a deep sigh. Then with eyes closed he spoke quietly, "Jennings was my first officer and Warren...Ricky Warren was the newest member to our unit when we undertook a mission in Bosnia. We lost one man, John Martin and Warren was captured when we raided a village. I was shot in the belly. Jennings carried me out there... he saved my life but we weren't able to rescue Warren" Tears slid down Steve's cheeks through his tightly clinched eyelids, "By the time my men got back to the village the rebels had left. They had be-headed Ricky. He was twenty three years old Danny and he was dead because my men took the time to save me instead of going in right away for him. I've never forgiven myself for that and every so often he comes to my dreams, but it's been less and less..."
"Steve...you just got done telling Gracie that sometimes bad things happen that you just have no control over and that it's nobody's fault. Partner why do you think that same logic doesn't apply to you? It does you know? You aren't responsible for Warrens death any more than Jennings is or hell Steve, any more than I am for that matter. The men who killed him are responsible...not you"
"When I'm thinking clearly I know that. But there are times when it comes back to haunt me...Danny...if you knew everything I've done..."
"What? You think I would think differently about you? I tell you what partner, I'd probably only respect you more but honestly I don't think that's even possible. I know your heart Steve, and I know how much you value life. The things you have done for your country make you a hero man, and the things you do for my daughter make you a super hero in my eyes. Buddy I know you've had to do some horrific things in the line of duty and I understand that you can't talk about a lot of these things with me, but I need you to know that I am here and I care. If you ever need to talk, I don't care what time of night it is, you can call me. I may not have answers Steven, but I'll listen and sometimes that all we need, is for someone to listen"
Steve reached out and took Danny hand in his and squeezed it tightly, "Thank you partner...thank you"
Steve's recovery went well. The detectives were able to drive him back to the Williams' home a week after Gracie and the others had returned.
He slowly regained his strength and he was able to meet Danny's brother Matthew and his three sisters and their families. Gracie was absolutely delighted with her newborn cousin and she was not too happy with the fact that her parents absolutely refused to provide her with a baby brother. She thought her idea of joint custody was a brilliant idea!
After Steve had completed the series of rabies shots and all his stitches were removed they were ready to board a flight back to Hawaii. After hugs and kisses and the promise of a Williams' family visit to Oahu, Maggie Williams embraced her newly 'adopted' son thanking him for loving her Daniel and Gracie Margaret.
Steve's therapy on his shoulder went well and in two months he was back to full active duty leading his skilled Task Force 'family'.
I hope you all enjoyed the ending- I have huge thoughts running through my head for my next story and it may take a bit to get it down. Thank you all for your kind comments, they are very much appreciated!