Lelepau (To trust, completely)
a/n: This is a coda to 2x13. I just couldn't let it go with Joe walking away like that and not get into Steve's head. And you know me. Angst and H/C abound. I wrote this while listening to "Behind Blue Eyes" the Linkin' Park version. If anyone wants to turn this into a vid, be my guest, just let me know so I can watch it!
Abbriged lyrics to
Behind Blue Eyes
No one knows what it's like
To feel these feelings
Like I do, and I blame you, you
No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through
But my dreams they aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free
No one knows what it's like
To be mistreated, to be defeated
Behind blue eyes
No one knows how to say
That they're sorry and don't worry
I'm not telling lies
No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man, to be the sad man
Behind blue eyes.
He watches Joe walk away until he disappears around the block, too shocked and angry to do anything other than seethe. Rage burns through him like lava but it quickly fizzles out, cooled by an ocean's worth of bone-deep weariness. He's so. Fucking. Tired of this; the lies, the deceit, the half-truths, of this nightmare he can't seem to wake up from. Every time he thinks he's reached the end, found answers, the mirror just shatters into another, just another illusion. It started the day his father was killed and hasn't stopped since and he just might have reached his breaking point.
Trust used to be something that came easily to him. All his life, he's been surrounded by people he could trust, most of them implicitly and when he worked Naval Intelligence, he knew whom to trust, whom not to or at least, he had a very good idea. Now, all of that has changed. He's stopped counting the betrayals he's suffered through in the last year and a half, hasn't let it get to him mostly because he learned long ago not to dwell. It's a matter of survival and sanity in his line of work. Being on the side of the greater good, behind God and Country had always been his justification, his creed. He did what he did, laws of man be damned, so the greater good would triumph. He didn't let himself think too much on what he did, what was done to him. All is fair in love and war after all.
Now, everything's different. This isn't war (only it kind of is) and it sure as hell isn't love.
He sucks in a deep breath, reining in the lingering anger and puts the truck into gear, driving towards his house. Only it doesn't feel his. He always invites Danny to 'the house', not his place, not his house. He hangs on to it because of all the memories, because it's his family's legacy but the place is filled with ghosts and secrets and some nights, it's all he can see; ghosts, lies and secrets.
Especially on nights like tonight.
Joe... hasn't betrayed him. Not quite. Not yet. But he hasn't been truthful either and what's bugging him the most is that he knows Joe's lying to him, and Joe knows he's aware of it too, which makes it worse. Joe, who's the closest thing he has to a father figure, is lying to him, to his face.
He slams his hand against the steering wheel, whishing it was something harder, something he could do damage to if not to himself because at this point, he'd welcome the physical pain.
He pulls into the driveway, a bit surprised that he's made it there at all, already. He drove here on autopilot and he can't even remember passing a single car on his way or what route he took. He gets out of the truck and just stands there, staring at the darkened house, the place he can't get away from, the place he doesn't really want to be but can't leave behind because it's all he has left of his past.
He gives himself a mental shake and moves forward. He walks to the door, unlocks it, turns off the alarm and steps in, letting the darkness wash through him. Everywhere he looks, he can see one of those damned ghosts lingering, a memory dragging him under until he feels like he's suffocating.
He wishes he was somehow back on active duty, a clear mission to accomplish, a clear goal in his mind, knowing where he stands, knowing he can trust the man by his side simply because they share a common oath, deeper than any words can describe. A man in uniform, more so a SEAL is someone he can trust implicitly, without question. Sometimes, he wonders if he was meant to live in this world, the civilian one, at all.
And it all comes back to Joe. They once wore the same uniform, the same eagle and trident, even the same rank but there was a line Steve never crossed. Joe was always 'Sir', his mentor, his compass. A father figure.
He stands in his father's study, eyes lost on dark photographs and wishes for silence; silence in his mind, in his soul, for just a moment. He's used to rolling with the punches but he can only take so much and Joe lying to him over something he was tortured for is too much to take. He won't let this go. He can't.
Only right at this instant, what he craves is a moment's peace, a reprieve, space to breathe, to rest, to stop thinking. It feels like he's been 'running' for months on end and he has. He rolls his shoulders as the ache there flares up, the bruises from Korea faded but the damage to the overtaxed joints not quite healed. His eyes are drawn to the pill bottle sitting on the desk and he grabs it, shaking two into his hand before he even thinks about it. He's about to shove them in his mouth when he stops and stares at the white ovals in his palm. He exhales angrily though his nose and tosses the pills and open bottle on the desk, turning away In disgust. He's been taking way too many of them of late and he's starting to think he's taking them for the wrong reason; they dull the pain. They let him sleep at night.
He just wonders what kind of pain he's trying to get away from.
He sighs and heads to the bathroom instead, dry swallowing some ibuprofen. He's got every intention of heading to the kitchen for something to wash the pills down when he sees a spark of light reflecting on a half-full bottle of Jack Daniels No. 7 Whiskey, sitting on the old, worn china cabinet in the dining room.
And just like that, the thread snaps. He's had enough; enough of the grief, of the pain, the anger. He's done.
He feels the prickle of unshed tears in his eyes but he refuses to give in. He grabs the bottle and the dusty glass that's been beside it for over a year and heads to his father's study.
He hardly notices the taste of dust on the first shot he tosses back, the burn of the alcohol searing his tongue and throat. He shuts his eyes tight, willing away the tears, the resentment, the rage, everything, wills his mind to clear as he lets his eyes get lost over the moonlit ocean through the window.
Memories and ghosts wash away with each swallow, until there's nothing left to remember.
The empty bottle falls from his lax hand and clatters loudly on the rug, settling in the first ray of morning sun.
Then, there's only silence.
He doesn't know what made him drive over here at the crack of dawn but he's here nonetheless. He sits in the Camaro for a few minutes, just waiting. For what, he doesn't know. It's not like he's concerned about waking Steve up. The man never sleeps past 5h30 a.m. for some insane reason, so he's not concerned about that. He has no clue what he is concerned about, other than the weird tension between Steve and Joe White.
He heaves in a deep breath and gets out of his car, heading for the house. That's what he came here for after all. Besides, he'd have a hard time explaining his sitting there, in the driveway, doing nothing if his partner happened to come out to get his morning paper.
"Shit." Danny freezes a foot from the door, his heart rate shooting through the roof. He curses, both at what he sees and for wasting fifteen minutes sitting in his car.
The front door isn't closed. It stands about an inch ajar, hinges creaking with the gentle breeze.
He's got his gun out before he can even think about it. He uses his foot to push in the door, resisting the urge to call out Steve's name. He sweeps a gaze around the living room and he goes still, heart suddenly in his throat.
The shout leaves his mouth before he can even move. His partner's in the chair in the study, sprawled back, limp and unmoving, even after Danny's loud call. He's too far to tell if he's breathing but his mouth's hanging open, head lolling on his shoulder and he's much, much too still. He does a quick clearing of the first floor and he's by Steve's side in seconds, fingers on his pulse point. He heaves a quick sigh of relief, finding the beat under his fingers strong and regular, his partner's chest expanding in slow, even breaths. He shoves his gun back in his holster and grabs his cell instead but he pauses again, three things catching his attention all at once: the empty fifth of Whisky on the floor, the distinct smell of alcohol on Steve's breath and the thin line of drool on his chin.
Danny huffs a growl and shakes his head. His assessment of his partner's condition goes from unconscious to passed out drunk. And then, he sees the pills littering the desk and his blood runs cold. It's like the bottom just dropped out of his world because… No. This can't be what this looks like.
"What did you do! What the hell did you to yourself, McGarrett, huh? You stupid idiot. What the hell did you do?" he mutters, phone in hand, ready to call for help because shit, this can't be happening. Booze and pills. Christ. He can't even bring himself to think about what he's maybe seeing, because McGarrett and… god, suicide attempt in the same thought just make No Sense. At All Whatsoever.
Steve wouldn't. And if he ever, he wouldn't fail. Danny's sure of that, so he pushes away the ridiculous idea and thinks like a cop for a moment. There are a damned lot of pills on the desk, a full bottle's worth by his estimation so he just breathes and switching the speed-dial on his phone from 9-1-1 to Chin Ho.
"Yeah, Chin, sorry to call so early. Listen, something's come up that I need to take care of and Steve's off on some personal thing so you get the reins for the day. Call me if anything big comes up, all right? Thanks. Yeah. Okay."
He hangs up and puts his phone in his pocket, shaking his head. He rubs a hand over his face and glances skyward, praying for patience because he has a feeling he's gonna need every single particle of it for the coming day.
His first order of business is rousing his partner out of his drunken stupor long enough to hopefully get him to drink some water and into a bed where he can sleep it off for a few more hours, before Danny serves him with the riot act and interrogation he so richly deserves.
He sighs deeply and sets to the task.
He wakes up in stages and as soon as he's aware, he wishes he wasn't.
The pounding headache and the sour taste of bile in his mouth are instant reminders of how the previous night ended but something doesn't quite make sense. He's pretty sure he didn't make it up to his bedroom before passing out. He opens his eyes and hisses in pain, bright sunlight streaming through the window. He swallows the foul taste in his mouth and huffs out a groan as his stomach does a weird, uncomfortable flop.
Yeah. He's in his bedroom all right, face down on the bed, right by the edge of the mattress, something wet and warm against his cheek.
"You gonna puke again?"
"Huh?" He says dumbly, startled, reflexes slow like half-dried glue. He lifts his head up and finds Danny staring at him, leaning against his dresser. He groans as the movement sends pinballs of pain through his head, his stomach coming halfway up his throat. He gulps and swallows thickly.
"I asked if you're going to puke again."
He stays still for a bit, blinks a few times and rolls to his back, away from the vomit trailing from his chin to the side of the bed to the puddle on the rug. He swallows hard and puts an arm over his eyes. God, he feels like ten tons of crap. He hasn't had a hangover this bad in years, possibly since he was a midshipman.
"I'll take that as a no, then."
"No," he croaks and swallows again. God, his head hurts and the room's spinning way too much for comfort. His stomach hasn't quite agreed to his statement but he's working on that.
"Well, at least you can probably save the sheets, if not the rug."
"That makes me feel so much better," he mumbles from under his arm. What the hell is Danny doing here anyway?
"You have only yourself to blame, my friend. And I am not cleaning that up. Holding your head out of the toilet the first couple times is as far as I go."
Steve gathers his courage and sits up slowly on the opposite side of the bed, head in his hands. Everything's still spinning wildly and he has to swallows frantically a few times but his stomach settles down, quite possibly only because it's already more than empty. The room spins a little less the longer he sits there but it's the pounding in his head that's the real kicker.
"What are you doing here, Danny?" he asks, managing to sound both bearish and wretched.
"I had a feeling you were in need of rescue for some reason. Guess I was right but I hadn't figured I'd be rescuing you from yourself," Danny says, his tone hard, posture rigid.
Steve lifts his head and locks bleary eyes with his partner. "Are you pissed at me?" he asks, confused.
"On what brought this on. You like to have a few beers, unwind, relax. I know that. We've shared enough of those for me to know your standard pattern and this isn't it. Not even close. You're a textbook control freak. I've never, in the eighteen, hellish months we've known each other, seen you lose control like this. Go off the rails a bit, sure, but… I hate to admit it but you know exactly how friggin far you can go and you stop right at the line most times and the ones you don't, I'm usually around to stop you, usually because I'm aware of what's going on. Because it's what partners do! You call me! You let me know so I can be the freaking backup instead of the shmuck who picks up the pieces and cleans up the mess! Just how much booze was in that bottle Steve? And what possessed you to drink the whole thing? And pills too? Are you nuts? Or are you really trying to hurt yourself? Huh?"
Steve heaves a small sigh and shakes his head a small fraction. He isn't up for this discussion right now. Unfortunately for him and his headache, it's the wrong thing to do. He hears Danny inhale sharply and the man just explodes.
"Don't. Do Not, shake your head at me right now! I found you passed out in the study with an empty bottle of booze and pills all over the place, so out of it that a) you did not hear me come in despite me yelling like a banshee and b) you looked like you were dead!"
Steve lifts a hand. Danny isn't to be placated so easily but it's still worth a try. Danny is just impossible to stop at times. "Would you stop yelling at me?"
"Oh. I'm sorry. You have a headache? I wonder why! You gave yourself alcohol poisoning and you just expect me to leave it at that? You decide to drown yourself in booze and pills because what, you had nothing better to do, huh? No explanation, no call, no nothing? If I hadn't found you and put you to bed, you'd have thrown up in your sleep just the same but you'd have choked on your own puke sitting up in that chair. And for what? Why the hell would you do this, huh?"
"I don't know okay?" Steve roars, suddenly fed up and instantly regretting it, his head wanting to implode, his stomach threatening to rebel anew. "I don't know," he repeats softly, digging his fingers into his eyes. Thing is, he means that. He doesn't know what he was thinking, other than wanting it all to stop, just for a moment. Only he does know and he doesn't want to have to think about the last betrayal he's gone through. He doesn't want to remember Joe walking away from him, but he does. Still, why he decided to do what he did… Danny's right. This isn't him and he has no clue what possessed him to be so reckless.
The silence in the room is deafening. He expects more ranting, more yelling, more scolding, more words… something but there's nothing, for interminable minutes. He doesn't know what to say in light of his admission, so he stays quiet but he's become accustomed to having Danny fill in the blanks, put words to the emotions he has because somehow, Danny got in his head and figured him out and yeah when things stopped making sense, he should have called but he's never had someone that's so… family except he's not and…
"I'm worried about you, Steve. I really am," Danny says, thankfully pulling him out of his spiraling thoughts. "I mean, you're a tough guy, hard as they come and I'm sure dealing with psychological trauma and stuff is all part of your training but this… What you've been through? Isn't exactly part of some mission. It's personal and don't insult my intelligence by telling me it hasn't affected you because hello, this? This is proof right here. This was incredibly stupid, Steven. Dangerous, reckless and stupid, stupid, stupid."
"I know. And I didn't take any pills," he spits out, pissed that Danny thinks he'd do something like this. Only maybe Danny's within his rights to be concerned. It stings regardless. "Do you seriously think I'd do something like that, Danny? Really?"
"No. Not really." He pauses. "No. Okay. Maybe for one second. Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. I find you passed out, an empty bottle of booze on the floor and pills all over the desk. I've seen that way too many times not to at least think about it and ask the question. I'd be a shitty friend if I didn't."
"I'm not suicidal, Danny." Depressed, maybe, he doesn't add and yeah, okay he can see how it must have looked from Danny's side. Shit. He's such an idiot sometimes.
"Okay," Danny says but he goes quiet again. Only this time, it lasts only a minute and Steve suspects his partner has an idea what went down last night, where he disappeared to.
"So, you find Joe?" he asks, arms crossed, hitting the nail on the head.
He breathes deep before answering. "Yeah. Pulled him out of Adam Noshimuri's mansion. I may have shot one of his bodyguards in the leg."
"May have. Okay. All right. And Joe? What did he have to say about all this?"
Steve scoffed. "That he helped Hiro fake his death."
He shakes his head. "I don't know and Joe flat-out refused to tell me. Instead, he made insinuations about me being insubordinate and walked away. Got out of my truck and just… walked off."
"You, uh, want me to bash his face in for you? Hold him down so you can whoop his ass? Tell me, because I'll do it, no questions asked. Even help you bury the body. Bastard. Wasn't he supposed to be on our side?"
Steve chuckles. Of course Danny would offer to help lay a beat down on Joe. "That's what I thought too. And if I thought beating the crap out of him would work, sure, I'd take the help. But no thanks. Besides, Adam's boys did a good enough job softening him up."
"Huh, too bad. I would love to Jersey him up, right about now."
Steve chuckles again because what else is he gonna do?
"Hey, you laugh but you do not mess with my partner. Mess with him, mess with me, capice? So next time someone, anyone, puts you in this kind of a funk, YOU CALL ME! You idiot," Danny shouts.
He just groans and buries his head in his hands again. "Fine, fine. I got it," he mutters through his fingers.
"Good. I knew you had half a brain in there somewhere although it's possibly still pickling in whiskey right now."
"Thanks," he says sarcastically. He sighs and rubs his face, the lethargy returning full force. "I just don't know what I'm going to do. I need to know, Danny. I need to," he says, lifting his head to look at his partner. His anguish must show through because Danny's face softens and he leaves the spot he's been standing in and comes close, putting a hand on his shoulder. Somehow, it makes him feel deeply vulnerable, exposed and raw. Nothing's fixed, nothing's clearer and he has no idea where he's going and he's trusting Danny with all of this because he has no choice; Danny somehow figured him out and it kind of scares him. He trusts Danny implicitly, knows that trust is well placed but a part of him can't help but wonder and doubt.
"I know you do. We'll figure it out, okay?" Danny says, gentler than Steve's ever heard him, other than when speaking to Grace. He doesn't quite know what to make of that. He's more used to the tough love his partner dishes out and he wonders if he should be worried, about either of them. Trust is a fragile bond and he doesn't want to lose Danny's, doesn't want to be betrayed again.
Danny pats his shoulder again and he's off, as if some switch has been flipped.
"Go take a shower. Do me a favor though; make it a five-minute one, okay? You reek, my friend. I'll have coffee waiting."
Danny's halfway out of the room when Steve finds his voice and the courage to speak.
"I'd say any time but watching you barf is not something I plan on doing ever again if I can help it."
"Yeah," he says, conceding the point. Right now, he has to make a choice; he either trusts Danny completely, or he doesn't. The partnership they have can't work any other way. So he just leaps and finally lets his guard down. "I just…" He heaves out a deep sigh. "I'm just so tired, sometimes. It hurts, Danny; being betrayed by the people I care about, the ones closest to me. I just… I couldn't take it anymore. Not after what I went through in Korea. And especially not from Joe. I need the truth. I deserve the truth!"
"I know. I totally agree with you and I get it. Just to me a favor, please? The next time you need to get out of your head, just give me a call, okay? Just remember one thing: misery loves company. It isn't so bad when you aren't alone and to paraphrase some crazy-ass Navy guy I know, you're not as alone on this island as you think, Steven."
Steve ducks his head and smiles thinly. He'd really like to believe that. He really would. He shakes his head a little, eyes on the carpet.
"Hey. Look at me. Look at me, Steve. Look. At. Me."
He does and he has to look away again because if he doesn't, Danny will see the wetness in his eyes and he can't let himself be vulnerable like that. Not when Danny's looking at him with the eyes of a brother, one not by blood or oath but by choice. He puts his hand over his eyes, pressing down and swallowing hard, trying to gain control over his emotions. He hasn't cried in… He doesn't even remember the last time and more to the point, he has no idea why it's coming to him now but he can't seem to escape it.
He feels the hot, wet trails of tears falling down his cheeks and he just…
He buries his head in his hands, huffing out a choked breath. He swallows and clears his throat, pushing back the feelings of despair, willing himself back under control but he can't seem to get there.
"I don't know what's wrong with me," he huffs from behind his hands, voice shaking.
"When's the last time you slept? And I by slept I mean really slept. A full night. Solid 8 hours, undisturbed?"
Steve thinks and… he can't really remember. Weeks. A month maybe. And it just hits him. Yeah, okay. It all makes sense, all of a sudden. Exhaustion, mental, physical and emotional; add a hangover and you get a messed up Navy SEAL-turned-cop.
"Yeah. That's what I thought. So don't go looking any further than that. You're exhausted, Steve. You're just crashing, babe. Don't worry about it."
He's just crashing. It's just... Except... He can't seem to force back the mass in his throat and stop the wetness that keeps pooling in his eyes from falling.
"Fuck," he chokes out and Danny snorts.
"So that's what it takes to get you to cuss? Some sailor you are."
Steve would love nothing more than to snort back, laugh, make light of it but he just can't. What comes out of his mouth is a weird cross between a chuckle and a sob and he can't do anything about it. So instead of fighting, he gives in and he sits there, head in his hands, tears falling to the carpet unheeded, shoulders hitching. He pinches the bridge of his nose and exhales, long and slow through tight lips but it's a losing fight.
"Fuck," he grinds out again, through his teeth, his right hand tightening into a fist, nails biting into his palm, body so rigidly tight he's shaking from the strain.
"Hey, hey... It's okay. Don't worry about it. It's okay," Danny says quietly, sitting beside him, putting a hand on the back of his neck and leaving it there and he just breaks. He falls apart and just cries. He can't even feel anything; no shame, no regret, nothing. He simply lets go but Danny's hand never moves from his neck, grounding him, holding him together.
He doesn't know how long it takes but the knot in his throat eventually eases and his breathing settles into something resembling normal. He wipes a hand under his nose and sniffs, blinking the last of the tears from his eyes.
He nods a few times when he really wants to shake his head no. He's not okay, not by a long shot. The headache pulsing over his eyes is monstrous, he's still nauseous and he's totally and completely wrung out, but he feels better, calmer.
"I'm all right," he says, his voice a scratched whisper. "Thanks. Again." He rubs his face vigorously, trying to erase the remains of tears from his cheeks.
He's not, really, but he'll get there. And maybe, just maybe, he doesn't feel quite so alone anymore.
"That's what friends are for, babe" Danny says.
"Kaikuaʻana. Brother, This… You're a brother to me, Danny."
"Are you getting sappy on me now, McGarrett?"
Steve can't help the smile crooking his lips. The teasing tone in Danny's voice is just right, making the world feel normal again and as such, he cannot let that dig go unanswered. He drops a hand towards the headboard and grabs the pillow there, whacking Danny's chest as hard as he can with it.
The startled oomph he gets out of it more satisfying than it ought to be and the grin it brings to his face is plainly ridiculous.
Danny snorts and sighs. "You. Shower Five minutes, minimum. Now. And aspirin while you're there. And for the record, next time you do that, I'll kick your ass."
"Yes, sir," Steve says, slowly getting to his feet. He shuffles to the bathroom, hearing Danny's steps thumping down the stairs. He turns the water on and can't help but smile a little. He'd trusted Danny Williams off the bat and he was right to, completely. That fact somehow reconciles him with his outlook on the world, with the trust he puts in himself, in his own judgment.
He damn well knows Joe's playing him and he will find out why and in the meantime, he's not alone. No matter what happens, he's got Danny by his side and he knows without a doubt that the trust he has in him will never be misplaced.