Danny can hear well enough, but it's the trying to make sense out of what he's hearing that he's having a little trouble with. Steve's grunts and groans, his occasional curses, that much is from the climbing, Danny's fairly certain.
But then he hears something else. And Steve stumbles so hard that it makes Danny cry out in pain when his leg flies outward and his thigh slams back into Steve's ass (Danny knows there's a joke in there somewhere but fuck, it hurts). Steve's hands are suddenly gripping Danny's forearms painfully tight, and then there's a familiar voice that just makes Danny sag with relief.
"Give me your hand, son."
One of Steve's hands leaves one of Danny's arms, and there's a sudden upward movement and more jostling but by this point Danny's leg really has gone numb, so it's all he can do to register Steve is actually trying to get his attention.
"Danny, let go, it's okay," is what Steve's saying and what, is he crazy? How the hell is he expecting Danny to let go, because Danny will fall on his busted leg and what the fuck, anyway? He feels hands trying to pry his own apart from where they're still wrapped around each other over Steve's breastbone, but no, he's not letting go, because Steve's getting him out of there!
"Joe, don't..." Danny feels and hears Steve sigh. "Don't run off."
Danny's cheek is resting on Steve's shoulder and whoever-it-was has stopped tugging at Danny's hands, so he's good.
"Just get your partner out to the medics."
"She's already running. Isn't she."
Steve's tone of voice gets Danny's attention. He opens his eyelids and from his vantage point, half his field of vision's filled by Steve's neck. In the other half, he can see the side of Joe's face.
"Joe, some Japanese man who says he's the head of the Yakuza told my team we'd all be left alone, and be safe, if we stopped going after the Yakuza here in Hawaii and abroad."
"He call himself Sosai?" Joe asks.
Danny struggles to pay attention, leg throbbing like a sonofabitch.
There's a moment of silence.
"Whatever he told you, Steve, he'll stand by it. But you have to understand that there's more to your mother and me and this whole thing than you will ever know."
"Are…" Steve's voice trails off. He hikes Danny up to keep him in place. Danny moans softly at the movement. "Are you my father?"
"I think you know the answer to that."
Steve's Adam's apple bobs when he swallows hard. "Steve," Danny whispers, feeling like he's about two blinks away from passing out completely.
Steve looks askance at him, and Danny sees a quick movement to the right. He struggles to lift his head enough to see what it was, and finds that Joe White is gone.
"Going to get you out of here, Danny," Steve says, voice devoid of emotion.
"Your mom," Danny slurs, running out of the will to keep himself awake.
"Gone, Danny. So is Joe." Steve's jogging now, keeps zigging and zagging, Danny figures probably going around rubble or something on their way out of the palace.
Steve shakes his head. Danny's eyelids flutter closed. "Come on," is what Steve says, like Danny could go anywhere other than wherever Steve takes him in his condition.
And Danny sort of loves his partner an awful lot right now, but at the same time knows that Steve's world has just completely gone off its axis once again. He wishes he could stay awake to try and help somehow, but when he hears Chin's and Kono's voices yell his and Steve's names, he allows himself the blessed relief of darkness.
When Danny wakes up, the first thing he notes is that he's no longer in pain. The second thing is that there are beeps that are instantly recognizable as monitors, and he guesses he must be the guy hooked up to them. The third thing is that there's a bit of a heaviness along his left side, and the fourth thing is that his right hand is being held by a hand that's very soft.
He struggles for a moment to get his eyelids open, and when he does, the first thing he sees is Gabby's head resting on the side of the hospital bed he's lying in; it's her hand holding his right one. His eyes move slowly around and he sees that his left leg is lying atop the light blue blanket covering the rest of him, a cast encasing it thigh to mid-shin, all being held up about five inches off the bed by a crane sling.
His eyes continue left and he sees Grace asleep, nestled into his side with his arm around her back holding her close. Then he looks up to find that standing with his arms folded over his chest, staring out of the hospital room window, is his partner.
As though picking up on the vibe that Danny's finally conscious, Steve looks at him, and while he smiles, there's a look of sadness, maybe even of resignation, in his eyes. "Hi," Steve whispers, letting his hands fall to his sides and coming to stand on the side of the bed nearest Gracie. "How you feeling?"
"Good," Danny says, and it's the truth because he figures he's got some heavy painkillers in him at the moment. He remembers the last things he heard as Steve was saving his life. As Steve was letting his mother and a man who could very well be his biological father go, to save Danny's life. Danny swallows hard. "I'm sorry," is what he says, and Steve frowns.
"What for? You're the one in the hospital with a busted leg."
"Yeah, but I wouldn't be here if you hadn't gotten me out. And you lost your mom and Joe because of me. So…I'm sorry."
Steve shakes his head. "Isn't a world where I would've left you behind to try and keep them here." He looks down. "You've got a couple ladies who wouldn't have been too happy with me if I had."
Danny looks down at Gabby and Grace, both still sound asleep. Then he looks back up at Steve. "What are you going to do?" he whispers.
"Nothing, Danny. I think it's pretty clear they don't want to be in my life. So I'll stick with the people who've made it pretty clear they do."
A movement at the door catches Danny's attention. And his eyes widen because it's Catherine of all people, and when she smiles at Steve and he smiles back at her, Danny knows it's going to somehow all be okay, Sosai's threats, Joe's and Doris's apparent re-disappearance and all.
He allows himself to drift back to sleep to the backdrop of a Navy man and Navy woman who love each other very much, embracing.
Four months later…
Danny's not entirely sure how the heck his ohana has made it through the last few months, but he figures love has a lot to do with it.
He's currently ensconced in a chair on the upper deck overlooking the water at Steve's house, and can hear the shower shutting off. It's been a bit of a rocky road with Steve and him, because for some reason, getting Danny out of the palace has given Steve the notion that he's completely responsible for restoring Danny to one hundred percent.
Which is really, really annoying.
Thank God for Gabby and Catherine. Gabby, because she insists upon removing Danny from Steve's overprotective watch quite frequently, the better for her to show him that he doesn't need an uncasted leg to make love. Danny blushes at the thought of two nights ago.
And Catherine, because she insists that while she's well aware (as is Gabby, apparently), that Steve and Danny come as sort of a weird hyphenated duo called Steve-and-Danny, she is under no circumstances getting intimate with her man while Danny's sitting down on the couch with Grace, his leg elevated, watching Tangledfor the five hundredth time.
So, yeah. Today's the day where Gabby introduces Danny to the new house she bought two weeks ago, which the entirety of Five-0 and extended friends and family - Grace included - have been helping her fix up to make it easier for Danny to maneuver as his cast comes off next week and physical therapy begins in earnest. Today's the day where Steve has to get his Control Freak under control itself, and where Catherine finally gets her man all to herself twenty-four/seven.
It's a day of celebration, and a day that's certain to be filled with many versions of Aneurism Face.
But it's also a day of sadness. Because before Danny and Grace are officially moved in with Gabby, he has a goodbye he has to say, which is where Steve will be taking him as soon as he's finished getting dressed. Today's the day where Rachel, having testified against Stan last month, is going into witness protection with Charlie. Rachel Chambers Williams Edwards will cease to exist, to be replaced with a name Danny will never know. He'll never see the mother of his child again.
The hell of it is, neither will his child.
He's shed more tears, as has Rachel, over the past two months than he thinks he shed back when he had sent Grace away not knowing when he'd see her again. Grace is old enough to know that her mother's life is in danger, and understands that's why she has to go away.
But that doesn't mean it's been easy getting through this time, with Rachel constantly under guard just in case Sosai doesn't keep his word. With all Five-0's evidence destroyed in the explosion, and everything on their supposedly triple-secure cloud erased courtesy of an unknown entity, Rachel helping take Stan down was pretty much all they had left to show for the hell the team has been through.
Now with Stan's conviction and a sentencing that's happening next week which will keep him behind bars for a minimum of sixty-five years, and with the entirety of Stan's family from his sister to his brother to his parents having all been arrested for crimes similar to those Stan himself had committed, Charlie's not got anyone but Rachel to take care of him. Because they'd found the DNA test results Stan had squirreled away, and Edwards is Charlie's father.
Since he's a baby, WITSEC says yes, he can go with his mother. But the girl is too old, could slip up, could make mistakes. Grace isn't allowed to go with Rachel.
On the one hand, yes, the best thing that could ever happen for Danny, because it means he won't be forced to never see his girl again.
On the other hand, completely devastating for Rachel and for Grace, to be cut off like this from each other. A girl needs her mother, and Danny's promised Rachel ten times over that he'll somehow find some way for them to stay in contact, in spite of him not knowing where Rachel will be or how to even find her. But he won't give up trying, for Grace's sake, and Rachel will hold on to the hope that she'll be able to be there - even secretly - when Grace graduates from high school.
All of which, of course, now leaves Grace in Danny's sole custody, with Rachel's full blessing, given through sobs of anguish. And Danny, you know, yes of course he feels for her. But he also thinks logically about it, about the fact that Rachel brought this all on herself. About how she didn't come to Danny earlier, when maybe they could've prevented so much of what happened. About how she put Danny's daughter's life in mortal danger day in and day out by shacking up with a man who was in cahoots with the likes of Adam Noshimuri.
Who himself is now cooling his heels in the same cell that had once held Wo Fat, leaving Kono intellectually - and as a police officer - glad, but emotionally hurting...something they are all helping her deal with.
And thus far, focused more on Stan, Rachel, Grace, Charlie, Danny and his leg and Kono, Steve hasn't tried to find out where Joe and his mother are, hasn't looked into what else the two could've been involved in more than he already knew. He hasn't done anything to or with any member of the Yakuza, some of whom Five-0 knows are there conducting business on Oahu. And there's been no further contact from Sosai, the mysterious figure that neither Danny nor Steve nor any of their team have been able to get any further information on via casual questioning.
Danny asked Steve, one month after their palace headquarters had been destroyed, whether he was just going to let Sosai and the Yakuza get away with it. Steve had looked at him with a face that Danny was hard-pressed to place, and replied, "Ohana comes before anything, Danny," and left it at that. And yeah, Danny knows it isn't completely over; that Steve will probably start looking into them again within the year. He hopes, however, that the fact that Catherine's now land-bound for good and staying with McGarrett will keep the man from going as far into a new investigation as he'd gone into the original.
Malia's three months pregnant, so Chin's been all over Danny about taking care of babies and man-feelings about your newborn baby, and all the stuff Danny's way happy to talk about because for him it's all about how much he treasures his own little girl. Two days ago, Steve even told Danny that Ben Bass showed up at the palace where Steve, Kono and a whole team of architects, construction engineers and construction workers were assembled to get that palace restored and put Five-0 back where they belonged. So maybe Kono's blond-haired love is back for good, is what Danny's hoping for her.
And Danny's got his daughter now; he's got all kinds of arrangements for taking care of her worked out between Gabby, Kono's older sister who fell in love with Grace, and more members of the Kelly and Kalakaua families. Oh, and Kamekona, who belly-laughs like Danny's never heard before when Grace teases him as she does.
Grace is young. She won't forget her mother, and Danny won't let her forget her mother. Because for all of Rachel's wrongdoings and missteps, ultimately she did the right thing for both her children, and for the sake of justice. It's not a sweet, happy, apple pie ending for Grace, Rachel, Danny or Charlie. But it's the best that they can do given Rachel's various crimes. It was either she turns state's evidence or she goes behind bars until Grace is old enough to be a grandmother.
It's not an apple pie ending for Steve or Mary Ann either, except that Mary's sticking around Hawaii for the foreseeable future, having sub-leased the nice two-bedroom pad that Danny only called home for a month before the shit hit the fan. She's got herself a job with Mamo, and she often takes Grace for a 'girls day out,' having bonded with her at Mamo's little shack on the beach.
No. No completely happy endings, but they're all alive, they're all healthy - well, Danny's nearly there, but his leg will give him shit for the rest of his life and doesn't that just figure - and nobody is going anywhere, Sosai or Yakuza or threats to lives notwithstanding. Rachel's permanent departure notwithstanding.
Danny sighs, shifting his leg in the chair that's facing him, which he's using as a resting place for it. "You all right?" he hears Steve ask, as he (typical, pain-in-the-ass) ninjas up behind him.
Danny squints up at him through the bright morning sun, shrugs. "Hard to think I'll never see her again. That Grace will never see her again." Danny shakes his head. "I think I'm going to have to put her in therapy to help her cope."
Steve rests his hand on his partner's shoulder, both men looking out of the sparkling too-blue water. "Maybe," Steve says. "But don't forget she's got an awfully big ohana, Danny." Steve squeezes his shoulder. "We'll all get each other through."
Steve's hand falls away as he disappears back into his bedroom, and Danny thinks, well, they do still have this Sosai to wonder about, and maybe Joe White and Doris Meyer to find someday, though he's not sure if Steve really wants to know anything more than he already does.
And yes, Rachel and Charlie are going away for good, leaving Grace without her mom, and all the painful implications of that happening to a nine-year old girl. And Stan's behind bars, and Wo Fat's dead, and from what they can tell, Governor Denning has nothing to do with any criminal element, so Five-0's bullpen – alongside the Iolani Palace itself – is being rebuilt and they're still functioning even as they each work to pick up the pieces of their lives.
And Steve has Cath, and Danny has Gabby and Grace. And Five-0 has each other and all the family members that go with them.
So he guesses Steve's right. No matter what comes next, come hell or high water, physical therapy, lots of tears and probably beach weddings in their not-too-distant futures, they will all get each other through.
Because Five-0? Is just another word for family.
And they've proven that nothing and no one can tear this family apart.
...may the adventure continue...
Author's Note: I'm grateful for those of you who've been with me every day as each new chapter's been posted. For those who've taken the time to review, to let me know how they feel about it. There's nothing like knowing you're helping fulfill withdrawal for peoples' favorite show by giving them something that was hopefully equal parts exciting, heart-wrenching and humorous. While much of this could probably fit into a season-long arc in between and amongst procedural Five-0 cases, if it were all spread out the way the McGarrett/Williams arcs have been over the first two seasons, I've no idea if any of this is in line with, or totally opposite to, whatever Peter Lenkov and Co. have in mind for us starting this fall...so if anything turns out to be similar, then HOOYAH as Steve might say. :-)
Thank you for sticking with me and for keeping your seatbelts on. It was not only a roller-coaster ride to read, but one helluva thing to write, and I'm quite proud of it.
Shameless self-promotion: For those of you who enjoy my writing, I invite you to check out my two published novels on Amazon or Smashwords, available in every ebook format that exists. It's a new kind of vampire I've introduced in my "Takers" series of books, and thus far all the reviews I've received from readers have been positive. So feel free to go to either site, search for Takers Chris Davis and look at a sample of the books. If you like what you see, and if you buy them and read them, please leave me a review on whichever site you purchased it from – good, bad or indifferent. It counts just as much as reviews of my fanfic do!
Thank you all!