Rating: R (violence)
Warnings: Mild descriptions of torture, might be triggery for some people
Word Count: 5335
Disclaimer: This is written purely for entertainment purposes. No profit is made from this and no disrespect is intended towards the show or it's actors.
Summary: Danny knows Steve is a Navy SEAL and thus is trained to do, and endure, some pretty scary shit. He's seen him dangle men off of roofs and over sharks, seen him face down the Yakuza without so much as blinking, seen him talk down psychotic SEALs and work tirelessly to defend people who couldn't defend themselves. Danny's seen Steve angry, he's seen him exhausted, he's seen him desperate but Danny's never truly seen Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarret, SEAL team leader, until now.
Author's Notes: I proof-read this myself so any mistakes are my own. Also, this is my second Five-0 fic, I'm not so proud of the first one but I must admit to liking this one better. Hope you guys agree and that I've manageed to keep this team mostly in character.
The situation had gone to hell in a handbasket hours ago. Danny pulled at his restraints, arms straining to break through the tightly knotted rope that held his hands behind his back but it was futile. Next to him, Chin and Kono were in similar positions, hands and feet bound and staring at Steve with desperate, furious eyes. Steve, well Steve was even worse off than they were.
It had all happened so quickly, Danny's head was still spinning. They'd all been in the central room of HQ, watching videos on one of the screens and sipping beers, just winding down after a hard day and even harder case. Danny had been talking to Chin and Kono, pointedly ignoring Steve because the idiot had charged headlong into a drugs bust without backup. Without any kind of backup because Danny had gotten a last minute call from Rachel to pick Grace up from school and Chin and Kono had been back at HQ, processing evidence. It was true that, by the time HPD arrived, Steve had knocked outall four of the guys in the warehouse without getting so much as a scratch himself and was impatiently waiting for someone to arrive so that they could 'book the assholes already' but that was beside the point.
So, Steve had been sulking because nobody had been impressed by his recklessness and the rest of them had been laughing through the A-Team tv show, not the glossy movie remake, and the next thing Danny knew, an odd scent was filling his nostril. He'd woken to Steve prodding him harder than was strictly necessary with his boots. They'd had just enough time for Steve to do some weird SEAL ninja contortionist trick that brought his hands in front of him and he'd started pulling at his bindings with his teeth while Danny woke Chin and Kono when the door to the room they were being held in opened a group of men walked in.
The guy in front was tall, broad shouldered and athletically built. He was dressed in slacks and a collared shirt, his skin was dark, his hair shaved and half his face disfigured by what looked like burn scars. Steve's shoulders stiffen and Danny fights the urge to roll his eyes because of course Steve's knows this guy.
"Commander McGarrett," the man spoke with an African accent, maybe Nigerian, and completely ignored the rest of the team.
"Abassi Ngige," Steve's voice remains unaffected and, if the situation weren't so goddamned fucked up Danny would be asking him how he managed that.
"Didn't I leave you unconcious in a burning warehouse?"
"Yes, with quite a nice souvenier as well," Ngige replied, rubbing a hand across his face. "It was very thoughtful of you. In fact," the gleam that entered Ngige's eyes made Danny want to squirm away, "it would be remiss of me to not return the favour."
Steve merely stared at him, unfazed and, from the corner of his eyes Danny can see Kono and Chin both strain against their bonds. He doesn't blame them. Unless a case comes up and the Governor tries to get a hold of Steve, nobody's going to even realise they're missing.
"You travelled all this way to give me a present? I'm touched" Steve's voice is purposefully obnoxious and Danny wants to bash him over the head with a hammer because, really? Antagonise the terrorist with a grudge? That was Super-SEALs big plan?
"I would also like the identities of the rest of your team," Ngige continued, unaffected and he obviously meant Steve's SEAL team because he already had Five-0 bound and metaphorically gagged. Not even Danny was brazen enough to interrupt a situation that was obviously out of his league and jurisdiction. "I am sure you can see how your co-operation would be beneficial."
"Yeah, fuck you," Steve snorted and rested his wrists on his bent knees, looking for all the world that he was sitting on the fucking beach instead of the filthy, concrete floor of a cell.
"Such bravery," Ngige tsked and cocked his head to the side. "I wonder if you can carry on being so...stubborn when your team is subjected to some of the practices you Americans use on your prisoners."
Danny's heartbeat thundered in his ears because he really, really did not like the sound of that. Besides, for all that Steve was a reckless, bloodthirsty idiot, he hated seeing the people he was close to get hurt and even if Steve didn't react to the taunt, Danny knew he'd sell out the whole fucking world before letting one of them get hurt. This Ngige guy was smart if he could pick out the one thing that was guarenteed to make Steve talk with so little effort.
"Or perhaps not," Ngige murmured as he studied Steve's expression. "You Americans, you are trained to not react to such situations, yes? You are trained to be like...like machines. Well, let us see how long it is before this machine breaks."
He gestured to the men standing behind him and they both came forward and pulled Steve to his feet and all Danny could think was maybe this guy wasn't so smart after all. Then they were lifting Steve's hands above his head and securing them to shackles that hung from the ceiling and slitting his shirt open, pulling off his pants until Steve hung, exposed, stretched and vulnerable in only his boxers before them and fuck but Danny had never thought he'd ever use the words 'Steve' and 'vulnerable' in the same sentence.
"The first person to speak can consider themselves fired," Steve said to his team, barely glancing at them and appearing remarkably unconcerned about what was about to happen.
Danny wanted to curse, he wanted scream and rant and rave at Steve until the fucker got it into his head that he was about to be tortured and maybe now wasn't the best time for heroics? Steve met his gaze then, as if sensing his thoughts and Danny almost recoiled because, ah hell, because Steve was serious. He was actually completely and totally serious and Chin and Kono seemed to have picked this up already. For all that Steve loves throwing his weight around, shoving his badge and title in people's faces, Danny had never truly had that same resolve turned back on him. Not really, and not until now. So he swallowed down his protests and nodded and watched as Steve's eyes went's blanks, walls that Danny could have only imagined existed coming up to block his emotions and then Steve was turning away, breaking eye contact.
If, before today, youy had asked Danny Williams what it was like to work with a SEAL, he would have said 'dangerous'. He would have said that Steve was obviously trained and capable but he was as much of a menace to Danny and the infrastructure of Oahu than to the criminal population of said island. He'd never spent much time thinkng about what exactly Steve's training meant other than the fact that he was, physically, some kind of freak of nature. Steve was stronger and fitter and faster than anyone Danny had ever met but he was special forces so that was only to be expected right?
Now, watching as Ngige's men whipped Steve, like literally whipped him and Steve just took it with a clench of his jaw and tightening around his eyes and mouth but little other visible reaction, Danny was realising that the stunts and fondness for weapons weren't the only things that Steve's training had given him. It had also given him the mental and physical tools he needed to withstand torture. Steve's smart-ass comments earlier suddenly made a whole lot more sense because okay, yes, this was Steve and he was always a smart-ass. That aside, he known, probably from the moment he'd woken up in this cell Steve had known what would happen and, from the start, had taken action to keep Ngige's attention focused on him and him only.
Danny doesn't know how long the whipping continued but any length of time was too damned long. Eventually, however, they put away the whips and Danny almost breathes a sigh of relief but then they're reaching up to fasten a mask to Steve's face. A mask that's attached to a large tank of water via a thick, plastic tube and then they're pressing a button and he mask is flooded with water and goddamnit but they're drowning him. Steve's legs twitch, his back arch's a little, the muscles of his chest and stomach working as Steve does his best to control his reponses.
Next to him, Danny can hear Kono's sharp intake of breath and when he glances over her eyes are glassy with unshed tears but her lips are pressed firmly together and she's keeping her gaze on Steve, not looking away for a second. Danny knows where she's coming from, training or not, Steve's doing this for them, he's taking all of this for them and the least they could do is not turn away. So that brought them to their current situation, with Steve being tortured for information that he would never in a million years give up and the rest of them unable to do anything other that watch.
It went on for hours. From the waterboarding they starting cutting him. Slow, deliberate drags of the knife against pressure points and sensitive areas and still Steve did little more than lock his jaw and relax his muscles, trying to sustain as little tissue damage as possible. From the knives they moved on to good old fashioned beating with pipes, with blocks of wood, with their fists and staying still, staying silent was the hardest fucking thing Danny had ever done. He wanted to scream, he wanted to yell and rant at the injustice of it all because it was becoming more and more obvious to him that Steve had spent his entire adult life by putting himself between the people he cared about and any harm that threatened him.
Danny didn't care what kind of top secret, ninja training Steve had received. Nobody got to be that good at keeping control of themselves under torture with a shitload of practice and God damn it but how had Danny missed this? How had Danny missed that below all the crooked smiles, and bitching about neckwear, and he-man heroics, Steve was as equally capable of throwing himself in front of gunfire without a second's hesitation as he was of grinning at Danny and mocking his dress sense.
And maybe that wouldn't have been signinficant but in forgetting that Danny had also forgotten that Steve was SEAL team leader which meant he was used to issuing orders and having them obeyed, no questions asked. Almost since they had met, Danny had done nothing but mock Steve, his methods, his training and the Navy and yes, okay, so Danny ends up following Steve's direction in the end but not without a whole lot of bitching. And yeah, Steve could give back as good as he got but the thing, the thing is that all this time Danny's been acting like Steve was just some military thug with connections and all this time Steve just put up with it.
He never really pulled rank, he only rubbed his status in perps faces and he listened to Danny with what Danny was beginning to realise was about as much patience as a McGarrett could muster. Steve wasn't a cop. When he was in the middle of Afghanistan or Nepal or Nigeria or wherever the fuck this covert operations stuff took him, there was no such thing as due process or criminal rights and so it was too be expected that Steve had this 'get the job done at all costs' kind of metality and maybe Danny had been as understanding of that as he could be.
Steve had barged into their lives like a tall, dark and tattooes hurricane, dragging them all from the brink of tedium and pulling them into a life that was, okay a little more dangerous than that of the average cop, but one that also made them a part of a team. All of them, Danny, Chin and Kono, they all owed Steve. Chin had been giving a second chance, had had his allegations brushed away after one, one required question. Kono had been spared the experience of working with cops who thought Chin dirty. With her tendency to quickly and vehemently defend her cousin, how long would it have been before she was hung out to dry by a partner with a grudge? And Danny, Danny had been pulled from an environment where he was treated like a leper, an outsider who was unwanted and unneeded, to being a prt of a team where a fucking SEAL put up with Danny's bitching and listened to Danny's suggestions and sometimes even followed them, all after knowing him for a matter of days.
It was all so...so Steve, to get Danny so twisted up that he could barely tell his head from his ass and ended up treating a war hero like he was all brawn and no brain. Because there was no doubt in Danny's mind that Steve was a wat hero and that Danny owed him a huge, huge apology. So when Ngige's men finally stopped, leaving Steve hanging from his restraints, body littered with bleeding cuts and quickly developing bruises. For a moment there was silence as Kono swallowed back her tears and Chin and Danny tried to think of something but before they could do so, Steve was moving.
With a grunt, Steve pulled himself up, swinging his legs towards his hands in a fluid motion that was not without effort. When he'd lowered his legs again, the rest of the team could see that he had a thin piece of wire between his fingers and was using in to pick the lock on his shackles. For a long moment Danny could only stare in disbelief but then the words that had been clogging his throat during this entire ordeal burst free.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Danny demanded.
"I'm getting us out of here," Steve barely glanced at Danny as the shackles clicked open and Steve brought his still bound hands to his mouth, tugging at the rope with his teeth.
A few minutes later the ties had loosened enough for Steve to twist out of them and , after undoing the ones around his ankles, he immediately went to work on freeing the rest of them. Then he was tying the pieces of rope together to make one, long strand and Danny could only look on in confusion.
"Kono," Steve ordered, climb onto those crates and look out that window, he gestured to some boxes stacked below the single window in the room. "Tell me if there'sa patrol. Chin, tear up strips from my shirt, I need to wrap up some of these cuts. Danny, help Kono climb up there."
The last order came when Kono had approached the crates and found them unstable and not strong enough to hold her weight. Chin was already doing as Steve directed and Steve, having finished stringing the ropes together, wrapped some of the strips Chin tore from his shirt around cuts on his thighs, the inside of his elbows and on his ankles before pulling on his pants.
"All clear, Boss," Kono reported before hopping easily down from where she'd perched on Danny's shoulders.
"Good," Steve nodded. "Okay here's what's gonna happen. We're gonna scale that window, I heard traffic earlier so we're near roads. I'm gonna go first so I can help you guys over the other side, it's a steep drop. Keep as quiet as you can so we can get a lay of the land, let our eyes adjust to the dark and then we're moving towards the traffic. Understand?"
The rest of the team could do little more than nod their understanding, feeling a little overwhelmed. Steve had been subjected to torture for hours whilst they could do nothing but look on and, the moment Ngige leaves them alone, he springs into this escape plan that he thought up when exactly? The guy was a bona-fide action hero. Danny was snapped of hsis stupor when Steve fastened a piece of metal to one end of the rope and twisted his wrist a few times, swinging the rope around in circles and building up some momentum before letting his sail towards the window. It didn't reach and Danny saw Steve take a deep breath before trying again. The metal caught on the window the second time and Steve gave it a couple of experimental tugs.
Then he was scaling the wall, quick and fluid like his entire body wasn't black and blue and bleeding and pulling himself over the window and dropping silently over the other side. Kono was quick to follow his example, almost as silent as just as fluid as Steve was and as she disappeared over the top Chin and Danny exachanged looks. With a shrug followed their team's example and, by the time Danny, had managed to haul himself over the top of the window, Chin was ready to help Steve catch his weight.
Silence fell around them for a moment then Steve nodded. He motioned for Danny to grab a hold of his shoulder then Kono placed her hand on Danny's shoulder, Chin on Kono's and they were off, a chain of four LEOs led by a Navy SEAL who unerringly steered them towards a road. Danny half expected shouts and lights and dogs like all those breakouts from prisons in the movies. But nothing happend, the night and a thick, heavy silence wrap around them as they move over uneven ground, grass and stone beneath their feet. Steve sets a past that's fast enough that Danny has to concentrate to keep up. After long, long minutes they're bursting onto the road, a large one with regular traffic and Steve holds up a hand, hailing down a car that quickly stops when he sees the state Steve is in.
"I'm Lieutenant Commander McGarrett, Five-0," Steve says and the man is already giving up the drivers seat even though none of them have ID. "Can we use your phone."
"Then Kono is sliding behind the wheel, ignoring Steve's glare and Chin is comandeering the man's phone and Danny is pushing Steve into the passenger seat as the rest of them clamber into the back.
"Tell HPD not to move until we get there," Steve ordered Chin.
"No!" Danny vetoed. "Absolutely no way, Steven. You are going to a hospital."
"I'm fine," Steve waved a hand, "it's just a bit of blood."
"Just bit of...just..." Danny spluttered. He honest to God spluttered and he was never going to forgive Steve for the indignity. "You were tortured McGarrett and so help me God but you are going to see a medical professional to make sure that your stupid, thick head is okay and you're not suffering from the after-effects of, oh I don't know, torture!"
"Danny," when Steve met his gaze in the rear-view mirrow, his eyes had regained that same blank look from the cell and it was all Danny could do not to shrink back into his seat. "I'll be okay for a few more hours okay, not my first rodeo."
And that reminder, delivered as gently as could be all things considered, was definitely enough to cause Danny to shrink back into his seat. He let his head fall backwards and his eyes drift closed because no, this wasn't Steve's first experience of the kind and neither Kono or Chin are protesting but Chin does tell HPD to have a couple of paramedics on hand and Steve scowls lightly when he hears that but does not protest.
The paramedics want Steve to go to the hospital but he has no signs of internal bleeding and all his cuts have been disinfected and bandaged and Steve was suffering from some damage to his ribs and ankle but they weren't broken so the paramedics taped them and could do nothing but shrink back when they tried to insist Steve go to the hospital and Steve merely crossed his arms over his (still bare) chest and glowered at them.
HPD looked at them like they were crazy when they marched into the precinct becuase ther was no telling if HQ was safe yet and Danny had to admit that they probably made for a strange sight. They were all barefoot and dishevelled and downright filthy but Steve looked like the victim of a robbery gone very wrong and he still managed to march into the building, barking orders like he was still in Tajikistan or wherever and they were all his subordinates.
"Hey, Kono," A rookie that Kono must have gone to the Academy with tried to whisper when Steve disappeared behind the Chief of Police's door. "What the hell happened to you guys? McGarrett looks axed."
"Brah," Kono huffs out a laugh, "you have no idea."
She doesn't say anymore but then, she doesn't need to because, when it looks like HPD are gonna drag their heels, Steve yells so loudly about how there is no way Africa terrorists are gonna come on to his island and capture and torture his team and then get away with it becuase the Chief is too much of a bureaucrat to do his damn job that the entire precinct hears him. And really, it's kind of obvious which one of them was tortured.
Then Ngige is sucessfully captured and the HPD crime scene analysts are doing there thing. There's a full inventory of the tools in the cell they'd been held in and the officer that interrogates Ngige's men does this 'McGarrett is a pain in our ass, please tell us what you did to shut him up' line of questioning and there's Five-0s statements and the police are able to piece together a pretty accurate picture of what happened. They go from wary of Steve McGarrett to absolutely petrified. After all, how many people could do what Steve did? Nobody that's who. Most of Steve's buddies probably wouldn't even be able to pull off what Steve had done so flawlessly because, and this is what Danny is starting to realise, because it wasn't a SEAL thing. It was a Steve thing and Steve, Steve is the most brilliant and the most scary and the most frustrating man Danny has ever met.
When Danny wakes late the next morning, he feels like he's been hit by a truck. There's a bone deep ache in his body that belies the fact that he'd gotten over ten hours of sleep. His mouth feels like a rat crawled into it and died and not even a hot shower could relieve the soreness in his muscles. Still, he guzzles down a couple of mugs of coffee and dresses in jeans and a t-shirt because there's no way any of them are actually going in to work today.
He makes the drive to Steve's house slower than normal, taking the time toget his thoughts into order, and doesn't even knock. Instead he keys in the code to the alarm and drops off his supplies (a variety of fresh fruit and a package of quick-cook oats) in the kitchen. A peek out back shows no distant blobs in the ocean that could mean Steve is swimming to Danny makes his way upstairs, aware of the silence in the house and doing his best to keep his steps quiet.
The door to Steve's room pushes soundlessly open and Danny's breath catches in his throat. Steve hadn't pulled the curtains before he fell asleep and, in the harsh light of day, his body resembles an artists palette. Some of the bruises have turned purple and some yellow around the edges. There's a long, cylindrical one the goes in a diagonal from one shoulder blade and disappears into the wrapping around the small of his back. The covers are strewn low against Steve's hips and tighs but one of his calves peeks through, a purple, green and yellow circle blossoming across the tanned skin.
Danny sighs and slips out of the room, pulling the door behind him. He kills the time until Steve wakes with watching TV and flipping through the paper and running out to the shop to get lunch things instead when hours pass and Steve still hasn't stirred. The smell of chicken noodle soup simmering on the stove is what, apparently, finally rouses him because when Steve pads downstairs, a pair of track pants pulled over his boxers, all bleary eyes and mussy hair, he makes a big show of sniffing.
"I know my kitchen didn't smell this good last night," Steve says and the ease with which he navigates himself into a chair belies his tired smile and the smudges beneath his eyes.
"It's my Mum's recipe," Danny said as he poured Steve a glass of juice and took the seat beside him.
"Feeling a bit rough?"
Steve hums and pillows his head on his hands, obviously not quite ready to be out of bed yet. Danny huffs out a laugh, a surge of affection swelling in him because this Steve, all soft corners and sluggish movements, is a far cry from the hard, compentent soldier that saved their asses last night. It's almost too much to bear, the knowledge that Steve trusts Danny enought to let him see him like this.
"You want painkillers?" Danny asked where he normally would have forced them on Steve but after that beating, it wouldn't surprise Danny if Steve's stomach is feeling a bit queasy and medication could just make matters worse.
Steve just shakes his head without lifting it from his arms and Danny can't help himself. He lifts his fingers, carding them throught Steve's hair and surprise widens his eyes when Steve leans into the touch with a low, rumbling purr of contentment. Danny's about to comment, so say something when there's a knock on the door before it's being pushed open and Kono and Chin are flooding in, their arms loaded down with snacks and DVDs. Team night in then. Not that Danny could blame them. Last night had been an eye-opener for them all.
"Why are you so cheerful?" Steve accused, pushing himself uprights. "And why are you so loud?"
"Sorry Boss," Kono grinned then she stepped fully into the kitchen and her smile faltered when she saw Steve.
"Whoa," she murmured, gaze skimming over the bruises and the scabs that had formed over the cuts that were too shallow to bandage.
"Hey," Steve stood and made his way over to her, putting a hand on her shoulder to get her attention even as his gaze travelled to Chin, meeting the older man's troubled eyes.
"I'm alright," Steve assured them.
Kono averted her gaze, brushing her bangs away from her face before meeting Steve's eyes.
"They tortured you," she said, her voice a low, rough whisper. "And you just...how could you...I don't."
"I know," Steve's smile was understanding and sympathetic and tender all at once. "It's hard to watch. I know."
Kono pushed the stuff she was holding into Chins arms then threw her arms around Steve, being careful not to jostle him too hard.
"You scared us, Boss," she confessed.
"I'm sorry," Steve returned the hug and patter her shoulder when, after a long moment she broke away. "I'm sorry."
Kono swallowed back her tears and nodded, offering Steve a shaky smile.
"On the other hand," her smile steadied a bit and it surveyed her team, healthy and whole and happy, "You can't complain anymore when Danny calls you Rambo, or G.I Joe. You totally are."
"How many times do I have to tell you guys," Steve complained, accepting the change in topic and aiding the change in mood. "They're Army. I'm in the Navy, the Na-vy!"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. You stink sailor boy," Danny said as he pushed Steve out of the kitchen. "You need a shower, my friend. Preferably with lots and lots of soap. C'mon, I'll help you put protection over your dressings."
Kono and Chins laughter followed them upstairs but Steve played along, letting Danny trail behind him and turning to face his partner once they had reached Steve's room.
"Protect my dressings?" Steve's eyebrows rose into his hairline. "Really Danno?"
"Well it's not like you can get them wet," Danny said, purposefully misunderstanding but he stepped closer to Steve, lifting a hand to softly trace the line of Steve's collar bone and smiling at Steve's sharp intake of breath.
"Later, when we're alone," Danny's gaze lifted to meet Steve's and the air between them thickened. "There's something we need to talk about."
"And what might that be?" Steve asked, his own hand curving around Danny's hip.
"This," the word escaped Danny on and exhale as he stretched up to brush his lips against Steve's once, twice, a third time.
Steve moaned, low and soft before pulling Danny against him, bending to deepen the kiss, his lips moving in a slow, easy glide over Danny's own. The kiss was gentle, warm, promising. It was the kind of kiss that said 'we don't have time but I can't keep my hands off of you so this a promise of later'. Danny's hand slid upwards, cupping the back of Steve's neck and pulling him closer.
It was a long time before they broke apart and Danny took one look at Steve, his eyes hooded and lips swollen, and groaned, hiding his face in Steve's shoulder. Large hands came up to keep him in place, one resting on Danny's back, the other low on his waist and Danny took a deep, steadying breath but didn't move.
"I'm gonna hold you to that promise of 'later'," Steve said, his voice gruffer than normal. "Just so you know."
"Please do babe," Danny begged, resting his forehead on Steve's shoulder, his breath blowing warm puffs of air against Steve's skin. "Please, please do."
Steve just laughed and tugged Danny closer, content for the moment to just hold him. Chin and Kono were downstair, and they both needed their own confirmation that Steve was okay. That he was alive and as well as could be expected and Danny had a point, Steve really did need a shower. So after a long, long moment the broke reluctantly apart and Danny helped Steve cover his dressing before pushing him towards the shower. Chin and Kono both gave him knowing looks when he got back downstairs but he ignored them with the ease of practice. Danny still had an apology to make because he had been less than respectful to a man that had given him so, so much but there was always later.
After yesterday, just the fact that they could promise 'later' was enough. In fact, it was just what they needed.