Through the Darkness – Part Nine
It still gives Danny a little thrill to walk into the precinct and head over to his desk next to Meka and Chin. It's not that his desk has moved to a better place, actually it's still too crowded in the middle of the floor if you ask him, but it's the fact that he's got his old job back. Working homicide is where Danny's always thrived. Sure, technically he's only had his old job back for a week now and he hasn't picked up a real case yet, but it still feels better to him.
He nods to Meka and to Chin across from him as he drops into his chair. He's just reaching to turn on his computer when the Captain comes hustling out of his office heading straight for them. Danny glances at his partner, then at Chin, trying desperately to remember if they did anything to incite the man's anger already. He comes up blank and judging by the blank looks on their face, Chin and Meka haven't come up with anything either.
"Williams. Hanamoa. Kelly." The Captain barks out, coming to a stop next to their triad of desks. He glares at each of them for a minute before he settles his hands on his hips and sighs. "I just got off the phone with the Governor's office. We had a chat about the three of you." He arches his eyebrow at them pointedly, but his face doesn't betray anything.
"We in trouble, Cap?" Meka asks casually, leaning back in his chair and toying with a pen.
Danny has to suppress the urge to roll his eyes at his partner and his nonchalant attitude. Personally, Danny's gut is twisting with nerves. When he glances over at Chin, the man looks a bit worried as well.
"For once, no, you three aren't in trouble." The Captain shakes his head like even he can't even believe what he's about to say. "The Governor actually requested to meet with all of you. Today. In about an hour."
Danny opens his mouth in shock, then snaps it closed quickly. He glances down at his watch, then back at Meka and Chin. They both look as shocked as Danny's feeling, but they all quickly scramble up, turning off their computers and grabbing car keys as they go. Distantly, he can hear the Captain chuckling at them as he heads back to his office.
Despite Meka's protests of being stuck in the back, they take Danny's car. They don't have much to say between the three of them. Meka's staring out the window, fingers plucking silently at the leg of his pants; Chin's only sign of nerves is the way his leg bounces up and down every few beats before it settles down again. Danny drums his fingers along the steering wheel as they creep their way through traffic. They don't have to wait long, either, once they arrive at the Governor's office. Her assistant smiles politely at them as she escorts them into the Governor's private office.
"Gentlemen," the Governor stands up to greet them, shaking each of their hands then motioning for them to take a seat. "Governor Jameson. Thank you for coming on such short notice. Can I get you anything to drink? A cup of coffee?" When they just shake their heads, she smiles. "Well, let's get right down to business then.
"I wanted to personally thank each of your for the role you played in solving the McGarrett case. John McGarrett was a personal friend of mine and it was a great relief to me to hear that justice had been served," Governor Jameson pauses, taking a deep breath and smoothing her hand over the papers on her desk. "It was a wake up call for me, and for our law enforcement officials on the island. Victor Hesse posed a serious threat to our security. He got on the island through underground channels and would've slipped away the same way had it not been for you three.
"I've come to realize there are some threats to the island that are not being addressed, or addressed fully, by the current police force. It's not out of lack of knowledge or effort, but lack of manpower. I propose to change that." Governor Jameson hands over a piece of paper to each of them.
Danny scans it quickly, skipping over all the legal and formal jargon of the official letter and focuses in on a few keywords. "A special task force, ma'am?" he questions, glancing up from the paper to look at her.
"Yes, I want to create a task force that has more authority than HPD. A task force to hunt down criminals and terrorists like Victor Hesse and get them the hell off my island." Her voice is stern when she says it, eyes fiery as she leans towards them.
"I still don't understand, ma'am. Why did you call us here?" Chin asks, glancing over to Danny in confusion.
"Because I want you three to run it." She answers with out hesitation.
Danny's thrown off by her statement and can't quite curb his tongue quick enough. "If you knew anything about the three of us, Governor, you'd know we don't exactly have the most stellar reputation in the HPD. We are not the ones you want running this task force."
Hearing that, Jameson leans back in her chair once again and regards each of them individually. "I know all about the three of you. I know your history, personal and professional, and you are exactly who I want running this. You are precisely what I need."
Governor Jameson turns her attention to Chin Ho first. "I know about the investigation against you that proved nothing. I know how you were demoted down to a beat cop until you got your hand on the McGarrett case, and how you've just been given your old rank of Lieutenant back. I know that you only worked the McGarrett case because it was personal for you too. You did it out of a sense of obligation to your old partner." When Chin looks away, she presses further. "You are a smart man, Lieutenant Kelly, but you are also out to prove yourself to the rest of the police department that you aren't a dirty cop on the take."
When Governor Jameson turns to Danny, she smiles. "And you, Detective Williams, even after it was considered a cold case, you kept digging on the McGarrett murder. You didn't have a personal connection to it other than you wanted to see it through. You have the drive and determination to follow a case through to the very end, no matter what. I respect that about you and why I think you would be a wise choice for my task force."
Danny just nods, still not convinced.
"I know you took a serious blow, in more ways than one, when you were demoted from homicide to robbery. Your reputation was tarnished, along with Detective Hanamoa's. But you never let it stop you. I also know that you are a single father and would do anything to keep your daughter's home safe for her."
"Detective Hanamoa, I know your journey in this case was shorter than these two, but your contribution was no less significant. I know you joined, and stayed on the case, out of loyalty to your partner. Your loyalty is a huge asset and what I am looking for. I also know you take your heritage and the history of this island seriously, almost as seriously as the protection of your family, which is why I know you would be a wise addition to the task force."
Having laid it all out for them, Governor Jameson eyes each of them. Danny shifts in his chair, eyeing his two friends before he glances down at the paper in his hands. It's just a proposal at the moment, he knows. The Governor still has a few hoops to jump through to get this approved, but he can't deny that he's intrigued. During the case, when uncovering criminals like Victor Hesse, Sang Min, and Doran, Danny had often wondered how they existed on the island relatively untouched by the police. He had wanted nothing more than put each of them behind bars for good. It took a little while, but they each got what they deserved. He can't deny the burning desire he has to say yes. When he glances over at Chin, he sees a similar feeling passing over the man.
"What do you say, gentlemen? Do I have the members of my task force sitting here in front of me?" Jameson asks, pressing them for an answer.
"I, uh," Danny clears his throat and nods. "Yes, ma'am. I'd be interested in the position."
"I would as well, ma'am," Chin responds, a smile spreading across his face at the prospect.
Meka, however, stays quiet, staring down at the paper in his hands with a lost expression on his face. Danny nudges him gently with his elbow, getting his attention. "I'm sorry, Governor," he finally responds, leaning forward to place the letter back on the Governor's desk. "I don't think I am interested right now."
Jameson takes a moment to look surprised before she nods. "Very well. Thank you gentlemen for your time. Detective Hanamoa, the offer will remain open if you change your mind. Lieutenant Kelly, Detective Williams, I look forward to working with you both. I will be in touch."
Steve is shocked when the phone in his room starts to ring. He glances at the clock, trying to calculate the time in LA, wondering if Mary is okay. He hasn't spoken to her in a few days, since she flew back home, and the dread that settles in his stomach is instantaneous. Danny doesn't call this early, already busy at work, and no one else has this number. It has to be about Mary.
Grabbing the receiver, Steve holds it to his ear and has to force himself to take a steady breath. "Hello?"
"Commander McGarrett? This is Governor Jameson." The voice on the other line states.
Steve feels a rush of relief so great he has to sit down on the edge of the bed to steady himself. It takes a moment for his brain to connect all the dots. "What can I do for you, ma'am?"
"It's more of what I can do for you, Commander. I'd like to offer you a job."
Steve sputters for a minute, wandering if this is all some kind of cruel joke. "I'm sorry. A job?" he questions. Surely the Governor would have access to his Naval records and know that he's been given a medical discharge. The Navy decided months ago that he was too damaged, too broken, to be of any more use to them. He's not sure what he can offer the Governor of Hawaii.
"Yes, Commander. A job." She pauses, the sounds of shuffling paper filling the line for a moment before her voice comes back. "Your father was a good friend of mine, Commander, and the manner of his death shook me. I won't go into the long-winded version, but I am creating a special task force to go after men like Victor Hesse. Now that I know of their existence on my island, I cannot turn a blind eye to it. And you Commander, are the person I want to run it."
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I'm just not sure …" Steve trails off, not sure what to say or where to go from here.
"I don't need an answer right now, Commander. I know you still have a long road of recovery ahead of you, but I want you to know that this is something I am working on, something I want you to be a part of. The Navy may have discharged you, Commander, but I know you and I know you have a lot of service left to offer your country." She sighs quietly for a moment. "I already have two members of the task force, two people who you know pretty well. Detective Williams and Lieutenant Kelly from HPD. They have already agreed to join the task force. There is still ways to go before everything is finalized, but I want to let you know that should you decide this is something you wish to pursue, there will always be a spot open for you. When you are feeling up to it, give me a call and we can talk it over some more."
"Thank you, ma'am. I'll keep it in mind." Steve answers quickly. He pulls the phone away from his ear for a minute, staring at it in shock. Despite his reservations, because so much of his future is uncertain at this point, Steve can't deny the spark of hope it places in him. He's been in the Navy for half of his life. He wasn't sure how he'd acclimate back into civilian life after serving his country for so long. But this, having a job and chasing criminals across the island, would be a perfect segue between his duty in the Navy and a normal life. A smile spreads across his face as he hangs up the phone. It's definitely something to think about.
"Come on, Grace! Are you almost ready? We gotta get going!" Danny calls out, placing the last of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. From the other room he hears Grace's feet thumping across the floor as she rushes around. Rolling his eyes, Danny starts the dishwasher then checks on the oven timer once more.
"You set it three times already, Danno!" Grace's remarks, exasperated.
"Yeah, well, I'd hate for our dinner to burn." Danny turns away from the stove, snagging two freshly backed cookies from off the cooling rack, handing one over to Grace. "Or worse yet, cutting into a still raw lasagna!"
Grace laughs as she takes a bit out of her cookie, skipping back out of the kitchen into the living room. Once she's at the door though, she turns back and glances around. "What do you think, Danno? Do you think Steve will like it?"
Danny follows her gaze around the room, taking in the large banner Grace had drawn her self. Six pages of paper glued end to end, emblazoned with the simple message of "Welcome Home Steve!". Grace also blew up three-dozen balloons in various colors and tied them all over the living room, to lamps and the banister and the TV, their cheeriness filling up the entire room. And sitting right in the middle of the couch was a stuffed seal with a superman logo sewn to its chest, a superhero eye-mask covering its face, and a red cape tied to its neck.
Danny can't help but smile down at Grace, proud of all his little girl had done for Steve, to cheer him up and welcome him home. "It looks great, Gracie. I think Steve is gonna love it." Danny picks up the duffle bag waiting by the door and shoos Grace out. "Now come on, let's go pick up Super Steve."
It's a waiting game like always. Wait in traffic. Wait in line to sign the visitors' log. Wait for the doctor to sign the discharge papers. But this time, they don't mind the wait. Grace bursts into Steve's room all sunny smiles and chipper attitude, just like always, completely content to wait it out on the end Steve's bed. After a few minutes, though, Danny is once again shooing her out of a door, this time with the instructions to go say her good-byes to the nurses on the floor, her fidgeting driving Danny crazy.
Once she's gone, Danny lets out a laugh. "Sorry, she's just excited to get you home," he states, opening up the duffle bag and pulling out a change of clothes for Steve.
"It's fine, Danny," Steve states, taking the clothes with a grateful smile. After months of being trapped in the hospital, of being trapped inside his own body, Steve relishes the sudden freedom before him. This is not exactly how he had pictured it would go even a few weeks ago, but he can readily admit, at least to himself, that this was turning out better than he'd ever hoped. He'd struggled with the idea at first, but now the thought of going home with Grace and Danny feels so right he's not sure why he resisted in the first place. There is nowhere else in the world he'd rather be than with the two of them.
When he makes his way out of the bathroom a few minutes later, dressed like a normal human being for once, it's to find Danny sitting in a chair, feet propped up on the bed, flipping through the two day old newspaper. He glances up when Steve comes out and smiles brightly at him.
"Well look at you babe, dressed in normal clothes! It's a good look on you," Danny admits, still smirking.
Steve glances down at the simple black t-shirt and khaki shorts Danny had brought for him and shrugs. "Yeah, well, feels good to be out of hospital scrubs." Steve runs a hand through his hair self-consciously, glad that Mak had insisted he visit the hospital barber one last time for a hair cut and shave before going home. Catching sight of the hospital bracelet on his arm, Steve gives it an ineffectual tug, wanting it off as soon as possible.
"You're never going to get it off that way," Danny mutters, waving Steve over to sit on the edge of the bed in front of him.
Once Steve is seated, Danny pulls a small pair of scissors out of the bag and gently cradles Steve's hand. It only takes a quick second to snip the plastic and have the bracelet fall away, but neither of them move away. Danny is still holding Steve's hand between his own, fingers ghosting from Steve's wrist to his knuckles and back. Steve sucks in a deep breath, looking up from their hands to meet Danny's eyes. They're so close and so open in this moment that he feels anything could happen; he wants something to happen.
"Look Danno! I found Dr. Malia!" Grace calls out as she bounds in the room once again.
Danny and Steve jerk back from each other quickly, hands dropping away from one another. Danny swears if it's the last thing he does, he's going to teach Grace how to enter a room properly, he thinks as he gives Steve an apologetic smile. He clears his throat and forces a smile on his face as he looks up a Malia, who is smirking at the two of them suspiciously. Steve, thankfully, doesn't seem to notice her look, more focused on the papers she has clutched in her hands.
"So, uh, we ready to bust Super SEAL out of here or what?" Danny asks, standing up from his chair making room for Malia.
"I'd say you're ready to go," Malia remarks, still smiling at them. "I already gave Steve his discharge instructions and we already have the nurse and therapy sessions in line for the next week so all we really need is my signature." She pulls out a pen and scrawls her name across each page before handing them all over to Danny.
"Once Mak gets here with the wheelchair-"
"He's here!" Grace announces as Mak appears in the doorway.
"Well all right then. Looks like you are ready to go then, Steve." Malia pulls Steve into a quick hug. "Take care of yourself, you hear?" She doesn't pull away until Steve nods. "Okay then."
"What do you say, Steve, you ready?" Danny's got all of Steve's meager belongings packed up and split between him and Grace. They're both standing there watching him eagerly, identical smiles of excitement on their faces.
"Yeah," Steve agrees, smiling brightly at the two of them. "Let's go home."