Sense Memory


Characters: Steve, Danny -Gen

Rating: PG

~1630 words

Summary: S3.01 post ep. Danny takes Steve home to feed and care for him after Doris' plane leaves.

Angsty, angsty, angst. Steve whump.

A/N. Every episode of this show has such huge angst potential that I'll never manage to write it all. I wrote this because I could.


Doris McGarrett's plane was taxing to the end of the runway as Danny pulled up at the hangar. Steve was standing, staring after it, stoic and straight and buttoned down tight. Dealing with it as he dealt with everything else, by shoving down the emotions and getting on with the job.

Danny really didn't want to add any more burdens to his pile of betrayals, but Steve had to know. As he told him that his mother appeared to have let Wo Fat go, he watched the pain of the sucker punch race across his friend's eyes before the shields slammed shut. Years of expensive training had taught Steve not to show weakness, but Danny could tell that really hurt.

They turned to watch the plane take off into a perfect tropical sunset. It was like a scene from a Rom Com movie. Only it so very much wasn't. They were surrounded by so much pain. Danny couldn't do anything for Chin, and god he hated that he couldn't, that he hadn't, because somehow he felt like he should have known what was happening and got to Malia in time, even if that was completely illogical. He couldn't help Chin but he could help Steve.

Forcing his voice into some semblance of normal he turned to face him. 'When was the last time you ate something?'

Steve tore his eyes away from the sunset the plane had disappeared into. His eyes were swollen although Danny was fairly sure he hadn't shed any tears. Dark circles ringed his eyes and exhaustion was etched on his face. Steve blinked at him and shook like a dog waking up. He wasn't quite in the here and now.

'You don't know, do you?' He had to be running on fumes.

'What was the question?'

'Right. Get in the car. I'm taking you home.' The crisis was over and Steve was crashing. Danny wasn't going to let him do it alone, regardless of Steve's propensity to suffer alone and in silence.

Steve turned without comment and moved towards the passenger door. He was moving slowly and Danny suddenly remembered that it was barely 48 hours since he'd had taken rounds to his vest. Quite a few. He had to be bruised and sore and there, there was that suffer in silence thing, right there. But he was getting into the car, without comment and Danny was very grateful for that.

'I'll make chicken risotto,' Danny said as he started the car. He glanced at Steve who was staring straight ahead. 'Seatbelt babe. You like that risotto, don't you? My mother's recipe?' His partner didn't answer but he did buckle up.

Steve climbed out of the car at chez McGarrett and stood staring like he hadn't been there for years, not just a couple of days. Danny unlocked the door and stared back at him. 'What is it?' he asked quietly.

'I wanted to bring her here. She wanted to come home.'

Jesus. That was a can of worms. Danny picked his words carefully. 'There'll be another time babe.'

'Yeah.' Steve bit his lip and finally left the spot he seemed rooted to on the driveway.

Danny headed for the kitchen, found a pair of chicken breasts in the freezer and threw them in the microwave on defrost. Steve appeared to have got side tracked in the lounge. He was holding a photo frame, gazing intently at the picture. Danny didn't think he'd ever seen him so sad.

'Why don't you come and sit here? Take a load off and keep me company while I cook?' Danny pushed a water bottle across the table and pulled out one of the kitchen chairs. Obediently, Steve sat. He still had the photo and now Danny could see which one it was. It was the precious picture taken, so Mary had told him, at her birthday, only a few weeks before their mother was killed. It was a photo of the family, slightly off center and on an angle, taken by a friend at the party. It was the last photo taken of their mother and Steve was caressing her image with his finger. His eyes were glassy with unshed tears.

Danny pulled out an onion and turned back to the kitchen bench, his back to Steve. 'What happened to Joe?' he asked gruffly, and the tightness in his throat meant it took him a moment to actually get the words out.

'I don't know.' Steve's breath hitched. 'He took me there. To the door.' There was a long silence. 'To Shelbourne. That's what he said. He said Shelbourne was there and he went away and let me knock on the door and… and he never told me!' Something like a whimper came from Steve's direction. 'And I never got a chance to ask her. I don't know how long he knew, or why he did it or what was happening with the two of them. How could he do that to Dad? I've got so many questions Danny and they keep getting worse.'

The tears in Danny's eyes were from the onions. They had to be because it was his turn to hold it together now. He frantically scrubbed at his eyes with a paper towel. There was near silence behind him for a while as he started chopping carrots and broccoli. Silence except for the erratic breathing and gasps of a man frantically trying not to break down.

Steve waved the photo. 'Do you think she was already planning it then? At Mary's party? When did she decide?' He gave a sudden choked cough. 'Jesus Christ Danny. How did she do it?' And Danny realised the though had only just occurred to him. 'Who did we bury?'

Danny kept silent but he already had the papers on his desk for an exhumation, filled in and waiting for Steve's signature as supposed next of kin of the body in the grave.

'Doris is not my mother,' Steve said with sudden vehemence.

'What?' Danny did turn then. Because his suspicious mind had already gone there and even though the woman Steve had introduced as his long presumed dead mother, did look like an aged version of the woman in the familiar old photos he saw every day, he had been about to ask the crime scene people at the safe house to search for DNA traces, just to make sure. He hadn't actually had to. Before he'd asked, Catherine, bless her own suspicious mind, had handed him a bagged tea cup for fingerprint analysis and another bag holding three strands of dyed blond hair, with roots still attached.

'No. I don't mean…' Steve waved his hands around, pointed at the picture. 'She is. I mean, I know she is. I just…' He squeezed his eyes shut and scrubbed at the tears that leaked out. 'She's just… I haven't had a mother since…'

'I get it,' Danny said gently. 'She hasn't earned the right.'

'No.' His lip was trembling. Danny turned back to the bench, giving him a semblance of privacy. A quickly stifled sob sounded behind him. Danny chopped the chicken in the silence. He wanted to get it cooking. He was starting to regret his choice of risotto. He'd been thinking comfort food, but not something that Steve might equate with his own childhood. Risotto had seemed an inspired choice, but you were supposed to stir it, at least now and again. He had a feeling he was going to have his hands full, very soon.

'She's not my mother,' Steve shouted, making him jump.

'No,' Danny agreed.

'My Mom was taller,' Steve sniggered. Danny supposed that was a valid point.

'My mother wouldn't have left us. She used to cuddle us and tease us and look after us when we were sick. She made our lunches even though Dad said we were too old for that.' Danny could hear the pain in his voice. 'She told me off for teasing Callie Jervis about having spots and told me not to be cruel.'

Danny threw the last of the ingredients into the pot, adjusted the heat to low and hoped for the best. He finally turned to face his partner.

'She wouldn't be cruel.' Steve looked up at him, tears smearing his pale cheeks. 'Letting us think she was dead…?' He probably hadn't slept for at least three days, unless it was on an aircraft, and Danny doubted he'd have let himself sleep on the flight home with Doris. And, Danny reminded himself, he was bruised as shit from being shot two days ago. Steve'd sunk down, lying across the table, leaning on one elbow, still holding the photo. 'So many people have died. Really died. Dad. Malia's really dead,' His voice was flat. 'Jenna. Her fiancé. So many people.'

Danny didn't point out that Malia's death was actually nothing to do with Doris, or Shelbourne, or Steve himself for that matter, because firstly he wasn't quite sure on that yet, and secondly, Steve wasn't going to hear a word he said right now.

'For what?' Steve continued. 'I don't even know. My whole life I've been lied to and used and… I still don't know why.' His voice cracked at the end of the sentence.

Steve panted, fighting for control and Danny came around behind him wrapping him into a hug. He gave good hugs. 'It will be alright,' he said ineffectually as Steve gasped and twisted, burying his face in Danny's shirt, his body shaking as he gave up the fight with his battered emotions.

Danny's heart broke when he heard the muffled words, just before the storm struck in earnest. 'She smelled like my Mom.'

The risotto caught on the bottom, just a little. It wasn't too bad, considering.