A/N: Big thanks to Karolina and Unreal Wanderers for the motivation. This one is a bit different than my last two Lori/Steve stories.
The Federal Building, Honolulu, HI
Agent Lori Weston strode into the conference room, hot tea in hand, ready for debriefing. Their last case had been a doozy. One she wouldn't soon forget. Another damn serial. This one had taken the lives of four women all in their early twenties, all with a bright future and great potential. Three were nursing students, the fourth a radiology tech student. Lori had been the decoy, walking alone on campus three nights in a row. That kind of alone time forced a person to take stock of their life, and Lori decided she needed to reevaluate a few things. Somehow she had known that fourth night would be it. Just a gut feeling really. She had stayed up late the night before practicing hand to hand maneuvers and self defense technique. Sure enough, he had struck and out of nowhere, too. She had handled herself well, but was more than grateful when Agent Spalding clobbered the perp and sent him reeling into the base of a very large oak tree. She had a nasty scrape down the side of her calf but all in all, she considered the take down a clean operation.
Lori grabbed the empty chair next to her team leader Special Agent Davies. Davies was solid and straight laced, twelve years her senior. At six foot five, he was intimidating as hell, but anyone who knew him knew he was all heart unless, of course, you pissed him off. He had attempted to set her up with his nephew in accounting two years ago. Lori, however, was in no way ready to even consider dating. She had quit Five-O, run away from perhaps the only man she had ever truly cared about, and moved back East in less than three days. Two weeks and a thousand phone calls behind her, she was on her way to Quantico for training and recertification. Her experience with Five-O and an oddly coincidental opening within the island Bureau branch had her on a plane back to Honolulu not six weeks later. In that same year, she had endured great personal trajedy and was just now starting to live again. Davies was the senior agent in charge of her unit and the first person to reach out to her. It was for that reason alone that she had agreed to dinner with his nephew Wilson. She had been pleasantly surprised by Wilson Riley. He was rugged and handsome, not at all what she had expected. It took him three "dates" to confess to Lori what she had figured out in their first fifteen minutes together. Wilson was gay. "Of course you're gay," she had chuckled, "You're perfect for me." She promised to keep his secret, but encouraged him continually to let the people that loved him know, including his uncle. When Davies wanted to know why things weren't working between her and his nephew, she had fallen back on the "no dating a coworker" rule. In truth, it was a lesson she had learned the hard way while working for Homeland Security. She had held firm to that rule at Five-O minus one significant glitch, even as it had broken her heart, only admitting to what could have been as she made her exit. Sighing, she plopped down next to Davies and pulled out her tablet.
"Morning," she replied without looking up.
"Did you hear your old team took down Morietti last night? Number eight on the most wanted list," he stated matter of factly.
Lori's head snapped up.
"Thought that might get your attention," he grinned.
"Word is, your boy took one to the shoulder." Seeing the panic in her eyes, he quickly added, "But he's fine. Treated and released with a through and through. No other reports of injuries." Before Lori could ask anymore questions, debriefing was called to order. Concentrating on matters at hand, however, proved to be impossible. Lori hadn't thought about Steve in a long time. Well that wasn't exactly true. She thought about him all the time, but she no longer pined for him as she once had. Hearing he had been shot, however, effected her more than she would have expected.
"Danno," Steve replied with his trademark scowl firmly in place.
"Something wrong, Sunshine?"
"My shoulder hurts," he said pointing to his immobile forearm cradled in a sling and snugged up against his chest.
"So go home. I don't know what the hell you're doing here anyway. You got shot last night, remember."
Steve simply glared at Danny from the other side of his desk.
"Hey, Boss. Shouldn't you be at home taking care of that shoulder?" Kono asked as she sidled up next to Danny.
"That's the plan. I just gotta' finish the paperwork and meet with the Governor."
"Want one of us to do that for you," Kono asked good naturedly although the look on her face begged him not to send her to see the governor in his stead.
"No, I better meet with him myself. I'm sure he's gonna' want to know how that beach comber ended up on the second floor of the downtown bank," he said with a crooked smirk.
"Good luck with that."
Governor Denning's Office
In the waiting room outside of Governor Denning's office, Steve leaned gingerly back into the corner of the couch. He covered his eyes with his good arm and drew in a deep breath. All he wanted right then was a couple more ibuprofen. The three he had taken with lunch were long since gone and his shoulder was beginning to throb again. Years later, looking back, he would swear his heart just knew. She smelled of sweet pea and lavender, exactly as he remembered. It beckoned to him, forcing him to sit up and take notice. He saw her across the room standing in front of the receptionist's desk. Her back was toward him offering him a solid view of her petite frame. She was wearing a form fitting brick red skirt that hit just below her knees and matching heels. Her red and black patterned shirt was silky and sleeveless. His eyes traversed the length of her legs, pausing only to appreciate the gentle curve of her hips. She wore her hair down in long, loose waves just as she had the first time he had laid eyes on her standing in that exact same spot not four years before. He smiled to himself remembering how she had offered him the sports page, having already read it herself, granting him a welcome relief from the distinctly female magazine he had been perusing. He watched, mesmerized, as she turned toward him, away from the receptionist and stopped short as if she had run square into a brick wall. He stood to his full height and lifted his chin. One side of his mouth up turned into a thin, lopsided smile. A lovely shade of pink spread across her cheeks and a bit of green disappeared from her eyes as her pupils dilated. She recovered quickly, on the surface anyway, from the shock of seeing him. A mask of self control blanketed her delicate features as her lead heavy feet drew her toward him. Her breaths, however, still came quickly and a hint of something unspoken lingered in her gaze. He too moved resolutely toward her. They stopped, an arms length apart. Steve reached for her, to do what exactly he wasn't sure, but hesitated when she stiffened in response. He chose instead to lightly cup her elbow. "This is a nice surprise."
"Yes, it is," she answered on a sigh, knowing this day was inevitable.
They stood for a moment, eyes locked. Lori hoped he didn't see her shiver. "Imagine seeing you here. Still reporting to the principal's office?"
"Some things never change, I guess."
Lori chuckled. "I see that," she said gesturing toward his sling. "I heard you took one to the shoulder. You okay?," she asked and gently ghosted a finger down his trapped bicep. The fire she left in her wake shot straight to his heart, not to mention other places, and forced him to clear his throat.
"Yeah...," he assured her, and it wasn't a lie. Standing there in front of her, the ache in his shoulder became a distant memory. Nothing mattered in that moment but the pink in her cheeks and the green in her eyes. His gaze traveled from those cat like eyes across her face, pausing briefly on her lips, before flickering to the pulse in her neck and back. "I'm fine."
"Yes you are," she wanted to say, but settled for, "Good, I'm glad."
"How about you," he asked gathering his wits and dancing on his toes.
"I'm good, thank you," she replied. "He's nervous," she thought, intrigued by the tell.
He shook his head. "What are you doing here?"
"I've been called to the principal's office, too," she hedged.
His brow furrowed in confusion. "How's that?"
She scratched her thumb with her pinky nail. She was nervous too. "I'm with the Bureau now. We just closed a case and I was elected to brief the Governor. Pulled the short straw actually."
"You work for the Bureau? Here in Hawaii?" He spread his feet in a wide legged stance, ready to gather the necessary intel. Lori couldn't help but smile at this very Steve like display.
"Yes. The FBI. Here on the island."
"How long have you..."
"Commander McGarrett, Governor Denning will see you now," came a sugary sweet voice from behind Lori. Steve looked over her shoulder obviously torn between Lori and his obligation to the Governor.
"You should go," she teased, but her words were heavy with disappointment.
"Commander?" the voice urged. Steve huffed in frustration.
"Will you be here when I'm done?" He asked, brows lifted high, hoping.
Lori smiled shyly. She was always so hard to read, a mask of self reliance and control. Reluctantly, he squeezed her arm and shot past her, anxious to speak to the governor and get back to Lori. When Steve returned to the waiting room, Lori was no where to be seen. He scanned the room hurriedly and then again more thoroughly. He turned to the receptionist. "Agent Weston, do you know where she is?"
"I'm sorry I don't. She received a phone call and left. Said she would have to reschedule with Governor Denning."
"Damn it," he growled.
"You'll never guess who I saw yesterday in the Governor's office."
"Who?" Danny asked as he quick stepped next to Steve just to keep up with the taller man's determined strides. Steve ducked as he crossed in front of the closed apartment door. Each man leaned into the door frame on their respective sides, guns drawn, weight shifted, ready to spring.
"Lori," Steve said in a hushed tone as he tapped on the door. "Five-O! Open the door Mathias. We know you're in there!"
No response from inside the apartment.
"Lori Weston?" Danny whispered.
Steve pressed his ear to the door and nodded as the distinct crash of a window breaking resonated from inside the small apartment. In a flash Steve was square in front of the door. With one swift kick, the door flew from its hinges allowing the men access. Danny shouted to Chin through his radio, "Coming your way!". He followed Steve into the apartment and turned right searching the dimly lit bedroom off to the side. He caught sight of Steve charging full force forward into the smokey apartment. "Clear!," he shouted as he exited the bedroom. Inside the kitchen, he found Steve cuffing a very large suspect where he lay sprawled on the floor in front of the broken window.
"Chin grabbed the other one at the bottom of the fire escape," Steve said as he stood.
"Mathias?," Danny asked.
"No, his brother," Steve said as he shook his hand and flexed his knuckles.
Danny pointed toward Steve's rapidly swelling hand. "Is that why our burley friend is, at present, out cold on the floor."
"He threw the first punch," Steve retorted.
"How are we supposed to get this guy in?"
"We'll let the black and whites worry about that. Call it in, Danno," he smirked. "We'll see what the other one has to say in the mean time."
On the way back to Five-0, Danny remembered Steve's news. "So you saw Lori yesterday."
"Yeah I did. Did you know she was back on the island? Working for the FBI?"
"I did not." He studied Steve for a second from the passenger's seat. He was obviously contemplating something. "How did she look?"
A slow, crooked smile spread across Steve's face. He glanced at Danny. "Good... Really good."
"You gonna' call her?"
"I didn't get her number."
Danny rolled his eyes. "You know she works at the federal building right?.. being FBI and all..."
"Yeah, Danny. I know this. You're a great detective by the way."
"I'm just saying. Don't be a chicken. Ask her to lunch."
"A chicken? Did you just call me a chicken?"
"Hold that thought Chicken Little. I have to get this," Danny quipped as his cell phone buzzed. "Detective Williams..."
A/N: Well there you have it. Hope you enjoy! Reviews always appreciated. Chpt 2 will be up Wednesday.