Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a beautiful piece of machinery, big and sleek, reflecting the sky above, the few clouds and sun, bright and warm as in mocking Danny and the storm that he feels inside. Admiral was gracious enough to propose the use of the aircraft even if President was the one behind the change of heart, Danny was still grateful.
It was ironic really but also kind of appropriate that they would use US Navy aircraft. He touches the cool metal just under the NAVY worded in big bold letters and the cold bites at his fingertips causing him to flinch slightly, but he doesn’t take his hand away if anything he splays his palm wholly on the surface, a long shaky sigh escapes his lungs. He feels the heavy stares of his teammates who didn’t say a word since they left HQ to get ready for the mission.
The few hours they spent to prepare for the departure were probably the longest hours Danny ever experienced. He knew they needed the time to get ready for a mission of this caliber, he himself had to make a few calls, gather the team ready to plunge head first into things no questions asked. Call in favors, collect old debts. He forgot about that life, but he felt cold anticipation to go back there, an invisible itch just under his skin. He might have buried those memories deep down, forget about this life but it was a part of him, integrated into his bones, waiting to ascend again.
Danny focuses on the metal under his hand and slowly takes a step back, his hand falling to his side. He fists his palms until he feels pain where his blunt fingers sunk into the skin, it grounds him, diverse his attention from the chill in his stomach, twisting it into knots.
He fucked up, fucked up big time and he should know that the secret will eventually resurface. He shuts his eyes; he’s a hypocrite, he always voiced his distaste of secrets, about Steve keeping things from him and here he was withholding something crucial about his life not only from Steve but from Chin and Kono, too. People who came to mean a world to Danny, he lied to his friends. His Ohana.
Bile rises in his throat, and he tries to swallow around it but he almost chokes on it, he knows he’s about to burst out at the seams, his world crumbling down like a house of cards he taught Grace how to make when she was four. He looks down and squeezes his eyes for a second. He’s in his full combat uniform, and if Steve saw him right now, he would tease the hell out of Danny, if Danny didn’t lie to him that is.
The silence stretches, and he slowly turns around to look at his friends – does he still have the right to call them that? – But he has a problem focusing on their faces. There's a myriad of emotions and none at all it’s hard to tell when his vision is slightly smudged, he didn’t feel the dampness in his eyes until now. The world closes upon him, and he feels dizzy for a second, there’s wind in his hair he didn’t care to slick down and heat of the sun on his face, but the space around him is not enough.
He looks everywhere but them trying to take hold of his emotions, for the sake of the mission. For Steve.
He glances down at his uniform again, at the bags full of weapons and tech, thinks about the permission to cross China borders without raising any suspicions.
At least Mr. President made it a little bit easier, Danny’s not sure how many calls he would need to do otherwise.
“Of course, I thought you'd never call.” President smiles, and Danny feels a little bit lighter.
Danny nods. “That was the plan, but now I need to find someone and those buffoons,” He points his hand at the Agents occupying Five-0 HQ, “don’t want to tell me anything and I understand where they’re coming from, but I need this information. Life of my partner, my friend, is in danger and I need to know his location.”
The president nods his head, staring at Danny with careful eyes. “He must be very important.”
“He is.” There’s no doubt in his statement all that mattered was bringing Steve home.
“Important enough to risk your safety, your protection.”
Kono stiffens beside him ad he ignores it, he will deal with that later not trusting himself not to break entirely if he lets his barriers go now.
President crosses his arms over his chest, and Danny does the same. After a moment that could be hours but Danny knew it was only a few seconds, minutes at most, president nods, a hint of a smile on his face. “Consider it done.”
“Thank you, sir.”
He moves to end the call, but President holds his hand. “You have permission to use the full DELTA force resources, Colonel.”
Danny takes a step back with surprise but smiles nonetheless. “Thank you, sir.”
“Good luck finding your friend.”
Someone’s arms circle him in safety and comfort pulling him out of his thoughts, and only then he realizes he’s shaking. He flinches but the arms hold him tighter, and when Kono’s scent hit his nose he slumps into the embrace. They stand like that for God knows how long, Kono hugging him and Danny letting himself to be hugged.
Kono was shaking, too he notes after a while, and he freezes not sure what to do.
“It’s okay, Danny.” She whispers to his neck, where her nose is buried. She presses closer, holding him a little bit stronger. She doesn’t say more, and she doesn’t have to. He closes his eyes and lets out a deep breath.
“I’m sorry.” He says, it’s more strangled and raspy than he anticipated but it was out there in the open now.
She shakes her head, her hair tickling him in the nose and he has a big urge to sneeze, he does, and she laughs, wet and choked.
He smiles at that, uncertain but she squeezes him again.
“I’m mad don’t get me wrong, but I understand you had your reasons… I…”
Danny is momentarily sucked into a memory of Kono involved with Department of Internal Affairs working for Fryer and the mess that followed. “You just wanted to bring bad guys down Kono.”
She nods but doesn’t say anything for a moment. So he circles his arms around her and squeezes her reassuringly. “It shocked us, brah.” She starts, “but you’re Ohana Danny, and I was furious and hurt, and my apartment is a testament to that but,” she pulls slowly away, “this thing,” she looks at his uniform and the plane and back at him, “that doesn’t change a thing. You’re one of our own, Danny. Whatever you want it or not.” She finishes.
“There’s nothing more I wouldn’t want.” He says earnestly. He doesn’t think about Steve and the painful throb in his heart.
She beams at him, and he almost startles when a heavy hand clasps him on the shoulder, he turns his head to glance at Chin afraid what will he see there but Chin’s smiling at him, it’s small and tired, but whats more, it’s understanding.
Danny hangs his head down and digs the heels of his palms into his eyes.
Chin moves his hand to Danny’s forearm, “So pray tell us, brah, why do you have the U.S President on your speed dial?” Chin asks, and Danny jerks his head up in surprise. Chin’s head is quirked to the side like Danny a particularly exciting piece of tech he doesn’t fully comprehend, yet.
Danny blinks, opens his mouth and closes it again. He must’ve made a pretty good impression of fish out of the water because Chin’s serene smile turns into a full smirk. “From all the things you happened to find out that’s the one you hang on?” He points his finger at Chin, “and I don’t have him on my speed dial.”
Chin shrugs. “Well, I can’t imagine what you possibly did to be all buddy-buddy with the most important person in our Country.”
Danny holds his hand, “nope. I won’t tell. This one thing I can’t share.” At Chin’s look, Danny sighs. “We’re talking about Mr. President here; I can’t exactly go around blurting out embarrassing stories and the national secrets.”
Chin’s holds his hands up in gesture at-least-I-tried, but Kono doesn’t have the same reservations if the twinkle in her eye is anything to go by.
"Embarrassing?" She asks innocently, and Danny shoots her a glare.
She rolls her eyes, but the mischief still clearly hides in the depths of her eyes, and he feels relief at the easy banter, at the shred of normalcy. She stands close to Danny as if afraid to let him go entirely like she was worried he’ll crumble to the floor any second now. He is thankful for her support. They might’ve forgiven him, but Danny knows he’ll have to work for that forgiveness anyway.
“So…” Kono starts glancing around the area, “Colonel Williams,” there’s a high pitched note in her voice that makes Danny cringe a bit because it meant trouble. “Since your military friends are not here, yet, what about telling us your story?”
Chin nods all serious again, and Danny knew that conversation would happen soon, sooner rather than later, but he’s still not ready for that. It feels like another lifetime, to be honest, and he has a problem focusing on it at first. Before he starts though, Kono smiles, vast and a little bit wild, her face lights up like she just figured something out.
“You’re a higher rank than Steve! Bossman will be so speechless.” She says with a glee of three years old who was given a new teddy bear or a new Glock if we’re talking about Kono.
Danny leans on the plane, expression pinched, “he’ll be speechless alright but not for the fun reasons.”
Kono’s smile falters, and Danny feels a bitter twinge in his gut. Chin once again clasps his hand on Danny’s arm and squeezes. “He’ll understand, brah.”
Danny laughs, but it’s hollow and desperate and full of regret. It’s ugly just how he feels now. “No Chin. He trusted me; he trusted me when he couldn’t trust everyone else. Too many important people lied to him and if he finds out about this.” He makes a show of showing his uniform from head to toe,”it’ll crush him, and I’ll be lucky if he’ll be able to breathe the same air as me after all of this is done.”
Just thinking about this fills his body with dread. Steve’s going to hate him, but if it means that he’s alive, Danny will take it.
There’s no easy way around this, so he braces himself and looks at his friends, the silence stretches, and when Danny opens his mouth, he lets himself be taken by the memories that flood his mind. Memories he locked deep down, the life he almost forgot.
“I enlisted when I was seventeen."