Chapter 1: Tumbling Dice
“My eyes adored you... though I never laid a hand on you my eyes adored you...”
Steve was holding him so tightly as they swayed around the dance floor. Danny hung on, face buried in Steve’s chest, the silky material of the lapels on Steve’s suit jacket soft on Danny’s forehead. Danny inhaled surreptitiously, enveloped in that scent that was uniquely Steve, and shifted his body closer so he was moving as one with Steve.
Steve was softly singing and although he was no Rick or Frankie he still did the song justice.
And Danny was enjoying himself even though he knew they must be a sight out on the tiled area serving as the reception and dance floor of their friends Julie and Sebastian Gardner.
The band segued into ‘Oh What A Night’ and Steve reluctantly released Danny and straightened his tie.
“Want something to drink?”
“Oh Babe,” Danny laughed. “I think we both have had enough! How about a bottle of water?”
“Water coming up,” Steve did a mock bow and walked off to the bar. Danny watched him go, breath catching in his throat as he saw those long legs powered by that muscular body. Steve McGarrett could wear a loin cloth and look good rocking it.
“Great party huh?”
Danny looked up and across the table at the adorable and very dangerous member of their H50 team, Kono Kalakaua. She was all smiles, deep dimples on either side of her pretty face.
“You know that Sebastian told me they’d toned it down a bit from what it had been originally,” Danny said.
“I cannot imagine!” She giggled.
Steve returned and placed a bottle of water in front of Danny and opened the one he had in his hand.
“Having fun?” Steve asked her.
“The best! Especially watching you two dudes cutting a rug, as my Great Auntie once said.”
“Danny’s a surprisingly good dancer. Only stepped on my foot once.” Steve winked at his blonde partner.
“Really? We’re doing this now?” Danny groused. His good mood had evaporated and right now all he wanted to do was to go home and sleep for about 24 hours. He felt a headache coming on from the whiskey he and Steve had been drinking.
“No we’re toasting ,” Kono said, grabbing Steve’s arm. “Wait here. I’m gonna get my cousin.”
“Her cousin... could be any number of people here,” Danny muttered but he knew instinctively who she’d meant, so when she came back with Chin Ho Kelly, neither Danny or Steve were surprised.
“Let’s toast! To the first six months of Hawaii Five O! May it never get boring!” Kono laughed and raised her glass.
“Boring? How about drinking to may it always be solveable!” Chin protested.
“Is that even a word?” Danny said. “How about may we always be safe!”
“And may we always fly to New Zealand when we need to go!” Steve added emphatically as he tipped his water bottle up and took a deep drink.
“Wait... what?” Danny stopped with his bottle in mid air.
“What’s that, Steve?” Chin asked also looking puzzled.
“Are you going to New Zealand?” Kono said, crowding closer. Her dark eyes were big and curious.
“No.” Danny said.
“Yes,” Steve said.
“Uh mind explaining?” Danny demanded. “Don’t tell me you’re running off for some stupid case! This has nothing to do with Hess does it?”
Steve looked guilty.
Danny’s eyes narrowed as he pinned Steve with his gaze. “What are you talking about?”
“Well it has to do with new evidence on the Jacobson case,” Steve began, alluding to the complex case they been working on since the beginning of the year. There was a hacker, a hooker and a serial killer but the end result of 5 corpses did not an amusing case make.
“We need to meet with officials there and check out a lead that the man who is responsible for the deaths of these 5 people is in New Zealand occupying a sailboat in Auckland’s main harbor.”
“So why can’t New Zealand authorities arrest him? What’s that got to do with us?” Danny protested. He was starting to rip the label off his water bottle but Chin reached over and flattened Danny’s hand with his own.
“The governor wants him brought back here. She isn’t keen on the New Zealand guys handling this. He did kill 5 people on our Island, Danny.” Steve finished his bottle of water.
“You know...” Danny began but stopped.
“Do you want me and Kono to go get him back here?” Chin asked. He’d seen the looks that had passed between Danny and Steve and he thought he’d try to keep the peace.
“I’d love that but unfortunately no. She wants Danny and me,” Steve said.
“Oh. My. GOD!” Danny stood up, half aware that he was causing a scene. “Did you even once consider to tell me this before the party?” He yelled, though the music in the next room was loud enough that his voice was drowned out.
“No because I knew how you’d react. Just like this.” Steve pulled Danny closer to him. “Look, I’ll explain in the car—“
“There is no explanation! The last time I did a favor for the Governor I almost froze to death! And I have no desire to repeat that, with you or without you!”
“Danny, we aren’t going to freeze. It’s warm there,” Steve explained.
“You know what?” Danny set his water bottle down on the bar. “I’m going home. See you Monday unless we catch a case at which time I will acquiesce to speak to you. Until then, I’m out.” Danny sauntered away towards the main doors of the reception hall, walking past Sebastian who glanced over at Steve as if to ask him what was happening. Steve just shrugged.
“That went well,” Chin said.
“And here I thought you guys were getting all snuggly from what I saw on the dance floor,” Kono sighed.
“Short lived,” Steve murmured.
After saying his goodbyes and some apologies for his partner’s abrupt exit, Steve slid behind the wheel of his truck. The evening had been full of promise. In fact, ever since he and Danny had returned from North Dakota they’d been... good. As promised, Gracie had had her weekend at the Hilton with Steve and Danny, all of them eating too much junk food and sleeping late only to get up and swim all afternoon in one of several heated pools at the complex. Danny had been loose, happy, goofy even tossing the ‘babes’ Steve’s way and being unusually touchy. Not that Steve complained. He’d felt wanted, a part of a little family. It had been a blast!
And there had been weekends when Danny just came over to Steve’s to hang out, watch tv, drink beers, watch Steve swim. There had been a mellow middle ground that was missing before and Steve realized he craved that like a drug.
And now? Had he completely torn away the foundation that they had built for several months? God, he hoped not.
Truth be told, Steve was not keen on going to NZ and extraditing a criminal back to Hawaii. So many things could go wrong and he’d had a nibbling feeling in his gut that smooth sailing ahead was just a well worn phrase and not anything that applied to this trip.
He knew he should have told Danny. Leveled with him. Explained that they had to go get this serial killer and bring him back for justice. But then the wedding happened and they had both made plans to come together and enjoy the festivities.
Steve closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the headrest. If he concentrated he could still feel Danny in his arms, holding the smaller man around his back and waist, reliving the sensation of that hard muscled body against his. Danny’s hair smelled like lavender and rosemary, and he’d had a subtle cologne on. Steve lifted his coat lapels to his nose and inhaled. Oh yes there it was! Something spicy, rich, layered.
Just like Danny himself.
Steve sighed and turned on his truck. With a heavy heart he put it into gear and cruised out of the driveway, heading for home.
Monday morning was always tough no matter how restful the day before had been. Danny walked into the cache of offices and nodded at Chin who was noodling around with the big board. Danny glanced up to see a mug shot and a name. Roy Hollis. Huh.
He continued to his office, turned on his light and with a well practiced kick of his foot pulled out his desk chair. He saw that Steve wasn’t in the office yet and wondered if he had gone on alone to New fucking Zealand. Now that would definitely make Danny’s day if that had happened.
“Danny! This is the guy you and Steve are going after! “ Chin half turned towards Danny and nodded to the screen. Danny sighed and got up then walked over to stand beside Chin.
“Roy Hollis? Nice tats.”
“Yeah you’d think if you wanted to blend in you wouldn’t have head and face tattoos.”
They stared at the image and Danny shook his head.
“So not only do we have to find him, we have to arrest him and then bring him back here.”
“That’s right, Danny.”
Both Chin and Danny turned around to see Steve had arrived. He was carrying a bag from a bakery, and a tray of coffee cups.
“Bribing me is not gonna work, Steven,” Danny harrumphed and spun back on his heels to look at the screen.
“Well, Daniel, you have no choice. The Governor wants you to accompany me. We leave tonight.” Steve placed a cup in front of Chin and one in front of Danny. “Double double dark. Extra sugar.” He also placed the malasados next to Danny. “Enjoy.”
“Why me? Why not Chin?” Danny grumbled although he did take a sip of his coffee. Oh God that was good! Damn Steve and his bribing ways!
“I don’t know, Danny,” Steve admitted. “I just know that you and me have a date with a plane. I’ll pick you up tonight at 7 pm.”
“Fuck,” Danny said. He took a bite of one of the sugary pastries and made a face.
“Don’t worry, Danny! What can possibly say happen on a routine flight to Kiwi Country?”
As promised, Steve was there at Danny’s apartment to pick him up around 7 pm for their 11:45 pm departure flight to LAX. They had a long layover so Steve had asked the booking agent to get them a room for the day where they could relax until their plane departed to Wellington that evening. He thought that Danny might like that, and he would try to do all he could to keep his partner happy.
Steve wasn’t really looking forward to going on a manhunt in a strange country, catching a serial killer who had wreaked havoc on their island with 5 dead and 1 critically injured. But it was that one person who had bravely identified his assailant and the description had matched Roy Hollis, a man suspected of the same kinds of crimes in his native NZ. Steve only hoped that they could and would make an arrest and drag his ass back to face a trial and imprisonment.
Danny slipped out of his apartment door, locking it behind him. He had a small duffel bag and a backpack, the same one he’d carried when they had gone to North Dakota.
As always, Steve had to swallow hard at the sight of the blonde. Danny just did something to him.
“Hey.” Danny got in the truck and threw his bag in the back. “Let’s go.”
“You ready, partner?”
“No. But that doesn’t matter,” Danny sighed.
The 2 men were quiet except for some small talk on the way to Honolulu Airport. Steve parked in Short Term and they walked up to the terminal, went through security and by midnight, they were on the plane soaring above the city and headed towards LAX.
As always when they flew, Danny had claimed the window seat. He sat and watched as the lights faded in the distance then leaned back in his seat and tried to rest. He felt for Steve’s hand and found it, warm and open, and slid his hand into a loose grasp. Steve seemed surprised; Danny would bet that if he opened his eyes he’d see Steve looking at him. But they held hands and it felt good, comforting, grounded.
Their flight would take 5 hours. Danny relaxed and let himself go to sleep.
Chapter 2: Prelude
Hoping this keeps you in a bit of suspense
Sorry it has been a while updating. It’s a great day in the States and I’m very happy. Seems like my happiness has kicked my creativity in gear.
‘It’s a state of bliss that you think you’re dreaming
It’s the happiness inside that you’re feeling’
It’s so beautiful it makes you want to cry...”
Danny woke with a start, the words of Avril echoing in his head. He needed to stop listening to Gracie’s CDs although, you know, he had to admit he’d always been a sucker for Ms. Lavigne.
He turned his head to see his partner was still dozing, and those long fingers clasped with Danny’s were twitching and jerking as Steve dreamed. Danny watched the tall brunette, trying to swallow down the rising feelings of fondness he felt as he studied Steve’s face. Those ridiculous long dark lashes rested on tanned cheeks and those amazing blue sometimes hazel eyes were closed in sleep. There was that rather aquiline nose and the lips with the slightest Cupid point on the top. Steve McGarrett was a handsome man no doubt.
Danny felt the plane slowly descend and his ears popped. Reaching for his backpack on the floor in front of him, he lifted it up onto his lap and unzipped the side compartment. Inside was a pack of gum and Danny took several sticks from the pack and placed his pack back on the floor though more under his seat to prepare for landing. They had managed to sleep most of the flight, something he never did but for some reason he’d been lucky to rest for that long.
“Steve? Hey Steve?” Danny gently shook one of Steve’s shoulders.
Suddenly, the man was standing beside the seats in the aisle wide awake and looking dangerous , so quick and all lethal like movement.
“Hey hey Steve...” Danny got up and slid into the seat that Steve had been sitting in. Danny was holding his arms out straight trying to calm his partner, who still looked like he wanted a flame thrower to burn the whole plane down if Danny went by the expression on Steve’s face. “It’s ok. It’s ok. We are gonna land soon. You’re on a plane, remember?”
Steve shook his head as a veil of pink appeared on his cheeks and forehead. He cleared his throat and looked around him at the curious passengers who were watching.
“Yeah uh I better Uh go to...” Steve pointed up the aisle and Danny nodded.
“Yeah Babe. You go on then I’ll go when you come back.”
Danny watched as Steve wended his way up the aisle towards the bathroom. He’d honestly never thought about Steve being so uptight when he slept then decided that it was no doubt PTSD from all of the SEAL missions in Steve’s past. Well that sucked, Danny thought. He sat in a Steve’s seat, still warm from Steve, and made a mental note to look up ways to cope with someone who has PTSD. If that was what it was.
When Steve returned, Danny scuttled off to use the bathroom and then settled back into his seat, chewing gum and watching the city lights unfold beneath them as the plane made it to LAX. According to their flight manifest, they were not due to leave LA until 9:00 pm giving them roughly a layover of nearly 14 hours. Ugh. He wondered how many newspapers he could find to read.
“So we’re going to sit around for a while in the terminal,” Danny said to Steve who was busy messing around on his phone.
“Not exactly,” Steve said.
“Well uh that’s the impression I get from these tickets. Unless of course you are piloting a private plane all the way to NZ and simply skipping the commercial flight.”
“Nobody is skipping the commercial flight, Danny,” Steve muttered. He tensed as the plane hit the runway then braked, pushing them forward, belts digging into their abdomens. This was definitely the worst part of landing, Danny thought. He gripped the armrest until the plane had taxied to a complete stop.
“Are you going to tell me what we’re doing or make me guess?” Danny asked.
“Just let’s get off the plane and I’ll explain what we can do before we leave,” Steve said almost absently, looking around them at all of the people already half standing up getting ready to bolt.
“Keep me in suspense, huh?” Danny shrugged. “Like a mushroom, right?”
“What are you talking about like a mushroom?” Steve asked. He was getting his backpack out of the overhead bin and then stepped aside in the aisle so Danny could get out.
“Never mind.” Danny slipped in front of Steve trying not to feel the radiant heat from the taller man.
“Ok hang on. We can’t go until they open the doors,” Steve muttered.
“Ya think?” Danny shook his head then turned his back to Steve and shuffled slowly along as the crowd moved on ahead of him. Steve was acting weird; he was also acting slightly smug. Danny didn’t know which irritated him more.
Once off the plane, the 2 men ambled down the concourse towards the departure gates on the other end of the terminal. Steve paused in front of a stand alone granite block with a map on it, showing the terminal and the parking spaces around it. He studied it for a long moment then grabbed Danny’s arm and led him towards a hall with the symbol for ‘Light Rail’ illuminated.
“Steven? Explain yourself please. We’re off the plane now.”
“We have a room at the Hyatt. We can stretch out, sleep a bit, shower, eat... better than sitting in a terminal with lots of people!”
Danny stopped. Steve kept walking until he noticed Danny wasn’t keeping up with him. He turned around and beckoned with his had.
“Come on! We have to hop on this to get there.”
Danny grinned. He could have hugged Steve but resisted the urge. Stating in a hotel room sure sounded like paradise compared to an airport.
“Coming!” Danny walked quickly now, not hiding his enthusiasm nor his approval for what Steve had done. Perhaps this trip wouldn’t be so bad after all!
After a dinner of club sandwiches, fries, Cokes and salads, Danny was more than happy to just lay on his back on the comfortable bed. The Hyatt wasn’t bad as far as digs. The bed was big, the carpet looked clean and the bathroom was large.
“Hey why don’t you try to get some extra sleep,” Danny called out to Steve, who was sitting at the table in the corner, messing with his phone. Danny wiggled his feet and yawned. “Bed’s comfy.”
“Looks like it,” Steve answered, finally looking up. “You have a good idea.” Steve stood and toed off his Docksiders then crawled into bed beside Danny.
“Of course. I’m full of good ideas.” Danny yawned, his full stomach making him sleepy. He’d pulled the pillows down around him until he had a kind of pillow fort he was laying on, protected from all sides. The bed certainly felt better than his pull out sofa bed in his apartment.
He felt Steve’s heat radiating from that lean tatted body so close to him.
“You gonna hog all of those or can I have one?” Steve tugged at the pillow close enough to him, the one supporting Danny’s left side.
“I suppose,” Danny shrugged.
“For a little guy you’re a bed hog.”
Danny stiffened at what Steve said.
“Really? ‘Little’? We’re doing that now?”
“Go to sleep, Daniel. You’re so thin skinned,” Steve mumbled already sounding half asleep.
“Oh now I’m thin skinned?” Danny started to sit up but was stopped by Steve’s hand on his chest.
“Go to sleep,” Steve muttered into his pillow.
“Alright but we’re not done with this,” Danny interrupted.
For now, he’d sleep. He reached out and found Steve’s hand and closed his own around it.
Five hours of sleep, a hot shower and some packing and repacking their bags and Steve and Danny were ready to go, preparing to fly to a foreign country on a 13 hour flight. Steve had gone over details of the case with Danny who had only said that they should just go arrest him and have NZ authorities extradite him instead of Danny and Steve having to return with a dangerous criminal. All Steve had said was ‘Governor’s orders’ which set Danny off about power being absolute.
By the time they boarded the United Airlines flight to NZ, Danny was finding all sorts of things to ruminate about, including the clear lack of legroom that had him sitting upright so what about Steve?
Moments like these, Steve sighed inwardly, made Danny a bit too much to take sometimes but it was part and parcel of the small blonde’s makeup and how was Steve going to circumvent that? For the most part, it was pure anxiety that had Danny focused on one issue or the other and Steve knew that despite Danny being annoying, his partner was trying to figure out all the fears in his head by saying them out loud.
“Do you have gum? We’re getting ready to take off,” Steve said. This interrupted Danny’s soliloquy about the legroom and set him about looking in his backpack. A couple of sticks later, both men were chewing away, steeling themselves for the ascent into the clouds and the second part of their journey.
“Do you think Hollis will run? I mean, when we approach him?” Danny asked.
Steve considered this. He had read the file on their serial killer suspect but had no idea of how the man acted when police closed in. He had a record—assault and rape— and by rights should never have been allowed to fly to Hawaii. But he had and had brought his sinister murderous ways to the Big Island to wreak havoc and take lives. He was the lowest of the low. Steve wasn’t even sure what they might find when they went to collect the killer.
“I don’t know, Danny,” Steve said honestly.
“No guesses? I assumed a guy like you who could be all you could be—“
“—Army, Danny, that’s the Army—“
“—would know a bit about some tatted up crazy we are to bring to justice.” Danny sighed and stared out the window.
“I’m not a Profiler,” Steve answered. He watched as Danny shrugged and settled into his seat a bit more. “We’ll just have to talk to the authorities there and figure it out.”
“What do you think Gracie’s doing right now?” Danny changed the subject abruptly.
“Well let’s see... time change notwithstanding I’d say... sleeping.”
“Yeah.” Danny said wistfully.
Steve swallowed the lump in his throat. Danny was the best father he’d ever seen. And in a lot of ways, Steve wished that his own Dad would have been more like his partner in parenting skills.
“You’re a good dad, Danny.”
“Yeah I don’t know maybe.” Danny turned towards Steve and shrugged. “But I won’t be if I don’t come home from this trip in one piece.”
“Danny,” Steve said in a low voice. “I promise you that we will both make it back. Really. Sincerely.” Steve held Danny’s Aqua gaze with his own somber eyes.
“Yeah ok.” Danny sighed. He pushed his hair back away from his forehead and leaned back against the seat. “Taking a nap then watching a movie. I haven’t seen the latest Iron Man.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Steve agreed.
The hours passed like they were sand poured out of a sticky hourglass; Steve and Danny both kept busy between short naps. The movie selection was decent and the food they had eaten had been good. Danny had traded his salad to Steve for Steve’s cake while Steve kept trying to steal bites of Danny’s stuffed potato. Danny had ended up giggling and slapping Steve’s hand and when Steve acted hurt had grabbed Steve’s hand and kissed it. Steve absently rubbed the skin there where Danny’s lips had been, still feeling the softness of Danny’s mouth as he had ghosted over Steve’s hand.
“Where are we now, Steven?” Danny asked, yawning and curling around in his seat, his small frame not taking up much of the room.
“According to the little flying plane on our console here,” Steve indicated the screen,”we are about 2 and a half hours out. Not long now.”
“We’re gonna get this done and then go home,” Danny muttered. He looked out the window then suddenly gripped the armrest as the plane dipped a bit. “What was that?”
“Probably just dropping in altitude. Nothing to worry about.” Steve picked up a magazine and thumbed through it.
“Well it was abrupt,” Danny said. He looked out the window and was surprised to see that the clouds were dissipating and the plane was definitely taking a slow dive. “Steve?”
“Danny, we’re just changing altitude—“
The plane dipped again, faster and more abrupt this time. A woman screamed, just a staccato burst of sound. Steve looked around, trying to tamp down the panic. Danny was wide eyed and white faced next to him, reaching out to grip Steve’s arm.
“Are we... are we going to crash?” Danny whispered, his insides tight with fear.
“No ... I’m sure we’re ok. Maybe they are trying to avoid storms.” Steve resisted the urge to stand up and head for the cockpit knowing he probably wouldn’t be able to access it anyways.
“Are we supposed to... fly like this?” Danny asked.
“Danny, I’m sure it’s cool.”
And it seemed to be as the plane leveled out. Danny sat back stiffly in his seat and swallowed audibly. He told himself that planes flew every day, that they were fine just a bit of turbulence was all and all was good all was fine all was right. Steve was rigid beside him, which Danny interpreted as not a good sign.
The plane dipped again, this time jerkier and with more of a downward angle. The overhead oxygen masks came tumbling out while some of the overhead bins opened and bags tumbled out.
Danny tried to stand but Steve pushed him down and took the oxygen mask above Danny.
“Put this on!” He ordered. Danny did as he was told and watched as Steve did the same with his own mask. The Captain was trying to reassure them over the PA that they would be fine, that the plane was just experiencing some rough weather and for everyone to be calm.
“Steve?” Danny choked out. Tears were running down his cheeks. Steve grabbed Danny’s hand and held it.
Something was terribly wrong.
Chapter 3: Into The Sea
Will Steve’s plan of action be enough to save their lives?
I promise you I’m not a mean person but if the thought of a plane crash scares you then by all means skip this chapter. I did my research on survival and hope I got it right.
The plane was having a problem. Of that much, Steve was certain. He saw the panicked looks on everyone around him, felt Danny’s steely grip on his hand, and saw his life flashing in front of his eyes. For a brief moment, Steve reflected on everything he could have done and should have done as opposed to what he had already done but he was a man of action, a Navy SEAL for fuck’s sake and he wasn’t about to just sit still and say nothing.
Danny and he were sitting behind the wing.
That meant they had about a 40 percent greater chance of surviving a crash if indeed they were going to crash.
The first few minutes after a crash were the most important. He couldn’t panic if he wanted to help Danny and his fellow passengers.
Planes that regularly flew over water for extended periods of time were required to carry life rafts with needed supplies in them. Steve remembered seeing the compartment holding a deflated raft in a carry case next to the midsection exit.
“Put your shoes on, Danny,” Steve ordered as he slipped into his own pair of leather boat shoes. Danny hesitated, reluctant to let go of Steve’s hand. “Now, Danny!! Put them on!” Steve nudged Danny’s shoes towards the blonde who acquiesced and shoved his feet in his sneakers, not bothering to untie the laces.
The plane was still dropping but not nose first which meant that the pilot was probably trying to ditch the plane in the water. That was good as they had a better chance of getting out in one piece. The absence of the hum of the engines on their side told Steve that the plane was experiencing a mammoth mechanical problem and he silently prayed that their flight crew would be able to handle the emergency.
Just then, as Danny reached out to hold Steve’s hand again, the pilot started to speak over the intercom, prefacing his speech with apologies and some talk about prayer. Danny looked wide eyed at Steve and the look of panic on Danny’s face broke Steve’s heart. Steve shook his head and squeezed Danny’s hand then bent close to Danny’s ear, slipping off his mask so he could talk.
“Listen. He’s going to ditch the plane—“
“Ditch the plane? What’s that even mean? We’re going to crash, Steve and I won’t ever see my daughter again I won’t ever see Gracie and she will grow up without me and—“
“DANNY!” Steve said harshly.
Danny stopped talking but he was still crying.
“If he ditches the plane in the water this is what we are going to do. Are you listening to me??”
Danny shook his head yes and with a shaking hand put his mask back on though his eyes were glued to Steve.
“We are going to assume the position of our head down and our seatbelts fastened. But as soon as the plane hits the water, you are going to unfasten that belt and grab your seat cushion. Grab your backpack and you’re going to follow me, right next to me you understand?”
“Right next to me. You’re going to follow me to the exit which is just right up there,” Steve pointed at the midsection door. “Then you are going to wait while I get the raft and we are going to jump into the water. Got that?”
Danny nodded again.
“What are you going to do?” Steve asked.
“Take your belt off immediately. Like right away,” Steve interjected.
“Take my belt off right away,” Danny repeated.
“Good boy. Ok hang on to me. I can tell he’s coming in close.”
“Fuck! Steve we’re going to die!”
“Nobody’s gonna die on my watch,” Steve said vehemently. He braced himself for the impact, feeling Danny doing the same. He prayed hard, hoping that this earth hadn’t seen the last of them, that he and Danny would get home to Gracie, that they wouldn’t just be a memory.
The plane hit the water hard. Steve felt the snap and thrust as the body of the airliner met water and the acrid smell of jet fuel filled the cabin. Danny was stiff beside him but as water poured in did what Steve had instructed him to do and undid his seat belt and grabbed his backpack. Steve slid out into the aisle, yelling for people to follow him although there were some unfortunate souls who were not going to be able to get up let alone listen to him. He told Danny not to look, keeping them moving along the center aisle where the water was rushing in, both of them wading towards the gaping hole where the door to the exit once was.
Steve saw the raft and smashed the plastic compartment with both fists, not feeling the cuts that caused the blood to run down his arms from his damaged hands. He held the raft and pushed Danny out the door that was slowly filling up with water. The opening was about three feet tall and Steve ducked down and slid the raft, which was just a heavy folded up square and would stay that way until the pin on the side was pulled, after him. Danny was treading water and trying to get away from the sinking plane.
Thank God it was daylight, Steve thought. He was on autopilot now, swimming towards Danny and urging the smaller man to keep swimming out away from the suction of the jet. Nobody else seemed to be following them and Steve felt a wave of horror run through him then tamped that down to concentrate on his and Danny’s survival.
Keep swimming! Come on!” Steve yelled, pushing Danny forward through the oily water. They needed to get as far away as possible in case the water formed a whirlpool from the plane’s sinking to take them down. Danny flailed and then began to crawl towards an open stretch of water. He had at some point put his backpack on and that gave him some buoyancy in the water. Steve followed trying not to think, just trying to push on and hold on to the raft.
He did chance one last look back at the plane. The nose was fully submerged but even from his vantage point, Steve could tell it was crumpled. The pilots had taken one for the team; they likely had not survived.
The rest of the plane had sunk even further and now only part of the very top showed above the water. Trying to tamp down his feelings of panic, Steve started to swim over towards Danny.
“The water’s c-c-cold,” Danny yelled then started to giggle, high pitched and crazy like. Steve reached his side and with his free hand slapped Danny, hard, across the face. Danny recoiled then looked at Steve with big eyes.
“You’re gonna be ok. Keep swimming a bit. I’m going to pull the pin on this so we can get up in it.”
“Yes Steve.” Danny had calmed down though the shock was probably just subdued for a small moment. Danny did as he was told, swimming and trying to do his best to please Steve.
Steve hated himself for hitting Danny but thought it was the only way he could get through to his partner. The water was making his own teeth chatter and the sooner they were in the raft the better.
Steve reached around the tough plastic square and found the pin. He prayed that it work and pulled the peg out and much to his relief, the raft inflated and took shape. It blossomed out into a pillowy ride about 12 fret across and four feet deep.
“Danny!” Steve pulled it over to where Danny was treading water. “Throw your pack in and then I’ll help you get up.”
“My fingers are... my fingers are messed up.,,” Danny held his one hand up and two of his fingers were bent at odd angles.
“I’ll get your pack,” Steve said, swimming over and behind Danny, one of his hands on the raft. “Gotta hold the raft for me. Think you can do that?”
“Yeah yeah I can d-d-do that.” Danny reached up and held on to the raft with one hand as Steve slid the pack off one shoulder then waited while Danny changed hands to hold the raft with his other hand.
“Good, Danny, that’s good!”
“G-g-good? Yeah?” Danny grinned but it was more of a grimace.
“Ok listen. Grab hold of the side and try to lift up with your arms tucked on like this.” Steve demonstrated an arm fold much like a genie would do when granting a wish.
Danny did exactly that and Steve pushed him up and over. Danny tumbled into the raft causing it to lurch out of Steve’s grasp. But Danny had also seen what had happened and reached over the side to right himself and offer a hand to Steve.
“Come on! I’ll pull you up!”
Steve swam close and took Danny’s hand. He heard Danny’s sharp intake of breath as Steve grabbed ahold but true to Danny’s word, he pulled Steve up and over until Steve was laying on the bottom of the raft, ass up in the air and head against the bottom of the thick rubber flotation vessel.
“You’re a little stuck there,” Danny said and helped Steve turn around to sit up. In the day’s light, Steve could see that Danny was holding on to his stomach and rocking a bit. Oh God help them if the blonde was bleeding internally!
“Danny! Are you hurt?” Steve crawled closer, pulling Danny’s arms away.
“ A little sore but if you don’t move you’re gonna get my vomit all over you!” With that, Danny turned around and with his head over the side, threw up for several minutes.
Steve rubbed Danny’s back, reality setting in. Were they the only survivors? And where exactly were they? Had the Captain or crew made a MayDay call? Was someone somewhere tracking the plane?
“Better?” Steve asked as Danny slid around to face his partner. “Are you hurt anywhere?”
“My fingers,” Danny muttered. “But that’s it.”
“Ok listen. I’m going to try to get a bearing on our surroundings. Then we will take the next step—“
“—are we the only survivors, Steve? Is there anyone else?”
Both men looked back at where the plane had gone down, now just a swirling eddy on the sea. Nothing of the plane showed above it.
“I think so. They wouldn’t undo the belt. I told them... told them to get up!” Steve’s voice caught.
“Ok ok Steven it’s ok.” Danny rubbed Steve’s arm. “Think you can get your bearings out here?” His voice was calm. It was just what Steve needed.
“Well...” he squirmed around in his seat. “Look! Over there! That’s an island right?”
Danny turned and squinted. It looked like an island alright. That is if they could trust their own sight.
“Yeah I think it is, Steve.” Danny put his hand over his eyes to try to shield some of the light and the reflection it made on the water. “How far do you think it is?”
“I dunno. Maybe ... a couple miles.”
“Do we use these paddles?” Danny asked pointing to the small plastic paddles that were attached to the floor of the raft.
“Yeah I guess so.” Steve reached for them and then paused. There was a zipper compartment on either side of the raft itself. He pulled open the one closest to himself. “We’ve got some water... some MRE’s... a first aid kit.... blanket...”
“That’s good.” Danny nodded and pulled his paddle out. “How do we do this? Where do I... use this?”
“Hang on.” Steve got situated and then had Danny turn so he was in front of Steve. “You can paddle off to the starboard side and I’ll do this side.”
“Wait ok starboard—“
“—means the right side, Danny—“
“Then just say the right side! Don’t talk to me in code!” Danny cleared his throat and started to paddle, his oar sluicing through the water.
“Ok alright!” Steve sighed and began to match Danny with strokes, the raft inching towards the island ahead.
“New Zealand? Are there sharks here?” Danny asked.
Steve was silent and mused on the question. Should he answer honestly? Danny had enough to worry about and then add sharks to the mix.
“There are, aren’t there? That’s why you aren’t saying anything.” Danny shook his head. He was sticky wet and stunk of fuel. His fingers hurt and he had not stopped shivering since they’d got on the raft. But he was alive by some divine Providence and for that he was so very thankful.
“Maybe you should just worry about making it to the island, Danny.” Steve took a deep breath and resisted reaching for the water even though his throat was patched. He would wait. They might need that water supply on the island.
“Speaking of that, it’s closer.” Danny stared at the island that was indeed getting closer. It was bigger than he had first thought and higher too, the sloping hill evident now that they were within sight range.
“Looks big. Hope there’s some self sustaining materials there,” Steve offered. He was getting a second wind now that they were this close. But there were few trees scattered on the side of the island. Instead, rocky outcroppings stood side by side with tall grass. The beach was narrow and was well protected by rocks.
“Ok Danny listen to me!” Steve stopped paddling letting the waves carry them towards the rocks.
“What you’re going to say I’m not going to like am I?” Danny turned towards Steve and put his paddle down.
“Probably not.” Steve motioned to the rocks now figuring predominantly in front of them. “I don’t want to lose this raft. So we’re going to have to jump out and maneuver it around those rocks to the beach.”
Danny looked disgusted and raised a hand like he was going to argue but thought better of it. His shoulders slumped and he nodded.
“Yeah? Ok? “
“Yes ok Steve! Let’s do this somehow...” Danny sighed and got to his knees. He looked over the side and then slid into the water, the shock of the cold against his dry skin even worse than their initial dunking when the plane crashed.
“Ok now just hold on to the raft kind of out of the water and we will wade towards the beach!” Steve led the way, holding up his end of the float with long arms. Danny struggled behind him, his fingers not cooperating as he held on to the bindings.
It was hard to maneuver but Steve was a relentless taskmaster. They waded slowly through the rocks and their sharp points, trying to avoid getting tossed up alongside of them from the surf. It was hard work and by the time they reached the sand on the shore both were exhausted. Steve fell down with his hand still on the raft and Danny just collapsed on to the sand, face first and arms outstretched.
They lay there panting until Steve rose and got the water bottle from the emergency supplies. He opened it and drank half the bottle then handed it to a grateful Danny who finished it.
“Here we are,” Danny said sitting up. The sun felt like an old friend on his skin. “Some vacation. I thought when the brochure pictured a beach it wasn’t one I’d have to wade through rocks to get there.”
Steve smiled. Oh my God they were alive! Alive!! And in one piece!
“So now what survivor SEAL?” Danny asked. He sat up and crossed his legs beneath him. He was still wet but the sun was drying him out. He was grateful to be above ground and breathing.
“Now we explore. Build a fire. Check out the natural resources.” Steve rubbed a hand across his face. He was tired, sore, mentally done. But when he looked at the hopeful face of his partner, he was inspired.
“Build a... I don’t see any matches. I don’t carry a lighter.”
“I’ll use a stick and bow. I think that fire is our first priority.”
“A stick and bow? What even is that?” Danny asked.
“Survival techniques, Danny.” Steve stood up and started to scour for dry tinder. Some of the clumps of sea grass were quite what he was looking for and Steve instructed Danny to find dry branches and bring them back to a level area of the beach. Danny mumbled something but was trying to follow Steve’s orders. He was clenching and unclenching his fists and Steve realized that Danny had what looked like broken fingers on both hands.
“Looks like I hit the jackpot,” Danny said happily, standing in front of a cluster of limbs and sticks. They felt fairly dry.
“Great! Bring them back over here and stack it up!” Steve went looking in the brush for a good sturdy piece of wood for his fire starter kit. He found a rather strong sapling and bent a bough until it broke, twisting it to make sure it came off the tree. Alright. He had his bow. Now he needed a straight piece of stick and a thick piece for the bottom to put his plan into place.
“Hey Steve! Where are you?” Danny crashed through the brush and Steve hid a smile. Subtle thy name was not Danny.
“Right here.” He took out a pocket knife from his cargo pants pocket and stripped the bark off a piece of tree.
“Do you think they have people out looking for us yet?”
“Hope so. That’s why a fire is so important.” Steve handed Danny the sticks he’d found then gouged out a small channel from the large thick piece of stick he had on his hand. “Come on. Let’s go see if I can make that fire.”
An hour later, Danny and Steve were sitting beside a large smoky fire. Steve had indeed been successful with a bow fire starter, thanks to his choosing the right materials and the assistance of one of Danny’s shoestrings. Danny had been impressed and now sat beside the fire enjoying the warmth. His clothes had dried out but were stiff with the fuel and salt from the ocean. He wanted to lay down and sleep for hours, days even, until this nightmare was over and he and Steve were back in Hawaii.
“You ok? Let me see your hands.” Steve pulled Danny closer to him.
“What are you going to do?” Danny asked suspiciously.
“What? What do you mean what am I going to do? I just want to look. Come on. Don’t be a baby.” Steve reached for Danny’s hand but the smaller man hid it behind his back.
“No. Leave me alone.”
“Come on Danny. Let me see. I don’t want to hurt you—“
“—says Jack Torrance to his son. No, Danny, I don’t want to hurt you! I just want to kill you!”
“Don’t be a baby!” Steve argued, finally getting hold of Danny’s hand and holding him by the wrist. “Oh man looks like you have a couple broken fingers.”
“Yeah well they’re fine. Just leave it, Steven.” Danny tried to pull away but Steve held on tightly.
“Look, I’m just going to kiss them. Make them feel better.” Steve brought Danny’s hand up to his mouth and pursed his lips. Danny relaxed and at the same time, Steve brought his other hand up and grabbed Danny’s broken digits, snapping both broken fingers back into place.
Danny screamed and pulled his hand away. What followed was a litany of curse words all somehow tied to Steve’s ancestry and before Danny could react physically, Steve grabbed Danny’s other hand and set the broken fingers on that hand.
Danny curled up in the fetal position holding on to his throbbing hands. Steve had opened the first aid kit and found tongue depressors; he laid out several then got the tape.
“I’ll tape them. Let me see.” Steve gently pried Danny up and Danny reluctantly held out both hands.
“Animal,” Danny muttered.
“This will help them,” Steve answered taping the sticks in place on Danny’s bent fingers.
“Hurts but.... it’s better than being.... dead...” Danny finished.
“Open that pack of yours and let’s see if you have anything we can use or eat.” Steve put the first aid kit away and looked around their narrow beach. The island was fairly big but he was thinking they should try to climb up the hill to check out the rest of it.
“Let’s see,” Danny said, happy to have something to do to take his mind off his fingers, “I have some chips, some chocolate covered raisins, 4 granola bars, and oh yeah 2 sandwiches from that one kiosk we stopped at before we boarded. PB&J.”
“You’re brilliant,” Steve said and resisted the urge to kiss his partner.
“Where do you think we are? Like how far from New Zealand?”
“No idea. I don’t have the slightest clue. But I do think the pilots sent an SOS so we can be sure help will be coming.” Steve looked at the sandwiches. They could eat those to get some strength to climb the hill and reconnoiter. “Let’s have a sandwich and then we’re gonna take a walk.”
“Ok.” Danny was all for that as he handed one of the sammies to Steve and opened the other for himself. He took a deep breath. They had some food and some water. Perhaps they would be rescued soon.
As he ate, he tried not to think about the plane going down. He swore he could still feel it if he thought about it and that made his stomach feel like a million knots. Steve had known just what to do. His cool head and preparation were the things that had given them safety and allowed them to escape. Danny watched his friend eat the sandwich while his blue eyed gaze flitted all around them. Steve was never still unless he was asleep and even then, as Danny had found out from their one plane ride, it was a crapshoot.
“Are we going to be ok, Steve?” Danny asked.
“Of course we are. We’ll be rescued soon. Just eat and stop worrying.” Steve gave Danny one of his trademark goofy grins and Danny couldn’t help but smile back.
“You’re still an animal.” Danny held up his splinted fingers.
“You’ll thank me later.” Steve shoved the last piece of his sandwich into his mouth and stood up, brushing off his pants. “Come on, Magellan, we’ve got an island to explore.”
Danny sighed and stood, still eating his sandwich. With some tired reluctance, he followed Steve through the knee high brush and up the rocky slope.
Chapter 4: Exploring the Island
It was important for them to get their bearings.
The guys are actually on the biggest island of a chain of islands known as The Antipodes.
Danny flexed his hands gingerly, trying to use the walking stick that Steve had fashioned for him. They were walking straight up a mountain to the top of its’ rocky ridge. The grass was lush and here and there were small bushes and tiny trees though nothing really matched the vegetation on what Danny thought should be a deserted island. Thankfully, he and Steve had already found several small streams that ran down the side of the steep terrain. Stave had commented that they would fill the water bottles they had emptied then heat the water in an old pot that they had found in their exploration. It would be safe to drink that way.
Danny had to marvel at Steve’s fierce tenacity through all of this. Just hours earlier they had been in a plane, worrying about bringing a fugitive to justice. Now, hours later, they had been in a plane crash, braved chilling waters, paddled towards this hunk of rock, made a fire and set off to reconnoiter. If nothing else, Danny’s life was not dull!
But then there were the other people on the plane; that thought weighed heavily on Danny’s mind as he dutifully followed Steve upwards. Why didn’t they all get up and listen to Steve? Why had they just sat there accepting their fate? Were they truly the only survivors? Maybe this truly was Survivors’ Guilt.
“Almost there, Danny!” Steve pulled himself up then disappeared over the ledge. But just as fast as he had disappeared he was there again with his hands reaching over to help Danny up.
“I can do it,” Danny grunted. He sure didn’t want Steve to hold on to his hands when his fingers continued to throb.
“You sure?” Steve hesitated.
“Geezus, Steve!” Danny threw his stick up beside where Steve was crouched and scrabbling along the ledge pulled himself up.
“You ok?” Steve asked, genuine concern on his face. He brushed a strand of Danny’s hair back behind Danny’s ear.
“I’m good,” Danny huffed and moved his head against Steve’s hand. “Let’s take a look at what we have to work with!”
“Yeah let’s.” Steve waited for Danny to stand then they both walked over to the most level part of the mountain.
To the amazement of both men, their perch on the mountain gave them a 360 degree vista! All around their island were several smaller ones, including one that looked like a series of rocky ridges without any vegetation. None seemed to be inhabited by anything more than sea birds and seals.
Their island had numerous rocky reefs around it as well as a few breaks where streams widened and emptied out into the ocean. Penguins and seals stood guard on the barely there rocky beach just below them. Danny thought it had been a good thing that they had approached the island from the other side rather than deal with the aggressive wildlife!
Steve suddenly gave a little shout and Danny followed his pointing finger to the next valley over. To Danny’s amazement, there were 3 little houses or cabins right in a row, right in the middle of a grassy field. They looked kept up and the tall grass was tamped down around them.
“Oh my God!! We need to go there!” Danny said, grabbing Steve’s arm excitedly.
“And we will but tomorrow.” Steve turned and started towards the place they had come up. “We’ll sleep on the beach tonight and get a good start tomorrow. I figure it’s about a 7 mile trek plus how far we’ve come today. We are going to need our energy.” Steve watched Danny’s face fall.
“Sleep on the beach? Excuse me but there’s houses. There might be a radio in one of them.”
“Yes and I’ll be very happy if there is one. Now come on. We need to hustle to get back down and get our water supply. We don’t want to try to climb down in the dark and the Southern Hemisphere is opposite ours which means an early sundown.” Steve scrambled down over the ledge then waited for Danny.
“I guess what you’re saying makes sense,” Danny grumbled. He didn’t relish the idea of sleeping raw but Steve had a point. Although it didn’t look that far to the cabins, distances could be deceiving.
Careful of his splinted fingers, Danny slid down the ledge and planted his feet right next to Steve who was grinning at Danny.
“What... what are you smiling about?” Danny asked suspiciously.
“I’m just...” Steve took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair. “I’m just happy you are ... I’m happy we’re ok.”
“Me too, Babe.” Danny met Steve’s gaze and felt tears prick the backs of his eyes. “But if we don’t get our asses in gear we are gonna be stuck up on this mountain and I personally don’t think that’s the best idea.”
“You’re right!” Something in Steve’s affectionate gaze shifted and he nodded, turning back towards their man made trail. “Down we go.”
Within the hour, Danny and Steve were readying their area for the night. Steve had piled on the wood so the fire was smoky and warm while Danny had used one of the paddles to sweep an area smooth so they could lay down. After a quick meal of raisins and a granola bar plus water they’d boiled with the pot they’d found , Steve spread the canopy that had come with the raft and then placed the raft on top of it.
“Get in. We can sleep in comfort instead of on the ground.”
“That’s cool,” Danny said, happy they wouldn’t have to lie on the hard beach sand, and scrambled in to the cushiony raft.
Steve was next, sort of diving in head first slithering his long body over the side. Danny helped him sit up and then they both got comfortable, having to lie close because of the limited floor space in the inflatable. Steve pulled the blanket over them and Danny felt an immense fatigue just flood his body. He closed his eyes and reached for Steve’s hand, holding it gently against his own splinted hand.
Morning came quickly. Danny woke first which was surprising considering Steve was the nature guy. He had to pee but just the fact that he was having normal urges made him thankful that he was alive and living through another day. He tried not to think about the jet crashing or the scenes of the dead people strapped in their seats. He closed his eyes and wished himself back to Hawaii, sitting on a picnic table eating shaved ice with his Gracie.
Steve shifted, sighed and clenched Danny’s hand tighter causing the blonde to jump a little from the pain in his fingers. He should have never kept a hold of his safety belt. If he had removed his hands and just held on to the seat in front of him he never would have broken fingers.
Danny was aware of the sounds of the ocean and the waves hitting the rocks. They sounded slightly menacing and dark but that was only because Danny didn’t like large bodies of water. Add this section of the Pacific Ocean to that ever growing list.
He wondered what his daughter was doing right about now. He never wore a watch so he had no idea what time it might be especially back several time zones but he surmised from the sun it had to be around 7 am where they were. He was anxious to get to those cabins and wondered what they might find in them. It was funny, wasn’t it, that he was about to break into another empty house just like they’d done in North Dakota.
Steve was waking up now, long body stretching and moving against Danny. Danny watched as the brunette opened his eyes, so dark and sleepy now, a strange shade of blue crossed with hazel. They were mesmerizing.
“Danny. Morning.” Steve yawned and sat up.
Their fire was smoking still, coals hot, and Steve lazily inched his way down to the side of the raft and stuck his long legs out. With a heave, Steve slid out and started to mess with the fire.
Danny followed suit, pulling up his jeans that were now loose around his hips. He walked a ways from their camp and peed then walked back. He wondered if they could take the time to at least wash up a bit in the one stream they would pass on their way up the mountain ridge. He had clean clothes in his pack and an extra shirt and pair of sweat pants for Steve.
“Ok so the plan,” Steve said, walking back the way Danny was coming, “is to take our supplies including the raft up the ridge and over the island to check out the cabins. It is gonna be a walk but we should be able to make it no problem.”
Steve was peeing now too.
Danny folded the blanket and tucked it into the raft pocket. It was going to be tough to carry this thing all that way but he understood that they might need it.
Steve was back and searching for the granola bars he’d placed in the side of the raft. He gave one to Danny and offered the blonde a bottle of the water they’d boiled last night.
For a breakfast, it wasn’t too bad.
“So I was wondering if we could maybe wash up a bit on our way up. I smell like jet fuel and it’s kind of burning my throat the longer I smell it.” Danny took a deep breath and raised his eyebrows, rocking forward on his toes.
“Sounds like a plan,” Steve agreed. “You don’t happen to have an extra shirt in that pack for me do you?”
“As a matter of fact... I do!” Danny grinned. Steve also seemed relieved.
“A clean up would definitely feel good.”
Their trek up the ridge, punctuated by stopping and cleaning up (and Danny was ecstatic that he’d remembered to throw in a small bottle of hair and body wash with his clothes) , was slow but steady. The raft wasn’t heavy but it was awkward. Danny was obviously shorter than Steve so there was that kind of weird imbalance though they worked hard to keep it fairly even. Going down the other side of the ridge was easier. Steve had the idea to slide the cumbersome inflatable on the ground, skimming over the brush and they made some good time that way.
Around mid afternoon, they stopped to take a break. The cabins were within sight and this buoyed both men’s’ spirits. Tonight they would have four walls around them and possibly a radio to call for help. Things were definitely looking up!
Chapter 5: Fallout
Telling your loved ones about a plane crash is never easy...
Thank you all for reading! I’m having fun with this story!
Kono sat at her desk and kicked off her flats, feeling the nice squish of the rug between her toes. She had been working a local case with Chin and they had just wrapped it up the very morning that Danny and Steve were landing in New Zealand.
The office felt strange without them, like it was missing its’ heartbeat. There was no teasing banter from inside Danny’s door, no Danny slouched on Steve’s office couch, his legs in front of him, pants pulled up just enough to reveal a pair of bright funky socks. It was odd that you really did miss someone but only after they were gone.
Kono didn’t look up from her computer screen. “I’m right here, Cuz. What do you need?”
“Please come out here.”
Something in the tone of Chin’s voice caused a shiver to run down the petite beauty’s spine. She stood, leaving her shoes underneath her desk, and padded out to the bullpen.
Two men, dressed in suits and ties, were standing near their big tech board, faces somber. Kono felt her stomach clench. She knew instinctively they were not there to deliver good news.
“Kono,” Chin said though his voice was shaky, “this is Bill Hirsch and this other gentleman is Jim Weatherbee. They are from the NTSB. They want to tell us something.”
“Related to our case?” Kono asked sweetly. There’d be no more stalling, no more diversion to the news these men were going to deliver and Chin shook his head. He honestly didn’t want to hear this.
“No, Kono. This has nothing to do with our case.”
“We are sorry to inform you,” the man named Jim began, “that the United Airlines plane that Steven J McGarrett and Daniel Williams were on has disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, about 3 hours from New Zealand.”
Kono just looked at him. The words were falling over her like broken glass. Danny. Steve. Missing. Plane crash.
“That can’t be true,” Kono said vehemently. “They... you must have another plane... they... they aren’t...”
She felt Chin wrap his arm around her waist as her eyelids fluttered. She was going to faint. She’d never fainted before.
“Hey Kono come on.” Chin guided her over to sit on the couch in his own office. He perched beside her, rubbing her hand.
“I’m very sorry. We are dispatching planes to check the area. The last communication we had from the pilots indicated engine failure. He was going to try to ditch it in the water.”
The 2 agents looked appropriately sad as they stood off to one side of Chin’s office. It was all Chin could do to think straight. He continued to attend to his cousin but he turned slightly so he could address the agents.
“Steve McGarrett is a trained Navy SEAL. He’d know what to do in case of emergency.”
“We hope so.” Jim looked at his partner and cleared his throat. “We are going to go inform the family of Detective Williams. It says here his next of kin is an ex wife and a daughter? Plus his family in New Jersey of course.”
Chin felt himself start to break apart inside.
What was Grace going to think, to hear her Danno might be lost at sea and never coming home again?
“We should go with you I think,” Chin said. He met Kono’s watery gaze and she but her lip and nodded, tears falling from her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. “His daughter is only 8 years old. And Danny was a good father... IS a good father. You guys are looking for survivors aren’t you?”
“Planes are bypassing the area right now. We hope to find people who escaped the crash.”
“Ok let’s go then.” Chin stood and pulled Kono up. He held her hand, his grip conveying his love, his strength, his determination that Danny and Steve were just fine. “Did you notify Steve’s sister in Los Angeles?”
“We attempted to but the phone number we have isn’t correct so a representative from our West Coast affiliate will be making a personal visit,” explained the one whose name was Bill.
“Oh God, poor Mary...” Kono shook her head. Was Steve’s sister really capable of dealing with something like this?
“Why don’t we meet you gentlemen there at Stan’s and Rachel’s house?” Chin asked. He was grateful to have the time in the car with Kono so they could actually voice their thoughts.
“We will see you there.” Bill and Jim walked out to the elevator in the hallway and once they were out of sight, Kono collapsed into Chin’s arms.
“Do you believe it? That they’re gone?” Kono sobbed. She wound her hands in Chin’s t shirt and beat her head against his chest. “They can’t. They just can’t.”
“Hey Cuz you know that Steve is smart in all things that crash and blow up. He’ll be fine. Danny will just do as Steve says, grumbling all of the time of course but he will listen.” Chin kissed Kono on the top of her head. “Come on. Grace needs us.”
“Yep yeah you’re right, Chin.” She straightened up and pulled a tissue out of her pocket, wiping her eyes and blowing her nose. “Let’s go.”
Grace Williams sat primly on the edge of the loveseat and listened to the strange men in the suits. They talked about her Dad and Uncle Steve being lost at sea. Well her Daddy had been lost at sea a couple times, and had always come back. Look at what happened with the toonie fish! Uncle Steve had even told her many times that her Danno didn’t like the dinghy the 2 men had been on but was brave, so brave that afternoon.
She watched her Mom almost collapse as her cries broke the silence of the house and ran over to her, trying to console her.
“Grace, why don’t you go up to your room? Mommy just has to talk to these gentlemen for a few more minutes.” Rachel allowed Chin to assist her sitting down.
Mommy, I want to stay with you.” Grace wormed her way under Chin so she was leaning against her mother. “Danno will come home won’t he?”
“We don’t... we don’t know Grace.” Rachel started to sob in earnest so Kono gently herded Grace to the door and upstairs.
“Let’s look at your dolls, Grace. I hear Danno got you the newest Barbie Doll. Can I see it?”
Grace allowed Kono to lead the way to Grace’s room, which was all done in pink shades and girly frou frou. Kono was dabbing at her eyes with a tissue and Grace cocked her head.
“Kono, why are you sad? Uncle Steve will make sure Danno comes hone.”
“Oh Gracie I want to believe that so much!” Kono sat on the bed beside Grace as the little girl reached down and got her Barbie doll valise. It was pink and had photos of Barbie doing all of this traveling, from Alaska to Hollywood. Kono took a deep shuddery breath and dove into playing with the dolls, changing outfits more than Dolly Parton on her tv special. As for Grace, the little girl just knew her Danno was safe because Uncle Steve would never let anything bad happen to him.
“How much further?”
Steve stopped and let go of the raft, his hands sweaty and aching from holding on to the big rubbery inflatable. When he’d smashed the plexiglass on the plane to get the raft, Steve had cut his hands in several places. None were deep enough to need stitches but they were sore and achy, adding to his misery on walking more than 7 miles holding on to a cumbersome object.
“Not too long. Maybe another mile,” Steve answered. “We’re doing good. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”
Danny grunted in response and waited for Steve to pick up the raft. The sun was going down and it was cold, colder than last night. And it smelled like rain.
“I promise that when we get to those cabins I am going to kiss the floor. Think they have food?”
Steve had started walking again so Danny picked up the pace. He watched as Steve picked his way through the high marshy grass, always a leader, his posture straight and assured. As much as Danny groused about Steve’s SEAL skills, they were on full display here and for that Danny was grateful.
“No idea. I think the structures are here because this island was part of the fur trade. Men came here to club the seals and the cabins were food and supply depots. Though I could be wrong.” Steve ignored the burn in his shoulders as they walked.
“Clubbing seals?” Danny stopped, causing Steve to juggle his grip on the inflatable.
“Yeah you know killing them for their fur.” Steve looked back. Danny had one of those dark looks on his face.
“Bastards. Poor little seals.”
“They don’t do it any longer,” Steve said as they started walking again. “So I’m hoping we at least have some water in one of those cabins.”
“Forget the water. How about a nice plate of lasagna?” Danny teased.
“I don’t think you’ll find any Italian cuisine in them, Danny,” Steve laughed.
Hey Steve? Do you suppose they started looking for the plane? Do you think they.... told ... anyone that it went down?”
Steve had been turning that thought over in his mind. Had they seen any wreckage if they had dispatched helicopters? Steve wasn’t even sure a helicopter was practical as he didn’t know the distance from the islands they were on to New Zealand itself. They’d probably do planes then. And he and Danny would have to get creative in their SOS techniques.
“I don’t know. Probably.” Steve immediately regretted his answer then.
Grace. Of course Danny was worried about Grace and what she would think and how she would react when people she did not know knocked on her door to tell her that Danno was in a plane accident.
“Danny, you know Grace believes in you. She’s not going to just accept that you aren’t coming home.”
The fact that Danny was quiet made Steve feel more like a shit. He should have said something else, added another appropriate response, told Danny anything to prevent his partner from feeling so badly.
“Danny! We’ll be home to her before she knows it! Imagine her face when you walk through that door! Huh! It will be epic!”
“Epic. Yeah. My 8 year old daughter will hear from a couple of suits that her daddy was in a plane crash. Maybe he’s alive maybe he isn’t. We don’t know at this point. But hey keep the faith because he’s a real survivor he is!”
Steve stopped and let go of the raft, turning around to see the look of distress on Danny’s face.
“Danny...” Steve walked back as the blonde let go of the raft. Danny fell to his knees and covered his face with his hands. All the darkness, the fear, the terror, the regret that nobody else survived came out in a loud sob and his shoulders literally shook as he cried.
Steve knelt beside Danny and rubbed his back, finally pulling him into a reluctant embrace that quickly turned into Danny leaning his whole weight against Steve as he sobbed. Steve let his own tears fall too, squeezing his eyes shut and clinging to Danny like they were a lifeline for each other.
“I’m s-s-s-sorry... so sorry..,” Danny wailed.
“No, buddy, you don’t have to be sorry about anything.” Steve let Danny pull away and in the diminishing light, wiped Danny’s tears off Danny’s cheeks. “Gracie is gonna see her Danno again. We’re going to get through this.”
“Yeah yeah... I know... yeah..,” Danny snuggled, feeling like a weight was off his shoulders.
“We’d best get going so we can make those cabins before dark.”
Steve stood and pulled Danny up.
“Hope they have lasagna,” Danny muttered then gave Steve a weak smile.
“Me too, buddy. Me too.”
Chapter 6: Home Away From Home
A short update
Danny and Steve are lucking out on this adventure!
They were putting one foot in front of the other now. Neither men were slouches in the physical fitness department; both were well built with muscles and worked out daily. However, the emotional and physical torment were taking their tolls and Danny and Steve had resorted to silently plodding along, carrying the raft and their few possessions as they traversed through the tall reedy marsh grass of the mainly volcanic island.
Steve was thinking about how they needed to either make a signal fire with the hot coals he’d brought along in the metal pot or to tramp down the grass to form an SOS visible from the air. They hadn’t heard any rescue planes, which in itself was worrisome, but he had strong faith that with a jet that large and with a lengthy passenger manifest, someone would be looking for survivors.
Again, his mind turned towards the people who had just sat there in their seats in shock as Danny and he were fleeing the plane. He’d tried to get them up and out of there but none had made a move. How fucked up was that, he wondered, feeling pangs of guilt assault his conscience.
Steve could tell it weighed heavily on Danny’s mind too, the fact that he and Steve had managed to get out but nobody else had. There were moments just today when Danny had swallowed hard and the tears threatened to spill. But then, Danny had tamped down that response and went on about his business like he was born to walk on a deserted island carrying a raft!
“We almost there, Steve? It’s getting.... a little... cumbersome... holding up this end of this monstrosity!”
Steve smiled. Leave it to his diminutive partner to come up with just the right adverb.
“Yeah, Danny! Any time, Buddy!” With that, Steve saw that the cabins he and Danny had first spotted while they were on the mountain were right here in front of them! “Hey Danny! Here we are!”
At first glance, they were in a bit of disrepair. The paint on each was peeling and the grass grew right up to their front steps. However, the doors on each of the three little cabins, which stood side by side, were new and the windows in front were intact. Steve felt hopeful that there would be supplies inside.
Danny dropped his end of the raft and set down the pot with their fire starter in it, careful to position it so it did not set the overhanging grass on fire.
“About time. My hands are saying enough is enough!” He walked up to meet Steve and the 2 approached the first of the little houses.
“No lock. They probably figure that nobody undesirable can get in. Shall we see what’s inside?” Steve asked waggling his eyebrows at the shorter man.
“This ain’t ‘Let’s Make A Deal,’ Steve! “ Danny crowded next to Steve and waited while Steve carefully turned the door knob of the cabin nearest them. He stepped far enough inside so that Danny could come inside too, the blonde holding on to Steve’s arm in anticipation.
To both their surprise, the interior was bigger than it appeared outside. There was a cot and some blankets in vacuum bags on one side of the room, and cartons of bottled water stacked beside those. In front of the water were tins of pasta, meat and vegetables as well as some cans of fruit. A stand alone sink was on one side of the wall and a table and a couple of chairs that looked as though they’d seen better days dominated the other half of the tiny house and a chemical toilet was pushed back against the rear wall with a makeshift pulley and curtain around it. Not the Hilton but not a hovel either.
“Should we check the other 2?” Danny asked. He’d give anything though if Steve told him to just curl up on that cot and sleep because he was so ready. He was cold, tired and his hands throbbed where he’d broken his fingers.
“Yeah good idea.” Steve was out the door first and Danny made no move to stop him. Sighing and running a hand through his dirty blonde hair, strands uncooperatively hanging in his face, Danny followed along behind.
“Steve! Steve! We have this one! Why look..“
he stopped talking because as fast as a tree frog on meth, Steve had opened the door to the second cabin and was inside. “Ok let’s go have a look,” Danny muttered.
The second and third were just like the first one, complete with water, tins of food and a cot. Steve wrangled the cot from the second cabin taking it to the first and Danny followed along with the blankets. They’d decided to store the raft in the second cabin and live mostly in the first. It was a solid plan, and Danny looked longingly at the cot before he obediently went with Steve to move the inflatable.
“Gotta make a fire now, Danny.” Steve stood outside with his hands on his hips, looking around the immediate area.
“How we gonna do that with this grass everywhere?” Danny asked.
“Good question,” Steve nodded. He started to walk around the first cabin and Danny reluctantly trailed after him. They were chasing daylight with just an hour or so left and Danny would have preferred to get settled in the cabin before it got completely dark. Yet he understood Steve’s need for a fire. They needed a signal for planes if the authorities were looking for them and that certainly took precedence over creature comforts.
Steve couldn’t believe their good fortune. Sometime in the past, someone had indeed made a fire as there was a stone encircled charred black area in the back of the second cabin. Piles of dead branches leaned against the wall in the back of the cabin.
“Danny! Bring the coals!” Steve called. He began to move an armful of the dry wood towards the fire circle, pleased that they had this stroke of luck. Somehow in all of their misfortune there had been cracks of good fortune too.
Danny came around the back, carrying the coals in the pot. They were smoking and he held the handle with the hem of his tee shirt.
“Come on come on come on,” Steve beckoned with his hands.
“Yeah yeah,” Danny groused.
Steve took the pot and carefully arranged the coals on some dry wadded up grass. As it smoked, he took the bundle in his hands and blew on it gently, seeing the embers change from red to glowing orange flame. Carefully, Steve laid it down in the fire ring and let it catch, the cold wind helping to fan the flames.
“Put some of those lighter branches on here, Danny,” Steve directed. They couldn’t smother it with too much wood or there wouldn’t be any room for the oxygen to get around the fire to make it catch.
Danny did as he was instructed and as of by magic, the fire caught and burned brightly. Steve laughed but it was more of the sound of a relieved sob.
“We did good, Babe,” Danny offered. They watched as the fire danced and sent up sparks. It was a good fire. He hoped it could be seen from above.
“We’ll wait a bit here and build it up. Then it’s dinner time.” Steve yawned and sat down on the grass with his legs crossed in front of him. Danny sat down too, heavy and uncoordinated because of the cumbersome splints.
“Dinner sounds good.” Danny sighed and watched the flames.
“Yeah we’ll have to pick out something tasty,” Steve added.
“What do you suppose Gracie is doing?” Danny said after a heartbeat. “I wonder if she’s doing homework.”
“She’s such a good student,” Steve added. He thought of Danny’s daughter, such a cute little girl with her dark hair and somber dark eyes. She was a lot like Danny—smart, fiery, loving— among other things. He missed her and home with a physical ache. He could imagine it was way worse for Danny.
“That she is,” Danny nodded. Suddenly it seemed like all of the fight had gone out of him. He leaned back in the grass and closed his eyes.
“We’ll be there to see her soon,” Steve promised, fiercely telling himself that he would indeed get both of them home no matter how long it took.
“Yeah,” Danny agreed. They fell into comfortable silence just watching the flames.
“I think we can go in, partner,” Steve said getting up and brushing his pants off. He had been wearing a pair of Danny’s sweat pants and although they were too short they gave him some warmth from the chill in the air.
“Ok. We can come out and throw some more wood on this after we eat.”
Over tins of sardines and cans of cooked whole potatoes Danny and Steve commiserated at the lack of seasoning. Steve dipped his potatoes in the oil from the sardines, causing Danny to make the usual remarks about how Steve was basically an animal without manners while Steve just grinned and offered Danny a forkful. They’d found silverware and some plates and put those to good steed as they ate at the table. Because they were so dehydrated from their walk and the energy expended, Steve suggested they drink their bottles of water slowly so as to avoid stomach cramps. It was good advice and Danny followed it to the letter. He had no desire to get sick.
His flashlight, the one from Grace that had served them so well in their adventure in North Dakota, came in handy again. Steve used it to go out to the fire, adding more wood to insure it burned through the night. When he came back, they’d made up their cots by the light of the thin beam and used the toilet. Danny had shared his toothbrush with Steve and it felt good to have the minty taste in their mouths especially after their rather salty dinner.
Steve pushed the cots together and then slid into one, raising the blankets to get inside his makeshift bed. Danny paused then got into his own cot and arranged himself so he was laying on his side facing Steve. Steve was on his back and switched off the flashlight plunging the cabin in darkness. Danny swallowed in a moment of panic and reached out to try to find Steve’s big hand. Steve had the same idea, and as their hands met, Steve gently cradled Danny’s splinted fingered hand in his. It was reassuring and solid and so right.
Their second day as castaways. Survivors. Warriors.
The thought comforted Danny as he drifted to sleep, Steve’s breathing telling Danny that Steve was already in dreamland.
Chapter 7: All In A Day’s Work
Chicken in a can? Say it ain’t so...
Thanks for reading!!
Rachel Edwards reached for her cup of tea and stopped suddenly. Her daughter was coming down the stairs singing some song about a princess and a prince and she tried to wrack her brain thinking where she’d heard it.
No doubt some Disney movie, Rachel thought. Grace smiled broadly and crawled up on her chair at the oak table and beamed at her mother, her 9 year old face a mixture of child and the teenager to come. Rachel smiled back though she hardly felt like it.
The 2 gentlemen from the NTSB had been there at the house late into the night coordinating efforts from Australia and New Zealand for a search and rescue effort. Since the jet had gone down in technically international waters, other nations could get involved but at the beginning it was just going to be these 2 countries that participated. Rachel hadn’t really understood about the procedures but didn’t care either. Just as long as there were search planes or boats or both looking for Danny and Steve.
Grace, though, had been mysteriously ok with her father missing. She had slept through the night, rose with her alarm and dressed for school. And now here she was eating her cereal like it was the most natural thing in the world.
“Is your homework done?” Rachel asked, stirring her tea. She had a momentary thought that Danny probably wasn’t having any type of hot beverage right about now but she quickly tamped that down. She refused to fall apart in front of her daughter even though she was aching inside.
“Yes, Mom.” Grace sipped at her orange juice and patted her backpack that lay beside her chair.
“Are you sure you want to go to school? I can give you an excuse,” Rachel offered.
At this, Grace shook her head no and took another spoonful of her Fruit Loops.
“We’re reading a play in one of my classes!” Grace chewed, swallowed and dipped her spoon to get another mouthful. “Besides, Uncle Steve will bring Danno home.”
“Oh Grace...” Rachel hid the sob by clearing her throat. “They are going to fly planes overhead. And they have a couple of boats they will use.”
“Uncle Steve is a SEAL. He knows how to swim. So does Daddy. I hope the boat finds them! That way they will get a boat ride!” Grace beamed, confident in Danny’s return. Rachel answered with a shaky smile of her own as Grace reached across the table and took her Mom’s hand. “You’ll see!”
“I wish I had your confidence,” Rachel muttered and offered up a silent prayer for Danny and Steve.
“Ok. So. We get the cot, weight it down with a case of water and drag it behind us. That way the grass will be bent back and a plane can see an SOS from way up there.” Steve grinned wolfishly and pointed to his jerry rigged contraption.
Danny put his hands on his hips then nodded. Seemed like a plan. Steve always had the best solutions to problems like this; Danny couldn’t fathom trying to survive in the wild by himself.
“Ok so let’s go get it. Looks like rain. I don’t exactly want to be out here when it does that.”
Steve nodded and they walked from where they were standing in front of the cabin they had slept in over to the third cabin. Steve dragged out the cot while Danny placed 2 multipack waters on it, the weight going towards the middle. Steve dragged it over to the grassy area in front of the cabins and grabbed a stick.
“Ok. Help me drag this... you can hold on to the other end yeah just like that so we can move it and then we’ll start with the S.”
It was painstaking and slow work but they were finally done and had the cot put away before the rain started. Both men ran to the first cabin and shut the door behind them as the first gusts of wind hit.
Danny knew now why Steve wanted to save some coals in the old pot plus he had them move the branches further in under the jutting roof so they would stay a modicum of dry. The fire would no doubt smoke then be all but extinguished with the storm but they could build another when the rain passed.
“So now what? Any more rescue tricks up your sleeve?” Danny asked.
Steve shrugged and sat down at the table, long legs straight out. He had found a pack of cards in the one cupboard and was shuffling them mindlessly.
“Wanna play war?” He asked, cocking an eyebrow. Danny looked at him, thinking that he was a damn fine looking fellow indeed even with some scruff on his face and dressed in a tee shirt and sweats that were too short.
“Yeah ok.” Danny sat and waited while Steve dealt the cards. The wind had picked up and buffeted the cabin, causing it to creak and groan in response.
Surprisingly though, Danny had slept well inside the cabin, waking up to the sounds of Steve rummaging through the canned goods. Danny took care of business then washed up a bit with the shower gel from his bag and dried off with a towel he’d found in the blanket pile. It was better than nothing and after he was done, Steve did the same, dropping his clothes in a pile and washing up buck naked in the middle of the cabin with no modesty in the world.
Danny had busied himself to seeing what Steve had chosen for them to eat and immediately wrinkled his nose.
“Canned bacon, Steven?”
“What? It’s good. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!” Steve pulled his shirt on and then carefully laid the towel out to dry on the cupboard door.
“I think I’ll stick with... Um... fruit cocktail and some uh green beans.. maybe....” Danny sorted through the cans.
“ come on! Split the bacon with me! I can’t eat the whole can!”
And so it was on that very morning that Danny ate and nearly gagged on the cold tinned pork product.
He vowed to never again eat any of that type of meat from a can.
“Ace bests King ha ha,” Steve took the cards and put them neatly in his pile.
“Except, Babe, that the object of this game is to run out of cards which means you’re not winning.” Danny smugly showed Steve his pile that was indeed only half of Steve’s.
“No... no it’s the winning objective to end up with all the cards while you have none,” Steve said as he swooped in to capture another set, his five of diamonds beating Danny’s three.
“Ok who taught you how to play cards? Huh? The pygmies? “ Danny sat back and raised his hands as he talked.
“My father, Danny, that’s who,” Steve huffed.
Danny rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“Ok? That means I’m right?” Steve answered.
“Yeah ok you’re right.”
Danny had no
Intentions of fighting against family; if John McGarrett had taught his son the ‘wrong’ way to win at War then so be it.
“Think they’re looking for us now? I mean we haven’t heard any planes.” Danny looked up as he stacked his pile of cards neatly. Steve shrugged noncommittally and looked up, hazel blue eyes meeting Danny’s aqua colored ones.
“I hope so. That’s a lot of water to cover. But S&R teams are good! They’ll be thorough. And when this rain stops we’ll make our fire again so they can see it.”
Danny sighed and nodded. He pushed his errant blonde strands of hair back from his forehead and wished for some hair wax to keep It back. But then again, the very fact that he was alive and could complain about his hair style was testament to Steve’s survival skills, of which Danny was grateful.
“I hope they haven’t given up on us at home,” Danny said. He took the hand with a Jack to Steve’s three of Clubs.
“Are you kidding? I bet Chin and Kono will be chomping at the bit to go start their own search. Not that they will,” Steve shrugged. “We have good peeps.”
“I hope Gracie believes,” Danny added. “And thinks her Daddy and Uncle Steve are coming home!”
Steve’s eyes flickered over at his partner and tried not to show he missed her too.
“You know Gracie thinks you’re the Big Kahuna. She’ll be all over you when we get home.”
“She’s something else, isn’t she?”
“So grown up for 9,” Steve grabbed up a pile of double war that he’d won. “What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you get home, Danny?”
“Yeah. I second that.” Steve sniffed his armpits and shrugged. “Thank God for that shower gel huh?” He went back to playing a couple of rounds then paused. He looked up at Danny, his eyes dark and the furrow between his brow more pronounced. “Danny?”
“What?” Danny stared at his cards wondering how he was going to win if they were playing by Steve’s rules.
When Steve didn’t answer immediately, Danny looked up. The look of intensity on his partner’s face was a bit scary.
“We’re gonna get off this island. You and me. We’re going back home.” Steve’s words were measured and sincere.
Danny reached out and took one of Steve’s hands in his own and squeezed as best he could with the splints clacking.
“I know, Babe.”
There was a moment where Danny was sure something else would happen but Steve grinned suddenly and patted Danny’s hand then let it go, returning to his cards.
“Ok let’s wrap it up! Looks like I’m going to win!”
They played cards until the light was waning and while it was still raining, it had at least let up a bit. Steve declared himself the undisputed champ and Danny just shook his head. He knew better than to argue so he was very agreeable, even going so far as to ‘crown’ Steve with a makeshift crown of water bottle caps stuck together.
“Hungry? We should probably eat before light leaves us.” Steve crouched beside the stock pile of tins then found something that appealed to him.
“So help me if that’s bacon...”
Steve laughed. He held up the can with the cheery red and yellow label on it and waved it around.
“Naw it’s chicken. Canned cooked chicken. Now THAT might be good!” Steve put it aside and reached for another can. “Peas. And peaches.”
“Yeah alright,” Danny answered and stood up stretching. “I wish we had some candles. It gets SO dark here.”
“Did we check the cupboard? We didn’t did we?” Suddenly inspired, Steve rose and in three strides made it over to the one stand alone cupboard next to the sink. He rummaged around in the space with opened doors and his hand emerged victorious, holding up a fat candle.
“Yeahhh!!” Danny took it from him and found the empty fruit cocktail tin in their small pile of empty cans. He squished it into the empty can and grinned. “Where’s our coals?”
Steve brought the pot over, coals still glowing red. He held the wick beside the one fat coal and blew gently. A second later, there was a flicker of flame and the candle started to burn with a fizzy sound.
“Bless.” Danny nodded then looked back to the chicken in a can while Steve carefully tendered the coals, placing the pot on the sink board. “You know, Stephen, I’m not sure about this. I mean, yeah I have made the kids chicken salad from chunked chicken in a can but this looks like a photo of a whole bird!”
“Good. More of the stuff that matters,” Steve said. He opened the tin and pulled the cover completely off then stared inside at the gelatinous mass squeezed into the can. Danny was looking too but then snorted and moved away.
“No no no nope no.” Danny crossed his arms in front of him and shook his head.
“What? It’s just a chicken, Danny. It’s not a possum or squirrel or cat or dog... come on, Man, you can have a little taste.” Steve pushed his fork into it and pulled the grey lumpy mass out, placing it on a plate. “Smells pretty good.”
Danny pushed himself away from the table and covered his mouth with a hand.
“Gah! You call that smelling good?” Danny got up and walked over to his cot where he sat down, listening to the rain beat against the side of their enclosure. “I’m just... you eat... when you’re done I’ll come back for some peas and peaches.”
“You’re such a girl, Danny!” Steve picked up the chicken and began to eat it. The taste was akin to eating a tire with salt on it but Steve persisted.
“Enjoy, Chef Boy-R-Dee.” Danny sighed and laid back, suddenly tired. He wasn’t sure why as they hadn’t done anything truly physical except making the SOS in the grass earlier, but he just felt heavy limbed and exhausted.
“Ok, see, it’s not that bad!” Steve chewed with exaggeration eliciting the proper response from Danny.
“It’s protein, Danny! Think of how much protein I’m getting!” Steve pulled the wings off and attacked the breast. The liquid had gelled along the white meat and Steve tasted salt and some unknown seasoning.
“Trust me, the bacon debacle was bad enough,” Danny muttered.
“Don’t be like that, Danny! Come on!”
Danny curled up with his knees to his chest. He had no intentions of returning to the table until Steve was done. At the rate Steve was chewing it wouldn’t be too long.
“Danny Danny Danny....”
“Shut up Steven,” Danny answered but his tone was light.
“Ok... you know what... I’m done ok?” Steve stood and wiped his mouth. He was going to throw the bones outside then decided to save them to put in the fire. He didn’t think there were any dangerous wild animals on the island but better not to tempt fate.
“That didn’t take too long,” Danny muttered but made no move to get up.
“Come eat your peas and peaches.”
Danny heard the cans pop open so he sighed and wiggled around, standing up from his perch on the cot, ignoring the pain in his bad knee.
Danny slid into his chair opposite Steve, ignoring the smell of the chicken that was sticking up in its own can. Steve had made good progress on it but there were still bits that were uneaten.
“What are you gonna do with that?” Danny poked at the can.
“Huh? Oh. Into the fire.” Steve pushed the can of peas over to Danny who poured some out on his plate. With his spoon he started to eat, savoring the taste of the canned vegetable.
“‘Man these are so salty,” Steve made a face.
“Says the man who ate the chicken in a can,” Danny answered.
“So sue me. It wasn’t bad.”
“Seriously?” Danny shook his head. He had to smile at his partner’s willingness to eat just about anything. “I guess it all stems from those trail meals when you were off being a SEAL.”
“That’s classified,” Steve said, head down over his own plate, spooning up peas.
“Ohhhh yeah ok classified. Just like black helicopters and ops named after Beatles songs.”
Danny didn’t say anything more, his teasing of Steve’s past missions as much of their banter as the carguments they usually had.
“Dessert.” Steve dumped half the can of peaches on Danny’s plate much to the smaller man’s dismay.
“Steve!!! Not in the pea juice!!” Danny got up and emptied his plate of liquid into the sink as he held the peaches back with his fork.
“You need partitions on that plate,” Steve chuckled.
Danny returned, giving Steve a shove as he passed the sitting brunette.
A quiet fell between them as they finished up. The candle was flickering and throwing shadows on the walls of the cabin. It was still raining so they couldn’t make their fire yet. Steve hoped that in the morning they could do just that. Meanwhile, an unsettling cold and dampness was setting in and he saw Danny shiver and rub his arms.
“Ok, teeth brushing. Face washing. Pee taking. Then bed.” Steve got up and rinsed off their plates. He grabbed a bottle of water and commenced brushing his teeth while Danny used the toilet. They changed places and when Steve finished in their little bathroom and washed his hands, he vaulted over to the cots, blowing out the candle on his way. The cabin was plunged into darkness but Steve had good memory motion so he slid into his cot without a problem.
He reached over to touch Danny who was laying on his side facing Steve. Steve grabbed his blanket and unfurled it so it was over both him and Danny.
“Hey Steve come on. Keep your blanket. I’m ok.” Danny hunkered down on the canvas cot but secretly felt the warmth that another layer provided.
“I sleep hot.”
“‘I sleep hot’? What does that even mean?” Danny asked.
“Just say good night. Let’s hope that rain ends so we can put up a good smoky fire tomorrow.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Danny reached out and found Steve’s hand. He wasn’t sure how long it took him to fall asleep but eventually the warmth of the added blanket as well as Steve’s reassuring presence did the trick. He hoped they’d be rescued soon. He ached for home. For normalcy. For Grace. For all the good things he took for granted.
Chapter 8: Rescue!
Looks like an island stay is not indefinite
The ship is real. Details about it are real too.
It was gaining daylight when Danny opened his eyes. At first he was confused as to where he was, squinting around the darkened room to gain his bearings. He was alone, that much was sure as the cot beside him was empty and Danny had all of the blankets over him.
There wasn’t any answer so Danny sat up, careful of his knee which was aching a bit upon waking. The rain must have stopped as Danny didn’t hear any raindrops hitting the lone window, so maybe Steve was outside fixing their fire.
And with that realization, Danny knew he had to get up and get in gear. He rose and grabbed a bottle of water from the carton on the floor then used the toilet and washed up quickly with the shower gel Steve had have left on the counter.
Danny took a long drink from the water and then set the bottle down. He was starting to get a headache and wished that he would have thrown some ibuprofen in the backpack. Steeling himself for the cold that he knew would meet him when he opened the door, Danny began to search for his partner.
“Steve? Hey Steve!” Danny called out.
Danny nodded to himself and walked around the cabin to find Steve feeding the very smoky fire.
“How long you been up?” Danny asked, holding out his water bottle to Steve. Steve gratefully took it and finished the water, Adam’s apple bobbing as he drank. Danny studied those exquisite veins in his neck, putting them to memory to resurrect at another more appropriate time.
“Hmm maybe an hour or so. I got a good signal fire going here, Danny.”
“Yeah wow! Hoping someone sees that! I don’t want to be reduced to eating any type of meat product from a tin!” Danny poked at the pile of sticks with his sneakered foot.
“You’re so sensitive,” Steve countered. He looked around them and then pointed to the other cabins. “Go see if you can find any more candles in those other 2. I don’t think we looked in the cupboards.”
“‘K.” Danny shrugged. Off he went for more supplies, Steve watching him as he walked away favoring his right knee.
Steve threw some more sticks into the fire then looked around and upwards. He reasoned that the authorities were probably turning into any kind of mission from a Search and Rescue to a Search and Recovery one and he wanted to be sure he got Danny off this isolated rock within the next couple of days.
They would probably enlist Australia to help, Steve reasoned. New Zealand didn’t have the manpower to exclusively search for a big jetliner that went missing over the water. In that case, they’d use a Huey or an Apache Guardian, 2 helicopters Steve was familiar with through his Navy days. Both were loud so Danny and he should be able to hear them so they could fire the flare gun Steve had discovered in the raft’s pocket, signaling their presence.
They could not spend a large amount of time on this island, Steve knew. They had shelter, food and water it was true and they were extremely lucky to have those but to winter here wouldn’t be good. Already the wind was bringing the cold moisture with it and even though Steve was out in the sun, his arms had goose bumps on them from how chilly the air temperature was.
“Hey ok so I found 2 other candles and another deck of cards.” Danny waved his treasures around above his head. “We can have major war tournaments now!”
“Yeah, Danny! Good going, buddy!” Steve grinned and got an answering grin of his own. God, Danny was one of the most beautiful men he’d ever seen. Even disheveled and dressed in torn tee and faded sweats he was attractive.
“I’ll put these in the Uh... house.” Danny nodded to himself and walked back around to the front.
Steve poked at the fire with a long stick and was just ready to get more branches when he stopped to listen.
Was he imagining things?
Was that a low buzz he heard?
Adrenalin spiked in his body, making him tremble with the need to move. His guts coiled and he ignored the rising hope he felt.
Yes! There it was again!! A helicopter, low and heavy, no doubt flown from a ship that was parked near their island. Helios typically did not have the range as airplanes did because of the fuel situation.
Steve raced to the front of the cabin and pulled the door open, colliding with Danny who was just coming out.
“Ooof.” Danny fell backwards, hitting the floor with his butt.
Steve reached down to haul him up then pushed past him to get the flare gun.
“I heard a helicopter! Maybe more than one!!”
Danny’s eyes widened and he scrambled out the door behind Steve, both men racing back to the fire.
Oh God yes there it was in all of its’ brown and dark green colour! It looked like the best thing Danny had ever seen!
Steve fumbled momentarily with the flare gun but then held it up above his head and fired, sending a red arc streaming into the sky. He waited then reloaded and fired another. The copter dipped and headed their way, flying close to the ground.
Both men watched as it set down on the grassy knoll about 500 feet from their fire and right in the middle of their SOS!
Danny yelled and began to dance jubilantly while Steve just sat down, relief flowing through his shaking limbs.
One of the soldiers hopped out of the copter and scrambled over to where they were celebrating.
“Are there just you two?” He shouted over the noise of the roterblades.
“Yeah! Yes!!! Give us a second! Gotta get our stuff!” Steve answered. The man nodded and waited as Danny and Steve ran back to the front door. Steve laid down the flare gun he’d been holding, placing it on the cupboard, while Danny grabbed his pack and threw the toothbrush they’d been using and the remains of the shower soap into the zipper pouch. With a nod towards Steve, he took one last look at their temporary home and followed the tall brunette out and around the cabin.
The soldier ushered them over to the open door of the copter; Steve got in first, making sure he was sitting securely then reached down to help Danny who was trying to climb onboard. The splints on his hands were not conducive for him to hang on to the pull
handle so Steve just gripped Danny by the shirt and pulled so Danny tumbled inside. He scrambled to his knees and sat up on the seat, taking the headset Steve handed him. Within seconds they lifted off, and a minute later, the copter was leaving the island far behind.
“What’s your names? How long you been out here?” The pilot asked, voice tinny through the headphones.
“I’m Commander Steve McGarrett and this is my partner Detective Danny Williams! We were on the island since Tuesday morning when the jet ditched!” Steve reached out and placed his hand on Danny’s knee, noticing that Danny was shivering. It was cold with the doors open on either side. “Say do you have any warming blankets back here in a first aid kit?”
“Yeah!” The soldier on the passenger side of the cockpit turned and pointed towards a square box attached to the floor. “In there! Help yourself!”
Steve reached behind them and opened the box, rummaging around with one hand until he felt the squares of the blankets. He pulled them both out and shut the box then gave Danny one. He pantomimed opening it and unfolding it so Danny did that, feeling the blanket warm up in just the seconds it took him to unfurl it. Oh heaven, it was warm! Danny wrapped up in his, tucking his chin down so his nose would get warm too.
Steve made sure Danny was good before opening his and wrapping up in it. He couldn’t contain the grin on his face! They’d get to the ship and then contact everyone back home! He couldn’t wait to see Grace’s face when Danny called her on Skype!!
“You’re damn lucky, Commander! We went into recovery mode this morning. Then we saw the smoke from your fire!” The co pilot looked back and nodded. “You’re the only survivors!”
“Christ,” Danny said. He lowered his eyes and Steve could tell he was holding back tears.
“I feel blessed you found us! My partner here didn’t much like the menu!” Steve playfully elbowed Danny who pushed him away. The mood had broken however and now Danny was looking around.
“I hear we’re having meat loaf and mashed tonight!” The pilot said, chuckling.
“That sounds like heaven!” Danny muttered.
“How far are you from the ship?” Steve asked, taking an interest now. He had served on a couple of carriers and he was curious as to how big a ship they’d be joining with.
“About 20 clicks!”
Danny tuned out of the conversation and peered down at the open water beneath them. The sea looked angry today, foamy with white caps and waves, the water a deep green grey in colour. He wondered about all of those other people on the plane, if they’d ever be found, if they’d ever be pulled up and given a burial. That could have been them. He could have drowned and never come home to his daughter.
Steve’s voice and a reassuring grip on his arm pulled him back to reality.
Danny turned towards Steve and saw his partner come back into focus. Steve pulled Danny over so they were side by side, Danny settling under Steve’s arm. It was nice. He closed his eyes and laid his head against Steve’s chest.
“Your boy ok?” The pilot asked looking back over his shoulder quickly.
“Maybe delayed shock I don’t know,” Steve admitted.
“We have a full hospital on board!”
“That’s great! Must be a hell of a ship!” Steve said.
“The best on our fleet! She’s the CANBERRA! Fastest and toughest with the best crew!” The co pilot said.
“I’m honoured to step aboard her,” Steve answered. Danny was totally limp against Steve and was either sleeping or had fainted. Steve thought it was the former.
“How big of a crew?” Steve asked.
“313 of the finest men and woman Australia has produced, Commander!”
“Again,” Steve said with a nod,”I’m honoured.”
Danny was stirring against Steve as they were within sight of the aircraft carrier. He seemed better, more clear headed as he looked down at the decks of the big ship.
“Are we landing on that?” He asked Steve.
“Wow! That’s pretty awesome...” Danny took Steve’s hand and held on as the pilot set the copter down on its’ mark, a perfect straight ahead landing. The pilot switched off the blades and as they sat waiting for them to stop completely, a medical team with 2 stretchers came running towards them, the man in front shouting orders.
Steve got out and helped Danny jump down and they waited for the team to approach them.
“Commander McGarrett? Detective Williams? I’m Dr. Dave Mason! Can you walk?” He was a tall red head with kind features. A stethoscope was dangling from his neck.
“Yeah we can walk! It’s all good.” Steve stuck his hand out and they shook hands then Mason did the same with Danny.
“Follow us then. After we check you out we’ll let you talk to your loved ones on Skype. Your team at H50 has already been told.”
“I’m shocked we didn’t hear them celebrating all the way here!” Steve grinned.
They led Danny and Steve down 2 decks to a large and well appointed hospital, complete with operating rooms. Danny looked around and pointed to a large stuffed emu by the door to one of the rooms.
“Oh that’s Ralph. Our mascot.” Mason chuckled. “Ok, both of you up on the tables. We’re just going to give you an exam and determine your wellness.”
Steve glanced at Danny but the blonde seemed normal enough. He was getting his vitals taken by a petite dark haired nurse.
“Dr. Mason?” Steve said quietly. “I’m a bit worried about my partner. I’m not sure if he’s ... ok or suffering from some after effects.”
Dr. Mason turned around and watched Danny watching the nurse take the splints off his fingers. She gently probed each one then asked him to follow her to another area to x ray them. He obediently followed her, staring down at his hands with a frown.
“There’s certainly PTSD after such a traumatic event. And he is probably not certain he’s safe. That seems to happen a lot with water rescues or in your case island AND water rescues. Tell me how did you manage to make it to that piece of rock?”
“I ... took the raft from the wall placement by the exit.” Steve looked down at his healing cuts on his hands. “I did try to get the others to come with us!”
“I’m sure you did your best, Commander.” Mason took Steve’s hands and examined them. “We’ll get some salve and bandages on these straight away. Now do you have any discomfort anywhere else?”
“No I’m good. Just hungry. Thirsty.” Steve shrugged.
“Well for your own good you’ll remain in sick bay until we land. Just to keep an eye on you!”
Danny was emerging from the other room. He looked pale and tired and Steve could see he was shaking again.
“Is he ok? Look at him please,” Steve asked, resisting the urge to run towards his partner.
Mason nodded and took hold of Danny’s elbow, guiding the blonde back to the exam table.
“How many are broken, Suzanne?” Mason asked the nurse who had emerged from the back. He was using his penlight to look at Danny’s eyes.
“Third and fourth fingers of his left hand. The right hand has a small break on the second metatarsal on the middle finger. Shall I get the splints?”
“Yes please.” Mason gently patted Danny’s shoulder. “Are you cold?”
“Yeah. I mean, the island was cold. We just had tee shirts. My hoodie ... my hoodie was all jet fuel from the you know from the plane it landed the way it landed...”
“I can let you have a 3 minute shower and a shave and then get you into some dry clothes. Then we will take a look at those fingers. How does that sound?” Mason was typing something on his iPad.
“A shower sounds fantastic,” Danny nodded.
Half hour later, both Danny and Steve were clean, shaved and dressed in comfy warm sweats. Danny had pulled the hood up of his jacket and was basking in the heat around his face and ears. He had tried to stay within the 3 minute time limit, at Steve’s urging, but just the feel of the hot water on his skin had felt like a luxury.
And now he was getting his fingers taken care of. They felt secure and tight although he was forever grateful for Steve’s makeshift ones that had held up for the past two days. Dinner was being brought up to them and Mason had sent for a tech so they could establish a Skype connection to home. Danny was feeling much better than he had all day. He was safe and dry and about to talk to Grace. What could be better?
As the screen flickered and snowed then became clear so he could see his daughter and Rachel sitting with her in front of the screen, Danny almost lost it. He kept it together though swallowing hard and smiling. As he said their names he knew he was putting an awful chapter behind him.
“Hey Steve! Get over here!”
Steve was sitting on a chair at the table in the bed ward. At Danny’s command, he stood up and pointed at himself mouthing ‘me?’
“Of course you, you schmuck! Come on! Grace wants to see her Uncle Steve!” Danny huffed and moved his chair over so Steve could sit next to him.
As they talked and told Rachel and Grace what had happened, Steve slipped his hand under the table and found Danny’s newly bandaged hand. He held it carefully, relishing the contact. And when Grace squealed and waved at her Uncle Steve, Steve thought that this... this was better than winning a lottery.
Chapter 9: Aftermath
Hope you’re still tagging along! Thank you for the kudos and comments!
After Danny and Steve Skyped with Grace and Rachel, the IT guy from the bridge stepped in and connected them with the Governor. And although she was sympathetic and understanding—even relieved and grateful that they were ok—she still insisted they meet with the Aukland Police Department to apprehend and bring back Roy Hollis. Steve tried to argue but it seemed her mind was set and in the end, both men agreed that their mission should continue.
Danny sighed and pushed back his errant locks. He needed a haircut and the lack of any styling product brought that to the forefront.
“So we’re still responsible for this collar.” Danny looked up at Steve and raised his eyebrows.
“Looks like it.” Steve considered for a moment then reached out and put a hand on Danny’s shoulder.
“You can opt out if you want.”
“Are you serious? After coming this far, Babe, I’m riding it til the end.” Danny punched Steve’s shoulder playfully. Steve grinned and pulled Danny closer to him so the smaller man was standing between Steve’s legs as Steve was sitting in a chair.
“Have I told you today how damn lucky we are?” Steve cocked his head and threw Danny a perfectly disarming grin. “We are so lucky to be alive. And to be rescued. And to have talked to your daughter.”
“Major wins,” Danny agreed. He could feel the heat emanating from his partner. A sudden sound of a door opening and a cart being wheeled in came from behind them.
“That looks like dinner,” Steve said, breaking the mood and peering around Danny. The smells made their stomachs rumble. Danny remembered that he hadn’t eaten anything that day. He and Steve had been too busy getting rescued!
And it was indeed dinner. Danny and Steve tucked into their tasty slabs of meatloaf covered with gravy, the real mashed potatoes and the lightly seasoned broccoli like it was mana from heaven. There was even dessert, a light pound cake with berries on it.
Danny sat back and pushed his tray away.
“Do you miss the chicken in a can?”
Steve paused in drinking his milk and looked askance at his partner.
“Danny,” he said putting his carton down, “I needed the protein. Sometimes ya gotta eat what’s in front of you!”
“Or what you pick out of the pile of cans.”
Steve finished his milk and shook his head. He loved their back and forth banter; it kept him interested and lively.
“Danny, forget the chicken—“
“—and the bacon. Don’t forget that debacle.” Danny shivered for emphasis.
“Debacle? Using the fancy words again.” Steve grabbed their trays and placed them on the cart that a soldier had brought down from the kitchen.
“That’s why I win at Scrabble, Steven.” Danny stretched his arms behind his head and yawned. He swore that if he just sat down to watch tv he’d be asleep within seconds , as his limbs were that heavy.
“Whatever.” Steve sprawled down on the couch and patted the seat beside him. “Watch tv with me.”
“Okaaaay,” Danny sat down and started to play with the remote that had been sitting on the end table next to him.
Suddenly, Steve grabbed it and was hitting the channels for only a few seconds then going on to the next with rapid fire precision.
“Hey hey hey! Roger Neilson! What are ya doing??”
“Finding something to watch “ Steve answered still focused on the rapid turnover of programs.
“In 3 seconds!? Come on, Steve!” Danny tried to reach for the remote but Steve wrestled him against the couch so with just one arm under Danny’s neck, Steve was holding him back. “Son of a—“
Steve ducked down and planted a closed mouthed kiss on Danny’s wet Lips, causing the smaller man to cease his wiggling around. Pale blue eyes slid open, looking half golden in the light of the room and Steve held his breath. So much could go wrong at this moment.
It was the sound of the door opening that made them both suddenly move away from one another. Steve dropped the remote on Danny’s lap and stretched, pretending to work the kinks out as he sat on his side of the couch.
“You boys doing ok?”
Danny and Steve turned towards the now familiar voice of Dr. Mason. He was striding towards them carrying his iPad and smiling warmly.
“Dinner was phenom, Doc,” Steve grinned and stood up.
“We eat well on this ship,” the doctor said.
“Are we going back to Aukland?” Steve asked.
“Well actually not yet. And we won’t be going there but you will. I’d like to keep you both under observation tonight and for a few hours tomorrow, just to make sure you’re both ok. After I discharge you, you’ll be flown by helicopter to Auckland.”
Danny bit his lip and tried not to think of the helicopter ride. He wasn’t a fan but he understood that a ship this size would probably not be able to just sail into a commercial harbor. And it wasn’t even the helicopter he dreaded as much as the return trip to the US. How was he ever going to calmly sit on a plane again?
“Danny? You feeling ok?” Dr. Mason hovered over the blonde detective, iPad at the ready.
Danny had zoned out while Steve and he were talking and the doctor wanted to make sure everything was alright.
“Yeah yeah I’m good.” Danny smiled though it did not the reach his eyes.
“Anything hurt? How about your hands? Need an ibuprofen?”
“No, things are fine. I’m doing well.”
“There is always the effect of PTSD. You boys have had some shall we say horrific experiences and I suggest you talk to a professional when you get home. In fact,” Dr. Mason went on, looking down at his iPad, “I’m recommending it in my report to your insurance company as well as to your doctor at Tripler.”
Steve blanched at the thought of sharing his thoughts with some shrink in an office and a sideways glance to Danny told him that his partner felt the same. However, Steve knew that if Dr. Mason didn’t bring this up that his credentials as a medical doctor would be scrutinized. Whatever. He’d go along with it even though he personally didn’t feel he needed any therapy.
“Well,” Danny said quietly,”I might need something to uh help me sleep on the plane going home. I’m not looking forward to that.” He looked down at the couch and ran his fingers nervously along the upholstered material.
“That I can do. I’ll give both of you a light sedative to help you when you leave.”
“Except,” Steve interrupted, “that we will be bringing a prisoner back to Hawaii for prosecution. So I’ll pass on the pills.”
Danny felt his stomach sink but put on a brave face. If Steve wouldn’t take them neither would he. Somehow they’d manage.
“None for me either,” Danny said. “Steve’s right. We have a job to do. Can’t do it when we’re half in the bag.”
Dr. Mason didn’t answer but his look was one of irritation. While he understood that the 2 H50 men had the responsibility of their prisoner escort, he was hoping to at least give Danny some assistance since he seemed to be bothered the most.
“Ok I get it.” Dr. Mason shook his head. “I’m leaving. You guys have Australian Army pajamas and clothes for tomorrow. We’ll get you boots before you go.”
“Thanks, Doc.” Steve stuck his hand out for a shake and as Dr. Mason took his hand the warmth returned in the doctor’s face.
“Of course. Any time, Commander.”
Danny listened to Mason walk away then he turned his attention towards Steve. He was anxious to kiss again; he wasn’t sure if he should initiate it. But Steve had other ideas. He stood up from the couch and stretched and yawned then looked towards the beds along the wall. They were standard hospital beds, ones that could be rolled quickly depending on the need, and were made up the army way, sheet and blanket tucked in so tightly a coin could bounce off the surface.
“I’m beat. How about you? We should turn in. Tomorrow will be... interesting.. “ Steve looked expectantly at Danny.
“Yeah yeah let’s do that. I’m ready for a good night’s sleep.”
He shuffled around in his backpack, considerably lighter now that their guns and badges and wallets were out of it. The guns were being cleaned and their ID’s and money and cards were drying out on the table. Since Danny had used the clothes he’d packed in it and eaten the food he’d stashed, the pack was almost weightless. Pulling out the toothbrush he used he stood up to get his pajamas when a wave of dizziness hit him. He sat down suddenly as he broke out in a cold sweat.
Wtf? He rubbed his hand over his neck then paused and fingered a rather swollen lump just behind his ear.
“Hey Steve? Come look at this will ya?” Danny bent his head forward as Steve ambled over.
“What’s up?” Steve cocked his head as he saw the pinkish colored lump that Danny had exposed while bending his head. Carefully he rubbed it causing Danny to flinch.
“Ow! What is that?”
“Not sure,” Steve said hesitatingly. He patted Danny’s head then left to find the doctor. He recalled that Danny had complained of a headache while they were on the island plus there was the shivering on the helicopter. Maybe there was more to it than just being so exhausted trying to survive.
Steve found Dr. Mason right away; he was sitting at the large circular desk outside the doors of the clinic, intent on the computer screen in front of him.
“Uh Doc could you come check on Danny? He’s got a weird lump thing on his neck.”
The doctor stood up immediately and followed Steve back into the large room where Danny was perched on the couch, rubbing his neck.
“Danny? Can you come sit on the exam table for me?”
Danny got up then grabbed the arm of the couch and gasped. He squinted his eyes shut several times and swayed until Steve moved quickly to grab Danny’s arm to steady him.
“What’s ... wrong with me...?” Danny asked.
“Let’s take a look,” Dr. Mason said, helping Steve guide Danny to the table. Steve assisted Danny up on to the table and the smaller man bent forward. He suddenly felt nauseous like the good dinner he had eaten was going to make a reappearance. What the hell happened?
Dr. Mason gently ran his hands over the hot feeling lump. When he swung the overhead lamp over to further examine it, he saw the source. There was a tiny bite mark in the middle of the lump.
“I’m going to do another blood test, Danny. I think you have Tick Fever.”
“What... what’s Tick Fever?” Danny asked, eyes growing bigger with fear and uncertainty.
“You got bit by a tick. Maybe you didn’t even know it but you’re feeling the aftereffects. When they bite they take blood but they also inject into you a toxin that creates this very sickness.” Dr. Mason pressed a button on the control panel of the console by the tables and requested a phlebotomist come down to draw Danny’s blood so they could test it.
“A tick? A fucking tick??? “ Danny began to frantically examine himself, pulling up his sweatshirt and running a hand along his stomach.
“I can have a nurse do a full exam for both of you,” Dr. Mason offered. “Don’t worry. I’ll choose a male nurse.”
“Yeah that would be great,” Steve said feeling itchy himself.
As Dr. Mason took Danny’s vitals, a no nonsense like nurse in green scrubs came bustling in and took a vial of blood from both Danny’s and Steve’s arm. When she was done, a man also dressed in scrubs entered the room and offered to help both men strip down and be examined for any hidden passengers.
As Bruce—that was his name— carefully searched for any ticks on Danny he kept up a running commentary about them.
“So here in this country we have the Australian Paralysis Tick. It’s known for burrowing in and then causing all kinds of problems. Looks like the Doc got the one behind your ear—“ and at this revelation, Danny started to scrabble his hand around his neck—“so you’re all good. Doesn’t look like you have any on you.”
“Paralysis... am I gonna be paralyzed because some stupid insect decides to bite me?” Danny spit out bitterly.
“It affects all people differently but rest assured you’ll just have to undergo some meds and an IV then we’ll evaluate you. Commander McGarrett, you’re next.”
Danny watched as a Steve was also searched. He supposed that it was de rigeur to examine closely the private parts but he didn’t have to like it exactly. Bruce had been professional at least and had shown both men appropriate respect.
“Ok Commander you’re good.”
Bruce jerked his head towards Dr. Mason who was just returning. He held a tray with a syringe and a vial of clear liquid with a heavy silver cap.
“You’ll get an injection and then we’ll place you on some oral antibiotics.” Dr. Mason cued the syringe, flicked it so a tiny amount sprayed out the end of the needle and then patted Danny’s hip. “Up you go and down with the trousers.”
Danny grumbled but did as he was told and waited for the inevitable. Steve was hovering and peering over Danny’s shoulder so that at least distracted Danny from what was to come. In the end he hardly felt it.
“Ok. All set.” Dr. Mason turned to Bruce who was cleaning up the tray and the empty vial. “Make sure Detective Williams has a ginger drink in case his tum gets upset.”
“Am I going to be able to go tomorrow?” Danny asked. His injection site was beginning to burn and the throbbing from behind his ear had not let up.
“We’ll see how you are. Now if you need me just press the call button on the cord next to the bed. I suggest an early turn in; you two have had quite a day.”
Later, when both Danny and Steve were in bed and the lights were muted to a low glow, Danny reached across the gap between their beds and waited, hand held out. Steve met the distance and gently held Danny’s hand in his larger one, careful not to hurt the splinted finger.
“That’s so gross,” Danny muttered.
“What is?” Steve asked running a finger around Danny’s thumb.
“Stupid tick fever. Even thinking about that thing on me makes me want to hurl.”
Steve was quiet weighing his words.
“At least we got it diagnosed and treated. That’s a step in the right direction.”
“What about Hollis?” Danny sighed. He turned his head towards Steve. Their eyes met and Danny read the sympathy in his partner’s gaze.
“Hey if need be I’ll go after him.”
“Steven, you aren’t going alone. That in itself is not going to happen!”
“Yeah but if you aren’t able to go with I’ll just recruit a member of the Aukland Police. Easy peasy.”
“Nothing about Hollis sounds easy, Steve!” Danny said fiercely. He didn’t want Steve to go all crazy and go after this killer himself!
“Eh. We’ll see.”
Danny stewed. He was upset at himself for getting sick, mad at Steve for thinking catching a known serial killer was a walk in the park, and feeling very sorry for himself as the headache beat a tango inside his head.
“We’ll Skype the governor tomorrow and tell her what happened,” Danny suggested.
“And she’ll say that I take cate of it,” Steve sighed. He gently squeezed Danny’s hand then let it go. “And I can.”
Danny pulled his arm back and then rolled on his side away from Steve so he was facing the wall. He was angry with the SEAL for his bravado and the reckless plan Steve would surely have. But by morning maybe Danny himself would feel better and he could help go after the killer as per their prior plan. He closed his eyes trying to remain positive.
“My brother’s dead isn’t he? Isn’t he? Well so’s your father...”
Steve sat up, heart racing a million miles an hour, his breathing rough and noisy. His stomach hurt and he closed his eyes against the sound of the gun firing, the sound he always heard when he dreamed about Victor Hess and John McGarrett.
He ran his hands over his sweaty face and tried to remember where he was and who occupied the bed next to his. Was it summer or winter and was he home or with his unit somewhere on a military base? Dear God, please help me think, Steve pleaded silently.
A moan from the other bed and suddenly Steve remembered. They, he and Danny, were on a ship, having been picked up off that island. They were alive. His father was dead.
“Danny?” He called out.
Another moan from his blonde partner. Steve got up, the cold of the floor feeling good to his bare feet, and scurried around the bed to check on Danny.
“Danny? Hey buddy? You ok?”
Steve paused before he touched the smaller man. Heat was emanating off Danny’s body like a wave. Steve felt his forehead and it was clammy and so hot to the touch. Reaching for the bell with one hand and the other still on Danny’s forehead, Steve called for Dr. Mason.
It wasn’t supposed to take a turn for the worst like this, Dr. Mason explained gently. They had examined Danny and put a PIC line in his chest to distribute the antibiotics better. He was wrapped in a cooling blanket and had an IV pumping him full of glucose and electrolytes to balance his system. Not once had Danny woken to full consciousness; the closest he had come was to say to Steve ‘m’hurts’ in a quiet voice.
Dr. Mason assured Steve that Danny would be better, that this was unexpected but they could treat him easily. Steve wanted to believe it but he refused to leave Danny’s side, pushing his own bed over so it was flush with Danny’s and then staring belligerently at anyone who was going to challenge him not to do that. Nobody said anything to him other than ‘you should get some rest, Commander.’ It simply wasn’t going to happen while Danny was doing so poorly.
“Danny? Hey Danno I’m right here. I’m with you. You’re gonna be ok.” Steve gently brushed an errant wavy lock of soft hair away from Danny’s cheek and traced a sandy coloured eyebrow with his finger. Danny’s breathing was less labored and his cheeks weren’t so pale but Steve’s optimism was guarded.
Steve was certain of one thing, however, and that was that Danny wasn’t going to be here alone. Hollis could wait. Steve was going to see to it that Danny was feeling much better before he, or they, even considered pursuing the killer.
Steve curled up in his own bed, hand still on Danny’s arm, and edged closer to Danny so he was laying next to him save for the division of their beds. He silently willed his partner to get better.
Danny had to feel better. He just HAD to. Steve would accept nothing but that.
The hours ticked away. It was quiet except for the sounds of the monitors Danny was hooked up to and the constant pressurizing of the oxygen compressor that sat beside Danny’s bed. He had a mask to help him breathe and to gather precious oxygen in his blood. Steve closed his eyes and willed Danny well. It was all he could do right now.
Chapter 10: In The Room
For Steve the present isn’t always present.
Thank you everyone for liking this story so far! Cheers!
gradually peeling off the grey layers of sleep and opening his eyes to the dull light that spilled around him. He heard the beeping and whirring of machines and he frowned trying to figure out what had happened. There was a dull pain below his neck along his collarbone and he gently felt the PIC line going under his skin. On his right arm there was an IV and he had a finger monitor on his index finger.
He had a full headache but his stomach felt empty and he wondered if he could or should ask for food. Gently he moved the oxygen mask away from his face and took a deep shuddery breath.
And where was Steve? Steve, his constant and caring companion... Danny glanced around the room then focused on Steve sitting in the desk chair, speaking to someone through Skype
“Steve?” He asked and immediately regretted it because he began to cough, his throat dry from the oxygen and being sick.
At once, his partner was next to him, smoothing back Danny’s bangs from his forehead.
“Shhhh you’re gonna be ok.” Steve reached for the call button and pressed it all the while petting Danny, his hand soothing.
“I ... feel better.”
“We’re thankful for that. You were pretty out of it last night.” Steve kissed the top of Danny’s head as Dr. Mason bustled in.
“Detective Williams! How are you feeling?” The redhead gently removed the mask from Danny’s face and checked Danny’s vitals on the machine next to the bed. “Looks like you’re breathing a lot better.”
Steve stood up and backed away so the doctor could do his thing. Danny was quiet only wincing once when the doctor checked the PIC line.
“Good news. Your fever’s broken. Your vitals are strong. Oxygen level good.”
“Can you take these things out?” Danny asked. He pointed his chin at the IV and the line in his chest.
“We’ll definitely get rid of this one. But you’ll have to keep getting your antibiotics intravenously.” Dr. Mason’s eyes were soft and sympathetic. “You have really responded well to the fever that the bite brought. Your immune system must be good.”
“Ok.” Danny huffed out a sigh and leaned back in bed. It was great hearing that his body had did its thing against the stupid tick infection. He was anxious to start feeling normal again but his stomach clenched to remind him of priorities. “Maybe something to eat later? I’m kinda hungry.”
“Lunch will be here shortly. You and Commander McGarrett-“
“-STEVE can eat then. Meanwhile, I’ll take you to the OR so we can get rid of the line and get you back here straightaway.”
An hour later, Danny and Steve sat at the small table in the room, Steve using the desk chair and Danny in a wheelchair. The procedure for the removal of the PIC line had gone smoothly and Danny had barely felt it being removed. He simply had a plain white gauze taped around the initial point of entry. After the procedure, he had a shower, helped by Bruce who was gentle and mindful of Danny’s modesty as well as the IV in his other arm. Dressed in plain black tees and army fatigues, here he and Steve were, feasting on barbecue chicken, honey carrots and pita slices with dip.
“You know,” Steve said happily, “when I was on an aircraft carrier our food wasn’t this good. It’s exceptional here.” He took a bite of his carrots and pointed his fork at Danny.
“Oh I’m surprised that information is not classified,” Danny scoffed.
“Danny Danny Danny...” Steve shook his head in mock disbelief. Secretly he was so freaking happy to see the blonde up and doing well compared to last night. Steve had already notified the Governor to tell her that they would be delayed in their quest and that Danny had fallen ill from a tick bite. She hadn’t been happy but Steve was adamant in that he was not leaving without Danny, no matter the course of treatment.
“Have you talked to Chin or Kono?” Danny asked, pushing aside the pita chips to reach for his yoghurt.
“Thought I’d do that with you up. We can contact them this afternoon. It’ll be morning there.” Steve eyed Danny’s chips. “You eating those?”
“Have at ‘em, Babe,” Danny nodded with a sweep of his hand.
“They’re good huh?” Steve exclaimed happily as he enthusiastically dipped a chip into the dip.
“Yeah yeah.” Danny bent his head and sighed. “Look, I’m sorry. I haven’t pulled my weight on this whole trip. And if you want to go on to meet with the police in New Zealand then do that and I’ll follow when I feel better.” He was sad that he’d held Steve back, felt guilty because Steve had been the primary Alpha in their island adventure, and now Steve was saddled with Danny’s sick ass. It wasn’t anything that Danny was proud of. Danny had always been independent but in the course of the last few days, he had let Steve take the wheel, in part because Danny had felt so far out of his element.
Steve paused mid bite then lowered the pita chip and reached out to hold Danny’s hand. His eyes, a dark warm blue colour, fixed on Danny’s and Danny felt his heart do flip flops with just how intensely handsome his partner was.
“Geezus, Danny, stop! What are you talking about? We’re a team. I couldn’t have done all those things that we did on the island without you! And you can’t help it if ticks like you.”
“Ha ha.” Danny mocked. “I’m serious, Steve.”
“And so am I. I’m not going anywhere without you. We will do our job once you’re feeling better and Doc tells us we can go!”Steve squeezed Danny’s hand gently, mindful of the splints. “Finish eating and we can go over the specs that the Auckland police sent out.”
For the next hour, both men were engrossed in reading all about Roy Hollis. He was a disaster from the very start of his life, doing time in Juvenile when he was 9, 11, 12 and 14. He was suspected but not convicted in crimes such as ‘Willful and Malicious Intent To Animals’, ‘Assault’, ‘Arson’, ‘Suspicion Of Rape’ and ‘Armed Robbery.’
“Charming fellow,” Danny said. He yawned and leaned back in his chair. He was tired and suddenly longed for a nap.
“So we have to find this thug, arrest him and drag his ass back to Hawaii to charge him in the murders there?” Danny leaned back and scrubbed a hand over his face. “Nothing could go wrong huh?”
“Have faith, Daniel,” Steve said in an attempt to be reassuring but Danny was just getting started.
“This trip, Steven, has been doomed right from the start! We crashed in a plane, had to swim in the ocean, spent a few days on the most remote islands known to man, then get rescued by a nice bunch of army guys only to get sick from a tick bite!!” Danny’s hands were at full velocity now, waving and circling to punctuate his words.
“But we’re ok. That’s the important part. We’ve got a job to do.” Steve held his ground in defense of their assignment and after a few seconds of glowering, Danny gave up the fight and exhaled noisily. He leaned back in his chair, suddenly feeling more tired than he had in a while.
“Yeah. Ok. You’re right.”
“I’m right? Wow. When did that happen?” Steve argued. He backed off though seeing the anxiety on Danny’s pale face. “We’ll get there, ok, buddy?” Steve squeezed Danny’s arm. “You need to rest. We need to be a hundred percent to go find that asshole.”
Danny looked at Steve’s hand and felt a rush of heat go through his body. Steve was always so dedicated, a good man, even though his methods were questionable sometimes. But What Danny felt sitting there wasn’t anything pertaining to the job.
“What time is it back in Hawaii? Maybe we can talk to Kono and Chin again and see what they found. Anything right now is a help.” Danny suggested, diverting those pesky thoughts in his head.
“Let’s do just that!” Steve agreed.
Later that evening as both men were getting ready for bed, Danny paused to sit on the edge of his bed. He was still getting an IV but aside from that he was relatively free of any medical constraints. Steve was talking about how Gracie was adamant that Danny bring her back a souvenir from New Zealand, preferably a stuffed whale but she didn’t care as long as her Danno delivered it in person.
“Do you ever not know what to do, Steve?”
Steve stopped talking and was still for a long moment. Such an odd question, he thought, but one look at the blonde told Steve that Danny was patiently waiting for an answer.
“What do you mean?” Steve hedged. It was an unexpected question, totally out of left field and Steve wasn’t sure exactly how to answer it.
“I mean,” Danny said quietly as he scrambled into bed and under the blankets, “you’re always so ... capable so good at everything. Was there ever a time when you weren’t?”
Steve swallowed through the lump
In his throat thinking of both his father and of Freddie Hart. Danny’s question was resurrecting the dead.
“I just try to do the best I can given the circumstances. Nobody’s right every time. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have all the answers.”
“But you KNOW stuff like how to get a raft from a plane, how to navigate an island oh plus the rocks ... that was some crazy shit right there just trying to get to the island. And you knew to do that SOS and the fire... you never lost faith.”
Steve didn’t answer right away because he was mulling over what he should say. It’s not like he was the most competent guy in the world; still, his skill set was outstanding.
“ I guess it’s because I was a SEAL and my training helps me out.”
“Well. You’re amazing and thank you for...” Danny waved his hand between them, “this. For getting out alive. And everything.” With that, Danny pulled the blankets around himself and yawned. “Night Steve.”
Steve also propped himself up on the bed but was still deep in thought, those things in his head taking him down a road he hadn’t been on in a while. He remembered the motto of ‘leave no man behind.’ He thought about Freddie screaming at Steve to ‘get out of here you crazy son of a bitch’ just as Freddie took the bullets that ended his life. All of the sounds and sights of a steamy jungle came flooding back and suddenly Steve was back there too.
He closed his eyes and tried to calm his accelerated breathing. He didn’t notice that Danny had now seen the visible distress in his friend and partner and had crawled out of bed to pad over to Steve’s bed, the blonde dragging his IV pole behind him.
“Steve? Hey Steve?” Danny approached cautiously, arms out.
Steve squelched his eyes shut even tighter and tasted the jungle around him, heard the gunfire, smelled the artillery. So propelled back to where Freddie had made his last stand, letting Steve escape, so brave and committed even with a baby girl on the way.
“Steve?? Steve? Hey? You there?”
Gentle hands stroking his arms, soft voice reassuring him that he was in the present that he was ok and everything was good.
Steve opened his eyes and Danny took a step back, stopping from any more physical contact.
“Danny?” Steve looked around the room. It was large, sterile, white walls. He was sitting on a bed that was pushed next to Danny’s bed. And Danny... Danno... his Danno was in front of him looking scared to death and concerned. Yes, concerned.
“I was... I...”
“Hey. Wherever you were you’re back. You’re back now.” Danny reached up to stroke Steve’s hair, cording his splinted fingers through Steve’s soft short locks. A single tear fell from Steve’s eye and traced a path down his sunburnt cheek.
“Sorry. I’m sorry.”
“Shhhhh. It’s all good.” Danny kept caressing Steve’s hair and Steve leaned into the touch. It had been so long since... he’d even thought of that ...
Danny nudged Steve over so he could sit more on the bed then pulled Steve up as best he could into his lap so Steve’s upper torso leaned against Danny’s. Danny wrapped his arms around Steve and rocked him.
“You’re back now ok? You’re alright.” Danny whispered words of assurance until Steve’s weight was limp and boneless against his chest. With utmost care then, Danny gently laid a Steve down on the bed and scrabbled over to his own bed, IV cart on the move behind him.
Scooting as far over as he could, Danny wrapped his one arm under Steve to hold him while continuing to smooth Steve’s hair with his other hand. Breaking his rhythm just long enough to pull blankets up and over both of them, Danny settled down feeling the warmth of his partner.
It wasn’t often that Danny thought about the hellish things that Steve must have experienced in battle, but if this reaction was any indication it must have been almost too awful to bear. Danny held Steve until they were both asleep, his last thought was one of wishing his friend no bad dreams that night.
Chapter 11: Auckland
Steve behaving badly.
Sorry. He gets points for coming around though!
When I started this, I never expected to be writing so much. But I’m appreciating all the comments and kudos so I’d say you guys don’t mind.
Happy Valentine’s Day soon! ❤️
Steve wasn’t sure why or how the song got into his head but it was in replay as he and Danny made their way to the waiting car that the Aukland PD had provided. It was an oldie from the early 80’s but Steve had heard it plenty of times on an All Hits radio show when his Mom would do the ironing.
...’dancing with tears in my eyes...’
Keeping his head down and watching the dock as they walked towards the parking lot from the helio porter pad, he remembered with perfect clarity the accompanying video.
‘.... it’s late and I’m with my love alone... ‘
the couple in the video had danced and drank champagne then met their end in a nuclear blast.
‘Weeping for the memory of a life gone by...’
Danny’s touch on his arm brought Steve back to the here and now, video and his mom disappearing into the mind fields. He managed a half smile then reached for the handle of the black sedan so he could throw his bag of oddly matched Navy wear inside. He had just given his and then Danny’s bag a toss when a sturdily built man with salt and pepper hair came round the car to where they were standing.
“Commander McGarrett? Lieutenant Williams? Lieutenant Malcom White. Welcome to Aukland.”
They shook hands all around and exchanged pleasantries then Danny sat in the back seat while Steve got into the front, with White behind the wheel.
“Pleasant ride from the carrier?” White asked.
“Yeah. It wasn’t a problem. Very smooth.” Steve looked out the window trying to shake an uneasy feeling that he’d had long before the song, long before they’d landed.
That morning, Dr. Mason had signed off on Danny’s health, saying that the Tick Bite Fever was gone and all vitals were normal and functioning well. Danny and Steve had eaten breakfast and then packed the clothes that the crew had given them, grateful for the tees, pants, socks and underwear that replaced their own clothes that were now on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Danny had been quiet during the helicopter ride, the only sign of his nerves was the jiggling of his leg. Steve had placed a gentle hand on Danny’s leg and silently reassured the blonde that they were safe and continuing on their journey. And now here they were.
White pointed to a gate towards the harbor.
“We’ve got his position penned down right there, in the southern harbor. He’s living on a boat, a 38 foot old wooden yacht.”
Both Steve and Danny followed the trajectory where White was pointing. Numerous sailboats and luxury yachts dotted the slips and the waters beyond. Sneaking up on Hollis was going to take some skill. Steve squinted, eyes narrowing as he caught the sun’s reflection off the water.
“Do you have him under surveillance?” Danny asked leaning up to grip Steve’s seat with both hands.
“We do. He’s not a very ambitious fellow. Sleeps all day then goes to the clubs at night. A regular Jim Dandy he is,” White responded, his accent drawing out the long sounds on his vowels.
“That will make it a bit better if we can surprise him when he’s sleeping,” Steve muttered.
“You’ll have help, Commander. We aren’t going to leave you and your partner out high and dry.”
“Appreciate that,” Danny answered then leaned back.
“This is it!” White exclaimed as he pulled the car off into a parking garage. The building next door was large and imposing. “This is the main HQ of our police department. You’ll have your briefing and a chance to get to know the people you’re going to work with before we get you settled at the Inn.”
White parked the sedan in the reserved section of the parking garage and Danny and Steve followed the stocky lieutenant to the lift then up to the main floor. They were tagged with visitor badges and their revolvers were confiscated while they were in the building. Danny opened his mouth to protest at this but Steve minutely shook his head no and not to pursue it. The blonde pursed his lips, obviously not happy but said nothing as White led them down a hallway to a media room.
The first thing Steve noticed was the attractive blonde woman who was messing around on an iPad towards the back of the room. She wore a rather tight fitting dark blue uniform with utility belt and had a large service revolver in a holster on her right hip.
Danny watched as Steve eyed her up and down, having to turn away lest he say something, trying to ramp down the feelings of jealousy that were about to come bubbling out in the way of an inappropriate comment.
“Have a seat gents and I’ll let Officer Pruitt lead the way in our investigation.” White himself settled into a chair as Danny and Steve did the same, waiting for the presentation pertaining to their investigation. The blonde, Officer Pruitt, sidled along between the chairs to come up to the lectern. She flashed an amazing thousand watt smile at Steve, ignoring Danny completely, and with a toss of her hair, she began using power point on the large screen behind her.
“Roy Hollis is an enemy of the public. He has a lengthy Juvenile Record as well as an assortment of charges and felonies against him. He’s served time in prison twice—once for 6 years and the other conviction was for 7 years. He was a model prisoner each time leading some to think he had turned the page on his life of crime but after a murderous stint in Hawaii they were proved wrong. He returned here on the 18th using a false passport and ID and bought the boat where he currently resides.”
She took a deep breath and again aimed a particularly spectacular smile at Steve. Danny dug his nails on the fingers without splints into the palms of his hands.
Looking at her trim figure and the way that Steve was smiling back at her flirtations made Danny seethe with jealousy. Even though he had no claim on the tall tattooed SEAL, Steve HAD kissed him. What the hell was that all about anyways?!
“So Hollis only seems to come off the boat at night, around 20 hours, when he gets into his car and drives to a nightclub called Deuces. He stays there until closing time then comes back to his boat. Every day it’s the same thing. We never see him interact with anyone here though at the club he does mix it up a bit. He has no friends or acquaintances that we know about, no visitors to the harbor, and he makes no side trips.”
“That’s quite the story,” Steve said, watching with interest as the slides of the boat, the car and the club came up. There were 2 shots of Hollis. He looked like an average guy, tall and rather slender with long greying hair. In every photo he was dressed head to toe in black.
“All true, Commander.” Pruitt sat down on the chair next to Steve and pointed at some image on her iPad. “This is him emerging from between buildings next to the club. Look at his mouth.”
Steve squinted close to the screen then reared back. He looked back at Danny who waved sarcastically and then looked back at the image.
“Is that... did he get into a fight?” Steve asked.
“We think so. That’s blood he’s wiping off his mouth.” She sighed. “But when we went to investigate we found nothing. No victim, no other perp, nothing.”
“Did you try any recording cameras around the area? Like at ATMs or businesses?” Danny asked helpfully.
Pruitt didn’t even look at him before she shot him down.
“Really, Detective, we know how to police ourselves. There are no cameras in that area.”
Danny bit his lip to prevent a snappy comeback only thinking about getting the hell out of the room and to their hotel. He wanted so badly to wrap this damn case up and just go home. He certainly didn’t need some trampy cop to complicate everything!
“Danny, I’m grateful for all of their hard work. It makes ours’ easier that’s for sure.”
Danny squelched the urge to tell Steve to go fuck himself. His headache was back with a vengeance now and too late did he remember to ask Dr. Mason for a migraine inhaler.
“So do you have any blueprints of Hollis’ boat? Any schematics?” Steve asked.
“Oh yes. Come with me and I’ll get them for you.” She stood up and Steve followed, Danny imagining his tongue hanging out.
“Well. That went well.” White chuckled. “Come on, mate. I’ll get you some tea. They’ll be back shortly.”
And what else could Danny do but follow the lieutenant down the hall to a small kitchen. A pop machine and three machines holding an assortment of snacks lined one wall; on the other side of the room, tables and chairs were placed just so, for optimum capacity. The blonde waited as White poured hot water over a tea bag and handed it to Danny indicating with a nod of his head that there was a small tray on the table holding sugar and milk. Danny loaded up the tea with both then sat down feeling weary and out of sorts. He still had a headache and part of him, ok, all of him was thinking of how Steve had reacted to Pruitt.
“Are you worried about having support in this case? We’re here to assist you and Commander McGarrett.” White was studying Danny with curious eyes.
“Oh no that’s good no we’re good. I’m good. I know you guys have our backs and we appreciate all of the leg work you’ve done for us.” Danny sipped his tea. Oh God it was awful. He’d made it too sweet!
“If you want, I’ll accompany you back to Hawaii when you transport him. It’s probably best to have an extra set of eyes on Hollis.”
Danny looked up and saw the concern on the man’s face. His offer was genuine and Danny appreciated that.
“Yeah that would be good. I’ll talk to Steve and we’ll arrange that.”
There was a flurry of activity and voices at the door and Pruitt and Steve returned, her body language all but screaming her attraction to the tall brunette. Danny looked away, his teeth gritting with annoyance especially seeing how Steve was returning the flirting tenfold.
“Can we,” White began clearing his throat, “have some decorum here?”
“Oh come on Lieutenant. Just having a bit of fun.” Pruitt batted her (probably false) eyelashes at the stocky man.
“Did you brief the Commander?” White asked ignoring her response.
“She did.” Steve sat down across from Danny and cupped Danny’s tea, dragging it over to his side of the table. Once there he took a long drink his blue eyes biting a hole in Danny’s bad mood.
Danny fought the urge to simply punch his partner’s face and sat on one hand so he would not be tempted.
“Oh God that’s foul! How can you drink that?” Steve slid the cup back in front of Danny.
“You didn’t have to drink it! It’s mine!” Danny responded, knowing his rebuke was sharper than intended.
“Someone’s nose is out of joint,” Pruitt muttered.
“The schematics of the boat? You got them, Steven?” Danny asked pointedly.
“Yeah. Take a look. This is the inside of that old boat he’s on. Funny thing is the thermal camera did not pick up any image while Hollis was on the boat.” Steve fingered through the reports and photos, shoving them across to Danny who was looking at them curiously.
“He’s quite the enigma,” White said, peering over Danny’s shoulder as he looked through the documents.
“Makes no sense,” Danny muttered.
“Danno, you and I have our work cut out for us.” Steve took another sip of Danny’s tea and made a face. “That’s so disgusting.”
“I never asked you to drink my tea,” Danny said frostily. Pruitt was now standing behind Steve like White was behind Danny, the big difference being That unlike White who was standing fairly straight, the woman was practically draped over Steve’s shoulder, her sizable bosom resting against Steve’s back.
“Ok let’s go to the Inn so we can spread these papers out and have a look as to our next course of action.” Danny stood abruptly, dislodging White.
“If you gents follow me,” White said as he started down the hall. Danny was followed closely behind by Steve and Pruitt struggled to keep up with them which was exactly what Danny wanted. “We’ll get you checked into the Inn at the docks there. Tomorrow we will form a plan of action and carry it out.”
“Thanks very much,” Danny said. He liked this lieutenant. The man had his head on straight and exuded calm kind of like Chin did.
“You have my number, Steve. Call me.” Pruitt turned and bounced her way back down the hallway, pony tail bobbing. Danny resisted the urge to flip her off understanding that he needed to work with the police here and not alienate them. One glance at his partner’s face in the lift set Danny stewing again, though. Steve looked smitten.
“How about you sit in the back this time, huh?” Danny asked as they reached the car.
“Nope. Your legs are short and mine are long. Shotgun rights.” Steve all but shoved Danny from the door, and in fact bumped him a bit.
Danny climbed into the back and shut the door a bit harder than he had intended.
“There’s an excellent restaurant at the Inn. Great seafood if you gents are into that,” White said as they pulled out of the garage.
Danny tuned out the rest of the conversation, settling on imagining ways to torture his lunkheaded partner, all thoughts of how Steve had kissed him buried deep now. He was aware that he was getting angry, his senses building in a tight ball in his chest. But he didn’t say anything; instead Danny just stared out the window.
An hour later and the two men were in their suite at the Harbor Inn, a beautiful hotel with many well appointed rooms that looked directly over and into the Harbor. They had some kind of expense account, and all services and food would be the responsibility of the Auckland Police Department. Steve had claimed one of the queen beds and was laying on it, boots kicked off, looking at the room service menu.
“Hey Danny? Club sandwiches! Wanna get one?” Steve tossed the menu aside and went for the phone on the table between the beds.
“Ok hold on! I’d like to look at the menu please.”
Danny grabbed the menu and perched on the side of his bed.
“You like club sandwiches,” Steve insisted.
“Can I PLEASE... look at the menu and decide for myself what I want?” Danny swallowed hard trying to keep the anger at bay.
“Suit yourself.” Steve shrugged then yawned. “Did you take your meds?” He asked Danny.
“Not yet.” Danny scanned the selections and his eyes landed on the coconut shrimp. “Ok. Do you want the club sandwich and I’ll have coconut shrimp. With fries. And a salad no onions ranch on the side.”
Steve grabbed the phone and made the call down to the restaurant then snuggled into the bed.
“I don’t know why you don’t want a sandwich,” he muttered.
Danny threw up his hands and glared at his partner. “Really!? Because you think I should just go along with whatever you choose for me like you drive MY car like you have to sit in the front seat like you have to always have to have the last word on anything?”
“What? Hey, Danny, settle down. Geezus stop being so mad!” Steve playfully threw a pillow at Danny, who caught it and threw it back with some force.
“Why do I even bother?” Danny sighed. He threw his boots off and curled up on the bed. He was suddenly very tired.
“Besides I always order for you!”
“Let it go, Steven.”
Both men dozed in uncomfortable silence, and the way that Danny was situated on the bed screamed for Steve to leave him alone. Danny couldn’t see the worried looks Steve was giving him nor the concern on Steve’s face. When their dinner came, Steve bounded up and answered the door, ushering in the cart that held the trays and the waitstaff to the middle of the bedroom.
“Hey Danny? You have any change?”
Danny rolled his eyes and sat up, reaching for his wallet. He had hit the ATM in the lobby as they had arrived so he was sure he had at least a ten for a tip.
“Here.” Danny handed the waiter the bill and the man thanked him and left.
“Oh man, Danny! Those look good!” Steve uncovered both plates and grabbed a shrimp off the plate before handing it to Danny. He chewed a couple times then grabbed another shrimp, devouring it in a few seconds.
“Hey! Eat your sandwich! Leave mine alone!”
“Share and share alike!” Steve attempted another grab but Danny slapped Steve’s hand.
“Animal!” Danny growled. He ate his shrimp quickly, dipping them into the mango sauce that was both spicy and sweet. Steve did manage to get one more shrimp stabbing it with his fork and hastily popping it into his mouth as Danny counted to ten and tried to ignore his partner’s poor manners.
Once they were through, Steve bolted from the bed to the bathroom leaving his plate and silverware on the bed stand. Danny looked on curiously thinking that perhaps Steve was having stomach issues. As quietly as he could, Danny gathered up their dinnerware and set it back on the cart then paused at the bathroom door.
“Steve? You ok?”
Suddenly the door opened and Steve emerged smelling minty fresh. He had brushed his teeth and combed his hair.
“Hey Danny I uh have to meet Officer Pruitt downstairs for some conversation on tomorrow and handling Hollis.” Then with a rueful grin at Danny, Steve grabbed his room key and wallet and was out the door.
Danny stood in the middle of the room with his jaw slack and his mouth hanging open. Did what happen just happen? He pushed the cart out into the hallway to sit out of the way of the hall center and watched as Steve’s retreating figure happily hurried down towards the lift.
“Conversation my ass.”
Danny turned to go inside and let the door swing shut heavily behind him. Suddenly he felt really stupid trying to hold Steve’s hand during the nights they spent together. Since their adventure in North Dakota, Danny had tried to reassure Steve that he cared by holding his hand when they were just hanging out on the couch watching tv or in this instance during this whole fucked up miserable trip. Obviously, Pruitt was more of an attraction than Danny could ever be! Suddenly Danny felt very foolish.
He grabbed the remote and flounced down on the bed telling himself that he was happy there was no Steve to take over the remote and decide what they should watch. Danny had his choice of programs and he should be enjoying himself rather than worry about what Steve and the blonde police officer were doing!
And just what was with that kiss when Steve planted one on his lips on the carrier? Had he meant that or was it just Steve trying out the wares? Danny groaned and curled up closing his eyes against the headache he still had. And he really had no right being mad at a police officer who was helping them on their quest to corral one very basic bad guy.
Danny rolled over on his back then decided to just grab a shower and go to bed. He was still tired from the Tick Fever and he wanted to catch some extra z’s before they had to find and then leave with their target. Within ten minutes, he was asleep, the tv mutely on in the background.
Steve slid the key card quickly into the slot and turned the handle opening the door to the room. It was dark except for the tv; Danny was already in bed.
As quietly as he could, Steve took off his boots and slid his t shirt over his head. He undid the button and zip on his pants and pulled them down and off. Wearing just his socks and underwear, Steve crawled into his own bed, trying to resist the pull of Danny in the other.
The evening with Pruitt had started out pleasantly enough but as the minutes ticked by, Steve found his thoughts drifting up to the hotel room where Danny was. He shouldn’t have left his partner. They could have spent time just de-stressing and watching tv holding hands.
When the blonde invited Steve back to her home, Steve politely refused. He had kept his drinking to one beer and even that he didn’t finish. Truth was, he felt guilty leaving Danny alone while here he sat half listening to some woman babble on. There was something very wrong with this picture and suddenly, Steve wanted to right it. That’s when he had made the excuse of being tired and said his good nights. She was obviously disappointed with him and their lack of anything consequential but the appeal had lost its’ charm; Steve was going back to Danny.
“Pssst. Danny? You awake?” Steve whispered. There was a sigh from the bundled up figure.
“Thought you wouldn’t be coming back tonight,” Danny mumbled.
“Hey I have no intention of that sort of thing,” Steve said, awed by Danny’s sullen tone. Was Danny JEALOUS?
“Uh huh. Look. It’s late. Go to sleep.” Danny turned over and whomped his pillow once then settled down on it.
“Can I come over there?” Steve asked hopefully. There was a long moment of silence.
Steve smiled to himself. “So we can hold hands. Please Danny?”
“God, Steven, you sound like Gracie. Or worse.” Danny huffed then moved over, raising the comforter. “Yeah come on get over here.”
Steve bounded out of his own bed and slammed into Danny’s, causing the smaller man to bounce practically over to the other side.
“EASY!” Danny rearranged himself so he was laying in his back. Steve settled in on his side, facing Danny, and after a moment of hesitation, Steve took Danny’s hand and held it firmly in his own, mindful of the splints.
“Night, Danny,” Steve yawned.
“Night you goofball.”
Danny knew he shouldn’t be so easy. He had been hurt and angry when Steve had left the room and now? Oh God he was such a pushover! But the hand holding meant something significant to Danny and apparently it did to Steve too. Danny relaxed and let his mind drift. Tomorrow would be a very long and interesting day. It had taken a few more days to actually get here but Roy Hollis was going to be going back to Hawaii to stand trial on his murdering spree. And this closeness with Steve was a big perk of the long trip. They had survived a plane crash, a voyage across a rocky channel, a stay on an uninhabited island and Tick Fever. Surely apprehending a criminal couldn’t be all that bad.
Chapter 12: Action
Was Hollis going to let himself be taken back to Hawaii?
Thank you for the comments and kudos. They float my boat!
Humans were stupid.
Roy Hollis reached for his glass of wine on the bar in front of him and sipped it, feeling the warm burn from the liquid sliding down his throat. He was grateful that he could still drink alcohol. The feeling of being off center was pleasant and mind numbing. It was just what he needed when he went on the hunt.
In his sights tonight was a robust British woman of indeterminate age. She was loud, drunk and absolutely giving him the look that said she’d be willing to do whatever he wanted.
Hollis made his move then, sliding another G&T her way and sidling up so he was close enough to make himself heard above the droning music.
“You look lovely. How can I help?” Hollis practically purred in her ear as he held her arm at the elbow in a familiar grip. She laughed and met his dark eyes with a dopey grin.
“You have tattoos. I like them!” The woman giggled and gave Hollis a playful push.
“Would you like to examine them up close and personal?” He purred making her ear tickle as his lips pressed closely to her lobe.
“Let me just drink this,” she said gulping her drink in one easy swallow. Hollis focused on the way her throat muscles worked as they met the alcohol. She wiped her lips messily with one hand then stood and grabbed her Kate Spade clutch with one hand as she pulled on her sweater with the other.
Hollis took her arm helping to steady and guide her as they made their way through the sweaty dancing bodies at the club. He was confident that she wouldn’t be much trouble and he would soon have the drink he craved. He could smell her arousal as well as her unique human stamp and he tried to squelch his own desire.
They went out a side exit door into the cool of the alley. Hollis was assailed by the salt tang of the water and the underlying exhaust of the autos cruising up and down the streets. He was well aware that the nosy Auckland Police Department was cataloguing his every move but he also knew the alley was a perfect blind spot and there weren’t any cameras on the street where the club was located.
The woman was laughing and saying something but Hollis didn’t care. They were alone now. He pushed her against the wall and felt her alcohol laced breath on his face. She was looking at him worshipfully, with a mixture of teasing and smugness.
Hollis let his hands roam over her warm soft figure, fingers tangling in the shirt she wore and pulling it up so he could caress her warm flesh. She gasped and sought his lips for a kiss yet he pulled back, more than willing to just stare at the steady thrum of the artery in her neck. It was dark. They were alone. He would be quick.
“Hey! You there!!! Yeah you!”
Hollis snarled and pushed the woman away from him. She fell heavily on the ground, her legs and arms akimbo, her gasp of surprise registering in Hollis’ head.
The serial killer briefly thought he should hold his ground but there were now 3 uniformed policemen coming down the alley and he needed to get out now.
Hollis crouched down and suddenly sprang up, his vertical lift propelling him up to the top of the building. On the roof now he began to run back towards his boat and the sanctuary of the water.
Danny sat in the chair at the table in the small conference room and tried to prevent himself from juggling his foot or leg. He was listening as White and Pruitt gave the reports of the activity with one Roy Hollis the last night, including the eye witness accounts of the perp jumping up to the roof of a 3 story building. It all seemed a bit much to take in but at least the woman Hollis had targeted was safe and would live to go to another dance club.
Danny chanced a look at Steve, saw the way his partner’s jaw was taut with his thought process and his eyes were hooded and serious.
White looked pointedly at the two 5o men and Steve shuffled to his feet.
“So what you’re saying is Hollis has some kind of extraordinary super strength to enable him to jump all of that way to the roof?”
“We are just reiterating what the eye witnesses observed.”
“And you also said there has been no thermal register of Hollis inside his boat? Maybe he has some kind of protective shield up?” Steve shifted his weight from one foot to the next as his fingertips brushed over the top of the table.
They had been at it for a couple hours, going over eye witness testimony and the schematics for the boat and the position of the slip. Danny understood what was only right; this was true police work. Not the very act of grabbing and arresting a suspect although that ranked high, but the actual slow pace of the preparations before a big take down. Danny would rather be safe than sorry and since the NZ police had done such a good job in identification and surveillance on Hollis, Danny knew he and Steve were fortunate to have the groundwork put down.
“So there’s no safe way to enter the boat... it’s pretty much out in the open,” Steve remarked. He had sat down again and was just looking curiously at the flux of police in the front of the room.
“Actually no. Except we do have one good thing going for us,” White said.
“And what’s that?” Danny asked, eyebrows raised. He spun his now empty cardboard coffee cup around him as he sat and waited for the answer to his question.
“Hollis doesn’t know you,” White said enthusiastically.
There was a moment when both Steve and Danny felt all eyes on themselves.
“Uh well yes that’s true,” Danny said uneasily. That meant that either he or Steve were going to be a decoy or bait.
“So Commander. Want to catch a criminal?” White asked jovially.
“I’ll be fine, Steve.”
Danny pulled on a TAC vest and buttoned his coat up around it.
“I don’t like it. You’re walking into a trap.” Steve ran a hand through his hair and huffed. They were alone in the small bathroom off the conference room, the rest of the police milling around outside the door and in the big conference room.
“And you’ll be right behind me.” Danny finished buttoning his coat and shrugged his shoulders trying to get used to the tight confines of his coat.
“We don’t know if he’s got a trap prepared. We have no idea how he’s going to handle this.” Steve slipped his vest on now too. The patch on the right side of the vest read
‘Property of Aukland Police Department ‘
“So help me if anything happens to you...” Steve let the threat fall and placed a hand on Danny’s shoulder. “We’ll be right behind. “
Danny gazed into Steve’s dark blue eyes and nodded. He resisted the urge to drag Steve closer to him by grabbing the lapels on Steve’s vest. Still there was this opportunity.
“I’ll be fine you goof,” Danny said affectionately and did indeed pull Steve down closer to his face to plant a light kiss on Steve’s lips.
Steve grinned a lopsided goofy happy grin that reached his eyes.
For a few seconds it was like there were just the 2 of them and time had stopped. Steve was still smiling; Danny reached up to slip his arms up around his partner and gently pulled Steve’s head down so their foreheads were touching.
“I’ll be careful.”
Danny let go and took a step back adjusting his revolver in the holster.
“Let’s get this over with.”
Hollis’ yacht was an older one, all chrome and wood, a three master that had seen better days. The police had cordoned off the rest of the slips trying to do so surreptitiously to keep the public safe and at the same time without making a huge fuss. The very name of the boat was ironic in that it was called ‘The Misfortune’ and Hollis had registered it as late as 2 months ago.
Danny took a deep breath and walked along the wooden piers that connected the slips. The water lapped at the bottoms of the boats and the sound unnerved him as he made his way to where Hollis was staying.
Police surveillance indicated that once Hollis had returned to his yacht he had not left again so the man was definitely on board. On board, Danny thought, and no doubt armed and waiting.
He took a deep breath and paused at the side of the yacht. Danny stared at the worn wooden posts that the ropes from the boat were attached to with many a myriad of knots.
“See any activity?”
The voice in his earpiece—Steve—both startled and warmed him.
Danny climbed on board the yacht, windmilling his arms for a few seconds as he got his bearings and footholds. There was an eerie silence on the boat as if all of the secrets were buried below deck.
Quietly and carefully, Danny crouched and slid along the side where footing was tricky then reached the aft section and the wooden housing that covered the stairs leading below deck. He took a deep breath and entered the small alcove, blinking, letting his eyes adjust. There was a ladder leading to the underbelly of the yacht where typically the kitchen, sleeping quarters and head were contained. Danny turned and descended, trying to be as quiet as he could, all of his adrenaline dumping into his system making his stomach burn and limbs shaky.
Danny turned again to face whatever he saw that was below deck. He had his gun raised, every hair on the back of his neck at attention. He blinked again trying to get used to the darkness around him even though the afternoon sun above had been bright. He could sense he wasn’t alone.
He heard Steve’s command to move in and was relieved that the Cavalry was coming. It wasn’t as if he was scared... well ok he was a little bit but he was more apprehensive than scared. His cop techniques had kicked themselves into high gear.
“Ah Detective Williams from 5 0 ... so flattering that they sent you. I’d heard dear Governor Jamison was sending a welcome party but I had no idea it would be you and McGarrett.”
Danny whirled and suddenly was RIGHT THERE next to a large tattooed man. He smelled of death and roses and Danny’s training allowed the small blonde to back up a step and level his gun.
“You’re going back to Hawaii to stand trial on the deaths of 5 people.” Danny scowled and took another step back. He heard them above deck, the unmistakable footfalls of his partner and the rest of the police who had agreed to help them out.
“Oh my dear. I’m afraid we aren’t going back there. I rather like it here.”
Danny couldn’t tell what happened next only that it happened. He felt himself falling helplessly, gun skittering out of his hand as he hit the floor. His senses were muffled and the cold hands at his throat felt like anchors as they gripped him hard. His head was spinning and he couldn’t say anything because there was something wrong with his voice.
His last thought was of Who would take care of Grace.
Then there was darkness.
Chapter 13: Confrontation
Danny and Steve attempt to catch a killer.
Heartfelt thanks to my chumley For encouraging me and loving the story.
Steve crept forward cautiously, ignoring the thin trickle of sweat that was meandering down his neck. He licked his lips and cocked his head, listening for anything out of the ordinary. The very fact that Danny, HIS Danny, was below deck alone was enough to make him feel slightly sick inside though he knew his partner could handle whatever was thrown at him.
They were doing this takedown by the book. The Police knew what they were doing and had been professional the whole day. Danny shouldn’t be in any real danger because Steve and White would be going down that ladder to assist the blonde Detective and the case should be wrapped up neatly.
With booted feet on the ladder leading below deck, Steve descended quietly, resisting the urge to call out for Danny, who he couldn’t see in the darkness of the hold. With a graceful leap, Steve was off the ladder and in the middle of the hold, standing between the beds on either side of the aisle. He looked around frantically as he couldn’t see Danny or Hollis.
Lieutenant White was descending the ladder now, gun drawn, and in the half light Steve saw the determined look on the stocky man’s face.
Steve moved to the left a bit as White joined him and squeezed behind in the narrow aisle. White mouthed ‘where is Danny’ and Steve shrugged in response.
The light was bright and both men winced and moved back as if as a unit to try to get out of the intense glow.
“Looking for someone?”
Hollis held Danny up In front of him as though the small detective was a rag doll. Danny was clearly unconscious and his eyes were open but not focused. Steve felt his stomach clench and tightened his grip on his weapon.
“Come now, Steve,” Hollis said mockingly. “You really didn’t expect it to be easy did you? I like it here and have no intention of going anywhere. Put down your guns, call off the hounds above deck or I’ll snap his neck.”
“You’re a dead man,” White muttered looking at Steve and ready to follow his lead.
“That I am, Lieutenant.” Hollis laughed then shook Danny so his arms and legs jiggled like a puppet. “Do as I say!” He roared, his tone of voice changing into something ferocious. “I have no guilt in killing another human!”
Steve laid his revolver on the floor then radioed to Pruitt who was waiting with 5 other cops for the word to come aboard.
“Stand down,” Steve said, his eyes never leaving Hollis. White reluctantly laid his weapon next to Steve’s and backed up a step.
“Kick them over here! NOW!”
Steve did as he was told, and the guns went skidding behind the tattooed man who was now leering. With a direct gaze at Steve, Hollis tenderly stroked Danny’s throat with one long fingered hand. It barely registered with Steve what the man was doing because all of the brunette’s focus was on the long fingernails that Hollis sported; they were like claws.
“He is exquisite, your Danny Williams. I smell his scent and it is intoxicating.”
“You’re a fucking lunatic,” Steve growled. He was forming a plan though he did not, could not let on to what he was thinking. It had to be a complete surprise or else it would fail. Somehow he had to keep Hollis talking, keep him distracted. Steve held his arm out in front of White because he could tell the man was going to do something and Steve’s plan would not work if that happened.
“What’s your game, Hollis? You get off murdering and torturing people?” Steve yelled, the bravado in his voice not matching the fear he felt for Danny. Hollis threw his head back and laughed.
“As a matter of fact, Steven, I do. It’s so much fun to hold a still beating heart of a victim ... a heart that I just ripped out seconds earlier!” Hollis, still smirking, ran a hand down Danny’s chest. With a vicious powerful rip, Danny’s jacket, t shirt and TAC vest were pulled apart so that Danny’s chest was open and exposed.
Steve inched his hand a bit lower on the rail next to the bed until he found the rope. He clutched it as he shouted out for Hollis to stop what he was doing.
“I am tired of your games, McGarrett. First your partner. Then you. And of course how could I forget Lieutenant White and his pussy patrol? Your deaths are on the Governor of Hawaii. How dare she think you could stop me!”
Steve’s fingers itched to pull the rope but he paused and those few seconds were likely what saved the lot of them. Danny’s eyes were wide open and clear now and he stared at Steve with intensity. Steve nodded minutely and Danny closed his eyes, all of his trust in Steve.
“Fuck you, you piece of shit!”
Steve pulled the rope and yelled for White to duck. Both of them hit the floor and there was a slicing noise as the hook from the mast pulley was pulled forward and sluiced through neck tissue and bones. Hollis wore a final look of complete surprise as his head wobbled then fell sideways and hit the floor with a juicy splat noise. For a long moment, Hollis’ body stood upright swaying, headless, then crumpled on top of Danny who was trying to scoot away.
Steve jumped to his feet and pulled Danny under Danny’s arms until he was clear of the crumpled mess that was the serial killer.
“You ok?” Steve asked, feeling Danny’s chest for any injuries, his mind replaying how Hollis’ nails were rubbing over that gloriously soft skin and feeling almost nauseous.
“I’m ok,” Danny muttered, pushing Steve away but longing to just curl up in his arms. He was tired, so tired and his body felt like lead. There was a clatter of boots at the ladder and Steve knew that White must have instructed his people to come below.
“You sure? No cuts or bruises?” Steve frowned as he saw some marks on Danny’s neck. They looked like angry smudges but when Steve went to touch them, Danny pushed his hand away.
“M’okay.” Danny went to stand up and Steve helped him pulling the smaller man to his feet with one hand. Danny looked around at the gory scene. “Jesus. He never knew what hit him.”
Suddenly Officer Pruitt was there in Steve’s space, her face a mask of concern as she ran a hand up his arm. Steve shrugged her off and put an arm around Danny.
“Let’s get you out of here.”
“Yeah I really .... really want to go upstairs,” Danny said.
“Above deck, Danny. Not upstairs.”
“What? God you’re so annoying.” But there was no heat to his words and Danny even managed a small chuckle.
Steve practically pushed Danny up the ladder and into the waning sunshine. It felt like another world and Danny took a deep breath of the salt tinged air. The nightmare of Roy Hollis was over. They could wrap this up and he could go home to Grace and the normal gamut of drug pushers, Assassins and regular run of the mill thieves.
“The Paramedics want to take a look at you, Danny,” Steve said just then. “They want to make sure you’re ok.”
Danny scowled and watched as a young woman who was dressed in dark blue trousers, blue polo and shiny boots approached him. She had a tablet in one hand and a stethoscope around her neck.
“Hi Detective. I’m Lindsey and I’d like you to come over to the bus to get checked out. Will you do that please?”
Danny sighed and ran his hand through his hair. The EMT vehicle was parked at the end of the pier and damn did it seem like a long way to walk. But one way or the other, Danny knew that was the way off the pier and on to terra firma.
“Yeah sure,” Danny waved a hand. Steve was still hovering and tried to take his elbow as Danny started to walk towards the bus. He shrugged Steve off but his partner wrapped an arm around Danny’s shoulders.
“Just let it be, Danny,” Steve muttered and Danny did just that, all the way to the waiting emergency vehicle, enjoying the comforting weight of his partner’s arm and Steve’s protective presence.
“You want the remote?” Steve held the device out in front of Danny. Danny sighed and turned his head, inhaling the clean scent of his pillow. He was bone weary and hungry, happy to be done with what seemed like a mammoth review of the events and an extended stay at the police headquarters.
Hollis had been tagged and processed. Their final report was written and turned in. Governor Jamison had been pleased when notified. White heaped praise on his team and on Steve for his quick thinking and Danny and Steve had been equally as effusive in their gratitude towards the NZ Police Department.
Through it all, and it had been a long process, Danny had tried to remain on the same playing field as everyone around him. Stray thoughts and images still lingered though from his brief encounter with Hollis.
If Danny thought about it, he could still feel those fingernails on his chest. He could still smell that musty odor of death and roses. He could still hear that cunning hypnotic voice in his ear.
Danny shivered and pulled the blanket up around himself.
“Danny?” Steve perched on the side of the bed, Danny feeling the mattress dip from his partner’s weight.
“Yeah yeah I’m just hungry. Want something to eat.”
“Ok. Want to look at the menu?”
Danny paused. Steve was offering not only the remote but a chance to look at the menu before he just went ahead and ordered something for Danny to eat!! What the fuck? Danny would certainly be remiss if he did not take advantage of this!
With a small burst of energy, Danny turned and took the menu that Steve held. He wasn’t sure what he wanted but for sure he didn’t want anything with a red sauce after the slicing of Hollis’ head from Hollis’ neck. Danny tamped down the feeling of that gushing sticky residue that had clung to his ruined shirt and jacket.
His eyes flickered on a hot turkey sandwich with fries so he nodded to himself and gave the menu back to Steve.
“I’ll call it in,” Danny said. “What do you want?”
“Meatloaf and eggs.”
Danny shrugged and nodded then reached for the phone on the table between their beds.
“You sure you’re ok?” Steve asked, eyeing Danny critically after Danny had replaced the receiver.
“Steve, for the tenth time.... I’m fine. Stop worrying.” Danny reached for his wallet but Steve stopped him with a hand over Danny’s hand.
“I got it.” With that, Steve fished out a ten for the tip from his own wallet and laid the bill on the table, ignoring Danny’s faux shocked expression over Steve’s willingness to pay the tip.
“The lady EMT said you were going into shock.”
“At the scene, I guess maybe I was...but I got warm and some medical attention and I’m fine.” Danny scowled and flipped over on his back. “Stop it. Just stop. I’m getting on that plane tomorrow and we’re flying home. And you and I are taking Gracie out to dinner and let her pick a movie she wants to see. This is what’s getting me through everything. This is what I need to focus on. You get that don’t you?” And before Steve could open his mouth to agree or disagree, Danny was off again like a shot. “And you, Steve McGarrett, are going to have a good time with me and my daughter. Capice?”
Steve held up his hands as though surrendering but he couldn’t erase the grin on his face.
“Got it.” Steve sat down on the other bed and then grew quiet as though he was thinking.
“Hey. None of that. You did what you had to do. I wasn’t looking forward to bringing his ass home.” Danny reached out and squeezed Steve’s knee, some part of him on the same page as his tall partner. Danny didn’t want Steve to feel any regrets.
“I wasn’t... I mean... I am not sad I killed him. He was going to hurt you. But he didn’t seem to be... entirely ... human. Or maybe that was just me. You know... my impression.” Steve cleared his throat and looked down at his thumbs which he was moving in a locking and unlocking pattern against his other fingers.
“So did you think he was a ... a what?” Danny asked. He didn’t want to go down this road if he could help it and the fact that Steve was pulling him along exactly that way made Danny feel a bit dizzy.
For his part, Danny had totally convinced himself that Hollis was kinky. That he was a certified crazy who tried to emulate a fictional character. And even though Hollis was observed having some kinds of super prowess when it came to jumping, Danny still didn’t want to accept what was right in front of him. That alternative was nowhere near sanity territory.
“I don’t know.” Steve scrubbed a hand through his hair.
“Look... Steve...” Danny sat up and scooted to the edge of the bed so he was immediately in front of his partner. Danny gently grasped Steve’s large hands with his own. “You cut his head off. He bled. Real honest to goodness blood. His body didn’t dry up and blow away. There wasn’t any metamorphic transformation to the undead. The guy was a lunatic. And lunatics, they have superhuman powers. Like they can run and jump pretty far. We’ve both seen it. My point is that whatever you’re thinking ... let it go. Hollis is dead. Case closed.”
“Putting it like that makes sense,” Steve said slowly. He squeezed Danny’s hands and gave Danny an appraising look. “That doesn’t mean I’m not going to still have a theory.”
They were both startled by a knock on the door.
“Food!” Steve jumped up and waited as the attendant brought the plates and selections in on the cart. After tipping him and locking the door to their hotel room, Steve sauntered back and perched on the bed he’d been sitting on prior to the meal arrival. Reaching over past the cloches, Steve took his plate to place it on his lap. “Starving!”
“Me too,” Danny agreed. They dug into their food appreciatively, savoring the taste.
“So are we good? About Hollis?” Danny pressed.
“Huh?” Steve looked up and nodded slowly. “Yeah. We’re good.”
They ate and then finished with their nighttime ministrations until by mutual unspoken agreement they crawled into bed. To Danny’s surprise, Steve slid into the same bed Danny was occupying but Danny said nothing. He just turned out the light above the beds and lay on his back, feeling and enjoying the heat radiating from Steve’s body.
Slowly, Steve’s hand cupped Danny’s hand mindful of the splints which surprisingly protected fingers that didn’t even hurt any longer. Steve moved closer so he was right next to Danny and planted light kisses on Danny’s shoulder.
“Tomorrow we’ll be on our way home,” Steve whispered.
“About time,” Danny mumbled. He closed his eyes and refused to think about getting on another plane. He’d deal with that when the time came. Right now he was warm and safe and full and sleepy.
Their flight to Los Angeles departed at 5:40 AM, traveling over 4000 miles and 12 hours to get them back to the US. Lieutenant White, bless him, had insisted on taking Danny and Steve to the airport and promptly picked them up at 3 AM, ready with coffee and some kind of sweet pastries in the car. Still wearing the combat boots, dark green pants and t shirts from the ship, both men were dressed alike, though Danny had added a hoodie he had purchased the night before in the gift shop of the hotel. It was in the hoodie that Danny found some warmth from the biting morning air and he pulled up the hood and fisted his hands so the sleeves were longer to cover his fingers.
Steve did most of the talking, falling back on the principles of what a nice guy he truly was and how he could talk to anyone. Danny fought against the pull of sleep and tried to pay attention to the scenery, though it was all a blur of bright lights and tall buildings. He thought about how strange it was going to be, riding on an airplane again, and though he had some trepidations, he knew he could handle it. The plane was taking him closer to Grace, to home, to normalcy. And there had been absolutely nothing normal in his and Steve’s lives in the past week and a half.
White pulled the car up to the Departure entrance and flicked on the four ways. Neither Danny or Steve had luggage per se; instead, each of them sported a small duffel carry on and of course Danny had his backpack. There was a rather awkward moment of whether or not to hug each other that was decided by Steve pulling the stocky lieutenant into a bro hug and Danny doing the same.
“Take care, lads,” White called out as he scurried around to get into his vehicle. With a backwards wave then he was behind the wheel and in another moment he was gone.
“Alrighty.” Steve smiled at Danny and bumped the smaller man’s shoulder. “Let’s do this.”
Danny nodded and shoved the duffel onto one shoulder, his backpack already on his back, and the 2 of them navigated the large airport walking to their gate after going through security and passport check.
Because they were so early, the departure gate was deserted, the only sound the hum of the air filters and heaters. Danny flopped down on a chair and waited while Steve did the same, each of them easing their bags down to the floor by their feet.
“You’re awfully quiet today,” Steve said. He was looking around, scoping out their positions and wondering if the kiosk they passed that had signs advertising coffee would be open soon.
Danny shrugged. He really wasn’t up to a lot of conversation. Steve, though, was every bit a morning person. If they were in Hawaii right now, Steve would be swimming.
“Nervous about the flight?” Steve asked.
“No ... no I’m not but you know why bring that up?” Danny’s irritation was obvious through the phrasing of his words, and if he continued in this vein Steve knew that the hands would soon join the mouth. “You know, I was just sitting here thinking nothin’ and then you come along and remind me!”
Steve hid a grin. There was the Danny he knew and loved.
“Twice in one lifetime of a plane crash. What are the odds really?”
“Steve, will you just shut up? I don’t care about statistics right now. Let’s just ... stop talking.” Danny turned away so Steve couldn’t see the smaller man’s face.
“I’m going to go scout for coffee. Want some?” Steve stood up and slid his bag over beside Danny’s two bags.
“Will you just...” Danny cradled his head in his hands. “Go.”
“Ok. Be back soon.”
Steve resisted the urge to say or do anything else to Danny. Obviously, the blonde was grumpy from the early hour and Steve’s teasing; he probably didn’t need to be riled up before the plane ride.
Walking purposefully towards the stand, Steve’s new phone buzzed. He and Danny had been given new iPhones by the police department when they’d been briefed on the first day and for that, Steve was grateful. He fished the phone out of one of the pockets in his cargo pants and stared at the screen. It was their buddy White so Steve paused his walk and answered.
“Hey Steve! Got a minute?”
“Yeah of course.” Steve’ brows knitted in curiosity. “What’s up?”
“Dr. Keller did the forensic exam on Hollis and sent me some interesting findings.”
“Oh yeah?” Steve looked back at where he’d left Danny but the Detective was still there, the hooded top of his head just showing above the airline lounge seats.
“Hollis had an unusual tooth pattern.” White paused and when Steve said nothing, the New Zealand officer went on. “He had fangs, Steve. Pointed fang incisors.”
“A lot of people have sharp canine teeth,” Steve offered, his gut clenching. Suddenly he had to sit down so he slid down the wall of the concourse and crouched. “He ate his calcium.”
White continued, his voice soft but firm.
“The ME also said the teeth were mostly hollow so that when something was punctured by them, they served as vessels, carrying liquid up their unique formation.”
Steve swallowed, seeing Hollis clearly, watching the tattooed man pull his lips back in a sneer to expose sharp pointed wolffish teeth.
“There’s more,” White went on. “You still there?”
“Yeah... yeah.” Steve swallowed, tasting the bile from his morning meal rising up in his throat.
“His inside organs weren’t working. All except his stomach. His liver, heart, lungs, pancreas... dried up. Arteries and veins that every human has also dried up. Keller found blood in the stomach. Human blood. And overnight, a beachgoer found a body washed up on the south side of the marina. The cause of death was evisceration and draining of blood. There were 2 puncture marks in the vic’s throat.”
“Interesting.” Steve shook his head trying to wrap his head around the information.
“So did we... did YOU kill a modern day vampire?”
“Fuck man I don’t know.” Steve squeezed his eyes shut and swallowed hard. If he stood up he was afraid that he would fall over. He heard his own heartbeat pounding in his chest.
“It’s possible.” White was quiet for a few seconds then continued. “We’re gonna file this under serial killer for sure. Seal the file. The fewer people who know the better.”
“Good idea.” Steve inhaled shakily and then stood. The kiosk was opening. People were starting to mill around. There were muted announcements over the PA. Things were normal. Things were just fine.
The fewer people who knew the better.
“I’ll let you go now. You take care and be safe.”
“You too. Thanks again for everything,” Steve said and meant it.
“It was a pleasure.”
Steve stared dumbly at his phone then shook his head. Vampire? Was Hollis really a vampire? Was that even possible?
“Steve? Hey Steven?”
Steve jumped when he felt someone touch his arm. He whirled around to find Danny holding all of the bags, looking puzzled. “You ok?”
“I’m good, yeah, I’m good.” Steve huffed out a laugh and jerked his head towards the kiosk that now had enticing smells emanating from their ovens.
“What happened to the mission of getting some coffee?” Danny asked, Aqua eyes narrowing to a squint. He appraised Steve’s demeanor and knew something was wrong. Something had happened.
“On it. Sorry.” Steve turned and fairly sprinted towards the line that was forming. Danny sighed and trudged back to the lounge area with the bags.
He and Steven J McGarrett were due for a conversation. Danny was not going to let his partner keep secrets.
Chapter 14: Home
Just an epilogue to the story.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting and leaving kudos!
Next up is a New Orleans adventure..
Stay safe everyone! Aloha!
Steve closed his eyes and tried to relax, utilizing breathing techniques he’d picked up from his experiences along the way. He and Danny had been on the plane for several hours and despite some nerves and bit lips, both of them had settled in for the long flight ahead of them.
Breakfast service was surprisingly good—eggs on muffins with potatoes and a tasty danish on the side— after which both of them made the trip to the restroom to brush teeth anp care of business.
Danny was the first to fall asleep. He had asked some random questions about the Hollis case but let it drop in favour of snuggling into the seat and pulling his hood up and around his face. Steve looked at the way the smaller man was sleeping, curled up with legs bent and face turned into the leather of the seat back. For a minute Steve was envious as to how easy it was for smaller people to fold up and fall asleep. Fortunately for the 2 of them, because they were seated at the bulkhead, Steve could stretch his legs out full length and slouch in his seat. And after carelessly reading the in flight magazine, he was ready to give in to his tortured inner clock to sleep and look forward to finally landing in LA.
Before he fell asleep, however, Steve wanted to mentally go over the events of the day before, when they’d captured Hollis. As he stared out the window, seeing nothing but clouds, Steve remembered those teeth and nails. The teeth were sharp and fang like, capable of doing great harm to the victim and the nails oh God those nails. Steve shivered despite the warm temperature of the plane. Danny had actually been touched by those hideous claws! Steve wondered if Danny remembered that, then decided his partner probably did.
And thinking back on the conversation that morning, Lieutenant White had relayed that Hollis had no working internal organs except for a stomach that had blood as the only contents. So. Was Hollis a Vampire? Or just a very deranged psychotic serial killer?
And would he have bitten Danny had Steve not pulled the rope causing the heavy metal hook to decapitate Hollis? Would he have torn away at the soft tissue on Danny’s neck until the flesh was bloody and hanging?
Suddenly Steve felt the breakfast he’d devoured come close to making a reappearance though not in its’ original form. Quickly accessing Danny’s backpack from where it was in front of Danny’s legs, Steve slid the worn pack closer to him and opened the outer pocket where Danny had stashed some gum. A couple of sticks of peppermint Eclipse later and Steve’s stomach was more accepting. With a shaky breath, Steve let himself go boneless in the seat. Perhaps sleep was elusive but he had to try to rest or else he’d be really worth nothing by the time the plane landed in LA.
It was, in retrospect, just a dream.
Danny had woken with a start and a shout, alerting the flight attendant who now hovered over him with a mixture of concern and fear in her eyes. She was a young woman, maybe in her late twenties, with blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail.
“Sir? Do you need a doctor?” She asked.
Danny scrubbed his hands over his face and was aware of Steve’s presence now too, his partner crouched down on the floor in front of Danny, hands on Danny’s knees.
“No no... I’m good... I’m ok...” Danny began, all of his senses now on high alert having gone from zero in sleep to 60 being awake.
“Bad dream?” Steve asked, now standing, blue eyes wide with concern.
“Yeah yeah Geezus sorry...” Danny cleared his throat and chanced a look around the plane. People who had been staring were now going back about their own business reading or watching their screens.
“Is there something I can get for you? Water? Ginger ale? Something stronger?” The flight attendant asked. Danny was grateful for her kindness but really didn’t want anything except to erase the bad dream from his memory bank.
“No I’m good thanks.” Danny answered and looked up at Steve. “You want something?”
“I’m good as well.” Steve gave the woman his warmest smile, and for a second Danny was just blinded by how handsome his partner was.
Apparently appeased, and situation over, the flight attendant scurried off towards the back of the plane.
“Wow,” Danny said exhaling sharply.
“Want to talk about it?” Steve asked. He had sat down but was still turned towards Danny.
“It was.... crazy....” Danny swallowed hard and looked out towards the aisle. Images whirred in his head. He closed his eyes not wanting to see them.
“Danny?” Steve touched Danny on the arm and Danny jumped.
“I’m ok.” Danny looked down where Steve’s hand still rested warmly on his flesh. “Ok yeah it was about Hollis.”
“Yeah I can’t blame you. He was right out of a graphic novel.” Steve rubbed Danny’s arm with gentle circular strokes and the smaller man leaned into the touch.
“I can ... smell him... and feel him if I... if I think about him.” Danny closed his eyes and shook his head. “I need to stop. He’s dead. You killed him. He’s dead.”
“He IS dead, Danny. And soon you’ll be home and we can see Gracie. Hey do you think she’ll like the whale you got her?”
“Oh yeah.” Danny giggled and gradually the holds of the nightmare lessened their tenuous hooks.
“Want to see what’s on this screen? Maybe some reruns of Jersey Shore?” Steve teased, getting a sharp poke in the ribs in a rebuke.
“Ha ha, Stephen, that’s amusing.” Yet Danny settled down in the seat and pulled his hoodie around himself. Thinking about Grace always made him feel better in any kind of situation and this time was no exception. He couldn’t wait to hear her laugh, see her eyes sparkle, hug her and listen to what activities she had been involved in while he and Steve had made their way to NZ and back.
He relaxed and nodded when Steve found the classic Star Wars movie from 1977; they would be home soon. No more thoughts about Hollis or vampires or anything to do in the dark past. Steve sighed audibly as he reached out and held Danny’s hand gently, being careful of the splint.
It took another 8 hours after their 12 hour marathon journey from Auckland to LA to get home to Hawaii. By then, both men had had enough of airline food and sitting still. Chin Ho was waiting for them near baggage and when Danny and Steve saw him, they increased their pace to nearly a run to envelope Chin into a sweeping hug. When Danny and Steve each started to talk over each other , Chin held up his hands in mock surrender,
“Welcome home, guys. Aloha.”
“It’s so good to be home,” Danny exclaimed, sighing a bit because he was dead tired from their journey.
“Boy do we have some stories to tell you,” Steve muttered, swinging his arm around Chin’s shoulders.
“Stories can wait, see, because I’m dying for a cheeseburger and fries,” Danny moaned, throwing both backpack and duffel over one shoulder.
“That sounds really good!” Steve said, licking his lips.
“This way, gentlemen. I think the Burger Palace is open.” Chin led the way towards the EXIT where he’d parked Steve’s truck in the adjacent lot.
“A fitting end to this chapter,” Steve murmured.
“ Amen, brudah!” Danny added, walking close to Steve and Chin.