The air held a slight chill in the early morning darkness as the SEAL made his was up the path and to the door. Hands shook as he fumbled with the keys in the lock, cursing under his breathe. Pausing for a moment he calmed him self, slowly breathing in and out, in and out.
Finally he got the key in, unlocking the door with a quiet snick, and made his way into the dark living room just beyond. Silence hung thick in the air as he moved through the house, passed one door and to another just at the end of the hall. After hesitating for a few seconds he grabbed the knob and turned, peering in the room, where in the center under the duvet slept his partner and Melissa, who must've come over last night after he and Danny split for the evening. Backing out of the room and shutting the door, Steve wandered back the way he came, passed Grace's bedroom, where she was no doubt out like a light.
Steve found his way to the couch where he plopped down, starring at the wall in front of him, only illuminated by the street lights coming in through the crack in the curtains. Thoughts raced through his head, pouring over the last few hours. Letting the news of his recall to lead a SEAL sink in. He closed his eyes, a shudder passing through him, his hands shaking as though he were in below freezing temperatures. He knew it was always a possibility, what with keeping himself in the reserves, never fully retiring from his 20 year career in Navy, but after so long? It was a shock, something that, while he should've expected such a possibly, came by total surprise.
He kept his eyes closed as he heard a door down the hall open and close quietly, feet shuffling across carpeted floors. He knew when Danny entered the room, a low 'holy shit' coming from the man. He heard him as the Jersey native moved across the room and stood directly in front of him.
"Fuck, haven't you ever heard of visiting during normal hours like normal sane people do? What the hell, Steven?" His voice low but every bit fiery as every other occasion when the man has found something that annoyed him, frustrated him. Finally if felt like Steve could breathe, just like that, unraveling one spring in the coil that was Lt Commander Steven J. McGarrett, so tightly wound at the moment that anymore he would burst.
But it did nothing for his ability to speak, nothing for the hands that were clenched so hard there would be marks the next time he cared to look at them, shaking where they sat in his lap. He tried to clear his throat, tried to find his voice and all that came was a broken, "Danno."
"Steve? Hey buddy, you okay?" He opened his eyes, at some point the shorter man crouched down, his face nearly level to his own. Steve could only make a strangled sort of noise and shake his head slightly because no, no he was not okay. Not even slightly. He should be used to this, to being told he'd be going on what amounts to a suicide mission, little chance of survival, but five years away and finding himself a family of sorts made it hard to handle. Made it hard to compartmentalize.
Reaching a hand forward the blond took his fist, rubbing soothing circles on the back, "what's happened, babe? You're trembling."
Steve closed his eyes again, clenching and unclenching his jaw, trying to find his voice, find the words for just how fucked up things are. He wondered why here, when he knew Melissa was probably going to be here. Knew for a fact it was a Grace weekend. Why hadn't he chosen to go the shorter, easier route? To Catherine's where he could get lost in himself if only for a bit and just not think? She'd have little problem with him turning up, he knew, that she'd welcome him. That she was interested in going back to what they were before she left.
He opened his mouth, closed it, and tried again, "The Navy," he licked his lips, "they uh, they've called me back. Reinstated me..."
Danny looked taken aback, horror crossing his features, "What? Wha-Why? What? Babe, what to you mean they've called you back?" He rested his other hand on Steve's knee, both thumbs rubbing circles as if to try and sooth him. Steve shook his head, removing his hand from Danny's so he could lean forward and put it in his hands. He just. God.
"They need me to head a team. There's this target, he a- he's got his hands deep into every terrorist group out there." His voice was off, it shook nearly as bad as his hands, "I was assigned to him before the Hesse brothers. We a- we spent three years hunting him down and suddenly he vanished. And all possible leads and their immediate families? Slaughtered."
Danny continued to rub circles on Steve's thighs, encouraging the man to continue speaking, "they caught wind of him a month back and sent a recon team to find anything else about him, see of anyone had heard or seen anything. They lost contact two weeks ago and turned up dead a few days ago." Danny paused, inhaling sharply at the news of the team.
"Since I know the most out of anyone about him they've decided I'm choice if there's a remote possibility of taking him down."
Danny stood, "No! No no nonono," and found himself pacing once, twice, six times, around the living room before finding himself on the couch next to the SEAL, his boss, his best friend, shoulders and thighs touching, and ran his hands through his hair several times, "no way, it's fucking suicide. No fucking way."
"No! See you are needed here. Here where people love you, where your family is. Where Grace, who is very attached to her Uncle Steve, is. Where Chin and Kono are."
Steve drooped his hands and turned his head to the side, "and you, Danny? Where you are?" Danny sighed and leaned back in the sofa, "yeah, babe, where I am." Steve continued to look at him for a few minutes in silence before mirroring the other man, leaning himself back against the plush surface. The last few hours washing over him once again and he let out a breath, his chest suddenly too heavy, his clothing to confining, but there was little he could do but sit there next to his partner.
He felt a nudge against his hand before he felt fingers lace with his, looking over Danny had his eyes shut, head resting on the back of the couch and looking more tired that he had been when he first entered the room. Squeezing the other man's hand Steve rested his head back and let his eyes close again, taking in the silence and the feeling of warmth next to him. The just sat there for what could have been minutes, could've been hours. He relaxed slowly, rubbing his thumb across Danny's, a small comforting distraction.
"When do you leave? For how long?" The question was sudden and all too expected, worry and desperate need for sleep coating the detective's voice.
Steve thought for a moment about how much he could share, "two days, most of that time on base and preparing. I don't know how long. Days. Weeks. Fucking months." The smaller man's hand gripped tighter and held fast, like the SEAL would suddenly disappear if he held anything less that what he was. He was shaking too, Steve noticed, and if that didn't hurt worse than when receiving order, he didn't know what did.
Soon he found himself drifting off, need for sleep and stress all at once hitting him, hands still held tight, the detective's head having rested on his shoulder a some point. He rested his head on his and was out to the world within a few minutes.
The next two days passed in a whirlwind of chaos, from breaking the news to Grace, to the team, to getting things sorted and finding himself updating his will, to getting briefed on the mission. He had no time to stop and take anything in, no time to stop and talk to Danny about what happened the other night and how they'd woken up sprawled across the couch, tucked into each other's arms at nearly noon, a blanket having been draped across the two of them, a note left on the counter where Melissa said she'd call Danny later and that they needed to talk.
Steve stood in the palace and took everything in for what could be the last time. Around him were Chin, Kono, and Kame, Max, Lou and Cath, Danny was coming in with Grace, taking her out of class early to come see him off. Kono's flight landed hours ago, honeymoon cut short so that she could be here. He hugged them each, told them to take care of things and not to get into too much trouble without him leading the charge. Cath tucked herself under an arm, for all she was use to him going off and doing missions, it's been years and she'd always had ways of checking in on the team somehow and in recent history having been there to keep an eye on him or having had Danny there, knowing he'd always have Steve's back.
The atmosphere was heavy for all they tried to keep it light. Like pending doom was upon them and nothing could be done. The team had been filled in one just how dangerous and potentially life threatening this mission he was being sent on was, all worried about their friend.
The door to the bullpen opened behind them and a shout of "Uncle Steve" rang through the room. He turned, letting go of Cath and caught Grace, the young teen nearly too big to hold, and held her tight, not wanting to let go, "Gracie."
He held her close for what could have been ages, memorizing the feel of this kid he loved so much. He felt close to tears and held on, composing himself enough to look up and at Danny who stood a few feet away, tie forgotten and looking like he hadn't slept in days. He shifted her and opened up an arm for the smaller man to tuck under, and found his arms full of the Williams family. He held tight, fear of losing something he loved dearly, before loosening up his hold. He turned back to the group but didn't let go, taking in the sight of his friends, his family, his ohana. Wanted to take a photo of the sight and take it with him. Danny'd given him a small one yesterday when they saw each other briefly, the photo containing Danny and Grace, taken at her most recent birthday dinner with the team, informing him that it was a reminder for him to come home. In that moment he'd desperately wanted to kiss the man but held back, not knowing how welcome the gesture would be.
Time passed, small idle chat, trying not to think of what was coming fast upon them. When 1600 rolled around Steve knew he would have to say his farewells. He kissed Grace's forehead and temple, losing track of how many times he'd done so, hugged her close before he made his way around the room.
Kamekona gave him a fierce hug and a pat on the back, "be safe, bradah." Max hugged him quickly, telling him to be safe also. "Maholo"
Kono and Chin were both teary eyed, trying to keep it in when he got to the cousins. Kono hugged him close, "come back okay? Miss you."
"You too," he pecked her on the cheek before moving on and grabbing hold of Chin, "A hui hou. Keep them out of trouble." "A hui kaua. Malama pono."
He grabbed Lou's hand in a shake before bringing him for a hug, "You and Chin, watch out for the others?" Lou nodded as the parted, "of course."
Cath he'd never had to say much with, both always knowing they'd cared for one another, and fearing saying goodbye would be bad luck, so he hugged her, tucked her close. She'd been one of his closest friends for nearly ten years, and he thought he was in love with her for a while, and still loved her fiercely though not in the way he'd thought he did a year ago. With a kiss to the cheek he let her go and turned.
Lastly was Danny, he stood there, looking a little lost, having grabbed Grace's hand. More for his sake or her's, Steve wasn't quite sure though he had a hunch. He moved and stood in front of the smaller man, looking down. That weight on his chest pressing down harder than it had the last two days and he found himself choking back tears as he grabbed hold of Danny, holding him with everything he had.
He held on for a long time and continued to hold on for a time still. It wasn't until a throat cleared that he realized he had to be on his way in the next few minutes, he let go but not before giving the man a firm squeeze on the shoulders.
"You come back you hear? You don't go doing something so fucking crazy it'll get you killed," Danny's voice held a bit of desperation as he spoke, "You come back, and you be safe and fuck-" His voice broke and he looked like he was deciding what to do. Before Steve knew what was happening he was dragged down by Danny's hands on his face, lips smashing against his. Once his head caught up to what happened Steve found himself responding just a desperately, too much at stake to worry about how messy and awkward the kiss was. His hands found Danny's waist and he pulled him closer, so close that if it were possible they've become one.
Danny pulled away first, "Don't you dare fucking die on me you got that?"
Steve nodded and brushed his nose along the side of Danny's face, "gonna miss you Danno."
"Me too Steve, me too." They separated and looked back at the rest of the room occupants. Surprise was written across everyone's face, he nodded, turned back to Danny and quickly kissed him once, twice, thrice, before whispering in his ear, "aloha wau ia 'oe, I love you" and pulling away.
"Me too Steve, now go before we decide you're not going."
Walking away and leaving them all behind, by far the hardest thing he's ever had to do. The weight of the small photo tucked in the left breast pocket, just over his heart, his only salvation and only companion for the next however long. But he would be back. When? He didn't know, but he had everything to come back for. To survive for. His ohana. Danny. The future they have together, waiting to be explored.