Bringing in Reinforcements
After Danny left Steve's room he walked straight to his car, wanting to be away from anyone and anything. He got into his car, locked the door, and just sat there staring at the almost empty parking lot in front of him.
This was not how it was supposed to turn out, them finding Steve alive was supposed to be something to celebrate, was supposed to bring them closer together, not drive a wedge between them.
At first Danny felt angry. He felt angry at Matt for starting all of this in the first place, for being the reason that Steve was captured and tortured, and angry at Wo Fat for everything he had done to Steve, for finally being able to break Steve. If he wasn't already dead Danny was sure he would've gone out and looked for him right then and there and put a bullet through the bastard's head.
Then came the frustration. He was frustrated at the situation; he was frustrated that he couldn't get through to Steve, even though Steve had just woken up a few hours ago, and asking for everything to be instantly okay was wishful thinking. At first when Danny had found Steve in the cellar and Steve had accused Danny of leaving he had thought that Steve was referring to the warehouse, how Danny had left with Matt. He thought that the drugs were confusing his partner into thinking that he had wanted to leave that warehouse with Matt. But then when Steve asked if they weren't just partners, that's when it clicked, Steve was talking about something completely different, something that happened while Danny had been searching for him. He wished that he could make Steve see the truth, make him see that whatever Wo Fat had done to him, or said to him, wasn't true, wasn't real. Make him see that he had been in hell the entire time Steve was missing.
Finally came the sadness. Once the other two emotions weaned through his system, the sadness and overwhelming sense of despair washed over Danny. He felt spent; his entire body seemed to shut down at once as he placed his hands on the steering wheel, resting his head on them. Everything leading up to today, to this moment in the car, came crashing back to him like a ton of bricks.
He could recall the fight in the car with Steve where he had made a jab at Steve's family (something he was still so sorry for), he remembered exactly how he felt when he found out that Matt had set Steve up and subsequently how he felt when he knew he had to leave his partner in the hands of Wo Fat. He remembered the painful tightness in his chest during those long and torturous three days, which had admittedly been the worst three days of his life. He remembered going through the range of motions, feeling defeated and betrayed then feeling hope when Matt told them about the correctional facility. He remembered how he had felt entering that house, entering that cellar, and seeing Steve hanging there. He remembered exactly how he felt the moment he knew Steve was alive, the 10 pounder boulder that had been laying on his chest finally being lifted, finally being able to breathe again. He remembered talking to Steve, holding him, until the paramedics came. He remembered everything from the hospital; arresting his little brother and the fear he felt as Steve flat-lined, a fear he had only felt when Grace had been kidnapped.
He remembered it all. Everything that had happened in the last 4 days had led to this moment, led to him sitting in his car, alone, trying to hold onto what little resolve he had left.
You should probably go home.
Danny physically cringed as Steve's words played over and over in his head. Every thought Danny had had for the last 4 days had been about Steve; it had consumed him, his mind, body, and soul, nothing mattered to him besides getting his partner home. It felt as if a piece of him had been missing the entire time Steve was gone, and all he had wanted to do was get that piece back.
He knew how much he loved his partner, how much he meant to him, but it wasn't until this whole fiasco did he realize how much a part of him Steve was. The thought of losing Steve was unbearable and it made Danny physically sick.
And then to find Steve alive, to have him wake up, have him talking, only to reject Danny, asking him to leave, to go home after he had spent countless days and nights obsessing over finding Steve, worried out of his mind... it felt like someone had ripped his heart out of his chest; it was the world's cruelest joke and Danny was the recipient. The only thing that was comparable to the pain Danny felt from Steve's rejection was the pain he felt as he watched Steve flat-line in the hospital.
Danny knew the rejection was caused by the effects of the drugs, the hallucinations, Wo Fat, but it didn't make it hurt any less. It was still Steve saying it to him, Steve not wanting to be around him when all he wanted was to not leave Steve's side.
His heart was broken; he knew somewhere down the line they would fix this, but he didn't know how long it would take or if his heart could handle waiting that long.
And even if they did patch things up, would they ever be the same again? Would Steve ever look at him the same again?
Danny felt the tears threatening to pool over and he didn't try to fight it; he just let go and felt the weight of the last few days, the weight of Steve's last few words to him, completely take over.
Steve woke up the next morning, bright and early as the sun beamed in through his windows. He smiled as the light lit up the room; he had spent days in a dark cellar with no real sense of time, so the bright sun was the first real sense of normalcy he had had since he was rescued.
Steve looked over at the chair beside him almost expecting Danny to be there and was surprised to find himself a little disappointed that Danny wasn't there.
He thought back to everything he remembered yesterday, to Danny in the warehouse, "Danny" in the cellar, and Danny when he was rescued. The "Danny" in the cellar was painful to remember, as drugged up as he was, Steve could remember everything that "Danny" had said to him, and he could remember how his heart shattered every time "Danny" had said something.
But then he remembered the Danny in the warehouse and the Danny that had rescued him. He remembered Danny not wanting to leave the warehouse, remembered him standing beside Steve refusing to leave. He remembered how bad he felt for Danny when he finally had to leave, and he remembered thinking that whatever Wo Fat was going to do to him wouldn't even compare to the pain Danny was going to go through not being able to stop it.
And then he remembered "Danny" in the cellar again.
Steve shook his head. Every time he would remember how much Danny cared about him, "Danny" from the cellar would immediately pop back into his mind, and as much as he hated it, he couldn't fight it. Deep down he knew it was the drugs, he knew that it had to be a hallucination, but he couldn't shake how he felt, couldn't shake everything "Danny" had said to him.
Steve looked up at the ceiling. He hated this, he hated feeling this way, he hated being confused and it frustrated him that his brain seemed to be a jumbled upp mess. He also hated that he was hurting Danny. The look on Danny's face last night when he had asked him to go home was painful to see, but every time he looked at his partner all he saw was "Danny" from the cellar, and he just couldn't deal with that right now.
Danny had headed straight to 5-0 headquarters in the morning instead of the hospital. As much as he wanted to see Steve he was almost certain that Steve didn't want to see him and the thought of being rejected again scared him enough into not going to the hospital alone. Danny figured that if he went into work, the three of them could drop in on Steve at the same time, that way Steve wouldn't solely be concentrated on Danny and wouldn't ask him to leave again.
"Danny, what are you doing here, I thought you would be at the hospital?" Kono walked up to Danny with a worried expression.
"Uh yeah, I thought so to but turns out I'm not exactly Steve's favourite person at the moment," Danny tried to force a smile and play it off as a joke but the cousins saw right through it.
"It's really that bad huh..." Chin remembered their conversation from last night, how distraught Danny was that Steve may have been hallucinating down in the cellar and seeing Danny there when he really wasn't there.
"Yeah," Danny looked at the ground. "I was planning on staying the night like I had been since he was admitted there but Steve asked me to leave. I tried talking to him about it, to tell him that it wasn't me in the cellar but he didn't want to hear it. You should've seen his face Chin, he looked at me like I was the bad guy," Danny shook his head.
"Danny, I'm so sorry," Chin's heart was aching. He knew how hard the last few days had been for Danny and he witnessed firsthand the depth of devotion Danny had for his partner. It broke his heart that Steve was pushing Danny away.
Danny continued to look at the ground and then took a deep breath, he couldn't do this, not right now, he couldn't turn into a weeping mess first thing in the morning. So he sucked it up, and pushed his emotions into the pit of his stomach.
"Yeah...anyways, I was thinking the three of us could drop in together, that way it's not just Steve and me so he won't feel as uncomfortable with me around"
Kono shook her head, everything about that sentence was so wrong; Steve and Danny never felt uncomfortable around each other. She hated Wo Fat; even from beyond the grave he was managing to ruin their lives.
But Danny didn't need to hear that right now, he just needed to know that they were in his corner, his and Steve's.
"Sounds good Danny, let's head over," she went and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
The trio arrived at the hospital and headed towards Steve's room. This was the first time that Chin and Kono were going to see Steve awake and as happy as they wanted to be, the situation with Danny and Steve put a damper on their moods.
Kono pushed through the door first and her face lit up when she saw Steve sitting up in his bed.
"Boss!" Kono almost started crying as she hugged Steve.
"Hey Kono," Steve smiled at her, thankful that he was alive to even be receiving hugs from his team.
"You had us worried brah," Chin walked up behind Kono and gave Steve a hug.
"Someone's got to keep you guys on your toes right," Steve smiled but his smile started to fade as he saw Danny lingering a few feet behind the cousins.
"Hey," he forced a smile at Danny.
"Hey..." Danny forced a smile back. He felt like he shouldn't be there, that Steve would be more comfortable if it was just Chin and Kono, so he stayed close to the door, away from Steve's line of sight and far enough away to hopefully give Steve the space he so clearly wanted.
Kono looked from Steve to Danny and back to Steve. Her heart broke at the pure anguish on their faces.
Steve quickly turned his attention back to Chin and Kono.
"Sorry for having a little meltdown yesterday, I heard you guys stopped by; I was really hoping to see you."
"Don't be silly boss, you have nothing to apologize for, and besides we're here now right, which is all that matters," Kono smiled as she squeezed Steve's arm.
For the next few minutes Chin ran Steve through the rescue, how Matt had given them the tip, how Lou helped out. He left out a lot of the details like how Danny had been the one to find Steve and the one to kill Wo Fat. He wanted to save it for another time where he could sit down and have a serious talk with Steve about Danny and everything Danny had gone through and done for him.
Steve smiled, it was nice to know so many people cared. He also realized that if Danny was with Chin and Kono the entire time that he couldn't have been in the cellar too...even though he could see Danny's face as clear as day. Steve shook his head, now wasn't the time, he had a more pressing question to ask.
"Wo Fat?" Steve didn't realize he was holding his breath waiting for an answer. He needed to know if Wo Fat had escaped yet again, if he would possibly be the target of another set up in the future. It seemed like an eternity before...
"He's dead," Danny's voice was cold and hollow but held conviction.
Steve looked past Chin and Kono at Danny, and was at a loss for words. Wo Fat was dead? He was actually dead? Steve couldn't believe it; he didn't think that monster would ever die. Maybe he was still hallucinating...
"How..." was all he managed to get out.
Chin realized that Danny wasn't going to say anymore so he spoke up.
"Don't worry about that right now Steve, I promise we'll fill you in on everything once you're feeling a bit better, but just know that he's dead. It's not a hoax or a mistake, we saw his body, Max came and picked it up...he's dead."
Steve was speechless, this felt like a dream.
"He's never going to hurt you or anyone you love ever again Steve," Kono smiled with tears in her eyes.
Danny sighed. He wanted to be the one telling Steve all of this. He wanted to talk to him, ask him if he was okay, how he was feeling after hearing what he just heard, but he just kept his mouth shut knowing that Steve probably didn't care to talk to him right now.
Steve looked up at the ceiling as everything his team was telling him right now started to register. Wo Fat was dead...the man who had hired Hesse to kill his father, the man who had tortured him not once, but twice, the man who had made his life a living hell for years, was dead. Steve looked back at his team...
"I don't know what to say..." Not only didn't he know what to say, he didn't know how to feel. He was beyond happy that Wo Fat was dead, and at the same time a little sad that he wasn't the one to do it. He knew that sounded selfish, but after everything that Wo Fat had put him through he had figured that he would eventually be the one to kill him, he wanted to be the one that killed him.
And then there was the minor issue of whether he was actually dead or not. Wo Fat was a snake, if anyone could fake a death it would be him. Steve knew he wouldn't believe it till he saw Wo Fat's body for himself.
"It's a lot to take in, I know," Chin could see that the wheels in Steve's head were turning. "We also know that you won't believe he's dead until you see it for yourself so we got Max to hold the body as long as he can."
Steve looked up, thankful to have a team that knew him so well.
"Two weeks, I think that'll be enough time," Chin smiled at Steve.
Steve was about to ask Chin why they only had two weeks, when Dr. Connor walked in.
Dr. Connor first greeted Danny as he was closest to the door.
"Danny, nice to see you again, we missed you last night," he smiled at Danny and patted him on the shoulder.
Danny smiled and looked at the ground.
Steve didn't miss this exchange between Danny and Dr. Connor; the doctors and nurses here seemed to be really fond of Danny, more so than with his other team members.
Dr. Connor walked over to the rest of the gang.
"Hey guys, we need to run some tests on Steve, and it may take a little while so..."
"Got it doc," Kono smiled at Dr. Connor.
"We should get going anyway, we have to go interview some witnesses for a case, we'll be back later okay Steve," Chin locked hands with Steve.
"Sounds good Chin, bye Kono," and then looking past them at his partner, "bye Danny..."
Danny looked up.
"Later Steve," another forced smile.
For the next few days Chin, Kono, and Danny dropped by in the morning and after shift to check up on Steve. Danny always made sure to go with Chin and Kono, and although every time he saw Steve it broke his heart a little more, he had to see him; he had to know that he was doing okay, that he was getting better.
It was 3:00 pm on a Wednesday when Dr. Connor walked in to take Steve's blood work.
"How are you feeling Commander?"
Steve looked up at the doctor.
"Honestly, a lot better, the best I've felt since I woke up," and that was the god's honest truth. Steve felt pretty good, physically at least.
"That's great..." Dr. Connor paused and then. "How come your partner hasn't been around as much lately? He was practically glued to that chair beside your bed since you were admitted here."
Dr. Connor knew full well why Danny wasn't showing up alone, why he barely spent any time at the hospital anymore. He had slightly overheard the conversation between Chin and Danny...
That's the thing though! I don't think he thought it was Wo Fat saying those things to him, I think he thought it was me!
He also heard the conversation between Steve and Danny that night, and how Steve had asked Danny to leave because he had remembered things from when he was captured. Although Dr. Connor wasn't sure of the context of these conversations he got the just of it; the drugs had made Steve hallucinate and during those hallucinations Danny had done or said things that made Steve feel betrayed. Dr. Connor had wanted to bring it up with Steve earlier but he wasn't sure if he was stable enough, but he knew he was now.
"He was?" Steve looked at the doctor like a child would look up at a parent looking for reassurance.
Dr. Connor smiled; there was hope for these two yet!
"Yeah, he was, why do you think he's so popular around here?" Dr Connor laughed and Steve smiled. Everyone around here did seem to know Danny and were on a first name basis with him.
"He was really worried about you, I've seen a lot of police officers come through these doors with their partners right behind them, but I can honestly tell you, I have never in my 20 years of working as a doctor, seen the kind of dedication and devotion from someone like I saw from Danny."
Steve couldn't look away or stop listening; he wanted the doctor to keep going.
"You flat-lined while you were in a coma and Danny was in the room when it happened."
Steve's heart dropped, he could only imagine what that must have been like for Danny.
"I swear I felt like I was fighting to save both of your lives when I was trying to revive you," the doctor smiled. "I've never seen a partnership, a friendship, like yours before. I don't know what happened to you down in that cellar, all I know is you have a partner who moved hell and earth to get you back, who wished that he could trade places with you and be the one who suffered through everything you suffered through just to spare you the pain. I rarely see those kinds of friendships anymore, I envy you. Don't let something like that go Commander, I can guarantee you you won't find anything like it again."
Steve looked at the doctor and then at the ground; he was at a loss for words.
He knew the kind of friendship him and Danny had was rare, he had known it from the moment the two of them became close. Danny was the brother he had always wanted and although they constantly argued like a married couple, Steve loved every minute of it, and he knew Danny did too. There was something about their friendship that was indescribable; everyone saw it, even strangers who had just met them.
Hearing the doctor say everything that he did made Steve feel even guiltier than he had already been feeling. He didn't want to be uncomfortable around Danny, he didn't want to push his partner away, but he couldn't help it. The memories of that night in the cellar were so vivid and so painful that Steve found it hard to breathe whenever he thought about it.
However, within the last few days, as the drugs had been wearing off, Steve had realized that the memories of that night weren't as painful because he had finally accepted that it wasn't Danny down there saying those things to him. He knew that coming to this realization should of made him happy, should have made him forget and made him want to fix things with Danny, but he still couldn't understand why he had made all of that up in his head, why he had hallucinated Danny betraying him and why he couldn't get rid of this knot in his stomach whenever he saw Danny.
Steve sighed, he hated this, he hated what he was doing to their friendship, what he was doing to Danny, but he didn't know how to fix it.