Get Out of Jail Free Card
It had been a few days since they had found those pictures in Yeun's luggage and Danny had noticed the change in Steve since that day. He rarely joked around, when Danny would lecture him he wouldn't give a smart remark back, and when they all went out Steve was eerily quiet. Anytime he looked at his partner he looked like he was miles away, he could almost see the wheels constantly turning in Steve's head. He always joked that Steve's mind must be a terrifying place, but he couldn't even imagine what was going on in there now after everything he had learned.
Danny was in his office when he saw Steve leave his own office and head outside. Danny grabbed his badge and gun and ran after his partner.
"Hey, where you going?" Danny caught up with Steve.
"I'm just going to check something out; I'll be back in a bit."
"What are you checking out?"
"It's nothing; I'll be back in a bit."
Danny could tell Steve was on a mission and jumped into the passenger seat. Steve looked at him incredulously.
"What are you doing?"
"Yeah I see that, but what are you doing, I said I'll be back in a bit."
Danny pierced his lips together.
"Well, when you, my friend, get aneurysm face and say you'll be back in a bit, it means you're up to something, and seeing as you're not fully recovered yet, you're not doing whatever it is that you're gonna do, alone."
Steve shook his head.
"I'm not a child Danny I don't need you to babysit me okay."
"I know you're not a child Steven, although you act like one a lot, but that's beside the point. I'm not moving, so you can either waste more time interrogating me OR we can go "check something out" together...your choice babe."
Steve looked at Danny as if contemplating the decision before him. Finally he turned on the engine and buckled up.
"You're incredibly annoying you know that."
"I'm okay with that. So where are we going anyways?"
Steve looked straight ahead.
"To see Joe White."
Danny and Steve walked into the Lunar Cafe. Joe saw them from the back of the room and stood up as the two approached.
Joe opened his mouth to say hello when Steve slammed the envelope of pictures into his chest.
"What do you know about these?"
"Well hello to you too Steve," Joe grabbed a hold of the envelope as he looked from Steve to Danny.
"What's with his mood?"
"Joe! What do you know about those pictures?"
Joe opened the envelope and his eyes widened at the pictures he was holding.
"Where did you get these?"
"It's doesn't matter where I got them from, what do you know about them?"
Joe looked at Steve sympathetically knowing that this must be eating him alive.
"I don't know anything Steve; I've never seen these before in my life."
Steve clenched his teeth and got in Joe's face.
"Don't lie to me!"
Angry. That was another emotion Steve had been displaying a lot since he saw those photos.
The entire restaurant turned their attention to the three men as Danny stepped in between Joe and Steve.
"Hey, easy Steve. He said he didn't know."
Steve looked at Danny, offended that he would stick up for Joe.
"Yeah he also convinced me for months that he had no idea where my mother was."
"Look at him Steve; you saw how shocked he looked when he saw those pictures."
Steve looked from Danny to Joe.
"Or maybe he was just shocked that I finally saw those pictures!"
"Steve, son, I swear to you I don't know anything about these."
"I don't know."
"Where is she!" Steve's voice became loud again.
"I DON'T know Steve! And that's the truth."
Steve was fuming; he knew he wasn't going to get any answers from Joe.
"Fine, I'll just find her myself."
And with that Steve turned around and started to walk out of the cafe.
"And how are you gonna do that?" Joe yelled after him but Steve was already out the door with Danny in tow.
"Steve, hey Steve," Danny grabbed his arm and spun him around.
"You're not going after Doris, not yet at least."
"I'd like to see you try and stop me." Steve yanked his hand back from Danny's grip and headed towards his truck.
"Look...I get you're angry okay...I would be angry too but – "
Steve spun around and got in Danny's face.
"You get I'm angry? That's good Danny, really, I'm glad you get that I'm angry."
"Steve..." Danny took a step back.
"You don't get it okay, and you never will. You didn't have your life ripped apart at 16, you didn't have to listen to your father be murdered over the phone, you're not still wondering why your mother has lied to you your entire life. So don't act like you get it.
Danny tried to mask a bit of the hurt he felt at Steve's comments. He may not understand what Steve was going through but he was the one who had been there for Steve the last few weeks, he was the one who had comforted him and stood by his side through everything.
"I may not have gone through the things that you went through, but I know the kind of anger that you're feeling."
Steve mockingly laughed.
"How Danny, huh? Because your brother's in jail? Give me a break."
Steve knew the instant those words left his mouth that he would regret it, and the look in Danny's eyes confirmed it.
"Screw you Steve."
And with that Danny started walking away from the truck as Steve hung his head.
"Where are you going," Steve yelled after him.
Danny just ignored him and kept walking.
"You don't even have a ride!"
"I'll cab it back!"
Steve slammed his hands on the hood of his car and then leaned against his elbow.
He had messed up, big time.
Steve walked through the doors at headquarters.
"Is Danny back yet?"
Chin looked up and him inquisitively.
"I thought he was with you?"
Steve looked at the ground.
"He was, I uh, I said something I shouldn't have and he took off."
Chin knew that Steve had been acting different lately, more on edge, more erratic, more angry, and he had a feeling that sooner or later Danny, who spent the most time with Steve, was going to get the brunt of it.
"I get you're angry, but don't take it out on the one person who has stuck by you through all of it."
Steve looked at Chin guiltily.
"I know; I messed up."
Chin smiled, if Steve knew he messed up then him and Danny would be just fine.
"Don't worry, he'll show up soon Steve, he's probably just blowing off some steam."
Sure enough, 5 minutes later Danny came through the doors, Chin was the first to walk up to him.
"Hey brah, Steve wanted to see you in his office."
Danny rolled his eyes, clearly still annoyed.
"Good for him," Danny went to brush past Chin when Chin grabbed his arm.
"Danny...you should really go see him."
Danny saw the seriousness in Chin's eyes and thinking it might be something important Danny walked into his partner's office.
"You wanted to see me?"
"What do you want Steve?"
"Okay you're pissed, I get that..."
"Oh you GET that do you, that's good I'm glad you get it."
Steve knew that was a jab at him from their earlier conversation when he said very similar words to Danny.
Steve took a deep breath.
"I'm sorry Danny, I shouldn't have said what I said, I was way out of line."
"You're damn right you were way out of line. You know what Matt betraying you did to me, so you don't get to throw that in my face! You can be pissed all you want but let's get one thing straight, I'm not your punching bag, and you do not get to push me away."
Steve looked at Danny and then back to the ground.
"I know...Danny I'm really sorry for what I said. I don't know what's gotten into me man. I don't even feel like me anymore. All I can think about are those pictures and what they mean. I feel like I'm losing my mind."
Danny looked at Steve and how completely defeated he looked and all of his anger instantly faded.
"I know, and I know how badly you want to find Doris to get those answers, but I am telling you, you can't do it right now, not just yet. But I promise you, when you are 100% healthy, when you have the go ahead from your doctors to return to full duty, we will track Doris down no matter what it takes, no matter where she is, and we will get you those answers, together, okay?"
Steve looked up at Danny and wondered how he got so lucky to find such an amazing partner and friend.
"Okay." Danny reiterated as he squeezed Steve's shoulder.
Since Grace only had half a school day today, and Rachel, Stan, and Amber were all out of town, Danny had taken a half-day at work and was getting ready to leave his office to grab Grace from school.
On his way out he stopped by Steve's office.
"Hey Danno, whatsup?"
"Grace has a half day at school today so I'm going to pick her up, why don't you take a half-day too? I asked Chin and Kono and it's pretty quiet right now and they can hold down the fort. What do you say? I know Grace would love to hang out with you."
Steve contemplated the idea for a second. He wasn't doing much at work and it would be nice to see Grace. Spending time with her seemed to be the only thing that could put a smile on his face these days.
When they arrived at Grace's school they could see her standing on the stairs by herself. Danny squinted his eyes a little, usually Grace was surrounded by her friends but the were on the other side of the stairs. He made a mental note to ask her about it later.
Two seconds after they pulled within Grace's view she ran down the stairs and jumped in the car.
"Uncle Steve!" She reached around from the back seat and grabbed him into a tight hug.
Steve couldn't help the smile that spread across his face.
She then reached around and gave Danny a hug too.
"Uncle Steve did you take a half-day like Danno too?" She looked at him with hopeful eyes.
"I sure did."
Danny didn't think Grace's smile could get any bigger and it melted his heart how much his little girl loved Steve.
"This is the best day ever!"
Grace sat back and buckled up as they headed home.
Danny was in the kitchen making sandwiches for lunch as Steve and Grace sat at the kitchen table playing "Guess Who".
"Monkey where do you want to go today? We have all day, do you want to call your friends so that we could all go to the aquarium, or go to the beach, or – "
"No thanks Danno, I just want to stay here with you and Uncle Steve."
Danny looked at her curiously; first the school steps now this. Grace always loved to spend time outside and with her friends.
"Of course monkey but is there a reason why you don't want to go out with your friends?"
"No..." Grace sunk a little in her chair.
Steve could clearly tell that Grace was hiding something.
"Gracie...you know you can tell us anything right, if something is bothering you?"
Grace looked up at Steve shyly.
"I know...it's just dumb."
Danny stopped making the sandwiches and walked over to Grace and pulled up a seat beside her.
"Gracie, I want you to listen to me and listen to me very carefully okay. How you feel is not dumb, no matter how silly you may think it is, I'll never, ever think your feelings are dumb okay? And neither will Uncle Steve."
Grace nodded and smiled at Danny.
"So what is it baby? Why don't you want to hang out with your friends?"
Grace took a deep breath.
"They all talk about Uncle Matt and what a horrible person he is for what he did to you Uncle Steve."
Danny's face paled and Steve closed his eyes and hung his head.
"And I'm so mad at him Uncle Steve; I don't even know if I want to see him again, you almost died because of him! I just don't like them talking about it all the time because it just reminds me of what he did and it makes me sad."
Grace started to sniffle and Danny grabbed her into a hug.
"I'm so sorry monkey."
"It's okay Danno," Grace wiped her nose as she pulled out of the hug with Danny.
Steve grabbed a hold of her hand.
"Gracie, I want you to listen to me okay. Next time your friends say anything about your Uncle Matt I want you to tell them something okay?"
This got Grace's attention.
"Okay Uncle Steve, what do you want me to tell them?"
Danny was looking at Steve too.
"I want you to tell them that your Uncle Matt was sick."
Grace looked up at Steve.
"What do you mean he was sick? Like he had a cold?"
Steve smiled; he wished she could stay this innocent forever.
"No Gracie, he was sick in the head, he had an addiction and it made him do things he normally wouldn't do."
"What's an addiction Uncle Steve?"
"An addiction is a sickness where someone needs something really badly that they're willing to do anything to get it."
Grace looked up for a second as if trying to take in what Steve had said.
"My friend Billy's dad gambles a lot and always loses a lot of money but he always goes back to gamble, is that an addiction?"
Steve smiled; Grace always did pick up on things really quickly.
"Yeah Gracie, that's an addiction, and your Uncle Matt had an addiction. So the next time your friends say something bad about your Uncle Matt just let them know that he was sick and that hopefully one day he'll get better and be the Uncle Matt you knew before."
"Do you really think he can get better?"
Steve wasn't sure if Matt could or not but he had to say something to restore Grace's faith and cheer the little girl up.
"Yeah, I really do."
Grace smiled and gave Steve a big hug.
Danny looked at Steve and mouthed "Thank you". Steve nodded in response.
"Do you feel better now babe? You know what to tell your friends when you see them?" Danny looked over at Grace.
"Yeah Danno, I feel better now, but can we still just hang out just the three of us, I want to play board games and watch Uncle Steve's ninja movies."
"Ah a girl after my own heart," Steve smiled as he ruffled Grace's hair.
Danny rolled his eyes and got up to finish making the sandwiches.
"Of course we can still hang out just the three of us monkey, why don't you go get cleaned up for lunch I'm almost done with these sandwiches."
Grace got up and ran up the stairs.
Danny watched Grace go up the stairs and then hung his head.
Danny was quiet for a few seconds.
"She should never have to go through that."
"I hate him."
Steve's head snapped up.
"Danny, he's your little brother."
"So...he's your family. I wasn't kidding when I told Gracie that he was sick."
Danny shook his head.
"I don't care Steve."
"I get you're mad at him but – "
Danny looked up with wide eyes.
"Mad at him doesn't even begin to cover it; I can't even stand the thought of him."
"Give it time Danny; I think you can learn to forgive him."
Steve hadn't forgiven Matt yet himself but he really hated the fact that Danny seemed to hate his brother more than life itself.
Danny shook his head and looked Steve in the eye.
"You really don't get it do you? I am never going to be able to forgive him. I may be able to be in the same room as him again one day, but he's never going to be my brother again, we're never going to be close again. Every time I think of him, or see a picture of him, or hear his name, I'm right back in that warehouse, I'm right back in that cellar, I'm right back outside your hospital room as they're shocking you back to life. I can't wipe those images from my head, I can't shake those gut wrenching feelings. You can forgive him if you want I'm not going to stop you, just don't ask me to do the same, because I can't, and I really need you to see that."
Steve could see the anguish in Danny's eyes and it broke his heart. He could also see that this wasn't a phase, this wasn't just Danny's anger speaking, this was Danny in his truest form. Danny was deathly loyal and Matt had broken his trust in the worst way possible.
"Yeah, I get it Danno."
Danny took a deep breath.
Matt sat in his cell staring at the wall. He had been in prison a few weeks now, and his pre-trial hearing was coming up soon. Because of his past, Matt wasn't granted a bail hearing as the judge didn't trust that Matt wouldn't flee the country the minute he got the chance.
He knew he was going to jail and he had accepted that; he knew he deserved it after what he had done.
"Williams you have a visitor."
Matt snapped out of his thoughts, he couldn't have heard right though. He had a visitor? He hadn't had one single visitor since he arrived in this place.
Matt followed the guard out to the visitation area and almost froze when he saw who was waiting for him.
"Hey..." Steve took a deep breath as Matt sat down in front of him. This was the first time since the warehouse that he had seen Matt. All the memories from the warehouse came flooding back to him and for a brief second he wondered why he had come here, wondered why he was trying to help the person who had set him up, but one look at Danny's younger brother and Steve knew he had done the right thing.
Matt looked terrible. He had clearly been in a fight as he had a black eye and a few scrapes on his face.
"Steve...you're okay..." Matt looked at the ground ashamed to even look Steve in the eyes. "I am so sorry, for everything, I – "
"What happened to your face?"
Matt looked up at Steve.
"Uh...a couple of the guys in my block took a disliking to me really quickly."
"Did they do anything else to you?" Even after being betrayed Steve felt protective over Danny's little brother.
Matt shook his head knowing what Steve meant.
"No, they just rough me up every now and then."
Steve noticed Matt reaching for his neck where an obvious scar from a fork puncture was visible.
"It's okay though, it's not so bad, sort of just see it as my Karma for everything I did."
Steve nodded and looked away, he didn't think it was going to be this difficult to talk to Matt; he had no idea what to even say to him.
"Steve...I really am so sorry. What I did, I know it's unforgivable. If I could go back in time to when Wo Fat first made that deal with me, I wouldn't take it, not after I saw what he did to you."
Steve looked up.
"You mean at the warehouse?"
Matt shook his head.
"No, at the hospital, Danny uh, Danny made me come to your room, made me see what my deal had done to you."
Matt's eyes filled with tears.
"You were nothing but good to me, you acted like an older brother, and to see what Wo Fat had done to you...I'll never be able to tell you how sorry I am."
Steve looked at Matt and could see the sincerity in his words.
"I forgive you."
Matt looked up and Steve could tell that that was the last thing he had expected him to say.
"Because I don't think you're a bad guy Matt. I see how much you love Gracie; I see how much you love Danny. You have a problem and Wo Fat knew how to use that to his advantage."
"I don't deserve it, I don't deserve you forgiveness," Matt was visibly shaking.
"Well you have it, and I'm going to talk to the Governor, have your charges dropped on the condition that you get professional help and go to rehab."
Matt's eyes looked like they were about to pop out of his sockets.
Matt was at a loss for words.
"I'm not just doing this for you, if you go to prison for this you could be locked away for a very, very long time. You'll never get to see Grace grow up, see your parents, or Danny."
"I think Danny would like that," Matt smiled a sad smile.
"Danny might come around in time, he might be able to forgive you one day." Steve knew this might not be the case but for some reason, looking at the look on Matt's face, he felt like he should give the guy some hope.
Matt shook his head.
"No, he won't. You're his best friend, he's never going to forgive me for what I did to you, hell Gracie probably won't either, she worships the ground you walk on."
"Well you'll just have to go to rehab, get better, and convince them that you've changed, that you deserve another chance."
Matt looked up at Steve in awe.
"I see why Danny and Grace think the world of you...thank you."
Steve nodded as he stood up to leave.
"Just make sure you don't skip out on your rehab sessions, or you'll be right back in here and I won't be able to help you out."
"I promise I won't miss a single one, and Steve."
"I really am glad you're okay."
Steve nodded his head.
"I know Matt."
After Steve left the correctional facility he headed back to the precinct to meet up with his team.
"How was the doctors visit babe," Danny was the first out of his office.
"Uh, can I talk to you in your office for a sec?" Steve nudged Danny back in the direction he came from. When they got into Danny's office he closed the door.
"Is everything okay?" Danny was worried that the appointment hadn't gone well.
"Look before I tell you what it is, just, don't get mad okay?"
Danny narrowed his eyes; anytime Steve asked him not to get mad he often ended up furious.
"What did you do?"
"Why would you assume I did something?"
"Because Steven, when you tell me not to get mad it means you've gone and done stupid that you know is gonna make me mad."
Steve grinned and nodded.
"Okay, fine. I didn't have a doctor's appointment this morning, I uh...I went to see Matt."
Danny's eyes went wide.
"Excuse me you what?"
"Look Danny, I've been doing a lot of thinking over the last few weeks and after talking to Grace yesterday, I don't know. Matt really is sick, he needs to get help, not be locked away in prison."
Danny was speechless. Had Steve lost his mind?
"He can get help IN prison!"
"He won't survive in prison Danny, you should've seen him, he was already beaten up."
Steve could instantly see a slight hint of worry in Danny's eyes at the news Steve had just told him, but Danny quickly covered it up.
"Yeah well, he should've thought about the consequences before he did what he did."
Danny put his hand up.
"Don't Steve; I don't want to hear it."
"You're probably really not going to want to hear this then. I'm going to speak to the Governor, get a plea bargain on the table for him, no jail time but he has to go to rehab, get his life back on track."
Danny looked up at Steve.
"Please tell me you're kidding."
"Do I look like I'm kidding?"
"Why the hell would you do that? He deserves to be in jail!"
"He's been in jail for a month Danny, look man I know what he did was terrible, and I know what he did to you, what he did to me, and as much as you hate him right now, I think you'll see down the line that this is for the best."
"How is this for the best?"
"Think of your parents, of Gracie. If Matt is found guilty, which he will be, he's gonna go away for decades, your parents will never see him free ever again, Gracie won't see him till he's old and grey."
Danny knew Steve was right. Telling his parents and Grace what Matt had done was one of the hardest things he's ever had to do, and then to have to tell them that he was going to be in prison for a very long time was devastating. He could still hear his mother's cry when he had told her, it broke his heart.
"And you wouldn't see him for a long time either."
That part Danny did not care about.
"I'm okay with that."
"You say that now, but it will eat you up man. And besides, I don't want your little brother rotting away in jail for the rest of his life; he's going to lose himself in there."
Danny looked at Steve and as furious as he was, he was also in awe; the size of Steve's heart never seized to amaze him. After everything that Matt had done to him he was still trying to protect the kid, keep him safe.
"Are you pissed at me?"
Danny smiled and let a little laugh escape at Steve's child-like tone.
"No Steve I'm not pissed at you. Your heart man, it's too big for your own good you know that."
"It's gotta match my head right."
Danny let out a small laugh.
"Yeah I guess so."
Danny leaned back against his table and sat on the edge as he tried to let everything Steve had just said to him sink in.
"My parents are gonna be really happy."
"Good, no parents should have to watch their kids suffer, especially amazing parents like yours."
"Yeah, man you're just – "
Danny, Steve, Kono, and Chin were all out of their offices in a matter of seconds, guns trained on the man standing at the entrance.
"FREEZE! DON'T TAKE ANOTHER STEP, PUT YOUR HANDS UP!"
"There you are Commander, I hear you've been looking for me," Yeun smiled sadistically as he raised his hands in the air.