Batman and Batman
"Steve..." Doris was at a loss for words, she had always thought that after she left that they would pull together as a family, not fall apart.
"I am so sorry Steve, I –"
"Wo Fat found out that you killed his mother didn't he? That's why he's been after you?" Steve didn't want to hear her apology, didn't need to hear it.
"Yes. The last time I went to visit him in Colorado, when he was in the maximum security prison, he told me that he knew. He knew that I was Shelburne; he knew what I had done. He said he was going to escape and hunt me down, which is why I've been in hiding ever since and haven't surfaced."
Steve nodded, he had at least figured that much out on his own.
"Why didn't you come to the hospital?"
"When I was in a coma, why didn't you come see me?"
Doris looked down at the ground.
"Steve, it wasn't safe to come there, I couldn't risk it, I couldn't risk someone following me and hurting you."
Steve let out a sarcastic laugh.
"Are you kidding me? You were a spy Doris, you could've easily come in and out of the hospital undetected, Danny could've helped get you in."
"I couldn't risk it Steve, I'm sorry."
"You're sorry? I almost died! You knew the condition I was in; didn't you think for even a second that having my mother there would help me get better?"
"Of course I thought about that, I thought about you every single day! Everything that I have EVER done was to protect you, to keep you safe. I couldn't risk your life Steve, I just couldn't."
Steve shook his head and looked at the ground. Doris had an excuse for everything.
For a brief second the room was quiet, Doris was looking at Steve, Steve was looking at the ground, and Danny was watching his partner, silently praying that Steve was strong enough to handle all of this.
"Did you order the quick release of Wo Fat's body?"
"Someone had a court order to release the body earlier than planned, was that you?"
"No...Steve I swear that wasn't me, I know nothing about that."
Steve wasn't sure whether he believed her or not but he had other pressing matters to attend to that were far more important right now.
"Why did you go?"
"To his funeral?"
"Yeah," Steve looked up at his mother.
"I had to...it was going to be the last time I got to see him...I had to see him one last time."
Doris looked up at Steve and the pain in her eyes took his breath away.
Steve's eyes went wide.
"You still loved him..." Steve's shaky voice got Danny's attention as his head snapped up and he looked from Steve to Doris.
"That's why you let him escape at my house. You had the chance and you didn't shoot him, you didn't even arrest him, you just let him go. It's because you still loved him, you didn't want to see him behind bars."
Doris looked at the ground almost ashamed.
"I was in shock Steve. I hadn't seen him in a really long time and then all of a sudden there he was, right in front of me. We had our guns trained on each other and then he put his down...I couldn't Steve, I couldn't do it, all I saw was that little boy that I had spent so much time with."
"How could you still love him after everything he'd done?" Steve stood up off the couch, disgusted at the woman before him.
"It's complicated Steve."
"Well then uncomplicate it for me!"
"No, please, explain to me how you could love the man who had your husband killed! Explain to me how you could love the man who tortured your son!"
Danny swallowed the lump in his throat as he remembered finding Steve in the back of that truck in North Korea and finding Steve beaten to a pulp in that cellar. How could his own mother love the man who would do that to him?
"I don't expect you to understand Steve, you haven't had kids yet."
Steve furrowed his eyebrows as he glared at Doris.
"HE'S NOT YOUR KID DORIS! We're your kids, Mary and me!"
"Him killing dad, him torturing me, that meant nothing to you?" Steve's voice cracked as his devastation was on full display as the gut-wrenching reality started to set in.
Danny closed his eyes. This wasn't fair, none of it. Every worst case scenario that could've played out was playing out right before his eyes. He wished more than anything that he could just make this all disappear for Steve, make Doris disappear.
"Of course it did Steve, I was distraught when I heard about your dad, I was so angry when I heard about you."
"But that didn't stop you from loving him."
Doris sighed as she closed her eyes.
"I would've still loved you if you had done those things."
Danny and Steve both looked at her in shock.
"What did you just say?" Steve walked closer as he hovered over Doris.
"I still loved him yes, the same way I still would've loved you."
Steve backed away in shock.
"Don't you dare... I would NEVER do the things that he did. Do you have any idea what it was like to hear dad die, to have spoken to him moments before, to hear the gun go off and know that I was never going to see him alive again, never going to get to talk to him again, hug him again?" Steve's eyes filled with tears as he recalled that fateful day.
Danny was looking up at Steve intently. Steve had never spoken about that day, never mentioned details about the phone call or what he went through. He spoke of his dad a lot, but never of that day, until now.
"I'm so sorry you had to go through that Steve, I'm so so-"
"Stop saying you're sorry when you're not!"
Doris stood up and went toe to toe with her son.
"I AM sorry Steve, more than you'll ever know, and I get that you're angry, and I get that you may not understand why I felt the way I did about Wo Fat, but I love you so much. I love Mary so much and I loved your dad so much."
Steve shook his head.
"You know what the worst part is? I actually don't blame you for dad's death; I don't hate you for loving Wo Fat as a kid, none of that is on you. But letting him go, letting him escape because you loved him and didn't want to see him behind bars even after everything he had done to our family; that I can't forgive." Steve angled his body so as to make a pathway to the door. "You should go."
"No Steve, no I'm not leaving, not like this. We need to talk, we need to fix this."
"Fix what? What you broke can't be fixed. You loved Wo Fat despite the fact that he ripped our lives apart. You faked your own death because of him, because he threatened to kill US...and you still loved him. What else is there to talk about? We came second to you, we were never as important as your first 'son'."
"Oh Steve. You have no idea how very wrong you are. I love you guys with all of my heart," tears started to cascade down Doris's face as Steve tried to hold it together, his own tears threatening to pool over.
"You should go," Steve glanced down knowing that if he looked into his mother's eyes he would completely break down.
Doris looked at Steve and knew that this was it, he was never going to understand, he was never going to see things the way she did, and she didn't blame him. After everything he had been through, how could she?
She walked to the door with tears streaming down her face.
Doris turned around hoping that Steve would say something, anything to give her hope that one day he would forgive her, that one day they would be able to have a relationship again, but those hopes were crushed with his next words.
"Don't ever come back."
Doris swallowed the lump in her throat.
"You don't mean that Steve, I'm your mother!"
Steve shook his head.
"No...as far as I'm concerned, my mother died 22 years ago in a car explosion."
Doris's eyes went wide as her heart broke into a million pieces as she stood there staring at Steve. She had never seen such pain in his eyes, such hurt and anger.
"No matter what you believe, I love you Steven, and I always will," Doris turned around and walked out the door.
Danny sat on the couch frozen. He would have never expected Steve to say what he had just said, that just showed Danny how broken Steve was.
Steve closed the door behind Doris and stood there with his shaky hand on the door knob.
A few seconds later Steve walked over and sat down in the chair across Danny. The two sat there in silence, Danny not knowing what to say and Steve staring at the floor like he was miles away trying to comprehend everything that had just happened.
Danny looked up and took a long hard look at Steve. He looked terrible; he looked completely and utterly exhausted, his eyes were red and Danny could tell how hard he was fighting to keep the tears at bay.
Steve looked up at Danny and the sheer and utter devastation in Steve's eyes made Danny's own heart stop.
"You should go Danny..." Steve didn't want Danny around, he didn't want anyone around. He was pretty sure he was about to completely break down and he didn't want Danny to witness that. The one thing Steve hated more than not being in control was other people seeing that he was not in control.
Danny shook his head.
"No way, I'm not going anywhere. You don't have to talk to me, we can just sit here and not say a word, but I'm not going anywhere, I'm not leaving you alone."
"I'm not gonna do anything stupid Danny," Steve reassured him thinking that Danny was staying because he was worried that Steve would hurt himself.
"I know that, that's not why I'm staying."
Steve looked away too exhausted to argue and too emotionally drained to put up a fight.
Steve rubbed a hand over his tired face and stopped when his hand was covering his mouth. Everything started to sink in, everything Doris said, everything she had admitted. Steve thought back to everything they had gone through, everything that they had had to endure because of Doris, because of Wo Fat. His childhood, Mary's childhood, his father's happiness, they were all taken away in the blink of an eye. He had tried so hard to bury his feelings, to bury the pain he felt inside, and for years he had done a good job. But today, today it was all coming to a head, and he hated that he couldn't control it.
Steve tried his best, he really did, but as hard as he tried to hold them back, one by one the tears started streaming down his face. He grabbed both hands and buried his face inside, not wanting Danny to see his meltdown.
Danny got up and sat on the coffee table directly in front of Steve and placed a hand on his shoulder as Steve's entire body shook from the exhaustion and emotional strain of not only today but the last 22 years.
"Let it out babe, it's okay, it's okay," Danny coaxed Steve. Danny was pretty sure that this was the first time in a very, very long time, that Steve had allowed himself to be vulnerable, allowed himself to actually feel everything that he had bottled up inside for years.
Danny prayed that Steve didn't see this breakdown as a sign of weakness. He prayed that Steve understood that what he was going through right now, the emotions he was no longer able to control, was the sign of a man who had been strong for far too long, who hadn't let himself grieve, and who had been so busy being everybody else's rock, that he had neglected to anchor himself. As much as it hurt Danny to see Steve cry, as much as it broke his heart, he knew that Steve needed this, he knew that if Steve was ever going to heal from this, this was going to be the first step.
After a few minutes Steve wiped his hands over his tear stained face and took a deep breath.
"I don't get it man, I don't get how she could..." Steve stopped mid sentence as he shook his head in frustration.
"I know babe," Danny didn't need Steve to finish that sentence he knew exactly what Steve was wondering. How she could leave us, how she could love him, how she could forgive him, how she could not care about her own family.
"20 years Danny, 20 years my dad spent looking for answers to my mom's death, and she had been alive the entire time. He destroyed himself over it and he died thinking that he failed her, that he failed to find her killers."
Steve shook his head as he thought about how unfair the whole situation was.
"She loved him...after everything she still loved him, what kind of a mother would love a man who ripped her family apart? And it's not like he lied and broke us up, he threatened to kill us...he murdered my dad...god my dad...he deserved better than her..."
"You all did," Danny looked at Steve. Danny hated Doris with a passion, the pain she had caused her family, the pain she was causing Steve, if he never saw that woman again it would be too soon.
They sat there in silence for a few more minutes before Danny brought up something that had been bothering him from the minute it left Steve's mouth.
"I like who you are."
This caught Steve's attention as his red-rimmed eyes looked up at his partner.
"You said you don't like who you are, I just wanted to tell you that I do... like who you are, and so does Grace, and so does everybody else who knows you."
"I shouldn't? Well, I do."
"We barely agree on anything when it comes to policing Danny, how can you say you like who I am?"
Danny gave Steve a "are you kidding me" look.
"We don't always agree because we have very different personalities, it doesn't mean that I don't like who you are. I may not always agree with your approach to handling a situation but that's because we have two different minds Steve, its normal. I trust you with Grace's life and I don't trust ANYBODY with my daughter's life, if anything ever happened to Rachel and me I would want you to raise my daughter, because there's no one I trust more, that's how much I like who you are. And I trust you with my life, there is nobody, and I mean nobody else who I would want watching my back than you. You're the best at what you do, no one even comes close."
Danny stopped talking as he tried to let everything he had just said sink into Steve's head. He then remembered something that Grace had said, and knew that Steve needed to hear it.
"Rachel and I got in a fight one day about me being a detective; she said it wasn't fair to Grace, that my job scared her. So that night I asked Grace if she was scared that I was a detective, that if it worried her every time I left in the morning. And you know what she said to me?"
Steve looked up at Danny.
"She smiled and said 'no way'. She said, and I quote, 'As long as Uncle Steve is your partner I'll never be worried about you Danno, you and Uncle Steve always keep each other safe. You're like Batman and Robin, except you're both Batman'."
Steve let a small laugh out as he smiled.
Danny could've jumped for joy at the smile that appeared on Steve's face.
"You've got a smart kid Danno."
"Yeah, and she loves you Steve, just like we all do. This may not have been the life that you chose Steve, and although the Academy's you went to shaped who you became, this, in here," Danny pointed to Steve's heart. "...that's who you are, and that's who you have always been. You have the biggest heart out of anyone I have ever met in my entire life; you put everyone else before you, always. I'll never be able to tell you how sorry I am for everything that you have gone through, for everything that you have lost, but I am not sorry that all of those events placed you here, on this island, heading this task force. You're the best thing that's happened to Grace and me, she worships the ground you walk on and I couldn't have asked for a better best friend than you. You've been there for me through everything Steve, the past 5 years haven't been the easiest, but I always had you and Grace, you two have been my constants. You're my family, you're Grace's family, and when everything is going wrong, when everything seems to be crumbling around me, that's what I come back to, you and Grace. We all have our flaws Steve, we all have things we wished we could change about ourselves, but that's what makes us human, that's what separates us from the psychos we put away."
Steve sat there taking in everything Danny was saying.
"When I first started here you told me that I wasn't as alone on this island as I thought, and you were right. Now it's my turn to tell you the same. You're not alone Steve, you're never going to be alone, not if I have anything to say about it. We may not be your biological family, but Grace and I love you just the same. We're Ohana and nothing will ever change that. You're stuck with us partner, and you're never gonna be able to get rid of us."
And there it was, his constant in his overly complicated, tragic life.
Steve smiled with tears in his eyes as he looked up at Danny. The love that he saw in his partner's eyes took his breath away as a tiny shard from his broken heart started to fall back into place. He knew it wasn't going to be easy, he knew healing from everything he had found out and from losing his mother again to a fate worse than death, was going to take awhile. Steve wasn't sure how long it would take, he wasn't even sure if he would ever completely feel whole again, but he was certain of one thing; he was going to be okay; he was going to put as many pieces of his heart back together again because he knew that his stubborn, scrappy, loyal-to-a-fault brother sitting in front of him was going to make sure of it.
"I'd never want to Danno."