The smell of mold and rusted wood was the first thing that greeted him as he made his way back to the land of the conscious. He had no idea how long he had been out for or where he was. The room was pitch black, the only light coming in was through a small boarded up window in the far corner. From the looks of it, Steve could tell that he was in a basement of some sort, maybe a cellar.
As his eyes adjusted he tried to find anything significant that could give him any clue as to where he was.
There was nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The room was practically empty, except for a table and a chair.
His head hurt, his body ached, and his arms were killing. His hands were tied above his head, chained to the pillars above him, reminiscent of the way he was tied up in North Korea. Steve looked up to his hands and noticed how swollen and cut up his wrists were, and even the slightest arm movements sent waves of pain shooting down his arm.
How the hell did this happen again. Steve was mentally kicking himself for not knowing that something was going on. If it were anybody else telling him to meet him at an abandoned warehouse alone, he would've known that something didn't add up, but because it was Danny's little brother Steve ignored all sense and logic.
Steve was trying to wrap his mind around everything that had happened at the warehouse. Never in a million years would Steve have thought that Matt was working with Wo Fat. How did the two even meet?
Just then Steve remembered the phone call that he overheard between Matt and who he was pretty sure now to be Wo Fat, "I know it's been a week. No of course I'm not backing out, I know what's at stake. No please, don't, look I promise we'll be there."
$5 million dollars was at stake and Steve finally realized that the "we" Matt was talking about was him.
Steve shook his head, how could he let himself be captured again. If Steve was honest with himself, the betrayal hurt like hell. It hurt when Jenny Kay did it and this time around it hurt even more, seeing as it was by the hands of his best friend and partner's little brother.
Steve's thoughts were interrupted as he heard the door opening from behind him. His back was to the door so he couldn't see who it was, but he had a good idea.
"Commander, I told you I would see you again soon," Wo Fat circled around until he was face to face with Steve.
Steve remembered Lou's daughter running into 5-0 headquarters after she had been freed by Wo Fat, and delivering that message.
Steve's attention was drawn downwards towards Wo Fat's hands where he saw something very familiar. The cattle prod. Steve remembered exactly how it felt in North Korea and knew he was about to find out how it felt again.
Steve stood up a little straighter. He had a feeling that Wo Fat was going to ask him that. It only seemed logical as the last time they were in North Korea Wo Fat was looking for Shelbourne, which turned out to be Steve's mother.
"Go to hell," Steve spat out. He knew it wasn't the smartest thing to say but he let his emotions get the better of him.
Wo Fat Smirked and pushed the cattle prod against Steve's abdomen. Steve screamed in agony as shock waves were sent through his entire body.
"Let's try that again...where is Doris" Wo Fat wanted to know one thing and one thing only.
"I don't know." Steve was breathing a little heavier now. He really didn't know, he hadn't seen his mother in months, but he knew that Wo Fat wouldn't believe him.
Steve screamed out as the cattle prod once again made contact with his flesh. Wo Fat held it there for a few seconds longer, hoping that Steve would crack.
"Where is your mother!"
"I...don't...know" Steve was breathing hard, the electric shocks being sent through his body were making it hard to breathe.
Wo Fat dropped the cattle prod and started walking towards the door.
Just as Steve thought that Wo Fat was done torturing him, at least for now, five of Wo Fat's men walked into the room. Steve's heart sank a little as he saw what they had in their hands.
Two of the men had bats, two were wearing brass knuckles, and one had the cattle prod.
Wo Fat closed the door behind him and smiled as Steve's screams echoed through the halls.
It had been two days since Steve had gone missing and everyone still seemed to be running on adrenaline, especially Danny. He was in the zone; he didn't seem the least bit tired, just determined and angry. After spending countless hours going through old case files on Wo Fat and his family, as well as files that Jo had dropped off, they had figured out a few locations where Wo Fat could have possibly taken Steve. They had a good idea that Steve was still on the island as all air transportation was being closely monitored, after the Governor specifically requested it himself after hearing about Steve.
It was around noon when they received all the search warrants for each of the locations on their list. Everyone was hopeful that one of these locations could be it.
Danny, Chin, Kono, and Lou and his team searched each of the locations one by one, thoroughly going through each room.
One by one, the locations turned up nothing.
By 10pm all the locations on their list had been searched and Chin, Kono, and Danny made their way back to headquarters.
They were all tired, frustrated and disheartened by the turn of events. They had be so hopeful a few hours ago and now they were back to square one; they weren't any closer to finding Steve.
Danny walked over to the desk with all the files, he gripped the table hard and closed his eyes as he tried to keep his anger, frustration, and fear at bay, however the more he tried the more frustrated he became.
It had been two days and they had no idea where Steve was. Danny stared at the files in front of him, the files that had led them nowhere, turned up nothing, and within seconds his anger and frustration consumed him. Danny threw all of the files on the floor in fit of rage.
"DAMNIT STEVE! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU!"
Danny's hands were shaking as the papers went flying everywhere.
"Danny..." Kono slowly approached Danny. Her and Chin had been worried about Danny. He had been oddly calm and focused the last two days and although it had been great in order to work on this case, they had been worried that Danny was burying his feelings in his work. Besides their talk in Danny's office when he had stormed out on Matt, Kono hadn't seen any other emotion out of Danny; his behaviour and mannerism were almost robotic, until now.
"We're going to find him Danny," Kono didn't know if she believed that herself but she had to say something to Danny.
"How?! How the hell are we going to find him, WE HAVE NOTHING!" He didn't mean to yell at Kono but he couldn't hold anything in anymore. "We have no clues as to where Steve is, not a single one, and the longer we take..." Danny trailed off as he couldn't finish that sentence. The thought of never finding Steve was unbearable.
Danny was gripping onto the table as if it was the only thing holding him up right.
"Danny, you need to go home brah, you haven't left the office since it happened. You need some sleep," Chin was concerned, as un-tired as Danny may seem he knew that sooner or later Danny was going to crash and burn, no one can run on adrenaline for long.
"I'll sleep when we find Steve," was Danny's response as he starred at the ground.
"Danny, you're no good to us like this. You need to be sharp! Kono and I have both gone and slept, it's your turn."
"I have slept."
"Sleeping on the couch here for an hour doesn't count as sleeping Danny."
Danny sighed. He knew what Chin was saying was true, he had even noticed minor slip ups over the past two days, and he knew some of them were due to a lack of sleep.
Truth be told, the reason why Danny hadn't gone home to sleep was simply because he didn't want to close his eyes. Every time he closed his eyes he relived the events at the warehouse and it broke his heart. It was bad enough that Steve's screams were etched in Danny's brain, but to see the events happening over and over in his head was too painful, so Danny stayed awake. But Danny knew that Chin was right, he needed to go home, and at this point he was probably doing more harm than good being here.
"Fine, but I'll be back in a few hours."
"We'll be here Danny, and if we find anything we'll be sure to call you right away."
Danny nodded at Chin, grabbed his stuff, and headed for his car.
Kono looked over at Chin with tears in her eyes. "What's going to happen to him if we don't find Steve?"
"We're not going to have to find out cuz, we'll find Steve," Chin placed a reassuring hand on Kono's shoulder.
Every bone in Steve's body ached. He knew he had a few broken ribs, he felt it the instant those bats connected with his mid section. His face was swollen and his left eye was completely shut from the bruising that resulted from the brass knuckles Wo Fat's men were wearing. His feet were bloody from dragging on the floor and his head was pounding. Although Steve was sure that every inch of his body was covered in bruises, the ones that hurt the most were his wrists. The chains had dug into his skin hours ago and every sudden movement just dug the chains deeper and deeper into the now open flesh wounds. He knew the chains had to be rusty and was worried that the wounds would get infected soon, the last thing he needed right now was to go into septic shock.
This was definitely worse than North Korea.
Steve was trapped, he had no way out, there was no Jenna Kay this time to give him a pin, and he knew the only way out of here was if Danny, Chin, and Kono found him.
As bad as Steve's predicament was, he could only imagine what Danny was going through right now. He hoped that Danny was so concentrated on finding him that he didn't have time to really dwell on what had happened. He would never wish that kind of gut wrenching torment on his worst enemy (okay, except for maybe Wo Fat), let alone his best friend. Steve had been on the other side of situations like this before. The guilt, the questions, the heartache, he would do anything to take that all away from Danny. He knew that if he didn't make it out of this alive he was going to take a little piece of Danny with him, and that scared him more than the thought of dying.
Steve's thoughts were once again interrupted by the jarring of the door behind him.
"Commander...are you ready to talk yet?" Wo Fat came and stood in front of Steve.
"No matter how many times you ask me it's not going to change my answer, I don't know where Doris is, and even if I did, I wouldn't tell you," Steve looked defiantly at Wo Fat.
Steve knew that it really didn't matter what he said at this point. Doris had killed Wo Fat's mother and Wo Fat was out for revenge. Even if Steve knew where Doris was and told Wo Fat, Wo Fat wouldn't change a thing, he would torture Steve until he was dead as an act of retribution and to pay Doris back for taking his mother from him. In Steve's current condition he knew his only chance of escaping was if Danny and the team found him. Steve hated feeling so helpless.
Wo Fat just stood there staring at Steve.
"I know what she did, I know what happened to your mother."
For the first time ever, Steve saw emotion in Wo Fat's eyes, he saw a son who had lost his mother at a young age, it was the first time Steve saw the human side of Wo Fat, even if it was short lived.
Within seconds Wo Fat's eyes turned cold again, all emotion wiped away.
The first punch to Steve's broken ribs felt like a knife stabbing him. The next 10 or 20 that followed felt like hammers. Steve was sure that one of the broken ribs had punctured a lung as it was becoming increasingly difficult to breathe.
Wo Fat left the room and was back within seconds with a whip in his hand.
Steve was still trying to catch his breath but the time Wo Fat walked back in. He saw the whip in Wo Fat's hands and braced himself for what he knew was about to happen.
The first lash to his back hurt like hell but Steve managed to not make a sound, he didn't want to give Wo Fat any more satisfaction. By the fifth slash Steve was physically shaking, his back felt like it was literally on fire. By the tenth he was screaming. By the twentieth he was unconscious, his mind completely shutting out the pain sending him into sweet oblivion.
Right as Danny walked through the doors, Grace came running out of her room.
"Danno!" She jumped up and gave him a hug.
"Hi Monkey," Danny wrapped his arms around his little girl and kissed her on the cheek.
Amber walked out of the bathroom two seconds later.
"Hey," she walked up to Danny and gave him a hug and a kiss.
"Hi," he wrapped his arms around her.
"Danno, how come Uncle Matt is staying in a hotel now?"
Grace's question completely took Danny by surprise and Danny felt the anger burning inside him again at the thought of his brother. He didn't even know that Matt had packed up his stuff and gone to a hotel, although he wasn't surprised, Danny hated Matt right now and Matt knew that. The last thing Danny would want to see when he came home was Matt's face. Danny hadn't even had time to think about Matt or what to do with him; he was so concentrated on finding Steve that he had decided to deal with Matt later. He had however told Matt not to leave Hawaii or he would make it his personal mission to track him down and put him behind bars, and he could tell by the look on Matt's face that he wasn't going anywhere.
Amber could see that Danny was at a loss for words so she jumped in.
"I think Uncle Matt just wanted to give your dad some space to find your Uncle Steve," she smiled at Grace. "Grace why don't you go get ready for bed and I'll come in and read you a story," Amber said as she stroked Grace's hair.
"Okay Amber," Grace smiled as she looked up at Amber. "I'm glad you came home Danno." Grace gave Danny one more hug then headed for the washroom.
Danny took Amber's hand.
"Thank you...I don't know what I would've done if you weren't here to take care of Grace," he smiled appreciatively.
"You don't need to thank me Jersey, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," she kissed Danny on the cheek.
"How are you doing?" Danny could hear the concern in her voice and as much as he wanted to lie and say he was fine, he was too tired. Besides, he knew she wouldn't believe it, so he decided to go with the truth.
"Not so good...we have no idea where Steve is...it's been two days Amber..." Danny sat down on the couch and put his head in his hands.
"Don't give up hope Danny, I know I don't know Steve very well but from everything you and Grace have told me, he's a fighter and he won't go down easily."
Danny knew she was right but as every hour passed it was getting harder and harder to stay positive.
Danny and Amber talked for a few minutes before Amber went into the kitchen to make Danny a sandwich. Sleep wasn't the only thing Danny had been deprived of the last few days, he was barely eating.
When Amber came back into the living room she saw Danny passed out on the couch. She smiled sadly. She knew the toll this was taking on Danny, she had never seen two friends as close and Steve and Danny, she couldn't even imagine what he was going through.
Amber walked over to the couch and placed the sandwich on the table in front of him so that when Danny woke up he would have something to eat. She then took the blanket from behind the couch and draped it over Danny. As much as she wanted him to sleep in a proper bed, she knew that he probably hadn't been sleeping and she didn't want to wake him in fear that he may not go back to sleep.
Danny's back at the warehouse, he can see Steve tied up, beaten to a pulp. He hears Steve's screams as the onslaught of punches and kicks continue to bruise his already battered body. Before Danny knows it he's running as fast as he can towards Steve, but he can't close the distance between the two of them. No matter how fast he runs Steve is always 10 feet in front of him. Steve's screams are getting louder and louder and then they stop. Wo Fat's goons disappear from the room and Steve and Danny are the only two left. Danny starts to walk towards Steve and when he realizes that he's actually getting closer he starts to run. When he finally reaches Steve he kneels down, finally face to face with Steve who is tied to a chair. He lifts Steve's face up and doesn't even realize the man. His face is so bruised and broken that it doesn't even look like Steve anymore. Danny's shaky hands move up to Steve's neck to search for a pulse. Nothing. Steve's dead.
Danny's entire body jerked awake. He looked over at the clock, 1am. This is why he didn't sleep, the nightmare he just had was something he never wanted to see. He put his face into his shaky hands and shuttered at the images he just saw.
Danny is so shaken by his nightmare that he doesn't even notice Grace coming up beside him.
"Danno...are you okay," her voice shakes him out of his daze.
"Monkey, what are you doing up," he picks her up and places her on his lap.
"I heard you scream Danno, I wanted to make sure you were okay"
The last thing Danny wanted was to show weakness in front of Grace.
"I'm okay baby," Danny gave a sad smile, but Grace could see right through it.
"Are you sad Danno, because Uncle Steve is missing," her question was laced with so much worry that it tore at his heart.
"Yea monkey, I'm sad," he gave her a soft smile and looked at the ground. There was no point lying to Grace, Danny knew he wore his emotions on his sleeve, and his little girl always knew when something was wrong.
"It's okay to be sad Danno but you don't have to worry, Uncle Steve is the strongest, bravest, fastest person I know...besides you of course...he'll be okay," she smiled as she looked into Danny's eyes.
Danny looked at his little girl and his heart ached. Grace had so much pure innocence in her, he worried that life would strip her of that one day, the world was a scary place filled with people like Wo Fat. He also worried about Grace if they didn't find her Uncle Steve. Steve was practically a second father to Grace and Danny knew how much Graced loved him, she would never be the same if she lost him, none of them would.
"I hope so monkey," Danny was trying his best to stay positive in front of Grace, he didn't want her to worry about her Uncle Steve.
"I know so!" Grace said smiling. "Do you know how I know?"
Danny smiled, "How monkey?"
"Because Uncle Steve has you Danno. You always find him, like you did in Afghanistan and North Korea! You're like a superhero Danno, if anyone can find Uncle Steve it's you," Grace smiled as she hugged Danny.
Grace was always the inquisitive one. Anytime Danny was gone for more than a day she had to know all the details, why he was going, where he was going, and when he returned from those trips she had the next set of 20 questions all lined up, which is how she knew about Afghanistan and North Korea.
Danny's eyes filled with tears.
"Monkey, it's time for you to go back to bed okay," Danny choked out.
Danny just wanted to sit there and hold Grace all night but after what Grace had just said, he felt his heart tightening and his breathing was becoming rapid. This had only happened two other times in his life, during his divorce and when his partner Grace was killed.
"Okay Danno, I love you."
"I love you too monkey, so much."
Grace gave Danny a kiss and headed to bed.
Once Grace's door was closed, Danny walked into the bathroom and locked the door. He leaned heavily on the door as he sunk to the bottom and wrapped his arms around his knees. He couldn't hold it in anymore as he broke down and began to cry.
It was the gut-wrenching type of cry, everything from the past few days finally surfaced and Danny couldn't control it. His entire body was shaking and he was breathing rapidly.
Matt's betrayal, Steve's pained screams and the thought of him being tortured, their unsuccessful searches of the houses, the lack of clues to Steve's whereabouts, Grace's words. All of it was consuming him and he felt like the room was closing in on him.
Danny was a mess, he had never cried this much in his life, and one thought kept repeating itself in his mind – he couldn't lose Steve. They had to find him, he had to find him, because not only was a world without Steve one he wouldn't want to live in, it was also one he knew he couldn't live in.