Word Count: 2,551
Rating: PG-13/swearing and violence
Notes: Written for the After Holidays Prompt Fest at stevedannoslash. The prompt was Danny's wearing the bomb collar, not Chin.
Other notes: Not deathfic, despite the title.
All Danny can think as he’s kneeling there, the only thing that he can focus on, is that he has to keep perfectly, perfectly still. If he moves, if he breathes too hard, he’s a dead man.
He’s probably a dead man anyway, but the longer he stays still, the longer he can lie to himself about that.
Steve has to rely on every trick he’s ever learned to not just lose his shit and vomit when the call comes in. It’s a close thing anyway.
“Boss,” Kono says urgently, a little frantically. “What, what happened?”
“Danny,” Chin growls a split-second later. “Danny, where’s Danny-”
“I know where he is,” Steve replies, and his voice sounds weird to his own ears, kind of tinny and far away. Kono looks up at him, and he knows he has to pull himself together. The look on her face is terrifying, blank and unfocused. “He’s not – he’s gonna be fine.” It comes out harsh, grating, not entirely convincing. “We’re – we’re gonna find Hesse, the three of us, and we’re gonna kill him, kill him dead this time, no more do-overs, no prisons.”
“McGarrett,” Chin says, calm in the face of the storm like nobody else could ever be. His hand is warm on Steve’s arm and Steve focuses on the feeling, tries to ground himself in it. “You have to tell us what’s going on, brah.”
“That was HPD,” he tells them shortly. “Hesse got Danny. Bomb collar.”
“Let’s go,” Kono says, already on her way to the car. “We have to – where, where, where?”
“I’ll drive,” Steve says, and nobody says a word as he slides into the driver’s seat.
Danny knows the second his team pulls up. It’s a screech of tires that he’d recognize anywhere – it’s his goddamned car, of course he’d know it, and he’d be pissed that Steve hadn’t bothered to take his own damn truck to work today if he could feel anything other than relief. He can hear the HPD officer at the perimeter arguing, can hear Chin’s soothing voice, can hear one set of footsteps not even pretend to slow down as they make their way to where he’s kneeling.
“Hey, babe,” Danny says as conversationally as he can when Steve mirrors his pose, kneeling with his knees almost touching Danny’s. “How’s your morning been?”
“Danny,” Steve replies, and he sounds weird, like he’s been breathing in smoke. Danny looks at him, really looks at him; his face is chalk-white under the tan, and his eyes are too wide in his face. He looks about fifteen seconds away from stroking out, and Danny doesn’t have a name for this face, but he thinks that it might be labeled Shit Holy Fuck I Don’t Know What To Do.
“Breathe, Steve,” Danny says gently, and it’s really too weird that he’s the one doing the comforting here, but this is his life, isn’t it? “Hey. Look at me – no, look at me,” he says firmly, and Steve’s eyes lock onto his. Carefully, so carefully, Danny reaches his hand out and rests it on Steve’s knee, the only part of his partner’s body that he can reach without too much movement. “I really need you to concentrate right now, okay, because you’re the only one who can find that fucker and put a slug in his brain for me.”
“Yeah,” Steve replies, blowing out a breath and bowing his head. When he looks back up, he seems more – Steve-like, or something, more like he’s got a goal and a way to focus and a job to do. Danny smiles the best he can, hopes it’s at least a little convincing, and squeezes Steve’s knee before slowly moving his hand back to his own thigh.
“How are you managing to stay so still?” Kono asks from beside him, and the smile on her face is heartbreaking, like she’s only smiling because the other option is tears.
“I can be very, very still,” Danny protests. “I mean, even in situations where it’s not, y’know, life-and-death, but hey, incentive is a really powerful thing-”
“Don’t,” Steve snaps, and Danny wishes he could be the one to lay a hand on Steve’s shoulder like Chin is doing, wishes he could lean into the taller man and wrap his arms around his waist until that broken look disappears. He’s stuck here, though, so he’ll have to settle for trying to smile at Steve.
“You’ll find him, babe,” Danny says softly. “I have faith. You’re good at that tracking shit, he has to have left some clues for you to-”
And then there’s something moving in his chest pocket, a shrill ringing sound, and Steve’s fingers are carefully reaching in and pulling out a phone that Danny doesn’t remember having stuck there.
It’s no great surprise to learn that the caller is Hesse, nor to realize that he’s making demands that are going to be slightly impossible to meet. Steve stays where he is, kneeling right in front of Danny, his eyes locked onto Danny’s as he snaps off brittle answers to whatever Hesse is saying.
The phone shuts with a click and Steve’s already on his own phone, dialing and speaking almost simultaneously. “Governor – yeah, I’ve just – and yeah, yeah I did,” he almost babbles, suddenly launching himself up and away from Danny. Kono slides smoothly into his place, resting her hand gently on top of Danny’s.
“We’ll find him,” she says, quiet conviction over what few probably realize is abject terror. “We’re going to hunt him down and I’m going to rip his heart out though his ribcage, Danny, you have no idea-”
“I think I do, in fact, have some sort of idea,” Danny says dryly, and she blinks and gives a slightly watery laugh as Steve walks back over. The look on his face isn’t good, not at all.
“Hesse wants ten million dollars,” Steve sums up. “The Governor won’t authorize it, says we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
There’s a tense silence as the news settles, and Danny closes his eyes as his stomach twists. He’d known he was a dead man the second the collar had been put on; confirmation is a bitch, though, and he thinks about Grace, about things he’ll never see or do, and tries to take a breath.
“I know where to get the money,” Chin says flatly after a few seconds, and Danny’s eyes fly back open.
“Chin,” Kono says, low in her throat, and Danny doesn’t know if it’s admonition or respect or something else entirely, but Chin looks determined.
“I’ve gotta go get-” he says, walking back towards the perimeter. He pauses while he’s only just still in Danny’s line of sight. “We will get you out of this,” he tells Danny firmly. “You are not dying here, Danny, not today, not from this.”
Kono squeezes his hand again before carefully standing and going quickly after Chin.
Steve drops in front of him, and he looks wrecked as he meets Danny’s eyes. Before he can get a word out, Danny asks, “Where’s he getting the money?”
Steve’s mouth twists. “I have a guess,” he answers, voice far away, like he’s only getting through this because he’s imagining it’s not Danny strapped here, like it’s any other case and they’re just having a discussion. “He was accused of taking the money once. Might as well make it true.”
“He’s going to-” Danny lets the sentence hang, because he’s not sure how to end it without wild gesticulation, and that’s just not on the table right now.
“We’re all going to,” Steve confirms, that wicked glint in his eye that screams crazy plan, only plan, I’m doing this. “You are not going to die here, Danno. None of us are going to let that happen.” His voice drops a little as he adds, “Least of all me.”
“God,” Danny says, because there’s so much to say here, so much to get out, and he doesn’t know how to say any of it. “Steve-”
“I love you,” Steve says with that same burning intensity he uses to state all irrefutable facts, the voice he uses to tell suspects that they’re going to jail or to let a victim’s family know that they’ll find the killer. “I’m going to shoot him and we’re going to get that fucking collar off of you and we’re going to have Grace over tomorrow and do Christmas, okay, just like we talked about, Danny.”
“Okay,” Danny manages quietly. “Steve, I love you, God knows I do, but I need you to realize that this might not end how you want it to. And if it doesn’t,” he goes on, raising his voice over Steve’s mutinous protests, “if it doesn’t, babe, I need you to promise me you’ll keep your shit together, okay? I need you to – to look after Grace, be there for her,” he finishes, and fuck, he’s tearing up, thinking again about everything he’s not going to see, how he’s not going to get to intimidate her first date or take pictures at her prom or threaten the guy who wants to marry her with bodily harm if he hurts her. “Walk her down the aisle for me.”
“God, Danny,” and there’s so much in those two words, so much in Steve’s expression right now. Danny just smiles the best that he can.
“I learned this neat little Hawaiian word,” Danny says. “I heard it meant all sorts of things, so I looked it up one day, found out that it’s true. Only Hawaiian would have one word mean, like, thirty different things, but hey, it’s really not the weirdest thing about this place.” He smiles at Steve. “Aloha.”
Steve just stares at him for a minute. “Aloha,” he finally returns, and then he’s touching the back of Danny’s hand with his fingers and standing to go with Kono and Chin.
Getting the money is ludicrously easy; really, the hardest part is Kono convincing the local Neighborhood Watch not to call the cops on them. They’ve got the ten million Hesse wants in less than twenty minutes, and they’re on their way back to Danny.
Steve stays in the car as Chin and Kono climb out and head to Danny. He can see them talking, can see the tense curve of Danny’s back, and he knows he doesn’t have time to fall apart – but that’s his life sitting right there, a bomb strapped around his neck for Steve’s transgressions. Steve closes his eyes and goes over the plan again instead of focusing on all the thousands of ways this could go horribly wrong, carefully not thinking the phrase how it could blow up in their faces.
Danny isn’t going to die today. Hesse is, though, no doubt about that.
Chin slips back into the seat and buckles his belt. “Kono’s staying with him,” he says, and they’re off to meet Hesse and save Danny’s life.
And of course, of course Hesse is a lying bastard; of course he tosses the cash in the fire he’s got lit. Hesse’s smile is cold as he meets Steve’s horrified gaze.
“This was never about the money,” he says. “This, McGarrett, this is about me watching you lose everything that’s important to you and knowing that it’s entirely your fault. You know that, right?” Hesse smiles maliciously. “Detective Williams would never have come up on my radar if you weren’t sleeping with him, so really, it’s your fault that his girl is going to have to grow up without a father.”
“Here’s the thing, Hesse,” Steve says as steadily as he can, watching as Hesse’s finger twitches between the trigger and the disarm on the remote control he’s holding. “I’m not losing Danny.”
Hesse’s face lights up with what could probably be termed glee. “That’s where you’re wrong,” he almost laughs as he moves his finger, and then Steve tilts his head the tiniest bit and there’s a burst of gunfire and Hesse goes down.
Steve doesn’t waste any time; he draws his backup piece and shoots Hesse point blank in the head, three times dead center, even as he’s walking forward and bending to get the remote for the bomb. He uses Hesse’s finger to carefully press the disarm, and as he backs up, he kicks the man’s body hard in the side for good measure.
Kono smiles as she hangs up her phone and walks back over to kneel in front of Danny again. “It’s over,” she says softly as her nimble fingers release the bomb from around his neck and deposit it into an EOD container.
She catches him as he slumps forward and doesn’t say anything as he shakes in her arms.
Steve is out of the car almost before he can think, running as fast as he can to the back of the ambulance where Danny’s being checked out by an EMT. He sees Steve coming and smiles, holding out a hand.
“I assume you shot him well enough to kill him this time?” he asks, and God, he sounds normal, sounds like he hadn’t been saying goodbye less than two hours ago.
Steve stands just out of Danny’s reach, staring at him for a minute, before edging the medic out of the way and wrapping his arms around Danny, clutching him tightly to his chest. Danny’s arms instantly tuck around Steve’s body, and he’s making these little strangled sounds into Steve’s shoulder as Steve presses his face into Danny’s hair. They’re both sweaty and dirty and it’s kind of disgusting, actually, or it would be if either of them were in any position to let go of the other.
“Let’s go home,” Danny breathes into his shirt.
“Yeah,” Steve agrees, because home sounds like the best plan he’s heard in hours, days; maybe the best one since he’d met Danny. He turns to the medic. “Um, sorry. Do you need to-”
“He’s a little dehydrated, but nothing that’s going to require hospitalization,” the woman returns with a gentle smile. “I’d say keep the excitement to a minimum for a few days, but you’re free to go.”
Steve doesn’t waste any time as he helps Danny stand and walks to the car, holding the other man’s hand like he’s never letting it go. He has to, though, when they finally reach the Camaro. Danny doesn’t say anything when Steve takes the driver’s seat, and that’s statement enough about how he’s feeling.
The drive is quiet like it rarely is, but it’s not a bad sort of quiet; it’s the kind that says I’m enjoying being alive and thank you and God I almost lost you and a million other things. Neither of them speaks until Steve parks the car next to his truck and climbs out.
“Hey,” Danny says when they’re standing next between the vehicles; Steve had walked around to grab Danny’s hand again as soon as he’d stood up. Danny reaches up with his free hand and rests it on the back of Steve’s neck. “Aloha.”
Steve smiles as he leans down to press a kiss to Danny’s temple. “Aloha,” he whispers back.
Aloha really does mean a ton of things. Among those meanings are ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye,’ and ‘I love you.’