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The Hero Shot

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The explosion knocks him back hard. He lands on his right hip and smacks his head into the pavement, and it’s a few dizzying minutes before he realizes what’s happened.

There are flames everywhere; smoke and debris choke the air, and he can hear sirens in the distance like a wail of a crying child.

“Gracie,” he says breathlessly, and then he’s running forward and yelling, “Gracie! Come on, baby, where are you? Gracie!”

He doesn’t feel the heat from the fire, just the jerk and pull against his arms that he strains against. He doesn’t even realize that it’s Chin and Kono for several long moments, but when he does he begs. There was no time for shame when his little girl had been in that building.

“We know, Danny,” Chin says, and his voice is that same smooth solace that he gives to victims, but Danny jerks in his hands and tries to break free.

“No,” Danny growls, “you don’t understand, Gracie was in there, my daughter, and Steve-” his head snaps up at his own words because Steve was how they’d found the warehouse. Steve had said he was going to check it out and Danny had told him to wait for backup, but it was Steve and Steve never listened about things like backup.

Steve just asked questions like, what if it was your little girl, and this time it was. This time it was Danny’s daughter being held in there and Steve wouldn’t have listened.

“Someone give me a phone,” he says, jerking free, and Chin and Kono look at him like he’s lost his mind. “Someone give me a goddamn phone!” he snaps, and Kono reaches into her pocket to pull hers out.

Danny fumbles through her contact list, because this was Steve and Steve took crazy risks all the time and made it through and Steve had looked Danny in the eyes and said, “We’ll get her back,” and Danny had believed him. Danny had believed every stupid, goddamned word because he couldn’t not believe him. Because Gracie was his life, and Steve knew that and Steve had never lied to him.

“Come on,” he begs as the phone jangles in his ear. “Come the fuck on you son of a bitch.”

There’s a click and the ringing stops and Danny yells, “You crazy fucking psycho.” And that’s when Danny spots him, striding through the smoke and flame like he’s a goddamned superhero, Grace clinging to his neck.

Steve’s other hand is holding his cell phone to his ear and Steve’s rough voice is saying, “So the explosion was a little bigger than I thought.”

Chin and Kono are too stunned to do anything but watch Danny fly forward, launching himself at Steve and Grace.

She's trembling and crying, but she’s strong when she wraps her arms around his neck. He clumsily pets her hair and he’s maybe crying too, but it doesn’t fucking matter because she’s alive. She’s alive and breathing and when he meets Steve’s eyes over her head he doesn’t even know what dumbass thing Steve is about to say next and doesn’t care.

So he doesn’t give him a chance to say it. He just grabs Steve by the back of the neck and drags him down to his own mouth, tasting ash and heat and the copper of blood.

“Psycho,” he mutters when he pulls back, resting his forehead against Steve’s, knowing that later he’s probably going to have to claim emotional trauma just to get out of being punched.

But Steve doesn’t pull away, just slides his arm back around Gracie, just under where Danny is holding her up, and presses his other hand against Danny’s hip, keeping him close.

“Daddy,” Grace whispers tremulously.

“It’s okay, baby,” Danny says, and he doesn’t even know which one he’s even talking to. Maybe it doesn’t matter. “It’s going to be okay,” he says, pulling them both closer. “I’ve got you.”