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Kiss Me Better (But Keep Your Gas Mask On)

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It’s been three hours since they’d heard from Catherine, a full twenty minutes past her promised check in and every time Steve’s eyes flick uneasily to the silent two-way radio on the desk his shoulders tighten more and Danny can read the fear on his face even more clearly.

Danny tries not to think about the fact that if he can tell that Steve looks scared, they’re already fucked, an icy chill in his stomach to go along with the low hum of groaning outside, so constant it’s some messed up counterpoint to the waves, punctuated by scattered screams and the sporadic lone gunshot.

Steve had been pacing to the wall, door and back, blocking out the measure of the small room they were in. As much as they’d wanted to stay huddled in the familiarity of the 5-0 offices, there were too many damn windows up there, not to mention that now they could take advantage of Max’s seemingly paranoid installation of air scrubbers and biohazard filtration. Danny would thank him except he’s not here, and the thought where he might be (what he might be now) makes him sick. Danny’s brain keeps tossing up jokes about it being ‘quiet as the dead’ until he thinks he’ll scream.

Like he’s conjured it, someone shrieks outside (Danny prays it’s outside, though Steve rigged up some charges to give them advance warning of anything going worse than it already was) the noise climbing higher and higher until it cracks as terror overwhelms it. The sound jolts Kono awake from her uneasy sleep, though Steve calms her with a hand to the shoulder before she can alarm Grace pillowed at her side.

Grace’s face is still tacky with tears and smudges of smoke—Danny shudders to think how close it’d been, if they’d left early for their trip to the beach, if Danny hadn’t needed five minutes just to swing by the office.

Rachel’s cell phone didn’t even go to voicemail, only an eerie high-pitched tone, no ring. Danny couldn’t make himself try again.

“How long was I asleep, boss?” Kono asks, her voice quiet even as she smoothes a hand through the dark tangle of Grace’s hair.

“About 10 minutes,” Danny offers when Steve doesn’t. Steve’s gone back to staring at the radio like he could will it to crackle to life with his clenched fists or intense glare.

Kono doesn’t ask if they’ve heard from Catherine (terrifying reports of bio-weapons and mobs, a string of numbered code that had snapped Steve from 1 to SEAL in seconds, the urgency in her voice propelling them downstairs even as the shouts started, the alarms went) knows they’d have woken her with any news, but Danny catches her searching look to the morgue door, the wavering hope in her eyes.

“Chin will get here,” Danny promises and even though Kono’s answering “yeah” is small, there must be some certainty in Danny’s voice because the slight tremble in Kono’s lip firms.

“He’s the same kind of crazy you are, Kono, he’ll figure out a way to get through,” Steve says with an attempt at a smile and Danny sees a twitch go through Kono because that’s her family out there, not just Chin but Sid and her mom and her cousins and the rest of the HPD, because if there’s one thing Danny knows about being a cop is that you always bleed blue, no matter how long you’ve been on the force.

Kono nods, lies back to down to curl up against Grace (the sight makes Danny’s throat tight) and Danny stands, knee protesting, to join Steve at the radio.

“It’s pretty bad, isn’t it,” Danny asks him quietly and Steve shoots him a look that, if it were words, Danny would make him wash out his mouth with soap. “So what do we do?”

Steve just… sits there for a minute, looking so blank and… lost that Danny either wants to cry or smack Steve in the head. He settles for snapping, “Hey, Mr. “I can kill a man with a toothpick and my thumbs”, I’m sure you SEALs have a whole guidebook about what to do during a unnatural disaster, so if you could start mentally paging through, that’d be great. I’d hate for Grace to have to grow up in a morgue, though it would cut down on the whole talking to strange boys issue…”

Steve shoots him another look, but it’s not even what Danny thinks of as Steve’s Pissed-Off Comeback Face or even his Why Do I Put Up With You, Seriously? Face. It’s still unsure and off-kilter, makes Danny’s hands start to feel clammy.

“I trained for every kind of eventuality, even the ones you’d never think would happen, situations so bad and so wrong that…” Steve stops, swallows hard. “But it’s like I can’t think down here, too many things in my head and I can’t make a plan, can’t get us out of this and…”

“Hey.” Danny grabs Steve’s forearm, tries to soothe the vibrating tension of it with a slow brush of his fingers. “Breathe, Steve, you’ll figure it out.”

And he can see Steve actually breathe; a shuddering of air in and out and Steve’s eyes slide shut for a moment.

“Five minutes…” he mumbles and then swallows again, whatever relaxation of muscles amped back up.

Danny leans closer, brow wrinkled.

“Five minutes and then what? Because trust me, McGarrett, I’m pretty sure even you wouldn’t have figured a way out of all this zombie shit with five extra minutes.”

“No!” Steve snaps, eyes open and flashing. The sound is loud enough that Grace moves a bit in her sleep, an exhausted nonsense syllable sliding out of her mouth before she and Kono are still again. Steve lowers his voice. “If it had been five minutes later, you and Grace, you would have been out of the office, out at the beach and then when Catherine radioed and the air warnings started you’d have been,” his breath hitches, stalls, “you’d have…”

“Hey, hey,” Danny murmurs, finally getting it, pulling at Steve’s rigid shoulders and tense arms with his hands until he finally can tug with a palm around the back of Steve’s neck and get him closer until Steve’s forehead is touching his own. This close Danny can feel the whoosh of air as Steve shakes with the leftover adrenaline, the same nightmarish circle of thoughts that has been chasing each other through Danny’s head since they got here. “We’re okay, all right? You’re okay and I’m okay and Grace is okay and Kono is fine and Chin will get here, you hear me? If he has to bust a hundred doors and blow away a hundred zombies or whatever the fuck,” Steve huffs a breath that sound closer to a laugh, “but we’ll figure this out, you and me. Yeah?”

Steve takes a deep breath in, out, and then leans back enough to look Danny in the eye.

“Yeah,” he says and while things are still too fucked for him to really smile, the icy chill that had been riding Danny’s shoulders is gone.

“No question,” Danny offers quietly, and kisses Steve with a firm press of lips because God, five minutes and a twist of events and he can’t even imagine…

When he pulls back Steve is actually grinning, which Danny is about to congratulate himself about until he notices that Steve is looking past him, over his shoulder. He turns and then starts smiling himself.

“Bout time you got here,” he offers.

Chin is standing at the door, shotgun strapped over his shoulder, covered in mud and ash and who knows what else, looking like he ran through hell to get there.

“Island time, brah,” he says with a grin, and the bark of Danny’s laugh startles both Kono and Grace awake.

“Come on,” Steve stands up with a tight smile. “We’ve got work to do.”

Danny grins because they’re here, they’re fine, and they’re the goddamn Five-0. Together, they can do anything.