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Going all the way

Chapter Text

Going all the way

First Act - Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel


“So…” Steve looks down at his friend. Closing the gap completely, she leans even more into the embrace. Doing things to him he has missed all those months she was on her TAD.

“So…” Catherine is, of course aware of what she’s doing. Steve’s not the only one who has been missing something. And she’s not talking about getting taken to dinner. Well, maybe she is, since their dinner plans always seemed to end in bed. Or on the beach. Or the kitchen ta… don’t go there. She’s openly smiling now.

“So… we have some time before we need to be on base.”

“What do you suggest we do with that time, commander?”

“Uh, I don’t know, lieutenant.” Steve mumbles near her ear, while he’s kissing that sensitive spot right under it. “You could tell me about your time aboard.” He’s teasing her.

“I think talking is way overrated.” She turns them both to the bed. One little push and Steve falls backwards onto it, taking her with him.

“Ugh.” Steve can’t completely suppress the small groan when the wind gets knocked out of him by Cath’s maneuver. His ribs took quite a hit yesterday, and even though nothing’s broken, they are a bit tender to the touch. Having your girlfriend lay on them is not the best idea. But he decides to ignore the small discomfort for the time being. He has waited too long to have her in his arms again.

“You okay?” Cath pushes herself up to look at Steve, but sees that he’s grinning at her.

“Fine. This seems a good way to spend some time.” Steve pulls her back down and at the same time fumbles her shirt up to get it out of her pants.

“You’re eager,” Cath can’t help but laugh at his clumsy attempt to get her clothes out of the way. She pushes herself up and sits back on his lap to get her uniform shirt off, while watching Steve unbuttoning his own shirt. Freed of that part of clothing she goes back down for another sweet kiss that gets a bit more intense than before. It’s obvious that she’s as eager has he is.

Steve makes another go for the hem of her undershirt and has it off in one smooth move. Now she’s sitting on his lap only clad in her pants and black sports bra. He finally has free access to her smooth skin and is roaming her upper body with his hands, sending shivers down her spine.

Cath looks at her lover and decides that he’s way overdressed for the occasion. She yearns to trace the outline of his tattoos and pepper his chest with small kisses, which always drives him crazy. She pulls his undershirt out of his pants, pulls it up and gasps. “Oh my God. Steve, what happened to you?”

“Huh?”

“Oh Steve, that must hurt. Why didn’t you tell me that you’re injured?” Cath gently touches the big bruise on the right side of his ribcage. The bruising had turned a deep purple over night and spans over most of his ribs.

“It’s fine, Cath. Really. It doesn’t hurt much. Nothing’s broken. Don’t worry.” He’s not going to get stopped by some stupid accident the day before. Steve pulls Cath back down for another kissing match and flips them both over. While he’s zeroing in on kissing along her collar line, she’s fumbling with his belt and buttons on his fly. Which elicits some moaning from Steve. And some laughing from Cath, when she pulls the pants down and sees his underwear. White boxer briefs with little red hearts and in big bold letters ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ very strategically placed. 

“Like them?” Steve asks smiling.

“Very. But I think I would like to unwrap my gift completely.” She doesn’t even wait for an answer, but gets straight to work. She doesn’t get far though. Cath has her hands on the waistband but freezes when there’s a knock on the door.

“Just ignore it.” Steve’s already slightly panting, wanting her hands on him in the most intimate way so desperately .

“Lt. Rollins, please open up. Ensign Miller, I have a message for you.” A female voice can be heard through the door along with more knocking.

Cath looks up at her friend, smiles an apology and slides out under him. Putting her shirt on and straightening her hair only takes a moment. “I’m coming, just a minute.”

While Cath got ready to open the door, Steve pulled his pants back up and threw his shirt on. He stands next to the bed, glad to have a shirt on that covers the state he’s in rather well.

Catherine comes back with a very young ensign. Steve would bet money that it’s her very first assignment. “Oh, Sir, I’m sorry Sir. I didn’t know.” The ensign almost salutes the Lt. Commander.

Steve has to smile at the young woman. “At ease, Ensign Miller.”

“Ensign, you have a message for me?” Catherine looks at the other woman.

“Yes, ma’am. Actually for you and Commander McGarrett. I would have gone to him next. Sir, your phone is off. I have been trying to contact you for an hour, Sir. Sorry, ma’am. Your message.” The young ensign seems a bit overwhelmed, for whatever reason. Cath looks at Steve in amusement. “Ma’am, Sir, your flight was canceled. Some mechanical problems with the plane. But you’re both booked on a commercial flight to Singapore via Manila, where you’re supposed to catch a ride to the Enterprise.”

“Singapore?” Steve’s not very keen on being cramped into a small seat on some commercial airline for hours on end. On a military transport they would at least have had the luxury of walking freely. If they were lucky, they even could have disappeared for a few hours into the cargo bay.

“Yes, Sir. Your flight is in an hour, Sir.”

“One hour?” Cath cries out.

“Yes, ma’am. I’m supposed to take you to the airport, ma’am.”

“Ensign, where’s your car?” Steve’s taking charge of the situation, while Cath packs her last things into her bag.

“Right out front, Sir.”

“We’ll meet you there in five. Cath, have you already checked out?”

“Yeah, I only need to drop off the key.”

“Okay. Ensign, wait for us downstairs, please.” Leading the young woman out the door, he shuts it after her and takes a deep breath to get his act together. He feels a little lightheaded since he practically jumped off the bed, especially since most of his blood supply was not in his brain at the moment. For the first time since this morning, he doubts his decision to participate in the reserve drill. Maybe he should have listened to the doctor, and Danny, to take it easy for a few days. Something about a mild concussion and blood loss. But he wants to spend time with Cath, so he threw caution to the wind and requested the two weeks on the Enterprise. And it was granted without any hassle at all.

Besides, the two weeks will give the Governor some time to cool off. All four of them have two weeks off. Well, the others will probably use the time for some recreation, while he’s going to jump out of planes, swim in high seas and god knows what else.

“Steve?” Cath looks around the corner, seeing him still leaning against the door. “Hey, are you okay?” She closes the distance to him and leans against him, gently hugging him. “I’m sorry.”

“What are you sorry for?”

“This is not going as planned. I still haven’t unwrapped my gift.”

“Oh, we can eat the chocolate on the plane.” Steve grins down at her. He has every intention to pick up where they left off. He’s sure that they will find a nice, quiet place to finish what they have started.

“You would like that, I bet.” Cath grins right back at him.

One last sweet kiss and they both grab their bags and make their way down to the lobby and out to their waiting driver. To start their journey to the Enterprise.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

Act 2 - Honolulu Airport

They make it to the airport with ten minutes to spare, only to learn that their flight will be delayed for about 90 minutes.

“You are welcome to wait in the business lounge;” the woman behind the airline counter tells them with a smile.

“The business lounge?” Steve looks at ‘Tracy’. He has never been booked on a business flight when he’s had to fly commercial during all his years in the service. The Navy is not that generous when it comes to airfare.

“Yes, Sir. Your tickets are business class. It was very short notice and everything else was booked. Sir, is something wrong with that?”

“No. No, everything is fine. When will the boarding begin?” Steve is not going to question their luck. He is happy for the extra leg room, and he’s sure that the lavatories will also be more spacious. He can’t quite keep the grin in about that thought.

“Very well, Sir. Boarding time will be announced soon. Have a good flight.” Tracy hands over the boarding passes and motions for the next passenger to step forward.

Cath and Steve grab their bags and head out to find the ‘business lounge’.

“You think it’s a good place for lounging?” Cath asks with a twinkle in her eyes.

“Let’s find out.”

They walk the short distance to the area where they suspect the business lounge is located. Steve and Cath feel a little out of place in their fatigues, but they were supposed to fly on a military transport. If they had known they were flying commercial, they would have dressed in their service uniform or even dress blues, or simply in civilian clothes. Certainly not in fatigues. But there’s nothing to do about it now.

They get their first taste of how out of place they are when they reach the entrance to the lounge.

“Ma’am, Sir, this is the business lounge. Only for business class travelers,” a young man in a colorful uniform tells them. He is standing right in front of the double frosted glass doors, as if he wants to keep them from entering a holy shrine.

“Yes, we know that.” Steve is not in the mood for having a discussion with some kid just out of high school about where he’s allowed to go or not. He’s about to go around him, when that boy puts his hand flat on Steve’s chest.

“Sorry Sir, I have to ask you to leave.”

Steve looks down at the hand and back up to the kid. He’s big, as tall as Steve and has at least 25 pounds on Steve. “You better take that hand off. Right now.” Steve’s voice is suddenly a lot deeper and full of underlying authority. If that little punk had had a tiny little bit more life experience, he would have known to follow that advice right away. But he’s seriously lacking in that department.

“Or what?” He stands up a little taller and even pushes a little bit harder on Steve’s chest.

“If I were you, I would listen to him. Otherwise you’ll find yourself on the ground with some broken fingers, maybe even a busted arm. You see, you just challenged a SEAL. I would think about that again, after you take your hands off him. Just a little friendly advice.” Cath tells the kid, as she steps up closer, placing a calming hand on Steve’s back, rubbing little circles between his shoulder blades. It’s actually working, she can feel him relaxing and knows that there will be no blood shed today.

He takes his hand off as if he suddenly got burned and moves a step back. “I’m sorry, Sir. May I see your boarding pass please?”

Steve’s not moving or saying anything, he just stands and glares at the young man, who is not meeting his eyes. Steve has kind of a hard time keeping the smirk in that Cath’s little speech caused.

Cath picks the passes out of his breast pocket after he doesn’t make a move to do so and shows them to ‘Tom’, which she now reads on his name tag. “Here you go, Tom.”

“Thank you ma’am.” He takes the passes, and Cath would swear his hands were shaking as he looks at them before giving them back. “I hope you have a pleasant stay while you wait for your flight, ma’am. Sir, have a good day.” He’s more than eager to open the door for them and probably prays that the glaring man won’t come after him.

“Thank you, Tom,” Cath says happily while Steve only growls at him. But he lets himself be dragged into the lounge by Cath. “Stop that, Steve. You’re scaring that poor kid half to death.”

“I don’t like people touching me. He’s lucky to have his limbs intact,” he says to Cath, but she can see the smile and knows that he’s half kidding. Of course she knows that he could have knocked that boy out in a second flat, killed him in even less time. But she also knows that he wouldn’t hurt a fly, unless he’s attacked.

“I’m sure he’s aware of that. He might even think twice about being so prejudiced next time someone doesn’t meet the normal criteria of a business traveler.”

“I highly doubt that. Come on, let’s find some quiet place and make waiting for the flight a ‘pleasant experience’.” Steve grins at her, pointing to an area at the back of the spacious lounge.

Steve and Cath make their way around other waiting passengers towards their goal. They spot a pretty private area that is almost void of people. They put their carry-on bags down next to some potted palm-trees and engage in some kissing and hugging behind said plants. Not entirely hidden, but at least a little concealed from the hustle and bustle of the busy airport. It seems they were not the only ones who had found this little oasis. A few feet from them stands another pair with the same idea.

“So, Lieutenant Rollins, how do you like your Valentine’s Day so far?”

“Well, commander, this is kind of nice. Beats traveling alone for sure.” She puts her arms around his waist and leans her head against his chest. Soaking up the scent that’s uniquely Steve. He smells of the ocean and the sun. It always makes her smile when she thinks about how she describes his scent, but she has never come up with a better description than that.

“You think, huh?” Steve looks over to a door he’s been watching since they have been behind the trees. A janitor came out of it a couple of minutes ago and Steve’s pretty sure he left it unlocked. “What do you say we take this somewhere a little more private?” Steve has never done anything like that, and he has no clear idea why he’s acting like some love-struck teenager.

“What do you have in mind?” Cath looks up and wonders where he will find a private spot that would shield them from prying eyes. But she’s willing to go wherever he leads them. She has never done anything like that before, but for some reason she finds the whole idea of sneaking around with Steve exhilarating. Even though there could be consequences if they were to get caught.

“Come on.” Steve grabs his bag, which can’t be left lying around. That’s what they really need, a bomb alarm because they left their luggage unattended. He’s steering Cath to the door a few feet away from them.

Steve is just about to put his hand on the handle when they both freeze in their tracks.

“Uncle Steve!”

It is almost a comic sight. Steve stands right in front of the door, hand on the handle, head resting against the door in frustration. Catherine is behind him, leaning against his back, equally frustrated. She has to laugh at the deep shudder that goes through Steve when he groans. Which she feels as well, since she’s practically pressed into his back.

They turn as one and see Grace Williams running at them, with her father trailing behind. Steve has just enough time to set down his bag before Grace engulfs him in a tight hug. Both Cath and Danny can see him wincing, when young Grace presses too enthusiastically on his lower right ribs.

“Monkey, don’t squash Steve.” Danny reaches for his daughter to free his friend from being getting hurt any further.

Steve breathes a sigh of relief when the pressure eases after Grace lets go. His side hurt a bit more after their acrobatics in Catherine’s hotel room, even though nothing much happened back then. “Gracie, it’s a surprise to see you here.” Steve looks down at Danny’s daughter and then up to his partner.

“Where were you two just going?” Danny tries to look around Steve and Cath, to see what kind of door they were going to disappear behind. He takes in Steve’s slightly flushed face and registers now that Catherine looks pretty much the same. He’s pretty sure he knows what those two were just up to. He grins at his friend, which causes Steve to blush even more.

“Ehm… what are you doing here, Danny?” Steve decides to ignore Danny’s question, in the hope that he’ll let it go. He’s holding his right arm protectively close to his body, when there’s another twinge of pain. That doesn’t go unnoticed by the detective.

“You okay?” Danny looks with concern at his partner.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Oh, maybe, let’s see, because you were hit by a car yesterday?”

“What? Steve! You didn’t tell me anything about getting hit by a car.” Catherine turns to her friend, worry clearly written all over her face.

“I’m fine. Stop worrying, both of you. I’m just a little bruised, that’s all. It hurts a bit, but I’m good. Again, Danny, what are you doing here?”

“Danno and I are going to New Jersey.” Grace explains their being at the airport.

“Really?” Steve looks at his friend, smiling.

“Yeah, well, since we all have two weeks off, I thought why not use that? And thanks to your free miles, we can fly in luxury. Thank you, Steven.”

“It’s not like I did anything for them, and they were about to expire. Glad you can use them.” Steve grins at his friend, who didn’t want to take his accumulated frequent flyer miles at first. But the mention of taking Grace to visit his family Back East, did the trick in the end. Would have been a shame to let them go to waste.

“Why do you all have two weeks off? I know Steve is doing his drill, but all of you?” Cath is looking at Danny for an answer.

“That is actually a long story, which I will tell you on our flight.” Steve interjects before Danny can even start.

“Uncle Steve? Is this your girlfriend?” Gracie looks at Catherine.

Steve looks at Grace and then at Catherine. It’s like an epiphany that the innocent question causes. “Yes, Gracie. She is my girlfriend. I’m sorry, sweetheart, this is Catherine. Catherine, Grace Williams.”

“Nice to meet you, Grace. I’ve heard a lot about you.” Cath shakes Danny’s daughter’s hand and smiles at Steve, who now seems to be her boyfriend.

“Why are you here? Weren’t you supposed to fly on some transport?” Danny looks at his partner.

“Yeah, that was canceled. We’re booked on a flight to Singapore, where we’ll hitch a ride to the Enterprise.”

“You’re going to see the Starship Enterprise on your vacation, Uncle Steve?”

“Ehm, no Gracie. The Enterprise is a carrier.”

“You’re going on vacation on a ship? What are you going to do there?”

“Lots of stuff, Gracie. Skydiving, swimming, flying, going to class, and lots of other stuff.”

“You go to school?”

“Yeah, kind of. I’m sure your visit to New Jersey will be a lot more fun.”

“Can we go sit over there?” Grace points to some armchairs a few yards away and has already started to wander off, dragging Catherine along with her.

“Steve, how long’s your flight?” Danny wants to know from his friend.

“Almost twelve hours to Manila and then another four to Singapore.”

“That will be no fun, sitting around for so long with your injured ribs and head. You sure you can do that?”

“Danny!”

“What? I wouldn’t want to sit for half a day cramped in an aircraft, flying around the world with two cracked ribs and a concussion. Just saying.” Danny looks around to make sure that Grace and Cath are out of earshot. “She must be very special.”

“She is, Danny. Very.” Steve smiles at his friend.

“Okay. Come on, Loverboy, don’t keep the ladies waiting.”

The friends catch up with the two girls who have secured some armchairs to wait for their respective boarding calls. Danny and Grace are sitting across from Steve and Cath with a small table between them.

“Danno?”

“Yes, Monkey?”

“What’s a Loverboy?”

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

Act 3 - Just a simple plane ride

Grace and Danny had said their good byes half an hour ago, after their flight was called. They will reach their family Back East in roughly ten hours. A long flight, but Steve is sure that Gracie and Danny will have some fun. He’s also hoping for some fun on their 12 hour flight. He’s getting rather frustrated about how their weekend was going so far.

First he had to work the murder case, right off the black-tie event. Cath mingled for a little while longer, but after a couple of hours she went home. Or in this case her hotel room. He’s just glad she wasn’t there for his ‘stunt’ - going over the edge of the roof. That was not how he had planned the ‘rescue’. He can’t even remember how they managed to hit the balcony that was slightly to the side of their initial fall. But when they did… and he saw Danny looking down, he suddenly knew he had never been closer to dying than those few seconds earlier.

And getting hit by a car was certainly not in his plans for the weekend either. He knows how very lucky he was. Getting away with basically bruises and maybe a mild concussion. The doctor at the ER wouldn’t completely rule it out, that he had suffered more than just a bump to the head. And if the pounding headache he has had for a few minutes now is any indication, that doctor might not be so far off. When he went to the restroom a few minutes ago, he got slightly dizzy. Nothing serious, but enough to get him a little worried. Maybe they can at least stop at the airport pharmacy to get some Tylenol or something for his headache. And some coffee would be good. Oddly enough coffee always helps him when he has a headache.

“You’re very quiet all of a sudden, Steve. What are you thinking about?” Cath looks over to Steve who’s now sitting across from her, as Grace and Danny had gone. Slouching would actually be a more accurate term for what he’s doing right now.

“I have a headache. Can we get some coffee and stop at the pharmacy for some Tylenol?” Steve sits back up and watches his friend, hoping that she’s not switching into worry-mode like Danny would.

“Yes, of course. We can get coffee here in the lounge. But I saw the pharmacy on our way here, I think it was across from Starbucks. You want to go there?”

“Yeah. Maybe we can get a sandwich as well. I haven’t eaten yet, haven’t been hungry. I’m still not, but I guess I should eat something.” Steve looks up at his girlfriend. That term actually makes him smile.

“Steve, are you sure you’re okay? Tell me what the doctor at the ER said.”

“He wouldn’t rule out a mild concussion and told me to take it easy for a couple of days. Which I’m doing. Even when we reach the Enterprise, whenever that might be, I’m going to sit in class for the first three days. I’ll be fine Cath, really. My head hurts a little and I was dizzy a few minutes ago. But I haven’t eaten anything since sometime yesterday. Feed me, and I’ll be as good as new” He tells her while getting out of the armchair and grinning at Catherine. Referring to their constant problem making it to dinner.

Cath is lending a hand when Steve sways for a second while standing up. But it seems that he’s good after he finds his legs. “Come on, let's get some food into you. And don’t growl at that poor boy again.” Cath laughs at the face he makes when she mentions the kid from earlier.

“He better not touch me again.”

“I’m sure he has learned his lesson.” When they reach the door, there is no kid or other employee in sight. Which is just as well.

‘Attention – all passengers for flight Hawaiian Airlines 326 to Manila, please proceed to gate 28 immediately – Flight Hawaiian Airlines 326 gate 28 please’

“There goes our coffee. Steve, gate 28 is on the other side of the Airport.”

Steve looks at Cath and thinks for a minute what to do. He really needs something for his headache, but being late for the flight is not an option. “Okay, let’s go to the gate.” He hopes that they will be able to get some coffee on the plane. And maybe the flight attendant can provide him with some pills for his head.

Twenty minutes later they are boarding their flight. They’re shown to their seats in the first row and settle down in the spacious seats, after Steve stows their bags in the overhead compartment.

“Well, this is the way to fly.” Cath stretches her legs out and can see that even Steve can sit comfortably.

“It has its perks.” Steve has to agree that the seats seem rather comfortable. But he’ll wait a few hours before his final verdict. He leans back in his seat, closes his eyes for a minute and tries to will his headache away.

“I’ll be right back.” Cath leans over, gives him a kiss and is gone.

“What? Where you going?” Steve wonders what his friend is doing, they are still in the boarding process. He looks around and can see that only four other seats of the 18 are occupied at the moment. This section of the Airbus 330 only houses 18 seats in total. He still believes that someone will tell them any minute now that it’s all a misunderstanding and they have to take their places in the back of the plane.

He settles back down, leans back and gently touches the side of his head. The bruises are really tender and he’s just glad his eye didn’t close up and that the swelling stayed at a minimum. He didn’t even need any stitches for the cut on his forehead. He’s slowly drifting off, when a hand gently shakes his shoulder.

“Steve, I got some Aspirin. Will that help?” Cath shows him two pills and a small bottle of water.

“That’s great, but I can’t take them on an empty stomach. They make me sick.” Steve has never tolerated Aspirin very well, but if he eats something first, he’ll be alright.

“Does it need to be a full meal?”

“No, just a sandwich or even some cookies, fruits or something like that.”

“Okay, be right back.”

“Cath, you don’t have to…” He’s shaking his head after his friend, who’s already on the prowl to get him something to eat. Come to think of it, she’s an even worse mother-hen than Danny. Just not as vocal. He has to smile at that thought.

A few moments later Cath is back with a banana, an apple and some chocolate chip cookies. “Our flight attendant is very eager to help. She hopes that you’ll feel better soon.” Cath grins at Steve.

“Thank you.” Steve takes the banana and one cookie. He’s still not really hungry, but knows he needs to eat. He’s sure the headache is not just from his head injury, but also from not eating and drinking enough. With the food he takes the two Aspirins and washes them down with the water. 

The seat-belt sign lights up and the doors are closed. There are still only four other people seated around them. They are sitting on the other side and to the back of them. Way out of sight. Steve leans back and smiles at Catherine, because this is even better than he thought. They are almost alone on a 12 hour flight. The light will be dimmed soon and that really plays into his plans for later. But first he needs some shut eye, at least until the pills have a chance to work.

Steve closes his eyes and listens to the sounds of the plane leaving the gate… that’s as far as he gets before he’s asleep.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

Catherine looks at her friend with a fond smile. He slept through the take-off and well into the first two hours of the flight. At some point he changed position and his head now rests on her shoulder and their intertwined hands rest in his lap. He has a strong hold on her hand, but other than that he seems completely relaxed and she can even hear a light snore. He will be completely embarrassed when he wakes up and realizes he drooled on her shirt.

“Ma’am, we’re serving dinner in ten minutes.“ the flight attendant tells her with a smile. She had already come by a couple of times to check if they needed anything. Cath has the sneaking suspicion, if she were traveling alone, she wouldn’t get this kind of attention.

“Thank you.”

Before Cath can decide whether to wake Steve or not, he starts stirring. It’s actually funny to watch him waking up. He blinks a few times, looks around without moving, until he locks eyes with her. “Hey.”

“Did you have a nice nap?”

“Hmm.” He isn't moving from his spot on her shoulder, obviously quite comfortable with the ‘sleeping’ arrangements.

“Does your head still hurt?”

“No, it’s good. What time is it?” Now he sits up and sees the wet spot on her shoulder. And as predicted changes color to a nice shade of red. “Sorry.” He sheepishly smiles at her.

“You want Honolulu time, our current position or Manila time?” She grins at him and motions to the screen in front of them. A world map is shown on it with the current time around the world. A little dot shows them where they are at the moment and at what time.

“Huh. That’s a cool toy. Wow, did I sleep for over two hours?”

“Yeah. You obviously needed it. You feel better?”

“I feel fine. Actually I’m kind of hungry. And thirsty.” Steve is still playing with the touchscreen in front of him. Touching different spots around the world, looking at the times that will pop up. “Look, it’s 05.00 h in Reykjavik.”

“We’re a long way from Reykjavik, Steve.” Cath has to laugh at his childlike joy about that ‘time-machine’.

“That’s true.” Steve finally takes his focus off the computer screen and turns back to her. “I’m sorry I drooled on you.” If she gets that kind of kiss every time after being drooled on, he can drool all he likes.

“We’ll get dinner in a minute. Chicken okay for you? I didn’t want to wake you to ask, so I ordered it.”

“Chicken’s fine.”

Not even a minute later they get their meal. On actual china, but the cutlery is still plastic. Since 9/11 there is no real cutlery on any airline anymore.

They are being offered wine, but decline and opt for water instead. “Wow, this is really good.” Cath is happy to see Steve digging into his meal. He seems to be doing really well. It takes them almost half an hour to finish their dinner, salad and dessert. A chocolate mousse to die for. At least Cath thinks so, Steve didn’t touch his. Robin, the friendly flight attendant brought them some coffee and bottles of water, after cleaning their tables.

The light in the cabin is dimmed when they settle back into their seats. “You promised to tell me why you're all off work for two weeks.” Cath looks at Steve who has once again his head on her shoulder. She wonders if he’s still tired or in pain.

But he sits back up after her question. “Right, I did.” He slouches a little bit down in his seat, and taking her hand in his starts his tale.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

Steve looks at his friend, girlfriend, as he told Gracie a few hours ago. She listened to him telling the story about the murder at the charity event and how they solved it. For a second, he debated not telling her about the incident on the roof, but he came to the conclusion that he can’t keep something like that from her.

He could feel how worried she was when he told her about the car accident. And the trip to the ER, about all the tests they did. How uncomfortable the neck brace was, and how long it took for it to come off. Only after the CT did they take it off. It really hurt to lie flat on his back in the scanner and he had had trouble breathing during the scan. But they insisted that it was necessary after such an impact on the head and neck. Took them a few hours, but then he was released and actually walked out of there under his own power.

Five-0’s ‘punishment’ for the dealings with the case was two weeks suspension without pay. And the governor forcing Lori to resign. He’s still not sure how he feels about that. Of course he knows that she had a thing for him; he’s committed to Cath but not blind. But he’s pretty sure that he had never ever encouraged her.

“She really liked you. Everyone could see that.” Cath tells him with a smile.

“You think? She never acted on it, I mean, yeah there was a look sometimes. But nothing else. She also looked at Danny that way.”

“I doubt that she looked like that at Danny. Steve, don’t worry about it. You’re an attractive man, and she had a crush on you. It’s not your fault. I’m sure you didn’t encourage her. I know you, even if you liked her more than as a team mate, you would never engage in a romantic relationship with one of your subordinates.”

“They are not my subordinates, they are my team. Well technically I am the boss, but, you know what I mean. It’s not the Navy, Cath. It’s a little different. They do have a say, and I want them to speak up.”

“Yeah, well, but at the end of the day, you have the final say. But I know what you mean, you don’t have to give too many orders, do you?”

“No, I don’t. They know what to do. I’m just sorry that they have to suffer the suspension, when it’s my responsibility.”

“Oh, now you are the boss and have to face the consequences alone?”

Steve laughs at that, “You know, I think we had enough talk for now.” He bends over and engages in a sweet kiss that tastes like chocolate. “Sweet.” He grins into the kiss.

When Steve started his story, he pulled the armrest up and now they have no barrier between them. Which comes in handy when Cath practically climbs into his lap. This way they have way better access to each other.

“You know,” Steve is slightly out of breath, “the other four passengers have all used the lavatory by now.”

“Really?”

“Uh huh, really. Last one is just out.” Steve mumbles into Cath’s ear around some kisses along her neck. “We should go check it out.” They can’t go much further while still in their seats, and if Steve doesn’t get closer to their goal this time around, he’s going to bust something. And that will not be a pretty sight. He’s waited months to be with Cath again, and he won’t be able to wait much longer.

“You want us to go to the ‘bathroom’? Together?”

“That’s the idea.” Steve can’t quite keep the moan in when Cath wiggles on his lap.

“I like your thinking, commander.”

“I was hoping you would say that. So how do we go about it?”

“What, you haven’t planned this out yet?” Cath pushes her hand just under his belt buckle, which causes him to suck in a breath.

“I thought you…” Steve loses all ability to think or speak for a moment when Cath’s hand pushes down a little further south. She hasn’t even touched down yet, and he’s almost a goner. He’s going to blame it on his injuries. “You keep… that up, and we don’t need to go anywhere.” She giggles and immediately withdraws her hand. “Not funny, Cath.”

“Sorry.” She ‘attacks’ his mouth with a vengeance and they duel for dominance. “I’ll go first, and you follow in a minute.” Cath gets up swiftly leaving a panting Steve alone in his seat.

Steve looks after her and tries to get control over his breathing and other parts of his anatomy. Last time he came this close without actually touching, he was an inexperienced teenager, embarrassing himself in front of his first girlfriend. Just thinking about it leaves him blushing. After having some kind of control back, he gets up and ambles towards the lavatories. One last look around shows that no one’s paying any attention. He slips into the small space and is greeted by a very eager Cath, who picks up right where she left off.

Steve’s happy to notice that the lavatories in this class are indeed a bit more spacious than in the back of the plane. They actually have some room to maneuver. Not that they need much with Cath pressed as close as she is against him.

“Hmm, I’ve never done this before, Steve. It’s exciting.”

Steve leans against the back wall and trails kisses down Cath’s neck, making her moan softly. She obviously wants this as much as he does. He closes his eyes when she pulls his undershirt out of his pants and trails his abdominal muscles with her fingernails. When she palms his arousal, the sensation makes him jerk his head back and bang it against the wall in the progress.

Which makes her giggle again. “You’re sensitive today. What’s with you? You’re still fully dressed.”

He thinks it’s a rhetorical question, so he’s not going to answer it. But he really seems on sensory overload. Maybe is head injury IS to blame for it. He wants to feel Cath, feel her smooth skin, her warm body against his. He’s taking some deep breaths again, thinking like this will end it all really soon. “Cath… wait.” Steve’s panting out and leans a bit more into her, he’s a little dizzy. It’s not a hard question why that is.

Cath slows her movement under his shirt, and hugs him instead around the waist, feeling that he needs a short break. She’s not saying anything, instead trails gentle kisses down his throat and up his jaw until she finally ends at his lips again. “Okay?”

“Yeah.” Steve feels back in control and starts kissing her again. It only takes a minute for them both to be out of breath. “Cath, I…” That’s as far as he gets.

They both hit the ceiling and a second later the floor. They crash down with a thud and Steve with a cry of pain, when Cath lands with her knee in a very painful spot. Steve has never actually seen ‘stars’ before, but now he does. He hit the ceiling with the back of his head and on the way down the basin with his ribs and to make it really memorable Cath just emasculated him. At least it feels like it. He has no recollection of how he managed to do so in the way too small room, but the next thing he’s fully aware of, is lying curled on his side with Cath kneeling next to him. While he tries to ride out the pain in his groin and ribs.

The earlier smooth flight now feels more like a bumpy ride in a bus on a very uneven road. They obviously hit some turbulence. They can hear a lot of crying and noises of chaos such a sudden dip causes from behind the door.

“Steve, I’m so sorry. Anything I can do?” Cath looks down at her friend, who has curled in on himself with both hands on his groin and lower belly. He is obviously in a great deal of pain.

Steve can’t even answer, he has a hard time getting enough air in. His ribs are hurting, but the pain radiating from his groin into his belly is taking his breath away. He can feel how Cath is rubbing his back and is whispering sweet nonsense into his ear. After another minute, the pain starts to lessen and he can breathe more easily.

“Ugh, man. This is not my day.” Steve uncurls from his fetal position and carefully sits up, wincing while doing so. He still has his hands protectively on his private parts, leaning back against the wall. One hand travels up to his ribs, gently prodding for any new injuries.

“You’re bleeding.” Cath holds some folded paper towels to his head to stop the small bleed. The cut on his forehead has opened and started to bleed a little.

“Cath, are you hurt?” Steve softly asks her.

“No, I’m fine. You feel better, can you get up?”

“Give me a minute.” He leans back with closed eyes again, taking deep breaths. “So, is this exciting enough for you?”

“Oh, more than enough, thank you very much. We should go back to our seats. The seat belt sign is on, and I for one don’t want to end up with my head in the ceiling again.”

“I second that.” Steve uses the basin to pull himself up off the floor, but keeps standing a little bent over. His hand hasn’t left the still painful spot yet. “You go first, I’ll be right out. I just want to…” He doesn’t need to tell her what he wants to check.

“Can you make it back on your own?”

“Cath, it’s ten feet to our seats. I’m pretty sure I’ll make it.” He has to smile at her worry.

“Okay.”

Steve opens the door and Cath slips out, with him staying behind and locking it again. He leans his head against the cool metal and takes another deep breath. He feels sick and is not sure if it’s from his head or his groin. But he’s sure his dinner will make another appearance. At least he’s not dizzy anymore. He turns around in the small room and splashes some water in his face before he goes about checking the ‘damage’.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

When Cath steps out of the lavatory, she’s a little shocked to see what that ‘dip’ caused. The neat part of the plane they are flying in, is now cluttered with papers and other stuff that fell out of the overhead compartments.

She can hear some commotion from behind the divider; children are crying and people are talking all at once. She knows that turbulence is something that normally poses no real danger to the plane, but inside it can cause some chaos. And injuries. She hopes that no one is seriously hurt.

Cath makes her way to her seat and buckles in. She looks at the door she just came out of and worries about her friend. She hurt him. Badly too. Of course she couldn’t have prevented it, but thinking that she caused that much pain, makes her a little sick. She knows that the pain normally lessens soon and a lasting injury is seldom, but still. Steve’s injured enough as it is.

She looks up when the door opens and Steve steps out. Pale, but smiling. He’s limping a little but seems able to stand upright again although his right hand still hovers near his belt. A moment later he lowers himself into his seat, wincing a little.

“You okay?”

“Yeah. I’m good.”

“Liar. How bad’s the pain?”

“It’s okay, but I was sick. Cath, can we get some water?”

“I’ll get us some.” Cath gets up from her seat and disappears around the corner. The trolley with the beverages is stored right behind one of the dividers. The flight attendants are otherwise occupied at the moment, but she’s sure it’s okay to get the water herself.

She’s back a minute later with two bottles of water and some plain cookies. “Steve, you like some cookies?”

“No, just the water. Thank you.” Steve takes the offered bottle and takes some small sips, so not to upset his stomach again.

“The cut is not bleeding anymore. Does your head hurt?”

“No.” Steve’s squirming a bit in his seat, trying to find a better position. There’s still a lingering pain elsewhere, but it’s more uncomfortable than painful.

“I guess it’s not meant to be for us today.”

“Huh, don’t think I’m giving up just yet. The day’s not over.” Steve grins at her, fully knowing that nothing will happen during this flight.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I apologize for the bumpy ride. We’re about to hit some more turbulence. Please stay in your seats for your own safety. There are some tropical storms brewing, which we can’t out-fly. We will reach Manila on time, but I’m sorry to inform you that all connecting flights were canceled due to the weather situation in the area. We will inform you of any changes as soon as possible.’

“Isn’t that just great? This is getting better and better. A tropical storm. Great.”

Catherine looks at her friend, who’s still grumbling and has to smile. “You know, we might be stuck in a hotel in Manila for a few days. Not such a bad thing.” She smiles at the grin spreading all over Steve’s face. “Try to sleep some more, Steve. You look exhausted. Come here.” She guides him down, so that his head rests on her shoulder again.

“I’ll try not to drool this time,” Steve mumbles, already half asleep.

Cath gives him a kiss on the top of the head, “Drool away my friend.”

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

TBC

 

Chapter Text

Act 4 – Get your act together


The twelve hour flight from Honolulu to Manila felt like a twenty hour trip by the time they’re on the final approach to Ninoy Aquino International Airport. There had been some heavy turbulence during the last nine hours of the flight that left everyone pretty rattled.

Steve has been on plane trips all over the world and has had to endure some landings while the pilot performed evasive maneuvers. Those landings are the worst, but he’d prefer that over the last hours in this aircraft.

The constant jostling and shaking of the plane was making his ribs more painful. His head was also not very happy about it. Two hours into the turbulence he got dizzy and very nauseous. An hour later he threw up the first time. And followed that twice more. At some point he tried to lie down, hoping that would make him feel better. But even though the position was rather comfortable, with his head in Cath’s lap and his legs hanging over the edge of the seat with his feet planted on the floor, he felt sicker than while sitting up. So now he’s upright in his seat again, leaning against his friend and hoping not to puke again.

“I’m sorry about earlier,” Steve whispers while trailing kisses down her neck.

“Don’t be ridiculous. There’s nothing you have to be sorry for. It’s not your fault that your injuries made you sick. Do you feel a little better?” Cath has her arm around his shoulders and brushes her hand over his hair.

“Yeah, don’t think I’m gonna be sick again.”

‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’re on our final approach to Manila International – we will touch down in about five minutes – I’m sorry, but it will be a rough landing – we will be the last flight to land – the airport will be closed after us – we are very sorry for this inconvenience – all passengers on connecting flights should proceed to our counter at gate 14 accommodation until the airport is operational again – thank you for flying with Hawaiian Airlines’

“Steve, we will miss our flight to the Enterprise. If we get stuck in Manila, we’ll need to call Singapore base.”

“Hmm.” Steve’s not very interested in talking right now. The dipping of the plane while rapidly descending for the landing, is causing his stomach to do some flip flops.

“Just breathe through it, Steve. We’re almost down.” Cath squeezes Steve’s hand a little tighter, hoping he’s not getting sick again. The last bout resulted in only painfully dry heaves since all the food he has eaten today is long gone. She’s kind of amazed she didn’t get sick, she only feels a little queasy. Cath plans to haul Steve’s butt to a doctor as soon as they’re on terra firma again. His head injury and the resulting sickness worries her. Steve has never been sick while flying before. For him to be this incapacitated can only mean a more severe head injury than he wants to admit. On the other hand, the hospital wouldn’t have let him leave, if he were seriously injured. Would they? She suddenly has the wildest scenarios in her head; maybe he signed himself out AMA. But Danny would have said something. Maybe Danny doesn’t even know about it! Steve’s an adult, who was conscious during the exam, so no need to tell anyone else.

“Steve?”

“Yeah?”

“You didn’t sign out AMA, did you?”

“What?” Steve looks at Cath, totally confused by her question.

“At Hawaiian Medical, you were released, right?”

“Of course I was released. Oh, you’re worried, because I was so sick? Cath, I’ll be okay as soon as we’re out of here. Really, don’t worry. I guess all this shaking was a little too much. And I felt really sick from the pain in my groin to begin with. My head’s fine. They did a CT, and everything’s okay. Don’t. Worry.” Steve knows he could tell her until he’s blue in the face, and she would still worry.

Cath looks at him and for some odd reason, his words quell her worries some. Not completely, but she’s willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and will wait an hour after landing, before dragging his six to the doctor. The thought about Steve fighting her tooth and nail about seeking medical help in Manila makes her smile. “Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Yeah. If you say you’re good, I’ll trust you not to lie about it.”

“Thank you... I think.” Steve’s not quite sure what to make of her statement. He looks at her suspiciously.

Cath laughs at the face he’s making, she’s sure Danny has a name for it. She can practically see the wheels turning in his head. “Calm down, Steve. I don’t have any devious plans going on.”

“Uh huh, as if I’d believe…” another nasty bit of turbulence, which causes the plane to dip again, makes Steve suck in a breath. His ribs are so tender by now that even breathing hurts somewhat. He knew it wouldn’t be comfortable sitting all these hours on a plane, but he wasn’t counting on such a bumpy ride. If he had felt this bad this morning, he wouldn’t have requested the reserve drill. He’s not so sure at the moment that he’ll be able to participate in it.

“You alright?” Cath is well aware that Steve’s in a lot more pain than a few hours ago. Not counting her misstep from earlier, which caused him an immense amount of pain, that is thankfully only a memory by now.

“Yeah. Will just be glad when this is over. It’s 04.00 h at home now, but 22.00 h here. I think I’m about ready for bed. Aren’t you tired, you didn’t sleep at all?”

“I was still hoping to unwrap my gift.”

“You already ate all your chocolate and two desserts. Guess you’re still on a sugar rush.” Steve teases his friend.

“Yeah, but I want my special dessert.” Cath laughs.

“I can make it special.” Steve hopes that he can back-up his words with action. At the moment he doesn’t feel like engaging in any activity other than lying down and sleeping for a day.

Another minute later the plane gets violently rattled when they touch down on the tarmac. The last hour was not just full of turbulence but also accompanied by heavy rain and an intense thunderstorm. Now after the landing they can hear cheers erupting and Cath and Steve are tempted to fall right into it. They let out a collective sigh and grin at each other. As soon as the rumbling of the plane stopped, Steve’s nausea lessened somewhat. He’s still a little dizzy, but is pretty sure that the problem will be solved by some fresh air.

There is another twinge in his ribs when he pulls their bags out of the overhead compartment, but nothing too bad. They grab their gear and leave the rather memorable flight behind.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

“What do you mean, you can’t provide us with a room?” Catherine looks at the man behind the counter. He gives the impression of being rather stressed, the hundreds of people bugging him with their requests for rooms today obviously getting to him. It’s no wonder that he looks like he wishes to be anywhere else. The airport is in utter chaos after all flights were canceled. No flights in or out anymore. Everyone was hoping that the situation would have cleared up in the last ten hours. That’s why the airport took incoming flights, in the hope that they could start flying out again in the next few hours. But now the tropical storm covers most destinations in a six hour radius. Which means Singapore is out of reach for Cath and Steve at the moment. They are indeed stuck in Manila. Without a room or civilian clothes. If they have to spend a day or two here, they can’t keep running around in their fatigues.

“Ma’am, I’m very sorry, but I can’t help you. All hotels are fully booked. You can try your luck directly with the hotels, maybe one of them will have a cancellation. But I highly doubt that. The best I can offer is to look for a quiet place somewhere in the airport. I’m sorry, ma’am.”

“Thank you.” Cath tries to smile at the airline employee, but fails. She knows it’s not his fault, but she was hoping to get out of her clothes, take a shower and cuddle up with her friend. Now it looks like they are stuck in the overcrowded, loud and overheated airport. The air is stuffy and the smells reaching her nose vary from nice to disgusting. She turns in search of Steve, who wanted to call Singapore base, to let them know that they are stuck at the airport. She spots him right away a little to her left, leaning against a column engaged in a lively discussion on his phone. As she gets closer she can pick up his half of the conversation.

“That is perfect. No, it’s fine, we’ll take it. Yes, McGarrett, no, just M… C, right. Thank you. We’ll be there in about an hour. Great.” He ends the call and looks at Cath with a huge smile on his face. “I got us a room.”

“How?” She can’t really believe it.

“Ehm… well, I booked us a suite at the Shangri-La Makati. They have Spa-Service and all.” Steve is pretty sure that Cath is not a Spa-kind of girl, but it couldn’t hurt to mention it. “It’s a five star hotel… just see it as a Valentine’s gift for a botched up weekend.”

“I thought you were my gift for that? Steve, that must cost a fortune. We can’t do that.”

“It doesn’t cost a ‘fortune’. It’s slightly more expensive than a normal room in the States.” A little understatement, but he doesn’t care what the cost is. He rarely spends any money, so why not indulge his girlfriend once in a while? It won’t hurt his bank account. “Don’t worry about that. Besides, there are no available rooms in Manila, and I’m not going to stay here if we can sleep in a real bed. I’m done with sneaking around airports. And I’m done with acrobatics in a too small bathroom that end in painful disaster. I want you next to me, in bed, under soft sheets and a breakfast in the morning… in bed.”

“Uh, commander, that sounds almost romantic.” Cath grins at Steve, shoulders her bag and they march out of the airport in search of a taxi, which will hopefully take them to the nearby luxury hotel.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

“Cath, we need to make a stop before we can check-in.” Steve tells their driver something in a language that she doesn’t understand, but Cath is pretty sure it’s Mandarin.

“Where do you want to go?”

“We can’t check in like this. We need some clothes. He’ll take us to the Mall, right across from the hotel, we can get everything we need there.” Steve again talks to their driver, an elderly man, who maneuvers expertly through the heavy rain that is still pouring down.

“Will they even be open?”

“He said they’re open 24/7. Oh, I almost forgot, I talked to some lieutenant at the Singapore base. He told me that our flight to the Enterprise left before the storm. Said the next one is scheduled for Friday night, so we have 48 hours to get there. Which means we’re stuck here for two nights.” Steve doesn’t look like he’s too sorry about that. “We could go to dinner tomorrow; they have great restaurants at the hotel.”

“You’re going to wine and dine me?”

“Yeah. Didn’t get the chance to do that in Honolulu. In fact I haven’t done that nearly enough. Just let me, okay?” Steve’s not really sure what’s gotten into him, but he will do his damnedest to make the best out of these two days which fell unexpectedly into their laps. Besides, he thinks Cath deserves it. He just wants her to enjoy herself.

It takes them fifteen minutes to reach their destination, a huge busy mall in the exclusive business district of Manila. Another five to get to the store their driver recommended for their needs.

Forty five minutes later they exit the store, dressed in casual but still elegant enough clothes to fit right into the hotel they are about to call home for the next two nights. They also bought a suitcase for all their purchases, which the store will deliver to the hotel.

Cath and Steve only kept their bags, not feeling comfortable letting them be handled by the store’s employees. They would get in trouble if they lost their military clothes. So now they’re making their way over to the hotel, dressed like a young couple on their honeymoon, and not like two Navy officers, stranded on their way to duty.

They take another cab even if it’s just a minute’s drive to the hotel, because walking would leave them completely soaked. The rain is not going to lessen any time soon.

Steve must admit he’s impressed, even though he never cares much about the accommodation, as long as he has a clean bed. He’s slept in all kinds of places, so he’s not really that picky, but this place is really something. They are escorted to the reception and the check-in process doesn’t take long at all. Five minutes after entering the huge hotel lobby, they’re on their way to one of the ‘executive suites’.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

“Steve! Steve, you have to see this,” Cath calls from the bathroom.

Steve is still taking in the view of Manila’s night skyline when he hears his friend’s excited voice. “Coming.” He slips off his shoes and walks across the large main room of the suite. And stops in his tracks when he reaches the ‘bathroom’.

“Steve, that is not a bathtub. That’s a swimming-pool.” Cath is standing next to the ridiculously sized ‘bathtub’ that is leveled into the floor. “This is unbelievable.” She walks down the three steps to the bottom of the tub. “You can swim laps in here.”

“Maybe we should put it to good use?” Steve has some ideas of what to do in that tub.

“Oh no, commander, you’re not going into any warm bath tonight. One minute in the warm water and you will be asleep. You can barely keep your eyes open as it is.” Catherine comes out of the ‘pool’ and encircles Steve around the waist. She steals a few kisses before she pushes him back out to the living room. “Go and call Danny.”

“What? Why would I call Danny?”

“Because I guarantee you, if you don’t call him, he will call at the most inappropriate time. So call him, it’s 11.00 h in Jersey.”

“Good thinking.” Steve grins at her and takes his phone out, presses Danny’s speed dial and settles down on the huge comfy couch to wait for the call to be connected.

Steve leans back and is suddenly bone tired, all his aches and pains making themselves known. Up until now he has constantly been in motion since the accident, even while sitting on the plane for all those hours, he felt like they were moving around. That was not a relaxing flight. His whole body kind of hurts and he’s sure he has bruises in places he doesn’t even want to think about. He can’t really remember the actual impact, but Kono told him that he rolled over the car and impacted the ground with a resounding thud and then rolled a few feet before he came to a halt. There is a big bruise on his right thigh where his gun and holster pressed onto the flesh. The muscle of his upper leg seized up, not enough to cramp, but it’s not pleasant. Steve stretches his throbbing leg out on the couch, moves a bit sideways to get more comfortable and looks at his phone that has gone silent. The call got disconnected before it even reached its destination.

It’s either due to the storm, or the phone didn’t survive the crash as well as he thought. He dials again and this time he can hear it ringing on the other end.

Williams. I can’t answer the phone right now, please leave a message.”

“Hey Danny, just wanted to check in. Listen, we’re stuck in Manila for a couple of days because of a storm, but we’re fine. I’ll catch you later. Say hi to Gracie and have a good time. Bye.”

Steve ends the call and puts the phone on the table in front of the couch. He listens to Cath rummaging in the next room, obviously getting the bed ready. He debates whether to get up, but he’s too comfortable to even move. Lying on the couch with all the pillows at his back, so that he’s half sitting, takes all the pressure off his tender ribs. His head had stopped hurting so badly a few minutes ago, and he’s worried that the throbbing pain will come back if he moves. Besides, the rest of his body is screaming at him to lay low for a while. Just five minutes, he will just stay on the couch for five minutes…

“Steve?”

“Hmm.”

“Come on, wake up. You should lie down in bed, you’d be more comfortable.”

“I’m not asleep.”

“Right.”

“Am not.” Steve struggles to get into a sitting position, but gives up and pulls Cath down instead. “You know, this couch is really comfy.”

Cath settles down alongside him, mindful of his ribs and other bruises.

“I won’t break, Cath.” Steve has to smile at her when she tries to avoid putting any weight on him. “Come here.” One more tug and she’s laying completely on him. “That’s better.”

“You think so Commander?”

“Uh hmm.” Steve mumbles into her ear while he trails kisses down the side of her neck, which is one of her sensitive spots. He hooks one of his legs behind her knee getting her into even closer contact, which is kind of a sweet torture when his body automatically reacts to the close proximity. He inhales her scent and wonders how she can still smell so good after the long hours of the past day. “We should… uh…” All ability of speech leaves him when Cath’s hand finds her way under his polo shirt and explores the warm skin. Traveling up and down his well defined abs, stopping short of the waistband of his slacks.

Turnaround is fair play, at least in Steve’s book, so he does some exploring himself. Eliciting some soft moans of approval when he pulls her shirt over her head. Cath now has his belt opened and discarded off. The button and zipper are no obstacle. Steve can’t quite keep the groan in, caused by a mixture of pain and pleasure, when she presses a bit too much on the bruise low on his belly that her knee caused all those hours back.

She stops her wandering hand and looks at him, a question in her eyes.

“Don’t stop, I’m okay,” Steve assures her. He pulls her head down and savors her lips with another hot kiss, while her hand gets active once again.

A short while later they are both panting. “We really… should… you need… if we want to…” Steve’s speech can’t be called coherent even by low standards but Cath understands him nonetheless and finds another occupation for her hand.

Somehow they ended up with Steve on his knees, straddling her. He puts his leg down on the floor and with one smooth move and a little grunting he gets them both into an upright position. Still not separating, they march or better stumble to the bedroom.

Another stunning room of the suite, but neither one of them has any eyes for it right now. They fall onto the bed and fight for dominance for a moment, ending up with Cath on top, a mischievous grin on her face. “You’re way overdressed.” She doesn’t even wait, but gets his pants, which are already hanging low on his hips, all the way down. They land on the floor with a soft thud. He’s still wearing the Valentine’s underwear, which causes Cath to smile again. She’s diving back down for another sweet kiss while she pulls his shirt off. With that task done, she sits back and takes a good look at her friend, who’s now almost completely undressed.

Steve lies perfectly still, even though he longs to move and touch, but he knows that she needs this more right now, than he needs her touch on his skin.

Cath trails the dark bruise on the right side of his ribs with a feather light touch that leaves goose-bumps everywhere her fingers go. She pulls down the waistband of his boxer briefs and gently caresses the bruise low on his belly she caused earlier. Next she sits back to the side of him and takes in all the bruises on his legs. The one on his upper thigh is a dark purple and she’s sure hurts like hell. But other than these bruises, he is whole and obviously in good shape. And ready for some action. She grins when she comes to the realization that lying still like that and letting her trace his body must be pure torture for him.

Ready to put him out of his misery, she has the last piece of clothing off of him in a second flat and is happy to see that her misstep didn’t do any permanent damage.

“Enough looking, get down here,” Steve’s patience ran out the second his underwear met the same fate as his pants. Now it’s his turn to get some undressing done, and he’s not taking his sweet time with it.

His eagerness makes Cath giggle, but that stops when he zeroes in for some more kissing around her belly button. Leaving little bite marks and her moaning in pleasure.

There is quite a bit of moaning and groaning going on, whispered words and general sounds of pleasure can be heard. Only interrupted by the ringing of the phone, but that ‘Apparatus Interruptus’ was wisely left out of the bedroom.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

Act 5 – Taking risks

 

Steve is jerked awake by a loud crash from the next room. He stretches to grab his gun out of the nightstand, since he is not at home, but in a luxury suite halfway around the world, the gun is not there. Slightly confused, he doesn’t give it a second thought, but makes his way quickly out of bed, or at least that was his intention. He is completely tangled in the silk sheets and his wild dash only causes him to crash to the floor with a dull thud.

With the wind knocked out of him, he lies completely still for a moment and tries to catch his breath while attempting to assess the situation. He looks down at the tangled mess he has made and discovers that he is not dressed at all.

The sound of laughter draws his gaze to the door and he sees Cath standing there, only barely able not to double over in laughter at his expense.

“Very funny.” Steve sits up gingerly and protectively puts his arms around his ribs, which he fell on, only now noticing how much they are hurting. “Ouch.”

“Steve, I’m sorry. Did you hurt yourself?” The laughter left Cath as soon as she realized that her friend was in pain from falling out of bed. She kneels next to him and tries to assess the damage.

“Only hurt my pride." He sheepishly grins up at her. "I’m fine, Cath.” To prove his point he gets up easily from the floor, wraps a sheet around himself and puts his free hand around her waist and pulls Cath in for a good morning kiss. “What time is it?”

“It’s after ten. I thought you were going to sleep all day.” Cath hugs him a little tighter while being mindful of his bruises.

“Huh. Seems you tired me out.” Steve mumbles in her ear until they’re both surprised by a loud grumbling noise. Looking at each other they start laughing.

“I guess we should feed you. Come on, I ordered breakfast.” Cath drags her friend into the next room.

“First bathroom, then breakfast,” Steve smiles at Cath and makes his way over to the spacious bathroom, laughing at the mess Cath already made. It seems like she enjoyed their ‘pool’ this morning. After answering the call of nature, Steve takes a quick shower and dresses in shorts and a T-shirt.

“Oh, I liked the bed look a little better,” Cath tells him when Steve emerges freshly showered.

“No worries, there’s lots more time for that.” Steve settles down at the table that is set for two, loaded with all kinds of plates on it. “So, what do we have for breakfast?”

“You’re going to love this. Fresh fruits, great granola, all kinds of eggs and freshly baked bread.” Cath pulls the lid off the plates and shows the assortment of breakfast dishes.

“Are we having company? You wanna eat all this stuff?” Steve is already digging into the fruit salad. “Wow, this is good.”

“Glad you found your appetite again.” Cath smiles over the table, happy to see her friend feeling well. She had been a little worried earlier when he didn’t wake up even though she was loudly rummaging through the room. But it’s obvious now that the long hours of sleep did him some good.

“So, what do you have in mind for today?” Steve asks her around a mouthful of banana pancakes covered with chocolate syrup. Steve is well aware that Cath must be shocked about what he’s eating; food he would never touch normally. But he lost some weight after Korea and can use the calories, as long as he doesn’t eat this stuff every day.

“Oh, there is an art exhibition, a museum I would like to visit and a book signing I was hoping we could go to.” Cath’s straight face doesn’t give her away, but the twinkle in her eyes does.

“You know, I think I remember the doctor say something about staying in bed for a while, taking it easy. So, I’m afraid I need to stay right here, Lieutenant.” He’s waving his fork covered with chocolate covered banana around the room, leaving little specks of hot chocolate everywhere.

“Is that so, Commander? Well, in that case, you mind some company?”

“Not at all, Lieutenant. Not at all.”

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

The rain is still coming down in buckets. The tropical storm is still wreaking havoc over the islands and the airport is still closed. Steve and Cath spent most of their day in their hotel suite, enjoying the amenities of the luxury hotel.

The bathtub was a big hit, and they enacted a few naval maneuvers in it. In the early afternoon Steve took a nap for a couple of hours while Cath hit the spa.

“Steve?” Cath looks down at her sleeping friend who looks so much younger when he’s totally relaxed and all the worry and weight of the world on his shoulders is lifted in slumber. She smiles when he mumbles something incoherently in his sleep. “Come on, sleepy head. Time to wake up.”

“Hmm.” Steve slowly opens his eyes and looks at his friend, sitting on the side of the bed, tracing invisible patterns on his exposed stomach. “How was your… what exactly were you doing?”

“Massage and moor bath.”

“Uh huh.”

Cath can only laugh at his expression upon hearing about her spa treatment. Not that she’s into something like that on a regular basis, but being at this palace of luxury, well, she is a woman after all. “Oh, come on, it was fun. You should have come.”

“I don’t think that my body is into any kind of massage at the moment.”

“Guess you’re right about that.” She’s looking down at all the blossoming bruises, the ones on his thigh and ribs looking particularly painful. By now they are a deep purple and she can only imagine how very tense his muscles around the bruise on his leg must be. “How is your head?”

“Good. I’m a bit sore, but other than that I feel fine.” Steve stretches out and only winces a little when his sore ribs flare up a bit. “You have any plans?” He looks out the window and hopes Cath doesn’t want to leave the hotel to explore the city.

“With the weather this bad, we’re kind of limited. But I thought we could explore the hotel. Or we could go over to that huge mall.”

“You wanna go shopping?” Steve can’t really believe it. First a spa treatment and now a shopping spree?

“No, not really. But the hotel has great restaurants and cafés. Unless you don’t feel up to it?” She’s looking down at Steve who’s unconsciously rubbing his thigh, undoubtedly trying to loosen the taut muscles.

“No, that’s fine. Guess we could go ‘exploring’, even though we could explore some more in here first.” He pulls Cath down to his level and it takes another hour before they get dressed to explore the amenities outside their room.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

"I really don’t believe this.” Steve whispers to Cath while they try to stay out of sight of the wanna-be-robber. “How the heck do I always end up at a crime scene?”

They had entered the souvenir shop in the hotel lobby a few minutes ago to look for a gift for Gracie when a young man entered and drew a gun on the cashier. He didn’t even put on a mask.

“Steve, please stay out of this.” Cath is not only worried about her injured friend, but they have no authority here and might even get into trouble if there were to be a shooting.

Steve watches the progress of the robbery and gets into position to intercept the robber on his way out.

The young, future prison inmate turns and hurries to the exit, stashing the money into his pockets as he goes. Steve steps out of his ‘hiding’ place right in front of the startled robber. The ensuing fight doesn’t even take ten seconds before Steve has the robber on the floor. Although Steve is panting; his opponent got one good hit in, right onto the bruised ribs. Steve has the arms of the unconscious robber in a secure grip, but it seems that the robber was cleverer than he appeared. He has a partner, who had pretended to be a customer.

Said partner now comes out of his cover, and before Steve can even react, he gets pushed off the first thug by the second one, who barrels into his side in a perfect football tackle. Taken totally by surprise, Steve’s head connects with the unforgiving floor and he’s out like a light.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

Steve blinks and tries to get his surroundings into focus; someone is talking to him but he can’t understand a word over the buzzing in his head. He becomes aware that he’s lying on the floor, half on his right side and half on his belly. There is a flurry of activity around him and he can now see that two police officers are struggling with the two robbers, although the one Steve knocked out is still on the floor. Steve figured that he can’t have been out for more than twenty seconds. Steve slowly turns onto his back, off his bruised ribs which are screaming in protest about the repeated abuse. The movement makes the room spin around him, or maybe he is the one doing the spinning; at the moment he’s not so sure. Steve closes his eyes in the hope to stop the vertigo.

He can feel a trickle of blood running down his temple; obviously the head wound opened up again.

“Steve?” Catherine presses a tissue against his bleeding wound, but it has already slowed down to a minimum. It’s not too serious.

“Urg… didn’t see that coming.” Steve opens his eyes and looks at his girlfriend who is frowning down at him. “What?”

“Really? You had to play cops and robbers?” She sounds rather pissed and there doesn’t seem to be a shred of sympathy in her tone.

Steve flinches slightly ; it was certainly not his intention to get on her bad side. “I envisioned the outcome a little different. Sorry?” Steve tries his best puppy dog look on her, but he looks rather pathetic. Slightly green around the edges, a trickle of blood still running down into his hair and holding his aching ribs.

Cath rolls her eyes at him and helps him up, placing his arm around her shoulders when he tilts to the side as he gets to his feet. “You okay?” Her voice has her usual soft tone back.

“A little dizzy, but I think I’m good.” Steve answers rather meekly.

“Uh uh. You look really well.”

“Sarcasm doesn’t become you.”

“Shut up, Steve. I’m mad right now and if you were able to stand on your own, believe me, we wouldn’t be this close at the moment.”

“K’, shutting up now.”

A chair appears from somewhere and before he knows it, Steve is not so gently pushed down to sit on it. He can’t quite suppress the small grunt of pain the jostling of his ribs causes. A paramedic comes out of nowhere and is right in his face, prodding here and there, He places a huge patch on the tiny little small cut on his forehead before shining a light into his eyes, which makes Steve bite down on his lower lip from the pain that little light causes to explode in his head. If the prodding goes on for much longer he’s sure everything he ate will make a second appearance.

After what seems like forever, the paramedic declares him ready to leave. Of course, it takes another hour filled with their statements before they can actually leave. Finally done with all that, Steve is ready to pass out right there on the spot.

Catherine has her arm around his waist again, careful not to touch his lower ribs, with his arm around her shoulders. “Come on, I think you need to lie down.”

"That sounds like a great idea.” Steve limps alongside Catherine to the elevator and tries not to put too much weight onto his friend. But his leg is starting to give out on him; he fell onto the bruise and is sure to have aggravated the already injured muscles.

“You’re limping. Your leg okay?”

“Yeah.” But a slight cramp in his upper leg belies his words. “Argh, damn.”

They make it to their suite and Cath takes Steve straight to the bedroom, where she deposits him onto their huge bed.

“Get your pants and shirt off while I get some ice.” With that she leaves him to his own devices for a few minutes.

The sight that greets her when she comes back makes her smile despite the light anger she still feels. Steve is fast asleep, with pants open and low on his hips.

He doesn’t even stir when she pulls the pants completely down, which leaves him in his briefs. She gently places the wrapped ice on the side of his thigh hoping to alleviate the pain from the bruised muscles. In a few days he should start with warm packs to increase the blood flow, which will help to reduce the bruise. But for now he still needs the ice.

She covers him with a light blanket and makes sure that he’s comfortable. Catherine takes her Kindle from her bag and settles next to him in bed, watching the rain pouring down outside and keeping watch over her knocked out boyfriend.

“Well, there’s always tomorrow.” She smiles fondly down at him and hopes that the next day will be better, since she highly doubts that Steve will do anything but sleep for the rest of the day.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

Sunshine is coming into the room and the light creeping behind his eyelids is getting rather annoying. Steve grunts and turns to get away from the intruding light. The turn causes him to smack into a soft, warm body. Without even opening his eyes, he snuggles closer and inhales the unique scent that is Catherine. His right arm is draped over her midsection and his head rests just over her heart; the slow rhythm of it has a very soothing effect on him.

“Steve, you awake?” Catherine softly asks.

“Hmm, not yet.” Steve mumbles into her breasts. He can’t remember getting into bed. And why is he wearing a dress shirt and briefs? And why is someone working with a jackhammer in his head? “Did I get wasted last night?” His speech is still more a mumble than anything else.

“Not that I know of.” She smiles down at him.

“Feel like it.” Steve tries to lay still and take stock of his body. His leg throbs a little and his ribs are a bit sore. But his head is off the charts. And he feels a little sick.

Catherine moves into a more comfortable position before she settles down again.

“If you don’t want me to decorate you and this bed in a rather disgusting way, please stop moving.” Steve speaks only after he’s got the rolling sensation in his stomach back under control. Catherine’s wiggling around made him feel like he was on a ship in heavy seas. “Why am I sick? And why’s my head's gonna explode any second now? Are you sick too?”

“No. But I didn’t play Supercop in the lobby.”

“Huh?” Steve lifts his head and squints up at her; she’s not making any sense. “Ugh.” He buries his head back onto her soft body.

“You remember stopping a robbery?”

“No.”

“You were in a little fight yesterday and ended up hitting your head on the floor.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, really. You were knocked out. The cut on your forehead started bleeding again. You don’t remember any of it?” Catherine gets a little worried. Before Steve went to sleep yesterday he was lucid and didn’t say anything about his head hurting. This morning he seems rather out of it. “Steve, if you feel so bad, we need to get you checked out.”

“Hmm.” Getting checked out would mean he needs to move and Steve has no desire to move anytime soon. He’s sure he will get sick if he even lifts his head, which is now throbbing, but thankfully the jackhammer from earlier stopped a minute ago. “Give m’minute.”

“Steve, can you please open your eyes? Don’t go back to sleep. Come on, you have to open your eyes.” Catherine looks down at her dozing friend, cursing herself now that she didn’t think to get him checked out more thoroughly yesterday. But the paramedic said he was fine. Fine my ass. “Steve?”

Two bleary eyes look up at her “I’m fine, don’t worry.” His voice sounds a little better, at least to his ears. He seems to be having a hard time fully waking up and he wonders why that is.

“You are far from fine, but I will take what I can get. You think you can roll onto your back so I can take a real look at you?”

“I’m comfortable.” And to emphasize that statement, he drapes a leg over her and snuggles a little closer.

“Well at least some part of your body is fine.” Cath has to laugh at him. It seems that his lower body is more alert than his head.

Steve grins up at her, becoming more awake by the minute. “My head hurts, but nothing a few Tylenol won’t cure. Dizziness and nausea are almost gone. Really, Cath, don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”

“Steve, don’t lie to me.”

“Catherine, you know I wouldn’t.”

“Okay.” Cath makes a move to get out from under Steve but get stopped by his tightened grip.

“Where you’re going?”

“Getting you some Tylenol for your head.”

“That can wait. I think there is a much more pressing matter that needs your attention.”

“Is that so, Commander?”

“Yes, Lieutenant. Your immediate attention in fact, I mean… uh.”

“You were saying?” Catherine smiles into the kiss she’s just engaged in while her hand gives the requested attention to another eager part. “I think you’re a little overdressed.”

She watches as the shirt sails off the bed in a second flat. “Better?”

“That isn’t the clothes I’m talking about.” To make her point clear, she squeezes a little harder which results in a hitch of breath and what could be a grunt of pain. “You okay?” Worried that she had hurt him, she pulls back a little.

“Not gonna… last long if you… keep that up.” Steve grins at her when she allows her hand wander upwards.

“Well, we can’t have that.” Cath flips them gently over, so she’s on top. They figured out yesterday that Steve can’t stay on his bruised leg for too long, so they had to be a little creative. Which was a lot of fun in itself.

Steve bites his lower lip when Cath wiggles her way down his body, leaving a trail of kisses behind. He’s almost over the edge before they have even started. Darn! “Cath! Hold still. Please.” Steve can’t stop it.

“It’s okay, Steve. Let go.” She smiles at her trembling boyfriend.

Steve does just that and it feels like the room explodes with white light. When he comes back to his senses, Cath is still smiling at him. “Cath, I’m sorry.” He is not just a little embarrassed, this was probably the shortest sex they ever had. Hell, we didn’t even get to the sex part.

“Don’t be. I think it’s your head injury. You’re oversensitive right now. It also almost happened on the plane, remember?”

“Don’t remind me.” Steve clearly remembers how close he came to embarrassing himself with his pants still on.

“Oh, come on, Steve. It’s no big deal. Let’s hit the shower… you’re kind of sticky." She grins at her boyfriend who is blushing a little. "After that we can have breakfast.” Cath kisses him and gets off the bed to give him a moment to compose himself.

She putters around the room for a minute and looks down at Steve, who hasn’t moved yet. “Are you coming?”

“Help me up? I’m a little dizzy.”

Together they get him upright and after a minute the dizziness is gone and they make their way to the bathroom, this time just to clean up.

 

H50 – H50 – H50

 

Chapter Text

Act 6 – Getting on board

It is almost noon when Cath and Steve receive a call from the airline to come to the airport. The weather cleared up a little and the airport is operational again, which means they can fly out to Singapore and will catch their final flight to the Enterprise. Something they weren't sure about last night.

It only takes them a few minutes to pack. This time they are not in uniform but will travel to Singapore in civilian attire; they can change on the base before they fly out to the carrier.

"Cath, you have everything?" Steve looks around the room to check one last time that they aren't leaving anything behind.

"Yeah, I'm ready to go." She looks at her friend, who's standing at the door ready to leave.

Five minutes later they are in the lobby to check out, which is not as easy as they thought it would be.

"No, I can't accept that. Please you have to charge me for two nights and for everything else," Steve looks at the young woman at the reception desk, who had just told him that they don't have to pay anything.

"Sir, the management told us not to charge you. If you like I can call one of the managers?"

"Yes, please do that," Steve says and turns to Cath who waits a few feet away but comes closer when he motions for her to do so.

"Something wrong?" Cath wonders what is going on.

"They won't let me pay for anything."

"Sir, Mr. McGarrett." One of the managers comes to greet them.

Steve was sure he saw the man yesterday, but he's not sure where that was. "Mr. Akura, I was just told that there are no charges to be paid."

"Yes, that is correct. You were injured in our hotel, during a robbery. None of the involved will have to pay for their stay. Please accept this as our thank you for stepping in and preventing the robbers from getting away."

"I don't know what to say, but I can't accept that." Steve is not even sure if he would be allowed to accept that, he is not a civilian right now but on Navy time. This could be considered a bribe. "I have to insist to pay for it. But I appreciate the gesture." He looks at the manager and hopes he won't be offended that his offer is declined.

"I understand. But you at least have to accept our discount for first-time-visitors," Mr. Akura tells Steve with a smile. They both know that he just made up that fancy discount. "We will charge you for a room but not for a suite. I hope that will be acceptable?"

"Yes, thank you, Mr. Akura." Steve is sure it won't be a problem to take the discount.

"Very well, Sir. I hope you have enjoyed your stay and we hope to welcome you again soon." The manager says his goodbye and Steve is finally able to check them out of the hotel.

The cab that will take them to the nearby airport is already waiting, and so it only takes them less than half an hour to reach the airline counter.

"Sir, ma'am, your flight will start boarding within the next hour. You should proceed to the security check right away. Have a pleasant flight." The young man behind the counter gives Steve the tickets back and motions for the next traveler to step forward.

It's no wonder that they don't have much time for every passenger. The airport is in utter chaos after it is once again operational. Everyone wants to get on the next available flight. Cath and Steve are very lucky to catch one of the first flights out. There is a long waiting list and some of the flights are postponed for many hours or even a day. It will be some time before a normal schedule will be achieved.

"I hope the check will go smoothly this time," Cath looks at Steve who is standing in line behind her.

"Don't jinx it. Besides why shouldn't it be?" Steve looks around and can see that there are virtually hundreds of people waiting to get through security. He wonders for a moment if the check will be lax due to the sheer volume the personnel has to handle.

"I don't know, would fit right into the trip we're having so far," Cath smiles at her friend and hopes that they will get through it rather quickly.

Steve leans down and is about to give her a sweet kiss when he gets shoved in the back and stumbles into Cath. "Hey, watch it." He turns to the impatient man behind him, who rammed his carry-on into Steve's back.

"Yeah, so, stop letting everyone wait for you, move on." The man is looming over Steve; he's a few inches taller and has at least 30 pounds on Steve.

"Oh, you mean two feet forward? You think that will hurry this up? Sure, why not." Steve has no intention of even getting into a discussion with this moron. He moves closer to Cath and gently nudges her forward as well.

It's obviously not going fast enough for the traveler and Steve gets shoved again, this time the man uses his elbow to make his impatience known.

Steve sucks in a breath when the elbow hits a tender spot on his ribs. Enough is enough. He fully turns to the stranger and fixates him with the best glare he can muster. "Touch me again and you will make your trip home in the cargo bay. You get that?" Steve is normally not one for threatening people in airports, but his head hurts and the moron just woke the pain in his ribs again. He only wants to get on their flight and not argue with anyone while standing in line.

The man is about to say something, but then he takes a good look at Steve standing in front of him. Completely relaxed, calm and collected. He knows that the shorter man is not to be messed with. "I'm sorry. My flight is already boarding, and if I miss it… I'm sorry."

"Why don't you tell one of the assistants there?" Steve motions to the three airport assistants helping people getting through security. "Passengers on already boarding flights are processed first. Instead of bullying your way to the front, you only need to ask." Steve shakes his head at that idiot and turns back to Cath, who is grinning at him.

"That was close. In cargo bay, huh?"

"Yeah, well, he was getting on my nerves." Steve tells her as he puts his hand on his sore ribs.

"Did he hurt you?"

"No. I'm fine," he tells her as he finally gets his kiss.

It takes another ten minutes waiting in line until they are at the security check. Cath and Steve put their duffel bags and shoes onto the conveyer as directed by the officers manning the security station. But it doesn't seem to be their lucky day. When Steve passes through the metal detector the alarm goes off and he's asked to step aside.

"Sir, please turn around," one of the security officers tells him as he uses a hand held detector to pass over Steve. And again the alarm goes off.

"Sir, do you have any coins in your pockets?"

"No." Steve has no idea what could set the alarm off. He emptied his pockets and he's not even wearing his watch. He's looking over to Cath who is gathering all their things in the meantime.

Two more security guards are appearing, and Steve thinks that is not boding well. His suspicion gets confirmed a moment later.

"Sir, will you please follow us?" The two armed officers are flanking Steve now and motion for him to walk over to one of the offices behind the checkpoint.

"Why?" Steve thinks that they can check him right there on the spot, but that is not what they have in mind.

"Sir, it's protocol, please move over to the office." The younger one tells him in perfect English. "Ma'am, you too. Please follow us."

They already attracted a small audience, so Steve doesn't say anything but walks over to one of the small offices. They all enter and Catherine is offered a seat while Steve is 'escorted' to a cubicle without a door in one corner of the room.

"Sir, please step in here and remove your clothes," one of the officers tells him.

"What?" Steve really can't believe his 'luck'. Of course he knows that they have every right to strip search him if they can't determine why the metal detectors are going off. He's telling himself that it's for all of their safety as he steps out of his pants and hands them over to the officer. Next he takes his shirt off, wincing slightly when he pulls it over his head.

"How did you acquire those injuries?" The officer motions with his baton to Steve's bruises.

"I had an unfriendly encounter with a car." Steve, now only clad in briefs, answers the officer in front of him. He's glad that he's not wearing the valentine's underwear anymore. The thought alone makes him blush.

"Please turn around." The officer is using the hand held device and again the alarm goes off. "Do you have any implants?"

"No." Steve turns and looks at the security officer and it suddenly dawns on him why that darn detector is beeping like crazy. "I got shot many years back, and some pellets are still in there. But no detector has ever gone off because of them," Steve tells the officer, remembering the injury for which he received his first purple heart. No one likes to remember getting shot in the butt. That is not something you like to tell around, and he really likes to keep that little tidbit classified.

"I see." The officer is grinning now. "You can put your clothes back on. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but we take security very seriously here."

"That's okay. Thank you." Steve takes his pants back and is dressed a minute later. Only his shoes are missing. But when he steps out of the cabin, still slightly flushed, Catherine is already holding them for him with a smile on her face. She has obviously been enjoying the show.

"You okay?" Cath asks as she hands over his shoes.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Can we go now? Our flight will start boarding soon." Steve turns to the officer while he put his shoes back on.

"Yes, of course, you're free to go."

"Thank you." Steve and Cath are led out of the office and make their way out of the security check zone. "Well, that was a new experience. But at least they're taking their job seriously."

"Yeah, but you know, I think they shouldn't use that cubicle. That seriously dampened my viewing pleasure," Cath smiles when Steve blushes even more.

"Very funny," Steve grumbles but has to smile despite the slight humiliation to strip in front of total strangers. Not that he has a problem with it; you can't be too shy being in the Navy. Not much privacy there, but it's still different to get strip searched by airport security. "What gate is our flight?"

"23B. It's right over there. We still have a few minutes. Would you like to get some coffee?" Cath motions to the coffee-shop right across their gate.

"We won't get a seat in there anyway, in a few more minutes we'll be on board. But if you want to go…" Steve's looking forward to leave this totally overcrowded airport. He's not really comfortable among such masses of people. It's a security issue for him because masses of people are hard to control. One can't really see what is going on. It's a vulnerable position to be surrounded by so many people, even if they are only waiting for their flights and are most likely not hostile.

"No, that's okay. You want to wait over there?" Cath steers him into the direction of the wall. She knows that he's not comfortable in the middle of a room. And all those people are not making it any better. She can clearly see that Steve has already made a threat assessment, sought out possible targets and aggressors. It's second nature for him. Doesn't matter where he goes, he's always doing that. It's ingrained into him through his training.

"There are two seats, would you like to sit down?" Steve came to the conclusion that there is no immediate danger lurking around and visibly relaxes and follows Cath to the seats he pointed out to her.

They sit in silence, both lost in thoughts for a few minutes, waiting to board their flight that will deliver them to Singapore where they will start the final leg of their journey to the Enterprise.

 

*~* *~* *~* Hawaii Five-0 *~* *~* *~*

 

They are two hours into the flight and so far it has been rather uneventful. A little bumpy but nothing like their last flight. The closer they get to their destination the more turbulence they encounter. It seems that they are catching up to the storm front again. That doesn't bode well for their final flight to the carrier.

"Steve?"

"Yeah?" Steve abandons the ship's manual he was reading and turns to Cath. He needs to brush up a little on the proceedings on the carrier, it's been a while since he served on a ship. He was sent his schedule for his drill on the Enterprise and now he needs to familiarize himself with the layout of the ship again and what's expected of him during his short tour of duty.

"What are you going to do while on board?" Cath had wondered about what his 'training' would look like and how he managed to get the trip to the Enterprise. She knows he would normally serve his mandatory time at the training center on base in Hawaii, just like he did on his training weekends.

"I'm not really sure, the order is a bit fishy," Steve shows her the printout of the email from the command center.

"Report to duty as ordered in previous mail. Schedule: first week, theoretical refresher course." Cath reads from the paper, "refresher course for what?"

"I have no idea." Steve shakes his head at her.

"Second week, practice of skills." Cath looks at Steve, "this doesn't say anything. What do you think it means?"

"I guess it depends."

"On what?"

"Many factors," Steve grins at her. Frankly, he has no idea what he should expect from this drill.

"Steve!"

"Seriously, Cath, I have no idea."

"Well, I guess you can't participate in any action anyway, so maybe you will have two weeks of 'classroom' training?"

"What are you talking about? Why shouldn't I be able to… ouch," Steve cries out when Cath gently presses on his right side.

"I rest my case. Don't think I didn't notice how hard that moron hit you. And I bet your ribs are really hurting. I'm sure the doc on board will restrict you to light duty."

"I was hoping the physical would happen after the first week," Steve tells Cath as he rests his hand on his aching ribs.

"Maybe. But even if that would be the case you can't expect to pass it with broken ribs, Steve." Cath is shaking her head at him.

"Nothing's broken," Steve tells her with conviction in his voice. "I'll be fine, don't worry. And the 'moron' just hit a tender spot. No harm done."

"Yeah, right. You went as white as a sheet when he rammed his elbow into you."

"You're exaggerating." Steve laughs at her, but knows that she's not that far off.

"Uh huh. Whatever you say."

Steve only smiles at her and turns back to his manual. During the final two hours of their flight to Singapore they experience a few more turbulences, but nothing like on their last flight. The landing at Changi International Airport is also a bit bumpy and it looks like a rainstorm is howling outside.

Thankfully the Paya Lebar Air Base is practically right next to the commercial airport, so it wouldn't take them long to get there. But to their surprise a car is already waiting for them.

"Commander McGarrett?" A young ensign approaches them after they cleared the controlled area of the airport.

"Yes?"

"Sir, I'm here to take you to the base. Your flight will be in an hour. If you would follow me." The young woman turns and marches out to a waiting car out front.

"Since when do we get pick-up service?" Steve looks at Cath for an answer.

"Just don't think about it, saves us the trouble to find transportation over to the base." Catherine gave up long ago trying to think too much about the way the Navy sometimes handles something.

"When you're right you're right," Steve says as he puts both of their bags into the trunk.

Not even ten minutes later they are on the base and led to the gym where they can change into uniforms. Ensign Masters waits to escort them to the officer responsible for organizing their transport. They are both wearing their working uniforms again. Cath in blue and Steve as a SEAL in the green camo. Their civilian clothes are safely tucked away in their bags.

Steve waits in front of the women's locker and smiles when Cath emerges, looking fresh and alert, like she just stepped out of a shower.

"Look at you, Lieutenant. How do you do that?" He bends down and steals a quick kiss after making sure they are alone.

"Woman's secret," Cath tells him before she hugs him around the waist and initiates a kiss of her own. Very much to the delight of Commander McGarrett.

"What was that for?"

"Promise me something, Steve. Whatever you're doing on your training week, please be careful." She hugs him closer and leans against him, suddenly dreading not being able to have him in private after they leave the building. From now on they will be surrounded by military personnel and it will be unlikely that they will get this close again anytime soon.

"Cath, I promise, I'll be careful. Nothing is going to happen."

"Famous last words," she whispers as she steps away from him.

Steve smiles at her and bends down to grab their bags. He again feels a little twinge in his side but chooses to ignore it. They need to hurry since they don't want to be late to get the final instruction for their helicopter flight out to the Enterprise.

Turns out a few minutes later, that they are not going by helicopter but are being flown out in a C-2, together with three other passengers and a lot of cargo. That is not something that makes Steve very happy. He was hoping to avoid a hook landing. After such a landing he is sure he won't pass any physical for a while. He can only hope that their pilot is really good and will make it a smooth landing despite the hard stop by the hook catching the cable which pretty much abruptly stops the plane. That is not much fun.

Roughly a half hour later they are strapped into their seats and are waiting for takeoff. They were already warned that it will be a very bumpy ride, the weather worsened, but they hope that it will clear up a bit before landing on the Enterprise.

Their flight time will be about two hours. They are sitting in the first row, right across from the cargo. But that is better than having a seat in front of them, this way they can at least stretch their legs out. Or Steve can, Cath never has a problem with enough leg room.

Steve leans his head back and looks at the light strip on the ceiling, which is still red, meaning they aren't cleared for takeoff yet. They remain on the runway for almost ten minutes now, with the two engines roaring and the rain coming down hard on the plane. It can be heard even over the noise of the engines and despite the fact that they are all wearing headphones with active hearing protection against the loud noises during the flight.

They don't have a com-link, so conversation will be kept at a minimum. It gets tiring really fast to yell every sentence. Steve closes his eyes for a moment, trying to will the beginning of a headache away. The last few days are catching up to him, and Cath was right in her assessment that the 'moron' got him pretty good. The four-hour bumpy ride from Manila wasn't so great for his concussed brain either. He is not feeling too bad at the moment, but the loud noise is getting to him.

"You okay?" He can more read Cath's lips than hear her when he looks at her after she touches his arm to get his attention.

"Headache," he mouthes back to her.

Cath rummages through her pockets and comes up with a small bottle of Tylenol. She shakes out two capsules which Steve dry-swallows. He smiles his thanks and leans his head back again, waiting for takeoff.

Fifteen minutes later his headache is down to just a slightly annoying buzz, but they are still sitting on the runway waiting to leave Singapore behind. Steve is already fidgeting in his seat, he hates the five-point seatbelt on planes that land on carriers. They are much more restricting than a simple seatbelt like on 'normal' planes. The seats are pretty small and the side of it presses into his hip and causes a mild pain on his bruises. He is subconsciously rubbing his thigh when Cath grabs his hand to still it.

She had been observing his constant fidgeting in his seat and can imagine that he's not very comfortable. It's not the most comfortable seat under the best circumstances, but she has seen his bruises on his hip and leg and knows that they must hurt. They interwine their hands and Steve stays still for a couple of minutes. She has to laugh when he starts moving again a minute later.

Finally after another ten minutes they get into position for takeoff. It's a bit strange to take off backwards, but it's better this way when they land. At landing they will be pressed into the seat with their whole back instead of forward into the seatbelt.

During the flight they are not allowed to open the safety harness, but they can loosen it a little until the landing. Steve sighs in relief when he can wiggle a little more in his seat and is not completely confined to it anymore. But none the less it will be two long hours. Not able to talk to his companion, and not being able to fool… sorry… walk around. Steve grins to himself.

Unbeknownst to him he dozes off and only becomes aware of it when Cath shakes him to fasten his seatbelt again. They are already on their final approach to the Enterprise. Cath shakes her head at him, unbelieving that he slept not just through the two hour flight but also through very heavy turbulence.

"What!" He yells at her.

She only shakes her head, smiling.

The landing can't be called smooth, but it's not that hard either. Steve's upper body protests loudly about being pressed so hard into the seat, but he's sure no further injury occurred.

After de-boarding, Steve and Cath have to go their separate ways and it will be the last time for almost a week that he will see her smiling at him before she turns to report to her CO. She wasn't kidding when she told him they wouldn't see much of each other on the Enterprise.

 

*~* *~* *~* Hawaii Five-0 *~* *~* *~*

 

"Lieutenant, how did you manage to do that? I need to put in some stitches," Lieutenant Commander Winters looks at the deep cut on Lt. Rollins' forearm.

"I caught a loose screw in my locker," Cath tells the doctor. What a stupid way to injure oneself.

They get interrupted by a group of six dripping wet, shivering sailors entering sick bay.

"What happened to you?" Winters looks up from his task and comes around to take a closer look.

"We got c… caught in a.. a wave. Lost our boat. No injuries… j… just cold," Lieutenant Commander McGarrett tells the doctor what happened to him and his men.

"How long where you in the water?" Winters ask as he motions for them to follow him into the next room and calls two medics to assist him.

"Five hours," Steve answers as he looks in surprise at Cath, slightly shocked to see her in sickbay. "What happened? Are you okay?" He moves to go to her, but is stopped by the voice of Winters.

"She will be fine, Commander. You, on the other hand need to come in here, now," Winters calls from the doorway of the semi private, but much larger trauma room.

Cath can see at least a dozen trauma beds standing in there. The small trauma room she is in is separated by a wall that has glass from about three feet from the floor up to the ceiling. She has to grin when the six SEALs start stripping right in her view, allowing her to see the show. And it's a nice show. It's not like SEALs are not in top form and are actually a view for sore eyes. Soaked clothes are landing on the floor and everyone is draped in warm blankets and deposited on beds.

The medics are getting to work right away, taking temps and checking for any head trauma or other injuries. She can see the sailors are all still violently shivering and can only imagine how cold they are after five hours in the water. The waters around here are relatively warm, but not warm enough for a five hour swim without a wet suit. But warm enough to prevent serious hypothermia.

Cath watches a medic move in front of Steve, who sits on the edge of the bed with a blanket around his waist and a second draped around his shoulders. He is hugging the blanket close and she can see that he can't keep his body from shaking, even now that he is dry again. The medic asks him some questions she can't hear and checks his pupils and makes him open the blanket. When he checks his ribs she sees Steve wince when the medic presses on his still sore ribs.

That of course didn't get unnoticed by the medic, who is now taking a closer look at the still nasty looking bruise. Cath can clearly see that Steve is in severe pain from the medic's prodding. Winters is called to take a look and he also checks every rib very carefully. Cath winces in symphathy when she sees Steve biting his lower lip to obviously keep himself from crying out. Winters takes a stetoscope and checks Steve's lungs for what she thinks forever. All the while Steve is shivering violently which probably intensifies the pain in his side.

The whole examination takes a while, longer than with any of the other men. During that time one of the medics organized some clothes for the men, and after Lieutenant Commander Winters is satisfied with his examination, he gives Steve warm sweatpants and a Navy sweater, which he puts on immediately. He even lies down on the bed and allows the medic place a blanket over him.

Cath watches him curl on his left side and look over to her, just now becoming aware that she was witness to the whole process. She has to laugh at the face he's making when realization dawns. But after a moment he is grinning. His unspoken question about her injury is answered with a smile and a wink. It takes only a minute to see his eyes closing and she is sure he's falling asleep, not even stirring when the medic starts an IV.

 

*~* *~* *~* Hawaii Five-0 *~* *~* *~*

 

There is a hand rubbing small circles on the back of his hand that is sneaking out of the warm blanket. If the sensation wasn't so nice, he would pull his arm back under the covers. But he enjoys the touch too much for that, even though he is still a bit cold. But the shivering has stopped and he is just feeling… well, not really warm. But not like the freezing cold from earlier.

"Steve, are you awake?" Catherine whispers to him, not wanting to wake him if he's still sleeping.

"Hmm." Steve is not sure if his state counts as awake but he's sure he's getting there.

"Take your time. Are you still cold?"

"Not really." But to contradict his words he buries a bit deeper into the warm blanket.

"Commander Winters said you suffered a broken rib and a mild case of hypothermia. The other's are all uninjured, aside from the hypothermia, of course. You're all on sick leave for 24 hours," Cath informs her friend of what his doctor told her.

"My team is okay?" Steve slightly sits up and looks around the room he's in. The empty room. The other beds are all unoccupied. "Where is everyone?"

"They were all released after their temperatures got back to normal. You're the last to wake up. I was getting worried, the last of your team left an hour ago. Winters said it was to be expected because of your prior injuries and the pain from the broken bone."

"They are all okay?"

"They are fine, don't worry. Now, tell me what happened. Why did you guys land in the drink?"

13 hours ago

"Commander, is your boat crew ready?" Petty Officer Ford asks Steve over the noise of the helicopter blades.

"We're ready," Steve just confirmed that a minute ago with his men.

"ETA one minute, Sir." The petty officer signals to the men waiting to begin their training session.

Steve looks around at his boat crew, five men who are just like him on their reserve drill. Today they will practice fast-roping from the hovering helicopter down to a zodiac that will then be detached from the helo into the choppy sea. They have to go a few miles in the small boat to a pick-up point where they are taken back on board the helicopter. Steve is really happy that this morning he passed the physical with flying colors. His ribs are still a little bruised but he was cleared to participate in all training exercises.

They all have done the roping hundreds of times. But you can never practice anything like that often enough. Steve will be the first to go down and the last to be picked up.

"GO!" Ford calls to them and without hesitation, the six men take action.

Thirty seconds later they have all roped down into the zodiac and they click it out of the safety hook. They immediately turn the boat and speed off.

"That went smoothly," Tom, one of his men, yells at him over the sound of the wind and the noise of the powerful motor of the small boat.

"Almost too easy," Steve yells back and holds on to the rope along the side of the boat.

The surf is rough and they take on water every time a new wave hits them, but the boats are designed to withstand those conditions. A few minutes later they are thoroughly soaked but are making good time. It will take them less than half an hour to reach the rendezvous point.

Five minutes later their situation changes dramatically. Suddenly right in front of them is a huge wall of water, a freak wave, and they are heading right into it. They don't stand a chance. Fifteen feet of water is mounting in front of them and hits them full force in a matter of seconds.

Steve feels like a truck is crashing into him, all air he gulped in before the wave hit is pressed out of his lungs by the sheer force of the impact. A fierce pain shoots through his side, he is pretty sure to have injured his ribs again. He instinctively pulls the line of his life vest and it inflates instantly. But the force of the wave presses him further down and he needs all his strength to fight against the down pull of the water. The urge to breathe in is overwhelming and only his long training and discipline keeps him from doing so.

He vigorously kicks against the pull, but the surface seems far away. His vision is graying and his lungs are screaming in agony. Just seconds before he blacks out he pops out of the water and gulps in a lungful of air before the next, thankfully small wave hits him and again pushes him under. But this time the vest gets him back to the surface in a matter of seconds.

Steve tries to calm his erratic breathing, before his fast intake of air lets him hyperventilate. He tries to take a few deep breaths but the intense pain in his right side prevents that.

Surprisingly the team is pretty close together and Steve can see four of his men nearby. It takes them a few minutes to get close, but as soon as they do, they hook their harnesses together and start looking for their missing buddy. It takes them almost twenty minutes until they spot him about twenty yards away. It's difficult to see any further than that in the still heavy sea. The up and down of the waves makes it almost impossible to see anything beyond a few yards. Their boat will never be seen again.

They build a circle and wait to be rescued. In the next five hours, despite the life vests, they fight against high waves to stay afloat. They swallow a lot of salty water, but mostly they have to fight against the cold that is slowly creeping into their bones. After four hours of treading water they are all shivering, caused by the onset of hypothermia. Steve's ribs have calmed down a little by now, probably from being numb from the cold. But he is sure that one rib shifted when he pressed the palm of his hand on his side. He is now, just like the others, floating on his back, with his right arm under his life vest, pressing protectively over his aching ribs.

Finally after five hours helplessly adrift they are spotted by the SAR chopper that was looking for them after they didn't make it to the rendezvous point. It took them so long because the group was caught in a current that brought them very close to the carrier. Far away from where they were suspected to be.

They are taken on board in a matter of minutes and are immediately on their way back to the Enterprise.

Steve ends his story and looks at Catherine for any kind of reaction.

"Why didn't they start to treat you on the helicopter? I mean you came here still in your wet clothes, I would have thought they would have stripped you right away." Of course then she would have missed a nice show, Cath thinks smiling.

"We were only three minutes out from the carrier. And we were not that bad off," Steve tells her as he pushes himself a bit higher on the small, uncomfortable bed. He puts his hand on his side when the pain flares up from the movement.

"The doctor said the rib didn't shift, but you should be careful with any movements. He said if the pain gets too bad you should tell them and he will give you something for it." Catherine recounts the information Winters gave her a few hours ago.

"Uh huh. Cath how did you injure yourself and are you okay?" Steve steers the conversation away from him. "Did you need stitches?" Steve gently takes her arm and inspects the bandage.

"Yeah, he put seven stitches in. It doesn't hurt much right now. It was really stupid how it happened. There was a screw sticking out of my locker, and when I grabbed for my shirt I caught it with my arm." Cath is still angry about her own stupidity.

"Hey, it's not stupid," Steve tells her as he tugs on her arm to pull her closer; carefully looking around to make sure they are still alone. "It was just an accident," he mumbles as they are really close, and all talking ceases when there is no space between them anymore.

"Well, Commander, it seems that you are feeling a bit better. You're at least not an icicle anymore," Cath tells her friend. She was worried earlier when he groaned in his sleep while turning on his back.

"I don't feel too bad. Still a bit cold, but I'll be fine."

"I think I should be the judge of that, Commander," Lieutenant Commander Winters calls from the door.

It's a good thing that they had separated a few moments earlier. It wouldn't be good to be caught engaging in a lip lock.

Steve tries to sit up straighter, but gives up when a sharp pain reminds him again of his broken rib.

"Lieutenant Rollins, would you excuse us for a few minutes? I need to check on Commander McGarrett."

"Yes, of course, Sir." She winks at Steve and leaves sick bay to wait outside.

"So, Commander, tell me how you really feel, now that your girlfriend is not listening in." Winters grins at Steve's shocked face. "It's okay, she is not in your chain of command. No problem as long as you don't… you know."

"We don't. Not on board." Steve would never jeopardize Catherine's career or his own for a bit of fun.

"I know. So… how are you doing?" Winters asks as he gets his stethoscope out again. He needs to check the lungs periodically for any sounds that could hint at inhaled water. The other five sailors have already had their second check-up.

"My side hurts. I'm a bit cold and slightly dizzy."

"Now that you're warmed up I would like to take an x-ray of the fractured rib. I don't think it shifted in any way, but just to be on the safe side. We gave you two bags of saline; you should be hydrated by now. I read in your file that you were hit by a car a week ago and suffered a mild concussion?"

"Yeah, I did. But I was feeling good, and I passed the physical, just this morning before training."

"Yes, I know. I don't like that you're feeling dizzy, you shouldn't be. When the wave hit you, were you hit by the boat or did you hit the boat?"

"No, not that I recall. The water was over us so fast; I can't really say how it all happened. The wave hit us with such force, getting hit by the car last week was nothing compared to this. I think I was pretty deep down, I had to kick really hard to get back up, even with the life vest inflated. I nearly passed out when I finally broke the surface."

"You're feeling dizzy right now?" Winters gets his penlight out to check Steve's pupils.

"Yeah, a little bit. The room is slightly tilting."

"Right or left?"

"What?"

"The room. Is it tilting to the right or the left?"

"Um, left, I think." Steve wonders about that strange question.

"Hmm, follow the light please." Winters turns the light on and watches Steve follow the little lamp. "That looks good. Reaction is also equally good. I would like to take a look at your ears, an injury could cause vertigo." Winters uses an instrument to take a close look into Steve's ears. "There is a little redness, but that is to be expected from the long exposure to the salt water. That looks perfectly normal and no injuries."

Winter looks a moment at Steve before he talks again, "does your head hurt?"

"No, not really. Maybe a little, but I wouldn't even call it a headache."

"There is no sign of trauma, or any signs of a new concussion. We're going to keep the IV going and hydrate you a bit more. We're going to take the x-rays, and then see how you're doing in a couple of hours. At the moment I don't see any reason for concern. I'm sure the dizziness will disappear with more fluids and more rest."

"So, I guess I'm not going back to training any time soon?"

"No, Commander, training is over for you. I would send you home with the next flight out, but the catapult start and the long flight wouldn't be beneficial to your injuries. But you're on sick leave for the next week at least. From now on you can enjoy the cruise." Winters grins at Steve, knowing, that the next five days will be pretty boring for Steve. "We'll keep you here for another 24 hours. I think you can go back to quarters after that."

"Not really what I was hoping for," Steve says a bit frustrated.

"Sorry, but we can't let you run around, the risk of the broken rib shifting would be too high. A medic will take some pictures with a portable x-ray," Winters motions into the far end of the room where the x-ray idly stands, waiting to get used. "We'll talk again after I take a look at the pictures."

"Thank you."

Twenty minutes later, pictures were taken and Catherine is again sitting next to his bed.

"So?" She looks at Steve waiting for him to tell what the doctor said.

"On sick leave for at least a week," Steve grumpily tells her.

"Oh, sorry. Will you be sent home?"

"No, Winters said I shouldn't fly out in the next few days. I have to stay here. Which is not too bad, I mean you have three days off, right?"

"Yeah, I have. We can at least spend those days together," Cath tells him with a smile on her face. Who would have thought that they would spend so much time together on the carrier after all?

And that is exactly what they do. Steve is released from sick bay after 24 hours and they spend every possible minute together after that. Of course they could only be together with lots of other sailors around; visiting each other in their quarters is out of the question. But still, they spend time together, even though it was not very intimate. But still more than they could have hoped for.

Four days after the incident at sea there is a flight out available and Steve is ordered to take it. Which would bring him home a day early.

"You'll call me, when you get home?" Catherine looks at Steve who is ready to board the C-2 that will take him back to Singapore from where he will start his flight home. This time on a non-stop military transport, directly to Honolulu.

"Yes, I will. I promise next time you're in Hawaii, I will take the time off. No case, no Five-0, just us. We could spend the time in a resort on one of the other islands."

"That sounds good. I'll hold you to that. Next time will be in three months, so you better clear your schedule."

"I will." Despite standing among other sailors waiting for boarding, he bends down, encircles her waist and engages in a gentle kiss. They touch their foreheads together and inhale their scents. It has to get them through the next three months before they can see each other again.

"Be careful, Steve." Catherine hugs him one more time before she pulls back. "Love you."

Steve gives her one of his blinding smiles and softly returns her vow.

Catherine stands on deck and watches his plane getting into position for the catapult start. She keeps standing on the flight deck long after the plane is out of sight. Thinking about the next time she will see her friend again. A friend who is by now so much more than that.

 

*~* *~* *~* Hawaii Five-0 *~* *~* *~*