The man trudging wearily down Kalakaua Avenue looked much like any other homeless person in Honolulu. His dirty clothes, the slippers that looked too small for his feet, the messy beard and the greasy and tangled mass of blonde hair on his head would never point to a detective from New Jersey, part of the Governor's Task Force.
The dirt covering Danny's hair and clothes also did a good job of covering dried bloodstains at the side of his face and on his side. He was limping slowly, not really focused on his surroundings, not looking very concerned about his current state.
The truth was that Danny was not having a very good week. Three days ago he had woken up under some kind of pier, wrapped around a pole, coughing up water. He had had enough energy to drag himself away from the water and collapse in an exhausted heap, hidden from the eyes of people at the beach by the structure looming over his head. He had woken up some hours later to a terrible headache, numerous aches and pains all over his body, cold that made him shiver from head to toe and no memory of how he had gotten to his current situation. Most distressing of all, he couldn't remember himself. He couldn't remember his name, where he was or even the day's date. His mind was a huge blank, and everything and everyone around him were strangers.
He had spent the better part of two days wandering aimlessly. He didn't have any shoes, no id, and no money. His appearance and the coughing lags that plagued him from time to time made the tourists move away from him, and he was too scared to approach anyone that may help him.
At some point the pain on the soles of his bare feet made him snatch a pair of slippers that were lying in the beach unattended, he had been eating anything he found discarded and didn't look too bad, and he slept wherever exhaustion caught up with him, curling up by the side of a building or under a beach umbrella, his dreams plagued by a little girl in pigtails who smiled at him and told him he was loved.
Right now he was looking for something to eat. He had only managed to find a half eaten sandwich that morning, and it was now close to 6 PM. He didn't know if it was the lack of food or his head acting up again, but he was starting to feel a bit dizzy, or dizzier than he had felt during the day at least. Fortunately, he could see a truck with some tables around it nearby.
He approached cautiously, trying to see if there was anything left on some plates on the few empty tables. He found a half eaten plate of shrimp and a soda can on a table by the side of the truck. Not seeing anyone nearby, he moved quickly, intending to snatch whatever he could and move away, but a wave of dizziness forced him to sit on the bench. He closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths, and was assaulted by a coughing fit that left him panting. When he finally got his lungs under control, he straightened and got ready to tuck into the few shrimps left in front of him, but before he could even lift the fork he felt a large hand landing on his shoulder. "Now why would you eat these cold shrimp when you could have a freshly made dish for only 10 bucks?"
Danny looked up and immediately tried to move away, but the large hand on his shoulder had a very strong grip. The hand belonged to a huge bald man with a round belly and a kind smile. When Danny looked up, the giant blinked, looking surprised. "Brudda! Where you've been! McGarrett's been tearing up the island looking for you!"
If Danny heard the large man's words, he didn't acknowledged them, too busy trying to get away from the strong grip on his shoulder. Once the man released him, he bolted to his feet unsteadily. "I'm sorry, I don't have money… I gotta go…"
Before he could move away the giant appeared behind him, steering him back to the table. He pushed on his shoulder until Danny had no choice but to sit back down. "Easy, easy, brudda… You know your money's no good here at Kamekona's. You just sit tight and I'll get you your favorite, ok?"
Danny sat down tiredly, too confused by the giant's actions to attempt to escape again. Somehow he felt that he could trust the huge man with the kind smile. He wondered if he was just being nice with a stranger or if he really knew who Danny was.
Some time later, a steaming plate of shrimps and rice appeared in front of Danny and the giant sat down at his side. "What happened to you, brudda?"
Danny shook his head, moving his hand to his throbbing forehead. "Don't know…" He picked at his food, feeling suddenly nauseous. He looked up at the man sitting next to him, debating whether to ask him for help, he finally decided that it was worth the risk. "Do you know who I am?" He asked in a small voice.
Kamekona raised his eyebrows. "Do you know who you are?" He asked, in way of an answer.
Danny lowered his eyes, and with a shuddering breath he shook his head slowly. He could hear Kamekona giving a sad sigh and suddenly he felt a couple of pats on his back that almost made his head fall off his shoulders. "Don't worry bruddah… I know who you are and your ohana will be here soon to take care of you…"
Danny looked up, getting nervous. Someone was coming for him? Well, someone had hurt him and left him in a random beach, half drowned, hurting like hell and not knowing who he was, so he was not very keen on being found by whoever was looking for him. He moved away from Kamekona, standing up, but before he could bolt, he was distracted by the screeching of tires and a blue truck coming to a sudden stop nearby. The sight of three people coming out of the truck and hurrying in his direction reminded him of the fact that he was supposed to be running out of there.
He didn't make it very far before the three people that came out of the truck were surrounding him. He could see that they had badges and guns. He didn't mind the badges, but knew not to trust in them blindly. The guns were less than reassuring, but at least they were not pointing them in his direction.
They were two guys, one of them looked Asian and the other would look military if it wasn't for the scruff on his face and the exhausted look about him, and a girl, also Asian, taller than him and kind of athletic. The three of them seemed perfectly capable of taking him out without any need of their guns, which made him look more frantically for a way out.
His escape plan was interrupted by the tallest of the group moving closer to him. "Danny, it's so good to see you…"
Danny took a step away from the tall man. "Don't come closer! Who are you?" He asked, trying to keep an eye on the other two in the group.
The tall man looked baffled for a moment, but he was stopped from saying anything by the giant's voice. "I told you not to spook him, bra! Told you he was scrambled in the head!" He made his way to stand protectively in front of Danny, and Danny unconsciously moved closer to the giant man, looking for protection.
The tall man looked at the giant, and then at Danny, wincing in sympathy at what he hadn't noticed before. He lifted his hands, trying not to look threatening. "I'm sorry, Danny, I didn't mean to scare you… I'm Steve, I'm your friend, we work together and we've been looking all over the island for you…" He said, starting to move closer towards Danny.
Danny was still trying to hide behind the giant. "No! Don't come closer! You… I don't know you…" His head had started to pound and he lifted his hand to rub his forehead, making an effort to maintain his balance.
Steve stopped for a second, but soon enough started moving again. "Danno, we're just trying to help! We were worried about you…"
At the use of that name Danny gasped. "What'd you call me?"
Steve moved a little bit closer. "Danno, that's what Gracie calls you… Do you remember Gracie?"
Danny shook his head confusedly. A wet cough rocked his frame and his knees finally gave up the fight of keeping him upright. He would have hit the floor if it wasn't for Steve reaching out and lowering him carefully to the ground. "Easy, Danno… It's alright… I'm sure you remember her…" Steve said, while shifting to get something out of his pocket. He fiddled with it for a while until it lit up, showing an image of a 10 year old girl happily dragging out of the water a pink surf board.
Danny reached out, gently caressing the girl's image with his finger. "I dreamt of her… She said she loves me…" He said in a hoarse croak. He could feel himself starting to shake.
Steve tightened his hold on his friend and drew him closer, letting him rest against his chest. "She does love you, Danno, more than anything in the world…"
Danny took a shuddering breath, watching detachedly as Steve signaled something to the other Asian guy. He stifled a cough and reached out to squeeze Steve's hand, trying to catch his attention. "Do you really know who I am?" He asked, looking at Steve's eyes to judge his reaction.
Steve smiled, trying to reassure his friend. "I really know who you are, we've worked together for more than a year and I consider you one of my best friends…"
Danny apparently was convinced by his friend's statement, because he settled more comfortably against his friend's chest. He suddenly tensed when he saw an ambulance stopping nearby and two paramedics coming their way. He tried to get his legs under him, but Steve was having none of it. "Easy, Danno… They're here to help…"
Danny shook his head, unsuccessfully trying to pull away. "Just wanna go home…"
Steve wouldn't let him move away, but kept a protective arm around his shoulders. "I promise I'll bring you home as soon as we can, but they need to check you over first, ok?"
Danny relaxed minutely, muttering a quiet "ok." The approach of the paramedics made him nervous, which in turn made him breathe faster, which in turn brought a coughing fit that left him gasping for each painful breath. He could feel hands moving him to a flat surface, a cold thing being placed over his face and the prick of a needle on his arm.
He felt exhaustion taking over and decided that it was not worth it fighting this time. He allowed darkness to take over, hoping that Steve kept his promise and would help him find his home.
Danny's sleep was plagued by nightmares. He dreamt of strange faces looking at him in anger. He dreamt about water closing over his head and being unable to breathe. He also dreamt about an evil man threatening his girl and taking her away. He dreamt about a cop burned alive, with his badge on his mouth and of a dead woman with a shiny cross around her neck.
He tried to fight the nightmares, he tried to wake up, but there was a weight over his chest that wouldn't let him fight. He felt hot and cold at the same time, alone but surrounded by strange shadows. It made him fight twice as hard to wake up, and after a while, it paid off.
Unfortunately, his first awakenings were not much better than his nightmares. Everything wavered in and out of focus, he was connected to a bunch of cables and tubes that wouldn't let him move freely and even if he wasn't, he was too weak to even think about moving.
There were familiar unfamiliar faces whenever he awoke. Sometimes it was the Hottie, who would always give him a beaming smile and try to calm him down with a soft "It's alright, brah".
Other times it was Mr. Poker-Face. He would just sit there, reading something or watching TV, giving comfort by his sole presence. He would talk to him in soft words that he wouldn't remember or understand later, but he felt safe around him.
Then of course there was Mr. Tall, Dark and Scary, who was a goof. Every time Danny woke up and he was in the room, he would give him a goofy smile, like Danny had gotten him a hand grenade for a birthday present or something like that… And Danny had no idea why the thought of hand grenades came to his mind when Mr. TDS was in the room.
No matter the company, whenever Danny was awake he felt like crap. It hurt to breathe, his head hurt as well, everything was confusing, and people wouldn't make any sense. He was assaulted by coughing fits that at best left him panting and from there they could either make him throw up in front of his visitors (which for some reason annoyed him immensely) or pass out in front of them, with their terrified faces as the last thing he saw.
It took an undetermined number of days, but things finally started to get a little bit better for Danny. At least physically he was feeling a bit better, and the crushing weight on his chest was starting to dissipate.
He woke up one of these days to the sight of Mr. Tall, Dark and Sleepy, crashing on what looked like a very uncomfortable chair. Before he could say anything to startle the man awake and see if he squealed like a girl, there was a knock at the door and a strange man, who Danny was positive he hadn't seen before, came into the room.
Danny didn't even have the chance to start freaking out, which was his initial plan, because Mr. TDS stood before the newcomer, effectively blocking his sight of Danny. "Who are you? Who authorized you to enter this room? Get out! I have to confirm your identity!" And with that, they were gone.
A few minutes later, they both came back to the room, the unknown guy looking extremely annoyed and Mr. TDS looking all pinched in the face, like he was sorry about something but would do it again anyway.
The unknown guy approached the bed. "Mr. Williams-"
"Detective Williams!" Snapped Tall guy from the side.
The unknown guy sighed. "I'm sorry, Detective Williams, I'm doctor Reeves, and I'm the neurologist reviewing your case…"
Danny assumed that he was referring to him when they talked about Detective Williams, so he gave him a small "Hey" in return. He turned to Tall guy, and found him looking ready to pounce at the smallest threat. "Hey! Stand down, would you?"
Tall guy grinned and relaxed his stance minutely. Danny turned to the doctor, who looked amused. "I'm sorry, He's still not house trained, it seems…" He said, shrugging.
The doctor gave him and Tall guy a smile. "It's alright Detective, Commander McGarrett is only looking after your welfare, I understand. As I was saying, I'm the neurologist assigned to your case…" He looked down at a tablet on his hands. "And now that your fever has finally cleared, I'd like to make a neurological assessment, if that's ok with you?"
Danny looked uncertain, but nodded anyway. "Sure, go ahead…"
Doctor Reeves turned to McGarrett, but before he could open his mouth the Commander started talking. "I am staying right here. I promise to stay out of the way and not say a word to interrupt your assessment, but I'm not leaving my partner alone with a strange doctor."
The doctor looked at Danny for confirmation. "Detective, do you mind if Commander McGarrett is in the room during the examination?"
Danny looked at the Commander, trying to understand how he had managed to get people that cared so much for his well being when not a week ago he was sure that he was all alone in the world. He was distracted from his thoughts by the doctor's voice. "Detective?"
Danny jumped and turned back to the doctor. "Yeah… He can stay." He said, sending a small smile to his goofy watchdog.
It took about an hour of following fingers with his eyes, lifting and wiggling legs, arms, fingers and toes, memorizing random phrases and answering dumb questions for the damn doctor to look like he had anything useful to say.
He sat down on a chair, looking at the other two men on the room and finally focused his attention on Danny. "Well, Detective… From your physical examination and your tests, it looks like you're recovering from multiple traumas to your head. Fortunately in your case, the trauma didn't cause any swelling or bleeding of the brain. You did have a severe concussion, but the forced rest of the last few days has helped with your recovery…"
For Danny it all sounded well and good, but he still wasn't hearing an explanation for his current problems. "I'm sorry doctor, but you're still not telling me what the hell is wrong with my head and whether I'll ever remember all the stuff I forgot!"
The doctor lifted his hand in a placating gesture. "Detective…"
"Don't call me detective! I may have been a detective once, but right now I wouldn't know how to be one! I'm not a detective anymore!" Danny snapped, not really knowing why that fact made him so angry.
"Breathe, Danno…" A gentle hand on his shoulder made him take a deep breath to calm himself, which got him coughing his lung out, which brought back his headache.
Once he got his coughing under control he glared at his friend. "I'm alright…"
McGarrett lifted his hand and moved away from Danny, and Danny motioned for the doctor to continue.
"Alright Danny… What I was trying to tell you is that while some of your injuries could cause some memory loss, it shouldn't be a loss of the magnitude you're experiencing right now…" Doctor Reeves said with a concerned expression on his face.
Danny looked from the doctor to McGarrett, who looked just as confused as he was right now. "I don't understand… If my nuggin' was not knocked hard enough to cause this, then why can't I remember anything?"
"Danny, when physical reasons are ruled out, the only ones left are psychological reasons. Your brain could have chosen to delete some information as a defense mechanism…"
Danny couldn't understand the doctor's explanations. "What? What's that mean?"
The doctor looked grim. "Danny, I'm afraid it means that I can't help you recover your memory."
Ok, this is the part where I tell you that my medical expertise does not even amount to the proper aplication of a bandaid, so please just pretend that all that medical mumbo jumbo that the doc is saying makes some sense and if it doesn't, please don't hate me for it?
Anyways, thank you very much for reading, and leave a note if you feel like it!
Thank you so much for all your kind reviews!
I hope you enjoy this next chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Danny had turned pale all of a sudden, but before he could start to panic, the doctor started talking again. "Danny, I'm not saying that your memory won't return! I'm only saying that since there are no physical reasons for your current condition, I'm asking for a psychiatrist to review your case…"
At the mention of a psychiatrist, Danny looked at the doctor disbelievingly. "So you're saying I'm crazy. I'm such a wimp that when something bad happened I was so freaked out that I just figured I'd rather forget everything than remembering something unpleasant! Sure! It makes perfect sense! In fact, why don't you get the shrink here right now, so he can get me committed as soon as possible, huh? In fact, why don't you bring one of those straitjackets and get it over with!"
His rant was interrupted by a coughing fit that barely allowed him to draw a breath. The coughs coming relentlessly made him curl up on his side, trying to avoid the pain they caused. When it started to look like Danny was having trouble breathing, Steve pressed the call button. A nurse came into the room and moved to Danny's side, placing an oxygen mask over his face and taking his temperature.
When doctor Reeves moved to assist, Steve gave him a deadly glare. "Don't even think about laying a finger on him." He growled, but before the doctor could reply, another doctor entered the room and moved to Danny's side.
The petite dark haired woman gave his colleague an annoyed look. "I got it from here, Dr. Reeves; you can continue your assessment once my patient is stable, as I remember having asked you before…" She growled. She turned her attention to Danny, listening to his lungs and giving instructions to the nurses about treatment and medicines. Nobody noticed or cared when Doctor Reeves left the room.
10 minutes later, the doctor came closer to get Danny's attention, happy with the improvement on his vitals. She leaned forward, to look him in the eye. "Are you feeling better, Danny?"
Danny was curled up on his side, blinking tiredly. "I guess so…" He mumbled, not bothering to move the oxygen mask covering his nose and mouth. "Who are you?" He asked to the kind looking doctor.
The doctor smiled. "I'm doctor Schick. I've been in charge of your care since you arrived at the hospital."
Danny blinked at her confusedly. "So I forgot you too?"
"I don't think so. You've been asleep or well on your way there every time I've stopped by to check on you, so it's not unusual for you not to remember me…" She said with a smile.
Danny's eyelids were clearly getting heavier. "Do you think I'm nuts and in need of a shrink too?"
The doctor raised her eyebrows. "Is that what Doctor Reeves told you?" She said, turning serious.
Danny raised a shoulder in a weak shrug. "He used more words, but that was the gist of it…"
Doctor Shick gave him a kind smile. "I think that you've gone through a traumatic experience, both before and after you lost your memory. I don't think that this is something that can be magically fixed by talking about it or giving you some medication and I don't think you're crazy, but I do believe that you'd benefit of talking about it…"
Danny breathed a tired sigh. "´k… I'll think about it…" He looked at the doctor for a minute and finally smiled. "You're much nicer than the other doc… Don't want to see him again…"
She chuckled. "Don't worry; it doesn't look like the Commander liked him either, so I don't think you'll see him again…"
Danny extracted his arm from under the covers to pat the doctor's hand. "Thanks doc…" He said, finally done with trying to stay awake.
He heard a chuckle from the woman at his bedside. "Get some rest Danny; you'll feel better when you next wake…" And Danny did just that.
His next awakening was slow, and accompanied by whispering voices.
"But Uncle Steve! His face is all purple!" Said a young girl's voice.
"Yeah, but think of it as camouflage paint…" Said the voice of the Tall goof that called him partner… Right… Steve was his name.
"It's not camouflage paint, Danno has never used camouflage paint and he wouldn't use it now that he's in the hospital! What if his face stays like that? I don't think he'd like it, Uncle Steve…" The little girl had started to sound concerned.
Steve chuckled. "Don't worry, Gracie. I don't think Danno would mind. And in any case, I'm sure that if we rub this thing over it very hard, we'll take care of it… What do you think, you wanna try?"
Danny decided that it was time to open his eyes, before anyone could start their attack on his face. He looked around the room and was pleased to realize that the other two people in the room were not actually talking about him, but they were really concentrated on an art project they were working on, hunched over the tiny table by the foot of his bed.
Danny tried to make his throat work to get their attention, but a cough managed to slip out, effectively drawing two pairs of eyes towards him. "Hey…" He said in a hoarse croak.
The little girl jumped from the seat and moved quickly to give Danny a hug. "Danno! You're awake!"
Danny couldn't remember ever smiling like he was smiling right now. "Hey Monkey…" He said, raising a hand to hold his girl close.
They stayed like that for a few minutes and then Monkey moved back to the little table, trying to hide its contents from Danny. "We were making a surprise for you, but it's not ready yet, so you can't see it!"
Danny looked at the Tall goof and accepted the glass of water he was offering, taking small sips. "Well, you shouldn't have gone through the trouble…"
Gracie stayed for a couple of hours, reading stories to him and watching TV, explaining patiently all they needed to know about a talking Sponge and his friends and about a kid with fairy godparents. Danny had absolutely no idea of what she was talking about, but the fact that Steve looked as lost as he was, made him feel a bit better about it.
Suddenly an image came to Danny's head. "What about the blue bird that kept running from the stupid wolf?"
His heart fell when Gracie looked confused, but a look at Steve's face told him that he was had not imagined it after all. "I think you're talking about the roadrunner and the coyote, they showed that when we were kids, but I'm not sure they show it so much on TV anymore, Danno…" Said the tall goof, with a pleased smile on his face.
"Well, they should. I think I liked them…" Danny said, rubbing his forehead.
A knock on the door interrupted their conversation, and a light haired woman came into the room. "Hello? Grace, it's time to go home…" She said, looking at the little girl in the room. She turned her attention to Danny and smiled. "Danny, it's so good to see you awake." She said, moving closer to his bed.
Danny smiled at her, wondering why the idea of her having dark hair popped in his head. Before he could say anything, Gracie came closer to them. "But mom! Tomorrow is Saturday… Can't I stay a bit later today?"
Well, that cleared things up for Danny. There was a reason why he felt the way he felt when she came into the room. He reached out, and took the woman's hand, squeezing gently. "Babe, why don't you let her stay for a while longer? She and Steve were making me a surprise…"
The woman was startled by Danny's touch, but gently pried her hand from his hold. "I'm sorry Danny, but we have to go… Charlie is waiting at home…" She said, moving away from the bed.
Danny was a bit disappointed, but perked up at hearing Charlie's name. "Charlie is the baby, right?" He said with a smile. "It's alright then… But, do you think you can bring him next time you come by?"
The woman turned pale, and he could see Steve tensing as well. "Do you want me to bring Charlie to see you?" She asked.
Danny looked from Steve's stiff posture to the Woman's pale face. "Well… yeah… I know he's a baby, and that hospitals are not the best places to bring a baby, but I'd really like to see him, and he's my kid after all, isn't he?"
The fact that the three other occupants of the room looked at him with different expressions of fear and concern on their faces did nothing to reassure Danny. "What? What did I say?" He asked, lifting his hand to rub a sudden headache away. All of a sudden he started to dread their answer.
Well, thank you so much for reading, and again, thank you so much for the lovely reviews.
I hope you liked the chapters, and don't hate me too much for leaving yet another cliffie...
Feel free to leave a note, and I hope to see you soon!
Well, this chapter wanted to be written very quickly, so here it is...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Danny was getting even more nervous when it looked like neither of the people in the room was willing to answer his question.
Gracie's mom turned to the little girl. "Grace, could you go outside for a moment? I believe that there's a vending machine down the hall, maybe the Commander can help you to get some candy?" She asked, looking pleadingly to the little girl and the serious man in the room.
Steve mustered up a smile and crouched to the little girl's eye level. "What do you say, Gracie? Do you want to go in search of something sweet?"
Grace didn't look too sure, but the small smile on her Danno's face convinced her. "Alright… I'll ask the nice lady outside if we can get some candy for Danno as well!" And with that, they both left the room.
Danny watched his little girl leaving the room with his friend and focused his attention on the woman standing in front of him. It was strange, because even though he couldn't remember her name, ever since she came into the room he knew that she was an important part of his life and that he felt very strongly about her.
She moved closer to the bed and lowering the railing, she sat down at Danny's side. "Danny, there's something we need to talk about…" She said, looking very nervous.
Danny couldn't help but to get nervous as well. "Ok, would you mind starting by telling me your name?"
She looked surprised. "Oh! Certainly! I'm sorry, the doctor said that you were experiencing some memory loss, but I never thought it was something this severe… My name is Rachel…"
Danny nodded. "Ok, your name is Rachel, and you're Grace's mum…" Asked Danny, trying to get confirmation on what little information he had. At Rachel's nod, he continued. "You're also Charlie's mum…"
Rachel nodded again, but before Danny could ask any more questions she interrupted. "Yes, but that's part of what I need to talk to you about Danny…"
Danny looked confused, but motioned her to go on. "Ok… Talk then… Somewhat this feels like a breakup talk…"
Rachel stiffened, but started talking anyway. "Alright. You and I met about 12 years ago, when you were a police officer in Newark. I rear ended your car and made up a stupid excuse to get you to give me driving lessons. A year later we were married, and a year after that, Grace was born."
It nearly broke Rachel's heart to see that Danny had no recollection of any of these events, and yet the sole mention of Grace's name made his face light up.
Danny interrupted her story. "Wait, if we met in Newark, why are we living in Hawaii now?"
Rachel sighed. "Danny, I will explain everything, but you need to listen to me, ok?"
Danny didn't look too sure. "Ok, go ahead…"
"Alright, Danny. After Grace was born we had a few good years…"
"A few good years?" Interrupted Danny.
"Yes, Danny! A few good years, what is wrong with a few good years?" Asked Rachel, getting irritated.
Danny shrugged. "Well, I'd like to think that I'm capable of doing better than 'a few good years'"
Rachel glared at him. "Well, maybe you would have, if it wasn't for your annoying habit of contradicting everything I say and your dangerous job!"
"What do you mean with that?" Danny asked with wide eyes.
Rachel took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down and look at Danny's eyes. "Danny… 7 years after we got married we were getting divorced…"
Danny was looking at her with a surprised expression on his face, but the fact that he hadn't interrupted her, encouraged her to keep going. "Two years after our divorce, I got married again… To Stanley Edwards. When he had to relocate to Hawaii, Grace and I moved with him… And… And that's when you decided to leave everything behind and follow…"
Danny shook himself and cleared his throat to try to make it work. "What about… What about Char- The baby… What about the baby?" He asked in a hoarse croak, lowering his eyes.
Rachel also couldn't bring herself to look at Danny anymore, hating to have to break this news to Danny again. "He… He's Stan's…" She moved to put her hand on Danny's shoulder, but he flinched away as if the touch burned him. "I'm so sorry, Danny…"
Danny shook his head, blinking rapidly. "Hey, you have nothing to apologize… In any case it's not your fault…" He said, looking at anywhere but in her direction.
Rachel withdrew her hand, moving away from Danny. "It's late… I'll leave you to rest… I'll send Grace in to say goodnight, ok?"
Danny just nodded, not trusting himself to talk to her anymore and watched her leave the room.
A couple of minutes later Grace and Steve came into the room, got Grace's things together and his precious little girl came closer to give him the best hug he could remember ever having. "I brought you some crackers, Danno… The nice lady outside said you could have them…"
Danny held her close. "Thank you Monkey… I love you…"
Gracie gave him a last squeeze. "I love you too Danno… And I'm sure Charlie does too…" She said with a sad smile, before leaving the room.
After Grace left, there were only Danny and Steve left in the room.
Danny could almost feel Steve looking at him, trying to figure out what was going out through his head, but Danny was just too tired to even think of talking about this whole mess. He only wanted to curl up in a dark corner and hide from the world for a while… a decade or two would be nice, but since he was stuck in a hospital bed with his observant friend watching his every move, he opted for the next best thing. "I'm tired, I'm gonna get some sleep…" He said, turning away from Steve and curling up on his side.
Of course Steve wouldn't let him be, so he moved around the bed to look at Danny's face. "Danny, do you want to talk about it?"
"Talk about it? What the hell is there for me to talk about, huh? It turns out she's not my wife! Tough luck… It also turns out the kid's not mine, as I initially thought… Well, one less mouth to feed I guess, right? Nothing to talk about!" His glare was literally dampened by the sudden tears flooding his eyes.
Steve's face seemed to crumple in sympathy. "Damn, Danno… I'm sorry…"
Danny shook his head. "Sorry about what, huh? There's no use feeling sorry for the loss of something that was not mine in the first place…" He said, trying and failing to stop some tears from falling. He scrubbed his hands angrily over his eyes. "Fuck…"
Steve crouched to get to Danny's eye level. "Danno, what can I do? How can I help?"
Danny looked at his friend, rubbing his throbbing forehead. "Could you get the nurse? Ask her to knock me out or something like that?" He asked in a voice full of tears.
Steve nodded and straightened himself to move to the door, but before he could move, Danny's hand latched onto his. "Wait! Wait… You must know! I know I'm not crazy, but I was so sure he was mine… And I could swear I was there… I swear to you, I was there when he was born! Please! Tell me that I didn't imagine being there when Charlie was born!"
Steve crouched again and squeezed Danny's hand fiercely. "You are not crazy Danno… You were there when he was born…" He said with a sad smile.
Danny's face crumpled, his breath hitching. "But… Why? If he's not… Then why would I be there?"
Steve reached out to gently pass his fingers through his friend's hair. " Stanley was out of the country on a business trip, he was too far away to make it here on time, and since Rachel needed you, you offered to be there for her. You're that much of a good guy…"
Danny chuckled, but it came out sounding more like a sob. "Well… being a good guy sucks…" He said, leaning closer to his friend.
Steve didn't bother trying to move away to get a nurse and decided to just push the call button. "Well, it doesn't look like it has stopped you before, Danno…" When the nurse poked her head, she took in the scene in front of her and with a reassuring nod to Steve, she moved out of the room.
The nurse came back to the room briefly to inject something in Danny's IV that made his headache start to fade and everything get fuzzy around the edges. He looked up as his friend kept petting his head awkwardly. "Steve?"
Steve tried to give him a reassuring smile. "Yeah Danno?"
"Why am I in Hawaii? What am I still doing here, if Gracie already has another family and doesn't need me anymore?" Asked Danny, in a small and sleepy voice.
Steve didn't falter on his hand's movement on Danny's head. "You're here because Grace needs you immensely, and because she loves you more than anything in the world. You're here because even though you moved to this pineapple infested hellhole, as you like to call it, to be with Grace; you've found more reasons to stay, for you, not only for Grace… You're still here because you've found family here as well…"
Danny blinked tiredly at his friend. "But I don't remember them…" He said, sounding sad and confused.
Steve lowered his hand to squeeze Danny's shoulder. "Don't worry about it, Danno… We'll remember for you for as long as you need us to…"
Danny reached out to pat Steve's hand and allowed his eyes to close, too exhausted to care about what else he had forgotten about his life, and hoping not to have any more unpleasant surprises.
Well, I did my best to try not to show Danny as whiny or weak, not sure how good it came out...
As I said, this chapter wanted to be written right away, but in the future please bear with me, because I've got a couple of Hell weeks coming my way.
Thank you so much for reading, and I'd really like to hear what you think!
See you around!
Thank you so much to everyone that read and reviewed.
I tried to make this chapter a bit more lighthearted. I hope you like it.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The following morning found Kono keeping company to a quiet and subdued Danny.
Doctor Schick had stopped by earlier and explained to him that his lungs were sounding much better. The infection supposedly caused by sea water and the rough conditions in which Danny found himself for a couple of days was finally clearing up, and Danny was starting to feel better, which had improved his mood somewhat.
Kono spent most of the time Danny was awake telling him fun stories of her time as a surfer, telling him all about her most dangerous stunts and living a life looking for the perfect wave. She was surprised at how interested Danny looked, but she supposed that the injured man would latch onto anything that would take his mind away from everything that was going on around him.
"I like surfing. It's like your focus has to be only on the board under your feet, so everything else drops to the background. I don't like crowded beaches though, because I keep busting into other people's waves…" Said Danny suddenly, sounding a bit sheepish.
Kono looked pleasantly surprised. "Don't worry about it, Brah… Once the docs give you the OK, I'll personally take you to some great beaches where we'll have the waves for ourselves, what do you say?"
Danny gave her a small smile. "I'd like that… We'll probably have to invite McGa- I mean, Steve, or he'll probably follow us anyway…"
Kono chuckled. "Sure, we'll invite the Boss, and Chin as well!"
Their planning was interrupted by Steve, poking his head into the room. He looked around, as if he was looking for threats.
Apparently he though the coast was clear, because he slipped into the room, bringing with him two boxes that smelled delicious. "Hey Danno… You hungry?" He asked, placing the boxes on the small table by the end of the bed.
Danny immediately perked up with the smell. "I sure am hungry! I haven't eaten anything but bland tasteless mush since I was locked up in here…" He said with a pout.
Steve smiled, reaching into one of the boxes. "Well, you're in luck Danno, because I happen to have your favorite right here for your enjoyment!" He said, passing Danny a slice of pizza and a napkin.
Danny's smile fell a bit when he looked at the pineapple and ham slice of pizza on his hands. "My favorite? Are you sure this is my favorite?" He asked his friend, an earnest and confused expression on his face.
Steve nodded, looking at Kono for support. "Of course it's your favorite! Maybe it wasn't your favorite back in Jersey, but when you got here and you had a taste of an authentic pineapple and ham pizza, it became your favorite pizza, right Kono?"
Kono looked at Steve with an accusing look. "I don't know about that… But maybe you could give it a shot, Danny? See if you like it?"
Danny shrugged and took a bite of the pizza. He chewed thoughtfully and took a second bite, to really make up his mind before turning to look at the man sitting by the side of his bed. The expression on his face derailed Danny's train of thought. "Why do you look like your birthday and Christmas fell on the same day?"
Steve tried and failed to look innocent. "I've no idea what you're talking about, Danno…"
Before Danny could say anything, Kono moved to the table with the pizza boxes and opened the second box. Taking a slice of pepperoni pizza, she passed it to Danny. "Why don't you try this one, Danny? Maybe you'll like it better…"
Danny took it and after looking at it for a couple of seconds, he folded it in half and took a large bite. He closed his eyes and moaned in bliss, only opening them again to take another bite. Once he had eaten the whole slice, he turned his attention to Steve. "Pineapple and ham is not my favorite kind of pizza, is it?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
Steve shrugged. "I don't know what you're talking about, Danno…" Which earned him a slap on the back of his head from Kono. "Hey! Why'd you do that for?"
Kono glared at him, letting him know that enough was enough, and managing to do it by the slightest twitch of her brow.
Steve rolled his eyes and looked at Danny again. "Alright… Danny, pineapple and ham is not and has never been your favorite type of pizza… I just thought a good rant would make you snap out of your funk a bit…" He said with a shrug.
Danny raised his eyebrows. "Snap out of my funk? So you tried to poison me in order to make me 'snap out of my funk'?"
Steve raised his eyebrows as well. "Poison you?"
Danny nodded emphatically. "Yes! Poison me! You've made me eat something I clearly don't enjoy, or you wouldn't have needed to use false pretenses to get me to eat it! So you clearly were trying to poison me! What if I had been allergic to pineapple, huh? What then?"
Steve shook his head, but couldn't stop a grin from coming to his face. "Well, I've seen you eating pineapple before, Danno, only it was not on a pizza…"
Danny shook his head incredulously and turned to Kono, finding her having trouble to keep a straight face. "What? Now you're amused at the fact that this Neanderthal tried to poison me with pineapple? I can't believe I work with people crazy enough to feel happy at my misery!" Danny said, rolling his eyes.
Kono shook her head with a smile. "We're not happy at your misery, and for the record, I did try to stop him… It's just that we really missed you, Danny…" She finished with a bright smile.
Danny sighed mournfully. "I can't believe I work with crazy people…" He said, shaking his head. He was also having trouble keeping a smile from popping out, because the rant had felt familiar, and it made him feel giddy to see that his friends were seeing something of his old self that they thought was lost.
He was gearing up to keep up his rant, but was interrupted by a knock on the door. Doctor Schick came in accompanied by a tall guy in an Aloha shirt and flip flops. "Hello Danny, how are you feeling?" The petite doctor asked with a smile.
Danny smiled back, and had to hold in a chuckle at the sight of his teammates inconspicuously trying to hide the pizza boxes from the Doc. "I'm alright…"
The doctor shook her head. "Well, let me take a look at you anyway…" Kono took the hint and keft the room, but Steve only moved to the foot of the bed, keeping a close eye on everything the doctor said or did.
The doctor finally turned to Danny's partner. "Commander; I guess you and your friend are to blame for the improved mood of my patient, for which I'm grateful. However, if the pizza causes any kind of havoc on his stomach, I'll instruct the staff that you'll be personally in charge of any clean up that might be necessary afterwards, are we clear?"
Steve grew a little pale and looked at Danny like a ticking time bomb. "Perfectly clear, Ma'am…"
Doctor Schick nodded, looking pleased, and turned to Danny again, motioning the other man to come closer. "Danny, this is Doctor Taylor. I asked him to perform your psych consult and continue treatment with you, if necessary…"
Danny looked at the tall man, focusing on his messy, long, gray hair, the very loud aloha shirt, the cutoffs and the flip flops. Well, he supposed this was better than a tense guy studying his every move. "Hello, doc…" He said, extending his hand.
Doctor Taylor reached out to shake Danny's hand and then turned to Steve. "Hey Steve…" He said, shaking his hand as well.
Danny turned confused eyes to his partner, who was doing a good impression of a deer in headlights. "Steven, have you met my doctor before?" He asked, with a raised eyebrow.
Steve looked nervous, but before he could say anything, the doctor spoke. "We've had a couple of meetings, Danny. I needed someone to fill me in on everything there is to know about Danny Williams, and since you're unable to do that at the moment, the Commander volunteered for the job."
Danny looked from Steve's nervous face to the Doctor's calm smile. "Well? Are any of you going to start filling me in anytime soon?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
Steve sighed, lowering his head, but the Doctor gave Danny an almost giddy smile. "Nope, I've asked Steve to instruct your friends and family to avoid giving you details of your life at all costs." He said, studying his patient's reaction.
Danny raised his eyebrows. "Then how am I supposed to remember all the stuff I forgot?" He asked in a small voice. Looking at the other two men in the room.
Doctor Taylor shrugged. "I dunno… Do you have any ideas?"
Danny's jaw fell open, and he looked from the strange man standing next to his bed to Steve, trying to figure out why crazy shit kept happening to him…
Well, thank you again for reading!
I should remind you again that I'm not a doctor, and that anything that sounds slightly medical is just made up by my crazy head.
I still only have a vague idea on how I am going to fix Danny, so don't be surprised if he ends up being abducted by aliens and comes back with his memory restored, or something like that, because my head is a strange place...
I hope you stick around anyways, and I'd really like it if you left a note to tell me what you think.
See you around!
Danny forced himself to look at his shrink again. "What do you mean you don't know? You're the one supposed to know how to fix me! You probably think that I conveniently chose to forget everything, just like that neurologist asshole said!" He said angrily.
Dr. Taylor shrugged again. "Well, it is one of the possibilities. Did you?"
Danny's face turned an impressive shade of red, so much that Steve tried to come closer to calm down his friend. Before he could open his mouth, Danny was off. "What the fuck is the matter with you? In what Universe a person would choose to just forget every single thing about their life, huh? I have a daughter! I hav-had a job! I had a life, and while I don't know much about myself, I have a lot of trouble believing that forgetting it all was an acceptable choice for me!" He needed to stop to take a breath, which sent him into a coughing fit.
Steve came closer to the bed and offered Danny a glass of water. Danny took a couple of small sips, looking at his doctor. Since the taller man didn't look like he was going to say anything, Danny decided it was still his turn. "What? You're not going to say anything? Are you waiting for me to snap out of it all by myself? Huh? Or maybe you just think that I made it all up! That's it, isn't it? I said, hey! Let's disappear for a couple of days, party around a bit and come back telling a sad story about not remembering anything! That should attract enough attention, right?" He stifled another cough against the back of his hand.
Dr. Taylor nodded in agreement. "Yeah, on first hearing about your case: a detective that had moved a couple of years ago from the mainland, that didn't have any family here, that had disappeared mysteriously for a couple of days and came back with what looked like complete memory loss and not enough brain trauma to cause it, my first theory was that it was a case of a troubled man looking for attention…"
The doctor pulled up a chair and sat down near Danny's bed, keeping a safe distance from Danny in order not to crowd him, and from Steve, who had a bit of a murderous look about him at the moment. "However, after having talked to Steve, and seeing and hearing you just now, I think it's safe to say that your memory loss is real, and not a fantasy you've created in order to get attention."
Somehow, the fact that this guy believed him didn't do much to make Danny feel vindicated. "So? How do we fix it?" He asked, in an impatient tone.
Dr. Taylor sighed. "I'm sorry to say that I truly don't know, Danny. What I do know is that something happened to you during the time you were missing that caused some kind of short circuit in your brain and deleted the whole thing… The only thing I can think of is to see what is it that you do remember, and see if we can piece together the rest…"
Danny look at Steve for advice, but his partner only gave him an uncertain shrug. "So… Am I supposed to start telling you how I feel?" He asked the shrink, lifting his eyebrows.
Dr. Taylor chuckled. "We'll get into your feelings soon enough. I think it'd be better if we started with you telling me stuff about yourself…"
Doctor Schick had stood by quietly, and took that opportunity to leave the room, whispering a soft goodbye, which made Danny realize that Steve was still standing next to his bed and that the shrink hadn't said anything about it.
Dr. Taylor seemed to read the confusion on Danny's face and answered the unasked question. "I don't mind Steve staying in the room, as long as he doesn't interfere and only if you're comfortable with him staying…"
Danny shrugged, giving his partner a smile. "He probably has bugs all around the room, so he'll know what we're saying anyway… Go take a seat, babe. I don't want you looming over my sickbed…"
They waited for Steve to move to a chair at the opposite side of Danny's bed before the doctor repeated his question. "So Danny, what can you tell me about yourself?"
Danny forced himself not to look at his partner and answered the question as best as he could. "I am Danny Williams, a detective. I was born in Jersey, but moved here to be with my daughter. I've lived here a couple of years, and I see Grace every other week, and sometimes on weekdays… I work with Steve, Kono and… the other guy… I was married to Rachel, but we divorced a couple of years ago… I think that's it…" He finished with an uncertain look on his face.
Danny was not reassured at all by the frown on the Doctor's face. "Danny… I don't think we understand each other…" At Danny's confused look, he elaborated. "I asked you to tell me about yourself, but all you told me was stuff that has been told to you about yourself… You haven't told me anything of what you know about yourself…"
Danny looked down and started picking at his blanket. "Well, maybe it's because I don't know anything about that…" He said in a low voice.
The doctor chuckled, which brought Danny's aggravated attention back to him. "Well Danny, from what I've been able to gather from Steve and what I've observed myself in the short time I've been talking to you, you have certainly not forgotten yourself. If you had you wouldn't have argued with me when I first came in, you wouldn't have teased Steve about his over protectiveness and you wouldn't have looked so happy after having a slice of true New York Style pizza… I don't need to know what facts you remember about Detective Danny Williams, with the Governor's Task Force, I'd like to know what is it that you know about yourself."
Danny lifted his hand to rub at his forehead tiredly and with a soft sigh, started talking. "Alright… I'm Danny, I have a daughter, and she's the only reason I didn't give up while I was… away… She and the little baby, but… he's not… He's just Gracie's half brother… not my own, so I've any idea where that came from…" He looked confused at Steve, but Dr. Taylor prompted him to keep talking.
"I don't remember anything about my past, but for some reason I trust this goof, even though he almost gave me a heart attack when he showed up like some sort of avenging demon with enough weapons for an entire army… I immediately trusted the big guy with the shrimps as well, and I love Kono as a little sister… Talking with her kind of reminded me that I like to surf, even though I have the feeling that I'm not very good at it… And even though Steve here tried to trick me, I know that I don't like pineapple on pizza…" He said with a small smile.
Danny grew quiet and lowered his eyes to his blankets again, so the doctor prompted him to keep talking. "Is there anything else that you remember, Danny?"
Danny shrugged. "Well, my head is clearly jumbled, because as soon as I saw Rachel, I knew she was my wife and Gracie's mom… But I was wrong… And on top of that, I asked her to bring my kid… I asked her to bring Charlie to see me, so she had to explain the whole mess to me… it felt like the most awkward break up of all time…" He finished with a sad sigh.
Dr. Taylor winced in sympathy. "Well, it's not unusual to have that kind of misunderstanding. I'm sure you still care about her, if only because she's Grace's mother…"
Danny somehow knew that what he felt for Rachel was more than just affection for his daughter's mother, and only needed to see the look on Steve's face to get confirmation. "Well, it sucks to be dumped by the same woman a second time, even if I can't seem to remember the first one…" He said with a sad sigh.
Dr. Taylor hoped that Steve would restrain himself from pointing out that it had probably been the third, if not fourth time that Rachel had dumped Danny, and allowed him to come to that memory by himself. In an attempt to change the direction of the conversation, he prompted Danny to keep speaking. "Ok… Is there anything else you can tell me about yourself?"
Danny looked at his partner self consciously. "Well, for some reason I think that Steve is much more dangerous than he looks… Don't get me wrong, the first time I saw him I almost wet my pants right there, but somehow I knew that he wouldn't hurt me… But now when I look at him I get the feeling that he's itching to go out there and empty a clip in someone's head…"
Dr. Taylor raised his eyebrows. "Ok… And why do you think he's not doing that right now?"
Danny shrugged and turned his attention back to his doctor. "Because of me? He's been staying here around the clock in order to protect me… They probably still haven't caught whoever was responsible for what happened to me, if the cops that keep rotating outside my door are any indication… And this one…" He said, pointing his thumb in Steve's direction. "Has shown incredible restraint, by not asking me anything about it…" He finished with a sad sigh.
Dr. Taylor nodded. "Ok… And do you want to talk about what happened to you?"
Danny nodded, but before he could open his mouth, Steve interrupted him. "Danny, you don't have to…"
Danny turned to his friend and gave him a sad smile. "It's not only to help you or the investigation… I think I need to talk about it… I've been avoiding thinking about it since I woke up, but it keeps sneaking on me the minute I relax… It haunts my dreams, and pretty soon the nightmares will replace what little I remember of it and it'll all be useless…" He finished with a shaky breath, trying to burrow deeper into his blankets.
Steve stood up from his chair and moved to Danny's side pulling up the blankets closer to Danny's chin and looking like he was barely restraining himself from calling up a nurse and asking her to knock Danny out so he could wrap him up in cotton wool. "Alright Danno… Just don't overdo it, ok?"
Danny patted Steve's hand and turned to look at his doc. At his nod, Danny started talking. "My 'oldest' memory, if you can call it that, is of being in the water, trying to hold onto some kind of boat in the middle of a storm, but someone kept pushing me away. I've no idea who they were or what they wanted, but they kept asking me something and dunking me when they didn't get an answer…" He shivered unconsciously but was pulled away from the memory by a gentle pat on his leg and looked up to see his friend's concerned face.
Steve gave him an encouraging smile. "There was a big storm the night you went missing, Danny…" He said with a nod.
Dr. Taylor wanted Danny to keep telling his story. "What else do you remember Danny?"
"I'm not sure if the storm got worse or they just got tired of me, but suddenly the boat was gone… I don't know what I did next, but the next thing I know, there was a big pole thing, and the waves were trying to rip me away or pummel me against it… Somehow I must have reached the shore, because I woke up finally feeling warm, with the sun on my face… Only I had no idea who I was, or how I had gotten there, and I was cold and hacking up a lung, and felt like crap and I thought that the world was out to get me…" He finished, looking down at his lap.
He felt a soft squeeze on his leg and looked back to Steve, who looked like someone had kicked his puppy. "Danny, why didn't you look for help? If you were injured, someone should have called an ambulance or the police…"
It was amazing how Danny's expression turned from frightened to enraged. "Well, I may have been jumbled in the head, but I'm not stupid! Of course I looked for a cop and asked him for help! You wanna know what he did? Huh? He gave me a paper with the address for a homeless shelter! And he warned me against disturbing tourists! He said he'd have to arrest me if he caught me asking for money or food!" Danny's rant was stopped by a bout of coughing, and Steve moved closer to offer him another sip of water.
Before either Steve or Danny could let themselves be distracted by their anger, Dr. Taylor cut into their talk. "Danny, what happened after that?"
Danny shrugged. "I had no idea what to do… There was nobody that could or would help me and I had no way to come back to my old life, so I just tried to get through the day. I ate whatever I could find; I think I stole a pair of flip flops from the beach, because my feet hurt too much, and I slept whenever sleep found me, trying to wedge myself into corners that were not too open. The day that the big guy found me I was just trying to get a somewhat warm meal… I thought I could just grab some leftovers from an empty table and be gone before anyone noticed, but the big guy caught me and offered me an actual warm meal. That's when he called in the cavalry…" He finished with a small smile, immediately followed by a jaw breaking yawn.
Dr. Taylor stood up from his chair. "Alright, I think that's my cue. I'll come back tomorrow, ok Danny?"
Danny pushed himself up from the bed and glared at his doctor. "No, it's not ok! You still haven't told me how the hell you're going to fix me! You can't just leave like that!"
Dr. Taylor looked at Danny sympathetically. "I'm sorry Danny, but I don't have an instant solution for your problem. I'm confident that you're going to regain your memories, but it's probably going to take some time…"
Danny shook his head frantically, passing a trembling hand down his face. "No! You don't understand! I… I don't want to be here anymore!" He turned to give his partner a desperate look. "I just want to go home…" He said in a hoarse whisper.
Steve sat down on the bed next to Danny and put his hand behind his partner's neck. "Hey, hey, hey, don't get so impatient, Danno. I'm sure that with how much you've improved in the last couple of days, the doc is going to let you go home pretty soon. We can even ask this guy to put up a good word for you, but you have to hold on a little while longer, ok?"
Danny took a couple of shaky breaths and nodded. "'k… Sorry… I just… Hate this shit…" He said quietly.
Dr. Taylor cleared up his throat. "I'll tell Dr. Schick that there is no reason why you couldn't do the rest of your recovery at home, so she's free to release you as soon as she thinks you're strong enough physically. How does that sound?"
Danny finally allowed Steve to push him back to lie down on the bed. He looked at his doc and gave him a tired nod. "Ok…" He muttered softly, suddenly feeling like he had fought 10 rounds with his partner and lost.
Danny allowed his eyes to close and heard as the shrink left the room. He felt the head of his bed being lowered and the blankets being tucked around him. He smiled at the mental image of his tough partner being turned into a nursemaid, but was interrupted by the man's voice. "Don't get too used to it Danno, once you're back to normal, I'll be getting you shot in no time at all, just like old times… Now get some sleep, I'll keep watch…"
Danny really didn't like the idea of getting shot at, but he didn't have time to think about it before sleep claimed him. He figured it could wait, after all Steve was keeping watch.
Well, first of all, thank you very much for reading! I also want to thank everyone for all the support to the previous chapters.
I hope you liked this chapter, and that you don't think the story is moving too slowly. I just need Danny to go through certain things before he can go home and the aliens can come over to return his memories... ;-)
I hope you stick around, and I'd really like to know what you think about the story so far!
See you soon!
The next couple of days were thankfully uneventful for Danny. His physical recovery was moving faster than the doctors expected, and in a day or two he would finally be allowed to leave the hospital.
Dr. David Taylor stopped by once a day to have a talk with Danny. Danny's memory had not improved considerably. He had managed to remember small facts about his life in Jersey; he remembered his parent's faces and some things that he liked about his old home, but not much else. It worried David that Danny had made no mention of his brother, and that he avoided talking about Rachel at all costs.
The psychiatrist stopped by Danny's room around lunchtime for a talk with his patient. He found Danny watching a game on TV, Chin sitting on a chair by the side of the bed and Steve and Kono scrambling to hide what looked like hot dogs and sodas.
Danny looked at his shrink with an amused smile on his face. "Davey! So nice of you to stop by! You're right on time to watch the Yankees kicking the Orioles' butt! Come on Super SEAL, give back my hotdog! Old Davey here is no snitch, right?" Danny said, extending his hand so that Steve could return his food.
David took a chair and accepted a hotdog from Kono. He watched amused as his patient yelled at the TV, cheering when his team got ahead in the score. He hadn't had a chance to see Danny truly relaxed, since most of their conversations were charged with Danny's fear of never recovering his memories. By the looks that his team gave him, David could see that Danny was acting like the Danny they knew, so the psychiatrist was glad to see some improvement in his patient's mood.
Once the game had finished and all the food was consumed or strategically hidden, Danny turned to his doctor. "Alright Dave. While I usually don't mind a social visit, I'm sure you're not here to watch a baseball game… I'm guessing you're here for business as well, so why don't we start with the shrinkage and get it over with?"
Apparently that was the cue for Chin and Kono to make a quick exit. Steve, as usual, stayed behind, sitting quietly and unobtrusively but close enough to provide support for Danny in case he needed it.
David found a comfortable position on his chair and faced his patient. "Alright Danny. I talked to doctor Schick, and she told me that she thought you'd be well enough to go home the day after tomorrow…"
Danny nodded. "Yeah, she stopped by this morning and said that, but she also said that you had to give your approval as well… So… Are you giving me your approval to go home?"
David crossed his arms in front of his chest and studied his patient. "Well Danny, that depends… I'm not comfortable with you going back to Jersey. I don't think that it would be beneficial for your recovery right now… That means that you would have to stay in the island. My concern is where that recovery would take place… Do you have some place that you call home here in Hawaii?"
Danny took a moment to think about his answer. He didn't seem to notice how tense his partner had gotten. "Truthfully, I don't remember if I have a place here in Hawaii… I guess I assumed I had, since I've been living here for more than two years…" He said with a shrug.
David turned to Steve, nodding for him to speak. "Well, actually… I guess you could say that Danny is between homes at the moment…" Steve said, sounding uncertain.
Danny frowned. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Steve shrugged. "Well, you had a small apartment when I first met you. It was a really small and crappy one bedroom apartment, and you left the only room for Gracie, so you slept on a foldout bed in the living room… A few months ago that building was sold to a company that's building a hotel, so you've been staying in different places ever since…"
Danny had a thoughtful expression on his face. "Danny, does this ring any bells?" David was really interested in the thoughts behind Danny's expression.
Danny shook himself and looked at his doctor. "It's strange… I think I remember sleeping at my place, and it's true that I slept on the couch, but I don't remember it being so small…"
David looked interested. "Alright, tell me about this place…"
Danny shrugged. "I remember the living room… There's a large couch and a recliner… I had a lot of trouble sleeping, because of the noise of the ocean, so I slept with the TV on… although for some reason I started used these great headphones that blocked out all of that… And it's not so small, because I'm sure that at some point the dog slept upstairs…"
The confused look on David's face worried Danny, but one look at Steve's Cheshire cat grin told him that his confusing memories were not so confusing after all.
Steve turned his huge grin to David. "Well doc… I think it's safe to say that Danny has a place to call home here in Hawaii…"
Two days later, Danny had finally been released. Once Danny figured out that the place he remembered was not actually his place, but Steve's, he was not too sure about staying there, fearing that he would be too much of a burden on his partner. The fact that David wouldn't let him leave the hospital unless there was some place where he felt safe and comfortable forced Danny to accept Steve's invitation.
Since Danny still had considerable gaps in his memory, it was agreed that his psychiatrist would stop by daily to check on his progress and he had to go back for a checkup with Dr. Schick in a week.
The first couple of days went by quietly, with Danny resting on a chair on the lanai or on the couch, watching TV. Grace stopped by to visit a couple of times and the team got together to throw some meat to the fire on the evenings.
It took some effort, but somehow Steve convinced Danny to sleep in Steve's old bedroom and on an actual bed. He even installed a flat screen TV to make the deal sweeter. Danny had started to look healthier and everyone was pleasantly surprised to know that he had managed to sleep the whole night through.
Things were going perfectly, but as with all good things it had to come to an end. This time, the end came with the sound of a terrified scream that woke Steve in the middle of the night.
Thank you so much for reading! I apologize for the delay in updating, but real life has the awful habit of taking away from fic writing... Work will continue to be kind of crazy for a couple of weeks, so I hope you have a little patience with me.
I hope you don't hate me too much for the cliffie and I'd love to hear what you thought of this chapter.
Thanks to everyone that has left a note, and I hope to see you again soon!
Hey everyone! Thank you very much for stopping by! Just to be on the safe side, I should let you know that there's mention of a panic attack, or something along those lines in this chapter, so you should avoid it if it makes you uncomfortable. There are also some spoilers for Ep. 2x15, in case anyone hasn't seen it yet.
On to the chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The water was closing over his head, and every time he managed to reach the surface, someone would push him under…
"…If you deviate from anything I tell you to do and I swear to God that little girl dies and It's going to be your fault…"
He was drowning; the sea and the rain didn't let him see the face of his torturer…
"You see, Williams, we can hurt you in ways you can't even imagine… But better yet, we can take your girl and hurt her even worse…"
Danny tried to take the arm of the man drowning him, trying to pull him to the water, but only got a hit on his head for his efforts.
"Whatever happens to Grace is all on you, Buddy… If you don't act like a smart guy, you don't do what I tell you to do and that sweet, beautiful Gracie dies…"
The same waves that kept crashing over his head rocked the large boat, making it look like a dingy in turbulent waters.
"Stop fighting it Williams… You've already lost…"
He was tired of fighting, he knew he wouldn't make it out of this alive, but he needed to hold on… For Grace…
"…What you did was destroy every beautiful thing I had in my life! Every beautiful thing in my life! And I swear to God I'm gonna do the same to you!"
A huge wave crashed into the boat and suddenly nothing was holding Danny down. He could see the boat a few feet away, and used what little strength he had left to swim away from it, he'd rather die than go back to them.
"Once I get my hands on her, you'll wish that Rick had killed her instead…"
Steve bolted from this bed, moving swiftly towards Danny's room. He caught sight of Danny stumbling down the stairs and barely managed to catch up with him before he could open the door. "Danny! What are you doing? Where are you going?" He said, holding on to his friend's shoulder.
Danny shook off his hold and tried to reach the door again. "Get off me! He took Grace!"
Steve moved to block the door again. "Danny, stop! What are you talking about?"
"Let me out! He's got Grace!" Danny tried to push Steve away from the door, but his movements were panicked and uncoordinated, so Steve didn't have too much trouble restraining him.
Steve pressed Danny's back against a wall and held his flailing arms in front of him. "Danny! I'm not letting you go anywhere until you tell me what the hell is going on!"
Danny was gasping for breath and gave Steve a desperate look. "He took her! He took Grace! It's… It's Rick Peterson… He… He was my first partner in Jersey… Tra-training officer… He… He stole money and drugs and went to jail… I-I testified against him and now he's here and he took Grace! I Have to go! Please! He took Grace!"
Steve let his head hang and took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down enough to be able to help his partner. "Danny… Grace is safe. She's at home with her mom. All of that happened a couple of months ago! Peterson is in jail, and Grace is safe!" He said, looking directly at his partner's eyes.
Danny shook his head and tried to shake off Steve's hold without much success. "He took her! He threatened her! I…I have to help her!" He said, in between shaky breaths.
Steve pulled and pushed at Danny until he managed to settle him on the couch. He sat at his side and reached for Danny's phone on the coffee table. "Danny… She's safe, we saw her just a couple of hours ago, remember?… I promise that she's safe!" He sent a quick text and looked at his partner.
Danny was shaking and gasping for breath, barely keeping himself from bolting to the door again.
Steve shook his head and dialed a number on Danny's phone, sighing tiredly. It took a few rings, but finally someone picked up. "Hello? Danny? Is everything alright?" Came the whispering and sleepy voice at the other side of the line.
"Hello, Rachel… This is Steve McGarrett, I'm sorry about calling so late…" Said Steve. He tried to give Danny an encouraging smile when his partner's eyes closed in on him.
"Steve! Has something happened? Is Danny alright?" Rachel sounded like she had moved away from her room, and most of all, she sounded concerned.
Steve unconsciously shook his head. "No Rachel, Danny is alright. He just woke up a bit frightened, and he needed to know if Grace is ok?"
Rachel didn't say anything for a few seconds, but with a soft sigh she replied. "Is he there with you? Could I speak to him?"
Steve removed the phone from his ear and passed it to his frightened friend. "Danno… Rachel wants to talk to you…"
Danny took the phone in his shaking hand and pressed it to his ear. "Rach? They took Grace!..." He listened to what Rachel said, but shook his head in denial. "He took her! He's going to hurt her, Rach! Steve wouldn't let me go after them!" He said, gasping for breath. It broke Steve's heart to see Danny's eyes flooding and a few tears falling down his cheeks.
Apparently Rachel kept repeating something to Danny, but he kept shaking his head. He kept muttering "No!" and "Grace" while he listened to whatever Rachel was saying, but whatever it was, Danny was not convinced or comforted by her words. After a couple of minutes, Danny curled forwards to bury his head in his hands and dropped the phone on the coffee table, his shoulders shaking.
Steve scrambled for the phone and pressed it to his ear. "Hello?"
He heard a relieved sigh. "Steve! Thank God! Listen… I need you to turn on Danny's laptop, ok, and wait for the call… I don't want to wake Grace if I can help it, but I think he needs to see her…"
Steve agreed and disconnected the call. One look at his partner's defeated posture told him that he was not moving from his current position, so he rushed to set up Danny's laptop on the coffee table in front of him.
Once the video call icon popped up, he clicked on it and got a picture of Rachel looking more disheveled than he'd ever seen her. "Hello, Steve… Danny?"
Steve moved the computer so it was facing Danny. At the sound of Rachel's voice, he lifted his head sharply to look at the screen. "Rach?..."
Rachel's face crumpled in sympathy at the sight of her ex husband. "Oh, Danny!..." It took her a few seconds before she could speak again. "I'm going to show you that Grace is sleeping peacefully in her room, ok? I'm not going to wake her up, because she'll get scared, but I want you to see for yourself that she's alright. She's safe, Danny…" The last part was said in a whisper.
They could see that Rachel was moving, and when she turned the computer around, they could see a small lump under a flowery bedspread. The image moved closer and they finally got to see Grace's face relaxed in sleep, wearing a small contented smile.
Danny took a shuddering breath, and moved his shaking hand to touch the screen, near his daughter's cheek. "Monkey?"
The image shook as Rachel moved to press some buttons in the computer, but they could still see clearly the smile that suddenly brightened Grace's face. "Danno…" She mumbled, without waking.
Danno released something between a laugh and a sob. "I love you Monkey…" He said, between hitching breaths.
"Love you Danno…" Came the usual response from his sleeping princess.
They stayed like that, looking at Grace sleeping for close to 15 minutes, until they were interrupted by a knock on the door.
Steve moved to the door and let David Taylor in. He greeted Steve and moved to sit next to Danny on the couch, studying his patient quietly. "Hey Danny… How you doing?"
Apparently Rachel heard as well. "Danny, Grace is alright, but she needs to sleep, and so do you… I'm going to cut the call now, alright?"
Danny nodded taking a shaky breath. "Thank you Rach…"
Rachel appeared on the screen, giving Danny a concerned smile. "Goodnight Danny…" And the screen went dark.
Danny kept looking at the computer for a minute, afraid to loose even a glimpse of his Monkey on the small screen. With a deep breath he turned away from the blank screen and turned to his doctor. "Hey Dave… Sorry about this…"
David smiled encouragingly. "Don't worry about it, Danny. D'you wanna tell me what happened?"
Danny took another deep breath and looked straight at his psychiatrist. "I think I had a nightmare, and I have the timelines a bit confused, but I think I remembered couple of things…" He said, taking a shaky breath.
David nodded, motioning Danny to continue.
Danny lowered his eyes to look at his lap and started talking. "A couple of months ago, a man took my daughter. He was my former partner, my training officer actually… He took her because… Because I put him in jail. I had to testify against him in court and he was locked up for 10 years. Because of that, the minute he got out he came up with a plan to destroy my life, and... and he took Grace to do it…"
Danny lifted his hand to scrub away some tears, and tried to control his breathing to go on with his story. "He took Grace, and he told me that he was going to kill her unless I did what he asked. He kept saying that any harm that came to Grace, even Grace's death would be my fault…" He said, stifling a sob.
He turned his desperate eyes to his partner, not bothering to try to control himself any more. "I know that Rick is in jail, but Grace is not safe! The… the guy that waited for me to get home, he tased me and stuffed me in the trunk of a car… He beat me and tortured me, and he tried to drown me before I got away! He wanted something of me, but I can't remember what the fuck he wanted!" He was starting to gasp for breath.
Danny watched as Steve came closer, taking hold of his shoulder. "Now he-he said that he'd take Grace too… He- He said that… That unless I did what he wanted… he… he would take her as well! He would hurt her so-so bad that I'd… That I'd wish that Rick had killed her instead! He's gonna hurt Grace! And I can't remember what he wanted!" His breath was coming in harsh pants, and suddenly the only thing he could hear was his thundering heartbeat and the harsh sound of his breaths.
Danny watched as Steve and Dave scrambled around, helping him to lie down on his side, talking to him and trying to calm him down, but nothing registered for Danny apart from the fact that someone wanted to hurt his baby girl and that he was helpless to stop it.
He felt a prick on his leg, and he could feel how the panic slowly started to recede. He reached out to take Steve's hand, knowing that he wouldn't be conscious for much longer and squeezed to get his partner's attention. "Help her?… Please!" He said in a small voice.
Steve crouched next to Danny's head, and returned his squeeze with a fierce one of his own. "Danno, I swear to you that I will protect Gracie with my life! No harm will ever come to her, partner…"
Danny drew a relieved sigh and allowed whatever that had been shot into his leg to take over. Steve would take care of his girl when Danny couldn't. With that thought, he let himself fall into the dark well of sleep threatening to surround him.
Thank you so much for reading, and for all your comments and support to this story!
Apparently the aliens were too busy to kidnap Danny this weekend, so I'll see if I can convince them to throw some gamma rays or something to help him fill the large gaps on his memory.
Anyways, thank you for sticking around, and only one more hell week to go! Wish me luck and I hope to hear what you thought of this chappie!
See you around!
Danny woke up slowly. He could hear familiar voices nearby, but they didn't sound urgent or distressed, so he decided that it was nothing that required his immediate attention.
He thought there was something he should remember, but he was far too comfortable at the moment to worry about it. He was lying on a soft bed, with blankets that kept him warm, and he could hear Grace nearby, talking from time to time.
The thought of Grace made some warning bells go off. He tried to figure out the reason, but nothing came to mind at the moment. He grudgingly decided to open his eyes, figuring that if there was some problem to take care of, he might as well get it over with.
Danny was surprised to find himself curled up comfortably on the guest bed, since he had the idea that he hadn't fallen asleep there. It's not like he could remember where he had fallen asleep, but he was pretty sure it was not in the guest room.
He was distracted from the mystery of his sleeping arrangements by the sight of Grace, sitting in the desk nearby and grumbling at the notebook in front of her. She kept writing and erasing whatever she had written, while muttering under her breath. "13 times 2 is 26, and 23 times 2 is 46… then there's nothing that times 2 is 36!" She groaned, resting her head against the table.
Danny lifted his eyebrows. "What's wrong, Monkey?" He asked with a small smile on his face.
Grace lifted her head to look at her father. "Danno!" she squealed, jumping on the bed to give him a hug. "Mom and Uncle Steve said that you were not feeling well last night! Are you better now?"
"I'm alright Monkey" Danny said, making an effort not to squeeze the life out of his baby girl. He pulled back and looked at his girl's face. "What's up with you? Huh?"
Grace moved to sit next to Danny on the bed and looked down at her lap. "I hate fractions… They don't make any sense…" She said with a pout on her face.
Danny chuckled. "Why don't you bring your notebook here?" He said, shifting to sit with his back against the headboard.
While Grace moved to get her things, Danny looked around the room. "What are you doing here anyway? Didn't you have school today?"
Grace giggled. "Of course I had! It's 4 pm, Danno!" She brought all of her things and took back her place at Danny's side. "Since you were not feeling well last night mom said I could come visit after school…" She said, turning serious. "Are you ok? Because Uncle Steve said I had to call him if you woke up feeling sad or scared…" She asked, looking at him intently.
Danny busied himself taking Grace's notebook. "I'm alright Monkey… You have nothing to worry about…" He said, looking up at her face and trying to muster a smile. "Now tell me what did fractions ever do to get you to hate them?" He asked, trying to distract both his baby girl and himself.
Grace looked at him for a minute and then with a sigh looked at her notebook. "I hate fractions, and fractions hate me and I can't do this, because there's no way to solve this one!" She said, pointing to her 'impossible' homework.
"Alright, don't panic, Monkey. I'm sure there's some way to avoid disaster…" He said, looking at the notebook and motioning for Grace to sit at her side. "Let's see… we have to simplify 2/36… hmm… and you said that both 13 and 23 are no good right?" He asked, looking at his little girl.
Grace nodded, a small frown on her forehead. "Maybe the homework is wrong and my teacher made a mistake?" She asked with a shrug.
Danny chuckled. "Hmm… I'm not sure, Monkey… I have the feeling you forgot about one thing… 3 is not the only number that multiplied by two gives you a number ending in 6, is it?"
Grace seemed to think for a minute, doing the math in her head with the help of her fingers. Suddenly her expression brightened. "It's 8!" She squealed, lifting her arms in celebration, but soon enough she grew serious again. "But 8 times 2 is 16, so that's not it…" She thought for a minute, using her fingers for help and then she smiled again, taking her notebook from Danny and writing her answer on it. "It's 1/18!" She exclaimed, leaving the notebook on the bed and moving to hug her father. "Thank you Danno! You are the best!"
Danny returned the hug, feeling undeserving of the praise. He knew that he was far from the best; he was responsible of to endangering his little girl at least twice in the last few months and that put him pretty much at the bottom of the list. "You're welcome, Monkey." He said, in a less than steady voice.
Grace released him and gave him a look, apparently not liking what she was seeing. "UNCLE STEEEEEEVE!" she screamed suddenly.
Danny jumped, startled. "What? What's wrong?" He asked, not understanding anything.
Grace shrugged. "Uncle Steve told me to yell if you looked sad or not alright… And you started to look sad Danno…" She said, looking concerned, but moved back to cuddle her Danno.
Before Danny could say anything they heard thundering steps coming up the stairs and the door opened with a bang. "Grace! Are you alright?" Asked Steve, looking around the room and seeming a little disappointed at not finding any threats to take care of.
"Uncle Steve, Danno looks sad!" Said Grace, not moving from between her father's arms, trying to squeeze the life out of him.
Steve looked from Grace's concerned face to Danny's, glad to see that while he could clearly see sadness and a multitude of other emotions on his friend's face, there was no trace of the terrible panic and little evidence of the despair from the previous night. "Alright… What do you think we should do to fix it, Gracie?" He asked, moving to sit at the foot of Danny's bed.
Grace shrugged, bending her neck to look at Danny's face without loosening her hold on his waist. "I dunno… My hugs have always made him smile, but he still looks a little sad…"
"Hmm… Maybe you're not squeezing hard enough? You might have to switch to hug him around the neck though… Remember his ribs may still be a bit tender…" Steve said, smiling at the sight of his tough New Jersey partner having the life squeezed out of him by his 10 year old girl.
Grace liked Steve's idea, so she kneeled on the bed in order to hug her dad around the neck. "Are you feeling better now, Danno?" She asked a couple of minutes later, not bothering to look him in the face anymore. Her whole focus was on hugging him very tight, so he felt better.
Danny chuckled, moving his hand to wipe a couple of traitorous tears that escaped his eyes. "I'm much better, Monkey…"
Grace squeezed him harder, if possible. "Uncle Steve, he still sounds sad!"
Danny looked at his friend helplessly, hoping against hope to be rescued from this hug attack. Thankfully Steve took pity of him. "Hey Grace, Danno's doc had an idea that I think may work…"
Grace released her dad's neck and turned quickly towards Steve. "What? What idea?"
Steve looked at Danny's face, noticing the raised eyebrows. "Well…" He said, a mischievous grin on his face. "How would you like some Shave Ice?"
An hour later, the three of them were sitting on a table by Kamekona's shrimp truck, enjoying the largest shave ices they had seen in their lives. The big man had given his favorite haoles an extra large serving, feeling happy to see the little haole and his girl looking much better than the last time they had met.
Grace looked dwarfed by the huge purple and pink monstrosity in front of her, but didn't seem disturbed in the least by the size of it. In fact, she looked like her birthday had come a little early.
Grace's happiness did a lot to improve Danny's mood, so he guessed that Steve's idea had not been so bad after all. He even made an effort to eat part of the icy strawberry and lemon mountain in front of him while listening to the big man's advice on his diet.
"More fat in your diet's what you need, brudda… Protein and carbohydrates, a steady supply of shrimp and rice… which I happen to have in ample supply…" Kamekona said, trying to convince Danny to hire him to recover part of the weight he had lost in the last couple of weeks.
Danny mock glared at Steve, who was doing an immense effort not to laugh. "Don't look so happy… He'll be cooking at your house if I hire him!" He said, enjoying the look of horror that suddenly clouded his friend's face.
He turned to look at the big man. "I'm sorry, my man, but I'm afraid I'd end up turned into a five foot version of yourself, and that can't be good when it comes to chasing down a suspect, or something like that…" Danny said with a wince.
Kamekona sighed. "Alright… In any case, know that there'll always be a warm plate of shrimp waiting for you here at Kamekona's… I never want to see you trying to snatch leftovers from my tables again, ok?" The big man said, patting Danny's back much like he had done the day he had found Danny lost, not knowing who he was.
Danny had to take a couple of spoonfuls of his shave ice before he could speak. "Thanks babe…" He finally got out, patting Kamekona's back as well.
Half an hour later, Rachel had come to pick up Grace and took her home, so Steve and Danny had been left to finish up what remained of their huge shave ices. Danny looked at his friend, who looked restless all of a sudden. "Alright, do you wanna tell me the real reason why you brought me here?"
Whatever answer Steve was about to give was interrupted by the arrival of David Taylor. "Hey guys, how are you doing?"
Danny looked surprised to see his shrink, but Steve didn't, which partly answered Danny's previous question. "Hey Dave… Is this some kind of outdoor shrink session?" He asked, looking accusingly at Steve.
The doctor looked pensive, but shook his head. "I wouldn't call it that… It's more like a field trip…"
Danny lifted his eyebrows. "A field trip… And what's the point of this field trip?"
"Well Danny, I'd like you to retrace your steps from the last few days before you were found, to see if any other memories resurface…" Dave said, looking at his patient intently.
Danny didn't look too sure. "You think it'll work?"
Dave shrugged. "I think it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot…" He said with a smile.
They spent the next couple of hours following Danny up and down Kalakaua Avenue, listening to him telling them about the things he did during those unpleasant days.
They were sitting on a bench; having a drink and watching the tourists go by. "I didn't do much of anything really… I spent most of the time trying to find stuff to make life less miserable. I scrounged up for food and stuff to drink, I think I stole a pair of slippers… I think I even rescued a hat out of the trashcan, because I needed just a little bit of shade…" Danny said, taking a swig of his water.
"One night I slept on one of these benches. Used a beach towel someone forgot at the beach as a blanket, but someone stole it while I was sleeping… That afternoon I ran into Kamekona. I was hungry so I thought that-" In the middle of his story, Danny froze and the bottle on his hand fell from nerveless fingers. The two other men turned to him, noticing how pale he had turned. They asked him what was wrong, but he couldn't have answered even if he'd heard. His whole attention focused on a man standing a just a few feet away from them.
Hello! If you're still here, thank you so much for reading!
This chapter was a bit of a struggle, since I had a bit of trouble carrying on with the story, and real life is not helping in my writing, but at least a chapter came out. I'm really sorry for the long wait.
I'd really like to know what you think about it, and I hope to have another chapter relatively soon.
See you around!
Before he even thought about it, Steve's hand went to the gun at his side. He stood between Danny and whatever it was that had upset his friend, but a look around him only showed him a handful of harmless looking tourist, a bum asking for money and a young cop trying to convince said bum to move away from the tourists. He turned to Danny, trying to understand what was wrong with his friend. "Danno? What's wrong?"
Danny's eyes were focused on the cop and the bum, but at hearing Steve's words he shook himself enough to look at his friend. "Wh-what? I'm sorry… I got distracted for a second…" He said, not meeting his friend's eyes.
Steve studied Danny for a minute, thankful to see that Danny didn't look scared at the moment. He was sure that the sight of the cop shook him for some reason though and when he watched the man in uniform passing a card to the homeless man, Steve had his answer.
Before Danny could stop him, Steve moved away and with a muttered "keep an eye on him" to Dave, he moved towards the two men.
Steve stood at his full height and looked down and the rookie. "Excuse me… Officer?" He asked, with a frown on his face.
The cop turned to Steve and seemed to stand at attention. "I'm Officer Okole, sir. How may I help you?"
Steve showed the young officer his badge. "Steve McGarrett, Five-0. I'd like to ask you some questions?"
Officer Okole nodded. "Of course sir! What do you need?"
"Do you always work in this area?" Steve asked. At the cop's nod, he took out his phone, opening the evidence photos that he kept stored there. He located a photograph of a wrinkled card with the address of a homeless shelter. "Do you recognize this card?" He asked him, showing the photograph on his phone.
Officer Okole nodded again. "Yes. They're from a homeless shelter nearby. I pass them around to people that looks like they need a place to crash. They give them a cot to sleep in and a warm meal…"
Steve nodded with a frown on his face. He flipped through the photos on his phone until he found a photo of Danny that had been taken as soon as he had been admitted at the hospital. He looked pale and ill, his hair a tangled mess and a few days of beard's growth on his face. He moved the phone to show the photo to the young cop. "Do you remember talking to this man?"
Officer Okole took the phone and looked at the photo for a minute. "Yes… I think it was about two weeks ago… This guy was just wandering around… He wasn't really bothering the tourists, but he kept bumping into people and looking kind of not all right in the head. At some point he came up to me, said that he needed help, that he was hurt, or something like that, and that he didn't have anyone to help him… I gave him one of those cards and told him that people would be able to help him there…" He noticed that Steve's expression had turned very angry all of a sudden and unconsciously took a step back. "What's up with that guy? Was he arrested for something?"
Steve ignored the Officer's question, moving to find another image on his phone. When he found it, he showed his phone to the officer in front of him. "Do you remember having seen this Missing Person's alert last week?" He asked tightly.
Officer Okole looked at Steve's phone again, finding a Missing Person's alert for one Detective Daniel Williams, from the Governor's Task Force. It showed a picture of a blonde man that looked somewhat familiar. When he finally connected the dots, he looked fearfully at the angry man in front of him. "Shit… The guy looked drunk, sir… I never thought that Detective Williams would end up like that! I… I sent him to the shelter! They must have gotten him to a hospital if he needed it!" He said, backing away from Steve.
Something like a growl left Steve's mouth, but before he could move, a short figure stepped between him and Officer Okole. "Alright Steve… That's enough…" Danny said in a commanding voice.
Steve frowned incredulously. "Enough? Because of him we didn't find you sooner!"
Danny shook his head, trying to stay calm. "It doesn't matter, Steve…" He turned to Officer Okole. "Get out of here… You might also want to report this whole mess to your Sergeant before he hears it from Commander McGarrett here…"
Officer Okole nodded, moving to his car. "I'm terribly sorry for all of this, Detective Williams..." He said, before leaving them alone.
Steve still looked furious, and this time turned his anger towards his partner. "What the fuck is the matter with you? 'It doesn't matter'? It was just out of sheer luck that Kamekona found you! And how much longer do you think you would have lasted out here on your own? He could have been responsible for your death!"
Dave came closer to try to defuse the situation, but before he could say anything, Danny spoke. "Well, maybe it would have been better that way!" He said, before moving to walk away from the two other men.
Danny heard Dave tell Steve to let him go, but wasn't surprised when after taking no more than a couple of steps, his way was blocked by Steve's body. He reluctantly looked at his friend's face expecting to find anger, but was surprised to see that he looked anything but angry and only concern marked his features. He placed a hand on Danny's shoulder, squeezing gently. "Come on Danno… let's go home…" He said.
Danny sighed, allowing Steve to lead him to the car. He remained silent through the whole trip, and once they arrived, he moved quietly to the beach, leaving his shoes by a chair and walking right to the water's edge.
He heard a car pulling out of the driveway and heard Steve's attempts to make his presence known. He was really surprised when a beer bottle appeared in front of him. "I thought this was out of my diet for the foreseeable future…" He asked, accepting the beer with a smile.
Steve shrugged, coming to stand next to him. "I'm not sure if Dave gave us the night off or it was the other way around, but he said you could do whatever you wanted tonight…" He said with a smile.
Danny opened his beer and took a swig. He stood there for a few minutes looking at the ocean and letting the water lap at his feet. Without looking at his friend he spoke softly. "I'm sorry about before…"
Steve chuckled softly. "You're sorry? I thought I was the one supposed to apologize after almost biting that cop's head off…"
Danny shrugged, still looking at the ocean. "I shouldn't have said what I said…"
Steve shrugged. "Do you want to talk about it?" He asked, looking at his friend, trying to catch his eye.
Danny dropped his eyes to look at his feet. "It's just that everything is jumbled in my head… It frustrates me to know that there's a bunch of stuff that I should know, and they're just gone… And the stuff that is coming back to me is shittier than I could have imagined… And… And I can't help to fear that there's still more bad stuff that I can't remember and that everyone is keeping quiet, because they fear that I'll finally snap once I remember all of it… If I'm right, then forgetting everything, and just disappearing without too much fuzz wouldn't have been so bad after all…" He finished, with a shaky sigh.
When Steve remained quiet for too long, Danny looked up at his face. "I'm sorry babe, but the fact that you're not jumping to contradict me is not very comforting right now…" He said with a chuckle.
Steve shrugged. "Well… There are a couple of not so good things that you still don't seem to remember… I could tell you about them if you want?"
Danny lifted his eyebrows. "Whatever happened to Dave's order not to tell me stuff?"
"He gave us the night off, remember? We can do whatever we want…" Steve said with a small smile.
Danny seemed to think about it for a moment and then nodded. "Alright…" He moved to sit on one of the wooden chairs nearby. "Go ahead… hit me…" He said, looking nervous.
Steve moved to Danny's side and took his friend's arm, pulling him up and towards the house. "Come on inside Danno… We'll both need more than just a beer to get through this talk…"
A few hours later they were both sitting side by side on the couch with a half empty bottle of scotch and two tumblers on the coffee table. Steve had just finished telling Danny about every bad thing that he knew had happened to his partner since they met. He had told him about Meka's death, about Matt, about him getting back together with Rachel and thinking that her baby was Danny's and how it turned out to be mistake. He also took the chance to tell him about Wo Fat, South Korea, Jenna, the Governor, and anything else he could remember.
Once he was done, he looked at Danny, who was sitting back with his arms cradling his head. He finally lowered them and turned to focus his bloodshot eyes on Steve. "Is that it?" He asked tiredly.
Steve looked back at him, his eyes not much dryer than his partner's. "As far as I know… That's it…"
Danny poured himself another glass of scotch and took a large drink. He laid back on the couch with a tired chuckle. "How the hell do we manage to function in a relatively normal fashion with all of that shit going on? Huh?" He asked the universe in general.
Steve shook his head. "I've no idea… You always tell me that I wasn't held as a baby, and that my mammal to mammal interaction leaves a lot to be desired. And we both avoid talking about feelings like the plague, but somehow we manage to be there for each other when the other needs it… And if we don't then the rest of the Ohana usually manages to step in to help…"
Danny didn't look convinced. "Really? And how do they know when to step in?"
Steve chuckled. "I don't know… they just do… Maybe I should start checking this place for bugs or hidden cameras…" He said with a small smile.
Danny seemed to accept Steve's explanation, and was surprised to feel comforted by it. Steve finished off his drink and stood up, moving to pick up his phone. "Alright, tomorrow we're supposed to pick up where we left off with Dave, so we should get something to eat before going to bed… Is pizza ok with you?"
Before Danny could reply, they heard a knock on the door. Steve moved to open it and let Chin, Malia and Kono in. "Hey guys! Kamekona called and said you two could use some food and good company tonight…" Said Kono, while Chin brought in a small pile of Pizza boxes. Malia moved to clear the scotch and empty glasses off the coffee table, playfully berating them about drinking on an empty stomach.
Danny looked a bit dumbfounded at finding himself surrounded by friends and laughter after the crappy day they'd had, but realized that Steve was right after all, since their Ohana somehow had managed to show up right when they were needed.
He noticed Steve looking at him and did an effort to muster a smile for him. His life was crap, he was not anywhere near solving any of his problems, but the fact that he was not alone to fight this battle gave him strength to carry on, knowing that he had found himself a Hawaiian family that would help him to get through this mess.
Well, at least I didn't leave you hanging for so long with this one... Although it's back to real life now, so please be patient!
Thank you so much for your reviews, and I hope to see you soon!
The next couple of days passed quietly. Danny spent most of the time with Dave and either Chin or Steve going through the latest activities he could remember before he was found at Kamekona's truck.
Five-0 was back in business. The Governor asking Steve to go back to the office to take care of some drug trafficking case forced the team to juggle their usual caseload and the still pending investigation of Danny's abduction.
Nobody had said anything to Danny about it, but the fact that they made sure not to leave him alone, taking turns to spend the day with him even if he stayed inside all day, showed him that they weren't really confident about his safety.
Danny was starting to feel frustrated as well. Other than rehashing the fun and joy of living on the streets for almost a week, he hadn't managed to remember anything else about his life or whatever it was that had happened to him after he disappeared from his place. He didn't want to take it out on his friends or his shrink, and he understood his team's need to keep him protected, but he felt like he should be the one doing something about it, even if he had no idea how he could help at the moment. A couple of days later, Danny got his wish, but not even in his wildest dreams Danny expected for the truth of what had happened to him to be dropped on his lap like it did.
They were taking a break at Kamekona's, having stopped for a late lunch with the whole team. Danny had gone to the men's room to wash his hands when someone tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey buddy, I think you dropped this…" The other man said, passing him a black leather wallet and vanished before Danny could take a look at his face.
Danny opened the wallet on his hands and was shocked to find a badge and ID with the name of Danny Williams, especially since that wallet had been lost ever since his kidnapping. What terrified him was the sight of another ID, but this one with the name and photograph of Grace Williams, and one Danny knew that she needed to use at her school every day. The wallet also held a flash drive and a piece of paper that read 'Open me when you're alone.'
With shaking hands, Danny locked himself in one of the stalls and took out his phone, dialing Grace's number. He had to sit down on the toilet lid when he heard his girl's voice on the other end. "Danno! I've had the worst day!"
Danny needed to take a couple of deep breaths before he could reply. "Why Monkey? What's wrong? Where are you? Is your mom there?" He said, in a somewhat steady voice.
He could hear a sigh from Grace. "Yes, Mum's here… But I lost my cafeteria pass this morning Danno! And I had to ask the teacher for a new one and I was afraid that I wasn't going to get any lunch!"
Danny looked at the id on his hand, terrified at the idea of someone getting close enough to Grace to take it from her. "Oh Monkey, that sucks… Maybe you left it at home?" He was really trying to sound normal for Grace.
"No, Danno! I checked I had it before I left for school this morning and then when it was lunch time it was gone! I told Mum that I didn't lose it, but she thinks I did!" Grace grumbled.
Shit. Whoever it was, they were able to take the card from her while she had been at school.
If there was anything to be thankful about in this whole mess, Danny would guess it'd be the fact that he was currently sitting on a toilet, because he was pretty sure that anything he'd eaten in the last few days would make a reappearance as soon as he finished the call. "Don't worry about it, Monkey. Maybe you dropped it somewhere..."
"No Danno, I didn't! I gotta go, Mum wants me to finish my homework! Love you Danno!" Grace said.
"Love you Monkey…" He muttered before his girl cut the call.
Danny didn't know how long he sat there, staring at the objects on his hands, wondering how someone had managed to get so close to Grace, and trying to convince himself that having a panic attack wouldn't do anything to help his current situation. He was interrupted by the sound of the restroom door opening and closing. "Danno? You in here?"
Danny did his best to pull himself together, stood up, flushed the toilet and stuffed the wallet and all of its contents in his pocket. "I'm here, Steve. I didn't know you had to be with me while I took a bathroom break as well…" He said while opening the door to his stall.
Steve looked at him from head to toe. "You alright? You're looking a little green…" He asked his partner.
Danny nodded, mustering a smile. "Yeah… I guess the cheese omelet from this morning didn't agree with the garlic shrimp I just ate…" He said with a shrug, hoping that Steve would buy his story.
Steve winced. "Damn, that sucks! You wanna head home?" He asked Danny, steering him towards the door.
Danny took the opportunity and held onto it for dear life. "Yeah… Maybe it'd be better… I… I'm not sure I'm done…" He said, doing his best to sound pathetic.
Steve directed him towards the car and gave everyone an explanation before he got into the driver's seat. Danny's thoughts drifted dizzily, and he didn't notice that they had reached Steve's place until he opened Danny's door and nudged him to get out of the car.
Danny moved in a daze, and once inside the house, he headed for the stairs. His movements were interrupted by Steve's voice. "Danny, are you alright?"
Danny turned to look at Steve, trying for a reassuring smile. "I'm alright… Just a little tired… I think I'm just going to crash for a couple of hours…"
Steve nodded, still looking at Danny's face. "Alright… I have to go back to the office, but I'm leaving a black and white parked outside, ok? Call me if you need anything…"
Danny just went up the stairs. "Just go already… I promise to call if I need you to come back with guns blazing."
Danny got into his room and lied down on the bed. He would have happily gone to sleep right there and then, but he had some other pressing matters to take care of, so he closed his eyes and evened his breathing until he heard the soft sound of his bedroom door opening and could almost feel Steve's stare. A few minutes passed before Steve finally left the room, and another couple before Danny could hear the sound of the front door opening and closing and the Camaro pulling out of the driveway.
Danny waited another couple of minutes for good measure and then he got up, moving quickly to his laptop nearby. Taking the flash drive out of his pocket, he inserted it into the port and opened a folder named 'open me'. In it he found pictures of every single person Danny cared about in this pineapple infested hellhole; Grace, Rachel, Charlie, Stan, Steve, Kono, Chin, Malia, Kamekona, even Max appeared in a photo or two. Ok, so this son of a bitch wanted to let Danny know that he could get close to the people he loved. It still didn't explain what the hell he wanted from him.
Danny clicked on the last file on the folder, which opened a video call window. When the call connected, Danny was not surprised to find himself looking at the face that haunted his worst nightmares. "Hello, Williams." The other man said.
Thank you very much for reading!
I have the feeling like this chapter came out a bit rushed, but I hope it's not too bad.
So... we're finally getting to the good part, which makes me a little nervous, because I usually skip the more action packed stuff. I hope it won't dissapoint.
Anyways, any tips will be well received, and constructive criticism as well... (destructive too, if you feel so strongly about it...)
See you around!
Danny looked at the dark haired man, knowing that he was the one responsible for the mess his life was right now. The swell of hate that he felt for the man on the screen made him have to curl his hands into tight fist in order not bash the screen in front of him.
The other man chuckled. "What's wrong, Williams. Have you finally run out of words?"
"Why don't you just tell me what the hell you want?" Growled Danny.
"My, my… Aren't you grouchy today…" Said the dark haired man with a pleased smile on his face.
"You'll have to forgive me, but I haven't had a very good couple of weeks… Now would you just get this over with and tell me what the fuck you want?" Danny growled.
The dark haired man laughed. "Well, Williams. All I want is an answer to my proposal…"
Danny groaned, passing a hand roughly through his hair. "Well, you see, a couple of weeks ago I was kidnapped, beaten and tortured by some asshole, and left to drown in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, after that lovely experience, I've had a bit of trouble remembering some things, one of which is the time I spent being kidnapped, beaten and tortured. I have the feeling that you were present for most of the beating and torturing part, so I'm afraid you'll have to refresh my memory about said proposal. And before you ask, no, there is no way in hell I'm marrying you…" He said, glaring at the face on the screen.
The man on the screen raised his eyebrows. "Are you serious? Don't fuck with me, Williams, or your little girl may have to take a sick day tomorrow, if she survives the night that is…"
Danny shook his head frantically. "No! Stay away from Grace! I'll do whatever you ask, just stay away from her! I wouldn't put her in danger by lying; I swear that I'm telling you the truth…"
The man on the screen seemed to study Danny for a few minutes. "Well, that is unfortunate… If you're fucked up in the head, then you're on sick leave. That means that you're of no use to me…" He said, leaning forward to press a key on his keyboard.
"Wait! Wait!" Danny knew that being of no use to this man meant that Grace would be hurt. "I'll find a way to do whatever you ask, just don't hurt my daughter!" He said, leaning forward to look at the screen.
The man on the screen rubbed his chin. "Anything? Would that 'anything' include getting Rick Peterson out of Halawa and bring him to me?" He asked, a wicked smile on his face.
Danny had to sit down on the bed. "W-what? What do you have to do with that son of a bitch?"
The man on the screen laughed. "You really don't remember, do you? He was my partner before he became your training officer, Williams. We had a good business going and then he had to go and get caught, with your help of course…"
Danny froze, a name coming suddenly to his head. "George Villa." He growled. At the man's nod and smile, he went on. "What do you want with Rick? He's in jail because he kidnapped my girl, he threatened to kill her!"
Villa laughed again. "How do you think he managed to go back and forth from Jersey? Once he got out of jail I had already left the force and was working full time in my once alternative business… Rick needed money and the means to find you here in Hawaii, and I needed someone to move merchandise to and from Hawaii… If it wasn't for your Marshall friend, we'd still be doing business and Rick would have taken his sweet time to put his plan in motion… Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan, and I need Rick to retrieve something that belongs to me."
Danny's mind was spinning. He had no idea how he was going to get out of this one. "I… I can't get Rick out of jail…" He said weakly.
Villa winced. "Well, it would be a shame if you're not up to it, Williams. I hate hurting children, they scream so much…"
Before he could continue, Danny interrupted him. "I'll do it! I'll find a way to do it! Just stay away from Grace… Please!"
Villa smiled. "Alright… I'll call you tomorrow around the same time to tell you where to drop Rick off…"
Danny shook his head. "Tomorrow? I won't… It's too soon!"
Villa lifted an eyebrow. "I thought you said you'd find a way to do it…"
Danny nodded jerkily. "I'll do it… just, please! Don't hurt my Grace…" He said, passing his hands through his hair.
Villa gave him an evil smile. "Oh, by the way, I don't believe I need to warn you against asking for help from your fancy taskforce… If I hear anything about Five-0 getting word of this, the deal is off… We'll talk tomorrow, Williams." And cut the video call.
Danny paced around his room nervously, trying to find some way to get Rick out of jail without alerting anyone. He could only think of one way, and he needed to move fast if he wanted to pull it off.
He took a minute to wash his face, take a few deep breaths and psych himself to look like he was not at the edge of a nervous breakdown. Once he made sure he looked as normal as he could under the circumstances, he went outside, moving towards the patrol car parked just outside.
He approached the officers. "Hey there, I was wondering if you'd mind giving me a ride to Kalakaua Avenue?" Danny asked with a smile on his face.
The officers looked at each other and the one at the wheel shrugged. "Sure, no problem, detective Williams. I'll just let Commander McGarrett know about it…" He said.
"Great, thanks!" Said Danny, getting into the back seat of the patrol car. He was not surprised to hear his phone ringing, and even less surprised when he saw that Steve was calling. He pressed the screen to connect the call. "Hey babe…" He said.
"Hey Danno… Where are you going?" Steve asked from the other side of the line, failing completely at hiding his concern.
"I'm going to the beach… and before you tell me that you have a beach in your backyard, I'm going to a beach with people, with children playing and laughing, and loud enough to distract me from all the stuff in my head…" Danny said, trying to make it sound like one of his regular rants.
Danny could hear Steve sighing. "Do you want me to come over there?"
Danny chuckled. "Are you still in the middle of a case?" He asked, in way of an answer.
Danny chuckled again when Steve didn't answer. "Don't worry about me babe. I'll even stop to have some shave ice if it makes you feel better…"
Steve sighed again. "Call me if you need anything, Danno…" And with that, he cut the call.
Once they reached their destination, Danny took some time to sit at the beach and pretend that all he wanted was to sit there and watch people walk by. When he decided enough time had passed, he moved to his original destination, trying not to appear too rushed.
The man in front of him looked surprised to see him, and even more surprised when he heard what Danny had to say.
"Kamekona… I need you help…" Danny said, not being able to keep the fear from his voice.
Ok, now you have some answers... How I manage to make sense of what's supposed to come next is another matter...
I'd really like to hear what you think of the baddie so far, and of this chapter too!
Thank you very much for reading!
Kamekona put his large hand on Danny's shoulder, gently pushing him inside his truck. "Come on in bruddah…"
Once inside, Kamekona directed Danny to sit on a small bench next to the grill and got a stool for himself. Once he was precariously balancing on the stool, he patted Danny's knee. "Talk to me, brah…"
Danny looked up at the large man's face. "I need your help… I need you to help me do something illegal, and I need you not to tell Steve, or anyone in the team anything about it…"
Kamekona nodded, not looking at all concerned by Danny's request. "Alright, what do you need?"
Danny raised his eyebrows. "Just like that? Did you not hear the part where I said it was something illegal? And about not telling Steve about it?"
Kamekona chuckled, patting Danny's leg. "You're Ohana, and you're asking for my help… That's all that matters, brah! Now tell me what you need…"
Danny squeezed Kamekona's large hand and with a deep breath, he started talking. "There are a bunch of forms that have to be filled to transfer someone from Halawa to anywhere else, be that to the court house, to HPD for questioning or to anywhere else… I need to get a copy of those or a fake copy of them that comes already signed by a judge…" He said, looking worriedly at the large man.
Kamekona looked surprised. "Who'd you want outta jail, brah?"
Danny looked down at his lap. "Rick Peterson…" He said, trying to keep himself from shivering at the name.
Kamekona sucked a sharp breath. "That's the haole that took your keiki! Why that Kanapapiki?"
Danny didn't look up. "The guy that kidnapped me? He… He's been following Grace around… He's got access to her while she's at school, and he wants me to get Rick out of jail and bring him to him, or he'll… He'll hurt Grace…" Danny said in a less than steady voice.
Danny felt a large hand squeezing his shoulder and looked up at Kamekona's concerned face. "And once you've delivered the goods, what you gonna do?"
"Whatever it takes to get him away from Grace…" Danny said, drawing a shaky breath.
Kamekona shook his head sadly. "Alright… When do you need it?" He asked, patting Danny's shoulder.
Danny sighed. "Tomorrow morning…"
Kamekona raised his eyebrows. "Tomorrow morning? He sure is in a hurry…"
Danny didn't have anything to say to that, so he just dropped his head to rest on his hands.
Kamekona stood up quickly. "Well, bruddah, then I'd better start making some phonecalls…"
Danny looked surprised. "Really? Just like that?"
Kamekona smiled. "It'll take some calls, but it shouldn't be a problem…"
Before Danny could say anything, there was a loud knock on the truck's door. "Kamekona, Danno? You two in there?"
Danny groaned, passing his hands through his hair, while Kamekona moved to open the door. "Easy, bruddah! There are people working with flammables in here! No need to break down the door!"
Steve came in and looked from Kamekona to Danny. "Sorry man… It's just that the cops parked outside said that Danny didn't look good…" He took a seat on the stool Kamekona was using before. "You alright Danno?"
Danny gave him a weak smile. "I'm alright… Just had a bit of a freak out back at your place and when I stopped by to say hello, the Big guy took a look at me and brought me in here… We've been talking for a while…" He finished with a shrug.
Steve looked at Kamekona for confirmation and received a steaming plate of shrimp as an answer.
After eating their fill in shrimp, Steve drove Danny back to his place. They watched a game and hanged out at the lanai for a few hours, but around 11 Danny turned in for the night.
Danny didn't get any sleep that night, but was careful not to make any noise. He didn't want Steve to pay any special attention to him, especially since he was planning on disappearing into thin air as soon as he could lose the cops Steve was probably going to leave at the door.
Danny once again had to pretend to be asleep until after he heard Steve's truck leaving the driveway. He took everything he thought he would need, called a taxi and headed to Kamekona's.
The huge man received him with a bear hug and led him into the truck. Once in there, he presented him with a folder full of papers and a plate with what looked like a spam omelet. "Eat up, bruddah… you'll need the proteins!" Kamekona said.
Danny picked at his food while he looked over the papers in front of him. Once he was done, he took the papers that he could use, folded them and stuck them in his pocket and stood up from his chair. "Alright babe. Now I need to get out of here without those two guys in the black and white parked right outside noticing…"
Kamekona pointed at a large trash bin with a flourish. At Danny's incredulous look, Kamekona shrugged. "At least it's empty!"
It was a bit of a bumpy ride, but once the bin had stopped moving and he couldn't hear anyone moving outside, Danny managed to unfold his body enough to get out of the trash bin.
Looking around, he spotted the person he was hoping to find. He approached the unsuspecting officer silently, taking a hold of his neck and dragging him backwards to the black and white parked a few feet away. "Stay quiet and don't even think about reaching for your gun unless you want your neck broken." Danny growled at the cop's ear.
Officer Okole lifted his hands to try to pry Danny's arm from around his neck, but wasn't very successful about it. "Wha-what do you want?"
Danny used one hand to take off Okole's gun and handcuffs. "I'm taking you for a ride…" He said, opening the car door and pushing the young officer into the driver's seat.
Okole took a look at Danny when he got into the passenger seat and finally recognized him. "What? Detective Williams… What are you doing?"
Danny was pointing Okole's gun at the cop's chest. "I said that we're going for a ride, now start driving!" He barked.
Okole started the engine and backed the car out of its parking space. "Wh-where are we going?" The young officer asked, not able to completely hide the fear from his voice.
Danny was looking ahead, trying to spot any possible threats. "We're going to Halawa." He said tightly, still pointing the gun at Okole's chest.
Thank you so much for reading!
I'd really love to hear what you think about this one.
See you around!
Officer Okole was following Danny's directions, driving them towards Halawa through the less busy roads. At one point, Danny directed him to stop by the side of the road and disabled the GPS tracker.
They could still hear the police transmissions on the radio, so they knew that Okole's disappearance hadn't been noticed yet. "How long before you have to report to your Sarge?" Danny asked, not moving the gun away from the young cop.
Okole looked scared, but had managed to stay calm so far. "I… I'm supposed to check in at 12 pm…" He gave Danny a nervous look. "Listen, detective Williams… If… If you are in any trouble, we could go back to HPD… You could talk to my Sarge, or… Or with Duke, he's always said good things about Five-0…" He said in a timid voice.
Danny chuckled sadly. "Thanks kid, but I'm afraid that Duke can't help with this one…"
Okole looked at Danny briefly. "What are you going to do in Halawa?"
Danny didn't look in the rookie's direction. "I'll tell you once we get there, now less talking and more driving." Danny snapped.
Once they arrived to Halawa, Danny directed the young officer to park near the door, but out of direct sight of the guards. He found the documents and passed them to Okole. "Alright kid, I need you to go in there, show these to the guards, sign everything that they ask you to sign and come back out with Richard Peterson."
Officer Okole looked at Danny confused. "What? You want me to go in there and bring out an immate?" He took a look at the papers, and was shocked to see that they looked like official documents. "I-I can't do this! Why do you want this guy outta jail?"
Danny drew a weary sigh and pointed the gun in the rookie's direction. "Alright, listen to me, kid. The last thing I want in the world is to get this son of a bitch out of jail, but there's someone threatening my daughter, and if I don't do what they ask, they can get close enough to hurt her. I'm sorry you got dragged into this mess, but I can't tell Steve or anyone in HPD about this, so you're the only choice I have left…"
Officer Okole was shaking his head. "There must be something else we can do! I'm sure Commander McGarrett or the Governor can do something!"
Danny passed a tired hand down his face. "What's your name, kid?" He asked the frightened man sitting next to him.
Officer Okole looked surprised by Danny's question. "Ja-Jason… My name is Jason…" He said in a shaky voice.
Danny nodded. "Jason… there's no way to get anyone's help before someone hurts my daughter… I-I'm sorry, but I have no choice…" He said sadly, but lifted the gun to point it straight at the young officer.
Jason was starting to realize that he wouldn't have a choice. "What makes you think that I won't raise the alarm once I'm in there?" He said, nodding in the direction of the prison gates.
Danny shrugged. "I've no idea… I'm hoping the fact that my daughter's safety is on the line, or that you feel at least a little bit responsible about not helping me that day on the street…"
"I didn't know it was you!" The young officer blurted out.
Danny shook his head. "Sorry kid, but you knew I was missing, and you should have kept your eyes open… I know it was not intentional, but because of you it took them four more days to find me… Take this as a way to make it up to me, if you will…"
Officer Okole took a minute to either think or pull himself together enough to do what he was about to do. He took a deep breath and nodded to himself, taking the forms. "Alright… I'll be back soon." He said, getting out of the car without looking at Danny.
Danny stayed in the car, making sure to scan for any police transmissions that may say something about him. He checked all the frequencies and kept looking around for any unusual movement, but all seemed quiet.
For Danny it felt like the longest 45 minutes of his life, but finally he saw the large gate opening and Rick Peterson, wearing an orange jumpsuit and cuffs around his wrists and ankles, shuffling towards the car followed by Jason Okole, looking nervous, but not as freaked out as before. He got Rick Peterson into the back seat, went back to the driver's seat and looked at Danny, waiting for directions.
Danny just nodded for him to start driving when Rick addressed him. "D? What the hell d'you want with me?" He looked at the young officer. "Hey kid! This son of a bitch shot me while I was in handcuffs! I don't wanna be in the same car as he is!"
Officer Okole looked sharply at Danny, and then down at the gun in Danny's hands. Danny just rolled his eyes. "He took my little girl and locked her in a storage facility!"
Before Jason could come up with anything to say to that, Danny directed him to pull over.
He parked the car by the side of the road and waited for Danny's directions. "Would you come out for a second? I need to talk to you about something…" Danny said, and got out of the car.
Jason got out of the car, following Danny to a more secluded place between some trees. "What is it, detective Williams?"
Danny faced him, pointing the gun at his head with one hand and holding his handcuffs in the other. "Turn around." Danny barked.
The young officer was startled by Danny's sharp tone, and lifted his hands in a placating gesture. "What?" He asked, bewildered.
"Turn around and put your hands behind your head!" Danny growled.
Jason did as Danny told him. He heard Danny coming closer and felt as the detective cuffed his hands behind his back. "Wh-why are you doing this? I thought I was supposed to h-help you!" he asked in a trembling voice.
Danny pulled him towards a soft patch of grass, digging his gun painfully against Jason's back. "Get on your knees!" Was the only reply he got.
Jason kneeled on the soft grass trembling softly from head to toe. "Detective Williams… What are you going to do?" He asked in a frightened voice.
He could hear Danny sighing behind him. I'm sorry kid, but if I take you with me, you're as good as dead… You really helped me though… So much that I'm sure I'm the one owing you one after this…"
Before Jason could make sense of what Danny was saying he felt a sharp pain on the back of his head. He could feel himself falling forwards, and gentle arms catching him and lowering him carefully to the soft grass before he didn't feel anything anymore.
Hey all! If you're still around, thank you so much for reading!
I hope you're still enjoying the story, and I apologize for the delay in updating, but unfortunately real life takes presedence over fic sometimes...
I'd like to hear what you think about this chapter!
See you around!
Danny moved back to the car, taking a blanket out of the trunk. He went back to where he'd left Officer Okole and gently moved him over the blanket. Using zip ties for his legs, he made sure he was secure, being careful not to tie them too tightly; he took off all of his weapons and the car keys and wrapped the blanket around the rookie's body. He stepped back, studying his work, hoping that the young officer wouldn't be too uncomfortable once he woke up.
Once his work was done, he straightened up with a weary sigh and moved back to the car, getting in the driver's seat. He was not surprised that his passenger started talking as soon as he'd gotten in. "What'd you do with your little friend, D?"
Danny didn't even acknowledge Rick's presence. He just drove away, taking out of his pocket a burner phone that Kamekona had gotten for him and a piece of paper with a phone number that he'd found along with his badge and Grace's id.
"Hey! Where are we going? What'd you do with the cop, D?" Rick yelled, knocking his cuffs against the cage separating him from Danny.
Danny still made his best to ignore the man sitting on the back seat, because the alternative at that moment would be to but a bullet between his eyes.
When Danny didn't say anything, Rick smashed his handcuffs against the cage a few more times. "Listen to me, you little son of a bitch, don't think I didn't notice that you ditched your cop buddy over there and that you're not supposed to drive around town with me in the back seat, so unless you tell me what the fuck is going on, I'll make such a fuzz that we'll be sharing a cell in Halawa in no time…"
Danny squeezed the steering wheel so tight his knuckles had turned white. "Someone is very interested on seeing you…"
Rick lifted his eyebrows. "Yeah? And who'd that be?"
Danny sighed tiredly. "George Villa" He growled.
Rick huffed out a laugh. "Georgy? Seriously? You see, D, that's what a partner does… He's stood by me ever since I got outta jail! And what did you do? After you placed the last nail on my coffin, you did your best to forget I ever existed!" When Danny didn't rise to the bait, he continued talking. "And what the hell did he do to get you to help me out of my uncomfortable situation? Huh?"
Danny shook his head. "Whatever this is, I'm not doing it to help you… Villa… He took a page out of your book… he threatened Grace…"
Danny could hear Rick's laughter, the same laughter that plagued his nightmares, and did his best not to shiver. "Now shut the fuck up, I have to call your BFF…" He muttered, dialing the number and waiting for someone to pick up.
"Hello Williams." The familiar voice of George Villa said.
"I've got Peterson." Was Danny's curt reply.
Villa gave him an address on Sand Island, so Danny drove them there. He was thankful for the cage separating him from his chatty passenger, because he wasn't sure he'd be able to keep himself from wringing the son of a bitch's neck if he didn't have some physical barrier to stop him.
Once again Danny used the less transited areas, hoping not to run into any police. When they reached their destination, an old warehouse, and wasn't that just a cliché, he stopped the car and got out just as five men came out of the warehouse.
Danny got out, but had seven weapons pointed in his direction before he even closed the door. "Drop your gun, detective." Said the uglier of the bunch.
Danny didn't make any move to get rid of his weapon. "Where the hell is Villa?"
Uglier laughed. "You'll see him in due time."
Danny shook his head. "We had a deal, I brought what he asked…"
Uglier directed two of the other men to move to the car. They came closer to Danny, took his gun and keys and took Rick out of the back seat. The minute they had gotten him out of the cuffs around his wrists and ankles, he pounced on Danny.
Danny was expecting just that, so when Rick barreled into him, he let himself fall backwards and used that momentum to flip them over. He landed with his knees on Rick's chest, and started pounding on him with all he got.
Suddenly there were hands pulling him back, beating him and trying to stop him from taking Ricks head off. "Enough, Williams, or the deal is off!" Uglier barked.
Danny stilled immediately. "No… I… I did what Villa asked…"
Uglier chuckled. "Well, he wants something else…" He said throwing some car keys to Rick and a duffel with street clothes.
Rick caught them and looked at them. "What am I supposed to do with this?"
"Georgy is still waiting for his shipment, so you're going to change, clean up the mess on your face and go pick it up… And you're taking this one with you…" Uglier said, nodding in Danny's direction.
The two men glared at each other. "Why do I have to take him?" Rick growled.
"Because the boss said so…" Uglier Replied.
Rick sent Danny an evil grin. "What if I lose him?"
"Then you both die." Uglier muttered. "And if only Williams comes back, then I'll have to make a call to the Sacred Hearts' Academy."
"He'll come back in one piece… just stay away from my daughter…" Danny pleaded.
Uglier laughed. "Fair enough… Get going then, and don't take too long!"
Danny moved resignedly towards the passenger seat. Rick took a couple of minutes to change into street clothes and joined him in the car. When Danny didn't look in his direction, he elbowed him to catch his attention. "Who would have thought, D? Just like old times… huh?" He asked, with a manic grin on his face.
Danny barely restrained himself from groaning. This day kept getting better and better.
Well, I meant to make Danny sound more angry in this chapter, but he came out more resigned... I hope you liked it anyways...
Thanks anyways for reading. I'd love to see what you think. I'm turning a year older as we speak, so a few words would be a nice present!
They had driven quietly for close to half an hour. Danny could see that they'd had been moving through the less busy streets, and so far they hadn't ran into any police.
Finally Rick decided to break the silence. "So… You wanna tell me how you managed to leave your team behind while you got me outta jail? This better not be some kind of setup, D, because I'm itching to put a bullet between your eyes, and that'd give me the perfect excuse, you know…"
Danny scoffed. "A setup? Did you not hear the part where these sons of bitches know people that are inside my daughter's school as we speak? Whatever the hell this is, it's certainly not a setup…" Danny said, glaring at Rick.
Rick chuckled. "Alright, D. I believe you… I still wonder how you managed to skip work just like that without that Army guy following you around… Are you on vacation or something?"
"It's Navy!" Danny snapped. "And I'm not on vacation… I…" Danny mumbled.
Rick briefly turned to Danny, noticing his discomfort. "So… If you are not on vacation, then how'd you get away? Don't lie to me D…"
Danny struggled with himself for a minute, but finally relented. "I was on sick leave…" He said softly, not looking at the man sitting next to him.
Rick raised his eyebrows, turning briefly to look at Danny. "Sick leave? Don't tell me you're contagious, because then you're riding in the trunk!" When Danny didn't even acknowledge the taunt, Rick looked at him more closely, noticing some faint bruises on Danny's face and the shadows under his eyes. He didn't have too much trouble putting two and two together. "Oh my god! It was Georgy who got you on sick leave, wasn't it?" He asked with a chuckle.
Danny still wouldn't say anything, so Rick kept taunting him. "I wonder how he managed to get close enough to take you away without your buddies noticing… And how come you were on sick leave? I don't see Georgy letting you go just like that…"
Danny did his best effort to ignore Rick, choosing to look out the window as the scenery rushed by, but a slap on the back of his head forced him to look at his former partner. "Don't think Georgy is the only one that can get to your little Gracie, D… Now I asked a question! Did George cut you lose or did you escape on your own?"
Danny still didn't look at Rick. "I don't know…" He muttered with a tired sigh.
Rick scoffed. "What do you mean you don't know? You either got away or he cut you lose, so which one was it?"
"I don't know… I don't remember…" Danny said, looking down at his knees.
Rick gave him a look. "What? He fucked you up so bad that you don't remember what happened?"
When Danny still refused to talk, Rick blew an annoyed sigh and decided to drop the subject.
"You know…" Rick said about 10 minutes later. "I ran into a friend of yours back at Halawa…"
Danny looked concerned for a minute. "A friend? Was it someone I put away?"
Rick chuckled. "No, it was Dave Collins… Didn't know he was a US Marshal now… you two went to high school together, didn't you? I think he was dropping off a prisoner from Jersey…"
The name didn't sound familiar to Danny, but he decided to play along. "Well, if he was in town, he didn't call…"He said with a shrug.
Rick chuckled darkly. "Well, it's understandable, the last time I saw him he looked dead on his feet…" He said, laughing at his own joke.
Danny didn't get what was so funny, so he decided to keep quiet. Rick on the other hand, was strangely chatty. "How's your little bro, Larry is it? Is he one of those hot shot Wall Street brokers by now?"
Danny closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. So much for keeping up his act. "Alright, you caught me, who the hell is Dave Collins?"
Rick laughed. His perverse amusement making Danny cringe. "Who he was, you mean? He was a buddy of yours from Jersey… I ran into him on one of my trips here and he tried to warn you that I was coming… I had to take care of him… It's a good thing that you seem to have forgotten about him, I'm sure the guilt over his death would be terrible!"
Danny closed his eyes, taking a couple of deep breaths. "I don't know how, I don't know where, but you're a dead man… I'm gonna find a way to put a bullet between your eyes, you sick son of a bitch…" Danny said in an angry growl.
Rick only laughed again. "I'd love to see you try, D…" He said with a crazed smile on his face.
The rest of the trip went by quietly, with Danny silently fuming in the passenger seat and Rick enjoying his former partner's discomfort. They finally reached their destination, parking the car outside of a small house in the higher part of town. Rick got out of the car and looking around, motioned for Danny to follow him.
They reached the door and Rick knocked on the door. Danny was surprised to see an old lady opening the door and motioning them inside. "Took you long enough, Haole…" She grumbled as she led them towards the living room.
She directed them to sit, while she moved around the room, looking for something in a large chest by the window. When she found what she was looking for, she straightened out, turning to face Rick while she pointed a gun at Danny's head. "Alright Haole, who's your friend, and what's he doing in my house?"
Rick laughed gleefully. "Come on, Old Mei… Don't scare my friend like that! He's D, I know him way back, isn't that enough?"
Old Mei turned his attention to Danny, pressing her gun against his forehead. "Name…" She asked.
Danny lifted his hands in an unthreatening gesture. "Daniel… Daniel Williams…"
Old Mei nodded, but didn't move the gun from Danny's face. "Are you a cop? A snitch?"
Danny seemed to deflate, figuring he was screwed either way. If he lied, Rick would probably rat him out for the fun of it. "I… I'm a detective, with the Governor's Taskforce…"
Old Mei seemed to growl, but surprisingly turned her gun in Rick's direction. "You brought a cop to my home, you Kanapapiki!"
Rick stood up and lifted his hands as well. "He's a cop without a gun, Old Mei! He's not going to do anything! Georgy has him by the balls!"
Old Mei turned back to Danny. "What does Georgy has of yours?" She asked him with a frown on her face.
Danny looked at her eyes. "He threatened my daughter… He's going to hurt her unless I do what he asks…"
Old Mei's expression softened. "What would you do to keep your girl safe?"
Danny didn't hesitate on his answer. "Anything…"
Old Mei blew a sad sigh, lowering her gun. "I'll get your package…" She muttered, patting Danny's shoulder comfortingly.
She moved to another room and came back with a duffel bag that she passed to Rick. "Check it… don't want any complaints later!" She grumbled.
Rick stood up with the bag on his hand, and placing it on the table, he opened it to reveal hundreds of small packages of white powder. He moved them around, doing some quick math and nodded to himself, apparently pleased with the contents. "Now, how do I know this is what I asked?" He asked, raising his eyebrows.
Old Mei bristled. "I've never tricked you, Haole… Don't tell me you want to test it now?" She asked, matching Rick's raised eyebrows.
Rick chuckled, taking one small bag from the bottom of the bag. "Nope… I definitely don't want to test it… On the other hand, maybe D here should…" he said, throwing the small bag to Danny.
Hey all. I really have to apologize for the delay on this chapter, but real life has been kind of busy lately!
I want to thank everyone that dropped a line, and every birthday wish. I'd really like to hear what you think about this chapter too!
See you soon!
Danny caught the little bag of small white crystals and looked at Rick with a question in his eyes. Rick just smiled evilly. "Come on, D… You need to test the merchandise…" He taunted.
Danny didn't really believe what Rick was asking. "You really want me to take this?" He asked, lifting the small bag in his hands.
Rick nodded. "That's what I said, didn't I?"
Danny shook his head, trying to find a way out of it. "I… I can't… I'm not taking that shit!"
Rick rolled his eyes. "You can and you will, D. Or maybe you want me to call Georgy and tell him you're causing trouble?"
Danny kept shaking his head. "He said the two of us had to get back… He said he'd shoot you if something happened to me…"
Rick just laughed. "Yeah, but he never said that you had to get back conscious, coherent or in one piece…" He said with a chuckle. "Now, I want you to snort at least two lines, and tell me if it's the good stuff…" Rick said sharply.
Danny sighed, defeated. He looked around for a place to put the drugs, but before he could even start to rip open the little bag, Old Mei took it from his hands. "There'll be no tasting!" She whirled around to glare at Rick. "If my merchandise is no good for you, then leave now! I'm not selling you no more if there's no trust between us!" She said, looking furious and reaching for the duffel full of drugs.
Danny didn't really know what to do, and Rick barely managed to pull the bag away from the fuming old lady. "Old Mei, I never meant to offend you! I'm just teasing my friend here!" Rick said, pointing his thumb in Danny's direction.
Old Mei shook her head. "If you want to do business you won't tease the little Haole no more, and you'll take the bag and you'll deliver it to Georgy untouched! Don't want to hear of even one bag going missing or I do no more business with you!" She said, giving him back the baggie that she took from Danny.
Rick shook his head, taking the baggie and putting it back with the other ones. "Don't worry about anything, Old Mei… You know you can trust me!" He said, trying to give the old lady a friendly smile.
Old Mei shook her head, not buying one word from Rick's mouth. "Get out of my house, and don't come back unless you show some respect!" She grumbled, motioning for the two men to leave her house.
Before Danny followed Rick out of the house, the old lady took Danny's arm to catch his attention. "You're an honorable man, Little Haole… Take care of yourself, and get away from that filth… He means you harm…" She said, nodding in the direction of Rick's retreating back.
Danny smiled sadly at the old lady and patted her hand. "I'm just doing what I have to do… Thank you for your help…" He said in a soft whisper and followed Rick into the car.
The trip back to Sand Island was quiet. Danny feared that Rick would insist on making him take the drugs, but apparently Old Mei's threats were not taken lightly.
It took them close to an hour to get back to the warehouse. Once there, Uglier led them inside, to a small office where George Villa was waiting for them. "Took you long enough!" George snapped, extending his hand to take the duffel bag.
Rick passed him the package, watching as George checked the contents, doing a quick math in his head, much like Rick himself had done at Old Mei's place. He seemed pleased with the result and passed the bag to one of his goons, turning his attention back to the pair standing in front of him. "Old Mei was not pleased with you…" He said, looking at Rick.
Rick seemed to go pale. "Old Mei? Why? We didn't have any trouble collecting her shipping…"
George's expression didn't betray anything. "She said you'd disrespected her…"
"Disrespected her? Georgy, I'd never do that! I just made a small joke to freak out D a bit!" Rick said, with a shrug of his shoulders.
George didn't look convinced. "In any case, she was not pleased with you, and I don't have to tell you that if there's anyone we have to keep happy that's Old Mei…"
Rick lifted his hands in a placating gesture. "I'm terribly sorry, Georgy… I promise I'll apologize to her the next time I see her…"
George nodded, looking annoyed by the situation. He decided to change the subject. "How'd he do?" He asked Rick, nodding in Danny's direction.
Rick looked at Danny briefly and then turned back to George. "Eh… He was there… didn't really get in the way or anything…" Rick said with an unimpressed shrug.
George looked at Danny. "Well, I don't know what he did, but Old Mei seemed to like him better than you… In fact, I'm thinking on sending him to pick up the next shipment, instead of you…" He finished, turning to Rick with a smirk.
Rick started shaking his head. "No, George! I'll go and smooth things out with Old Mei… There's no need to bench me!"
George chuckled. "Sorry buddy, but right now we have to find some place to hide you… The whole of HPD is looking for the latest escapee from Halawa, so I don't want you anywhere near my business. On the other hand, Williams' absence seems to have passed unnoticed, if the HPD transmissions and the local news are any indicator, so you'll understand if I choose to keep my options open…"
Rick turned to glare at Danny and then looked back to George. "Alright, Georgy… Where do you want me to hide then?" He said, sounding resigned.
Danny was distracted for a moment. The knowledge that nobody was looking for him made him feel frightened and relieved at the same time. Frightened because he was certain that he was on his own in an awful situation and relieved because at least he wouldn't have to worry about dragging anyone from his Ohana into this hell.
Danny mentally chuckled, trying to imagine what had Kamekona been doing to get Steve off his back.
He didn't have any more time to be distracted, because in the next second he watched as if it was happening in slow motion how George took a gun from his waistband and pointing it directly at Rick's chest he fired it twice. "Don't worry, Rick… I'll take care of it…" George said.
Danny watched numbly as Rick's body fell to the floor, his head bouncing on the hard concrete and his dead eyes staring at nothing. He had wished his former partner a painful death more than once, but his brain couldn't quite catch up with what was happening around him.
Danny was roughly snapped from his stupor by George's voice. "Alright Williams, back to work!" He snapped, directing Danny to follow him.
Well, at least Danny doesn't have to worry about Rick anymore... That's good, right?... Right?
I managed to update sooner, and I'm hoping to have another chapter in the next few days, so I hope you don't hate me too much...
Thank you so much for reading, and I'd really like to see what you think about this chapter!
Danny was frozen in place. He kept looking from Rick's body, now cooling on the floor, to Villa's unmoved face. He couldn't understand what was going on, and couldn't begin to fathom what more Villa would ask of him.
Unfortunately, Villa was not a particularly patient person. "Williams! I don't have all day!"
That was the last straw for Danny. "What the hell do I care if you have all day or not? Why the fuck did you make me get Rick out of jail if you were going to kill him as soon as you saw him? What sick kind of game is this?" Danny yelled.
Villa laughed at Danny's rant. "It was no game, Williams. Old Mei wouldn't do business with anyone, so I needed Rick for that. Since she took such a liking to you and Rick managed to draw too much attention to himself, he became expendable, and you, the perfect replacement. Now, we should get you back to McGarrett's place before he notices you're gone, so you'd better start unloading the stuff from the car…"
Danny couldn't make sense of anything right now, but something in particular caught his attention. "The stuff from the car? What stuff from the car?" He asked.
Villa rolled his eyes. "You didn't really think that we'd gone through all that trouble for a single bag of product, did you? Rick always left the keys in the car, so Old Mei's people could fill up the trunk. Now get moving, before we have to drive you back…"
Danny started shaking his head. "You… you really expect me to start working for you?"
Villa glared at him. "What part of 'get to work' was unclear for you?"
Danny shook his head more frantically, trying to look for a way out of this. "No… I can't… I'm a detective… There's no way…"
Villa chuckled. "That makes you an even better option, Williams! With your job at Five-0, you'll have no trouble to tip us off if your cop buddies start to get too close to our operation. You should be thankful that I'm not making you take care of Rick over there…" He said, nodding in the direction of Rick's body.
Danny was not making any moves to do what Villa had ordered. "What if… If I don't want to work for you?"
Villa snapped his fingers twice and suddenly there were two goons holding on to Danny's arms. "Well, Williams. It would be a shame if you didn't want to work for me, because then I'd have to put a bullet between your eyes…" Villa said, taking the gun from the back of his pants and pointing it towards Danny's head.
Danny didn't fight the hold on his arms, choosing to stay still in order to make a decision. He couldn't find any other way out of this impossible situation, but he knew he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he chose to help Villa in his drug trafficking operation. "Alright… Put your bullet between my eyes then…" Danny said resignedly, figuring that taking himself out of the equation at least would keep Grace away from Villa.
Villa lifted his eyebrows in surprise, cocking the gun. What Danny never expected was for him to use his other hand to reach for his phone. He dialed a number and waited for someone to pick up on the other side of the line. "Hey Bobby! I need you to bring Grace Williams over, ok? Yeah… see you soon…"
Villa disconnected the call and returned his attention back to Danny who was struggling wildly by now. "It's a shame that you won't be here to see her Williams…" He said, shaking his head in mock regret.
Danny was pulling and pushing at the arms holding him, but he was no match for the walls of muscle restraining him. "LEAVE HER ALONE, YOU FUCKING SON OF A BITCH!" He screamed at the smirking man in front of him.
Villa moved a couple of steps away from the struggling man to avoid any flailing limbs or a painful head butt and started pulling the trigger. The sound of glass shattering and a sharp pain on his hand completely messed up Villa's aim, so much that he ended up shooting one of the goons holding Danny on the leg before he dropped the gun. Before he could move to pick it back up, more windows shattered, followed by an explosion of light that blinded him.
Danny was too busy trying to free himself from the goons' hold to realize that Villa had missed his shot. It didn't stop him from making good use of the opportunity that presented itself when one of the goons let go of his arm and dropped to the floor. Using all of his strength, he smashed his fist right at the center of the other goon's chest, right under his ribs. The large man doubled over, and Danny followed up with a well placed kick between his legs.
As soon as the goon let go of Danny's arm, Danny kicked him again for good measure, took the goon's gun and scrambled away, looking around in search of a way out. Keeping Grace safe being his first priority. His escape attempt was violently interrupted by the explosion of light and noise that flooded the room. He dropped to the floor instinctively, covering his ears and closing his eyes.
It took about a minute for Danny's hearing to return, but when it did, the sound of multiple voices yelling 'FIVE-0!' and 'HPD!' drew a relieved chuckle out of him. He looked up, and saw a couple of familiar faces coming through the doors, and one in particular dropping from a ventilation hatch in the ceiling.
Still trying to get out of the building, Danny moved swiftly from one cover to the next, making sure to stay away from any cops that could get a hold of him and try to get him to EMTs or into giving a statement, and putting a few well placed shots into any of Villa's goons that tried to block his way.
It took a couple of minutes, but things were finally growing quiet, which meant that Danny could move more quickly towards the door.
Unfortunately, Danny's escape was stopped by the sound of a familiar voice nearby. "I repeat, does anyone have eyes on detective Williams!" Steve's voice muttered nearby.
The distraction made Danny stumble on some tools dropped haphazardly on the ground, and the noise made Steve turn in his direction. "FIVE-0! Drop your weapons and move slowly towards me!" Steve barked.
With a tired sigh, Danny lifted his hands, not letting go of his gun, and moved to a place where Steve could see him. "Steve, I don't have time for this…" He said softly.
On seeing Danny, a relieved smile took over Steve's face. He didn't seem to hear what Danny was saying, and started moving in his direction. "It's good to see you, Da-argh!" Before he could reach Danny, Steve had dropped to the floor, holding on to a bullet wound on his left arm.
All thoughts of getting out and reaching Grace left Danny at that moment. His partner needed him. He moved back to a covered position and rounded a pile of crates in order to get his eyes on Steve's attacker. The sight of George Villa standing a few feet away from an unarmed Steve, pointing a gun straight at his head, made Danny's blood run cold.
In hindsight, Danny could have come up with a better plan, but right at that moment, only rage fueled the Jersey detective, as he moved out of cover and towards the two men in front of him. "VILLA!" He roared as he pointed his weapon to the drug trafficker. The son of a bitch had taken enough from him, and he wouldn't let him take any more.
Villa lifted both his eyes and his gun towards Danny, and before he could make any more moves, Danny had put two bullets on Villa's head. Danny was surprised that the recoil made him stumble a couple of feet backwards, but was too relieved about seeing Steve slowly regaining his feet to care too much about it.
Steve seemed both relieved and thankful when he looked back at Danny, but his expression soon fell when he looked down at his partner's body. "Danny!" He said, rushing to his side.
Danny didn't understand what made his partner so upset, and he drew a deep breath to ask him precisely that, only that single breath suddenly felt like a hot poker stabbing through his side. He placed his hand over the painful spot, feeling warm moisture, and looked down to see his hand coming up covered in blood. Right, he wasn't wearing a vest.
His knees folded under his own weight, and he felt himself falling heavily to the floor. He watched detachedly as Steve hurried over, kneeling at his side and pulling out a knife from somewhere to cut his shirt and undershirt. "Hey… I liked that shirt…" Danny mumbled, annoyed.
Steve completely ignored his protest, and pulling a piece of gauze from somewhere, he placed it over the painful spot on Danny's chest and pressed. Hard.
Danny never knew if it was the excruciating pain on his chest or Steve's terrified expression, or the general craziness of this long day, but suddenly something clicked into place. He could remember his childhood in Jersey, growing up with his brother and sisters; he could remember high school, playing baseball, his knee injury, and the academy. He remembered how he met Rachel and fell hopelessly in love with her. He remembered Grace's birth and their life in the little house in Hoboken. He remembered how it all fell apart, moving to Hawaii, and the time he spent working with the goof kneeling at his side, trying to keep him alive, he also remembered his newly acquired Ohana. He remembered everything.
The thought of his Ohana had him reaching out and squeezing Steve's arm to catch his attention. "Steve! Grace! Her school! They'll take her!" He said, trying to move. He needed to get to her!
Steve didn't have any trouble keeping Danny still with a hand pushing down on his shoulder. "Danno, it's alright… We got them! Rachel and Kono are with her… She's safe!"
Danny shook his head weakly. "No… Villa called them… They're going to take her!" Danny said between heaving breaths.
Steve took Danny's chin to get him to focus on his face. "Danno. There were two guys at Grace's school, Kono and a couple of HPD officers were there to see when they got Villa's phone call. They took them in and won't get anywhere Grace ever again, ok?"
It took a minute for Danny to understand what Steve was saying, but when it did, he felt himself growing limp with relief. He didn't notice his eyes closing until he felt Steve pinching him on the arm. "Come on, Danno… No sleeping on the job!" Said his partner in a tightly controlled voice.
Danny opened his eyes to glare halfheartedly at his friend. "'m not at work… On sick leave…" He muttered, annoyed.
Steve chuckled, not being able to hide his aneurism face. "Well, you're in the middle of an official operation, so you're not allowed to sleep either!" He said, turning around to ask someone how long before the EMTs arrived.
"How'd you get here anyway?" Asked Danny. He really had no idea how they had managed to track him down, especially since he thought they didn't even know he was gone in the first place.
Steve smiled. "Remember that case that had us working around the clock? Well, that was your case, Danno… Kamekona smelled something fishy the day Villa first made contact, so he warned us. It took some well placed bugs and tracking devices, but we managed to figure out what was going on and kept a tail on you all through the day…"
Danny looked surprised, but then chuckled in relief, patting his friend's hand in thanks. He raised his eyes and saw blood dripping out of a hole on Steve's upper arm, and remembered that he'd been injured as well. "I'm sorry babe…" He said regretfully.
Steve looked at Danny's face in concern. "What are you apologizing about, Danny?"
Danny tried to shrug, but decided it would hurt too much right now "When you get… someone shot… you 'pologize… 's one of my rules… 's what sep'rates us from jackals… and hyenas…" Danny said with a small smile on his face, followed by a pained cough.
When Danny's words finally registered, it drew a surprised chuckle out of Steve. "Are you trying to tell me that you're back, partner?" He asked, feeling a sudden lump in his throat. He didn't like the sound of the cough, or the whimper of pain that followed it, so while he kept his steady pressure on the wound, he tried to lift Danny's uninjured side a bit, trying to relieve some of the stress on Danny's untouched lung. The ambulance wouldn't be here for 5 more minutes, so he needed to do whatever he could to help his friend while they arrived.
Danny blinked tiredly, squeezing his friend's hand again. When his eyes closed and didn't open for a few seconds, he was startled into opening them by the feeling of someone pulling at the hairs on his arm. "Stop it! Tha' hurts…" He muttered tiredly, glaring at his annoying partner.
"Sorry Danno, but I need you to stay awake…" Steve said, sounding worried.
Danny was about to tell his partner not to worry, but was interrupted by a painful cough that wouldn't let him draw a full breath and hurt like hell. The taste of blood on his mouth made him release something that closely resembled a frightened whimper. "Steve?" He asked his partner, not knowing exactly what he needed.
Steve used his free hand to take hold of one of Danny's. "Danny, look at me!" Once he got his partner's eyes on him, he continued talking. "I'm not letting you go that easily, but I need you to fight this as well, partner!"
Danny continued to fight for each painful breath. "Steve! Grace… you… you take care of her…" Danny said softly, looking at his friend pleadingly.
Steve's expression turned angry. "Oh hell no, Danny! If you're not planning on being here to clean up your mess, I'm not doing it for you! If you want Grace to be well cared of, you'll have to be here to do it yourself!" Steve snapped.
Danny's face crumbled in pain and despair. "I'm trying to, you Neanderthal! But… I won't be… in the hospital… and she's gonna be scared… I don't… I don't want her to be scared…" He finished in a hoarse whisper.
Steve squeezed Danny's hand again. "Danny, you know I'll always look after her. I'll make sure she doesn't get scared, but you have to fight this, ok?"
Danny nodded weakly, looking at his friend. He could hear the sound of an ambulance nearby, but things had started to go fuzzy around him. He tried to blink it away, but his eyelids felt like they weighted a ton. He felt himself slowly slipping away, and needed something to hold on to. "Steve…? I… I can't…" He mumbled tiredly.
He felt Steve squeezing his hand harder and heard him breathe out a sigh. "It's alright, Danno. I've got you and I'm not letting you go, ok? Just promise me you'll fight this!"
Danny weakly squeezed Steve's fingers, but couldn't manage to open his eyes again. "I promise…" He said in a soft whisper. He knew Steve wouldn't let him leave without a fight, and he had no intention to leave his little girl to be raised by Step Stan, so with that reassurance, he allowed the darkness threatening to surround him to take over for a while.
Well, at least this was a longer chapter, right?
I really tried not to leave a cliffhanger, but I'm not sure how successful I was at it...
Anyways, I wonder if you expected things to go the way they did, and in any case, I'd love to hear your opinions on this chapter!
Thank you so much for reading, and for all of your comments!
Lieutenant Commander Steve J. McGarrett was tired. Of course that under the same circumstances lesser human beings would be exhausted, on the edge of collapse, but Steve had to confess that after a month like he'd had, he could really use a break.
Only a few weeks ago they had scrambled to find Danny after he was taken from his home. They didn't have any leads, and spent a few days running around the island, trying to figure out what had happened. What they never expected was to find Danny the way they did, wandering the streets of Honolulu, very ill and not remembering who he was.
Danny's recovery had also been hard for Steve. He had appointed himself as Danny's guardian, determined to protect him, since he couldn't protect himself. Steve felt that Danny's abduction and failure to find him sooner was his responsibility, so once Danny was on the mend he had taken it upon himself to keep an eye on his partner at all times. Of course it only lasted until Danny realized what his friend was doing and let him know, in a very vocal fashion, that he didn't need a watchdog, he needed a friend.
After that, Steve backed off. He made sure to be there if Danny needed him form anything, and kept his distance if Danny needed his space.
Things were going well, relatively speaking. Sure, they didn't have any evidence that pointed towards whoever was responsible for Danny's kidnapping, and the Governor had pressured him into taking some other cases. But overall, things had been going well, and Danny was coming back to them, little by little, so of course that was the perfect time for everything to go to hell.
Steve couldn't believe that just four days ago they had been over at Kamekona's, having some shrimp and enjoying a nice time with the team when things started going downhill. He didn't notice anything strange when he had taken Danny back home, but a text from Chin had him dropping Danny off, leaving a patrol car at the door and driving back to Kamekona's.
There, Steve found out that the big man had spotted someone suspicious looking at Danny and that they had followed Danny into the bathroom. Once the suspicious looking guys had left, the big man had carefully taken the plates, glasses and cutlery from their table and bagged them. The prints they lifted came back to a couple of thugs from Jersey, currently employed by one George Villa. When a couple of hours later, the cops outside Steve's place reported that they were taking Danny to the beach near Kamekona's truck, the game was on.
Just as a precaution, they had bugged Kamekona's truck, which turned out to give them all the information they needed. They heard from Villa's threats to Danny and Grace, and of his request to get Peterson out of Jail. They provided Kamekona with the documents Danny would need to get the former cop out of Halawa and sat down to wait.
What followed was an interminable day of following Danny around the island, watching as he followed all of Villa's whims and was forced to drive around town with the man that had threatened and kidnapped Grace. They had intended to strike once Danny delivered Peterson to Villa, but since Villa was nowhere to be found at the time, they decided to wait until he had eyes on the leader of the drug cartel to make their move.
Looking at the still figure on the bed in front of him, Steve regretted his decision. Sure, they had taken down a large drug operation, caught a large number of Villa's contacts at Grace's and three other schools, a couple that had access to Stan and Rachel and a few that had their sights on other powerful businessmen.
Steve himself had had to give plenty of explanations regarding the operation, regarding Peterson's death and regarding Danny's involvement in the operation. Fortunately, other than himself getting a formal reprimand, they were alright and Danny would not be held responsible for any of the events of that hellish day.
Danny seemed to be sleeping peacefully. The doctors said that he should recover completely, barring any complications. Because of this he was still in the ICU, being closely monitored for any possible change. According to the doctors, Danny should have woken hours ago, but the stubborn detective had remained asleep, not showing any signs of awareness, so Steve sat at the side of his bed, keeping watch.
Steve hadn't realized he'd fallen asleep until a movement from the bed startled him awake. He looked at his partner, noticing the furrowed brow, the twitching fingers and the scrunched up nose. "Danno? You awake?"
Danny woke up slowly. He was laying on an unfamiliar bed, but the fact that he was warm, somewhat comfortable and most important of all, that he felt safe, for some reason made him feel like he was in the most comfortable bed of the universe. If he had any complains, they would be about an annoying thing that was making his nose itch. He tried to lift his hand to scratch the itch, but it felt like his hand weighted a ton.
Unfortunately the small movement made everything else start to wake up as well, and that's when he remembered that a bullet had wanted to make itself at home inside his chest, the problem was that at the moment it felt like nobody had bothered to remove it.
Danny tried to lift his hand again, trying to make sure that there wasn't a hole in his chest still, but the fact that he could only manage to barely lift his hand from the bed made him groan in annoyance. He felt a hand squeezing his fingers and heard a familiar voice talking to him. "Danno? You awake?"
Danny groaned again, but the voice wouldn't leave him alone. "Come on, Danno. You've slept long enough! Why don't you open your eyes, buddy?"
It took some effort, but finally Danny managed to pry his eyelids open. He was met with Steve's face hovering above him, or what Steve's face would look like after going a week without any sleep or food. He was wearing a blue sling on his left arm and held himself stiffly. He had dark shadows under his eyes and what looked like a good couple of day's worth of beard growth on his face.
Danny frowned, knowing that he was the cause for the worry and exhaustion on his friend's face. "How bad is it?" He wanted to know.
Steve chuckled, giving his friend a relieved smile. "The bullet broke one of your ribs, perforated your lung and lodged itself in a rib at the back of your chest, cracking it. They took their time fixing you up, but they said that you should recover fully. They kept you on a vent for a day and you've slept for another whole day. And you're still on the ICU, because they want to keep an eye on you, they want to make sure that your lung is working ok after the pneumonia and the bullet wound…"Steve finished, still looking worriedly at his friend.
Danny looked at Steve for a couple of minutes, trying to make sense of everything his friend had said. He focused back on his friend, not liking the look of him. "Who are you?" He asked.
Whatever reaction he was hoping for, Danny never expected Steve to stumble away from him and drop himself into a chair next to the bed. He watched concerned as Steve buried his head in his hand and took a couple of shuddering breaths, only to shake himself and stand up a minute later. He moved back to Danny's bed, trying to reach for the call button, but Danny's hand stopped his movement.
Steve hadn't looked at him again, but Danny's hand on his made him focus his bloodshot eyes on his partner. He was surprised to find a sad smile on the detective's face. "I'm sorry, Lieutenant Commander Steve J. McGarrett, head of Five-0 and all around Super SEAL… Maybe it was too soon to make a small joke?" Danny said softly, a sheepish look on his face.
Steve laughed, passing a tired hand down his face. "I would punch you in the face if I didn't think it'd kill you right now, Danno…"
Danny chuckled, and groaned at the pain it caused. "Well, you had a new level of aneurism face… Had to do something about it…" He said, blinking tiredly.
Danny felt Steve patting his hand. "Don't worry about my faces, just worry about getting some rest, Danno…"
Danny frowned. There was something he should have remembered, and when he did he looked sharply at Steve. "Grace?" He asked, dreading Steve's answer.
Steve took hold of Danny's shoulder, forestalling any movement from the injured man. "She's perfectly fine, Danno… She was here just a couple hours ago, but she has school tomorrow, so she went home…"
Danny looked at Steve's face and was relieved at what he saw, but he still needed to make sure. "Villa… He had people at Grace's school…"
Steve squeezed Danny's shoulder. "We got them all Danno… Don't worry about it! Now would you please get some rest?"
He trusted his friend, but still he wasn't going down without a fight, if only he could keep his eyes open. "Y'too… Look like crap… Go h'me… Sleep…" He mumbled, trying and failing to open his eyes and glare at his partner.
Danny felt a hand patting his shoulder. "Don't worry, Danno… Get some sleep…" He heard Steve's voice, before he allowed sleep to take him. He'd worry if he wanted to, in fact he'd get right to it as soon as he woke up… later… yeah…
Danny opened his eyes to a strange scene. He was lying in front of a beach. Grace and Kono were playing in the water, laughing and splashing each other. And was that Officer Okole sitting nearby, chatting with Kamekona, with a beer on his hand? Most important of all, why was everything moving from side to side?
Right, after spending a couple of weeks in the hospital, Danny had been released to the tender care of his Neanderthal partner. He had been in an awful mood ever since he arrived back at the McGarrett's home two days ago, with his injury still causing him a considerable amount of pain and feeling frustrated about not being able to do the more simple tasks by himself. He hated the fact that he slept through most of the day, and most of all, he hated that his awful mood had him asking Rachel not to bring Grace over.
Danny remembered Steve talking about inviting people over on saturday, throw some steaks to the fire and hang out in the sun, and while Danny wasn't really in the mood for company, he knew he was just a guest in Steve's house, so he didn't have much choice in the matter. It still didn't explain Danny's current situation.
The scene in front of Danny kept swinging from side to side, and he really couldn't make sense of it until he looked down at his body. He was lying on the hammock, right under a large tree that provided just the right amount of shade. There was a soft breeze swinging the hammock from side to side, which explained the movement. Danny frowned, since the last thing he remembered was sitting on a chair by the shade with a bottle of water on his hand. He jumped at the sound of a familiar voice coming from somewhere below him. "You fell asleep on the chair. I thought you'd wake with a crick on your neck if you stayed in that position, so I asked Kamekona to help me settle you in here…" Steve said.
Danny looked in the direction the voice was coming and found Steve sitting on the sand, near Danny's head. "I thought I told you two days ago that getting in and off this hammock would hurt too much to go through the trouble, but of course you didn't listen…" Danny grumbled with a frown on his face.
Steve didn't seem fazed by Danny's annoyance. "Well, unless I'm mistaken, you're comfortable right now, aren't you?" He asked with a shrug.
Danny had to admit that he was much more comfortable than he was on the beach chair and he felt well rested after sleeping a few hours on the swinging hammock, but he still wouldn't let go of his annoyance. "You don't really expect me to spend all day laying here, do you? I seriously hope you're planning to feed me at some point during the day, because I'm not gonna lay here quietly while you all enjoy your burned steaks!"
Steve chuckled. "Don't worry, Danno… I'm not letting you go hungry, and if you want to get off the hammock before the food is ready, you just have to say the word…"
Danny sighed, not really feeling like moving from his comfortable position. Trying to change the subject, he focused his attention on the people near the water and noticed that Grace and Kono had lured Jason into the water and were splashing him mercilessly. "What's he doing here anyway?" He asked, just for the sake of having something to rant about.
Steve chuckled again. "I invited him over. He had been asking about you, and he really helped us while you were with Peterson. He gave us all the information he could from the time he spent with the two of you. He also wanted to be in the raid, even with a concussion, but I didn't want to risk any mistakes… I can ask him to leave if you don't want him here…"
Danny sighed. He was really thankful for all that the young officer had to put up with, and he really didn't mind Steve inviting him over. "Nah… He can stay I guess…"He said with a shrug.
Danny had started to look for something else to grumble about, but a squealing voice stopped his train of thought. "DANNO! You're awake!" Screamed Grace, while sprinting in Danny's direction.
The little girl completely ignored the warnings from the grownups around her about being gentle with her dad because she hadn't seen her Danno since he was at the hospital, but before she could throw herself into the hammock she was caught and lifted by a pair of strong arms. "Easy, Gracie! You Danno is still healing, ok?" Uncle Steve said, before he placed her gently on the hammock, next to her Danno.
The minute Grace was at arm's reach, Danny pulled her close to his chest "Danno! I missed you!" His little girl said from her place squished against his chest.
"I missed you too, Monkey." Danny said softly. "How come you are here anyway?" He was pretty sure that he'd agreed with Rachel not to see Grace until he was feeling better.
"Well, Uncle Steve talked to Mommy and she let me come over! You were sleeping when I got here, so Auntie Kono and I went swimming for a little while! Are you all better now, Danno?" The little girl asked, looking at her dad worriedly.
Danny's answer was interrupted by the sound of more people coming in from the Lanai. He looked around to see Chin and Malia coming closer. They greeted Danny and Grace with a smile on their faces, and Danny was surprised that Malia's close scrutiny didn't bother him as much as other times.
Danny was even more surprised to see David Taylor coming towards them as well. "Please don't tell me you're making a house call…" Danny asked, annoyed.
Dave shrugged. "I just came for the barbeque, but we can talk if you want…" The psychiatrist studied Danny for a minute, waiting for an answer.
Danny looked down at his girl and realized that he'd been stupid to think that it would be better to stay away from his girl and from his friends. He looked up at his shrink and at Steve, standing nearby and gave them a small smile. "Nah… I'm good…"
Steve and Dave moved towards the grill nearby, and Danny took a minute to look around the beach at his surrogate family. Just a few weeks ago he had despaired about forgetting his home, but right here, right now, with this strange group of people that had been there for him through the toughest times of his life, he could finally say that his home was not in Jersey or in Hawaii. His home was right here, with his Ohana, and as long as they didn't forget about him, he knew he would be alright.
With that thought in mind, he drew Grace closer and got ready to take another nap. After all, he had his Monkey to make sure nobody ate his steak.
Well, this is it. I want to thank everyone that stayed with me through this long journey. I hope you are happy with the end result!
I'd really love to hear what you thought of this story and I hope to see you around again!
Thank you so much for reading!