Danny's done the math – sixty-seven hours to Hickam from the village where Steve's mom was squirreled away; three transit flights; two overland connections. Steve's gained a day somewhere en route, but he's lost more than a day can give back – he's drawn; his gait is stiff; he looks pale as he walks across the tarmac to where Danny's parked the car.
At the sight of him, Danny's words retreat, crawl up inside him, inadequate for what he sees, how he feels. He's said plenty over the past few days, whole soliloquies to his office walls, to the windshield of his car, to the bathroom mirror. Driving cross-town he's vented his spleen above the timpani of his failing air-conditioning; on cases he's muttered whole narratives beneath his breath. Seventy-three hours since Steve called him up; seventy-six since Steve saw his mom. It still defies reason and justice and what's right – my mom was late for dinner. She was never late – the mere idea of it – the minute I saw that cop's face, I knew – that anyone could abandon those kids – the day that car exploded – a sixteen-year-old kid with a dumb spill of hair – that made me who I am –
"Hey, D," Steve says.
Danny can barely speak. "You look like shit, babe," he manages.
A muscle twitches in Steve's clenched jaw. He offers a tight, mirthless smile.
Danny clears his throat, tries again. "You okay?" It's the dumbest question he's ever asked, but there's nothing else he knows how to say, save I kinda hate your mom, right now. How was the flight?
Steve shrugs. "I'm fine."
He's anything but – his gaze is flat, his body tense. Danny shifts and Steve flinches; Danny feels his eyebrows rise. "Okay," he says slowly.
"I said okay."
"You wanna go home?"
Steve looks off toward one of the hangars, squints in the sun. "You tell me."
Danny didn't think this through, didn't process every last bit of shit that would fly through Steve's brain in sixty-seven hours of lockdown, isolation, but he gets it now, gets it like a blow to the jaw. "Fuck that," he says gently. "I mean, seriously."
Steve gaze snaps back to him. "Oh, yeah?"
"I'm not going anywhere."
Steve wets his lips, doesn't say a word.
"Gracie." Steve's voice is rough.
Danny doesn't know what to do with his hands, what to touch, how to comfort, who to punch. "I got Gracie, you're right. I got Gracie right here. I'm fighting for her, and I'm not leaving her, and I'm not leaving you, you dumbass."
"I am not leaving this island, or my family. I am not leaving my team, my job, your spare bedroom – "
"Yeah? There's no TV in the – "
"I moved the TV, shoot me, you never watched it anyway."
"I watched it. The game – "
"So we'll buy another TV, what's the big deal, huh? That's your big objection?"
Steve closes his eyes.
"Not unrelated, I have the name of an excellent therapist."
"Nice." Steve laughs weakly, but it's something, and Danny steps in.
"C'mere," he says, pulling Steve close, hugging him roughly. "You look like shit, babe."
Steve drops his bag; his arms come up around Danny's body; he holds on tight. "You said that already."
"Yeah, well." Danny smoothes a hand up and down Steve's back -- I was sixteen – curves the other around the back of his head, murmurs, "You addle me, Steven," feels the shudder of Steve's breath. I never would have left the island – he's solid and warm beneath Danny's hands – missed every holiday, every birthday – and Danny will hold him together by force of will if that's what it takes. "I missed you, buddy," he confesses against Steve's hair. "Welcome home."