Beat the Clock
Tension and anxiety. Fear.
Loud shouts. Everyone moving. Terse commands.
Weaving through the clamor, a family being torn apart.
An ear splitting bang cut through the chaos.
Steve's head snapped up, already knowing what he would find. "Danny!"
His partner had been backed into a corner, up against a wall. It was unsurprising he'd shot Rick. The man had kidnapped his daughter and she was still missing. Danny was desperate.
But Steve couldn't let him cross the line. Danny was teetering on the edge and if he took that step, he would be irrevocably changed. Decisions made now at this crucial time could haunt Danny for the rest of his life.
Steve couldn't let that happen. He would protect Danny. Even from himself.
"...Tell me where my daughter is. Huh? Huh?"* Danny's former partner was prone on the ground, leg bleeding heavily from Danny's bullet. Danny himself was leaning over Rick, hand to his throat, face white and eyes pinched with the pain of knowing that Grace wasn't safe.
Steve ran over to him, ready to intervene if Danny decided to strangle Rick.
"She better be okay!" Danny shouted, leaning closer, hand closing in on Rick's windpipe.
"Danny," Steve said quietly, but insistently. "You have the location. Let's go get Grace."
"Go, Danny," Chin added. "We'll take care of the trash."
"We'll meet you there," Kono promised. "When we're done."
Danny stared at Rick, eyes drilling into the other man's.
"Come on," Steve said firmly, tugging on Danny's shoulder. "Grace needs you."
That seemed to break through Danny's single-minded anger and fear. His body shuddered once and he leapt to his feet. "Let's go," he growled, heading for the driver's side of the Camaro.
"Whoa, hold up." Steve put his hands to Danny's chest. His partner pushed against his palms, but not hard enough to break away. It was the only sign that Danny was listening to him. Steve did not waste the opportunity. "I'm driving."
"What?" Danny asked, hands waving. "What? You can't be serious? She's my daughter. I have to get to her. She could be hurt. She could be--" Danny choked on the words, looking away.
Steve steered him over to the passenger-side of the car, settling him inside. He leaned down and met Danny's red-rimmed eyes. "You're not in any shape to drive. You've reached your breaking point. Just hold it together a little longer. We'll find Grace. I'll get you there, partner, I promise."
Danny swallowed hard, then nodded slowly. "Hurry, Steve," he said, thickly. "Just, please, we have to hurry. I need to get my daughter back."
"We'll get Grace back, Danno," Steve said, sincerely. "Everything's going to be alright."
They would find Grace and keep her safe.
And Steve would do the same for her father.