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Disclaimer: Not mine. I borrowed them and I broke them. Don't know if I'll return them fixed.

W plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It's just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn't have expected.
~Ben Okir


He should have been there.

Steve looked at the house - dark, empty, lifeless, surrounded by black-and-yellow crime scene tape - and his only thought was that he had been late.

Back then, when he'd first come.

He had escaped then, his behavior irrational, foolish, only to return at night, under the cover of darkness like a thief. He couldn't afford to waste any more time though. He needed to retrieve something that belonged to his father and he had to hurry, before the police would lay their hands on it. A tool box that - he'd noticed a few months ago - did not contain tools but something else entirely. He had no idea what those items were, what they meant and he'd been too stubborn or too proud maybe to ask his Old Man about it. He'd rather his father told him on his own; he'd rather dad trusted him enough to fill him in on what he'd been investigating. Perhaps today's phone call had been about that and, because of his foolish pride, Steve had let go of the only chance he'd been given.

"I need to tell you something, Champ," Dad had said and Steve's breath caught. Champ, Champion ... It was some fathers' term of endearment for their sons but not Jack McGarrett's. Not even ... before. No, the word had made Steve's heart pump faster simply because it was on the box. On The Box. It must have meant something if Dad had chosen this morning to say it to Steve.

Steve hadn't intended to make it easy for him though. He would make his Old Man wait, like he had waited. Petty revenge - he now saw it for what it had been. He hadn't predicted then, he had no way of predicting, that it had been the last time they spoke. Dad probably had known.

Had he a gun pointed at his head even then? Unlikely. He wouldn't have asked Steve to come, he would never put his son's life at risk. But something must have happened, he must have thought his phone was wired, hence the cryptic message. He must have known someone was coming.

And Steve should have been there with him.

Instead he had promised to come by later, after he'd finish work. No, not right away, he couldn't, sorry. The shop had been busy; they'd been a mechanic short. Then one more job had rolled in and even though at the time he could have left it to one of the other guys, he'd taken his time. When he had finally shown up at his father's house in the evening, the police had already been processing the scene.

Someone in the sensation-craving crowd had told him that Jack McGarrett had been murdered, shot in the head in his own house. A neighbor who'd only realized who she'd been talking to after the words had left her mouth.

He had fled then, the feeling of impending doom so strong that he couldn't deal with it in the open, among all those people, in front of the police officers, his father's former colleagues and in front of his father's spirit. He had felt his father's presence then, a huge ghost of all years past, screaming at him, "You should have been there."

You should have died too.

Just like you should have died in that car, all those years ago.