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Like Time Suspended

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"Like time suspended,
a wound unmended--
you and I.

We had no ending,
no said goodbye;

For all my life,
I'll wonder why.”

Lang Leav, Love & Misadventure

 


 

 

Danny and Clara don’t make it home until dark, seven at night, and Clara holds his hand the whole way home, alternating between squeezing it to death and kissing it. “Ma, please,” he says finally. “Stop with the guilt.”

“I shouldn’t have come,” she says, tear tracks on her cheeks, lips trembling. “I should never have used the money from that account, I know better than that, Daniel. I can’t believe I thought it was okay to use that money, but since your father’s retirement money isn’t all that disposable and--”

“Ma, really,” he says, squeezing her hand and pulling on it, glancing at her as he drives down the road until she finally meets his gaze. “I get it.”

Pulling up to his house he sees Steve’s truck and is equally relieved and uncomfortable. His mother is upset and all he wants to do is wrap her in his arms and tell her everything’s going to be okay and shield her from the shit storm his brother just keeps on raining down on them, and he’s not sure she’d welcome Steve’s prying eyes.

Clara smiles though. “You’ve found yourself a really good friend in him, Daniel,” she says, nodding at Steve.

“He’s impatient,” Danny says, grinning at her. “I told him I’d call him.”

“You be nice to your friends,” she chastises and then faces him.

“Hey, listen to me,” he says, framing her face and making her look at him. “Stop saying you’re sorry. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s all going to be fine, okay? You know I’m right, right? Would I lie to you?”

“To make me feel better,” she asks, raising an eyebrow and grinning. “Absolutely.” Leaning over she kisses him on the cheek, cuffs him on the chin, and opens the door to step out, waving at Steve. “Hello, Steven!”

“Mrs. Williams,” Steve says, grinning widely and opening his arms, hugging her when she walks right into them. Danny stands back and grins.

“I keep telling you,” she says, swatting him in the chest with a resounding smack. “If you can’t call me Mom like most of Daniel’s friends, then at least call me Clara.”

And that much is true, at least four of Danny’s friends back in Jersey still to this day call Clara for Mothers Day despite the fact that they have mothers of their own. Steve just grins sheepishly and would probably blush if it were light enough out to see it and ducks his head.

“Right, sorry, Clara,” he says, reaching up and wiping absently at her tears, smiling softly. “So tell me. Did you get names so I know whose ass I need to kick for these?”

“I’m going to tell you just like I told Daniel, Steven McGarrett, you are not to kick FBI Agents’ asses on my watch,” she says, pointing a finger in his chest and being absolutely dead serious. “That is not polite.”

“Well they’re not polite,” Danny grouses, catching Steve’s eyes.

“We’ll TP their houses then, that okay,” Steve asks, arching an eyebrow at him and smirking. “Maybe something in pink and non-biodegradable?”

Clara smacks Steve’s face lightly but grins and then lets herself in the house. Danny steps forward and grins up at Steve. “Did I forget that I called you? Because I seem to remember saying I’d call you rather than just having you show up.”

“I’ll leave if you want me to, but you weren’t answering your texts and you weren’t calling, and it was after six,” Steve says, shrugging. “I was worried.”

“You were worried about me, you big moose,” Danny asks, laughing and reaching over to squeeze Steve’s arm. “That’s sweet, I’m touched.”

“Who said you, I was worried about Clara,” Steve says, pointing behind them and grinning. “You, I could care less.”

“And just like that,” Danny says, snapping his fingers. “The sweet is gone.”

“I can go if you want,” Steve says. “I just wanted to check in.”

“Nah, stay,” Danny says, opening the door and motioning for him to come in. “Ma loves ya and I think she’s ready to just let this day go and move on.”

“Go wash up boys, I’m making dinner,” Clara calls from the kitchen.

Steve grins. “Wow. Last person that said that to me was my Mom when I was…” He fades out, shrugging. “How are you?”

Danny tries to shake away the feeling that in fact the last time he’d heard Clara say that was to him and Matty. “I’m.” He shrugs. “Ya know. I’m whatever.”

Steve gives him a look. “You’re whatever.”

Danny nods. “Yeah, I’m whatever,” he says, walking over to the couch and sitting down. Steve sets the beers on the table and takes two out, handing him one. “We need to talk, but. Not here. Not now.”

“Talk,” Steve asks sitting down next to him.

“Yeah,” Danny says, darting his eyes to the kitchen. “She’ll probably crash soon, we can talk then.”

Steve catches Danny up on the case of the day including the fact that Gabriel still isn’t dead yet, which is a disappointment of epic proportions to all involved, and Danny sits back and drinks two beers and lets it wash over him.

Not a pleasant day for either of them, then, but at least kicking back with a few beers is good. It’s something they’ve been doing less and less these days. He’s missed it.

“Okay boys,” Clara says, coming in with three sandwiches and a bag of chips, distributing the plates to them and then settling in the corner of the couch, turning sideways and stretching her legs out over Steve’s lap.   “Steven I hope you like tuna salad.”

Danny grins and watches Steve awkwardly try to figure out where to put his hands with Clara’s legs invading his lap. “Don’t you love how there’s just no boundaries,” he asks. “Oh, I’m sorry. Was this your lap space? My legs needed a stretch.”

“This doesn’t bother him, Daniel,” Clara says with a shrug and an eyeroll. “He’s happy to be my ottoman.”

“Yes I am, Clara,” Steve says, grinning. “And it seems to me you do the same, Danny.”

“I do not use you as a foot stool,” Danny barks with a laugh.

“No, but you come into my house without knocking, and you take my coffee, and you help yourself to my remote, and you eat my groceries,” Steve says, ticking them off on his hand as he chews on a bite of sandwich. He looks at Clara and points to his mouth. “Yum!”

“Does he sneak in his laundry too,” Clara asks, sucking a bit of tuna off her thumb absently. “You’re doing laundry and all of a sudden you’re like, whose boxers are these?”

“No, as a matter of fact, Mother, I do not,” Danny says, pointing at Steve. “He does that though.”

“Okay, but sometimes I get dirty and I have to change, and then I just leave my clothes over here so you can wash them and then the next time I’m dirty I have something else to change into,” Steve says, shrugging.

“Did he fill you in yet,” Clara asks, nodding at Danny.

“Ma, we don’t need to get into it,” Danny says.

“Yeah, it’s okay, it’s family business,” Steve says waving a hand. “It’s fine.”

“Okay first of all don’t think for one second that I don’t know Danny tells you everything,” Clara says with a twinkle in her eye. “And second of all, you do realize you are family now right?”

Danny feels a tightness in his chest and from the way Steve looks at him he feels it too. “Ma.”

“No, he is,” Clara says. “A friend doesn’t get you out of jail in Columbia, Daniel. Family does that.”

“He’d do it for me,” Steve says quietly.

“Oh I know he would,” Clara says, squeezing Steve’s arm. “Oh you boys, allergic to feelings. You love each other. You’re family. You’re practically like my own son now, Steven.”

Danny covers his face. “Ma, jeez.”

She just grins at them. “Pathetic. Keep it up and I’m going to make you hold hands and say I love you.”

“I’m not used to…” Steve clears his throat and swallows the remainder of the sandwich, and he looks at Clara so Danny can’t see his expression. “Family wasn’t really something I had. It’s not. But thank you.”

“Oh,” Clara says, frowning and then extracting her legs from his lap, leaning up, and hugging Steve to her, her hand clasped around his head. “Honey, I wouldn’t have said it so flippantly if I’d known it was like that. Of course you’re family.”

“Okay,” Danny says, clapping his hands so he doesn’t burst out into embarrassing tears like he feels he just might. “Who wants chips,” he asks, bending forward and breaking open the bag of chips noisily as Clara kisses Steve on the cheek. “Chips?”

“Danny tell this boy you love him.”

Danny stares at her, aghast, and Steve cracks up laughing. “Ma!”

“Daniel!”

“Steve knows I love him, Ma,” Danny says, flinging his hands out. “We’ve had this discussion, okay? I love you, Steven, okay?”

Steve shakes his head, grinning. “I don’t believe it. Once more with feeling.”

Danny glares at him as Clara glares back at Danny. “Daniel!”

“Ma, you are so embarrassing!”

Steve finally relents, throwing his hands up. “Okay, I’m sorry, I just like that shade of red on his face. I know you do, Danny.”

“Now tell him,” Clara says, clapping Steve on the shoulder.

Steve rubs a hand on the back of his neck. “Oh.”

“Ha,” Danny says, smirking.

“Okay. Fine.” Steve clears his throat. “Love you,” he says, shrugging.

“There, was that so hard,” Clara says, grinning triumphantly and stretching her legs back over Steve’s. “Now where was I? Oh yes, filling you in.”

 


 

As soon as the door to the room Clara’s sleeping in is closed Steve leans in and says, “Okay, so what do we need to talk about?”

Danny laughs, holding up a hand. “Jesus, I’m impressed, you’ve obviously been struggling to hold that in as long as you have.”

Steve rolls his eyes. “Danny, I know it’s something pretty serious, now come on. Out with it.”

“Not here,” Danny says, standing and grabbing the beer. “I don’t want her to hear,” he says, pointing back towards the bedrooms.

Steve follows him outside, folding himself up into the patio furniture as Danny tugs on a sweater and offers him a flannel shirt.   “Okay, come on.”

“The FBI is after Five O,” Danny says, frowning down at his beer. “And they’re using me to get to us.”

Steve blinks. “I’m sorry?”

Danny sighs, scrubbing at his face. “The FBI doesn’t care about Matty or the money or my Ma,” he says. “They want Five O. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know why, I couldn’t get any answers.” He looks at Steve. “But I am their way in to Five O, and Matt is their way in to me.”

Steve shakes his head, a hand swiping through the air. “Wait, back it up.”

“Fifty thousand dollars in a bank account that my Ma used $700 of to buy a ticket here,” Danny says, waving a hand. “Like they could give a crap. And there’s a reason they waited to talk to her until she was here, Steven.” He pointed to himself. “Me. Who they really wanted in that room was me.”

Steve frowns. “Why would the FBI give a shit about us?”

Danny shrugs. “I don’t know, but I should step down.”

“Wait.”

“I will not be the thing that brings down Five O, Steve,” Danny says, shaking his head. “Not happening.”

“No, you stepping down is what’s not happening,” Steve hisses, furious. “Fuck that Danny, if we go down we go down together.”

“Don’t you get it,” Danny asks, spreading his hands. “I step down, and they don’t have their in anymore.”

“Bullshit,” Steve says. “No, you forgot again, Five O is a dictatorship and I do not accept your abandoning your post.”

Danny smiles. “Steve.”

“Not happening.”

Danny sighs. “Steven.”

“End of discussion.”

“Steve, I am not going to be the inside track to dismantling Five O because my brother made it easier for the FBI to get their claws in,” Danny says, leaning forward. “You have to get that.”

“We all went in eyes wide open, Danny,” Steve says, shaking his head. “Me, Kono, Grover. Chin. We all knew and we’d do it again. And you’d do it for us. There is nothing we have done over the years I’d ever do different.” He shakes his head. “If that fucks us, so be it. But you’re not leaving.”

“You’re a stubborn ass, you know that?”

Steve grins at him. “You love me. You said so in there. Sure your Mom had to force you, but it’s still true.”

Danny laughs. “Jerk.”

Steve laughs. “Ass.”

“God,” Danny says, burying his face in his hands. “When will it ever stop raining shit on me and my family from my brother? You should have seen Ma today, Steve. So devastated and guilty, like I would blame her for keeping it a secret.” He jerks a hand through his hair. “And now this, this family too. His legacy just keeps fucking me.”

“How are you really,” Steve asks after a moment. “Forget Five O, forget the FBI. How are you?”

“Forget the FBI and Five O? How am I supposed to--”

“We’ll handle it, just like we always handle shit, Danny,” Steve says. “Together. Now stop. How are you?

Danny sighs. “I’m whatever.”

“You’re not whatever, Danny,” Steve says. “You’re sad, and mad, and something I can’t quite figure out, but I’m here man. Talk to me.”

“You know what they think,” Danny says, steepling his hands together and leaning elbows on the table. “They think, they’re convinced, the FBI, that I used Five O resources to help Matt evade them all these years.”

“But you didn’t.”

Danny nods. “Nope. But they’re convinced. We were close. Me and Matty were close, he said. I’m the last person he saw before he disappeared, I’m the last person he spent time with.”

“Danny. You didn’t do that. They can’t get us for that.”

“No I didn’t,” Danny says, shaking his head. “Why didn’t I do that?”

Steve looks at him. “What?”

“I didn’t look for him. I didn’t ask for your help to find him. I didn’t ask Chin or Kono. I didn’t look for him at all,” Danny says, shrugging. “I didn’t use Five O’s considerable resources to help him or even just to find him.” He takes a deep breath. “I didn’t try to save him.”

Steve reaches over to grab his arm. “Danny, stop.”

“It’s just unfathomable to the FBI that I didn’t use Five O to help my brother,” Danny says. “And I gotta say I agree. Why didn’t I? What the hell kinda brother am I?”

“Hey.”

“I’ve been so mad at him that I didn’t even try to save him. I didn’t think about how scared he must be, how lonely. People get stupid when they’re scared and lonely, Steve. People do reckless things.” He lets out a breath and squeezes his hands together. “People do things that get them killed by drug dealers when they’re scared.”

“Danny stop.”

Danny takes a deep breath. “I didn’t even look for him, man. And he’s dead, but I’m still so fucking angry.”

“Come on, man,” Steve says, squeezing Danny’s arm hard enough to hurt. “Don’t do this.”

“Do you have any idea how ugly that is,” Danny asks hollowly. “To be angry with a dead person? To know that the last thing you said to your brother was to call him a stupid son of a bitch and point a gun in his face?”

“Danny, come on. He did it to himself, man. Stop this.”

Danny laughs humorlessly. “I know he did it to himself. You think that makes me feel any better?”

“No I don’t imagine it does,” Steve says, moving his hand to Danny’s shoulder.

“He called her,” Danny says quietly. “Ma, he called when he could. Not often, and not for long, but he called. And he set up a bank account in her name.”

“Maybe he was trying to take care of her,” Steve says just as quietly.

“I know that,” Danny says. “I know that’s what he was doing. And it makes me want to forgive him. It makes me want to forget everything else and just forgive him.”

“So do it,” Steve says, rubbing Danny’s back. “Forgive him.”

“He didn’t forgive me,” Danny says, staring down at the table top. “He called her. He probably called our sisters too. But he didn’t call me.”

Steve sighs. “Danny, he knew what position that would put you in.”

“I’m his brother,” Danny chokes out, tears filling his eyes. “That shouldn’t have mattered. I let him get on that fucking plane and I shouldn’t have done that, but I let him get on that plane, and I wouldn’t have turned him in if he’d called me either, even though I should have.”

“I know that, and he knew that too, Danny,” Steve says, sounding certain. Danny doesn’t understand how he can sound so certain. His hand rubs up and down Danny’s back. “Hey, he did, Danny.”

“Then why didn’t he call me?” Danny finally looks at Steve and raises his eyebrows. “Huh? Why didn’t he call me? Why was it that the last thing I said to him was stupid son of a bitch? Why was it that the last thing I did was to point a gun in his face, huh? Why was it that the next time I saw him he was in a barrel?”

“Come here,” Steve says, pulling on Danny’s shoulder. “Hey, come on.”

Danny frowns as Steve tugs on his shoulder and then grabs the chair he’s in, pulling it closer. “Steve what are you--”

“Shut up,” Steve says, and then wraps his arms around Danny and pulls him in, hugging him to him tightly. “Stop it, okay? Just stop.”

“I miss my brother, Steve,” Danny says, squeezing his eyes shut as tears fall and fisting a hand in the flannel shirt around Steve. “I miss him so fucking much.”

“I know,” Steve whispers into his hair, one hand on the back of Danny’s head and the other rubbing briskly up and down his back. “I’m so sorry.”