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21 December 2011 @ 09:26 pm
Christmas in Jersey - or Not for ciaimpala  
Title: Christmas in Jersey - or Not 
Written forh50_holidayswap
Author: tkeylasunset
Written as part of the Bulletproof Baby Blankets series but no knowledge of those stories is necessary for this one.
Recipient: ciaimpala
Pairing: Danny/Steve pre-slash
Word Count: ~9,000 (yes it did get completely out of control)
Rating: R for language

Warnings: None that I know of. No spoilers. 

Summary: Danny is on his way to New Jersey to spend Christmas with his family because he thinks that's what Steve wants. Steve wants him to go to New Jersey because he thinks that's what Danny wants. But Danny never arrives in Jersey. Where is he? 

Author's Note: ciaimpala requested: h/c with a happy ending; reunion fic especially Steve and/or Danny wrongly thinking the other is dead and then there's an epic reunion. Hope this fits the bill!

Merry Christmas, ciaimpala. Hope you enjoy it!

December 23, 4:21 a.m. HST

“Hello?” Steve said when he finally woke up enough to recognize the sound of his phone. He didn’t recognize the ringtone but the area code was 973. New Jersey. Maybe Danny was calling from his mom’s house to check in. Odd time to do it but he was always willing to talk to Danny.

“Lieutenant Commander McGarrett?”

He could hear the concern coming across the phone line. The woman on the other end was trying to keep it together but he thought her calm sounded tenuous as best. “This is Steve McGarrett.”

“This is Sylvia Williams. Danny’s mother.”

“Yes ma’am,” Steve said into the silence. Why was Danny’s mom calling him? Danny was with her, finally giving into Steve’s persuasion and spending Christmas in New Jersey. Rachel had taken Grace to England and Danny felt at loose ends without her. Steve thought it was incredibly selfish of Rachel to take Grace away from Danny at Christmas of all times and had encouraged Danny to go to the mainland to spend the holiday with his family. Not that Steve didn’t want Danny to stay in Hawaii but he managed to talk himself into doing what he thought was best for Danny, arguing for what he was sure Danny wanted.

“Is Danny there?” she finally asked. She sounded breathless or like she was moments away from crying.

“Danny’s with you,” Steve said, sitting up and frowning.

“He…uhm…he never got off the plane,” Sylvia said in a strained voice.

“What?” Steve asked. He took a breath and tried again. “I don’t understand. I dropped Danny off at the airport.”

“That’s what we figured. We were at Newark at 8 this morning. The plane from Hawaii landed exactly on time. But….”

“But what, ma’am?” Steve asked. But he already knew. By the tone of her voice and by the hesitancy in her words.

“He wasn’t on the plane. We don’t know where he is. We’ve tried his cell phone. We tried his landline. He isn’t answering. We don’t know where he is,” Sylvia said with a tiny gasp.

“All right, Mrs. Williams. I’m sure there must be a logical explanation. I’ll find him.” If it sounded like a promise, Steve wasn’t going to regret it. He would find Danny. There was no alternative.

“Please call us as soon as you know anything,” she requested. He could hear her trying to gather her composure as she took a deep, hopefully calming voice.

“I will. As soon as I learn anything, I’ll call you first,” he told her. After the necessary exchanges had been completed, he disconnected, dialing Chin.

“This better be good,” Chin’s sleepy voice said.

Steve explained. Chin said he’d meet him at HQ in 10 minutes. Kono promised the same thing when Steve called to tell her.

December 23, 5:02 a.m. HST

Danny was pissed. More pissed than he could remember being in a very very long time. What the ever-loving hell? He’d been snatched right off the jetway. Under the nose of…well, nearly everyone. Okay, all of the other passengers had already boarded. And the attendants were around the curve. And was he really going to just walk past the little girl who had dropped Surfer Barbie? Even if she hadn’t had brown pigtails and huge, round eyes, he’d have stopped, to prevent her doll from becoming Road-kill Barbie – not on his watch. Her mother, with her hands full trying to sooth a fussy four year old, had smiled gratefully at him.

His mission accomplished, he’d looked up to find himself staring straight at someone who was dead. Chin had shot him months ago. Who had luck like Danny’s? He was minding his own business, getting onto a plane he didn’t really want to board to visit a state he still called home even if it no longer felt that way. If he’d gotten up enough courage, if he’d finally admitted to Steve, and to himself, that even without Grace, there was nowhere he wanted to spend Christmas except Hawaii. At Steve’s house in particular. But no. He’d chickened out. Steve had been so enthusiastic about his plans to go to New Jersey he was sure Steve preferred him gone. Not that he thought Steve should be spending Christmas alone. But anyone who worked so hard to get him to accept the idea of a Jersey Christmas clearly had no qualms about him being gone.

So yeah. Danny was pissed. And as soon as he was rescued, he had every intention of informing Steven J. McGarrett long and loud how this was his fault. It was McGarrett’s fault Danny was locked in a tiny windowless bathroom on a boat that wouldn’t quit fucking rocking. Did these people have any idea of how horrible vertigo was when combined with an enclosed continually moving space? Smart of them to stash him in the bathroom. Because he’d lost his dinner several hours earlier. It wouldn’t be long until he lost yesterday’s lunch. God he hated his life sometimes. And it was all Steve’s fault.

December 23, 8:51 a.m. HST

They had received the tapes of the departure gate from the local airport authority. It was easy to spot Steve and Danny standing at the end of the boarding line. Kono glanced over at Steve after they watched him go through the screening area but he had shrugged it off. Maybe using his 5-0 badge had been a misuse of his position to go where ‘ticketed passengers only’ were allowed. But 5-0 had done enough good deeds for the airport that none of the security personnel were going to stop him from escorting Danny all the way to the departure gate.

“I stood right there and watched him go down the jetway,” Steve said, pointing to Danny going through the doors. “If something had happened to him, the airport would know. People don’t leave that walkway without someone noticing.”

“There aren’t cameras in the jetway itself, right?” Kono asked, re-watching as Danny hugged Steve before walking out of camera range, nodding to the attendant who checked his boarding pass. If they weren’t so worried about Danny, she would have smiled at the way the attendant watched Danny as he disappeared around the corner. The woman was a ‘butt girl.’ Kono could appreciate that. Steve on the tape frowned at the attendant, shooting her invisible death rays before turning and leaving the gate.

“No. And we haven’t found the attendants on the flight,” Chin said.

“Why not? Where are they?” Steve demanded. His anger was not directed at Chin and they all understood.

“The chief attendant went on to London. He hasn’t landed yet. The one in Danny’s section isn’t answering her cell phone. The airline will keep trying until she does,” Chin told him.

“All right,” Steve said, taking a cleansing breath and tamping down his frustration. “What about an air marshal? Was there one on the flight?”

“They said they can’t provide that information,” Chin said, shaking his head. “I explained the circumstances. They said I’d have to call the TSA. You know anyone there?”

“I might,” Steve said, taking out his cell phone. After scrolling through his contacts, he hit one of the buttons, waiting. “Hey, Bakersfield….Yeah, it’s really me….I know. Way too long ….Listen, you know I need a favor….yeah, like you don’t already owe me a million ….yeah yeah whatever…. I need you to find out if there was an air marshal on a flight from Hawaii to Newark…Flight 555…. Would I be asking if it weren’t important?... You’ll call me back as soon as you can?... Great…. Yes, absolutely. The next time I’m in DC…. Okay. Thanks.” Steve looked from Chin to Kono and back, their expressions expectant. “Navy buddy,” he said with a shrug.

“He works for the TSA?” Kono asked although it was clear he did.

“He might be in charge of the air marshals,” Steve said, not really committing to the fact.

“I see,” Kono said, looking at Chin who just shook his head.

“Did we get the tapes from Newark yet?” Steve asked to divert their attention away from his reluctant admission.

Chin checked the table, tapping on the file that had arrived a few minutes earlier. “Here,” he said, placing the recording on the overhead monitors. “This starts five minutes before they were allowed to disembark.” They watched the weary travelers leave, greeting friends and families with smiles and laughter and tears. On the edge of the crowd were two people who could only be Danny’s parents, their expressions going from excited to confused to worried. When the last of the passengers had left, Danny’s parents approached the counter to talk to the airport personnel. Whatever the man at the counter said was not what Mr. and Mrs. Williams had hoped to hear. In a very familiar manner, Mr. Williams was using his hands to emphasize the points he was making, the airport guy paying almost no attention to his request for help.

Mr. and Mrs. Williams keep talking to the disinterested worker until he finally picked up the phone. That brought a man in a suit with an air of authority to the counter, Mr. and Mrs. Williams apparently repeating to him what they had already told the first man. The second man spoke into his walkie-talkie, bringing a man in a security uniform into the conversation. The security officer shook his head, looking at the man in the suit. Mr. Williams was still explaining with a great many hand gestures until the man in the suit went behind the counter and picked up the phone. After a very brief conversation, he sat the phone down and shook his head once again.

Mr. Williams listened for a moment before taking out his cell phone and dialing it. They all waited as nothing happened. After hanging up, Mr. Williams dialed it again with the same result. Mrs. Williams had started to cry, Mr. Williams putting his arm over his shoulder. ‘There’s a reasonable explanation,’ was all they could imagine him saying to her. With that, they walked out of camera range, the three airport employees shaking their heads. The first man, who had originally been behind the counter, made the universal sign for crazy, circling one ear with a finger.

“Yeah. We need to find out his name so he can be fired,” Steve said, frowning at the screen.

“Where does this leave us?” Kono asked, biting her thumbnail, a line of concentration between her eyebrows.

“None of this makes sense,” Chin observed unnecessarily.

“Any chance we’ve found Danny’s cell?” Steve asked, leaning over the table where the program was trying to trace Danny’s phone.

“No. I’m starting to think it’s been destroyed,” Chin admitted quietly.

“I’m going to Danny’s apartment,” Steve decided, rocking onto his toes.

“HPD has it covered, Boss,” Kono reminded him, one hand on his forearm. “If there’s anything there, they’ll find it.”

“I need to do something,” Steve said unnecessarily. His energy was barely contained, his need to be physically engaged making him want to climb out of his skin. When his phone rang, he grabbed it out of his pocket, barking into it. “McGarrett.”

“Mr. McGarrett?” an unfamiliar voice asked.

“This is Lieutenant Commander McGarrett,” Steve agreed. “Who is this?”

“My name is Amanda Catten. I was assigned to the back third of Flight 555.”

“You received the photo of Detective Williams?” Steve asked.

“I did. He wasn’t on the plane, sir. The manifest said he should have been in seat 23H. Since it’s an emergency exit seat, we had to fill it when Mr. Williams failed to board.”

“You didn’t see him,” Steve said, his tone hard.

“No sir. He never boarded,” Ms Catten confirmed.

“All right. Can I reach you at this number if I have further questions?”

“Of course. I have the next few days off. I should be available,” she said, hanging up after he confirmed he’d be in touch.

“Okay,” Steve said, staring down at the computer table. “That means he disappeared from the jetway. Do they know which one was used for his flight?”

Chin typed into the table, pulling up the info. “Here is the one assigned to his gate. I’ll tell the airport to isolate it.”

Steve nodded, waiting impatiently as Chin made the phone call. That done, they all went out to the airport. The airport authority had agreed to allow them to enter the tarmac through the service entrance. Kono maneuvered carefully between the trucks and luggage carts, coming to a stop next to the correct jetway.

There was an airport representative waiting for them, telling them her name was Patricia Hobson. Introductions complete, she directed them to a stairway that would take them directly up the jetway. They entered it from the end that would be secured to the side of the plane, finding it to structurally sound. They went further down the jetway, coming to the door just before the blind curve in the walkway. That door was slightly ajar.

“Should this door be open?” Steve asked her, pointing at it.

“No. It is only for service personnel. It’s to be locked at all times.” She frowned at the door, reaching out to pull it closed.

“Wait,” Chin said. “There may be fingerprints.”

“Of course,” she agreed, withdrawing her hand.

“Chin,” Steve said, nodding at it. Chin got closer with his tool kit, carefully examining the door.

“Look.” Chin was pointing at the locking mechanism that was inoperable, the door unable to latch. “This must where he left.”

“That is unacceptable,” Ms Catten said. “How could he have left without anyone seeing him?”

“That’s a really good question,” Steve said, frowning at the door as Chin dusted it for prints. “How many people were on the flight?”

Ms Hobson checked the manifest on her iPad, getting those numbers. “There were 233 scheduled to take the flight. The crew reported that 231 boarded.”

“Do you know the other person who didn’t make it?” Steve asked. He watched as she scrolled through the information, tapping the screen.

“According to our records, the boarding pass was issued to Hian-mian Zhao,” she said.

“Ring any bells?” Chin asked Steve who had a look of concentration.

“No. Not that I know of,” Steve said, shaking his head. “What are the chances we can find and talk to any of the 231 people who did board the plane? If Danny disappeared from the jetway, somebody had to have seen something.”

Ms Hobson studied her readouts, flipping through several pages. “It says that 144 had no connecting flights. Of the others, 46 went on to London, and the remaining 41 went to Paris.”

“I need contact information for all of the passengers,” Steve said.

“I don’t believe we are at liberty to provide that information to you, sir,” Ms Hobson said, her tone a mix of reluctance and stern refusal.

“If you don’t give it to him, he’ll just call the Governor,” Kono told her kindly.

“At least then I know I won’t be fire,” Ms Hobson retorted.

Kono glanced over at Steve, ‘give me credit for trying’ written in her expression. Steve called the Governor, explaining in clipped tones what he needed. “Thank you, sir,” Steve said before hanging up. “The COO will provide me the names and numbers.”

Ms Hobson stared at Steve like she couldn’t quite figure out what world she had woken up to that morning. This is not how her day was supposed to go. She was relieved when he was distracted from continuing to start holes through her when his phone rang. And it wasn’t like it was only two days to Christmas. She certainly didn’t have anything better to do than be intimidated by the tall, angry man who was on a search and rescue mission. She should have listened to her father. She should have become a lawyer. Or a carpenter.

“McGarrett… there wasn’t? Okay. Thanks.” Steve disconnected, looking at Kono and Chin. “No air marshal on the flight.”

“You can’t have that information,” Ms Hobson scolded. “That is classified.”

“You can have it when you are friends with John S. Pistole,” Steve said evenly.

“Oh. I see,” she said, her attitude deflating. That she had no other comment to make did not surprise any of them. Carpentry was looking better by the minute.

“We ready to return to HQ?” Chin asked when he straightened.

“You get photos of everything?” Steve asked Kono to make certain.

“Yeah,” Kono said, looking out over the tarmac from the opening at the end of the jetway. “Are there security cameras monitoring the service vehicles?”

“Yes,” Ms Hobson agreed reluctantly.

“We’ll need a copy of that footage,” Chin told her calmly. His tone seemed to reassure her that Steve would not be going over her head again if she would simply cooperate with their investigation.

“Of course,” she said, all defeat and surrender. “I’ll have it sent to you. You should have it by the time you are back at the Palace.”

“Thank you,” Chin said, picking up his tools with a smile for her. “We appreciate all of your help.”

She nodded vaguely, watching them climb out of the jetway and return to the red Cruze.

“You scared the living crap of her, Boss,” Kono said, way too pleased with herself.

“We’re investigating the disappearance of a member of the Governor’s task force,” Steve said in Stern Leader voice. “How does she think we aren’t going to have all the information we need?”

“Roger that,” Chin said from the back seat.

“Did you get any prints?” Steve asked, looking back at him.

“About a dozen. We’ll see if any of them are of any use,” Chin said.


December 23, 9:14 a.m. HST

Danny’s head had finally stopped hurting quite so much. He was pretty sure he didn’t have a concussion – thank God for small favors at any rate. He was still locked in the bathroom that would be insulting to utilitarian to use the word for it. There was a toilet and a sink. That was it. Danny had the choice of sitting on the open toilet – no lid for this fine example of modern plumping – or he could squeeze himself into the miniscule floor space available. Neither were optimal solutions. His feet were free even though his hands were handcuffed in front of him, their position decreasing the amount of discomfort he could be feeling. Having use of his hands did him no good - the door was bolted from the outside. He was pretty sure he’d heard the sound of a padlock being placed on it. He’d been searched before taken onto the boat, his shoes confiscated. They had done him the courtesy of allowing him to retain his jeans and tee shirt but that was it. He figured Steve would have found some way to use his Levis as a crowbar and ninja his way out of the bathroom. But without Steve and his Super-Seal abilities, Danny was pretty much stuck until Steve found him.

One of the advantages of being held in the bathroom was that it was a bathroom – plenty of water for him to drink. There were worse places to be held hostage. Dry land would have been preferable but now that they were apparently out on the open sea, the rocking had been reduced. He hadn’t had the urge to puke for at least half an hour if his sense time was at all accurate.

Not having anything else to do gave him time to wonder who had taken him and why. He figured it had something to do with the not-dead gang member who had snatched him. Hadn’t 5-0 shut down their operations? Apparently not. Were they planning to use him to demand a ransom? Because they had to know that the Governor did not play that game. He’d regret it but he’d let Danny die first. Of course the Governor’s remorse would pale in comparison to Steve’s. Or Danny’s. But Danny would be dead and his secret crush on Steve would go to the grave with him. He should have told Steve how he felt a long time ago. Then he would have never tried to board that stupid plane. Yeah, this was totally Steve’s fault.

December 23, 11:03 a.m. HST

They had turned over the passenger list to HPD and were assured that as many officers as necessary would be put on calling. That done, Steve and Kono reviewed the tapes from the outside of the airport, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Chin was running the fingerprints and trying to determine if the other no-show passenger Hian-mian Zhao could have any connection. So far Chin had learned that Zhao was a professor of philosophy at UH and was on semester break. The chair of the philosophy department thought Dr. Zhao would have been in New Jersey where he had family. Calls to the professor’s cell phone went unanswered. They were waiting to get his Jersey number as soon as the department chair could find it.

Steve called Mr. and Mrs. Williams to let them know they hadn’t discovered anything useful as of yet but would call just as soon as they did. Danny’s parents were understandably worried but not verging on hysteria for which Steve was immensely grateful.

He had discussed with them whether or not he should call Rachel but they had advised that he wait until he had something solid to tell her. They would hate to have Grace upset before they knew what was really going on. Steve had to agree with their assessment, promising again he’d call when he had anything at all to report.

He looked up when Chin appeared in his doorway, putting on his game-face and trying to hide his concern. “What’ve you got?”

“Charlie finished analyzing the fingerprints,” Chin said, coming in with his iPad. There were 10 distinct sets on display, nine with red Xs through them. “These belong to airport employees,” Chin explained. “Either they weren’t at work yesterday or they were elsewhere as Danny’s flight was boarding.”

“Okay,” Steve said with a nod. “And #10?”

“They belong to Xiamou Huo,” Chin said, pulling up a mug shot of the person by that name. “Recognize him?”

“No,” Steve said, studying the man’s face. “Should I?”

“Maybe not. We thought we killed him. Back in March. He was part of the Lãnhchúa, the gang that was trying to recruit kids to join the rebel army.”

“Oh Lord,” Kono breathed from where she was standing behind Chin. “They are a bad bunch.”

“That’s the understatement of the year,” Steve said, standing up abruptly. “Location?”

“Not yet,” Chin said. “I’m still working on that. You find anything?” he asked Kono. She nodded but not with any real certainty.

“I think so,” she said, leading them over to the table. She started the tape half an hour before Danny’s plane boarded. “See these trucks,” she said, pointing at the delivery trucks that had Servico painted on the sides. “They are the official servicing company of the airport. They do the cleaning, the catering, whatever. Each plane has two trucks assigned to it, unless there’s a problem.” They watched the trucks arrive, off load the equipment and supplies and then pull away. “Look at this third truck,” she said, pointing at it. “It’s the same size and color as the others but it doesn’t have any logo on it.” They watched the unmarked truck arrive a few minutes after the others and leave three minutes prior to the departure of the trucks that were marked. The truck was parked between one of the Servico trucks and the nose of the plane, out of the view of the cameras once it was at a stand-still. “I called Ms Hobson who told me that Danny’s plane was only assigned two trucks.”

“Can you get any identification on that truck?” Steve asked staring at the screen.

“I can’t but every truck has to be checked in and out. I’ve requested those records. I should have them in the next half hour,” Kono said, looking from the monitors to Steve who was still staring at the screen. She glanced at Chin who shook his head once before he turned his attention back to the table. Whatever was going on in Steve’s head was his to work out. They were better off letting it lie until he told them.

December 23, 12:08 p.m. HST

Danny could hear voices outside his bathroom door. One spoke a language he figured was Chinese. His companion answered in English. That was courteous of the kidnappers, he thought. Let him understand at least half the conversation. They half he could understand concerned whether or not they should kill him now or wait. The Chinese half of the conversation seemed to be in favor of waiting. He liked that side better. The English side was apparently at fault for Danny being held prisoner in the bathroom. As he suspected, he hadn’t been the target. He was collateral damage. Again, this was Steve’s fault. Of course it was. Not that Steve was responsible for the mix-up in the jetway kidnapping but in general. Danny’s life had been so…boring before meeting Steve. He’d take boring. As long as it included Steve. If he was forced to choose, Steve would win. Every time. And as soon as Steve rescued him, letting him know that would be Danny’s first order of business. Right after a cup of really hot, really strong coffee.

December 23, 13:32 p.m. HST

“Boss,” Kono said from the doorway to Steve’s office. He looked up at her, temporarily ignoring the information on his computer. “HPD called. They’ve talked to about half the passengers. One remembered something weird happening. I have him on the phone.”

“Good,” Steve said with a nod. “You’ll send him through?”

Kono nodded, leaving his office to transfer the call. She watched through her window as Steve picked it up, listening intently.

“Thank you for calling, Mr. Paterson. HPD said you witnessed something on the jetway?”

“It may not have meant anything,” the man on the phone said, hesitant and uncertain. “But I recognized the photo of Detective Williams that the police sent.”

“You saw him on the jetway?” Steve prompted, trying to keep his growing impatience at bay. Yelling at this stranger was not going to get him answers any faster.

“He and I were the only ones there. Everybody else had boarded. I was running late. Detective Williams stopped to help a little girl who had dropped her Barbie doll. When she had it in her backpack, Mr. Williams started talking to a man who seemed to appear out of nowhere. He wasn’t on the jetway when we were going down it. One second he wasn’t there and the next he was.”

“What did the man look like?” Steve asked, holding his breath without realizing it.

“He was 20-25 I think. Asian. Cropped black hair. A little taller than Mr. Williams. He wore a short sleeve tee-shirt, black. And black pants.”

“Any tattoos?” Steve asked.

“Yes. Several. One on his forearm that seemed to be a dragon. Or a snake. It was hard to tell. And just under the sleeve of his shirt. They seemed to be symbols of some sort.”

“Could they have been writing? Chinese?”

“Possibly. I can’t say for sure,” Mr. Paterson said in apology.

“Were there any tattoos on his neck?” Steve asked.

“No. Just his left arm. He was talking to Mr. Williams like they knew each other. Mr. Williams didn’t seem especially concerned about the man being there.”

“What happened after that?” Steve asked. “After they talked?”

“I got onto the plane. I assumed Mr. Williams was right behind me. But I guess he never boarded?”

“No. He never got on the plane,” Steve confirmed.

“Oh dear. He seemed like a nice man. I hope nothing bad has happened to him.”

“So do I,” Steve agreed. “If we find photos we think may be the Asian man you saw, may we send them to you?”

“Certainly. This is my cell phone. I’ll be glad to help in anyway that I can.”

Steve assured him that he had already been a great help and after double checking that they did have the right phone number, hung up. “Does the man he described match Xiamou Huo?”

“Could be. He’s 5’8”, 29 years old.”

“Ink?” Steve asked.

Chin checked the photos they had on file, finding one of Huo’s arm. “He has the symbols but no dragon.”

“If he is a member of Lãnhchúa, he would have gotten the dragon with a promotion,” Kono pointed out.

“Paterson didn’t say anything about a struggle. Why would Danny go with him without trying to get away?” Chin asked.

“Huo probably threatened to harm the passengers if Danny didn’t cooperate. The other question is what do they want with him? If it was a ransom situation, they’d have called by now,” Steve said, shaking his head. “How does this make sense?”

“And you said you killed Huo in March,” Kono said to Chin. “How is he kidnapping anyone?”

“I didn’t stay behind to check the body bags,” Chin pointed out. “I got a shot off dead center. He shouldn’t have been able to survive it.”

“Apparently he did,” Steve said. “Send the photo to Mr. Paterson. Kono, any luck with the trucks?”

“We traced all but one - the unmarked one had stolen plates. The guards don’t remember anything special about it. The paperwork was in order even if the truck didn’t have the logo painted on it.”

“That mystery truck has to be how they got him out of the airport,” Steve said. “Did they remember anything about the driver?”

“Asian. Black hair,” Kono said.

“Tattoos on his left arm?” Steve asked. But he already knew the answer.

“Yeah,” Kono agreed. “Do we have an address for our dead suspect?”

Chin shook his head. “Xiamou Huo is officially listed as deceased. Convenient. I’ve sent his mug shoot to HPD. They’re distributing it. The gang unit thinks they can get us the name of the current boss but it could blow the sting they’ve been working on for the past 13 months.”

“I don’t want to destroy their work. But our first priority is to find Danny,” Steve said.

“They understand that. They also know if it comes down to it, the Governor is going to take our side,” Chin confirmed.

“When do they think they can get us that intel?” Steve asked, looking down at his watch.

“Any time now. They’ve been tracking the Lãnhchúa and have a solid lead on their location. Na'n Kaommou would like in on it. Since he’s been working the case the whole time.”

“Fine,” Steve said. “I don’t care about the bust. I only want to get Danny back.”

“Roger that,” Chin agreed.

December 23, 2:27 p.m. HST

“Hey,” Danny said banging on the door of his bathroom with his bound hands. He could hear the men talking right outside and he had been more than patient. Really. He was ready for some answers. And something to eat. Now that his stomach wasn’t rolling with the boat, he was getting hungry. “Hey.” He tried not to smile when he heard the padlock open.

“What?” the man who had taken him demanded. He was pointing his gun dead-center at Danny’s chest. His companion had apparently left him to deal with their noisy prisoner.

“Aren’t you dead?” Danny asked.

“You thought so,” Huo confirmed.

“Yeah. Well it’s only a matter of time before Steve rights that wrong.”

“You hold onto that thought. Because the chances of your boyfriend finding you are practically non-existence,” Huo informed him. He was much too pleased with himself, Danny thought. Good. Over-confidence was always a weakness.

“How about something to eat, Huo? Now that I’ve stopped puking up my guts, I could really use some food.”

“You are hardly in a position to make demands, Detective,” Huo told him.

“Oh good God. How many crime dramas have you watched? That is so cliché.”

“Cliché or not, it’s true. Get back in your bathroom before I put a hole through you. One I’ll make sure kills you,” Huo said, waving his gun at Danny who backed up enough so that Huo could slam the door closed without smacking Danny in the face.

Danny sat back on the floor, considering all that he had learned. The engines were idling so they were stationary. That was good. It was still light out so he hadn’t been imprisoned quite as long as he had thought. He could hear only one other set of footsteps over their heads. That increased the odds. Now that he knew what he was dealing with, he could better plan his next move.

December 23, 16:02 p.m. HST

Na'n Kaommou had been very forthcoming with the information on his team’s effort to shut down the activities of the Lãnhchúa. He and Danny had been friendly when Danny was still with HPD and Kaommou was not going to allow Danny to die to save their undercover operation.

“Huo was promoted when he didn’t die,” Kaommou told them, pointing to Huo’s picture on the screen. “He’s second to Shialao Xian.”

“Xian’s in charge of the drug running?” Chin asked.

“Yeah. That’s how they finance their other activities. Xian has a fleet of boats. Very convenient for getting drugs on and off the islands,” Kaommou said.

Steve nodded, looking at the man on the screen. “Where are they docked?”

“Ki'ehohenie harbor,” Kaommou said, pointing to the tiny boat harbor at the end of the island. “The Lãnhchúa own it through shell companies.”

“That’s where we need to start looking. We should have been there already.” The hard edge of angry impatience was familiar to Chin and Kono but Kaommou looked at Steve with trepidation.

“It’s heavily guarded. We’ve lost two undercovers already who were trying to penetrate it. You cannot go in with guns blazing and expect to find Danny.”

Steve stared at Kaommou, the other man not backing down. “What do you suggest?” Steve finally demanded.

“We need to approach from the air. Do reconnaissance. Determine if any of their boats are out to sea. The chances are good that they wouldn’t leave Danny at the harbor. He’s too high a target,” Kaommou said.

“Fine. Helicopter then,” Steve said, taking out his cell phone.

“What is he doing?” Kaommou asked Chin quietly.

“Finding a helicopter,” Chin said with a shrug. “Are you coming with us?”

“Where?” Kaommou asked with a frown.

“In the helicopter. Steve will fly it over the harbor and then look for the boat,” Chin explained patiently.

“McGarrett will fly it?”

“Navy SEAL,” Kono reminded him. She was distributing their TAC vests and extra arms as Steve hung up.

“Okay. Let’s go,” Steve said as he pulled on his vest.

“Go where?” Kaommou asked as he followed the others out.

“To get Danny,” Kono said cheerfully making Kaommou wonder if she’d had a blow to the head.

December 23, 5:29 p.m. HST

“You’re too late,” Danny heard Huo say loudly from above him. He thought he had heard what could only be gun shots but then decided he was dreaming it. Apparently not. The sounds were real. Which could be very good or very bad for Danny. “He’s dead. Shark food.”

“Then so are you,” an oh-so-familiar voice responded. The next sound was unmistakably a fist connecting with a face.

“Steve,” Danny yelled as loud as he could. “Steve. I’m okay.” Danny could hear all movement stop above him. They were listening and waiting. “Steve. Down here,” Danny yelled. The next welcome sound was of size 11s running down the steps.

“Danny?” Steve called, his voice sounding too distant still.

“Over here,” Danny said, banging on the door with his fists. “I’m over here.”

Steve’s footsteps grew closer before stopping just on the other side of the door. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I think so. Except for a headache. Get me out of here.”

“Okay. I’m going to shoot off the lock. Move out of the way,” Steve ordered.

“There’s nowhere for me to go. The bathroom’s smaller than my apartment. Can you smash the lock off?”

“All right,” Steve agreed. “Stand as far back as possible.”

Danny decided that straddling the toilet was as far from the door as he could get. And that’s how Steve found him. Standing over the toilet, his blue eyes wide in relief.

“Oh thank God,” Steve said, squeezing into the bathroom with his gigantic gun and his beautiful body taking up any left over room. “Are you okay?” he asked, his right hand reaching out to touch the dried blood just over Danny’s right eye.

“I’m fine. A little claustrophobic,” Danny said, trying to wave his bound hands at the lack of space. “I knew you’d find me.”

“I’m just glad it wasn’t….” Steve shook his head, helping him maneuver away from the toilet where he insisted on checking Danny for any other injuries.

“I’m fine you goof. I need to call my parents,” Danny said, standing still as Steve opened the handcuffs. He massaged the red welts on Danny’s wrists, unable to meet his eyes.

“I was… I didn’t know what I’d do… I’m so sorry,” Steve finally said, meeting Danny’s eyes.

“You have nothing to apologize for. Even if I do want to blame you for all of this. This time it’s really not your fault.” He smiled past Steve when Kono and Chin came tumbling down the steps. “Thanks.”

“You’re okay?” Kono asked, elbowing by Steve to hug Danny. “We were so scared.”

“I’m fine,” he assured her, releasing her to hug Chin. “I never doubted you’d find me.”

“Of course,” Chin said. “Quite the accommodations you have here.”

“Right? I’m thinking of renting it permanently,” Danny joked. His laugh faded when he glanced up at Steve who was sporting way-past-Aneurysm face. “What? What’s with the homicidal expression?”

“Why didn’t you escape?” Steve demanded.

Danny sighed before taking a deep breath. “Let’s review here, babe. I was locked in a bathroom approximately the size of a phone booth. In handcuffs. I have my clothes. That’s all. If I could have gotten out, where would I have gone? We’re on a freighter. At sea.”

“Did you even try?” Steve asked.

“I’m not a SEAL, Steven. I couldn’t swim back to shore if I had gotten out.” Danny rubbed ideally at his wrists, shaking his head. “I’m sorry I don’t live up to your Army expectations.”

“That’s not it,” Steve said. “It’s just that….”

“You were worried about me and it pisses you off,” Danny said evenly, warmly.

“That’s right,” Kono said with a perky nod. “Stop being so mean to him to disguise the fact that you are really a marshmallow inside.”

“I am not a marshmallow,” Steve retorted. But it was lighter, less ominous. “Are you really okay?”

“Yes I’m fine. I’m pretty sure I don’t have a concussion even though the jackhammer crew has started back to work on my skull. I spent all of last night puking. Always a good time. I’m thirsty and hungry and really, really want to call my parents then drink a cup of coffee.”

Steve nodded at that, glancing at Chin and Kono. “Perimeter secure?”

“Yes,” Kono said, rolling her eyes and giving him a dimpled smile. “Huo and his stupid friend are handcuffed to the railing. Coast Guard will be here in 14 minutes.”

“Good. Let’s go,” Steve said with a nod.

“Go where? How did you get here?” Danny asked as he followed Steve across the empty cargo hold.

“Helicopter,” Steve said, climbing the steps, the others behind him.

“Of course. How else?” Danny said, shading his eyes when they were top-side. Even though the sun was going down, it was still way brighter than his bathroom had been. The sunrays were going straight to his head, helping the jackhammers crack more of the inside of his head. “Whoa.”

“Here,” Chin said, pulling out the sunglasses he wore when he rode his motorcycle. “These will help.”

Danny nodded gratefully and slipped them on. “I need to use your phone.”

Steve shook his head as he continued toward the helicopter.

“I’m not taking another step until you give it to me,” Danny said, standing on the hot deck, his arms crossed over his chest.

“It’s not a sat-phone, Danny. You’ll have to wait until we get on shore,” Chin told him.

“Oh. Somebody could have told me that,” Danny said, yelling at Steve’s back. “Don’t you love it when he gets like this?”

“Only over you, brah,” Chin pointed out, looking up at Kaommou when he stopped before them.

“Glad you are okay, Danny,” Kaommou said, a light hand resting on Danny’s shoulder.

“You provide the info they needed?” Danny asked gratefully.

“Yeah. Once these two are in a deep dark hole, we don’t have to worry about them blowing the sting we have set,” Kaommou said.

“Good,” Danny agreed. “They didn’t say too much but I can give you everything they did say.”

“I’d appreciate it,” Kaommou said, stepping back when Steve returned to loom over Danny, taking him by the arm and pulling him to the helicopter.

“Let go, you animal. I’m coming for God’s sake. What is wrong with you?” Danny protested, climbing into the copter, still ranting. Not as loudly as normal. That would have made his headache even worse than it was already.

“We need to get you to the hospital,” Steve said, staring straight ahead.

“I told you I’m fine,” Danny repeated, moving down the backseat as Kono entered to sit next to him. Chin took shotgun, Kaommou agreeing to wait for the Coast Guard. He would guard the prisoners and help with the inspection of the ship to see if it held any evidence they could use.

After Steve made sure everyone was buckled in, he flew them back to the island, calling the hospital on his headset to let them know he would be landing on their helicopter pad. That done, he glanced over his shoulder to find Danny stretched out on the backseat, sound asleep with his head resting on Kono’s thigh. Kono smiled reassuringly at Steve, her fingers not stopping their caresses of Danny’s hair. Steve nodded at her before turning all of his focus back to piloting the helicopter safely to the hospital.

The gentle bumping of the helicopter setting down roused Danny who opened his eyes only to slam them back shut. “Oh crap.”

“Your head worse?” Kono asked.

“No. But the vertigo has come back tenfold,” Danny said, the back of his hand pressed over his mouth.

“It’s because you are motionless,” Steve said from the end of the seat. “Can you sit up?”

“Not without puking on you,” Danny said.

“Not the first time someone has,” Steve said, reaching in and carefully lifting him until his was upright. “Deep breath.”

Danny shook his head, his hand still over his mouth. “Seriously. I’m going to lose it on your polo.”

“I can wash it. Come on, Danno. We need to get you inside,” Steve coaxed.

“No. Leave me here to die. Please,” Danny said, trying to lay back down.

“Stop being a drama queen,” Steve scolded. “Come on. Out of the chopper.”

“I’m not wearing shoes,” Danny reminded him, his eyes still tightly closed as he struggled to sit up.

“You don’t need shoes. We have a wheelchair,” Chin assured him, taking his right arm as Steve held tight to his left. “Come on. You’re almost there.” They guided him to the wheelchair, making sure he was secure before Steve went behind it to hold the handles.

“I’m going to….” Danny shook his head, leaning over the arm of the wheelchair to have dry heaves onto the roof of the hospital.

“Good thing you haven’t eaten,” Kono said, one hand lightly on the back of his neck.

“No jokes. Please,” Danny said, slowly straightening. “Kill me now. I’m begging you.”

“You’re going to be fine. No one has ever died of vertigo,” Steve promised him, pushing him toward the door where the orderlies waited for them. Steve would not surrender the wheelchair, pushing it directly onto the elevator and staring silently at the numbers as they counted down to the emergency level.

“Are you sure nobody’s ever died of vertigo?” Danny asked in a low voice, his eyes closed, strain on his face.

“Of course I’m sure. A little Phenergan and you’ll be good as new,” Steve told him as though he had received his medical degree in the short time Danny had been missing.

“Well, that’s reassuring, Dr. McGarrett,” Danny responded.

Steve may have responded with what could have been a snort but he’d deny it if it ever came up in conversation.

At the direction of the orderlies, Steve wheeled Danny into one of the exam rooms where he parked the wheelchair. Danny accepted the small metal tray, just in case, and watched the orderlies leave.

“They’re going to make you go,” Danny told Steve as he squinted up at him.

“Doubt it. Since I’m your medical contact.”

Danny shrugged and then instantly regretted the minimal movement. “Do SEALs ever suffer vertigo?”

“We’re ordered not to,” Steve told him, making Danny smile, a small tight smile but a smile nonetheless.

“Figures. Can you sit down and stop looming over me?” Danny requested. “And please call my parents.”

Steve sat as requested, taking out his cell phone and dialing the Williamses before passing his phone to Danny.

“Hi Mom….yes, I’m fine….It’s a long story and I’ll tell you all about it as soon as I can….Yes, I’m fine….Mom… Mom… stop crying. I’m fine…. Yes, Pop, he’s right here.” Danny handed the phone back to Steve and closed his eyes to fight the waves of dizziness. When he could focus on anything other than his own misery, he heard Steve talking to his father.

“Yes sir. We will come for New Year’s….Absolutely….yes sir. Merry Christmas to you too,” Steve said before disconnecting.

We are going to Jersey for New Year’s?” Danny asked, squinting over at Steve.

“Yep. They want to make sure you are okay and I’m not letting you go without me.”

“I see. And I have no say in this?” Danny asked, the result of this conversation a foregone conclusion.

“None,” Steve confirmed, standing up when Dr. Welaha entered.

“You are not what I asked for when I talked to Santa,” Dr. Welaha informed them with a smile.

“I hear that,” Steve agreed. “He doesn’t think he has a concussion but he has severe vertigo.”

“Thank you so much,” Danny said up to Steve. “I have not lost my ability to speak.”

“That would be end-times for sure,” Dr. Welaha said, taking out his penlight. “Follow the light.”

Danny tried to be a good little soldier and do as he was asked. But following the light even one inch was more than he could manage. He grabbed his tray, clutching it as a lifeline.

“All right,” Dr. Welaha said sympathetically. “That pretty much confirms it. I need to check your pupils. Can you tolerate the light?”

Danny nodded tentatively, holding still as the doctor shone the lights straight into his skill, causing new fissures to be added to the ones already there.

“No concussion,” the doctor was glad to report. “I’ll give you a shot of Phenergan and Steve can take you home and put you to bed.”

Danny tried to nod at that, not entirely succeeding. He was too tired and too dizzy to do much of anything but wait to be told what to do.

“Come on,” Steve was saying, pulling on his hands. “Up.”

“What? Why?” Danny protested, barely able to stand even with Steve’s help. How could he be more seasick on land than he was on the boat? What kind of sense did that even make? And this had to be Steve’s fault too. He was sure of it.

“Phenergan has to go in your nice ass,” Steve told him, undoing his jeans for him.

“You think I have a nice ass?” Danny asked, wishing he could just shut up already. But that didn’t seem to be in the cards at the moment.

“Yes I do,” Steve said, lowering the back of his jeans and holding onto him.

“I’m afraid this is going to hurt,” Dr. Welaha said, swabbing Danny’s ass about which he had no particular opinion. And if he did, he sure wouldn’t admit it out loud where Steve could hear him. Everyone knew they had it bad for each other, everyone but them apparently. Dr. Welaha wished he’d paid better attention in his psych classes so he’d know how to knock some sense into them both. “You ready?”

Danny flapped a hand which the doctor took to mean ‘yeah. Whatever.’ “Whoa,” Danny gasped as Dr. Welaha gave him the shot.

“I know. It’s not pleasant but it’s guaranteed to stop the dizziness,” the doctor promised.

“Good thing,” Danny said, his eyes wide at the sting from shot. “I can go now?”

“Yes. You’ll need to take it easy for the next few days. You’re very close to being dehydrated. No alcohol for the next 48 hours. Drink at least six glasses of water.” The doctor watched Danny nod but doubted he was hearing anything the doctor said. Dr. Welaha looked up at Steve who assured him he had heard and Danny would follow all of those instructions. “Very good. If you are still dizzy tomorrow morning, you’ll need to come back. It’s more than seasickness. But I’m pretty sure that’s all it is.”

“’Kay,” Danny mumbled into Steve’s arm that was still holding him up. “Home.”

“Right,” Steve agreed, settling Danny back in the wheelchair. “Kono should be right out front.”

“Yay Kono,” Danny said, propping his head on his hand to keep it from falling off and rolling down the hospital hallway. What a mess that would make.

December 24, 8:49 a.m. HST

“Hey,” Steve said softly as Danny finally decided to try opening his eyes. The room stayed mercifully still and he could focus on Steve’s smiling face.

“Hey yourself,” Danny said, shifting slightly and trying to decide where he was. Steve’s house. Steve’s bed. With Steve. “I’m easy but I’m not cheap,” he said into the soft pillow cushioning his head.

“I am all too aware of that,” Steve assured him, running very gently fingers through Danny’s hair. “How are you feeling?”

“Mmm…” Danny said, closing his eyes to consider the question. “My butt hurts where I got the shot. I’m thirsty.”

“Are you dizzy?”

“No,” Danny said, thankful for that response. “My head hurts a little. Like almost a hang-over but like I quit before I went past ‘one too many.’”

“That’s a relief,” Steve said.

“So,” Danny said, raising up on his elbows to look over at Steve.


“This. Us,” Danny said, gesturing between them. He was undressed except for his briefs. He had the feeling Steve was as well. “Are we doing this?”

“What do you want?” Steve asked, his eyes guarded. Which meant he was guarding his heart from the possibility of having it broken yet again.

“I want you naked. Physically and emotionally,” Danny said. “I want the truth. I want to make love to you until we both can’t walk. I want to tear your sheets and disturb the neighbors. How does that fit with what you want?”

“Pretty much the same,” Steve said, his smile genuine and open. “Not sure how much emotional honesty I can provide to start but I do promise to try.”

“I’ll take it,” Danny said, untangling one hand to place it against Steve’s stubbled cheek. “Everybody knows I’m in love with you. Do you know it too?”

“I suspected,” Steve said, turning to kiss Danny’s palm. “The reverse is also true.”

“God you’re a romantic,” Danny teased.

“Yep. I’ve turned down job offers from Hallmark,” Steve joked.

“I bet you have,” Danny agreed. “Do you know why that low-life decided I didn’t need to go to Jersey?”

“He had been sent to kidnap Dr. Hian-mian Zhao. Dr. Zhao never showed up at the airport and you saw Huo. He took you so you couldn’t call us.”

“What did Dr. Zhao do to the Lãnhchúa?” Danny asked.

“He had assigned them to his class as a research project. He thought they were mostly disbanded. Turns out he found out how active they were when he read the term papers. All of which we now have. Dr. Zhao was downstairs with HPD when we discovered you were missing.”

“Well. That’s something,” Danny said. “Is Huo dead this time?”

“No. In maximum lock up with his friend. They are spilling their guts to Kaommou in exchange for not getting the death penalty for kidnapping a policeman.”

“Glad I could help out,” Danny said.

“I’m glad you are okay. When we couldn’t find you… when we didn’t know if we would find you… I couldn’t think of anything but what I hadn’t said,” Steve confessed.

“I know, you goof. I feel the same way. Now you need to feed me so we can come back here and celebrate my rescue,” Danny suggested, raising up on his knees. “Because no way can I kiss you until I brush my teeth at least three times.”

“Sounds about right,” Steve agreed, settling for kissing Danny on the nose before following him into the bathroom. “Very nice ass.”

Danny just laughed, delighted to be able to hear those words from Steve and anticipating how very shortly he would be showing his entire ass to Steve. “Merry Christmas to us,” Danny said, still laughing up at his goof.

ciaimpala: dannygraceciaimpala on December 22nd, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
I loved this so much!!

It hit so many of the things I love-Danny's banter, Steve's protectiveness and ability to always get the governor on the phone/know someone important/get a helicopter, Steve being all worried about Danny, Danny blaming Steve while still loving him, them being in love and together...SO perfect!
Are 6 dogs too many?: danno wreathtkeylasunset on December 22nd, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Thank you so much! I'm so happy that it turned out in a way you enjoyed! Thank you for the prompt. It was an excellent idea!

Thank you again!
winky3018winky3018 on December 22nd, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
I so, so love this verse. I have been in a Whump!Hurt!Danno mood all week and this helped to satisfy my need :)
Are 6 dogs too many?: 2 guystkeylasunset on December 23rd, 2011 12:42 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed this story, and all BPBB universe!

Merry Christmas!
winky3018winky3018 on December 23rd, 2011 04:47 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you!
Merry Christmas to you too!
bookaddict43: steve mcgarrettbookaddict43 on December 22nd, 2011 11:10 am (UTC)
I so enjoyed this! I liked Steve intimidating the airport lady and loved the banter between he and Danny. The doctor's observations were cool and Kono's utter belief in Steve was awesome :)
Are 6 dogs too many?: why are you smiling?tkeylasunset on December 23rd, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
Thank you!
They are such great characters it's fun "playing" with them!! Thank you for your lovely comments!
(Deleted comment)
Are 6 dogs too many?: triple banana bitchtkeylasunset on December 23rd, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Danny has Steve's number - there is no doubt about that!!

Thank you so much!
Kathy: McDanno/walkkitmerlot1213 on December 22nd, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
I love a good action adventure story that leads to these two knuckleheads realizing how much they love each other. Steve's worry and concern is just lovely to see and this line:

“I’m afraid this is going to hurt,” Dr. Welaha said, swabbing Danny’s ass about which he had no particular opinion. And if he did, he sure wouldn’t admit it out loud where Steve could hear him.

made me laugh out loud.

Lovely work on this :)
Are 6 dogs too many?: shadowstkeylasunset on December 23rd, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
Thank you!
They are knuckleheads, you are so right!! Dr. Welaha had their number, that's for sure!! They can be so clueless! Cute but clueless.

Thank you for the lovely comments!!

Merry Christmas.
australian_mumaustralian_mum on December 22nd, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
Dr Welaha is a very astute man!

Loved every one of your 9,000 'out of control words'.

May all your word counts be as unruly!!
Are 6 dogs too many?: mcdannotkeylasunset on December 23rd, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Out of control seems to be my default when it comes to writing stories!! Glad you didn't feel like you were drowning in words!

Thanks for the lovely comment!

Merry Christmas.
americandirrtyamericandirrty on December 22nd, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
This is so great, I love it!
Are 6 dogs too many?: hot hottkeylasunset on December 23rd, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it!!

Merry Christmas!
antesqueluzantesqueluz on December 24th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
:-D yay!
Are 6 dogs too many?: happy stevetkeylasunset on December 24th, 2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Thank you!! Glad it put a smile on your icon face!! (And your real face, I'm guessing :-)

Merry Christmas!
Bubblesbfive0 on December 24th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
This is amazing *______* I think it could finally count as the "First Time" in bullet proff baby blanket verse :D I LOVE IT!!!!!!
Are 6 dogs too many?: mcdannotkeylasunset on December 24th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! I had a great time writing it. I feel like I should write an epilogue, with the real "first time" for BPBB. Maybe over the holiday I can write and post it?

Thank you again. And Merry Christmas!