lovely_ambition: (happy seals are good ones: by nuv0le_rap)
[personal profile] lovely_ambition


a brush with the devil can clear your mind


Steve’s voicemail had twenty messages.

In the course of any regular day, he could amass a handful, but usually no more than five. He had turned his phone off while he made his way through as many seedy bars as possible, looking for information on the rumor that the Hesse brothers were under someone else’s employ. At four-fifteen, he turned his phone back on and found the full inbox.

Something had obviously happened.

The first seven messages were all from Matt, the next few were from his father, there were some from Chin, and then there was one number in there that was suspicious. It showed only as Blocked ID.

He dialled that one first.

“Who is this, what’s going on?” Steve demanded when he heard the tell-tale click of someone on the other end picking up. He could hear heavy breathing and the scrape of something like furniture against the floor, but no one spoke. Not yet.

Steve gripped the phone tighter in his hand, digging the keys for the truck out of his pocket and setting off for the house in the belief that his father and Chin would be there, at least. He could call Matt after.

Even though he refused to believe his deepest fears, he had a feeling he knew why Danny’s number wasn’t amidst the others in his message bank, but he refused to jump to any kind of conclusion.

“I’m glad you’ve been making friends, Steve.” Steve’s posture straightened as if something icy had brushed his spine.

“Victor Hesse,” he breathed out.

“Anton, too, but he’s a little occupied. Your friend is putting up quite the fight. Much more of this and we might just forego the ropes and cut off his arms. It’d be a shame, though. It’s hard to hold your little girl if you haven’t got any arms,” Victor said.

Steve gunned the accelerator, one hand on the wheel as he kept an eye out for oncoming traffic. “Danny Williams has nothing to do with this.”

“You’re somewhat mistaken in that, Steven,” Victor said, his voice growing cooler. “Danny Williams is closer to this than you think. He’s the only one who found his way to our doorstep. Really, it was unavoidable that we take him. It’s just lucky that the two of you are getting so close. It means that when we kill him, it hurts you. That helps.”

Steve gripped the wheel tighter, his knuckles going white. “Victor, I swear to god, if you touch a hair on his head...”

“Protective of him, aren’t we? I’m not surprised. You’ve taking a shining to that little girl of his. And how is she?”

Steve fought the impulse to hang up and call Matt just to make sure that Grace was safe. The longer that he was on the line, the longer that he could run the tactical app that the Navy had put on his phone, to track down calls to the exact latitude and longitude if he could extend the call time. It was new enough technology that the Hesse brothers probably didn’t know about it, but their ignorance wasn’t a guarantee.

“This isn’t about Grace and it’s not about Detective Williams,” Steve countered, slamming the car into park and shoving the car door shut with fury and determination. He stormed up the front walk of the house, not stopping until he got to the study where Chin and his father were waiting. “Tell me what you want.”

“Ten million.”

Steve paused -- namely to think about whether he would be able to get his hands on that kind of money, just in case, but also to elongate the phone call. “And if I get you the money, you’ll release Danny?”

“I can’t make promises, Steve,” Victor said. “It would make me very unhappy to break a promise. It’s very unkind of you to put me in that sort of position.”

Steve ran a hand through his hair, hating the helpless feeling that came of not being able to control Danny’s fate, even though if he were there, he could stop this instantly. He needed this to go on just a little longer. If he had a location, they could put together tactics and Steve could call in a team. They just needed a little longer.

“Ten million, that’s it?”

“And safe passage off the island, of course,” Anton said. “Danny says hello. He’s a real spunky lad, that one. It’d be a shame to have to take him away from you, just when the two of you are getting so close.”

“How will I contact you when I have the money?”

“You won’t,” Victor replied. “You have twenty-four hours. In twenty-two, we’ll contact you with a meeting place.” The line went dead after that.

Steve pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it for a moment, to calm his panicked thoughts. He grabbed hold of a USB cord, jamming it into the phone, and connecting it to the laptop to run the program and trace the location of the call. He had to focus on finding Danny. If he stopped for a single second, he might not be able to go on.

“Chin, I need you to call Matt, find out if Grace is okay,” he said in a hurried panic.

He was still bent over the laptop when he felt a hand clasp onto his shoulder. Steve looked up to see John staring down at him with worry. “Steve...”

“Dad, I need to stop a little girl from losing her father,” Steve said, his voice rough. He needed to prevent the Hesse brothers from taking Danny away from him. “I’ve got a lock on their location. I’ll mobilize a team and lead the charge. I’ll have Danny out within three hours.”

“They’re not stupid men, Steve,” Chin warned. “There’s going to be a high number of guards, possibly armed bombs.”

“So I’ll bring in a bomb squad, too,” Steve said with heavy determination. “There is no outcome to this scenario where I don’t come back with Danny Williams alive and well. I refuse to even entertain the possibility.”

The computer beeped, calling Steve’s attention down to it. John had yet to move his hand from Steve’s shoulder and it was a baseline to a kind of comfort. It was appreciated more than Steve really knew how to put into words.

“Coordinates,” Steve said, bending over to scribble them down on a piece of paper. “Call Matt,” he called again to Chin. “I’ll set up a secure line and call in a team. We’ll mobilize and attack at eighteen hundred hours and neither of you can be there. I’m sorry,” he said haltingly. “But from here on out, this is the Navy’s business.”

Danny was out there somewhere, and Steve was going to get him back alive. The Hesse brothers had no idea the kind of hell they’d unleashed upon themselves, and Steve was looking forward to personally bringing it to their doorstep. He didn’t move a single inch, though, until Chin made the call to the Williams residence.

“Matt, it’s Chin. Is everything okay over there? Is Grace okay?” Chin asked gravely.

Chin didn’t take his eyes off of Steve for a single second. Steve could hear Matt’s tinny voice in the background of the phone, sounding panicked and worried, but Steve thought (maybe, just maybe) that he heard him report that Grace was safe.

Chin covered the mouth of the phone. “She’s okay.”

“Bring her here. Have Matt come here, too,” Steve ordered, fingers flying to dial his superiors the very instant that he knew Grace was safe. He was on the phone with a Captain within minutes, and he excused himself to the lanai to have the conversation in private. “I don’t think we need to have the money on hand for this, sir,” he said, his voice rigid and his posture matching, even if it couldn’t be seen over the phone. “I just need a team of your best. I’ll bring our citizen back to safety and to his family.”

“See that you do, Lieutenant McGarrett,” his Captain said as he signed off.

Now Steve had the honor of waiting several hours while teams were assembled and he figured out how to storm a vacated air hangar close to the airport without the Hesse brothers knowing that he was coming. He earned only one reprieve during the whole time, and that was when Matt arrived with Grace.

He stepped away from preparing his kit and stared her up and down, verifying that she was okay and neither Victor nor Anton Hesse had been anywhere near her.

“I recognize that look,” Matt said knowingly. “You can hold her.” Steve opened his mouth to protest, but it was too late. Matt had already placed her in his arms. “Danny gets that look sometimes, out of nowhere. It’s like he forgets that they’re not in a car or that there’s no bad guys lurking around the house. Sometimes, you just need to hold a baby.”

“Anyone ever told you that you have good advice?” Steve deadpanned, earning a smirk in return.

The expression was just similar enough to Danny’s that Steve took a kind of relief and determination from it, driving him more than ever to rescue Danny. For now, he had Grace in his arms to worry about, his fingers doing a quick skim-check of her little body for any kind of puncture marks or wounds.

“Hey little one,” Steve said, his tone heavy with panic even though he tried to lighten it for Grace’s sake. “You okay?”

“Fine!” Grace blabbered up at him with a big grin on her face. “Steve,” she added with heavy concentration.

Steve’s returning smile was fraught with worry. Normally, he would be giddy. It was the first time that she had managed to say his name in full, but his happiness was tempered with the worry of what would happen if he couldn’t get Danny back. Not only that, but how did you tell a girl of Grace’s age that her father was in danger?

Here she was in Steve’s arms, as happy as a baby got, not even aware of the situation at hand.

Steve pulled her in tighter against him, supporting her with his hands splayed wide as he paced around the room, mumbling ‘it’s okay’ to her as many times as he could, as if he could bolster his confidence with the repetition. Eventually, his mantra grew too fast and hurried and Matt stepped in again.

“Okay, man, you’re freaking me out, I have no idea what you’re doing to my niece,” Matt said apologetically, taking her back into his arms. Steve tried not to process the keen sense of loss that came with having to surrender Grace. “So,” Matt said, his voice that deceptive light tone that Danny had when he was dead-serious about something, but didn’t want to seem that way. “Are you going to get my brother back for me?”

“I’ll do everything that I can,” Steve swore, checking the time and knowing that he should get back to packing his things. “Matt, I promise. If I don’t come back with Danny alive, I...I don’t actually know what I would do.”

He saw his father’s look of sharp distress at those words, but Steve meant it through-and-through. What good was he if he couldn’t even bring back Danny from the brink?

Once he had on a tac-vest, a set of guns, ammunition, and grenades, he felt as though he was somewhat ready. He would have preferred to go in more armed, but it was edging closer to go-time and he couldn’t afford to wait. He gave his father, Chin, and Matt a warning look.

“None of you follow me,” he reiterated. “I need you safe. Dad,” Steve said, his brow furrowed. “If I don’t come back from this...”

“You will,” Matt was the one who interrupted, against all odds. “Do not talk about this like a suicide mission. You are getting my brother back,” he said, getting a little desperate. Sometimes, Steve forgot that Matt was young. Not as young as Mary, but he still wasn’t as old as he acted. “You’re getting Danny back and you’re gonna come back, too, because otherwise, do you know how much of Danny’s ranting I’ll be subjected to? You’ll come back.”

John managed a smile of his own. “I love you, son.”

“Me too, Dad,” he said, which was what he wanted to get out in the first place – just in case. He sealed the vest on, grabbed his kit, his cell phone, and headed for the door where the team was waiting. They had a chopper in the sky, but Steve wanted to be on the ground to diffuse the situation.

The ride to the site was one of the longest of his life. He sat in the back of the van with his gun fully loaded, his uniform weighing heavy on him, and his conscience heavier than that. Even though he refused to let any hint of a negative outcome enter his mind, the thoughts had a tendency to slip in anyway.

They were miles away from their destination and Steve had no idea what kind of assault to expect once they arrived. He spent the remainder of the drive in silence, going over multiple scenarios and plans in his mind.

When the building was in sight, Steve gave the order to keep the convoy a good distance from the doors in case the area in close proximity to the abandoned air hangar was rigged with explosives to ward off an attack like this one.

Steve checked his phone, setting it to silent as he gave the signal to the men in the convoy. He was the last one out, abandoning all the practical thoughts in his mind and letting instinct take over.

He paused only momentarily to catch his breath, and then he was moving.

If he stopped, he knew that he would face danger and possible death. Moving was the only option. He checked the phone one last time, but there was nothing from Victor or Anton Hesse. They had the cover of darkness, aerial support, and he had superiority in numbers with the bomb squad standing nearby.

Steve was ready.

His back pressed to the metal grating of the door, Steve made sure that everyone was in place before counting silently to three and giving the signal. The flash grenades went in first, and then Steve followed with a firm kick of the door. His steel-toed boots did their share of damage before he let fly several smoke grenades, sliding a mask onto his face and heat-seeking goggles on atop that so he could keep moving.

He picked up four heat traces and a fifth tied to a chair. Steve had to squint, but he could make out the vaguest image from under the chair, like water dripping. Unless the water was at the temperature of a human body, it had to be...

Blood.

Steve sprinted to Danny’s side, skidding to his knees around the back. He didn’t bother untying the knots, digging out his butterfly knife from its ankle holster and flipping it out to cut the bonds loose.

“Danny. Danny, it’s Steve,” he said, ripping off the mask when the smoke cleared.

At the same time, he got out his SIG from its holster, keeping it trained on the figures moving through the receding smoke. His team was there, for the most part, but he could see Anton Hesse just barely through it all.

Steve didn’t hesitate. “Anton Hesse,” he shouted, loud as possible. “Put the weapon down or I will shoot.”

Victor was nowhere to be seen, which alarmed Steve, but not as much as the fact that Anton had a gun in his hands and he was turning it on Danny and Steve, his finger so close to pulling the trigger...

Steve’s instincts and years of training kicked in. It didn’t matter that he wanted (needed) to keep Anton alive. He pulled the trigger before Anton could; only remembering at the last minute to keep away from the fatal shot.

As it was, he still hit a place bound to do a great amount of damage.

Steve couldn’t help but feel slightly vindictive when he saw that his shot hit the femoral artery. Anton hit the floor hard, the gun clattering on the concrete as he grasped at the leg. The question of where Victor Hesse had gotten to was solved the moment that Anton’s blood began to spurt out on the floor. Instantly, Victor was at his brother’s side – armed and ready to shoot.

“Victor,” Steve warned, his gun still trained on them. His other hand was occupied seeking out a pulse on Danny’s body, but he was on one knee and unmoving. “Drop the gun, leave him. We’ll get him medical attention, but you’re both under arrest.” His team was occupied with the accomplices the Hesse brothers brought in with them, leaving Steve and Victor in a standoff.

“You’ll have to kill us both first,” Victor snarled, firing the gun randomly and rapidly, causing Steve to abandon all thoughts of firing back and dragging Danny to safety. He leaned down into his mic, trying to shout above the gunfire.

“Shots fired, Victor and Anton Hesse on the move, Anton Hesse has been hit, I repeat, Anton has been hit and will need to seek out medical attention. I have Danny Williams, I’m bringing him around back to safety!” Steve shouted, sure that only half of the words actually made it through.

Steve slid his gun back into the holster, using both hands to roam over Danny’s body. The slightly panicked tremors in his fingers were hard to hide and he was sure that Danny was bound to notice.

“Danny,” Steve said, above the echoing gunfire. “Danny, talk to me.”

There was blood coming from somewhere, he knew that much. Steve leaned down and ripped a strip of fabric from off his shirt, pushing up Danny’s button-down and finding a stab-wound in his side, rolling sticky and slow over his torso, down onto the ground.

“I need medical help, here!” Steve shouted at the top of his lungs, his worry only compounding. “Danny, please talk to me. Did they wire a bomb anywhere near you? Talk to me, say anything,” he begged.

“Grace.”

“Grace is okay, Grace is with Matt and Chin and my Dad, she’s protected,” Steve promised, sliding his open palm up Danny’s forearm, bicep, squeezing his shoulder and then repeating the process four times over while he temporarily buried his other hand in Danny’s mussed hair. “Danny, we’re going to get you to the hospital,” he promised, searching wildly through the hangar. “Status,” he demanded. “What’s the status on Victor and Anton, who has eyes on them?”

He received nothing but the crackle of incriminating silence.

“Damn it,” Steve snarled, throwing the radio across the room, sending it crashing into a set of crates.

He shifted in front of Danny, his weight absorbed by both of his knees as he slid both palms up to his face to cup his cheeks and hold onto him tightly. Danny finally seemed to get with the program, turning a drowsy and pained look on Steve. “Hey,” he drawled, voice raspy. “What, you miss me so much already you had to come find me?”

Steve sputtered out an anxious laugh as he leaned forward and rested his forehead against Danny’s knee. “Yeah, that’s right,” he agreed, making sure to flesh out his tone with just an edge of sarcasm. “I couldn’t stand being without you. You got me, Danny, you figured me out.”

“Wasn’t hard,” Danny replied, almost tenderly. It was serious enough that Steve lifted his head to give Danny a considerate look, finding nothing but sincerity on his face. It was enough that Steve wanted to pry further. “Get me outta here, I wanna see my baby girl,” Danny protested, shaking the remnants of the rope off.

“Whoa,” Steve said, on his feet in an instant when Danny started to sway. “First you get medical attention. You cannot see Grace before you’re fit. The last thing you need is to pass out because your wound is infected or there’s something else we missed. Okay?”

Danny stared stubbornly back at him.

Okay?” Steve asked again.

“You’re worse than my wife,” Danny muttered, but after he rolled his eyes, the nod of agreement came. “Okay.”

“Okay,” Steve breathed out in relief. He let the ambulance personnel take Danny away from him only when he got outside. He knew he had work to do. He knew he had to sweep the building for evidence and start following the Hesse brothers’ trail, but right now, he was overwhelmed with the knowledge that not only was Danny safe, but that Grace didn’t lose her father today.

He could think about his intense reaction to the whole mess later. Steve was getting talented at subduing worrisome thoughts. This was just one more to add to the rest.

cont'd

Date: 2011-05-28 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitmerlot1213.livejournal.com
That was damn exciting!

Good for Steve for being so determined to rescue Danny but now it looks like the Hess brothers managed to escape.

Date: 2011-05-29 06:53 pm (UTC)
andrealyn: (h50: i heart you)
From: [personal profile] andrealyn
They have! And I can't promise they're out of the story for good >.>

Date: 2011-05-28 04:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abbeyrd62561.livejournal.com
I thought it was great how determined Steve was to get Danny back. how he had to hold Grace to make sure she was alright and to anchor himself. I don't think it totally hit Steve yet what Danny said about it wasn't hard to figure out that Steve missed him and how he felt.....Great!

Date: 2011-05-29 06:54 pm (UTC)
andrealyn: (h50: light up light up)
From: [personal profile] andrealyn
Steve'll get there, I promise! It'll take him a bit, but then it'll all hit!

Thank you for reading!

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