melissas_corner: (Steve/Danny)
[personal profile] melissas_corner
The shower stall is small and claustrophobic and throws me back to the hospital in Germany which throws me back to the showers in Afghanistan. I'm having difficulty telling the difference between all three. My breathing is coming in huge gulps and I'm still not able to get enough air into my lungs. I stumble from the bathroom, my wet feet slipping on the floor. Somehow I manage to make it to my bed and press the call button before my legs give out and I land on my ass on the floor, curling into a ball, wet and naked and shivering.

Marie and two orderlies arrive and manage to get me dressed and into the bed. A syringe appears in Marie's hand from somewhere and I feel the prick of the needle in my arm and then blessed darkness.

But I'm far from free of the horrors that haunt me. They follow me into the dark and taunt me with the deaths I've caused and been unable to prevent as well as the ones I'll be responsible for. I do my best to ignore them but they're stronger than me, I know I cry out and trash against them because I'm vaguely aware of Danny speaking softly to me and of hands holding me down.

In the dark of my mind I make a decision. One that breaks my heart but one that needed to be made nonetheless. Once made, I'm finally able to rest free of my demons.

I wake in the pre-dawn hours to find my hands and feet tied to the bed and Danny asleep in a chair at my side. My neck twinges in sympathy at the awkward angle his head is at. I loathe having to wake him but my decision insists I do so.

"D," I call softly, won't do to startle him.

He comes to with a snort and a grunt, jerking a bit before he's truly aware of where he is. "You're awake. Feeling better?"

"What did Julie say about asking me that?"

He sighs. "Right. Sorry." He stands and stretches so that his shirt rides up and exposes a strip of his lower belly, an area I love to kiss. Closing my eyes, I harden my heart against the temptation that is Daniel Williams. "I'll just go let her know you're awake." He leans over and kisses me chastely on the lips then turns and leaves the room.

I stare at the ceiling until he returns with Julie in tow. I don't want to say what I need to with her but not really having a choice, I open my mouth and say the words that will break his heart along with mine. "I've come to a decision" before either of them can say anything.

They share a look. "Okay, Steve. What's this decision you've made?" Julie asks, sitting in the chair Danny slept in.

Keeping my gaze firmly locked on the ceiling, I say those dreaded words. "The best thing for all concerned: Danny, Grace and me, is if Danny and I break up. He can keep the house. I'll be transferring back to active duty once I'm better and so won't have any use for it."

"You stupid son of a bitch!" Danny exclaims, leaning over so that I have to look at him. "You think breaking our hearts is for the best!? You have another think coming, McGarrett."

"Detective Williams!" Julie scolds, pulling him out of my line of sight. "That's no way to talk to him." I can't resist any longer and turn my head until I can see Danny pacing a circle behind the chair Julie's sitting in. "Now, Steve, why don't you tell us why you think breaking up is the best thing?"

"I'm damaged goods. Danny and Grace deserve more. Someone whole, better, than me."

"Bet-" Danny stops pacing to sputter but Julie doesn't let the building rant even start, just holds up her hand stopping him in his tracks.

"What makes you think you're not good enough?"

I shrug. "Just know that I'm not."

"Steve-" Again Danny tries to talk and again Julie stops him with one upraised hand.

"If you insist on breaking that particular rule, I'll have to ask you to step outside. Am I understood?" She turns in her chair to glare at him. He nods; lips pressed tightly together, anger and frustration pouring off him.

When she turns back to me she gives me an encouraging smile. "This is a safe place. No one has the right to try and tell you that your emotions aren't valid." Danny rolls his eyes at that. "Whatever it is you're feeling is yours and yours alone and there's no such thing as a wrong emotion. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

I nod. "Even if it feels wrong to feel this way, it's not because it's how I feel."

"That's right. And I'm here to help you figure out why you feel a particular way or why certain situations make you feel that way. And then help you learn how to deal with things so that you don't feel that way anymore." She smiles and leans over to pat my hand. "Now, tell why you think Danny and Grace should leave you?"

"So I don't have to be alone."

She frowns. "But pushing them away means you'll be alone."

I shake my head. She's not getting it. "I won't have to be alone when they die."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Danny and Grace in good health?" I nod. "So why do you say they might die?"

"Because everyone I love does." Tears are streaming down my temples and into my ears. "My mom, my dad. All my fault."

"Steve-" Julie leans forward again to rub my arm. "Do you love your sister?" I nod again. "Is she dead?" I shake my head. "So not everyone you love dies."

"Enough people do. I can't stand the thought that I might be responsible for their deaths."

Julie sighs. "Who told you it's your job to take care of the world? Because they were wrong. You are no more responsible for your dad's death than you are that little boy's. There are just some things in the life that you have no control over. And people dying is one of them"

My head tells me she's right, of course she's right, but my heart is refusing to believe. It keeps telling me that if Danny and Grace stay with me, they'll die. I begin to cry harder, my sobs wracking my frame and shaking the bed.

"Danny, you can hold him."

"Can I remove the restraints?"

"Yes."

Danny all but tears the cuffs off my wrists and ankles before gathering me against his chest and rocking me like he does Grace. "May I…?"

"You may."

I'm slightly confused as to what he's asking but not for long. As soon as Julie gives her permission, he presses his face to my hair and begins murmuring in a soothing voice. His words have no meaning other than that they calm me. Eventually my sobs taper off and I'm left breathing brokenly in his arms.

"I'm going to prescribe a sleeping pill."

"No drugs." I force the words out through gritted teeth.

"It's just a sleeping pill, Steve." Danny still has his face buried in my hair. "If she thinks it'll help…"

"I won't take it. I'm not having trouble sleeping."

"It may seem that way to you but it appears that your attacks are related to your circadian rhythm. It has gotten off somehow and we need to reset it. I'd also like to extend your stay from seventy-two hours to a week while we get this settled. Okay?"

"Okay."

"Okay, then." She stands. "I should go. It's nearly dawn and I have a full schedule today. Your first dose will be administered tonight at 10." She walks to the door. "Danny?"

"I'm staying."

"You can't."

"I don't care what you say. I'm not leaving him."

"You don't understand…"

"No, you don't understand. You said he has abandonment issues. Yes?" She nods, a frown marring her forehead. "He must feel I abandoned him here. So, I'm staying."

"But, the rules…" She begins but Danny talks over her with, "Can be broken this time. Or do I need to call the Governor?"

Her sigh is loud in the small room. "So be it. I'll say your presence is part of his healing process." She turns on her heel and leaves us alone.

For endless moments Danny and I sit there, holding on to each other. Neither of us any hurry to move. Then he takes my face in his hands and presses our foreheads together. I get lost in the blue of his eyes. "You have any idea how angry your suggestion made me?"

"Grace needs to be kept safe, Danny."

"And she is safe!" He closes his eyes and one tear slides down each cheek. "She's at her safest with us and you know it!"

"But you're always saying I'm a trouble magnet."

"And you are. When we're doing our jobs. There hasn't been an incident since that football game. I am never going to leave you. Ever. Am I clear?"

"Crystal."

He pulls me close enough to tuck my head under his chin again. The position is hell on my back but I don't care. "Do you think you could eat something?"

"I can try. I haven't had an appetite since I got here."

He snorts his opinion of that and stands from the bed to retrieve the rolling table from where it had been pushed into a corner. "Since we weren't sure when you'd wake, it's another sandwich. Turkey and Swiss on Rye."

He sets the plate in my lap and lifts the lid. I tear off pieces and stuff them in my mouth, keeping my gaze lowered. After taking several bites, and a sip of orange juice, I tell him, "You're going to hear things that will disgust you. Things I had to do in the name of freedom."

"I watch the news, Steven. And war movies. I do realize that the movies get it wrong more often than not but some of what they show is true."

I shake my head. "Not the same as hearing me describe what I've done." I take a deep breath and tell him one of my secrets. "About five years ago, during one of my first missions with the SEALS, we had tracked our target to a remote village. We had him cornered in the square." My breath catches in my throat and I swallow the lump that's formed there. "We thought it was abandoned but during the fire fight, a kid wandered out right into the middle of it. I have no idea where he came from but I will never forget the sight of his head exploding. I don't remember anything else from that day. Just this kid appearing in the middle of the square and blood and brain splattering everywhere. He couldn't have been more than ten. When I look at Gracie, I see him."

"God, Babe," Danny murmurs, scooting closer on the bed and placing one hand on my thigh. "We've both killed in the course of our jobs. It's never pretty. Especially when the victim's an innocent."

"This is different!"

"How? Huh? That kid was in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you had tried to rescue him, you might have been killed, too. Please stop blaming yourself for his death."

"What if it was my bullet that killed him?" I ask in a small voice.

He shakes his head. "Still not your fault. It was war. People die. Even innocents."

"I think I know why Julie didn't want you talking," I mutter, taking a big bite of my sandwich.

"I'm sorry. She's right. No one has the right to tell you have to feel. You emotions belong to you and you alone."

"Are you not haunted by the ghosts of the innocents you've failed to protect?"

He looks away, but not before I see the hurt flash in his eyes. "Of course I am. But I haven't seen what you have. Yes, I was at Ground Zero but I seriously doubt it was even half as horrific as being half a world away and watching women and children die because some god commanded it."

"I am so not discussing religion with you."

He shrugs. "Fine by me. Religion's depressing anyway."

We sit in silence while I finish my meager meal. Once done, I set the plate back on the tray and move closer to him. "Hey, D?" I turn his face to mine with one hand on his cheek.

He smiles softly at me before meeting me half way, our lips touching, parting then going back again and again; each time the kisses get deeper, harder and our breathing picks up until we're panting into each other's mouths.

I fall back on the bed, taking him with me, twisting my upper body so that we're draped half over each other. Our hands find bare skin and touch, becoming reacquainted with every square inch we can reach. His fingers catalog each new scar on me and mine do the same with him.

When I reach for his fly, he stops me. "No."

"Danny…"

He runs his free hand through my hair. "Not here, not now. We'll get there, though. Promise."

I drop my head to rest my forehead against his. "You can't promise that."

"You mean like you promised my daughter that you'd come home?"

"But I did come home."

"And we'll get there. Please-" He cups my cheeks in his hands. "-have some patience."

"Patience sucks," I mutter, rolling off to lie on my right side next to him on the bed. "I need…" My voice catches in my throat and I bury my face against his shoulder, hiding the blush I know is staining my cheeks.

"I know, I need, too." He shifts until he's lying facing me on his left side. "How about I-" He slips his hand under the waist band of my sweats. My face gets even hotter when his searching hand encounters my flaccid penis. "It's okay, Steve." No it's not but words are beyond me right now. "It happens. Especially when stressed. You know that."

"But I want you so much!"

"I know you do, Babe. Trust me. I know. Just take this as your body's way of telling you that now's not the time. Okay?" He presses a kiss to my hair.

"Why is this happening to me?" Why couldn't I have come home from this deployment just like every other one?"

"Were you ever injured this badly before?"

I shake my head. "Shot a couple of times but never anything that was bad enough for me to be sent home on medical leave."

"Maybe that's the difference. Combined with the TBI."

"I don't know but it sucks fucking rocks."

He chuckles. "Yes, it does. But at least you're home safe. And we have time for you to get better."

I snuggle closer and close my eyes, his warmth and the thump-thump of his heart lulling me to sleep. "I guess so."

He chuckles again and, pressing another kiss to my hair, he settles back with me cradled against his chest. "I love you, Steven Jedi McGarrett."

My eyes fly open at his use of my middle name but quickly close again. Despite all the sedatives, I haven't really slept and I find I don't want to resist any longer.

I'm not sure how long we've been napping when we're both woken by Marie breezing into my room followed by two orderlies pushing a cart with a fold up cot on it. "Dr. Anderson said you'd be getting a roommate so here's the extra bed." She directs them to set it up right next to mine. "Just 'cause she's breaking the rules for you doesn't me you can get it on at night." She wags her finger back and forth between us. "I got my eyes on you two." She ushers the orderlies out of the room, then turns back to us. "You ready to go see Dr. Anderson?"

A tiny shiver of apprehension skates down my spine and Danny kisses my shoulder to remind me I'm not alone in this. "As ready as we can be, I guess." We climb from the bed and follow Marie through the halls and down an elevator to Julie's office. A few steps outside my room I reach out for Danny's hand and don't feel even a tiny a bit embarrassed at holding his hand while walking through the hospital. If anything, I feel proud to call him my boyfriend.

"Uncle Steve!" Grace squeals and takes a running leap at my head the moment we enter the waiting area.

I manage to catch her in mid-air and crush her against my chest. "Hey, Baby Girl." I bury my nose in the crook of her neck, inhaling her sweet scent.

"Hey, Danno. Hey, Monkey," Danny says sarcastically from behind me.

Grace and I chuckle. "Hey, Danno," she parrots obediently, leaning over my shoulder to kiss his cheek.

"Hey, Boss." Kono gives a tiny wave from where she's standing in the center of the room.

"Hey." I'm suddenly self conscious of the fact that I'm in a therapist office in a hospital and that my team knows that I've been admitted to the psych ward.

"You look good."

"Liar." She chuckles.

"You do, too. At least better than the last time I saw you."

"Some Christmas this turned out to be, huh?"

She shrugs. "I don't know. Considering we thought you were dead, I'd say this is a far better one than it could have been." I nod and accept her peck to my cheek. "Really glad you're not dead," she whispers. Clearing her throat, she turns to Danny. "Just call when you're ready for me to come back and get her."

"Will do. Thanks, Kono."

Kono's dimples appear when she smiles. "My pleasure." With another wave she's out the door.

"Can I press the button, now?" Danny and I frown at Grace. She sighs and rolls her eyes. "That one!" She throws her arm out in the direction of the door to Julie's office. "Auntie Kono wouldn't let me push it until you two got here."

"Of course she did. And yes, you can push it now," Danny says.

Grace begins squirming to get down as soon as Danny says 'yes'. The instant her feet touch the floor, she's off like a bullet. She pushes the button with her head tilted back so she can see the light over the door. She makes a frustrated sound in the back of her throat when the light doesn't go off. "Danno!" She spins on her heel and points at the light like he can make it go off.

"Easy, Monkey." He chuckles softly and ruffles her hair when she flops down on the couch between us. "The light means that there's still someone in there with the doctor. It'll go off as soon as they're finished. Steve's not her only patient, you know."

"I know. I just want Uncle Steve to get better."

Danny and I frown at each other over her head at her continued use of 'Uncle Steve' but before either of us can say anything the light goes off and Julie opens the door. "Steve. Danny" she greets us each with a hand shake. "And you must be Grace." She smiles down at where Grace is trying to become one with my leg.

I nudge her shoulder and she frowns up at me before turning to Julie and saying, "That's me".

"I have been looking forward to meeting you." Julie stands back and ushers us into the room. Grace takes both mine and Danny's hands and walks slowly between us into the room. "You have nothing to fear from me, Grace. I'm here to help your Papa get better."

"I can still call him Papa?"

"Of course you can. Why would you think you can't?"

Grace shrugs. "Auntie Kono said I prolly shouldn't."

"Kono doesn't know everything." Danny juggles her hand and she jiggles mine. I look down at her and wink, causing her to giggle.

"Good to see you in a good mood today, Steve." Julie motions further into the room. "Please have a seat." The three of us sit on the couch with Grace on my lap. Julie sits in the same chair as before and immediately begins scribbling notes on her pad. "So, Grace, please tell me about the day you found out that Papa was reported dead."

Grace presses back against my chest, almost as if she's trying to disappear. "It was a bad day. I called Danno and Auntie Cath answered his phone. And he forgot to call me back." She shakes her head. "He never forgets to call me back." Her voice is small and frightened. I wrap my arms tighter around her. "When I got home from school, Mommy told me Danno was upstairs asleep in one of the guest rooms." She pauses and her breath hitches in her chest. "When he woke up he told me that Auntie Cath lied when she said she had no news about Papa. He said that Papa had been reported killed in action and wasn't coming home." Her voice breaks on that last word. "But he promised he'd come home and he always keeps his promises. I knew here-" She touches her heart. "-that he wasn't dead. But no one believed me because I'm just a little kid and what do kids know about anything, huh?" I can hear the anger at the adults refusal to believe in her voice and kiss her head in apology.

"I'm sure that's not why, Grace." Julie tries to reassure her. "See, adults have learned to believe what people in authority tell them. And the military… Well, the military are like the government. They are the authority. Especially when it comes to one of their own. If they say that a soldier has been killed, then why would a civilian not believe them?"

"But even Danno believed! He loves Papa so he should have doubted. He knows Papa never breaks a promise."

"But this was a promise I shouldn't have made, Baby Girl. I knew there was a chance I wouldn't come home."

She twists around to gap at me. "You lied?"

I chew my lower lip. "I wanted you to stop crying, Keiki so I said what I know you wanted to hear."

"But you did come home!"

"Grace." Julie tries to stop the argument before it begins. "Tell me about the months after Danno told you Papa was dead."

Grace folds her arms over her chest and I'm afraid she'll refuse but before I can remind her of her manners, she begins to speak. "I was so mad at Danno for insisting Papa was dead. I didn't talk to him for a long time. Like a week or two and then only when I had to. I also didn't go to his house on the weekends for even longer. A month, I think." I hide a smile in her hair at how to her ten year-old mind a week is a long time. "Only when we moved into Papa's house did I go with him again. But even so, I was still mad and so refused to speak unless I had to."

"Auntie Mary gave Danno Papa's house?" Julie had listened intently to every word Grace said but is now writing furiously on her pad.

"Yeah. Papa forgot to change his will before he left so Auntie Mary got everything but she didn't want the house. So, when Auntie Mary came to Papa's service, she gave Danno the keys to the house, not that Danno doesn't already have a set, and told him that since there's nothing left for her on the islands she won't be coming back so we might as well have the house so it won't sit empty." Grace turns to look at me again. "And you'd want us to have it, right?"

"Of course, Baby Girl. Can't think of anyone better to take care of it."

"You told Mary to give it to me, didn't you?" Danny kicks my foot with his.

"And what if I did? I knew she wouldn't want it. No reason to sell it if someone could use it. Plus, it's completely paid for so you don't have to pay rent or worry about a mortgage which means you have more money to save for Grace's college."

"Except for the higher property tax due to the cove out the back door." I grin unrepentantly at him. He rolls his eyes at me. "Good thing I love you and live to make my daughter happy."

"It's obvious the two of you love each other very much and that Grace features heavily in the picture of your relationship." I had almost forgotten that we weren't at home. "One more question for you, Grace. Tell me about when Papa came home."

"The four months from when Danno told me until Christmas were bad. Real bad. Not only was I mad at Danno, but I was mad at all the adults. Even Auntie Kono and Auntie Cath. But I let Auntie Kono and Auntie Malia and Uncle Chin take me Trick or Treating. And Thanksgiving was very quiet. We didn't sit at the table like usual. We sat in the living room. I also had Auntie Kono take me Christmas shopping. Auntie Mary and I had been texting since she was here for Papa's service and she's the only one who didn't try to convince me he was dead. She even sent me a present for him."

"So, Auntie Mary didn't believe he was dead?"

Grace shrugs. "She never said. She did tell me the present was actually for me but I knew that when Papa came home, he'd be upset without a present to open so I put his name on it. But Danno got mad and yelled that I needed to realize he wasn't ever coming back." Her lower lip trembles. "And he was getting tired of telling me that. He's never yelled at me like that before." Her voice is very soft and she's huddled in on herself in my lap. "I told him I hate him and ran to my room where I slammed the door and cried myself to sleep." Tears slip down my cheeks at hearing what she went through because of me. "But when I woke and went to get Danno, I found Papa sleeping in the bed next to Danno. So I crawled up on the bed and laid down between them. I told Danno. I told you!" She sits up straight and points a finger right in Danny's face. "But no one believed me."

"Maybe next time they will, hm?" Julie smiles at Grace.

Grace flops back against my chest as if her outburst has exhausted her. "We all fell back to sleep but woke when the storm hit. The thunder caused Papa to have a bad dream but after a shower and some food he was better. Until Uncle Chin and Auntie Kono and Auntie Malia came by." She crosses her arms again and frowns. "They said I couldn't call Papa, Papa because he's not my Papa. Even though he's my step-dad like Stan is. They said that if I don't call Stan Dad or something similar then I shouldn't do that with Papa." I had no idea that they had tried to get Grace to not call me Papa. I look over her head at Danny but he just shrugs and shakes his head. "They said that Papa isn't really my step-dad because he's not married to Mommy. I said that's because she's married to Stan but Papa is my step-dad because he's marrying Danno. They said that Danno and Papa can't marry because Hawai'i doesn’t have same sex marriage, only domestic partnership. Which is a lie. I looked and Hawai'i has civil unions which is just like a marriage!" And yet different. While, yes, Danny and I would have a piece of paper similar to a marriage license, it wouldn't be the same at all. Domestic partnership is more like a marriage in that we'd both have rights in the event anything should happen.

"Wow." Julie chuckles. "I take it you want Danno and Papa to get married?"

Grace nods. "They love each other and that's what people who are in love do. They get married."

"Okay. Good to know that you approve." Julie scribbles some more on her pad.

"I've liked Papa from the first. Just days after meeting Danno he paid for us to spend three days at the Kahala Hotel so I could swim with the dolphins. And Danno's calmer and happier since he became Papa's partner. Almost like how he was before him and Mommy got divorced."

Julie nods. "Tell me what happened at the beach yesterday."

Grace sighs. "That was bad, too. Papa had an appointment and said he'd meet us for lunch. I decided I wanted some of Uncle Kamekona's shrimp so Danno texted Papa to tell him where to meet us. When he arrived he looked sick. Danno sent me to pick a table. Not sure why. When they finished ordering, I asked Papa to sit next to me." Danny snorts. She didn't so much ask as demand I sit there. "When I snuggled up next to him his body went stiff, then began trembling and he seemed to have trouble breathing." Grace wraps her arms around my waist and tucks her head under my chin. "We got him home and he said he wanted to be on the beach. So we knelt there and held him until he felt better. But he isn't better, is he? 'Cause he's here instead of home where he belongs."

"No, Grace, he isn't 'better'. But that's why he's here. And why you're here, too. You and Danno are here to help me help him get better."

"So he can come home?"

"Yes, so he can come home." Grace sniffles and Julie hands her a tissue. "Now, Grace, Danno, Papa and I need to discuss some adult things. If you'll go out that door-" She points at the door leading out into the hall. "-a nurse will take you to the pediatric play room. Okay?"

Grace tightens her hold on my waist. "No," she mutters. "Don't wanna go."

"I know but-" Julie starts but I know that'll just make Grace dig her heels in so I cut her off with an upraised hand.

"Gracie Girl, listen to me." Taking her by the shoulders, I push her back so I can see her face. "It's just for a little while longer. I'll be home in a few days, okay?"

She gives me a long look. "Promise?"

"Uh…" I begin to panic slightly. "Sorry. I can't promise that. But I can promise that I'll let you come visit. 'Kay?"

She sighs. "Fine. As long as you pinky promise." She holds up her right hand with her pinky extended.

"Pinky promise," I say, linking my pinky with hers and shaking it.

"Love you, Papa." She kisses my cheek and hugs my neck tight.

"Love you, too, Baby Girl." I return her hug. "Now, go on. I'll see you later." I set her on her feet and shoo her toward the door with a pat to her backside.

"Love you, Danno!" She calls out before disappearing out the door.

"Danno loves you, too," Danny mumbles even though she more than likely didn't hear it since the door has already closed.

"Steve." Julie brings my attention back to her. "Want to tell me what happened yesterday?"

I lick my lips and think about what happened. "I'm not really sure. I was feeling better after seeing Danny after our session. But I found I couldn't settle so I did some light exercises. Just some push-ups and sit-ups. Then I needed a shower." I shake my head. "Something about the shower stall reminded me of Germany."

"Which reminded you of Afghanistan." Never let it be said that Julie isn't quick on the upswing.

"Yeah. I guess." I shrug.

"It's okay, Steve. PTSD and anxiety attacks have no rhyme or reason to them. You just have to learn how to spot the signs and how to stop it in its tracks. And that's what I'm here for. To teach you how."

"And I'm here, too. As are our ohana." I turn to look at Danny, his beloved face blurred by the tears in my eyes.

"Danny? Is there something you want to say to Steve?"

Danny puts one hand on my thigh and squeezes. "I love you more than I can ever say. There are not enough words in any language." He shifts closer and his hand slips higher on my thigh causing my dick to twitch at the thought that he might touch it. "I think I've loved you from the first. I do know that I fell in love with you when you gave me that weekend pass to the Kahala Hotel so that Grace could swim with the dolphins. You hadn't even met her yet and already you were protective of her. You were so worried that she wouldn't have a good time that you bought us three days at an expensive hotel.

"I also want you so much. I've wanted to have my wicked, wicked way with you since I turned the corner of your dad's garage and found you at the end of my gun." He stops to clear his throat. He doesn't seem to notice that he's running the tips of his fingers along the inseam of my pants. "But you introduced yourself as a Lieutenant Commander and I knew that your military brain wouldn't allow us to do anything, be anything, more than friends. And I was okay with that. Am okay with that." He turns sideways on the couch. "Steve, if you're never recovered enough for us to have sex, that's fine with me. Just so long as I can spend the rest of my life with you. That's all I ask."

I shake my head, no longer embarrassed by the tears flowing down my face. Danny puts a lot of stock in words but he knows that I don't. Although that doesn't seem to bother him here, now. "I want to believe, Danny. I do, but-" The words dry up in my throat. I can feel an attack coming and try to cut it off by doing the breathing Julie taught me but it doesn't seem to be working.

The walls are closing in, my heart is racing, a cold sweat has broken out on my skin and my vision has narrowed to a point where the only thing I can see is Danny's concerned face. For several moments I'm aware of nothing except the terrifying feeling of suffocating to death and then with a rush the bubble around me pops and I can hear Danny murmuring loving words, telling me that he's here with me and he's not going anywhere. Several seconds tick by before I become aware of his hands on my face. I use his voice, his touch, the very sight of him as my grounding wire.

"Breathe with me, Babe," he says, then takes a slow breath in, holds it for a second and then releases it just as slowly. A quick dart of my eyes to the right shows Julie watching silently, an encouraging look on her face. "You're doing good, Babe. Just keep breathing, okay? Slowly in, slowly out." Again he puts actions to words.

It takes several long minutes but eventually we're able to bring my panic attack under control. "I'm sorry," I mumble, closing my eyes and leaning forward so I can bury my face in his chest.

"Absolutely nothing to be sorry for, Steve. Just glad I was here and could help." He strokes the back of my head like I've seen him do to Grace when she's upset. "Julie said the attacks might get worse before they get better. But together we can control them."

I nod, the material of his shirt catching on the stubble on my cheek. "I hate that I'm like this."

"Like what, Steve?" Julie's voice is soft and pitched low, almost as if she's afraid I'll shatter if she speaks too loud.

"Broken. Damaged. Weak."

"You are none of those things." Danny's tone is laced with anger.

"I am."

"Are not."

"Am."

"Ar-" Danny starts to counter, again, but Julie stops him with, "You are not, Steve. You're a little battered and bruised but in time you'll be healed. Just don't try and rush it."

"Will I ever be as I was before?" Who I am in my own mind is so completely tied to who I was before that the thought that I might have to become someone else is terrifying.

"Unfortunately, no. That man died in the desert of Afghanistan. You'll have to figure out who you are now. Just know that whoever he is, he is loved. By Danny and Grace. And your sister, Mary. And all of your friends."

I nod. What they're saying makes sense but I'm finding it difficult to accept. I liked who I was. I don't know who I am now and that scares me. "What if I hate him? What if he's not a good person?"

Julie tilts her head. "Do you think you're capable of being a bad person? I mean really? Deep down where it counts, do you think it is even remotely possible that you could be anything less than good?"

"I'm not sure. Everyone's capable of evil. It's part of what makes us human."

"This is true. But most people have a filter of sorts that lets them know when they're about to be bad and they stop and think and choose to not do that bad thing. You, Commander, are one of those people. Your conscience will not allow you to be evil." She looks at her watch and grimaces. "I know this is a horrible place to stop but I do have other patients." Leaning forward, she places one hand on my arm. "You are a good person, Steve. Please believe that." She looks over at Danny and smiles. "Thank you for letting me meet Danny and Grace. They're helping build the picture of you." She stands and walks us to the door. "I'll see you this afternoon, Steve."

I frown. "This afternoon? Why?"

"We've missed a few sessions and because of that, and the reason why, I feel you need the extra time."

"Okay. I hope you didn't have to move too many things around for me."

"Not at all." Danny and I step out into the hall and she starts to close the door. "Oh, before I forget. I need your sister's current phone number since she can't come to an appointment."

"Uh…" I look over at Danny who fishes his phone from his pocket.

"Here it is." He hands her his phone and she jots the number in my file before handing it back.

"Thank you. Have a good lunch."

Danny and I go and get Grace from the peds wing and all three of us have lunch in the cafeteria. Then they go home. Or rather, Danny takes Grace home. He promised he'd be back before time for bed. Said he's going to sleep in my room each night until I'm allowed to go home.

My afternoon session with Julie is much like my earlier ones. We talk a lot about my family and why I chose to become career military with the SEALs and with Five-oh.

Danny keeps his word and returns just after I've had dinner, explaining he decided to eat with Grace. He's brought a laptop with him and we spend the time until lights out watching old CHiPS episodes.

At ten on the dot, the same orderly from my first day arrives carrying a small tray with two small plastic cups. "Dr. Anderson says to take them all." He hands me the smaller cup first. Inside are two pills. I dutifully tip them into my mouth and wash them down with the water from the second one.

Either the pills are extremely effective or I'm more tired than I think, because within minutes of taking them, I'm fighting to keep my eyes open. Danny gently kisses my forehead when it becomes obvious that I won't be able to stay awake any longer, telling me it's okay to stop fighting and sleep; that he'll be there when I wake.

For the first time in months, I don't remember any dreams and when I wake, I actually feel refreshed and better than I have in a long time. Danny doesn't appear to have fared as well during the night. There are bags under his eyes and he doesn't even try to tame his hair.

"I have to take Grace back to Rachel's. Her and Stan come back today," Danny tells me over breakfast.

"Does Rachel know?"

He shakes his head. "I only told her you weren't dead. Grace may have mentioned staying with Kono these past days but if she did, Rachel hasn't said anything to me."

"It's okay, you know. To tell her. That way she can help Grace understand."

"That's if she understands it herself, 'cause God knows I don't."

"I don't either, Danny. That's why I'm getting help."

"Why are you so willing to get help?"

I knew he'd get around to asking that. "So I can get better for you and Grace."

"Uh-huh. Try again, Army man."

I roll my eyes. "What? You think you and Grace aren't good enough reasons?"

"Maybe somewhere deep inside that's true but I'm sure your main reason's much different, so spill."

I hate that he knows me so well. "I was told that if I didn't get help, I'd be medically discharged which means I'd lose my pension."

"And there it is. The fucking Navy's more important." I'm not sure what he means. Surely he knows that if I wasn't so damn close to my twenty that I'd have retired for him by now? "Is it worth it, Steve? Your pension?"

"Yeah. I didn't risk dying for nothing, D. I'm sure you'd do the same thing if you were in my shoes?"

"What?"

"If you were injured on the job and they discovered that you had a mental illness. You'd willingly get help for it in order to make it to retirement age." He sighs and I know I have him.

"Those are still stupid ass reason, Steve. Does Julie know the only reason you're being so willing is so you can get better benefits?"

I told her I was doing it for you and Grace."

Danny steps closer and takes my face in his hands. "The only reason to get better is so you can get better and be healthy. Not for better benefits after you stop being Super-SEAL or because you think Grace and I would love you any less."

"I don't think that," I whisper. And I don't. Or do I?

"Keep telling yourself that, Babe." He pulls me down to press his lips to mine. "I'll be back in time for dinner. Promise." With a pat to my left cheek, he turns and exits the room, leaving me alone.

The rest of the day passes in a haze of boredom. Until just after lunch. Marie and a couple of orderlies enter my room. "You have a couple of options here, Steve," Marie says. "You can try a shower again with these guys-" she points at the orderlies. "-in the room or I can sponge bathe you. Your choice."

"You trying to tell me I stink?"

"Pretty much."

I look back and forth between her and the orderlies. Marie is pretty and if she was ten years younger, and I wasn't head over heels for Danny, I'd let her bathe me. But since that's not gonna happen there's really only one choice. "In that case, I'll bathe myself."

"You sure? I've been told my sponge baths are to die for."

"Positive."

She chuckles. "Thought so. Markham and Stackhouse here will just be there to keep you from being triggered." I nod. "Excellent. When you're done, it'll be time for your appointment with Dr. Anderson. Have fun, boys." She grins before exiting the room.

Left alone with my babysitters, I gather up clean clothes and enter the bathroom, leaving the door open in difference of the two extra bodies. It feels good to stand under the spray and to scrub my body clean. Having someone in the room, or rather near it, helps keep me in the here and now.

Finally I feel clean enough so I turn off the water and step from the stall. And find my guards have turned their back. "Um, guys? We're military, remember? Nothing to be embarrassed about."

"Yeah, but I've seen your boyfriend and he looks like he can kick shit something fierce and I'd rather not find out first hand," Markham tells me over his shoulder.

I chuckle. "Yeah, he sure can kick some shit. But he'd know you were just doing your jobs."

"Still don't want to find out for sure, Sir," Stackhouse says, shifting slightly from foot to foot.

"Fair enough." I give them a nod to let them know I'm fine and they can go. Once alone, I find myself at a bit of a loss for what to do. But luckily not for long. About five minutes after Markham and Stackhouse leave, Marie arrives to take me to Julie's office.

My afternoon session with Julie focuses on my relationship with Dad. I can tell she's frustrated with me because I'm holding back. But I can't help it. Everything I am is because of what he did after Mom's death and I haven't figured out how to separate those feelings from each other.

At the end of our hour she hands me a notebook. "I want you to write in that." She nods at it.

"Write what?"

"Whatever. I want to start tracking your triggers."

"So you want me to start keeping a diary?"

"More like a journal. We won't meet tomorrow since it's Sunday, only once on Monday and not at all on Tuesday. This way should anything happen that you want - or need - to discuss you don't have to try and remember it until you see me again."

"I can't take this big spiral notebook to crime scenes or when chasing suspects."

"Then get a small one that fits in a pocket. The point is to jot down what's going on when you begin to feel an attack coming on."

"Okay." I know I'll feel weird doing it and will most likely forget but I'll try to remember. I want to get better and if this'll help…

"I'm going to give you an assignment this one time. I want you to tell Danny everything."

"He's not cleared for a lot of it."

"Don't worry about that. Just tell him. Start with your earliest memory and work your way to the present."

"I can do that." At least I hope I can.

"Good. I want you to write about how you feel while telling him, how he reacted and how you feel about his reaction."

"And show you Monday?"

"No. This is all for you. If telling him makes you have an attack, I want to know. But otherwise-" She shrugs. "-for your eyes only."

When I get back to my room, I find that Danny still hasn't returned. I decide to start writing about what I want to tell him, mostly so when I do begin I don't have to search for the words. But also so that if I find I can't say them out loud, I can just hand him the book and let him read it.

My first memory is of a December 7th Remembrance Day when I was four or five. It leads to another which leads to another, and so on and so forth. Most of them are not in chronological order and so the pages end up getting filled with a disjointed stream of consciousness that I hope he can follow. By the time he returns, I've managed to write about most of my childhood and have just started on the memories of my junior year at the military academy.

"Hey, Babe." He presses a kiss to my temple. "Whatcha doing?"

"Writing things I remember." I finish off the memory of my graduation from the academy and close the notebook before turning to face him. "Hi," I say, pulling him closer so I can wrap my arms around his waist and rest my head on his chest. The steady thump-thump of his heart is very soothing.

"Hi, yourself," he says softly, carding his fingers through the hair on the back of my head. "Had a good day?"

"No attacks."

"A very good day."

I laugh. "Yeah. A very good day." I try and not think about how my life for the foreseeable future will be measured in good days versus bad days. Danny's stomach rumbles and I pull back to frown at it. "Didn't you eat?"

"Yeah, like five or six hours ago. It's dinner time. Let's go." He steps back and leads the way from my room to the cafeteria. I absently notice that no one accompanies us.

It isn't until we're sitting down at a table in the back that Danny notices I've brought my notebook with me. "Why'd you bring that?"

"Julie says I should tell you things and I wrote some down so I wouldn't forget." He nods. "But I don't think I can say them, so here." I push the notebook across the table to him.

He wipes his hands on his jeans before picking it up and flipping it open to the first page. "Is this the very first memory you have?" He points at the words scribbled on the page.

"Yeah. I was four, I think, that day just stayed with me for some reason."

"Okay." He starts to read, then looks back up. "You want comments as I read?"

"If you want to comment,-" I shrug. "-sure."

He smiles at me before lowering his gaze to the pages while absently forking spaghetti into his mouth. He chuckles a few times and I know he hasn't gotten to my memories of Dad after Mom's death yet. When a scowl crosses his face and he glances up to frown at me, I know he's there. I chew my lower lip while pushing the food around my plate.

It takes us nearly an hour to eat because he's distracted by reading my memories and asking questions to clarify a few details. By the time he's done eating, he's read most of what I wrote.

Danny's quiet on the walk back to my room and I begin to worry that that means he's deciding whether or not I'm worth it after all. But then I remember what both him and Julie have said and I figure that he's just trying to wrap his head around what he now knows about my childhood and possibly trying to reconcile it with what he already knows of me as an adult.

After reading about how my dad taught me to box and helped me with football, he muttered, "That explains a lot". Not sure how to take that comment, I chose to just ignore it. Along with a few other choice comments he makes about my dad's treatment of Mary and I after Mom's death. Even though I'm sure he'd do the same with Grace, it's uplifting to know he has my back in regards to what Dad did.

It's not until we're back in my room that he speaks and even then it takes him a second or two to find the words.

"Is it wrong to say that I truly hate your dad? I mean, the man was a great cop but he sucked as a father."

"He did what he thought was best to protect the family he had left. Can you honestly say you wouldn't do the same with Grace?"

He sighs and flops down on his bed. "I know if I was in his shoes, I'd probably do the exact same. But I'm not just talking about what he did after. I'm talking about how he was hardly there. And how you never knew he went to all your games. Hell, he could have told you after. Could have given you some praise for a great throw or whatever." He shrugs.

"Your parents made sure you and your siblings knew you were loved, didn't they? That's why you are the way you are with Grace." I sit next to him, leaning in a bit so that our shoulders touch.

"Yeah, Pop may have been fire chief but he only missed things if there was a fire or accident. If he was on and one of us had something, the whole fire house would come." He shakes his head. "I just don't understand parents who don't show affection to their kids. It doesn't even have to be hugs and kisses. Saying you're proud, showing up for games or performances; that's what kids remember."

"And is why you moved over five thousand miles from your family. So that when Grace is a mother she can tell her kids how you were there for her."

"Yeah, and so she can see what kind of man I want her to marry."

"That's assuming she wants to marry a man."

"True. She could be bi-sexual like me and fall for a woman." We sit in silence for a moment, just being with each other. "So the last memory I read was the day your dad sent you to the mainland with Joe. Care to expand that? Or tell me about life with Joe?"

"Could you just keep reading and I'll answer any questions you have?" I hate talking about this stuff but know I have to with Julie, but not so much with Danny.

Luckily he agrees with me. "Okay, on to the next memory. Love the stream of consciousness, by the way."

I turn my head to hide a smile against his shoulder. "I thought you might. It wasn't difficult. Once I got going it just flowed. Each memory reminded me of another and so on and so forth."

"I like knowing more about what makes you tick." He bounces his shoulder a bit. "Lets me know that you truly are human and not the superman Grace thinks you are."

"She only thinks that because you told her I am."

He snorts. "I did no such thing."

I prop my chin on his shoulder. "She told me some of the stories you've told her about me. I come off as pretty close to superhuman in several of them."

Danny tilts his head and rests it against mine. "They were supposed to be cautionary tales."

I laugh and nuzzle behind his ear. "If you say so."

"Steve…" He twitches his shoulder, dislodging me from my perch. "We've talked about that."

"Yeah, yeah. Wasn't really trying anything other than saying 'I love you'."

"Use your words." He turns and presses a quick kiss to my nose. "Like this: I love you, Steven Jedi McGarrett."

"I wish my parents hadn't been such nerds," I groan, flopping back on the bed.

Danny leans over me, his hands braced on either side of my head. "I like it. In fact, I think I'll make that your new nickname: Jedi. What'd'ya think?"

"Fine!" I grab his face and pull him down until our noses touch. "I'll quit calling you 'Danno'!"

"Oh, no, Jedi, don't. I like it." His grin is pure evil and his amusement is dancing in his eyes. It feels good to be happy here with him.

I pull him down for a kiss just as Marie clears her throat from the door. "Lights out, boys."

We both sigh and Danny rolls off me to allow me to sit up so I can take the little cup of sleeping pills from Marie's outstretched hand. "I didn't have any attacks today," I say, trying to get out of having to take the pills.

"But Dr. Anderson didn't cancel the order. So until such time as she does, you take them every night."

With a resigned sigh, I toss back the hated pills and wash them down with the water. I begin to feel the effects sooner than last night and worry a bit but before I can really worry about it, I'm drifting on a sea of darkness that is free of demons.

The next day is spent wandering the grounds with Danny. Rachel brings Grace by in time for lunch. On more than one occasion I catch Rachel looking at me with sympathy in her eyes.

Monday, Danny and I have a session with Julie in the morning and then I have a solo session in the afternoon.

Tuesday is a repeat of Sunday, except Kono is the one to bring Grace by. According to Grace, Rachel was busy cleaning up from a party her and Stan threw the night before. But according to Kono, delivered in a whisper, Rachel was saddened by seeing me in the hospital.

Wednesday marks one week since I'd first been admitted and Julie has Grace, Kono and Chin present for the morning session with Danny and me.

It's quickly decided that I won't ever be left alone which means that Five-oh is moving into my house part-time. Chin informed me that Kamekona has already offered to sit with me when the team needs to be at the office or out in the field. I feel like a child that can't be left alone and it makes me feel guilty for taking them all away from their jobs. They're quick to reassure me, however, when I express my concerns about it. Stating that they don't mind; that this is what you do for the people you love.

And so it is that I walk out of Tripler a week after entering it, surrounded by my ohana and clutching a script for sleeping pills. Pills that I'm determined to never take while knowing deep down that my little rebellion won't even get off the ground. Not when Julie mentioned the pills in front of Grace. And Kono.

Part six

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-10 07:07 pm (UTC)
simplyn2deep: (Default)
From: [personal profile] simplyn2deep
it's great that he was able to talk to Danny about what he's been through and that Danny's being understanding as well.

Ohana will always be there for each other.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-11 01:17 pm (UTC)
irishjeeper: (Firefly: River)
From: [personal profile] irishjeeper
I've been reading this series since I got admitted to the hospital last night.

My heart aches for Steve and his Ohana.

I love that you wrote Markham and Stackhouse into this Chapter!!!!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-12 01:16 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I giggled out loud on Markham & Stackhouse. :)

I was admitted for another round of Guillian Barre Syndrome. It first hit me this past September and after a round of treatment (9 days) I went into physical therapy/occupational therapy rehab for 7 weeks. I've been home for about 2.5 weeks and started regressing.

Dangerous/annoying/frustrated/painful but life could be so much worse.

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