I started writing this a few months ago but was never really happy with it so I put it away for a while in hopes of coming back to it some day. Last night's episode 4.19 "Blood Brothers" is one of my new all around favorites but as much as I enjoyed finally getting some of the McRoll we've been missing I was also reminded how sad it makes me that the character of Catherine won't be returning next season. That got me thinking about some of my other favorite episodes from other seasons, many of which included Catherine. Since the scene in 4.19 where Steve told Catherine to make a reservation at that sushi restaurant she likes on King St. reminded me of this story I decided to take it out and dust it off.
This takes place entirely in the universe of season 2 and covers a lot of ground, starting with 2.04, touching on 2.10 and then ending with 2.16 and obviously contains spoilers for all three episodes. Anything you recognize is taken directly from the aforementioned episodes so I can nly take credit for everything else. I hope I've caught and corrected any mistakes, but any that remain are unfortunately my own.
Due to the length of this story I thought about posting it as a multi-chapter fic, but it didn't break into chapters easily, doesn't contain a lot of suspense and if you're a fan of the show you already know how it ends. So if you're still interested in reading I'll just have to ask you to wade through all 7,000+ words and would love to receive some feedback.
It was another beautiful day in Honolulu, Hawaii but Steve McGarrett wasn't noticing the weather as he approached where Catherine Rollins waited for him on a park bench. He stopped, just looking at her for a moment - it always did something to him to see her in her cammies and he wished he could see it more often. Immediately that caused a slight pang of guilt that the only reason he called her today was to ask for another favor. He stopped and picked a Plumeria blossom off a tree by the path before turning his attention back to her.
She smiled at him as he walked over and sat down beside her but didn't reply.
"Thank you for meeting me."
"I got that for you", he said, offering her the white flower.
"Oh. Look at that." She sniffed it and smiled, thanking him as she reached up to position it by her right ear.
He watched her movements and was surprised to realize he was a little hurt by where she chose to place it, knowing she was very well aware of the tradition that placing it behind her right ear symbolized she was single and available.
In that split second it occurred to him that she technically was single and available even though he'd thought they had an understanding about their relationship. He filed that away under things to consider later, since now there was work to do.
When Steve produced the small book that appeared to be filled with columns of handwritten numbers Catherine immediately knew he was going to ask her for another favor and she laughed. Honestly, she was a little frustrated by it. She'd been in town for a couple of days, and he hadn't really made time for her like she'd hoped. It didn't help that their work schedules were conflicting this week, but he certainly found a way to work out a visit when he needed something.
Still though, she did want to help him, however she could. But, she was going to up the ante and insist on dinner this time; especially since the Enterprise was going to be in port at Pearl for the next several weeks - she had time to collect. She consciously forced herself to relax and lean back on the bench; trying not to let her body language reflect her true feelings.
"What do you need this time?" she asked him, with only the barest hint of a tone in her words.
"What do you make of this?" he asked. She rolled her eyes as he handed her the book. As Catherine studied it Steve suddenly found himself feeling a little tense and wanting to move so he stood and offered her his hand, "Do you want to walk?"
She nodded and accepted his hand to stand as she started down the dirt path, continuing to look through the pages of the leather-bound journal. He told her a bit about the case; that a severed hand had been found and after the victim was identified through fingerprints
he and Danny had discovered some valuable gold coins in his apartment, and that the book she was currently holding had been hidden under a mattress.
"Now our victim was a wreck diver and we think that he may have been killed at one of his dive sites."
"Okay. Well, if you're right about these being coordinates, the cipher should be easy to crack. I'll run cryptography and let you know what I find."
He held her gaze and smiled as they continued to walk and Catherine wondered if there was something else. When Steve didn't say anything for several moments she decided to speak up.
"See, this is usually the part where, you know, you ask me out to dinner as a thank you." She almost put air quotes around 'thank you' but controlled herself.
"Oh yeah. Absolutely. Anywhere you want. Okay?" He put his hand on her arm as he spoke and she could see that he genuinely appreciated her help, and meant what he said. She was right, though, there was more.
"But before you decide, I, uh, I need to ask you one more favor." He turned to her and stopped walking.
She smiled. She already knew she would agree - no matter what the favor was. She had also decided that, this time, she was definitely collecting on the IOU and knew exactly what she was asking for. "Sasabune. Omakase menu."
Sasabune was an excellent and very expensive sushi restaurant in Honolulu and the Omakase menu is "chef's choice" and consisted of about a dozen courses. Steve grimaced a little and scratched his neck but she knew she had him. She tilted her head in acknowledgement of what she was asking, "Yeah. Now what's the favor?"
Who was he kidding? This dinner was probably going to cost him a couple week's salary, but she was worth it and he knew it. Still, he couldn't really believe what he was agreeing to. He blew out a breath. "Fine. Um…"
He looked around, to make sure they were really alone, and suddenly she felt the air around them change. She knew immediately this was something that was important to Steve and she had a feeling it was personal.
Steve's face turned serious and his tone was hushed as he asked, "You remember Joe White?"
"Your old commander?", she replied, her volume matching his.
He nodded, "Yeah."
"Yeah, yeah. I heard he's overseeing SEAL team training at Pearl now."
"Yeah, he is. Uh…" Steve paused to take a deep breath, like he was working up to something, and Catherine knew her feeling had been right. This was something that was deeply personal and extremely important to Steve, and she suddenly felt honored that he was trusting her with it. "Look, he submitted a piece of intel for analysis, okay? It's a video I'm trying to pull sound from. DOD has been sitting on it for weeks now. I just, I was hoping you could check the status for me."
Watching him, his body language, she realized Steve seemed almost nervous and she wanted to reassure him. "Look, if the request came from Joe, I'm sure it's being handled."
"Could you just check? For me, please?"
Steve's request didn't really make sense to Catherine because if Joe had submitted the intel, she couldn't believe it wasn't being taken seriously. She found herself feeling confused and wondering what Steve was really after. "Do you think someone at DOD is giving you the runaround?"
"I don't know. I don't know what's going on." Steve was being honest, and Catherine could see that. She found the whole thing a little unnerving. She was getting a weird feeling that there was something else going on, something that Steve either didn't want her to know or wasn't comfortable discussing at the moment but she trusted him and would do as he asked.
"Will you, uh, will you call me when you find out and I'll meet you?"
"Sure." Catherine looked at him, searching his eyes, "Steve, what's going on?"
"It's probably nothing." He shrugged and changed the subject with a half-smile on his face. "So, when are you free to help me clean out my bank account?" His teasing lifted the mood a little and she played along.
She flashed him an honest smile. "Well, commander, can I check my calendar and let you know?"
His smile spread across his face as he responded in kind, "Absolutely, lieutenant. I look forward to it."
They parted ways since Catherine was due back at Pearl and Steve knew Danny was waiting in the car and they had a murder case to get back to solving.
When Steve received his lieutenant's message a few hours later with the de-coded dive coordinates and a note that she was free the following evening he couldn't help but smile a little as he was looking up the phone number to make a dinner reservation. He had every intention of keeping their dinner date but planned to thank her more personally after they left the restaurant.
The team kept at it for a few more hours, ordering in some dinner and eventually heading home to get some rest. It had been a long day and Steve was tired. They had developed and subsequently discarded several working theories on their murder that day and were planning to meet with the victim's employer early the next morning. But rather than focusing on the case, Steve found himself thinking about Catherine as he lay in bed that night.
He was tired, and wanted to sleep, but was too wound up and had too much on his mind.
What kept him up was the realization that he was bothered quite a bit by the symbolism of the flower behind her ear. After pondering that and what it meant for a bit he came to a couple of conclusions. The first was that he may be reading more into it than Catherine ever intended and just because she knew of the tradition, it didn't mean she was consciously choosing to follow it. The second conclusion was, whether or not Catherine was making a statement with her placement of the flower, he would much rather have seen it behind her left ear, meaning she was taken.
It became clear to him the longer he lay in bed awake that he knew how he felt. What it boiled down to was he wanted her to feel taken, unavailable, spoken for - and what was weighing most heavily on him was that he didn't really know where they stood in her eyes.
It occurred to him that he had only himself to blame because he had never given her any real reason to believe they were engaged in a serious relationship and knew she would never presume. Suddenly, he was looking forward to their dinner date the following evening because it would be the perfect setting for a discussion about their status as a couple. He had no idea what to say, but he was good at thinking on his feet - he'd come up with something.
Steve found himself occupied with the case the next day; locating the victim's boat where it was left anchored, diving the wreck below and discovering a 1930s ambulance, identifying the corpse they recovered and learning the dead man had been involved in the theft of 2 million dollars during World War 2 then eventually solving the murder and locating the victim's grandfather's remains.
He and Five-0's newest member, Lori Weston, had turned their murderer over to HPD and were walking down the hall at the Palace discussing the burial arrangements and family notification. As they entered the bullpen Steve glanced up and noticed Catherine wearing her dress whites and waiting in his office. He tried to refocus on Lori as she finished speaking about the victim's mother, but found his attention drawn back to his office. Lori noticed and followed his gaze, asking "Who's that?"
It was a simple question, but one Steve found himself wholly unprepared to answer. Honestly, he didn't know how to describe who Catherine was to him - especially given his musings of the prior evening and the fact that he was still getting to know the newest member of his team. So, he settled for the best truth he could come up with and answered, "That is an old friend." One he really wanted to talk to so he excused himself to go say 'hello'.
He was smiling as he entered his office and greeted her. She turned and returned his smile, but remained silent and appeared uneasy. What was she doing in his office? He looked at his watch and realized it was only 4:30 and decided to try and keep things light.
"Our dinner is not until 8:00. And you, I think you may be a little overdressed." He stopped in front of her and crossed his arms, leaving her an opening.
"Um", she nodded and looked down at the floor before continuing, her voice soft, "Actually, I'm gonna need to ask for a rain check."
Steve's gut clenched and his voice was barely above a whisper as he replied, "Okay". He nodded once for her to continue, although he had a feeling he knew what she was going to tell him and didn't really want to hear it.
Catherine barely kept her voice steady as she continued "Orders came in today and I'm being sent TAD to NAVCENT."
He closed his eyes. Damn. She would no longer be on the Enterprise but was being sent to the other side of the world for several months at least. Her eyes were moist and he could tell that she was barely keeping it together, but she had another bomb to drop.
"My flight for the Gulf leaves tonight."
"Tonight?", he asked. He couldn't believe it. He had finally come to terms with what he wanted from their relationship, had been looking forward to their evening, working to define what they were to each other and now she was leaving.
"Wow." It was all he could think to say.
"Yeah." There was so much she wanted to tell him. She didn't want to go, she had gotten used to the idea of being stateside for a little bit, being closer to him, but she couldn't say that, couldn't put those words out there. All she managed was "So…" before she trailed off.
"Yeah," was all Steve could get out, as well. Now it was his turn to be speechless. There was so much he wanted to tell her, but this didn't feel like the time or the place.
She looked up at him, her eyes searching his face, and she could see that he was as dismayed by the news as she was. She needed to get one last thing out because she didn't want to break down there in his office, in front of him.
"Anyway, um, before I left I just wanted to get back to you about that thing that you asked me about."
Steve seemed to welcome the change of subject and shook off a little bit of the dark cloud that was surrounding them.
Catherine knew the news was going to be hurtful to Steve, but she needed to tell him. "I checked with the DOD, and they said that they haven't received any intel requests from Commander White." She maintained eye contact, offering him her silent support and he held her gaze, accepting what she was offering and appreciating it.
"You sure about that?"
"Yeah," she nodded sadly, "I'm so sorry."
"Yeah." Steve tried to digest what he had just been told, that the man who had been like a father to him, a mentor, someone he had trusted with his life, had blatantly lied to him and seemed to be working against him.
Catherine could see that Steve was struggling, distracted by the news and, as much as she wanted to comfort him, it didn't seem like the right time so she prepared to take her leave. "I should probably go pack."
Steve knew he needed to shake off his mood and refocus his attention on the woman in front of him. She was leaving and things suddenly became very clear to him, if she couldn't come to him he would go to her.
"Yeah. Listen, uh, Catherine, uh, about this rain check, uh, you're, you're probably going to get some leave in the next few months. Why don't we meet somewhere halfway? I don't know. Mumbai or something?"
He found himself a little uncertain, didn't know if she was getting what he was really asking but hoping she would agree, nonetheless, and was relieved when she smiled.
"I like Indian food."
He didn't want her to go. He knew she had to, but that didn't make it easier. He wanted, needed to hold her, though, to give her a proper goodbye so he enfolded her in his arms and held on tight. She returned the embrace, and it gave him comfort, somehow, the reality that she was struggling with having to leave. It meant she felt it, too, like maybe he hadn't turned this corner in their relationship alone. They stayed in each other's arms for at least a full minute before Catherine pulled back slightly, her eyes again moist, and repeated her words from earlier.
"I should probably go pack."
He nodded and gave her a kiss that held just a hint of longing and another hug, regretting they didn't have more time, and then he watched her walk out of his office.
Their time together in Mumbai was amazing. Eight weeks after she left Oahu Catherine had a three day leave and they spent 72 glorious hours together talking, laughing and making love in India's most populous city. They had even ventured out to eat some meals and stroll through the city holding hands. Although neither of them had ever been much of a fan of PDA, it somehow felt different in this completely foreign country where nobody would recognize them, or remember them if they ever returned together.
Steve had finally been able to tell his lieutenant that he wanted her to put the flower behind her left ear going forward, a conversation he had waiting for almost two months to have in person with her. One of the great things about their relationship was she listened to the words that came out of his mouth but heard and completely understood the meaning behind them. They had always had a close friendship, and an understanding that they really didn't see other people, but Steve desired to make it more official, somehow, and was happy to realize that she did, too.
Although they had been able to talk on the phone and text during their time apart, being in the same city again energized them and they both left Mumbai in a better place emotionally and looking forward to Catherine's next leave, when they would be together again.
So Catherine returned to her duties at NAVCENT and Steve returned to his work with Five-0, keeping the islands safe and trying to unravel the mysteries of his family's past and life went on while they waited for their next opportunity to be together.
A month after Steve and Catherine saw each other in Mumbai Steve agreed to accompany Jenna Kaye, to North Korea to help her retrieve her fiancé who was being held prisoner. He never saw it coming, but Jenna betrayed him and handed him on a silver platter to Wo Fat who proceeded to torture Steve for information he didn't have, not that he would have handed it over anyway.
McGarrett held out, though, as he'd been trained, keeping his wits about him even as he knew no rescue was coming. He was on an unsanctioned personal mission, with no support, and would have to save himself or die trying.
During the times he was left alone, suspended from the ceiling in an old war bunker, he thought of the friends and family he would be leaving behind and hoped they would be able to move on with their lives. He doubted they would ever really know his fate, eventually assuming he was dead but probably never recovering his body. He knew it would affect Mary and Danny, as his sister and honorary brother, and the other members of his ohana. It was the hardest thinking of Catherine, though, and remembering the time they had recently spent together. At least he didn't have any regrets about the way they left things the last time he saw her. He wasn't giving up, he would never give up, not until his dying breath, but he knew his options were few and he was completely outmanned and outgunned.
He did manage to escape, after his nemesis killed Jenna in cold blood right in front of him but not before she managed to slip him a pin he could use to pick the lock on his cuffs. He took out a few of Wo Fat's soldiers, but didn't get very far before they hit him in the head and threw him in the back of a truck. His battered body was starting to betray him; he was struggling to stay conscious and wasn't sure he'd be able to call upon the reserves he needed if an escape opportunity presented itself again. What was worse, though, was he realized he was starting to lose hope.
He was so tired, physically and mentally, still reeling from the shock that someone he had trusted, let into his life and onto his team, had betrayed him, and then to hear her regret, witness her murder. It had him all turned around in his head and he just wanted to close his eyes and let go, at least for a while. He let his thoughts wander back to his Mumbai weekend with Catherine and he let the memories wash over him, take him somewhere else, anywhere but tied up in the back of a dirty truck in North Korea. He wished to feel Catherine's comforting arms around him and to hear her reassurance that it would all be okay, and that she would see him again.
He was barely aware they had stopped moving or that gunfire was erupting all around the vehicle. It was the glare of the sun that finally broke him from his memories and he looked up and saw… was that Danny? What was Danny doing in North Korea? But then his partner spoke, jumped in the back of the truck and started untying him. Moments later Joe and Chin were there and suddenly the adrenaline rush made Steve clear headed again. He had been thinking about Catherine and suddenly he was worried about her - the thought that Wo Fat might go after her if he remained free scared the SEAL and he had to know if the Chinese man was dead. But Danny didn't, couldn't answer his question as he worked feverishly to free his partner's wrists while trying to maintain his composure because they weren't out of the woods until they were safely back over the border. And Steve understood that and let it go. He was having a hard time wrapping his mind around the idea that his team was there, along with Commander Wade Gutches and some of SEAL team 9 and he might actually be going home.
Once Danny freed him of the restraints they took off for the LZ. Steve knew they needed to move fast and did his best to keep up the pace, with Danny and Chin supporting most of his weight, As they neared the helo Lori was there, hugging him, and not only was it not the time nor the place, but he desperately wanted her to be Catherine. But, what mattered was he was safe, surrounded by people, members of his ohana, who had risked everything to come for him and he would get to see his pretty lieutenant again, thanks to their efforts.
Steve recovered from his ordeal; the physical injuries healed faster than the mental ones, but he returned to his life and to his work, feeling unworthy of but grateful for the heroics of his teammates. Even though he had initially wanted to keep it from her, Steve had made a choice to call Catherine and update her on what had happened, before she heard the scuttlebutt about the rescue and Joe's participation in it.
It was one of the most difficult phone calls he had ever made as he had no desire to recount what he had gone through. But, he couldn't expect anyone else to make the call, so he kept the details to a minimum, instead focusing on just the facts; he had been captured, his team has come to get him out and bring him home.
He never knew that Catherine had cried after they hung up, cried for the betrayal of his trust, which she knew was going to leave the kind of scars that couldn't be seen, cried for the physical abuse he had endured, cried over the relief of having him whole and safe back in Hawaii, and with gratitude for his friends that had risked their lives to rescue her SEAL.
Steve also never knew that once she stopped crying she called Danny to find out what kind of shape Steve had really been in when they found him, and to get the details about his recovery. She wanted the truth, not Steve's watered-down version of it, and knew Danny would give it to her. She was dismayed by some of what Danny told her about Steve's injuries, but relieved that he really was recovering nicely and seemed to be handling everything.
Before Catherine ended the call, she took a moment to quietly express the gratitude she felt to all of them for bringing him home, and asked Danny to keep the call between them. Danny, knowing Steve as he did, agreed and they never spoke of it again.
The incident in Korea made her want to get home to her commander even more, but it would be several more weeks before she got the chance. Finally, in February she was transferred back to the Enterprise and granted another short leave before taking up her duties on the carrier so she flew to Oahu to evaluate Steve in person. She was happy to see that he seemed relatively healthy, although thinner than when she saw him in Mumbai, but his physical injuries were barely noticeable, only a couple of lingering scars that would continue to fade. She was a little concerned about his emotional state, though, when he held her almost desperately once she arrived. But the more time she spent with him, she could see that he was basically the Steve she knew.
She was sure he had compartmentalized a lot of what happened and was worried that it would come back to haunt him someday, but she also knew that she couldn't say anything about it unless he was someday ready to listen. She could tell that he was definitely stressed about what was going on with Joe and the mystery of 'Shelburne', but it was nice to see Steve and spend time with the team, finally getting to meet the newest member, Lori. She discretely took Danny aside, to get an update on the report she had asked for on the phone weeks earlier, and was pleased with what she heard. She also expressed her thanks again for the rescue, and wished she could say the same to every member of the team, but knew Steve wouldn't like the attention it caused so refrained from doing so.
Their intended plans for the weekend had involved mostly spending time together alone but unfortunately, the governor 'requested' the presence of the entire team at a black-tie fundraiser. Always willing to do whatever it took Steve didn't give up on spending time with Catherine and was able to wrangle her an invite so they could attend together. She really didn't mind spending an evening with her man, especially since she would be treated to several hours of admiring the way he looked in a tux.
The evening of the event Steve picked Catherine up at her hotel and they made the obligatory rounds during which time Five-0's leader introduced his lieutenant to the governor. They visited the bar and were strolling among the guests during the time reserved for pre-dinner cocktails and silent bids on the auction offerings. Steve had his hand on Catherine's back and had to admit, he didn't mind the sight of her in that dress. Still, he appreciated her willingness to adapt to the change in plans given that she only had limited time on the island before returning to the Gulf.
"Look, I know this isn't what you had planned for your 48-hour leave, Cath."
"Would I rather be drinking beers at Haleiwa Joe's right now?" She tilted her head, like she was considering her answer, then continued. "Sure." Catherine could see Steve was going to say something but cut him off gently. "Look, I get it. I get it. Look, you can't turn down the governor when he invites you as his special guest."
"Especially when, uh, the plates are $5,000 a pop and he bought the whole table."
That information caused Catherine to stop and turn to Steve. "Ooh."
"Yeah", he acknowledged, then continued, "That being said, you look absolutely beautiful in your dress tonight" and he meant every word. Even though she had cut her hair since he had last seen her, and he preferred it long but wasn't going to tell her that, she did look stunning.
She smiled at him, appreciating the compliment. "Thank you. Don't get used to it, 'cause the second this thing's over these heels are coming off."
"I was hoping you were gonna say that." Steve meant every word of that, too. He had always liked her in casual attire or dressed for work. Truthfully, though, there was something about seeing her in camo that really did it for him. But, regardless of what they were wearing for the event, they both planned to be wearing nothing later that evening and they exchanged smiles just thinking about it.
Their attention was diverted to the governor as he reminded the guests that the silent auction would be ending soon and to submit their final bids in support of the state's marine environment.
Steve noticed Danny standing by a table and steered Catherine over in his direction.
"Well, look who's pitching in to save the environment", he said by way of greeting.
"This is the steal of the century. Season tickets, 50-yard line, half face value. I'm in." Danny replied, his attention still partially on the clipboard in his hand.
Catherine chimed in, "Didn't know you were a fan, Danny."
"That's cause he's not." Steve sounded pretty convinced.
"Excuse me. Excuse me." Danny's attention was fully on his partner now.
"A, I am a huge football fan. And B, the uh, the Warriors' uniforms remind me of my beloved Jets. And C, this is uh, for charity, right?"
"You're right, and it's good to see you got your priorities straight. Excuse me for a second." Steve bent over the table with the pen in his hand.
"What are you doing?" Danny asked.
"I'm um, feeling charitable." Steve responded and proceeded to raise Danny's bid by $50.
Danny was incredulous. "Why would you do that? You have a very big problem, you know that? You're too competitive."
Catherine had been content to watch and listed to the interplay between her commander and his partner, but she had to pipe up at that comment with one of her own. "He's got you there."
Steve, however, did not agree. "What are you guys talking about? Got me? There's no such think as too competitive."
"It's like you can't let somebody be happy. You gotta one-up everybody all the time. You know they got a name for people like you. You know what it is?"
"I do. Winners. They're called winners, Danny."
That made Catherine smile - this was definitely one of the more entertaining parts of the evening so far.
"Incorrect. Toppers. You are a topper, my friend."
Steve seemed at a loss, and Catherine smiled and put her hand on his arm. Then Danny bent over the table once again and Steve asked him what he was doing.
"I'm sorry. Did you just—? One dollar? You outbid me by one dol—?" Steve truly didn't know what to make of Danny's bid and turned to look at Catherine for support. "He outbids me by one dollar. What is this, The Price is Right?"
Kono approached at that moment with Lori in tow. "Hey guys, did you bid on something?"
Catherine tried to warn her, "Hey, no, don't go there. Just…"
Meanwhile, Danny was still ranting at Steve. "A dollar's a dollar."
Lori, admittedly still curious about this woman whom Steve had once categorized as 'an old friend' but had invited to join them for the evening, admired Catherine's dress and asked where she got it.
Catherine replied that she had purchased it in a little shop in Bangkok, which was one of the perks of being stationed overseas.
Steve, seeking a change of subject, noticed Chin and asked what he had bid on, which led into a discussion on gifts for Valentine's Day. Kono felt that Chin needed to get his new wife, Malia, something special for Valentine's Day and Chin informed her that Malia was 'old school' and would be happy with flowers and chocolates. Kono didn't agree, though, and made a comment about drug store candy.
Catherine added her two cents, though, and said, "It's better than someone not remembering at all", which prompted everyone in their group to turn and look at Steve.
He took it in stride, "What I'm hearing is that you're, you're actually okay with chocolates. Is that…?" which, of course, made everyone laugh.
Unfortunately, they were interrupted by the governor because a dead body had been discovered in the laundry area, which meant Steve was forced to say a hurried 'good night' to Catherine and go to work.
Danny knew that Steve had been looking forward to this visit from Catherine for weeks and truly felt for his partner. When they were alone in the security office reviewing the surveillance footage he decided to say something. "I'm really sorry your weekend with Catherine got derailed."
Steve didn't really want to admit to Danny, or himself, how bummed he really was so he went with humor, making a comment about making it up to her by taking her to a UH football game.
The case took the entire weekend to wrap up, included an international incident during which Steve was hit by a car and Chin was detained at the Russian consulate and resulted in Five-0 being disbanded because the governor was none too pleased with their lack of discretion.
Finally, though Five-0 made its case and demonstrated its worth as they proved the Russian Consul General had been harboring a fugitive and lying about it. Thanks to the governor Chin was sprung from the Russian consulate, Five-0 was reinstated and most was forgiven. After Steve was released from the hospital he returned to HQ to pack up and received a visit from Lori. She brought him a Valentine's Day gift; the UH season tickets she outbid both he and Danny on when they weren't looking. She also gave Steve her resignation letter since the governor no longer required her services with Five-0 and she was returning to Washington and her job with Homeland Security.
Steve's initial reaction was to fight the governor to keep her on the team, but when Lori admitted to Steve that she didn't blame the governor, because she had allowed her feelings for Steve to cloud her judgement and as a result she let things slide, he didn't really know how to respond to her. He honestly valued her as a teammate and friend, and would miss her, but he had never had romantic feelings for her, and hoped he hadn't led her on. He decided in that moment that it would probably be better if she weren't on the team anymore. So, they said 'goodbye' and he went home to pack.
Steve knocked on the door to Catherine's hotel room wearing his BDUs and carrying a duffle bag and a heart-shaped box of candy. He smiled widely when she opened the door and they greeted each other with a "Hi".
Steve handed her the heart-shaped box, "Happy Valentine's Day."
She hadn't thought she would see him before she left, and was truly touched that he had come to visit and made the effort to bring her candy. "Aw." They stood there for a moment, reveling in each others' presence before Catherine noticed the the fresh cuts and bruises on Steve's face.
"Whoa, what happened to you? Are you okay?"
Steve shrugged it off. "Oh, this?", he asked pointing to his face, "Yeah, Another day at the office. You know how it is." Of course he neglected to mention he had been hit by a car and had also suffered a chipped tooth and a few cracked ribs.
She smiled in understanding, because she knew how he was and could guess how his days at work likely went. "So, what's all this?" she asked.
Steve knew she meant the uniform he was wearing and the duffle he was carrying, but decided to play with her a little bit.
"It's chocolate. It's Valentine's Day. You said you were good with chocolates on Valentine's Day." He added the last part with a smirk.
She smiled. "It's very funny."
"Yeah. Come on." She moved aside and nodded him in with her head and he followed her into the room. "So, uh, what's with the bag and the uniform?"
She placed the box of candy on the bed and returned to her packing. Steve slung the duffle off his shoulder and put it down next to her bag.
"I felt bad that our weekend got blown up by a case and I figured since I was due for my reserve drill, I'd put in a request to um, do it on the Enterprise." He crossed towards her, stopping right in front of her.
Catherine's joy at that news showed on her face. "Really?"
"Yeah", he added softly, "with you."
"Huh." She was momentarily at a loss for words, so she moved closer and put her hands on his chest. "You know, that's, um, so much better than chocolate."
He loved how happy his gesture was making her and it showed on his face. "I thought you'd like that, huh?"
She wrapped her arms around his neck as she moved in for a kiss. The broke apart but kept their arms around each other.
"Now, ahem, you know that you will also be doing your reserve with about, mm, 3,000 other sailors, right?" They both nodded, acknowledging her comment as she continued, "So, we're not gonna get a whole lot of time together."
He made an effort to address her comment seriously, but she could see his intentions written all over his face. "Right, yeah, but, um, it's a really long flight", and he leaned in and kissed her again.
The flight schedule prohibited what they both really wanted at that moment, but were both breathless when they broke apart to check the time. Steve glanced at his watch and sighed, then bent his head to rest his forehead against Catherine's for another moment.
His voice was husky. "We got to go."
She nodded against him before moving back slightly to finish putting the last few items in her bag and zipping it closed.
Unfortunately, they had to leave so Catherine could check out and they could get the airport shuttle but they enjoyed each other's company during their time waiting at the airport and throughout the flights. Anyone who observed them during their travels would have guessed that the man and woman in military uniforms traveling together meant a lot to each other, and they would have been right. They had to revert to professional behavior once they landed and during transport to the Enterprise, since they were both in uniform and reporting for duty.
All in all, they did get to see each other regularly over the course of Steve's time on the carrier and they both reveled in it - they hadn't spent more than a couple of days in the same 3-mile radius in years. Even though it was only a week, it meant the world to both of them and when Steve had to return to Oahu they parted ways knowing they would miss each other but each was strong and secure enough in the relationship they'd handle it just as well as they always had.
Steve had a lot of time to think, traveling solo on the flight back to Oahu, and he found himself reflecting on everything from what his team had been up to during his absence to where in the world Joe White could be. As his thoughts turned to Catherine and their recent time together he recalled how he had lain in bed one night, months before, contemplating the meaning behind her choice of the ear behind which to place a flower and wondering where she stood in their relationship. He knew now, without a doubt, that she was in the same place as he because they had both turned that corner in their relationship and neither of them regretted it for a moment. He wasn't really the flower-giving type but he knew if the opportunity ever presented itself again he wouldn't care which ear the flower went behind - it was just a silly custom. They both knew she was taken; they both were because she was his and he was, most definitely, hers and he had every intention of keeping it that way for as long as he could.
I have no idea what the writers have planned for Catherine but am hoping she and Steve will be able to continue their relationship long-distance, off-screen and that Michelle Borth will be able to guest-star in the future. But, even if that is not the case I take some solace in knowing we'll always have the first four seasons as well as fan fiction to sustain us!