This is my second fic based on episode 4.21, and can be read in conjunction with the first,"Actions Don't Always Speak Louder than Words" or separately. While the first story is Steve/Catherine-centric, this one is more centered on Steve and Danny, with some Catherine thrown in, of course. :-)

Any of the situations and dialogue you recognize are taken directly from the episode, as is the title, and I can only take credit for everything else. Obviously, this contains some spoilers for the episode, and if you didn't like that particular episode, you likely won't care for this story, either, so I won't be offended if you choose not to read. Otherwise, thank you for taking the time to read and I hope you like it!


Steve woke, blinking his eyes sluggishly against the morning light streaming through the windows, He had slept better than he expected, partly due to his complete and total exhaustion but probably mostly due to the pain meds he usually avoided but had wholeheartedly welcomed the prior evening. He'd had his bell rung by the Taliban and was still recovering, plus that had been hell of a long trip home and his body had been stiff and his ribs sore from sitting so long. So he felt justified in popping one of the prescription pills. It wasn't like he had to be at work, Danny had been very clear that he expected Steve to follow doctor's orders to rest for a couple more days. His partner had also informed him that he was going to be restricted to desk duty for at least a week upon returning to work. Steve had grumbled, but hadn't felt like having the argument so had acquiesced, for that moment. At some point he was going to have to remind his partner that Five-0 was a benevolent dictatorship and not a democracy.

Steve had been right in thinking, things would look different in the new light of day. Catherine had called him just as he arrived home; she was still in Afghanistan, but he had been beyond relieved to hear her voice, and know that she was okay. But, the news that she was staying, to track down and rescue from the Taliban the 14-year old son of a man who had saved her life years before, and that she was going to do it alone, that news had devastated him. He was already missing his lieutenant terribly and knew the nights would be the hardest, when he was alone with his thoughts and wishing she were there beside him. He let one side of his mouth lift slightly as he realized there would probably be a lot more team get-togethers at his place, or evenings of beers on the beach with Danny until Catherine came home.

Almost as if on cue Steve's phone rang on the bedside table and he looked over at it. He had spent the night on Catherine's side of the bed and his phone was on his side, too far away to reach easily. He didn't think Cath would be calling again so soon, needing to lay low and conserve her sat phone's battery as much as possible and he wasn't officially back on duty with Five-0 so it wasn't a work call. It was probably Danny, which meant it wasn't urgent enough for him to risk aggravating his ribs by jumping up and grabbing it before it went to voicemail - his partner could wait a few minutes.

He started scooting himself to the right as the 5th ring tone sounded and then silenced, only to start back up almost immediately. Yup, definitely Danny. He groaned, finished making his way gingerly to the other side of the bed and grabbed the phone. A quick glance at the screen confirmed it was indeed his partner calling so he answered it, his voice still rough from sleep.

"Good morning, Danno."

"Hey, babe, sorry, did I wake you?" To his credit, Danny did sound genuinely concerned.

"No, I was awake, but just barely."

"How you, uh, how you feeling after that glorious flight yesterday? It was so nice of Uncle Sam to provide such luxurious accommodations, wasn't it?", he added sarcastically.

Steve completely ignored the jab at the military. "Fine. Sore, I think, I haven't really been up yet."

"Okay. You uh, you feel like some company today? I can give Chin and Kono a call, maybe Lou, You know we never got to finish that poker tournament and you still owe me five hundred." Danny was trying to get a read on his partner's mood, wasn't sure whether he wanted some company, but the man wasn't cooperating and didn't immediately answer the question. "Hello, Earth to Steve?"

"Yeah." Steve sighed. "How about just you, and maybe hang out, drink some beer, maybe watch a game?"

Danny, having expected Steve to pull his lone-wolf routine, was taken aback, and wondered what was going on with his partner, but mollified himself with knowing whatever it was, Steve wasn't shutting everyone out like he sometimes did.

"Sure. Yeah, sounds good. You got any beer?"

Steve thought for a moment, "I think so. Probably couldn't hurt to grab a couple six-packs."

Danny's concern ratcheted up a little bit as did his eyebrows, but he tried to keep it light. "A couple… okay, you got it, buddy. When would you like me to grace you with my presence?"

Steve looked at the bedside clock - it was 0900. "I dunno, a couple hours, I guess?"

"All right, coupla hours it is." Danny considered his next words for a moment and then just decided to go for it. "Steve, you sure you're okay? Did you hear something about Catherine? Is she all right?" Steve didn't answer for a moment, and Danny's concern went through the roof. "Steve? Hey, what happened?"

"She's okay, Danny. Just… We'll talk when you get here, okay?"

Danny knew waiting two hours was going to be torture, after all, he was not known for his patience, but he also knew if he pushed Steve the man could very possibly shut down, and for the moment Steve was willing to talk about it, whatever it was.

"Okay, I guess I'll see you around eleven, then. You hungry, want me to pick up a pizza to go with the beer?" Danny paused for effect, "I'll even let you have pineapple, given the week you had."

Steve smiled softly. "Yeah - I could go for a slice, but you don't have to get Hawaiian, get whatever you want."

It was Danny's turn to grin, remembering the day he had introduced Steve to the joys of an authentic New York pizza, courtesy of retired NYPD detective Tony Archer who'd had some flown in special. Ever since then, Steve had correctly referred to a serving of pizza as a 'slice' instead of a 'piece' and it made Danny proud - even though he'd never tell his partner that.

"You got it, babe. See you in a couple hours."


When Danny arrived he gave a courtesy knock and then just walked right in like he owned the place, partly because he was balancing a hot pizza along with a six-pack and partly because he knew Steve was expecting him. He called out for his partner as he proceeded to the kitchen and receiving no answer tried again, a bit louder, "Hey, Steve!" He placed the pizza and beer on the counter and looked out the window, seeing his partner in one of the wooden chairs down by the beach.

He put the beer in the fridge, sans two bottles, shoved a handful of paper towels in his pocket, picked up the pizza box and with one bottle under his arm and one is his hand, made his way down to the beach.

Steve didn't acknowledge his presence, but Danny wasn't fooled for a second - his partner was almost impossible to sneak up on so he had long ago given up trying. He stopped behind his friend's chair and held out one of the bottles.

Receiving no response he spoke softly, "Steve?".

Steve glanced over and took the offered bottle with his right hand. "Sorry, thanks."

Danny walked in front of Steve's chair, placed the pizza on the table and sat in the available chair, turning slightly so he was facing his friend. "Hungry? Pizza's hot."

Steve took a quick drink of his beer then set the bottle down and leaned over so he could reach into the box Danny was holding open to grab a slice of pizza. He was hungry and Danny had ordered from Steve's favorite local place. It wasn't as good an authentic NY slice, but was definitely tasty, especially after what he'd been fed at the base hospital in Afghanistan. He'd always managed fine with the food while on active duty, but it hadn't been anything to write home about. Now, the MREs… He couldn't help but smile, remembering the night Catherine had teased him for forgoing her grandmother's ragu for his beef stew MRE, and then the fun they had later playing out his 'foxhole fantasy'.

Danny sat quietly, observing his friend and wondered what had Steve smiling. "Hey, buddy - what's on your mind?" he asked before taking a bite of his own pizza.

Steve looked over at Danny, his smile gone and Kicked Puppy face firmly in place. "I talked to Cath last night."

Danny sat up in his chair and lowered his pizza, interested but waiting for more information. When it didn't come he prompted, "And?"

"She's not coming home."

To say Danny was shocked was putting it mildly, "Ever?"

"No, sorry - that's… She's staying there to find Najib, the boy who was taken, the reason we went there in the first place. He wasn't in the truck with the other kids, and though we were able to save them, get them away from the Taliban, she's determined to get him back. She said she can't come home until he's safe and I know her, Danny, she won't, and I have no idea what she's going to find, or how long it will take."

Danny took another bite of his pizza, and chewed while he regarded his friend. He could see that Steve was hurting, but still wasn't sure he had the whole story. He swallowed before asking, "She's doing this alone?"

"Yeah. I offered to go back and help her. I would do it in a heartbeat, for as long as it takes. I want to, but she refused, said she needs to do this alone, and even if I could get back in the country I'll never find her unless she wants me to."

Danny's first thought was to wonder if Steve would really leave his life behind, indefinitely, and sneak back into a country he had been ordered to stay out by a very pissed off Naval officer just a few days before, and decided that the crazy SOB would probably do it. He figured there was very little Steve wouldn't do for Catherine, and, truth be told, he admired the strength of his friend's long-term relationship, even though it had taken the neanderthal forever to admit he was even in a relationship. But Danny knew this wasn't the time to go there, so he focused back on what Steve had said - hoping to flush out what was really bothering his friend. "Do you know why she didn't want your help?"

"She said it's so she can keep a low profile, travel around easier…" Steve trailed off.

Danny waited for more, but when Steve didn't finish he spoke again, asking gently, "But you think it's something else?"

"No, it's not that. She's right - it… She'll be less conspicuous traveling alone. She speaks enough of the language to get by. I get that, I do." Steve paused again so Danny motioned with his hand for him to continue. "I think she's protecting me Danny - I think that's why she doesn't want me there. She blames herself for me being captured."

'Oh, man', Danny thought - he should have seen this coming. "Do you blame her?"

"No!" Steve was vehement in his reply. "Of course not. She did exactly what I wanted her to do, kept herself and the kids safe. If they'd gotten their hands on her… " He shook his head, the very thought of it unnerving him. "What they would've done to her - it would've been so much worse than what they did to me, Danny."

Danny thought for a moment, considering Steve's words, because he had seen the physical evidence of what Steve's captors had done to him, but then it occurred to him. "Because she's a woman?"

Steve's mouth was full so he nodded slowly while he chewed and swallowed before continuing. "I couldn't let them get their hands on her. She'd already had a close call, this guy had her in his sights and if I'd been distracted or a second slower… ", he paused again, shaking his head as if dislodging a painful memory, "I don't blame her, but it worries me that she blames herself, that she's running away from me because of it." Steve took another bite, finishing his pizza, before continuing. "And if something happens to her because of me…" He turned away slightly to look out at the water before admitting softly, "I can't live without her, Danny."

"Hey," Danny waited for Steve to look at him and tried again, "Hey." Steve finally turned and acknowledged his partner.

"She was determined to go get this kid, on her own, before you even volunteered to go, right?"

Steve nodded. "So it is possible that it really just means that much to her?"

"Of course. I know it means a lot to her. This family - they're great people and they're in a bad situation. Their child was taken, Danny, by some people who… You don't know the half of it - what you've heard about the Taliban. It's all true and more. The boy, Najib, he's only 14 and his life is over. Even if he survives another couple of years, his parents, his family will never see him again. He'll either be forced to fight for them or they'll strap a bomb to him and make him blow himself up for the cause. Catherine knows this, and she feels like she owes them because of what they risked for her. I understood if before I even met them and saw what they deal with every day, and now that I have… " Steve sighed, "I understand it, Danny, I do. This family saved her life, only because it was the right thing to do and if it weren't for them she'd be dead. I would have lost her 7 years ago, and back then I might not even have known it for months. We weren't… " Steve seemed to struggle for the right word for a moment but then changed direction. "But I would've found out eventually. But now, there are no official channels, no notifications to be made. If something happens to her over there, if she's hurt or…" Steve couldn't seem to finish his statement. "I may never know. There's no one to watch her back. She's been in dangerous situations so many times before, but there was always someone, a team supporting her. And now… Danny, I just don't want to lose her. I'll wait for her forever, but I don't know what I would do if she were never coming home." Steve looked out at the water before adding softly, "I love her Danny."

Danny sat back in his chair and smiled broadly prompting Steve to look over and ask, "What's wrong with you?"

In usual Danny-style, the Jersey transplant punctuated his words with his hands and a grin on his face. "I knew it! Have for years. But I wasn't sure you would ever figure it out. Never heard you admit it." Danny watched Steve as he seemed to contemplate for a moment before he tilted his head in a brief sideways nod which the blonde took as an acknowledgment and continued. "How's it feel to say it out loud?"

Steve chuckled at his partner's antics. "You're such a girl." Danny raised his eyebrows and kept looking at him, waiting. Steve shook his head with a smile, "Good, Danno. It feels, uh, it feels good." Steve looked out over the water again and sobered some before returning his gaze to his friend. "I uh, I told her last night."

A huge grin split Danny's face and he leaned forward to place a congratulatory hand on Steve's leg, "Buddy! Congrats!" Steve didn't seem to share his enthusiasm and Danny withdrew his hand. "She said she loved you too, right?"

"What? Of course! Jeez, Danny."

"Sorry! I'm sorry - of course she loves you, any idiot can see it." Danny opened the pizza box again and gestured to Steve who reached over to grab a slice. But, as pizza does, the intended slice wouldn't separate from its neighbor. The detective watched his friend struggle with it one handed for a moment because his other arm was immobilized in a sling then swatted his hand away. "Jeez. You're pathetic, you know that? 'Danny, would you help me with this since I can't use my left arm right now?' 'Sure Steve, I'd be happy to, anything for you." He successfully extracted the pizza before handing it to Steve and muttering, "Idiot."

Steve rolled his eyes and took the offered slice with a smirk. "Thank you."

"You realize I'm going to have to work twice as hard to keep you in line now that your Ramboette isn't here to help." Steve's face fell and Danny realized his attempt at humor had fallen flat. "Oh man, Steve. Hey, I'm sorry. I didn't mean… I'm sure she's gonna be fine."

Steve wasn't really upset with Danny and shook his head to reassure him, "It's fine, Danny. You're right. I am worried about her, I will be until she's home safe. I know how capable she is and I would trust her to have my back any day, but she's alone in a country where it's dangerous to be an American, especially an American woman. I want to be the one who has her back and it's killing me that I can't do that for her. So, of course I'm gonna worry, I don't know how not to." He was quiet for a moment before he spoke again, directing his words to his feet. "I miss her so much, Danny. It was never like this before - we spent years being apart for months at a time and I missed her then, but it was different. I don't know… I can't figure out how to deal with this."

Danny regarded his partner for a moment, truly impressed with how open he was being about what he was thinking and feeling. Danny felt like they'd turned a corner trapped in the rubble of that collapsed building and liked this new side of his partner, for however long it lasted. "It'll get easier. When Gabby was away, it was harder at first, then it got easier. Right now you have too much time to think, but when you go back to work… get into that crazy routine of swimming laps around the island every day," Danny's words had the desired result; prompting a chuckle from Steve, "you won't have as much time to think about missing her."

"Yeah, I'm sure you're right."

They lapsed into companionable silence for a few minutes, each finishing their beer and setting the empty bottle in the sand by their feet. Steve finally broke the silence, "Up for another beer?"

"Of course."

Danny watched as Steve used his right hand to leverage himself off the chair and continued to follow his partner's progress as he crossed the lawn toward the house. Once Steve entered the back door, Danny turned to look out over the water. He had to admit, it really was beautiful here. He knew that Steve and Catherine had spent a lot of time where he was now sitting, this was actually Catherine's chair - as Steve always gravitated to the one on the right. He had an inkling what Steve was feeling, recalling how much he had missed Gabby when she had been away on her temporary curatorship, but, she had been somewhere safe, happily ensconced in a museum, and he had known when she was coming home.

Steve didn't have those luxuries, neither one of them, and Danny wasn't sure he'd ever been in love with Gabby, at least not the way Steve loved Catherine. He smiled - happy that Steve had finally acknowledged it - and shook his head fondly because of what it had taken for him to admit it out loud - the man really as a neanderthal.

No, Danny couldn't really compare his situation with Gabby to what Steve was dealing with now. Everybody who knew Steve and Cath could see that they cared deeply for each other - even years ago when Catherine was still on active duty, how Steve would wear a goofy smile if he'd had a recent conversation with her, or even more so when she was in town. it wasn't just the sex, Danny knew, it was the whole package. For Steve it was just being around her. He was different when she was around, happier, and he wasn't sure how Steve was really going to deal with this separation. He'd get through it, of course, but at what cost? Catherine supported him, grounded him, made him a better man.

What Steve shared with Catherine, Danny knew he'd never felt that for anyone, not even Rachel, and he could only imagine how their separation was tearing up his friend. All he could do was what he was already doing - be there for Steve, offer his support if and when the SEAL was ready to accept it for as long as Catherine was on her mission.

He couldn't help but feel some resentment, though for what she was doing to his partner. He didn't really understand why she needed to undertake something so dangerous, leaving Steve behind, why she couldn't go through other channels, coordinate from somewhere here on Oahu, with Steve at her side, ready, willing and able to help, but he knew that Steve understood and that was what mattered.

He had made Catherine a promise, though, in a communications tent somewhere in Jalalabad, that he would take care of Steve, and he was going to keep that promise.

"Detective Williams?"

Danny glanced up at the young man in uniform who poked his head in the door of the room Steve occupied in the hospital unit on base.

"Yes?"

"There's a call for our sir. If you'll follow me…"

"A call? Who?"

"I believe it's Commander McGarrett's sister, sir."

Mary? Why would Mary be calling, and how would she even…? "Um. Okay. Sure."

Danny was hesitant to leave Steve alone but followed the man to what appeared to be a communications room where he was directed to a sort of cubby containing a counter, chair and phone. "Pick up the handset and press the red button. I'll wait for you by the door, sir."

Danny looked up, "Thanks, but you don't have to wait."

"Afraid I do, sir. I have orders."

"Oh. Okay."

The young man retreated and took up a post just inside the door. Unfortunately, Danny would not be alone for this conversation. He connected the call, "Hello?"

"Danny, it's, uh, it's Mary."

Danny was somehow not surprised to hear Catherine's voice come over the line and assumed she must be keeping up the charade because the line was recorded or something. So, he decided to just go with it. He sagged a little with relief, happy to know that she was still alive. "Mary? How are you?"

"Yeah - sorry about that. How's Steve?"

"He's okay, he's pretty banged up, but they're taking care of him here."

He could hear Catherine's audible relief over the line. "Good. That's good."

"How are you? Where are you?"

"I'm okay. I'm fine."

Danny noticed that she really didn't answer his question regarding her whereabouts but didn't feel like he could push, given the listening audience. "Steve's going to want to see you."

"I know, listen, will you make sure he gets home safe?"

"Yeah. Where-"

Catherine cut him off. "Danny, just make sure he gets back to Hawaii. Please. He needs to go home."

Danny considered this for a moment. Catherine must still be somewhere in Afghanistan, or she could have told him the truth of her location. But, for how long? Steve wasn't going to leave without her, but he wasn't in any shape to stay and that was the problem, wasn't it?

"He's going to want to talk to you."

"I know, I can't. Not yet, but I'll… I'll call him."

"Am I going to be able to reach you?"

"No. No, Danny, I don't think so. But, I'm fine. I'm fine." Danny could tell this was important to Catherine, it almost sounded like she was pleading with him. "Just please, make sure he gets home. Do you know when he'll be able to travel?"

"Uh - the, uh, the docs are saying they'll probably spring him in a few days - maybe Thursday, I dunno." Danny was frustrated, "Does that mean Thursday here or Thursday in Hawaii? I don't even know what the hell day it is right now."

Catherine chuckled softly at her friend's rant. "It's Monday, Danny. And I'm sure they mean Thursday in Afghanistan, it's 15 hours ahead of Hawaii. So that's a couple of days from now, and you'd probably fly out on Friday."

"Yeah. Okay. Friday. When will we see you?"

"I can't answer that right now." He wasn't sure, but he thought Catherine might be crying. "Just, please, Danny. He needs to go home."

Danny sighed resignedly, "I'll make sure he gets there."

"Good", Catherine sounded relieved. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"Hey, Danny?" Catherine's voice was soft, unsure.

"Yeah?"

"Would you, um… would you not mention this call to him? It would just upset him right now, and I don't… I really need him to get home safe."

Danny sighed again. He hated lying to his partner and was certain that even though the man wouldn't like it, Steve could handle knowing that Catherine was fine, somewhere in Afghanistan, and hadn't been able to leave yet. But, either way, Steve wouldn't want to leave, and he needed to go home. He was in no shape to be playing GI Joe right now, especially on his own. Stupid Neanderthal. "Yeah. Okay."

"Thanks, Danny." Catherine paused, "For everything. Really, I mean it. Thank you. Take care of Steve all right?"

"I promise. You just, uh, you just keep in touch, huh?"

"Roger that," Danny could hear Catherine's smile, "Bye, Danny."

"Bye, Mary,"

Danny hung up the phone and sat for moment, staring at the desk in front of him. How did his partner drag him into these situations? He shook his head, then pushed back the chair and stood, addressing the young man by the door, "I'm uh, I'm all set."

"Everything okay, sir?"

"Yes, everything's fine. Thank you."

"You're welcome sir."

The young serviceman escorted Danny back to the hospital bay and he was relieved to see that his partner was still unconscious, knowing the man could have gotten himself into all sorts of trouble had he been alone in the room and conscious.

He resumed his post by the bedside, waiting for Steve to wake up from his beauty sleep. As he waited, he considered his conversation with Catherine. He knew Steve wouldn't want to leave the country without Catherine, but Catherine didn't want Steve staying here, she had made that very clear. Danny agreed. He, too, thought Steve needed to get the hell out of Dodge, but something wasn't sitting right with him. He didn't like the idea of leaving Catherine behind, either. But, he was completely powerless to do anything about it and that pissed him off. This whole situation pissed him off.

He looked at his partner laying on the bed, at the injuries he could see, and the ones that he couldn't but knew were there. First North Korea, and now this? Danny supposed Steve had been through worse when he was on active duty - he would never know even a quarter of what Steve had done and seen as a SEAL, but he wasn't a SEAL now, he was a cop in Hawaii.

Danny knew one thing - he was definitely going to have something to say the next time his partner decided to take off alone for a foreign country on an unsanctioned personal mission. The man obviously had no regard for how these situations affected the former Jersey detective who had perfected the art of worrying. Danny wasn't military, had never been and honestly, had never wanted to be. He was a cop, and he'd seen lots of things that he'd rather forget, but the sight of Steve when he found him in the back of that truck in North Korea, tied up like an animal and now, of the man, usually larger than life, unconscious on a stretcher, battered and broken and being carried off a helicopter by a SEAL team… These were images Danny would never, ever be able to forget, images that would haunt his dreams. No, he was sure Steve had no idea how much his antics really affected his partner.

Danny was aware his honorary brother was capable of some amazing things - he'd seen plenty of it firsthand and knew there was plenty more he hadn't seen, would never see. But Steve didn't have a SEAL team to support him anymore, and if he kept this up… Danny didn't want to go there. He took another look at his partner and reminded himself the man was fine - that he would recover from his injuries and life would go on.

He shook off his mood and noticed Steve was still out. A woman came in to stock some supplies and Danny looked around at the small, drab room, bored out of skull but knowing he wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Just then, Steve started to stir and Danny spoke very softly, not wanting to startle him.

"Hey." Steve turned his head and opened his right eye, the one that wasn't swollen shut, to try and focus. "Hey."

"Danny?"

"Yeah, I'm right here. You all right?"

Steve lay still for a moment, then it was as if everything came flooding back at once and he was fully conscious and alert, "Where's Catherine?" He started to try and sit up, "Is she all right?"

Danny realized at that moment why Catherine hadn't wanted Steve to know about their conversation - he was badly injured, barely conscious and already trying to get out of bed to what, sling a rifle over his shoulder and use some Taliban soldiers for target practice? He suspected the SEAL probably couldn't even stand on his own two feet, but would keep trying until he either succeeded or passed out again. He put his hand gently on his partner's arm to try and stop him moving. "Relax. Hey. I spoke to her when she called me about you, and we got disconnected. I tried her back a couple times, it didn't go through." None of what Danny had told his partner was a lie, he just left a few things out.

At that moment, the door opened and four men entered the room. Danny'd already had the displeasure of meeting the taller one in civilian clothing - CIA - who was accompanied by three others in uniform. Danny had already been questioned and knew they wanted answers from Steve about who he'd been with and where he got his intel so he warned his friend quietly, "CIA. Hear me?"

They 'invited' Danny to leave, which he not-so-politely refused to do and watched as his partner lied to the CIA and a superior officer rather than reveal Catherine's involvement. Even when threatened with prison, he maintained that his short term memory had been affected and he couldn't help them. Luckily, they didn't call his bluff and gave him a free pass.

But they weren't done and Danny continued watching and could only imagine how much it hurt his friend as a superior officer tore Steve a new one, told him his days of rogue operations were over, dismissed the SEAL's days of exemplary service as if they were nothing, threatened to personally throw him in the brig if he ever again set foot in that part of the world, and assigned two servicemen to escort Steve out of the country as soon as he was released from the hospital. But Steve held fast, respectfully replying that he understood, and Danny got it. He knew Steve would do anything to protect Catherine, there was no other option for him.

And when, as soon as two mens turned their backs to leave, Steve turned to his partner, all urgency now, and said, "Take this out of my arm", indicating his IV line, Danny realized Catherine had foreseen this, too.

"Whoa, what are you doing? Will you relax? What are you-"

"I can't leave Catherine out there by herself."

And Danny knew this was why she had been so vehement about making Steve go home - this right here. He had promised her he would take care of his partner and he'd be damned if he wasn't going to do everything he could fulfill the mission Catherine had left him with. HE knew Catherine was fine, she was safe, and it wasn't worth Steve being thrown in prison, knew that Catherine would be furious with Steve if it went that far. He just had to convince his partner of that.

"O-Okay. Well, stop, please, okay? Listen, you heard what the guy said, he'll put you in jail. We don't need that. All right? Catherine's a big girl, she can take care of herself. Put your head down, relax, okay? Okay? Please?" Steve started to relax back into the bed, "Good."

He exhaled, having successfully talked the SEAL down, for now. Now he just had to keep him from getting worked up again for a couple more days before they could go home. The theme music from 'Mission Impossible' ran through his head - yup, this was definitely going to be easier said than done.

Danny returned to the present, glad he was sitting on a beach in Hawaii eating pizza and drinking beer rather than sitting on an uncomfortable stool at his friend's bedside in a military hospital in Afghanistan - and congratulated himself for completing the impossible mission - he'd gotten his partner home.

Danny was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't realize Steve was back until the man rounded the chair and put two bottles of beer down on the table. Danny took the one he was offered and returned his gaze toward the horizon, Steve doing the same. Danny decided to go out on a limb and say what was on his mind, even though he wasn't sure how his partner would react.

"You might not believe it now, but you're gonna be okay, Steve, you know that right?"

Steve looked at his partner, surprise on his face, contemplating Danny's words, before he turned back and directed his words toward the ocean, his voice low, "I know that, Danny, I do." he took a drink then added quietly, "As long as she comes home safe."

Danny regarded his friend's profile as he watched the waves, "Well, she'd better hurry home then, right, 'cause she knows how you get."

Steve turned to his friend, a hint of a grateful smile on his lips and the blonde detective extended his beer in a toast, "To Catherine." He grinned, "What is it you people say in the Army? Fair winds and following seas?"

Steve smiled and clinked his bottle with Danny's. "To Catherine. Fair winds and following seas." They both took a drink. "And Danny? It's the Navy." It was Danny's turn to smile. Yes, Steve was going to be just fine; he would make sure of it.


*I thought it was odd that Danny seemed so certain that Catherine was fine, and Steve didn't need to go look for her when Steve first regained consciousness at the base hospital so I theorized there had been some communication between them that we didn't get to see. I really don't know how realistic it is that Danny could receive a call on base, but, since Joe arranged for him to be flown to Afghanistan just to oversee the rescue of his Navy SEAL partner I figure I've got some wiggle room. :)