Summary: Just how much trouble can Steve get into during one tiny reserve drill? AU from the end of I Helu Pu.
Pairings: Steve/Cath, minor Kono/Adam, Chin/Malia
A/N: This was inspired by reading SugarMuffin08's 'Undoubtedly'; must have read that story a hundred times. I actually had this idea somewhere in my third or fourth read, but I haven't gotten around to follow up on it until now. Enjoy!
The mood in the room was nervous and severe. He could tell his superiors were stubbornly avoiding to look at him, could almost follow the whispers behind his back from those sailors who'd come just to see the show, see him fall. Some wished him well, no doubt, others, eaten up by envy, were just as surely hoping for the worst. The Captain of the U.S.S Enterprise had taken a seat behind him, taking his side from the beginning, and the SEAL was unsure what such actions might cost him. This was not his arena, and he would not get in the middle of it, but Steve was more than a little grateful for the silent support and the clear sign that at least someone believed him, believed in him.
The Captain wasn't the only one; he could feel Catherine's gaze burn into his back and, when he closed his eyes, he could practically see her finger the material of her uniform trousers nervously. She was likely rubbing the flat of her sweaty hands over the fabric trying to calm herself down. If this day yielded the wrong result, it would almost certainly mean a dishonorable discharge for both of them, potentially more severe punishment, and he resisted the urge to turn around and give her promises they both knew he might not be able to keep. He also fought the urge to copy her nervous habit. He could feel his hands get sweaty as he tried to find a place for them; one the desk in front of him, or in his lap, or crossed over his chest perhaps?
Commander Lou cleared her throat in an attempt to get his attention and get him to stop fidgeting because it sure as hell wasn't helping anyone. Steve risked a glance at the second table to the side where Lieutenant Commander Vukovic was sat. The man was looking at him with a slight smirk on his face; he was enjoying to see the SEAL squirm, a fact that had said sailor sit straight and still immediately. He hated Vukovic. Keeping his face as neutral as possible, he tried to imagine what the Lieutenant Commander hoped to achieve that he would risk destroying the careers of two or more good sailors. The way the man had come after him was understandably harsh considering the circumstances, but he'd had no business bullying Catherine and making her out to be some weak, simple-minded puppet in a SEAL's hands.
He fought down the sense of guilt that still threatened to overwhelm him whenever he thought about the circumstances that put them in this situation in the first place, and he had to bite down on his lower lip to stop himself from turning around to apologize to Catherine again – she'd sworn she would punch him if he did so one more time, he wouldn't put it past her, and she didn't need any more trouble coming her way. His hands clenched into fists briefly as he thought about laying a very satisfying punch on Lieutenant Commander Vucovik, but that wouldn't do either. There was no need for him to sink even deeper into this mess either.
He had been so preoccupied with what had been going on inside his head that he hadn't noticed Captain Henry Delario enter the little room. It took an elbow in the sides from Commander Lou to get him back to reality and stand up in a sign of respect with everyone else. He watched Captain Delario sit down and take notice of the seating arrangements of everyone involved. The older man did not raise an inquisitive eyebrow as he had during past sessions, merely sighed as if he were anxious to get this out of the way. With a hand he motioned for everyone to sit back down, then turned to Steve.
"Anything to add before I announce my findings, Lieutenant Commander?"
Steve shook his head. He'd already said everything he could as had a lot of other people on his behalf and on Vucovik's. He couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Very well, then," Captain Delario spoke up again. „Both sides have presented their case in the past sessions. As this is an Article 32 hearing, I'm not here to decide on the guilt or innocence of the accused, merely to decide whether this case should go to court-martial. Lieutenant Commander McGarrett, please rise."
End of the prologue!
A/N: So, this is my very brief prologue. Chapters will be longer and I'll try to update regularly, but I'm finishing my thesis and semester starts again next week, so I can't make any promises. I'm sorry it took me so long to get even to this point, but I hope you enjoyed it. Please review and stay tuned...
Thanks to Miahbug for beta-ing.