Fear, Not Love

Disclaimer: I do not own H50.

Spoilers: Minor references to S1:Ep24 – Oia'i'o and S2:Ep10 – Ki'ilua
Summary: Steve's "apparent death" elicits certain feelings: some strong, some not so much, some slow burning. Steve/Kono at the heart of it, but some Danny moments thrown in for good measure, as well as Lori and Chin.

A/N: PLEASE note the rating – M for a reason. I know, this is not like what I've written before. What can I say? New year, new Merl, new writing style. I thought I'd give it a shot. Regardless if I needed it or not – because we all need to challenge ourselves once in a while. Plus, I was heavily inspired by the wonderful writings of qirjanran and badhairdays.

"People react to fear, not love – they don't teach that in Sunday School, but it's true."
- Richard Nixon

Looking Pretty Good, For A Dead Guy

# # #

Leo'ole Street
Waipahu, Oahu

When they get to the scene, Danny is practically in tears. He's being held back from a burning entryway of a crumbling two story building in the old industrial area of lower Waipahu. Chin and the firefighter restraining Danny are doing their best, barking orders to their respective divisions – police are stopping, redirecting traffic and firefighters are on the verge of moving in, already having laid out hoses, and strapped on their air tanks.

Kono hears a choked sob from Lori beside her and looks at her a moment before rushing forward to join Chin and the other firefighter as they drag Danny further and further away. They're directed around and behind a firetruck, just in case the building blows.

Meanwhile Lori stands back, frozen in what exactly, Kono doesn't know. Fear? Desperation? Loss? It's not like Lori to be that way, and Kono knows it.

Danny is struggling against them – her – and accidentally clocks her one. He doesn't even realize it as he's mid rant, screaming about how Steve could still be in the building, before Chin finally raises his voice and yells at him.

"Brah! Danny, stop! Stop. If we're gonna find out if Steve is really okay, you're going to need to calm the fuck, down."

Chin shoves Danny hard, for emphasis, against the hood of a cruiser, and that seems to do the trick. Danny snaps out of his overly girly response to his partner possibly being barbecued and pulls himself together. He glances at Kono first, not even registering how she's wiping blood off of her lip, and then Chin. Lori, who has finally snapped out of whatever she was in, finally joins them.

Danny rubs hard at the quickly drying tears and snot on his face and runs shaky hands through his hair. "Fucking, Steven," he breathes. "He went in alone, I wasn't even here yet. I saw his truck and then the building is completely on fire and then Honolulu FD is here in seconds," Danny explains. "The asshole deserves to die for doing shit like this to me."

"Shut up! Shut up, Danny!"

It's Lori, screaming hysterically and launching herself towards Danny, fists out, swinging blindly.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!"


"What the fuck?!"

"Get her off of me!"

And then Kono is there, pulling Lori's arms behind her and Chin is between Danny and Lori, pushing a hand against Danny's chest and comically enough, a hand against Lori's forehead. Kono's grip drops to Lori's waist purposefully and then she and Chin watch the show as Lori swings her fists forward, like a fucking windmill and Danny, actually starts to laugh. Chin can't help himself either and he starts to shake and chuckle.

Eventually, Kono takes pity on Lori and wraps her arms around the girl's waist, pulling her back, whispering into her ear to calm down. She turns Lori around to envelope her in a motherly hug and then starts rubbing soothing circles across her back. Kono thinks Lori's reaction to Steve's possible death is pretty damn interesting, since she doesn't even have an idea how to, herself.

But that's not entirely true.

Kono has some idea – one that she really doesn't want to admit to herself because then she'd be some young, lovesick, idiot of a schoolgirl. And then she remembers Lori in her arms and shrugs internally. One per task force please, otherwise the guys would gouge their own eyes out with spoons or even better, just kill themselves.

Chin is still over by the police cruiser with Danny, who's calmed down considerably. He's asking for the details again from the distraught partner when the two of them hear the firefighters yelling. "Brah!" "Eh! Detective!" "Five-0!" They move to go, but not before Chin throws a sympathetic smile towards his cousin as she continues to comfort Lori. Kono squints at him like she would beat his ass for whatever comes out of his mouth next so he just turns and follows Danny as they rush around the firetruck to find out whatever it is the firefighters are calling them for.

Danny can't help but acknowledge the excruciatingly painful thought that maybe, they found Steve's body. As he and Chin round the truck, they see emerging from a previously missed alleyway, a firefighter and... Steve?

The Five-0 leader is sporting a small bloody gash on his forehead and looks slightly disheveled, but otherwise his limbs are still intact, he's not overly bloodied, charred or toasted and the bastard isn't even limping or coughing. He's just – fine.

Peachy, even.

So naturally, Danny loses it.

"You sonuvabitch!" Danny howls, rushing forward. "What the fuck?!" he exclaims, looking like he's ready to pummel the guy, and then of course he does.

Chin's there and once again he's pulling Danny back, hating that he seems to be doing a lot of the same thing lately when it comes to his – this – blonde team member. Steve stumbles back slightly and the firefighters around them shake their heads, probably thinking to themselves, haoles are so crazy or maybe, damn, those Five-0s are so crazy.

Steve is rubbing his jaw as he watches the perplexed firefighters get back to work and then he's eyeballing Danny who stares back, unapologetic.

"What the hell was that for?" Steve asks, because he's really kind of amused.

Danny makes to lunge at Steve again, if only to wipe the stupid smile off of his face, but Chin grabs him and forces him back a step. "We thought you were dead, boss," Chin explains, a hint of relief evident in his voice. He's still got a restraining hand on Danny's shoulder, who's trying to get at Steve, but Chin glares at him and Jersey finally seems to get it through his thick skull and backs off, pacing away.

"Oh." Steve nods and then quirks a brow. "Is that what this is, Danno? You thought I was dead and you realized you'd miss me?"

"Hey. Fuck you pal," Danny says hotly, jabbing a finger in the air, towards the general direction that Steve's standing. "And yeah, as a matter of fact asshole, yeah. Yeah, I did. What is the matter with you, huh? What would I tell Grace?"

"Danny, come on," Steve says, incredulous.

Chin decides to step in between the two partners and shakes his head. "Boss, he says when he got here, you were nowhere to be seen. He figured you ran into the burning building." Even as Chin's saying it, they all seem to realize how ridiculous the scenario actually sounds.

Steve looks from Chin to Danny and is snorting now, trying not to laugh at his partner's incredibly ludicrous jump to conclude that a Navy SEAL would actually be stupid enough to enter a burning building unprepared. He's totally overplaying it too.

Then again, Steve's all too thankful that doesn't have to tell the two men before him that he did indeed enter the building without backup. But, after the intense heat and a falling beam had him reliving his childhood spent on the beaches of Oahu; his first time with Jenny Wainau; his mother's death; his last water exercise off of Coronado with his SEAL team; his dad's death; his lunch yesterday at Kamekona's shrimp truck with the team – he's not at all embarrassed to admit to himself that he made a misstep.

Good thing he found the back exit.

Danny steps around Chin and gets in Steve's face. "You're a fucking moron, you know that right? Making us worry and freak out like that. You could have sent a text or called or I don't know Steven, maybe wait for me, the next time?"

Steve watches as Danny's face turns red from something other than the Hawaiian sun. "Seriously, Danny?" he asks, no longer amused with the mother-hen before him. "Let me ask you this, Danno. How the hell did you think HFD knew to be here?"

"That explains why HFD got here so quickly in the first place," Chin says, putting two and two together. He's thinking of giving up on being the peace maker with these two.

Danny's understanding and realization is overshadowed by his angry expression turning sour at Steve's obvious awesomeness. "That was you? You called it in?" He doesn't know what annoys him more – the fact that Steve thinks so well on his feet or the fact that Steve seems to constantly survive his own recklessness.

"Yes, Daniel. Look at where the fuck we are. Waipahu is on the edge of all this dry land, and if this fire got out of control, the damage would be immeasurable." Steve hears Chin snort off to his left. He gives the older man a smirk then crosses his arms across his chest and turns his attention back to Danny, waiting expectantly for the guaranteed comeback.

Instead, Danny appears pensive. "Immeasurable," he repeats, shaking his head.

Steve swears he can hear Danny mumble something along the lines of un-fucking-believable to himself and he smiles, loving the reaction he's getting from his constantly cranky partner.

Chin's had enough at this point. Steve's not dead and Danny will deal with it. So he snorts again and claps Steve on the shoulder, conveying unspoken words of luck and patience onto his team leader as he backs away to let the women of Five-0 know that their boss is okay.

Danny watches Chin go and turns back to Steve, his hands in prayer, bobbing away in front of him. "Look, you neanderthal, don't get me wrong here, I'm glad you're alive. Really. And for your information, yes. Yes, I would miss you. But would you please, please, not do something like this again? Please?" he asks rhetorically, because it really doesn't matter what Steve's response is. The fact of the matter is, Steve would do something like this again, anyway.

Steve's watching Danny's gesticulations, and although they were becoming downright predictable, he actually finds them endearing. "Okay," he responds, shrugging.

"Okay?" Danny's unable to hide his shock at first, but decides to roll with it. Besides the building's still on fire and Mauka winds were starting to cause the smoke to pool around them. "Thank you, Steven."

"Don't mention it, I'll try harder," Steve says but then he's grinning and he can tell that it's clearly making Danny nervous. "Can I ask you something, though, Danny?"

Danny's scrubbing a hand through the back side of his head and replies, "yeah babe, shoot."

"Are those tear tracks on your face?" Steve asks, all innocent.

"Fuck you."

"Aww, Danno really?" Steve's wearing a shit-eating grin that gets bigger.

Danny's pissed, but only slightly. He doesn't really care so much that Steve's happy about him crying over him but he hates it when Steve gloats, so he says, "screw you man. I know you don't need me to remind you about the fire in that building over there and all the smoke around us, do I? Huh?"

Steve's shrugging and about to open his mouth to reply when they hear Lori screaming Steve's name.

"Steve! Oh my God, you're alive!" Lori's running towards him and throws her arms around his neck and hugs him and Steve thinks back to the time she jumped out of the chopper in North Korea and did the exact same thing. His hands come up automatically to hold her and he's touched and a little uncomfortable at how she's actually sobbing into his shoulder.

Looking over Lori's head he sees Chin rejoining Danny, and the two of them actually take a step back. Steve's a little ashamed at her fawning over him and can see by the expressions on their faces that they're enjoying the display. Danny's quietly laughing, he's got an arm across his gut, the other on Chin's shoulder for support while Chin's eyebrows are practically popping off of his forehead. Steve spies Kono smirking at him and Lori and watches her intently as she comes closer.

"Boss? Looking pretty good for a dead guy," Kono says as she arches a brow and smirks.

Steve thinks, now that's more like it, but watches with some disappointment as Kono veers away and casually walks off. He brings his hands up to Lori's arms and pushes her gently away from him so he can look at her. "I'm okay Lori, thanks," he says as he smiles self-consciously.

Lori seems to remember where she is, who she's with and pulls herself together. She's acted the fool, she knows, but she can't seem to help herself. "Are you sure?" Lori asks Steve, sputtering in a babying tone and she hates herself immediately for sounding that way.

Steve's eyebrows shoot up like Chin's and he regrets it instantly, as Danny who is watching him like a hawk guffaws at the expression he let slip. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm good," Steve replies, even more uncomfortable. He's never, ever, really liked this kind of attention. Sure he's okay with commanding a SEAL team and talking with the press about Five-0 situations and all that, but a grown woman coddling him was kind of nauseating. Something like that should only be done by a man's mother and since his died when he was a teenager, it was something he'd come to live without.

Lori's body language suddenly changes, she's squaring her shoulders and straightens her posture. "But – but what happened?" she asks, because she's sure they'd all like to know, and she needs to find a way to redeem herself.

"It was a trap," Kono answers for Steve as she returns to the team. During the apparent love-fest she touched base with HFD. Chin and Danny, decide to stop being prepubescent boys and move forward, putting on serious, professional faces. "Which is kind of obvious, don't you guys think?" Kono asks, looking pointedly at Steve who just shrugs at his faux pas.

What was it Steve said last year? This isn't a democracy, it's a benevolent dictatorship. Right.

"No victims in the building," Kono continues, again looking pointedly at Steve, who at least this time, really does look ashamed, if only for less than half a second. "They're doing their best to put everything out completely and quickly. Of course they'll need to run an arson investigation before we find anything conclusive, but it looks like whatever they used as an incendiary device went off sooner than expected."

Danny smacks Steve in the shoulder. "What'd I tell you, huh? It could have been worse."

"Yeah, boss. Otherwise, you'd be what Max calls a 'crispy-critter'," Chin cracks, apparently the normally stoic and quiet man, can't help himself this time.

Steve grunts and rolls his eyes and notices that Lori's still standing a little too close. He looks to Chin who's frankly, some kind of Jedi Master when it comes to these things. So Chin, corrals Danny and Lori into dealing with the cleanup. In a matter of minutes, Danny's back talking with HFD and Lori's talking to HPD, because those two, seem to need the distraction more than anyone.

Steve's ready to go, he's had enough barbed tongue-play with Danny and Lori's obvious displays of concern, concern him. So he wants out and he owes his father's former partner big time, maybe something along the lines of more time off so that Chin and Malia could actually go somewhere nicer, other than an outer island.

Kono's watching Steve curiously and asks, "you okay, Steve?" She's kind of happy he's alive. Of course, she'd never show it like Lori did a few minutes ago. But she does acknowledge that getting to watch him move and talk like a living, breathing being – still – is sufficient cause to be happy.

"Yeah," he answers as he turns to glance at her, then as if suddenly thinking it, he asks, "you wanna take a dead guy for a drink?"

Kono shrugs, all tough and nonchalant. Fuck, yes. "Sure," she replies smoothly.

# # #

A/N: Hope you guys like it so far!

Haole (pronounced: how-lee) – (I know this may be unnecessary, but anyway) Caucasian foreigner
Mauka (pronounced: maow-kah) – mountain, towards the mountain