what_we_dream: (Five-O)
[personal profile] what_we_dream
Title: Thistle and Weeds
Series: Hawaii Five-O (1968)
Rating: PG
Pairing: Past Danny/Jane
Notes: Takes place after 3x12 Beautiful Screamer. Title from Mumford and Sons Thistle and Weeds. Holiday gift!fic for [livejournal.com profile] ember_reads.

Summary: Six weeks after Jane's death, Danny is still coming to terms with his loss. Matters outside his control bring him face to face with his choices.



The weeks after Jane’s death are brutal; bone-crushingly exhausting and soul-shredding, it takes every ounce of Danny’s endurance to pull through them with professionalism. During the case, the entire focus of his thoughts had been on finding the son-of-a-bitch who choked the life out of her for no reason other than his convenience, and stopping himself from showing the bastard exactly how that felt first-hand. It was only after Gregson was booked that he realised there would be the prolonged trial process to survive, a daily reminder of exactly how and why he had lost his heart.

The day after the trial concludes with a double verdict of murder in the first degree, Danny jets off the island. For once Steve insists on it, and Danny’s in no frame of mind to object. Steve may be proud of his conduct during the trial, but all Danny seems to be able to remember these days is the vividly-coloured aftermath of Jane’s death, and at the forefront of those days is Steve’s closely-contained anger at his loss of self-control.

Three weeks of backpacking in Europe doesn’t mend his broken heart, but the complete and lengthy separation from sun, surf and the rush of solving cases nearly breaks his mind so that by the end of the holiday he can’t wait to get back to Hawaii. He returns with a backpack full of undeveloped film and the obligatory souvenirs, and tries not to think about the fact that it has none of the perfume, scarves or chocolates he would have brought back two months ago.

The papers in the airport lobby tell him he’s missed a major case – or at least a major event. BANK ROBBER KILLED BY 5-0 is the common headline. A quick scan through the front pages reveals a less sensational story – a suspect in the armed robbery of the First Hawaiian Bank fired at police when approached, and was shot and killed by Steve McGarrett. Danny winces in sympathy, folds the paper under his arm, and steps out into the warm afternoon to hail a cab.

At home, Danny empties his backpack and changes gratefully out of his travel-worn clothes into a shirt and pants he hasn’t worn twice a week for three weeks. He took a day’s lay-over in LA to avoid a more than 24-hour trip, but he’s still in that antsy stage of travel fatigue that comes from being cooped up too long. So, with his clothes loaded into the washer, he heads out towards the North Shore, intending to take a long walk on the beach to calm his aching bones.

He cuts through the industrial district, slow on a Saturday afternoon, to avoid the long and familiar ocean-side drive with an empty passenger seat. His scanner is on out of force of habit, although the crackling voice is turned down low. He catches a few calls for McGarrett, but rolls down the window and ignores them. Danny knows what happens to men who bury themselves in their jobs, who put work before life every time. As much as he hates being at loose ends now, he knows he would hate being alone forever far more.

When he drives past an open warehouse and sees a familiar black LTD parked haphazardly in the drive with the door still open, though, it’s more than he can ignore. Danny pulls over, kills the engine, and steps out. The Hawaiian sun is hot on his shoulders, the first real heat he’s felt in weeks, but he can’t appreciate it.

The car’s parked in front of what looks like some sort of old brewery, a two-storey corrugated tin building on a cracking cement foundation. The door is wide open revealing the darkness inside; there are no lights lit there, and no cars in the parking lot off to the building’s side.

Danny approaches the doorway cautiously and peers in. The sunlight cuts a bright square into the shadows overlaying the floor. Just outside its sharp line a figure is lying on its back. His eyes are already adjusting, but light or dark it’s a silhouette he knows well.

“Steve!” Danny runs in, skidding to a stop and kneeling beside his boss. Steve is lying awkwardly, partially on his side with one leg curled up towards him. The other lies straight and he’s holding it with both hands, breathing hard. Danny’s eyes have adjusted well enough now that he can make out Steve’s face, pale and pained.

“Danno?” He blinks, confused, and then shakes away his uncertainty. “Get my gun; it fell –” he looks around and Danny does the same. He spots the revolver lying by the foot of a metal staircase leading up to a complex set of scaffolding hanging over them; directly above some of it is still rocking.

He stands but only manages a step forwards before a figure comes running down the stairs and scoops up the gun. It’s a young haole woman in dirty jeans and a yellow cotton top. Her eyes are red, but her face is contorted in anger. She points the revolver at Danny, eyes flashing from him to Steve and back again. Danny raises his hands slowly.

“You should put down that gun, miss,” he says, mildly.

“Shut up and get away from him.” She’s holding the gun in both hands as if it’s too heavy for her, and motions with it while stepping towards Steve. Danny doesn’t move.

“I’m not going to do that. No one’s going to get hurt here.” Behind him he can hear Steve’s pained breathing, hear him trying to control it. “Why don’t you tell me your name? I’m Danny.”

“I said get away from him,” she snarls, taking another step forward and pointing the gun down at Steve. Danny moves without thought, falling back and dropping to one knee between her and Steve.

“Does this have something to do with the bank robbery?” He doesn’t have to see the flash of rage in her eyes to know he’s right; no one was actively gunning for Steve when he left. “He was your boyfriend?”

“He was my husband, you bastard!” She lunges forward, and Danny feels Steve grab his arm from behind and try to pull him away; he resists. She stops two yards from him, hands shaking. She’s crying now, silent tears of pain and frustration running down her cheeks making her voice crack. “He was my husband, and McGarrett shot him down like a dog. He wouldn’t’ve hurt anyone – he never would’ve hurt anyone. He just needed the cash. McGarrett shot him for a fistful of bread.”

“You know that’s not true, Joan,” begins Steve in a tight, catching voice, but has to stop to cough.

“Joan? Is that your name?” Danny leaves his arms spread in a peaceful open stance, but keeps balanced on his knees and toes. She doesn’t acknowledge him. “You know why your husband did what he did, Joan – I can’t pretend to understand that. But I know Steve McGarrett. And I know he would never fire on a man except to protect someone else. He would do anything to prevent violence, no matter the justification for it.”

She wipes the tears from her face with the back of her hand before taking a double-handed hold of the revolver again. “Then you tell me why Lyle’s dead! You tell me that. Because I know Lyle, and I know he’d never hurt anyone.”

Danny keeps his voice mild and his posture relaxed – don’t argue; never argue. “People don’t always think straight, especially when they’re under pressure. They get scared, and they get desperate, and sometimes they do things they don’t mean to. Things they’d never do ordinarily. And people are never under pressure as much as when they think they’re cornered. It’s not a good situation, and sometimes things go wrong.”

“So it’s all Lyle’s fault! He got caught, got cornered and threatened by the pigs, and he made a mistake – so he died. How nice and tidy. So sorry McGarrett was put out by having to deal with him!” She tries to aim around Danny again; he moves between the revolver and Steve. “Move.”

“You don’t want to hurt me, Joan. That tells me you don’t really want to do this. You’re not desperate enough. You know this is the wrong decision.” He gives her a careful, earnest look. “You can stop right now.”

She shakes her hair out of her face, hands trembling. “What the hell do you know, you little shoe-licker?”

“I know that six weeks ago, the woman I loved was murdered for no reason other than someone’s convenience. And when I caught him, the only thing that stopped me shoving the son-of-a-bitch who did it off a cliff was the fact that Steve McGarrett wanted me to be better than that.” Behind him, Steve gives a dry rasping cough.

“That’s enough, Danno. Get out of here and let me and this lady have a talk.” His voice is hoarse, roughened by the pain. Danny ignores him completely.

“Lyle wouldn’t want you to throw your life away, would he? Because that’s what you’re doing. What happened to him is a tragedy. Let’s not repeat it.” They’re the same words he told himself, over and over, six weeks ago. Somehow, when it’s not his life, not his tragedy, he can see the truth in them that wasn’t apparent when he needed them.

Joan shakes her head, chin sinking into her chest. “No. No no no. You’re trying to trick me. You’re trying to confuse me.” She looks up, tears streaming down her face again. “But tomorrow, Lyle will still be dead, and it will still be McGarrett who killed him.”

Danny looks at her imploringly. “Put the gun down, Joan. Just put it down. Please. As someone who was as confused as you – it’s the right thing. I didn’t know it at the time, or the next day, or the next month. But I know now. Even though she’s still dead, and he – he’s still alive.”

She bites her lip, eyes wide and wild. Slowly, cautiously, he rises to his feet with his hands still raised.

“Don’t become what you hate in Lyle’s name. Don’t make him into an excuse – he deserves more than that.” He takes a step towards her, and then another, eyes locked on to hers rather than the gun trembling in her grip. “Let’s stop the same thing happening again.”

He reaches out, and slips the gun gently from her hands. She stares down at it with a disbelieving expression, and then falls to her knees as the shock sets in. Danny uncocks the revolver and tucks it into his belt, then goes back to kneel beside Steve.

“You okay, Steve?” He puts a careful hand on Steve’s shoulder. Steve turns to look at him, smiling wanly.

“It’s good to have you back, Danno.”

Danny returns the bittersweet smile. “It’s good to be back.” He glances at Steve’s stiffly-held leg, and shakes himself back into the present. “I’ll go radio for an ambulance. Don’t move that leg.”

“I’ll be here,” replies Steve, with gruff humour.

Danny stands and goes back to help Joan to her feet. “Come with me, miss,” he says, kindly. “We’ve got to go make a couple calls.”

END
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