Steve’s decision weighed heavily as he stowed his bag in the overhead locker and took the window seat. His earlier resolve was beginning to waver, replaced by an uneasy feeling, now that his departure was imminent.
Did I really just leave Danny sitting on the beach alone, a week out from hospital?
Christ, what the hell is wrong with me?
Steve tipped his head back and sighed, of course he knew what was wrong, he just didn’t know how best to fix it.
Glancing around the cabin, he watched passengers finding their seats before turning his gaze to the window and the island view, triggering memories of his return a decade ago. His hands were trembling now, anxiety his new reality, an unwelcome side effect of the trauma and loss he hadn't been able to process. His mind raced, leaving the people he loved, his support network, was that the solution? Where was peace in that?
Closing his eyes, he tried relaxing, focusing on breathing deeply but the painful memories only intensified.
‘I have the person you care about most in the world.’
Christ, even Daiyu Mei knew.
Steve dragged his hands down his weary face, desperate for a fresh perspective.
A ping from his phone startled him and his heart sped up.
‘miss you already’
He grinned at the sheer joy those three little words sparked and in that moment he absolutely knew he could have life on his own terms if he chose to.
Danny was right, I am a nincompoop.
Standing up in the cramped space of the window seat, Steve carefully edged past the elderly gentleman seated alongside him, apologizing for the inconvenience.
He wrestled his bag from the overhead locker and threaded his way along the aisle toward the aircraft door against the flow of incoming passengers.
‘Sorry, excuse me, coming through,’ he said hefting his bag above his head, following the path of least resistance.
He stopped at the cabin door, nodding to the flight attendant. ‘Actually I won’t be taking this flight,' he said with confidence, 'change of plans.' He grinned as he handed her his boarding pass. ‘This is all I’ve got,’ he added, lifting his carry-on bag. ‘Nothing in the hold.’
She smiled pleasantly. 'Well, we shall look forward to seeing you next time you fly...’ She looked down at the boarding pass, ‘...Mr McGarrett.’
He couldn’t suppress his smile as he strode along the aerobridge, confident he'd made the right decision. Approaching the terminal, he could hear a commotion, raised voices… familiar raised voices.
Steve picked up his pace and rounded the corner to the boarding gate in time to see a flustered, slightly out of breath, Junior in control of an airport wheelchair pushing one irate, argumentative Jersey Detective waving his walking stick threateningly at the airline staff as he demanded access to the aircraft. The entire 5.O team were behind Danny, egging him on and adding their pleas to let him through.
Steve paused, tears threatening to spill at the sight of the knucklehead wildly waving his arms while making crazy threats which were more likely to see him arrested than granted access.
‘Yo! Danno!’ Steve called out.
Danny’s eyes met his and the commotion at the gate abruptly stopped. Grinning madly, Tani and Quinn took an arm each and heaved Danny to his feet, holding him steady until he got the walking stick in place.
‘I’m back...for good,’ Steve said smiling fondly at the goof who was still struggling to keep his balance.
‘Eh, you neanderthal jerk!' Danny barked, waving his cane in the air. ‘I-I want you to know I only came down here to make sure you actually left this sandy, god forsaken, pineapple infested island,' he said, barely able to finish his rant as he choked on his words.
Steve dropped his bag and rushed forward into Danny’s embrace to the sound of cheering and wolf whistles.
‘I love you man. I’m so sorry,’ he whispered into Danny’s ear as their hug tightened.
Danny huffed. ‘Your apology is noted, acceptance is….’