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Hawaii Five-O: Implosion (P/3?)

Title: Implosion (Prologue/3?)
Series: Hawaii Five-O
Pairing: None
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Beta'd by the fabulous frauleinfrog, who for some reason continues to stick by me as I descend into tinier and tinier fandoms.

Summary: Danny's apparent death leaves Five-O struggling to solve the murder without falling to pieces. Because every fandom needs a crazy stalker fic.


Steve’s never liked birthdays. Receiving gifts from his subordinates produces a deep-seated awkwardness – he knows they do it out of affection and respect, but when the gifts pile up on his desk he still can’t help but feel like some sort of high priest receiving sacrifices from the less fortunate. Giving them is hardly any better, since it requires a keen memory not only for the gifts he’s given the receiver but everyone else as well, to combat any appearance of favouritism. Needless to say, being blinded on his birthday a few years ago did nothing to improve his opinion of the occasion.

So, when Jenny reminds him as he leaves the office for the night that it’s Danny’s birthday next week, it doesn’t exactly brighten his evening.

The fact that Danny’s a friend as well as a colleague makes things somewhat easier. Or, more accurately, reduces the occasionally painful formality of the giving. Steve doesn’t have to spend precious time trying to divine what Danny might like while maintaining absolute secrecy as to his thoughts; they’ve long since passed that reserved, arms-length office association. He can just ask.

Steve walks out of the Palace front doors into what passes for a cool evening in Honolulu, out of the corner of his eye, catches sight of a flash of familiar shade of olive green in the dusk. Slightly surprised at his luck, he veers off his course.

“Danno!”

Danny’s just rounding the Palace corner towards the back parking lot, but he turns at Steve’s hail and jogs back, keen and attentive. He might have just arrived at work, rather than leaving after a nine hour shift. “What’s up, Steve?”

“Jenny just pointed out what next week is.” At Danny’s blank look, Steve elaborates: “Your birthday?”

Danny’s confusion vanishes, replaced by a grin. “You mean the one day of the year I come to a party you throw.”

“That’s a bit too long to fit in my calendar, Danno.”

“And I’ll be bringing a camera this year,” continues Danny, crossing his arms and raising his eyebrows conspiratorially. “I’ve got connections in the crime scene lab.”

“So do I,” says Steve, with mock severity. Danny’s grin fades slightly, and he relents. “But as long as nothing threatens to end up on my desk, I might be able to look the other way.” In the distance a car honks; Steve glances up and then back again. Evening rush hour is finishing, most commuters are at home eating dinner by now. “I’ve got to get going, Danny, but think about what you want, huh? And don’t ask for scotch – you know Chin will end up getting some anyway.” Chin Ho has bought scotch for every birthday in Five-O Steve can remember going back at least six years, except for Jenny’s. He suspects one of Chin’s multitude of cousins must be in the scotch importing business.

“Well,” Danny shrugs, flushing just slightly in the twilight. “If you guys were all going to go in together…”

It’s Steve’s turn to raise his eyebrows. Danny grins, slightly embarrassed. “It’s nothing huge or anything. I’ve just been having trouble with my watch, thought it might be time to get a new one. You know how often timing’s important.” He pulls up his sleeve to show his old watch, an expensive gold-plated one; Steve’s remarked on it before as being above the price range of Danny’s usual clothes. “I’ve had this one since college – graduation gift. Not that I need anything like this. Just something that keeps good time.”

Steve nods. “Alright, Danno. I’ll see what I can do.” He slaps Danny’s shoulder. “See you tomorrow. Bright and early.”

“Yeah. Goodnight, Steve.”

Steve runs down the stairs, fishing his keys out of his pocket as he crosses the street, and unlocks his car. He’s leaving the office on time for once today, so it hasn’t had time to cool from the short day’s intense sun; the heat enfolds him like a thick blanket as he slides in, and he reaches up to loosen his tie. Starting the car, Steve rolls down his window as he pulls out onto the loop in front of the Palace.

He’s just passed the side of the Palace when the explosion hits. Nothing in sight is on fire, but the sound is unmistakable – a low glass-shaking rumble overlaid by a sound like silk ripping. It comes from somewhere behind him. Steve slams on the breaks and turns so sharply the steering grinds in protest, then hits the gas again and flies around the corner.

He makes it just in time to see the final pieces of Danny’s car hit the ground.

----------------------------------------------------------

They set up a 100-yard cordon around the parking lot behind the Palace, bringing out lamps and floodlights as full darkness falls over Honolulu. It takes the firemen more than an hour to put out the last of the blaze; the car burned with unquenchable hunger even after being drenched with water and Purple K. The smell of the whole thing is awful, a sickening mix of burnt metal, melted rubber and smoke. Chin watches it hit each new arrival at the scene: sees the disgust wash over their faces, only to be almost immediately overtaken by horror as they realise what it means. Steve, he knows, doesn’t see it, because Steve isn’t paying attention to anyone.

Chin has worked with Steve for going on seven years now. He thought he’d seen Steve in every mood the man had, from unrestrained joy to unfettered rage and everything in between. But he’s never seen Steve like this.

Chin was on his way home when the call came over the wire. He pulled a u-turn on the Kalanianaole highway as soon as he heard it, and made it back downtown without dropping below 40 the whole way. All that came over the radio was “Car bomb at ‘Iolani Palace, officer down.” But as soon as he pulled in and saw the flames billowing up over the space – the one beside his, the one Danny parked in today – he knew. And after the first white-hot pain, the fiery twist of grief and rage and guilt, his next thought was that when Steve got here there would be two fires to put out.

But Steve was already there, and there was no second fire.

Steve’s just the same now as he was when Chin arrived. Chin’s seen him brush off insults and blows and even armed attacks without ire. And he’s seen him pummel men to the ground in a fury of rage, only barely holding the line. In all of Chin’s experience, Steve either feels no anger, or doesn’t bother to muzzle it. But as he strides back and forth under the harsh unnatural light, Chin can feel the suppressed rage rolling off him like acrid smoke from a volcano. His face is white with it, every snapping move he makes telegraphing it for a mile, so that everyone moves out of his way as soon as he even looks towards them. But when Steve speaks it’s with calm courtesy, every remark relevant and well thought-out. He doesn’t once shout, doesn’t rebuke or threaten. He is visibly wrestling the rage down, holding it down with his steel-hard determination. It’s just as clear that it’s taking everything he has.

Chin has never seen Steve like this, but he knows what it means all the same. Knows that, above all else, Steve lives with a deep fear of corrupting the system, of crossing the line and letting his heart rule his head. And he knows that, as of 6:18 this afternoon, if Steve lets himself go there won’t be enough water on the island to put out the fires.

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