Author: Jilly James
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0, bit of NCIS
Genre: pre-slash, drama
Relationship(s): Tony DiNozzo/Steve McGarrett #mothership
Content Rating: PG-13
Warnings: adult language and themes
Author Notes: For the Writer’s Table Thursday Vignettes prompt from January 17th. You must have a Rough Trade account and be logged in to see the visual prompt.
Word Count: 1,975
Summary: Steve is called into to help the Coast Guard with S&R in the middle of the night. He finds someone he wasn’t expecting.
– – – –
A shadow fell over Steve as he was wiggling into his wetsuit. He looked up to find the Special Agent in Charge of the NCIS office in Honolulu. “Can I help you, Agent Matthews?” She had a good reputation, and Steve had no issue with her personally, but his team had had some clashes with some of her agents over the last few months.
“I need a private word, McGarrett.”
“Is it urgent?” The Coast Guard had called Steve in to help with a rescue mission because two boats had gone down in the middle of the night. The details were sketchy, but it seemed like there might have been a collision. Steve worked with the Coast Guard on occasion, and he never felt the need to push for information.
“Very,” she stressed.
Frowning, Steve finished pulling on the sleeve, but before he could grab the zipper pull, Matthews yanked it up then jerked her thumb toward the door. Steve signaled the Coast Guard S&R leader that he’d be right there.
“What’s going on?” he asked immediately.
“NCIS has an undercover agent on one of the boats. It’s highly sensitive, but he’s mentioned you, so I needed you to know so you don’t inadvertently blow his cover. Assuming it’s not already blown.” Matthews ran her hand through her hair, causing it to stand on end. She looked more than a little upset.
“Who?” Steve asked in bemusement. Steve knew a few NCIS agents, but the only one he would be overly concerned about was safely stationed out of DC.
“My new unit manager. I recruited him over to replace some less than cooperative old timers. He was looking forward to surprising you. But then this assignment came up, and he’s the only one new enough to the island to be able to effectively go undercover. He just transferred in from D.C.”
“Tony,” Steve gasped, feeling like the breath had been punched out of him. He’d met Tony on the Seahawk, and there hadn’t been a day that had gone by that he hadn’t thought about him.
“Yeah. I had to warn you because we can’t afford for you to compromise him. Coast guard only knows him by his undercover name. Except the team lead—I told him and advised that we were briefing you.”
Steve pushed back all his personal feelings. “Duly noted.” He always took rescues seriously, but this gave Steve a personal stake. “I saw several NCIS vans outside…”
“We got enough before the boat went down to make the arrests, but I’d prefer not to compromise Tony’s cover yet in case we still need it. His GPS tracker is how we were able to brief the Coast Guard on where to look, but it went dark a couple hours ago. It was in his shoe.”
“If he’s treading water, he’s not going to have kept his shoe on.” That GPS going dark meant nothing considering the circumstances. “I’ll do everything in my power to bring him back.”
“I know you will.” Her expression said that she’d seen more than Steve probably wanted her to. “Thank you.”
Steve watched Matthews walk away, wondering at the level of personal attachment in someone who was so new to the team. But if she’d recruited him, perhaps she’d known Tony before? He’d never looked into Matthews. For all he knew, she was from DC herself.
– – – –
Steve was feeling frantic but trying not to show it. They’d found everyone except Tony and one little boy, the son of the owner of the second boat that had gone down. Eyewitness accounts said that the boy had gotten separated from his family, and Tony had swum away to get him. They’d gotten separated further by swells, and no one had seen them from shortly after the crash, which was a good hour before the Coast Guard had shown up.
They’d had no choice but to take the rescued victims back to base and then go back out to look for Tony and a six-year-old boy named Joey.
The last Steve had seen, NCIS was swarming half of the returned victims, getting them cuffed. But a few anxious looking people had been watching as the Coast Guard returned to look for the two.
The spotter called out seeing something in the water.
When they got closer, it was clear it was just a shark just floating on the water.
“It’s dead!” the pilot called over the headset.
“Yeah,” Steve said anxiously, “but I’m pretty sure its eye is missing, and I’m thinking it was done with a knife. Seems like we’re on the right track.” That was a damn tiger shark. More aggressive than most shark species native to the islands.
Something caught his eye. “Did anyone just see a flash? Nine o’clock.”
Everyone who could was staring in that direction when the flash came again. It was faint, but definitely a flash of brightness in the expansive darkness.
“Quarter mile,” the pilot called back, adjusting his course.
The flash came again as they neared and then started happening more frequently. He had to believe Tony was signaling and doing it more frequently to ensure he had their attention.
“Two in the water,” one of the divers called as the pilot adjusted to hover nearby so they could drop into the water safely.
Steve was on the wrong side of the chopper to check, but he had to believe they’d found Tony.
“Man and a boy. Both alive.”
Steve took a shuddery breath then pushed away the emotions and prepared to get into the water and get Tony out of there.
Tony was floating on his back with the kid curled on his chest, and Steve had never seen anything better. Tony had a knife in hand, which certainly explained the shark, and Steve was impressed. He’d always been impressed by Tony—from the moment they met and in every email since—but it was wasn’t just anyone who could remain calm in the midst of a shark attack.
Steve was first to make the jump into the water. He swam up to Tony, getting a wide-eyed look of astonishment. “This is a hell of way to let me know you’re on the island, DiNozzo.” He was checking the kid over, finding him uninjured but obviously cold and scared.
“Think of the stories we’ll have to tell…” Tony muttered, trying to untangle Joey from where he was clinging to Tony’s shirt. Tony somehow still had his cellphone and had been using the flashlight on it to signal. There was zero cell reception out here. “Come on, little man. The good guys are here. They’re going to take you up in that helicopter and take you back to your dad, okay?”
“Are you coming too?” Joey asked, teeth chattering.
“Of course. I’m just going to be moving a little slower. So you let these brave guys get you up in that helicopter and my friend will bring me right behind you, okay?”
Steve noticed the pinched lines around Tony’s eyes and mouth as they got Joey into the hands of the other rescue divers. “What happened?” he asked urgently, checking Tony’s pulse, relieved to find it was strong if more than a little fast.
“Fucking shark,” Tony groused. “Got a little love bite in before I managed to punch him in the gills.”
“I suppose you’re the one who put a knife in its eye? About a quarter mile from here?”
“I put my knife in more than its eye, but yeah. I moved us away after I got him, hoping any others in the water would go after him rather than us. But my sense of direction is fucked out here.”
Steve and another diver worked to get Tony back to the helicopter, being careful of where he indicated he’d been bitten—left side, right above the hip. He could tell Tony was in pain, but he never said a word.
Once onboard, Joey climbed carefully into Tony’s lap, somewhat messing with the medic’s ability to check Tony’s injuries. Steve thought about interfering, but Tony seemed to have a handle on it as he adjusted Joey a little.
“Is that duct tape?” the medic asked, sounding bemused as he tried to examine Tony’s side.
“Yeah, and do you have any idea how hard it is to duct tape yourself in the water while you’ve got…” he trailed off and his eyes flicked to Joey.
“He propped himself on the shark to do it,” Joey volunteered. “I was scared, but it was kinda cool too.”
Tony rolled his eyes, but Steve was more than a little impressed. “You had duct tape on you?”
“It was in this kit I grabbed when I went after Joey, but I lost the rest of it trying to juggle…stuff.” Tony sounded so blasé about the whole thing.
“I’m not going rip duct tape off a shark bite,” the medic finally announced. “We’ll save that for the hospital.”
“Maybe they’ll give me the good drugs before they take that tape off,” Tony mused, sounding hopeful. “I mean, think of the hair that’s going to get ripped out.”
Steve laughed, more a release of tension than anything. “I think loss of hair is the least of your problems, DiNozzo.”
“Says you! I’m much furrier than you are, Super SEAL.”
– – – –
“Forty stitches,” Steve groused as he took a seat by Tony’s hospital bed. Tony looked more than a little out of it. They were keeping him for a couple days to be safe, but the doctor said that Tony was remarkably lucky there’d been no critical injury. Just muscle and tissue damage.
“But they’re little stitches, McGarrett.”
“Yeah, cause that’s what matters.” He reached out and took Tony’s hand, feeling daring. Their relationship had never really gotten off the ground, but he knew they both wanted it. Tony was NCIS and Steve was active military who had only on the Seahawk for a week. But they’d clicked to such a profound degree that Steve had thousands of emails sent between them over the last two years. He felt like he knew Tony better than he knew anyone in his life, he just hadn’t spent much physical time with him.
Tony squeezed his hand. “I can’t believe I’m going to be a fucking Hawaiian shark attack statistic.”
Steve threw his head back, laughing with true amusement. “I can’t believe you’ve been on the island two weeks and were attacked by a shark.”
“I’m special that way.”
“Fucking trouble magnet.”
“Like you’re one to talk!” Tony huffed. “Who was it who saved your whole team’s bacon in Honduras?”
“That would be Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. And we were damn grateful! The whole team had that picture of you with us on the deck of the Seahawk on their damn phones. You were like the unofficial team mascot.”
“Nice,” Tony said dryly. “But thank you for agreeing with me that you are the trouble magnet.”
“I lived on the islands my whole life, Tony, and never got bitten by a shark.”
Tony made a face. “You’re never going to let this go, are you?”
“Oh hell no. I’m going to have years of looking at that scar to remind me so I can torment you about it.”
Tony blinked a few times, focusing intently on Steve and squeezing his hand. “Are we? Going to have years?”
“I sure the hell hope so, Tony. This may be fast, but you being here is perfect. I’ve wanted to see what we could be since we met.”
Tony smiled, pulling at Steve’s hand. “Get over here and kiss me, McGarrett. Give me a proper welcome to the island.”
“We usually say aloha for that.”
“You can lei me later.”
Grinning, Steve leaned down and pressed a kiss to Tony’s mouth. “Welcome home, Tony.”
– – – –