Time Heals All Wounds
Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Sophie, happy birthday to you!
One year old Sophie clapped her chubby little hands giggling in excitement at all the commotion going on around her. Looking around at all the familiar faces gathered on this sunny Hawaiian Day in his backyard to celebrate Sophie’s first year, Steve couldn’t help but feel grateful for his ohana. They had been his rock when things got tough and were there all the way until Steve was able to get back on his feet on his own. It had not been easy but no one said it would and he was taking it one day at a time. The pain was still there, it probably always would, but he had learned to live with it. He just hoped he never failed Sophie.
“You okay?” Danny asked snapping Steve out of his thoughts after having seen a shadow cross Steve’s eyes a minute ago.
“Yeah, I’m good,” Steve replied smiling at his friend and trying to balance an overly excited Sophie in his arms.
“Momma,” she said clapping her hands on Steve’s cheeks.
Danny gave him a raised eyebrows look.
Steve sighed and shook his head at Danny. “That’s the first word she learned.”
Danny took pity on Steve understanding how difficult it may be for Steve when Sophie said or did something to remind him of Mia. “Hey Sophie, you want some cake?”
“Cake!” Sophie squealed trying to push herself off her father. “Dow, dow.”
“Trader, you trade me for cake, huh, Sophie,” Steve teased as he tickled his daughter.
Sophie giggled and squirmed until Steve finally put her down and helped her balance herself in her still unsteady feet. Danny took over and led Sophie to where Kono was cutting the cake.
Steve decided to take this moment to step away for a minute and gather his thoughts. He walked down to the beach and stood in front of the water staring into the horizon lost in thought. Steve and the team had been working on the case that killed his wife nonstop for the first couple of months following the explosion until they came to a dead end. There was no sign of WoFat or nothing that could prove he was involved in the bombing except for the exact same replica of the bomb that killed Laura Hills. Eventually the case had to take a backseat because the Governor was getting antsy and they had to resume their normal duties but the case was never far from Steve’s mind.
“Hey brother why are you looking so lonely?” Mary joked as she reached Steve. Steve gave her a straight face and Mary sighed. “Okay bad joke, sorry.”
“What’s up Mary?” Steve asked turning to look at his sister.
“I just wanted to see if you were okay, like really okay. I know in a week it’s going to be you know,” Mary said motioning with her hands what she wouldn’t say in words afraid it would upset Steve.
“A year since Mia died? Yes, I know Mary but don’t worry, I’m as good as can be,” Steve said shrugging a shoulder and then crossing his arms in across his chest.
“You don’t have to be all macho tough,” Mary said. “We’re all here for you, I’m here for you if you need to I don’t know talk.”
Steve smiled and reached out to hug Mary, mussing her hair in the process. “I know Mary and thank you. For real, though, thank you for all the help you’ve given me this whole time. I know you have your own life back in L.A. and I’m sorry you’ve had to put it on hold.”
“Hey we’re family and you’ve always been there for me. Now it’s my turn, besides,” she said moving out of their embrace and playfully punching Steve on the shoulder, “I have the most adorable niece ever and I love watching her.”
Steve laughed. “I can’t argue with that. Just so you know, don’t feel like you have to stay here. If you ever feel like you want to go back, it’s okay.”
“Are you kicking me out brother?” she asked in mock hurt.
“Never, you’re more than welcome to stay as long as you want,” Steve said. “I just don’t want you to feel obligated to stay. I’ll figure something out if you decide to leave. Probably hire a nanny or something.”
“Aha!” Mary said giving Steve a knowing look. “Now I get it. I think you’re just trying to get rid of me so you can hire one of those hot looking nannies that not only take care of the kids but also take care of the daddy. I knew it!”
Steve scrunched up his face. “What?” he asked confused. “Seriously Mary? You need to lay off the TV.”
“You don’t need a TV to know that’s exactly what nannies do now a day,” Mary replied with a roll of her eyes.
This time it was Steve’s turn to roll his eyes. “Whatever Mary, come on, they’re probably missing us now,” Steve said placing his right arm over Mary’s shoulder and leading her back to where the rest of the team, Jake, Savi, Kelly, and his mom were.
“How is he really doing?” Jake asked Danny motioning with his head to where Steve was talking to his MaryAnn. “You know with the whole anniversary coming up soon.”
Danny stole a glance in Steve’s direction and then turned to look back at Jake. “I guess as good as he can be considering,” he said. “Although, he claims he’s okay.”
“Yeah, he doesn’t say much and he hardly ever mentions her name,” Jake said sharing his observations from the times he and Steve spent together.
“I think he’s just putting up a front and trying to be strong for Sophie even though inside he’s still hurting and mourning,” Danny said.
“I just hope he knows he’s not alone,” Jake said wistfully.
A week later Steve found himself sitting in front of his late wife’s grave with his knees up and arms dangling in between as he watched his daughter walk around close by stumbling and picking her self up. It amazed Steve how much Sophie looked like Mia with each passing day the only difference being Sophie had his eyes.
A year had passed since Mia’s death and Steve felt like a part of him had died with her but now he had Sophie to worry about. Mia’s and his daughter had turned one and Steve was still learning the ropes of being a single father. He felt like giving up on everything because life without Mia wasn’t the same but his precious daughter was the only person keeping him alive.
“I really hope you’re looking at her from wherever you are Mia. She is just like you, so beautiful and smart,” Steve whispered remembering how Sophie was slowly picking up more words as the weeks passed. Just this morning she had called Mary ‘awni” when she tried to say ‘auntie’. “God Mia you have no idea how much I miss you and need you. It is definitely not easy raising a little girl even if I do have everyone’s help.” Steve’s eyes began to water and he pinched the bridge of his nose to prevent the tears from find their way out. “We were supposed to be doing this together. I just hope that wherever you are you give me the strength to keep going because I don’t know if or how long I can keep doing this.”
Sophie walked slowly towards Steve until she was standing in between Steve’s legs.
“Hey Princess, you ready to head out?” Steve asked Sophie knowing she probably had no idea what Steve was saying.
“Momma,” Sophie replied in her innocent and angelic voice.
Steve swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. “Yes honey, mommy is watching over us right now. She’s an angel up there,” he said pointing to the sky.
Sophie’s attention quickly turned to something else and her pure innocence had Steve smiling and thinking that no matter what, he loved his daughter very much and he would do anything to protect her.
“Alright Sophie, I think it’s time to go and get some food into that tiny body of yours so you can keep growing stronger,” Steve said standing up and scooping Sophie into his arms causing the girl to let out a small giggle.
After he got Sophie into her seat and was ready to start the engine of his truck, Steve’s cell phone rang. Steve didn’t bother checking the caller id and answered distractedly, “McGarrett.”
“Hey Steve, sorry to interrupt you but we just got a case. Duke has been trying to reach you but he said the call kept going straight to voicemail,” Danny said.
“Yeah I just turned it back on. I was a bit busy. Do you know why he was trying to reach me?” Steve asked starting up the engine and putting the phone on speaker as he drove away.
“To inform you we got a case. It was originally HPD’s but I guess something came up and now they’re handing it to us,” Danny said.
“Alright, meet me at my place in ten. I have to drop off Sophie,” Steve said.
“Alright, see you in ten,” Danny said and ended the call.
“So you have no idea what the case is about?” Steve questioned Danny as they walked down the halls of the hospital.
“None,” Danny said. “He was very clear this was something ‘you and your team had to handle.’ His words, not mine.”
Steve found this somewhat odd but didn’t give it much thought since they were often being handed cases HPD thought Five-0 would be better off handling.
“Commander McGarrett,” Officer Duke greeted them standing outside the hospital room he was supposed to look for.
“What’s up Duke, what did you find?” Steve said motioning to the closed door on his right.
“More like who. That’s why I specifically asked for you to come,” the officer said with a grim face looking from Steve to Danny and back again to Steve.
Steve gave the man a confused yet curious look. “Who did you find?” Steve asked as he stood with his arms crossed and his feet slightly apart.
“I suggest you take a look for yourself Commander,” the officer said. “It took me by surprise and I think it will take you by surprise too.”
Steve really hoped his mother hadn’t gotten into any more trouble because he seriously didn’t know how many more of her lies he could take. He felt like he already had enough on his plate. Steve looked briefly at Danny and then proceeded to open the door to the room they were standing outside of.