Crash and Burn - Chapter 38: Hopena

Reena flinched, waiting for...Something. She had no idea what. Pain? Darkness? Light at the end of the tunnel?

Nothing happened. Nothing but the sound of the shot, the slackening grip on her hair, and the soft thud from behind her.

She watched, eyes wide, heart thundering in her chest, as Steve lowered his hands a little, gun pointed at a spot on the ground behind her, and quickly approached her.

He didn’t look at her, he didn’t stop, but took two more steps. She turned after him and watched as he circled Wo Fat’s body. He kicked the gun out of the man’s slackened grip, dropped to one knee and felt for a pulse.

She could tell him not to bother, there was a hole where the man’s right eye used to be and she knew the back of Wo Fat’s skull looked even worse. She shuddered at the thought this was the second time in one morning she’s been held at gunpoint and her assailant had been shot in the head.

Steve stood, holstered his gun and looked at Sabrina. The expression on her face made him want to pull her in his arms and tell her everything was okay, never letting go. She looked stunned, her gaze a little blank as if the fact she was safe, that she wouldn’t die today, hasn’t yet sank in. He gritted his teeth at the memory of her face when Wo Fat had placed the gun against her neck. She’d been ready to die, she’d been ready to sacrifice herself so he’d get his hands on Wo Fat, the man who had had his father killed.

So now he was vacillating between wanting to hold her close and throttling her for willingly putting her life on the line. But the holding her close was winning. Big time. Unfortunately, he couldn’t act on that impulse. Marcus Hawthorne beat him to it.

With a sick feeling he watched the man free Sabrina’s hands and enfold her into a tight hug, burying his face against her neck. She circled his waist with her arms and seemed to hold on for dear life.

And Steve finally got it. He finally got it. They had a bond nothing could touch. No matter what happened, no matter what he did, he could never compete with that. And it made him want to go crawl into a hole and rage at the world. Because in that moment Steve McGarrett finally realized that the woman he loved more than anything was lost to him.

He would die for her, he would kill for her—he killed Wo Fat, the only man who could give him all the answers, for her—and it would never be enough. All hopes of maybe one day winning her back were gone. She would never love him as much as she loved Marcus Hawthorne.

It was over. He was throwing in the towel. He’d been beaten.

And he was tired.

With one last look into Wo Fat’s dead eyes, he turned toward the forest to start the hike back. He wasn’t waiting for anyone.

“Are you okay?” Marc murmured.

Reena nodded, getting her bearing back, everything that had happened finally registering. Steve had killed Wo Fat. To save her. He’d forfeited any chance of getting answers, any chance of finally learning the entire truth about his father and his mother’s murder, to save her life.

She wasn’t worth it. And he’d still done it.

She pushed out of her brother’s embrace, turned to look for Steve.

He was almost at the edge of the clearing, heading back into the forest, and she ran after him, barely sparing Wo Fat’s corpse a glance.

“Steve, wait,” she called.

He froze, schooled his features, and turned.

She missed a step at the blankness of his expression. Then she steeled herself and approached him.

“You should’ve taken him alive,” she said softly.

“He was using you as a shield.”

“Steve—”

He placed a finger against her lips. “It was worth it.”

She shook her head.

His finger left her lips, caressed her cheek. “Your life’s worth more.”

He took her chin between his thumb and index finger, leaned down, and kissed her on the mouth. Hard and quick. Then he turned, and disappeared into the foliage.

Marc watched the quick exchange through a film of tears, his heart hurting, while on the ridge overlooking the valley, Joe White lifted his eye off the scope and shook his head.

Danny and Chin exchanged a glance, then slowly followed their friend into the brush.

Reena swallowed back tears, squared her shoulders, and turned back, watched as four Marines emerged from the forest surrounding the clearing, then looked at her brother. “Have you checked the chopper, yet?”

Marc blinked and looked up to the sky. For a moment there, when she’d thought she was about to die, that wall of hers had come crumbling down and he’d glimpsed the whole Sabrina in those gray eyes. Everything had been there, the sadness, the acceptance, the pleading for forgiveness, and the love shining through like a beacon—one had to be blind to miss that and apparently McGarrett was blind—but now the wall was back up and she was hiding again, regrouping, mending the tears in the façade.

“Why?” he asked on a sigh.

“Because his computer might be in there,” she replied. “No, it has to be in there. He was too paranoid to leave it somewhere else. He’s dead, but I might get something off of his computer.”

Without waiting for him, she stalked to the chopper, yanked the door open, and climbed inside.

He approached the chopper, listening to her curses, a bang, then watched her jump out and climb into the passenger hold.

There was a triumphant “Yes!”, and she jumped out again, a computer case in her hand.

“Now, I need to sit down,” she said and dropped onto her butt, groaned, then laid down completely, the computer case clutched to her chest.

Marc was at her side instantly. “Reen, are you okay?”

She opened her eyes, her smile wobbly, her gaze slightly unfocused. “Not really.”

“What is it?”

“Well, my head is a bit spinny, it hurts, and there are a few spots dancing around me.” She paused, thought a bit, then continued, “Fryer’s buddy must’ve conked me harder than I thought.”

Marc frowned. No wonder she’d been held up at gunpoint twice, she wasn’t operating at full capacity. “You have a concussion and you had to search the chopper first?”

She shrugged and closed her eyes—the light was too bright. “Priorities.”

“I have mine as well.” He crouched, tucked an arm under her back, the other under her knees, and hoisted her up. “I’m taking you to the hospital.”

She chuckled. “Yeah? Will you carry me all the way back?”

“No, I’ll fly you.”

“Damn,” she grouched. “I should’ve seen that one coming.”

“Yes, you should’ve.” He tucked her into the chopper, threw his car keys to a Marine. “Take my car to the State Capitol, will you?”

The Marine nodded and loped after his colleagues.

Marc climbed into the chopper, strapped them both in, then started the rotor.

“Marc?”

He turned at the soft question. “Hmm?”

“They can check me out, but I’m not staying.”

“Wanna bet?”

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