Summary: Just when Rachel thinks she and Danny can start again, there's a sudden bump in the road.
Author's Notes: Danny/Rachel, Rachel/Stan. Spoilers for end of S1/beginning of S2. Mention of adult situations. Can be read stand alone or as a sequel to A Journey of Lies and The Road With Good Intentions.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Written for entertainment purposes only.
Bump in the Road
Rachel doesn't mean to sleep with Danny again.
She really doesn't. She's organised a sleep over for Grace because she wants to talk to him. Talk. That's all. Now she's made the decision to leave Stan, to reconcile with Danny, she and her ex-husband have a lot to talk about, including Rachel's decision to leave Hawaii. Rachel will talk to Stan when he gets back from Maui, back from the failed attempt to save their marriage.
It's late when she heads to Danny's apartment building, darkness has already fallen, and she's relieved to find his car in the parking lot. When he opens his door, she sees the surprise flicker across his face. He holds up his free hand as she goes to speak and points at his ear where his other hand is holding a phone.
"Yes, Steven. Yes, I got to my place fine." Danny waves her inside, turning away to walk through the cramped space, leaving her to close the door. "I know I only got out of the hospital…" he sighs and pushes a hand through his hair. His hand slices through the air beside him. "Hey, there was no…OK, maybe, maybe, I was a little breathless but…" he turns and catches sight of Rachel again.
She offers a nervous smile, her fingers tightening around her handbag.
His blue eyes soften. "Look, I've got to go…" he nods slowly, a thumb scratching absently at the middle of his forehead, "yeah, I'll see you tomorrow." He tosses the phone on the breakfast bar.
"This is…OK? My being here? Isn't it?" Rachel asks before she can help herself.
Danny nods but he's frowning, crossing his arms defensively. "Where's…"
"Grace is sleeping over at a friend's." Rachel informs him quickly. "I thought we should talk."
"We should probably do that." Danny agrees. "Talk, I mean."
He rubs his chest and she suddenly sees the faint lines of tiredness that criss-cross his face. He should be resting, recovering from the Sarin attack that had put him in the hospital and precipitated her return from the last-ditch attempt to fix her marriage to Stan. Danny had almost died…he'd almost died. She bursts into tears, messy and abrupt; her fear erupting out of her and she can't control it. She's horrified. But Danny's immediately there; wrapping her up in his arms, making her feel secure. He's whispering reassurances into her hair; rubbing her back as she sobs, drenching his shoulder.
When she finally lifts her head, she captures his lips and kisses him; sneaks one hand under his clothes to find skin. It's been weeks since they'd made love in the wake of Danny's brother fleeing Hawaii and Rachel separating from Stan after his actions had placed Grace in danger. She needs this, needs to reaffirm that Danny's alive…
He eases back from her for a moment; his eyes deadly serious. "It's over over, right? You and Stan…"
"It's over." She says and brushes her lips over his again. "We'll talk in the morning."
They don't talk in the morning.
Rachel manages to tell Danny she's leaving Stan but before she can talk to him about the rest, about leaving Hawaii, about them getting back together as a family and what that's going to involve, Danny's cell rings and half a minute later he's sprinting to get dressed. She lets him go with the promise he'll call later and tries not to feel resentful.
A few hours later and she's staring at a pregnancy test and trying not to panic. She's pregnant. And it has to be Danny's. She and Stan…the timing isn't right. It had to have been the night Danny's brother disappeared on him. Has to be that night she conceived.
Somehow she makes it through telling Danny. And later as she lies in bed, her hand protectively resting on her abdomen, over their unborn child, she marvels that she ever worried about telling him – ignoring his phone calls, dragging him to Sand Island where she'd eventually gone to think and clear her head.
They're leaving Hawaii together as a family. Danny had been surprised by Rachel's plea to leave immediately but he'd supported her and Rachel's thankful for that. He had followed her home but he'd left after spending time with Grace. She knows he's going to McGarrett's to tell him their news. She bites her lip, guilt flushing over her again.
Danny will miss his partner and Five-0. The team had given Danny a place in Hawaii; his friends accepted him and settled him. She's taking that away from him. But, Rachel reminds herself, they're going back to New Jersey; back to Danny's family and his roots; back to the life Rachel had forced him to leave when she'd agreed with Stan's request to move to Hawaii in the first place. She comforts herself with that but doubt wriggles into her mind.
She can't shake the look she'd caught briefly in Danny's eyes. It had been fleeting but it had been there all the same: hesitancy and distrust, a questioning of them. She's seen it in his eyes before, she realises, that morning when she'd told him she was leaving Stan. Can she blame him? She'd told him it was over once before and backtracked when Stan had pleaded for a second chance despite her confessing her indiscretion with Danny. Then there are all the mistakes she and Danny had made during their marriage, not to mention the enmity of their divorce and its aftermath.
They'll work through it, Rachel determines. Grace and the baby deserve a family. Her hand strokes over her abdomen again. She'll see her old gynaecologist when they get back to New Jersey and get the official tests done there. She knows Danny already loves whoever she's carrying. He'd wanted more kids after Grace but she'd evaded, already too scared at the thought she might lose him and be left with one child to look after.
Her old fear nibbles at her again a little. Danny's still going to be a cop; still going to be in danger. They love each other, she and Danny, Rachel reminds herself. They've never stopped loving each other. They can make it work this time. She just has to tell Stan…
But that can wait until his return – and she has someone else to think about first. Rachel smiles and presses her palm firmly against her abdomen. "Hey there, little one." She whispers.
"You're leaving me." Stan says as soon as the study door is closed on the rest of the house; on Grace watching a movie in the den under the watchful eye of the maid.
"Yes." Rachel doesn't deny it.
Stan sits on the edge of his desk. He's only been in the house a few minutes. He's still in the suit he travelled in; it's wrinkled and Stan looks worn. Rachel wonders if she couldn't have perhaps waited an hour. But she knows if she had waited, it wouldn't have made it easier or less painful. There is no perfect time to end a marriage.
"I knew." Stan admits, folding his arms tightly over his chest. "I knew when you left Maui." He grimaces. "I think I knew before Maui."
Rachel wets her lips and tries hard not to twist her fingers too painfully. "There's something else you need to know." She takes a deep breath. "I'm pregnant." She delivers the news bluntly. "It's Danny's."
Stan stares at her blankly for a long moment before he pushes off the desk and stalks around to his liquor cabinet. He pours himself a large measure of scotch. He doesn't look at her.
"It wasn't planned, Stanley." Rachel says quietly. "This was an accident. The night I told you about." Technically, she tells herself again, technically she and Stan had been separated at the time. Does it make her infidelity better or worse, Rachel wonders, that she was honest about it.
"You're sure?" asks Stan. He still won't look at her.
"Yes." Rachel says. She's ready to cry, her guilt, shame and sorrow for hurting him just waiting to spill over, but she won't let herself. "I do love you." She tries to explain. "It's just…"
Stan sighs and finally meets her gaze again. "I understand. You and Danny have to try again; the baby, Grace. You're a family." He sets the scotch down. "What now?"
Rachel breathes in. "We're leaving for New Jersey tonight. I've told Grace we're going on a holiday to see her Grandparents. I'll have my lawyers contact you." She clears her throat. "Danny's coming with us."
Stan's eyes widen, his nostrils flare, and his lips drop open. She wonders at his evident shock. Surely he had to expect they would leave and that Danny would come with them?
"Sorry. I'm just surprised Danny's leaving with everything on the news." Stan says eventually.
She frowns, confused. She hasn't seen the news; Danny hasn't called. Maybe Stan's referring to the car bomb the day before. "I'm sorry, Stan." She's sincere. She does love him, regrets hurting him.
"Me too." Stan says.
He's kind to Grace when they say goodbye and he lets them go without a scene. Not for the first time, Rachel thinks he's essentially a good man. But she doesn't look back as the car pulls away.
Grace falls asleep on the plane in the way only children can. She's accepted Rachel's made-up explanation that Danny must have been very badly delayed in traffic to miss the plane. Rachel, by contrast, is wide awake, so angry that she wants to stand up in the quiet darkened cabin and scream. What was so important that he couldn't meet them? Couldn't call? But worse, there's a hurt settling into her bones that makes her throat close up tightly against the tears she wants to shed but won't. Not in public, on a plane, with her daughter beside her. She wonders if it was second thoughts. Whether the doubts she suspects Danny has overcame his want to be a family again.
But no: when she'd called to tell him they were at the airport, he'd promised he'd be there. And he's never let Grace down. Never. Not until two hours before. And that more than anything arrests Rachel's anger.
Something must have happened. Something bad. Something huge because Rachel knows it had to be if it meant Danny actually did something to disappoint Grace. Worry swamps out all the anger for the first time. Is Danny even OK? What if he had collapsed again? What if he's hurt? What if…she shuts down the train of thought ruthlessly. Danny will be fine. Obviously something has happened but he'll explain it when she calls him when the plane gets to New Jersey.
In the end, she doesn't have to call Danny. It's all over the news channel on the flight when she watches: the Governor of Hawaii is dead and McGarrett has been arrested for her murder at the scene. He'd evaded arrest earlier that day for the car bomb and the murder of Laura Hills.
No wonder Danny didn't meet them.
There's a small resentful part of Rachel that wants Danny to have left Steve to his fate regardless of how selfish that is given the situation but she knows Danny will want, need, to be there for his partner. She pushes the mess to the back of her mind as the plane lands. Her phone buzzes as soon as she switches it on after they disembark.
"Rachel, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry…" Danny begins. He sounds at the end of his rope.
"I saw the news." Rachel interrupts hurriedly, taking Grace's hand and leading her towards the baggage area, ignoring Grace's query if the call is her Danno. "How are you?"
"Steve didn't do it," Danny replies immediately, 'but it's a mess. Are you OK? The baby? Grace?"
"We're fine." Rachel says. She offers to let him speak to Grace, who has been pleading to speak with her father insistently if quietly, and hands the phone over. Grace has always managed to sooth Danny's turbulent emotions. Rachel has rescued their bags before Grace hands her the phone back.
"Look, Rachel, Steve doesn't have anyone else right now and…"
"It's OK, Danny. Stay there as long as you need to." Rachel hurries out; taking away his dilemma and ignoring her own resentment at his not being with them. "Just come when you can. We're OK."
Danny sighs but she can feel his relief. "I love you. You know that, right?"
"I love you too." Rachel replies. Loving each other has never been the problem.
Rachel isn't surprised when Danny's parents are waiting in arrivals. She accepts the ride but refuses to stay at the Williams' house. As much as she appreciates the gesture, her reconciliation with Danny is too new for Rachel to bear up under the weight of their scrutiny and their unasked questions of whether she'll hurt their son again, whether she and Danny have thought this through and will hurt Grace again.
Instead, she arranges for them to take Grace for a few days so Rachel will have the freedom to organise everything; to find a place to live; to enrol Grace in school; to get her pregnancy confirmed. Her freelance work thankfully can be done from anywhere.
They stay with her until she's checked in at the hotel; a suite of two rooms, one for her and one for Grace to have when the visit with her Grandparents is over. She says goodbye to Grace who hugs her tightly and whispers in her ear for Rachel not to worry about Danno; that he'll get Uncle Steve out of trouble.
Rachel closes the door with a sigh, strips, showers, and sleeps most of the day away.
There's a text from Stan on her cell when she wakes; a brief request for her to let him know she's OK. She sends him a brief reply that she's fine. But she wonders if Stan is OK and gives in to the urge to ask. She does love him even if she has finally acknowledged that Stan was probably a rebound. He answers immediately: 'Missing you.' She thinks she shouldn't text again.
She starts making calls. Within an hour she has appointments lined up with a realtor; her lawyer; Grace's school. Her appointment at the gynaecologist is arranged quickly thanks to a cancellation that works in Rachel's favour.
Eventually, Rachel winds down and orders room service. She calls Danny and gets his voicemail. She worries about Danny; worries about Danny worrying about Steve. She tries calling again but Danny isn't picking up.
She tries hard not to feel slighted by his silence; tries hard not to think that he's ignoring her deliberately. Five-0 has just imploded and Danny's the one picking up the pieces from everything she's surmised. He'll be busy; he'll be trying to get Steve out of jail and out of the charges. There's the time difference between Hawaii and New Jersey to account for too.
She calls Grace instead only to find out that Danny has called his daughter. He's just too busy for Rachel then despite the fact that she's carrying his child, a voice in her head whispers poisonously.
That's not fair, Rachel tells it sternly. Danny probably called Grace again out of guilt at missing the flight. Or maybe he just needed to hear Grace's voice. And Danny's loyalty to the people he cares about is one of the things she loves about him; she won't deny him his need to be there for Steve. She can take care of herself and Danny knows his family will help her – she only has to ask.
The voice shuts up but the truth is that Rachel feels lonely and scared. For all she knows she can do this alone, she doesn't want to. She wants Danny; wants to know he's thinking about her.
He still hasn't called when she falls asleep.
Rachel pulls open the door to her room expecting the breakfast she has ordered and instead finds Stan. He prompts her to invite him in and she does, her mind wiped blank with confusion over his presence. She wraps her arms around her middle, the feel of her silk dress comforting against the hand she splays over the life she carries.
"I know Danny is still in Hawaii, I mean, the news over there is just full of what happened with McGarrett, " Stan says awkwardly, "I thought you might need…I wanted to make sure you were OK."
She stares at him, shocked by the offer.
"You're still my wife, Rachel, and I still love you – you and Grace." Stan says crisply, pushing his hands into his pockets. "Is it so hard to believe I care about what happens to you?"
"No…" Rachel says slowly, because she cares about what happens to him too. "It's not that I don't appreciate you coming," she begins, "it's just…" words fail her.
"Awkward? Weird?" suggests Stan with a hint of a smile. "I know that, Rachel. I just wanted to let you know that I'm here if you want…if you need someone to help out. Just…as a friend."
The offer is generous and sincere and Rachel is overwhelmed by it. "I've been a terrible wife." She blurts out. Her infidelity; letting her love and hate for Danny consume her; consume their marriage.
Stan smiles at her fully. "I've been a terrible husband so I guess that makes us even." He sits down abruptly on the arm of a chair. "I've been thinking a lot about it since you left. We've both made mistakes, Rachel. If I hadn't been so insecure about Danny and suggested we move to my home in Hawaii, or maybe if I had been around more these past months instead of hiding behind my work, things would have been different. And if I hadn't made such a stupid mistake with Hoffman…" he sighs and meets her eyes. "I never intended to put you or Grace in danger, Rachel. I swear. I'm never going to forgive myself for Hoffman setting up that carjacking to threaten me and putting you through that."
"I know." Rachel says quietly, and the apology is appreciated as is the balm of Stan's acceptance that they're both responsible for the failure of their marriage. She smiles and walks over to sit beside him. She nudges his shoulder. "We made a right mess of it, didn't we?"
Stan nudges her back. "So, friends?"
"Thank you." Rachel says. "I would appreciate that." The relief of having someone else around to help her knocks into her with the force of a tidal wave.
They talk more over the room service breakfast, agreeing how Stan can help, what Rachel needs. She's hesitant to ask for everything because she doesn't want to take advantage of him, and because she knows Danny will hate Stan being involved in any way. Still, she can't deny she feels better as she tackles the rest of the day.
Danny finally calls Rachel just as she's getting ready for bed; he sounds as lonely as she feels. He doesn't want to talk about what's going on but admits he's been questioned by HPD. They talk instead about Grace and the new baby. She doesn't tell him that Stan is in New Jersey.
Rachel walks out of the doctor's office after receiving the results of her tests and later has no recollection of the taxi ride back to the hotel. When she's back in her room, she makes a cup of tea. She wraps her hands around the small cup and inhales the comforting scent of Earl Grey. It's calming and reminds of her home. Without thinking she picks up the phone.
Her mother is startled by the call. Rachel calls her once a month like clockwork but they're not close – Rachel wouldn't have moved to the States in the first place if they had been close – and she hasn't confided her marital troubles or her decision to reconcile with Danny to her. But there's a deeper need at work and Rachel doesn't know who else to call. Everything tumbles out including the latest news that Rachel has yet to process.
"The baby's Stan's."
The shock of it sends another tremor through her. She'd been so sure, so certain. But the test results indicate…the baby has to be Stan's. It throws her plans into disarray. Her future; Grace's; Stan's; Danny's.
"What do you want me to say, Rachel?" Rachel's mother asks bluntly.
"I don't know," Rachel admits, frustrated by the apparent lack of sympathy. She knows deep down she wants her mother to tell her what to do.
"Rachel, this is your life. I can't make the decision for you," there's a slight pause before her mother continues wryly, "no matter how much I might want to."
Rachel laughs, the tension broken.
"And I think you're forgetting something here." Her mother says. "This isn't just your decision to make." Her tone is gentle. "You have two men who need to be part of it."
Rachel blinks back tears, her hand twisting the cord on the hotel phone. "I don't know how to tell them." She admits.
Danny will be hurt but he'll stand by her; she doesn't need to talk to him to know that. But she can't see Stan accepting her staying in New Jersey and raising his baby with Danny. And if she's learned anything from her experience with Danny, it's that she should never try and cut a father out of his child's existence.
"Do you need me to come over there?" Her mother offers.
"No," Rachel says, touched by the suggestion since her mother hates leaving England, "not now. Maybe later."
Her mother sighs. "OK. Look, Rachel, all I want, all I ever want, is for you to be happy. Whatever Daniel or Stanley say or do, when you make this decision remember you deserve to be happy too."
Rachel promises to do that but as she puts the phone down, she wonders if she even knows any more what will make her happy, and more importantly; who.
"I want you to rethink your decision." Stan says once he's past the delight stage of hearing the news. He sits forward before he backs off again, holding both hands up, "I'm not trying to pressure you but…correct me if I'm wrong but you left Danny because you felt you weren't his priority. Where is he now? Danny thinks you're carrying his child. You should be his priority. I'm here, and five minutes ago I thought this baby was Danny's."
And the rest of what Stan says is not a surprise; he wants her back in Hawaii, wants them to raise their child together; wants to try again.
She tries to ignore his comments about Danny but it's difficult when deep down she wants Danny to have put her first instead of staying behind to help Steve; knows her own blessing was said in part because she was certain Danny had already made his choice. She'd thought she could handle Danny being Danny, but now she's second guessing that, remembering everything that drove them apart, every fear and doubt.
What she wants hasn't changed: security and love for her and her children. She wonders again which of the men in her life can truly provide it.
It's late when Danny finally responds to the message she had left him. She tells him about the baby bluntly; there's little she can say to soften the truth.
"Have you told Stan?" Danny asks finally. He sounds weary and hurt, and her heart aches for him especially because she knows that it's only the first blow she has to deliver.
"We met earlier." Rachel admits. "Danny, you must see that this changes things." Because she has realised in her hours of thinking that it does change things. If she'd known before, she'd never have left Stan because he is the man she's married to, not Danny. Yes, her marriage was a rebound, but she does love Stan, and she believes they can make it work if they try; if they both stop obsessing in their own way about Danny.
"It doesn't change things for me, Rachel." Daniel says quietly. "It doesn't matter to me that the baby is Stan's. I mean, it matters, obviously it matters, but I promise I'll love this baby no matter what."
"I know but it changes things for me." She bites her lip as the truth of her decision unfurls and leaves a broken-hearted silence. Some part of her recognises she's falling back on the security that Stan provides for her. But she just can't risk loving Danny; being with Danny. If it doesn't work...she's pregnant, there's Grace; it's not just her that she has to think about.
"Rachel, don't do this. Please." Danny begs softly.
She's crying because she knows if she goes back to Stan, Danny won't trust her with his heart ever again and, despite having Stan, the thought of that hurts her because it's Danny and it's always been Danny for Rachel even when she hasn't wanted it to be, when she can't afford for it to be. "I'm sorry." She says helplessly.
"Me too." Danny says roughly and ends the call. There's nothing else for them to say.
The Williams bring Grace back to Rachel the next day. They don't say anything verbally about her decision but the sober and disappointed expressions are enough to convey their thoughts. Grace remains oblivious to the tension between the adults, talking rapidly about a visit to her Aunt, Danny's oldest sister. It gets them through the visit.
As Rachel shows her ex-in-laws out of the door, Danny's mother pauses and rests her hand on Rachel's arm and speaks to her in a low voice. "I am begging you as one mother to another, please don't let this be a repeat of the last time you ended it, Rachel. Danny loves Grace and…"
"I know." Rachel hurries out. "You don't have to worry." She blushes furiously because she can hardly blame Danny's parents for their concern after what had happened with the divorce. She had been the one to sue for full custody and everything she could wrangle financially; the one to marry again and move their granddaughter to the other side of the country and beyond. Her behaviour, the vindictive actions she'd taken, in retrospect fill her with shame.
She'd been so furious back then, Rachel remembers as she closes the door. She'd been so certain that their marriage break-down was Danny's fault; their love smashed on the rocks of his stubborn refusal to leave his job.
But this time…it's her fault.
She can't blame Danny for her own actions. She'd been the one to tell him it was over with Stan before they'd slept together; the one to tell him she was pregnant with his child; the one to convince him that she wanted to be a family with him and Grace. And she'd been the one to decide that she couldn't go through with ending her marriage and trying again with Danny when she'd realised Stan was the father of her unborn child.
She won't, can't, blame Danny if he hates her this time. Maybe she even hates herself a little.
The sound of a phone ringing has Rachel turning back into the room to answer it but Grace is already there, picking up the cell phone Stan had gifted to her and beaming happily.
"Danno!" Grace looks up with a wide smile. "It's Danno!" She hardly pauses before she starts to tell her father about her visit with her Aunt.
Rachel's heart pounds and drowns out Grace's conversation. What if Danny wants to talk with her? What if he tries to change her mind? What if…
"Tell Uncle Steve hi! Bye, Danno!" Grace yells, breaking through Rachel's churning thoughts. She sets the phone down with a clatter.
Danny apparently doesn't want to talk to Rachel. Rachel struggles with her disappointment as Grace informs her happily that her Uncle Steve being free again; about how Danno had promised she could talk to her Uncle Steve the next time he calls.
She's reminded again of the past; of always hurting whenever Danny called Grace and knowing he didn't want to talk with her. The pain is all too familiar.
It takes Stan suggesting they move to Tokyo to finally get Rachel to organise returning to Hawaii.
She knows Stan's suggestion is a semi-serious one – he would prefer to start again afresh in so many different ways. Rachel's too aware that they're walking around on eggshells with each other. The truce of their shared blame for their marriage failure is precarious as they begin to deal with the reality of picking up the pieces and the knowledge that they have a baby on the way.
Rachel refuses to move from Hawaii on the basis of Grace's schooling. Returning to New Jersey was an acceptable plan when she'd thought Danny was the father of the baby because they could have returned to their old neighbourhood; moving somewhere brand new isn't. She doesn't want to keep dragging her daughter from pillar to post. There's a rush of guilt because Rachel knows she didn't consider that in the original decision to move to Hawaii.
She refuses to acknowledge that the other unspoken reason why she refuses to move; that it would hurt Danny to take his daughter away from him again and she can't bear to hurt him. Maybe it's because she believes she's hurt him enough already with the decision she has made to honour her marriage to Stan (to choose the security Stan represents over her love for Danny).
The guilt has her flinching every time Danny calls Grace. He still hasn't asked to speak to her; hasn't called her. She knows she should call him even if it's to agree a way forward for their co-parenting of Grace. But she's avoided it just like she's avoided going back to Hawaii where she'll have to face Danny in person.
But she can't avoid that any longer with Stan's suggestion; she can't avoid Danny forever. She picks up her cell phone.
Her hand is shaking as she presses the speed-dial option that will call him and holds her breath as the phone rings at the other end. It diverts to the message centre.
Rachel frowns and wonders if he's diverted deliberately after recognising her number. She can hardly blame him if he has.
"Daniel, it's me." She rolls her eyes. "Obviously." She sighs. "We…we're coming back to Hawaii the day after tomorrow. I'm…I'm sorry for the delay. We should probably talk about Grace and your missed time with her. Maybe you could take her for a holiday for a few days? Let me know what's convenient."
It's all too horribly formal and polite and…and her breath catches painfully in her throat.
"I'm so sorry, Danny." She presses the off button before she can make any more of a fool of herself.
She's made her choice, Rachel reminds herself as she swipes away tears. And she has to live with it.
Rachel turns her head as Stan enters with a smiling Grace, a new tennis racquet in hand. Rachel absently places one hand over her abdomen, trying to protect her unborn child from the emotions that are churning through her. She has to focus on the family she has and not the dream that has been lost.
It's time to go home and face reality.