Summary: “If you can’t love him the way he should be loved, set him free”. Catherine sets Steve free because she thinks he’s happy. How are they coping? Does it work out for them?

Author’s note:

Hey, it is me again. My original plan was to write about the conversation Steve & Chin had on the plane back to Hawaii at the same time Doris & Catherine had the talk in the previous chapter, yet for some reason, I just couldn’t find the inspiration. Instead, all the ideas about Cath/Doris kept coming to me.

My apologise for any English mistake. It isn’t my first language & I feel unsecured about my writing skills in English all the time. Always struggle to express my thoughts in the way I want to. Anyway, I’m a bit too excited about this chapter, so I post it without having Paula being my beta. I suck at being creative, I don’t know where this story will go, but I just want to focus on describing what is going through each character’s mind. I invest a bit too much on the emotional side instead of coming up with a creative plot.

I’ve gotta say that normally, Steve McGarrett (the guy who is in love with Catherine, not the guy on the current season on the show) is my favourite character and writing about him (missing Catherine) is such a joy. However, this time, surprisingly, the conversation between Doris & Cath gives me so much joy and inspiration. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Thank you, Peter Lenkov! Thank you, Doris & Catherine, for being awesome – at least to me!

I know I am probably the only one who loves Doris this much. I am doing my best to portray the best version of Doris! For some reason, I’ve always believed she is not a bad mother, after all, she just didn’t have any choice.


– SET YOU FREE –

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– Doris’s plane –

“I had no choice. The CIA said if I didn’t accept the position, Steve would be arrested for killing a CIA agent – your old commanding officer, actually. I don’t know if you know about it, but he killed him on the same day he and Danny were trapped in the collapsed building”. Catherine couldn’t forget that day – at some point, she really thought he couldn’t make it and she would lose him forever, which she would never forgive herself for letting that thought pass by her head.

“No, I didn’t know. Clearly, the CIA didn’t feel the need to let me know of this”, there was anger in Doris’s voice. After everything she had done for CIA, this was everything they gave her back. Went after her son, separated her son and his soulmate. Doris didn’t know spend time together with Steve and Catherine, but she could always tell, even from the very first time they met, how much this girl meant to her son, and vice versa.

“I’m pretty sure they would have followed through on their threat if I declined. There was no other way to protect Steve from this. So… I’ve had to do what I thought was best… to protect him. I guess we just weren’t meant to be.”

“You don’t believe that!”, Doris’s heart clenched, hearing the uncertainty and vulnerability in Catherine’s voice.

“Doris, he kept things from me. I didn’t know about that until the CIA came to me. I was disappointed that he didn’t trust me enough to confide in me. I started having my doubts about the… relationship… that we were having…”. She wished Steve could tell her from the beginning and she wished things could be different. She wished for a lot of things, but none of that happened. And this shit, nevertheless, was actually happening.

“I know how much it hurts to be kept things from. There was too much of damage in our relationship, I honestly don’t think we will ever go back to where we were. Both of us don’t tell, both of us lie, both of us suck.”

“You know what I think? It was for a good reason. I think he was trying to protect you from all this family’s stuff. It was complicated, he probably thought that it was better to keep you from the whole thing with the CIA. You know, something runs in the family – he IS a McGarrett, after all. We care, we protect by pushing people away so they won’t get hurt. His dad did the same thing, maybe Steve learnt it from John. Even though I’m not a good mom, I still can read my son, Catherine. I’m sure he cares about you too much to let you be involved. When you were trying to protect him, he was just doing the same thing. You two are just equally stubborn. Equally loving and caring.”

“Ha. You know, thanks, I guess. It’s really nice to hear this… from… you… I mean… I’ve never thought… we would sit down and… share this kind of thing. But thank you, Doris”, Catherine sounded genuine, squeezing Doris’s right hand, tears were at the edge of both women’s eyes.

“We talk, we share, all because of one common thing: we both love Steve. Believe it or not, I don’t love him less than you do. I just have a different way than you do. If I have to die for him, I will. I’m grateful that you’re protecting him by doing this, but at the same time, he’s an adult now. He has the right to make a decision of whether he wants you to protect him or not. I took that decision away from him because he was too young to decide, and I will never forgive myself for that. You only get one chance to live, and life is too short, we all work a dangerous job, we will never know if something happens tomorrow, if we live tomorrow. Don’t waste your time, Catherine! You’re not getting any younger. Neither is Steve. Whatever the damage is, fix it. No matter how hard it is, at least try!”

“Funny. It comes from THE Doris McGarrett”, Catherine couldn’t help it. 16 years of hearing about Doris from Steve didn’t just magically vanish. “You should have done the same thing. For his sake.”

“Really? You’re still mocking me now? After the whole conversation that just happened?”, Doris laughed, giving a moment for both of them to recover from an emotional moment, “We are talking about you and Steve. Don’t try to turn this on me!”

“It’s too late, Doris.”

“When it comes to two people falling in love, nothing is too late. Love is powerful enough to fix anything, as long as you are brave enough to make the first move, to fix things.”

“No. I lied to him. Again.”

“Okay”, Doris was clearly waiting for Catherine to explain.

“I told him they recruited me in Afghanistan. He assumed when I came back to Hawaii for Kono’s wedding last year, I knew I would leave him again, which wasn’t true. I… I didn’t tell him the truth.”

Catherine looked down to the floor, let that moment being replayed in her head.

Do me a favour. Tell me something.”

What’s that?”, Catherine’s heart clenched when she heard Steve’s voice, seeing clearly that he was struggling. Hearing the word “favour” from Steve’s mouth reminded her of all the sweet memories in the past. That line was one of their things, those simple 4 words were powerful enough to warm her heart even in the worst time of her life. A lot of times, his “favour” ended up with them being in bed. Gosh, she didn’t realize how much she missed that until that moment.

Are you happy? Doing what you’re doing?”

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Catherine knew he was looking at her. She didn’t dare to look back into his sad, blue eyes. She didn’t know how she could even speak at this point.

Yeah, I am”. Catherine felt like in that moment, she had to summon all the courage of her whole life in order to keep herself in check, to not shed any tear in front of him, to act like a cruel woman who crushed Steve’s heart into pieces.

Her answer hurt her even more. She knew that by answering “Yes”, it would be clearly the end of their relationship, and that was her own choice. She had no one to blame but herself. Maybe if she could just tell him the truth by saying “No, not really”, and let him know everything, they could have started again. But Steve seemed to be in a good place right now, with his “girlfriend”, Catherine just couldn’t do it.

“He asked if I was happy. I told him I was happy being with CIA, doing what I was doing. I lied.”

“Wow… That’s…”

“I know, right… It wasn’t technically a lie, it just wasn’t the truth either. I am happy doing what I am doing, knowing what I do is to protect him from being in prison. I am happy that he can move on, that he can be happy with someone else. I am happy that…”, Catherine didn’t realize she was sobbing until Doris put some tissue in her hands.

“You’re just trying to deceive yourself. You are making excuses.”

“Yeah, maybe, but what can I do, Doris? I don’t want to risk his career. What if the CIA really means what they said and will put him in a box for the rest of his life? They are not exactly the “ideal boss” to us, I’m sure they are very capable of doing it.”

“I will talk to them. I still can’t believe they leave me out of this whole thing. Damn it.”

“Even if you talk to them, I’m not sure if it changes anything. I haven’t told you this… When I came back to find him, he was… having dinner with this girl. Lynn. I interrupted them. At home”, Catherine closed her eyes, taking some break, trying to calm herself down. Stepping inside his house was like stepping into the place she used to call “home”. Truthfully, she never expected to see another woman.

“That’s interesting! He cooked dinner for her?”, Doris couldn’t help herself but giggling.

“Yes. And for your information, he had never cooked dinner for me”, Catherine shook her head, sighing deeply, letting out a wry smile.

“Well, that’s probably a good thing. John and I never made it to dinner until we got married”, Doris rolled her eyes, making a joke. Or maybe, it wasn’t just a joke.

“Geez. Thanks! That’s a bit too much information, Doris. Gosh, stop!”

“Did you two ever make it to dinner?”, curiosity itched on Doris’ tongue. She was always a curious mother who wanted to know everything, and she was never afraid to ask.

“Doris!”, Catherine almost sounded like begging.

Doris let out an amusing chuckle. “Okay sorry, sorry. I am just curious. I’ve never got a chance to… you know… know my son. I wish I could give him some advice about dating and stuff when he was a teenager. He was 12, you know. Sometimes, I forget that he’s almost 40 now. That sweet boy of mine…”

Catherine stared at Doris, speechless. She wished Steve could be here to see this side of Doris.

“Okay, sorry, continue.”

“I told him that Lynn seems like a nice girl, I hope it works out for him. He deserves to be happy.” Of course, it wasn’t a lie. “I do hope he can find the one who is meant to be, who can be a normal wife, who can build a normal, loving family with him”, but a small part inside of her keeps yelling at her that she was such an idiot: why does she sacrifice this much for him and just expect him to move on from her and enjoy life with someone else?

“Isn’t it unfair to me? That selfish part of me just wants him to keep holding on and keep waiting for me. Do I sound like an idiot?”

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“No, you don’t. I completely understand. Been there. Done that. I kept in touch with Joe White after I faked my death, he was pretty much like an older brother to me. I told him to convince John to move on, he needed a wife to love him and take care of the kids. Joe talked to him, John said he never expected to hear that from Joe, so they didn’t talk to each other for a whole year. When I heard, I didn’t know how to feel. That loyal man…”

“Maybe Steve isn’t like John, after all.”

“Did you ask if he’s happy?”

Catherine paused for a second then shook her head slowly, “I didn’t.”

“Don’t listen to your logical side. Ask your heart, listen to your heart: Does your heart tell you that Steve is happy without you in his life?”

“I don’t know.”

“I don’t believe you don’t know. I think you know he isn’t, but you don’t want to believe that.”

“Maybe.”

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“I’m not blind, Catherine. I know he was looking at you when no one was looking. That intense look didn’t change. It was just like the first time we met, it was too obvious not to notice. He thought he was stealthy. But I’m not only his mother, I’m also a CIA officer. I read people. When we were about to blow off the wall, he told you to find cover first. He stood next to you, turning his back to the explosion, trying to protect you if things went south. It’s those little things that you might not even notice that tells me he’s still in love. I wish you could see that, too. But both of you are too stubborn to admit your feelings. I don’t want to see you make the same mistake that I did.”

Catherine swallowed, struggled to keep her tears at bay, again, “What are you trying to tell me, Doris? I’m tired of breaking his heart, he’s tired of being betrayed by me. This is real life. Sometimes, things just don’t work out like the way we want. If that girl loves him more than I do and can give him what I deserve, why can’t you accept it? As long as he is happy, nothing else matters, right?”

“But I know, his happiness is with you. You two are born to love each other. No other woman can understand and love him more than you. I’m sure if he knows the reason why you do everything you’re doing; he will forgive you. What you two have… it’s a real deal, you know that?”

“I guess I messed up. Doris, I failed.”

“Failed what?”

“I made some promises to 3 McGarrett women. I failed all. I made a promise to Mary McGarrett, that I would “fix her stupid brother” – her words, I broke him instead; I made a promise to Deb McGarrett, that I would stick around to take care of Steve and Mary, I got away instead; I made a promise to you, Doris McGarrett, that I would not break his heart like you did, but I did, eventually, and repeatedly. Most importantly, I made a promise to him, that I would never leave him unless he told me to, but look at what have I done? I can’t even forgive myself, how can he?”

“If he loves you enough, he can. His heart will find a way.”

If Catherine had to be completely honest with herself, she would say that she knew Steve still loved her. That moment when they hugged, he didn’t want to let her ago, she could hear the sound of his steady heartbeat along with her own. It was just like the good old days. She missed the feelings of being hold by his strong arms so much. For a moment, she thought they could get back together.

But CIA didn’t allow that to happen. She hated them for that.

“Doris?”, Catherine softly called the older woman.

“Yes?”

“Yes. I love him”, Catherine let out her “secret” that she had been keeping for so long.

Doris looked at Catherine, surprise was written all over her face.

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“3 years ago, the first time we met, you asked me “Do you love my son?”. I didn’t answer back then. I hadn’t even told him that I loved him at that point, I didn’t want to say the word in front of anyone else before I told him, and truthfully, you kinda scared me. It was awkward. But right now, I just want to let you know that you gave birth to a wonderful son. I loved him. I have loved your son. I still love him, and will always, always love him! Even if he is not in my life anymore.”

“Gosh, Catherine”, Doris heard her own voice tremble, she reached out to hug Catherine, who was clearly losing the battle with her tears, as tightly as she could. Silence fell over them; two women silently hang on to each other like dear life.

Catherine was totally lost in her guilt, regret and sadness. She didn’t tell Doris that Steve was going to propose before she left. That was something that she wanted to keep as a secret, at least for herself, for a little while. That was something for her to savour, to remind herself of the love she had lost. She imagined how things would have changed if Steve had proposed that morning, even in bed. That would be totally him. She would probably be the luckiest and happiest girl on earth.

She would probably wear a wedding ring now.

People would probably call her as Catherine McGarrett.

There she goes. The tears made their way down without too much of resistance. She couldn’t count how much tear she had wasted on this plane. She hadn’t cried much for the past whole year, she thought she had became a heartless woman until she saw Steve.

Doris finally stood up, leaving Catherine some privacy. Catherine needed to let it out of her systems, and then some privacy, and Doris respected that. All of the people, Doris understood exactly what Catherine was feeling and hurting. She wished there could be something she could do to make it better for Catherine.

And for her son, for that matter.

Doris dreamt about the day when she could comfort Steve, over anything. Anything. Or just be there for him. That was just a simple thing for any mom in this world, but it was always like a luxury to her.

When she reached the main room’s door, Doris turned around, raised her voice in a much softer tone.

“Catherine?”

Catherine looked up, seeing Doris smiling at her. Tears were running down Doris’s face. Doris McGarrett was such a beautiful woman. And she looked so much like Steve, which Catherine had never fully realized until this moment.

“I don’t know if it means anything to you, I guess not, but I just wanna let you know. You have my blessings! Always! Since day one.”

“Thank you! Really! I… really appreciate it!”, Choking back her tears, she replied softly, she wasn’t sure if Doris heard the gratefulness in her answer. She wished this conversation could be under another situation – where she was just Steve McGarrett’s girlfriend, a Lieutenant in the US Navy instead of an international CIA spy, receiving a blessing from Steve’s mom – Doris McGarrett instead of a “lying mother”.

“If you still love him, I want to ask you one more time: Don’t give up on my son! Fight for him! Come back to him!”

“We will see what happens after this. And Doris?”

“Yes?”

“You know what’s funny?”

“What’s funny?”

“I don’t even talk to my mom this much”, Catherine laughed softly, clearing the emotional vibe between them.

“Good to know. Thanks for opening up to me!”

Doris walked away, knowing from the bottom of her heart she needed to do something to bring these kids back together. Like the way thing was supposed to be.


What will happen next? Stay tuned!

Tell me what you think, I really enjoy reading comments!

 

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