It began as a simple ich underneath Steve’s skin. Swimming with Danny in the mornings was amazing, don’t get him wrong, but at some point it was no longer enough, okay? And he didn’t know how to fix it. He wanted more, but he didn’t know what more was. At the start of this… issue, it only happened on occasion, and always when he was in the water. Being with Danny helped, with his fins and serrated teeth, and tail fin in front him, flipping and having a ball in the water. But when he was alone his skin itched with the need to do more, go further, faster, something. He just didn’t know what it was. So he lengthened his morning swim from two miles, to five miles. And then again to seven miles. And again to nine miles. Until now, when he’s swimming ten miles plus a morning.
And Danny can feel it, he can tell. Their lovemaking is no longer lazy and explorative. It’s hard and fast and rough. It’s harsh enough that a distant part of Steve is scared that they’ll break the bed. But afterward is the only time is skin doesn’t itch anymore. The only time when his body doesn’t feel wrong him.
The rest of the team has noticed, too. Steve is even more destructive than usual, and Danny harsher cuffing suspects. They actually bicker less, surprisingly enough. But even though they no longer argue with each other, it feels less like something is calming down, and more like something is ramping up. Steve becomes even more protective of Danny, to the point that he almost bares his teeth at someone who touches Danny when they were out on a date.
It all comes to a head when Steve, Chin, Kono, and Danny are all standing around the table in the middle of the bullpen. They hadn't had any cases recently, and were mostly catching up on paperwork and various inventory requests. They were catching up on what the others were doing, as well as what no longer needed to be done, when Chin’s hand brushed Danny’s hip while moving around the table, and Steve full on growls . Everything stops. He promptly looks apologetically at Chin, but Danny feels the confusion and worry running full blast down their bond. He immediately send back as much reassurance as he can, but privately he is just as confused as Steve is. Neither knows just what is causing this.
A few days after what is known in both their minds as the Incident, Chin walks into the bullpen with the name and address of a small time, albeit tested and true, witch that was known to help with… strange happenings in the non-human communities. At this point the both of them are desperate enough to try it. So they go. They take the day off, not because they think it'll take that long, but because they really need to take the time to be together more, and this works.
The drive to the witch’s house was quiet, which had been happening a lot since the beginning of this whole mess. Steve drove and Danny held his hand, occasionally rubbing his thumb over the back of it. Steve could feel the worry radiating off of him. He pulled the camaro up to the curb and put it in park. Steve sighed. “You okay, babe?” Asked Danny. “Yeah,” Steve said, “just ready to get to the bottom of this.”
The walk up to the house was well maintained, as was the house itself. It was a one story, light blue, prefabricated home, with a small front porch, a large herb garden along the left side of the house, and a small flower garden in the front. They climbed up the stairs and turned left to knock on the front door. No one answered. A small sign to the right of the door stated “if no answer is heard from knocking, please press the doorbell once, and wait.” Steve and Danny looked at each other. Danny pressed the doorbell. No sound was heard from the doorbell. Danny went to press it again, thought better of it, and put his hand back down. Steve crossed his arms. Danny stuck his hands in his pockets. Steve stared resolutely out at nothing. Danny opened his mouth.
The moment was broken by the sound of a women’s voice coming from out of nowhere. “Sorry for the wait gentlemen, I’ll be there shortly.” A few seconds later the door opened to reveal a white woman with dark brown hair and blue highlights, dark blue eyes, and for some reason, bright green streaks across her left cheek, right brow, and the middle of her chin. “Hi, my name is Evangeline Kimmet. Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams, right? I’d shake your hands, But mine are covered in paint right now,” she said, a grin on her face as she held up her hands to show them. “C’mon in, just walk straight ahead and you’ll get to the kitchen, I’ll clean up and join you.”
The kitchen was small but clean, and well organized. There were three chairs around a small counter in front of the oven and stove top, with a two basin sink off to the right of the counter. It as more spacious then it should have been, however they both shrugged it off and sat down at the counter.
Tea was already sitting in front of each seat, the scent calming the both of them. Steve took a sip first, the taste of ginger, honey and lavender flowing across his tongue, as well as something else that he recognized but couldn’t put a name to. The itch under his skin receded for the first time in months, leaving him fully calm. The women walked into the kitchen area just as the last of the tension bled out of his shoulders.
“Ah, I see you tried the tea. Did it help? Your colleague described your issues as best he could, but since he didn’t know much, I pretty much ended up troubleshooting what would work best,” She asked as she sat down in the seat on the other side of the counter. “Yes, it helped,” He replied. She nodded. “Good! I was hoping it would. Anyways, can you please describe your, I’m going to say symptoms because that’s the closest thing, please?” She got straight to the point, reminding the both of them just why they're here. Steve cleared his throat and nodded, before describing what had been happening over the past few months; the itch under his skin and the need to push himself even farther. The possessiveness and the need to protect Danny, even though rationally he knew Danny didn’t end it. Evangeline listened attentively, nodding occasionally, or interrupting with a question about one of the symptoms. When he was done explaining the tea cup in front of him was empty, and the one in front of Danny had gone cold.
“Okay, look, when you colleague called and described what had happened, and some of the things he had seen I originally thought this was a fairly simple case of a incomplete bond. But what you are describing? Those symptoms just don’t match up. I recognize them, but I don’t know from where.” She said, then sighed, and stood, “Here, I’ll make you another cup of tea, and look at some of my books. You can follow me, or you can head to what I call the sun room, and take some time to settle yourselves. I think Danny needs it just as much as you do. I’ll come to you once I find what I’m looking for.”
The sun room, as she called it, was actually just a room with a large window in one side to let the sun in, a few chairs, and a sofa. Danny and Steve sat in the sofa, with Danny in between Steve’s legs, back to front, facing the window. They may have dozed a bit, basking in the feeling of comfort that had infused the bond from Steve’s side.
Neither knew how much time had passed before Evangeline rejoined them, a thick leather bound tome in her hands. “Steve, how old did you say you were again?” She asked as she entered the room. Steve’s eyes blinked open. “I’m thirty three, why?” He replied, confusion clear in his voice. “Shit. I’m going to read this passage out loud, can you tell me how well this describes what been happening to you?” Danny scooted to the end of the couch so Steve could get his legs on the ground, before scooting back over to his side.
“In the beginning it starts as a small itch under the skin, and restlessness of motion. The itch grows, as well as the need to move, until eventually every part their life is affected. Possessiveness also increases, often to the point that others are unable to touch the mate, or in the case of children, get near them. Possessive behavior will be characterized by the baring of teeth and growling, or in the case of a stranger coming near a child of theirs, full hostilities, sometimes to the point of violent altercations.” She read from the tome. As each word passed her lips Steve and Danny’s eyes grew wider. When she finished she looked up at them. “That’s,” Steve started, confusion and wonder clear in his voice, “that’s exactly what’s been happening. How did you know?” He asked.
“Well, I’d been hoping it wasn’t this. I mean there were a few thing that the symptoms you described could’ve been, but this was the one thing I was hoping the statistics were right about.” She said with a sigh and closed the book in her lap. “It appears that you, Steve, are a mer.”