Danny’s long given up on his colors coming in.
If they hadn’t come in with Rachel, he didn’t care if they never came at all. They had decided they’d make it work – not caring if they were one of those colorless couples who went into their coffins never knowing what exact shade of blue the sky was. They had each other and they had their love and, after a time, they had Grace. They’d make it work.
Then Danny comes home one day and Rachel’s staring at one of Grace’s toys, a small plastic horse, holding it in her hands. And when she looks up at him, there’s tears in her eyes – eyes that seem to keep getting distracted, moving from one thing to another, tracking something.
Danny’s heart sinks and he knows without her having to say anything what it was she was tracking.
“What color is the horse?” he asks, quiet, his throat tightening.
Rachel’s eyes are filled with tears as she looks away from Danny and down to the horse in her hands. “Purple – lavender, I think,” she says, a sob shaking her body as a hand closes around her mouth. “Danny, the horse is lavender.”
Danny shakes his head, and because he can’t control himself, he says, “Well, that’s rude. The saleslady told us it was pink.”
The divorce is amicable enough – they’d been fighting for months now and the separation is almost a relief. Danny wants it all over as quickly as he can – he doesn’t know how much longer he can take the pitying looks from the lawyers, the judge, the courtroom staff, even their friends.
Stan is as apologetic as he can be, but he’s not pitying, and it’s the only thing that stops Danny from shooting him in the face the first time he sees Stan hug Grace.
So, yeah, Danny’d long given up on those colors coming in.
Of course, the moment they do – and with the connection of Danny’s finger to McGarrett’s chest, poking hard as he emphasized his words – it’s all so wildly inconvenient.
Not that either of them noticed the colors right away. They didn’t see them as McGarrett wrenched Danny to the ground, holding his wrist as he delivered his ultimatum; they didn’t see them as Danny stood and whirled around with a nasty right hook that cut across McGarrett’s face.
It wasn’t until Danny was turning away from McGarrett saying, “You’re right – I don’t like you,” that he paused. His first thought is: Oh, that’s what green looks like. His second: This is bullshit.
“This is bullshit,” McGarrett says behind him, bewildered awe in his voice and Danny doesn’t have to turn around to know that McGarrett is looking around them in wonder – probably staring at the green – so fucking green – trees that were moving with the wind.
Slowly, Danny turns back around.
Danny lifts a finger, pointing at McGarrett. “This doesn’t change anything,” he says.
McGarrett looks away from the trees and the sky and he looks like he’s been struck by something harder than Danny’s fist – his eyes (which were green, too, Danny’s traitorous mind noted, though as the sunlight shifted through the clouds, maybe they were blue) were wide and he was staring at Danny.
Then McGarrett clears his throat and looks away and Danny fights against the feeling of loss that suddenly wells in his chest.
“Okay, Danny,” he says.
Danny looks down at the hotel passes in his hands, then up to McGarrett’s retreating back and thinks: fuck.
They don’t try to be soulmates, so they try to be friends instead. Which is difficult considering how angry Steve makes Danny every.
Every day Danny fights the urge to throttle Steve, even as they learn their colors together – reciting the names for each shade of red and blue and yellow and how they combine to make all the others.
They take a class together – one of those classes for adults where they get to paint as they learn – and they wind up spending more time flicking paint at each other, leveraging whispered insults until their instructor pointedly clears his throat at them.
Then Steve and Danny share the look of the unabashed guilty, grinning at each other even as they duck their heads. And later, when they’ve set up their easels and have their paints spread around them, Steve drags his easel closer, until they’re painting shoulder to shoulder.
There’s this funny thing about police work: you never know if you’re going to make it home that night. It might be because your crazy ass partner wrapped your car around a tree – or it might be because the new kid in HPD, the one who’s uniform wasn’t even a week old, still had little Irish pennants around the freshly sewn on shoulder patch, was just a little too jumpy, and maybe that moment, when everyone stops to stare as the wrong person starts to go down, maybe that’s all it takes for the criminals to rush forward, pressing their sudden advantage.
Danny looks down at his stomach – red, crimson, scarlet, maroon, ruby – so many names for the color burning bright against his skin, sparkling in the Hawaiian sun. There hadn’t been time to put on a vest. Danny looks up sees a first, then second orange muzzle flash, and thinks that maybe – maybe – he should have made time. Either way, someone’s yelling at him.
He’s not sure when he got onto his back – did he fall? Was he pushed? Did he lay down himself? A mystery for the ages, for sure – but Steve’s face is there and he’s blocking out the sky and he’s screaming Danny’s name and maybe something else.
And Danny’s staring at Steve’s lips, trying to figure out what the hell it is Steve’s saying – but there’s a moment, terrifying despite its brevity – where the sky stops being blue and Steve’s panicking green-maybe-blue eyes are no longer green-maybe-blue – instead they flash their respective shades of gray, the colors cutting out like a signal that’s been dropped for just a second.
It must happen for Steve, too, because he’s suddenly shouting louder and then there’s more hands grabbing at Danny and two more people, strangers, are swinging into his field of view.
Steve disappears then and, for some reason, it’s that that wakes Danny up – that brings him out of his did I really just get shot stupor.
And it sucks because ow.
He goes to say exactly that, and to call Steve’s ass back to his side right now please – but that’s when he realizes that his mouth’s filled with blood and that’s never a good sign. He turns to let the blood dribble out of his mouth, but one of the strangers, a paramedic, is holding his head still. Danny’s about to tell her to fuck off, he’s gut-shot, there’s nothing wrong with his neck, but then Steve’s back and he’s helping roll Danny onto a stretcher.
Their colors are still flickering in and out, in and out, and Danny wants to panic – but he can’t, not when Steve’s gripping his hand and fighting back tears and physically flinching each time there’s that flash of gray.
Danny feels himself sliding back into shock, watches as the grays last a little bit longer, then a little bit longer, then a little bit longer until they fade out to nothing but black.
Danny hadn’t expected to wake up.
There’re a lot of things in his life that Danny doesn’t expect to happen that do anyway – seemingly just to spite Danny himself.
Danny opens his eyes and the first thing he feels is a dull ache; then he sees a vase of flowers – colorful, beautiful – flowers, with balloons and cards attached – and next to the flowers and the balloons and the cards, is Steve. He’s slumped over awkwardly in a chair that’s far too small for him, a cup of spilled coffee between his feet, as if he’d taken only a sip before he fell asleep and let the cup slip from his hands.
He doesn’t say anything, just watches Steve’s chest rise and fall steadily.
Danny focuses on that rhythm until his eyelids grow heavy once more.
The second time he wakes up, Kono and Chin are with Steve – the coffee on the floor’s been cleaned up and someone’s made Steve shower. They’re not talking, just sitting in silence. Waiting.
“Why the long faces?” Danny asks, forcing his mouth to say the words despite the rawness of his throat.
It’s almost comical, watching the way all three of them startle nearly out of their chairs.
Steve holds his hand as he tells him about the first bullet (gut) from the rookie, then the second and third from the perp (right shoulder, thigh); tells him that Danny’d lost so much blood, that there’d been internal bleeding but nothing that a few hours on the operating table hadn’t been able to fix.
“I couldn’t,” Steve says, making an abortive gesture at his eyes. “I was going crazy – I couldn’t stand waiting for the colors to stop coming back. They’d come back, then they’d go, then they’d come back – over and over. Danny, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever lived through.”
Considering Steve listened to his father die, Danny thinks that that might be a little dramatic. Instead, he lifts Steve’s hand to the side of his face.
“I’m right here, Steve,” he says. “I’m not going anywhere. Who knows how long you’d last without me, huh? You’d blow yourself up sooner rather than later, I imagine.”
And it’s scary, the way Steve isn’t coming back with anything. No defense, no nothing. He just strokes his thumb over Danny’s cheek, and he stares. Like he’s drinking in all of Danny’s colors like he’s never seen them before – the blond of his hair, the blue of his eyes, the certain shade of his skin.
“Alright, lug,” Danny says, his voice whisper-soft. It’s a promise Danny knows Steve hears – they were going to try this, the whole soulmates thing, it’d been building between them for months and they’ve been ignoring for reasons that seem so stupid now.
And Danny thinks he knows where they can start.
“C’mere,” he says – and all it takes is a little tug on Steve’s sleeve and Steve is leaning over Danny – he’s gentle and slow as he kisses Danny, but the white-knuckled grip he’s got on the railing of Danny’s bed belies all the residual fear. The fear won’t fade, not for a long time yet.
But Danny thinks they’ll be okay. After all, far crazier things have happened.