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Chapter Text


I Didn’t Take It


“Oh damn,” Rick groaned at the TV as the opposing team scored. Again. “That was a bad one.”

“It’s fine. They’ll catch up,” Thomas said, leaning back and not looking the least bit bothered. In fact, he seemed almost happy. Which was a little bit odd. 

Especially since Thomas Magnum hadn’t had a very good day. 

His friend was sporting a black eye from a run-in with a client, the Ferrari had been dented and Higgins had a date. Again. All of these had combined to make for one rather sour-faced Magnum coming to drink a beer at La Mariann just a few hours earlier.

But then, an hour ago, upon arriving at Robin’s Nest for the game, Magnum was back to his normal happy self. And now not even the game going to hell was bothering him?  It was enough to make Rick worry the black-eye causing punch had maybe given Thomas some mild brain damage.

“Higgy off on her date?” he asked as the commercial came on. “What date this? Number 3?”

“Five,” TC helpfully said. Rick gave him a look but TC was more focused on the chips and dip, than their friend.

Magnum smiled. “Nope.”

“Nope?“ Rick asked, suspiciously. “Why not?”

Before Thomas had a chance to explain, the door to the guest house opened and the blonde in question entered the house. “Magnum!”

“Hi Higgy, what’s up?” Magnum said cheerfully. “Decide to come watch the game with us after all?”

“No,” Juliet Higgins said, storming into the room. 

To Rick, it very much looked like she was about to go on the date Magnum had just claimed she wasn’t going on. 

She was in a sleek gray-blue dress, her hair was shiny and straight and he betted she smelled nice too. Then again, she always did. Not that Rick went around sniffing her; he just had a sensitive nose and Juliet Higgins had good taste in perfume…

“Have you seen my phone?” she asked Magnum, looking like she wanted to strangle him.

“No. Haven’t seen it,” Thomas lied. 

She narrowed her eyes. “I spent the last hour looking for it.”

“Really? Weren’t Mike picking you up at six?” Magnum said, checking the time. “It’s almost six-thirty.”

She ignored him. “Imagine my surprise when I pinged it and found that the last time it was online, was here, in the guest house. Where I haven’t been all day.”

“That’s odd,” Thomas replied, not seeming at all bothered by the fact that Rick thought he might be in serious danger of having two black eyes by the end of the night.

“Magnum, where the bloody hell is my phone?”

“Are you saying I took it?” Magnum tried to look upset but wasn’t quite pulling it off. “Why would I do that?” 

“I have no idea,” she said. “Maybe to text Mike that I was busy and couldn’t see him tonight?”

“Why would I do that?” Magnum said, but his smile dropped a little.

“I have no earthly idea,” she said, “But I would like my phone back. Now!”

“Well I don’t have it,” he said, getting up off the sofa. “Are you sure I can’t get you a beer?”

“Quite sure. Despite your best efforts to sabotage it, I still have a date,” she said. “Not being able to find my phone I called Mike on the landline. He was very understanding and managed to get our reservations back. He’s going to be here, well, in about two minutes. So give me my god damned phone Magnum!”

“I don’t have it!” he said again, walking over to the fridge. “Maybe Apollo or Zeus ate it.”

“God, you are impossible,” she said, before turning to stomp out of the guest house, slamming the door in a very un-Higgins like way.

“Dude,” Rick said, getting up and following Magnum into the kitchen area. “What was that about?”

“No idea,” Magnum said and opening the freezer door, where he slid out a familiar phone, putting it on the bar, then getting a beer out for himself. “Want one?”

“Seriously? You took her phone? Man, that’s not cool,” TC said, coming over to them.

“Come on, you all said you thought Mike seemed shady when she brought him by La Marianna,” Magnum said. “I was trying to do her a favor.”

“What are you? Twelve?” Rick said. And yes, even though Rick all agreed Mike seemed a little...well, something. Nowhere near good enough for their Juliet, that was for sure. “Too bad it didn’t work though.”

“Yeah,” TC agreed.

“I mean it’s Higgins,” Magnum said, suddenly cheerful again. “Knowing her, she’ll get suspicious and hack his phone and figure out whatever he’s up to before too long. Maybe tonight even!”

“Probably not tonight,” Rick pointed out, nodding to Higgins’s cell phone. “Seeing as she doesn’t have anything to hack with.”

“Right,” Magnum said, seeming for the first time slightly unsure of his plan. “Well, I’m just going to go hide this in her office for when she gets back. She’ll never be able to prove I took it.” Rick thought Higgins had seemed pretty sure he had, but whatever made Magnum sleep better at night.

Thomas picked up the phone and headed for the door.

“What about the game?” Rick asked, the commercial coming to an end.

“What’s the point?” Magnum said morosely. “We’re loosing anyways.”

Chapter Text

She wasn’t back yet.

It was three in the morning. 

He’d gone back up to check the main house because he hadn’t heard her car but had wanted to make sure. Probably she was at Mike’s. Urg.

And Magnum couldn’t call her -  which he needed to, (just to make sure she’d sent Mrs. Anderson the pictures of her cheating husband) - because she didn’t have her phone. It was, of course, crucial that he’d check the status of Mrs. Anderson’s case in the middle of the night.

Sometimes the best-laid plans ended up being the worst ones. Not that he’d call today’s little trick a plan per se. He’d just seized an opportunity. Her phone with a text from Mike had been left abandoned on her desk while she went to sign for a package. 

Okay, admittedly taking it and texting the guy hadn’t exactly been one of his finer moments. But there really was something about the guy that wasn’t sitting right with Magnum. He couldn’t put his finger on it. 

Maybe that he’d worn an ungodly expensive suit, a Gucci watch and drove a Porsche yet first met Juliet at a midday yoga class. And had taken her for a long lunch twice. Who had money enough to drive a car worth more than some houses yet didn’t have to work very much? Defetinvly odd. 

He pondered this as he walked past the Ferrari, heading back to the guest house.

Clearly only suspicious people had money and the ability to sleep in...

If Mike had been a normal nice guy, he’d have been super happy for Juliet. He totally wanted her to find love. Just not with Mike.

And certainly not so soon after the pretend-green-card engagement had ended! It was downright disrespectful of his fake-fiancé feelings! 

He grinned but thinking more about it, he decided that as soon as he woke up he’d go back and get her hidden phone and then give it back to her in person and say sorry. He’d tell her he simply didn’t like Mike and that’s why he’d taken it. 

Tell her maybe they should investigate the guy a little. 

Maybe she already had, seeing as this was date number five. For all he knew she had the guy’s whole life’s story. Knew his middle school math grades and last year’s tax returns. And he did trust her judgment. He just hoped she would trust his too, just a little.

Enough to put the breaks on things with Mike. Five dates in three weeks was just too fast. Especially considering whenever Juliet went on dates - and she occasionally did - mostly nothing ever came of them. Certainly not more than one or two “follow-up dates” (as she weirdly called them, like they were job interviews or something).

Five dates with the same guy...well, was new.

But probably it didn’t mean anything. It was just a fluke.

Besides, was a rich fancy guy really who Juliet wanted to be with? He didn’t think so. She clearly needed someone who brought her down to earth a little, helped her loosen up and have fun, not some rich dude with an ego.  

In fact, Magnum was suddenly sure that if he found such a guy for her, Mike would be history in no time. 

So maybe he would. 

Now that she was dating again, seriously too, it seemed, he would help her out. He would find her a boyfriend. Not just A boyfriend. The Perfect Boyfriend.

Someone nothing like Mike.

Someone who would appreciate how smart and kick-ass she was, her aloof Britishness, how even though it was hard to win her trust it was worth it. The guy would have to be nice, but no doormat. Able to stand their ground yet not domineering. Smart probably, but not in the same way she was, or she’d make every second a competition. 

He’d also have to be really busy so Juliet wouldn’t have to spend very much time with him. This whole two dates a week thing she had with Mike was too much. She’d already skipped out on one of their morning workouts, a lunch stake-out and now watching the game with him...um, them. Without her there, who was he supposed to annoy and banter with? TC and Rick weren’t nearly as much fun as she in that regard. 

So maybe a doctor. They worked a lot. Or a businessman who traveled off the island a bunch. 

Yes, that sounded good. Juliet could have a boyfriend and nothing about her and Magnum’s relationship (or the amount of time spent together) would have to change!

Chapter Text


Maybe Not


“No,” she said. 

“Just No?”

She crossed her arms. “You want to investigate my boyfriend! That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to say no to.”

“Wait? Boyfriend? You’ve only been out five times,” Magnum protested. “That hardly makes him your boyfriend.”

“Thank you for returning my phone Magnum, even if you did steal it, to begin with, and being honest, but Mike is a good guy,” she said, still not sounding exactly happy with him. “And he is my boyfriend.”

“Right.” This didn’t bode well for his find the perfect boyfriend for Higgin’s plan. But he was not one to be easily deterred. 

“How about if we have him over for dinner?” she suggested.

Magnum was torn between hating and loving that idea. But he knew he really liked how she’d said ‘we’ about herself and him and ‘him’ for Mike. “Boyfriend” or not, she and Magnum were still the default ‘them’ to her.

“Alright,” he agreed, figuring that if she wasn’t going to agree to a full-on investigation, some more time spent around the man would let Magnum find his faults and expose them to Juliet. “I mean, yeah, sure, if he’s your boyfriend I should get to know him. I am your partner after all.”

“My thieving partner,” she said.

“I said I was sorry.”

She nodded but gave him a withering look. “Steal my phone again and you will be more than sorry.”

 


Rick


“...so yeah, nice, but not too nice, someone that will let her have her own space and still make her a priority,” Magnum said, walking back and forth. “Know anyone like that?”

Rick shook his head. Other than Magnum, he couldn’t really think of anyone he knew that remotely fit all of the criteria Magnum had laid out for ‘Higgins Perfect Boyfriend’. 

Since suggesting Magnum date Higgins himself didn’t feel like the thing to do, Rick said, “I don’t know man. Let me think it over.”

And he did, but he wasn’t really sure anyone but someone who already knew and cared deeply about Juliet would fit. Maybe Rick should ask her out himself! Even though she was more like the little sister he'd never had, he had always admired her a bit but she’d never given him any hints that she might be interested. In fact she always seemed closed off and off-limits somehow.

Looking at Magnum’s determined face he wasn’t sure she still wasn’t. Because even though Thomas said he didn't want to date Juliet himself, he sure enjoyed her company and wanted to be around her as much as possible. 

Suddenly, he wondered what that was about. Maybe he even had it wrong! Maybe Magnum did want something with their blonde British friend... He had been rather excited by the whole 'let's get married for a green card' thing, hadn't he?

“Should we really be doing this? I mean we are all having dinner tomorrow. Shouldn’t we give him a chance first?” TC suggested.

“Pifff,” Rick said, because he was on Magnum’s side. There was clearly a better guy for Higgy than Mike. Wanting to see Magnum's reaction he said, “Hey I know, how about Pablo? He’s nice. And European. Maybe they could bond over that?”

“No, he’s too French and he has that man bun, she’d hate him,” Magnum decreed. Rick found the instant response and reaction both amusing an enlightening.

“You both know this is a total invasion of privacy and she’d do something terrible to you both for even thinking about this,” TC said.

“You mean us,” Rick said, putting an arm around his friend’s shoulder. “You’re as much a part of this as we.”

“I’m not-”

“You are so-”

“Focus!” Magnum snapped. “There’s gotta be something we can do. I mean I’m sure she’ll find some reason to break up with him eventually but-”

“But what? Man, come on, just let her be happy for as long as it lasts,” TC said. “How bad could this Mike be? If Higgy likes him he must be a decent guy.”

“I don’t know,” Rick said, smiling at Magnum. “She did partner up with this looser. Not sure her taste is to be trusted.”

“That’s true,” TC agreed.

“Haha,” Magnum said but looked like he was maybe coming around to TC’s way of seeing things. At least for the moment. “Very funny you guys.”

Chapter Text

Who Wins The Lottery?

“Remember that lost parrot case?” Magnum said, making her smile.

“Yeah, I still can’t believe you found it,” she said, shaking her head at him. But she was really happy. Things were going great. 

The food had been nice, no case or disaster had occurred, Mike was chatting with TC about helicopters while she and Magnum reminisced about wacky cases. Rick and Kumu were off fixing desert.

“Team effort, you were the one that found the ad,” he pointed out. “Who puts out an ad for a parrot they just stole?”

“Who steals a parrot to begin with?”

“Good point.”

She leaned closer to him and lowered her voice. “You still think something’s not up to snuff with Mike?”

“No,” he admitted but seemed reluctant to. 

Which hurt a little. She wanted him to approve. For him to like Mike. Because out of all the people in Hawaii that she’d come to count as family, he was the most important one. 

“I guess knowing he won the lottery explains a lot about him. But at the same time…”

“What?”

“I mean, who wins the lottery?” he said playfully, a little louder. “And not just once either.”

She frowned as Mike and TC turned to them. “He only won once. Do you have any idea the statistical improbability of winning the lottery twice?”

“I think Magnum means meeting you, right, man?” Mike said, holding out his beer to click with Magnum’s bottle.

“Exactly.”

“The statistical-”

“Never mind the statistics Higgy,” Magnum said to her. “I’m just saying some people are just lucky.”

“You know I don’t believe in luck,” she said, even though she felt oddly pleased by the comparison. Which she really shouldn’t. She wasn’t a winning lottery ticket after all.

“Oh please don’t say that,” Mike said, “It hurts my heart.”

“She doesn’t believe in bad omens or destiny either,” Magnum cheerfully informed her...boyfriend. Yeah, she was still getting used to the title.

“Well, neither luck nor destiny needs you to believe in her, she still believes in you,” Mike said as Rick and Kumu came out with the fruit salad and whipped cream.

“That makes no sense,” she whispered to Magnum. Because how could luck or destiny believe in you? Neither force was real and if it was, why would it believe in her?

Magnum looked amused and she was quite sure agreed with her. He might believe in destiny or whatever but at least he didn’t say stupid things like ‘luck still believes in you’. Not that she minded, of course. Mike’s belief in luck was charming. Sweet even.

Yeah.


“How did you end up deciding you wanted to be a PI?” Mike asked Magnum as they all settled back around the table. “I mean I guess a lot of kids want to do it but then you grow up and well...”

“I think you’ll find the answer to that question is Magnum never grew up,” Juliet said cheerfully. 

“I so did,” he argued. 

“Tell that to the coco puffs in your kitchen cabinet.”

“Coco puffs are the best, besides, you’re a PI too and you’re way too grown up,” Magnum said. 

“Seeing as I am a grown-up I will take that as a compliment.”

“Well, I think being a PI is so cool. In fact, if I wasn’t so busy with my art I’d totally see if I could get Juliet to partner up with me. Mike and Juliet - Private Investigators Extraordinaire!” 

They all laughed, even though she wasn’t sure if she was imagining it or not but despite his laugh, she didn’t think Magnum actually found the joke funny. If he only knew how totally useless Mike was at even finding his own keys, he’d know just how unlikely Mike ever succeeding in a career as an investigator was.


“So, how long have you and Magnum been friends? You never said,” Mike asked as she was walking him to his car after desert and an impromptu poker game (which he’d lost and TC won) was done.

“About two years. I guess, depends on what you count as friends,” she said, not even sure herself when Magnum had gone from the bane of her existence to...well she wasn’t sure exactly what.

“Just two years?” he asked, seeming surprised and something else.

“Yeah?” She tried to interpret just what he meant but couldn’t. “Why?”

He shrugged. “You guys seem close? You ever date?”

“Me and Magnum?” She shook her head and made a face. “No.”

“Why not?” She opened her mouth to explain but had trouble finding the right words and so before she could Mike continued, “You guys just clearly enjoy each other’s company and I’m pretty sure I saw him check you out when I first got here. I just don’t want to step on any toes.”

“Magnum and I are just partners,” she said. “Nothing else. Nothing at all like that. I mean we’re friends too obviously but, we’re not, anything more. Just no. Don’t worry about that. At all. Not for a second.”

“I wasn’t, really. Not until you just told me not to be no four times in a row,” Mike said, suddenly looking sheepish. 

“We are just friends.” 

Because they were right? Just friends. She’d never had many friends. Not as a child or an adult. But now she had Rick and TC and Kumu and even the girls from 5-0. 

Her and Magnum’s friendship was a little different from those friendships though, but that was probably because they spent so much time together.

Regularly getting shot at and saving each other's lives bonded you even if you didn’t really mean for it. Being partners and working together every day did too. What she had with Magnum...well, the closest she could compare it to - when she thought about it - was probably with her old unit back at MI6. Her and Richard...

“You sure? Because I really like you, Juliet,” he said, pushing an escaped curl back from her face. “So tell me now before I go and fall head over heels for you.”

Only Richard had been trying to get her to go out with him from the first week they worked together. Magnum had never really made any moves on her but just like Mike had pointed out, he did occasionally check her out. But that didn’t mean anything, did it? After all, she sometimes did the same with him when they were working out or swimming. 

Or maybe that did matter?

But she’d know if she had feelings for Magnum. Wouldn’t she? 

It wasn’t like you just fell in love with someone just by accident. Certainly, she didn’t. Hadn’t even with Richard. Desire or actual feelings could be there but as long as you didn’t act on them, they weren’t really real. Were they? She decided, no.

So even if she did have some small amount of more-than-friends feelings for Magnum, she wasn’t going to act on them and risk their partnership and friendship. Besides, if something was going to happen between them, would it have already? 

“Okay, this silence thing is kind of freaking me out a little,” Mike said. “Juliet?”

Then again they’d both been pretty emotionally confused when they first met. Her from Richard’s death, Magnum from Hannah’s betrayal and his time in the POW camp. If things had been different when they first met, would they be...well something else now?

“Maybe,” she said, answering her own thoughts rather than anything Mike had said.

“Maybe what? Maybe I’m a really romantic guy for saying a thing like that?” Mike said hopefully. “Or maybe there is something between you two and I’m gonna need my breakup playlist?”

“You have a breakup playlist?” she asked, momentarily distracted.

“Sure, don’t you?”

She shook her head.

“Oh.”

“Mike...” she said because she needed a little bit of time to ponder what she and Magnum actually were...could be. And maybe that would require a tiny bit of space.

“You’re breaking up with me, huh?”

“What?” she said because she wasn’t what she was doing. Of course, it wasn’t. That would be stupid. Mike was a nice guy, smart, fit and almost as handsome as-...she stopped herself from compleating that train fo thought. No way was she going to compare her boyfriend's looks to her business partner's. She needed a reason to not see Mike the next day though. Because space “Don’t be silly. I just remembered I have to take the lads to the groomers tomorrow so I’m not going to see you in Yoga.”

“Oh, that’s good, I mean not the yoga, the other bit,” he said, taking his phone out and grinning. “I was worried I’d have to cue up my breakup playlist.”

Chapter Text


That’s What You’re Objecting To?


“I don’t get it,” Juliet said as they sat (in the white BMW sedan they used when they needed to blend in) outside what had to be Hawaii’s seediest motel. 

“Me neither,” he agreed. Cheating was just the oddest thing to him. Even though he, they, had spent a fair bit of time tracking and getting photos of affairs over the years, Magnum still didn’t feel like he got it. The why. Why wreck your own life and more importantly the person you loved’s? Lust was a powerful thing sure but one wasn’t a slave to it.

“If you’re going to have an affair, why pick a place that rents by the hour? Surely there must be some better option?” she continued before taking a last sip of her coffee.

“Wait, what? The venue is what you’re objecting to?” he asked, surprised.

“I mean of course the cheating on your spouse is deplorable but I’m just saying-”

“If you’re gonna cheat, do it somewhere nice?”

“Exactly,” she said, sounding pleased as if she thought he was agreeing with her.

He shook his head at her. “I meant, I don’t get the cheating part.”

“Oh come on.” She tucked the empty mug away. “Haven’t there ever been a time where you were tempted, confused?”

No,” he said, because that was mostly true. “And even if I had been, it’s not like I was ever married. When you find the person for you, the right one, when you commit to that person, there should be no confusion. And if you did fall out of love, you should be man, or woman, enough to admit that to your spouse. End things without cheating on them.”

“Still the hopeless romantic I see,” she said it in a slightly snarky tone but her eyes were soft. “But Thomas, you’re forgetting, there is no such thing as the one right person.”

“So you say.”

“No logic and statistics and anyone with any ability to think reasonably, say so.”

He frowned at her. “So you never once thought Richard was your soulmate?”

“If I once did, I don’t now,” she said, looking out the window, away from him.

“That’s kinda sad.”

“It’s really not.” She kept looking out the window but her voice got a little lower. “Because if I believed he had been my soulmate or some such nonsense, wouldn’t that mean I am now destined to be alone? That I’d lost the one person in the world that was meant for me and now no one else will ever make me happy?”

That made a tragic amount of sense. ”I hadn’t really thought about it like that.“

He checked the window of the room through the camera’s zoom, hoping for a shot of their two “love birds”. Nothing, curtains still tightly pulled, and this motel only had the one window per room. Maybe the shots of the couple arriving and groping each other while trying to unlock the door would be all they got tonight. 

Then because he couldn’t help it, added, “But that does not explain why you’re dating Mike.” 

“I thought you liked Mike!” she said, voice totally normal again.

“I just agreed I didn’t think he was as shady,” Magnum said, turning back to her. “Not that he was right for you!”

“Honestly Magnum, you do know who I date or not date, isn’t actually any of your business, right?” she said as she began digging around in the ‘provisions’ bag.

“I’m just saying, he doesn't really seem like the best match for you. Did you know most of his paintings are of cubes? Like how is that art?” he said. “What are you looking for? You already ate the carrots.”

“Did you google Mike?” she asked, glancing at him while she felt her way around the snacks - probably crushing his Doritos. 

He might have done a little research after learning Mike’s last name when he came to dinner...just because well, even if his lack of normal work hours and expensive clothes and car had been explained, Magnum still felt like a little bit more investigation was needed. And since Juliet didn’t want to participate he’d just have to do it on his own.

“Maybe.”

She rolled her eyes as she finally found what she was looking for: a pack of salted almonds.  “Just because you don’t appreciate it, doesn't mean it’s not art.”

“So you like cubes?” he asked.

“Does anyone like cubes?” she asked dryly as she held out the bag for him to take some. He did and grinned. Because a joint dislike of cubes seemed like a thing worth smiling about.

They sat in pleasant silence for a few minutes, the only sound coming from the crunching of the almonds and someone playing loud music down the street. 

“You really never had feelings for two people at the same time?” she suddenly asked. “You never worry about what ending one thing to try something else would mean? Worry you’d make the wrong choice and miss out on something?”

“No.” He thought back to his last year of high school. There had been Beatrice and Linda. His very own Betty and Veronica scenario. “Not since high school.”

“Not with Hannah?” 

“Not for a second,” he said, even though it was so strange to talk about her. Which is why he never did. “Right when I met her… we clicked. We agreed about almost everything, liked the same things, could talk for hours.”

“Love at first sight?” she said, sounding a little wistful.

“I guess so,” he agreed. “I spent an hour with her and I just knew.“

“I never had that.” She took an almond and rather than eat it, she just licked the salt off it and held it to her lower lip. It was oddly distracting.

“Make sense when you date squares like Mike,” he said, his mind somehow coming back to much he didn’t like that pairing.

“He’s not a square,” she protested. “He won the lottery!”

“And I bet that was the most exciting thing that ever happened to him,” he said, feeling exasperated. “You were MI6 and now you’re a PI. You need someone who's not going to bore you to tears-”

“Mike is nice,” she said defensively. 

“Nice? Nice is not enough,” he said, wanting to make her understand. “Love is crazy and intense and wonderful. You know from the start it’s going to be something great. Just nice is not the word you use to describe it.”

“Maybe that’s just how you think love is supposed to be,” she said. “But you know some people are friends before they become involved. Some work together for years. Maybe they’re acquaintances who find out they have something in common and that makes them see each other in a new light. It’s not like just because your brain is instantly flooded with chemicals because you find someone attractive or agreeable, that it somehow guarantees you’re going to be happy.”

“But it’s not-”

“And let’s face it, the woman you wanted to marry turned out to be a slightly homicidal traitor and the next one you decided to get serious with, left Hawaii without a second thought.” 

He stared at her, surprised at her brutal honesty. Not that he should be. This was Higgins after all. She didn’t pull punches, either physically or emotionally. 

“Love at first sight isn’t working out that well for you, is it?” she continued, reaching for the car door. “Perhaps you're the one who needs to rethink your method for finding someone.”

She got out of the car. 

“I’m going to get more coffee.”

She didn’t offer to get him any before slamming the door.

He stared after her not sure what had just happened. If he didn't know better he'd have said Juliet Higgins just insisted she knew more about love, romance and falling in love than him?

That was crazy.

Wasn't it?

Chapter Text


 Calm Waters


“You’ve been down here a long time,” Kumu said, sitting down next to him on the beach. The sun was setting, turning the Hawaiin’s sky into a thing of beauty. But Magnum wasn’t seeing the sky. Or he was, it just wasn’t making him as happy as it should.

Even though Higgins was talking to him, she was being very distant. And he hated that. It reminded him of how things had felt after she’d decided not to marry him or TC, that she’d just go back to England. There had been this distance between them then too, as he tried (and mostly failed) to imagine his life without her in it.

“Are you alright?” she asked gently. 

“Sure,” he told her. Because that’s what he always did. Tell everyone he was fine.

Then as they sat in silence for a bit, he realized he did have a great opportunity to ask someone who actually knew about love questions. The real, long-lasting kind.

Because he wanted to understand. Because he’d been re-evaluating some things, some interactions. Especially ones with one certain British blonde who occasionally drove him crazy, since that argument in the car the other night.

“Hey Kumu, you know about falling in love, right? About what you’re supposed to feel when you met the...”

“The one?” She smiled at him. “I sure do. But I don’t think there is such a thing as a suppose to feel. And it’s not really so much about the falling.”

“What do you mean? That’s the important part,” he said. Because it had to be.

“No, the important part is the actual being in love, and that’s quite different from falling in love.”

“How’d you mean?” he asked, twisting to see her better.

“There are different parts to love. There is the falling, the being, the actual love.”

 “And you need all three right?”

“I suppose. But the important one is the ‘being in’ love. Not the falling.” 

He nodded. 

“Falling in love is like jumping off a waterfall,” she said, making a sweeping gesture with her hand. “It’s thrilling and risky. Exciting. Perhaps even painful.”

Maybe that did make a bit of sense. It certainly was the feeling he was most familiar with, associated with romance. 

It also made him think of that love tour he had Juliet had taken while being undercover. He’d jumped off a real waterfall then. And she’d jumped right in after him.

“But being in love is something else. It’s the calm after the storm...It’s...it’s the feeling of eia au, eia 'oe. Here I am, here you are. It’s wanting to share your life with someone and knowing even when you are not with them, they are still with you. In your heart.”

That didn’t really help all that much. Because there were several people he felt like that about. Rick and TC. Juliet too, of course, if the whole her going back to London let’s-get-fake-married to stop it thing was anything to judge by. Even in a way he supposed it applied to Nuzo and his parents, even if they were long gone. 

“That’s like Ohana - family,” he said, feeling relieved.

She shook her head. “Yes and no. You must know the difference yourself. Feel it. Just like love, you simply feel it, know it to be true.”

“That easy huh?” he asked and she nodded.

"Easy? Who said it was easy?"

He had to smile at that.

They sat in silence for a little longer as the sun descended further down into the ocean.

“This is because of Mike I suppose?” Kumu asked.

“What? No?” Had she picked up on something last week, something he hadn’t even been aware of himself?

“You want to find someone too - like Juliet has. I think that’s good.” She squeezed his shoulder. “I’ve been a little worried. After Abby you just seemed to give up trying. You used to have girls coming and going at all hours before that.”

He realized she was right. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d brought home a girl for just a night (or weekend) of fun. It just hadn't crossed his mind, even when he had flirted and gotten numbers.

“That’s not really it.” Because the problem was kind of about the fact that he wasn’t sure what he was feeling. “You know you’re not really helping all that much Kumu.”

He pondered if what he’d felt for Hannah and Abby had been exciting jumps off waterfalls or a love ‘he knew to be true’. He was pretty sure the middle one, the whole share your life with them and carry them in your heart, wasn’t. Maybe it could have been with Hannah. If she hadn’t been a traitor who sold him and his friends out... Yeah, probably not.

“I was supposed to help? I thought we were just two friends having a conversation,” she said, then seemed to read his mind. Well not quite but close enough. “You think you’re falling in love?”

“Not really,” he said, even though there were some strange fluttering things in his stomach. But what he was really kind of pondering was if he’d just somehow skipped the falling stage Kumu had described and gone straight to the being stage. Like, was that even possible?

He felt like it might be. Because him and Juliet… well that was something different from his friendships with Rick and TC. 

Not just because he found her attractive - distractingly so sometimes (and he definitively didn’t have those feelings for Rick or TC) but because she was simply the most interesting, complex person he’d ever been close to.

There was also the fact that when he’d occasionally found himself thinking of the future, even if his friends were often there, Juliet was the person he always tried to make sure fit in with whatever he was thinking. When he thought of plans she didn't fit, well, those were discarded because franky it was close to terrifying to think of not having her as part of his life.

That meant something.

Something not good.

Because even if he’d actually somehow been foolish enough to let himself fall-no, not fall, but somehow ‘be’ - in love with Juliet Higgins, he knew there would be a snow day in hell before she ever felt anything like that for him.

Chapter Text


Wait? Mike is Evil?


“I told you not to call me on this number,” Mike said to his second in command. “And what the fuck do you do? You call it!”

“Sorry boss but we have this shipping problem-”

“Is anything on fire?”

“No?”

“Then you can deal with it yourself. I’m busy,” he snapped. “And if this loses me any money it’s your hide I’m coming after. Hear me?”

“Yes ssir.”

Satisfied, Mike hung up and walked back over to where Juliet  and his niece Matilda were waiting in line to get ice cream. 

“Sorry ladies, it was my agent,” he told them as he joined them in line. “They lost one of my paintings but then they found it again. I’m not sure why they thought I needed to know that.”

He was happy to see Matilda was being her normal nervous little girl self and was holding Juliet’s hand like her life depended on it. Brining Matilda along always made the ladies hearts melt. And he wanted Juliet’s heart to melt. 

He liked her far more than he should, especially considering she was a private detective. Yeah, that wasn’t exactly ideal, but he was good at hiding his real job. No reason it should cause a problem. And if things worked out between them, he was sure she’d realize there were far better things to do with her time.

“Is everything alright?” Juliet asked, apparently picking up on the sight distress the phone call had caused.

“It’s perfect!” He made sure to wipe any worry off his face and smiled at them. “I mean how could it not be? I’m about to buy the prettiest girls on the island huge ice creams!”


*Magnum POV*


He felt like he had a secret. Like he knew something no one else did. Well, mostly something Higgy didn’t know. It wasn’t exactly a good feeling because he wasn’t entirely sure what his realization that what he felt for her was something different from just friendship, meant. In fact he’d go so far as to say it was rather unpleasant in a still somehow exciting way.

But there was a small silver lining.

Because he’d come to the realization that Juliet Higgins did not just ask random questions. Did not just share or ask things for no reason. 

So that thing the other night in the car, when she’d asked about being confused? Liking two people at once.

Yeah, he was thinking probably it meant something. Maybe.

The fact that she had spent the whole day on a date with Mike made him a little doubtful.

But at least he’d figured out why he didn’t like Mike. 

It had nothing really to do with Mike himself being a bad guy. And everything to do with the fact that while Magnum could control the choices he made to include Juliet,while she was - of course - free to choose something else for her future and Mike was one of those possible choices, but thus a symbol of that possibility to Magnum. He felt quite clever for figuring that one out.

Still, he wasn’t so sure her choice about Mike was made, judging from the way she was moving the stirfry he’d made them around on her plate, not eating it, she was thinking very hard about something.

“There are water chestnuts in this,” she suddenly pointed out, spearing one with her fork and looking at it accusingly. 

“Yes?” he said, because he knew she liked them and he didn’t understand why this would be a problem.

“They don’t come in the frozen veggie mix.” She put her fork down. “You added them.”

“Yes?” Now he was really confused. “You like them, and I had a can.” He shrugged.

“Why did you have a can of water chestnuts?”

“Because you like them? I don’t know,” he said, eating a bite, wondering if she’d hit her head when she was out with Mike. 

She opened and closed her mouth, seeming to be fighting very hard with herself about what to say next. He too wondered just where she was going with this, because frankly he didn’t get it.

“Right,” she finally said, picked up her fork and gave him a tiny smile. 

“I think you mean thank you,” he said, since whatever weirdness she had been feeling about apparently was past. “I’m a very good cook aren’t I?”

“Don’t flatter yourself Magnum,” she said, even though the sparkle was back in her eye. “A toddler could fry pre-cut vegetables and chicken together.”

“What were you doing as a toddler? Clearly your parents didn’t provide enough parental supervision.”

She smiled wider and shook her head. He liked that no matter what else was going on he could somehow (almost) always make her smile. It was important because he knew not many people could. Or perhaps they could but she just didn’t let them get close enough to do it. Either way, it was one of the things he was oddly worried about losing.

Either because she went off and really fell in love with Mike and just left him behind or because he -they- tried something and somehow managed to screw up what they might be. Because there was always the chance of that, wasn't there? Even if she did have feelings for him in return.

But he felt suddenly staying in the comfortable partnership that was more than that, was no longer possible. They’d have to take a step forward.

Or backward.

Because if he was wrong about the whole ‘confused’ conversation it wouldn’t be good. But he’d have to be sneaky about actually seeing where she was at with that. No blurting anything out. Not that there was anything to blurt, it wasn’t like he was going to buy her a ring and have TC fly the copter with a I <B U banner by Robin’s Nest.

(That might actually be really funny though. Maybe he could have TC fly a ‘Mike is an idiot’ one. Clearly knowing there was a reasonable, well, reason he didn’t like Mike didn’t make him dislike the man any less.)

The question was just how to proceed. Having never really had the problem of actually being invested in the outcome of an attempted romance so this was new territory for him. 

“Hey Juliet,” he said, trying to think of something they normally did but might also be turned into something...else. “You want to go for a swim?”

Chapter Text


It's Not a Unicorn


“You want to go for a swim?”

“It’s the middle of the night,” she said. “And I’ve been at the beach all day.”

“It’s eight o’clock,” he protested, eyes twinkling at her. “And swimming at night is nothing like spending the day on the beach. It’ll be fun.”

She suspected it would be. As much as she hated to admit it, most of the time she spent with Magnum whether they were chasing bad guys or just bickering about nothing, she did enjoy herself.

And some fun would be nice because today at the beach with Mike and his niece had been a bit of a fail. The little girl hadn’t wanted to even go into the water and claimed she couldn’t swim, which was peculiar. What six-year-old who lived in Hawaii couldn’t swim? And what kind of uncle took a child that didn’t like water to the beach? 

“And there is a full moon so it’s not very dark and it’s not like anyone is going to fine us for swimming at night; we have our own beach!”

“Fine,” she agreed because she’d been wanting to go for a proper good swim all day. But she still pretended to be a little reluctant. Just because she could.


Magnum stuck the tiki torch’s pole into the ground. It cast a soft flickering light over the edge of the beach where the dark water crashed up upon the sand.

She wore the bikini she had bought for her beach date with Mike but ended up leaving at home (because sexy bikinis and six-year-olds didn’t feel like a good match.) It was black and slightly more revealing than the ones she mostly wore; the top had a cross body tie and the bottom had ruched string sides. 

Since it had been laying out she had put it on for tonight’s adventure and told herself her choice to do so didn’t matter in the slightest... Standing there she reluctantly admitted that it probably did; that perhaps she wanted him to notice she’d put something different, extra, on.

She wasn’t really sure why. Magnum had made it really clear that what they had wasn’t going to turn into anything more. He didn’t fall in love like that.

After the car argument she’d decided that, whatever they might have been, if circumstances had been different, well, she was done thinking of it. He’d said if he was going to have feelings for someone, it would happen right away. 

He’d never been confused. He’d always known who he liked or didn’t like. Who he saw a potential future with and who he did not. She was in the not category.

Except that didn’t explain the clear attention he was paying to her cleavage as she stripped off her beach dress to reveal her new bikini. 

“Magnum!” she barked, even though she had been wanting this very thing. Well, not the looking, more the noticing. Him maybe re-thinking. But she supposed that was putting too much hope in one little black bikini. Still, she couldn't fault him for looking...she was doing the same thing as he unbuttoned his hawaii shirt.

“Right,” he said, glancing away. “I was just...just trying to see if I could catch a glimpse of your tattoo. That bikini is...well it covers less than your sports bra.” 

“Is that what you were doing?” she said with a smirk, then she walked out into the water.

She’d forgotten she’d told him about her tattoo. It fascinated her that he remembered. Then again, he’d remembered her love for water chestnuts too, earlier tonight. He’d always paid more attention to others than she gave him credit for. But having him so clearly direct that attention at her made her even more confused. Unsure. 

“Come on Higgy,” he called, following her into the water. “If you’re not gonna show me, at least tell me what it is? Is it a bird? Or a flower? Oh I know, it’s a unicorn.”

“It’s not a unicorn.” He was of course teasing her but the suggestion was just so stupid she had to respond with something. 

“Ouch,” he said and then there was some splashing and a faint curse.

She lowered herself into the water - it always felt oddly warm to her as if she was still measuring by English standard after more than two years in Hawaii -  and swam a few strokes around so she was facing him. 

 “Did the navy SEAL trip on a rock getting into the water?”

He stood and shook saltwater out of his hair, somehow making every little bit of available moonlight reflect on the many droplets on his chest. How did he manage to get them to cling to him like that? She looked away and decided to swim towards deeper waters.

“Did you put a rock there? Because I know there wasn’t one earlier this week!” he complained before he dove after her.

She felt more than heard or actually saw him catch up with her - without even breaking the water’s surface. Damned SEALs and their lung capacity and affinity for water. It was never a contest when they were swimming together. It was the one thing she had to admit he absolutely 100% did better than her.

“Is it a heart?” he asked, popping up right next to her. “Your tattoo?”

“No.” She treated water, suddenly, even with him there, not wanting to go any further from shore. Ever since their ordeal with the Bell - well, off the yacht- she’d never felt quite as safe in the ocean anymore. It was just so vast - and currently dark.

“When did you get it?” he asked, trying a different tactic while swimming around her. It made her think of a documentary of a shark circling prey she’d seen. Which was ridiculous. 

“When I was seventeen,” she said, remembering the attempt at impressing some of her new university mates. Except she’d gotten the smallest thing she could find at the tattoo parlor, slightly to the front of her lower hip, easily hidden. They hadn’t been impressed. In retrospect though, the tattoo she’d chosen, fit rather well with that.

“So it’s not Richard’s name,” he said as if this had been a real possibility.

“No,” she confirmed.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why’d you get it? Rebelling against your parents? A best friend pact? First boyfriend?”

She hesitated. “It was one of the simplest tattoo in the shop. And I believe I thought the symbolism of it was rather nice.” 

“Oh come on Higgy,” he said, stopping and treading water by her. Close enough that she brushed against him as she moved her leg a little. ”Now you gotta tell me what it is?”

She swam a few strokes away from him, not sure, then turned to float on her back. Stars high above twinkled down upon them. 

“I know,” he said, noticing her attention was on the beauty of the cosmos. “It’s a star. Or like a constellation. Right?”

“It’s not,” she said and decided. “It’s a helm.”

“As in the one the captain uses to steer the ship?” he asked rather flippantly. 

“Is there any other definition?” She felt like she needed to explain. “It’s had nothing to do with an actual ship or sailing. Just about being the one sole in charge of making choices for me.” 

Ironic as she’d basically gotten the tattoo because someone else had said it would make her cool.

“Destiny at work,” he said, smiling at her widely.

“How is that destiny?”

“You got a Navy tattoo and it led you to your very own Navy SEAL!”

“Honestly Magnum.” She shook her head even if she felt a little wave of pleasure at the fact that he’d called himself hers. Even jokingly. “The tattoo is now responsible for everything in my life that led me to come to Hawaii?”

“Maybe not,” he said, seeming to realize that truly was silly. “But still, we match, that’s kind of fun.”

“We don’t match,” she insisted, twisting her foot which felt a little weird. “You got an anchor, that’s a navy thing.”

“And a helm isn't?” He kind of correctly pointed out. In fact, she knew Nuzo had had a helm tattoo as did many other sailors in the navy. But that hadn’t been what it was about when she got it. 

She opened her mouth to protest but her foot suddenly began to cramp and she grimaced instead. 

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she said, trying to flex her ankle to make it stop.“Just-a-cramp.”  But dang it hurt and made a clawing panicky feeling - that of sinking underwater - come to her.

"Hey,” he said softly and suddenly he was right there and putting one arm around her to support her so she could reach down her leg to grab her foot. “I got you.”

She wasn’t sure if squeezing the cramping muscle actually was proven to help but it felt like it would, and she did. Leaning her head against his shoulder and letting him basically hold onto her, keep her above the water’s surface, she massaged her foot. 

A second -or five - later the cramp let up and she drew a relieved breath. The whole thing had been over quick but that didn’t make it fun.

“Thanks,” she said, meeting his eyes.

“You good?”

She nodded but didn’t move out of his arms.  

He didn’t let go of her either.

“You want to go back to shore?” 

She shook her head. She didn’t want to go anywhere.

“You sure?”

“Yes,” she nodded an affirmative, still looking into his eyes. 

This was not normal partner-friend behavior. At least she was 99% sure it wasn’t. Yet she didn’t want to let go, she was enjoying the feel of him so close way too much.

She trailed her hand up along his shoulder and to the back of his neck and let the waves push her completely chest to chest with him and then locked one leg half around his hips.

“Juliet,” he whispered, one hand on her cheek.

“Yes?” Were they talking about something? If so, she couldn’t remember about what.

All she felt was this thrilling, terrifying yet pleasurable sensation. It was everywhere they were touching, a few other places as well, and even inside of her brain somehow. It didn’t really make sense, but she was pretty sure, from the look in his eyes, he was feeling something similar.

He leaned his forehead down to touch hers and she was sure he’d kiss her. Which was shocking somehow, despite the fact that they were already rather intwined. But that could maybe be explained away. A kiss couldn't. Not as easily.

Only, she couldn’t, shouldn’t be, going around thinking of kissing anyone but the guy who she was actually dating. And that was currently not Magnum.

“What are we doing?” She asked him as much as herself. Yet she didn’t move away. “I’m still with Mike.”

He gave her a second more to do so, to move, but when she didn’t, slid the hand he’d had on her waist to her butt and pulled her whole body closer to him. “Well, maybe you should rethink that.”

She felt like her heart was beating so loud surely everyone on the island could hear it. There in the dark with only the moon reflecting on the dark water and him so close, she suddenly felt like everything, anything, was possible. “Maybe I should.”

Chapter Text

NINE

It was odd to suddenly have his brain filled with all these possibilities that hadn’t been there before. Of new things and moments between him and Higgy that he hadn’t thought of before (or well, maybe once or twice) now kept flashing through his mind. Both because he wanted them desperately and because they still seemed so unlikely. Out of reach.

They had been one thing for so long… now, maybe, they’d be something else. Something entirely different yet still them . And he wondered how to best navigate it. But as long as they were on the same page he hoped it would work out.

Except...when was he and Juliet ever really on the same page?

Like last night. 

He wasn’t sure how she’d managed it but after what felt like a turning point, one that should have been sealed with a kiss at the very least, she’d just let go of him, told him not to follow and swam back to shore. Walked off, up towards the main house, without even looking back.

How she’d done that, he had no idea. 

But Juliet Higgins was Juliet Higgins. Things were bound to be complicated. That was just the nature of her. Him. Them. But they would figure it out. He hoped. Just like he hoped he’d get a chance to repeat (and more importantly finish) what they’d started in the water last night.

Then, as if things weren’t complicated enough Rick called and made it even more so.


“I’m not saying it,” he said, defensively. “Rick is!”

“Rick is saying my boyfriend is a drug dealer?” she asked, moving to the other side of the desk. 

“Ex-boyfriend,” he corrected, because Mike was her ex-boyfriend now, wasn’t he? 

“Well I haven’t actually broken up with him yet,” she said, looking down at the desk. 

He didn’t want to be pushy but he did want to make sure. “But you’re going to, right? Break up with him?”

She nodded and bit her lip. Magnum thought maybe it would be more fun if he was the one biting it but clearly, it was not the right moment to initiate such activities. “Over lunch. I didn’t want to do it over the phone.”

Magnum could maybe understand that. Clearly, it was important to her to do it 'right' because even with all her talk of blurred lines and confusion she had stopped herself last night before anything happened. It, combined with how she acted during the 'fake arm injury' case and about her date with the married guy, made him wonder if someone had maybe cheated on her at some point.

Still, this was different. Because Mike wasn't a nice guy. “Seeing as he’s a drug dealer I don’t think you have to be that concerned about his feelings.”

“He’s not a drug dealer,” she protested again, then gave in to the curiosity he knew she’d been fighting since he first told her what Rick had said. She was predictable like that, yet with so many other things she wasn't. Like in her fighting style. He briefly pondered how that translated into other areas of her life, activities she, they, might engage in. Because both predictably and spontaneity had its advantages...

“Why would Rick think that?”

Bringing himself back to the present he thought how to best explain. He knew she wasn’t going to like the info he was about to share but keeping what Rick had just told him from her had never been an option. So best just rip the bandaid off “He was going out to visit TC by the airstrip but because TC changed bays and he got turned around and then he saw Mike's car.” 

She raised an eyebrow. “He saw Mike’s car?”

“It’s a pretty distinctive car,” he pointed out. She nodded her agreement that it was. 

“Then what?”

“He followed.”

“Why?”

He hadn't asked Rick why so could only speculate, “Maybe he wanted to say hi?”

She didn’t seem convinced. “Or maybe he knew you were jealous of Mike and-”

“Jealous? Of lottery drug dealer Mike? Did he even really win the lottery? I bet he didn’t,” Magnum said because he was not jealous of Mike. And if he was, no way would Rick have noticed. Magnum knew how to keep things close to the west...“Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter, once he got to the hangar where Mike parked he saw him meeting up with a group of men unload bricks of what Rick thought was heroin from a private plane.”

“Heroin? Bricks of heroin? Are you serious?”

“That’s what Rick said he saw,” Magnum said with a shrug. “I don’t know, but clearly something shady was going on. No one law-abiding moves bricks of white power at private airstrips.”

She thought about it for a long moment, walking back around the desk to stand next to him. Which he counted as a win for team Magnum and a big loss for Mike. 

“Well that’s just something a little doggy about Mike, wasn’t there?” she finally said a bit of a frown on her face. 

“Yes! I told you so from the beginning,” he said, triumphantly. "You have to agree I did!"

“You changed your mind after one meal with him! You said he seemed like a good guy too! And honestly Magnum, I’m not sure I believe Mike to be a master criminal, he’s not quite the type,” she said thoughtfully. “He’s...well, nice. He has a break-up playlist.”

Magnum nodded, a little confused because A) what was a break-up playlist? and B) she was right Mike was nice . Or he’d seemed to be. “Maybe he’s an atypical kind of drug dealer? Maybe he’s a really good actor?”

“But I used to be a spy Magnum,” she said, looking rather crestfallen. “I should have known.”

“You weren’t looking for a drug dealer, you were looking for a boyfriend,” he said, trying to cheer her up. He wasn’t sure it helped. “Besides, he is nice.”

Nice,” she muttered, clearly not cheered up.

He waited a little.

“So this desire to not break up with Mike over the phone, is gone now, right?” Magnum asked. Just because this was important information. 

“I can’t break up with him, Magnum! Not if he’s a drug dealer,” she said as if it was completely obvious. Which it was not. At least not to him.

“Of course you can,” he insisted.

She shook her head, the gleam in her eye almost diabolic. “If Mike really is a drug dealer we should find a way to take him down: dismantle his whole organization from the inside, take all his money and then make sure he rots in jail and never gets to pain another ugly cube in his life! Don't you think?”

Magnum slowly nodded, really glad he was not a drug dealer (or Juliet Higgin’s ex) because she could occasionally be a little terrifying.

Chapter Text

He's the What?

“He’s the godson of the second in command of the Yakuza?” Magnum asked, disbelieving. “How does that even happen?”

“From what I can tell, his father was a translator in Japan in the early 80s, and worked with Satio there.” Juliet scrolled through the information she’d found. With a little digging and determination, there were few things that could stay hidden from her for too long. “I’d not be surprised if he moved to Hawaii at his behest.”

“Well this changes things,” he said, leaning on the desk, his eyes intent. He was also just a little closer than normal. “We can’t go after someone being protected by the Yakuza! That’s organized crime.”

“When has that ever stopped us before?” she asked, getting up and checking the gun she had hidden in the bookcase. 

She thought of a number of occasions where their odds had seemed impossible, their enemy just too great. But they’d still succeeded in the end. 

And this time it was personal.

Mike had tricked her. Made her like him. Or at least a fake “dateable” version of him. Worse, she’d almost… trusted him. Not like she trusted the rest of her friends, Kumu or Magnum, of course. But enough. She felt foolish for that. She wanted some way to one-up Mike. Show him she hadn’t been tricked.

Show Magnum too.

Glancing from the screen at him, she wondered if his opinion of her had changed because of the revelation of Mike’s true character. What kind of intelligence operator dated a drug dealer? How had she been so fooled? When he hadn’t been?

From the start, Magnum hadn’t liked Mike. As much as her ego liked the idea of it being jealousy she feared it was just the simple fact that Magnum was a better detective than her. Better at reading people. Knowing their true intentions.

She tried to tell herself it didn’t matter. Mike was going down. If they could take a chunk of the Yakuza down along him, even better. That was enough. Still, she hated feeling the way she did. Tricked. Stupid.

“It’s different! If you’re going to attempt to do some sort of undercover thing-”

“Attempt!” She put the gun back in the bookcase turned to face him. Clearly, he was doubting her skills. “I was undercover in the Russian secret police, I tricked a-” 

“I know but remember the last time? We were discovered by a tour guide!” 

“And whose fault was that?” she asked, not trying to argue with him but also not wanting him to think she was incompetent or compromised. It was easier to try to blame him for the love tour fiasco even though it had been both of them not trying very hard at all, (maybe because that would have brought up things they hadn’t been ready for), that messed it up. “I can do it.”

He looked at her, stepped a little closer and she tried to figure out what the look in his eyes were. It wasn’t quite last night. She thought she might totally forget herself and the world and everything but him, them, from the way he’d looked at her then.

There had been a terrible feeling of loss when she’d left him there in the water. Fear that she might never get that experience again, that the moment had been lost forever. That he or she’d wake up and maybe be glad they hadn’t done anything.

She hadn’t. Even less so with this revelation about Mike’s true character.

But what if he had been glad? She wasn’t sure if it had just been the moon and the water, the moment, he’d been swept up in when he’d suggested she should break up with Mike. Technically nothing had happened...only it had. It was different now, she just couldn’t put her finger on the exact difference. Just that it was different.  

Just like the look he was giving her now was different. A much more torn one, than the one from last night though, more worried. Clearer too. Not hungry yet still searching, intent.

“I know you can,” he finally said. 

She made sure not to let herself smile too big at this. Even though she knew he trusted her on most things, maybe she was having a small amount of self-doubt, and his words were enormously helpful in banishing it.

“I’m just saying you don’t have to,” he said, stepping closer to her. “And maybe I’m being a tad bit selfish too.”

“Selfish?” she asked, still trying to not let on how much it meant to hear him say he believed in her. 

“Well, I’m not sure what fake dating Mike with the intentions of sending him to jail means for your relationship status,” he said, putting his hand on the counter next to hers.

“I’d say you quite aptly answered your own question,” she pointed out. “Fake dating is not...”

“Real dating?”

“Something like that,” she agreed.

“Good.” He added, “I’m still worried for you”

She nodded. “That’s probably wise. I’d imagine if I get found out Mike might try to extract information from me by playing his break-up playlist.”

That made him crack up a little and he moved his hand to cover hers. “I’m being serious though. Juliet, you can’t take down the Yakuza on your own.”

“But I’m not going to do it alone,” she pointed out, moving her thumb so it was interlocked with his. “We’re going to do it: together.”

“Ride together, die together?” he said, making her roll her eyes, even though the sentiment seemed a whole lot less silly now than when he’d needed her to come pick him up because he was out of gas.

“Something like that,” she agreed and he reached up to brush the side of her face with his free hand.

She worried she’d ruined their moment yesterday but attempting to do the right thing and breaking up with Mike before actually jumping into things with Magnum. Worried there wouldn’t be another moment for them. Yet here one was, less than a day later.

“Higgy,” he whispered, leaning down a little.

She tilted her head up. “Yes?”

“I-”

“Thomas? Juliet?” Kumu called as the front door opened. “Are you here? Could you help me unload the car?

Chapter Text

11

“Is this how you saw your life going?” Magnum asked as they sat in the parking lot of the restaurant she was meeting Mike for lunch. 

“Sitting in a car waiting for an app to drain my phone battery so I’ll have an excuse to borrow my drug kingpin boyfriend’s phone in order to install spyware on it?” She responded. “No.”

“I’m serious!” He said even though he couldn't help but to be amused by her tone. “I mean you’ve never even told me how you ended up working for MI6. How is your life stacking up to what kid-Higgy envisioned her life?”

It was meant to be a lazy question, something to fill the time while they waited for Mike’s car to show up. But thinking about it, he realized he wanted to know the answer. 

He knew she preferred Hawaii to England (Magnum figured most everyone would, but maybe he was biased) but as she’d once said “managing a large estate was never the plan for me”. Neither, he knew, was being a private detective. 

What had been the plan? He’d asked her in roundabout ways about her life since… well long before they were even friends. Reflecting on it, he’d been fascinated by her even back then. He’d even asked Robin about more information after the MI6 reveal. Then he’d teased and prodded Higgins herself to try to learn her secrets.

Now, he wanted them even more. Not to figure her out, but to know her. Because there were still missing pieces to her life, her past. While he was content with what he knew, he also wanted to know all her stories. All her ups and downs. From scraped knees in kindergarten to teenage dreams and college mishaps.

“Kid Higgy? Honestly Magnum,” she said, with a head shake. “Let me guess, your childhood dream really was to become a PI?”

“My uncle bought me a fingerprint kit for my sixth birthday,” he said, “Got the dust everywhere.”

“Your mother must have loved that,” she said and he opened his mouth to tell her, his mother didn’t mind and had in fact played detective with him, glad to see him so interested in something as it had only been a few months since his father’s death. 

But he stopped because she was doing what she always did. Somehow change the topic away from herself, her past. He wondered if it was a spy thing or just a Juliet thing?

“Did dirt drive your mother nuts?” he asked as she leaned a little forward to check her computer and her curls bounced forward. He was struck with a strong desire to tuck in back for her, maybe slid his fingers through her hair. 

“No,” she said, looking up at him then away. “But my father did. Quite literally.”

He suddenly remembered what she’d confided in him long ago, about her mother having dementia. He suddenly regretted his use of the word nuts.

“I didn’t mean-”

“Mike’s here,” she said, and Magnum saw that she was right.

She reached for the door and he, for her hand. He opened his mouth to tell her to be careful, but he also didn’t want to insult her intelligence, her skill, because today, this first step wasn’t a very difficult one.

“All I’m doing is eating a twenty-dollar caesar salad and making a fake phone call,” she told him, but squeezed his hand, “What could go wrong?”

He nodded. Because she was right. It was a simple plan.

Nothing would go wrong.

Chapter Text

12  

Mike was annoyed. He didn’t like it when people told him what to do. It was a character flaw, he knew, but hey what could you do? 

So, as much as he respected his godfather and “cousin”, he didn’t feel they had the right to tell him what to do. Resented that they could just call him up and order him to be places. Still, for now, he had to obey.

“Be done with it already,” he said in Japanese, looking up from his phone, bored. If he didn't leave soon he’d be late for his lunch with Juliet.

“Boring you, are we?” his ‘cousin’ Eiji asked as he ran a knife over the already cut up and mostly unconscious man’s arm, drawing fresh blood. 

“A little,” he said. Eiji had been working this guy over for an hour now and no one had yet to even tell Mike why he’d been summoned here. Which was annoying. “Some of us have better things to do.”

“We know.” Eiji held up his bloody knife in the air. “About this tall, blonde and bendy?”

Mike narrowed his eyes, not liking the fact that Eiji was keeping track of him. That he knew about Juliet. He wasn’t exactly keeping her a secret but still. He turned to his godfather. “Sir, I’d-”

“Quiet,” the older man said. “I have disturbing news for you about this woman Eiji speaks of. Come.”


“Sorry, I left it in the car,” he said when she asked to borrow his phone. 

He said it so confidently and without hesitation that if she’d been anyone but an ex-spy turned PI with observation skills well above normal, she would have believed him. She would have dismissed the fact that she’d seen he’d been on his phone when she went up to the bar as something she’d imagined. 

But because she knew he did have his phone on him, the fact that he wouldn’t give it up to her meant he didn’t trust her as much as she’d hoped. It also meant he quite possibly did have at least something that might connect him to the Yakuza on it.  

That made her want to get her hands on that phone even more.

Only it wouldn’t be today. It would draw too much attention, make him too suspicious of her. Might ruin the whole thing.

“How about we go to the beach again later? No kid this time so we can actually do some swimming,” Mike suggested, putting his hand over hers. “Unless you’re too busy?”

All Juliet could think of when he said beach was her own and Magnum’s adventure last night. She decided to use that, tried to focus in on what she’d been feeling last night with Magnum. Because right then Mike’s hand on hers, definitely wasn’t doing anything for her. Other than make her want to pull away.

Instead of doing that she nodded, said she wasn’t busy, because that’s what she would have done if this was a real date, if he hadn’t been involved in organized crime. Well, if he hadn’t been, she’d actually be breaking up with him.

Suddenly a large part of her was so very tempted to just end this whole thing. As much as she’d wanted some sort of justice to be served, to get one over Mike, she also wanted to let it go. To break up with him and go back to the car. Back to Magnum.

But she was Juliet Higgins. She didn’t let her heart or emotions lead. So once lunch was over she went with him, tense as a coil inside while all the way looking to the world like she was having a grand time.

It was only when they drove past the Ferrari - and it was empty - she let that smile drop off. 

"Stop," she said and he did. Maybe more because they'd come to a red light and he had no other choice.

She and Magnum agreed he'd drive around the corner, over to the strip mall and she'd come join him after her lunch was over with. But now his car was just sitting there. Empty.

She heard Mike call her name and swear as she moved the thirty feet of traffic back to the Ferrari. Empty.

Her mind spun, trying to figure it out. Wanting it to be him just going for a coffee or a smoothie from the guy selling them on the sidewalk. But he was nowhere in sight. Her heart began to pound. Because this wasn't how this was supposed to go down.

"Juliet!" Mike said behind her, apparently having abandoned the car to come after her.

“Where is he?” she asked, turning to Mike and staring him down. 

“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. He was lying. "How would I know?"

Narrowing her eyes she tried the Ferrari's door. It was unlocked. She got into the driver’s seat. No key. Thinking for a second she then reached for the glove box.

Even if he had the key he hadn’t locked the Ferrari, he hadn’t gone willingly. Possibly it had been quick. Maybe he’d been tased or drugged since there was no sign of a struggle. And that meant maybe his gun was still in the glove compartment.

Before she could get to it however, Mike moved forward. 

“You want to see Magnum again?” Mike whispered next to her ear and she felt a gun press into her neck. “Then you’re going to get out of the car, stay quiet and come with me.”

Chapter Text

13

Magnum knew a number of tricks for getting out of zip-ties. 

Trouble was most of them relied on getting the person putting the zip ties on you to do it wrong. Unfortunately, the men that grabbed him had not done it wrong. At all. One zip tie on each wrist, hands behind his back. 

Not having nails, matches, shoelaces or some other object handy to shimmy the little lock mechanism or being in a position where he could create enough tension to make them snap, he was currently trying to get his wrist around to the front.

Which was making him wish he hand longer arms - or done more yoga - because he was not enjoying the gymnastics. Especially not on the hard metal floor of the shipping container he’d been dumped him maybe ten minutes ago. 

There was suddenly noise at the door of the container and he cursed himself for not having waited by the entrance for a chance to escape. He’d just figured he was going to be locked in longer. Isolation in the dark was a pretty good way to get most people to start talking and since he wasn't dead, he assumed his kidnappers wanted something from him. 

Bright light blinding him for a second before his eyes adjusted and revealed Juliet.

“Higgy!” he said, relieved to see her. At least for the few moments before she was pushed forward and the door slammed shut behind her, taking the light with it.

“You okay?” he asked, trying to scoot over to her.

“I’m fine,” she said, even though he suspected she must be hurting a bit from being pushed in there. From what he’d seen her hands had been behind her back too.

“How’d they get you?” she asked as he heard and felt her moving to him. Even though it was warm in the container, airless, he was glad when he felt her body close to his, radiating heath.

“Told me to go with them if I wanted to see you alive again,” he said.

She groaned.

“What? Are you hurt?” he asked, twisting and so he had his hands on her zip ties. He tried to tug at them even though he knew it was futile.

“Let me,” she said, and he felt her fingers run along the zip tie on his right wrist. “And no. It’s just that’s basically what Mike said to me, to get me to go with him.”

Even though that wasn’t exactly good news, it still almost made him feel a little better. Clearly, they were a bit foolish when it came to protecting each other. 

“So what? Neither one of us was actually in any danger before we both let ourselves get kidnapped to save each other?” he asked with a frown she wouldn't be able see in the dark.

“No,” she responded, as he felt one of the zip ties slide a little. Then he felt and heard her nail snap and she swore before continuing, “I was never in any danger. You on the other had already been taken when Mike pulled a gun on me.”

“So it’s my fault?” He twisted around, trying to face her even though his eyes could barely make out anything in the pitch dark. “I was trying to-”

“It’s not your fault,“ she snapped. “Just check if I’m actually in danger the next time you let yourself get kidnapped.”

“I didn’t let myself...” he began, but he kind of had, so he shut up. 

“How’d he figure me out?” she asked, as much herself as him he thought. “Could he have been tapping my phone?”

He heard in her voice how much that troubled her and began disliking Mike even more - if that was possible.

“One hell of a first date, huh?” he said jokingly, trying to make her not think about Mike or what might have led them to their current situation. 

“This is not our first date,” she said.

“Isn't it though? A date is basically two people who like each other getting to know each other better while doing something they both enjoy!”

“You call this doing something enjoyable? We’re tied up in a shipping container,” she replied, then continued. “And if that’s your definition of a date we’ve been dating for the past year!”

“Well, I guess tech-”

The door to the shipping container opened and Mike and two men, both Japanese - one older, and one younger, flicking a switchblade - stepped inside. They were flanked by two more men with semi-automatic weapons. 

Magnum predicted this was going to be a very memorable first date.

Chapter Text

14

“Hi Juliet,” Mike said, sounding like he was there to pick Juliet up for lunch or yoga rather than standing with four gansters. In fact he looked so similar to how Magnum had come to see him, as nice guy Mike, even his pale eyes that some how shone oddly in the backlight of the open container door didn't seem scary.  

Magnum thought maybe leaving it open was a mistake. Or maybe they didn’t know who they were dealing with a Navy SEAL and an ex-MI6 agent. Except Mike did know, at least about Magnum being a SEAL. Maybe they were just careless. He hoped that was the case, but wasn't so sure. 

Juliet glared at Mike. “What’s this about? You do know you can’t just go around kidnapping people.”

He squatted down in front of her. “The pictures.”

“What pictures?”

“The ones Mr. Magnum’s friend Rick took of me and my associates at the airfield yesterday,” Mike said, glazing over at Magnum. “His idea I assume.” 

“Rick? Rick didn’t take any pictures of you,” Magnum said, wondering how Mike had identified Rick. “He just saw you. Stopped to say hi but saw you were busy and left.”

“We went to Mr. Wright’s apartment,” the man with the switchblade said. “He wasn’t there.”

Probably because Rick spent almost all his time at La Marianna. Magnum tried to think back to if Rick had mentioned La Marianna during the dinner. As far as Magnum could remember Rick had said “the bar”, but hadn’t he called it by name.

He met Juliet’s eyes. She shook her head just the tiniest bit as if knowing what he was thinking, worrying, about. She didn’t think they had said anything that might lead the bad guys to Rick. And they sure as heck weren’t about to start right now.

“I think you’re wrong Mike,” Mr. Switchblade said, smiling as Mike stood up. “I think she was onto you the whole time. Playing you.”

“I wasn’t playing anyone,“ Juliet said. “And I haven’t the foggiest idea what pictures you’re talking about.”

Mike said something in Japanese. But the older man replied before Switchblade could, putting a hand on Mike’s wrist. Then he said something else and motioned for the two men with the semi-automatics.

“What are they saying?” Magnum asked Juliet, as the two men went behind them and began to haul them to their feet.

“How would I know?” she said, rolling her eyes at him. “I speak Mandarin not Japanese.”

Once they were standing the two guys pressed guns into their backs. “Isn’t that about the same?”

“It’s not,” Mike said, not amused.

“Enough,” the old guy said, then added something (still in Japanese), nodding to Juliet. 

Magnum didn't like that. Not one bit.

“You’re right father,” Mr. Switchblade said, stepping forward, putting a knife under Juliet’s chin, forcing her to look up at him. “Her skin is like cinnamon milk.”

Magnum thought that was a rather strange way to describe skin, especially Juliet’s, but whatever floated this guy’s boat. Or maybe it was a cultural thing. Either way cinnamon milk was as good as anything to latch onto.

“Cinnamon milk?” he said, tauntingly, wanting that knife away from her. Wanting them to focus on him, not her. Wanted to make sure if this went where he thought it was, he’d be the one Switchblade used that knife on. Not her. “That sounds pretty nice. I’m kind of parched, anyone feel like whipping me up a batch?”

“You know neither one of you seem to properly appreciate the situation you’re in,” Mr. Switchblade said, but took his knife off her neck. Success. “Now, we have people looking for your friend Rick. We will find him and get those pictures-”

“There are no pictures,” he insisted. Because that was the truth. Thinking about it, Magnum actually wished Rick had been savvy enough to snap some shots of the deal but as much as Rick had enjoyed his one day as a PI, Mangum couldn’t expect him to actually act like one at all times. “So this whole thing is making you guys look rather stupid.”

“Shut up,” Mike said.

“You know I never liked you,” he said, “I mean you were so nice but still, something about you just rubbed me the wrong way, you know.”

“You said this one was a SEAL,” Switchblade said, flicking his knife. 

“Yes,” Mike said through clenched teeth. Magnum got the distinct idea Mike really wanted to strangle him and the thought cheered him up for some reason. 

Switchblade gave him an evaluating look, coming closer.

“That’s not a very impressive knife.” Magnum looked at the knife, which he could tell was razor-sharp, but he quickly put an unimpressed expression on his face. “You are aware they make much better ones, right? I’m not sure you could even cut butter with that little thing.”

Switchblade pulled up his lip as if he was a snarling wolf.

Magnum was seriously tempted to headbutt him. Since no one was actually holding him, he could probably do it. But with the gun to his back - and one to Juliet’s - he decided to wait for a better opportunity.

“Fast-talking tough guy, huh?” Switchblade said, clearly able to read on Magnum’s face just how much he was itching to do something. “I know this type. ”

Magnum twisted the zip-tie Juliet had loosened a little, wondering if he could press his hand through. Having his hands free would help to even the odds. Might even get him the upper hand enough to get that nice and stick it in Switchblade. Some almost lethal part preferably. 

“Actually I don’t think you do,” Juliet said, and because she took a step forward the guy behind her grabbed her wrists, yanking her back, making her wince. “You’re never going to make him give up Rick. Ever.”

“Oh but I am,” Switchblade said, smirking, turning back to Juliet. “Because you’re here.”

Magnum met her eyes and realized that maybe Switchblade did have a point. If they hurt her it would be next to impossible to not do everything in his power to make them stop.

“You see,” Switchblade said to her, flicking his knife up. “You don’t break tough guys by hurting them. You break them by hurting the things they care about.”

Chapter Text

15

“You see,” Switchblade said to her, flicking his knife up. “You don’t break tough guys by hurting them. You break them by hurting the things they care about.”

The guy behind him had clearly been through this once or twice before, because he grabbed Magnum’s bound hands as he tried to jerk forward and pushed him down, slamming his knees in the hard metal floor. That was going to bruise.

Cousin, you might want to wait outside for this,” Switchblade said mockingly as he kept on smiling at Higgy.

“Eiji,” Mike said, the beginning of a protest, but then stopped himself. Looked to the open door, then Juliet. Didn’t move. Didn’t say anything more either. 

While a large chunk of his brain was telling him to do something because well, no way was he going to let them hurt Higgy, he knew he had to be smart about it. That was how they’d get out of this. 

So he tried to figure out the dynamic. The older man was the shot caller, probably Mike’s godfather. Switchblade guy was well an interrogator. But high up the food chain at the same time. He’d called the old guy father, and he had called Mike ‘cousin’. 

Mike… Mike clearly had some sort of senior position as well, since they still trusted him even though he’d brought Juliet into their lives. He must be important to the organization beyond just being the godson to the older guy. And now Mike needed to show them that trust was warranted and that he had no alliances to Juliet. Question was if that was 100% true.

“I already said Rick didn’t take any photos!” Magnum said, struggling to shake the guy holding him, as Switchblade grabbed Juliet’s jaw. “Hurting her doesn't change that.”

He wasn’t saying this for Switchblade’s benefit. From the look in the guy’s eyes, nothing would make him happier than using that switchblade on her. No. He was saying it for Mike’s. Because even if he was a drug smuggler, Magnum was fairly sure Mike did care for Juliet. And that he wasn’t a total psychopath. That meant he wouldn’t want whatever was about to happen...to happen. 

Not that Magnum was about to let anything happen. 

Neither was Juliet, he was sure. 

Except they weren’t exactly in the best positions to make their move. They needed more time, or for something to change, for the guys with the semi-automatics to be distracted, for him to at least be on his feet.

“Time to turn the milk red,” Switchblade said, knife deciding towards Juliet’s face. “Are you watching Mr. SEAL? You tell me where your friend is, where the photos are, and it all stops.”

Juliet gave him a look, that while worried also said ‘be ready’. He wondered just what her plan was. He doubted the guys with the semi-automatics would fire in the shipping container, not unless it was a contact shot because the risk of bullets ricocheting. And would they take such a shot without the say-so of the boss? How quickly would the old guy give the word?

Was shooting them even on the table? Even if they did suspect them of having the pictures, surely they knew that wasn’t enough for any real police involvement. Killing him and Higgins though, even just making them disappear, that would make people - the cops - take notice. But with organized crime that was par for the course, wasn’t it?

Juliet jerked back from the knife as best she could as it came down towards her face. As she did, he saw her back-bound hands find the barrel of the semi-automatic at her back and direct it away from her body.

As everyone in the container was focused on the knife, and the quickness of her movement, meant he wasn’t sure her guard even noticed her moving his gun.

Magnum forced his thumb to the side, praying he wouldn’t dislocate it, pressing it through the zip-tie. It felt like he was scraping his of skin off, and like his little finger's base joint might be cracking, but he pushed on. It felt almost the plastic was fighting him. But because he needed his hands to get free, to help Higgy, to end this whole mess, he ignored the pain. It was nothing to some of the other things he'd been through.

After what felt like forever but hadn't been that long because the switchblade was still coming down he freed himself. 

Not fast enough to stop the blade from cutting into her cheek though.

It might have gone deeper or longer - was meant to be most likely - but just as it broke her skin, drawing a line of blood, she braced back against the guy behind her, using him for leverage to push up and propelling him slightly backward as her legs came up to kick Switchblade in the stomach.

The move would have been more effective if he’d been further away from her. But it still was enough to get the blade away from her face.

Magnum also used Switchblade stumbling back to his own advantage, twisting around and slamming into his guard’s knees. To his surprise the guard went down backward, slamming into the metal wall, sinking down unconscious to the floor.

Magnum: I

Bad guys: 0

Expecting Mike or Switchblade to put a bullet in him any second, Magnum grabbed the semi-automatic his unconscious guard had dropped. 

Meanwhile, he saw Juliet had escaped her guard and rolled to the side, further into the container. Which wasn’t quite what he’d expected, the objective of this fight was to get outside and escape. 

The loud boom of a gun going off, painfully loud in the enclosed place made everyone stop. Magnum swung his newly acquired weapon up around, aiming for Mike who was the one who had fire into the air.

Just before the shot had gone off Juliet’s guard had been going for his semi but he too stopped, seeming unsure if he should be pointing a gun at Higgins or not.

It was only then Magnum realized Mike hadn’t fried his .45 into thin air.

He’d shot his godfather, the old guy falling forward onto his knees, blood blooming on his shirt.

While Magnum worked to get him in his sights Mike fired a second time, taking out Switchblade as he was going for his own gun.

No wonder Juliet’s guard was freaking out.

“You going to shoot me Magnum?” Mike said, meeting his eyes. 

“Put it down.” Magnum checked his weapon, hating to have to realize on a weapon he didn’t know the quality of.

“I can’t walk out of here with any of you alive,” Mike said, dryly. So much for Mike being o their side. Unless you counted planning on killing them so they didn't get tortured as "help". Which Magnum for one didn't. “Sorry. But I’m climbing the corporate ladder.”

“You are aware I have a semi-automatic,” Magnum pointed out, and as he said it, realized that was a problem. 

Mike smiled. 

If Magnum shot with the probably standard burst setting, 3 bullets from a possibly not very accurate weapon would maybe hit Mike. But they might also ricochet and kill or injure Juliet or Magnum himself. 

“Hey Mike,” Juliet said, springing to her feet, “We’re breaking up.”

Then she threw the switchblade, which spun and embedded itself in Mike’s wrist. He dropped the .45.

Huh. He guessed that explained why she’d rolled further into the container, rather than towards freedom. She’d been going for the knife to free herself and get a weapon. Of course, she had been. And of course she knew how to throw a knife with perfect aim in a dim shipping container.

Mike just stared at the knife in his wrist. Magnum took the opportunity to take two steps forward and use the butt of his semi-automatic on Mike’s nose. It made a satisfying crunching noise and Juliet’s ex-boyfriend fell backward, unconscious.

“How about you?” Magnum asked turning quickly, pointing his weapon at the one remaining unsure looking guard. 

The man swallowed, dropped his weapon, and held up his hands. 

As Juliet came to stand next to him, Magnum nodded for the guy to walk to the back. The guy did, keeping his hands up. Since the man was surrendering, Magnum turned his attention to Juliet, wanting to make sure she was truly alright.

She was, except for her cheek, which was bleeding. 

Moving towards the light, even though he was half worried reinforcements would come crashing through it any second drawn by the gunfire, he stepped closer to her.

“Let me see,” he said, touching her cheek slightly as he studied the cut. It was a little longer than an inch, right on her cheekbone. A trail of blood went down her face, like a disturbing very wide red tear, and continued down her neck. It was still trickling but was slowing down.

“How bad is it?” she asked. The knife had been very sharp and he hoped, clean, which meant it would heel easily. 

“It’s not deep, it’s almost stopped bleeding,” he told her, reaching up and brushing the blood away as best he could. Mostly he just smeared it on both her face and his hands. But it was reassuring just to touch her. Know she really was okay. “You probably won’t even need stitches.”

He tried to sound cheerful but he felt bad. She’d been hurt. Maybe if he’d acted earlier - differently - he wouldn’t have her blood on his hands.

“When have I ever been that lucky?” she said but smiled at him, leaning into his hand with her face for a second before looking towards the door. “Ready?” 

He smiled because right then he realized something he'd always known but never really understood.

“Hey Higgy,” he said, reaching for her again. “Before we go out there and take on the rest of the Yakuza, there is just one thing I need to do.”

“What?” she asked. 

To answer her question, he pulled her close and kissed her.

Chapter Text

16

“What are you doing?” she asked as Magnum slid his hand into hers. 

“What?” he said, totally innocent, swinging their hands a little, not letting go. “I’m not doing anything.”

She narrowed her eyes at him, not sure what to do or feel. Especially when he started rubbing the inside of her wrist with his thumb. Which was very distracting. 

Judging by the way his face was lit up by a mischievous smile, he knew that. 

Still, to her, while waiting for an Uber a dozen feet from a crime scene didn’t seem like the moment for hand-holding. Especially not distracting handholding!

She wasn’t even sure she thought there were really any good moments for hand-holding. But the truth was she’d never held hands with people, she wasn't even sure if she'd done it with her mother when she’d been a child. But maybe she’d have to reevaluate her stans on it if she and Magnum were going to be well… 

“I can’t believe you thought that was a good idea!” she said, meaning the kiss. Which had caught her so by surprise she’d returned it, wrapped her arms around him and snogged him for a good minute or two.

Which honestly wasn’t how she normally would have acted. Truly. It was maybe, probably, for sure just the adrenalin, having been hurt, the possibility of going into another fight.

(Or she just had too many stupidly feelings for him.)

“What were we going to do? Wait in the shipping container for 20 minutes until Katsumoto got here?” he said, misunderstanding her. 

“That’s not…” She wasn’t sure if he’d done misunderstood on purpose or really was thinking about his foolish plan of simply walking out of the shipping container rather than their kiss.

They’d thankfully found that there were no other members of the Yakuza waiting for them outside their make-shift prison. So they’d taken all the guns and left their five dead/unconscious/surrendered kidnappers in there and then locked the container up.

A stroke of luck had led them to find their phones and wallets in one of the bad guy’s cars and Magnum had called Katsumoto. The detective had told them to wait for him at the scene but Magnum had greatly exaggerated and claimed she needed a hospital.

She did not. It was just a scratch. Magnum was overreacting. 

Then again, getting her cut looked at wouldn’t be the worst thing. Juliet didn’t think she was particularly vain but found she’d prefer not having a scar to remember her break up with Mike by.

And maybe it was a little nice to have Magnum overreact.

She wasn’t used to that. Even though he’d always -even before they were partners- made sure she was alright, been concerned about her, this clearer worry for her being hurt was new. Oddly enough she found she didn’t mind it. 

Suddenly she was worried about that though. Because she would have minded when they first met. Would have maybe even six months ago. Six days. Did that mean everything was going to change?


“Don’t you trust me?” he asked, dangling the blindfold in front of her face.

“In this instance?” she said, pushing the close button on the garage door, “no.”

He looked at her all puppy-dog like. Sometimes when he did that, or even just looked at her without doing anything special, she just forgot...well everything. 

“Come on! You’ll like it.”

It was the next night.

Last night, after getting one stitch in her cheek and some incredible pain killers, she’d fallen asleep before Magnum got back from checking on Rick and going by the precinct to to tell Katsumoto about their “adventure”. Mike along with the two guards that were still alive had been arrested and were being charged with kidnapping and assault. 

There was a little bit of a concern that the Yakuza might come after them, but the general consensus was that they wanted Mike to go to prison for having killed his own godfather. What would happen to him there was probably not going to be fun, but Juliet couldn’t quite find it in her heart to feel bad for him. 

So they were safe. Most likely. 

And now Magnum was smiling and holding a blindfold asking her to trust him. Which she did. It just went against her nature to actually let him know that. Let him know just how much.

“Come on! I swear you won’t regret it.”

She debated with herself a moment longer. She did trust him. 

“Fine.” She took the blindfold, even though she wasn’t exactly thrilled by the idea.

He smiled and took her hand, tugging her away from the garage.

“Don’t you want me to put it on?” she asked, dangling the thing behind her.

“No, I just wanted to see if I could get you to say yes to wearing it,” he told her over his shoulder. “I would however appreciate it if you closed your eyes and didn’t peek when I told you too.”

“You really do have the maturity of a five-year-old, don’t you?” she said, rolling her eyes. But she wondered about yet another choice. Wondered if the blindfold was something she’d have agreed to at any earlier point in their relationship.

She knew the answer was no.

Was that bad or good?

She truly didn’t know.

Chapter Text

17

“Okay, open,” he whispered to her, standing close behind her.

She didn’t say or do anything but he could tell from the slight change in her shoulders that she had opened her eyes. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting her reaction to be, but he did expect something .

Instead, she just stood there and stared at the table on the beach, the Tiki torches, the candles. 

“I got sushi from that place you like,” he said, moving around to gauge her reaction.

Her face was carefully neutral. Which made all sorts of alarm bells go off inside his head.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

Because something was.

She quickly smiled, then stopped when the movement clearly hurt her cut cheek. “Nothing. This is lovely.”

“I even bought wine rather than take it from the wine cellar,” he proudly pointed out even though he wasn’t convinced by her ‘ nothing ’. He tried to figure it out, tried to read her face, but she wasn’t meeting his eyes.

“Truly?” she sounded incredulous and very much like herself.But at the same time she reached up to make sure the little strings that held her top up were still in place. As close to a nervous gesture he’d ever seen on her. “You are aware I technically own the wine cellar now so if you wanted to...”

“...steal wine for us from there you’d stop sending the lads after me?” he suggested playfully as they sat. She actually hadn’t sent Zuse and Apollo chasing after him for a long time. Now it was almost to the point it was fun to teaser her about it.

“No,” she said, apparently changing her mind. There was enough tension in her neck that he doubted even an hour-long massage would relax her. “I… no. We’re not going to start taking wine from the wine cellar. It’s Robin’s.”

Okay, something was definitely going on with her. Juliet Higgins did not say one thing and then change her mind two seconds later.

“But you own Robin’s Nest now,” he said, trying to deduce what was bothering her. “Surely that includes a change of ownership of the wine?”

“Just because a slip of paper says I own Robin’s Nest it doesn't mean anything has to be different. The rules still apply, we don’t...shouldn’t to do anything different,” she said, finally meeting his eyes. 

“But you do own Robin’s Nest. That makes a difference,” he said, taking the fancy metal covering he’d found in the Big Kitchen off their plates. 

“No, it doesn't,” she insisted and he suddenly felt quite sure he understood a little better what was going on.

“Is that why you’re upset?” he asked, still trying to figure it out. “Because you think things will change too much? With us?”

“I’m not upset,” she said even though they both knew that was a lie. “And I don’t think. They already are changing!”

“What’d you mean?” He could think of a few things but overall, it didn’t seem to him that things were that different from a week ago. Other than the fact that rather than choke off thoughts he had about her, his mind sort of ran with them. 

From imagining the taste of her skin, to places and stories he’d want to share with her, what their possible future might hold, he let himself actually think about them now.

“Look around you Magnum!” As he did, he wasn’t really sure what she meant. “Three days ago you were serving me stir fry on chipped plates in your kitchen.”

“So you’re upset I tried to do something nice?” he asked. While he’d never really felt sure he understood her, sometimes she was extra confusing. “That makes no sense!”

“It does!”

“Would you rather have some reheated stir fry then?” he asked, getting frustrated. “I think there might even be some extra water chestnuts left in the can.”

Water chestnuts .” She looked at her plate of sushi. “ You were doing it even before...

“Before what?”

She paused for a long moment then she smiled and this time it was a real smile, the kind he loved seeing on her face. “Never mind. I was just… worried. ”

“Because we’re changing?” he asked, wanting to make sure.

“Yes,” she said, but she looked happy now. “But we’re always doing that, aren’t we? I mean honestly, could you ever imagined offering to marry me to help me get a green card when we first met?”

He almost could have seen that but decided not to mention it.

“So you’re not worried anymore?”

“No,” she said, picking up her chopsticks and meeting his eyes again. The carefully neutral look from before was completely gone. “Not really.”

“Because of reheated stir fry?” he asked because that was the only thing he could think of in their conversation that seemed to have hit a chord with her.

“No.” She shook her head. “Because of water chestnuts.”

Magnum was totally still confused but it seemed she’d figured something out that made her feel better about their relationship. And that was good enough for him. 

Actually, that was part of what he’d realized before kissing her yesterday in the shipping container. 

That there was probably no one in the world the slightest like Juliet Higgins. No one as smart, strong, damaged, wary, snarky as her. No one he wanted to banter or chase bad guys with more than her. No one as confusing as her.

But as long as she was happy, he was fine with being a little confused.


A number of events, such as one of the very few birthday parties that had been thrown in Juliet’s honor as a child, had been ruined by rain. But that was back in England. 

Until tonight, Hawaii - even though it did often rain - had been much kinder to her about not ruining plans by dumping gallons of water down on her head. 

She could tell Magnum was disappointed though. 

Even though they’d just about finished their meal when the wind had started in and the first drops splashed down, she’d been fairly sure he’d been planning on recreating their swim from the other night - only with a different ending.

“Come on,” she called as he stopped to look back at the beach for a few seconds. “We’ll get soaked.”

They actually already were, her hair and clothes felt slicked on as the water beat down on them.

“Yeah,” he agreed, finally turning back to her and offering his hand. She took it, still not sure about the whole hand-holding but figuring she might grow used to it.


“You’re cold,” he said a few seconds after they’d finally reached the guest house.

She was soaked more like it. 

So soaked the fact that she wasn’t wearing a bra was unfortunately oblivious. Something she knew from the way he’d taken her upper body in, once, then twice, more than anything else.

Half expecting an offer to warm her up himself he instead found a conveniently placed towel and handed it to her.

She took it, using it on her hair so she wouldn’t drip all over, as they walked into the living room.

Outside the rain was still coming down in sheets. Back in England rain had almost been a cozy noise for her. But here the rain felt different, sounded different. Eager and powerful.

“I don’t think this towel is going to do much,” she said, once she’d scrunched her hair as dry as she thought it would get.

“I think you might be right,” he said, behind her, sliding warm hands up her chilled arms. How unfair that he was still toasty warm, even with a soaking shirt on, while she was getting goosebumps all over. Which had everything to do with the rain and not his touch. For sure.

She turned in his arms, facing him, meeting his eyes. 

He reached up and brushed his fingers gently over the cut on her cheek. She could tell by his eyes and by the fact that she knew him too damned well what he was thinking.

“No,” she said, “You’re not responsible for everything going wrong in the world.”

She wasn’t sure he believed her. In fact, she was sure he didn’t and that broke her heart a little. 

For as much as Magnum liked to pretend he was the most carefree man in the world - and she loved to tease him about it - she knew he felt responsible for everything that went wrong. The time they had all spent in the POW camp, Nuzo’s death, Hannah coming back, every case that had ever gone wrong (and right). Ivan and his goons at Robin’s Nest. Them having to come rescue him from the jungle. 

Instead of trying to convince him with words, she leaned up and pressed her lips to his. Wanting him to understand she’d never ever blame him for anything and that if he wanted to admit to just one person that he wasn’t always fine, that he was feeling guilty (even when he should), that she’d be that person for him.

“Juliet,” he whispered as he broke the kiss. She wasn’t sure anyone had ever said her name that way before. Like it was prayer, a curse and a promise all at once. It made her already pounding heart speed up and shivers all through her.

Still holding his eyes, she reached for the little straps that held up her top. Undid them. First the left, then the right one. The thin but layered fabric was still wet enough it stuck to her skin. He watched with more patience than she’d have given him credit for.

Then that self-control ran out and he reached forward. At first, she thought for another kiss but what he actually did was pick her up. Well, he did kiss her again too as she wrapped her legs around him.

He set her down on what took her a second to realize was the kitchen island and started nibbling on her neck while his hands made quick work of the already un-tied top. Once it was pushed down and out of the way he trailed kisses down her neck towards her right breast.

“Magnum!” she said, tugging at his shirt. If she was going to be half-naked in the kitchen then so was he! Besides his shirt was cold, and even though she was much warmer then she’d been a minute ago she’d rather have his skin to touch.

“Huh?”

“Take your damn shirt off.”

He complied, making much quicker work of it than she could have ever hoped to. She reached out, needing to touch him, needing to be closer. Much closer.

Chapter Text

Blue Skies

“I can’t believe that we did that,” she said, leaning against the headboard of his bed, looking absolutely delectable. 

“What?” he asked, wondering which part she was attempting to be outraged about. 

“On the kitchen counter!” she said, shaking her head. “Honestly I don’t know what came over me.”

He knew what had come over him. Watching her undo those little ties on her top all the while looking at him like… like he wasn’t sure. It had been terrifyingly erotic even though he wasn’t sure she’d even meant for it to be.

“What? You never had sex in a kitchen before?” he teased but when she didn’t respond he grinned. “You hadn’t?”

“Please, it’s not like a lot of people have sex in their kitchens,” she said, a little tense in her dismissiveness.

Magnum wasn’t sure what most people did or did not, but he was fairly certain having sex in other rooms than the bedroom wasn’t that unusual. At least when he’d been younger it hadn’t been. But he was suddenly fairly certain Juliet hadn’t been nearly as “ adventurous ” he had. Maybe it came along with being British? 

“What about the ocean?” he asked, leaning over and pushing the sheet off her leg, kissing the outside of her knee, beginning to work his way upwards.

“Do I think a lot of people, as you American’s like to put it, get it on, in the ocean?” she said, raising an eyebrow. Clearly, that was a no to if Juliet Higgins had made love to someone in the ocean. He decided they’d fix that soon enough.“Thomas, what are you, oh, doing?”

“Just looking for something,” he said, pushing back more of the sheet to expose the side of her hip.

“Looking for something?” she asked, incredulous. 

“Thought I saw...” he said, sliding the sheer a little further to the side. “Found it”

“My tattoo? Honestly Magnum it’s just a tattoo,” she said reaching to cover the barely two-inch wide little helm. 

“I know.” He stopped her hand and kissed the tattooed skin. Then scraped at it with his teeth lightly, teasing. “But it’s interesting.”

Actually, more than interesting. Because how was it that she’d ended up with a Navy tattoo. More than fifteen years ago she’d somehow picked it from every possible tattoo in a shop. If that wasn’t enough to make a man believe in destiny, he wasn’t sure what was.

It was almost strange to think he’d needed Kumu to point it out to him. Then again, what he and Juliet had...it wasn’t something he’d had before, not really. So maybe it did make sense he’d needed someone to help make him see. 

“Remind me to thank Kumu,” he said, resting his cheek on her hip.

“That’s who you’re thinking about right now? Kumu?” 

“No,” he said, deciding this wasn’t the moment to explain that he was in love with her. It was kind of early for that anyways. “Definitively not.” 

She raised one pale eyebrow as if daring him to prove it.

Which he was more than happy to do...


Juliet


“Why?” she asked. It was the next morning and they’d gone down to get the table and left behind stuff from their beach dinner.

Rather than actually do that Magnum had decided that pulling her down onto the sand and kissing her was the thing to do.

She had only protested a little. 

Now they were lying in the warm sand, her resting her head on his chest, hearing and feeling the beat of his heart. It was strangely -almost- more intimate than the night before.

“Uhm?” he asked, absent-mindedly running his fingers up and down her back.

“Why do you need to thank Kumu?” She’d realized it must have been something important for him to have actually mentioned it last night. 

“It’s not...” he began, and his fingers stopped moving. “Just that she helped me figure some stuff out.” 

“Stuff? How delightfully vague,” she said, lifting her head up to look at him, now interested. “Care to elaborate?”

“Not really,” he said, twisting and rolling them so he was on top of her. “You might not like it.”

“I might not like it?” This was making less and less sense. “Since when has that ever stopped you before?”

“Fine. Ask me in a month,” he said, smiling, “and I’ll tell you.”

“A month? Really? ” she asked with a raised eyebrow because what kind of cryptic answer was that! Clearly, it wasn’t really bad because he was smiling. 

“At least.” He was enjoying the fact that he knew something she didn’t way too much. “Maybe two.”

“I’ll just ask Kumu,” she said.

"I'll tell her not to tell you," he countered and she gave him a look that she hoped said 'you do realize she'd still tell me right?'.

He brushed a curl of her hair to the side, looking at her with soft eyes.  “You really want to know?”

"Am I being too subtle? Yes, Magnum, tell me!" Because suddenly, she felt fairly certain that she knew what he was going to tell her. And that she was in fact going to like it.

"You sure?"

“Yes!”

.

.

.

End