By Raven Dancer
aka Maudlin Mush
Chapter 1: Unwanted?
Chin Ho flashed a grin across the bar at his cousin. The party was loud and raucous. The room filled with off-duty personnel from HPD and H5-0. Sweeping his gaze around the bar he picked out McGarrett swigging down a beer laughing with a couple of friends. His boss raised his bottle in mock salute then shrugged. Chin shrugged back, mouthing 'I don't see him'.
It was a little strange. All three H5-0 detectives had gone out of their way to invite Danny to the party, an end of the tourist season celebration in late September. Not that there weren't any tourists, there always were tourists, but the sheer volume dropped off until Christmas. He was bumped on the shoulder by Kono.
"No sign of our haole?" she asked, slightly tipsy.
"Naw," he replied, "kind of surprised. Really thought he'd show." A loud laugh caught their attention and they turned to face a very 'happy' pair of HPD detectives.
"That scrawny piece of shit won't be showin' up, don't you worry, bro!" Samuels said. "We took care of 'em personally for you and McGarrett." Kono and Chin exchanged glances.
"What do you mean, you took care of him?" he asked slowly.
"Let's just say we let the mainlander know he isn't wanted," the big man chortled.
"Yeah," chimed in Davies, "We all heard through the wireless for months and months what a problem the jerk was."
"Always another snide comment to his boss," Samuel said. "Rude
s. o. b." Kono slipped away and returned during the bragging session with Steve. Samuel and Davies' group extended to four other detectives and a couple of beat officers. Three were explaining just how they helped H5-0 with their Jersey problem. Face pale McGarrett just stared at the large group. Three men planned and carried out some sort of attack on his partner. Bragged to others about it. Made sure the ‘message’ that he wasn’t wanted on the force was loud and clear.
Danny rolled over, head spinning. He'd lost all the contents of his stomach. Several times. His body refused to cooperate. Maybe if he rested a little longer he'd be able to move.
He had to admit he never knew how much his team hated him. He really thought all the teasing had been friendly, that they actually liked him. That they had his back. It seemed liked they did.
Well, except Steve always seemed to get him hurt. He'd never been hurt as often as he had in the past year. Three bullets, concussions, cuts, near drowning. The list went on. You'd of thought they'd let him get killed and gotten rid of him permanently. Not kept him around.
Maybe he was a whipping boy? His mind drifted back over the story Gracie had been so angry about. Yeah, a whipping boy. Or like a great racehorse, they always kept something like a goat with it to take its temper out on. That's what he could have been. Scapegoat.
But now it was really clear he wasn't wanted at all. If he could sit up he'd see his trashed loft. Every dish. Every glass. the contents of the refrigerator spewed out on the floor melting and rotting. God alone knows what they did in his closet. Probably ruined all of his suits. They'd been clear real detectives in Hawaii never wore suits or ties. Probably destroyed the sofa bed as well so getting up to lie down wasn't even a possibility.
If he could get up. Not gonna happen for a while.
The words of hate and derision replayed in his head. If he hadn't been such a tough bastard he'd cry. The wetness on his face had to be sweat, not tears. The voices swirled around taunting him.
Party. They'd invited him to a big party. Kono and Chin and Steve, together and separately. Steve kinda mentioned he'd kick his ass if he didn't show up. Must have meant if he'd shown up. Why the hell had they insisted he go? It was abundantly clear he wasn't wanted.
The next thing he heard was the door swinging open and the muffled curses. Probably the landlord. Damn. He'd never get back his security deposit now.
"Danno?" the strained voice of Steve McGarrett filtered through the room.
"Kind of busy," he muttered. "Gotta keep the floor in place." Why that had come to mind was beyond him. More curses and a very concerned face bent over him.
"What hurts?" Steve asked. Danny took some time considering the answer, tentatively flexing muscles.
"Everything," he said. "They carried out your orders perfectly." Might as well be honest. "Not sure if anything is broken, but it's all bruised."
"What orders?" McGarrett asked. Danny closed his eyes. He would NOT cry.
"You know, you could of just fired my ass," he said conversationally. "Sent me back down to HPD. But then, they don't want some damned haole from the mainland, do they?"
"Fire you? Why the hell would I fire you? I just got you broke in," Steve shot back. Wrong words.
"I don't think any thing’s broken, but you can go ahead and kick my ribs again," Danny turned his head away. "Pretty close to broken."
"I would NEVER kick you," Steve exclaimed indignantly.
"Sorry, that's what the orders were, from you," his voice nearly broke. Dammit! He would NOT cry. He felt hands run gently over his face, arms, body, legs. The deep tissue bruises just flourishing. He winced as the sore spots were pushed. Then he felt Steve move away, off to the kitchen area. Rustling sounds and water running. Muted curses.
A warm, damp cloth was used to clean his face and neck where vomit clung. Then an arm went behind him and he was carefully sat up, his head limply rolled against his partner's strong shoulder.
"Sip," soft voice, cool water. He pulled in a small mouthful, savoring it, swishing it around his bloody, vomit-coated mouth. Spat that out on the floor away from Steve and then drank again, hoping it would stay down.
"Danno, I know what they told you," Steve said. "I know they kept saying me, Chin and Kono felt that way. But we don't, I don't!" He watched Danny's face crumple up trying not to cry, failing miserably. So he pulled him closer and held the shivering body close letting him hide in his shirt.
"Steve?" Chin called from the door. He and Kono picked their way through the thoroughly trashed room. He knelt down next to the battered man.
"Hey Danny," he gently ran his hand up and down the shaking back.
"Call for an ambulance," Steve nodded towards Kono. She located the land line, looked at the battered handset ripped from the base, then flipped open her cell phone.
“We called IA,” Chin reported quietly. “Took down names and arrested the three who had admitted to... to this.” Steve nodded and pulled the shaking man closer.
“It’ll be ok, Danno, we have you!” he tried to comfort and felt the injured man try to push away.
“No! I know you guys don’t want... want... want some damned haole,” Williams spat out. But neither Steve nor Chin were moving.
“Danno, we never said that!” Chin tried.
“I’m not... not stupid!” came the sharp retort. “You all... all call me that! You all give me grief about my clothes! My food! My... my baseball team...” He struggled again, small cries of pain punctuating the jerks.
No amount of talk was going to change William’s mind at that point. He was in too much pain, too much fear, to listen or accept any other message. So McGarrett sat fully down, leaned against the wall and cradled his partner on his lap and in his arms.
He pulled Danny close, surrounding the shivering wreck with his warmth, whispering nonsense. It frightened all three detectives to hear their friend starting to sob. It was so entirely out of character for the brash, mouthy man they wondered if he would ever be the same.
The wail of the ambulance drew near and soon the emts came up the stairs and into the loft. Danny had slipped into a light sleep and reacted violently when they tried to move him from the warmth and safety of McGarrett’s arms.
“Sh, sh, it’s ok aikane!,” Steve whispered.
“No!” Williams clung like a burr to the only thing resembling safety in his world.
“It’s ok, bro!” the paramedic soothed. “Let me take a peek!” Carefully, not disturbing the shaking man much, the EMT did a visual check of exposed bruises and gently prodded his ribs and abdomen. Blood pressure cuff. Respiration. Pulse.
The second paramedic called in the vitals. There was no head trauma and the 5-0 detectives wondered why their friend had vomited. An IV was set up with a small dose of diazepam to calm him.
“Uh, why was he nauseated?” Kono finally braved the question. Without looking up the EMT adjusted the drip.
“Trauma to his groin,” he said matter of factly. Both male detectives winced at the thought. Once the medication had begun to take effect it was simple to transfer the limp body onto the gurney although Danny continued to grip Steve’s hand like a vise.
“Lock up here and meet me at the hospital,” he directed his team.
After the medical team had left Kono and Chin sighed and looked around the wrecked room. It would be left for the forensic team to check over.
“Awue! Look at the bookshelves!” Chin turned and saw the shelves shattered and the books tossed onto the floor, wet. It looked like beer bottles had been emptied on them then smashed against the wall. The kitchen area was demolished; the fridge open and all the contents strewn haphazardly throughout the area.
A quick glance into the closet showed just how complete the destruction was. Jackets, slacks, ties were cut as if having a sharp knife run through them and tossed to the floor. Drawers had been dumped. But the worst damage was found in the bathroom.
The tub/shower had something burnt in it. Closer examination revealed his personal photos were now trashed.
“god, they really destroyed everything!” Chin remarked as he turned to face his cousin. Kono had tears in her eyes.
“No wonder he didn’t believe us,” she said sadly. “They really screwed him over.”
“Yeah,” he agreed softly. “Let’s get that door secured and get to the hospital.”
Chapter 2: Disbelieving
They found Steve in the waiting room, pacing back and forth. He only stopped when Chin and Kono trapped him by the wall.
“No word,” he said gruffly.
“The forensic team’s going to go over his place,” Kono reported. “There’s really nothing left.” McGarrett grunted.
“We’ll pitch in and get it cleaned out,” Chin added.
“He’s not gonna want to live there anymore,” Kono pointed out. “Maybe we can find him a better place.” Steve shook his head.
“No, not yet. He’ll come stay with me until he’s healed up and back to work,” he determined. They agreed.
“We’ll be there, too,” Chin stated firmly. “He’s ohana! We are not gonna lose the bro!” Grim nods sealed the commitment.
“Lt Col McGarrett?” a deep male voice called and as a unit they turned to face a grim-faced doctor. It seemed to be a new one.
“Yes,” Steve strode forward flanked by his team.
“I’m Dr. Ryan. I’m standing in for Dr. Lewis. The good news is no concussion, no broken bones, and no internal injuries,” he reported.
“And the bad news?” Kono pushed.
“It appears every inch of his body, sans his face, was hit repeatedly,” the tall doctor sighed. “I have never seen such a thorough beating. He also is withdrawn. The nurse on duty seems to know him and said he was not acting ‘mouthy and sarcastic’.
“He suffered some verbal abuse,” Steve hedged.
“From his posture I’d say a lot,” the doctor frowned. “We’re going to admit him overnight just to be sure there are no hidden problems. With the damage to his groin and lower back we’ll watch his kidney function. And we can manage his pain more easily through IV.”
“Can we see him?” Steve jumped in.
“Yes, once he’s in his room. He’ll probably be asleep from the meds. Give us about thirty minutes,” he replied and went to take care of his patient.
It was thirty minutes exactly when the threesome went into their friend’s room. Danny appeared to be asleep, an IV dripping into the back of his hand and a single monitor that lazily traced a three/four beat. Steve walked over and immediately picked up the limp free hand.
A tiny flinch let him know his friend was awake.
“Hey, Danno,” he said softly, cupping the cold hand with his two warm hands. Kono and Chin leaned in closer, warm hands on head and shoulders.
“Aikaine!” Chin said. A strange word Danny thought.
“We’re here for you!” Kono added brushing a hand through sweat drenched hair. Danny tried to remain still but found himself trying to pull away.
“ssshh,” Steve’s freed a hand to gently brush across his friend’s face. “You’re safe.”
Danno didn’t figure he was safe. He was sedated and waiting for the other shoe to drop. He could not get away and was basically tied to his bed. The three people who hated him the most surrounded him with their lies.
“We’re going to let you sleep, Danno,” Steve said as he continued to slowly stroke his friend’s head. “Then we’ll pick you up tomorrow and take care of you.” He waited for an answer.
He didn’t get any reaction.
After a while the three detectives left Danny asleep. The medication had taken over. They would go home and seal the case against Danny’s attackers in the morning.
Unfortunately Danno woke up alone. The 5-0 team was busily tying up lose ends making sure the three men who’d hurt him stayed in jail waiting for trial.
Carefully he pushed himself up in bed taking assessment of the various pains. Nothing was broken. His internal organs were working to specs. He definitely wasn’t wanted here. He needed to leave and find another line of work that would allow him to stay on the island.
What the hell could a cop do that someone would hire him to do? Private security? Damn it all, he was screwed from the word ‘go’!
Danno signed himself out, AMA. A cab picked him up and delivered him to his apartment.
The lock had been changed.
“Man, you are so not going to live here!” his tubby landlord exclaimed as the injured detective leaned against the door frame.
“The cops said dere was nothin’ left for you, haole!” he declared. “They put a lock on da door. I can’t get in dere!”
Head bowed, Danny moved down the stairs and sat on the curb. No place to go to. No clothing. No pictures. No place to take Gracie. He was completely screwed.
And he completely hated that word! Haole!
Steve strode into the hospital to see how Danny was. He leaned against the side of the elevator as it moved up to the 7th floor. He waved at the nurses at the station as he walked into his aikane’s room.
Steve immediately bolted out and confronted the two nurses at the desk.
“Where is Danny Williams?” he demanded.
“Checked out AMA about an hour ago,” he was told. Turning, he ran out the door, down the hall, down the stairs (elevator was too damned slow) finally into his car. He called Chin.
“He probably went back to his place,” Kono remarked in the background.
“I’m heading there now,” Steve said as he rev’ved his engine.
“We’ll be there soon!” Chin replied.
He spotted Danny on the curb, arms wrapped tightly around his legs, rocking slowly while tremors punctuated his pain. Steve slowed his advance and carefully knelt down in front of the shaking man.
“Danno?” he reached out to brush the tears aside.
“Hey, it’s gonna be aurite,” McGarrett continued, hand running down the unresponsive body. Noting the pharmacy bag on the step he tried again.
“You take your meds?” he pursued. Slight shrug.
“I should take ‘em all,” came the mumbled reply. “Solve everyone’s problem.” Steve struggled not to react. It was a lot worse than they’d figured.
“Naw, I’d miss my friend,” he said, receiving a snort of derision.
A car pulled up. The hurrying sound of feet after two doors slammed. Chin and Kono slipped next to Danny neatly boxing him in. Arms thrown over trembling shoulders.
“Awue! Bro, you are freezing!” she said as they snuggled closer. Steve carefully placed warm hands on his partner’s face and gently lifted it, peering into his eyes.
“Danno, it was all a lie,” he said slowly, enunciating clearly. “Me, Chin and Kono consider you ohana, our family.
“Yeah,” Kono gave him a small hug,” You’re our Aikane, our brother.” Chin agreed pressing his head against Danny’s. No response. He’d totally shut down.
After a few minutes they heard his breathing even out into sleep.
“Let’s get him home,” Steve said. Standing, he and Chin gently picked him up and carried him to the Camaro. Kono opened the door and the limp body was carefully seat belted into the front seat.
“We’re right behind you,” Chin said as they departed for their car. Danny did not wake during the drive. He briefly considered waking when the two men picked him up to carry him into the house, but settled back down after a few soft words.
Kono preceded them, opening doors and finally pulling back the sheets on Steve’s bed. Shoes and socks removed, pants, and shirt eased off. Dark, angry bruises covered much of his body, front and back. Chin eased back the waistband of his boxer and winced at the bruising revealed.
They carefully lay him on the bed and pulled the light covers over him. Steve sank down onto the floor and leaned near his friend. Chin and Kono followed suit.
“I can’t believe he was beaten just because of our teasing,” Kono finally said.
“It’s just us four in the office,” Chin said.
“But there are always people around us,” Kono pointed out. “Sometimes they laugh at some of the teasing and arguing.”
Steve weighed in, “I guess we’re too comfortable, joking back and forth. Whining and bitching and complaining. I think Danno had finally decided he was accepted ‘cause he’s been telling me more of his life before Hawaii.”
“Yeah, he talked about what he used to do in Jersey, without Grace,” Chin said.
“So, why the hell did those guys beat him?” Kono asked. “We never complained about him like they said!”
“Rumors, gossip,” Chin shrugged. “I got pinned.” He stopped talking. Both Kono and Steve nudged him in commiseration.
“There was some grumbling when I tapped him to join the team,” Steve said.
“They complained about all of us!” Chin stated.
“Ah, but at least you are Hawaiian,” Steve pointed out. “Some of the other detectives were pretty p-o’d about Danny being selected.” They thought about that. Movement on the bed broke their thoughts.
“nnnooo,” a moan rose. Steve pushed up and pulled the twitching man closer to him.
“ssshh, Danno,” we have you, you’re safe,” warm hand ran over his back. Kono climbed on the other side. Chin leaned up over his head.
When frightened blue eyes fluttered open they smiled and continued to sooth him. When he realized they weren’t going to hurt him fear turned to confusion, then to distrust. They hadn’t seen that final look for months. The strange tableau was broken by a low growling. Danny looked up at Chin.
“Skip lunch?” he asked. The Hawaiian detective grinned.
“Yups, I was a little busy this morning and Kono didn’t even make coffee,” he whined trying to sound pathetic. The smile ruined it.
“I have some stuff to eat in the kitchen,” Steve said brightly, “I think…”
“There’s always delivery,” Kono said practically. “Ming’s delivers.” Chinese was one food the four always agreed on and Steve did a silent ‘high-five’.
“No,” the ill man was shaking his head, returning to upset. “Spent all my cash on the cab.” Three people rolled their eyes.
“Yes! Between the three of us we’ll cover you,” Chin said. “And you like hot and sour soup from Ming’s.” Danny slightly nodded.
“Why are we all in a bed together?” he returned to confusion. Three blushes. Three bodies carefully slid off the bed.
“Uh, slumber party?” Steve suggested. Danny just gave him a side glance as the stoic mask slipped back into place.
That was a face they hadn’t seen since the very beginning of their team formation.
“Uhm, me and Chin will call in the usual,” Kono started pushing her cousin out of the bedroom. Steve moved over to his dresser and pulled out a t-shirt and light sweats. He brought these over to Danny and carefully pulled back the covers once more exposing the purpling skin.
The injured detective was stiff and a small whimper escaped his lips before he could quell it. McGarrett simply slid his arm around shoulders and back and carefully helped him sit up swinging his legs over the side of the bed. The t-shirt was gently slipped over his head and the sweats followed.
They were too long, but the elastic snugged around his ankles. Next Danny found himself being lifted up onto shaky feet and the arm returned this time supporting him around then under his arm.
He wanted to believe that Steve, Chin and Kono liked him. He leaned against the Navy Seal’s strength and allowed him to help him into the front room and onto the couch. A blanket was carefully placed over him and two bodies slid in beside him. Staring blankly ahead he zoned.
“Football?” Kono asked. TV was switched on and the channels surfed. A Raiders/Redskins was just starting and soon they were sucked into the drama.
Chapter 3: Cautiously
Kono was chomping at the bit, yelling at the refs. Steve and Chin glanced at her with fond amusement. It still surprised them that the petite, normally calm woman could be such an opinionated... person. Shifting slightly Steve noted that Danny’s eyes were closed and he was leaning fully on Chin’s shoulder. With a quick word the two men settled their injured friend between them, head on Chin’s lap and feet stretched out on the couch. Steve shifted down onto the carpet, back against the couch.
A knock at the door caused Danny to stir but not fully wake. Chin soothed him as Steve headed for the door.
“That was quick,” Kono supplied as she moved to help her boss. The door was opened to reveal...
“Ah, ma’am?” McGarrett was totally thrown off.
“Detective Williams’ here?” she asked abruptly as she strode past them. Her gaze settled on the couch and she moved towards it.
“The pictures... I mean the case file came to my desk about an hour ago,” she said as she looked down on the injured man. Her voice caused Danny to wake the rest of the way and he struggled to sit up.
“Hey, easy, Danno,” Steve was immediately at his side helping. All present noted the flinch. The TV was switched off and the Governor sat down on a chair facing the couch.
“Detective Williams?” she said gently, waiting for the man to look at her. When the pain-filled blue eyes managed to meet hers she was shocked at the fear and despair. This was not the fiery detective from Jersey who’s tough stance had so impressed her from the beginning. Shoving the drive to just gather him up like a child in her arms she elected to lean forward leaning on her knees.
“Danny,” she chose her words carefully. “I found out what happened to you yesterday.” His head lowered either in defeat or shame (or both). She reached out and brought his chin back up so they could maintain eye contact.
“What those men said and did is completely wrong. McGarrett tapped you for the task force. I was and am impressed with the talent and knowledge you bring. We need you and your abilities. Don’t let this destroy you!” it was an impassioned plea and the detective shrugged slightly.
“Danno, what the Governor said is true!” Steve jumped in. “We do need your knowledge and talents. But we also want you! You are our ohana. You have our backs and we have yours.” The exhausted man tried to take in what they were saying. Deep down he knew his knowledge about organized crime and terrorists were desperately needed by 5-0. They might know Hawaii inside and out but they tended to be clueless regarding some of the major mainland gangs.
But he was still an outsider, a haole. Even the Governor was island-born. He knew no one except Grace (Rachel and Stan didn’t count), had no ties except Grace. He’d finally came to trust his team beyond work and then...
“Lt Cmdr McGarrett, I’ve stepped down the task force for a week. You and your team has been on the go nearly a year with little time off. I think some R&R is due, and a little team building,” she allowed herself to smile at Danny and gently brush her fingers along his cheek.
“You will rest, Detective Williams,” she said as firmly as the Governor could. “Let these three take care of you.” He managed a nod, a murmured, ‘yes ma’am’ and his face turned back downwards. She frowned slightly then brushed it away as she stood up.
“IA is handling the investigation, McGarrett. I will not see any of you near the Palace for at least a week,” she ordered.
“Yes, ma’am,” he answered with a small smile. He rose and escorted her to the door.
“I appreciate this,” he said quietly.
“Just get our Danny back,” she asked as she slipped out the door.
He’d just made it back to the couch and was going to sit by Kono when another knock came at the door. This time it was lunch and the delivery boy waved off their money.
“Nice lady outside paid for it,” he explained. “Good tipper!” The grin was infectious and was returned by the detectives.
“Well, Danny, looks like we’re all off the hook for lunch,” Kono said as she carried a big sack to the dining table.” Chin carefully pulled his friend up and helped him to a chair. Steve was quick to ease a pillow behind his back and drape the blanket over still cool shoulders.
Paper plates appeared as well as beer. They were off the clock! Danny was a little surprised when a cold bottle was handed to him. He gratefully took a sip. Food was efficiently separated and soon a steaming bowl of soup was set down for him.
Although the three watched with concern their injured friend managed to get the soup into his mouth without spilling. They shared a chuckle when Danny closed his eyes and sighed in pleasure. That was the man they knew and loved!
“What? Can’t a guy enjoy his food?” he grouched. More relieved laughter. Shaking his head Williams went back to eating.
Heartened by his response a mischievous look crossed Steve’s face. He looked around the table at his team and thought about what each person liked. There was a football game Friday. Baseball a couple days as the beginning of different series were starting. Plenty of sun out on his own deck and the beach beyond with a hibachi or grill ready to go. They could spend some serious bonding time together and Danny could still rest. Grace would be coming over on the weekend as well. Maybe earlier if he could get Rachel to loosen the maternal knot a bit.
“I don’t know, Kono,” Chin said as he glanced at his cousin. “Steve’s got that look again. I don’t know if I should run or immediately duck under the table.” Both Kono and Danny looked at the mask of innocence as it plastered itself across Steve’s face.
“What? What do you mean, duck under the table?” he demanded.
“When you get that look it means you’re planning something,” Chin replied stuffing lo mien into his mouth.
“Something that’s gonna include all of us and we might not like it,” Kono added.
“Danno, a little support here?” Steve begged. Danny looked into his friends eyes and saw no deception, no disgust, just the open friendship that had always been there, before the... uh... Williams set his spoon down and gathered his thoughts. Tense moments passed as the three stared at him silently hoping for an answer.
“Uh, most of the time your plans gets me shot,” Danny finally said. “Or dumped in the ocean. Or hanging on for dear life in a speeding camaro.” His voice raised, nearly back into the blustery banter he was known for. His companions grinned in relief.
“I can promise, uhm,” Steve began, “well I can’t promise anything won’t happen. Chin and Kono will be there, too.” With a sigh Danny nodded slightly and went back to his soup, stirring and watching the patterns formed by the contents of the bowl.
Three concerned glances. It was going to take a lot of bonding time to get Danny feeling at home again. The spoon was carefully laid aside as the head bowed further down.
“I’d like to sleep, now,” came a soft voice.
“Wouldn’t you like to bathe first?” Kono asked. “Get rid of that fresh hospital smell.” Long moment passed.
“Can’t,” came the mumbled reply.
“Why not?” Steve was quick to snap, a little sharper than he’d meant.
“Can’t stand up that long,” the voice dropped even lower as the soup bowl was pushed away and the head laid on the table.
“I have a bath tub,” Steve finally pointed out. “But you can’t play with my ducky!”
“What, no battleship? Thought you were Navy,” came back the slightly louder retort.
“No one plays with my battleship!” Steve started, then blushed. Chin started snickering followed by Kono. Slightly shaking shoulders let them know Danny was quelling laughter as well.
“I’ll... I’ll just go run the tub,” Kono slunk out of the dining room.
“Come on, bro, let’s get ready for a bath,” Chin latched onto Danny and carefully helped him up. They beat a hasty retreat into the bedroom.
“I MEAN NO ONE PLAYS WITH...” Steve yelled. “I MEAN ...” He looked around the empty room. “Son of a... I got stuck with the dishes!” Grumbling, McGarrett started cleaning up.
Soon Danny found himself submerged in a warm tub, a rolled towel behind his head and just enough suds to allow Kono to sit on the counter talking with Chin. The conversation flowed over him, a comfortable buzz to let him know he was not alone.
He felt the air disturbed as another person came into the already full room. A splash forced him to open his eyes. A helpless laugh bubbled up.
The USS Missouri bobbed in the suds before him. He batted it gently and watched it float towards his feet.
“Don’t sink it, Williams!” Steve growled. He watched as his partner settled back against the towel with a smile on his face.
“Swallow these,” pills were pressed against his mouth and it was a testament to his exhaustion that he opened, sipped water, and swallowed without question. He was left to lounge in warm water with conversations wafting above him not needing any response.
Chapter 4: Diffident
The next thing he knew it was DARK. He was in a bed, curled into someone behind him. He glanced down and saw two bodies in the shadows wrapped in covers.
“Hey, you ok?” the deep voice of McGarrett sounded drowsily in his ear.
“Bathroom?” he countered. With an earthy chuckle the Navy Seal climbed out of bed and carefully helped Danny roll over and out. He wobbled, but with help made it into the bathroom. When he emerged he was brought back to bed and given some pills and a glass of water.
Again, these were swallowed without hesitation. He was eased back onto the bed and Steve’s warmth carefully enveloped his back. He would have asked why, but it felt so good to be cared for he didn’t.
The next time his eyes struggled open the room was sunny and a gentle breeze wafted through carrying the scent of the ocean. He was alone in the bed but he saw Kono reading comfortably in a nearby chair, her legs tucked neatly under her. Looking up she smiled.
“Good morning, sleepy head!” she said cheerfully. He smiled back then winced as he attempted to stretch. Kono frowned slightly in commiseration.
“After you eat some breakfast you can have something for the pain,” she explained. “And you can lie outside in the sun! It’ll be good for you poor muscles.”
“I can still sunburn with the bruising,” he pointed out.
“SPF 40 for you,” she smirked. It took some time, but Danny was soon upright and shuffled into the bathroom where Kono allowed him some privacy (although she stood right by the unlocked door). He managed to pull on some cargo shorts by himself. The shirt was impossible to pull over aching shoulders.
“Uhm,” he began sheepishly holding the shirt as he walked out. Kono just grinned and carefully helped him get the loose t-shirt on, taking a moment to gently stroke his hair and face.
He remembered the night before, both Steve and Chin had touched him gently as well. The whole group was proving to be really touchy-feely and he wondered how he should react to it. He decided to shelf the question until later. Right now he wanted to feel safe.
Following Kono into the kitchen he was seated at the breakfast nook.
Danny sat quietly as Kono moved around the kitchen. She pulled out frozen waffles from the freezer and a bowl of sliced fruit. The fruit landed on the table and the waffles were popped into the toaster.
“Coffee?” she asked with a smile.
“You don’t have to,” he hedged. Why was it more frightening to be alone with one of his team mates? Instead of answering she simply poured out a cup added some milk like he made his and brought it to him.
Cradling the cup in his hands he sniffed before sipping. Then a tentative poke at the sliced melon and papaya. The waffles popped up and were plated. Butter and syrup on the side.
“Steve said this was Gracie’s favorite,” she said calmly as she slide into the seat across from him.
“Yeah, Rachel won’t let her have ‘em,” Danny said as he slathered on butter and syrup. “I like ‘em, too.”
“We didn’t eat waffles growing up,” Kono said in a conversational gambit. “Mom was more into cereal and milk.”
“I didn’t get waffles until these came on the market,” he admitted. “They’re quick and cheap.” Kono reached over and swiped a piece to try.
“Hey!” came the quick protest. “If you were McGarrett I’d of stabbed you with my fork!” Kono giggled and licked the syrup off her fingers.
“Glad I’m not McGarrett, then!” she said. “You have quick reflexes.” Grumbling about thieves he returned to his breakfast.
“What did your mom feed you for breakfast?” Kono suddenly asked. She received a shrug as a reply. She realized she would not get anything else out of him so she allowed him the silence and poured out coffee for herself.
Once he’d eaten pills were doled out and swallowed. She grabbed a bottle of lotion off the counter and began to smooth it onto his neck. She felt him flinch and try to move away.
“You know, growing up we always slathered one another up before we went out to the beach. Never mattered who we were with, family or friends, we just made sure everyone was lotioned,” she said somewhat firmly. She tugged on his chin until he was looking her way and applied more to his face, smirking at the feel of the whiskers.
Since she didn’t seem upset or put out, Danny allowed the ministrations, including arms and legs (bending wasn’t much of an option as everything was sore!) It smelled vaguely like coconuts or one of those pina colladas people drank in the bars. Once he was done she offered the bottle to him.
“Can’t reach my back,” she said, pulling her shirt up. He obliged, completing the ritual.
“Never seen anyone with a sunburn straight down their back,” Danny said. “Must be one of those ohana things you and Chin go on about.”
“Mahalo,” she said as she turned and took the lotion. “And yes, it’s ohana. You’re part of mine.” He looked away. There was that family thing again and the affirmation he was part of it. Maybe his team didn’t really know anything about the beating he’d received. But those men were very specific. Like they’d heard much of what went on between him and Steve, Kono and Chin.
It was too much to think about and he was somewhat lethargic after eating and taking whatever Kono had give him. He opted to follow his teammate out onto the lanai and lay down on a lounge. There was an umbrella to keep off most of the sun’s rays and a nice breeze from the trade winds. It didn’t take long for him to doze off once more.
Chapter 5 Drifting
Each awakening brought something new. This time he felt himself being nudged awake.
“Hey bro! Time to turn over,” Chin gently urged. Lifting his arm he saw the man’s face smiling down on him. Danny managed to comply (with a lot of help) and was soon on his back, the lounge brought up so he could look out over the beach beyond. A glass of iced tea appeared next to him and he gratefully drank. Turned out sunbathing was tiring work!
“Kono’s gone to pick up some lunch,” Chin said amiably. “McGarrett’s somewhere in the house, I think.” He waved a distracted hand. Danny just stared over the surf, pensieve. After a moment he spoke carefully.
“You guys don’t have ta take care of me,” he said. “There are hotels. I got insurance and I can tap the pension so the expenses will be covered.” Chin rolled his eyes at the stubborn man.
“Make it kind of difficult to do the team bonding stuff the Governor wants us to do,” he replied.
“You guys are already bonded! I’m the problem,” he grouched. “Get rid of me, bang!! Bonded team.” The normally patient man blew out a loud sigh.
“Somedays, aikane, you are lolo!” Chin affirmed and picked up the book he was reading. Danny kept staring out, not really seeing anything.
McGarrett decided to tackle Rachel. He knew that the woman hated her ex, did everything to drive him away, but for Danny he’d man-up and call the witch.
A very dignified voice answered the phone. Steve figured it was the butler or housekeeper. Soon he was connected with ‘the woman’.
“Rachel, this is Steve McGarrett,” he began, “Danny’s partner.”
“I was wondering if Grace could come over to watch the Mets game tomorrow or Thursday,” he tried.
“Ya know, I hear you breathing,” he tried sarcasm. “That Darth Vadar theme is a good ring tone for you.”
“So, why didn’t HE call,” she finally spoke.
“I wanted to surprise him, he’s had a tough week,” he decided for honesty.
“Poor dear,” she dripped with sarcasm. “A cop’s life is crap. I know that only too well after putting up with it for nearly three years!”
Steve counted to ten.
“Not that you care, or cared,” He ground back. “Look, all I’m asking is a few hours with Grace. I’ll pick her up from school and drop her off at home after.”
“So why did Dan have a bad week? Some big baddie punch him out?” she continued the sarcastic dig.
“No,” he said through gritted teeth. “Three big bad detectives decided they didn’t want a mainlander, a haole, working at the Palace.”
Now he not only counted forward to ten, but backwards as well.
“You may pick up Grace after three tomorrow at the academy,” Rachel said quietly. “Please have her home by eight.”
“You may pick her up Thursday as well, same times. Good afternoon, Detective McGarrett,” and the phone disconnected.
Steve stared at the phone. The woman was a bitch, no question about that. But somewhere in that heart of hers she did have some redeeming qualities. He clicked his phone shut.
Going out to the lanai he found Chin grumbling over his book and Danny just staring out to sea. Conversation was not happening although Chin had said he’d try. So Steve snagged a chair and sat down putting his feet on the lounge by Danny’s.
“So, you talkin’ yet or just ignoring Chin?” he asked. He was rewarded with a glare.
“Ah, not talkin’ then,” he continued conversationally. “suppose me and Chin will have to carry on.” Chin closed his book and gave a tight smile.
“He thinks he doesn’t have to follow the governor’s directions for team building,” he tattled.
“I did NOT say that,” Danny huffed. “It just seems to be superfluous when you three already are a solid team. I’m not necessary to meet the objective.”
“You are so lolo at times!” Steve growled.
“Yeah, yeah, Chin called me that funny word already,” he crossed his arm defensively. “Must be another way to call me ‘haole’. Know that one already. I’m the poster child for that word!”
“Well, yeah, the word fits,” Steve snapped back. “You are one stubborn haole!” Danny just closed his eyes and leaned back, by McGarrett continued anyway.
“You come from the mainland, from Jersey of all god-forsaken places! No decent waves and I bet you make your mai tais from mixes.” Another glare.
“And you worked your butt off dealing with the big mafia gangs, and Hispanic gangs, and Asian gangs and Russian gangs that cordoned off sections of the eastern seaboard like against chess game trying
to knock each other off,” he stated and received no reply.
“You sat on task forces studying terrorist problems, learning to identify what a real terrorist attack would be and not what some wanna-be pretender did to get his 15 minutes of fame,” eyes opened again and turned full of distrust and landed on Steve.
“In short, Detective Williams, you may be a haole, but you’re the one haole who’ll help Hawaii deal with the gangs and terrorists we’ve not had to deal with before. You have the insight, the knowledge, the street savvy we lack,” he leaned forward and put a hand on Danny’s arm making sure he had his complete attention.
“And in the long run, you are part of our family, our ohana,” he said, voice gentling. “You have our backs and we have yours. It doesn’t matter what those bastards told you when they were ripping your life apart. What matters is we’re here to help you get that life back. Me and Chin and Kono want you here, with us. We want to hear you whining about the sand and too much water and my weird faces. We want to raze you about your ‘real sports’ and have you raze us about our ‘real sports’.”
Chin had pulled closer and Danny startled when his hand fell on his other shoulder.
“You’re our bro, our aikane,” he said quietly. “Families tease and argue and support and watch out for one another. You, haole, came in to our family. You may complain and push for going by the book and chastise us on our paper work, but there is no one else I’d want backing me, Steve and Kono on our cases. I know with you there we have a much better chance of getting the job done and coming back alive.”
“Not always in one piece, though,” Steve grumbled.
“Look who’s talkin’,” Danny was quick on the uptake. “The walkin’ death trap.”
“Yeah,” a voice sounded form behind the men and Kono walked around carrying a couple of sacks.
“I mean, you save us from Steve’s ‘plans’,” she said dripping with sarcasm.
“My plans are great!!” he shot back.
“Your plans are a couple bananas short of a bunch!” Chin chimed in.
Danny looked from one person to another. They wore exasperated expressions, but underneath was a warmth and comfortableness that he desperately wanted for himself and Grace.
Then his nose detected something... good. He reached towards the bags.
“You got real food?” he asked longingly.
“Yeah, if pastrami on rye can be considered ‘real’, Kono was not done with the sarcasm.
“And big, greasy fries?” he continued longingly.
“And the heart attack special,” she teased, her voice softening. “Make yourself useful, cuz, and get something to drink.” She proceeded to set the bags down on the table while Steve laughed at Danny’s happy grin. Ah yes, feed the haole the right stuff and he was nice and compliant.
Offering a hand the taller man helped him to his feet and made sure he was safely seated in a chair. Steve was slightly concerned that Danny still felt a wobbly on his feet. There was still a tremor from all the stressed muscles. Fortunately, Danny had a follow-up appointment the next morning. Steve would be there to speak with the doctor.
Not that he wouldn’t get grief for it. He snickered at the griping he’d be subjected to.
“Makin’ one of those weird faces again,” Danny remarked as he lifted the bread and sniffed the meat underneath.
“I’m not!” Steve growled.
“I have to side with Danny,” Kono said as she ripped open a sack and dumped all the fries in the middle of the table before squirting out several packets of ketchup. The three native detectives grinned as their haole snagged a hot fry, dipped it into the sauce and happily ate.
“Not quite the constipated one, bro, but weird none the less,” Chin added as he snagged a fry as well. Steve raised an eyebrow.
“Maybe I was just thinkin’ about this team building stuff,” he countered.
“Which brings us back to the flight or hide response,” Chin said practically. Kono noted Danny starting to stiffen up, as if about to rebuke the need. She quickly leaned over and nudged him.
“Don’t worry, aikane! I’ll help you get away,” she declared. This effectively derailed him and pulled the other two back from destroying the atmosphere. She shifted some more fries to the ill man trying to distract him.
Chin busied himself pouring out a tall glass of iced tea and handing it over to Danny who accepted it with a small smile. A long sip to slake his thirst.
“So, the Mets actually made the post season,” Kono further distracted her friend. This brought an actual grin for the first time in days and a few happy comments about the possibilities of a World Series.
Chapter 6: Doubting
Lunch was the highlight of the day. After a few minutes of talking baseball the conversation dwindled as the native part of the team didn’t have the interest or knowledge as the mainlander. They were into surfing and the local high school and college football teams.
Danny had pretty much shut down and fell asleep after eating, curled up on the couch.
“He’s pulling away again,” Kono sighed.
“Yeah, you can see the walls,” Chin agreed as they glanced over at the sleeper tightly wrapped in the couch throw.
“He seemed to respond to the facts when I laid them out,” Steve suggested. “Maybe we need to push more?”
“I thought the food worked better,” Kono decided.
“Maybe I need to know why those... guys knew so much about us since you seem so all-fired jumped up to keep me,” a distinctly un-sleepy voice drifted over from the couch. All three seated detectives jerked around.
“You awake?” McGarrett asked in surprise.
“Too much yakking going on,” he grouched. “About me.” He carefully shifted up and managed to make it to his feet, walking towards the empty chair at the table, blanket still clutched around his shoulders.
“Aikane, we weren’t talkin’ behind your back, we just want our bro back,” Chin quickly said. Danny just waved his hand.
“Look, I hear all this stuff about ohana and family and...” his voice caught, “I’d really like to buy it. Really. But those men, they knew things, lots of things. Stuff I know I never saw them around to hear. So I’m thinkin’ that they have a lot of info from somewhere.”
“It didn’t come from us!” McGarrett was quick to defend his people. Danny’s pain-filled eyes looked up into his angry ones.
“I never said you did,” he said, voice just starting to tremble. “But other people did. So not only do they not want me, but every other cop on this damned island hates me. They all conspired, fed them all the right words, all the right buttons.” He stood with a jerk and turned away. “Don’t you idiots see? You’re all a team! I’m dead weight. No one wants me here! I can’t work here!” He started to stumble towards the back door but didn’t get far. He tripped over weakened legs and fell hard onto the floor. Steve was up first, with the other two right on his tail. He was carefully turned over and checked over.
“Just let me go, it’s better,” he whispered, unwilling to talk any more.
“Aikane, Danno, no one is driving you out of Hawaii or our ohana!” Steve said as he nodded at Chin. Together they lifted him off the floor and moved back to the couch, settling him upright. Kono snugged up tight on the right and Chin on the left. This left Steve in front of the completely distraught man.
“I promise, Danno, I promise, you belong right here with Grace and us,” he said.
“I don’t know, I don’t know anymore,” Danny mumbled.
“Then,” Steve gathered him into a hug, followed by Chin and Kono, “We know. And we’ll help you know, too.” Once more surrounded by the very people who had scared him the most and wanted there the most, he grieved quietly soaking up the warmth.
Chapter 7: Scaffolding
Dinner was quiet, but companionable. Since food was a common ground Kono decided they should cook something together. It turned out Steve could cook steak, (sort of) and Chin could bake chicken, (if he bought the frozen pre-cooked kind.) Kono admitted she was always in charge of the veggies and salads in her family.
This left Danny and the three looked at him expectantly. First he just stared, giving his best disbelieving look. Then he just sighed.
“Ok, ok, so, I can kind of cook,” he said. “Let me see the cupboards.” The entire team went into the kitchens and began inventorying the contents. It was pretty apparent McGarrett didn’t do much there. At least there were some spices and dry goods left from his father.
Inspecting the said dry goods revealed several healthy moth colonies.
Which led to ‘the list’.
“Ok, since we’re startin’ from scratch we’ll do this easy,” Williams said. “Spaghetti’s pretty basic, specially since we can get pre-made sauce.” He wrote down several items, then started tapping the pencil.
Which caused an irritated Steve to grab the pencil. Danny snatched it back and began scratching down another two items.
“My turn next!” Kono chimed and was rewarded with pencil and paper. She wrote down a few items.
“I can do garlic bread,” Chin supplied and three more things were written down.
“What do I get to do?” Steve nearly whined. His three team mates looked up simultaneously.
“Clean-up!” they said cheerfully. He scowled.
“oooh, I like that weird face!” Chin snickered. After a short discussion Kono and Chin went shopping leaving the other two alone to root through kitchen and clean it out.
“Shit! These potatoes must have been here since the turn of the century!” Williams exclaimed, disgusted, as he pulled out a large container filled with a tangle of vines and rotting vegetation.
“I got those a month ago tops!” McGarrett snapped back. “It’s the humidity, heat, and that container is sealed!”
“Yeah, just keep telling yourself that,” Williams retorted and started to gingerly pull out definitely rotted onions. “Eeeeew!” He didn’t get a response as Steve started pulling out old cereal packages and was dealing with a variety of difficulties the least not being powdery dust and flying critters.
“I thought you were a neat freak,” Danny grumbled as he simply tossed the large plastic container into the trash.
“I am compared to you and that dump you call an apartment!” Steve snapped back. He was met with no come back. After fuming a minute he looked over his shoulder to see his partner grimly finishing up his work looking pretty miserable.
“Shit,” he muttered to himself. He knew Danny was fragile but walking on eggshells just wasn’t his style! He dumped his load into the trash and moved across to crouch down.
“Hey, you gettin’ overwhelmed by the odors?” he asked.
“Nah, the plastic kept the odors in,” quiet response.
“Look, Danno, you and me, we’re both pretty assertive and loud about it,” he began. “So if I say something that sets you off or gives you, I don’t know, bad feelings, you need to let me know. Can’t say I’ll be able to change, but I bet you can’t either!”
“Yeah, I’m pretty mouthy,” the shorter man admitted. “They, they made quite a few comments how disgusting you thought I was, how trashed and low-life my place was. That I was bringing down the rep of the Task Force.” He looked up into his friend’s eyes. “It’s kind of hard to ignore when they’re punctuating their conversation with their fists.”
All Steve could do was rub Danny’s neck in commiseration.
By the time the shopping team returned the kitchen was cleaner. Empty, but cleaner! New items were lined up on the counter and readied for preparation.
Given how little they knew about Danny they were surprised at how easily he dispatched onion, bell peppers and garlic and start them sauteing. Sweet Italian sausage was burst out of casings and tossed into the pan. Kono busied herself with salad greens while Chin cut and prepped bread to heat. Steve was in charge of opening wine and cleaning up, making himself a bit of a nuisance zipping around with a damp cloth to wipe up any crumbs or drips.
“HEY!” Danny slapped at the dashing cloth hand with his wooden spoon.
“Son of a...” Steve leapt back, covering the wounded appendage with his cloth.
“I’m cookin’ here! Go wipe up something else!” the chef grumped. Kono nudged Chin.
“Damn, I want his reflexes!” she pined.
“Yeah!” her cuz agreed.
“I’m the Navy Seal!” McGarret harrumphed.
“I’m the sniper,” Williams stated. “Faster.” He could feel the glare on his back as he smirked into the sizzling pot.
“Now, I may conceded you have superior strength, if only for conversation’s sake,” he offered.
“Damn straight!” Steve smugly shot back.
“So open the jar and cans, muscle man!” Danny slid in to the delight of Kono and Chin. After a long moment of repressed laughter, the glowering Navy Seal had to grin.
“Ok, one point to the haole!” he said. Now everyone laughed. Soon the red sauce was added to the pot with a generous splash of wine to rinse the jar out. A couple cans of drained mushrooms were stirred in then four raw, unshelled eggs (they’d been washed first). The last item caused the three Hawaiians to look askance, but the man from Jersey promised it all would taste fine.
While the sauce simmered Steve was ‘allowed’ to wipe up the stove top and clean up the debris. Bread was put into the oven and water salted. Within thirty minutes the dinner came together and was placed on the table.
Chin and Kono poked a bit at the pasta, especially the egg, but Steve tackled it easily. Danny sprinkled grated parmesan over his plate then cracked open the egg, shucking off the shell and breaking the egg into the entire mess before taking a bite.
Following the example the other two followed suite. Once they determined it actually did taste ok they dug in with gusto. Salad and bread was similarly devoured and the wine flowed.
The rest of the evening was much better. Danny was ensconced in the nook lightly wrapped against the evening breeze. The kitchen was cleaned, dishes washed and dried and the wine finished off. Conversation was kept upbeat as the Jersey detective began to nod off.
He found himself semi-stripped and tucked into bed after a round of meds. Some time later he woke as the bed dipped and someone climbed on top of the sheets. He drowsily watched as Steve settled in next to him, under the comforter. Kono and Chin were fussing with pillows and cushions on the floor next to the bed.
“I kind of wondered about last night,” Danny managed around a huge yawn.
“What? The sleepin’ arrangements?” Steve asked as he punched pillows.
“Well, yeah,” he replied, almost shyly. Kono snickered.
“Steve gets the bed ‘cause it’s his!” she said. “And you get to share ‘cause you’re hurt.”
“Which means the old man and the rookie get the floor,” Chin pretended to complain. Danny peered down at them.
“Weren’t we all in bed together?” he asked, somewhat confused, through yet another jaw-cracking yawn.
“Goodnight, Danno!” Steve muttered as he tugged him back onto the pillow and make sure the covers were in place.
“Night, Steve,” he replied closing his eyes. Too much to consider. But the mischievous streak was back. “Night, Kono.”
“Night, Danny,” she replied.
“Night, Chin,” he continued.
“Night, Danny,” came the response.
“Good night, Moon!” Danny called out.
“DANNO!” three voices chided. Silence ensued...
“Night, Steve,” Chin deadpanned, “Night Kono.”
A pillow flew at him.
“Night Cuz,” Kono added. “Night Boss.” Another pillow came flying.
Silence. Contented sigh from Danny.
“Hey! Give me my pillows back!” Steve whined.
Chapter Eight: Step One
“Why do you have to go with me?” Williams asked for the fifth time. Steve rolled his eyes as he guided the reluctant man out to his truck.
“Because you can’t drive,” he said patiently, “remember?”
“Can’t Chin or Kono go?” he whined. He knew neither of them would be a problem. Steve seemed to be in hyper-protect mode. He’d probably insist on going into the exam room!
“No, they can’t!” Steve said firmly. “They have other things to do!” Williams muttered something about ‘team-building bullshit’.
“Keep it up, haole!” McGarrett growled into the obstinate man’s ear. The pretend anger mitigated by the gentleness of the touch as he found himself being belted in by the Navy seal. With a put-upon sigh Danny leaned back against the leather seat.
At least they’d found him some clothes that fit him. Steve’s were way too long; he looked like some child playing dress-up in daddy’s clothes. He watched as McGarrett slid in behind the wheel and went through his little pre-drive ritual, getting the mirrors just right and his sun glasses on. Danny was a bit surprised when a second pair of shades appeared and were passed nonchalantly to him.
As the truck moved on to the highway Williams started to think about everything he’d have to do before he could even consider getting a new apartment. Clothing were the first thing that came to mind. The cost was daunting; he’d carefully bought his suits over several years and kept them clean and tailored. Now he’d have to start all over.
Where do you buy suits in Hawaii? He glanced over at his ‘driver’ and rolled his eyes. No help there!
“You’re thinking too much,” Steve commented as he turned into the hospital lot. No retort. He looked over at his silent companion and noted he hadn’t been heard.
“Danny? Danno....” he tried again. “Oh Dannnnnooooo!” Now the man turned his irritated gaze to him.
“Ah, there’s the man I know and annoy!” Steve smirked. “You’re thinkin’ too hard over there.”
“And you’re sooo knowledgeable on hard thinkin?” Danny shot back.
“Oooh, and touchy-touchy, too,” continued the annoying man.
“I have a couple itsy-bitsy things to consider, ok?” he griped. “If it doesn’t bother you too much.”
“Nope, no problem with me,” Steve shook his head.
“Good,” Danny determined.
“Just,” Steve added.
“WHAT!?” the thinking man grouched.
“Just you are going in to see the doctor and all that thinking might raise your blood pressure a smidgeon,” he said with an innocent face.
“The only thing raisin’ my blood pressure is you,” Danny snapped as he fumbled with his seat belt. Fingers still somewhat stiff McGarrett batted away his hands and unfastened the latch. Before his friend could get a complaint out the Navy seal was out of the cab and opening the other side. Danny muttered something about ‘not a fragile wuss’, as he allowed some careful handling to make sure he didn’t keel over.
They entered through the ER and checked in at the nurse’s station. Steve did a credible job of herding the shorter man to a chair before sitting down himself.
“I am quite capable of taking care of myself,” Danny growled.
“uh huh,” Steve agreed.
“I have been taking care of myself for quite some time now,” he added for good measure.
“uh huh,” Steve agreed.
“Rachel didn’t even coddle me,” he tacked on.
“I can tell,” came the amiable reply. Danny stewed.
“Daniel Williams?” a nurse called. Both men stood. Williams glared.
It didn’t work as McGarrett simply put his hand on his back and propelled him forward through the double doors. The defiance didn’t last long as Danny stumbled slightly and Steve carefully took his elbow without a word. Soon he was seated on the exam table wearing a paper gown and a glower.
The nurse took vitals, quietly and professionally given the tension in the room. She quickly exited without a word.
“You really have to stay with me?!” Williams tried growling one last time.
“Yes, aikane, I’m staying with you,” he answered sincerely. That strange word again. Danny tried to figure it out. Chin had used it in conjunction with ‘bro’ which meant brother.
He needed a Hawaiian pidgin dictionary NOW.
The door opened and Dr. Lewis came bustling in.
“Hello, Detective Williams,” he greeted as he peered at the chart. “I see your blood pressure is a little elevated.” Danny glared at Steve who smiled sweetly. The doctor noted the exchange.
“But I suppose that’s due to the current climate,” he’d seen enough of these two to know the bickering that occurred on a regular basis. “Lie back and let me check out your torso. With a put-upon sigh the patient reclined and allowed the friendly hands to carefully poke and prod various and sundry places. He took some time over a spot on his right side.
“You got McGarrett’s constipated face,” Danny commented through clenched teeth. Lewis spared him a pained glance and poked again.
“There are a couple spots that need to resolve more,” he said. “I want to draw some blood and check your panels. I also want you to come back in on Friday to see how the bruising is doing.”
“It’s pretty chromatic now,” Steve commented from the side lines. He received a new glare from Danno and an annoyed look from the doctor.
“You need to continue to rest, Detective. No strenuous activity for the time being,” he chose to ignore McGarrett. “We’ll keep you on the muscle relaxants for a few more days. How are you sleeping?”
“Pretty good,” Danny answered.
“He’s been stressed with everything, doc,” Steve tattled. “Upset.” Lewis looked at his patient and read the truth in his face, even as his mouth started to object.
“I’m certain that’s true,” he decided. “Given what happened to you it’s quite normal to be depressed.” He picked up his pad began writing. Danny once more started to react then decided to simply shut down, staring at the opposite wall with weary eyes. Lewis and McGarrett exchanged concerned glances.
“This happen often?” the doctor asked quietly.
“Yeah, off and on,” Steve replied.
“Someone with him?” he followed, tearing the prescriptions off the pad.
“Ohana,” he said. Lewis looked thoughtful. He knew William’s file. There was a daughter and no one else. Which meant the 5-0 team had stepped up to the plate.
So it was ohana. Dysfunctional. But ohana none the less. The way these two men went after one another led him to believe they were damned close.
“Good, he needs his family now,” Lewis handed the slips over to McGarrett. “You can get dressed, Detective. The phlebotomist will be in shortly.”
Danny didn’t move until after the door closed. He slowly looked over at his boss. “You really don’t have to be here. I am used to taking care of myself.”
Steve stood up and approached the man as if he were a flighty colt. He made no comments as he didn’t want an argument (he knew Danny would be tenacious and rude and try to push him away). He picked up clothing and shook them out, offering Danny a pair of boxers. The ill man managed to pull those on without too much difficulty followed by pants. With shaky hands he reached for the shirt and found himself being picked up and put back on the table.
He didn’t complain as the shirt was pulled over his head and arms snaked through. Socks were threaded on feet followed by sneakers. He was completely dressed when the phlebotomist came in and drained off four tubes.
“Let’s go home, Danno,” Steve said gently and once more guided his friend out to the truck.
Danny allowed Steve to drive him back to the house and get him inside. It was now just after noon and a light lunch of fruit and cottage cheese was waiting for them. Normally there would have been some complaining about the offering but the ill man simply ate what was placed before him without comment. He then moved himself to the couch and lie down and proceeded to fall asleep.
Kono and Chin made it back with a variety of bags. They bustled in but didn’t seem to wake the man. These were brought back to the guest bedroom and the sound of rustling paper could be heard.
“Hey, I need to go,” Steve called from the doorway. “Watch Danno, he’s been pretty down all morning.”
“Got his back,” Chin said with a small smile. He left his cousin and came out to the front room. He fussed with a blanket and spread it over the somnolent body. Next he went into the kitchen and went about making ice tea.
Kono joined him after she’d checked on the aikane. They nattered quietly.
Danny was listening, trying to figure out what was going to happen next. Maybe he could escape. He had a charge card and money tucked in the bank. He just couldn’t see how this whole situation would work out well. Unfortunately, he did not take into consideration his adopted ohana’s resilience.
Chin and Kono moved into the front room and switched on the wide screen. Kono fiddled with the buttons until Citi Field appeared and the Mets’ logo was prominently displayed. At the sound of the excited announcers discussing the upcoming game against the Braves Danny lifted his arm and blearily stared at the picture.
“You’re watchin’ baseball?” he asked incredulously. “Isn’t there a surfing match on or a pineapple tossing contest or whatever it is Hawaiians watch?”
“No, and no,” Chin responded as he glanced at Kono. Their haole was going to be a real ‘treat’! She rolled her eyes and went to the couch intent on moving the man so he could watch.
“We toss coconuts,” she said. “Pineapples are too prickly.” Danny looked at her in disbelief. “Now budge over, there’s a game coming on.”
Between them they manhandled him into the corner of the couch, pillows and blankets tucked in for optimum support. There was a half-hour pre-game show to endure before the requisite nine innings of mind-numbing boredom. How any sane person could watch this... this ‘game’ was beyond both of them. But Danny loved it so they’d tough it out.
Steve McGarrett drove up to the swank private school where Gracie Williams went. Children were beginning to leave in small clusters. He got out of the truck and moved towards the front doors looking for the small ball of energy that made life bearable on the island for his partner.
“Steeeve!” a voice called out and suddenly he had an armful of pony tails and giggles.
“Well, hi Grace!” he grinned at the girl. Then her face fell.
“How’s Danno?” she asked. He looked at her reassuringly.
“Better,” he said. “Saw the doctor this morning. Now, I’m not gonna lie, he’s bruised and sore and kind of sad. But I know he’ll feel 100% better when he gets a hug from you!” Grace considered this.
“I better not squeeze too hard,” she decided. “Mom said he’d be sore.” Her face turned serious and he could see Danny there in miniature form.
“Why did those men beat Danno up?” she asked. “Mom just said they didn’t like him. But that doesn’t mean they should’ve beat him up!” Steve was taken aback.
“Uh, well, he’s from the mainland,” Steve said. “Some people don’t like mainlanders over here.”
“But me and mommy are from the mainland,” she nearly wailed. “Are they gonna beat us up too?” She threw herself around the Navy seal’s neck and clung like a burr.
“NO! No sweetie!” he hasten to reply. “No one is gonna hurt you or your mom!”
“But they hurt Danno!” tears were fast approaching and McGarrett was considering panicking as a viable option.
“They hurt Danno ‘cause he’s on the Task Force,” the man tried. “They are angry because he got a top assignment and not some native Hawaiian. Some people just don’t see how good Danno is! How much he knows and how much he cares about his new home.” Grace seemed to be considering this.
“So if he stayed being a detective they’d leaved him alone?” she hic-cupped.
“I can’t really say,” he admitted honestly. “I don’t know why people hate so much. Danno’s a little loud, but he’s good. One of the best I’ve worked with.” He couldn’t believe that he was speaking like this with a seven-year-old child.
Then again, this was Dan William’s daughter. A cop’s daughter.
“Ok,” she was suddenly all smiles again. “Can we go watch the game? Pelfrey’s starting and I don’t want to miss a pitch!” Steve rolled his eyes.
“What is it with you Williams’s?” he teased. “All into this baseball stuff!”
“It’s important!” she exclaimed. “They’re in the playoffs! Me and dad watch the games and we keep score and everything!”
“Keep score?” his mind started turning. “What else do you do?”
“We get crackerjacks and soda an hot dogs with mustard an relish!” she rushed in one breath. “An we wear our hats and jerseys! They’re at Danno’s place! Can we get ‘em?”
Oh lord, there was another can of worms! He had carried her back to the truck and was belting her in thinking as fast as he could.
“Uh, no, don’t have the key,” which wasn’t a lie. “But I think I know where we can get some hats.” He drove them to a sports shop in town. They managed to find two Mets hats and a score book.
A stop at the pharmacy to pick up meds. Finally they arrived at the house. Steve lifted the girl and set her on the ground. She squared her shoulders and headed on the run for her father.
The game was into the third inning when she quietly stole across the room to the couch. Danno was watching the screen but was too quiet. Chin was dozing in a chair and Kono was actively stifling a yawn. Steve watched as Grace walked across the room and carefully climbed up on the couch. She was nearly in Danno’s lap when he realized he wasn’t alone.
“Gracie?” his jaw dropped. She plopped the other hat on his head and carefully curled up in his arms for a hug.
“Danno!” she threw her arms around her daddy. Without thought about any pain he cuddled her close and breathed in her wonderful scent.
Chapter 10: Double Play
Grace’s visit was a grand slam. The two fans had snuggled down together and yelled at the umpires reminiscent of Kono and football. Even though the islanders thought the game was ridiculously boring, it came alive when those two narrated the action.
Somewhere along the seventh inning Chin, who had disappeared after the fourth, returned with a pile of hot dogs appropriately dressed in mustard and relish. Beer and soda poured into large plastic tumblers added to the ambiance. For the first time in days life felt just right to the 5-0 ohana.
The baseball gods were feeling benevolent and the Mets managed to win and not because of that blind, no-account bum of an ump! (Steve was duly impressed, Gracie beat Kono on the put-downs). Then the three Hawaiians let the two Jersey-ites alone for the better part of two hours.
By seven Danny was drowsing with his daughter happily snuggled on his chest. Loathe as they were to disturb them, medicine needed to be doled out and dinner needed to be consumed before returning Grace to her mom. Pizza had been ordered, with and without pineapple, and was set up on the dining table.
The young girl looked at the choices. Danno’s favorite was there, sausage, cheese and sauce with a nice thin crust. Then another that looked to have vegetables on it. Finally, the third had the requisite pineapple chunks and ham.
Much to the amusement of the natives, Grace selected a slice of the sausage pizza and a slice of the pineapple. Danny’s eyebrow lifted.
“My own flesh and blood?” he pretended to be aghast, “eating that abomination?”
“It’s not a abamnachin,” she protested. “It’s Hawaiian pizza!”
“It’s not natural!” her father growled playfully. “Who puts fruit on pizza?”
“Tomatoes are a fruit,” Kono pointed out helpfully.
“No, just no!” Danny retorted. “The USDA declared tomatoes were vegetables. So there!” He stuck out his tongue causing all to laugh. They all settled down to eat keeping the conversation light. Grace decided that the Hawaiian pizza was ok, but kind of sweet. She settled on her father’s lap and helped him eat a third slice of what was rapidly becoming known as a Jersey special.
“Ok, kiddo, time to get back to mom,” Steve said as he tossed a wuzzed-up napkin onto the table.
“Shotgun!” Danny called as Grace pretended indignation.
“No fair!” she exclaimed, still sitting on his lap, arms wrapped loosely around his shoulders.
“Life isn’t fair,” he smirked. She frowned a little and burrowed closer.
“I know that, Danno,” she whispered in his ear. “But I can wish it was.”
“You sure can, monkey,” he whispered back. McGarrett stepped up to carry Grace to the truck. The drive was uneventful, the Williams were fairly quiet, huddled against each other, whispering, giggling. He was curious what was going on, glancing over at the pair. Danno finally lifted mischievous eyes to meet his.
“Hey, Steve,” he grinned.
“Hey, Uncle Steve,” Grace grinned as well.
“Do I even want to know?” the driver asked.
“No-oo,” the little girl sing-songed. Steve sighed, rolling his eyes. His passengers went back to giggling. Soon they were at the rolling gates and he slid up to the com box. A quick word and the gate slipped open allowing them to come up to the house. With a couple hugs the young girl slipped up and ran up to the door, waving before she crossed over the thresh hold.
With a sigh Danny relaxed against the back of the seat.
“What were you two laughing about?” Steve finally asked as they were driving away. He watched as his partner settled back against the seat and shut his eyes.
“Just about the weird stuff you Hawaiians do,” he answered.
“Us Hawaiians?” he asked, incredulous. “We’re not weird! It’s you mainlanders!”
“I guess it’s a matter of perspective,” Danny offered. He really didn’t want to get into a snark-fest now that he was all relaxed.
McGarrett decided that he wouldn’t press it, given that it had been a good evening. Danny looked to be relaxed and he really didn’t need to continue the ongoing Jersey vs. Honolulu argument.
“I think we need some ice cream,” Steve decided. He swung off the main drag and pulled in front of a small shop that had pictures of malsadas, candy and ice cream in the windows. Danny took his place by his friend as they walked inside and checked out the offerings.
Being who they were, the first thing they did was glance around the store and sized up the clientele. Danny noted a couple off-duty cops and unconsciously sidled closer to Steve. Hyper aware of his surroundings, Steve spared a glance to his friend then swept his eyes around the shop once more, deciding a couple people weren’t normal ole tourists.
Placing a hand on Danny’s shoulder he guided him closer to the freezer and engaged him in deciding what flavors to bring back.
“Hey, Jake, it’s Williams,” a bulky man nudged his companion.
“Damned haole,” the man named Jake sneered a little louder, catching the attention of the other people in the store. Danny straightened up but did not turn around.
“Surprised he can walk around after the other day,” the first man snickered. “Heard the guys really put him in his place.”
“Maybe he needs a reminder?” Jake grinned.
“Yups, might just,” came the response. “Hey, Williams! What d’ya think you’re doing out in polite society? Haole like you needs to crawl back under your rock.”
“Look, Steve, pineapple and coconut sherbet,” Danny plucked a carton out of the deep freeze. “Just right for the ohana.” Purposefully ignoring the taunts.
“No macadamia nuts?” Steve played along. Williams reached in and tugged out a second carton
“Macadamias and white chocolate chunk,” he offered.
“Hey, Williams, I’m talkin’ to you!” the bulky man was right behind him, nearly breathing down his neck.
“Oh! This looks good!” Danny continued as if nothing was wrong. “Raspberry sorbet and dark chocolate chips!”
“Sorbet? Sorbet?” Steve scoffed. “You Jersey guys are weird!”
“I’m talkin’ to you!” a large, beefy hand landed on William’s shoulder and spun him around. Before another word could be spoken, McGarrett grabbed the offensive hand and twisted it sharply.
“OW!” a pain-filled cry filled the store. Without a word Steve frog-marched the man to the door and shoved him outside where he sprawled out on the ground. He spared a single glance at the man called ‘Jake’ and returned to the deep freeze.
“Ok, so we have pineapple/coconut, white chocolate macadamia and raspberry sorbet with dark chocolate,” he said as if nothing had happened.
“Yeah, that sound like enough for us?” Danny agreed without apparent concern.
“Let’s toss in a plain vanilla, just in case,” his partner decided. “Only thing I know about Kono is she likes grape shaved ice. Don’t know about Chin.”
“HEY!” now Jake decided to weigh in. “We’re police officers! You’re under arrest for attacking an officer!” Instead of grabbing McGarrett he latched on to Williams and jerk his arm hard, causing a grimace and small expression of pain.
“And we’re 5-0 detectives,” Steve growled in a dangerously low voice, an iron grip on the offending wrist. “I will be arresting you for physically assaulting my partner if you don’t stop NOW.” Jake was now the recipient of a twisted arm and body launch out the store’s door.
Danny simply picked up the four pints of ice cream and and brought them to the counter. He pulled out his wallet and tossed a plastic card down. A nervous clerk ran the charge, obtained a signature and packaged the cold treats. Steve grabbed the bag, waited for Danny to rearrange his wallet and slip it back into his pocket.
Once out the door they noted two rather pissed-off off-duty police officers waiting impatiently for them. The Navy seal handed off the bag to the Jersey detective. Neither said a word but the combined glares should have been a tip-off to their inner feelings.
“Looks like the haole and his little playmate need some lessons on island manners,” Jake hit his palm a few times with his fist.
“Ok, I think my friend and I have impeccable manners,” Danny said as he leaned back against the truck. Steve stood slightly in front of him, his tall, muscular frame a definite deterrent.
Jake and his buddy checked out the smirking haole and the dark, silent man in front of him. If it had just been the one they would not have thought twice. But this guy looked... tough.
“Uh, what did you say your name was,” suddenly the big, beefy block wanted a little information.
“McGarrett, Steve McGarrett,” the Navy seal answered. “Head of the governor’s task force. And you are?” The two men looked at one another.
“We, uh, heard that this haole was a problem for you, that you and your team wanted to be rid of him,” Jake gestured towards the surly blonde-headed man.
“Your intel is incorrect,” Steve said. “Danno is my partner. He’s a vital part of our team. Without him we don’t function to our full potential.”
“Uh, maybe we should just be going,” the bulky man hedged.
“Maybe you should,” Steve said agreeably. “And maybe you might want to pass the word around. Mess with any of us and you’ll have some serious consequences to deal with.” Completely cowed the two officers shuffled off to their car and took off.
“Hey, little playmate,” Danny teased, “ice cream’s melting.” A marrow-chilling glare was sent in his general direction.
“Your face is gonna get stuck like that some day,” the blond continued as he climbed up into the truck. “Just sayin’.” Steve growled again as he slid behind the steering wheel and jabbed the key into the ignition.
“Of course, with the scintillating conversation you generally engage in that face will be beneficial,” he continued, hands describing circles in the air. “Growling will just enhance it.”
“Doesn’t seem to be very effective on you!” Steve grumped.
“Naw,” Danny grinned as he settled back. “Ohana knows.”
Steve had to smile. “Yeah, ohana does.”
Chapter 11: Coffee Klatsch
It was a simple thing to push Danny into bed when they came back from dropping off Grace. Chin elected to sleep in the spare bedroom and Kono took the couch. Waking up wasn’t nearly as fun when there was no one on the floor to look at.
Having a whiskery chin nudging his shoulder was definitely weird. But again, McGarrett was on top of the sheets so Danny decided he really couldn’t complain. Especially since he recalled at least one nightmare that had caused him to fall out of bed and being calmed down by Steve’s sleep-growly voice.
He managed to get out of bed and make it to the bathroom before his guardian woke up.
“You ok in there?” Steve asked.
“Yeah, been going to the bathroom all by myself since I was two,” he answered.
“You do have multiple contusions, bro. Makes you a little unstable on your feet,” Steve pointed out.
“I told you, I have taken care of myself for a long time now,” came a rather terse retort.
“You’ve been beaten up and left alone to fend for yourself?” McGarrett couldn’t help himself or the disbelieving tone.
“Danno?” he pressed. The door swung open and his partner glared at him.
“If I have would it make a difference?” he snapped.
“If I’d been around you wouldn’t have been left to fend for yourself!” Steve snapped back. Danny ducked his head.
“Yeah, when I first started as Mekka’s partner,” he said. “Bruises, couple cracked ribs. Out for a month.” He tried to shuffle past but an arm stopped him.
“What happened?” demanding tone.
“Couple guys took exception to my less-than-charming nature,” he said. “Also didn’t help busting a drug ring they’d been working on for months. Need coffee.” he managed to push past the taller man and make for the kitchen.
“What happened to ‘em?” Steve wasn’t done.
“Nothing,” Williams said.
“Nothing?” incredulous tone.
“Nothing,” he repeated. “No one saw a need to discipline them, claimed it was justified because of the stress and emotions of the bust.” Danny began rooting through the cupboard for the coffee while Steve just stared.
“THEY WEREN’T DISCIPLINED!?” that brought a sleepy Chin and Kono stumbling into the kitchen.
“No. The stress and emotional outburst were considered bad enough that physically beating me was ok,” Danny said calmly. “I had only been here a month and still the outsider,” he glanced at the package in his hand. “Still the outsider.”
Steve ran a hand through his hair before he cursed, turned around and stomp out of the kitchen.
“What’s wrong, aikane?” Chin asked as he plopped down at the kitchen table.
“Nothing,” he said as he began measuring out the grounds into the filter.
“NOTHING!?” Steve’s anger permeated through the house.
“Just pointed out I’ve been a social pariah since I landed in paradise,” Danny said mildly as water was poured into the machine and flipped it on.
Steve stomped back into the kitchen still glaring at everything and nothing. He raised his hand as if to make a statement, thought better of it, and stomped back out.
“Looks like boss is angry,” Kono pointed out.
“Furious,” Chin clarified. Danny shrugged.
“Might as well let it go, won’t change anything,” he said morosely.
“I HEARD THAT!” another shout from the front room.
“Look, I tried, really did,” Danny explained to an angry Navy seal in the doorway. “I kind of thought clearing Mekka’s name would have helped. But it didn’t. Nothing does. I keep tellin’ you’d do best to just drop me.” That caused McGarrett to stomp over and completely invade his 2IC’s personal space. Much to Chin and Kono’s surprise the shorter man didn’t even flinch, just looked directly into his friend’s eyes.
The pain and sadness completely derailed the anger and Steve simply threw arms around Danny and held him a long moment.
“Not gonna happen, bro,” he said gruffly as he released the shorter man.
“Ok, what did I miss,” Kono asked.
“Just the fact he’s been through this before,” Steve growled as he went for coffee mugs.
“What?” the cousins chorused.
“Hey, I’m not the beloved cop you thought I was,” Danny stated.
“Really?” Chin’s voice dripped sarcasm. “Then you certainly fit in with this ohana! I’m all kapakahi with most of the force and family.”
“The family’s not too thrilled with me, either,” Kono said. “And no friends on the force.”
“And I’m not a cop,” Steve pointed out. “The powers that be over at HPD only tolerate me because we get things done.”
“So the bottom line is we’re all misfits,” Danny said. They all looked at one another.
“Yeah, exactly,” Chin said firmly.
“We’re ohana,” Kono added, “we have one another.”
“Damn straight!” Steve chimed in. Danny looked at them for a long moment.
“Ok, so we’re in this together,” he determined. “I really need coffee now!” Chin snickered. Kono grinned. Steve poured out the coffee.
“Since we’re in this together, what’s the team building plan for the day?” Danny asked.
“Surfing,” Steve said without missing a beat. “It’s been good over at Ala Moana.”
“Great!” Kono grinned. “I need a good ride to loosen up the muscles.”
“I could do to catch a couple myself,” Chin grinned.
“And the haole will guard the towels and cooler,” Steve determined before Williams could try to back out.
“You know, at some point I need to buy some clothes and stuff,” he said. He realized there were three rather guilty-looking faces in the kitchen. “Ok, what gives?”
“Uh, we, uh, kind of shopped for you,” Kono admitted.
“Wonderful, I bet it’s all cargo pants, black t-shirts and Hawaiian print shirts!” he hid his face in his hands. Just the thought of these three buying him clothes was terrifying.
“Actually, we got you some basics, yeah,” Steve admitted.
“And the governor sent someone to get the remnants of your suits and ties to be replaced,” Chin said, hoping to take the concern away. Danny peeked through his fingers.
“The governor’s taking care of my suits?” he nearly choked.
“She figured since the perps were detectives with HPD the department would pay for your clothing among other things,” Steve explained.
“I don’t have to buy... buy all new things?” the shocked man stuttered out.
“Well, no, it’ll be reimbursed or bought for you,” McGarrett shrugged. He watched as Danny slipped down the counter and sat on the floor, overwhelmed. Without thought he picked up the coffee and sat next to him, offering him his mug.
Williams latched on to the mug and breathed in the aroma. It was almost like being back in Jersey, back where he’d fit in so well. Ok, so the bulk of the force didn’t appear to like him at all, but his team had his back and the powers that be appreciated his work as well.
Maybe this could be ohana.
Chapter 12: Surf’s Up
If Danny tried to tell anyone he had not been a little emotional when he looked over the clothing his ohana had picked out for him he’d have been lying big time. He didn’t actually cry, but his tear ducts were not his friends while he looked through the new outer wear. There was a Hawaiian shirt, but only one. The rest of the stuff were things he would have picked out.
Damn it all, he would NOT cry like some little girl.
He managed to pull out swim trunks (there were two pairs, one more than he’d owned before) and a polo shirt. He didn’t plan to get wet, but he figured he should wear the things as a sign of appreciation. Most of the worst bruises were covered and he’d resigned himself to having at least Kono’s hands all over the exposed areas when the lotion was doled out.
All the gear had been tossed into the truck and Danny was carefully ensconced in the passenger seat. The rest climbed aboard and soon they were nearing the surfer-loved beach. The unloading didn’t take long and by 10 am Williams was seated in a lounge with a cooler full of goodies (ok, most were healthy, but who was he to complain?), the morning paper and a selection of magazines.
It wasn’t too crowded on the waves, which were ‘bamboocha’ according to the surfing contingent.
He really needed that pidgin dictionary thank you very much!
Danny watched as first Kono rode a wave followed by Chin then Steve. He didn’t know much about the sport. Ok, he didn’t know anything about it, but he could tell they were enjoying themselves. He pulled out one of the unhealthy snacks, a bag of sea-salt potato chips and a bottle of water, and proceeded to crunch as he read the comics.
An hour passed, the water rats were thoroughly enjoying showing off to one another and critiquing each other’s form. The land trotter had completely digested the news paper and was just getting into the Sports Illustrated (baseball playoff issue, thank you very much) when a shadow covered his magazine.
Kono was straddling her board, chatting with her cousin as they waited for a wave. She looked shoreward for their friend and noted a rather large gathering just about where they’d left him.
“Uh, cuz?” she started, “I think there might be some trouble.” He turned and looked as well. With a curse worthy of a sailor, Chin immediately headed in, forcing himself onto the latest wave much to the chagrin of Steve.
Until he looked where they were pointed, cursed himself, worthy of a Navy seal, and the three of them were flying as fast as the wave could throw them.
Danny was sporting a bloody nose and an expression reminiscent of a corned wild animal. He had managed to back against a pole, which gave him the illusion of having a safe corner, but with the large, smirking men surrounding him he knew it was only that, an illusion. He briefly wondered if anyone would come to help him before he threw another fist catching a jaw.
“Look, haole, you know what you’re good for!” a large Samoan growled in a false placating tone. “Da bros from HPD told you!”
“I am the 2IC with the Governor’s task force,” he snarled. “I’ll see your ass in jail for assault!”
“Now, haole, who’s gonna buy dat?” another jeered. “It’s all over da wireless that you’ve been cut. Ain’t no bro gonna watch your back!”
“My ohana is out on the waves,” he growled. “They have my back!”
“Oh, yeah, dey do, eh?” another voice. “Only thing you got going for ya is dat big mouth of yours! We’re gonna show you just how you can use it.” Two men now converged at once and managed to overwhelm the injured blond. Twisting arms he was forced down on his knees as the big Samoan stepped up to his face and laughed as he pushed his trunk-clad groin against him.
But before he could do more than jerk at his captors iron grasp and pull backwards all hell broke loose. A series of angry yells and a long, furious scream, rent the air and caused the small crowd to part. Then several bodies went flying left and right as the 5-0 phalanx burst through to surround their downed comrade.
Chin helped him to his feet as Kono and Steve dealt with the few men that still stood there. Pretty damned stupid as fists and feet knocked them over. In the middle of the fracas several police sirens moved in and there were uniformed officers handcuffing the worst of the offenders pointed out by McGarrett.
Danny was shaking, blood trailing down his face and shirt. Kono wet the end of a towel in the cooler and with Chin’s help had the frightened man settled back onto the lounge and began to clean his face.
“Don’t think it’s broken, aikane,” she said as she palpated the injury.
“Ice will help,” Chin rooted through the cooler and soon had ice wrapped and resting on his face.
Steve was dealing with the cops who were initially reluctant to haul the perps in. Seems that the wireless had been extremely active and news of Williams’ “fall” from grace was all over the island. Once more McGarrett was the avenging advocate, pointing out in no uncertain terms Danny was theirs, their aikane, and no one was going to hurt him.
By the time everyone was loaded up there was absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind present that Daniel Williams was an indispensable part of the Governor’s task force. Kono and Chin had retrieved the surf boards and were lounging protectively on both sides of Danny sipping at water and munching on some fruit.
Steve dug out a bottle of medicine, checked the label, then shook two fat tablets out and dropped them in his partner’s hand. As always, Danny swallowed them without comment. He settled back in the chair and looked out over the waves.
“Those things still bamboochie?” he asked the hovering trio. Kono snickered.
“Bamboocha,” she corrected, “and, yes, they are.”
“So why are you guys sitting around here when you can go out and drop down a couple waves?” Danny asked. He received three amused looks.
“Drop down? Whoa! Pickin’ up the lingo, brah!” Steve laid a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“Given the crowd I run with?” he retorted. “Lucky this land trotter can speak English at all!”
“I think I’ll relax a bit,” Chin said. “Too much excitement for an old man!” With that Kono and Steve headed back for the waves.
Danny fell asleep under Chin’s watchful eye. The older detective was upset. He’d been, and was still, being treated like crap by many in the HPD and his family for the smear tactics of IA. Williams career was being destroyed by the same type of smear tactics, although they weren’t through the ‘legit’ channels.
Williams had told him he had his back; Chin definitely had Williams! He carefully covered his exposed legs with a towel to prevent a sunburn.
Steve came back up about an hour later and sent Chin out to carve some waves. He settled next to his partner and noted the exhaustion lining the blond’s face. He wondered just how much crap had been thrown at him since he’d come to the islands. One thing was for certain, the most recent incidents indicated there had been more than one ‘not disciplined’ episode in Danny’s recent past.
It really angered him! His partner was more than competent with the ability to zero in on minutia that could make or break a case. Yes, he was haole, yes he had a brusk, aggravating persona at times, but that did not mean he was a scapegoat for the rest of the force!
It went far in explaining his spiny exterior. He was always expecting the worse and it seemed he’d been right most of the time.
“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” Williams grumbled as he twitched in the lounge trying to get comfortable. Steve rolled up a towel and put it behind his friend’s head.
“Eh, don’t have my camera,” McGarrett muttered as he fussed. Danny slit his eyes opened, located his water and took a long sip. He settled back down and shut his eyes.
“I’m fine, McGarrett,” he stated. “You can go play in the surf.”
“Not going anywhere, aikane,” Steve said as he pulled out a fresh bottle of water. He scanned the crowd noting various persons of interest.
“Well, then, stop thinkin’ like a Navy seal and relax,” Williams grumbled, shoving his friend on the arm.
“So you admit I think,” Steve smirked. An eye opened and considered the dark-haired man.
“Oh, you think, alright,” Danny said. “And then we have to talk you out of whatever foolish idea you come up with.”
“Me? Foolish ideas?” an audible growl accented the retort. Now both eyes were opened and scanning the Navy seal. Several emotions crossed those eyes until they settled on sparkling with mischief.
“Yeah, most of ‘em,” the blond asserted.
“Ah! So some of my ideas are good ones!” he countered.
“And some of Babe Ruth’s at bats were home runs,” Danny countered. “And over 1300 were strike-outs!”
“Eh, you’re lolo!” Steve retorted. “Baseball? You use baseball as a comparison to my brilliance?”
“Would you prefer football?” he replied. “I’d have to go with the Bengals, you’re on par with them!”
“I’m a tiger?” Steve grinned.
“No, you’re 1 and 9, brah!” Danny stated, folding his arms. Steve stuck out his tongue in a traditional raspberry.
“I rest my case!” Williams grinned. Steve settled on the towel leaning against his partner.
“Grrrrrr” he replied.
Chapter 13 Down for the Count
The rest of the day was quiet. The three surfers had a fine time on the ‘bamboocha’ waves and Danny was able to rest without anymore problems.
Of course, one of the three protectors stayed with him, but that was only because they were ‘resting’, too. (Danny had rolled his eyes at Kono’s explanation when he woke but didn’t argue.)
On the way back to Steve’s they stopped off at a market to grab steak to bar-b-cue. Chin and Steve did the shopping duties while Kono quizzed Danny about the beach.
“I don’t want to get the boss started, Danny, but did you know those guys?” she asked quietly. Williams shifted uneasily and didn’t meet her eyes.
“They’re just some guys, picked up a couple of ‘em a few times for selling hot merchandise,” he said. “They just skirt the edges of legal most of the time. Got a couple relatives or friends on the force who look out for ‘em when they can.”
“So they weren’t cops?” she asked, incredulous.
“Nope, not,” he said.
“Then why did they know you?” she pursued.
“The gossip, what is it called? The coconut wireless?” he asked and risked looking at her for confirmation. “Anyway, this group of cops didn’t like me pestering their friends and ohana. Sometimes they’d kind of threaten me. Especially when I caught a couple fencing hot electronics and had them sent to prison for three to five.”
“Didn’t you complain to IA? Let them know what was going on?” she asked. He just stared at her a long moment.
“Kono, of all people you should know how entrenched family is,” he explained as if to his own daughter. “Even when faced with irrefutable evidence they pushed it aside. I learned pretty damned quick who I could push and who I needed to stay away from.”
“But what about Mekka?” she asked. “From what I saw from the investigation he was on the up and up.”
“Yeah, he was a good guy,” he said. “Me and Grace spent some time with his family on and off.” Kono’s eyes narrowed.
“Mostly off,” she stated. Danny ducked his head.
“Well, yeah,” he admitted. “He had lots of friends and some family on the force and they’d get together on days off. I came once, but it was really bad and I sure didn’t want Grace exposed to that. Mekka felt bad about it and made sure I got to come over a couple times a month, but it was not very comfortable.”
“Mekka and his family sound nice,” she prompted.
“Yeah, sure were,” he said. “Once I came over to 5-0 I didn’t see them much. Actually, hadn’t seen his wife or son since I’d left. Mekka said it was easier.”
Their discussion was disturbed by the returning hunters. Chin dumped his bag in the truck bed followed by Steve. Then they climbed into the truck. Danny simply lay his head against the seat and shut his eyes.
Steve met Kono’s eyes in a silent inquiry. She gave an abbreviated shake of her head and the conversation that ensued was the best way to bake potatoes.
A very tired haole took care of basic needs in the bathroom and then sat down on the couch. Chin settled near him and soon the blond-haired man was down for the count, a pillow in Chin’s lap to give him something soft to snore on.
Kono started perusing Steve’s dvd rack. With a happy grin she pulled out a box and proceeded to pop the shiny disc into the machine. Soon “Mulan” began.
“Oh, geeze, a chick-flick!” Chin groaned as he watched McGarrett come into the room with some beer.
“Cool! I love the battle scenes!” he said as he settled down on the floor in front of the couch. He passed the beer out. Kono carefully tucked the throw over Danny before sitting next to her boss. Peace reigned for all of ten minutes when Steve bumped Kono’s shoulder.
“Give me,” he said quietly. She glanced over her shoulder at the slumbering detective.
“Not good,” she said. In a low, calm voice, she related what she’d learned in her cross-examination in the truck. The two men grew more and more angry but forced themselves not to react and wake the healing man.
“I wondered why he didn’t seem very upset,” Chin commented with a scowl. “I mean, if some lolo shoved their, uh, thing at my face covered or not I’d freak. Do you think...” he couldn’t finish his thought.
“If that happened and it wasn’t taken care of I WILL take care of it now,” Steve snarled.
“hmmm?” a sleepy voice drifted up off the pillowed sleeper. Chin gently stroked his hair making soothing noises. Sleepy blue eyes opened trying to figure out what was happening.
He was curled up with his head on Chin’s lap. Chin was petting him like some cat. He could see Steve and Kono sitting on the floor right in front of him.
And Mulan was playing on the wide screen.
Danny did another sweep with his eyes. Nothing changed. He briefly thought about reactions. Indignant? Embarrassed? He really didn’t feel like moving, the couch was comfortable and he felt strangely safe. Being safe was not something he had the luxury of feeling in many years. And especially not here on this damned island.
With a sigh his eyes slid closed and he hummed happily as the hand continued to stroke his hair.
“Who’s a Bengal tiger now?” Steve managed to curb his anger and tease.
“You are,” Danny yawned. “Definitely. And Kono can be Mulan.”
“Hey, what about me?” Chin asked feigning indignation.
“Uh, let me think on it,” Danny hedged as he rolled more fully onto his back. He’d sit up but he was blocked.
“I think he’s Mushu,” Kono smirked. As a unit the foursome looked at the movie and the spunky little dragon spirit trying to help Mulan learn the manly art of war. Chin grinned.
“Yeah, that’s me!” he chortled. “Having to follow my cuz around and make sure she’s trained up right!”
They teased one another about their cartoon characters (Steve was pushing for ‘Woody’ as Danny’s character) and generally relaxing while the movie played on. Bodies shifted and Williams slowly sat up laughing at Chin’s antics. He was acting the part of dutiful guardian complete with the voice.
“So, is dinner happening soon?” Danny finally asked.
“Uh, it’s after six, so yeah, I’ll get the charcoal lit,” Steve said as he stood up. “Let’s move it out to the lanai.”
Which meant Danny was cosseted in the lounge with a beer and light throw waiting in case he got cold. Chin and Kono sat nearby while Steve played caveman with the fire. It was just good to kick back and feel at home.
The sun had set and the stars were dusting the sky (as much as they could with the ambient lighting from the city). Plates had disappeared into the sink and the foursome were seated on the lanai sipping good whiskey.
“Which is why I don’t let Kono help me with my dates,” Chin finished up. The other two men were laughing and his cousin was trying desperately to look angry. Steve leaned over and topped off Danny’s glass. He’d been very generous with his 2IC.
“If I didn’t know you better I’d say you were getting me drunk,” he grinned. “I don’t think my virtue will be safe!”
“I’ll protect you!” Kono said stoutly before breaking into giggles.
“This from the woman who set her own cousin up with a female impersonator,” Danny rolled his eyes.
“It was a slow week,” she shrugged.
“And I’d never attack your virtue, aikane!” Steve nodded over his own drink. “Just thought you might want to relax after that little problem this morning.” Danny waved him off.
“That was nothin’, bro,” he responded. The throw was pulled up towards his waist as he sipped at the glass. “I have stories that’d curl your hair!” Steve glanced over at his related detectives. This is what they wanted.
“Nothin’ you can tell me will curl my hair!” Steve insisted. He looked at Danno and saw the speculation in his eyes. Then they shuttered and there was nothing left to see. Williams took another large swallow of JD.
And gracefully fell asleep.
Or passed out, same difference.
Chapter 14 Dark for Dark Things
He was pinned down. Hands grabbing at him, holding him. With a mighty jerk he launched himself through the door and away from the men that had held him.
Before he managed to get out of the building he was tackled.
“NNNOOOOO!” Williams shrieked.
“Steve! Let him go!” Chin urged.
“Can’t,” McGarrett grunted as he pinned his struggling partner to the ground. “He’d bolt and we’d never catch him.” Chin grimaced at the fear-laden voice begging to be let go. He finally laid down next to them and began talking to Danny.
“Sshh, Danny, it’s ok, it Steve and Chin,” the Hawaiian detective started, his calm voice continuing speaking in a soothing tone. After a bit the struggling stopped. Then frightened blue eyes peered out and recognition settled in.
“Chin? Steve?” he whispered. Very slowly McGarrett shifted off his partner’s back and slid close against him. Kelly was on the other side sandwiching the trembling man in between.
“Hey, there, aikane,” Steve carefully put a large, warm hand on the man’s back. They let Danny rest a moment before he sat up and leaned against the bookshelf. His friends quickly scrambled to sit on either side keeping him secure in the middle.
“At least I didn’t wake Kono,” he muttered running a shaky hand through his hair. She had gone to her family’s home late in the evening when her father had called for her. Something about her mom needing her.
“Nope,” Steve agreed. “She’d have tackled you and hogtied you.” Williams swallowed and closed his eyes.
“That would not have been good,” he murmured almost too low to hear. Chin glanced over at Steve before diving in.
“Why, Danny?” he asked.
“I just don’t do too well being tied down,” he replied.
“Why?” Kelly pressed. He wondered if his friend would answer.
“Uh, because they had tied me down,” he replied slowly.
“Who? You’ve been tied up before,” Steve said.
“Down, tied down,” Danny muttered darkly. He shifted against his sentries but didn’t attempt to get up. The feeling of safety between these two men kept him there soaking it up. After a few moments he started to talk.
“I was working with the gangs unit,” he began. “One of the dons, he kind of took offense to us shutting down his gambling operation and decided to send us a little message. I was ambushed and brought to a warehouse where they were going to deliver the ‘message’. I figured I’d be roughed up pretty good and then dumped, normal type of ‘message’ at that time,” he swallowed against the lump in his throat.
“Unfortunately, one of the guys was trying to prove himself. He decided to disregard his orders and had me tied down over a table. Then,” he swallowed again. “Then he cut off my slacks and raped me.” He was shaking again and Chin carefully placed his arm around his shoulders.
“The other guys there didn’t touch me, I’m really not sure what they were doing because I was... distracted. And bleeding. I guess they freaked a bit and after they cut the ropes off me they dumped me in the ER,” he shuddered at the memory. “The doctors cleaned me up and called the department. My partner, Jacob, was there immediately. As soon as he found out what happened the idiot drove out to the don’s house and confronted the man. Can you believe it? A cop waltzing in on one of the king pins and screaming at him about honor and respect and perversity and everything! Bastard was lucky he wasn’t shot then and there.” Now Steve understood a little more why Danny was so adamant about backup and procedures. His previous partner seemed to disregard them, too.
“I got counseling, you know, to get over it,” he said. “It was the don who actually helped the most, weird as that sounds. He visited me, in the hospital, talked about family and honor. Said I shouldn’t let it destroy me, that the man had been weak, that he thought raping me would show how strong he really was, and secure his place in the family.” Danny sadly laughed.
“Didn’t help him at all,” he said. “His body washed up on the shore a couple days later. They’d, they’d mutilated his body before he was shot and tossed in.” Chin and Steve exchanged glances, knowing what the ‘mutilation’ must have been.
“So you got over it,” Steve prompted. He received a wry glance.
“Oh, yeah, waking up screaming and running through your house really shows I’m ‘over it’,” he said sarcastically.
“Look, aikane, you were roughed up this morning and basically held down while some mento lolo was... uh... you know,” Chin gestured with his free hand. “Then some other idiot got you drunk. No wonder you had a nightmare and freaked.” Danny glanced up at Steve, scowling.
“Yeah, drinking can do that to me,” he growled. Steve tried to look innocent.
“Always helps me relax!” he proclaimed. Then he turned serious.
“Has anyone here, you know, done anything to you?” he asked gently, but Chin could see the glint of steel in his eyes. Danny was intently studying his hands, watching the slight tremors course through him.
“Once the head of HPD asked me if I’d be interested in an undercover job, that he’d heard I’d done the male stuff before, acting as a male prostitute,” Williams admitted. “I told him I hadn’t, that I’d been raped but I didn’t think that meant I’d been a willing male prostitute. Damn, he was furious!”
“Why? At you?” Steve asked quickly, scootching as close as possible.
“No, not at me. At himself for listening to the gossip,” Williams said. “Seems that my personnel file had been shared around the department. Privacy doesn’t apply to some for-shit Jersey haole.”
“Hadn’t he read it?” Chin asked.
“No, just went on what he’d been told,” Danny squirmed trying to get comfortable. “Guess there were some discipline reports filed shortly after that. And a memo explaining access to files and the repercussions of spreading false information.”
“Didn’t make it much better, did it?” Chin said, thinking of his own trail by gossip and the IA.
“Eh, kind of,” he shrugged. “I got assigned to Mekka and we did some good work together. He was smart, had some good, reliable pipelines for information on the street. He used to joke that we made indestructible duo, my knowledge and his contacts.”
“But from what Kono said that didn’t mean you had it any easier,” Chin pointed out. Danny glanced at him and gave a slight shrug.
“I could work in the system easier,” he pointed out. “Sure, I didn’t do much socializing but then I don’t need anyone else in my life. I have Grace. That’s why I’m here in Hawaii.” Another period of silence as Steve and Chin thought on this comment.
“Were you and Rachel still together when you were attacked?” McGarrett asked.
“You can say ‘raped’, that’s what it was,” Danny said as he crossed his arms over his chest. “And no, we’d just separated. She just couldn’t handle the dangers I faced being a cop. She’d met Stan by then and had already moved on. I really meant it when I told you I’ve been taking care of myself for years.” The folded arms, the stiffened posture, the shutting down, all supported his declaration.
McGarrett and Kelly glanced at the shuttered face then one another. Steve finally turned slightly and threw both arms around the stoic man followed by Chin who fully turned boxing his aikane completely between them.
“Well, in this ohana no one is left alone for any reason, even if you think you should be,” Steve stated.
“You’re an integral part of our ohana, haole,” Chin echoed. “We have your back and all the attached bits.” They sat waiting, hoping that the injured man would give in. After long moments Danny sighed and leaned against Chin’s shoulder. Steve took this as a good sign and gently began rubbing taut shoulders.
“I’ve been alone too long,” he muttered. “I am not used to anyone taking care of me beyond work.”
“What about Jacob?” Steve asked. This actually elicited a snuffle as Williams leaned more fully into the warmth offered.
“He, he was shot by a kid a couple months after I was raped,” he whispered, almost too low to hear. “He’d gone to a corner market to get milk for his family and there was a hold-up. He didn’t even know what was going on, the perp panicked.”
“You were totally alone,” Chin said as he pulled Danny tight. Steve continued trying to loosen muscles too tight.
“I, I couldn’t help his family,” Danny sniffed. “Hell, I couldn’t even help myself at that point. My own marriage was a shambles and I was having trouble with visitation rights then. When I was finally cleared to go back to work Rachel announced they were thinking about moving away from Jersey. I was being paired with fresh-faced detectives eager to learn. I was the one they leaned on, a trainer of sorts. I was very good and the department was pleased with my work. Probably why I got such a good set of recs when I applied to the HPD.”
Chin held him close, Steve completing the circle. Danny for his part just allowed them to invade his personal space and soaked up the warm caring.
“You guys know if anyone asks, even Kono, I’ll never say I liked being cuddled by you two,” Danny stated calmly.
“Wouldn’t expect it,” Chin said as he helped Steve sooth tense muscles.
“Navy seals do NOT cuddle,” McGarrett muttered as he continued his ministrations.
“Yeah, I can tell,” Danny mused as he closed tired eyes.
Chapter 15: Bring on da Coffee
*Waking up has certainly become interesting,* Danny thought to himself as he enjoyed the soft bedding and warmth. He was once more tucked under sheets between two bodies that were on top of the sheets. Even though this held him down, it wasn’t the claustrophobic trap it could have been. He stretched and opened his eyes to the day.
And met the mischievous eyes of Kono.
“So, you want to explain this?” she asked with a lilt.
“I will, if you can get me out of here!” Danny declared quietly. He watched Kono as she carefully pulled Chin towards her freeing his bedding. He scootched up and pulled his legs out of the bedding then moved down the middle of the bed. Soon he was free.
First stop, bathroom and requisite deposit. Shorts pulled on. Next, kitchen, with Kono in tow. She herded him to the table and made him comfortable before starting coffee and poking in the fridge for something to eat.
“How did you rate getting to sleep with both guys?” she finally asked as she sat down across from him.
“Uh, I basically tried to pull a runner after a nightmare,” he admitted. “Steve tackled me and your cuz had to talk me down.” Kono digested this information.
“What was the nightmare about?” she prompted. She noted his shoulders hunch and his head drop.
“Something recent?” she tried. “Something from Jersey?”
“Jersey, few years back,” he said reluctantly. She reached a hand out and took one of his, giving an encouraging squeeze.
“I was... attacked,” he swallowed. “Raped. I guess I felt tied down under the sheets and my mind thought I was back on that table and I just freaked.”
For a long moment Kono processed his statement. In her experience she’d heard about rape, had sat with girl friends that had nearly been raped. One that had been. But never a guy. It was out of her basic knowledge base.
She worked out the logistics then stood up and circled around the table and pulled her aikane into a hug. Danny sighed and leaned against her.
“I really am not used to all this cuddling,” he groused.
“Tough,” she responded as she dropped a kiss on his head. Another squeeze and she turned to pour out coffee. She stopped halfway back to the table.
“All this cuddling?” she suddenly asked.
“You don’t want to know,” he hedged. He reached out for his caffeine fix.
“Uh, uh,” she pulled back. “All?” Danny frowned, unwilling.
“Chin and Steve,” he grumbled.
“Chin and STEVE?” she asked, incredulous.
“Yeah,” he muttered. “Totally disgusting, whiskers and all.” Kono contemplated the scenario. It actually sounded totally sweet and she was angry her mother pulled a little hysterical snit the night before. Unfortunately Danny caught only the anger, misread it as disgust, and pushed up from the table stumbling out of the kitchen.
This time he did make it out the back door, through the lanai and on to the beach. He knew they’d be disgusted. He just figured he couldn’t see the guys faces clearly the night before. Focusing on his breathing he tried to run through the exercises his counselor had given him years before as his fleeing feet took him further away.
Ok, maybe he’d misread her reactions. Maybe he was projecting his insecurities. Maybe he just needed distance and shove down all these stupid feelings that his memories invoked back into the mental box he’d allowed to be opened.
He moved further down the beach. He lost track of time, of distance, of existence. Thinking of Kono’s face, of Steve and Chin’s reactions. Of himself and his guilt. He settled on a bench near the surf. Glancing back over the path he’d traveled he realized he didn’t know where he was.
He’d never find his way back!
Rolling his eyes at himself, Danny leaned back and let the sunshine work its warm magic on abused muscles.
“Well, if it isn’t my favorite haole!” a familiar voice penetrated his rest. He cracked an eye opened. Kamekona.
“Hey, big man,” Danny muttered as his other eye opened. “Don’t you have ice or something to sell?” The Hawaiian affected injury.
“I gots time off from work, same as you,” he retorted. “Spending time with some friends and saw this little uppity haole let loose in shorts. Ain’t seen you in shorts before.”
Danny looked at his attire, could see bruised flesh and hairy legs. Geeze, he hadn’t even put on flip flops! He wiggled his toes in the sand.
“Eh, I’m off work, too,” he finally replied. Kamekona leaned against the table contemplating the bruises.
“Heard some stuff over the wireless,” he said. “Some cop was beat up pretty bad. Got hurt again over on Ala Moana.” He let the silence stretch as the cop in question thought about his response.
“Yeah,” brilliant answer.
“I need some coffee,” the big man suddenly said. “You need some, too. All that walkin’ you did, coming down from McGarrett’s place. I know where the best coffee on the island is, my treat haole.” Danny raised an incredulous pair of eyes as he regarded the offer.
“What? You don’t think I don’t know coffee? That da big man only does shaved ice?” he growled. “I know stuff, lots of stuff little haole.” Finally a smile formed on the cop’s face.
“Yeah, big man, you know lots,” he returned. As he made to stand up a big, meaty hand was offered and Danny found himself gently pulled to his feet then carefully shepherded up the beach to the boardwalk and a waiting car.
It didn’t take long to get to a little, dumpy coffee and malsada shop on a side street. Danny followed Kamekona inside and was surprised by the clean shop with homey touches. The native started jawing in some strange language, pidgin, with the grey-haired woman who sized Danno up.
Whatever she saw must have been ok because she poured out two large coffees and gave the haole a big, friendly grin and greeting. He smiled in return and took a sip of the hot, black liquid.
“Ok, you’re right again, big man,” Danny said. “This is the best coffee I’ve ever had on the islands.”
“Hey, I told ya!” Kamekona said. “Mama no ka oi!”
“If that means she’s the best, then I agree,” Williams gave her a full-on smile the likes of very few people had ever seen. This endeared him further and ‘Mama’ had to come out and give him a very gentle hug. The wireless had been very busy!
“You come in anytime, haole,” she said. “I always have coffee for my ohana.” That word again! Danny had tried so damned hard to remain aloof from these islanders and yet some of them could see through his carefully crafted mask. With a sigh he returned the hug.
“Now, you go back to your cousins,” she scolded. “They’re worried ‘bout you!”
“What?” he said, baffled. “I’ve only been gone a little while.”
“All over the island,” she fussed as she shooed them out the door. “Been hours. You go!” Like a reprimanded little boy Danny trudged out of the shop and climbed back into the car. His driver got behind the wheel and gave him a smirk.
“Mama knows, haole! You’ve been a bad boy!” he pulled out into traffic and soon arrived at the front of McGarrett’s house.
As soon as Kamekona parked in McGarrett’s driveway he insisted Danny go in and let his ‘ohana’ know he was ok. Unfortunately, the house was empty and the cop located his cell phone. He wandered into the kitchen and sat down at the table with his chauffeur and speed-dialed Kono.
“Hey, Kono, Danny,” he said and then held the phone away from his ear as the woman emitted a loud scream.
“WHERE ARE YOU?!!” she demanded.
“Uh, sitting in Steve’s kitchen,” he said in a nearly ashamed voice. “Kamekona got me some coffee and brought me here.”
“Stay there! I’ll get the guys,” she stressed. “We’ve been looking for you.” She closed the line before he could say more.
“Ya look a little, I don’t know, shell shocked, bro,” the big man said conversationally.
“I just can’t figure out my life right now,” the detective muttered.
“Well, I want some breakfast in my life right about now,” his companion patted his ample stomach. “That Chin, he rousted me before I could pound!” Danny looked up at the strange word but didn’t ask.
“Let me see what’s in the cupboard,” he said. “The cousins went shopping.” He started rooting through supplies and began setting out various things. Eggs, bacon, loaf of bread, butter, milk, some kind of spices, a bag of frozen peas? Or were they blueberries? Kamekona wasn’t too sure. Bag of nuts, maybe walnuts, and sugar.
A baking sheet appeared as well as a wire rack and a glass casserole dish. The oven was checked and then turned on. He watched as the cop tore up the bread and tossed it into the dish he’d wiped with butter. Then eggs were whisked with the milk and the spices, cinnamon? Nutmeg? Generous shake of sugar. This was poured over the bread then the purply frozen blueberries followed with the crushed walnuts.
By now Kamekona was very interested in the process the injured man was involved in. Bacon was opened and spread on the wire rack that was set in the baking sheet. The casserole was slipped into the oven. Next the kitchen was quickly cleaned and a new pot of coffee started. Finally the whirling dervish settled back at the table.
“Ok, give me, haole,” the big man waggled his fingers. “What was all that about?”
“French toast casserole,” he said with a slight blush. “My grandmother would make it when I visited her. I still make it for Grace sometimes when she’s over at my apartment.”
“You know how to cook?” he asked incredulously.
“Well, if it’s something Grace or I like, then yeah, I cook,” Danny responded.
“He did a mean spaghetti the other night,” Steve said as he quickly walked into the kitchen. He put a warm hand on his partner’s shoulder and gave him a look-over.
“Take your meds?” he asked, then fetched them when he received a curt negative head shake. These were swallowed with some cool coffee.
“Budge over,” McGarrett growled as he secured coffee for himself and freshened up the other two cups.
“I need to put the bacon in the oven,” Danny tried to get up but once more that hand pressed him back down and his partner put the tray into the oven. The smell of custardy cinnamon filled the air.
“Oh, god, what did you make this time?” Chin asked as he hurried into the room, Kono in tow.
“The haole mixed a bunch of stuff together and poured it over ripped up bread,” Kamekona offered. “Kind of crazy, but he is a haole.”
“French toast,” Danny amended.
“Where’d ya go, aikane?” Kono asked before the conversation could really begin. The injured man’s eyes fell to his coffee cup.
“Just went for a walk,” he shrugged. “Ended up somewhere down the beach.”
“I took him for some coffee at Mama’s,” Kamekona inserted. “You guys didn’t give him any.”
“Not their fault,” Williams jumped in quickly. “I needed some room, to figure some stuff out. I’m not much fun to be around anyway.” He’d have gone off then, but Steve had him boxed in the corner and it was certain he couldn’t just crawl under the table. The 5-0 head wrapped an affectionate arm around his 21C and gave him a quick, gentle squeeze.
“Naw, you’re lots of fun most of the time, Danno,” he said warmly. The man in question rolled his eyes but did not comment. He sure didn’t feel like he was ‘fun’. But it was very apparent that his ohana wasn’t going to allow any negativity.
Chin poured out more coffee and straddled a chair at the head of the table while Kono slipped behind Kamekona and sat down. They started to question their friend about the food he’d put in the oven and after some prompting Danny told them about “Granma” and the times he spent with her. Although the woman had passed away a few years before, Grace had met her and had also loved her breakfast specialities.
Steve started to relax when he saw the tension ebb away from Danny. He knew his friend had taken Kono’s reaction the wrong way. Heck, Kono herself was embarrassed she’d let her emotions run away with her. The one thing any victim needed was a calm, steady presence.
After nearly an hour Danny directed Chin and Steve in the plating of breakfast. Food was divvied out and the sinfully rich custard French toast was soon set down on the table. Steve located some syrup that wasn’t too old and resettled next to his friend.
As with the egg in the spaghetti the team was a bit surprised when Danny took his crisp bacon and crumbled it over the bready mixture. He eschewed the syrup as he lifted an aromatic forkful into his mouth.
The haole loved his food! They all watched as his eyes closed as he savored that first bite. Following his example, the four crumpled up some bacon then took tentative bites.
“Damn, haole!” Kamekona groaned. “You cook good!” Chin and Kono were too busy shoving another bite in their mouths and Steve simply bumped his shoulder against his friend. They happily consumed everything down to plate pattern. (Kamekona might have licked that off as well, but he remembered himself in time).
“Well, I hate to eat and run,” he rumbled, “but some of us have ta work.” He rose and put his stuff in the sink.
“Thanks for the coffee, big man,” Danny said. He received a hand bump.
“No bigs,” Kamekona said. “Just go see Mama again. Think she likes you.” He smirked to himself as he walked out to his car. That haole didn’t know just how many people were in his ohana!
Chapter 16: Back on Track
That afternoon Grace was once more keeping score and yelling at umpires and hot dogs were fetched. Kono had managed to find real Cracker Jacks™ and tumblers of beer and soda were emptied. At the seventh inning stretch she turned on her father and looked into his eyes.
“You’re sad, Danno,” she finally decided. Three onlookers held their comments and collective breaths.
“Why do you say that, monkey?” he tried deflection. “I’ve got my number one girl and a Mets game on!” She propped herself on her elbows on his chest and continued to peer into his eyes.
“Because your eyes are sad,” she said. “Why are you sad?” No deflection would work with a determined child.
“I had some bad dreams, monkey,” he admitted. “But Uncle Chin and Steve were there to help me.” The laser-sharp eyes turned to quickly confirm this statement. A pair of nods satisfied her.
“Then I cooked Granma’s french toast,” he told her. They were surprised when Grace threw her arms around her dad and hugged him tight. Danny returned the hug and turned his cheek against her soft hair.
“I’m sorry, Danno,” she murmured. “I love you.”
“Love you too,” he said. No one spoke for a long moment letting them have their privacy. Then Grace’s head popped up.
“You made Granma’s french toast and I didn’t get any!” her voice sharp with reproach.
“You were at school, monkey!” Danny protested. “I can’t just take you out of school for french toast.”
“Granma’s French Toast!” she annunciated each word in capital letters. Steve couldn’t keep quiet any longer.
“Hey, you’re gonna be here for the weekend, Grace,” he placated. “Danno can make it for you on Saturday.”
“Of course he is!” Grace growled reminiscent of her father.
“Yep, double batch it is!” Danny grinned as he tickled his daughter. She giggled and squirmed. After a few moments he stopped and let her catch her breath. She resettled on his lap and picked up the box of carmel corn.
As the game continued the Jersey detective fell asleep. Kono tucked a throw over him as his daughter supervised. He didn’t wake until the smell of pizza permeated his sleepy brain.
“Uh, did we win?” he asked as he pushed up.
“No,” Chin said as he handed a plate to Grace.
“Do I want to know?” he pressed.
“No!” came the unhappy reply. He struggled to his feet, dropped a kiss on his grumbling child’s head and wandered down to the bathroom. He returned to a shared slice of sausage pizza. His stomach gurgled unhappily and he didn’t bother getting his own plate.
This, of course, set off alarms in three people.
They tried not to hover, to act worried, but the fact was Danny wasn’t eating his favorite food. Oh, he was teasing his daughter, swiping a bite here and there, but not really eating even a slice.
There was a flush on his cheeks. A strange brightness to his eyes. But he was still going on about the insanity of pineapple on pizza. Pretending to be horrified his own child would deign to eat it.
Kono stood and created a diversion, reaching for Grace’s cup on the pretense of refilling it. Let her hand cup behind William’s neck and cheek as she sassed the man about the insanity of pig on pizza. Motioned with her eyes to Steve to help her in the kitchen.
“Warm, but not too bad,” she muttered. “Must be running a low-grade fever from all the exertion this morning.”
“I’ll get the Tylenol,” McGarrett decided. They separated and soon some pills landed in Danny’s hand. He didn’t question them, heck, he’d not questioned about any drug they’d given him so far. But Gracie looked at him in surprise.
“What?” he asked.
“You’re taking stuff and not asking what it is?” she was surprised.
“Well, the doctor said I needed to take ‘stuff’,” he replied with a shrug.
“But you didn’t look at the bottle!” she huffed.
“Do you think Steve’d poison me, monkey?” he chuckled.
“No! But you always check,” she said. “And sometimes you don’t take anything even if the doctor told you to.”
“Well, then, I guess I must be sick,” he said with a shrug. “Eat your slice of abomination.” Grace did, but everyone could see she was working through something in her mind. Once the food had been consumed the table was cleared. The young girl took her daddy’s cup and their plates back to the kitchen with Chin.
“Uncle Chin?” she hesitated. The detective gave his most disarming smile as he crouched down beside her.
“Yes, sweetie?” he gently pushed.
“Danno, he isn’t really good about being sick,” she said hesitantly. “Mommy said she had to sit on him when he was hurt or sick. So maybe you need to do that if he won’t rest.”
“Well, so far he’s been pretty good,” Chin could say honestly. “And the couple times he tried to argue we just didn’t do what he wanted.”
“So he’s gonna stay here with Steve?” she asked with a quaver in her voice. “Mommy said he couldn’t go back home.”
“Yes, he’s going to stay with Steve for a while,” Chin said. “And when he’s ready me and Kono and Steve will help him find a new place. Does that sound ok?”
“Uh huh,” she put her arms around his neck and clung to him, letting her worry go. She knew Uncle Chin would take care of Danno. Chin hugged her gently and picked her up. The past few days had been difficult for her, worrying about her father.
“I think someone is ready for bed,” he said as he carried her back to Danny.
“Hey, Monkey, tired?” he asked as he cuddled her closely. She nodded as she snugged close.
“It’s time to get you back to mom, anyway,” Steve said as he stood up. “I’ll carry you out to the car.” But he couldn’t pry her from Danny’s arms, she was holding on like a burr.
With some help the father stood up and carried his daughter out to the truck and climbed in. Before they’d made it to the main street Grace was asleep, her warm even breaths warming Danny’s neck.
Once more with Steve’s support he got out of the car, the sleepy child clinging to him. Both men walked up to the door which was opened by Rachel.
“Sorry, she fell asleep on the way back,” Danny said, sounding both defensive and apologetic. As if he’d done something wrong.
“I understand,” Rachel said softly as she accepted the sleeping girl. “You may pick her up tomorrow evening,” she added. “I’ll be sure to pack for the weekend.
With a soft thank you and a nod of agreement Danny allowed Steve to herd him back to the truck.
Chapter 17: Taking the Edge Off
Once the truck slid into the driveway a tired, sore haole contemplated the possibility of walking into the house and beyond that to the couch. The bed was way out of the question. He could tell he had a fever from the dull ache that settled into his head.
Steve looked over and could tell they’d overdone it. His partner was in worse shape than the day before. He slid out of the truck and opened the passenger door.
“I’m thinking I’ll just sleep here,” Danny moaned.
“Not an option, Danno,” McGarrett replied.
“Is so,” Williams groaned. “And quit calling me ‘Danno’!” With a put-upon sigh Steve unbuckled the seat belt and hoisted the nearly limp man.
“I’d kill you if I weren’t so tired,” Danny grumbled as the Navy seal easily put him over his shoulders and headed for the house.
A worried Chin held the door as Steve walked in, Danny’s limp body draped unceremoniously over his shoulder.
“Bed, Jeeves,” Williams voice sounded strained. Bless his soul if the man didn’t immediately walk down the hall to the bed and gently swung his partner down on the bed.
Danny was all for sleeping then and there, but Kono protested and one did not cross Kono. He let them pull off unnecessary clothing and feed him more pills, none of which he could identify. Finally they pulled up the sheet and let him escape into oblivion.
Hours later he bolted upright and would have taken flight if not for two sets of strong arms holding him in place. As it was his heart was pounding as he sucked chestfuls of air into his lungs. It took a few minutes for him to: 1) recognize he was in Steve’s bedroom and 2) he was between Kono and Steve.
Reduced to trembling, he leaned into his partner’s body and allowed himself the unheard of luxury of feeling safe. Kono sat more fully on the bed to support him fully.
“Damn, I hate that dream,” Williams shivered out. “I tend to end up out the front door before I can wake up.”
“We tried to wake you,” Kono said, “but you were really deep.”
“Sorry,” he muttered.
“‘so k,” the Navy seal said. They sat there letting Danny calm down.
“Bathroom?” Kono finally suggested. She received a faint nod.
“I got it,” Chin’s voice filtered over and the Hawaiian detective offered a hand to his aikane. As soon as they were out of the room Steve fell back on his pillow.
“I can’t believe he’s been doing this on his own,” the head of 5-0 said sadly. “I had Catherine here for the worst of mine after a couple missions. And other friends.”
“He’s just alone,” Kono said. “I mean, who could he call?”
“Us,” Steve said. “Better get some more tylenol. His fever isn’t helping.” Soon Danny was back in bed carefully curled around his pillow. The cousins wandered back to their respective beds and McGarrett settled back on his side. He listened as his partner’s breathing evened out into the cadence of sleep.
“You are not alone, aikane,” he whispered as he closed his eyes.
Morning started slightly earlier than desired due to a doctor’s appointment. Cranky, Danny started in on Steve before they even climbed into the truck.
“All I’m sayin’ is I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself,” he groused. “I can see the doctor by myself.” Steve said nothing, just held the door and guided his partner up on the seat. The tremor was still there now accompanied by the unhealthy warmth of fever. Slamming the door he stomped around to the driver’s side.
“I mean, I appreciate everything you guys have done, but you have lives, too! The world doesn’t stop just because I get a little beat up!” the man continued. It was telling that his hands were still on his lap and his eyes drooped as he leaned back against the seat. McGarrett pulled on his seat belt before securing his own.
“Don’t cha got some normal thing to do? I mean, if a Navy seal does normal,” Danny’s mouth kept moving as his eyes closed. “Do some waves, wash your truck, whatever....” and he was down for the count.
“Oh, yeah, bro, I do normal,” Steve sighed as he slid the truck onto the street and headed for the hospital. “Take care of my friend, that’s normal!”
“No, s’not,” came the slurred reply. “No one takes care of a haole like me.”
“Well, hate to disappoint ya, aikane, but you got three people lined up just to do that,” Steve growled, jerking the wheel to avoid another car. The sharp movement caused Danny to whimper, his eyes flying open. “Sorry.”
Williams looked around and seemed to decide everything was ok before he leaned back and closed his eyes again. His body hurt from the fever and all he wanted to do was crawl into a dark hole and hide from the world. He’d tried to drive everyone away but it just wasn’t working. He tried to reconcile that these people liked him, but he had trouble accepting that anyone could like him on the island.
As it seemed too much trouble, and it was hurting his head, Danny elected to doze and conserve his strength for the inevitable fight at the hospital.
“I am going in by myself!” Danny hotly contested as McGarrett ushered him through the door.
“Whatever you say,” Steve responded neutrally.
“I do not need some Navy seal ninja shadowing me!” he growled as he signed in.
“Not gonna do the ninja thing,” Steve returned. “Doc doesn’t like it when I do.”
“Don’t think I didn’t notice you didn’t say anything about not going in with me!” he carped.
“You used too many negatives in that sentence, Danno!” Steve pointed out.
“Don’t call me Danno!” Williams snapped.
“Mr. Williams?” a pleasant voice called. Steve rose and offered a hand to a grumbling ‘Mr. Williams’. They walked into the indicated room and said nothing to each other as the nurse took vitals. These were duly noted and she exited quickly.
“Really, Steve, you don’t have to wait,” Danny tried one last time.
“Come on, get on the paper gown,” he proffered the item and waited patiently while his partner removed shirt, shoes and pants. Then the ‘gown’ was pulled on and he grumpily sat back on the exam table.
“See? Didn’t kill you,” McGarrett said snidely. Danny managed a full wattage glare before sinking back on the reclined surface.
“Oh, silent treatment?” the taller man snickered.
“It’s cold,” was the answer. The Navy seal quickly located a light blanket from the cupboard and shook it out over the lounging man. He noted the shivering and could feel the heat coming off the tired body.
“It’ll be ok, aikane, just relax,” he attempted to soothe and received a snort as response. Dr. Lewis chose that moment to enter, although his eyes were trained on the chart and not on the room. Steve backed up and sat down. Finally the doctor glanced up.
“So, you have a temperature,” he began, “at least your blood pressure is down.” He gave McGarrett a side glance. “Besides the fever, what’s going on?” For a minute Danny didn’t answer and the doctor fully expected the other man to weigh in.
“Uhm, my stomach is off,” Williams finally said. “Not completely nauseous, but nearly there. Head aches, body aches and I’m really tired.” Steve nodded in agreement but still remained quiet.
“How’s sleeping doing?” Lewis continued as he began pressing on various bruises.
“Broken, had a couple nightmares,” Danny admitted. The doctor stopped and looked in his patient’s eyes, trying to decipher the sudden honesty. Williams always played down any weaknesses.
“Well, the fever will contribute to that,” Lewis muttered as he listened to heart and lungs. “And it certainly takes the edge off your charming personality.” Steve snickered.
“I’m going to write for a different antibiotic,” he said. “And I think that tylenol will take care of your aches and fever. Unless you want to take aspirin.”
“Naw, skip the chance of Reye’s when I grow up,” Danny deadpanned. This actually elicited a chuckle from the physician. He glanced over his shoulder at McGarrett not-so-patiently waiting.
“I wouldn’t worry about that, Danny, but him, on the other hand,” and they shared the chuckle at Steve’s expense. The Navy seal looked exasperated.
“I am sitting here,” he pointed out.
“He probably doesn’t even know what Reye’s is,” Lewis smirked.
“I have the ability to google,” Steve returned.
“He doesn’t know!” Danny snickered. Lewis smiled then turned serious.
“Ok, here’s the plan,” he said, turning a little to address both men. “Going to take some blood and see what’s going on in that body of yours. Different antibiotic and you’re still off work for another five days, probably more.” Danny rolled his eyes but didn’t complain. He felt like shit anyway so work really was out of the question.
“You need to rest, period,” Lewis continued. “Plenty of fluids and eat whatever your stomach will tolerate. I’m thinking it was the first round of antibiotics, that type can upset stomachs. This one is easier on the system. I might change it depending what grows out.”
“Grows out?” Danny asked skeptically.
“Yes, grows out,” he responded. “It’ll take a couple days. We’ll do an arterial blood draw.” Now Steve frowned. He knew what that was even if Danny did not. “Go ahead and get dressed, the phlebotomist will be in shortly.” One look at McGarrett’s face and Danny paled.
“What?” he asked as he accepted his shirt.
“Arterial blood draw is a little bit of a pain,” his partner shrugged. Danny sighed.
“Oh, well, par for the course,” he said, pulling on pants. The shoes easily slipped on and the gown was unceremoniously tossed into the trash. He sat back down on the table and folded hands in lap.
“Don’t worry, Danno, I’ll be here,” Steve smiled and waited for the retort. None was forthcoming. Before he could poke his friend again the door swung open and two nurses walked in.
“Mr. Williams? I’m Michael and this is Stacy,” the male half began.
“Hi, Mr. Williams,” the definitely nervous woman said. “I’m here to do an arterial blood draw.” She clinked a couple bottles in her plastic crate.
“Why am I not feeling good about this,” Mr. Williams closed his eyes. Soon he was lying back down with both nurses checking out his arm for a good artery. Noting the tension that flooded his friend’s body Steve finally moved to the other side of the table and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Danny jumped, his eyes flew opened and pinpointed the other man. His mouth nearly engaged in a sarcastic retort but then his brain kicked in its two cents worth and he gave a restrained smile.
“I had one of those done when I came back up from an assignment in South America,” Steve began. “Can’t tell you how glad I was to get back to the states and a climate that didn’t include mosquitoes, pirana and tapirs. Not that the tapirs were that much of a problem, but it was mating season and they’d squeal constantly. And that nose is weird.” Danny had to laugh at the description.
“I’d think the sloths would be weird,” he commented.
“I was jealous of the sloths,” Steve said. “They got to sleep all the time and just hung around. Hated the stupid little monkeys, too. They’d follow me around and pelt me with shit.”
“Ok, that is disgusting,” Danny flinched as the needle was stuck into his wrist. Steve found himself shifting his other hand to his friend’s other shoulder.
“Anyway, I don’t know what I caught but I was sicker than a dog,” he said. “They had been hooked up to all sorts of antibiotics waiting for the various cultures to grow out.”
“Does not sound like a fun time,” Danny grimaced as another stick was inflicted. Steve took a moment to glare at the nurse who flinched in fear.
“It’s ok, Stacy, just carefully pull the needle back and see if you can pop into the artery,” Michael directed.
“Anyway, I was in the hospital two weeks, something about an odd tropical bug I picked up,” Steve resumed his narrative. “Lost like thirty pounds and took forever to build up my core.” Danny squirmed as yet another needle was inserted into his arm, right by his wrist.
“Son of a ...” Williams spat out as the needle was finally removed and pressure was put on the multiple sites.
“We’ll try the other arm,” Michael started to move around the bed. Steve glared at him, the snarl on his face definitively promised great bodily harm.
“Uhm, just watch me, Stacy!” the trainer deftly kneaded the arm and wrist and quickly selected his site. A lot of alcohol, bedatine then a smooth stick and the blood began pumping in to a small glass bottle. McGarrett turned his attention back to his friend and ignored the mini lesson going on.
“I hate blood draws, but these are even worse,” he commiserated.
“Yeah, have to agree with you on that,” Williams’ eyes remained closed. “Looks like I’m adding to my bruises.” Steve’s eyes swept over the two wrists.
“Kono and Chin are gonna be pissed,” he decided. “Doctors are suppose to make you better.” He only received a grunt as a reply. A second bottle was partially filled then three glass tubes.
“Going to leave any?” Steve asked sarcastically.
“Of course,” Michael tried for professional detachment. “Just need to put a little pressure on it and we’re done.” Thick pads were applied and taped down and the two scurried out in fear. The door swung open less than a minute later and Dr. Lewis strode back in.
“Scaring my phlebotomist, I see,” he accused as he pulled off the bandage on the much abused wrist. Blood was still oozing out and he raised it up and clamped another pad to it.
“I don’t like you using trainees on my partner, Doc,” Steve growled back.
“They need to learn,” he simply said as he waited for the puncture to close. “Then again, three misses is one too many. You’ll be adding to your bruises. Put an ice pack on it when you get home. It’ll help.” The wound was rechecked then a new pressure bandage was put on. Lewis checked the other site, but it was fine.
“I want to see you on Tuesday,” he said. “I’ll phone you about the tests results as needed.”
“Ok,” Danny managed. He finally opened his eyes and checked out his abused wrists. He felt like he was wearing white bracelets. Uncomfortable, ugly ones at that.
With a hand on his elbow Williams found himself guided out and put into the truck. At least he got his own seatbelt on! First stop was the pharmacy to drop off the scripts. Next was the market.
“So, what sounds good?” Steve asked. “Soup?”
“Yeah,” Danny confirmed without opening his eyes. “Get some of that chicken noodle in the red and white box and a couple cans of broth.”
“No chicken and stars?” McGarrett teased. He was treated to a sneer.
“No chicken and stars, super seal,” he retorted.
“Stay!” the super seal commanded.
“Woof,” Danny replied. With a snort Steve went into the market and secured soup and more sandwich fixings. He hurried not wanting to leave his charge alone too long.
He was a little taken aback when he came near the truck and didn’t see Williams. He looked around quickly but saw no trace of the man. Grabbing the door handle he pulled it open, planning to ditch the groceries and begin a hunt when his eyes fell upon a curled-up body on the seat.
“Jeezus!” he muttered as he put the bag on the floor. He pushed the cart to the corral and got into the truck. A gentle hand determined the man was still on the warm side and asleep. Retracing the path to the pharmacy he picked up the new bottles of meds and then drove back to his home.
“You'll be the death of me yet!” Steve muttered as he parked the truck.
Chapter 18 : Granma Williams’ French Toast
After sleeping away most of Friday a much better-looking 2IC was drying his hands.
“Geeze, ya think this was rocket science or something!” Danny complained as he moved through the kitchen, a quartet watching his every move.
“Danno! Uncle Chin and Kono just want to know how to make Granma’s toast!” Grace chided her father.
“Yeah, whatever,” a distracted hand waved through the air. He still couldn’t figure out how he’d been rooked into this. He pulled out various things from the fridge and put them on the table. Grace happily put them in proper order. Next he raided the spice rack and grabbed the sugar.
“Should use brown sugar,” his daughter pointed out.
“Yeah, but this isn’t Granma’s kitchen so we’ll go with what’s here,” he said as he grabbed a new bottle of vanilla Kono had brought from her apartment.
“What’s the difference?” Steve groused. “Sugar is sugar!” Everyone’s gaze locked on him as Danny’s hands summarily dismissed his ignorance.
“There’s a difference, boss,” Chin chided.
“Whatever, keep going,” the dark-haired commander shrugged.
Next a fresh bag of pecans appeared and a bag of blueberries from the freezer.
“You can use walnuts or whatever,” Danny said in a distracted tone.
“Peanuts DO NOT work,” Grace grimaced and pointed at the pad of paper. “They taste nasty in it!” Kono kept writing, making the notation, ‘no peanuts’.
A large baking dish joined the party then a mixing bowl and fork.
“No whisk?” Grace asked sadly.
“No whisk,” her father agreed somberly.
“For heaven’s sake, do I look like a whisk sort of guy?” Steve demanded. Again, four gazes descended on him. Four negative shakes of the head.
“Can’t all be perfect,” Danny mumbled, adding a nearly inaudible ‘stupid navy seal’. He received a 100 watt glare from the aforementioned man.
“Ok, here’s the way we do this,” Williams returned to the task at hand. “First, turn on the oven to 350 and grease the baking dish with butter.” He used a paper towel to spread butter over the entire interior of the glass dish. Once completed he grabbed the loaf of bread.
“You can use sourdough or wheat or white,” he stated. “Need a big loaf, ‘bout a pound.”
“Hey, what about Hawaiian bread?” Steve asked with a bright smile. Grace scoffed.
“No, that is, no!” she sounded like her father. “That is just so wrong!” Kono giggled as Chin tried not to; Danny high-fived his daughter. Ignoring his partner he began to tear the bread apart.
“Best if it’s a little stale,” he noted. “I left the bag open over night. You could cut it, but we prefer tearing it, right, monkey?”
“Yep!” she smiled once again, her pony tail slapping Steve in the face as she nodded energetically. They watched as Williams filled the casserole with bread being sure to spread it evenly, filling the entire dish.
Gracie pulled the filled container back and pushed the bowl towards her dad.
“Now you take eight eggs,” Danny quickly cracked and dumped the eggs into the bowl. Shells were put back into the carton and the fork was employed to whipped the eggs until well-blended and slightly frothy.
Kneeling on Steve’s lap (which nearly was his manly undoing) Grace opened the carton of whole milk and measured out two cups. This was added to the eggs followed by a small 8oz carton of heavy cream. Danny picked up the cinnamon first.
“About a half teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg and a generous teaspoon of vanilla,” he explained as the scribe continued writing down the recipe. “Pour this mixture over the bread.”
“Sometimes we do this the night before,” Grace pointed out, “so everything soaks in. But it’s good this way, too!”
“It’s more like a custard this way,” Danny explained. “Granma loved it, said it was more pudding than breakfast.” A fond smile wreathed his face, lighting his eyes. No one commented but instead enjoyed sharing the memory.
“Now sprinkle a few generous handfuls of nuts over the bread,” he spread them evenly over the top. “And then a small bag of frozen blueberries.” He spread this over the nuts.
“Can you use any other types of fruit?” Kono asked, pen poised.
“We’ve used raspberries, sliced banana and blackberries,” Grace said.
“What about pineapple?” Steve just had to ask and it wasn’t Danny who jumped on him.
“Stee-eeve!” Grace scolded. “That’s yucky!”
“Except if you used that weird Hawaiian bread and maybe coconut and macadamia nuts,” Danny considered. “It’d be totally weird, but I guess I could try it that way some other time. No nutmeg.”
Steve shot Gracie an ‘I told ya so’ look and she stuck her lower lip out in a pout.
“Children!” Chin rolled his eyes.
“One of ‘em has an excuse,” Kono added.
“I’d use brown sugar, normally, but white will work,” Danny chose the high road and ignored the side drama. He carefully sprinkled about a half-cup of sugar over everything.
“Then I dot the entire dish with a cut up stick of butter,” Williams quickly dispatched the entire cube into small squared chunks and divided it equally over the dish.
“Finally, slide it into the oven and let it bake about 45 to 60 minutes,” Danny finished off the recipe.
“You had bacon the last time,” Chin pointed out.
“Yeah, I bake it so it gets really crisp,” he said. “It only takes 15 to 20 minutes so I put that in later.” He started stacking dirty dishes but Steve stopped him.
“Sit, we have this,” he ordered as he stood holding Grace over his shoulder. The giggling child happily shifted into her daddy’s lap for a quick cuddle. Kono and Chin helped and soon the bacon was spread over wire and on a baking sheet. Coffee was poured and the team sat down at the table to wait.
“What else did Granma make?” Steve asked curiously. He watched as his partner curled his arms around his daughter. She moved a bit and leaned back into the love he offered.
“Granma made lots of stuff!” she answered. “Danno gave me her cookbook to copy! Mommy is helping me put it in a new book.”
“So it’s safe?” Steve looked carefully at his partner, knowing this was a difficult subject.
“‘course!” came the indignant reply. “I am careful!”
“Of course you are, monkey!” Danny brushed his lips over her hair.
“What else do you like that Granma made?” Kono put the conversation back on line.
“Apple crisp!” she answered quickly. “And macaroni and cheese! Danno! You can make that for dinner!”
“Sure, I can do that,” Danny could not deny his child. Of course, it was comfort food for him as well! With more prompting Gracie kept recounting food that was Granma’s. And Danny knew how to cook it; the possibilities were endless for the 5-0 team!
Bacon was put into the oven as the wonderful smell of cinnamon filled the air. As they impatiently waited Kono took a clean sheet of paper and made a list for the market. It looked like they’d be having a home cooked dinner as well!
“Cauliflower?” Steve asked incredulously, “since when does an 8 year old know about cauliflower?”
“It’s good with butter and salt!” she said crossing her arms and glaring at him. Kono once again snickered. This was a lot of fun! Chin took the pad from her and continued the newest list.
“Sharp cheddar cheese,” Danny continued, letting his partner and daughter glare at one another. “About a pound shredded. We already have some bacon and milk. Elbow macaroni, maybe 14 to 16 ounces.”
“Get some Hawaiian bread, macadamia nuts and coconut, too,” Steve growled. “Danno can make it my way tomorrow.”
“Ewww!” Grace just sneered and shook her head.
“Then get another pound of bacon, milk and a dozen eggs,” Williams sighed as he put his squirming offspring on his annoying partner’s lap and stood up. Chin quickly stood and pushed the ill man onto his chair and sat in the enemy engagement zone.
“Don’t you dare, McGarrett!” he shook a stern finger at the unhappy duo next to him. “Don’t make me sic Kono on you two!” The woman noted was now laughing hysterically while Danny was the epitome of calm and collected. He sipped at his coffee and ran his hand through his mussed up hair.
Fortunately the timer went off and breakfast was ready. Grace sprang up causing Steve to huff out a groan. Really, how did Danny hold the child without having his, uh, *that* kicked? He sucked in air while Chin and Danny exchanged sly grins.
Kono held it together long enough to pull food out of the oven and plate it. Grace carried it to the table making sure her Danno got the first plate. All was calm as the group settled down to eat.
“Cauliflower,” Steve mumbled at the little girl next to him.
“Hawaiian bread,” she shot back before taking a bite of the eggy goodness.
Breakfast done Danny was shooed out on the lanai to rest while clean up was accomplished. When the team came out they found him fast asleep with Grace awake on top of him. She gave the sweetest smile that made Steve forget all about cauliflower and squirming children.
“You want to go shopping with me?” Chin asked. Grace looked up at Steve.
“Only if Uncle Steve goes,” she decided. The man named smiled until the girl whispered to Kono she didn’t want him waking her daddy up.
“Tell you what, you, me and Uncle Steve will go,” she said. “I think Uncle Chin is a better choice to watch over Danny right now.” With a nod of agreement she asked Kono to carefully pick her up. Her father twitched a little but easily settled back into his nap.
Chapter 19: The Other Williams...
“But these are fine!” Steve whined. Grace shook her head, ponytail flying.
“No! They have to be brown eggs!” she insisted. “Danno says they’re best.”
“Eggs are eggs!” he retorted. Kono reached past him and snagged a box of cage-free organic brown eggs that were twice as much as any of the white ones.
“Yay!” Grace gave her aunt a huge smile. Steve just rolled his eyes. His pain in the butt partner wasn’t there but his daughter was certainly filling the gap. Bread had to be as close to expiring as possible; milk had to be from the back of the cooler to have the best date; ditto the pre-grated cheese; brown eggs!
He wondered how many types of cauliflower there was. As they entered the produce area he nearly died. Orange and green and white cauliflower!
“Kill me now,” he groaned. Kono started laughing.
“What?” the little girl asked. Steve just pointed at the produce and shut his eyes.
“Kewl!” she bounced forward and picked up a white head.
“Don’t you want the orange one? It’s three times as much,” Steve grumbled.
“Now you’re just being silly,” she said as she put the cauliflower into the cart.
“Me? I’m being silly?” he flustered. “This from the child who thinks brown eggs are better!” Grace rolled her eyes as dramatically as her father could.
Poor Kono was laughing so hard she thought she might herniate.
Finally the horrible ordeal was nearly over as they pushed the cart up to the front of the store.
“What about lunch?” Kono asked innocently. Grace’s face lit up as Steve’s darkened.
“Oooh! Soup! and sammiches!” the girl declared.
“What the h... heck is a sammich?” he had to ask.
“You know, bread and mayonnaise and mustard and lunch meat!” she asserted. “Sammiches!”
“That’s ‘sandwiches’,” Steve said loftily. Now Grace pouted.
“You probably call it ‘spaghetti’ instead of ‘sketti’!” she grumped.
“Sketti? Danny lets you say that? It’s spa-ghet-ti!” Steve annunciated clearly. Kono turned the cart around and headed back to the bread aisle. Unfortunately, that was the last straw for the youngster and she shut down much like her father and pressed against the woman.
Kono looked down at the saddest face. Stopping the cart she lifted Grace up and let her curl tight against her.
“Bring the cart McGarrett,” she ordered as she moved down the aisle and looked over the bread. She made several suggestions but Grace had gone silent, barely shrugging her indifference. Being rather obtuse, Steve happily latched onto some healthy whole wheat bread and tossed it into the cart.
Kono felt the slight shudder in the clinging body and reached out for some medium priced white bread. Slight nod.
“What’s wrong with whole wheat?” Steve grouched.
“Nothing, boss,” Kono replied testily. She walked away towards the deli meats. Again, no input from Grace. McGarrett went for a package of healthy, lean turkey.
“Baloney?” Kono whispered. A nod. “Beef? Light?” Another nod. This was tossed in. Steve finally realized something was amiss. Danno’s daughter was much too quiet.
Kono tossed in a package of shaved ham and then two different types of sliced cheese. She was very glad McGarrett had shut up!
“We have Danny’s favorite soup, chicken noodle,” Kono told her companion. “Steve bought a bunch yesterday, ok?” A little shrug. “And there’s stuff to spread on the bread.” The mission completed they headed back up to the cashiers.
The very quiet trio went back to the truck. Steve gave the keys to Kono.
“Drive,” he said as he lifted the bags into the truck bed. He climbed into the cab next to Grace. He remained quiet as Kono messed with all his mirrors and seat. Finally he put his hand on the girl’s shoulders.
“Sorry, Gracie,” he said. “I get... competitive sometimes.” She sniffed, thinking about the apology.
“Danno says you can be really annoying,” she finally agreed and leaned against the Navy seal, “but your heart’s in the right place.” She patted his chest.
Damn it all he wouldn’t get mushy!
He did put his arm fully around the girl and enjoyed her return to chattering about her dolls she had brought over to play with. Kono just smirked; she’d bet she knew who’d be playing dress up after lunch!
First Grace had to scurry outside to check on her father. Chin gave her an easy smile as she crept close. Before she knew it she was swept into Danno’s strong arms being hugged and tickled all at once. Steve leaned against the door jamb and grinned. There was so much love between those two it almost hurt.
His thoughts turned inward and he remembered his own mother cuddling him close. It was bittersweet; all her memories were and now with Chin’s revelation about his dead father’s cold case it actually hurt. With a frown he turned and went back into the house.
Danny noted that the Navy seal was more subdued that evening in the kitchen. They’d assembled once more to watch the Haole cook but it was quieter. Grace was narrating the recipe as her dad went to work. All the ingredients had been prepped in advance by the girl and her father. Pasta was draining over it’s original pot, the hot water keeping it pliable.
“Ok, first you fry up 6 slices of bacon that’s cut into one inch pieces,” she directed, “a small white onion diced and a clove of garlic minced.”
“How does a little girl like you know about dicing and mincing?” Kono teased. “My mom wouldn’t let me near the knives!”
“Mommy doesn’t,” Grace shrugged. “But Danno does.”
“Got to learn sometime,” the detective said with a shrug. He used a large wooden spoon to saute his ingredients together. The appetizing aroma filled the kitchen; the cousins leaned over to see the cooking in action.
“When it’s ready you put in three or four tablespoons of flour and stir it to soak up the fat and coat the ingredients,” Gracie continued sounding a lot like a professional announcer. Chin leaned back against the counter to write down the steps.
“Then milk,” she said. “Two to three cups. You haf’ta watch the roux and see how it thickens up.”
“Ok, just a minute, ‘roux’?” Steve finally had to weigh in. “I mean, maybe a chef knows what a roux is, but an 8-year-old and her Haole dad?” Chin and Kono just snickered.
“I know, and I expect to get grief from it,” Danny sighed as he moved the mixture around and started adding milk. “Pretend it’s sausage gravy.” Now Steve actually perked up.
“You can make sausage gravy?” he asked longingly, “with biscuits?”
“Of course Danno does!” Grace asserted. Danny’s head drooped dramatically.
“Know what’s for breakfast in two days,” he grumbled playfully.
“I’ll start a new list,” Chin said helpfully.
“I think you’re just keeping me here as your personal cook,” he muttered as he watch his roux form.
“Now add four cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and two cups of shredded Monterey Jack,” Grace picked up the narrative.
“You can use grated mozzarella cheese instead of the jack,” Danny inserted. “Or ricotta, makes it moister.” He stirred and then had Kono pour in the drained pasta.
“Now into the casserole,” she directed. “Sprinkle plain bread crumbs over the top.” Danny held the casserole out so she could put the crumbs on the mix.
“Into a 350• oven for 35 to 45 minutes,” Danny said as he slipped it in. “So everything is bubbly and the crumbs get crunchy.”
While dinner baked Danny rinsed and broke apart the cauliflower and put it in the steamer. That was put on the stove to cook. He found himself relegated to the table while the intrepid clean-up crew got into gear.
When it all came together they sat down to steaming plates of cheesy goodness and cauliflower. Danny looked at the table and the people surrounding him. He felt comfortable. This was his ohana, no doubt about it.
Chapter 20: Comfort Navy Seal Style
Steve found Danny alone in the kitchen fussing with the pan of bacon. Chin and Kono were in the front room playing with dolls. Chin insisted on being Ken which left nothing, in Steve’s mind, for him to be.
“What, big tough Navy Seal doesn’t do make believe?” Danny teased.
“I don’t do Barbie dolls,” he grumbled. “And Chin got to be Ken.” This caused his 2IC to burst into laughter.
“Poor guy, nearly forced into a girly roll,” he finished the bacon and slid it into the oven. The warm smell of Hawaiian french toast filled the kitchen. The coconut smelled wonderful and Steve breathed in the smell.
“Your grandma make anything special?” Danny asked as he straightened up. He noted his partner’s happy smile dimmed.
“Didn’t really know either grandmother,” he said. “My dad’s mom had left the islands before I was born and my mom and her mom were estranged.”
“Sorry,” Williams said and patted his shoulder.
“Mom would cook but I’ve forgotten most of it,” he said morosely. “After she died, dad just cleared out everything of hers. Within a month anything remotely mom was gone. He even replaced all the furniture.” A shudder coursed through the taller man as he tried to tamp down emotions threatening to escape.
“I had a few things put away, you know, hidden in my room. I learned, you know, ‘cause when Mary brought out a photo album Dad went silent and just took it away. We never found it,” he sighed a trembling sigh.
“And now I find out she was murdered...”
“Come here,” Danny said and grabbed the upset man in a half hug. Steve resisted at first then gave in and accepted the comfort. Soon he was leaning against his partner’s shoulder trying to pull himself together. Normally the Navy seal was much more in control but the memories flooded back and he missed his mom terribly.
Danny ran his free hand in soothing circles over his friend’s back. If a few tears managed to dot his shirt he said nothing, simply made soft, comforting noises. He’d done this for Gracie many times over.
Chin nearly entered the kitchen but froze at the door. He saw his boss leaning against his 2IC definitely upset about something. Whatever happened Steve’s defenses were down and he was accepting help, something that was difficult for both Danny and Steve. He quietly backed out and returned to the doll game.
Kono gave him a quizzical look and he shook his head as he picked up Ken.
“So, Skipper, do you think Barbie will go to the dance with me?” he asked the doll in Grace’s hands. With a happy grin the doll answered in the affirmative and they fell to discussing what gifts the boy could bring to his girlfriend.
“I’m not into cuddling,” Steve grumbled as he pulled a little away from his friend.
“Nope, same here,” Danny replied and firmly pulled the slightly trembling man back against his shoulder. “And for your information, Navy ninja seal, this is comforting, not cuddling. This is what you do when your friend is hurting.” He continued rubbing the stiff back until it relaxed and Steve shifted into a more comfortable position.
“You know me, Chin and Kono are gonna help you find out who hurt your mom,” he said. “And we got your back. And it’s pretty safe to assume Gracie’s got plenty of hugs for you, too.” Steve gave a shaky chuckle as he accepted the comfort.
“And now you’ve got a little of Granma Williams’ love, we’ll add Hawaiian french toast to the recipe book,” he continued. Anytime you need a happy memory, me and Grace can whip up a batch!”
“Ok,” came the short reply. A timer went off and he pulled back trying to surreptitiously wipe away tear trails. Danny gave him a shove.
“Go, wash your face,” he pointed to the sink and turned to the oven.
“I just gotta ask,” Steve mumbled through the towel as he dried his face. “How come you can give comfort but not take it?”
“Gracie,” he said with a shrug. “I had pretty much closed myself off. Let’s just say Rachel could cuddle but couldn’t do the comfort thing. And mom was not into comforting males.” Danny pulled out the tray of bacon and set it aside then reached in for the french toast.
“So when Grace was born?” Steve prompted. Danny smiled.
“How could anyone resist their own child?” he said, “my mom excluded,” he added bitterly. He gave himself a shake. “Granma was my comforter. Her and Grace. Well, until you guys showed up with your ohana thingy.” He waved his hand in a distracted manner and set plates next to the food.
“BREAKFAST!” he called out and heard the answering cheers.
Steve tossed the towel on the counter and walked up to the Haole that had worked his way into his family. With firm hands he swung the shorter man around and pulled him tight into a hug, his head resting easily on Danny’s head.
“That’s right, you damned Haole,” Steve grumbled as he felt his friend stiffen then relax. “You are my ohana.”
Grace was the first through the door and with a happy squeal ran up to the two men and demanded to be included. Steve picked her up and snuggled her against Danny before crushing both of them in one more hug.
“Sit, we’ll dish it up,” he growled and propelled the father/daughter duo to the table.
Last through the door, Kono wasn’t sure what was going on but the smile on Chin’s face was warm and content. She’d have to cross-examine her cousin later.
By the time breakfast was over even Gracie had to admit Hawaiian french toast was good. While clean-up was happening Kono started putting together sandwiches.
“I figure I want to go out to surf, maybe Ala Moana?” she suggested. Steve looked over at her.
“Might not be the best choice, Kono,” he cautioned as he glanced at Danny.
“Waves still bamboocha over there?” the Haole asked in a vaguely interested tone.
“Yups, best spot on the island right now,” she replied.
“Well, then, we should go over there and shoot the curls,” he said with a small smile. “Long as Grace can build sand castles and I can stay dry.”
“Stay dry?” Steve grinned. “That a challenge?”
“Only way this Haole is getting wet is if I help build moats,” he replied. “I’m too sore and I think the doctor was specific about ‘rest’.” Steve backpedaled.
“You can go only if you stay in your lounge and supervise the castle building,” he determined. “You still are waiting for the cultures to grow out.”
“Should he be going out at all?” Kono became concerned as she wrapped up another sandwich.
“He’s still on antibiotics,” Chin threw in. “He’ll need shade.”
“And he’s sore,” Grace added.
“I am sitting right here,” Danny growled. And was ignored.
“If we pack the umbrella and use the strongest spf,” Steve considered the logistics.
“And he doesn’t do anything but sit,” Kono added.
“He can wear a long-sleeved shirt over a tank,” Grace said.
“Towel over his legs,” Chin chimed in.
“I should have never agreed,” Danny groaned as he covered his face.
Which was why, about an hour later, he found himself back at Ala Moana nestled on a lounge under an umbrella slicked up with spf 50 thank you very much and watching his daughter digging near the water line. Kono and Steve were already doing their surfing thing and Chin was happily reading a mystery book next to him.
Before he knew it he was drifting off.
This time there were no problems. Chin quietly supervised his niece as she searched for shells for her castle. He was kneeling in the sand shoring up the moat walls when Steve came in and dripped all over them.
“Ste-eve!” Grace whined.
“Ste-eve!” Chin parroted.
The man named ‘St-eve’ shook his hair spraying more drops over the construction crew. Then he joined them in the castle building project.
Which was how Danny found them an hour later when he woke up. Reaching over he picked up Chin’s camera and started snapping pictures. He looked out over the waves and picked out Kono as she started a ride. The camera came back into play as he zoomed in on the surfer.
Once she finished she paddled in looking for lunch. She found her cousin and boss decorating castle walls with shells and stones under Grace’s direction. With a smirk she walked past them and settled in the chair next to a now-awake Danny.
“So, they got the castle-building bug?” she asked as she dried off.
“Think it’s more the Grace-bug,” he said with a fond smile. “She has them wrapped around her finger.” Kono chuckled. Soon lunch was being consumed (after the sand-builders washed up).
“You have to be back to mom by 3, monkey,” Danny reminded her.
“Ok!” she grinned at him. They finished up and were loaded into the truck in no time.
Rachel was somewhat surprised to see her daughter back on time; she fully expected Steve to call to extend the weekend. But there she was, face wreathed in a smile, as Danno dropped her off.
“How are you feeling?” she asked cordially.
“Been better,” Danny admitted, “healing. Thanks for letting Gracie come over for the games and weekend.”
“You’re welcome,” Rachel gave a small smile. “One thing I learned living with you, don’t get between a Mets fan and his team.” He smiled at that, patted Grace on the head and turned to leave.
“Danno loves you, monkey,” he said quietly.
Chapter 21: Of Rabbits and Beer
Monday brought a new antibiotic and admonition from the doctor for Danny to rest. The fever was gone but there were some ‘bugs’ in his culture and he wanted his patient to allow his body to heal.
So Williams found himself sequestered on the couch whilst his team mates did laundry and generally tidied the house. At one point a basket of clothing was dumped in front of him. He picked up someone’s boxers and sneered.
“How do I tell ‘em apart?” he muttered.
“Mine have flowers on ‘em,” Kono helpfully told him.
“Shit,” he tossed the offensive thing back. With a laugh the woman sat beside him and handed him a t-shirt.
“I know Chin’s stuff; we do laundry together all the time,” she said.
“And Steve’s?” Danny asked.
“Not this load,” she said. Now Williams’ sported a horrified look.
“No, just no!” he squeaked. “You did NOT put my stuff in with his!!!” This sent Kono into howling with laughter.
“Oh crap! I’m never gonna wear underwear again!” he covered his face, completely mortified.
“Ok, that’s TMI!” Steve declared as he pulled the vacuum into the room. Kono kept giggling as she shoved Chin’s t-shirt back at Danny. They sat in relative silence (well, occasional giggles or groans, depending) folding while the vacuum whipped around the room.
Soon a second basket was delivered by Chin and the original taken away. Now Danny’s blushed anew as Kono expertly sorted the boxers into two piles, shoving his pile towards him.
“You act like you never did laundry before,” she scolded him.
“Uh, it’s a family of origin thingy,” he said with an agitated wave of his hand. “Mom was kind of picky.” He thought a moment, “Ok, she was really weird about laundry and stuff. I can handle washing Gracie’s stuff with mine when I get her for a longer visit. And I helped Rachel when we were married. But after the divorce and all I guess Mom’s programming took back over.”
“Your mom have some issues?” she gently pressed. If Danny was going to let his barriers down she’d be willing to listen.
“More like several big magazine racks. I didn’t think so growing up,” he said, “I mean, it was different when I was at Granma’s but I just figured it was normal.”
“Like what,” she asked, “unless I’m being too nosy.”
“Well, laundry was done separately. And we all had our own soap,” he said.
“I can understand that, I mean, my mom and dad used different types of soap,” Kono pointed out.
“Same brand of soap. Each one in a plastic box with our names on them, in the shower, the tub and by each sink,” he admitted. “I used to be confused when I went to friends’ homes. There’d be one bar and I wasn’t sure what to do.” He stacked up his boxers and started on t-shirts.
“At least you don’t go to that extreme,” she said.
“Like I told Steve, it’s different with your own child,” he shook out the sage green shirt.
“Who chose this one out?” he asked as he looked at the subtle wave design.
“Chin,” she shrugged. “He’s better about picking things out a person would actually like. Me and Steve, we wanted to do more bold prints.”
“Thank god for Chin,” Danny said as he folded the shirt and reached for another.
“When you’re cleared we’ll go shopping,” Kono offered. “The Governor has a tailor with your measurements and has matched some of your suits. Maybe you’ll relent and let him use lighter cloth in deference to the climate.” Danny snorted.
“Yeah, suppose so,” he said. “But I’d prefer to shop with Chin. You’re too much like Grace; I’d be decked out in florals and touristy stuff if I let you come!” She pretended to take offense and huffed at him.
“You’d look cute in hibiscus prints, Danny!” she insisted. “Yellows and pinks to highlight your skin tone.” He put the basket over her head.
“That’s a good look on ya, cuz,” Chin said as he came back to claim the folded laundry.
“Williams is being mean!” she pouted from under the plastic weave.
“You’re the one threatening me with pink and yellow flowery shirts!” he exclaimed. Chin lifted the basket and eyed Kono.
“Did you?” he asked.
“He’d be cu-ute!” she whined. And was rewarded with the basket plopped back on her head.
“Don’t worry, bro, got your back,” Chin said as he bumped fists with Danny. “Let’s go put your stuff away.”
“There’s an away?” Danny asked surprised.
“Yeah, away,” Chin nodded. “Steve’s got a couple spare rooms and we’ve set one up for you for the time being.”
“One for me?” he parroted.
“One for you until we can help you find a new place,” Chin reassured him and led him into the room where he’d been sleeping. “I’ve been camped-out here, but when things return to what passes for normal in a couple days you’ll sleep here.”
Danny entered the bedroom. It was clean and airy, the windows open letting in the ocean breeze. Full of sunlight. Simple furniture and a double bed. Chin pulled open drawers and slipped his load of clothing in.
“I can stay here?” he asked tentatively.
“Yea, you can stay here,” Chin smiled warmly. “Danny, you’re ohana. You’d be with me and Kono if we had more room. You’ll be safe here. When you’re ready we’ll look for a better apartment or condo for you. Nearer to us.” Williams sank down on the bed still clutching his t-shirts.
“Ok,” he said faintly.
“Ok!” Chin repeated as he took the t-shirts away and put them in another drawer. “Now, you need to eat before we give you the next round of antibiotics. What about some soup and a sammich?” Danny looked up curiously.
“Sammich?” he prompted. Chin blushed slightly.
“Grace’s fault,” he returned. “She calls ‘em that. Said you did too.”
“Yeah,” Williams grinned. “We do. Never thought you guys, especially Mr. Ninja Seal, would.”
“We-ell, to be honest, Boss man did have a little problem at first,” Chin admitted not wanting to disclose what Kono had told him about the market run. “But you know your Grace, she had him sayin’ sketti before the day was out.”
A soft, loving look painted Danny’s eyes as he thought of his daughter. The next thing he knew a hand was offered and he was pulled up. Following Chin they ended up in the kitchen. While the older detective fussed with the soup, Williams pulled sammich fixings out and assembled a stack for the team.
Wanting a little more, actually being hungry, he then dispatched several pieces of fresh fruit into a bowl. Papaya, banana, mango and melon created a pleasing salad. Chin smirked and quickly cut up pineapple to add to it.
“Hey! Don’t go ruining a good thing!” Danny protested, a grin on his lips.
“You can eat around it!” Chin tossed back with an equally silly smile. “And for a guy from Jersey I’d like to know how come you can cut up papaya and mango but not pineapple.”
“Never said I couldn’t,” the smirk was back. “Just don’t unless Gracie asks.”
“Ah,” Chin gave an all-knowing smile.
Soon Kono and Steve wandered in and found lunch just about ready. Iced tea was poured out and large mugs of soup made their way to the table. Sammiches were looked over and selected.
“Oooh, fruit salad!” Kono grinned happily as she speared some papaya. “Good idea, cuz!”
“Eh, the Haole made it,” Chin shrugged and the other two members of the team looked over at Danny.
“Ok, that’s it!” Steve exclaimed. “I am so keeping you at home to cook for us!”
“I don’t clean...” Danny glared.
“Don’t need you to clean,” Kono said as she took a large bite of a ham sammich. “Need dinner on the table and my lunch packed!” Williams just groaned as he pulled up a spoonful of broth.
“And a hot breakfast!” Steve added. “Most important meal of the day!” Danny tried a more icy glare.
“If I fed you every day like the last few days you’d lose your super ninja moves,” Williams pointed out. “You’d be the 5-0 sumo team in no time flat!”
“Which would leave our Haole in charge of 5-0,” Chin mused. “Yeah, I can see that!” Now Steve and Kono looks hardened.
“Just sayin’, bros, a couple more french toast breakfasts and you’ll be tubbos in the makin’,” Chin said, nonchalant. Now he was the recipient of twin glares, (Danny was grinning, though). Chin moved to take his plate to the sink.
“I think it’s time for a little run,” Steve stretched his arms over his head, predatory smirk on his face.
“Yes, that’s a good idea,” Kono agreed. “We need to work off the ‘sammiches’.” They turned their eyes to Chin. Who could read them clearly.
“Oh no, I am not gonna be your rabbit!” he put his hands up in protest.
“Hmmm, a rabbit,” Steve considered. “Think cuz would be a good rabbit?”
“Oh, definitely! And to make it more... interesting, did I ever tell you just how ticklish he is?” Kono smirked. Chin paled slightly.
“No! No way!” he complained as he edged out of the kitchen.
“Just how ticklish is he?” Danny asked as he speared some more fruit.
“Enough that he’ll be our rabbit,” Kono said as she gracefully stood up. “Boss?”
“After you, ma’am.” Steve bowed in deference.
“Guess I get clean up,” Danny sighed as he looked at the table.
By the time the two made it to the back door Chin was long gone, just a few footprints in the sand blending into the jumble already there. They jogged out onto the edge of the beach and scanned in both directions.
“There,” Steve shaded his eyes and pointed south, the same way Danny had gone when he’d run into Kamekona. Chin had a decent head start and it would require some work to catch up.
Kono and Steve were soooo there!
Danny was elbow deep in suds cleaning the casserole when Chin sauntered back into the kitchen and picked up a towel and started drying.
“You guys back so soon? Not even gone half an hour,” Williams commented. Chin smirked.
“I’m done, they’re not,” he snickered. Danny turned and took in the smug expression.
“Ok, bro, give,” he said as he handed over the clean dish. Chin pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and wagged it playfully.
“Kono and da Boss, they have skills,” Chin detailed. “Steve has more, but Kono, she can wipe my ass.”
“Mine too,” Danny agreed. “Got to keep on the girl’s good side.”
“But you and me, we top ‘em in intelligence and street smarts,” he continued.
“Oh, this oughta be good,” Danny’s smile spread.
“Let’s see, I called a couple friends that enjoy running,” Chin began. “May have let slip what I was wearing.” They looked at the dark blue board shorts and sky blue shirt.
“Might also have mentioned I was being chased and that I’d appreciate a little help,” he finished.
“So, you have two friends strategically placed on the beach running ahead of Steve and Kono,” Danny summed up.
“Yea, wanna bet when they figure it out?” Chin grinned.
“I love ya, bro! That’s sooo evil,” Danny said. “They’ll be gone for hours!”
It was about an hour into the chase that Kono pulled on Steve’s shoulder causing him to stop. They’d caught up with Chin for the second time and for the second time it wasn’t Chin!
“Something’s not right, Boss,” she panted out. “Chin is in good shape, but not that good!” Steve bent over to suck in air. They’d sprinted to catch up and he’d pushed himself hard.
“So, *pant pant* what d’ya think happened?” he asked.
“Gonna find a phone and call Danny,” she decided. Before she could look around Steve pulled out his own phone and handed it to her. She flipped it open and speed dialed their Haole.
“mmm, Steve?” a sleepy voice came over the speaker phone.
“Did I wake you?” Kono felt guilty.
“mm uh, no. The phone started makin’ a racket,” Danny said. “Steve changed my ring tones again.”
“Hey, aikane, you *pant* seen Chin?” Steve butted in. He could hear his 2IC rustling around.
“Yeah, he’s on the chair watching the game with me. Looks like Steelers and Saints,” Danny responded with a yawn.
“Been there long?” his voice hardened in suspicion.
“Gosh, Steve, I’ve been here over an hour,” Chin said innocently. “Kind of lost sight of you two and figured I’d head back and help Danny with the dishes.”
“YOU’VE BEEN HOME OVER AN HOUR!!!!?” Kono shrieked.
“Yeah, thirty minute run was enough for me,” he said with a laugh. “Now I’m nursing a beer and munching while I watch the Saints trash the Steelers.”
“Where you guys at?” Danny pushed himself upright on the couch.
“Just past the center,” he grouched.
“ooh, you’re about ten miles out! Great run, cuz!” Chin snickered.
A long string of curses filled the air.
“Should drive down to get you?” Danny asked.
“Fuck yes!” Steve answered. “We’ll be in the sports’ bar. Bring some money.” With a final growl he snapped the phone shut.
“Damn, he got us good!” Kono grumbled as she straightened up.
“Yeah,” Steve said grudgingly. He stretched his back, vertebra popping into place. Waving his hand they started back up the beach towards the bar.
Chin made sure Danny felt up to the trip, taking his elbow and guiding him out to the truck. Although the fever was gone the man was still weak, his body fighting the infection. He wasn’t quite sure this was a good idea, but he knew the Haole needed to be around his family.
Fortunately he found a close parking space and pulled the truck into the slip. He moved around and made sure to brace Danny as he slid down onto the pavement. It was telling that the normally stubborn man didn’t complain but actually nodded his thanks.
Entering the cool bar they easily located Steve and Kono at a table next to the open windows. As they neared Chin pulled out both wallets and tossed ‘em in front of the appropriate people. Kono was sulking as she ripped her ID out of her wallet. Chin grinned.
“Ah, got carded cuz?” he teased.
“Shut the fuck up,” she stomped off towards the bar. He eased Danny into the seat closest to the window and sat down by him.
“Have a good run?” Danny asked innocently. Steve glared.
“Uh, beer, Haole?” Chin asked.
“Yeah, sounds good,” he answered. “Snag a menu, want to eat a little.” Before the older man could move a very lovely waitress stepped up and handed Danny a menu with a tempting smile.
“Ah, thank you, miss!” he said as he accepted the menu.
“I’m Mae, what can I get for you two gentlemen?” she perked.
“Oh, they’re gentlemen and me and Kono were bums?” he growled. She raised an eyebrow and gave him a disdainful look.
“You come in all sweaty and sandy from da beach and expect us to give you a beer without id or money?” she asked incredulous.
“We’ll vouch for them,” Danny said sincerely, getting additional brownie points and a big smile from the waitress. Steve grumbled and looked up as Kono came back, beerless and glowering as well.
The waitress made a show of checking her card then noted down their order. Danny wanted nachos and coconut shrimp.
“You pregnant?” Steve snapped. “Weird combo, Haole!” The waitress frowned.
“You got a problem, mister? I can have you shown out!” she was quick to defend the nice gentleman and waved towards a rather large man by the door.
“It’s ok, he’s harmless,” Danny said. “I’ve been ill and it’s been hard to find food that sounds good to eat. It is a strange combination.” He looked frail and the waitress melted a little more.
“Well, only because you say so I’ll let him stay,” she acquiesced, “but I’m watching you, buddy!” She glared at Steve. As she moved off Danny’s face fell forward on to the table as his shoulders shook. Chin leaned over him quivering in laughter. It was rare to pull one over Steve so thoroughly. All he could do was sit and glare.
Kono looked at the three, Steve’s anger versus Chin and Danno’s helpless laughter.
“You know, I think they both got us,” she said with a sniff. Then a giggle and finally laughter.
“All three of you are soo dead!” he growled. His threat was ruined by the smile that filled his face and the snickering that ensued. “And I want wings!”
When Mae came back with their drinks Chin put in Steve’s request.
“You have the money to cover that?” she asked the Navy seal. He opened his wallet and shuffled through it.
He flipped through looking for his credit card. It wasn’t there.
“Uh...” he hedged. Danny pulled out his wallet and handed her his card.
“It’s ok, I said I’d cover him,” he said benignly. Accepting his card she looked over at Steve.
“You’d better be nice, bro, I told Jim to watch,” she warned the Navy seal.
“Eh, his bite is worse than his bark,” Chin said. We’ll take care of him. With a final glare she turned, stopped and turned around.
“Bite worse than his bark?” she queried. Steve gave his best predatory grin.
“Yep, you’d rather have him barking, trust us,” Danny said as he lifted his bottle towards Steve. Mae scurried off. Turning his smile into something more friendly he clinked his 2IC’s bottle. Chin and Kono raised theirs as well.
“To ohana,” Danny proposed.
“Ohana,” the other three intoned.
Chapter 22: Epilogue
The first few days back for Danny were slow, full of paperwork and cold cases. Not that he could complain. He felt like he was in a fishbowl and the entire world was watching him and the team.
He had to fight the desire to stick out his tongue.
Of course, Steve being Steve, the Navy seal had no qualms in glaring at all the speculative looks towards them, and especially Danny. By the third day the testosterone was so thick Chin was going to suggest some time down on the gym floor when a case came up.
Gun runners. Word on the street was a big shipment was coming in from the mainland. As the coconut wireless heated up Chin and Kono did some information gathering from Kamekona while Steve and Danny decided to scout along the suspect dock.
Steve moved ahead, exceedingly happy to be doing something. Even more pleased to have his partner backing him up. Bitching, of course, about procedures under his breath, but there none-the-less.
Skirting under the large, smudged windows on the water side of the third warehouse, McGarrett took up residence on the hinged side of the door nodding to his still-grumbling 2IC. A silent three count and the door was forced open and they heard the scrambling sound of shoes.
“5-0, drop your weapons!” Steve called out in his forceful tones. More scurrying and a few shots rang out embedding in the doorway.
“Damn, back in the saddle again,” Danny growled as he went low and Steve went high. Their guns sang out finding two targets. After watching his colleagues go down, the third man simply tossed his gun and raised his hands.
With Steve covering, Williams handcuffed the ambulatory suspect then proceeded to check out the other two men and picking up loose guns. Pulling out his phone he called for ambulance and HPD back up.
Chin and Kono made it first, their tires laying rubber as they screeched to a halt and entered the warehouse.
“See that you’ve found receiving, eh?” the older detective said as he holstered his weapon and looked over the entire scene. He knew his team would keep their eyes on the perps.
“Looks like we found something,” Steve grunted. In the distance the sound of sirens wailed, both paramedics and police. Soon the warehouse was filled with HPD’s finest opening crates and cataloging both stolen merchandise and weapons.
Once the perps were secured Danny began his harangue about procedures and the myriad ways “Super Seal” had messed up. Kono nudged her cousin and they shared a fond smile.
“I thought someone took care of that asshole,” an HPD officer growled.
“Yeah, why does McGarrett put up with that shit?” another added.
“Maybe because Detective Williams is correct?” Chin said firmly. Both officers looked at him in disbelief.
“We’ve all heard about that haole!” the first man said. “Even you don’t like him!” Now Kono looked at them and stepped closer.
“Who told you that?” she asked. “Names, we want to know who’s been spreading this crap!” The confrontation drew the attention of the surrounding officers as well as Steve and Danny.
“Uh, just heard it around the station,” he stammered. “Common knowledge.” Now Chin stepped forward as McGarrett and Williams came over.
“So you admit you’re spreading malicious gossip about MY PARTNER?!” he poked the offending officer in the chest. Now all the people in the warehouse were staring at the confrontation.
“Well, everyone knows he disrespects his commanding officer!” the man hedged. “We’d never act like that!”
“So you want to tell Lt. Cmdr. McGarrett how his reckless disregard for securing a site before entering and waiting for back-up could have messed up this entire mission?” Danny slid in front of Chin and stared coldly into the officer’s eyes.
“I’m just sayin you could be more respectful,” the HPD officer said, “Uh, sir.”
“Respectful? I’m layin’ it out in terms he understands!” Williams. “This isn’t some fancy tea party out on the lawn.”
“I’m sure I’d screw that up, too,” McGarrett said as he squared up beside his 2IC.
“Just sayin’, you’d stand a better chance,” Danny said.
“If Grace coached me, but still...” Steve muttered.
“Gracie would be happy to coach ya,” the shorter man shrugged.
“So Saturday, maybe we should give it a try,” Steve suggested.
“Hey, don’t think I forgot I’m mad at you for barging in without backup!” Danny turned, the annoying HPD officer edging away.
“Yeah, heaven forbid you should do that, Danno!” the Navy Seal rolled his eyes as he put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. They were walking off, William’s hands describing complicated circles, mouth running a mile a minute. The cousins turned to face the other officers.
“Danny Williams is our Haole, our ohana,” Chin annunciated very clearly.
“If we hear anymore of your crap,” and Kono reached out pulling on the nearest officer’s badge, “Officer Kenau, we will definitely be filing complaints.”
“And possibly rearrange your ass-sets,” Chin promised.
The entire HPD group stared in silence as the twosome turned and followed their team out of the warehouse. As soon as they all cleared the door the talking resumed.
“Those 5-0 guys all hammajang!” the first officer said.
“You right there, bruddah,” his partner said as they bumped fists.