It’s four in the morning when Steve’s cell phone rings. He lets out a sleep-addled growl, despite being in his human form, and turns over. Instead of picking up the phone, he chooses to shove a pillow down over his head. The ringing stops, but then it starts again. It stops, but only to give Danny’s phone a chance to join the fray, creating more noise than is decent for this hour of the morning. Steve takes the frantic calling order as a sign that he’s not actually allowed to ignore it anymore.
He throws the pillow across the room, fumbling over Danny’s torso to grab the phone from the nightstand.
“Stop groping me,” Danny complains, but when he shifts, it’s only closer to Steve, encouraging him to keep touching him. “And would you answer my phone the next time it rings?” he pleads, yawning as he does. “It’s probably the Governor yelling at us. Or Jenna. Or your sister. Or my ex-wife…” Danny’s words trail off into a snore.
Steve elbows him hard, delighting in the yelp it earns. If he’s not getting to sleep at four in the morning, then neither is Danny.
“McGarrett,” he says as he answers, aware that no phone call at this hour of the morning is bringing good tidings. “I see. Yes, ma’am. … No. I’ll send Kono and Danny immediately. I promise you that we’ll have a lead as soon as humanly possible.”
Danny peers up blearily at Steve’s pause and Steve screws up his face before rolling his eyes.
“No, ma’am, that wasn’t a pun.”
Danny doesn’t bother to stifle his amused snort. Steve knows that there’s a finite amount of time before the words kick in and he realizes that Steve isn’t tagging along for the governor’s request.
“Whoa, wait, hey!” Danny pipes up as soon as Steve hangs up. “What the hell? Why am I the one getting four in the morning duty?”
Steve’s on his feet by the time Danny turns over, performing his usual attempt to curl back into the covers and ignore the day. Once Steve’s fully dressed, he starts his morning routine and pushes at Danny with his toes, poking at the hip, the stomach, moving his way up to the chest.
“Shut up and come back to bed.”
“And are you going to deal with the pissed off fae?”
That manages to get Danny’s attention. “It’d be so much easier to fall back asleep if I didn’t believe she could rip out my eye sockets from half the world away with a single thought,” he grumbles, snapping his fingers and gesturing to his socks. “Fetch.”
“So you’re scared of the Governor, but me? I’m your puppy?” Steve scoffs, but he does fetch the socks and drops them on Danny’s face.
“She doesn’t make as many cute wuffling sounds when I rub her belly,” Danny sleepily deadpans. “And, I repeat, eye gouging.”
“You know that she can’t do that,” Steve replies, fetching Danny’s pants before Danny can make it an actual command.
Danny sits up, still slightly unsteady as he seeks to find some kind of alertness at this god awful hour of the morning. “No,” he counters. “No, I do not know if she can’t do that, which is why fae are so completely terrifying. I don’t know if she can rip out of my eyes with a snap of her fingers or if she’s going to melt my insides because I didn’t requisition weapons properly.”
“Considering you’re still half-asleep,” Steve murmurs as he crawls back onto the bed on all fours, “You’re disturbingly well-reasoned.”
“I sleep-argue,” Danny says tiredly, eyes still only half open. “Pretty sure you should have figured that one out by now, babe.” He stares blearily at the clock before turning his attention back to Steve. “Where am I going?”
“Morgue,” Steve says apologetically, brushing a kiss across Danny’s lips. “I’d come, but...”
“But I’d rather not have the contents of your stomach end up on Max’s floor. Right.”
“Actually, I think that’s what Max would want.”
“Do not be this picky at this hour of the morning,” Danny complains, zipping up his pants and reaching out for his button-down, fumbling with matching the sides as he tries to turn himself into something resembling a professional human being. He’s dressed, but he’s still sitting amidst the rumpled sheets of the bed, staring at Steve with a forlorn expression. “Why can’t we send Jenna?”
“Because if we did, you’d bitch later about not having had eyes on the body,” Steve replies fondly, cupping Danny’s cheeks so he can hold him in place and press a slow kiss to his lips – the kind of inviting and tempting thing that would coax Danny to stay in bed for the rest of the morning. Given that Danny has to get up and go to the morgue, of all places, it’s dirty play.
Danny pushes Steve off. “If Max picks up on your lurid thoughts, I’m billing you for the therapy session I’m going to.”
“Centuries old and you’re still put off by a psychic,” Steve says with amazement.
Danny shakes his head. “No, uh uh, no way. I am not put off by psychics. I have had many relationships, healthy ones, with psychics in my long and storied past, but Max Bergman is a class of his own,” he grumbles, accepting the tie from Steve and his sword, taking care to ensure that it’s properly secured. “You gonna be up for it when I get back later?”
“Depends. Are you coming back here after you see the victim?” Steve replies.
“After you got me going like this, I can’t see why not,” Danny says, cracking his neck to loosen the tension from his favorite sleeping position (which typically involves crawling all over Steve’s body). “Is Kono meeting me there?”
Steve nods, appraising Danny slowly and with intent.
“Okay, fine,” Danny grumbles, sliding his cell phone into his pocket and grabbing Steve by the hair to tug him close, just enough to hurt – Steve knows how Danny’s mind works. This is some kind of twisted punishment to get back at him for getting Danny riled up. He gives Steve a playful push backwards. “If you aren’t naked when I get back here, I’m muzzling you.”
“Kinky,” Steve murmurs. “And promising.”
Danny groans and drags his feet as he heads out for the morgue. Steve ducks his head down, grinning as grabs one of Danny’s ties to bring back to bed with him, keeping his mate’s scent close until Danny gets home and they finish the physical conversation they didn’t get a chance to finish.
“Why isn’t Steve here?”
Danny grunts, trying not to pay too much attention to the fact that he’s currently sitting outside the coroner’s office and he can’t see because Max insists on keeping the lights down low – the ‘sensitivity’ of his ‘visions’ means that no one gets proper reading light around this place. “Sense of smell,” Danny replies. “Same reason Chin’s not here. So, you, as the rookie, can either become a werewolf or vampire or you can keep spending your time with me at the morgue,” he says cheerfully.
“You’re too happy for this hour of the morning,” Kono mumbles.
Danny opens his mouth, a waiting joke ready to be deployed.
“If you say a single word about how it’s Steve’s fault, I will prove that I can behead you with nothing more than a nail file,” she cuts him off before he even gets a chance.
“Fair enough.” Danny sighs and lets his head thunk back against the wall behind the waiting chairs they’re in. It’s too early in the morning for any of this, especially when Max refuses to give all the details over the phone. “If he’s in one of his freaky meditative states that takes up the whole morning, I’m expensing a gallon of coffee,” Danny says blearily, adjusting his seat and his sword in tandem. “This is ridiculous.”
“Actually, Detective Williams,” Max interrupts, having managed to sneak up on them without making a sound (and Danny’s good enough to hear the skittering of a mouse), “I believe it’s merely common decency. I was performing my daily tea leaf reading ritual in order to make my predictions for the next week.”
“Yeah?” Danny retorts. “So, chance of showers tomorrow?”
He knows better than to poke a psychic in the side, but he’s tired and Steve begged off on this so quickly that Danny wants to figure out the best (and most thorough) way to punish him.
“No, but I believe you will experience a great darkening in your own personal skies in the coming weeks,” Max says. He’s been vague since the first time he and Danny met. Danny doesn’t really think he’s going to get that to change anytime soon. “I’m ready to discuss the case, now. Come inside, but mind your step. I dealt my deck on the floor today. I thought it might bring a change in the cards.”
Kono looks to Danny warily, stepping forward. “Why? Have they been bad?”
“They’re confusing,” is Max’s quiet response. “I like things to make sense and I haven’t been able to find anything in my latest readings that seems right.” Danny doesn’t know why Max keeps looking at him the whole time he’s talking, but it’s unnerving, to say the very least. “Come along. I think you’ll find we’ve got a very slippery case on our hands.”
Danny’s ready to ask ‘why’ when Max tugs off the sheet covering the cadaver and the question is answered for him. The scales glint brightly, even in the dim light of the room.
“Slippery,” Kono echoes, faintly amused. “Nice one, Max.”
“This is what, the third in as many weeks?” Danny clarifies, leaning over the mermaid to look for ligature marks at the wrists. The tail of a mermaid could repel any attacker since it’s got more strength than any human muscle, so he’s sure there’s going to be ropes involved or some kind of powerful sedative. Neither is very promising.
He moves down to the tail, sighing as he takes in the redness of the welts that separate some of the scales. He’s met a couple mermaids in his time on the islands and while they’ve been a close-knit community, they’re good people for the most part. They just don’t like outsiders -- and Danny knows that from a very bad personal experience almost a hundred years ago.
Danny’s pretty sure that a serial killer isn’t about to change the whole ‘suspect outsiders with a burning passion’ thing. “Max, what have you seen?”
It’s a tricky business. Max has the ability to divine the past as well as the future, but he’s never had crystal clear visions. Danny always liked that because it meant that there was still a role for him. Nothing was ever handed to him on a platter. Now, though, with three dead bodies on cold slabs and the potential for more to come (not to mention the community relations disaster that was probably impending), he wants Max to get a little bit more vivid with his visions.
“I see a human,” Max says, his eyes closed. His fingers are lightly brushing the mermaid’s as he speaks, reverent as the fingertips trace over her knuckles. “And a vampire. There’s something else, something powerful, something…”
He opens his eyes and looks to Danny.
He keeps looking.
“Oh,” Max says, forming a querulous sound with a perfectly rounded pair of lips. “Detective Williams. I’m so sorry.”
“…okay, Max, let’s focus on the case,” Danny says, not wanting to get into the nebulous world of what Max could possibly be talking about – which could range from the mundane to the completely earth-shattering, but finding out will take longer than Danny wants to spend on the problem. “Can you give us anything? Any leads?”
“Psychically? No. However,” he says, lifting up a small evidence bag. “I can tell you that the mermaid’s last location was Hanauma Bay, based on the collection of unique debris from the swab I took from her tail.”
“Great,” Danny says. “That’s a start.”
“Max,” Kono murmurs gently. “Why were you apologizing to Danny?”
Danny practically lunges for her arm, grabbing her wrist as lightly as he can. “Kono, we really should head out to the crime scene…”
She silences him with a single glare that makes him wonder how the hell the Kalakaua genetics have imbued supernatural abilities in their human women. “What’s going to happen to Danny?” she asks.
“Nothing that hasn’t already begun.”
“See? It’s cryptic time, he probably just means I’m going to keep getting my coffee made the wrong way every morning,” Danny says, making a ‘cut it out’ gesture with his hand. “Seriously, Kono, I learned a long time ago that if you keep chasing fortunes, you ignore what’s right in front of your face.”
Kono doesn’t look entirely convinced, but it’s lucky that Danny’s got an ace in his pocket.
“C’mon, we’ve got to get to Hanauma Bay and see if we can find any evidence. Dead mermaids are not tourist friendly,” Danny says and he knows that putting duty first has drawn Kono away from any worst case scenarios.
Danny’s probably going to worry about this more than he needs to later on. He doesn’t need Kono’s help on that score. Besides, he’s got the next few hours to occupy himself with disappointment that he’s missing out on Steve’s current level of nudity – which, knowing Steve, is very, very high.
Have to head straight to Hanauma Bay. Won’t be home. Go do whatever it is you do as a responsible explosive-happy citizen, Danny’s text says. Well, it says that, but with a lot more typos. Steve’s really got to work on getting Danny to admit that he’s got a problem. He’s sending a quick text back, an idiotic grin on his face when he hears his name from across the courtyard.
“Commander Steven J. McGarrett.”
Steve perks up at the lilting, almost-musical, sound of his name. He’s at the courthouse per the request of the DA to go over his willingness to testify in the case against some of the higher standing criminals in Wo Fat’s now-defunct organization. He doesn’t recognize the man approaching him. He has the generic look that Steve’s always experienced when attending court – men and women in dark suits and a persistent and pinched look of determination on their faces.
This man is as blond as Danny, but the hair is coiffed professionally. His eyes are brown and he’s tanned enough to make Steve wonder whether he spends his downtime at the beach like most normal folk do – folk who aren’t over four hundred years old and resistant to island life.
Steve’s tried to talk Danny into trying new things, but it’s like asking a four-hundred year old dog to learn how to fetch. At the most, he’ll piss on your shoes and bark with pride over his refusal.
“Sorry. Have we met?” Steve asks when his mind continues to offer him a blank.
“Not yet. I wanted to introduce myself. I’m Rich Merrow. I’m the prosecuting attorney in the case you’re being called up to testify in.”
It’s all he needs to say to make Steve resoundingly approve of the man. He offers a hand out to him, drawing in a deep, sharp sniff to try and use his senses to categorize the man into his memory – everyone has their own unique scent and while some species like vampires have duller traces, they still carry them. Rich’s scent is spicy, musky with the smell of the sea and something heady, an after-trace of paper and wood lurking in his skin.
It’s the heady part that Steve can’t put his finger on.
He realizes a little too late that he’s still shaking Rich’s hand the whole time that he’s been scenting him and Rich merely looks amused. “That’s some handshake there,” he notes.
Embarrassed, Steve relinquishes his hand rapidly, not sure he wants to explain the why of all that lingering. Generally, he leaves the ‘and by the way, I’m a centuries-old werewolf’ talk for a few weeks into a new friendship.
“There’s nothing I’d like more than to see Wo Fat’s men put away,” Steve says. “Anything you need from me, consider it yours.”
Rich smiles languidly, like Steve’s uttered the perfect combination of words. “I was hoping you’d be amenable to a dinner? Business dinner,” he clarifies. “I’ve got a lot of notes about the two men on trial soon and some of the actions Wo Fat’s group has perpetrated. I want to make sure the testimony matches up. The last thing we need is for these men to walk away on technicalities.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Steve says swiftly. “Tomorrow?” He doesn’t think he and Danny have anything planned. In fact, he thinks tomorrow might be Danny’s monthly ‘get my ass kicked by Rachel and Stan in the training room day’ as he so lovingly calls it. So long as Steve is back by eleven in order to kiss sore wounds better, he’ll be in good shape.
“I think tomorrow sounds absolutely perfect,” Rich says, his smile as charming as a toothpaste ad. “I think this is the beginning of something beautiful.”
“So long as it’s the beginning of the end of everything Wo Fat stood for, I couldn’t agree more.”
It’s hot by the time they get to Hanauma Bay and Danny tries not to think about how many hours he’s been up. He feels worse for Chin, who’s doing his best to shield himself from the sun by sitting in the car and going over the evidence on a tablet. Jenna’s on the same wavelength as Danny, shooting looks back to the van.
“Should I have left the window open some more?”
“He’s a vampire, not your dog,” Danny mutters. “Come on, the sooner we figure out where the kill happened, the sooner we can all get inside.” And the sooner he can find a comfortable bed to nap in, maybe a lanky wolf to help with that relaxation. It’s stifling hot outside and it’s one of those days where Danny can’t seem to adjust to the temperature.
The humidity rolling off the enclosed bays aren’t helping.
“Max said that she must have been killed here before she was dragged to the crime scene location, given the debris in her tail,” Danny says, pointing to the vegetation around his ankles. “Keep an eye out for anything, but uh, be careful, would you?”
The last thing he needs is for the mermaid’s vengeful friends to decide they’re intruding on sacred space or some other territorial bullshit that Danny’s never really understood.
“I haven’t seen a mermaid since I worked in Washington, down by the harbor in Baltimore,” Jenna says excitedly as she begins combing the beach, searching for a piece of evidence that will tie the body to the scene. “They’re different there, you know. They adapt based on the natural climate around them,” she rattles off facts and figures about tails, temperature, and a hundred other details Danny doesn’t know and he’s had the time to memorize them.
Danny’s over by an outcrop of rocks, staring at something glinting in the middle of them. “How do they defend themselves against murderers in Baltimore?” he calls over.
Jenna looks taken aback. “I don’t actually know. I was never given that kind of information, but sometimes when I was little, I used to think that they would drown their victims.”
“Could be why the killer dragged her to the beach?” Kono suggests as Danny leans into the rocks, tugging on a pair of gloves. “Sand in the tail will cause enough pain to slow a mermaid down.”
“Or,” Danny says, picking up the strange metallic thing he’d found. “He had help.”
“What is that?” Jenna breathes out, peering over Danny’s shoulder to get a better look at the object.
It’s small; a dull grey thing no longer than six inches with no actual sharp point, but a break that makes it look like it’s incomplete. The rest could either still be in the rocks or swept out to sea and Danny’s pretty sure which one the killer had intended when he had used it.
Danny digs an evidence bag out of his pocket. “With luck, this is our murder weapon.” He wiggles the bag a little higher in the air to give Chin some warning that they’re coming back to the car. “Let’s call in the techies to grab pictures and get this over to Charlie. Chin Ho!” Danny calls, striding across the beach and tilting the bag into the window. “What do you make of that?”
Chin squints against the sunlight and takes hold of the bag. His sunglasses don’t move an inch, but he does snap a few shots with the camera on his phone, sending them off to the lab before Danny can even say ‘smart bastard’. “It doesn’t look like it’s sharp enough to make the marks we saw on the body. This was all you found?”
“We’ll have them take apart as much as the state will let us, but it’s either buried deep or washed out to sea,” Danny says. “How’re you doing?”
“I don’t think this is really the…”
“It’s your first case back,” Danny interrupts. “Chin, entertain me,” he says, peeking over his shoulder to where Kono and Jenna are still scanning the scene while the uniforms run police tape around it. “How are you doing?”
“I can still smell the death in the air,” he confesses. “And I like it. I hate that I like it, because I’m not hungry for it, but I enjoy it,” he says, sounding (and looking) sick for saying it. “Danny, what else should I be expecting?”
When Danny first became immortal, things had changed. His skin never sat right and food had tasted different. He had felt different. The troubling part of giving advice like this is that it’s not optimistic and it’s not something he wants to tell Chin, who fell in the line of defending the team.
“You should expect that we’ll be at your side the whole time,” he says. “It’s never going to be the same as it was,” he admits, “and hell, Chin, I’m sorry it has to be like that, but you’re still here with us. You’re one of us.”
Chin takes the weapon, draws in one long sniff, and makes a face.
“What? What is it?”
“There’s a trace of something,” he says. “Some kind of herb? No,” he says quickly. “It’s a plant. Kava,” he says. “I think there’s kava on the blade.”
“Kono!” Danny calls over his shoulder. “See if you can find any kava lying around!” He turns to Chin and gives him a squeeze of the shoulder through the half-open window. “See? Look at that, you’ll be taking over Steve’s position as super-smeller any day now. Just remember, the puppy growls when he’s angry,” he says, grateful when that wins a laugh from Chin.
Danny watches the team as they eat their take-out, evidence surrounding them on the table. Well, it’s most of the team. Jenna keeps glancing warily at Danny like something’s wrong, Chin pushes his food around and stares at it with distaste. Kono’s the only one eating eagerly, shuffling through the photos.
“Where’s Steve?” Kono finally asks.
Danny winces and he’s pretty sure that Jenna saw it. It’s the third night in a row that Steve has had something else to do and it’s something that he won’t even tell Danny about. In the years that they’ve been partners, Steve’s told Danny everything, to the point that it got sincerely awkward (at least, before Danny found out about the part where they’re mated. After, all of Steve’s oversharing incidents kind of made sense).
Except that now, Steve’s going out for dinners without Danny. He’s going out for dinners and he’s coming back late, smelling like something that isn’t the mingled scent of Steve and Danny, together. He smells like someone else. And if Danny can smell it without any talent for picking up scents, then it’s pretty damn strong.
“I don’t know,” he says, grunting out the answer because it’s easier to act like he doesn’t care about it. Something’s going on, but Danny’s hoping it boils down to the fact that Steve’s busy with the trial of the decade to dismantle the rungs of Wo Fat’s operation. If it’s anything else, he’s terrified to think what it could be. “C’mon, why are we worried about the team mascot when we’ve got a murder to solve, huh?” he demands, gesturing to the pictures in front of them.
“No luck with the murder weapon yet,” Kono says. “The techs agree that it’s only part of the whole.”
“And the rest probably washed out to sea,” Jenna finishes that thought, pursing her lips with disappointment. “What about witnesses?”
“Nothing,” Kono says. “We haven’t been granted access to the mer community to see if any of them were there, but the consensus is that if they did see something, they’d have taken things into their own hands and since they haven’t…”
Danny’s not listening anymore.
In his gut, there’s a stabbing pain assaulting him that makes him double over, gripping the computerized table to keep from hitting the ground. “Danny!” Jenna gasps. Chin makes it to his side first with his speed, catching Danny before he actually hits his head and bleeds out all over their nice technology.
Danny wildly looks around, mind processing all the possibilities for the pain at a rapid-fire pace. “Hex bags, look for hex…” he grimaces, sending Kono and Jenna scouting through the office. Ten minutes later, they’ve torn apart the office and haven’t found anything. Danny feels as bad as before, the stabbing pains traveling through him and robbing him of his ability to think. There’s cold sweat all over his face and he grabs at Chin’s arm as familiarity begins to sink in.
It’s ten times worse than it ever has been, but he knows what this is.
“Danny, are you okay?” Chin murmurs.
“I need a ride,” he says, struggling to get back up. He only manages with Chin’s hand wrapped around his bicep, hauling him onto his feet. “Chin, can you drive me to Rachel’s? I need…” he gasps, riding through another wave of pain. “Not good,” he whispers to himself, eyes wide as he starts to understand what’s going on.
Jenna and Kono exchange a confused look, but right now, Danny needs to get to Rachel and hope that she has something that can dull the pain otherwise he’ll be asking for the knockout special. Chin hauls Danny up, dragging him along like he’s a puppet.
“I’ll take him to Rachel’s. Keep looking over the evidence,” Chin directs. “I’ll look into the environment conditions when I get back, see if we can’t determine a pattern of probability about where the murder weapon might have washed up.” He turns his attention to Danny. “You okay? What can I do?”
“Just get me there,” Danny directs, getting himself into a state of meditation where he can focus on his breathing to overcome the pain.
The entire drive is a test of Danny’s skill in calming his mind and focusing on a singular thought – get to Rachel, get to Rachel. Chin tries talking to him, but his voice echoes all around him like they’re underwater and the pain keeps shooting through him. It’s a twenty-minute drive to Rachel’s mansion, but it feels like it takes four hours to get there.
“Danny,” Chin shouts, a little louder than before. “We’re here.”
Danny fumbles for the handle, stumbling out of the car and giving Chin a look to stay where he is. “I’ll be back into the office in the morning,” he says, hoping that he’s telling the truth. “Call me with updates. Actually,” Danny says, thinking better of his ability to carry out a conversation. “Text me with updates. And get Steve back to the office,” he grits past his teeth.
Chin nods and he’s out of there as quickly as he’s dropped Danny off – no doubt overwhelmed by the human scents in the neighborhood. Danny manages to stagger up the steps, ringing the doorbell and leaning heavily against Rachel’s front door, one hand clasping his torso as if his organs might find a spill out if he doesn’t.
He rings the bell again and again and again until Rachel yanks open the door with such force that if Danny weren’t prepared for it, he’d be face down in her foyer.
“Daniel,” she greets him, going pale with concern. “What is it, what’s happened?”
“Mating bond,” Danny grits out through his teeth. “Something’s happening.”
“Steve’s doing something,” is all Danny says before he succumbs to the black edges of the unconsciousness doing its best to claim him.
When he wakes up, he’s been moved into the guest bedroom. The light spilling in through the windows is pale and it looks like he’s been out all night. Rachel is sitting beside him with a cold cloth, dipping it in water and running it over his forehead. She’s looking at him speculatively, her other hand taking his pulse.
Danny struggles to sit up, grateful that he can breathe normally again. “How long was I out?”
“Roughly nine hours,” Rachel replies, gesturing to the nightstand on his other side. “There’s tea for you. I know you like to pretend you’ve left all the old comforts behind, but you can’t fool me. Your temperature’s down, but it was close to 104 for longer than I like.”
Rachel’s the oldest immortal Danny knows. If something exists in the supernatural world, she’s either seen it or helped it to come into being. If anyone will have an answer for this, it’s going to be her.
“In your professional opinion, what is it?” he asks. “Hex? Curse? Wo Fat?”
Rachel smiles sadly at him, dabbing away the last remnants of sweat from his forehead. “I really don’t want to tell you this,” she says, quietly. “But from what I can tell, I’d say it’s the bond between you and Steve teetering near collapse. Someone,” she says, a sureness in her eyes, “is trying to snap it.”
Danny furrows his brow and thinks back to the last time the bond felt like this – and that’s stretching all the way back to Catherine, but he’s hyper-aware of Steve these days; with the one glaring exception of the last few nights where there’d been nothing on the other end of the bond. At first, Danny had figured it was just Steve shutting it down to focus on work, but now Danny’s wondering if it got shut down because Steve didn’t want him feeling what’s happening on the other side. Danny knows that Steve’s doing a lot of work for the case, but the case has slowly been shifting from group meetings with lots of paralegals (witnesses) present and merging to personal sessions with the prosecutor. Danny’s starting to have a bad feeling about the guy. “How do I fight it?”
“Beyond going to the source?”
“I’m going to talk to Steve, but if it happens again before then,” Danny says, seeing as Steve’s been working on the Wo Fat case so often lately that Danny barely sees him – who the hell knows what he’s getting up to. “What mitigates the pain?”
“I’ve got a few herbs I can mix up into a draught. The best it will do is alleviate your pain, it’s not going to stop it,” she warns, setting her hands in a bowl of water, dabbing her fingertips in until they’re clean. “You stay there; I’ll fetch Grace to see you before I send you back to headquarters. I hear there’s a murderer about. Merfolk, is it? You know how they hate us.”
“Yeah, I’m trying not to remember the tousle I got into back in 1740. Or the one in the early 1900’s. Or Amsterdam,” Danny snorts, relaxing back against the welcoming pillows.
If he pretends that all he’s here to do is visit Grace – and not recuperate while Steve is out there doing god knows what – he might be able to make it through the day. Rachel leaves and in her place comes Grace, which gives Danny an honest sense of rightness.
“Danno,” Grace greets, settling at his side. “Rachel says you don’t feel very nice. Is it something evil?”
“Don’t you worry about me,” Danny coaxes, drawing her into his arms. “How about you tell me stories from school, huh?” He doesn’t want to talk about any of the signs she’s been displaying that point towards her being an immortal. He doesn’t want to talk about the supernatural bumps in the night going on out there. Right now, he wants nothing more than to stay with Grace and remember the normal side of the world comprised of school and boys and homework.
Right now, it’s the best medicine.
Steve’s beginning to think that his team is planning to kill him.
Usually, Danny talks him down from this kind of paranoia, but he hasn’t seen Danny in days, which leaves him extra worried that something’s going on. He plans to corner Jenna when the work day is done. Kono will just evade his questioning and Chin will stare back at him unflinchingly, but Steve knows that if he leans on Jenna hard enough, she’ll break.
“Jenna!” he calls her over, summoning her to his office as she’s making a break for the door. “A word?”
Jenna exchanges a fraught look with Kono, stuck in place. Steve’s not a mind-reader, but he can see it all over her face – she’s debating how fast Steve is on two feet and whether he’ll shift just to catch up with her. Eventually, she gives in, relenting with a slump of her shoulders as she trudges her way to Steve’s office, standing there as if waiting for punishment.
“Hey,” Steve says, rounding the desk to perch on the edge. “I just want to talk.”
That doesn’t seem to calm her. “Oh,” she says, making a face. “Great.”
“I’ve noticed that everyone’s been ignoring me since I started working with the prosecution against Wo Fat’s henchmen,” he says, glancing at the papers on his desk – and one that includes a picture of Rich, which makes him stop and grin – before turning his gaze upwards. Jenna’s eyes are wide, like she’s seen something she really doesn’t want to see. “Jenna!”
That snaps her back to attention.
“What’s going on?”
Jenna exhales deeply, wringing her hands with great discomfort. “It’s just that you’ve been spending a lot of time with the prosecution of the case.”
“I want these guys to go away,” Steve explains calmly.
“It’s a lot of time with just the lawyer. You two meet up all the time – for drinks, for lunch, for dinner, and you’re kind of out with him a lot. Steve, Danny is worried,” Jenna says.
“If Danny was worried, he’d talk about it with me.”
“Steve, that’s just it. He says he has, but the morning after, you never seem to remember,” Jenna whispers, glancing over her shoulder like she’s worried about someone eavesdropping. “He told us to start looking into reasons why this could be happening. We worked through witchcraft and voodoo, now we’re moving onto side-effects of the mating bond.”
Steve tries to reach back and think about when Danny has ever brought this up to him, but he’s coming up blank. “Jenna, is this some kind of team hazing? Are they making you research this as some kind of test? This is ridiculous. I meet up with Rich during his work hours to discuss Five-0’s involvement in the case. It’s strictly professional.”
“Danny said you came home smelling of someone else’s cologne.”
“Some days, I come home smelling like Kono’s perfume,” Steve says. “We work in close proximity to each other.”
“And he said that two nights ago, he was so violently sick that he couldn’t sit up and he hadn’t been like that since…well, since Catherine,” she blurts out the last few words in a rush. “That was one of the nights you didn’t come home until late and when you did, Danny demanded to know what was going on.”
“Danny said this and Danny said that, why can’t Danny say any of this to me?” Steve demands heatedly.
“Because Danny did!” That’s Danny’s voice from the doorway, as angry as Steve’s ever seen him. He wishes, honestly, that it didn’t turn him on as painfully as it did. This isn’t Danny bitching about sand or the ocean or pineapples. This is Danny when something is genuinely wrong and it scares Steve to think about the fact that he doesn’t know why. “I have talked to you every goddamn day and every time after you’ve seen that piece of scum, but you never remember! It’s like you’ve been whammied with some severely powerful stuff, Steven.”
“Danno, this is crazy,” Steve protests, putting up both hands to try and get Danny to calm down.
It’s a bad move.
“Crazy? You want to talk about crazy?” Danny replies, his tone going icy. “Crazy is me talking to you at the end of the night when you come home smelling like someone else, but you don’t remember the conversation in the morning. Crazy is me watching you ditch dinner after dinner. Crazy is the fact that I know something is going on, but you’re the one looking at me like I’ve lost my mind!”
“Because maybe you have!” Steve snaps. “Danny, nothing is going on! You’re being paranoid.”
Danny shakes his head, scoffing. “I am taking a dose of something so strong that Rachel’s warned me it could shred my stomach just to get through the nightly pain I’m feeling because I’m pretty damn sure you’re off gallivanting …”
“Gallivanting, real nice, Danny, you think I’m sleeping with the…”
“...with the prosecution, with this Rich guy, with this sleazeball and then you come home and you lie to me about it!” Danny finishes, poking Steve in the shoulder angrily, his voice getting louder and louder. “What the fuck happens when a wolf that mates for life cheats, huh? What should I be expecting? Is this gonna kill me, Steve? Did you actually figure out a new way to off an immortal? I swear to god, I will call the research libraries so they can congratulate you when you aren’t getting bent over the table in a courtroom of fucking law.”
“Take your hand off me, Danny.”
“Or you know what,” Steve growls, getting in Danny’s personal space. “Don’t make me repeat history,” he says, hand already on Danny’s fingers like he’s ready to twist him around like a ragdoll. There are other instincts at play right now; the wolf inside him is begging to scent Danny, but at the same time as it wants its mate, it’s so angry that it wants to rip Danny’s head clean off.
Danny yanks away from Steve, a furious look on his face. “Don’t come home,” he warns.
“Trust me, I don’t plan to,” Steve promises and storms out of the office, slamming every door he can on the way out.
He and Danny have fought before, but not like this – never like this. He should go somewhere and calm down before heading back to talk to Danny, but that’s not where he’s going. Something, something that he can’t explain, is leading him off in the direction of city hall and the courts.
Steve needs to see Rich right now. He really needs that grounding influence, more than ever.
“Danny?” Kono tentatively asks, knocking on his office door.
Danny’s still calming down from the blowout fight he and Steve had. It’s been nearly a day and, try as he might, he can’t figure out what Steve’s doing right now (and potentially who he’s doing it with). It’s like the bond between them has gone numb. He exhales and pinches the bridge of his nose, unable to believe that he’s longing for a few days ago when he’d get physically sick at night.
Because, sure, he had pretty good evidence to know that Steve’s sleeping around on him, but he knew. Now, with the numbness, he’s got no idea what the hell is going on. He doesn’t know if Steve is in someone else’s bed or if he’s even still alive out there.
“What’s up, Kono?”
“Jenna and I were looking at the pictures from the crime scene and we think we found something. At first, it didn’t seem like much. I mean, just beach debris.”
“But?” Danny prods.
“But,” Kono continues, a victorious grin on his lips, “we figured out that it couldn’t have washed up on this shore. We input the tide and currents data from the date of the murder and found out that the few bits we found were from a surfing competition, down at Kawailoa Beach,” she says, the pride shining. “There’s a clan that lives there; someone might have seen something.”
“We’ve got ourselves a crime scene?”
“Damn right we do, boss!”
Danny’s almost willing to ignore the fight in the face of this good news, but there’s another problem. “Shit,” he says, stopping as he grabs his car keys. On Kono’s inquisitive look, he gives a hollow-sounding laugh. “Rachel and I visited Hawaii before, about a hundred years ago. We took a ship out here so she could research sirens and mermaids,” he says. “We ah…I,” he clarifies, “might have had an argument about the closed-off nature of the community at Kawailoa Beach. They’re even more closed off than a lot of the other packs.”
“That was a hundred years ago, Danny,” Kono says. “I’m pretty sure mers don’t keep sea cave paintings about every guy that pissed them off.”
“Yeah,” Danny agrees. “If I’m lucky, we’ll be fine.”
Except that when is Danny Williams ever lucky?
The morning after the fight, Steve wakes up in a hotel room.
The smell around him says he hasn’t been alone the whole time, though. Dread begins to sink into his body and he checks under the covers to see that he’s still fully clothed and a cursory sniff of the room proves that no one’s had sex in here in the last two days, but that does nothing to lessen the icy panic of not knowing what he’s been doing for the last day. He’s losing hours left, right, and center and as much as he doesn’t want to admit it to Danny, maybe something is wrong.
Steve reaches for his cell and dials Danny’s phone, but it goes straight to voicemail. He tries Kono next and gets the same result.
He’s about to dial Jenna when his phone rings -- Chin. “Brah,” Chin says when Steve picks up. “Hate to bother you like this, but you need to get to Kawailoa Beach now. They’re gonna rip him apart.”
Steve shakes his head in confusion, grabbing his gun and his wallet, shoving his boots on with little precision and ignoring the loose laces. “I don’t understand. Who’s ripping who apart?”
“It’s the mer-colony,” Chin says. “We traced the crime scene back to the beach and they’re trying to take statements. Everything was going fine until one of the elders recognized Danny from some old, old land-sea war and they’ve got him out in the water, ready to strangle him. Steve…hurry.”
The lost time, the strange smells, the suspicions about what’s going on all fade away in the face of Steve’s mate in danger. He grabs his things, takes one last suspicious look around the hotel room in case he can find clues, and then he’s out of there.
Steve breaks about twenty traffic laws getting to the beach. The truck’s in park and he’s leaping out the moment he opens the door and the smell of Danny hits him like a tidal wave knocking him over. Whatever’s been happening to him is weakening the bond to the point that he can’t feel more than the basic currents of what Danny’s feeling. Right now? Well, right now there’s a whole lot of anger and panic and the faintest thought that tells Steve that he’s scared of losing his head before he and Steve can fix things.
“Steve!” Jenna calls, running the distance between them.
He ignores her, shedding his shirt with furious determination, boots kicked off as he shifts right into a run, bounding for the shallows where two male mers have got Danny held tight – one sharp tail wrapped around Danny’s shins and the other cutting off circulation to his neck. Steve growls, the wolf in him aggressive and furious that they could kill him.
He lets out an inhuman howl, the sort that differentiates him from a normal wolf and it causes the mers to falter, somewhat.
Kono’s knee-deep in the shallows to his right, one hand out. She’s in the middle of talking them down, but Steve has no time for negotiations. He’ll rip every last tail off every last mer in front of them if they take Danny from him. The water is only a small obstacle and he’s thrashing through the waves to get closer.
“Steve,” Danny croaks out. “Steven.” He’s blue in the face and the ligature marks on Danny’s neck are going to stay if they don’t get him out soon and that’s Steve’s mate they’re touching. They don’t have permission to be doing this. “Shift back, Steve.”
Steve lets out one last angry growl, but does as his mate commands.
Human again, his boxers a tattered mess barely keeping him dignified, Steve’s not much calmer.
“You know this isn’t how justice is brought about,” Steve warns. “You want Danny, you need to hold a trial and you know as well as I do that the statute of limitations on supernatural crimes is seventy-five years,” he says, inching closer and closer. He doesn’t need a weapon. He can partial-shift and use his claws if he needs to, but he doesn’t want to risk what they might do to Danny in that case. “Let him go.”
“He disrespected our tribe,” the male hisses, tightening his grip on Danny.
“It was a hundred and four years ago,” Kono says. “If you kill him, I’m authorized to bring you in,” she says. For the first time, Steve notices that she’s carrying a gun and she’s got it aimed for the tail. If she gets a clear shot, that mer will never be able to swim again and Steve’s aware that there’s a part of him that wants her to take the shot. “Let him go,” she calmly coaxes. “We’re here to ask you questions, we’re here to help you.”
“He must show respect,” the other mer spits, easing them into the deeper waters where Danny is submerged nearly to his neck and the water only makes the mers stronger.
“He will,” Steve rushes to agree. “Danno,” he begs, meeting his eyes. “You will,” he says. It’s a command and an order in one and if it’s going to save Danny’s life, then he’s not allowed to disagree.
Danny struggles against the hold they have him in, but there’s the slightest nod of his head. It’s an agreement that he’s willing to observe whatever song and dance they have for him. The tails ease up, but don’t release him just yet. “Respect for you and yours,” Danny utters hoarsely in Norse, the native tongue of the mers around the world. With that, they release him the rest of the way and Steve’s over there, bolting over to catch Danny before he slumps into the depths of the water and washes away.
“We came to ask you questions,” Danny says, not paying any attention to the fact that he can barely speak. “It’s about the murders. We’re trying to stop them and this is the crime scene. We need your help.”
“Our own are looking into it,” the mers assure him. “You may be immortal and you, wolf, may bow to the moon, but the ocean is our domain. Leave us to it.”
“We’re trying to help you,” Danny snaps and Steve has to physically hold Danny back. He relishes the contact of his palm flush against Danny’s back and tries to ignore the heady, drugged feeling that accompanies it – like the gates of the bond have been re-opened and he’s being flooded. “We’re looking for witnesses. The mer was killed here, are you telling me no one saw a thing?”
Steve knows that isn’t a good sign. He’s aware that the mer colonies have their own laws and their own equivalent of officers. They have their own lead, but they’re bound to the sea. “If your killer isn’t another mer, they’re on land and you need the help of the sirens,” Steve says, giving the mers a critical look. “And as soon as they get in our way, they’re impeding an official investigation.”
“And we can arrest you for that, too,” Kono says with a perky nod, sounding pretty happy about all the ways she’s able to press charges.
Danny finally gets both feet on the sand beneath the shallow waves, reaching out a shaking hand.
“Take it,” he coaxes. “C’mon. Take it and absorb the information you need. I don’t care if you run this investigation on your own because we’ll keep doing what we do, but I need to know that if trouble comes, you can call us. Take it,” he says again, of his hand. “Open up the telepathic line and call if you need anything.”
The mers share an untrusting look, but one of them finally reaches across the divide – much to the consternation of the other, who hisses an angry ‘no’. He takes Danny’s hand, closes his eyes, and nods the once.
“Daniel Williams,” the mer says. “If we find ourselves in trouble, we will summon you for help.”
“Good, great, glad we agree on that much,” Danny says.
The mer who’s established the link doesn’t swim away yet. Instead, he peers between Steve and Danny curiously, blinking his aqua-blue eyes slowly as something like realization dawns on him. “You taste of the sea,” he says to Danny, cocking his head and looking at Steve. “No. You do.”
“Yes, he swims,” Danny agrees. “More than a puppy should.”
Steve rolls his eyes and grabs at Danny’s shirt by the shoulders. “Stay safe,” he warns the two creatures. “Tell the others to keep their guard up and to travel in numbers. Something out there is still killing the mers.”
They nod and wade their way to deeper waters. When they plunge down into the abyss of the Pacific, Danny finally lets out a breath he’s been holding in and half his tension bleeds loose. The rest, Steve knows, isn’t going anywhere until they resolve the issue that’s been at hand ever since this case came about.
Steve takes care to haul Danny back to shore, joining Jenna and Chin. Kono’s casing the area behind them, but is with them soon enough.
“Danny,” Steve starts, not loving the audience that’s present for his apology, but willing to acknowledge he deserves this. “I think you’re right. I think something’s happening. I woke up this morning in a hotel room with no memory of the night before. Nothing happened, I couldn’t smell anything, but I don’t remember,” he says darkly. “I went to see the prosecution…”
“Call him Rich,” Danny says snidely. “I’m sure you’ve called him other things.”
“Danny! I don’t remember anything,” Steve cuts him off before another sharp jibe can come his way. “Okay? I remember going over the case and talking about testimony, but nothing more than that, but there are these gaps in my memory and I haven’t had gaps like that since first becoming a wolf. I don’t know…Danny, I don’t know what I might’ve done. I don’t know who I might have done it with. I don’t know if I’ve been the wolf and I don’t know if I’ve been human, but something is happening.”
“Yeah,” Danny sighs. “Yeah, Steve, I’m pretty sure it is.”
Through the bond, Steve feels almost overwhelmed by the sheer relief that Danny’s projecting. He wishes he could be happier about it, but the fact is that something’s still wrong and they don’t know what it is.
“We should lock him up,” Jenna says.
All eyes go to her immediately and she shrinks slightly, giving an awkward smile. “It’s not that I don’t love the idea,” Danny says. “I’m just surprised it came from you. I mean, Kono, I understand. Chin? He probably daydreams about tying Steve up so he can’t perpetrate injustice. Me? I know I fantasize about preventing property damage with tying him up, but Jenna,” he says appreciatively. “Welcome to the team.”
“Thanks?” Jenna manages. “If we don’t know yet what it is, we should keep Steve trapped. Maybe whatever’s doing this will come to him?”
“And if not,” Chin says, “we’re still keeping Steve contained. I like it.”
“Why does it have to be tied up? Why can’t we just lock the door?” Steve asks, raising his hand to ask the question.
“All in favor of locking Steve up and tying him down?” Danny asks pleasantly and smirks when one by one, all four hands of the members of Five-0 raise their hands – all except for Steve. “Look at that, a benevolent dictatorship falls in the face of the willing and popular majority vote.” He taps Steve on the shoulder twice. “Kono and Jenna will escort you to your glamorous new accommodations in the interrogation room. And don’t forget…”
“We got it, Danny,” Kono promises breezily. “All four limbs tied and silver treating the lock on the door.”
Steve doesn’t resist much when Jenna and Kono take a wrist apiece and start marching him towards the car. “What do you do when Danny’s the one who has to be contained?”
“You know? It’s never really come up,” Jenna replies. “In you go! Watch your head,” she guides, shooting Danny an assured smile before they get in the car and start the drive back to Headquarters.
He takes in a long breath and rubs his hands through his wet hair. “One threat down,” he says to Chin. “Too many more to go.”
Danny’s starting to think that he might need to permanently abandon the idea of wearing neckties. He’d always liked them because it felt like they protected his neck from enemy weapons, but after that little incident with the mers, the tie feels more like a strangulation hazard than a protective garment. He’s in the middle of yanking his tie off when his cell beeps with an incoming message.
“You okay, brah?” Chin asks, while Danny loads up the text from Max.
Call soon. I think I’ve found something in the scratches on the body , it reads.
“Let’s see. Steve’s admitted he’s losing time and might be manipulated by someone on the prosecution’s team, most likely the actual prosecutor who’s responsible for keeping Wo Fat’s team locked up. I nearly got garroted by a mer who could’ve absorbed my life’s energy for god knows what purpose and I still got a killer out there plucking off the mer population because they’re a stubborn closed-off people who refuse to give us anything so I got no leads. I don’t know that ‘okay’ fits the bill, Chin.”
“We got Steve, Danny. Kono and Jenna are locking him up, even as we speak,” he promises.
“One small victory,” Danny mumbles, but it’s something. In fact, it’s something he’s pretty damn happy about. If he could just solve this case, he’d be a lot happier. He gives Chin a brief smile before dialing the coroner’s office.
“Max!” Danny says, tapping the steering wheel of the Camaro from where he and Chin have parked on the side of the road, just outside the beach. “You said you found something. What kind of something? Please tell me it’s a name.”
“Unfortunately not,” Max replies. “However, when I was inspecting the marks the killer left on the body, the scratches on the back were a puzzling mystery. The writing is ancient and symbolic, for the most part. However, from the evidence we’ve compiled, I’m confident saying that the scratches aren’t only scratches. It’s writing. It begins at the nape of the victim’s neck and continues onwards to the small of her back. I believe it is a letter,” he says.
Danny cracks his neck and tries to fight back the overwhelming sense of nausea that’s been coming back to him ever since he and Steve fought. While he’s pretty secure in the knowledge that Kono’s got him locked up, it’s like his mind and body are making up for all that lost time when the bond was numb.
It’s taking every single ounce of restraint in Danny’s body not to charge straight down to the courthouse and slice this prosecutor scumbag into a million tiny painful pieces for touching what’s his.
Danny exhales as he thinks about what a letter means. “Don’t suppose they signed it, huh?”
“No, but I ran an analysis on some of the traces left within the wounds. The implement appears to be a hand-rake, but this specific model has traces of a metallic composition unique to the Honolulu Department of Public Works. We confirmed with a sample only moments ago.”
Danny feels like he’s holding his breath. “This is a real lead,” he says, amazed at how such a small thing can improve on his day.
“Indeed,” Max agrees. “Detective Williams, I’ve been meaning to apologize for my part in your personal trauma with Commander McGarrett, particularly in respect to alerting you of…”
“Whoa, now,” Danny interrupts. “Let’s not go there. I’m barely holding back on beating this guy to a pulp. Hearing you tell me how sorry you are about the fact that some asshole has been hitting on my mate isn’t going to help me,” he clarifies. He hasn’t even seen the guy. This Rich lawyer asshole could be the most attractive man in the world and Danny wouldn’t care because he’s been invoking some crazy voodoo shit to steal Steve away.
The problem is that he’s also the guy working the case that’s so important to Steve.
“Max, we’re on our way. Prepare the lab for Chin, would you?”
“I’ll do my best,” Max says before he hangs up.
“The lab, huh?” Chin says, not looking entirely pleased about the trip. Danny doesn’t blame him. The formaldehyde alone would be a potent smell, but Chin’s one of the best cops that Danny knows and if there’s a piece of evidence that he can help with, they’re going to have to tough it out.
“Max’ll have the clean room ready,” Danny says. “Besides, we’ve got a stop to make first.”
Danny smiles the smile of a madman ready to walk into battle. “You and I are going to see the Governor.” It’s the last place he wants to go, seeing as how he feels generally like he’s walking on nuclear eggshells anytime he’s even remotely near the mansion, but if he’s about to pursue the lead he is, the Governor needs to know about it.
When they arrive, Laura Hills is waiting for them in the lobby.
“She knows, huh?” Danny sighs.
“She does,” Laura agrees, sharing a sly smile with Chin. “I haven’t seen you in a while,” she says. Laura, a witch whose coven works closely with the fae as a people, has flirted with Steve and Danny more times than they can count. Now that Chin’s a vampire, she’s got eyes for him too.
Chin, though, seems to be looking back with interest for the first time.
“Hey, hey, okay, playdate later,” Danny says, getting between them to break the eye contact. “Can I remind you of the bigger problems?”
“Would you mean the serial killer attacking our coasts, Detective?” the Governor enters the conversation, slowly descending the stairs. She takes a few steps at a time, punctuating her point every time she pauses. “Or do you mean the fact that you just got in a skirmish that a camera phone caught and saw life on the internet for seven minutes before I found it.” And destroyed it goes unspoken. “No,” she says, reaching the bottom of the stairs. “You’re here about Steve.”
“And you want my help?”
“Yes,” Danny agrees. He keeps his thoughts neutral and his expression matches. He learned a long time ago that the best way to avoid invoking the Governor’s wrathful emotions was to stay calm and on topic.
She tilts her head to the side to study him, her eyes gleaming amber for a moment. For that moment, time slows for Danny and he feels like every inch of him, inside and out, is suddenly on display for the Governor to read. She’s probing the mating bond, his immortality, and the power he’s absorbed from every single immortal he’s killed. Ever since he took Sang Min’s head off, he’s felt extra powerful, but has been trying to keep that under wraps.
No need to make himself a bigger target, after all.
“I’ll assign a new prosecutor,” she says. “This once,” she clarifies. “The next time you get involved in something this complicated, it’s your own problem, Detective Williams. Understood?”
Danny nods quickly. “Understood. And, Ma’am, about the murders…”
“Give Max my regards,” she says. “And be ready for a press conference when the dust has settled. You, in particular, Detective Williams, will be required to be present to show the island the respect you’ve been denying it. Understood?” This time, she asks that question with much more ice and sharpness than before.
“Understood,” Danny agrees for the second time, trying to shake the feeling that the room is suddenly a lot colder than it was before. He glances to Chin and Laura, not wanting to linger any longer now that he’s got what he came for. He ends up having to tug at Chin’s shirt to drag him away from the bewitching eyes Laura’s giving to Chin, flashing a half-sincere smile in the direction of the witch before they get to open air.
Chin waits for Danny to speak, though he’s definitely curious.
“We’re good,” Danny says. “C’mon, let’s go and see Max.”
Chin spends the ride there looking queasy and considering he’s already pale, that’s a pretty impressive feat. In fact, he’s even a little green around the edges. Luckily for them, when they get there, Max beckons them quickly into the clean room he’s prepared and Chin visibly relaxes, so Max must have done a good job.
“Gentleman,” Max is buzzing with excitement.
That usually means he’s got something.
“Good news, Max?”
“Very,” he says, bringing forward the partial murder weapon they’d collected from Hanauma. “I was able to pick up on some emotional resonance from the hand rake. It wasn’t enough to get me an identity, but I was able to secure you a motive.”
Right now, Danny will take anything he can get. “Don’t leave us hanging,” he encourages. “C’mon, Max, what is it?”
“I’m afraid to say that in this case, the murderer was acting from a decades’ old suppressed fantasy, likely brought about by the fetishization of mermaids through cultural aspects such as The Little Mermaid, hence why all the victims have been female,” he explains. “You’re looking for someone in his mid-30’s who works for the Public Works department and has an unhealthy, possible sexual, regard for mermaids.”
Danny lets out a long breath. It’s absolutely sick, but it wouldn’t be the first time a supernatural species has been targeted by a human who has an unearthly fascination with them. He still remembers the clubs from fifty years ago when immortals were being kidnapped and kept as pets for a sick group of people who got off on killing them over and over. And that’s not even touching the species like wolves, vamps, and the multitude of others.
“We’ll start compiling a database. You think this guy has priors?”
“Negative,” Max says. “This seems to be the result of a great many years of planning. I highly doubt the murderer had time to accumulate any prior misgivings with the law. Gentlemen, I will continue to search for psychic residue and I’ll draw the deck. Detective Williams, am I safe to assume you have your personal situation in hand?”
“Not yet, Max,” Danny says. “We’re getting there, though.”
Danny’s not sure what he should do when they get back to the office. Chin’s running through the staff of the Public Works department and they’ve got some time before they need to start going over suspects. He could go downstairs and check in with Kono to see how the search through financials is going. He could go and talk to Steve, but he’s pretty sure if he goes down there, he’ll get stuck in a cycle of possessive marking and claiming.
Instead, he goes for the last option available to him – the one that’s actually productive.
Danny knocks lightly on Jenna’s office door. “Hey,” he greets. “You got a minute?”
Jenna looks up from the pile of books on her desk, offering Danny a bright smile. “I’ve got as many as you need. What’s up?” she asks, organizing her books to slide them away.
He holds up a hand. “You ah, you might need some of those,” he says, taking the time to close the door behind him. “I have a problem. I mean, we have a problem because there is a part of my very old soul that likes to think if Steve really was a cheating bastard, the rest of you would follow me out the door, but, see, I don’t think Steve would ever be a cheating bastard, at least not willingly,” Danny says with a shrug. “So, that leaves…”
“Something else,” Jenna finishes the sentence for him. “What were you thinking?”
And Danny, who’s been alive for so very long, and who has seen it all, he honestly doesn’t know where to start. “I think we might need a list.”
After an hour passes, they’re slightly closer to a solution, but what’s going to have to happen is becoming crystal clear to Danny and he hates every inch of the plan.
“So,” he sighs the word, turning the notepad around to get a better look at the list. “What’ve we got? We’ve got a witch charming Steve for his own purposes, most likely to turn him to his side when necessary. They’ve got the mojo to account for the lost time,” Danny says, scratching the side of his nose with his thumb as he thinks, “but a witch as a prosecutor? They have to publicly identify themselves and the blowback of a position that involves juries and cases…I don’t know.”
“You’re assuming he’s following the supernatural rules the law has set out,” Jenna reminds him. “He could be an outlaw. He could be hiding what he is.”
“Okay, okay, so we’ve got witch, we’ve got mind-controlled zombie working under Wo Fat’s henchmen to corrupt Steve’s testimony. Vampire who’s got Steve under a blood thrall…” Sometimes, Danny seriously hates the things that go bump in the night because there are so goddamn many of them. “We’ve got sirens and their love spells, we’ve got fae because what can’t fae do, and of course, because I hate the world, we have the very real possibility that Rich is just a goddamn mortal with access to roofies,” Danny growls.
“Aren’t you glad we made a list?” Jenna jokes.
“I hate the list,” Danny says.
He knows what they have to do and god, but he hates it even more. “Can you get a video feed ready? If something goes down, I’d really appreciate some video evidence.” Not that it helps if they’re dealing with a fae who’ll sense it right away or something else that will detect something electronic in their midst. “And uh, call Charlie at the lab, have him brew up something that’ll nullify pheromones in case this is some kind of a charm we need to cancel out.”
Jenna gives Danny a reassuring smile. “Sure thing. Where are you going?”
“To talk about my terrible plan with Steve,” Danny says over his shoulder. He removes his sword because he doesn’t need sharp objects in the room when they have this conversation on the off-chance it devolves into fighting. It’s still got water and sand in it from the run-in with the mers at the beach and he swears, swears to god that it’ll be rusty soon. Rachel’s going to have to make him a new one.
When he thinks he’s ready, he takes another few seconds to prepare himself. He rolls up the sleeves of his shirt and nabs the key to the interrogation room from Kono’s desk, letting himself into the room.
“You, me, a padded room. Why does it always end in restraints?” Danny jokes as he locks the door behind him, giving Steve a smile that’s lacking the joy around his eyes. He drags the spare chair across the room and sets it a good three feet away from Steve, sinking down into it. He searches Steve’s body for signs of physical evidence as to what’s done this. There are no bites, so probably not a vampire, but there are some crafty vamps out there who would use needles under the fingernail to create a thrall. He searches the bond, next, and finds it ragged and severed.
It needs work and repair.
It needs devotion and the careful attention that only several days in bed and lazy kisses can do while they tangle up for hours to re-establish the connection between them that runs so much deeper than the surface. It needs time and if something keeps pulling Steve away, then it’s going to fray until it breaks.
Danny leans forward and catches Steve’s eye, wanting to avoid being blunt in this situation even though it’d probably work the best.
“We don’t know what it is.”
“That’s not good,” Steve mildly says. “Jenna couldn’t narrow it down?”
“All we’ve got is you losing time and a thrall of some kind affecting the bond,” Danny admits. “We don’t exactly have much to work with. That’s why I’m down here.”
The nice thing about the bond is that right now, Danny doesn’t actually need to say the very bad idea out loud. Steve can pick up on it loud and clear, especially with the proximity between them. It’s a good thing, too, because call Danny a coward, but he doesn’t want to say out loud that the plan is to send Steve back out there and see what they can find. He’s risking his mate’s life and he hates himself for it.
“Danno,” Steve coaxes gently. If his hands were free, he’d have his fingers running through Danny’s hair to bring him back to a calmer state. “I’ve done worse ops in my life.”
“Yeah, well,” Danny says, swallowing the lump in his throat as he looks away. “You shouldn’t have been in this position to begin with.” With that, he’s out of the chair so he can start to untie Steve from the ropes keeping him down – laced with just enough silver to restrain, but not enough to hurt. “Charlie’s working on an anti-pheromone, singular dose to work once until we figure out, more specifically, what it is. We’re wiring you with a camera in case you’re coherent and the subcutaneous GPS will tell us where you are in case you’re not. We’re not telling you where the camera will be in case you turn on us under whatever spell this is. The Governor’s agreed to find a new prosecutor and remove Rich from the case, so the progress isn’t lost.” Danny pauses, hands on Steve’s thighs as he hovers above him.
The look of gratitude and soft surprise is a good one on Steve and Danny has to reward it with a stolen kiss.
“Don’t look at me like that. I know how much this means to you,” he chastises. “Okay,” he sighs. “Go on, go upstairs. Go see Chin and get wired up,” he says, directing him with a point of his finger.
It looks like they need to go back to obedience school, because Steve doesn’t pay very good attention to Danny. He lingers, looming above Danny and crowding in closer by the second. He swallows hard, but his resolve is crumbling.
“Steve,” Danny gets out, a weak protest before Steve’s on him in a flash – one hand possessively tight against the small of his back and hauling him in against his long, lean frame. It’s been a long time since Danny’s had the indulgence of a kiss that wasn’t more than a chaste morning kiss or a ‘before you go to work’ peck.
This is the kind of kiss Danny’s knees go weak for. He grabs hold of Steve by the shirt and hauls him in closer when Steve gets the stupid idea that he should back off.
“Fuck you,” Danny mumbles against Steve’s lips. “Don’t you dare run away now.”
It does the trick of coaxing Steve back into his arms. The possessive and fierce and bruising kiss this began as has been replaced with something softer, but no less desperate. Inevitably, Danny’s got no fight in him and he sags forward into Steve’s waiting arms, forehead pressed against Steve’s shoulder where he can turn his cheek and listen to Steve’s steady heartbeat.
“Go see Chin,” Danny orders again because another kiss like that and they’ll be on the floor with their clothes strewn around the room and they can’t afford losing that kind of time when there’s a serial killer out there to be found and someone threatening the bond and they need to be destroyed.
“You’ll be in the van following?” Steve asks.
Danny nods his confirmation. “Always one step behind you. Don’t worry.”
“I save the worrying for you, Danno, you know that,” Steve says, waiting for Danny to open the pesky silver door that’s been keeping Steve inside the room. With a sweeping gesture of an arm and a mustered smile for courage, Danny opens the door and sends Steve up to get prepared.
It’s not Wo Fat and it’s not Sang Min and maybe their physical lives aren’t on the line right now, but Danny sure feels like this is enough stress to give him wrinkles and grays, as physically impossible as that is.
Steve, though, can do this. It’s Danny’s turn to be strong for him.
“I really don’t like this,” Danny complains for what must be the fifth time since they left in Steve’s truck to follow after him – and how is he driving Danny’s car for this op? Danny wants to know, how does he never get to drive his own car? It’s pretty clear that Jenna and Kono are tired of him complaining, too, because the synchronized eyeroll they perform could win them gold medals. “I hate this son of a bitch, I hate not knowing what the hell he is, and I really hate using Steve as bait!”
“Wanna go through it one more time?” Kono asks mildly. “I didn’t think the first five were enough.” She cocks a brow upwards as she dials HQ. “Chin? Yeah, Steve’s signal just stopped, so we think this is the spot. We could use some backup. Just in case.”
She hangs up and gives Danny a look, indicating that it’s his move, now.
And right now, until the audio and video feed starts giving them more than Steve walking through the courthouse, they have to sit back and wait.
“I hate this,” he mutters, for the sixth time.
“Me too,” Jenna says sympathetically, finishing with the last of the wires. Now, there’s black and white video on her laptop computer, streaming Steve’s actions to them live, to the second. “Okay! We’re live! We have McGarrett-cam working and he can’t hear anything we’re saying, so there’s nothing for Merrow to pick up on.”
“Good,” Danny says, vindictively punching a button that puts the camera full screen. He palms the canister of anti-pheromone that Charlie had delivered in his hands and regrets, not for the first time today, not dosing Steve with it before he’d even left.
They can’t spook Rich, though. If they’re going to figure out what he is and truly get him away from Steve, they need to understand exactly what kind of bump in the night creature he is. That means watching and waiting and thinking of the dozen ways he’d like to decapitate Rich if he gets his chance. The one he’s really liking is the one where he does it with his bare hands and every last person in Oahu gets the picture that Steve McGarrett is not to be touched, thought about, or even looked at.
“There,” Kono says, pointing at the screen. “That’s him. He worked a case I testified in a few months back, but I didn’t notice anything strange about him. Maybe he was flying under the radar.”
“Or maybe he hadn’t found what he wanted,” Danny says, forcing the bloodthirsty part of him to quiet down so that Steve can get some incriminating evidence. He takes in a deep breath and watches the way Rich’s whole body language changes upon seeing Steve – loosening up while his face practically effuses joy.
There’s no doubt in Danny’s mind that this is what Rich wants. If the pain he’s been feeling through the bond is any indication, he’s been getting it, too.
That’s when the equipment goes bad. The audio shorts out, causing Danny and Jenna to yank the headphones away from their ears before the feedback deafens them. “What the hell?” Danny demands, already pushing any buttons he can to get it back. “What the hell was that!?”
Jenna yanks the laptop away from Danny with a severe look (and hey, he knows he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s over four hundred years old, he’s still impressed with the printing press) and starts going through the functions. “Wait. Hold on, wait,” she says, staring up as she stares at Danny with a mix of horror and relief. “I think I know what Rich is. Listen!”
She plays back the audio they have, that truncated attempt at Steve’s name, but it’s slowed down and drawn out. It’s two letters, but there’s no mistaking the melodic influence Rich’s voice has over them.
“Son of a bitch,” Danny breathes out. “He’s a fucking siren.” Faintly, barely, they can hear the song.
He turns his attention back to the video feed – still working, still broadcasting. Steve’s gone into a trance state from the way he’s moving fluidly like his body is floating on the waves of the ocean. Danny doesn’t need audio and video to know what happens to someone under a siren’s spell. They go dumb and happy, do everything the siren wants, and barely remember in the morning.
“Do we have proof?” Danny demands, already clutching the door handle and ready to get out there and take this bastard down. Jenna’s typing away furiously, shaking her head, and Kono is on the phone with Chin, relaying the news. “We need something to take him down!”
“You’re going to have to get closer,” Jenna says. “The audio’s messed up.”
“Too close and he’s gonna snare me,” Danny warns. “Charlie’s anti-pheromone is only going to work on Steve’s desires, it won’t break the spell.”
“So don’t use it on Steve,” Kono says.
“Use it on Rich. Use the anti-pheromone on him, break his need for Steve,” she suggests eagerly. “Danny, you need to get some proof that he’s been using his song on Steve illegally. If there’s no evidence, we need a confession.”
The chances of a siren giving up a confession lies between pretty slim to null. There are a few ways to dull the spell, but old Odysseus had it best when he stuck wax in his ears. Danny fumbles for his earbuds, tapping one of his ears.
“Jenna, I need you to flood these with music that has a strong bass beat, playing low in my ears.” It would take more than the usual power to get Danny under the thrall, but he doesn’t want to take any chances. “I’m going to get closer. Kono, you’re coming with me. If he’s busy enthralling me, I need you to video it, get it in as evidence. Jenna, keep working on getting that feed back. Chin,” Danny shouts, into the open phone. “Get some backup down here. Merrow’s going away.”
Danny’s out of the truck with Kono behind him. There isn’t a need for bulletproof vests this time, because only the words are going to hurt. He signals for Kono to go around the other side while Danny approaches Steve and Rich carefully.
Jenna’s cued up the music and he pays attention to that, steadily counting the four-four beat as he winds his way closer. He hadn’t been wrong, earlier. Now that he’s close enough, he can see the way Steve stares at Rich – stupid, dumb, happy, and completely enthralled.
“…tonight,” Rich is saying. “We’ll go back to our hotel room and you can give me what you promised me. I want you, Steve,” he says, with such power in those words of the spell that Danny physically gets knocked back by it.
That’s the last straw, as far as Danny’s concerned.
He fights against the spell in the air and gets closer when he sees Kono’s got her video camera out. “Hey!” he shouts, catching Rich’s attention. “Merrow! Didn’t your mother ever tell you it’s not right going around ensnaring other people’s mates without permission?” he snarls, feeling more like an unhinged, possessive wolf than an old immortal. He doesn’t go for his sword, though he does stand with it slightly forward, as if reminding Rich of the blood on Danny’s hands is a good thing.
“It wasn’t that hard, Williams,” Rich replies smoothly, fixing his tie as he claps Steve twice on the shoulder. “Stay,” he informs Steve, who dutifully sinks down into a chair and waits, patiently. “You don’t deserve him, you know that?” he says matter-of-factly. “Steve McGarrett could be destined for great things, but you temper him too much. You hold him back. Four hundred years, Williams, and you’re fixated on the local supernatural. He could be great. He could put away the very worst and he only needs do it by my side.” He trails his fingers over Steve’s neck and Danny grits his teeth and bears it; he still needs that confession. “He was so reluctant, at first. I had to use nearly all of my song for him. I’m sure the bond feels quite painful now, but I’ll sever it soon enough.”
Danny catches the nod of Kono’s head out of the corner of his eye and yanks the earbuds out, not giving a damn if Rich cries out his song in pain. This has to end right now.
He uncaps the canister of anti-pheromone and stalks closer to Rich, throwing the stuff in his face.
Calmly, Rich begins to wipe it off his cheeks, sniffing it curiously. “What is that? I don’t recognize the chemical composition…”
Danny looks to Rich’s side, watching as Steve slowly comes out of the spell.
“It’s a goddamn cold shower,” Danny says and doesn’t hold anything back when he takes a swing and punches Rich as hard as he can. The satisfying crack of bones tells Danny that he made contact with something important and he grins darkly when that gives him the motivation to take another punch. This one draws blood from Rich’s nose and that’s the last time Danny sees sense.
He doesn’t need his sword for this. Rich has touched what’s his and Steve’s coming out from the spell, but that’s not enough. The police will arrest Rich, but it’s not enough.
Danny punches Rich until his knuckles are getting bruised and bloody, but that’s no excuse to stop. He grips Rich by his slick, gelled-up hair and hauls him back to his feet. “Get up,” he growls. “Get up, get up, you son of a bitch,” he spits, using his momentum to punch Rich and knock him flat on the ground.
He’s got both hands in the fucker’s shirt when Steve’s voice calls to him.
It’s still lazy and affected by the spell, but it’s Steve.
“Danny, you have to stop.”
“Don’t tell me what I should do, Steven, this asshole put you under his spell and who knows what the hell you did,” he says, but he doesn’t attack again. Blood is spilling from Rich’s mouth, his nose, and the bruises are already starting to come in, but it’s not enough. Danny isn’t sure if anything is going to be enough after what he’s done. “He needs to pay for it.”
“And he will,” Steve says. His words are slow, cautious – like he has to struggle to get them out. “Danny, the officers are here to take him away. I’ll testify. He’ll go away. You need to stop, Danny. He’s not an immortal and this isn’t a challenge. You can’t kill him.”
Danny wants to, though. He’s not sure he’s ever wanted anything more than he wants this.
“Danny,” Steve speaks, low and guttural. “I can’t lose you.”
If Danny kills him, then he goes away too. The means and immunity that they possess doesn’t extend to murder and if Danny gives in to the temptation, then he’s going to be behind bars and for an immortal, a life sentence is a hell of a long time. With great reluctance, he lets go of Rich and backs up three steps, letting HPD in to cuff Rich and read him his rights. They’re wearing, hilariously, ear wax.
“Odysseus, huh?” Danny comments offhand to Kono, wiping Rich’s blood from his hands.
“Someone thought it was a good idea,” Kono agrees. “We’ll process Merrow. You take care of the boss,” she indicates with a nod to where Steve is finally coming out from under the spell.
Danny doesn’t go to Steve’s side right away. He takes the time to clean up his knuckles and smooth out his hair so it doesn’t look like he’s just walked out of a fight – even though that’s exactly what happened. He wipes the last traces of the anti-pheromone from off his hands onto his pants and crouches down in front of Steve.
“Hey,” he greets him casually, like they’ve woken up one morning and nothing’s gone wrong.
“Danno,” Steve replies with a fond grin on his face. He lights up, absolutely lights up, and that isn’t a smile caused by a spell. That’s a genuine smile meant for Danny and Danny alone. “I guess this means I’m never allowed out of your sight?”
“Not ever,” Danny guarantees firmly, clapping one hand on Steve’s shoulder to haul him into a hug that’s as far as he’ll go in public because PDAs are just never going to be Danny’s thing, but he needs the solace of Steve’s warmth near him right now, might go crazy if he doesn’t have at least that. He grabs handfuls of Steve’s shirt to haul him closer, closing his eyes as tightly as he can and holds on – he holds on. “Don’t ever, ever do something like that again.”
“I know,” Steve murmurs in reply. “I know, Danny, I know. I promise, I’m not going anywhere. I’m not leaving you.”
It’s a promise neither of them can actually make because they’re not Max and they don’t know the future, but Danny’s willing to play a little stupid and believe that they can actually mean it.
“So,” Danny says as he works on the restraints, “Chin and Kono looked at the list and narrowed our suspects down to about five guys. Three of them had worked with kava recently, but what do you know, Max found a print on one of the pieces of the murder weapon we found in the beach debris.”
“Lucky,” Steve mumbles, staring at his wrists.
“Incredibly so. The guy’s name is Cameron Kailua. Apparently when he was eighteen, he found out he had a sexual fetish sort of thing for mermaids and, well, you know how closed off they are. So they ignored him and he got older and a little more murderous. He confessed to the murders, all of ‘em. HPD hauled him in today and the Governor’s newly appointed prosecutor intends to have at.”
“I still can’t believe you went to see her willingly,” Steve says with a scoff. “Danno, that’s brave.”
“Yeah, well, I know how much the Wo Fat case means to you,” Danny says, staring down at the last knot he’s made. “I couldn’t let it fall apart just because the lead on it was a scumbag using his powers for evil.” Danny kneels over Steve in the bed to check the straps that they’ve had to purchase because the number of times Steve’s needed to be restrained has somehow tripled in the last year. Danny’s going to have to think about that when he has more time. “Too tight?” he asks, when the last is strapped in place and Steve is spread-eagle on the bed.
Maybe when the worst of the withdrawal is over, Danny can use this to his advantage in a much better way.
He wipes some of the cold sweat from off Steve’s forehead, flashing him a sympathetic smile as Steve strains against the Velcro restraints. “Probably not enough,” he admits. “Cut off circulation if you have to. The last thing I need is to run down to the sea and beg some random siren to make me his.”
“Yeah, you’re already mine,” Danny points out and redoes the binds, tightening them until there’s red welt-marks against Steve’s skin. “Damn it, Steve, I hate seeing you like this.”
“It’s for a couple of days, Danny, it’s for the best. I need to get this siren song out of my head, once and for all,” Steve insists. He flexes his wrists again and gives an assured nod when he finds the straps are tight enough. “Danny…”
“I don’t need to hear it, Steve.”
“Yeah, well, I need to say it,” Steve replies.
Danny sits down on the bed beside Steve, resigned to the fact that they’re actually going to go through this. He reaches over and rests his hand over Steve’s heart. It’s a bad habit that he’s not entirely sure he wants to break. In fact, there’s a big part of Danny that’s too happy to see Steve restrained and unable to get away. It means that they have a chance to get back to normal and that Steve isn’t going anywhere.
Danny nods and takes a deep breath to prepare himself. “Lay it on me.”
“I’m an idiot,” Steve says. “And not because I was under a siren’s spell, because that’s unavoidable. I couldn’t have done anything about that. I’m an idiot because I called you crazy when something was going on. I’m a stubborn idiot because I thought I was fine and I’m a lousy mate because I let you get hurt because I was so pigheaded.”
Danny may have spoken too soon.
He kind of likes this.
“So the next time you’re losing hours and waking up in strange places with supernatural hangovers, what do we do?” Danny coaxes with a teasing smile on his lips.
“I call you,” Steve says, but he’s not joking around the way Danny is. He’s dead serious. “I always, always call you.” His body writhes as a bolt of need pushes through him and Danny only feels the faintest echoes of it and that alone is pretty powerful. He can’t even begin to imagine what the next few days are going to be like. “Danny,” Steve gasps out through gritted teeth. “Don’t leave me.”
“Never,” Danny swears, not teasing at all. “Steve, I’m never going to leave you. You’re mine. You got that? All mine,” he says, sliding his palm up Steve’s forearm until he can twine their fingers together and hold on.
The only thing he can do right now is hold on tight and he doesn’t plan to let go – now or ever.
Danny looks up from his paperwork and sighs. Steve’s been shouting at him through the bond for the last hour, but Danny is busy. Danny has a lot of paperwork to do in order to close the case on the wannabe-wolves he found in the woods sacrificing human beings like the insane brain-diseased cult that they were.
“Danny, get in here, he’s not joking!” That’s Kono and she sounds kind of panicked.
That’s enough for Danny to get out of his seat with sword in hand. He charges through the office and bursts into the main room to find Steve and Kono surrounded by two dozen very small, very sparkling, very quick little beings. Pixies. Danny should’ve known.
He crouches down and sheathes his sword, digging through his pockets to find a couple of candies he’d stuffed away. The damn things are sugar heathens and he knows that’ll get their attention away from Kono and Steve – and Steve, okay, he gets the wolf might be unnerved by small magical sparkling beings, but Kono? She’s never living this one down.
The pixies twitter and call to the others as they begin to swarm Danny.
“Danny,” Steve says, panicked. “Danno, that doesn’t seem like a very good idea.”
“Are you kidding? Rachel used to put out food for them in the backyard next to the hummingbird feeder,” Danny says, offering them the pieces of candy. “Hey, little guys,” he greets. “Who let you in?”
One of the smallest pixies inches closer, flitting its wings to get higher, whispering the answer in Danny’s ear. He grins and shakes his head, wondering how it is he didn’t guess that’s who brought the new species into the ecosystem.
“Jenna,” Danny calls down the hall. “I think what you’re looking for is over here.”
“How did they get out!” she asks, a frantic look on her face as she runs up the stairs and into the hall of the Five-0 headquarters, mouthing from one to fifteen as she counts the group of pixies that are currently running wild in their conference room. She digs through her pockets and comes up with a few chocolates, spreading them around the room. “We had a deal,” she says. “You were supposed to stay with me until I got you guys back to the forest.”
“We were hungry,” several of them whine in tandem.
“And we wanted to play with the wolf,” another says, winking at Steve – who, as if he’d been burnt by a flame, actually skitters back.
Unbelievable. His mate’s afraid of pixies and he only just found out.
“I’ve got plenty of food for you in the Jeep, just like I promised,” Jenna says. “Will you come with me?”
“Can the human come, too?” the smallest one asks. “And the immortal? And the wolf? Please?” she whines and wheedles.
Danny looks at Steve and Kono, who look like they’re trying to scale up onto the computer table, even though Chin would definitely have something to say about that. He smiles broadly and holds out his hands for the pixies. “I think they need to take a raincheck. They’ve got important work to do. After all, we do have a genie out there granting wishes without pointing out the small print,” he says. “Come on, guys,” he says.
The pixies seem happy to trail after Jenna and the sweets she’s using to coerce them, which gives Danny enough time to walk backwards and point to both Steve and Kono, mouthing a delighted ‘you owe me’ before he heads out to return a crew of pixies to their natural habitat.
It’s just a normal Tuesday at Five-0 and Danny’s probably going to be finding pixie dust on him for months.
It’s sort of worth all the trouble, though. At least, that’s what he thinks on good days like this. It’s all completely worth it to have Steve and his ohana under one roof.