It's not that he hates Hawaii specifically. He'd have hated whatever place Rachel dragged him to. In the grand scheme of things Oahu isn't really that bad. The weather is reassuringly predictable and Honolulu is comfortingly bustling, even if most of the people are way more laid back than the urbanites he's used to. No, he doesn't hate Hawaii, he just misses home, fiercely.
Home has snow, falling leaves, long summer days, and long winter nights curled up on the couch in front of the fire. Home has his parents, and his siblings, all his aunts and uncles, and cousins, nieces, nephews, everyone he's ever known. He misses his family constantly. Misses Sunday dinners with his parents, misses going to the park with Bridget so their kids can play, misses teasing Stella about how fast Eric is growing. He misses the familiarity of his own neighborhood. He misses knowing all the shortcuts through the back streets to avoid the morning rush hour, and which bars would let a tired cop sit and drink his beer in peace.
He supposes he'll eventually come to know Hawaii the same way, but no matter how long he's here it will never be home.
Steve's not used to silence. He's spent the last eighteen years in the navy, living in close quarters with dozens of other men. He never really minded the lack of privacy. It's not like he had anything to keep secret. If anything he found it soothing to be surrounded by others. Being left alone let him sink too deep into his own head. The noise and bustle of his men kept him grounded.
Now though, he comes home to an empty house, wanders from room to room trying to outrun the fading echoes of the gunshot that he can still hear in his dreams. It feels wrong, to be here, in this house by himself. Even after his mother's death it had been a place of sanctuary, of family. He didn't come home often but he knew it was there behind him, it lived bright in his memories. The current reality is a bitter disappointment. He wonders sometimes if it says something about him that he's still living in the house his father was murdered in. He's sure Danny would have something to say about that. But Steve can't bear to abandon the one place he remembers being truly happy.
Grace hates the ocean right now. Why is it her job to track down a demi-god and make him return Tefiti's heart? All she wanted was to be allowed to escape her overprotective father and go sailing.
She'd tracked the god down but he'd turned out to be a complete jerk! Grace glares over at where he's lounging at the back of the canoe. He looks the part with all the muscles and the intricate tattoos twining around his upper arms, but he's just as annoying and overbearing as her father. She crosses her arms and huffs out an annoyed breath. They'd probably get along great. Out loud she says "so are you going to help out at all?" She waves her paddle a little for emphasis in case he doesn't get the hint.
"Nah, you're doing such a good job," he replies. "I'd only get in the way." Then he smirks at her and turns back to look out over the ocean again.
Grace counts to ten very, very slowly. Maybe her dad was right, maybe staying in the village would have been the smarter idea. She can't wait until this quest is over and she can go home.
It starts innocently enough. When they return from their fishing adventure from hell it's natural for Catherine to be more concerned with Steve's welfare than Danny's. As she pushes past Danny to throw herself into Steve's arms Danny can't help himself making a snarky remark, but it's fine really. He gets it, the need to make sure your loved ones are safe. So he writes it off as an omission in the heat of the moment. They go on to solve the case but Cath never does ask how he is. After that it becomes a habit.
Every time they finish a particularly dangerous case Catherine completely ignores Danny in favor of checking on Steve. And he gets it, he does, they're a couple. But it would be nice to be acknowledged once in awhile. Then she starts ignoring him when the team goes out for drinks. It only gets worse when she joins the team full time and moves in with Steve. Danny hasn't been round there for beers after work in months. Every time Steve looks like he's gonna ask, Catherine interrupts. If he didn't know better he'd swear she was jealous. But that would be ridiculous, right?
Steve is always hassling Danny about his eating habits. He seems to think that eating a malasada is a one way direct ticket to a coronary event, which is rich coming from a man who eats as if every meal must be consumed in under five minutes. Danny occasionally contemplates asking Catherine if he eats like that on a date as well but he really doesn't want to know. It's just one more habit to lay squarely at the feet of the navy.
And it's true Danny likes his food. It's one of the few pleasures he can still afford after he's taken care of rent and child support payments, and don't even get him started on how ridiculous those are. But more than Danny likes food, he loves his daughter. So when Grace starts learning about nutrition at school and tries to overhaul his diet Danny goes along with it. Well, with minimal complaining anyway. Because he would do anything for Grace, and putting up with Steve's teasing over his new healthy lunches is a small price to pay to ensure that his sweet daughter doesn't have to worry about him. She worries too much for her age already.
The squealing of tires and the wail of the police sirens precedes the Camaro as it makes a high-speed turn onto Kalakaua avenue. Danny braces himself against the dashboard and surreptitiously crosses himself.
"So got any plans with Gracie this weekend?" Steve asks, like he shouldn't be giving driving his whole attention right now.
The car ahead swerves wildly between lanes as the criminals attempt to shake pursuit, narrowly avoiding side-swiping a minivan. Jesus, why do they always run? Has it ever worked? No. But still they try. The Camaro's tires squeal again as Steve yanks the wheel to follow the fleeing car down an alley that even Danny, with his limited knowledge of Honolulu, knows is a dead end.
"Ask me again later if we survive this," Danny responds curtly. He releases his seat-belt, checks his firearm, and gets his hand on the door handle, ready to jump out the moment they screech to a stop. Seriously, this must be his penance for being such a little shit to his parents during his teenage years. Steve stomps on the breaks, swings the car around to block the alleyway, Danny says a silent prayer, and steps out of the car.
It finally hits Charlie when he's ten. He'd always known he had two dads, he just figured it was normal. Lots of kids had two dads if their parents divorced and remarried. And he knew Danno and his mom used to be married. Grace had plenty of pictures from back then. He'd just never sat down and actually thought through the timelines to realize that he'd been born years after his mom had married Stan.
The realization makes him angry. Why didn't they tell him? He's not a kid anymore, he can handle the truth. He goes to find Grace. She's lying on her bed texting her boyfriend.
"Did Mom cheat on Dad with Danno before I was born?"
He's kind of shocked to see Grace actually put her phone down as she sits up and faces him. "Why would you ask that?"
"Cause I did the math," he quietly responds. "It's there plain as day, but nobody told me."
"Oh Charlie," Grace tries to comfort him, "there was some bad stuff going on back then, I don't think any of them meant for it to happen." She pauses, "You know they all love you right? This doesn't change that"
Chin walks into the office and waves at the others. Steve's pretending to do something on his computer while Danny looks over his shoulder, Kono's grabbing her (probably third) coffee from the tiny kitchen and Lou is on the phone. Chin throws his satchel onto the chair in his office and then walks back to the tech table, running his hand over it to wake it up for the day. He'd been running a complicated regression analysis on some data overnight and with any luck it should be done by now. The screen flickers on but instead of the carefully cross-referenced financial records he'd been expecting there is an error pop up in the middle of the screen, helpfully informing him that 'an unknown error has occurred.'
Chin stares at it with weary resignation.
"Danny!" he yells out.
"I didn't touch anything, it was like that when I came in!" Danny yells in response.
"If you didn't touch it how did you know was I was about to ask?" Chin responds.
A guilty silence follows, then Danny slowly makes his way to Chin's side.
"So hypothetically speaking," he asks, "how many beers am I gonna owe you for this one?"
Kono paddles slowly out into the dawn waves. It's been nine months since she's been out on a board. Nine long months of being confined to land following two painful surgeries and endless rounds of physical therapy only to be told that she'll never be able to compete again. The whole purpose of her life snatched away in an instant.
She sits up on her board and faces out to sea, bobbing up and down on the gentle waves. The morning sun is bright on her face and for a few moments she can imagine that nothing else exists, just her and the sun and the sea. Then she turns her board around, waits, and pops up just as the slightly bigger wave passes beneath her. Kono gets her feet underneath her, stands up, over-balances, and tumbles face first into the water.
She pops up a moment later coughing and spluttering and looks around for her board. It floats innocently a few feet away, mocking her. She swims towards it and climbs back on. She is Kono Kalakaua, daughter of these islands, and she may not be able to compete any more but there is no way she's giving up.
Chin flops down on the sand and watches the small figure paddling in the distance. The figure turns, stands up on the surfboard, and promptly tumbles over into the water. Chin winces in sympathy, and resists the desire to swim out and help. He knows his cousin needs to do this herself.
He flinches every time she takes a spill, and holds his breath until she resurfaces. It's been hard watching her these past months. She's been so quiet and withdrawn, small in a way his young firebrand of a cousin has never been before. It's like separating her from the waves had ripped away a part of her self.
He loses track of how long he sits there watching her, but the sun is well over the horizon by the time she paddles back toward the shore and sees him waiting there.
"Cuz," she calls out. "What are you doing here?"
"I stopped by the house but your bike was missing, and so was your favorite board. Didn't take a detective to figure out where you'd gone." He pauses, "how was it?"
She smiles at him, the first genuine smile he's seen for months. "Well, it was a start."
Steve rolls over and stares at the empty side of his bed. He wonders what it would be like to have Danny in that space. What it would be like to roll over in the middle of the night and have someone there, wrap himself around him and just hold on when the nightmares are too much. Put his head on Danny's chest and just listen to his heartbeat, steady and sure. Steve wonders what it would feel like to have Danny wrapped around him, legs tangled together and Danny's nose pressed against the nape of his neck.
He wonders what Danny's like as a bed mate. Does he snore? Steal the covers? Starfish in the middle of the bed? He's so loud and vibrant when awake, always moving, always talking, is he the same when he sleeps? Steve wonders idly if Rachel would tell him if he asks, but he can't think up a convincing enough reason why he'd need to know. So instead he takes all his imaginings, packs them all away down deep where they'll never be found and then rolls over so his back is to the empty side. Steve sighs deeply, he is so fucked.
Lou Grover stands in the middle of the parking lot, bags of groceries in either hand with his eyes closed, breathing deeply and enjoying the feel of the warm Hawaiian sunshine on his face. Right now back in Chicago it's the depth of winter; nothing but cold and snow and darkness. It's the complete opposite of where he finds himself now and he refuses to feel guilty about how little he misses it. Chicago is home, but it's really hard to golf there for half the year.
Rene and the kids hadn't wanted to move. They had friends and lives back on the mainland that they'd had to uproot. Had to pack their whole lives into boxes and move halfway around the world. Lou felt for them he really did, but standing here, palm trees swaying above him, the warm breeze bringing the scent of plumeria and the faint salt tang of the ocean he finally feels safe. Nobody knows where they've gone, nobody can find them, his family are safe. Mad at him, but safe, and he'll take that. After all this place is just beautiful, he can see why they call it paradise, they'll come around in time.
Duke stares down at the corpse at his feet and shakes his head. After nearly twenty years on the force he's seen every variation of human cruelty but that doesn't make it any easier to bear. He squats down and uses his gloved hand to close the victim's eyes. He knows he probably shouldn't but it seems to disrespectful not to give the young man that finally bit of dignity. While he's crouched he makes a slow inspection of the victim's clothes. He can't see anything out of the ordinary, but it'll take forensics to know for sure.
"Sargent!" Pua calls from deeper in the house.
Duke stands and hurries to the back bedroom where he finds Pua standing over a battered old suitcase pulled out from under the bed. It's open and what he sees makes Duke's stomach drop. "Better let McGarrett know we've got a case for him." He tells Pua.
"Where do you think they got this from?" Pua asks in a hushed whisper, staring down at the pile of gold bars lying innocently in the battered old case.
"I don't know, and I don't care." Duke responds. "For once I'm glad this is someone else's problem."
"One day, I come to work, and I notice I'm looking at her a little different. Know what I mean?" Danny asks.
"I do." Steve replies. And he's not lying, but he's not telling the whole truth either. The truth is he'd been in the middle of it before he realized he'd fallen. He'd tried so hard not to notice, to keep all his inconvenient feeling locked tightly away where they couldn't interfere with the job.
And Steve had known from the start it was hopeless, there was no way he'd look at Steve the same way Steve looked at him but at night, pressed together in a tent far too small for two grown men he could imagine, just for a second, that Freddie loved him back. That they could have a future together, somewhere far away from the navy and 'don't ask, don't tell'. But he couldn't risk it, and then there was Kelly, and the baby, and then Freddie was gone and Steve had carried that hole in his heart like a penance. He'd sworn then that he'd never make that same mistake, but his traitorous heart hadn't learned anything, and now it's happening all over again.
"Uncle Steve!" He hears Grace's delighted yell and turns just in time to catch her as she throws herself at him. "I didn't know you were coming today." She's wearing her a pink polka-dot swimsuit with her hair in pigtails and she's grinning at him as if he's the best surprise she's ever had.
He grins back. "Kono said she was taking you surfing today. I thought I'd come watch."
Grace's face gets all serious. "Maybe you can help teach Danno." She leans forward to whisper in his ear, "he's not very good yet."
Danny is standing at the water's edge with Kono and Steve's mouth goes dry at the sight. He'd known intellectually that Danny wasn't going to surf in his button down and slacks, but Steve hadn't quite been prepared for the sight of him in board shorts. His broad shoulders are firmly muscled and so is his chest which leads down to well defined abs and oh god, he has a tan line. The sight of that pale skin above his waistband makes Steve want to pull those shorts off with his teeth. Instead he grins at his partner and steels himself for a day of torture.
Despite what Danny thinks, Steve doesn't have a death wish. He knows he takes risks that look insane to his team, but they're calculated risks. He knows his own limits, and how to push right up against the edges of them without going over. But this time he's thrown away the calculator because he's doing this and to hell with the consequences. He's not leaving Danny to face death alone. Not just because Danny's his partner and friend, but also because he honestly doesn't know what he'd do without him anymore.
He's not sure when Danny had become essential to his life, but the thought of having to keep going without him makes Steve feel like the ground has dropped out from under him and there's nothing firm to hold on to. So he stays, despite Danny yelling at him to leave. It may be selfish and self-destructive, but he doesn't care. He can't face a life without Danny, he can't imagine having to tell Grace that he couldn't save her father. And if Danny yells at him at great length and volume afterwards for being a self-sacrificing jerk, well it's quite possibly the best sound Steve has ever heard.
"I think that cute guy over there is checking you out" Jenn yells in Catherine's ear.
The bar is loud and crowded and it takes Cath a moment to spot the man Jenn's referring to. He's leaning against the bar, tattooed biceps on full display and when he sees her looking he grins widely. He turns back to the bartender and Cath takes the opportunity to check out his ass, it's very nice. In fact the whole package is very nice. If he actually comes over she might give him a shot.
He turns back from the bartender with three beers in hand and makes his way over to Cath and her friend. "Ladies, for you," he presents the beers with a flourish. Jenn flushes and stammers out a thank you, but Cath simply takes the beer and inclines her head in thanks. He's gonna have to do better than that if he wants to go home with her. He leans in, here it comes, "I was wondering if maybe you'd want to sleep with me sometime?"
Cath laughs loudly. "Really that's the best you've got?" She grins, "Nice try sailor, but not with that pickup line. I have standards."
Rachel stares angrily at the clock. Daniel is over an hour late, again. She tosses back the last of her wine and stands up from the dinner table. She'd tried so hard. She'd dropped off Grace with her grandparents for the night, then came home and cooked Clara's lasagne recipe. She'd laid the table with the good china, set out wine and candles and put on her favorite little black dress and heels. Apparently the one thing she hadn't done was make sure her husband would actually be there.
When they were first married she'd admired Daniel's dedication to his job. She'd thought it was noble how much he cared about the people he served, but now she hates it. He'll go above and beyond for every victim's family at the expense of his own. Rachel can't remember the last time they'd gone out on a date. Well she'd tried, she'd made dinner, put in the effort, but now she's done. She blows out the candle, packs away the leftovers and calls her friend Sarah. Since she's dressed up she might as well go out and enjoy herself, maybe a few drinks will make her forget how angry she is.
"I'm never going to forgive that woman, she's taken my granddaughter and now my son as well." Clara slams down the pot onto the stove and turns around to glare at Eddie. "I still don't understand why she gets to just decide they're moving and Daniel has to go along with it."
Eddie steps forward and wraps his arms around his wife. "You know as well as I do that custody judge was biased against him from the start. Plenty of people that work irregular hours raise kids just fine." He sighs and drops a kiss to the top of his wife's head. "We'll still be able to visit."
"It's not the same though." Clara sniffles. "I can't bear to think of my boy being so far away from me. Who's going to look after him and make sure he's taking care of himself?"
Eddie pulls back and gives his wife a look. "Clara dear, he's thirty-three. If he can't feed himself by now he's got bigger problems than we can help him with."
Clara manages a watery smile. "I know. I just miss them both already."
Eddie tucks his wife's head under his chin and whispers "I do too."
Eric strides down the jet-way to the arrivals area and looks around for his Uncle. He feels like he hit the jackpot, he screwed up and he knows it, but instead of going to jail he gets to go to Hawaii for two weeks to see his Uncle D. He can't wait to get to the beach and see all the hotties in bikinis. He spots his uncle's blonde head bobbing among the crowd and raises his hand. "Uncle D!"
His uncle turns and Eric gets a good look at his face, and uh oh... to say his uncle looks unimpressed would be an understatement. He looks positively furious.
"Eric, you putz. What the hell were you thinking? Stealing a car? Are you trying to give your mother a heart attack?"
"I'm sorry Uncle D, I just...."
"Don't give me any excuses. You are in so much trouble right now. Since neither your no good father or Matty is here it's my job to straighten you out, and that's what I'm gonna do. From this moment on you are grounded. You are to do exactly what I tell you and no complaints. Understand?"
"But Uncle D..."
Eric sighs, "yeah."
"One more push, come on..."
Rachel screams as she bears down and there's a brief moment of absolute silence before another cry pierces the air.
"Congratulations!" The doctor says holding up the squirming baby, "It's a girl."
The nurse takes the tiny squirming infant from the doctor, wraps her loosely in a blanket and hands her to Danny. The angry cries abruptly stop as Danny settles the tiny bundle into the crook of his arm. He stares down at his daughter and the rest of the world seems to fade into the background. He's overwhelmed by the fierceness of the love and protectiveness he feels. She's so tiny, she practically fits in the palm of his hand and he's terrified he's holding her wrong but she seems to be ok with it, snuggling deeper into the blanket and letting out a little sigh.
"Welcome to the world Gracie." He whispers quietly, looking up to where Rachel is lying exhausted on the bed watching the two of them, a soft smile on her face. "Why don't we go over there and say hi to your mom?" Gracie's response is to wave her tiny fist around so he figures that's a yes.
Adam grins as Chin swings Kono around on the dance floor. She looks radiant and he still can't believe that they're finally husband and wife. It's been a long road to get to this point, and he plans to enjoy tonight to the fullest. Kono sees him watching and beams at him, but he turns away when he feels a presence at his side. It's Danny. He smiles at Adam and puts his hand out to shake.
"Congrats my friend," Danny starts, "I'm very happy for you." Then his grip tightens and his face turns serious. "And I probably should have said something before the wedding, although we were a little busy with that nuclear bomb issue, but if you hurt her, in any way, I will break you. Kono is like a sister to me and I'll protect her the same way I would my own blood, you get me?"
Adam swallows nervously. He's never been on this side of Danny's interrogation face before and it's terrifying. He might lack height, but no one would ever doubt his ability to follow through on his threats. Then he smiles, pats Adam on the shoulder and wanders back into the crowd.
Danny rolls over in bed and reaches for his partner only to grab a handful of empty air instead. He feels the mattress, it's already cool, meaning Steve's been gone for a while. He listens, but can't hear any noises from downstairs, so he must be out doing his morning frolic with the fishes. Danny grimaces and burrows back down under the covers. He knows intellectually that Steve is in no danger in the ocean, but he's never let that stop him from worrying. Sighing he throws off the blanket and reaches for a pair of shorts and a shirt from the pile of clothes on the floor.
He makes his way down to the beach just in time to watch Steve rise from the water. The light of the rising sun halos him from behind and obscures his features. The water is almost perfectly still and there's no noise from the neighbors. It's just the two of them, locked together in this frozen moment. Danny smiles and holds out his hand. "You done swimming with the sharks?"
Steve grins in return and walks forward. "For now." He takes Danny's hand and lets himself be pulled back into the house.
The house on the shore has stood for many years. It's known many changes over that time. Years ago it was the home of a family. Children laughed and played through its rooms and across the yard. Parents tended the house and the family, providing love and security. Then tragedy struck and the house sunk into mourning. The children no long laughed, and eventually their father sent them away as well. For years the house was grey and silent, dust collected in the corners of the rooms, and the long evenings were only disturbed by the sound of a man working at his desk, long into the night.
Then tragedy strikes again. This time the murder occurs within the houses very walls, a blood splattered floor evidence to the secrets the of people that once lived there. Yet this tragedy brought the children back, full grown now and grim. Would the house ever know joy again?
Yet now another child appears. She and her father bring light and laughter back to the house. Slowly the darkness begins to recede and the shadows of the past are driven out. The day they move in the house feels like a home again.
Stan slams his fist into the wall, punching a ragged hole through the drywall. His knuckles are bleeding when he pulls his hand back but he barely notices through the haze of his anger.
"Charles is not your son, he's Daniel's."
How could she have kept something like this from him? He knew Rachel had been unfaithful but he'd forgiven her, taken her back, been reassured when she said the baby was his. He'd never thought to question her word. He'd trusted her and look where that had got him. His son, his son, the boy he'd raised, and loved, and given everything for was no longer his.
He'd always felt bad for how Rachel had treated Danny when they'd first arrived on Oahu. He'd watched the man give up everything for Grace and Stan had hoped to someday be such a dedicated father to his own son. He'd looked at Danny as a man to be emulated. Now though, he hates him. He doesn't think he'll ever forgive him for taking his son away. But if he wants to stay in Charlie's life, to continue to be a father to that little boy, he'll have to find a way.
Doris glances at the clock for the fourth time and yells out "Steven! Mary! We're going to be late!" She checks her purse for the last time, making sure everything she needs is safe in the secret pocket in the lining. She has her spare passport and enough cash to get her to her first stop. She's not supposed to take any mementos, anything missing from the house afterwards could blow her cover, but folded inside the passport is a single photograph of her, John and the children. Deb had taken it the last time she came to visit and it's one of the few photos where both Steve and Mary were smiling at the same time.
As she's hunting through the rest of the bag for her car keys her children come running down the stairs, already arguing about something. "Come on, come on," she chides. "here's your lunches, now get in the car. We have to go." The kids run past her out of the house and Doris takes one last lingering look around her home. Then she straightens, takes a deep breath, turns and firmly closes the door. She doesn't think she'll ever be coming back here.
Danny's quiet. Steve sneaks glances at him as they drive down the H1 toward a case. Danny's only ever this quiet when something is really wrong, but it's be like pulling teeth to find out why. Although he did have to take the kids back to Rachel's this morning, so that's probably a safe starting point.
"Charlie and Grace have a fun weekend?" Steve asks cautiously.
"They did," Danny confirms, "we went to the aquarium... again." He pauses. "Charlie called me Danno for the first time." He's staring out the window so Steve can't see his face, but his voice is tight.
"That's great, right?" Steve queries.
"Yeah, well, not so much." Danny sighs. "When Grace calls me Danno it like our special thing that reminds me I'm her father right? When Charlie calls me Danno it's because Stan is already Daddy, and I'm just... Danno... that other guy in his life."
Steve feels the familiar surge of anger at Rachel, but stamps it down hard. "He's still young, and this is all still new for him. You've just got to give him time."
"Yeah, I guess." Danny agrees, and then turns to face the window again. "It just sucks."
Danny peeks around the kitchen door to get a clear look at the dining room. It's packed. Everyone has shown up for the grand opening night.The entire Ohana is out there including his family from Jersey, and Max and Sabrina who had flown in specially for the occasion. Everyone seems to be having a good time, laughing and joking and enjoying their meals. The kitchen is finally calm again after the rush and he feels like he can breath. He'd known opening a restaurant was going to be hard work, but he hopes he never has to prepare 60 covers all at once ever again.
He feels a hand land on his shoulder and turns to look at Steve. He's got a smudge of flour across his forehead, and his apron is a mess but he's wearing the biggest smile Danny's ever seen. Danny shakes his head, "I still can't believe you gave up Five-0 for this."
"I told you buddy, where you go, I go. Always." Steve's smile morphs into something warmer and softer. He grabs Danny's hand and pulls him into the dining room where they're surrounded by the cheers and applause of all their friends and family.