A/N: This is loosely inspired by Faye Dartmouth's fic "Reasons to Hate Hawaii" (and by "loosely," I mean that my plot bunny saw this fic, ate a few radioactive angst and whump carrots, and went completely psycho). It also draws on a scene from 1.03, but isn't directly linked to that ep. Also, I'm pretty sure there's a Hardy Boys book that features something like this as a plot point, but I have no idea which one it would be, as I've read pretty much all of them at one point or another. Special thanks to Faye for the beta. This would be half as funny and a lot less understandable without her help.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Hawaii Five-0. Title comes from Blue October's "Into the Ocean."
Apparently Danny's not supposed to like Hawaii.
Every time he finds something he can appreciate about living on the island, something else comes along to counteract it.
Example one: Seeing Grace more. It's fantastic, really, and it's the reason he moved out here in the first place. Dealing with Rachel and Step-Stan, though? Annoying as hell, but he endures it for his daughter.
Example two: Joining a new, elite, and frankly kick-ass investigative team. It's fulfilling. Rewarding, even. He likes them, even if he occasionally thinks they're all completely insane. But having Steve McGarrett as his partner? Some days, Danny isn't sure who he wants to shoot more, Steve or himself.
Example three: Spending the day at the beach with his daughter. It was delightful… aside from the sand in his shorts, the overabundance of tourists, Chin and Steve's endless jokes at his expense, and the wide ocean Grace was determined to play in.
For everything good about this place, there always seems to be something bad.
Because really, it had been a good Saturday – for most of the day, anyway. He'd had the chance to cheer Grace on as Kono taught her the basics of body boarding; to see his daughter try Thai food for the first time; to hear her laugh when tears started streaming down Steve's face after he ate a hot pepper on a dare.
Danny had felt… content, even happy with his life as he'd dropped Grace off at Rachel's. It was an odd feeling – one he wasn't sure he'd ever feel again after leaving New Jersey – but he'd liked it.
Then some morons decided to conk him over the head outside his apartment and chain him up in a cage.
It's moments like this when he contemplates transferring back to the mainland. The mountain of paperwork would be a joy compared to this, Danny thinks as he pulls at the handcuffs securing his wrists and left ankle to the bars. It's not going to do anything – he knows this, he has the chafed wrists to prove it – but it feels better than being trapped in a freaking cage, shivering in the water beneath the yacht the cage is attached to. There's a small recess in the underside that provides him a small pocket of air, which he's grateful for. He's not a fan of drowning.
Danny isn't quite sure how he got here – one minute, he was reaching in to grab the leftover Thai food from the passenger seat of his Camaro, and the next, two goons were tossing him into the cage and another thug in scuba gear was chaining him up. No one had spoken, despite Danny's best attempts to egg them into it, and as soon as he'd been chained up, they'd locked the hatch above the cage and left him alone.
That had been hours ago.
He'd tried yelling, hoping to attract the attention of someone strolling nearby. But he'd given up after a bit; it's highly possible the boat's moored off a private dock with no one around but the psychos who'd put him here in the first place. He's pretty sure they aren't going to let him out anytime soon.
Plus, yelling only aggravated his steadily-increasing headache. He's pretty sure he doesn't have a concussion, but he's going to have a pretty decent-sized bruise over his left ear. It does nothing to help his mood.
He can't pick the locks, either, because whoever locked him up had been thorough – they'd snagged the backup in his ankle holster, his pocketknife, and the lock pick in his shoe. (He's been partners with Steve for eight months now; he's learned to be prepared for anything. Not that it's doing him any good at the moment.)
As if the situation was frustrating enough, he has absolutely no idea why he's here. They don't have any active cases. There've been no recent threats against anyone on the team, and no one has mentioned being followed; Steve and Chin are both scary good at picking out someone tailing them.
Basically, the entire scenario has come from left field. Danny's willing to bet that it's somehow Steve's fault. It's always Steve's fault.
And unless the bad guys make some kind of ransom demand soon, it'll be a good twenty-four hours – at least – before anyone figures out he's missing. It's the weekend, and Danny had been very explicit in expressing his desire to do nothing more on Sunday than plant himself on his couch and watch the Jets and the Giants duke it out on Sunday Night Football. With his luck, this will be the weekend his team actually listens to him for once. If his internal clock is right, he's got a little over thirty-six hours before he's supposed to report in for work.
Somehow he doubts the bad guys will release him just so he can maintain his perfect attendance record.
So, really, he's got no choice but to resign himself to a long wait, chained like a dog in a cage beneath someone's boat.
Sometimes, Danny really hates Hawaii.
– 5-0 – 5-0 –
Danny spends hours making mental lists, both to pass the time and to take his focus off his aching head and watery surroundings. First, he tries to remember the names, birthdates, and ages of all his aunts, uncles, and first cousins. If he remembers right, that comes to a grand total of fifty-eight people; sixty-five if he counts the family of the crazy aunt and uncle that no one's heard from in almost a decade. (He would try for the children of his first cousins, but he doesn't keep in touch with half of them anymore, and the other half procreates too often to keep track.)
Between the sheer number of relatives and his headache, it takes a while, but he manages to do it. It makes him feel a little guilty, though – he missed sending Rhonda (who's always been his favorite aunt) some flowers for her fifty-sixth birthday a few weeks ago. He's also going to have to send Gram and Gramps an anniversary card next month. He has no idea how they managed to stay together sixty-four years, but he sort of envies them a little.
That leads to a list he's never been fond of: the things he could have done but didn't to save his marriage. It's a long list, and he knows Rachel's got a fairly long one as well. Most people he knows now can't understand how he and Rachel ever hooked up in the first place.
Some days, Danny agrees with them; mostly, though, he remembers how he felt before everything fell apart – the passion, the awe, the frustration, the love – and it makes him angrier at himself and at Rachel for letting something like that go. Maybe if they'd actually had therapy sessions, instead of just talking about it, they could have worked something out. It might not have stopped them from splitting up, but it could have made things less bitter between them.
Because if there was one thing worse than almost losing access to his daughter, it was losing his best friend to another man.
It's a list that makes him angry and depressed, so he moves on to list all the times he's been nearly killed in the eight months he's been with Five-0. This results in the need for several sub-lists: times he's almost died from Steve's reckless driving (he's lost track – probably around forty… maybe fifty); times Steve's almost blown them all up (seven); times Steve's actions led to them getting shot at (twenty-six); times Steve's actions led to Danny actually getting shot (nine – thank God for Kevlar); times Chin's practically eviscerated Danny with a look for making out with Kono while undercover (three), and times Kono's inadvertently triggered his potentially lethal food allergies by giving him something with strawberries (one).
If he didn't like his team so much, he'd think they're trying to kill him.
By the time he's finished coming up with all the sub-lists, sunlight is starting to filter in through the water. It's been a long time since he's been this tired – he's not used to pulling all-nighters without the help of coffee and adrenaline and a case to make it worthwhile. His skin is way past pruney and well on its way to raisiny. His eyes sting from the salt water, he's thirsty, and despite the warm tropical water, he's shivering from exposure. He can't even try to sleep because the way his hands and ankle are cuffed prevent him from being able to float face up.
Basically, life sucks.
Danny's half-tempted to ask Steve to dangle the goons who've locked him in here over the edge of a roof; it's unorthodox, but it's an effective scare tactic, and nothing would satisfy Danny more than to see those guys squeal like little girls.
Of course, to get that wish, he needs Steve and the others to show up and let him out.
He settles back against the bars and starts listing off the phone numbers of his favorite pizza places in New Jersey. It's a long and comprehensive list, and while it'll probably make him hungrier than he is now, it's better than dwelling on the fact that he's still stuck. Underwater.
He's never going to like Hawaii at this rate.
– 5-0 – 5-0 –
The sun's high enough now that he can see the fish swimming in the clear water, as well as the shadows of other boats floating on the water. He's not sure how he feels about the fish darting in and out of the cage. On the one hand, people pay good money for this kind of experience. Why, he doesn't know, but it is kind of cool to see the different shapes and colors and varieties of fish.
On the other hand, it's yet another reminder that he's stuck in this stupid cage. Thanks to Uncle Eddy, he can pick a lock faster than most thieves he's met – when he has the right tools – but he's stuck in here, and the dumb fish can come and go as they please. It doesn't seem fair. Plus, he's half paranoid they're going to start nibbling on his skin when he's least expecting it.
At least he hasn't seen any sharks. He's really hoping it stays that way.
– 5-0 – 5-0 –
It's a good thing Grace already had plans with friends on Sunday. The only thing that could make this worse is if it had cut in on his time with his daughter.
Of course, they would've discovered he's missing by now if that was the case, but Danny decides he'd rather be here a few extra hours than lose that time with Grace.
He doesn't dwell on the possibility he might not get that time ever again. He refuses. That would be the same as giving up, and that's something he doesn't do.
– 5-0 – 5-0 –
Danny somehow dozes off while reciting as many of the Latin words he can remember from the classes he'd taken at his Catholic high school. He jerks awake with a start, wincing as his headache returns with a vengeance. He'd wedged his forehead into the corner of the cage so he wouldn't drown just in case he happened to nod off, and now his head, neck, and shoulders are telling him how much he regrets it.
Someone walks over the hatch above, and Danny's gaze instinctively shoots up. He can hear low voices talking, but the words are too muffled to make out. More footsteps echo in his air pocket; it had probably been what awakened him.
"I'm… ask... he?"
Danny would recognize that growl anywhere. "Steve!" he shouts. Only he doesn't – it comes out as a pathetic croak, and wow, his throat hurts. He feels like he just gargled glass and knocked back a salt water chaser. He clears his throat and tries again. "Steve!"
It's no good. His voice sounds quiet, even to his own ears, and there's no way it would be heard inside the boat. He now realizes what the cuffs are for – they prevent him from being able to knock against the bottom of the boat to draw attention. The realization's enough to make him wonder who else has been trapped in this thing for the bad guys to even know that.
He tries to yell a few more times, because he's stubborn like that, but it's no use. His voice only gets softer, and while Steve McGarrett has a lot of scary abilities, super hearing is apparently not one of them. After a few minutes, Danny hears footsteps walk right over the hatch and back to the pier. He thinks he hears the faint sound of an engine starting up as a car pulls away, but it could just be his imagination.
Then the hatch opens, but before Danny can get his hopes up, a face appears that's definitely not one of his teammates. It's one of the thugs from before, only now he's dressed up in a collared shirt and tie, radiating an "I'm a Professional Businessman, You Cretin" air. He smirks at Danny and promptly closes the hatch again, mocking Danny's situation without so much as a snicker.
Bastard. Danny would shout as much, but at this point it's just wasted energy. He'd rather save that energy for laughing at the guy's face when Five-0 turns the tables and locks him in the cage instead. He's also going to need energy to give Steve crap for being right there and missing the fact that Danny was under his feet. Not that Danny would've noticed if their places were switched, but still. He's not the one who runs around like some idiotic super hero half the time.
He settles back against the cage bars, trying to find a position that's semi-comfortable. Obviously Steve and the others know Danny's missing; the fact his partner had shown up at the boat not only reaffirms this is somehow Steve's fault, but it also lets Danny know Steve's on the right track. It reassures him and pisses him off all at once, which doesn't surprise him – that's usually how he feels whenever Steve shows up to save the day.
He just hopes Steve figures out the bit about the underwater cage sooner rather than later. He'd really like to get dry again.
– 5-0 – 5-0 –
He kicks his free leg a few times when he starts feeling restless. It's awkward in the tiny space, but at least it gives him a little something to do. He's never going to complain about another stake-out again.
Well, at least not as much as he has in the past.
– 5-0 – 5-0 –
When his stomach growls for the sixth time in just a few minutes, he remembers the Panang curry sitting in the front seat of his Camaro. He hopes someone took it out of his car. It would be a shame for good curry to go to waste.
Plus, it'll make his car smell for weeks if it goes bad in there.
– 5-0 – 5-0 –
He jolts awake from yet another doze to find the shadows in the water lengthening. The sun's going down, and it's looking more and more like he's going to spend another night in the cage.
Danny doesn't rant, scream, or cry, but that's mostly because he's too tired and dehydrated to come up with the energy to even contemplate doing so. But when Steve and the others get here, he's going to give them a good long chat about timeliness and preventing teammates from turning into shriveled mummies in underwater cages.
Of course, odds are high they're going to tune him out after the first few sentences, but it never hurts to try.
– 5-0 – 5-0 –
One thing Hawaii does have going for it is the warm water, Danny decides a few hours after the sun has set again. The moon is bright tonight, casting long, eerie shadows in the water. The air in his alcove is thick and humid, and he's shivering from being in the water for so long, but he's not too worried about dying of hypothermia anytime soon. If this had happened in New Jersey, he'd probably be a popsicle by now.
Still, he's rationally concerned. Warm water or no, exposure is still dangerous, especially since it's been close to twenty-four hours since he was tossed in this cage. His thoughts are becoming spastic at best, his wrists and ankles are chafed, his joints ache, it feels like there's a marching band trying to beat its way out of his skull, and if he doesn't get out of the salt water soon, there's a strong chance he'll be pickled. He probably looks like he's in his eighties because his skin's so shriveled.
He's also having a harder time keeping his head out of the water. Twice now, he's woken up completely submerged and had to expel water from his lungs. He's inadvertently swallowed sea water a couple times and has more than likely consumed enough sodium to last him six lifetimes. Between the headache, the dehydration, the lack of food, and his strong desire for sleep, it's taking everything he has just to stay awake. Wedging himself in the corner of the cage isn't working as well any more, mostly because his legs don't want to keep him propped up.
For now, he's got his face pressed against the bars, hands loosely griping the bars they're cuffed to as he bobs in the water. He'd really like nothing more than to float on his back to sleep, but it isn't happening with his ankle cuffed.
Honestly, Danny has no idea how he's going to survive another day without going completely insane from the isolation.
He's so busy thinking about his misery that he doesn't notice something's gripping his ankle until it jerks him sharply, tugging him beneath the water. He surfaces with a splutter, kicking his legs in a weak attempt to free his ankle from whatever's got hold of him.
Then the hand around his ankle squeezes twice, and Danny comes to his senses enough to realize it's a person, not a giant fish, that's latched onto him.
He glances down, and he can't help the grin that spreads across his face, cracking his dry lips. Steve's staring back at him through a swim mask, eyes wide, a small stream of bubbles escaping from his nose. As soon as he realizes he's got Danny's attention, he squeezes Danny's ankle again; Danny doesn't need to hear Steve speak to know what he's saying.
Are you okay?
Danny nods once, slumping back against the cage bars, partly from relief, partly from exhaustion. "Thank you, Aquaman," he croaks. "It's about freakin' time."
It's not likely that Steve heard him, but he obviously understands the sentiment. He grins, squeezes Danny's ankle one final time, and then pushes away from the cage, propelling himself to the surface. Danny laughs a little, shaking his head and closing his eyes.
He's not sure what he's done to deserve such crazy friends, but it's times like these he's glad he's got them. Not that he'd ever admit it out loud.
The hatch opens with a squeak, and Danny looks up to see Chin and Kono staring down at him. Chin's as impassive as ever, but Kono's got a wide grin of relief on her face. "Enjoying your day at the spa?" Chin asks wryly.
Danny snorts. "Not really – I've been gypped," he rasps. "They didn't give me any of those cucumber slices for my eyes."
Both Kono and Chin wince at the sound of his ragged voice. "Sounds like you missed out on your complimentary beverages, too," Kono replies. "Ready to get out?"
Danny rattles the handcuffs holding him in place. "More than, but you'll need a key."
Something tugs at his ankle, and he glances down to see Steve picking the lock. It falls away a moment later, and suddenly Steve's in front of him, jamming a lock pick into the cuffs. Within seconds, those, too, are loose, drifting toward the ocean floor. Steve nods at him, squeezes his hand once, then swims away.
Danny looks back at his teammates, raising his arms as he bobs freely in the cage. "Now we're good."
Chin and Kono reach down and grab hold, and with a couple heaves, Danny's finally, finally out of the water, sprawled on the floor of the boat. The air in the cabin is cool, sending him into shivers. But the carpet beneath him is comfortable and solid, and he lets his eyes fall shut as a wave of utter exhaustion sweeps over him. He's pretty sure he could fall asleep right here.
He may actually have fallen into a doze for a few seconds because suddenly Steve is there, shaking his shoulder and dripping water on him. "Come on, now, Danno, no sleeping yet," he says lightly, but there's a hint of tension in his voice.
Danny cracks an eye open to glare at his partner. "I've been awake for at least thirty-six hours, man. I think I've earned a nap."
Steve's mouth quirks into a half-smile. "Yeah, well, unless you wanna be stuck looking like something they just dug up for the cover of National Geographic, we should get you to a hospital for some fluids."
Danny raises a hand, wincing when he sees how shriveled and wrinkled it is. "Okay, you've got a point," he concedes.
"Of course I do," Steve replies easily, looping one of Danny's arms around his shoulders. Chin takes the other arm, and suddenly Danny's vertical again. His head swims from the abrupt change in position, and his legs are so weak he can't even put any weight on them, so it's a good thing his teammates are there to serve as temporary crutches.
Then all the muscles in his calves, thighs, and lower back decide to cramp up, and it's all he can do to keep from getting sick or breaking down in sobs.
"You alright? You're already getting me soaking wet, I don't want to add vomit to the mix," Chin states a little uneasily.
"You and me both, Brah," Steve agrees.
Danny sucks in a few more breaths through his nose, riding out the last of the muscle cramps, and tilts his head so he can shoot a glare at his partner. "You'd deserve it," he says. "I'm not even sure why I'm here in the first place, but I'm pretty sure it's your fault. Plus, you missed me the first time around," he adds, nodding at the open hatch. Kono promptly kicks the cover shut.
Steve looks chagrined. "Yeah… sorry about that."
Danny shrugs it off as they move to the stern. "Yeah, well, just be aware that I'm going to add it to the sub-list 'Times Steve's Knack for Pissing People Off Has Gotten Me in Trouble.'"
He can sense Steve's skeptical look without even seeing his face. "You have sub-lists?" Steve asks.
"Yes, I have sub-lists. I have lists, sub-lists, and sub-lists of my freakin' sub-lists. I've been locked in a damn cage for twenty-four hours and change, what else was I supposed to do?"
"You're just lucky Steve was in the mood for watching some football," Chin says. "Otherwise, we wouldn't have known you were gone until tomorrow morning."
"And that's such a cheery thought," Danny mutters, shivering instinctively. He notices that both Steve and Chin tighten their grips, but he doesn't comment.
They're now on the stern of the boat, which is moored off a private pier. An ambulance is pulling up, and a couple EMTs are hopping out. Danny can't help but sigh. "Is this really necessary?"
"You've been a cage for twenty-four hours and change," Kono replies with a hint of a smirk. "And you look like an octogenarian. Trust me. It's necessary."
Danny glares at her, but judging by the fact it takes almost all his energy just to do that, she's probably right. Not that he'll ever admit it.
Steve and Chin help the EMTs settle him onto a gurney, stepping back just enough to allow the medics room to work. He's having his vitals taken when a police officer jogs up to the group. "We've got a lead on Simmons, sir," he says to Steve. "He's heading for his private airstrip."
"Of course he is," Steve mutters.
Danny raises an eyebrow. "Simmons? That the bastard who owns the boat?"
Steve nods. "I put his brother behind bars for selling Navy secrets to a few unfriendly powers a couple years ago. Apparently he thinks revenge is a dish best served cold."
"I think you mean 'soggy,'" Danny replies, holding up a wrinkled hand. "And while I wouldn't normally suggest something like this…" He pauses for effect, making sure he's got their full attention before stating, "I'm thinking he deserves a taste of his own medicine."
All three of his teammates grin. "I like the way you think, Brah," Chin declares. He taps Steve on the shoulder. "Come on, we're going to have to move fast if we want to catch him – Simmons' airfield is a good half-hour from here."
Steve nods. "Kono, you keep an eye on Danny. We'll meet you at the hospital," he says as the pair jogs off toward the Camaro.
"Don't mess up my car!" Danny calls, wincing as it aggravates his throat. Steve waves one hand in acknowledgement, and seconds later they're gone, leaving nothing but a layer of smoking rubber on the pavement behind them.
Danny sighs and slumps back against the gurney. "Lunatic," he mutters.
Kono smiles a little, squeezing his arm as they move to the ambulance. "He was worried about you. We all were."
Danny swallows at the admission. He's not sure he'll ever get used to this, to being on this team. It's an easy camaraderie, one he's never quite experienced before. Sure, he had friends and colleagues he would die for back in New Jersey, but it took years to build that kind of trust. With this team, it took a matter of weeks.
It scares him sometimes, the things he'd do to keep his team safe. It almost scares him more to know they'd do the same.
He pushes the thought aside and smirks at Kono. "See, when you say things like that, it makes me start to like you guys more. So you should probably stop it."
Kono sees the joke for what it is. She laughs and rolls her eyes, but doesn't let her hand drop from his arm, not even after they're loaded up in the ambulance and headed toward the hospital. Oddly enough, Danny, despite being cold, wet, dehydrated, and all around miserable, is content in knowing he's got three friends who will watch his back no matter what.
Danny's not supposed to like Hawaii. Apparently, his friends didn't get the memo.
And Danny's okay with that.