Disclaimer: Hawaii 5-0 and characters belong to CBS, otherwise I would be a lot richer and might live in Hawaii.
Summary: What could have happened if Steve had listened to Danny's doubt about his old friend Nick Taylor?
This story starts after Steve and Danny viewed the body in the hotel and were headed back to headquarters.
Chapter 1: Steve's Decision and Telling Danny
As Steve drove back to HQ with Danny he was thinking about what Danny had said about Nick. Danny did not like Nick. He had not liked Steve in the beginning either but Steve realized that this was different. Danny's whole attitude was different. Even though Danny had expressed his dislike of Steve and his 'methods', they had been able to work together with only a few bumps. They had quickly found a rhythm, developed a successful partnership and were becoming good friends. However, Danny had given Nick major attitude from the moment they met. Danny had questioned everything from Nick taking money to protect Pak, to his methods. Then he stated categorically that he would never like Nick Taylor.
Steve thought about Nick and their time serving together. Nick had always had his six and had been a good friend. Although, it had been several years since he had seen Nick. Could he have changed? Could Nick have decided that money was more important than duty to country? Steve didn't want to believe that a Navy Seal could go bad, especially his old friend Nick. On the other hand, Steve trusted Danny with his life and knew that Danny had good instincts despite their very different ways of doing things. The question was, who did he trust more, Nick or Danny?
Steve glanced at Danny wondering what had bothered his partner so much about Nick. That's when he realized that it didn't matter what set Danny on edge, he trusted his partner and would act accordingly.
Meanwhile Danny was wondering if he should pursue his distrust of Nick Taylor with Steve. He really wanted to believe that Steve's old friend was on the up and up but something about the man just did not sit right with him, he just didn't know what it was. So how would he defend his position, if he didn't have any concrete facts or observations to give his partner?
Danny liked Steve, despite his recklessness and being psycho, he was a great partner. Another plus was that Grace liked Steve, and Steve was great with his daughter, a definite plus in Danny's book. They had developed a rhythm that worked for them. He knew that Steve generally was more often amused than irritated by his penchant for ranting. He let Danny rant and rave and then would address his concerns. Didn't mean that the former Seal changed, but he at least would listen and apologize when needed. Other people Danny had worked with had not been so understanding or tolerant, so he appreciated Steve's ability to listen. This was the main reason for Danny's hesitance in pursuing his distrust of Nick Taylor. He really didn't want to see his friend hurt. He just didn't know what would hurt Steve more, trusting Taylor and being betrayed or realizing that Taylor couldn't be trusted.
Before Danny could pursue that train of thought any further, they had arrived at H Q. The two men exited the car and walked together into the building.
Once in the main area of 5-0's command center they spotted Chin and Kono. The two men joined the cousins so that Steve could ask them to start a search for who might be targeting General Pak while he had a quick word with Danny in his office.
The two men entered Steve's office. Steve leaned back on his desk facing the chair that Danny had sat down in before speaking.
Before Steve could start Danny wondered out loud, "I'm thinking this is going to be looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. I imagine that Pak has a lot of enemies out there based on the number of atrocities he has committed."
Steve snorted before answering, "More than likely one of Pak's many victims or a member of their family is after him." Danny knew that whatever Steve was going to say next was not pleasant for his partner since Steve had his stoic mask on as he continued. "I decided that we need a back-up plan that Nick won't know anything about. If his team is compromised, we will need a plan that he doesn't know about." Steve smirked at Danny's shocked and speechless state. Speechlessness was not normal for the Jersey transplant.
Once Danny got over his shock he asked, pointing his finger at Steve. "I'm curious why you are doing this. I thought that you trusted Taylor?"
Steve's smirk disappeared as he sighed. "I did. However, your reaction to Nick reminded me that I haven't seen him or worked with him in several years." He wiped his hand down his face, and then crossed his arms over his chest before continuing. "Dad used to say that people can change, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not."
Steve paused while he struggled to find the words to convey what he wanted without getting all mushy. He took a deep breath and continued, "You don't like Nick. Your hackles only go up when you are around people you don't trust. I did some thinking during our ride back here. I had a decision to make about whom I should trust in this situation. I once told you that I know you. I also trust you with my life." Steve shrugged. "The more we worked together, the more I have learned that you have good instincts. I don't want to believe Nick is not the man that I remember, but I'm not going to take a chance either and am going to trust my partner."
Danny didn't know what to say. He knew that Steve trusted him, at least to back him up. He knew his partner was not prone to expressing his feelings, except maybe anger or frustration. Danny realized that he was grateful for this man's trust. He knew that Steve did not give it easily, nor did he change his mind often.
Finally Danny pulled himself together and gave Steve a grateful look before speaking. "Thanks Steve. You do know that I hope I'm wrong, for your sake?"
Steve nodded with a half-smile. "I know. Now let's grab some lunch with Chin and Kono while we put together a back-up plan and try and figure out who is trying to kill Pak." He paused thoughtfully just before leaving the office, tilting his head to the side, before continuing, "Maybe it would be easier to figure out who doesn't want him dead." The two men laughed as they headed out the door.
A/N: The scenes where Steve, Kono, and Danny go after and confront the protester we saw in the original show will stay cannon. I would add some of that but I accidentally taped over this episode, so I don't have the entire dialog to use. You'll just have to remember on your own.