Not even three days had passed since Danny was released from the Hospital and he was already starting to feel frustrated with his situation. Sure, he spent most of the first two days resting or playing with Grace, or resting some more, but now that he was finally starting to feel better, there was not much that he could do.
He was not supposed to wear a sling anymore, the only reminder of his injury and illness the bandage on his arm, the occasional twinges of pain and the exhaustion, which lessened every day. He had spent most of the morning at the beach, watching as Kono helped Grace to find balance on her pink surfing board. The Rookie was still suspended after her release from jail, so she spent most of her time at McGarrett's house, playing with Grace, talking to Rachel and keeping an eye on Danny. Steve had disappeared for the day, again, claiming he had some important business to attend. Since he hadn't come back bearing any injuries the day before, Danny didn't ask any questions.
The girls spent the afternoon enjoying the sun, while Danny was pacing Steve's living room, making one phone call after another, his shoulders slumped. "Yeah man, I understand. Yeah, that'd be great. Thank you."
He disconnected the call, taking a deep breath. Damn, he shouldn't be here, having mai tais and enjoying the sun with his family. He should be in Jersey, crawling on his hands and knees to convince his old Lt. that he could still work as a detective, even though he didn't have a badge anymore. Or asking his brothers in law to fix him up with a job… He could be a security guard in the bank Josh worked at; he would even consider working at Pete's bar! But he was not in Jersey, not even close to going there, because his doctor had "advised" him to rest for a whole week, and he wouldn't worry Rachel again by going off to Jersey in search for a job before the doctor said that he could, no matter how much he wanted to.
He knew that they could make do for a while with Rachel's savings, but they couldn't spend months waiting for him to find a job. They couldn't spend months living off McGarrett's charity. They couldn't spend months waiting for him to find his "one true calling", while his daughter kept going to her private school and the baby kept growing in Rachel's belly.
All of a sudden, he felt like he was suffocating inside the house. He scribbled a quick note saying he was going for a walk and he almost jogged out of there, taking off without any fixed destination.
After walking no more than two or three blocks, he was exhausted. Frustrated with… Well with pretty much everything that was going on in his life right now, he leaned against a coconut tree, trying to catch his breath. Shit, he couldn't even take a walk around the block and he was supposed to find a job that allowed him to provide Grace and Rachel with all the nice things they had gotten used to. Hell, any job would do, but right now he was incapable of doing the simplest things like any normal person!
He suddenly felt the need to hit something, to smash his fist into something solid until his fists bled. Maybe then some of these feelings would go away.
He swung around, intending to smash his fist into the sturdy tree at his back, but before he could make contact, a strong hand wrapped around his wrist. He instinctively swung with his other fist, but where there was a head before, now there was only air, and somehow a pair of strong arms wrapped around him from behind, keeping him trapped.
He tried to kick or elbow the person holding him, but they wouldn't let go. Suddenly the voice yelling in his ear started to make sense. "Danny! Stop it, god damnit!"
Danny finally relaxed enough for Steve to let him go, leaning against the tree, glaring at him. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
Steve crossed his arms around his chest, raising his eyebrows. "What am I doing here? Apparently I'm here to stop you from crushing your knuckles against a tree! I'm more interested in knowing what you are doing here, and what did the tree do to deserve such treatment!"
Danny waved his left hand around angrily. "Can't a man take a walk around the block in peace without having a super SEAL tailing his ass?" He kept his right arm close to his chest, since it seemed not to agree so much with the idea of taking a swing at said Super SEAL.
Apparently the arm waving was contagious, because now Steve was doing it as well. "For your information, I was not tailing your ass!" He pointed to his truck, parked nearby. "I saw you walking down the street and thought I'd offer you a ride home…"
Danny pinched his forehead. "A ride home? Well, you are forgetting that I currently don't have a home, so I couldn't very well ask for a ride home, could I?"
Steve opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, trying to come up with something to say to that. But Danny cut him off with a sigh. "Listen, I'm sorry man. It's just been a crappy day, and I can't seem to find a way out of the hole I dug myself into. It's not your fault and I shouldn't have taken out on you or on this huge coconut tree." He said, pointing to the tree behind him. He started moving towards Steve's truck. "Let's just get back to your place, I'll take yet another nap and maybe I'll wake up in a better mood…"
He was stopped again by Steve's arm wrapping around his wrist. "Wait Danny… Why don't we sit down for a while? I'm sure your fourth nap can wait a while longer." He directed them towards a bench that overlooked the beach, nearby.
They sat down, Danny looking at the beach and Steve looking at Danny. Steve finally started talking, since his companion seemed to have gone silent. "So, what's this about you getting yourself out of a hole you dug?"
Danny lowered his eyes, looking at the floor. "It's nothing… I just… Today I finally got a hold of my old Lieutenant in Jersey PD. I called him to check if he would take me back as a detective… Turns out that even if I still had my badge- which I don't- they're having mayor budget problems, so they're not hiring anyone at the moment. He said that he'd ask a friend who's a PI, who may need someone to help him, but he didn't sound very hopeful either… If I still had my badge I could apply for a transfer somewhere, but I don't. So, all I have left is to see if I can start calling some favors with my family… See if anyone would like to hire an ex cop with no expertise or working experience in any other areas…" He turned to look at Steve and was surprised to find him smirking. He glared at him, moving to stand. "I'm glad you find my misery funny…"
Steve kept his smile, shaking his head. "Sorry man, it's just that I never saw you as the type to wallow…"
Danny raised his eyebrows. "Wallow? Do you think I'm wallowing? Do you think my troubles are so petty, that I try to make them seem bigger so I can enjoy the misery of feeling sorry for myself? Do you think that I enjoy-"
He was cut off by Steve. "Hey! I don't think that your troubles are petty or small, but you're jumping to conclusions too quickly… You haven't given yourself time to heal properly and you're already worrying about getting a job! "
Danny sighed, kneading his forehead. "I'm supposed to feed and care for Grace and Rachel; I'm supposed to care for the baby too! Who, by the way, won't be being born in your house or at the beach! He or she will need a hospital, nurses, a crib, clothes and diapers, not to forget a roof over his or her head! And lots of more things that I won't be able to afford unless I have a job! So excuse me if the fact that I don't have a job right now and that I don't foresee getting a good one anytime soon stresses me out a bit!"
Steve was still smirking. "Alright, tell me, how long exactly have you been job hunting?"
Danny slouched in his seat, looking at the beach. He checked his watch. "'bout two hours."
Steve nodded. "Yeah, you're right, if you can't get a job after two whole hours, then your chances of ever getting a job are pretty slim." He shook his head sadly.
Danny snorted. "Yeah, I know I'm exaggerating, and I know that I shouldn't lose it over something like this, but I'm a cop, and a good one! And I gave it all up without really thinking on the consequences…" He pointed a finger at Steve, while still looking at the beach. "Don't you dare start blaming yourself, McGarrett, or I'll kick your ass all the way to the mainland!" Steve shut his mouth. "As I was saying," Danny continued, "being a cop is all I've ever known how to do, and I'm having a little trouble getting used to the idea of having to find something else to do with my life…" he finished, with a deep breath.
Steve studied him for a few moments. "Would you still want to go back to Jersey even if you can't find a job at Jersey PD?"
Danny shook his head. "I don't know. I mean… Rachel wanted to leave, because Stan still lives here, but I know she likes it here. And I'd hate to make Gracie pick up everything and move for the second time in less than a year, but I don't see myself selling shave ice with Kamekona or working at the gift shop Chin used to work in… I just don't know what to do…"
Steve patted him on the shoulder. "Don't worry brah. It'll come to you…"
Danny nodded. "I hope it does soon…" He turned his attention to Steve. "And what have you been up to on your free time?"
Steve raised his eyebrows, trying and failing to look innocent. "What have I been up to?..."
Danny nodded. "Yup, you were gone yesterday morning when I woke up. Off to an important meeting, Kono said, and you returned around 8 pm wearing your aneurism face. You were not injured or running off with guns blazing, so I left you in peace, but then today I wake up and you've disappeared again. So I wanna know what you have been up to…"
Steve shrugged, not looking at Danny's face. "I've been meeting with the Governor."
Danny sat up, raising his eyebrows. "You've been meeting with Page? And what does he want?"
Steve was still looking down. "He wants the Five-0 taskforce back. He asked me to come back as the leader. He said that I can get together a taskforce, but the rules have changed."
Danny chuckled. "Five-0 rules were that there were no rules…"
Steve smiled. "Yeah, but if the task force starts working again, it'll have to be by the book. We'll have to follow proper procedure, respect the suspects rights, and all of that…"
Danny shook his head. "It'll be a nightmare for you…"
Steve grinned. "Yeah… On the other hand, Page said that I get to pick my team."
Danny smiled. "Well, that's good…"
Steve nodded. "Kono already agreed to come back, just as soon as the charges are finally dropped. I'm trying to convince Chin too…" He finally turned to look at Danny. "I spoke to the governor about giving you back your badge… About bringing you back to Five-0, but… He said the Chief of Police wanted nothing to do with you… He said that He didn't wanna hear your name! What exactly did you do there, brah?"
Danny had the decency to blush. "Well, Chief Keahi was being unreasonable. He had me doing nothing but paperwork on old cases and he wouldn't let me work either your or Kono's cases. One day he caught me in a bad mood and I kind of... Threw the badge at his face and stormed out". The last phrase was muttered in a soft mumble.
Steve leaned closer to Danny. "Excuse me, you what?"
Danny started scratching his head nervously, this time speaking a bit louder. "I kind of threw my badge at his face and stormed out… I filed my resignation the following day…"
Steve shook his head, chuckling. "And you say I'm the crazy one?"
Danny started waving his arm around. "Hey! He was being unreasonable! And yes, maybe I was being a bit of a pain in the ass, but he knew I wouldn't have been acting like that if I didn't know you both were innocent! He cut me off from both investigations, what was I supposed to do?"
Steve started patting Danny's leg, to try to calm him down. "Yeah, yeah, alright, I get it… He doesn't want to see your face though…"
Danny shrugged. "Well, what's done it's done…"
Steve nodded. "Yeah…" They stayed in silence for a moment.
Steve was studying Danny. "If you could have your job back, would you stay in Hawaii?"
Danny leaned back, thinking. "If it meant going back to HPD… No, I don't think I'd stay… I was nothing but an annoying haole for those guys… If it was back to Five-0… I think I would stay in this pineapple infested hole for that…" He took a deep breath. "There's not much use on thinking about it anyway, is it?"
Steve was looking at him with a strange expression on his face. "Yeah… you're right…" He stood up from the bench. "Hey, what do you say we go back home? The girls could be starting to get worried…" He started moving towards the truck, but stopped suddenly and turned back to Danny. "Hey, before I forget, Chief Keahi said that if you ever do that again, he's going to pick up your badge and shove it where the sun don't shine…" He said, taking something from his pocket and slapping it on Danny's palm. Then, he turned and went back to his truck.
Danny stared dumbfounded at the object on his hand: A shiny badge with the number 7576, his badge. He looked at Steve's retreating form and scrambled to his feet to catch up with him. "McGarrett! Wait a fucking minute!"
Steve turned around, trying to look innocent. "What?"
Danny was breathing heavily, squeezing his badge like a lifeline. "What? How? I mean… What did you do?"
Steve, smirked, looking far too pleased with himself. "Well, I need a man to help us with all of the procedures that we are supposed to follow, so I went to talk to Chief Keahi and asked him if he could give you your badge back…"
Danny started shaking his head. "But… I quit…"
Steve put his hand on Danny's shoulder. "Well… it was a long conversation… He was maaaaad! He still is, actually. That's why I think we will be doing most of the booking in the next few weeks, Danno…"
Danny was still shell-shocked; staring at his badge like it was a hallucination. "But… I… I mean…"
Steve shook Danny's shoulder to catch his attention. "Hey… I know that you need to discuss this with Rachel, ok? You guys can take your time and figure out what to do. I just wanted you to know that you have a place in Five-0 if you want it, but if you don't, at least now you have your badge, to do with it whatever you want. Ok? You just let me know when you decide…"
Danny nodded, and in the next move pulled Steve against him, holding him close in a hug. "Thank you man…" He whispered hoarsely
Steve thumped him on the back. "No, thank you, brah, for being a stubborn bastard…"
Danny chuckled, looking happily at his badge. "My pleasure."
Steve got into his truck. "Alright, let's get back home before the girls start a search and rescue operation on your ass..."
Danny couldn't stop grinning. "Let's go home!"
The following day, Steve was determined to sleep late. He couldn't remember the last time he had had a decent night of sleep, what with being in jail and then watching Danny at the hospital, and then the meetings with the Governor and the Chief of police… So this morning Steve decided that nothing would make him get out of bed before noon. His guests knew their way around his home, so if they wanted breakfast (even lunch if he had any say on the matter), they could do it themselves…
A squealing eight year old girl bursting into his room and jumping repeatedly on his bed was not a scenario he had foreseen, so he was forced to wake up around 9 am to at least listen to what all the squealing and jumping was about.
"UNCLE STEVE! WE'RE STAYING IN HAWAII! WE'RE STAYING IN HAWAII!" Was all the explanation he received, and all the explanation needed for the little monster's happiness.
He focused bleary eyes on said little monster's parents, standing at his bedroom door, looking apologetic. "So… I take it you're staying in Hawaii?"
They nodded. "Yup, you need my expertise to follow proper police procedure. I couldn't in good conscience leave you alone in your time of need, could I?" Danny grinned.
Steve grinned too. "Of course you couldn't."
Grace stopped jumping on Steve's bed. "Mom! We have to celebrate! Can we have pancakes? Can we?"
Rachel smiled. "Of course we can, sweetheart. Come on, we have to get them started!" She turned to Steve. "Would you like to join us?"
Steve smiled. "I would love to, I'll be right down."
They were just finishing the last of the pancakes when someone knocked on the door. Steve went to check who it was and was surprised to find Chin in the doorway. "Hello brah."
Steve shook his hand. "Hey! Come on in! Everything alright?"
Chin nodded. "Yeah. I just talked to the Chief and he just signed my transfer back to Five-0…"
Steve clapped him on the back. "That's great news!"
Chin smiled. "Yeah, all I have to do is finish my last assignment and then I'm all yours…"
Steve raised his eyebrows. "And what is your last assignment?"
Chin sighed. "I have to take Danny's statement for his shooting. Is he in?"
Steve looked nervously back to his living room. "Errr… Yeah, come on in! Danny! Chin's here to talk to you!"
Danny came into the living room, greeting Chin warmly. "Hey man! How's it going?" He noticed that Steve had grabbed his keys and was going out the door. "Hey McGarret! Where are you going?"
Steve suddenly looked like a deer caught in headlights. "I'm… I gotta go! I have a meeting!" And he was gone…
Danny and Chin sat down. "Listen Danny, since you were hospitalized, I'm supposed to take your statement regarding your injury…"
Danny nodded. "Yeah, sure, go ahead…"
Outside, Steve was just starting his truck when he heard his partner bellow. "MCGARRETT! GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE! HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT I SHOT MYSELF!"
Steve stepped on the gas pedal and flew away from there. With some time, surely Danny would forgive him… A year or two that is…
A/N: Thank you so much to everyone that read this story, that reviewed and that generally enjoyed it. I never expected so many people would like my tale.
I hope to see you around sometime!