The Hairy Dolphin
By: Ridley James
A/N: A tag for this past week's repeat of 1.16 E MALAMA, so there may be slight spoilers. I thought I'd toss out a quick Danny fic in honor of Father's Day even though I missed the actual date by a few days.
Summary: Ladies have Macy's and Ben and Jerry's, but every tough guy ever known needs that special place to turn to when things get really bad-enter The Hairy Dolphin. They also need a best friend willing to drag them the hell out of there before things get even worse-enter Steve McGarrett, Super SEAL.
Steve McGarrett's phone was ringing. Not an uncommon occurrence, but a rather unusual and annoying one at two forty-five in the morning. He fumbled around the nightstand, knocking a book and empty water bottle to the floor before grasping the cell, which he brought close to his face. The bright light of the display was blinding in his sleep-addled state. Steve squinted, fully expecting to recognize HPD's dispatch number with a likely summons to an emergency, or maybe Mary's smiling face. His sister had been known to randomly call home after a late night with her friends. He found the unfamiliar digits flashing at him in the darkness both disconcerting and extremely irritating.
"McGarrett," he barked, hoping the fierce snarl in his voice would scare off any misfortunate wrong number or Heaven help them, prank caller. He was already half way back to the vast blackhole of dreamless exhaustion he'd fallen into before his cell had roused him.
"Five-0?" The voice was distinctly female, but managed to pull off gruff as well as Steve.
Steve rolled over, pressing the phone closer to his ear. It seemed he wasn't going to catch a break tonight. "This is Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett."
"Like I said, Five-0."
"Who is this?" Steve lifted himself with one elbow, glaring disbelievingly at the alarm clock again. He'd only crashed a few hours before after he and Chin had endured the unfortunate task of finishing up reports on the numerous injured and dead bodies they'd left in their wake to get their prized eye witness, Julie to court on time. He was beginning to understand his partner's dislike of shooting first and asking questions later. Paper work was a bitch, especially on the downhill slide of an adrenaline rush.
"This is Mo."
"Mo?" Steve searched his memory for the name and voice that faintly resonated. It took only a moment for a not so pleasant image of a dark haired woman in a Hawaiian print muumuu with a scorpion tattoo to spark a wealth of unpleasantness, an almost physical reaction that had him jackknifing to a sitting position. He groaned before he could catch himself. "Kamekona's sister?"
"Like I said, Mo."
"If this is about Kamekona, I have no idea where he is." Steve frowned as he thought of the one and only time he had been in company of the big guy's older and larger sister. It had not been one of his better nights; he honestly hoped to never see the woman again. Alcohol played strange tricks on a man's mind. "How did you get this number?"
"I'm not calling about my brother. I'm calling about yours."
"I beg your pardon?" Steve pinched the bridge of his nose, silently vowing to kill Kamekona for giving out his cell number.
"The haole with the blue eyes, big blond hair and even bigger mouth."
"Danny." Steve sighed, tossing his blankets aside. "What about him?"
"He needs a ride home, maybe a stop at the medical clinic."
"What?" Steve swung his legs over the side of the mattress, glancing around his floor for the clothes he'd hastily discarded. Adrenaline was once more flowing through his system, clearing the cobwebs from his overtaxed mind, readying his stiff and sore muscles for action. "He's hurt?"
"I'm no doctor, Five-O, but I can tell you he's bleeding on my new bamboo floor."
"Did you call an ambulance?" Steve stood, cradling the phone between his ear and shoulder as he stumbled into his pants. He ran countless scenarios as he searched for his shirt. What the hell was Danny doing at Mo's bar alone? Steve had talked to his partner on the way back to their offices. Danny had assured him he was fine and claimed he was going straight home after delivering Stan to Rachel's care. Obviously Danny and Steve had different definitions of fine.
"That's not our company policy at The Hairy Dolphin."
"Make a fucking exception." Steve clenched his jaw, imagining the off the beaten path hole in the wall seaside bar that seemed to entice all the local Oahu lowlifes. There was no doubt in his mind why the proprietress of The Harry Dolphin didn't want to draw any attention to her business or clientele that frequented there. "Never mind, I'll call them myself."
"Do you really want your partner to have to explain why a member of the governor's elite task force was involved in a drunken brawl at one of the island's more underappreciated establishments? That can't be good for an upstanding cop's reputation."
Steve squeezed the cell phone, taking a deep breath to keep from saying something he might regret. After all, Danny was in Mo's immediate care, and she had a point about Danny not needing the unwarranted questions about his conduct. Being McGarrett's partner brought enough heat from HPD as it was. "I'll be there in ten minutes and he better be breathing."
"Bring cash, Five-0. I'm not letting Blue Eyes out of here until someone pays for the damages to my bar."
Steve didn't bother with a reply, cutting the connection so he could slide his shirt over his head. He grabbed his boots, starting for the door before he realized he had no transportation. His vehicle was still at the safe house, having driven the perp's demolished heap to the courthouse where it was taken to be logged in as evidence. Chin had dropped him at home with Steve planning to have Danny pick him up in the morning. It would have given them the long drive to Steve's truck for Danny to fill his partner in on all the details of the Stan situation. That now seemed a naïve notion on Steve's part. He punched a digit on his speed dial, finding some satisfaction when a sleep-roughened voice answered with a piteous 'Aloha, Brah'.
"Kamekona, get your ass out of bed and over to my place. Now. Your crazy sister is holding my injured partner for ransom at her dive of a bar, the very bar that you introduced us to as a great place to blow off steam. I'll give you one guess as to who I'm holding ultimately responsible for every mark I find on Danny, Brah."
Steve took the crash in the background, muttered swearing, and ended connection as a sign that Kamekona understood him perfectly and would make miraculous time in arriving at his door. The big Hawaiian did not disappoint, arriving in a record ten minutes flat.
"Don't look so grim, McGarrett." Kamekona seemed to consider patting Steve's shoulder but then thought better of it not wanting to risk the bloody stump he was likely to withdraw. He offered Steve a wide, reassuring smile instead. "Mo will take good care of our haole bruddah-treat him just like family."
"You forget I've seen how she treats you, Kamekona. Forgive me if I'm not enthusiastic about Danny being in her care." In Steve's opinion, Mo had the maternal instinct of a pit viper. Danny could hold his own in the worst of situations, but Steve had no idea of his partner's current physical state. "Do I need to remind you of her implied extortion?"
"Mo believes in tough love. She helped raise me and my brother." Kamekona patted his own chest. "We turned out just fine."
"Your brother's in prison. You're on parole." Steve pressed the palm of his hands against his weary eyes. "Not a stellar track record there. Can this thing go any faster?"
"If nothing else, Mo is a good business woman. We come from a long line of entrepreneurs, you know. What's good for The Dolphin is good for her." Kamekona flashed Steve another grin. "Having a Five-0 detective die in her establishment would not be good for business."
"Just shut up and drive." Steve couldn't believe he was relying on Kamekona's twisted logic to keep his partner relatively safe until he could reach him. He didn't know if he was angrier with the shave ice king or himself. Steve should have known Danny was not alright, that the carjacking, subsequent break-in to Rachel and Stan's house, had shaken his partner. The conversation they had while Steve was neck-deep in jungle warfare proved that.
Steve had not been exaggerating when he said Danny had a tone, several in fact, all noted and mentally catalogued by Steve. Only if Steve were honest, the one he'd heard over the phone earlier as Danny raced to the airport wasn't the typical 'I'm about to punch someone' voice as he'd called it, no this was jacked to a new level-novel and unnerving for Steve who was stuck in the middle of a case unable to provide the adequate backup he feared his partner would need, if only to protect Danny from himself. Considering the situation Danny was now in, Steve had made a huge mistake, a lapse in duty that he prayed didn't cost his partner. His first look at the destruction in The Harry Dolphin did nothing to ease his worry.
"About time you showed." Mo came from around the bar, broom and dust pan in hand. She was wearing a muumuu similar to the one Steve remembered from his first visit to the bar, her dark hair piled into a spiraling bun on top of her head, a petal pink conk shell comb holding it in place. The scorpion tattoo stood out against her neck, its segmented body disappearing in the cleft of her second chin. "Some of us would like to call it a night."
"Where's Danny?" Steve eyed the overturned tables, broken glass littering the floor and busted bar stool. The smell of grease fried food and alcohol saturated the air. Steve was certain the place probably hadn't looked or smelled much better the night he and Danny were here, but the crowd of colorful people and the copious amount of alcohol he'd consumed made the place more palatable. He'd frequented much worse venues in his span of time with the Navy. He was most alarmed by the fact he saw no trace of his partner.
Mo ignored his question, choosing to address her brother instead. She pointed a finger at Kamekona. "You brought this trouble to my door, little brother."
Kamekona shrugged. "You are always on me to drum up business, Kaikuahine. You've never been picky before."
"Not this kind of business." Mo snorted, shoving the broom and dustpan towards Kamekona . "You clean up the mess your pet haole made."
Steve raised a hand between the two siblings; pinning Mo with what he hoped was his fiercest glare. "My partner?"
"Blue Eyes is in my backroom." She gestured to a swinging door with a crude skull and cross bones painted in red above a pair of frolicking dolphins. "Slade is watching him until I get my money."
"Slade?" Steve's hand moved to his weapon.
"No problem, Brah." Kamekona placed a hand on Steve's shoulder. "Slade is her dog."
"My Rottweiler to be exact." Mo propped her hands on her ample hips. "He's been known to tear off a man's third leg on my command. You understand, Five-0?"
"What you should understand is that if all my partner's appendages are not intact, a wrecked bar and a dead dog will be the least of your troubles, Mo." Kamekona's sister or not, Steve wasn't above hauling the woman in on the numerous violations he was sure existed in her shady set-up.
The barkeep rolled her eyes, waving a hand of dismissal. "You should be thanking me for keeping Blue Eyes in one piece. He came here looking for a fight, which considering his smart mouth he easily found. I was the one who warned his sparring partners about him being a cop."
"See, McGarrett, I told you Mo would watch out for our bruddah," Kamekona assured, beginning to sweep up some of the broken bottles.
Steve stalked past the siblings, moving towards the swinging door. He drew his weapon in case Slade decided to give him any trouble. The room seemed to function as both storage space and bedroom with bottles of alcohol and glasses lining the shelved walls, a small cot tucked in a corner along with crates stacked on top of one another to hold a lamp with no shade. Steve found his partner and the deadly animal in question on a blue shag rug near the makeshift bed.
The Rottweiler was indeed guarding a slumped and unmoving Danny, pinning him to the floor with his massive length. Steve's heart sped up, even though he recognized being sprawled across the detective's lap belly up, legs stretched in the air was most definitely not a defensive canine position.
He wondered if the massive beast might be dead, perhaps slain by Danny in gruesome hand to hand, man versus beast combat. The amount of blood splattered on his partner's light blue t-shirt was enough to warrant the theory, but upon closer approach the dog's lolled tongue and contented snoring was contradictory to the commander's initial appraisal. The Rottweiler lifted his block head when Steve kneeled beside them, his muscular body rolling over Danny's legs, wriggling furiously to compensate for his pitiful wagging stump of a tail.
"Danno?" Steve slid his gun into his holster, reaching a hand out to shake his partner's shoulder as he simultaneous tugged the big dog to standing. "Hey, Danno!"
Danny jerked awake, blinking a few times before his hands found purchase on Slade's back. He frowned for a moment, clarity filling his glassy blue eyes as he met Steve's gaze over the Rottweiler's large frame. Danny smiled. "Steven? You made it."
Steve snorted at the surprise and genuine tone of affection. He guided Slade out from between him and Danny so he could get a better look at the detective. "Just in time, by the looks of it. You were on the verge of being mauled by Mo's canine death machine."
"What? Dogs love me." Danny gestured to the complacent animal, which had begrudgingly moved only a couple of feet away and plopped down to stare at the Five-O detective. "In fact, I was thinking maybe we should get one for the team. See how he's looking at me? I know you don't see it often considering animals, women and small children have a tendency to be turned off by your hostile countenance and all around horrible nature, but it's called complete adoration."
"Or he could be figuring out the easiest way to go about eating you." Steve tilted his head, raising one brow. "Or perhaps how to mount you. We are not getting a dog for the team."
"Always with the perversion and the pessimism," Danny mumbled, one hand reaching out for Steve to help him up. "Let me buy you a beer, loosen you up a bit and then we'll discuss Five-0's branching into canine division."
Steve rolled his eyes, by passing Danny's hand to touch the nasty gash just above his partner's eyebrow. The bleeding had stopped, leaving a crusty trail down the side of Danny's face. "I think you've had quite enough beers for the both of us, partner."
"That shows how good of a detective you are, Commander. I've not had any beer tonight." Danny lifted both hands, shaping his fingers into a circle. "Zero. Zilch. Nada."
Steve stared at his partner's swollen, cracked knuckles, taking in the bruises to his cheek and the busted lower lip. His right eye was red and puffy; promising to be a spectacular shade of purple by the morning, but nothing looked life threatening. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly."Then explain to me why you smell like a brewery, your pupils are the size of saucers and you're slurring your words."
"Just because I have not consumed any beer does not mean I did not come into contact with beer belonging to other patrons of this fine establishment." Danny reached up to run a hand through his hair, a few shards of brown glass falling to the floor beside him. "In fact, someone might have smashed a beer bottle over my head, maybe two."
"That would account for the smell and the concussion, and likely explain all the aforementioned physical symptoms." Steve ran his hand along Danny's side, torn between concern and slight amusement when the detective didn't protest the invasion of his physical space. "How about the rest of you? Anything broken?"
"To tell you the truth, I'm not really feeling much at the moment, but I think everything is intact."
"But you're not drunk?" Steve frowned, rocking back on his heels. He'd witnessed his friend a few sheets to the wind before, but never wasted to this degree. He was glad Danny didn't have Grace this weekend, because the next few days would not be pleasant for his friend.
"I wouldn't go so far as to say that." Danny held up a finger as to illustrate his point, giving Steve another goofy grin when he was unable to keep his hand steady. "I've never told you this, Steven, but tequila is not a friend of mine. It's like red kryptonite and Superman. Your mild-mannered, loveable crime-fighting partner disappears only to be replaced by Bizarro Danno, a guy you do not want to meet in a dark alley, or in a bar named after a glandular challenged water mammal."
"Okay, I think prompt medical care may be called for." Steve reached for Danny, determined to take his partner to the medical clinic if only for a quick MRI and CT scan, but Danny batted his hand away.
"Why? Are you hurt?" Danny shifted, his eyes narrowing as they roved over Steve. "Did today's gig go sour? What the hell is on your face? Why are you still wearing war paint? Don't tell me I missed the full on Rambo?"
"You're the one who's hurt, Danno." Steve wasn't used to his partner being the one in need of medical care. He could count only a handful of times when Danny had been injured, and most of those were due to Steve's exuberance in the line of duty. At least Steve had been present for those times, in a position to protect and defend his own. This was a new and unpleasant sensation, one that left him feeling at fault and more than a little guilty for not being there when Danny needed backup.
"Hey." Danny slapped Steve's knee, sobering some. "Not to the degree that would warrant the 'I've just failed to save the world' look you've got going on there, Captain America."
"You're bleeding." Steve pointed to Danny's stained tee as evidence to the contrary. "That's justification for me to be majorly pissed and a little concerned."
Danny looked down at his shirt, picking at the stiff material as his forehead wrinkled in confusion. "Is that mine?"
"What the hell happened, Danny?" Steve felt some of his guilt shift towards dark anger, although none of it was directed at his partner.
"Five bikers, a bottle of my best Jose Cuervo Gold, and a pool game gone to the shitter is what happened."
"Mo!" Danny crowed, drawing the woman's name out in a singsong voice. He lifted his arms wide in the air. "My lovely hostess for the evening, where have you been hiding yourself, Babe?"
"I've been busy cleaning up your mess, Babe."
Steve turned to glare at bar owner, who had come stealthily in to the room to stand behind them. He was surprised that a woman of her considerable size and stature could sneak up on him. It was testament to where his focus lay. Steve returned his gaze to Danny. "Five bikers, Danny? What the hell were you thinking?"
"That the leather clad, tattooed knuckle draggers were trying to take something that belonged to me, namely my money." Danny shrugged his shoulder, grimacing. "Nobody is stealing anything else of mine."
"I was talking about the odds?" Steve had a suspicion Danny's current state had nothing to do with having his money taken, and everything to do with what he perceived Stan had stolen. "Five against one didn't seem a little high stakes to you?"
"High stakes?" Danny sputtered. "Steve McGarrett is seriously talking to me about high stakes and outlandish odds?"
"Stupid odds, Danny," Steve clarified. "It was a dangerous risk. You could have been hurt worse than you are or killed."
"I don't know how your over observant, freakishly analytical mind could have missed this about me, but Daniel Williams isn't one bit afraid of the odds. Case in point, I continually get into the car with you each morning, placing my life in your hands after repeatedly tempting fate. Some days, depending on the villain we're chasing and whether or not you're wearing your Super Seal cape the odds of me dying a fiery death have got to be a 100 to one in the Reaper's favor. Ergo, Daniel Williams is fearless."
"From where I'm sitting, Daniel Williams is an idiot."
"Hey! That's my line and you know it."
"Not tonight it isn't." Steve stood, bending down to grip his partner's elbow. He didn't give Danny a chance to react, hauling him off the floor in one swift move. "I'm definitely not the one behaving irrationally. We'll talk more about this once I get you home."
"Take it easy," Danny griped, his free arm going to protectively cover his stomach. "My head wasn't the only thing to take a beating."
"Now you want my sympathy?" Steve kept a firm grip as Danny swayed, dreading what he might find once he got Danny to his place and stripped of his shirt.
"I don't want anything from you, McGarrett." The detective jerked his arm free. "In fact, I was doing completely fine on my own before you showed up to play superhero. I was perfectly content to sleep off this little experience with my buddy Slade. Who the hell called you anyway?"
"I did." Mo folded her arms over her billowing breasts. "It was either that or set you out on the curb with the morning trash. You wouldn't take a cab, refused to leave your fancy car here. Calling your partner was the only way to ensure I got the money for the damages done to my place."
"Obviously, you did not notice who paid the tab the last time we were here," Danny smirked at Steve, using his free arm to pat the back of his jeans. "Besides, I told you I would pay for those, Mo."
"Looking for this?" Mo held up Danny's wallet. "I have news for you, Blue Eyes, you barely had enough in here to cover the Cuervo you guzzled, let alone the mess you helped make."
"You rolled me?" Danny let his hands slide from his pocket, looking completely crushed. "And here Kamekona swore you were a nice girl."
Steve snatched the billfold from Mo's hand. "Nice girls don't serve watered down booze and play pick pocket with their injured customers who happen to not only be friends of her brother's, but Five-0 detectives. I should run you in on principle alone."
"My booze is first rate, Five-O," Mo defended.
"Your service is still severely lacking." Steve shoved Danny's wallet in his pocket, reclaiming a grip on his partner's arm. "We won't be back."
"That's the best news I've heard all night." Mo trailed after them, calling for Slade to follow. "We don't need your kind of trouble here at The Harry Dolphin, but what I do need is my money?"
"I'm sure Kamekona will be glad to settle up for us."
Kamekona stopped his cleaning, looking up as the three exited the storage room. "I will?"
"I'll let you two brilliant entrepreneurs work out the details while I escort Dalton home from the Road House."Steve pointed a finger at Kamekona as he led Danny to the door. "I also want the names of the five bikers who were stupid enough to do this to my partner on my desk Monday morning. Got it?"
"You got it, Brah." Kamekona gave Danny a remorseful look. "Come by the shop tomorrow, little haole. I'll fix you up with a shave ice flavor guaranteed to cure even the worst hangover."
"You bet, Big Guy." Danny saluted the large Hawaiian as Steve led him past to the door. "As long as it doesn't have pineapple."
"What does this have in it again?" Danny sniffed the glass of murky liquid Steve had just handed him as he watched his partner dig into the cabinet beneath the sink. They were gathered in the large bathroom upstairs, the one off Steve's bedroom. It was three times the size of the one in Danny's tiny apartment, missing the numerous rubber ducks, Scuba Barbie complete with doll diving equipment, and Sponge Bob Bubble bath that came along with an eight year old daughter.
"I told you there was no pineapple or coconut." Steve withdrew a battered metal box, dragging it over and placing it near Danny's feet. He took a seat on the closed commode and faced his partner with a dramatic huff. "Just drink it, Danno."
"Why the hell are you so pissy?" Danny took a drink of the concoction, wincing at the bitter taste. He smacked his lips, trying to discern for himself what witch's brew McGarret had stirred up from his kitchen to kill the last of the mind numbing buzz Danny was all too quickly losing. The nap on the way to his partner's place had not only sobered him far too quickly, but allowed his body to stiffen, making him painfully aware of each blow he'd taken. "I'm the one with the busted face and bruised ribs."
"Yeah, but I'm the one who has to look at you and listen to your bitching and moaning." Steve bent to pop the lid on the case, digging through the well-stocked kit. "Not to mention nearly carrying your heavy ass out of the car and up the stairs."
"You could have avoided this unpleasant situation by dropping me off at my place like I asked you so nicely to do. This could be considered kidnapping." He stared at the medical contents from his perch on the rim of Steve's extremely sterile bathtub. There were vials, ringers and syringes, things that should have only been available to an EMT. "Is that box even legal?"
"I wasn't about to leave you to your own devices with all that red kryptonite still flowing through your system, Superman."
"I should have never told you that." Danny hadn't really put up much of a protest when Steve bypassed his place in lieu of the McGarrett abode. He hadn't been in the mood to be alone, but he would have to be more careful with what he said, especially with his inhibitions at an all time low.
"Too late now, partner." Steve flashed the detective a smirk. "And the kit is standard issue, Detective."
"Standard issue for a SEAL on a suicide mission maybe," Danny snorted. "Not for Average Joe Citizen."
"Since when have I ever pretended to be average?" Steve took out a package of gauze and bottle of wound rinse. "It's not a crime to be prepared-ask any boy scout."
"Good point." Danny finished off the drink, sitting the glass on the pristinely clean counter top. His vanity at home was cluttered with a Hello Kitty toothbrush holder, numerous bottles of hair detangler, and little girl head bands. He rubbed his temples, biting back a groan as the ache in his ribs became more pronounced. The magic elixir tequila was swiftly fading away, revealing not only new physical pain, but the emotional wounds that he had been trying to mask in the first place. "But just so you know, there's no way I'm letting you anywhere near me with a needle, not even in my slightly inebriated and agony riddled state am I willing to play doctor with you."
"And here I thought we had this whole complete trust thing going on?" Steve snapped an ice pack, offering it to Danny with a knowing look, along with two little white pills that were most definitely not Tylenol.
"I let you drive my car, don't I?" Danny pressed the cold compress to his side and dry-swallowed the drugs, not even bothering to ask his partner what they were. "More importantly, I on occasion let you pick up Grace in said car. A sure sign that I do indeed trust you despite the countless flaws in your personality."
Steve doused a thick stack of gauze with the solution, handing it to Danny to clean the wound above his eyebrow. He placed a tube of antibiotic cream on the counter. "I've preformed countless triage in the field, you know. I've been told I have the magic touch."
"That line might work on your cheap dates, Steven but not me." Danny stood so he could see in the bathroom mirror. He had to grip the sink for a moment as the floor seemed to shift beneath him. The room spun as he fought to find his bearings. His first look at his battered face had him feeling woozier, and thankful he didn't have Grace for the weekend. It also had him experiencing more than a modicum of guilt for putting Steve through the ringer. To the general public, run of the mill bad guys, and even to their peers, his partner might appear to have impenetrable defenses, but Danny knew Steve's chinks all too well. He turned to find 'Mr. Steel' watching him with what Danny had come to tag as his 'fate is about to screw me over again' face. "I'm the kind of guy that needs wooing, you know."
It earned Danny the smile and roll of his eyes he was working for. "What the hell have I been doing these last ten months?"
"Please don't tell me you've been wooing me." Danny turned back to the mirror, rubbing at the dried blood around the gash until it was freshly pink and raw-looking. He picked up the antibiotic cream, slathering the cut with the goop. All he needed was for his face to rot off and for Steve get to say 'I told you so'. Satisfied with his work, he tossed the soiled bandages in the trash before reclaiming his seat on the tub. "Because if that's true, partner you're even worse at the whole making friends thing than I first feared. Did you not attend kindergarten?"
Steve moved closer, armed with two butterfly strips. "If you don't recognize and trust my unique skills by now, Danno I think we have a problem."
"Skills? You have skills?" Danny rolled his eyes when his partner actually had the audacity to look hurt. "You have a bull's-eye for trouble planted squarely on your ass is what you have, but I'm not sure that in and of itself is by any means a talent to be appreciated, Super SEAL."
"Says the guy who found himself embroiled in a bar fight with five bikers earlier this evening." Steve leaned further into Danny's space, pinching the sides of the gash together.
"That was not trouble finding me, but rather me looking for trouble. You walk out the door and misfortune lands in your lap-two totally different scenarios." It hurt like hell, effectively zapping what was left of his hazy drunken state, but Danny held still. He kept his gaze locked on the pale blue wall over Steve's shoulder as his partner worked. Danny had grudgingly agreed to let Steve take care of the worst of his superficial injuries in lieu of a trip to the ER for stitches, but found himself reconsidering the wisdom of that decision.
"Why exactly were you itching for a good fight tonight?" Steve finished with the first strip, started on the second with a not so gentle touch. "You never did get around to telling me."
"Do you not recall the whole carjacking, B& E at my daughter's home, and my subsequent panic attack?" Danny hissed, shifting the ice pack higher on his ribs and blinking so that the burning in his eyes didn't have a chance to manifest into any completely humiliating tears. A cute nurse at the clinic was definitely beginning to seem like a better option for treatment than his partner, who seemed to be acutely attuned to Danny's every twitch. "You're the one who handed out that unsolicited and sage advice that I keep my hands off Stan?"
"I do remember telling you not to kill the man." Steve placed the second butterfly bandage over the widest part of the cut on Danny's head, frowning when Danny couldn't stop his sharp intake of breath. "So, you considered the next best alternative was to let some bikers pound on your face? How does that make sense?"
"It was not my first intention." Danny huffed when he found he could not move his free arm around without whacking Steve with it. He settled for tapping his foot furiously on the floor. "In fact I truly meant to go home and live vicariously through some of my favorite hockey moments via my DVR, but instead I found myself driving by The Harry Dolphin on the way home from Rachel's and decided a good game of pool might be just what the doctor ordered."
"Because pool is known to be a popular vehicle for men to release their pent up aggressions?" Steve applied one more butterfly bandage, rocking back on his heels to study his handiwork. "How's your head feeling?"
"My head is fine, and where I come from pool, if played correctly, can most definitely become a full contact sport." Danny shifted his focus from the wall to his partner, who was studying him with his more common aneurysm face. As annoying as it was, it was preferable to the kicked puppy look.
"Yet another reason for me to never visit Jersey." Steve finally averted his gaze, proceeding to pack up his kit. "Never mind learning how to play pool."
"You don't know how to play pool?" Danny never failed to be amazed at how his partner could be both unbelievably knowledgeable on all things destructive and totally inept when it came to simple boyhood pleasures like the art of a baseball game. "I thought Navy men spent an inordinate amount of time in bars?"
"The Harry Dolphin is nowhere in the same vicinity of Rachel and Stan's place, Danno," Steve avoided the question, quickly backing out of Danny's space.
"So, I might have taken the long route home, needing to clear my mind." Danny took advantage of the freed-up room waving his hand around his head. "Get rid of some not so happy images."
"You thought a few shots, or make that a whole bottle of tequila might help with that." Steve put the kit back under the sink, moving to join Danny on the side of the tub. "That doesn't really sound like you. In fact, it sounds more like something I might do on one of my darker days."
"Maybe you're a bad influence on me, Steven." Danny reached up and touched the fresh bandages on his forehead. He had witnessed a few of Steve's attempts to erase some not so pleasant memories. Their last trip to The Harry Dolphin was a prime example. "If I start running around the island each morning without anybody even chasing me, try to swim to Maui, and begin to behave like I'm bullet proof, please shoot me."
Danny sighed, realizing Steve hadn't brought him home with him just to patch up his physical injuries. He would be a hypocrite to be pissed at the attempt to help. After all, Danny was the one always harping on what being a good partner meant. Backup wasn't relocated to the field or the office. He tossed the ice pack in the sink, digging into the front pocket of his jeans. "As if the graphic bullet-riddled bodies of my eight year old baby girl and ex-wife supplied by my so active imagination weren't bad enough, I found this-"
Steve took the picture, unfolding and smoothing it so he could view the creased image. Danny didn't need to look at it again, having memorized Grace and Rachel's smiling laughing faces, the way they were wrapped in Stan's arms. Steve seemed as disturbed by the icon as Danny had been. "Where?"
"I found it at Stan and Rachel's place when I checked out the break in. There were a lot of pictures there, ones I've never noticed. Not that I've had reason to loiter around their home taking in the décor, I usually am asked to wait at the gate, but they were hard to miss lying broken and busted on the floor." Danny ran a hand along the sides of his hair. "When exactly did they become a happy family? When did that fucking mansion become Grace's home?"
"A picture doesn't tell the whole story, partner." Steve offered the snapshot back. "And a home isn't always a co-ordinate on a map."
"No, but a picture is good for about a thousand words." Danny took the photograph from Steve, crumpling it into a tiny wadded ball before tossing it into the trash with the bloodied gauze. "Which is quite sufficient to tell me all I need to know."
"Grace is your family, Danny. A thousand Kodak moments won't change that."
"I know that, but I still have to share her with Stan." Danny could feel his blood pressure rise, his pulse keeping match with the pounding in his skull. He hated that he was forced to sit by and watch while another person made decisions concerning his daughter, decisions with possibly disastrous consequences, if today was any indication. "It wasn't supposed to be that way, my life was not supposed to turn out like this. Not only did I never count on losing my wife to someone else, I never, ever conceived of sharing my daughter, my own flesh and blood with another man, especially with a man I hate. Part of the reason I became a cop was to protect the people I love from all the bad shit in the world, and now I can't even protect Grace in her own home."
"From where I'm sitting you did just that. You made it all go away, saved the day, even though it meant keeping Stan's ass out of the fire."
"I didn't want to keep Stan out of trouble. I had every intention of picking him up at that airport and kicking said ass." Danny hadn't realized he'd just left himself open to a huge 'I told you so' until Steve snorted.
"Hence the 'I'm going to hit someone' tone."
Danny glared at his partner. "I seriously thought about killing him, Steven and not for the first time, mind you. That time I locked him up in my police cruiser back in Jersey was totally for his benefit. This time, though I even went so far as to plan it out. I considered the clean gun I know you keep stashed in the trunk, the fact I knew for certain you'd know a place to hide a body on this godforsaken island-maybe beneath a lovely pineapple orchard."
"I know a few spots." Steve met his gaze, all joking gone from his blue eyes. "I'd have done it, too, you know."
"I know you would have." Danny had no doubt that though Steve seemingly had no concern for his own welfare. He took the protection of those in his close knit circle to the tenth level. If Danny needed him to bury a body, he would damn well bury a body and keep his mouth shut about it under extreme duress and outright torture. "After all, I have witnessed your countless dismissal and lack of regard for the law when it comes to what you consider justice."
"Thanks for making me sound like some vigilante from a Steven Segal movie." Steve shook his head.
"Since you brought it up, I might need to mention that although I refrained from bopping Stan, I may have assaulted the Housing Commissioner, and I am now in the possession of some pretty damning evidence of interdepartmental treachery and corruption." Danny pinched the bridge of his nose, letting out a frustrated breath. "It's possible he may be stupid enough to file a complaint with HPD, and if he does I did make it rather easy for him by leaving my badge number imprinted on his forehead, and a whole restaurant full of witnesses on the scene."
"That's funny because I'm pretty sure my entire team, which included my partner Danny Williams was helping track down a high profile witness for a very influential case today." Steve folded his arms over his chest. "I'm also fairly certain the governor of Hawaii will back me up on that."
Danny snorted. "What would you do without that governor card, my friend?"
"Hopefully, we'll never have to find out."
Danny nodded, gazing down at the crumpled photograph in his hand. "I know this is going to sound crazy and completely high school, but there was this moment after I took Stan home and totally went out on the limb for his ass when Rachel looked at me…really looked at me." Danny glanced up at Steve. "I thought I saw something, felt something between us."
Steve didn't say anything, but his face spoke volumes. Danny ran a hand through his hair, feeling his own face flush hot at the absolute lunacy of the idea. "Does that make me as sad and pathetic as I think it does?"
"I think that makes you a man who is desperate to hold onto his family." Steve shifted his focus to the pale blue wall across from them, his voice dropping an octave. "There's nothing sad or pathetic about that, Danno."
Danny nodded, knowing he wasn't the only one who had their family stolen from them. He also realized he was the lucky one of the two, he could still see the people he loved. He could still hold Grace in his arms; have a relationship with Rachel, even if it was a strained one. Steve was not so fortunate. He sighed, feeling the first effects of the pills he'd taken working on his already taxed system. "Thanks, man. I'm not usually a maudlin drunk."
"Don't mention it." Steve bumped his shoulder. "That's what partners are for, right, or so you keep telling me over and over again."
Danny arched a brow, glad for the change in subject. "So you have been listening to at least some of my expert advice during our vehicular verbal volleys?"
"Vehicular verbal volleys?" Steve frowned. "I thought we called them carguments?"
"I'm just trying out something new." Danny shrugged. "We wouldn't want things between us to get mundane or common place. That happens, and the next thing I know you're hopping on the back of Chin's bike, or commandeering Kono's little red ride for some strange thrills."
"Okay," Steve challenged. "Here's a novel idea. Maybe you should take some advice from me for a change."
"Did we not just rehash the whole bit where I did not throttle Stan?"
"Yes, Danny, you did a good job of using your words and not your hands."
"Thank you." Danny gave a self-congratulatory smile. "I actually went to kindergarten, thank you very much."
"Don't get cocky. Do I really need to mention the five bikers again?"
Danny groaned. He was never going to live this night down. "Fine, let's hear Steve McGarrett's great words of wisdom before these good narcotics you fed me kick in and this night gets even more awkward when you have to carry my ass into the guest room and put me to bed."
"You know that something you thought you saw when Rachel looked at you…"
"Could we please forget I ever said anything about that..."Danny would not be drinking tequila ever again, at least not anywhere in the vicinity of his partner with the perfect memory. "We are totally becoming a really bad Starsky and Hutch episode."
"I just think you shouldn't write that off. I mean the next time you think about doing something completely reckless and idiotic like taking on a gang of bikers think about what the future might bring. Rachel's still here, you're still here. You have Grace. That means there's still hope, and if anybody deserves a second chance, you do, Danno."
"I appreciate what you're trying to do, partner, really I do, but I think that little scenario has extremely unlikely odds of ever panning out the way you're painting it."
"Good thing Daniel Williams isn't even a tiny bit afraid of the odds." Steve met his gaze. "He's fearless."
Danny swallowed thickly, quickly dismissing the clenching in his gut as a side effect of whatever Schedule IV synthetic he'd ingested. "Now that sounds entirely too much like something I would say. What happened to the pessimistic, glass is not only completely empty but has a huge-ass hole in it, McGarrett that I've grown to know and sort of love?"
"Maybe you're a bad influence on me, Danno." Steve tossed Danny's words back at him. "If I start putting too much gel in my hair, wearing a tie and launching into obnoxiously longwinded vehicular volleys about the most mundane and trivial of things, shoot me, please."
"Oh I'll shoot your ass alright." Danny saw his opening to totally pull them out of the emotional spiral they were caught in. "Put a round right between your eyes if you even try to wake me up before noon tomorrow with another one of your cure all Hawaiian hangover remedies."
"So you're not up for the run I had planned at like…" Steve glanced down at his watch, standing with an audible pop and crack. "O-seven-hundred."
"As about as up for that as I am another run to The Harry Dolphin tomorrow night." Danny took the help up Steve offered him, noting that the pain in his ribs and head had faded to a tolerable level. Whatever Steve had given him was starting to take up where the alcohol had left off, leaving him with a warm and floating sensation.
"But its dollar draft, Saturday, Danno." Steve kept a firm grip, only letting go when Danny proved he was steady by taking a few steps towards the door.
"Too bad you told sweet Mo we would never darken her doorway again." He glanced over his shoulder, noting that Steve had picked up his empty glass and wiped down the sink.
"Wouldn't be the first time I fed a girl that line and then crawled back for more." Steve turned off the light, following Danny out into his bedroom.
"Do you have no shame, McGarrett?" Danny waited for his partner to make it to his side. "I'm sure there are plenty of other rat infested Hell holes on this island that we can lay claim to without destroying what little dignity you have left."
"I doubt they'll have the charm of The Hairy Dolphin."
"Is that a challenge?" Danny raised a brow, hyped at the prospect of having somewhere to focus his spare time. "Because I feel that it was, and starting the next weekend that I do not have Grace I will take up said challenge and begin combing the islands for the perfect place to drown our sorrows."
Steve stopped at the linen closet in the hallway, grabbing an extra blanket and pillow. "Maybe we should just stick to the Hilton?"
"When Kono and Chin are with us, and we're celebrating one of our many last minute miraculous escapes from the clutches of doom, then sure, but there are nights like tonight when the Hilton just doesn't cut it." Danny was thankful the nights were few, exponentially down from when he first ventured to Hawaii, but even he wasn't optimist enough to believe they were over for good, especially with McGarrett for a partner.
"Okay." Steve led the way into what used to be Mary's old room, flipping on the light and tossing the blanket onto the twin bed. "As long as you take backup-absolutely no more solo visits to underappreciated establishments."
"I think I have a partner who will fit the bill." Danny stopped in the doorway, leaning against the doorframe as the heaviness of much needed sleep tugged at him. He blinked, rubbing his eyes as his vision swam slightly out of focus. His mouth felt numb, the words he wanted to say sluggish on his tongue. "I'll make sure I call him next time I feel the need for a good game of pool."
"Sounds like a smart plan." Steve reached out and guided Danny over, giving him a shove onto the mattress. "But you'll have to teach him how to play."
"That's okay." Danny grabbed the extra pillow, stuffing it under his head. He glanced up at Steve, fighting back a yawn. "He's proven himself to be a really quick learner."
"Sometimes it pays not to be Average Joe Citizen." Steve tossed the blanket over Danny, backing a few steps to the door to turn off the light.
"Yeah, I guess it does." Danny mumbled, realizing he had definitely benefitted in his partner's extraordinariness in more ways than one.
Danny didn't manage a reply, finally giving into that black hole of dreamless exhaustion. A fleeting image danced through his mind, a flash of his ex-wife and daughter, their smiling faces blurred with Stan's. It didn't bring the expected pain, the gut-wrenching anguish it had before. Instead Danny realized with his last strands of consciousness that Grace and Rachel hadn't been the only ones to forge another family. Daniel Williams had also found a new place to call home, and it was far better than any mansion.