A/N: Hello Everyone!
If you are a frequent reader of mine, hi, I've missed you! If you are not, welcome, hope you like it!
A little back ground on this story: I was writing a vignette set called The Songs of our Lives, when this idea first appeared. After 200 vignettes and three appearances by this cowboy, I decided it was time to indulge the plot bunnies and write a full length chaptered story with it. I love the idea of Danny having a secret that he's keeping from Steve, so that is the basic premise for the story, also, Danny is such a helper, so he has to get involved when he knows someone needs help. That's all I'm going to say for now.
Please tell me what you think, and enjoy the story. I love hearing from you all.
As always I don't own anything. (Nor do I really know anything about horses so if my terminology is wrong or sounds awkward tell me please!)
Happy reading and stay tuned for more!
Chapter 1: Home on the Range
Hawaiiwas called paradise for a reason. Not only was it breathtakingly beautiful, it also had a little something to make everyone happy, even a stubbornly defiant New Jersey , in the beginning, had been a curse and tasted like a foul chemical cocktail on the tongue of the mainlander, but as time and tides changed, so too did Danny Williams. Now, that wasn't to say that his life was all sunshine and rainbows, he reserved those moments of absolute happiness for the times he spent with his daughter, but in Hawaii he had found a link to his grass roots and, as secretively as he could manage, Danny snuck into the hills and the farm lands of the valleys of Oahu, to just be happy.
There were so many things about which Danny had not let slip to his partner and friend. In the first days of their relationship, Steve had put out judgments and so had Danny, but McGarrett had sketched Danny's character as city slick and back alley bad ass, and that was what Danny had wanted, at least on the job. Steve had also seen directly into Danny's heart in the moment he had learned about, and first seen Grace, the child for which the badassness and city slickness would melt away to doting and devoted dad syndrome. Danny was a complex begin of emotional merit and savy, but there were things he held onto; little things that he didn't want to give away just yet.
He drove away from the bustle of the city in his shiny clean Camaro and he wondered, just fleetingly, if Steve suspected him of holding onto these minute secrets, or if he would follow him just to find answers. If Steve McGarrett had suspicions he became driven, if not obsessed, with finding answers, and Danny knew he would tell his partner if he pushed him to it, but for now, as he drove down the highway into the wide open spaces, he was convinced that Steve was none the wiser.
Danny pulled the car to a halt just before the ranch style house, after driving for an hour just to obtain some freedom. It was a weeknight, Steve was busy with whatever the SEAL did when he wasn't working, which wasn't often, and the cousins had their own lives and families to deal with, so Danny felt it would be alright to escape his tiny apartment and the loneliness of no one to share his time with, and he headed for something that had always made him feel better. The smell of the farm was the same as it had been inJersey. The cows were cows, the horses were horses and all the people that came and went were all there for the same reason, a love and devotion to a simpler time.
He pulled a duffle out of the trunk of his car and strolled proudly toward the little house, as a young girl pranced a beige pony around a paddock, and her instructor called out corrections in her posture and her handling. Danny smiled to hear the familiar in the way the teacher taught, the whinny of the horse and the clicking of the little girls tongue to get the horse into its gallop.
"Well howdy Haole," a bright, bubbly voice stated as a small woman, dressed in jeans and boots, but bikinied on the top and shadowed under a wide rimmed cowboy hat, rounded the corner and nearly walked right into the intruder.
"How's it?" Danny smiled, mock tipped his hat and two stepped around the little lady so that he was heading in the direction from whence she had appeared.
"It's another beautiful day in paradise, but you look stressed," She practically sang as she climbed the porch steps and leaned on the railing to look down at Danny.
"Nah, I'm good, just got off work," Danny smiled, shouldered the duffle and leaned heavily to the left, "you look hot."
"Sweet talker," the woman laughed, "its ninety five in the shade, better keep the ride inside, or take Target down to the river for a cool down. Either way, it's not the best day for the kind of riding you usually do."
"Thanks Gloria, maybe I'll just hose him down when I'm done," Danny stated and looked past the little house toward the boarding stable, "what's with the water truck?" he asked seeing the industrial vehicle pulled in next to the barn.
"The well's running real low," Gloria sighed.
"And the river…?" Danny asked.
"The level there is fine, the swimming hole is perfect, but that water is no good for me, the cows or the horses," she answered. "Even with the filtration system it's just easier to haul it all in. The oddity, however, is that we've had a lot of rain in the last few weeks and my well is still dry."
"That doesn't sound right," Danny stated after a long moment spent staring off into the fields of lush green vegetation.
"I really don't know what's going on, but I have a business to run, animals to look after and I just can't be without water. So, I bring it in," Gloria sighed and sifted sadly along the railing.
"Want me to take a look at the well for you?" Danny asked.
"Nah, you city slicker, what do you know?" Gloria giggled, "Thanks though. I'm sure everything will work itself out. Enjoy your ride Detective."
"Thank you kindly," Danny smiled and moved off toward the barn and the locker rooms, but the conversation stayed with him. It nagged at him.
To see Danny Williams was to know Danny Williams, but as he walked out of the barn, a saddled black Arabian strutting along beside him, Danny looked nothing like the Jersey Detective he prided himself as being, in fact, he was sure that Steve wouldn't even recognize him if he saw him. The jeans and white t-shirt weren't that far of a stretch, but the high riding boots and wide rimmed Stetson were completely out of character for the character that he played.
The conversation of only moments ago, however, had put Danny back into his Detective mind set and as he straddled the horse and moved off toward the trails that wound through the acres and acres of Gloria's property, he couldn't help but think about the situation and how things just didn't add up.
The rain had been falling in bursts for the past few weeks, almost everyday saw some form of precipitation, and it kept all ofOahubright and beautifully green. It was just that time of the year and the weather was usually more localized the further inland you went, but the well was running dry, not holding the water that had fallen. There had to be something else going on.
Danny rode along, taking it slow in the late day heat, and following the irrigation lines that ran through Gloria's fields. Not only did she run a very well established boarding stable and riding school, but she kept cattle and her fields fed most of the animals in the adjoining farms all year round. She made her money in livestock and if she couldn't feed them she'd be in big trouble. Lucky for her, the rain had kept her crops well on schedule, but why was the water all gone?
Danny and Target rode down toward the river and found the swimming hole just as Gloria had told him. The constant flow of the bubbling brook that fed the one deep section cried out to the horse in the heat of the day and there wasn't much Danny could do to tempt Target away from the water. Wet up to his knees and boots filled, Target was sufficiently cooled by the mountain fed river to take the jaunt back up to the barn and Danny was about ready to call it a day. The heat was nearly unbearable, and he was thankful for the coolness of the water, but it would be getting dark soon and Danny wanted to be back in the city to meet up with Steve for beers and the baseball game. He'd need to brush out his horse and settle him in for the night, before leaving, so Danny turned tail and headed back away with the nagging suspicion that something just wasn't right in the hills of Oahu.