Author's note: I get these and they're weird.
Some spoilers for the hiking episode, Ma Ke Kahakai.
Never Go Hiking with Steven J. McGarrett
At first, Danny Williams thought the greenish spots at the corner of his eye were caused by a flash of sunlight off a windshield. But he realized in a sinking moment that there were no windshields nearby. He was following Steve McGarrett up a steep trail with a promised waterfall at the end — and now he was having a migraine. Swell.
First he needed to get off the side of this cliff before his vision burst into fireworks. On the right side of his vision — though it was in his head, not in his eyes at all — the green spots were growing into a jagged line of shimmering light, distorting his view of the valley below.
To the left, a little farther on, Danny could see the trail open up into a meadow with a few trees to sit under. It would be a safe place to wait out the sparkles.
Danny hurried his steps to get there while he could still see where he was going. He came up closer to Steve and — because his vision was obscured on the right — Danny put his right foot off the trail. He went down to one knee, scraping his right knee painfully on a rock.
"Whoa!" Steve grabbed his shirt, then his arm, and pulled his friend to his feet.
"Thanks," Danny said breathlessly. Though he'd been in no danger of falling, it was scary to take one step into eternity. He definitely needed to stop hiking.
"I need to sit down," he said.
"Are you OK?" Steve asked in concern.
"I can't see," Danny said, squinting against the migraine aura.
"Easy, babe," Danny said, patting the hand that still gripped his arm. "It's just a migraine. Let me sit for half an hour and I'll be good to go."
Steve moved his partner to the inside of the trail and shepherded him to the clearing. Danny sat, rubbed his eyes, peered around at the view now enhanced by special visual effects, then sighed his annoyance and lay back with his arm over his eyes.
"Would aspirin help?" Steve asked, knowing migraines were reputed to be excruciating.
"No, it doesn't hurt," was Danny's surprising answer. Without uncovering his eyes, he went on, "I get ophthalmic migraines — the light show without the pain."
"I never heard of them," Steve admitted as he sat beside his friend.
"Neither had I, until I had my first. Scared the hell out of me. I couldn't see. I thought I was having a stroke," Danny said. "Some people's migraines are accompanied by what they call an aura. They see flashing lights, almost a warning that the pain is about to start. If you gotta have a migraine, this is the kind to have. I get the aura but..." Danny held up crossed fingers. "... So far, no pain.
"To me it looks like sunlight flashing on a swimming pool, a bright, watery, flickering. It moves in a jagged line from the lower right to the upper left of my vision." He waved his free hand to indicate the path. "Takes about half an hour then I'm OK again. Just enjoy the view for awhile, OK?"
"I can do that," Steve agreed. "Want some water?"
Danny heard Steve unzip his backpack.
"I could carry my own water, you know," Danny said abruptly, turning his head to glance at his friend. "Or do you think I couldn't keep up?"
"You always keep up," Steve protested, saying the first thing that came into his head, which happened to be the right thing.
"Then why?" Danny gestured at the pack.
Steve had to think for a bit to put his feelings into words. "When I was a kid, I wanted to wear the backpack. It made me feel grownup when my Dad and I were hiking. Now, it makes me feel closer to him, and we're not carrying very much. But if you want to carry your own pack …"
"No, no, I'm perfectly willing for you to be my Sherpa. I just wondered why."
"Come to think of it, this does feel more full than I remember. Did you add something?" Steve rummaged inside.
"Just the essentials."
Steve pulled out a large first aid kit and a package he puzzled over until he read the label. "A portable splint? Come on, Danny, that was once."
"And you're you, Steven J. McGarrett, walking disaster magnet. Look, it's tiny, made for mountain climbers and extreme athletes. Hardly weighs an ounce."
"I really don't think …"
"And next time it might be me," Danny pointed out. "I like a little more comfort for my broken limbs than tree branches and duct tape, Rambo."
"When you put it like that …" Steve handed Danny a Band-Aid for his scraped knee, filed the first aid equipment back in the pack and handed his friend a bottle of water. Danny fumbled for the reusable bottle. He could obviously see it, but not clearly.
"Any better?" Steve asked.
"No, worse. It gets worse before it gets better." Gesturing with his hands, Danny illustrated how the sparkling was not a third of the way across his vision, so his eyesight was pretty well screwed for the time being. He again lay back with his forearm across his eyes.
"Does that help?"
"Not exactly. The sparkling is in my head, so I can still see it, but at least I'm not fighting to see past it. I get a bad eyestrain headache if I try to keep using my eyes."
"But it's all over in half an hour?'
"The other four times I've had this, yes. And this time seems to be following the same rules."
"Lucky you don't get the terrible headache."
"Mm," Danny agreed. "Though I do feel a little … strange after."
"Strange?" Steve was worried again. "Strange how?"
"Strange like nothing else I can compare it to," Danny answered. "Not dizzy or confused. A little like the start of a beer buzz. A little like the first hit of an antihistamine, but not really. Just half a baby step left of normal."
Steve snorted. "I hate to tell you, but that's closer to normal than you usually are."
Danny's hand whipped out and smacked Steve's leg. "No mocking the handicapped," the detective said sternly.
Steve rubbed his leg, chuckled and began scanning the scenery with his binoculars. The open space offered a great view of the valley below. The trail curved back to the left, out of sight behind a spur of rock, then zigged right to cross the ridge and vanish.
Danny glanced up when Steve moved, then covered his eyes again. "See anything interesting?"
"A hawk, I think. It soars like a hawk, but it's too far away to identify, even with the binoculars. I see some other people on the trail ahead of us. A girl and a couple of guys just going around the bend. A couple just crossing over the ridge with their dog, a golden retriever," Steve answered. "Sometimes I think about getting a dog," he mused.
"A scruffy, yappy, little dog?"
"No, already got one of those," Steve quipped.
Danny flailed at his friend, but Steve was just out of reach this time. "That's twice. Twice you pick on the poor blind guy," Danny grumbled, then returned to the previous topic. "I picture you more with a long-legged dog to go running with. No, wait, a Doberman. Yeah, sleek, long-legged and trained to kill."
Steve chuckled. Danny sighed tragically.
"But then I picture the dog, emaciated, skin and bones, lying in its bed in a doggy depression because his master never comes home to feed him."
Steve sighed, too. "Which is why I've only thought about getting a dog," he admitted.
"What you need is a cat. No, two cats."
"Two? Shouldn't I start with one imaginary pet first?"
"No, no. Two cats are better than one. They keep each other company and wash each other's ears." Danny was beginning to sound enthused. Steve couldn't tell if he was putting him on or if he was serious. "Maybe I'll give you a kitten. No, better, I'll get Grace to give you a kitten, two kittens." His grin took on an evil cast. "She would so love to have kittens to play with. You'd never be able to get rid of them if Grace gave them to you."
That was so true it made Steve nervous. "You want a cat so bad, get one of your own," he protested.
"Can't. Apartment," Danny answered shortly.
"You like cats?" Steve asked curiously.
"Sure. We always had cats. Mom loves cats. We had a tuxedo cat once — a black and white cat — who chased a butterfly off the garage roof right in front of my eyes. Fell in a bush, fought her way down to the ground, then sat down and washed as if to say, 'I meant to do that.' Cats have personality."
"I'd have taken you for a dog person," Steve said.
"My Dad didn't like dogs. Got bit by too many scared dogs during fires and rescues. I think I told you he was a firefighter. Dogs were too much trouble, etc. But one day this scroungy mutt followed me home from school. Well, maybe he followed the half a bologna sandwich I saved from my lunch when I saw him hanging around the playground."
The commander grinned at the image.
"Mom couldn't resist the starving pooch, so when Dad got off shift Saturday morning, we were all lying in wait for him. We called the dog Sparky, thinking Dad might warm up to the name. We put my littlest sister Becca on the floor with her arms around Sparky, her big eyes full of tears and her lower lip quivering. (She was a con artist. Still is.) She said, Daddy, can we keep him? Dad couldn't resist. Anyway, as long as it was OK with Mom. She's the one who had to do most of the work."
"Your Dad ever warm up to the dog?"
"Nah," Danny said with a grin. "Dad never fed Sparky treats at the table or showed off all his tricks to friends. Dad never cried when the poor old guy had to be put to sleep after 15 years with us. Nah, Dad never liked the dog. He still says so to this day." Danny paused nostalgically, then asked, "Didn't you ever have a dog when you were a kid?"
"No, Mom and Mary were allergic. No dogs. No cats. No guinea pigs."
God, Danny thought. If I didn't know he had a cool sister, Steve's childhood would sound so barren. Like he was born in a military barracks.
"All I had was goldfish," Steve continued, unaware of his friend's pity.
"Wait, wait!" Danny squinched up his eyes and put his fingers to his temples as if he was reading the commander's mind. "Goldfish you won at a carnival. In one of those bowl toss games," he guessed.
"Yes," Steve admitted.
"I knew it! You're a born marksman."
"Didn't you ever win any?" Steve asked.
"A couple of times," Danny admitted. "Then my Mom made me promise not to play that game any more."
Steve was confused. "Uh, why not?"
"Because the goldfish made the cats sick."
It took Steve a minute. "You mean they ate … That's gross."
"That's what Mom thought."
Steve thought about Danny's big family and how his own family had been shattered by his mother's death.
"What? What was that face?"
Steve glared at his partner who still had his arm over his eyes. "You're not even looking?"
Danny smirked. "I could hear you make a face. What's wrong?"
"I envy your big family," Steve admitted.
Danny considered the confession. A big family was the only kind of family he knew, and he missed the raucous gatherings. Being adrift in Hawaii helped him understand Steve's loneliness. "I could give you Uncle Al and Aunt Margaret," he said judiciously. "But you'd have to take Cousin Joey, too. They're a package deal."
"What's wrong with Cousin Joey?" Steve chuckled.
"Nothing really. Nice guy. A computer programmer. Taught Grace — and me — how to use a computer. Just because he's 35 and still lives in his parent's basement, who am I to judge? It works for them."
Steve laughed aloud. "What about Aunt Margaret and Uncle Al?"
"Aunt Margaret is a great cook, homemade ravioli, pot roast to die for," Danny said, as he took another swallow of water to prevent himself from drooling. "And she might be willing to move to Hawaii, her sciatica gets so bad in the winter, I can't tell you!" Danny's mimicry was spot on, though Steve couldn't tell. "You think I talk a lot! Aunt Margaret can talk me into the ground."
"And Uncle Al?"
"Uncle Al is a sweetheart, who gets loaded and tells off-color stories at every family gathering, except my wedding."
"Why not your wedding?" Steve asked, willing to play straight man.
"Because my partner Sam threatened to handcuff him in the back of a patrol car if he touched more than one glass of wine. And you don't mess with Sam when she's pissed, not even when she's wearing a baby blue tea gown with a white straw hat and two-inch heels. I think she had her gun and her cuffs attached to her garter belt," Danny said thoughtfully. "Some of the guys talked about feeding Uncle Al booze to see Sam make a takedown in satin and heels, but cooler heads — my captain's — prevailed. Of course, I only heard about this after the fact. I was in a daze most of the ceremony."
"Wish I'd been there," Steve said wistfully. He started to tell a story about the wedding of one of his SEAL buddies, when something caught his eye. He sat up straighter and brought up the binoculars.
"What?" Danny asked.
"Looks like someone's hurt. Two guys are carrying an injured girl up the trail."
Danny sat up at the same time Steve stiffened. "Up the trail?" Danny demanded, trying to see where Steve was looking. "Down the trail is where help is. Why would they go up the trail?"
To be continued
Wait a minute. That was all talk. What happened to the action? I promise action in part 2. (But you know you loved the talk.)
By the way, please no spoilers for Season 2 in my reviews. I'm hiding my head in the sand until I see the first episode myself.