AN:

I was just contemplating the characters while trying to finish up Ass-Grabbing this morning, when this facet of Danny's character popped into my head. And once I started writing about it... it just kind of took over into its own little oneshot.

Disclaimer: They're still not mine. But if anyone knows where to send a résumé to apply for a job as one of CBS's scriptwriters... please let me know.

Warning: some very bad language... I feel like I should be washing my mouth out with soap this week.

Quiet

"Something's wrong with Danny." Steve stated firmly as his partner closed his office door. "I wanna know why he's been so quiet the last week."

"Quiet?" Kono yelped, turning from the smart board and looking carefully at her boss, checking his pupils and wondering if maybe he'd managed to concuss himself this morning without them knowing about it.

"We talking about the same Danny?" Chin's tone was teasing, but McGarrett remained serious.

"Yeah, brah." The crease between his eyes deepened further.

"But boss, Danny hasn't shut up all week!" Kono exclaimed. "If anything, he's been even louder than usual; I actually heard him before you even got through the doors yesterday morning!"

Steve sighed, running his fingers through his hair. "But he hasn't been saying anything,"

Chin read the concern in Steve's eyes. As much as he might want the whole thing to be the SEAL's sick idea of a joke, it wasn't. Letting his tone indicate his willingness to help McGarrett, he said, "Sorry man. Not following you."

Steve waved his hands in the air in frustration, and the move was so Danny, that Chin nearly snorted in inappropriate laughter. Nearly.

"Have you heard the things coming out of him this week? Pineapple on pizza is sacrilege! Ties are professional dress attire, not a garrote in disguise for bad guys to use! Hawaii is too hot! Your driving is way too fast, way too reckless, way too out-of control!"

Chin still wasn't too sure where this was going. He glanced at his cousin. Kono was still looking at their boss as if assessing him for signs of TBI. So Chin decided to state the obvious.

"It's nothing he hasn't said a dozen times before."

"Exactly!" Steve nearly thundered.

Oh, shit, thought Chin. He thinks I got it... but now I'm twice as confused.

Some of the confusion must have snuck past his Zen mask and onto his face, because Steve rubbed his face and then continued.

"He's said it all before. Dozens of times- hell, hundreds of times, even. But never with this much ferocity, this much crazy damn intensity. As Kono put it, the volume is all the way up. But it's more than that; it's not just that he's repeating the same old stuff and getting way more ticked off about it than he ever has before, it's that there's nothing new.

"There's always something new for Danny to bitch about. We might have covered sports so many times that we can predict each other's argument for the superiority of baseball or football, but I let him bring it up again because then we get to discuss specific players' faults. He might have bawled me out about correct police procedure a million times, but it's always specific. It's always what I did wrong this time, not just that I'm screwing up in generaland have no restraint. We drive down a street we've driven down a hundred times before, a sign in a restaurant window catches his eye, and he'll go off on the specific food being advertised.

"And the few things he does repeat- the ties and pizza and driving... usually they're banter. We know we don't agree, and we've kind of agreed to disagree, and it's just like me razzing Mary about cleaning her apartment, or something. But this week, Danny's been screaming, actually screaming, dammit, not just raising his voice, and there's venom there. And he's not looking at me. He always looks at me when he rants, so that he can see my reaction and put on that gloating smile when he gets under my skin.

"And to top it all off, he's not waving his hands as much. He keeps clenching them in his lap. And it reminds me of the time when Rachel tried to get his custody rights revoked. Because first he was glaring at his phone while he texted, and then he got really loud while ranting about how tiny the buttons were on his cell phone and how much texting sucks, and then he got quiet and clenched his fists around it until I thought he was going to crush the thing with his hands, and then he threw it and screamed a few more things while not looking at me, and then he crossed his arms and got really quiet... The only other time he's ever been that quiet was after Matt left. It was like," Steve licked his lips, searching for a way to make this understandable. "Like he couldn't stand to talk about it. He wanted to talk, needed that verbal pressure valve or something, but just couldn't stand to talk about it. It hurt too much, or it pissed him off too much, or both. Danny, who has words for everything, usually twenty-seven where three would be fine, can't express himself verbally when he gets really, really angry.

"And this week, it's been like that all the damn time. Like he's in pain, and trying to distract himself by bitching about things that don't really matter. Only he's so focused on whatever awful shit is going on that he can't even come up with anything new to rant about. So he falls back on the ones that he's done so many times, he can rant about them in his sleep, only they're not enough to distract him. So his hands clench more, and the anger and the pain tighten his muscles until the veins pop out in his arms and his neck and he's sitting so rigidly that looking at him makes my shoulders ache.

"So we have to figure out what the hell is going on," concluded Steve, his voice going hollow, "because some shit must be seriously FUBAR for him to be getting so quiet."

"Okay, brah," Chin breathed, somewhat in shock over Steve's verbal torrent. Mostly because of what he'd just said, but there was a fair bit of surprise in that Steve had used up a week's amount of words in one go. "We'll figure it out."

"We might not have to," said Kono quietly, pointing past Steve to where Danny was standing, almost slumping, in his office door.

When he remained there, a thunderstruck look on his face and his body apparently boneless, the other three went to him.

"You okay, brah?" Kono asked.

Danny shook his head slightly and finally shut his mouth. "Yeah, I guess." He rubbed his face. "I came to see what could possibly send Steveinto a Jersey rant..."

"I do not rant."

A chuckle escaped Kono at the denial. "You just did, boss."

Steve shot a glare her way, stifling the rookie instantly. But his eyes softened when they landed on his partner again. "I was worried about you."

"Yeah, I got that."

Steve crossed his arms across his chest. "So are you gonna come clean, or do I need to misuse government resources by assigning my team to discover what's wrong with you by any means necessary?"

Danny sighed deeply, and looked down at the floor. When he spoke, there was so much pain in his voice, three hearts broke on the first word. And then broke again, and again, and again, and again.

"Rachel... " Danny swallowed convulsively, "Rachel wants... to send Gracie..." (the lump in his throat was choking him) "to send Gracie..." (making it damn difficult to breathe) "to fucking finishing school..." (I'm not gonna cry in front of my partner) "in England." Oh, hell. The tears made twin tracks down Danny's cheeks as he did his best to suppress them.

There was silence in the room. Tears sprang into Kono's eyes as she wrapped her arms around Danny and rubbed his back. Chin swallowed, and tried to think what he could possibly say to that.

"Over her dead body," growled McGarrett through a mask of stone. Then he turned with military precision and began to stride for the door. "I think it's time I had a talk with Rachel."