Hi, I'm back! It's been awhile, but I was finally inspired by a moment in the season finale that I wish would have been included in the show. I wanted to know how Danny found out the baby wasn't his, and the aftermath of it. I hope you enjoy it. No one gets shot or kidnapped or almost dies, but it's still good angsty fun.
The Fiercest of Waves
Danny had forgotten what kind of crackers to buy for his pregnant ex-wife who was finally succumbing to the very morning sickness she swore she'd never get.
Rachel, a posh woman and a Brit, liked the thin crackers traditionally served with triple cream cheeses and pate, but his mother had always preached the versatility of Saltines. He sighed, mulling it over for a second, before grabbing both of them.
He walked down the aisles of the small, discount department store, crackers tucked under his arm and couldn't help but wander to the infant's department, eyes drifting along the racks of impossibly tiny pink onesies and tutus, to the little plaid shirts and super-small jeans. So, Rachel had only been pregnant for a few weeks at the most, but Danny's gut, his instinct as a father and a detective told him they were having a little boy—a son to play football and talk sports too. A baby boy who would grow into a man, maybe with Danny's blue eyes and Rachel's dark coloring, someone to carry on the Williams name.
Five-0 had disbanded. Kono was suspended. Steve was locked in a prison accused of killing the governor with thirty or so criminals he'd incarcerated. That idea, that flicker of a life growing inside of the love of his life was all that was keeping him from running screaming back to New Jersey.
Rachel had explicitly barred him from buying any baby items until she was in her second trimester, as she had with Grace, but unable to help himself, Danny had purchased a stuffed monkey that he kept tucked in the back of her locker. Until it had became Grace's best friend as a toddler.
He rationalized, as his eyes flickered upon a navy blue and orange stripped sleeper—New Jersey Nets colors—that buying one small trinket to cheer him up wouldn't anger the gods of pregnancy.
"You're grinning," the cashier said with a giggle.
She was flirting, and Danny could appreciate her wide-open smile and low-cut pink tee-shirt even though he was a father-to-be and had plans to re-marry.
"There's this virus going around the island, Smile-itis. I think I caught it today."
She scanned the crackers and the sleeper. "New dad?"
His mouth turned up again—the traitor. He could swear he felt his eyes twinkle. "Dad for the second time, actually. Hoping for a boy so I thought I'd put a little karma out there."
"Congratulations! And I hope you get everything you want," she said with the same eager smile.
Danny winked at her as he backed away, bag in tow. "I already did."
Danny jogged into the doctor's office, cursing the island's traffic and steadfast lack of impatient drivers, and put his hand on his hip to steady the gun that wasn't there. It was foreign to him, not having his weapon or badge or a place to go in the morning. And sirens definitely would have helped him with the traffic.
He didn't want to leave the island until Steve had been vindicated and Rachel, proving that she'd changed in the years since the divorced, had de-boarded the plane before it had taken off without hom, opting to stay in Hawaii to support Danny until he felt comfortable enough to leave.
It was heartrending proof that she wanted this to work as much as he did, and that she no longer felt the compulsion to run when things that messy and complicated. She'd harnessed that breakneck passion and focused it on rebuilding their expanding family.
"Daniel," Rachel's voice was a quiet and wavering version of the original, but he'd been tuned to it for more than a decade.
He spun around, and saw her tucked in the corner of the waiting room, dawning her celebrity mom sunglass. There were tissues bawled in her hands. Her knees were locked together, shoulders tight and hunched, and her mouth was downturned.
Danny's heart slammed to a halt, burgeoning panic fluttering up like vicious waves. He knelt down in front of her, placing a hand lovingly on her knee. "What's going on? Babe, is the baby okay?"
Two fat tears managed to escape the largest of Chanel's sunglasses, and dripped onto Danny's palms. "The baby's fine. There's a healthy, strong heartbeat."
"Then what, Rachel? What's with the tears, huh? It's not early enough for mood swings yet, right?" He cupped her cheek, brushing the wetness away with the swipe of his thumb.
Rachel pulled off her sunglasses, revealing distraught brown eyes, and clutched both of his hands with near-bruising strength. "I'm so sorry, Danny. I can't…ever begin to express how sorry I am. I do love you, but…"
Danny was sweating and his chest was heaving. Yes, he was a cop, trained to deal with the most horrific of situations, but when his heart was on the line, he couldn't deal with any kind of trauma. He wasn't as maniacally strong-willed like Steve was. He was a bleeding heart, exposed and vulnerable and affected. "Unless you want them defribulating me in twenty seconds, you need to tell me what's happening. Right now."
She closed her eyes tightly, like Grace did when she was scared. "I'm further into my pregnancy than I anticipated when I-I told you."
"Um, that's good, though I mean...I wasn't crazy about the kid being born the dead of winter, ya know, birthday parties suck when you're in the middle of a Nor'easter with the snow and the ice…"
Rachel's mascara was running down her cheeks as she looked at him, willing him to understand. And then, like the tumblers of a lock falling into place, Danny was struck with an awful understanding.
He felt his own eyes buzzing wetly. "Finish it." He demanded, not kindly or softly.
"The doctor estimated that the baby is about I'm about 10 weeks along…and that's when I went to Denver with Stan on business."
Danny had been tasered, bludgeoned, shot and poisoned and somehow none of it amount to the physical agony of heartbreak. He looked down, dizzy and sick to his stomach, and saw that Rachel was also clutching a black and white square of paper. He pulled it from her grasp. He could see the markers of human life, from tiny nose to the spinal cord that he'd once heard referred to as "the string of pearls." It was beautiful and awe-inspiring, a miracle that wasn't his.
Stan had bested him again.
"So what does this mean…for us?"
Rachel wiped her face. "I'm going back to Jersey to think things through; Mum is meeting me there. Danny, I love you, but I have a child to think about now."
The proverbial knife twisted and dug and swirled. Danny stood up, bereft and grieving for something that was never his. "Yeah, Rachel, I guess you do."
Steve pressed a hand to his abdomen, wincing as movement pulled at his stitches. Getting stabbed was a ridiculously small price to pay for freedom, to smell the air, to feel the sand between his toes, to walk on the beach as the sun transformed the sky from pinky black to pristine blue that seemed brighter than it ever had in lockdown.
He'd come to the beach to spend the morning with Kono, not to talk about her suspension or his exoneration—the ghosts haunting them both—but just to catch up and spend time in the island air and sun.
The beach was deserted, save for a few beach bums who probably slept there to catch the best waves that usually crested just before dawn, and it inspired a peace in Steve that he hadn't felt in what felt like years. Being in prison even for ten gut-wrenching days had made him intensely grateful for everything, from the dirty cans left on the beach to the misty, salty breeze that made his eyes sting.
He gazed out at the horizon, watching a tow-headed surfer in red shorts catch an impressive, white-capped swell. With a groan of discomfort, he awkwardly sat on the soft sand, watching the guy attack the wave with admirable tenaciousness. He wasn't as practiced a surfer grappling with a wave of that magnitude probably should have been—Steve could tell by the intermittent waggling of his arms to maintain balance—but there was an powerful grace looming behind the inexperience, an innate ability to harness the speed of the wave, to adjust and shred. Steve was as nimble as an ox on a surfboard and preferred marathon swims and fishing to anything on a board, but he'd always respected and envied people who excelled at the sport.
The wave ambled towards the shore, its majestic power tapered off until the surfer abandoned it before the water got too shallow, easily falling into the sea. It was the knee brace that focused Steve's attention. He inched forward, an absurd lilt of glee rippling through him. Because the surfer with the lime green shortboard and the dark blond hair was Hawaii's most hostile resident, Detective Danno Williams.
The water broke over him as he paddled, splashing cold but drifting hot. Kono had once told him that,"Surfing is a perfect combination of meditation and adrenaline, taking all of your focus and energy and passion. You can't surf your problems away, Danny, you can forget them for awhile." At the time, Danny hadn't realized how right she'd been.
Danno had been taking lessons for months, moving from the humiliating shore side practices to tiny waves with little kids to the larger surfs and solo runs. That first morning after Steve had been arrested and Five-0 imploded, Danny and Kono had wordlessly ended up at the beach and surfed until the tourists had littered the waters in the afternoons.
After he'd found out the baby wasn't his, he'd been surfing non-stop, needing the distraction of adrenaline, the sense of control over something awesome, and to focus on nothing but water and speed and breathing. Because he couldn't even breathe in within the walls of his cramped apartment, and he was sickened by the thought of returning to the pathetic masquerade that was parenting for divorced fathers; his heart soaring as he picked up Grace and shattering when he had to drop her off just forty-eight hours later.
And now he'd have to do that while witnessing Rachel's belly growing, seeing the baby he thought was his in Stan's arms, along with everything else he treasured.
Danny waded through the pristine water, needing a break.
On legs quivering from overuse, he ventured up the banks of the thankfully quiet beach.
"You are so busted!"
Danny cursed under his breath as water slid into his eyes. "You're supposed to be convalescing."
"So I wouldn't see you surfing? You're actually pretty good. Man, I wish I had a camera. This is amazing."
He didn't feel much like rejoicing. "Convalescing means resting in a bed, dude. Not the beach."
"Don't you think I've been locked up enough?"
Danny found his beach bag and toweled himself off, averting Steve's eyes. "I think after getting shivved in prison and then going all rogue commando even though you had a rip-roarin' infection, you need to be in bed. I have no problem chaining you there if that's what it takes, Steve."
"I'm doing better; fever's gone, my stitches are repaired; I'm not facing a life sentence. I'm good, Danny. Frankly, I'm sick of talking about myself. What's going on with you?"
Danny felt the jagged pieces of her heart shirt within him, piercing. "Nothing, everything's the same. At least once Kono gets her badge back. How exactly can you arrest someone for stealing money that's technically not missing? That's a fantastic, productive use of the taxpayers' money and I…"
Steve put a hand on his arm, effectively silencing him. "You know that I'm not talking about work," he said gently.
He rolled his eyes and tightened the muscles in his neck, refusing to look at his friend with those annoyingly emotive eyes and that "please share" face. Because as loquacious as he was about his hatred of Hawaii or his impassioned disdain for Lady Gaga or his extreme love of all things female, there weren't words to encompass what it felt like to have a child, or even the idea of one, taken from you.
"Like I said…everything's the same." He patted Steve on his leg, "I'll take you home."
Steve let himself be pulled to his feet and waited as Danny shrugged into an old hoodie, collected his board and bag, and they walked to the car in stiff silence.
"We could stop at the bar, get some drinks or something…if you wanted to."
Danny scoffed. "It's a nine in the morning and you're on antibiotics strong enough to drop a horse. No alcohol."
He opened the passenger pushing the seat back so Steve could ease himself in and down with as little pain as possible. Steve managed it with a little more than a hitching breath and the smallest grimace.
Danny drove, slower than usual, with his jaw locked and pain glinting through him. Steve kept shifting in the passenger seat, arching uncomfortably, and flashing him more of those painfully beseeching looks.
"Ya know, I read it in an article that said that men can't mentally accept pregnancy until something like the sixth month. I mean, it's later than I thought, but I'd only known about the baby for a week at the most."
Steve's head rolled against the headrest as he looked at him with poorly veiled disbelief. "Okay…"
"You have your 'constipation face' on and I just don't want you worryin' about it. I'm okay."
"The more you insist it, the more I believe you're full of shit." Steve replied, shifting again.
"Is this restless because you haven't blown anything up in three weeks or because you actually have ants in your pants?"
Steve grumbled and reached an arm behind him, pulling out a crumpled grocery bag that had been wedged in the seat. "I was sitting on this. I get sent to prison and you can't even keep the car clean?" He groused, rummaging through the bag.
Steve had managed to pull out half of the orange and blue sleeper Danny had bought a happy day that turned out to be one of the worst of his life.
Danny snatched the bag from him with a surprising ferocity.
"Shut up!" He barked. "Just…shut up."
The car roughly skidded to the side of the road, Danny threw it into park and climbed out, slamming the door so hard the glass shook.
After Danny had found out that Rachel and Stan had reunited for the child, he'd tried to focus on anything but the baby that wasn't. He'd poured over hundreds of hours of surveillance footage from the camera John McGarrett had hidden in the governor's office. He surfed. He planned elaborate things to do with Grace once she returned to Hawaii. He kept up regular communication with his friends in law enforcement to try to find his brother. Every second of every day went to not to think or feel or dwell.
But now as he stood glaring at the beach, that stupid sleeper he hadn't had the strength to return clutched in his hands, all he could do was feel, and it hurt. He panted, only able to take short, harsh sobbing breaths. The Hawaiian breeze was cool on his flushed face and he was pretty sure he was trembling like a trauma victim.
As he expected and dreaded, Steve ambled up to join him. He crossed his arms over his chest. And they both ignored that Danny wasn't seconds away from some kind of episode.
"When I was younger, after my mom died, I…kind of shut down, I could go for days without speaking, and I never cried. I fought a lot; I did a lot of stupid things...it was killing me, ya know? And my dad invented cornered me one day…when I was just fuming mad and I missed her so much. He said I could have a time-out—it was like a safe place, where I didn't have to be a big brother to a kid sister who was going to grow up without a mom, where I didn't have to be anything to anyone. It was time just for me to feel whatever I feel."
Danny clenched his jaw so hard his teeth ached.
"I think you need a time-out. Because what Rachel did it you, purposely or not, is awful and you need to move past it."
He dropped his head, and rubbed his forehead with his free hand, and he realized he was still holding that ridiculous sleeper. "I saw this...and...I wanted it to be a boy."
"I think Grace would like that."
Danny shook his head. "I hate her so much."
Steve abandoned all forms of male pretense and slung an arm around Danny's shoulders. He dropped his head and turned slightly, falling into an awkward hug. It turned into a desperate cling as his grief rippled and rolled out of him like the fiercest of waves.