5 Times Steve saw Danny's Wings and 1 Time He Didn't
Summary: Everyone always underestimated Danny Williams' wings. Surely, Steve couldn't have been the only one to do it, could he?
Rating: Gen (Yes, I wrote a GEN Hawaii 5-0 wing-fic) Teen, for a tiny amount of language
Spoilers: Season One AU
Everyone always underestimated Danny Williams' wings. Surely, Steve couldn't have been the only one to do it, could he?
Granted, they were mottled, sparrow brown if he chose to let them show, which wasn't often. Less than eight percent of all people had wings that weren't grey, on the spectrum from a wispy white-grey to a shadowy black-grey. Most Asians and Hawaiians had 'white' wings. Most Mainlanders and Europeans had grey wings of various shades. Various religions and scientists argued over the purpose of wings if they weren't solid enough with which to fly. Most people couldn't feel their own wings, let alone anyone else's. Why did humans have wings at all? They vanished and reappeared with self-control and seemed to serve no evolutionary advantage.
Steve McGarrett, like many of his special ops unit, had very dark wings. They had been useful for hiding his body during night missions. He had read the color of Williams' wings along with the rest of his biological stats such as height and hair color, but hadn't considered it important. He didn't discriminate based on wing color. It was illegal to do so. No longer did wing color keep a person out of a career or give them preferential treatment elsewhere. It was just another genetic expression. Steve did keep a close eye on Grace Williams; curious as to which parent's wings she had inherited. He never saw them and he was pretty sure that was Danno's influence, but it could have been Rachel's. Grace's mother had beautiful light wings, almost as ethereal as Hawaiians. She didn't show them often. The English considered it gauche. Steve had only seen them once, when Rachel had threatened to revoke all paternal visitation rights. A father-daughter outing at the football game had turned deadly and Danny had spotted it first. Danny and Rachel had really gotten into it that time. Rachel's wings had shown, Danny's had not. Steve had been surprised at Rachel's wings, because it hadn't been what he had expected.
Chin's wings were actually darker than Rachel's, not by much, but it was enough that he had suffered for it among his peers even before he had been accused of stealing from the drug evidence locker. The tips of his wings were very dark for an islander, but the shadow faded higher on his wings. Kono's wings were as white or whiter as any Steve had ever seen. Like most surfers, she could use them for balance on the water. Steve had even mastered the trick. Most people couldn't do much with their wings. Steve and others with extensive hand-to-hand training could use them as balance in a fight.
The first time Steve saw Danny's wings, his mind didn't register them as such. In his defense, Steve had been beaten by three attackers, tazered and then drugged. He was in an unfamiliar alley and had been tossed into garbage. All he knew was that Danny had appeared out of a seemingly benign pile of garbage, pointing a gun at Steve's abductors. Chin and Kono appeared at the other end of the alley and the abductors surrendered.
It was only after Steve had checked himself out of the hospital AMA that he realized that Danny's 'mottled brown' wings made it possible for the detective to hide in the middle of the city in broad daylight. Steve was jealous. He was pretty sure that Danny's wings would be awesome camouflage at night as well.
Steve had offered to teach Danny some hand-to-hand that would include wings balance. Danny had replied with a longwinded thanks-but-no-thanks. When Kono offered to teach Danny how to surf, Steve was sure that she included wings in the balance lessons. Still, never in any of Danny's feeble attempts did Steve ever see wings appear.
The second time Steve saw Danny's wings was during a fistfight. A drunken brawl had devolved when a couple of someones had pulled knives on tourist Mainlanders. 5-0 had been closest and had been ordered to stop it before a news crew could arrive. Steve and Danny had jumped into the fight, side-by-side. Steve was viciously putting his three attackers out of commission and had turned to help Danny. Danny clocked one attacker with his fist and brushed away a knife intended for his back with his wing. Steve didn't wonder whether or not what he had seen was true, he just tackled that guy that had dared to try to stab his partner in the back and knocked him out.
The fight settled quickly after that. A lot of people were staring at Danny's brown wings. They were more substantial than anyone else's. They were also bigger, hunching over Danny's head and flowing all the way to the floor. "Put them away," Steve hissed. He didn't want anyone to harass Danny for something that he couldn't control.
"I need five minutes of help in privacy first," Danny hissed back.
Steve waved to Chin across the bar and indicated that he was in charge. Steve grabbed Danny's arm and hauled him into the men's bathroom. "What's wrong?" Steve demanded.
Danny ducked under every stall to insure that the bathroom was truly empty.
"Well?" Steve prompted.
"I need you to straighten the feathers. Start at the bottom."
"Really?" Now that Steve had the time to truly examine the wings, he did see that the left one was decidedly ruffled compared to the right.
"Yes." Danny turned his back on Steve. Leaving him faced with the scientific curiosity. "Just hurry up, please. Get them all to lay flat."
"How do I know…" Steve started to ask.
Danny's wings lined up along his back and the tips brushed (Steve could truly feel them brush) along the tops of his boots. "Just make them match."
Steve started at the lowest end of the disorder. He gently twisted the feather, still amazed that he could feel anything. Sometimes he imagined that he could feel his own wings, but that was nothing more than a dream. This? This was soft, yet with the hard, round pins in the middle. It was almost unbelievable. Danny shuddered and gulped for breath. "Are you…"
"You're not setting a bone," Danny whispered, "but it's close. Just treat it like that, please."
Steve nodded even though Danny couldn't see it. "You need anything to bite down on?" he asked.
"Bite m- eh." Danny's insult trailed off in pain.
Steve had chosen that particular moment to rearrange three feathers in a row. "Breathe," he ordered.
Danny did breath in, if only to cuss him out.
Steve didn't give him a chance. He corrected the remaining ruffled feathers firmly and quickly. "All done."
Danny breathed shakily a couple times. Steve wiped his hands on his pants, trying to brush away the remembrance of the soft down. He turned to the bathroom door and found himself face to face with a slack-jawed Chin. Even his roll-with-it attitude couldn't compete with real wings.
"Chin, report," Steve barked so that Danny would know they weren't alone.
Danny whirled to face his co-workers. Steve had never seen a face that pale on someone who wasn't bleeding out. He interrupted anything Chin might have said. "You can't tell anyone," he whispered. "No one. Grace…"
"We wouldn't," Steve said bluntly, as if Danny wasn't hiding what hundreds of years of scientific research and even the Nazi concentration camps and breeding programs hadn't accomplished. Danny naturally had wings of substance and apparently had passed the genetic anomaly on to his daughter. Any number of legal and illegal laboratories would dissect Danny and his daughter to figure out how.
Chin understood as well. He quirked his mouth and said, "Tell what, brah?" He then turned to Steve and reported that Kono and HPD were collecting the miscreants and carting them off to jail. He nodded once to Danny and walked out of the restroom normally.
Steve inspected his partner over top to bottom. The wings vanished before his eyes. Danny straightened and a tiny bit of healthy color seeped into his face. He rolled his shoulders, then his neck. He flexed his hands until they stopped shaking in pain. He breathed twice with his eyes closed. When he opened them, he searched the floor until he found a brown, tiny pinfeather in the corner. Then he searched some more to ensure that there were no more.
"Can I have…"
"No," Danny cut him off. "I burn them all." He stuffed the feather deep into his pocket.
It was evidence of the impossible. Steve understood. He walked out of the restroom and took charge of the scene. He headed for the most violent offenders, hoping that they would try something. He needed to concentrate on something, anything else than the feeling of feathers and the envy that churned in his gut. Danny had the kind of wings that everyone dreamed of having.
The third time Steve saw Danny's wings, it wasn't exactly Danny's wings.
Steve had stopped by Danny's apartment on a 'Grace Weekend.' He had a couple papers that Danny needed to sign. All the blinds had been closed, but Steve saw the flickering of a TV through them. He knocked on the door. "Danno," he called.
"Wait a minute," Danny called back.
Almost a full minute later, Danny unhooked the chain and unlocked the door. Then he stood in the doorway. Steve knew that he was interrupting something. Over Danny's shoulder, he could see a sheet thrown over Grace as she slept on the couch. "Just need your signature," he said softly as he stepped into the apartment and left the door open. He wasn't staying long.
Danny glanced over at his daughter and looked through the papers. "Can I bring in these Monday?"
"Just sign them now, Danno," Steve muttered.
"Danno?" Grace echoed sleepily. Both men looked her way. Obviously warm, she had shrugged off the sheet, revealing her own set of substantial sparrow wings draped over her like a blanket. They looked just like her father's.
Steve was a half-heartbeat faster than Danny at slamming the apartment door shut. Speed was more important than silence. The bang startled the girl.
"Danno?" Grace whimpered.
"It's alright, Monkey." Danny hurried over to comfort his daughter and Steve turned around to give them some privacy and also to chain and lock the door. It was a flimsy door and a flimsy lock for such a big secret. Steve had a couple options. One, ignore it. Steve huffed at the impossibility of that. Danno and Grace were too important. Two, he could pay for a better door but Danny's landlord and others might get suspicious and start snooping around. They might stumble unto a secret bigger than anything that they could imagine. Three, Danno and Grace just would have to spend their time together at Steve's house. He had a much better security system, no neighbors nearby and could keep watch without anyone getting suspicious. He had plenty of spare rooms. Obviously, it was the logical solution. Now he would just have to convince his very stubborn partner of that.
Steve turned around and opened his mouth of what was sure to be the opening gambit of a siege on Danny's pride. His eyes absorbed the scene before him and his mouth shut.
Danno had reclaimed his spot in the couch and Grace rested with her head on her father's lap. She had twisted to sleep on her other side. Steve could see loose tuffs of feathers on this wing. Danno was gently threading his fingers through the feathers (feathering?). He would pluck at the tuffs until the feathers released from the wing. Danno would put the feather into a brown paper bag on the coffee table. Steve stepped forward and saw evidence of Danno having done the same thing on the first wing. There were a lot of feathers in that damn bag. That was a lot of damn evidence with which to dispose.
"She can sleep through that?" Steve asked amazed. Danny had nearly fainted with true pain when Steve had touched his wing.
"They're loose," Danno whispered. "Like a loose tooth. Looser. They need to come out in case she slips and someone sees. People know that seeing individual feathers are odd. And if one falls out…" He pulled another feather and placed it in the bag.
"She molting," Steve realized. Like a baby bird changing from the immature feathers to ones that would allow it to fly, Grace was molting. Steve wondered if she would be able to fly as an adult. Could Danny fly? He certainly had the shoulders that could muscle wings into keeping him aloft.
"Yes," Danno said.
Steve jerked and realized that Danny was replying to the acting of molting, not flying. Danny was studiously avoiding Steve's gaze. He patiently and gently feathered his daughter's wing. Steve pulled a kitchen chair into the living room and waited. Danno's full attention was on his daughter and Steve knew from experience that someone had to be in the act of committing a felony to tear his attention away.
Finally, Danno had fingered all of the feathers and dislodged the loose ones. He patted his daughter's head and settle back. Grace nuzzled her father's hand and fell even deeper asleep. Danny picked up the papers Steve had delivered and started reading them. At the end of the first page, he looked around for a pen. Steve handed him one. With Danny occupied with work, Steve started searching the crappy apartment for feathers that might have floated away. He only found one under the couch. Danny was understandably careful disposing them. Steve put the lone feather in with the rest in the paper bag and rolled the top down, trapping them inside.
"What are you doing?" Danno growled.
"I'll burn them on my beach tonight," Steve told him. "No one will even notice." Danno didn't have such a luxury. Steve was no longer even tempted to keep one feather out of curiosity or envy or for any other reason. If Danny could fly, he and Grace were in even more danger than previously imagined. An entire world of humans with wings and only Danny could use them to their full potential. Steve wouldn't ask, even if he burned with the need for the knowledge.
Such words should never be spoken aloud.
Steve walked out of Danno's apartment without saying another word. He was afraid of what would come out of his mouth if he spoke. He was afraid Danny might tell him the truth. At least, he remembered to take the signed papers with him.
He burned the feathers within five minutes of arriving home. He didn't even go into the house first. He walked out to the beach, to his fire pit and burned the bag of feathers completely. He watched until every bit of that cursed brown paper bag was ash.
The Time Steve Didn't See:
Out of pure self-defense, Steve didn't think Danno and wings in the same thought. Grace was hidden in Steve's mind in the same way. Actually, Grace was hidden behind name, rank and serial number. Danny would stop by Steve's house after 'Grace Weekends' and would burn a brown paper bag before entering the house. Steve tried not to notice if the bags appeared fuller or less full each week.
He did try to get Danny to move his 'Grace Weekends' to the McGarrett household. Hell, he tried to get Danny to move in. Danny was being stubbornly stupid and refusing. Danny needed someone to watch his six and Steve was volunteering. Danny was his partner and no one was going to kidnap him and experiment on him and his precious daughter.
'Sides who else would teach Grace to fly when her wings were ready? Who else would know that Grace's wings were ready?
Steve ground his teeth and tried not to think Danno and wings, but damnit, then Danny had to hold up his end of the bargain and not do things no one else could do with wings like grabbing some escaping felon's opaque, black shadow of a wing and using it to yank the guy to the ground. Thankfully, Danny was smart enough to knock the guy out before he could figure out that the detective had done the impossible again.
Steve was the one who was supposed to do the crazy, 'reckless,' dangerous, thoughtless plans. Danny was supposed to be the reliable one, the one who was the voice of reason and sanity.
Steve turned away from his crazy partner in time to see Chin forcibly usher a shocked Kono into her car for privacy. Obviously, they had witnessed Danny's impossible act as well. Chin would talk Kono down and explain the need for secrecy.
Danny looked pretty satisfied as he cuffed the felon's wrists. The felon's wings had disappeared with his consciousness and they had never been as solid as Danny's. Danny looked up at Steve, frowned and then saw Kono and Chin talking urgently in her car.
His expression instantly turned worried and chagrined and self-flagellating. He hadn't meant to do the impossible. He had forgotten that some things no one else could do.
How the hell had Danny managed to survive this long without anyone learning his secrets?
Steve seriously wanted to know.
The fourth time Steve saw Danny's wings, it was completely on purpose.
Chin, Kono and Steve planned for two weeks, covering all possibilities. If they wanted Danny to reveal truth, then they had to make it safe for him to do so. The techno-geeks had combed his house top to bottom for bugs, listening devices or anything suspicious. They were surprised to find two expensive bugs in the house. After significant debate, they decided that they couldn't confront Danny in his house. They wanted to leave the bugs and follow them to their source. The team wanted assurance that whoever had planted them weren't after Danno and Grace. They searched Danny and Kono's apartment and Chin's house. None of the other residences had listening devices. So why had someone bugged Steve's house?
Perhaps it was a good thing that Danny hadn't moved in. There were cameras all through the 5-0 headquarters and it would be too suspicious of they stopped recording. All agreed that the best solution would be Chin's house. Chin invited Danny and the rest of them over for a Hawaiian barbeque and they were prepared to hear Danny complain about the 'lack of real BBQ sauce.'
After they fed Danny and listened to him whine a bit, they retreated to the house and sat Danny down to grill him about his wings. Danny hedged around most of the questions, flat out ignored anything that might pertain to Grace and was rather bemused when they asked if he could make their wings substantial like he had the felon's.
"Really?" he asked. "You want to make your lives that difficult?"
"It's a strategic advantage," Steve told him. "There is a reason why every nation of all history has tried to learn how to fly. Every generation wants to fly. There're always rumors of someone flying, but no actual proof until you. The question is, can you teach it?"
"No one said anything about flying," Danny quibbled.
Steve waved the subject away for now. He'd let Danny think he was keeping his secrets. "What about just making our wings more substantial? Can you teach that?"
Danny shook his head. "I tried to teach Matty once, he never got it."
Chin huffed. "No offense you're your bro, brah, but we're more stubborn than he is. We'll stick it out."
Danny winced as he remembered how Matty had run away from the consequences instead of standing and facing them. "Look, there are a lot of downsides to real wings: the grooming, the potential danger."
"It saved your life," Steve replied. "You can fight with them. That can't be the first time you used them in a fight."
"Everyone will see that they're different. I'm sure that your wings will get darker, especially yours, Kono. Individual feathers and patterns will emerge. No one will trust you. Oh, they say that they will but people will turn their backs on you because you're a little too different."
"The only people that haven't turned their backs on me are here," Chin said. "You need someone else to deflect the heat when the secret spills."
"If," Danny waved his hands to emphasis his point. "If the secret spills. I've gotten this far without a hint, and Grace knows how important it is to keep her wings in."
"You use your wings so instinctively, I can't imagine how your last partner didn't know," Steve said. "'Sides this can't be the first time that you ruffled your feathers. Who smoothed them last time?"
"I could reach," Danny said. "And the time after that, I put them away without grooming. Yeah, bad plan there. Wings hurt."
Danny didn't seem to grasp that Steve, Chin and Kono had already made their decision: if they could solidify their wings they were going to. Nothing Danny could say would dissuade them. Steve was going to 'compromise' a little though. "How about this, you help Chin and me to get our wings and once we have ours, Kono can have hers."
Kono was displeased with this plan.
Steve raised a hand to forestall any argument. "We do need someone that people will trust and studies have shown that children instinctively trust people with lighter colored wings." Of course, it didn't mean anything since Jeffery Dahmer and several other serial killers had nearly white wings, but the trust was statistically true.
"I'll agree to that on one condition," Kono said. "If the secret spills, I want in immediately." She pointed at Chin. "I mean it, coz. I'm part of this."
Chin raised his hands and relented. He had been trying to talk her out of gaining her wings for the last two weeks; he was pleased if her wings were postponed indefinitely.
"Don't I have a say?" Danny asked.
Steve looked his partner in his eye and spoke. "Danno, if we can prove that you can make other peoples' wings solid, you are worth more alive than dead. Alive you always have a chance to escape. Dead, you're dead, dissected like a frog."
Danny bobbed his head. "Okay, that's hard to argue with."
Steve grinned. "Great. Let's start."
"Let's see the wings, then," Danny said. His own wings settled on his back. They looked so natural and real on him.
Steve's dark wings and Chin's lighter wings instantly appeared. Danny walked around them and touched their wings. The shadows became feathers under his hands.
The dark of Chin's wings turned even darker and black turned to brown. The brown dotted the wings all the way to Chin's shoulder. Steve looked over his shoulder and watched Danny roll his eyes. "Of course."
Steve and the others looked at each other. "What?"
Danny ran a hand down Chin's wings. "This. These are the wings of your Hawaiian Hawk. I don't know most of my Hawaiian birds yet, but Chin's source is obvious."
The top of Steve's wings were still intensely dark, even if the dark was more brown than black. The underneath of Steve's wings were mostly white, but mottled in a rather distinct pattern.
Danny patted Steve's wings and said, "Predator, for sure. Maybe an osprey of some sort."
Steve touched his wings and his brain registered it similar to how it felt to wash his hands. He could feel it, but he was still detached from it. He had been expecting more. More pain, more pleasure, more something.
Danny took two steps back and the feathers in Steve's hand turned to shadows. Steve couldn't even feel the shadow of his wings anymore. "You can go back," Danny told them. "It might be over a year before you can make them solid on your own. If it ever happens. No one has made it all the way yet. You don't need to do this."
Chin's wings disappeared as well. He was smiling and Steve was too. "No going back, brah."
The fifth time Steve saw Danny's wings, he had been spying.
He might have told himself that he was watching Danno's back, but really? He had been spying.
Danny had stopped by the McGarrett house and asked for directions to the top of the mountain where the natives had carved into the rock. Grace wanted to see them.
Steve gave Danny GPS, detailed directions to the top of the hill and even offered a topo map. Danny took the map and the GPS but only half-heartedly listened to the directions. That made Steve suspicious.
So he followed them. He waited until they had been gone fifteen minutes and then drove to the parking that only Hawaiians knew about. Danny's Chevy was there, alone. Steve ran to the highest alternate point, climbed a sturdy tree and waited with his binoculars.
He only saw them due to pure luck.
He kept his eyes trained on the upper regions, but not too far up because Grace had short legs. A blur of brown, Steve swung the binoculars that way. He focused on Danno and Grace for a split second before they disappeared under the canopy. Steve lowered the binoculars knowing that he wouldn't see any more. He really didn't need to see anymore.
Danno could fly. He could fly with his hands around Grace's waist as her arms and wings were out stretched. Grace couldn't fly on her own yet, but soon. Danno could not only fly, but he could maneuver if he took his daughter under the jungle canopy. He would only do that if he was confident in his abilities.
Steve would remember the joy and freedom on their faces until the day he died.
He swore that he would die before anyone would take that joy and freedom away from the father and daughter.
*gen wingfic au*