Laurence William's House, Oahu
When Danny woke up he was surprised by how rested he felt. He hadn't slept quite that deeply since before that fateful night on the beach. Some part of him had always been waiting, listening even as he slept, for someone to approach him and find out his secret. For several minutes he just laid there staring up at the ceiling as he listened to the sounds of birds flying around the house and his Uncle moving about downstairs. There was something peaceful about it but Danny wasn't ready to let his guard down. If he let his guard down he was only going to be hurt again.
Letting out a loud groan Danny arched his back, stretching his arms out above his head. He felt like he could just lay here all day. Did he really have a reason to get up? It didn't feel like it. He felt lost and alone. Abandoned and betrayed by the people he loved most in the world. If they couldn't love him despite his fishy features, why would anyone else?
Danny sighed and rolled onto his side. The sun was barley up but he could already see it peaking through the trees outside his window. Some insane, brightly colored bird was sitting on one of the branches but at the sudden movement Danny made the bird let out a loud trill and flew off. Danny scowled at where it had been and grabbed his pillow and put it over his head. Smothering himself would do no good in the long run. No matter how unhappy he was he had to think about Mattie and the girls. They needed him even if his parents didn't.
Swallowing back the need to scream Danny tossed the pillow at the wall and got up. The bed gave a creak at the sudden shift of weight, but Danny ignored it in favor of another back popping stretch. Feeling a bit more limber he reached down to absent-mindedly scratch at his junk through his boxer-briefs as he headed out of the room. He doubted his Uncle would care if he spent the day in his underwear and even if he did care, Danny didn't. It's not like he had anyone here he needed to impress. This was meant to be his own private prison until his parents decided they wanted to truly cut all ties to him and pretended he had never been born.
"Well, welcome to the morning, Danny-boy," his Uncle Laurence chirped from the kitchen table. "I wasn't expecting you up this early."
Danny grumbled something unintelligible and stumbled over to the coffee pot he could see on the counter. Inhaling he thanked whatever deity created coffee and went to pour himself a cup of the dark brew before it lost that nice white steam rising from it.
"You know that'll only stunt your growth," came the dry comment from his Uncle.
Danny flipped his Uncle off and went back to savoring the rich aroma of the coffee. He could hear his Uncle chuckle from the table but Danny didn't really care. God, the taste was heavenly. So much better than the sludge his Da…Mr. Williams, back in New Jersey, called coffee. Taking another mouthful Danny moaned, not caring in the least that the sounds he was making would put a porn star to shame.
"Should I come back at a better time," came a deep voice from the hallway. "I don't want to be walking in on something I shouldn't see, Laurence."
"Shut up, Jack," Laurence called out. "It's just my nephew taking in the heaven that is a good Kona brew."
Danny turned and cracked an eye open, watching the man walk into the kitchen. He was old, maybe a few years older than Uncle Laurence. He had a sparkle of humor in his eyes but Danny could tell he was a cop. He carried himself the same way Uncle Laurence did, as if he had to be prepared at any minute to run off to track down some criminal, as if there was a man with a gun hiding around every corner. He was dangerous, this man Jack, but his Uncle didn't seem worried at all. So he was likely his Uncle's current partner or the old partner he had mentioned yesterday. Either way Danny didn't care as long as the man left him and the coffee alone.
"What's up," asked Laurence.
"Not much." Jack pulled out a chair and sat down at the table by Laurence. "My rookie had to bail today, one of his cousin's just had a baby."
"And that meant you needed to stop by here to bug me?"
Jack leaned back in his chair and smirked at Danny's Uncle. "I figured you didn't have anything better to do than amuse me."
Danny watched the vein in his Uncle's forehead spasm as the other man continued to smirk at him. Danny gave it about ten seconds before his Uncle did something in return for the smart ass comment and sure enough he did. Before Jack could catch himself Laurence had kicked his foot out catching the tilted legs of the chair and knocking it out from under the other man, who swore from his spot on the floor.
"Fuck, Laurence!" Jack pushed to lay back against the tiles and tried to look pitiful. Which Danny could tell him wouldn't work on his Uncle. The man had grown up in New Jersey in a family with four older brothers and one little sister. He could dish it out and not feel remorse as only a younger sibling could.
"You were saying something, Jack?"
Danny found himself smiling before he could remember that he wasn't here to be happy, he was here because he was a freak of nature. He wasn't supposed to be happy here. Setting his coffee down Danny walked out of the room, a sour taste filling his mouth.
"Shit," Laurence sighed as he watched the dark look pass over his nephews face. For a moment he had seen a real smile on Danny's face and if his sister-n-law was right, Danny hadn't looked happy for months now, since the run in with his father. Laurence didn't know what the fight had been about, hell, he couldn't imagine what would make his brother so mad with Danny. Frank had been smitten with his son from the time he first caught sight of him in the hospital. Frank was never as happy as he was when he was holding one of his kids and Danny and Frank had always been close. They were so close in personality and it was obvious that Danny had idolized his father since before he could barley toddle around on his own and Frank was always bragging about Danny to anyone who would listen. He didn't know what had happened but he had a feeling Alice hadn't told him everything, hell she had barley told him anything to be honest, when she had asked him if Danny could stay with him this year. Laurence had just been so happy at the idea of having Danny here in Hawaii with him where he could teach Danny to surf and try out weird new foods with him. Instead he found himself trapped with a teenager who was very obviously depressed and hardly willing to socialize.
Jack looked at the hallway where Danny had disappeared and back to Laurence. "What's going on? That's hardly your normal teenage angst if I'm not mistaken."
"Hell if I know, Jack. My sister-in-law, Alice just called and asked me to take him in. Said Danny and his Father had gotten into one hell of a fight and that neither was willing to give ground and talk it out."
"Hmmm." Jack stood up, brushing himself off and righting the seat before sitting down. "Whatever it was that happened it must have been big. That kid looks like he's pissed off at the world."
"Yeah. He's hardly said a word since he got here, which isn't like Danny at all. Normally you have to yell to get him to just stop talking. Now I feel like I couldn't even get him to say more than two words even if I got up in his face."
"Give him time. Kids can hold grudges for a while. Eventually he'll realize that you are here for him and he'll start talking."
Laurence shook his head. Jack had a son and he probably knew teens better than Laurence but Laurence was a Williams and knew how stubborn and pigheaded a Williams man could be. "If I try to wait it out I'll likely die of old age before he talks to me."
"Then maybe he just needs to confide in someone closer to his own age."
"Maybe," Jack nodded.
"Don't shove them at each other, Jack. I don't need him more pissed off than he already is."
"Would I do that," Jack scoffed. "You don't give me enough credit, Law."
"Oh my God! How many times have I told you not to call me that? How many, Jack? Are you five! That is my nephew's name for me. You do not get to call me Law. No one gets to call me that but Danny."
Jack tried not to laugh which only caused the laughter to degrade into snorting guffaws.
- - - H50 - - - H50 - - -
Diamond Head Beach, Oahu
Two days into his stay in Hawaii and Danny wasn't sure what to make of his uncle anymore. The man seemed the same as always except he was also different. More laid back and casual than Danny had ever seen him. Especially when his former partner, Jack McGarrett was around. If Danny didn't know his uncle better he would almost think the older Williams' was in love with Detective McGarrett. But that certainly couldn't be. Uncle Laurence was a regular ladies man. Back in Jersey he had a new girlfriend almost every month. There was no way he was a queer. Right? Besides he thought his uncle had said Detective McGarrett had a wife and kids.
Danny was trying hard not to think of things like that because it made him all too aware that he wasn't exactly normal either. That his status as a mythological creature was probably worse than being gay in his families eyes. Besides he doubted he would ever be able to have a long term relationship with anyone. He couldn't see himself ever trusting anyone else enough to tell them his dirty secret. He doubted anyone he told would want to stay with him after he told them. Most people would probably consider sex with a merman a type of bestiality and thus a sin against God and nature.
Man, his life was some kind of cosmic joke.
"Hey, Danny," Jack McGarrett said as he walked up to where Danny was sitting in the shade. "Why don't you go out for a swim? The weather and the water are great today."
"I don't swim." Danny looked away from the older man and back to the book he had smuggled to the beach with him.
Jack blinked. "Well…I suppose if you'd like we could teach you?"
Danny sighed and looked away from his book again. "I know how to swim. I just prefer not to."
"I know swimming in the ocean can be intimidating if you're used to swimming in pools-"
Danny snapped his book shut and glared at the other man. "You are aware that Jersey is on the coast, right? Which means we have an ocean right there." Danny shook his head and stood up, brushing sand off the back of his shorts before he stalked off to another shaded spot further away.
"Well…" Jack pushed his hand back through his hair. "That went well."
Behind him Laurence was snickering. "Surely by now you've figured out that we Williams men are surly bastards when hurting?"
Jack rolled his eyes and looked back to where Danny had moved to, taking in the hunched figure of the teen as he tried to hide away in the shade. It was obvious that Danny didn't feel like he belonged and Jack knew Laurence had been the same way at first as well. He only hoped that Danny would have it a bit easier adjusting to the different culture of life on the islands. "Yeah, yeah. You two suffer from male PMS. I've noticed."
Laurence made a choked sound in the back of his throat before charging after Jack who laughingly dodged him and dashed off down the beach. Just because he wasn't having any luck breaking through Danny's wall of depression wouldn't mean he would let his friend fall prey to it. He would keep Laurence distracted and hope that Steve would have better luck getting through to Danny.
Danny watched the two chase each other around the beach for a while from over the rim of his book. He was glad that his uncle was happy, really he was. It was just so hard to be happy with them when his whole life seemed destined to be miserable. He had always wanted to be a cop like Uncle Laurence and to have a family and kids like his Dad, but since puberty that dream seemed impossible and with every passing year it got harder to pretend that he wasn't alone. That he wasn't going to die alone. Everything he had ever wanted, a Badge, a house, a family, kids…it was all out of reach now.
Danny blinked and tried not to scowl as he was interrupted yet again. Standing in front of him was a teenager about his own age, dripping wet and carrying a surfboard. He had dark hair that almost reached his shoulders in a wave of soft curls. Danny arched his eyebrow and tried to ignore how hot he was suddenly feeling.
The other boy laughed and tossed him a crooked smile before plopping down in the sand next to him. "Your Law's nephew, Danny. Right?" Sticking his hand out towards Danny, the other boy smiled even wider. "I'm Steve. My Dad's the crazy man chasing your uncle around the beach."
Danny looked Steve over, that heat filling the pit of his stomach growing hotter, making him even more uncomfortable. Steve's board shorts hung low on his hips revealing a flat, toned stomach leading down into the sharp jut of his hips and the wisp of dark curls just peaking up from the edge of the shorts. Forcing his eyes to stay above the edge of those wet shorts Danny reached out and quickly took Steve's hand, shaking it firmly and trying to tell himself to ignore how soft the other teens skin was against his own. "You look like him a bit."
"Yeah?" Steve looked back across the beach to where Laurence had finally pinned Jack to the ground and was rubbing his face in the sand. "You don't look much like your uncle."
"No," his voice cold, Danny turned away from Steve and back to his book, trying to ignore the other boy and focus on the words on the page. He didn't need some stranger reminding him that he wasn't a blood relation to his favorite uncle.
"Whoa, brah. I didn't mean anything bad. It's just he's a lot more….uh…loco than you."
Danny glanced back at Steve against his better judgment, taking stock of the sincerity in his eyes. Letting out a breath, Danny allowed himself to relax a little. There was something about this goof that was putting him at ease even when he was trying so hard to stay mad. He could feel the pressure of everything churning around as it surged up and out of his mouth before he could stop himself, "He's not my Uncle."
"What?" Steve looked at him startled.
"My Mom," Danny licked his lips, looking away. He felt suddenly embarrassed. "She cheated on my Dad. So by blood I'm not really a Williams."
"Oh." Steve was looking nervous now.
"Look, you don't have to say anything, okay. I shouldn't have said anything in the first place."
"No," Steve grabbed his arm as if to keep Danny from getting up and leaving. "I'm sorry."
Danny glanced down at Steve's hand and the back up at the almost panicked look on his face. "Okay."
Steve let out a breath and released Danny's arm. "Is that, um, is that why they sent you here?"
"Yeah. My Dad decided he didn't want me in the house reminding him of the family shame."
"Yeah. It really does."
"Does Law know?"
Danny looked away from the other boys rather intensely open gaze. "Not that I know of."
"Well," Steve blushed and quickly looked away, pushing his hands through his wet hair. "If you need to you can, uh, talk to me about it?"
Danny was surprised by the offer but not sure he was willing to take it. He barley knew Steve and there was always the chance the other boy would tell his Dad what Danny said and then his Dad might tell Law. What if Law found out and sent him away as well? Danny didn't know if he could handle the rejection of his favorite uncle along with his father's rejection. Fortunately for Danny, Steve didn't seem to mind not getting an answer to his offer so the two fell into a comfortable silence until Laurence yelled another loud challenge out. The two of them glanced back down the beach when they heard the loud cry of outrage that quickly followed.
Steve's Dad had gotten up from the sand and was now chasing Laurence into the ocean.
"Are they really supposed to be the adults here," murmured Danny.
Steve looked over at Danny and for a moment they were both silent before they burst out laughing, falling against each other to keep from falling face first into the sand. It felt like a damn inside him had burst open and Danny found he couldn't stop laughing even when the tears begin to fall and it became hard to breath. The hurt was still there, a bleeding, festering wound in his heart, but for this brief moment in time it was buried under the force of nature pressed against his side, shaking and laughing along with him.
Down the beach a ways Jack and Laurence smiled, glad to see that Steve had been able to make Danny laugh.
- - - H50 - - - H50 - - -
Laurence William's House, Oahu
The rest of the day at the beach had passed far more smoothly for everyone. Sharing those few words, not even the whole truth, had been enough to lighten the weight pressing Danny deeper into depression. He liked Steve, even if he was a surfer goof. He just wasn't certain why he had felt like he could confess his family shame to Steve after knowing him for less than a day. Steve was dangerous. Danny realized he was going to have to be more careful around Steve. He couldn't let his guard down and risk Steve finding out the real secret.
Steve had spent over an hour trying to convince Danny to go surfing with him and when Danny told him he didn't know how, Steve had decided to take it as a challenge to teach him. Danny had protested vehemently and had eventually had to twist out of Steve's over eager grasp, nearly losing his shorts in the process. When he had finally turned around Steve was staring at him with a gaping mouth and blush all the way to the tips of his ears. Danny had looked away and pulled his shorts higher up his hips and ran back towards the shade, trying to pretend that they hadn't been wrestling on the beach or that the feel of Steve's body pressed against his had felt good.
Pushing the memory of Steve's body against his away, Danny went back to staring up at the sky. He had never seen so many stars before. Back in Hoboken there were so many lights from the buildings that you could barley see any stars, but out here it seemed like the sky was just one endless field of them. So many little lights up there, countless suns and planets. Maybe even some of them had sentient life on them. Aliens could be laying in their alien grass looking up at an alien sky and wondering about his planet and what potential life could be on it. Danny had never really thought much about aliens before. Sure he had watched Star Trek reruns on TV as a kid, and sure he went to see the Star Wars movies with Mattie and his Dad, but he had never really thought that there could really be aliens. But laying out here in Uncle Laurence's yard staring up at all those stars and thinking about how he wasn't very human made the likelihood of aliens so much more possible. It was strangely reassuring, the thought that there may be people out there around one of those suns who was stranger than he was. Someone who might be going through something similar, who maybe questioned if there was something wrong with himself for looking at another boy and feeling a blaze of desire that not even the prettiest of cheerleaders could inspire.
"Danny," called Laurence from the lanai behind him. "It's getting late and you need to get to sleep. School starts tomorrow and we need to get you there early to talk with Principal Kalakaua."
Danny let out a long sigh, watching the stars for another moment before pushing up from the ground. Brushing the grass off his pants he turned back to the house. He still had to shower and go through the rest of his nightly routine before he could try to sleep. Sleep that wasn't likely to be all that comforting after being trapped at the ocean around a mostly naked Steve McGarrett.
School. What a joy to look forward to. School and another day where he would be stuck with Aquaman. It was hard to push away the smile that teased at the corners of his mouth. He didn't want to be happy thinking about another boy. Thinking about Steve. Smiling at, or with, Steve was only going to lead to more problems and Danny had more than enough of those already. As if being a bastard half-blood mermaid -merman!- wasn't bad enough to deal with on it's own. He had to deal with being abandoned by the only Father he had ever known. The man he had practically worshipped for as long as he could remember. The man who taught him how to ride a bike, how to throw a pitch that would make a nun weep, how to slide into home plate without getting tagged and how to treat a lady on your first date. All of that pressed down on him, made him feel like the weight of the world was crushing him slowly.
And then what?
He gets sent to Hawaii. To "Paradise," to be a prisoner in his own body, forced to face the ocean and the siren song it sang on the wind all fucking day! If that wasn't making things worse he finds his uncle as warm and loving as ever, reaching out for Danny as if Danny wasn't the big Scarlet Letter stitched to the front of his Mother's life. His Uncle just saw the little boy Danny had been before puberty had ruined his life forever. His uncle Laurence saw the boy who had followed him around all the time and had stolen his handcuffs to cuff Mattie to the banister on Thanksgiving just so Danny could get an extra helping of Grandma Williams' sweet potatoes. He didn't see the walking Sin that little boy had become and that hurt. It hurt so much that he couldn't be that little boy anymore.
And now there was Steve. Steve who looked at Danny and didn't see the living Sin either, but he didn't see the little Danny of before either. Steve who knew the horrible shame Danny carried being a bastard and perhaps the key to his families ruin. Steve who seemed to want to understand, or did at least a little. Steve with the goofy smile and the twinkling eyes. Steve who rose out of the water like some kind of teenage Poseidon and beckoned Danny back to the depths of the blue, blue heaven beneath the waves. Steve who even now burned at the back of Danny's mind, teasing him with the delights that puberty promised that had been snatched away in a sea of self hatred and doubt.
Danny dropped to his knees by the toilet in the little bathroom connected to the room he was staying in. His stomach felt like a twisted mass of brambles and thorns trying to rise up his throat. His eyes burned and behind them a fierce pressure was forming, radiating out to his temples. Between his legs his dick throbbed at the memory of Steve rising up out of the ocean, flicking his curling hair back with a spray of water. He could feel his blood pulsing through the skin of his shaft as it stirred behind his loose pants, the throbbing pulse of it beating in tempo with the throbbing behind his eyes.
Dropping his forehead to rest against the cold porcelain of the toilet lid, Danny pressed the palm of his hand against where his erection pressed against his zipper. When that only made him want to moan, Danny pressed his palm down even harder until his felt his dick go limp and tears fill the corners of his eyes. He didn't know what to do anymore but he couldn't do that. He couldn't touch himself and pretend that one day someone else would touch him like that. That maybe Steve would touch him like that. He couldn't let himself think that because thinking it would only make him hope for it.
Danny felt the tears roll down his cheeks to slide over the porcelain. Who was he supposed to be now? He couldn't be who his Father wanted. He couldn't be who he had dreamed of becoming. He didn't fit in anywhere and he didn't have a home to go back to. What was there for him now?