Disclaimer: Hawaii 5-0 and characters belong to CBS, would be nice to live in Hawaii and work for 5-0 alas, that's not the case.

Summary: Danny has a lot to think about after seeing "Operation Payback". Part of the Kokua Ko'u Hoaloha universe. I wanted to show Danny's reaction to seeing Operation Payback during my story A New Team Member, or Maybe Not? but felt it was more about Lori so I am writing this as a one-shot.

Danny and Operation Payback

The four original team members returned to HQ after witnessing "Operation Payback." Danny, Chin and Kono gained a new level of respect for their friend and leader Steve. Steve was satisfied that his fellow SEALs had been avenged. The four headed for their offices as Lori glared at them. She was still put out that she had not been included.

Danny didn't even notice Lori as he entered his office and sat behind his desk. He had known that SEALs received training above and beyond what any other regular military person received which set them apart from the rest. Danny joked about Steve being a Super SEAL only now realizing how close his joke was to the truth. Steve's training and experiences might also account for his friend's seeming arrogance when they first met. Danny knew now that Steve was not arrogant but confident in himself and those around him.

Danny turned on his computer to do some research he should have done when he and Steve first became partners. It was time he learned about the type of training Steve had been through to become a SEAL.

Almost two hours later, Danny sat back feeling a bit ashamed when he remembered some of the things he had said to and called Steve over the months of their partnership. He really should have researched the training his friend had gone through to better understand him. In the beginning he hadn't because he had had no intention of being anything more than Steve's partner. Over time Danny had come to like and respect Steve. By then the thought of researching SEAL training never entered his mind.

Danny sat back thinking about some of the things that Steve had done over their partnership. At the time he had thought his partner was just plain crazy, with a superman complex. Well, he still thought that sometimes but now he could see that Steve had the training to back up his actions. Danny had been proud to be Steve's partner and friend, now he couldn't even name what he was feeling. The fact that Steve stayed after the man behind John McGarrett's death was arrested is a testimony to Steve's dedication to Hawaii and the family he had made here.

Danny looked over to Steve's office to see his friend working on the dreaded paperwork. Something he needed to get working on himself. He had some more thinking to do and the mindlessness of the paperwork he had to do would help.

Amazingly, Five-0 was able to leave at five that day. No new cases had appeared yet. Hopefully that would be the case for the weekend. Danny wanted to spend some time with his daughter and his friend.

Steve poked his head in Danny's office. "I'll meet you and Grace at home. I'm gonna stop at the market. Anything you want me to get?"

Danny thought about it. "I could go for burgers tonight. It's been awhile."

Steve smiled. "Sounds good brah. I'll get some veggies for grilling too. See you later."

"Wait. Grace needs milk." Danny called.

Steve turned his head. "Milk. Got it."

Danny smiled thinking there was a time he would have laughed at anyone who said that Steve McGarrett could be so domestic. It didn't fit with the tough SEAL most people saw. After the things he had learned today, he felt honored to know both sides of Steve. Steve didn't let many people past the SEAL. The SEAL protected the kind, generous and loving man who had been hurt so badly when he was young.

Later that night after the food had been consumed and everything cleaned up Grace went in to take a shower and get ready for bed. While the two men sat on the lanai having a beer.

Steve looked at Danny as he spoke. "What's been on your mind today?"

Danny looked at Steve shocked. "What makes you think something's been on my mind?"

Steve quirked an eyebrow as if to say, are you kidding? "Danny, you stayed in your office all day. You even had lunch there. You always join us for lunch even when buried with work. Ergo, you had something on your mind."

"Ergo? I thought you said no one uses that word?"

Steve snorted. "I've been hanging around you too much. Don't change the subject. What's up?"

Danny took a deep breath. "I realized this morning that I've been a bit unfair to you."

Steve interrupted confused. "Unfair? How?"

Danny took a deep breath. "Since we've been partners, I've mocked you, and yelled at you over your military mindset."

"Danny-"

Danny held up a hand. "Please let me finish. I did this without really understanding the training and experiences you've had. I only saw how you seemed to flout the law, or do things that seemed reckless and harebrained. Even after I learned to trust and respect you I still didn't understand. I'm ashamed that I didn't take the time." Danny stopped for a minute to gather his thoughts. "This morning I saw well-trained men complete a dangerous operation, and I could picture you as part of it. When we got back to work I did some research. I learned about some of the training that Navy SEALs are put through. After reading and watching some of the training, I'm awed that you made it through it the first time. Some people consider you arrogant; I did once, now I realize that you're just confident in your abilities. You have every right to be. I'm sorry that I gave you such grief about your attitude and decisions since we've been partners."

Steve stared at Danny. He cleared his throat before he could speak. "Danny, I ah, don't know what to say. You don't have to apologize. We didn't know each other very well in the beginning. It's not like I didn't give as good as I got, Danno." Danny snorted. "We approach things differently; still do, but we've learned how to work together. I've worked with partners when part of Naval Intelligence, and you have been the best by far. I've known some in the Navy who would never put up with your attitude. I think there are some police departments who wouldn't either." Danny grimaced, Steve was right. He'd had his butt chewed by his last captain in Jersey more than once. Steve smirked remembering a couple of comments in Danny's file from Jersey. He leaned forward looking intent. "We don't always agree, but I value your opinion, even when you give it loudly. If anyone owes an apology it's me for forcing you to be my partner. I don't regret making you my partner, just not giving you a choice."

Danny interrupted. "I don't need an apology for that; it's the best thing that could have happened to me since I moved to Hawaii."

Steve smiled. "I'll accept your apology if you accept mine. A clean slate." Steve held out his right hand to shake Danny's. Smiling Danny accepted. Steve stood up, pulling Danny with him to hug his friend and brother. Steve pulled back looking in Danny's eyes. "Thank you. I think it's time to say goodnight to a certain monkey we know." Steve needed to pull back from the extreme emotion of the moment and Danny let him.

Danny chuckled. "Yeah, she's probably wondered what happened to us. Come on, Super SEAL, let's go." The two men headed into the house to tuck in Grace.

PAU