This wasn't so much inspired by the episode as by the tags to it. I thought Danny deserved a rant after the events of Episode 2.22, but this didn't end up as much of a rant, either.
Maybe You're Right
The day after Steve's return, the four Five-0 officers finally had a chance to reconnect. Chin and Kono had settled their differences about Adam Noshimuri (for now) but Danny had spent a sleepless night reliving the aggravation of Steve's absence and the tension of his return.
Honestly, he felt the way he had years ago, when Grace ran away, trying to stop the move to Hawaii. Danny remembered the frantic call from Rachel, the angry recriminations as to whose fault this was, even as Danny used his detective skills to track Grace to the subway station where she was trying to get a ticket to her grandparents' house.
Danny had yelled (at Rachel) then, and he was practically vibrating with the need to rant now.
Steve thought Danny might have a stroke if he didn't blow off some steam. So, as usual, Steve poked his partner to make him explode.
"You would have been proud of me, Danno," Steve teased, getting an eye-roll for the "Danno." "I had backup the whole time. Interpol and the Japanese police. I was fine."
"I thought I was the backup," Danny said quietly, too quietly. "But I didn't even know where you were." His fingers twitched, as if he wanted to strangle someone.
"You were my backup," Steve said. "I needed you here, keeping an eye on my islands. I'd have preferred to have you on my 'six,' partner," he said, smirking a little at the military word, before getting serious again. "But it was too dangerous. You were right in what you told me once. I didn't … I didn't want to risk your life..." His eyes swept the room, lighting on Chin and Kono, before returning to Danny. "... any of your lives for my vendetta."
And that was just wrong, throwing Danny's own words back at him.
Danny looked furious at the thought he'd be unwilling to risk his life to help his friend, but then his gaze grew thoughtful.
"Maybe you're right," he admitted, surprising Steve. "I mean, no sooner did you land — I mean crash — on Hawaiian soil than I was kidnapped — not by cartel drug dealers or international terrorists, but by the CI freakin' A!" Danny waved his arms in aggravation. Steve smiled. This was the Danno he was looking for. "You have so many enemies, I can't tell the bad guys from the good guys! Maybe we are safer without you. We managed fine while you were gone." Looking over Steve's head, Danny's gaze begged the cousins to play along. And since it was true, Chin and Kono nodded agreement. "We caught a serial killer and stopped a lunatic from starting a smallpox pandemic." Danny was quite proud of the word "pandemic." He'd learned it from Hetty Lange.
"Wait. What?" Steve asked.
Danny waved Steve's questions away. "Sorry. Can't talk about it. It's classified." (Best part was, that was true, though Steve certainly had the clearance to find out.)
Danny didn't let Steve get a second word in. The Jerseyan felt relieved to let the rant out.
"So, yes, we did fine without you. In fact, I don't think we really need you back. All in favor of a three-man, excuse me, three-person task force, say aye!"
When Steve turned to look at the cousins, Danny winked at them. Chin and Kono solemnly put up their hands; but they couldn't fool Steve. He saw the grins they fought to conceal. He shook his head, grinning, too. "I told you before, this isn't a democracy. It's a benevolent dictatorship."
Danny's phone vibrated. He glanced at it and smiled at the perfect timing. "Yes, but it's not your dictatorship. Hello, governor," he said into his phone. "Yes, our wandering boy is back, a little banged up but OK. No, that's fine, sir, you can keep calling me, if you prefer."
Danny walked away into his office and shut the door on Steve's Constipated Look.
"Danno, I'm not the governor," Grace's voice said uncertainly.
Danny kept his back to the main room, so Steve couldn't see his face. He tried to consciously stand at attention, as if talking to the governor, instead of his usual posture — an ice cream cone melting under the sun of his daughter's voice.
"I know, monkey, I was just playing a joke on Steve."
"Is he OK? Can I see him?" Danny had tried to keep his anxiety about his partner from his daughter, but knew he'd been unsuccessful.
"Yes, he's OK. And why don't you ask him when you can come over." Danny left his office and handed Steve his phone. "It's for you."
"Grace!" Steve said, relieved and happy to hear her voice and unhappy he'd fallen for his partner's trick all at the same time.
Grace interrogated Steve about his health and where he'd been — damned if she wasn't Danny's daughter for sure. Steve assured her he was fine and dodged the "where" questions. Then Grace asked the important question, could she come over on Saturday?
"I don't know, Gracie. Your dad's still kinda mad at me. Maybe he doesn't want to hang out."
"Of course, he's mad at you Uncle Steve. You ran away," the little girl said in exasperation.
Grace remembered the aftermath of trying to run away. There had been lots of yelling (mostly Danny and Rachel yelling at each other) and Grace had been sure that no one loved her any more, because she caused so much trouble. She remembered word for word what her father had told her, once he calmed down. She parroted Danno's wisdom to Steve.
"When people love you, they get scared when they don't know where you are and when they yell, it's not because they're mad, it's because they were scared they'd never see you again. And we love you, Uncle Steve," she said simply.
The others couldn't hear Grace's words, so they were surprised at the stunned look on Steve's face. The man who had felt unloved for half his life had to accept he had friends who loved him so much that they were scared to lose him. He could hardly believe it, but he had to believe it because Grace told him so.
"Maybe you're right, Grace." He gave his friends a big, boyish grin that dropped ten years from his appearance. "Maybe you're right."