Summary: She's not his mother. Steve swears she is, but Danny's sixth sense…his cop sense…his Steve sense…tells him that something isn't right. Problem is, Danny may not be sticking around long enough to prove it. And their friendship may not survive this even if he does.
Author's Note: This story takes place after the Season 2 finale, so there could be spoilers for anything and everything in both seasons up to and including that. I have no idea where the show's creators are going, so I'm quite sure this is completely AU. Enjoy!
Acknowledgment: With deepest and sincerest thanks to my Plot Partner Samantha Winchester, without whom I never could've kept all the story lines straight, and whose brilliant ideas and trains of thought inevitably lead to the best destinations.
BAIT AND SWITCH
Grace has no idea what's going on, and that's just how Danny wants it. He's sure that in spite of the fact that this is all stemming from Rachel and Stan's decision to leave Hawaii after dragging Grace there only two years prior, Rachel doesn't want their daughter in the middle of this any more than Danny does.
Except she is by default. She can't help but be. Because the only reason Danny left New Jersey was his little girl, because Rachel decided to marry a wealthy man who moves from project to project and go five thousand miles from home. Because there isn't a world, dimension or universe in which Danny doesn't want to be there to watch Grace grow up.
Now, after two years living, laughing, loving and nearly getting killed more times than he cares to count, in a place Danny never wanted to be, Rachel's trying to uproot them all again. And at this point Danny could care less what Rachel wants because this time he really is over her. There's just one problem, though. In spite of the fact that she's no longer married to Danny, where Grace is concerned, she has him by the balls.
And he hates it. Hates her. After everything they'd gone through, after what they'd almost done together. After he'd helped deliver another man's son…this was her thanks to him. Nearly a year later, she lays this on him, having a court filing delivered to him via her attorney's courier. Without so much as a phone call or an email or a sit-down over a cup of her damn English tea, she blindsides him with the fact that she's taking his baby girl away from him.
He supposes it's only partially her fault, if he's honest about it. After all, it's not her doing that Stan's new project is in Las Vegas. It's Stan's. Stan, who took a bullet to try and save Grace's life. Who's been nothing but nice to Danny in spite of the fact that he's Stan's wife's ex-husband who shot him. Only maybe, Danny considers, maybe there's been a reason Stan's been so nice. Maybe it's because the bastard knew this was coming all along.
After all, massive building projects don't just happen overnight. In order for it to be something worth packing up and moving for, it has to be an expensive thing, and that sort of deal takes lots of time to seal. For all Danny knows, it's been in the works since before they'd all moved to Hawaii to begin with.
And Rachel has never so much as hinted that Hawaii might not be their permanent dwelling place.
She'd been so ready to leave Stan, leave Hawaii. Return to New Jersey and resume the Williams family as though nothing had ever broken it up to begin with. So ready to lay claim to Danny's life once more and pull him away from a group of people he'd come to love like they were his own flesh and blood.
And then no, because the baby wasn't his and she was still in love with Stan and she and Grace were coming back. And then Danny had been there for the birth of the son that wasn't his. He'd sent photos of the baby to the man who was the father. And Steve had spent that entire evening keeping Danny from falling into the mother of all funks.
Danny scrubs a hand over his face, finally turning the Camaro's engine off but still just sitting there staring at the McGarrett house in front of him. All he can hear in his mind right now are Steve's hushed and hurried words as he'd phoned him from the airport in Tokyo.
"Danny, it's my mom! My mom! She's alive, and she's coming home with me!"
That had been four days ago, and Steve and his mother had been back in Hawaii for two of those days. Presumably catching up. Presumably Steve finding out the actual truth behind what had happened when he was a teen and was told she'd been killed in a car accident. The truth about his father, about Wo Fat. Maybe about Governor Jameson and the Hesse brothers. About the reasons behind the shit that had flung him so far from his beloved home, only to yank him right back when his other parent had been murdered.
Only Danny's spider-sense has been tingling nonstop since Steve's call, in spite of the fact that he'd had Grace for three whole days when she'd gotten Monday off from school for Memorial Day, and in spite of the fact that most of yesterday he'd spent with the local attorney he'd hired to fight Rachel's petition.
The thing is that Danny wants desperately to be happy right now, even for something that has nothing to do with his impending knock-down, drag-out fight with Rachel. He wants to be happy for Steve, that Steve's mother isn't actually dead, that he now has her back in his life. But when his gut continues to churn every time he thinks about that being the case, he knows something's off, even though he hasn't yet set eyes on the woman in question.
"Come over, Danny. Mary's here, and I'd like you to meet our mom. We'll grill some steak and shrimp, what do you say?"
What can he say? No, I want to check into this person who's supposedly your mother before I meet her so I know who she really is? Danny doesn't have a leg to stand on, and how can Steve be wrong about his own mother, for Christ's sake? It's not like the guy hadn't known her for sixteen years. Sure, she would've aged, but Steve would still know if it wasn't her.
Danny sighs when he sees the front door swing open and his six-foot partner walk out of it toward the car. He pulls the keys out of the ignition, grabs his phone from its place on the dashboard mount and opens the door. Steve is right there already and goddamn if he doesn't have the happiest look on his face that Danny has ever seen.
Why the hell is Danny so certain if he opens his mouth he'll wipe that face off permanently and maybe destroy the best friendship he'd ever had in the process?
"I'm glad you came. I really want you to meet her," are the words that tumble out of Steve's mouth. He's bouncing on the balls of his feet like a kid and Danny supposes he can see why. After all, the last time Steve had his mom he'd been a kid, so… "What's wrong?"
Danny struggles to school his face into a happy one as he gets out of the car and closes the door behind him. Before he can even turn to face Steve, the man's all up in his personal space.
"Is it Grace? What's happening with the petition? Are you going to court? What'd the lawyer say?"
That verbal diarrhea actually does make Danny laugh, and he turns, putting his fingertips against his partner's chest and gently shoving him back a couple steps. "Down, boy," he says good-naturedly and Steve has the decency to blush a little. "I spent three glorious days with my daughter, then the better part of a day with my lawyer and…" His voice trails off. He sighs, shakes his head, scrubs a hand down his face. "It's going to get ugly. And I probably won't win."
It's the first time he's said those words aloud.
Steve's hand is on his shoulder, then suddenly he's reeling Danny in and giving him a firm hug with no hand-slapping involved. "There's got to be something we can do," he says as he releases him. "Maybe the governor—"
"Whoa, slow down there, Buster," Danny says, shaking his head. "Jameson did the favor of interceding the first time because she wanted to keep us all on an even keel for her own nefarious purposes; keep you happy so you'd stay here."
Steve's face clouds at the mention of the woman.
"Governor Denning isn't her. Thank God, for the most part, but he isn't and I doubt he really cares whether I stay or go."
Steve's eyes flash, a fierce look taking up residence on his face. "Well, I care." And damn if there isn't just the tiniest hint of a pout that follows.
"I know," Danny says. "So do I." He smiles wryly. "That's why I'm trying to fight it, even if it puts all our dirty laundry out there for all the world to see. But I have to be realistic. If I couldn't win when I was surrounded by more than twenty close relatives who'd always be there to help me take care of my daughter in Jersey, why would I win when I have a more dangerous job than I've ever had before and no one to point to as backup?"
Now Steve just looks plain hurt and Danny's mind races to figure out why.
"You've got backup. You've got us all, me and Chin, Malia and Kono. You've got my mom now, too, and Kamekona."
Ah. Danny gets it now. "That's not what I meant. The majority of the people you just mentioned are in the same dangerous job as I am. One is a wife who got kidnapped and nearly killed, one is a former criminal who conceals a stash of frightening weapons on his property and the other one was just resurrected from the dead. So you can see how this doesn't look so good for me in front of a judge."
And Steve's stricken face is on in full force.
"Come on," Danny says, nudging Steve's arm with his elbow and starting out for the house. "Introduce me to the woman you swear held you as a child. I will ask her, and I will see if you've been telling me the truth about that."
It does the trick, makes Steve laugh as they enter the house, as he closes the door behind him. "They're out back," Steve tells him, leading Danny through the house to the kitchen, his excitement back in place.
Danny just wishes he knew for sure whether the fact that he feels like he's about puke is because this might be one of the last happy moments he gets to share with Steve, or because the happy moment isn't any more real than Rachel's supposed love for him turned out to be.
But he mans up, plasters a smile on his face, and follows Steve out to the two white wooden chairs down by the water, where he sees the backs of two women's heads. One he recognizes immediately as Mary Ann's short-cropped hair. The other has wavy hair the same color as Steve's, also cut short.
When she turns around and smiles the same exact smile that Steve has, Danny's stomach plummets right down to his toes. Because he knows without needing a DNA test that this woman is most definitely mother to the man by his side.
Yet all he can think, all his gut is telling him, is that Steve's world is about to explode around him…possibly blowing everyone he loves up right along with it.