Hey y'all! For those who are wondering, yes I'm still working on my other Five-0 story. I just stumbled across this little ditty and decided I was happy enough with it to post. I wrote this a while back, around when Five-0 first started when I'd just lost my first dog to old age. I'm an animal lover through and through!

Anyway, I think maybe the Five-0 boys need a silent presence to be there for them too! Never owned a rat but have owned a few hamsters and various other creatures… Love and loved them all!

Enjoy!

Oz


"Danny! Get in here, now!"

Danny Williams had heard his partners voice use several different tones but the one that had just screeched out at him was one he just couldn't put his finger on.

Regardless, Danny pulled himself away from the computer table, where he was trying to filter through some information, and headed back toward his office.

Oddly, Steve's bark for his partner's attention hadn't come from the former Navy SEAL's own office, which was much larger than anyone else's, but instead from Danny's own humble home away from home.

"You bellowed Steven?" Danny asked upon entering his office. However he frowned in confusion when he found his partner wide eyed and pointing at a small cage in the corner of the room.

Danny looked at the object that dared offend Steve's sensibilities. That morning, Grace had gone on a field trip and then was spending the night at a friends. However it had been her week to watch the class hamster. A fluffy Teddy bear hamster named "Pineapple."

So being the awesome father that Danny was he'd promised to take care of the fluff ball until Grace got back the next day.

"What is that?" Steve growled in a surprisingly venomous tone. Danny raised an eyebrow as he felt the need to step a bit closer to Pineapple.

"That is a hamster, Steven," Danny replied. "His name is Pineapple."

"Get. It. Out," Steve snarled. Now Danny had to raise an incredulous eyebrow. Never before had he seen his partner react so negatively and so harshly toward... well... anything really.

"Relax okay? Days almost over. Its Friday, we'll be out of your hair in-" Suddenly Steve moved so he was toe to toe with Danny. Amazingly and although Danny would never admit, a tiny bit frightening, Steve's eyes were filled with absolute seriousness and anger. The kind the man only reserved for interrogations.

"That thing dissapears in the next ten minutes or it goes out the window," he snarled. "Do I make myself clear?" To shocked to even think of responding, Danny gave a nod. Steve gave Pineapple on last look of pure hatred before practically sprinting from the office.

It took Danny several more minutes to realize what had just happened. Steve's eyes had been filled with anger but there'd also been something else...

Fear?

Danny didn't waste anytime. He showered Pineapple in some extra seed for the disturbing experience of having an angry SEAL snarl at him. After which he briskly made his way back over to his partner's office not bothering to knock before walking right in.

Honestly, Danny was struggling not to laugh as he found Steve hunkered over his desk, a perma-frown etched in his features.

"I get it," Danny smiled. Steve looked up, clearly unimpressed.

"S'it gone yet?" He grumbled.

"Not yet, I just had to revel in this moment a second longer," Danny grinned. Steve's jaw clenched and unclenched.

"What moment?" He asked.

"This," Danny waved a hand. "Mr. eat copper spit out bullets. Mr. pain is gods way of thanking me for a job well done. Mr. sh** disturbing bad ass kitten eating, dolphin punching, puppy kicking, Navy SEAL... is afraid of a little hamster!" Steve's right eye twitched. His fists clenched and unclenched in syncopation with his jaw.

"I'm not afraid of the disease ridden plague carrying rodent," he hissed. This time Danny did laugh.

"Sure of course not," he chuckled. "Don't worry tough guy, I've finished up my paperwork so I'll get the big scary monster away from you."

"Damn it Danny I'm not afraid!" Steve bellowed as he slammed his hands down on the desk in front of him. It was so sudden that Danny took a step back and raised his hands.

"Okay, okay," he conceded. "You're not afraid. You want to tell me what the problem is then?" Steve paced behind his desk as if he was trapped there.

"It's... classified," was the quiet reply. Danny nearly dropped dead right then and there.

"Your extreme hatred for innocent little Pineapple is... classified? Seriously?" Steve dropped back into his chair and held his head in his hands.

"It was a… mission," the man began softly. "We got trapped behind enemy lines. Nine days in a... an area that was infested with... with rats. Dozens of... they were everywhere. We had to stay awake or they'd take our food, sh** in out water supplies and even bite us when we weren't paying attention. Nine days. Nine days... of trying to stay alive AND fight off those relentless, starving beasts."

Suddenly Danny felt horrible for laughing at Steve's discomfort. He could only imagine how that kind of experience would damage a person. Seeing how much it clearly got to his partner, Danny was instantly serious.

"I'm sorry. Steve, I didn't know."

"No one does," Steve replied. "Not even the guys I was with." Danny hesitated before he spoke again but went ahead anyway. Something had yet to make sense about all this.

"We've come across rats before Steve," Danny said gently. "Warehouses... docks... why's the hamster so bad?"

"It's in my home Danny," Steve admitted. "I eat. I sleep. I practically live here... I can shut out the jungle... it's far, far away. I can't do that here. I can't stop the memories from coming back." Danny was amazed and slightly concerned at his partner's clear psychological issue.

"You need to talk to someone about this," Danny found himself saying. "No joke this time you really need to talk to someone about-"

"I'm talking to you Danny," Steve cut in with a bit of a snap. He quickly relaxed however and shook his head. "Just... get rid of it. Please."

So Danny backed down. He simply gave a nod and with respect to Steve's wishes, he quickly headed back to his office, collected Pineapple, gave the Hawaiian cousins a quick explanation and left the office.

Late that night Danny was still mulling over the days events. The more that he thought about it, the more it made sense. Steve flinched at rodents in warehouses, he'd glared at Grace's Mr. Hoppy and made sure to find an excuse to be somewhere else whenever dumpster diving was necessary for a case.

Considering how bad the fear appeared to be Steve was amazingly good at adapting. A knock on Danny's door brought him from his thoughts. Checking his watch and frowning when 1am stared back at him, the detective rose to his feet and headed to the door.

"Who is it?"

"It's me, Danny." Surprised to say the least, Danny opened his door only to find Steve, wide awake and clearly troubled.

"Hey buddy... what's up?" Danny queried.

"I'm here for Pineapple," was all Steve said. He pushed passed Danny farther into the apartment. For a terrifying moment Danny was worried he was going to have to explain to his daughter why poor Mr. Pineapple had been assassinated with extreme prejudice but then he just managed to grab the blood thirsty Navy man outside Grace's bedroom door.

"Whoa, WHOA!" Danny exclaimed. "You are not going to murder my daughter's class hamster! The hell's the matter with you!?" Curiously though Steve just rolled his eyes in tired annoyance and pushed Danny out of the way.

"M'not going to kill it Danny," he huffed. "I just want to hold it."

Yet again did the detective find himself stunned at the response he'd just received. All he could do was stand there, fish mouthed as Steve quietly entered the room and approached Pineapple who was working off all the extra seed in his little wheel.

As gentle as he'd ever been, Steve plucked Mr. Pineapple from his spinning wheel and brought the fluff ball to his forehead. The sight was so confusing, yet so endearing that Danny didn't dare intrude.

After a few minutes of this odd bonding, Steve held the curious little nocturnal creature and looked up at Danny with sorrow filled eyes.

Danny was at a loss.

"I thought you were afraid," he stated.

"Not afraid," Steve replied. "Guilty. I had to kill... I had to kill so many of them... unlike the humans hunting us the rats were just doing what they had to do to survive. And I condemned them for that. Condemned them for something that me and my men where doing exactly. Some of the guys... they were actually making a sport out of it but... damn it... animals are so innocent. Those rats were just as terrified as me and my guys were but they didn't have rifles and grenades to fight back. They were like us, hunted and persecuted because we were doing what we were supposed to do."

Suddenly it all made sense. Why Steve was so sensitive, why he'd covered his guilt with anger and fear.

"You didn't have a choice," Danny replied. Then without knowing what else to say and thinking of the happy Golden Labrador he'd lost in quarantine coming to Hawaii, Danny repeated, "You didn't have a choice." Steve snorted and shook his head before replacing Pineapple in his cage.

"It's so easy to go after the bad guys because they've done something to deserve me hunting them down," Steve breathed.

"But the rats were completely innocent," Danny sighed. Steve nodded as he watched a very content hamster start running in his wheel again.

The week had been a hard one. Danny knew it and so did the rest of the team. Two kidnappings and a having to avert a gang war had left the Five-0 team at wits end. All Steve had needed was a catalyst and unfortunately poor Pineapple was it.

And Danny knew it wasn't just about the rats or the hamster. It was about innocence lost needlessly. It was about men like Steve surviving while so many others died for no good reason.

There was little else Danny could say at the moment. Steve was a survivor and the fact that he was willing to share what he had, just proved how much the man knew how to adapt and overcome.

How to seek out a friend when he truly, desperately needed one. Danny learned on the foot frame and sighed.

"I've got a bottle of 60 year old Scotch, a six pack, cold pizza and the first season of Chips on DVD," he offered. When Steve's eyes lit up, Danny knew he'd said the magic words.

"Grace?" Steve asked.

"Won't be home 'til late afternoon tomorrow. Plenty of time to sleep it off," Danny replied. Steve hesitated for a second but then, at last, a smile crossed his features.

"Sounds good," he replied. The he let out a deep breath like he'd been holding it in all week.

They arranged themselves in the living room with food and drink and were halfway through the first episode when suddenly Steve said;

"You're a good man Danny."

"I like to think so," Danny had smirked in reply.

It wouldn't be until Sunday morning's paper that Danny would realize just how much their evening of DVD watching, hamster corralling and getting rip roaring drunk had meant to his partner. The headline read;

"Tragic Helicopter Crash in Middle East; nine dead eleven wounded all from special forces personnel."

SEALS. Some men Steve maybe even knew or not. Either way it seemed a close knit brotherhood and one death affected them all. The incident had happened midday Friday. Danny had had the urge right then and there to seek out his partner and ask if he was alright but he knew they'd already shared their necessary moment. A moment that Steve had needed and Danny was happy to provide. So for the rest of the weekend Danny decided to leave the man to his much loved solitude.

Monday morning was a different story. Danny had gotten in early so he could get into the office before anyone else. Steve was the last one in that day, looking more haggard than usual. Maybe his epic morning swim had taken him a little to far off shore this time. The man barely said hello before heading into his office.

Danny grinned as he waited for a reaction he knew was coming. In his head he silently counted down; 3... 2... 1...

"The hell?!" Barked out of Steve's office. Danny followed by the cousins headed to the office door and peeked inside.

There perched on Steve's desk was a cage. In it was a particularly happy and healthy looking rat chewing on some alfalfa.

"Why... is there a rat on your desk Steve?" Kono asked.

"Not "a" rat," Danny corrected. "Steve's rat and when he's not available Grace's teacher has told me her class is excited to baby-sit just like they do Pineapple." Steve looked from Danny to the rat and back again a small smile curling the tall man's lips.

"I can really keep him?" He asked. And suddenly the hardcore Navy SEAL sounded like an innocent little six year old. A six year old who could kill you six ways from Sunday, but an innocent kid none the less.

"All yours babe, figured you needed a friend at home to keep you out of trouble when I'm not around," Danny explained. He couldn't help but smile as Steve's whole face lit up. Reaching into the cage, Steve handled his new friend and placed it on his shoulder where the rat sat quite contentedly.

"So what are you going to call him?" Chin asked. Steve's eyes danced with excitement and hope and... god damn it, life.

"Ammo," he replied. "Because he's all the ammunition I need to remind me I'm still human. Thanks Danno... I mean that."

"You'd better," Danny smirked. "Because Ammo chewed through my cell phone wire and you now owe me a new one since said rat belongs to you." Chin and Kono started laughing while Steve turned to face his new friend and furrowed his brow while pointing at Danny.

"Kill Ammo, kill!" He instructed. The rat simply scampered to Steve's other shoulder while Danny burst out laughing. As hard as he laughed, Danny knew Steve would probably have the thing field stripping tiny handguns by days end and snapping necks by dawn.

After all pets need love and attention too, even if their owner was a deranged, grenade chucking Navy SEAL. As Danny left Steve to his new friend, he thought about how simplistically happy Steve had just looked.

The detective smiled to himself; maybe it was time to honor his dearly departed dog and get a new one to share his quiet moments with.


I do love reviews and loved to hear what you all thought about this short!

Thanks!

Oz