Danny shivered and pulled the collar of his new down winter coat tighter around neck. After more than a year in Hawaii he'd forgotten what winter was like. Hawaii didn’t have seasons, all its days were either warm, hot, or rainy. So despite knowing intellectually that it was winter in the rest of the country, his system got quite a shock when he and Grace landed in New Jersey and were greeted by sub-zero temperatures and two feet of snow. He’d wanted to like it, because it was his beloved New Jersey, but he hated the bitter cold.
Grace on the other hand, had been thrilled to see the snow and had spent a large part of the week playing in it, which had finally driven Danny to buy himself a warmer coat. If he was going to spend his vacation sledding, making snowmen, and watching Grace create an entire host of snow angels then he was going to do it warmly, or as close as he could get.
"Danno!" Grace yelled from the top of the hill, where she stood holding her sled. "Watch me!"
"I'm watching, Monkey!" He called back up the hill. He kept his eyes glued to her as she slid down the hill and plowed into the mound of snow they had piled up to keep her from crashing into his mother's back porch.
Danny cheered and applauded as Grace stood up giggling. She dipped into a curtsy that would have made her mother proud then turned and began to lug the sled back up the hill for another run.
Danny blew hot air into his cupped hands wishing that he had gotten warm leather gloves instead of the thin, knit ones that had been in the clearance bin at the store where he’d gotten the coat. He really did hate the cold enough that he was actually missing Hawaii. Of course, if he was honest, it wasn’t only the weather that he missed. As much as he hated to admit it, a lot of things about New Jersey weren't as great as he remembered them. The traffic was worse than Honolulu, the people were ruder, and he actually missed the sound of the ocean. When he'd first moved to Hawaii he couldn't stand the incessant rush of waves, now he found it nearly impossible to relax without it.
And of course he missed the people. He loved the chance to visit his family, it was great seeing his mother and his sisters but Matt’s absence was putting a damper on the whole holiday. And on top of that he missed Chin and Kono who’d become like family to him as well. Chin was like the older, wiser brother he'd always wished he had and Kono was the little sister he'd never known he'd wanted. And then there was Steve. Danny tried not to think about it much but he missed Steve most of all. He had the feeling that the dullness that seemed to be surrounding him in New Jersey wouldn't be dull if Steve were here. Nothing was dull with Steve, most likely because for one reason or another his adrenaline was always on overdrive around the insufferable man.
"She still at it?" His mother asked, coming out onto the porch and standing beside him.
"Yeah, she never gets tired." He said fondly as he waved at Grace before she began another descent.
“She takes after her father.” His mother said with a smile. “You were quite a handful as a child.”
Danny laughed. “Grace is an angel. She’s never any trouble.”
“Of course she’s not. She’s precious. I hate that that woman doesn’t let you see her more.” His mother said, retreading familiar territory. “It should be a crime taking her all the way across the country from her family. It’s just not civilized the two of you on that god-forsaken tourist trap of an island.”
Danny sighed. “Hawaii isn’t that bad, ma.”
“Isn’t that bad?” His mom asked incredulously. “Daniel, for the last year and a half all I’ve heard from you is how much you hate it, about how you live in a dump and work for a madman.”
“I may have exaggerated a bit.” Danny said a bit offended. It was one thing for him to bitch about Hawaii or to call Steve a madman but his mom had never even visited. What right did she have to insult his home and his...Steve. Wait did he just think of Hawaii as home? Danny felt like he’d been hit by a ton of bricks. When had Hawaii become home? Danny made an effort to clear his face when he realized that his mom was looking at him a bit too sharply.
“Okay then, sweetie.” His mom said patting his arm. “I’ll have to come visit you this spring. Now, get Grace. It’s getting dark and dinner is almost ready.”
Danny blinked. He wasn’t sure what had just happened but he had long ago learned that with his mother you just went with it.
Later that night, Danny was jolted awake by the ringing of his cell phone. He groaned and stuck his arm out of the cocoon of warm blankets to retrieve the phone. He looked at the caller ID and couldn’t suppress a groan when he saw that it was Chin.
“Don’t you know I’m on vacation?” Danny asked, as he answered the phone. “In New Jersey? Where it’s three in the morning?”
“Danny,” Chin said his voice calm, too calm. “Steve’s missing.”
Danny shot up into a sitting position. “What do you mean missing?”
“No one has seen or heard from him since lunch yesterday.” Chin said his voice tired. “He was supposed to have a meeting with the Governor this afternoon but he never showed.”
“You know how he’s been lately, maybe he just forgot?” Danny knew he was grasping at straws. Steve had let a lot of things slide lately but not the Five-0. He wouldn’t have flaked like that. “Why didn’t you call sooner?”
“We were hoping he’d turn up.” Chin said with a sigh. “Kono even thought maybe he’d gone to see you.”
“Well he didn’t.” Danny said more bitter than he’d intended. He shook his head, now wasn’t the time for that. “What do we know so far?”
“His house is intact with no sign of a break-in.” Chin said. “We checked his credit cards and there hasn’t been any activity. Neither Catherine nor Mary have heard from him. Your car is missing though.”
“My car? Why does he always have to drive my car?” Danny asked as he got out of bed and began throwing clothes into his suitcase. “Anything else?”
“Not much.” Chin replied. “We know where he isn’t.”
“Okay.” Danny said. “I’m on my way to the airport now. I’ll call you when I land.”
Danny hung up the phone and began dressing. He was trying his best to squelch the icy tendrils of fear that were trying to take root. After all, Steve would be fine. Steve was always fine. He was a Navy Seal who could more than handle himself in a tough situation. And besides, it was probably all just a misunderstanding anyway. But no matter how hard he tried to comfort himself, his heart wouldn’t listen. All his heart knew was that the man he loved had been missing for more than twenty-four hours and he was half a world away.