Danny barely manages to get the phone off the end table before it vibrates itself to the floor, and he checks the call ID before he answers (after all, Grace calls late at night, sometimes, it's their secret).
"This had better be important, McGarrett," he growls, because he saw what time it is, "or so help me--"
"I'm at headquarters," Steve says in the stage whisper he uses when he's infiltrating battleship museums, and Danny can feel adrenaline bringing him to full wakefulness. A high, thin sound is droning in the background through the phone's speaker. "I need you over here ASAP."
"What's going on?" Danny asks even though he's already halfway to dressed.
"Bring baby formula," Steve says, and hangs up.
"What the fuck?" Danny asks his empty apartment.
Danny arrives fully stocked, carrying a Walgreens bag loaded with formula, bottle, two sizes of diapers, wipes--not the first time around the block for Danny Williams, oh, no, it is not. It’s not surprising that Steve is in his office, perched on the very edge of the couch, his back parade-stiff while he tries what he probably assumes is a soothing croon but in reality matches the unhappy wailing coming from the bundle he's got in his arms.
"What'd you do now?" Danny asks, stopping to let the doorway help keep him upright.
Steve looks up fast, and his face lights up like Danny's a crate of explosives and cocoa puffs and a surfboard all gift-wrapped just for him. "Christ, I'm glad to see you." He gets up off the couch and shoves the blanket-bundle at Danny's chest in one smooth movement. "Here."
Danny lets the bag rest against his feet so he can get both arms around the bundle and get a good look at the kid making so much noise--he's not much to look at, all wrinkled and red-faced like an angry old man. "Where did you--" and Danny waggles his eyebrows significantly, "--get a baby at--” he checks the clock, “--two-thirty in the morning?"
Steve's got his hands on his hips, badge glinting on his belt, and if Danny didn't know any better, he'd say Steve looks almost...terrified. "I was leaving, I just got out to my truck and this girl came up to me, carrying this--" and he waves toward Danny, "--and she just gave it to me. She was saying 'safe, safe,' and she walked away."
"So, what, you think this is a safe haven thing?" Danny's already unconsciously started that little bounce-and-sway that always seemed to work with Grace, but the little guy's got a good head of steam and he's truly angry now, so Danny nudges the bag toward Steve with his foot. Fortunately Steve catches on quick. "You get her name, anything?"
"I tried, but I don't think she spoke much English," Steve tells him while he's setting supplies out on his pristine desktop. “I tried Mandarin, too, but she didn’t answer. I didn't recognize the dialect she spoke, sorry."
"And rather than calling, oh, I don't know, the hospital, you called me," Danny grumbles. The little guy is starting to hiccup and snuffle, obviously getting tired from his irritation, and Danny hands him back to Steve, who takes him like Danny's just handed him a bomb.
"Um," Steve says, and Danny has had just about all he can take.
"Do you want to get his bottle ready?" Danny half-shouts, and Steve shakes his head no quite emphatically, so Danny feels fully justified in rearranging Steve's arms and posture until he is holding the infant in at least a minimally comfortable position, all the while muttering about how he's seen Steve face dozens of armed gunmen but apparently give him a baby and he turns to useless--
"She's a girl," Steve mutters right back, interrupting what was the beginning of a very satisfying tirade.
"I had to--" and Steve shrugs up one shoulder, nods down, "rearrange. She wasn't wrapped real well."
Danny folds back the blanket to see a haphazardly-arranged (and already wet) t-shirt around the baby's middle. "Right," he sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose, "okay, what we need here is a division of labor. Two immediate needs, two adults, only one of whom appears even remotely comfortable with--" Steve looks very much like he's not sure if he wants to run or puke, so Danny finally takes some, very slight, pity on him and reaches for the baby. She's tiny, so little she fits along one forearm, and Danny tucks her up high against his chest under his chin. "I'm just gonna assume you're gonna need orders, here, so: First, get your stupid teakettle going. If you can find a way to sterilize that baby bottle," and Danny points to a package on the desk, "do it. I will clean and properly diaper this child and then I will complete the necessary bottle preparations so that you--" he pokes into Steve's shoulder perhaps a little harder than necessary, "can call child services and arrange for someone to retrieve this bundle of joy."
If only he had both hands free to use his cell's camera; Kono in particular would love to see the expression on Steve's face. With a mental apology to the fine leather of Steve's couch, Danny gets the baby unwrapped and cleaned up in fairly short order, although he's got to fight off a wave of nostalgia when he pulls the teensy little newborn diaper out of the package. God, that Grace was ever...
"She's really small," Steve says, just over Danny's shoulder.
"Newborns tend to be," Danny agrees, but then he can't help himself adding, "although if you had to push one of these out your nethers, you'd want it small, too."
Huh. Navy SEALs do turn greenish, after all.
She eats like a champion, at least through the first half of the bottle, and Danny falls into his old pattern of mumbling encouragement. He can already feel himself going soft, like Pavlovian conditioning is kicking in and he's falling in love with his girl all over again.
Fortunately the blanket she'd come in wasn't wet, and Danny's got her swaddled up tight, so she's starting to nod off, milk-drunk, when Steve comes back into the office.
"So Straub and Queens are both swamped, big pileup from the fog on the freeway, and Kapi'olani can't send anybody til seven," Steve announces with his arms crossed as if he's going to ward off sneak infant attacks. "They said we could bring her in any time, but--"
"But we do not have federally-approved transportation equipment," Danny finishes. He sets the bottle on the floor next to the chair and sits the baby up so he can soundly tap her back until she lets out an impressive little belch. He catches the milk that comes with it using a shirt he'd fished out of Steve's desk drawer.
"Is that my shirt?" Steve asks.
Danny doesn't even look up. "For the cause, my friend, for the cause." He sits back and snuggles the nearly-asleep baby up against his chest before he slowly levers himself out of the chair. His back and his knee have both gone stiff; he figures he'll walk it out a bit. "You look like shit, McGarrett. Tell you what, I'll take over, as I have been doing since I walked in, and you go home and get some sleep. The EMTs will arrive and I will ensure this little lady is settled where she belongs. Then I will go home to sleep and you can go catch bad guys without me tomorrow. Today. Whatever."
Steve continues to stand in the middle of the office, looking exhausted and obstinate. The baby gives a happy little sigh, and Danny pats her back.
"You're good at that," Steve says quietly, almost admiring, before he coughs self-consciously. "Like, a natural."
"The first time they gave me Gracie she was about this big, and she was utterly furious," Danny half-whispers and stops to stand just in front of Steve. "She had the Williams lungs, and I was absolutely certain I was going to gravely injure her if I breathed on her wrong. We couldn't believe they let us leave the hospital with her."
"I've never," Steve says, watching the baby, "I've never held one so little. I was sure I was going to break something."
"Nah, they're actually pretty resilient," Danny tells him, and he's tempted to give the baby to him--you don't get good at something unless you practice, after all--except he looks pretty beat. "Steve. Go home, I got this."
Steve nods a couple times before rousing himself enough to actually leave.
Ten minutes later, Danny’s on his second circuit of the office, the baby sleeping warm and solid against his chest, when Steve appears in the doorway. “Fucking Christ!” Danny somehow manages to keep his voice under a shout, and the baby doesn’t stir.
Steve doesn’t look at all sorry. “They’re gonna need a report,” he says. “I’m the one who--”
“What am I, here, hired help?”
Steve heads for his desk and computer. “I can’t just...leave,” he admits, and he’s definitely not looking at Danny, and--
“Oh, for the love of--are your daddy issues?” Danny asks, incredulous, “Is that what this is? Newsflash for you, you are not this child’s father. You are the law enforcement officer who is providing a safe haven, a temporary safe haven, until such time as said child can be--no, look, what are you doing?” Danny’s standing behind Steve’s chair, and he has absolutely no idea how Steve can track people through deep jungle and yet be so completely clueless about navigating the HPD database, “No, McGarrett, seriously, I’m beginning to suspect that you think if you’re bad enough at this you won’t be allowed to do paperwork anymore, and that is not how it works.”
Danny leans back a little, keeping the baby leaning against him in the crook of one elbow so he can free up his other hand to hit Steve upside the head. Steve glares at him, but it’s only a little one, so Danny points at the screen. “Here, the alphabetical list, or even the search box, try ‘safe haven’ or ‘surrendered child’ or something. I realize that there are some--”
“Thank you, I got it, are you done?” Steve asks pissily.
Danny gives him a toothy smile. “The mouse is how you control the little arrow that lets you interact with elements on the sc--”
“Fuck. You.” Steve turns resolutely to the computer, but his face holds a hint of a smile, so Danny spans his hand over the baby’s back and returns to his pacing.
Danny’s not sure what’s more soothing, Steve’s intermittent computer-key clicking or matching his steps to the baby’s breathing. Well, actually, the baby is far more soothing, and she makes the key-clicking almost tolerable.
Eventually the clicking stops and Steve says, “I could probably find her. The mom.”
Danny turns to find Steve watching him closely. He nods, because, “Yeah, you probably could. Hell, you could probably track her home if you left now, follow her footsteps through the dew and her scent on the breeze.” He doesn’t stop moving, but he lets his pacing bring him around in front of the desk. “But you have to consider a couple things, here. Not only would you be breaking the law--which doesn’t really faze you, I can be honest about that--not only would you be breaking the law, but you need to consider what you’d be doing to that woman, coming back to her like that.”
“She gave up her child, Danny,” Steve says, voice broken like he’s not sure how to even process it, “Just handed her to me, just like that.”
“You honestly think it was ‘just like that’? You look at me, you look at her,” Danny rubs up and down the baby’s back, “and you’re trying to tell me, with a straight face, that her mom handed her over easy?”
Steve swallows, hard, and asks, “Would y--”
“If I thought I couldn’t take care of her? If I couldn’t keep her safe, give her what she needed?” Danny’s guts twist with the thought of it, with the idea of giving up Grace before he’d even gotten to know her, but he has to be honest, “Yeah. I can tell you, it wouldn’t be easy. Her mom--we won’t ever know, okay? We aren’t supposed to know, but we have to trust, and she will have to trust that her mom did what she did for good reason.”
Steve nods, then, looking a little like he might understand, and he turns back to the screen. “It’s just,” he rumbles, “she didn’t tell me her name.”
Danny comes around behind the desk to see that Steve’s got most of the report filled out, but the ‘Child Name’ box is empty. “Her adoptive parents will probably change her name anyway,” he points out. “But you could always give her one. A little something to remember you by.”
“Or you could?” Steve asks, but before Danny can answer, the baby lets loose the long, gurgling-fart noise that signals the filling of the diaper. Steve leans away quickly and says, “Uh, Danno, I think that one’s for you.”
Danny’d lean closer to let Steve get a good whiff--he’s not above such tactics--except the baby’s clearly too young for true biological warfare, so he settles for flicking at Steve’s ear instead. Steve types, then pauses, types and pauses, types and pauses again while Danny gets out the gear and starts cleanup duty.
Two more minutes of click-pause-click cycles drive Danny to the brink. “For fuck’s sake, McGarrett, pick one.”
Steve glares at him and hits the keyboard with far more force than is necessary, and the printer starts to whirr. “A name is a big deal, Daniel.”
“Yes, Steven, I am well aware,” Danny snips as he pulls himself back to standing and twists to stretch out his back. The baby’s content to lie on the couch, looking up at the slow shadows thrown by the ceiling fan. “Rachel had lists. First names, middle names, family names, names to be avoided at all costs. Boy names and girl names.”
Steve’s half-sitting on his desk, his arms crossed in an attempt to look casual and not exhausted. “What, you didn’t find out?”
Danny rolls his eyes. “No, we didn’t, we didn’t want to know, some things in life should remain surprises, like, good surprises --what’s wrong with good surprises? --and I cannot begin to tell you the shit we got for that. My mother, God love her, my own mother spent four months guilt-tripping me because she felt, I don’t know, forced into buying gender-neutral baby gifts.”
Steve crosses the office while Danny’s talking and settles himself carefully on the end of the couch not currently occupied. “So how did you decide?” he asks. “From your list.”
Danny throws his hands wide, the joy of that first meeting bubbling afresh in his chest. “We didn’t. ‘Grace’ wasn’t even on the list, but we knew the minute we met her that was her name.”
Steve looks down at the baby, who’s looking quietly back up at him, and he gently grabs hold of one tiny foot between his thumb and two fingers. “Huh,” is all he says.
“So, what’d you pick?”
He doesn’t even look up. “Naomi,” he answers. “It was, ah--” and he huffs out a big breath, “--it was my grandmother’s name. On my mom’s side.”
By the time Danny returns to the office with a freshly-prepped bottle, Steve has nodded off, chin to chest, and his hand is splayed over Naomi’s belly, gently anchoring her in place. Naomi seems plenty happy, cooing softly and holding tightly to Steve’s pinky finger with one tiny fist.
Danny sets the bottle gently on the desk and takes his time digging out his cell phone and lining up the picture. He takes three or four shots before putting the phone back in his pocket and clicking off the desk lamp, leaving just the display case to light the room.
Steve’s head snaps up and he inhales sharply, but he relaxes almost as fast when he sees Danny. “Ah, hey,” he says softly, his eyes already slipping back to half-mast. “You wan’ me--”
“Nah,” Danny answers. He can feel his own exhaustion, the early morning hours crowding the edges of his awareness, and he has an idea. “Just, wait here.” Like the man’s honestly going anywhere.
He returns with a pillow--he doesn’t even want to know why Kono keeps one stashed in her file cabinet--and Steve perks up a little when he sees it. “Oh, hey, Danno, tha’s jus’ what I needed,” Steve slurs with a goofy half-smile. Naomi grunts, snorting like she’s getting ready to get angry again.
“Whatever, it’s not for you,” Danny grumbles. He scoops up Naomi and deposits himself in the corner of the couch, resting the pillow across his lap. He props his elbow on the couch, Naomi comfortable on the pillow, and he tips the bottle for her before she can work up to crying. Danny glances over at Steve and explains, quiet in the almost-dark, “See, if Naomi and me both get drowsy before she’s done, all I gotta do is move the bottle and we can both just kinda--” He sort of waves with his free elbow.
Steve nods once, slow like molasses, and says, “And you won’ drop her. Nice.” He yawns, stifling his normal tendency toward yeti-like vocalization (for which Danny is thankful), and suddenly he tips over sideways. Steve’s head lands on the part of the pillow that Naomi’s not occupying, half across Danny’s thigh.
“Dude,” Danny says, “what--”
Steve twists around to squint up at him. “‘m glad I called you, you know?”
“Any time,” Danny answers, and Steve turns back, snuffling once and burrowing his hands up against Danny’s hip before he relaxes entirely and is out cold.
“What am I gonna do with him?” Danny murmurs to Naomi, who’s nursing enthusiastically at her bottle and watching him intently. It’s the easiest thing in the world to smile down at her, precious and safe.
“Yeah, ‘s what I figure,” Danny mumbles. He’s got about an hour before Steve’s heavy head cuts off all sensation in his leg, and three hours before Chin arrives, and he says, “Yeah, I’m glad he called me, too.”