Danny was only a bit flustered and out of breath as he trotted briskly up the stairs of the Iolani Palace, carrying a happily gurgling Grace in one arm, and juggling his laptop bag, a stuffed lamb and an overloaded diaper bag in the other. It was his first day on the job at the Governor’s’ Special Cases and Paranormal squad and he was already running late.
That put him in an increasingly anxious and cranky mood, because he took pride in his work and professionalism was important to him, especially after weeks spent in HPD as the resident outsider, or haole, as his new colleagues referred to him, both behind his back and to his face.
The fact that Grace had kept him up walking the floor most of the night with an upset tummy—her new formula was not sitting well on her delicate stomach—had not helped. It had taken a cold shower and two cups of black coffee before Danny was able to face the bright Hawaiian day and even marginally resemble a civilized human being. Grace, on the other hand, was fresh as a daisy after a two hour nap.
He honestly wanted to make a good impression on his new boss and teammates despite the fact that McGarrett had practically strong-armed him onto the squad. As a single, widowed father with an infant daughter, he had been delighted to learn that the city had a free daycare center at the palace and that Grace was now qualified to attend. As he approached the heavy glass doors of the entrance, his shoulder was bumped and he was thrown off balance by two exiting police officers, who barely seemed to notice him, as they hurried down the stairs towards the parking lot. Danny swore under his breath as his bad knee twinged, and he dropped Grace’s lamb, staggered backwards on the rain slick stairs and nearly lost his balance. He was saved by a strong arm that slid firmly around his waist, and startled by a familiar, deep voice in his ear.
“Morning Danno! Good morning, Gracie!”
McGarrett grinned down at him, then beamed at Grace and waved her rescued sheep under her nose. The baby stared at him, brown eyes wide, obviously fascinated by the goofy grin he was giving her, before matching it with a toothless one of her own and beamed right back at him. Danny was suddenly aware that Steve still had his arm around Danny’s waist and was guiding them both into the elevator.
“I have to drop Grace at the daycare downstairs.”
He protested, only to get blasted with another megawatt sunny smile and an equally warm surge of affection from his new boss and team leader.
“Not until we introduce her to the team, Danno!”
“Why do you keep calling me Danno?”
Danny snapped, more then a bit irritated at the implied familiarity.
Steve’s smile widened even more and he tickled Grace under the chin, chuckling at the drooling smile and giggle that produced.
“Because that’s what she calls you.” He replied smugly.
“She doesn’t talk yet!” Danny sputtered.
Great, now the ginormous goof was reading his baby’s mind as well! Smart ass! He scowled and deliberately beamed that thought at McGarret’s goofy head. This earned him another sunny smile and a remonstrative tsk.
“Language, Danno!” McGarrett was dangling Lambert over Grace’s head now, making him dance and baa, and her chortle with glee.
“Language! What do you mean, language? Grace isn’t telepathic! Is she? Is she?” Danny stared in horror at his precious baby girl, then caught McGarrett’s smirk out of the corner of his eye.
“McGarrett, stop fu…um, stop messing with my head!” Danny fumed, wishing that he had a hand free so that he could at least swat the man upside his big, fat, annoying telepathic head. Steve of course, read his mind and danced back, easily dodged the half-hearted swing of the diaper bag, still grinning goofily, extremely pleased with himself.
Thus, Danny found himself manhandled into and out of the elevator up a floor and escorted into the impressive 5-0 offices where he was introduced to the team—Kono Kalakaua, Chin Ho Kelly, Lori Weston, Jenna Kaye, Charlie Fong and Max Bergman. After the whirlwind of introductions and Gracie being quickly confiscated by a cooing Kono and Jenna, Steve gave him a personal tour of the bullpen and offices and then ushered Danny into a spacious glass walled office with a warm palm on the small of Danny’s back and a casual wave around.
“This one is yours, Danny.”
Danny blinked in surprise, still clutching his battered laptop bag and Gracie’s diaper bag. He had expected a shared desk in the corner of the bullpen at best, not prime real estate right across from McGarrett’s own office. He stared around at the wide desk, the comfortable chair, the top of the line computer, jaw agape. Hell, he even had a window with a view and a sleek leather couch.
Steve was frowning around, Lambert still in one big hand, he raised the other and scratched his nose.
“I’ll see about getting a crib and playpen set up for Gracie. Sometimes our office hours run a bit over regular hours and you’ll want her close after the daycare closes for the day. Also, Kono’s aunties and nieces are excellent babysitters. I’ll have her email you their numbers.” He turned back to Danny and his eyes softened at the confused look on his new partner’s face.
“Welcome to Five-0 Danny. We’re really glad to have you here. When you get settled come on out and I’ll show you where the daycare is.” He said gently and handed the blond Grace’s lamb, gave him a friendly pat on the back, hand lingering as long as he dared, before he turned and headed back into the bullpen, his anger carefully masked.
Steve had known vaguely from cop shop gossip that Danny had been treated as an outsider from the beginning, but he hadn’t realized how lonely or isolated he had been until now, when he had picked up on the man’s stunned surprise and vulnerability at the team’s warm welcome. It pissed McGarrett off that a man of Danny’s warmth and intelligence had been treated so badly by people Steve considered his own simply because he was from the mainland.
He strode into the bullpen with a frown in full Commander mode, mind racing as he decided exactly how he and the team would work to insure that his new partner was happy and comfortable. Danny had no clue to just how essential he was to Steve. From the moment he had looked into those keen blue eyes Steve had known he had finally found his focus.
Being a powerful telepath had more pain then perks. It took years for Steve to learn to successfully block the thoughts of those around him. It became infinitely worse if he touched someone—his wall could crumble in seconds—and being on constant guard was exhausting. He dealt with discrimination every day from those who thought he would pounce on the opportunity to read their minds. In truth, Steve would rather wallow in pig shit first, because that was exactly how nasty some people’s undisciplined minds were. He remembered his father’s gentle advice after he had found the twelve year old curled up in the back seat of the Marquis, face wet with tears and humiliation after an attempt to play touch football with his friends.
Someday you’ll find your focus son, then you can be all you can be. You’ll have your shield to block all the crap they throw at you and they can’t touch you and you will reach your highest potential and blow them out of the water.
Steve had made it through the Naval Academy and SEAL training by sheer force of will, convinced he would never find his focus---of even who or what it could be if it even existed. It was only with a rigid regime of meditation, physical training and the help of several kahuna crafted protection amulets that had enabled him to rise in the ranks. Now in his thirties, he was resigned to the realization that he probably would never find it. Until the day in his father’s garage he had locked gazes with a pair of the bluest eyes he had ever seen.
Danny William’s sheer force of presence had covered Steve like warm sunlight on a frigid winter day, like a protective layer of golden oil on a puddle. It was like a bright crystal force field covering every inch of Steve’s skin and humming with energy, blanketing him and effectively cutting off the often crushing outside interference of other people’s thoughts. If Steve was a magnet, Danny Williams was true north. Quite simply, they were on the same wavelength. Danny’s thoughts were like slipping into a cool stream—they simply meshed with his the way a rain soaked into parched earth. When Danny was close, Steve’s pain vanished and he was there. No one could distract him—no stray thoughts bombarded him, no one’s mental neuroses scratched across his nerves and muddied his mind. He was in complete control and alone in his head except for his awareness of Danny.
That was why he had been so desperate to get Danny on his team. They would be great together—if he could convince the blond of that. Steve had immediately used every resource he had, both normal and paranormal to find out everything he could about the man. He had discovered that Danny had moved to the islands from Newark after the sudden death of his wife Rachel, shortly after the birth of baby Grace. He had been a decorated detective on the NPD, with 87 solved cases under his belt. He had lived with his brother Matthew until the man had vanished into thin air with a cache of laundered money and the FBI hot on his heels. Danny had known nothing of his brother’s illegal transactions too busy dealing with the sudden loss of his wife, a sick baby and struggling to make a place for himself at the HPD.
Steve glanced back into Danny’s office, where the smaller man was hesitantly unpacking his laptop case, still gazing around with a stunned expression on his mobile face, and felt a fond smile stretch his own. He would take his new partner out for a beer later and break the news to him that he was now working with a Hawaiian priestess, a ghost, a werecat, a witch, a finder and a necromancer as well as a telepath. In the meantime it was time to confiscate Gracie from Jenna and get to know her better, because he was planning on spending a lot of time with that little lady (and her father) in the future.