“I want you to be aware that this is entirely your fault,” muttered Danny, covering his eyes with one hand and using the other to point accusingly at Steve. “Because this? Is your fault. It is so completely your fault that I just— I can’t even process this, Steven, how do you live? Please, tell me, because I literally do not know how you survive more than a day of this— this— of being yourself!”
From where he was sprawled in the driver’s seat of the rental car, steering one-handed like some kind of twenty-something gangster wannabe rather than a thirty-four-year-old grownup with a healthy understanding of the many and varied dangers of inattentive driving, Steve glanced sideways at Danny.
“Are you done?” he asked, so politely that Danny’s mother would have cried with joy to hear her son (any of her children) employ the same tone.
“No,” snapped Danny. “No, I am not done. There are many things I could choose to be, at this moment, but done is not one of them.”
“Okay,” Steve said easily, and put his eyes back on the road where they belonged in the first place.
Danny put his other hand over his eyes, too. “You have the world’s most annoying talent, of waltzing in and flipping my entire life on its head with one deadly ninja karate chop of SEAL-trained doom, like normal law-abiding, civilized people order pizza. The kind without the damn fruit on it!”
“Bad word,” said a drowsy voice from the backseat.
“I’ll buy you a candy bar at the next rest area,” said Danny, impatiently. “Or gas station or whatever.”
“You know,” Steve ventured, “places other than Hawai’i offer pineapple on pizza. Lots of places. It’s—”
“Sacrilege,” interrupted Danny.
Steve sucked in a sharp breath. When Danny peeked between his fingers, he had the satisfaction of seeing that Steve had his jaw clenched tight and goosebumps had broken out all down his arms.
“I,” said Danny, “am not done.”
Steve didn’t say anything, but his fingers went white-knuckled on the wheel, and Danny thought he could feel a low whine of complaint starting to form in Steve’s throat.
“It’s like you’re magic, or something. And not in the good way,” Danny went on. “Evil, destructive, ‘explosives are my middle name, yes, please trust me with this ridiculous and huge amount of C4’ magic, world-ending magic. Do you hear me, McGarrett? World-ending!”
“I didn’t end the world,” muttered Steve. “I’ve never ended the world.”
“No, you just got your stupid, reckless ass—”
“Bad word,” said Grace.
“— bitten by a freaking werewolf. A creature which, must I remind you, is a myth, a legend, and therefore not real. But you got bitten by one anyway!”
Steve gave the highway a momentarily sheepish look. “It’s not as if I knew what it was. Or let it bite me — I shot it, remember, Danny?”
“Please,” Danny begged, ignoring Steve’s half-hearted and frankly pointless excuses. “Please, just once, couldn’t you have at least pretended to let reality affect you the same way that it does everyone else?”
“I am not done!” said Danny stridently.
Steve sighed in an infuriatingly long-suffering way, but he shut up.
“Now,” went on Danny, dropping his hands from his face so he could gesture broadly. “Not only did you get bitten by this supernatural impossibility — because that’s the kind of thing you do, like you violate police procedure a dozen times daily and never get in trouble — but somehow, when you did, it was my life you fucking ruined!”
Grace gasped. “Bad word!”
Danny groaned. “Right, monkey. Candy, I promise. Just, please, go back to sleep.”
There was a noise from the backseat that might have indicated agreement, or possibly that she thought all adults were foul-mouthed morons.
Danny crossed his arms and turned steely eyes back to his partner. “And now — now, as if that weren’t enough! — while we are supposed to be taking, and I quote, ‘extended medical leave to familiarize ourselves with our new physiology and abilities, and acclimatize to our changes in worldview’, we are instead taking a damn—”
“Bad word, Danno.”
“— road trip across the entire fu—freaking continental US of A for no damn—”
“— reason that I have thus far been able to work out, and believe me when I say that I have sure as shit—”
“Daddy,” Grace warned, “you’re gonna owe me lots of candy.”
“— tried to work it out!” Danny paused, but not the kind of pause that would indicate he was winding down. No, this was the kind of pause that allowed his audience to absorb his point before he brought out the real kicker.
Steve waited, annoyingly patient.
“But not only that, you for some unknown reason have brought my daughter,” Danny jerked a thumb toward the backseat as if Steve might have somehow forgotten that Grace was present, or the identity of their backseat passenger, “along on this crazy, insane, pointless road trip from the ninth circle of Hell!”
“Lots and lots of candy,” Grace concluded, almost happily.
Danny glared at Steve. This was all his fault, anyway. The whole damn thing was Steve’s fault. All of it.
Steve gave him another sideways glance. “You done now, Danno?”
Danny considered it. “Yes,” he eventually allowed, “for now, I am done.”
“Right.” Steve lifted the hand he’d had draped over his leg (at least it wasn’t the one and only hand he had on the wheel) and held up one finger. “Okay, first, this trip is educational.”
“Hah,” scoffed Danny, scowling.
“It is,” Steve said firmly. “Do you know how many historic sites there are in the lower forty-eight, even only counting those with werewolf friendly amounts of space?”
“More than my daughter will ever have room for souvenirs from.”
As if Danny hadn’t spoken, Steve held up a second finger. “Furthermore, it is completely not my fault that your life is, as you put it, ruined.”
“No.” Steve dropped his hand back to his leg. “You were the one who decided it would be a good idea to jump on the wolf.”
“I didn’t even tell you to. I know I didn’t tell you to, because at the precise moment you chose to leap so bravely on that poor animal, I was the wolf in question.”
Danny threw up his hands. “Exactly!”
Steve took an exit ramp, pulling to a stop at the light at the end, and turned to face Danny fully. “Let me get this right. You’re saying that you tried to tackle a wolf because you knew it was me?”
“Of course I didn’t know it was you,” snapped Danny. “How would I have known that? I’m not psychic, you know.”
“Then how does that make it my—”
“If the wolf hadn’t been you, and thus a werewolf, then I—”
“Would probably be dead,” said Steve.
Danny glared. “Would not be a werewolf myself.”
Steve blinked. “So now you’re blaming me because you got turned?”
“You bit me!” yelled Danny.
“Green,” said Grace.
Steve turned back around and hit the gas before he spoke again. “I didn’t bite you, Danny. I have excellent self-control.”
“You were a newly-turned werewolf—” started Danny, flatly.
“You were delirious with pain,” Steve countered.
“— and now I am a newly-turned werewolf, who has not been in contact with anything else remotely resembling a wolf, or a dog, or even any vaguely canine-type animal,” Danny expounded, waving his hands as he built up steam. “It’s only logical to conclude that—”
“You had a freely bleeding gunshot wound to the torso,” Steve bit out through clearly gritted teeth, looking straight ahead. “I was worried, and a wolf, so I… tried to clean it.”
“Yes, with my tongue, all right?” said Steve. “It seemed like the thing to do.”
Danny kept staring for another minute, then groaned and covered his face again. “Great. This is just… great.”
“Danno?” said Steve, sounding confused. “Are you seriously that disappointed that I didn’t try to eat you?”
Danny kept his face covered. “It is impossible to stay mad at a person whose reaction to being transformed into a mythical human-hunting beast was to try and help me. It’s impossible.”
There was silence for a minute.
“You missed the turn, Mr Steve,” Grace eventually pointed out quietly.
“Thanks,” muttered Steve, and Danny felt the car turn around. Then, “Is not being mad at me really such a bad thing?”
“If I’m not mad at you,” Danny admitted without looking, “then I have nothing to distract myself from how my new inner wolfy self apparently doesn’t want to do anything but roll over and show you belly.”
The car swerved.
Steve righted it with a sharp jerk and a loud “Shit!”
“Bad word, Steve!” shrieked Grace.
Danny ground his teeth. “Do not get my daughter killed because your stupid alpha ass—”
“— is too busy drooling to drive!” he growled.
“Sorry, sorry,” said Steve quickly, mostly toward the backseat and thus Grace. He took a deep breath, then hissed at Danny, “If you don’t want me to crash, stop talking about rolling over!”
“All,” he said under his breath, “your fault.”