Danny is pissed off.
But we’ll start with the good.
Adam was the one to save Kono. Apparently Frank Delano’s little friend hadn’t noticed the cell phone in Kono’s hand. That or he hadn’t quite realized just who the man she’s dating is. Because there are very few people in the world with the resources and the balls to mess with Adam Noshimuri.
But right now, the man is in Danny’s good books, because he’s pretty sure that there are only two people in the world that may have been able to save Kono at that point, and the other is on his way back from Japan.
As for Malia, nothing serious. ‘Worse than it looked’ the doctors had said. Danny’s been in to see her once, but she’s reached the point of telling everyone but Chin to politely fuck right off with the promise of a party at their place when everybody is healthy and back where they should be.
And then there’s Grace.
And this marks the beginning of the bad, because Stan and Rachel refuse to back down over the custody agreement, and Danny had been genuinely hoping that it wouldn’t get to this point, that he wouldn’t have to pay a lawyer to dig up every bit of dirt on Rachel and her husband, but rarely does Danny Williams get his way when it comes to matters of the heart. Doesn’t mean he’s given up; might not even mean he’s fighting a losing battle. Danny will wait until Steve is back to decide how he’s rating his odds on this one.
And this, well this marks the beginning of…Danny doesn’t even know what. The good, the bad? Danny’s going to settle on the okay for the moment, because Steve’s being even more elusive than usual for the time being, evading calls and the like.
And then there’s the text he’s just received.
Just landed at HI, pick me up?
And that…fuck. Danny doesn’t even know how to express what he’s feeling right now into words. Anger? Annoyance? Relief? Love? All of the above.
Danny shakes his head to the miserably empty excuse for an apartment and grabs his keys. With Chin refusing to leave Malia’s bedside, Kono still recovering in the bed next door, and the leader of Five-0 having disappeared with the increasingly suspicious Joe White, the task force has been temporarily shut down. And who can blame the governor, hey? It’s not like they deal in petty crimes, oh no, they pick the good stuff. The cases that require their team to get shot several times, the cases that require their team to ‘borrow’ several million dollars, and the cases that too-frequently result in one or more of their members or significant others in hospital or kidnapped.
Danny keeps to the speed limit, smirking a little bit as he imagines the reaction this kind of driving would pull from Steve were he in the car. Honolulu International isn’t far though, and he’s parked up in the short-stay parking within fifteen minutes, feeling slightly naked as he strides towards- Well, he’s not really sure where. The airport’s not nearly as busy as usual because of the date and time of day, and he figures Steve will find him soon enough. Anyway, the lack of a gun and badge is leaving him feeling exposed and vulnerable.
Any worries of the kind quickly slide away though when he sees Steve across the terminal, meeting his gaze with that patented half smirk and looking behind him for a bag…or something else. Someone else.
Danny waits patiently for them to make it over, completely ignoring whoever Steve’s companion is as he pulls out his cell phone and unlocks the screen.
“You fucking jackass, Steven.” He holds the phone up, the screen displaying the message he received from Steve not twenty minutes ago.
“What the hell were you thinking, Steve? You think-“
“I said no, Steven! Shut the fuck up and listen to me!” Danny’s well aware that his voice is puncturing the relative quiet of the building, but he couldn’t give two shits right now. The woman with Steve still stands ignored by his side.
Steve does that face, that fucking gorgeous face where he just crosses his arms over his chest and waits, face arranged into a boyish smirk as he makes it perfectly clear that he’s allowing Danny to go on in the name of appeasement. Danny doesn’t care how he gets his quiet though, as long as he gets it.
Steve makes a rolling hand gesture for Danny to continue.
“What the fuck is this, huh?” He’s still holding the phone up for Steve to see. “What? You think that when I said last time that a Dear Danno letter wasn’t fucking good enough, you thought, a call would be better, did you? And then when you couldn’t get hold of me, you didn’t think to leave a message, a proper message, and I mean something a little more than Gone to Japan, D. See u in a few days.” Danny flicks to the last message from Steve as he reads it out, free hand moving wildly as it punctuates the words for emphasis.
“Is this something we’re doin’ here, huh? What do I get next time? A video? A video that leaves me worrying for days that you’ve been forced to record proof of life under duress, that what’s gonna happen?”
“No? No, he says. No what, Steven? ‘Cause that ain’t gonna cut it!”
“No, I won’t leave again without telling you first, or clearing it, or whatever. Can we just- Can we ignore that for a second, just give me ten minutes to readjust?”
“Fine. What if I apologize?” Steve claps his hands together as he says it, leaning forward and far too close into Danny’s personal space, enough that Danny can feel the gaze of Steve’s companion on him.
“I’m sorry, Danny. Really, I’m sorry. That better?”
Danny shrugs. “Maybe.” Even he can feel his own eyes soften though, his posture relax slightly as a little of the tension bleeds out of him. “Your apology has been noted, acceptance is pending.”
Steve turns his head to the floor, but Danny can see the grin that’s erupted despite the long hours spent on a plane; the grin that comes out only for a select few.
“Okay, you let me know now.” Steve lifts his head again, hands spread as the smile shifts into something a little more subdued. “So, do I get a hug or what?”
Danny lets the pretense drop immediately, tired of pretending that seeing Steve back on Oahu doesn’t make him the happiest man alive. Tired of pretending that he hasn’t forgotten every single one of his other problems just for the moment.
“Yeah. C’mere, y’goof.” They both take a small step forwards, meeting each other halfway as Danny lifts one arm above Steve’s shoulder, the other curling around his midriff as he feels Steve do the same. If he shuts his eyes and savors the moment just for a second or two, well you can blame it on the sleepless nights the idiot has inadvertently inflicted upon him.
They pull away after a few too many seconds, and Steve gives Danny the once over with his eyes.
“What?” Danny sighs, because Steve is smirking a little too much for his liking.
“Nothing.” He waves a hand towards Danny. “Jeans and t-shirt, looks good on you, that’s all.”
Danny gives an exaggerated nod and finally lets his eyes drift to Steve’s companion as he clears his throat a little. They’ve only been ignoring her for a minute, but the way she’s looking at them, amusement in her eyes, makes Danny feel like she’s been watching them intently for every second.
She looks familiar. From where, Danny can’t quite remember, but he’s near certain that he’s seen her before.
Steve looks to her once, licks his lips as he turns back to Danny and gestures to the lady.
“Danny, Doris. Mom, my partner, Danny.”
Danny pinches himself once, to make sure he’s not dreaming, or hallucinating, or doing something else that would explain this entirely strange experience. It feels like there’s been too much of this going on recently, what with their ‘dead’ murderer just a few days ago, and now this…
Danny hates that sometimes wit is his reflex reaction, but he can’t help it.
He just nods and swallows once before flicking his wrist in her direction. “Your mother?”
“Your dead mother?”
“Wow, babe. She looks good.” Steve lets out a breathy laugh as he pinches the bridge of his nose, and, though Danny thinks he really must be going at least a little bit insane, it makes sense now; the familiarity. Danny has seen her before, the very woman sitting on Steve’s mantelpiece at home, her husband with an arm draped around her on a summer’s -- not necessarily, could have been Christmas Day for all Danny knows -- day on the beach.
Danny turns his gaze back to the woman introduced as Doris McGarrett and silently wracks his brain for any tidbit of information Steve has given him over the past two years that could point to Steve’s mom having a twin…a very identical twin.
Steve is watching him though, just waiting for the second wave of Danny’s reaction.
Danny swipes a hand through the air, shoves the other in his pocket in a stance that is so Danny it makes Steve want to hug him all over again.
“So let me get this straight… You mean to tell me that this,” -- another gesture to the female companion -- “is your mother?” Steve nods again. “The very same mother who was in fact murdered when you were sixteen?” Steve nods again. “Okay, babe, listen. Forgive me for my skepticism, but you’re gonna have to give me a little more explanation, because call me simple, but I just don’t understand.”
Steve breaks into another wide grin and yeah, that look they share right there is all the proof Danny needs that this woman is indeed Doris McGarrett.
Doris drops her bag to the floor and her smile grows as she reaches out a slender hand, voice more musical than Danny had been expecting as she speaks.
“Detective Williams, I presume?” Danny nods, eyes betraying his complete confusion. “Listen, I know that you’ve been through-“
Danny just watches as Steve interrupts with a gentle hand to her arm, a few low words as he smiles at her. “Mom, trust me. This is gonna be much easier if I just get it all right out. He’s…impatient-“
“And invisible? I’m still here, y’know.”
“Right.” Steve turns back to him, face gaining some composure with the movement. “Okay, here it goes. Joe came back to the office when you were with Grace. He said he wanted to take me to Shelburne. We flew to Japan; he pointed me towards the right door and disappeared after I knocked. Then, well- Then this happened.”
“S- So, this is really your mother? I mean, we are far from finished with this…but this is Doris McGarrett?”
Steve nods, and Danny looks back over to her for an appraising glance before holding out a hesitant hand. “In which case, it’s very nice to meet you. Steve’s said- Well, you know how he is, he’s said very little about you.”
Doris nods and takes the hand with a wide smile that resembles her son’s. Steve may have got his father’s eyes, but he’s certainly inherited Doris’s smile.
“Nice to meet you, too. Yeah, he hasn’t changed much in twenty years.” Danny might have imagined the wince from Steve at mention of that, but he ignores it as he finds Doris still smiling at him, as though trying to figure him out a little better.
“And, uh, sorry about that. What can I say? The guy winds me up.”
Doris just nods, and Steve points to the bags on the floor.
“You gonna take us home then, come for dinner or something? I might have to order in…”
Danny nods and grabs the bag at Doris’s feet. “Uh, nah it’s fine. I’ll leave you two-“
Doris shakes her head, looking at Steve as she does. “No, no. You stay. Steve and I have had a good few days alone, and you two look like you’ve missed each other.” Danny and Steve share a glance, both considering whether to bother trying to deny that. Needless to say, they both decide against the wasted effort, opting for another smile instead.
“In which case, yeah, I’ll stay. There’s food in the fridge-“
“Been cooking frittatas again, Danno?”
Danny makes the mature decision to ignore the snark. “There’s food in the fridge, but pizza wouldn’t go amiss.” Steve nods as he pockets his passport -- the man always travels light -- and they head towards the exit. “No getting me drunk though, I need to be home so I can pick up Grace tomorrow.” Steve looks over, the questions burning in his eyes at the mention of Grace. “Okay, maybe one drink.” That’s comment enough on how things have moved along in the few days Steve has been gone.
Doris is already in the backseat by the time Danny and Steve have the case in the back of the car, and Steve can tell she’s getting a feel for things, quieter than she’s been the last few days because she’s trying to figure Danny out. He is perplexing at times, Steve’s man enough to admit it.
Steve holds out his hands for the keys, and an extremely strong case can be made for an attempt at sarcasm on Danny’s part here. He just rolls his eyes though, lets out a loud sigh as he, yet again, finds himself in the passenger seat of his car. It’s nice though, familiar, normal.
“Isn’t this your car, Danny?”
Danny laughs and settles back as he watches Steve adjust the seat and mirrors. “Okay, clearly a few things have changed. I’m afraid your boy has some serious control issues.” Steve slips out of the parking space way too quickly as the words leave Danny’s mouth, as though daring him to continue. “Like driving my car, for instance.”
They settle into quiet for a moment before Danny shifts in his seat. “So, how have you been for the last twenty years, Doris?” It still sounds absurd, but Danny shuts up as Steve interrupts, gives a slightly more thorough explanation of the last twenty years for the duration of the drive home.
“So, what, you’re not angry? Not furious that your mom has been alive all this time? Because I gotta say, Steve, that doesn’t sound like you.” Danny merely murmurs the words as they walk into the house, Doris already having been sent out to take a seat on the lanai. She’s taking a good look around the back yard, the first port of call, apparently.
Steve shrugs as he pulls three Longboards out of the fridge, Danny hot on his heels. “What’s the point? I can’t fault their reasoning, even if I think it’s flawed. They did it to protect me, and even I’ll admit we’d probably all be dead if they hadn’t. Joe lied to me…a lot, but I’ll still thank him when I see him again. And as for Mom, I’ve already lost almost twenty years, D. I don’t want to waste any more time being angry at her for something she thought was right.”
Danny nods. It’s predictably rational. Too rational, in Danny’s book, but he’ll stand by Steve, no matter what.
Danny spends the next hour or so on the verge of interrogation, asking Steve’s mother questions about the last twenty years, as well as all of the years before that. Steve asks after Five-0 and Malia over dinner, and Danny gives him the latest. He’s still avoiding the topic of Grace though, waiting for a more private moment to ask about Danny’s little girl.
Doris leans forwards on the table about an hour after they’re done with dinner, brow creased as she looks between them both.
“If you want me to butt out, then say so. And I hope I’m not stepping totally out of line by asking this, but…are you two…y’know…are you two dating?” Danny and Steve share a look, both letting out a sigh as Danny’s hand gestures go wild again.
“Why the hell does everyone assume we’re either dating or married, Steven? Is it you, because I’ve never had this problem until now?”
Danny watches as Doris opens her mouth and promptly closes it again.
“What are you talking about? You’re the one with the hair, you’re the sensitive one!”
“Yeah, okay. I’m also the one with the ex-wife, Steven.”
The conversation dissolves into something totally unrelated then, but Danny is getting to his feet ten minutes later, grabbing his cell phone from the table as Steve follows him towards the door.
“She’s really back then, huh? Alive and everything.” Steve just nods, smiling at his feet as they approach the door. “I’m happy for you, man.”
“Yeah. Listen, Danny, you gonna tell me what’s going on with Stan and Rachel? With Grace?”
Danny turns at the door, shoving his hands in his pockets as Steve leans easily against the doorframe, arms cross against his chest.
He lets out a loud sigh before talking. “Yeah. They’re going ahead with the appeal to change the agreement I’ve lawyered up, hired a grateful hotshot that Honolulu PD helped out back when I was still working homicide over there. He’s given me a reduced rate, promises to put up a good fight against Rachel’s proposed custody changes. I don’t know if it will help though. I haven’t seen Grace since the day you left, and Rachel hadn’t told her yet, so I don’t even know how she feels. If she wants to go, then I don’t see that there’s much I can do.”
Steve runs a hand down Danny’s shoulder briefly before re-crossing it.
“And you’re picking Grace up tomorrow?”
“Will you bring her over, just for an hour? Haven’t seen her in a while.”
“Sure. Was that time limit for your sake or ours? ‘Cause you know she’d love to see you.” Not to mention that Danny’s not too opposed to the idea of a day with Steve.
Steve grins sheepishly. “You wanna come for longer?”
“We’ll come straight from Rachel’s. Eleven okay?”
Steve nods. “Bring her bathing suit. We’ll swim.”
“Yeah, okay.” Danny stares at him for a moment, and it lingers for a little longer than it should, neither of them quite having faced up to this thing between them yet; the elephant in the room. “It’s good to have you back.”
“Yeah, good to be back, Danno.”
Danny turns into the night then, readjusting the mirrors and the seat before firing up the engine and heading home to his own bed.
Steve waits a few seconds before shutting the door and turning to find his mother milling around in the kitchen, no doubt eavesdropping on the conversation.
She smiles as he walks in, and it’s comforting and familiar and Steve doesn’t bother resisting the urge to plant a hand on her shoulder, just to check to make sure all of this is still real, not a sick trick his mind has conjured up due to the disaster of the few days preceding his trip to Japan.
Doris speaks soft and clear, dumping a couple of plates in the sink.
Steve smiles to her back involuntarily.
“Danny’s daughter. You’ll meet her tomorrow. She’s brilliant, you’ll love her.”
Doris is silent for another few seconds before she turns, a glint in her eye as she dries a cup with a tea towel.
“You realize that what you and Danny are doing, it’s a relationship, right?” Steve bites down on his lip and averts his gaze, neglects to mention that whilst he wholeheartedly disagrees with that for the moment, it doesn’t mean it isn’t what he’d like it to be. “I mean, you may not be living together -- though it’s close, by the sounds of it -- or sleeping together, but you care about each other. And you care about Grace. Just as much as me and your father cared about each other. And you and Mary.”
Steve flushes a little at how easy he is to read. For his mother, at least. There’s no doubt that he loves them both, maybe too much for his own good. But the fact that his mother has it figured out in a matter of hours, that’s just worrisome, what with the Navy SEAL training and all…