Eric remembered it was a Tuesday.
The commander just pulled off an incredible three-stories jump, and Eric was carefully nursing his little hero-worshipping heart. Away at the fringe of the crime scene, his uncle and the commander were apparently involved in a heated conversation over work-place safety. Well, heated on his uncle's side and mostly placating on the other's, judging by their body language.
Eric watched his uncle throwing both hands up in frustration, turning angrily to walk away, only to have Steve McGarrett hooking two fingers under his belt and dragging him back. The taller man raised a hand to hold the side of his uncle's neck right under the chin, bending his head low to talk to the shorter man quietly.
Eric looked away, a little self-conscious on his uncle's behalf. What the--what are they doing there? Is anyone seeing this?
"You're new here, right?" the officer next to him gave him a knowing smile, "I think they're dating or something. You'll get used to it."
Eric felt his jaw drop.
Eric couldn't believe it takes him this long to put all pieces together. His uncle is dating the head of the most elite police task force in Hawaii, and there are signs.
Take day one.
Eric had been camping on his uncle's couch for three days when he first encountered commander McGarrett.
It was a morning, and Eric was hoping today is the day his uncle finally let him touch that beautiful car of his. He just wanted to drive it a little. Just a little. They can switch seats at the first traffic light, swear to all mighty lord.
His uncle was in the bathroom doing his morning routine while Eric sleepily roamed into the kitchen, trying for the third time to work the coffee-machine-slash-spaceship. That's when he heard the jiggling in the keyhole.
Eric looked up just in time to see a tall, dark haired man in cargo pants striding in through the front door, keys dangling in one hand and a paper bag in another.
"Oh, hi, you must be Eric." The stranger looked a little surprised to see Eric here, but not nearly as surprised as Eric was to see him here. "I am Steve McGarrett, leader of five-0. You're Danny's nephew, right?" he extended a hand. "Heard you're going to work in HPD's crime lab. Congratulations."
Eric took the hand automatically. "Uh, yeah. Thank you...yeah."
They shook hands.
"I'm here to pick up Danny," Steve McGarrett looked around, as if expecting the blond man to pop out any minute.
"Right. Uncle D is, umm, taking a shower," Eric replied, still a little stunned, "he'll be out in a minute."
The taller man snorted. "I doubt that. He always says shower less than five minutes is antihuman." He wandered into the kitchen and straight to the coffee machine, dropping the paper bag on the counter, poked a few buttons and began pouring himself a cup.
"Do you want some malasada?" he waved at the paper bag, sipping his coffee.
"Oh, okay. Sure. Thanks."
Eric took one malasada, feeling every inch of an awkward guest in his uncle's house. "Do you, uh," he took a bite and swallowed thickly, "do you want some too?"
McGarrett shrugged. "I don't eat malasada." He said, like it's the most obvious thing in the world, "They're for your uncle."
Eric didn't get to drive his uncle's car that day.
His uncle didn't get to drive his uncle's car that day. The commander snatched the key from the blond man's fingers before they got out of the house, and his uncle didn't even protest. He just sat there in the passenger seat, happily eating malasadas and commenting on Hawaii's morning traffic.
Eric would eat his lab coat if that doesn't count as a sign.
Hindsight is a bitch.
Eric never brought it up. Because--fuck, can you imagine how awkward it's going to be? Hey uncle D, are you having a thing with your boss? Also, are you gay?
Well, Eric can, so he won't.
But it doesn't mean he is not wondering. Actually, that's all he can think about ever since the bomb was dropped. It bothers him. A lot. Not because he has anything against his uncle being gay, no sir, but because he was so sure that his uncle is NOT, and the fact that this...new development seems to be an open secret among the team. And the whole HPD.
Eric doesn't get it.
He is no stranger to his uncle. Despite common belief, Eric is a rather observant man. If there's a single gay hair on his uncle's blond head, Eric believes he'd have noticed. Christ, the two of them even had a heart-to-heart conversation about it when his mother found the box of magazines under Eric's bed back in high school.
So Eric doesn't get it. It's not like that he is angry, or scandalized, or in any way averse.
He is just...confused.
The first time Eric saw a crime scene in real life, he almost threw up.
He bent over a small piece of grass, hands braced against his knees, trying frantically to talk his stomach down. Danny followed him outside.
"I just need a minute," Eric explained, half guilty half defensive.
Danny ruffled his hair and said nothing. They stood there for a minute, and then went back in together.
Eric was six, and his mother promised to take him to the zoo at weekend. She had an emergency meeting at the last second and had to cancel the trip, but Eric was six, so he was angry.
He was crying his lung out when his uncle came to return his mother's casserole dish. Eric, in all his six-year-old glory, throw himself at the legs of his uncle and wailed about how he had planned that trip for two weeks and how his own mother doesn't love him anymore.
"Go play in the living room," his uncle told him, "I'll talk to your mom."
Eric played with toy blocks for a while like he's told to, until he heard yelling in the kitchen. He's always been a kid with short grudge-holding span, so he had stopped being angry at his mom five minutes ago. Right now he was just curious.
He went to the kitchen quietly and hid behind the wall.
"--the fuck? You told him you're gonna take him to the zoo, so take him to a goddamn zoo."
"Danny!" his mother exclaimed, sounding stressed, "watch your language."
"My language? What about my language? You promised your kid--"
"My kid, MY KID, Danny Williams!"
"And my nephew, Stella! He's been expecting to see the rhino for weeks. And you promised him first!"
"Jesus, Danny. You'll understand when you have kids."
His uncle stormed out of the kitchen, not at all surprised to find Eric hiding in the corner.
"Go get in uncle's car," he said, bent down to ruffle Eric's hair, "we're going to the zoo."
They saw all the animals. Danny bought him ice cream and shot every stuffed toy Eric pointed at in the shooting game.
"Five-0 is full of gorgeous and unattainable people," the girl in his lab sighs longingly.
Eric considers about it. "Chin Ho Kelly? He is not married."
"Still in mourn of his wife."
Uncle D, don't say I never did anything for you, Eric thinks. "--Detective Williams?"
"Hot," the girl nods thoughtfully, "but ain't he with commander McGarrett?"
Eric couldn't look at either of them in the eye for days after he found out.
Especially commander McGarrett. He just doesn't look the type...not that his own uncle looks gay-ish in any way! It's just, Steve McGarrett is all powerful alpha and calmly in control and don't-fuck-with-me-or-find-out-otherwise, and Eric used to secretly picture him as a superman. Now all he can think of when seeing the commander kicking ass is this superman is probably banging my uncle.
He is not disapproving, of course. It's not his place to disapprove, anyway. Eric is just trying to look out for his favorite uncle. Who is maybe sometimes possibly screwing his male boss.
Eric hears the fight the moment door opens. It's something, considering how far it is from elevator to commander's office.
His uncle and McGarrett are having what seems like an epic fight. It right now mostly stays at a verbal level, with a lot of finger-jabbing from his uncle's part and silently angry crossed-arms glaring from the commander's, but looks like it could escalate into fistfight any minute.
The rest of Five-0 are watching through the glass wall, all looking reasonably concerned, but otherwise not too bothered.
"Is it normal?" Eric asks with a grimace.
"Oh, you have no idea." Chin Ho Kelly murmurs under his breath.
The blond man storms out of the office and spots Eric. "What are you doing here?" he snaps.
"Uh, I have the lab report," Eric says hesitantly, eyeing between the commander's office and his uncle, "should I give it to--"
"Give it here." his uncle snatches the file from his hand and storms away.
"Don't worry," Chin Ho Kelly offers after Danny retreats into his own office and slams the door shut, "they'll work it out in the field."
"And in the bedroom," Officer Kalakaua snickers.
"And in the bedroom." Chin Ho Kelly nods.
Eric can't tell if they joke about it because they know it's not true, or because it's simply a fact so old that nobody takes it as a sensitive topic anymore.
"No. I refuse. You're crazy, and I'm not putting up with you anymore."
"No way. No way. NO WAY. I said no way, Steven!"
"Are you out of your mind? Were you dropped a lot as a kid? Why am I even talking to you--do Neanderthals even have language system?"
"I love you, Steve I do. But right now I hate you."
And people say they fight like an old married couple. But Eric was there when his uncle fought with his ex-wife, and that's not how they fought, at all.
At first, Eric thought the therapy was some kind of an inside joke. It was only later that he found out not only did his uncle and his very male partner really do have a therapist, they also went to see her regularly, and had special homework assigned to each of them.
And he only knew it because he caught his uncle doing it over the crime scene report.
"What's that?" he asks curiously.
"Homework from our therapist," the blond man scowls, "I've been spending serious time on this. McGarrett better be doing his as well, or I'm gonna shove this questionnaire right up his ass."
Eric chokes on nothing.
Do they kiss? Eric suddenly wonders.
He looks over across the room. The fearless leader of Five-0 is having one long arm around his uncle's shoulders, tucking the other man underneath like a hawk would its baby. He looks down and his uncle looks up, and their faces are so close--
Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Eric needs to stop thinking, right now.
"I spy with my little eyes... cargo pants!"
Commander rolls his eyes. "Oh, you mean the thing I'm wearing?"
"Nope. There's actually someone wearing cargo pants over there," the blond man points a finger at something afar, "Mark the day, Steven. This is the day fashion finally catches up with you."
McGarrett nods and smiles perfunctorily, like he's been through this a thousand times. Danny, on the other hand, seems quite pleased with himself. He is grinning from ear to ear, teeth flashing under the bright Hawaii sun.
He looks really happy, Eric thinks.
"Fingerprint was a bust. It turned out blank in the system. But--yes, there's a but and you'll want to hear this, commander--the car piece we salvaged from the fire was actually--hold on. I can't do this anymore. I know it's probably none of my business and I don't want to intrude but are you dating my uncle?"
Steve McGarrett looks over at him, somewhat confused. "Yes," he frowns, "what about the car piece?"
Eric opens and closes his mouth. "Right," he stutters helplessly, "right."
Jesus H Christ. It is real. His uncle is partially gay.
Steve McGarrett, according to Danny, never finishes the homework. Not even once.
He occasionally does the multiple choice questions, though.
Eric knows what he saw. He has very keen eyesight, mind you. And what he saw is a man in black hoodie disappearing into the abandoned warehouse.
"Eric, get out."
"I'm not joking, uncle D! I really saw him getting in--"
"No, Eric," his uncle says, calmly, "you need to get out of here. Now." He raises his gun.
Eric blinks. "Huh?" he asks dumbly.
Something whooshes through the air and hits the shelf behind Eric's ear with a loud bang. His uncle fires three shots, throws himself in front of Eric, and all hell breaks loose.
Eric has been sitting quietly in the corner for some time now, neglected by everyone who's running around, busy saving his uncle's life.
Officer Kalakaua has been here for a while too, pacing the hall restlessly and biting on her fingernails. Her cousin is standing not far away with a solemn face; he had brought Eric a cup of coffee when he arrived, but they hadn't talked since that.
Commander McGarrett bursts in through the door like a hurricane, looking frantic and practically murderous. "What happened," he demands.
Chin Ho Kelly explains in his calm, methodic way, while Eric tries to make himself as invisible as possible.
"Why did he go in there without back-up?"
"It was me," Eric says, and suddenly all eyes are on him, "I. I went into the warehouse first. I saw someone--I, I thought he was the guy we're trying to--" It comes back all at once. Jesus. Why does he have to be so stupid. "--I ran after the guy into the warehouse. D...Detective Williams followed me."
Steve McGarrett glances at him. For a brief moment, Eric thinks the commander is going to punch him. He squeezes his eyes shut in anticipation of pain, convinced he's gonna get his face smashed in.
But the other man just looks away.
Eric blinked his eyes open. He must've fallen asleep at some point. Did anyone notice he was awake? If not, he'd like to nap a little longer. They had been spending the whole day going over all the evidence they had, and if Eric gave those photos one more glance his eyes would pop out from his skull.
He looked over quietly through narrowed eyes. His uncle and the commander were still where Eric remembered them before he fell asleep. The rest of the team was nowhere to be seen, probably out getting dinner for them. They better be. Eric was starved.
There was a song playing somewhere out on the street.
"Oh, I love that song," McGarrett said thoughtfully, looking up from the file, "my parents used to dance to it."
"I'm sure they did," his uncle hummed absently, "focus, Steven. You need to deal with your short attention span."
"It's been what, four hours already? C'mon, Danno." the commander stretched a little in his chair before getting to his feet, beckoning the other man to do the same. "Get over here. Dance with me."
Danny didn't even look up from the report. "It depends."
"Are you going to try to spin me?"
Steve McGarrett laughed. "Well, it depends."
"Are you going to punch me in the face again, if I am?"
Danny smiled down at the report. It's a quiet, fond, intimate, loop-sided smile, not shown for anyone to witness. Eric felt like he was stepping over a line he's not supposed to, intruding into a scene that's not made for him. He felt a little guilty and a little uneasy, so he closed his eyes.
He heard rustling of clothes, quiet footsteps, and the sound of his uncle punching the taller man after he was given a spin.
The two of them sit in the uncomfortable chairs of hospital for four hours, waiting.
"He really likes you, you know," Eric mumbles almost to himself, "my uncle D."
Steve McGarrett doesn't say anything.
"He'd probably never say anything about it. But he likes you. He only complains constantly about those who he likes. And you wouldn't believe how much he bitches about you."
McGarrett stirs in his chair. "I know," he says.
"And I know he might not look like it, but he's quiet insecure about what he really wants. He is still a little hung up on the divorce...not that he still has feelings for Rachel! It's just, how the whole thing broke apart..."
Eric wants to shut up. But call it a family trait, he can't close his own damn mouth when he's desperate. "...my point is, he looks much happier now. And I think you're good for him. I am in no place to judge, of course! I just think you might want to..."
"...to know that he doesn't mean half the things he said. He is like that all the time. Runs in the family, I guess. It was like that with Rachel. He has some temper control issues, but it's because he cares. And he--"
"Eric," McGarrett turns his head to look at Eric in the eye, "I know."
Eric swallows and looks down. "Okay. Okay. It's good to know that...you know. I didn't even mean to say all those things. I just want you to...to know. I'm shutting up now."
They sit in silence for some time, Eric torturing the paper cup between his hands and McGarrett doing nothing, sitting there with both hands on his knees, a silent presence in the room.
Eric opens his mouth carefully. "Hey. Have I told you about that time uncle D took me to the zoo?"
Eric almost tears up when he's finally allowed to see his uncle.
"Uncle D!" he exclaims, barely restrains from throwing himself at the blond man. "You're okay! You have no idea how happy I am to see you!"
"All right, all right," his uncle mumbles, looking a little pasty and disheveled, but otherwise in good condition, "don't get your panties all in a twist. I am going to get out of this hellhole next week."
"Seriously, uncle D. My life depends on your health. I thought your boyfriend was going to disembowel me for getting you in that warehouse in the first place."
"He is not--" his uncle begins, and promptly stops.
They look at each other for a minute.
"He is not going to disembowel anyone," the blond man finally says, settling back against the hospital pillow, "not under my watch. And stop calling him my boyfriend. Make me feel stupid. And don't tell your mother yet!" he sits up a little, turning pale, "I can't deal with gunshot wound and your mother at the same time."
Eric grins. He foresees a new leverage.