Danny recalled seeing it before only after the fourth or fifth time he saw it. Up till then it was always a short glimpse in the dark, no more than a glint of animalistic eyes from the bushes across the street, a shadow of a four legged beast. His mind was always occupied with other things to bother with it, he assumed one of his questionable neighbors decided to boost his intimidation level and got a big dog.
A very big, and very quiet dog. This, at least, was good. The last thing he needed was having to deal with constant barking. His living arrangements were lousy as it was.
This time, however, it was different.
Grace made him take her on a hike. Some park that she visited with her class, and she just had to show it to her Danno. He feared the day this would happen, but he was also ready for it. Unlike him, Grace was fascinated with what the island had to offer. It was only a matter of time until she actively tried to make Danny share her fascination.
When they reached the viewpoint overlooking the ocean, he had to admit to himself that it wasn’t that bad. And the island seemed to make his daughter happy, so as long as he got to observe her fascination first hand, he had to be OK with it.
A couple with a tiny dog emerged from the trail behind them into the small clearing. The mouse-sized animal was ridiculously groomed, and unbelievably noisy. It kept barking at the trees surrounding them, stretching its leash to its end. No matter what the owners tried to do it kept yapping, his bark high and shrill.
“I’m sorry,” the woman smiled apologetically at them “there are probably squirrels or a rabbit or something in the bushes…down Kasha!”
Then, instead of taking the noisy thing and leaving, they tied it to one of the picnic tables and stepped closer to the edge, to view the ocean. Some apology.
Danny sighed. “Ready to go back, monkey?” he asked hopefully. Grace was busy collecting...something off the ground, that would probably end up on display in his already cramped apartment. She sent a dubious glance towards the yapping dog. “In a minute, Danno.”
At first he felt it, more than heard it, a low vibration in his bones that turned into a barely audible growl. The miniature dog whimpered, and backed away to cower under the table.
Grace was looking at the bushes the dog was barking at up until a second ago. Danny followed her gaze. He caught a glimpse of white, sharp teeth, a black furred snout, a glint of eyes, before whatever it was backed into the lush growth surrounding them. It made him think of the several times he’s seen it before. He shot forward to grab Grace and back away.
“Danno!” She called excitedly “Did you see that?! You think it was a wolf?” that girl should really learn some fear.
“I saw it, Gracie. It was probably just a wild dog. Come on, let’s go. It sounded angry”
“Yeah, probably at that annoying dog. At least it made it shut up…” She observed.
Danny had to laugh. “That it did.”
He held his daughter’s hand all the way down the trail, peering suspiciously at the vegetation surrounding them. He caught a glimpse of that large shadow several times, enough to make him wonder if it was following them. Perhaps there was a pack or something roaming in the area.
Sharks, Falling coconuts, and now wild dogs. This island really made it difficult to like it.
After that encounter, he saw the dog everywhere. Maybe saw was a bit of an exaggeration. More like got an occasional glimpse of parts of it, or felt its presence. With the exception of the hike with Gracie, it was always during the dark hours. It was always in the corner of his eye, or just a passing shadow. It grew to a point he was expecting to see that momentarily glint of eyes each time he drew the curtains.
One night he even left a bowl with some leftovers and sat lurking in the dark to see if he can draw it out. It made some alley cats happy, but nothing else.
So he pushed the thing to the back of his mind. He was in the middle of a trying case as it was. The captain rode his back to make progress, but assigned him a rookie as a partner as well.
He knew it was mostly because nobody wanted to work with the haole, and no one really asked the rookie her opinion in the matter, but he actually liked her. Kono Kalakaua was young, enthusiastic, smart and a real badass. She had his back, and though she referred to him as ‘Haole’ on occasion, it never felt as disrespect or an insult. He was happy to teach her the right way to do things, and she did need a guide. Her tendency to solve issues violently needed some toning down.
There was a serial killer, or killers, out there. Four bodies turned up till now. But except for the Killer’s MO, there was nothing at all connecting the victims. Different genders, different ages, different occupations, different external features, different hobbies, different economic status. Four completely different persons, found dead in dumpsters across the city. one victim found in Kahuku, the others in Honolulu. All of them naked, with several GSW, but the cause of death was blood loss. The bodies were almost completely drained, throats cut open.
The only possible lead was the traces of silver found in the bondage marks, where they cut into the skin of the victims, around the wrists and ankles. Max suggested that the rope used for the killing was actually a silver chain. So Kono and himself visited every silver supplier on the island. it turned out not many of them were able to provide the type of silver rope chain in the appropriate gauge, of those who did, only two sold such a rope recently, and so, at the end of the day, they had a short list of jewellers they needed to visit.
Kono was more than ready to do just that, regardless of the late hour. She almost convinced the very tired Danny to go for it, but then his cellular started chiming the psycho theme.
“Yes dear?” he answered his ex-wife in his usual exasperation
“Daniel, Please don’t freak out,” Came the not-very-promising request from Rachel
“What happened?” He straightened “Is Grace OK?”
“She’s fine,” Rachel assured him immediately “but they had a little snag on their camp trip…”
“A little snag? What does that mean?!”
“Well, if you let me talk, I’ll explain!” she shot back. He thought it was better to not respond, so after a couple of silent seconds, Rachel continued “I am not aware of the specific details, but she got lost, apparently she spent the better part of the afternoon alone in the jungle…”
“What? It’s eight p.m., why on earth was I not informed about this earlier? Where is she now? How could that have happened? Who was...”
“I don’t know the details, Daniel” She interjected “but I’m on my way to pick her up right now, and you are more than welcome to come and bite the instructor head off yourself. They are at the parking lot of the Kahana park”
Kono was out of the car the second Danny explained to her what happened. “Go, Brah, it’s fine I’ll find my way home, we will continue this tomorrow”
Later that night, when Gracie was tucked safely in her bed in her mother's house, and said mother was gracious enough to leave the room and let Danny have some alone time with his daughter, Grace crawled out of the covers to snuggle in her father’s lap once more. He had a feeling though, that she was doing that to comfort him rather than herself. In fact she was so calm and composed this whole time, Danny suspected she was in shock and waited for the break down. But she seemed happy, excited even, like it was a great experience rather than harrowing one.
“Danno?” she whispered into his chest hesitantly.
“I need to tell you something, but…” she trails off
“What is it monkey? You can tell me anything, you know that.”
“Will you keep it a secret? Because I know no one would believe me.”
“Well, I did plan to post it on facebook, but I don’t have a facebook account, so, that's out of the question anyway.” She looked up at him, nose wrinkled in displeasure, but her smile and the glint in her eyes softened it. “And I will always believe you, Gracie.”
She studied his face for a few seconds, Danny made his best to look open and attentive. But when she spoke again, she did it with her face borrowed in his chest.
“I was frightened at first, when I realized everybody were gone. But then the dog helped me.”
Danny remained quiet, processing what ‘dog’ might mean.
“Danno?” Grace didn’t look up and the hurt in her voice reached his heart
“What dog, Monkey?” he did his best to keep his voice neutral
“A wild dog, like the one we saw last weekend? It was big. And he sat and watched me, then he wanted me to follow him, and I did, and that is how I found the group again.”
Danny didn’t know what to say to that. Maybe his daughter encountered an intelligent Lassie or something, maybe she imagined it just to calm herself down. Did it really matter?
“You believe me, Danno? Right?” Her voice was so desperate, pleading, and she was still not looking at him. “The dog was gone once I found everyone, and no one believed me…”
“Grace,” Danny said firmly, pushing her chin up gently, forcing her to look at him. “I mean it. I’ll always believe you. It means that you can always tell me the truth, but you also have a responsibility to never lie to me. I trust you, Monkey. And if you say a wild dog helped you, I say that if we ever find this dog we are going to adopt it.” He smiled at her, and she smile back, a relaxed happy smile that set that evening’s events to rest.
He helped her snuggle back between the covers, kissed her brow then shut the light while reminding her that ‘Danno loves her’.
“Danno?” she called softly again before he left the room
“I think it was a wolf.”
I'd love to hear what you think
“Are there any wolves in Oahu?” Danny suddenly blurted out. They were driving in a country road, following the navigation instruction on Kono’s phone to god knows where.
“Umm, what?” She looked at him in puzzlement “Maybe...”
“What do you mean ‘maybe’? Either there are, or there aren’t.”
“I don’t know…”
“How can you not know, you grew up here!” Danny demanded, way too annoyed for a random subject, he knew that. Maybe it bothered him more than he thought.
“Are there wolves in Jersey?!” Kono retorted
“Yes!” Danny barked back “Restricted to the local zoo, as it should be in human populated areas!”
“There are wolves in the zoo here too, if that's what you’re asking!” she shouted back
“No!” he tried to make his voice calmer. “No, I meant as in roaming the woods undetected”.
She went silent for a few seconds, tapping her phone. Then “No. No wolves.” A few seconds later she added with more mischief in her tone than Danny liked “Unless you mean the Children of Lona. What’s this all about anyway?”
”Eh, school project for Grace.” Says Danny quickly. “Children of Lona? What’s that?”. Kono spares him a look from her phone and answered “Nā keiki a Lona is part of Hawaii mythology. Lona is the Goddess of the moon, she married a mortal, and had children. She sent those children away from her to guard the Forest of Kane, God of uncultivated nature and the sky, and lived on the moon herself. It is said that those children are the spirits protecting the jungles, who call on their mother when they see the moon.” She smiled at him “That is, if you believe in these sort of things.”
Danny smiles at her tiredly then sighed “That’s not what I meant either.”
“You should get off the road here,” she pointed up a head
“Off the road? This was a road we were driving on up till now? We really should have taken your car, or a police cruiser or an elephant, this is a damn jungle we are getting into!”
“No elephants in Hawaii either.” Kono grinned.
“Shut it, Kalakaua.” He ordered “How much further?”
“About five miles.”
“Why would a jeweller have a workshop in the middle of the jungle? I don’t like this.”
“Maybe he’s not a jeweller…”
“You think?” Danny threw sarcastically “We should call for backup.”
“No reception.There was none for the last ten miles or so…” Kono said carefully
“Of course.” Danny uttered indignantly “Because why would someone bother with reception in the middle of the jungle? They didn’t even bother to get a decent road.”
They drove in silence for a few minutes, Danny concentrating in maneuvering the bumps and holes, until they were forced to stop, the low hanging car was at risk of falling apart. “Or even bother with a road at all” Danny finished the thought from several minutes ago.
“It’s not far.” Kono tried to calm him. “Less than a mile, we can make it by foot.”
Danny looked down at his loafers “I should have figured that police work in this god forsaken mud pile hell hole would require hiking boots. You sure this place is still considered under Honolulu jurisdiction?”
“Williams,” Kono quipped “seriously, you can not get more haole than this.”
“If expecting that a metropolitan cop would work in an actual city, buildings, paved roads, fucking air pollution, is considered ‘haole’, i’m fine with this.”
Kono chuckled and got out of the car. “Come on, a few minutes walk that way. I think I see a building there.”
Danny hesitated. “We should really call for backup. If something goes sideways here, and the chances are it will, I don’t want them to find our half eaten bodies after three days.”
“You want to drive back now?” Kono looked at him, “Come on, lets just take a look from the outside. If something looks fishy, we’ll head back and return with the rest of HPD.”
The detective sighed. “Fine. wear your vest, rookie.”
They moved slowly to the side of the road, preferring to take cover in the bushes. When they reached a point where they could see the small structure, they laid down in the bushes and watched. There was definitely movement inside, shadows behind tinted windows, Danny’s guts told him that this was no ordinary jeweller operation. Well, actually, a half blind dog would see that.
“I’m gonna go look around,” He told Kono “Stay here, watch the door. I’ll be back and we will retreat and get backup.”
Kono nodded, then laid down, aiming her eye and her gun at the door.
Danny started moving through the bushes, pushing aside, with an effort, the thick humid air that caused his shirt to get stuck to his back, the mud already crusting on his loafers, socks and trousers, and that annoying buzz of insects that didn’t relent. He seriously hated this island.
The structure had a back door on its east wall, the tinted windows went all around. They seemed to be fixed, with bars going across them, but maybe a desperate enough perp would be able to break through them in his flight. They would have to surround it completely.
He was just about to complete a full cycle and reach Kono’s position when he heard a scuffle.
He kept advancing, paces quickend.
“Hey!” A man shouted “Cop scum! We have your partner, come out or she’s dead!”
“I told you, I’m here alone!” Kono shouted, no doubt for Danny’s ears.
Then came “Shut up bitch!”
Danny crawled toward the voice, staying low in the bushes. “You have five seconds before she eats a bullet,” the voice called. “Five!”
He could see them now, two men, one was holding Kono, a gun to her head, the other looked around holding an automatic weapon. Maybe if he walked back few feet he would have a clear shot at the one holding Kono.
He didn’t have time. He heard something in the growth behind him. He spared a quick look, there was nothing there.
The man holding the automatic weapon kept it trained forward as he scanned his surroundings in slow circles, Danny didn’t see any options.
He stepped out of the vegetation, gun pointing alternately between the two men “HPD, Drop your weapons!”
Both men turned to face him, and Kono, never being the one to take the damsel in distress role, used the distraction to try and free herself.
Danny identified the blur of movement. “Damn rookie!” he muttered then took a shot at the guy holding the rifle, getting him in his right shoulder. The guy fell back crying in pain, and for a second Danny thought that this might work, but then three more guys with guns spilled out of the building, and Kono took a hard blow to the back of her head and was out on the ground.
“Kono!” Danny shouted, the lack of movement causing his stomach to turn “Drop your weapons! HPD” he tried again.
The guy that had Kono looked at him. There were now two guns pointing in his direction, and one pointing, yet again, at Kono’s head. The one that held Kono moved slowly to help the fallen guy off the ground.
“No, Cop” he spat the word like it was a curse “You now drop the gun and tell us if there’re more of you coming. No games. Drop it NOW. I’ll be more than happy to shoot that bitch if you don’t”
Danny clenched his teeth. Then released the gun to hang on his finger, moving his hands to the sides in surrender “Alright! Alright, just relax. There is a large force heading this way right now. I suggest you use the few seconds you have to split.”
“Put your gun on the ground and kick it toward me” the man said, picking his own gun from the ground now.
“You do not want to kill cops.” Danny complied, crouching slowly “Just let me take her, we will leave, you will leave, set up your evil operation elsewhere, we will continue hunting perps elsewhere, no harm done...” When he straightened back up, just as he was about to kick his gun, the man raised his arm pointing the gun at his chest
“Or we can just sho…”
Something came from behind Danny brushing past him. Something huge, dark, quiet, that made Danny shudder even before he actually saw the beast leaping forward, putting itself between him and the bullet piercing the air. It landed on the shooter, taking both him and his already wounded friend that stood next to him, to the ground. Its huge body hid what must have been a horrific sight judging by the terrible sound of snapping bones.
The other men started shouting in horror as the beast bounced back picking one slack body with its teeth and throwing it like a ragdoll toward his companions.
The gunshots filling the air shook Danny out of his horrified stupor and he dived back for his gun. The enormous wolf-like animal yelped and jumped at one of the men that regained enough brains to start shooting at it. This time Danny was not spared the sight of its sharp teeth digging into the guy’s neck tearing his throat out. One of the two remaining man, probably the smart one, Danny noted, was now running frantically away from the scene. Danny would have probably done the same if it weren’t for Kono, who was still dead to the world, oblivious to the commotion around her. The other guy still standing, yelled something that sounded like “Bring the silver!” and took a shot at the beast. Danny didn’t know why, but as the man released a shot, he did too. Danny’s shot, however, was not aimed at the beast. The shooter fell back, almost at the same time as the large wolf landed on it. This time it didn’t stop to tear the throat out, it just shot forward, catching up to the guy on the run in a few long strides, bringing him down, claws digging into its back.
Then there was nothing but an eerie silence.
The beast stepped back from its pray, then lowered its nose to sniff him. Danny could feel its low growl. Then it turned, limped the short distance to the man Danny had shot, tail hanging low. It sniffed him too, nudged him with his snout then stepped forward again, just a few steps, looking up at Danny.
Still half sprawled on the ground, hands stretched forward, the detective held his gun pointed at the magnificent beast, breathing hard. Its yellow eyes were scanning him, impossibly intelligent, head bowed, snout gleaming wet with dark blood, nostrils contracting as it sniffed the air. It shook its head once, then fixed its eyes on Danny again before they closed and it collapsed to the ground.
Danny blinked and swallowed. Slowly, without taking his eyes or his gun off the animal, Danny rose to his feet. He spared a quick glance at Kono’s unmoving body, lying on her stomach a few feet away.
“Kono!” He called, then moved his eyes back to the animal.
It was still breathing, huge torso heaving, but other than that there was no movement. Then, before his very eyes, it transformed. Slow enough to perceive, quick enough to be dismissed as an illusion, it shrunk in size, the limbs contorted and shortened, black bushy fur turned into smooth skin, large snout dissolved into a human face.
Danny blinked a few times, shook his head, squeezed his eyes shut and spared one hand to rub them before opening them again.
It didn’t change anything.
Where the huge, magnificent wolf laid before, there was now an unconscious, naked man . He lay on his side, hands half stretched forward. His face was covered in blood, gashes on the side of his neck and in his upper arm were bleeding slightly, The side of his chest, front to back, lacerated deeply, and blood was oozing from a wound on his thigh.
Danny just stared, frozen.
Thanks for the kudos, subscriptions and enthusiastic comments! it really great knowing someone likes the weird stuff going on in my mind...
My extra thanks to Yul, who aside for the regular grammar beating, was also responsible for the Hawaiian werewolf mythology. Bless Lona.
So, any thoughts?
A small groan coming from Kono jerked Danny back to his senses, and he rushed to her side, kneeling down, still facing the unconscious man.
Kono stirred and groaned again, her hand reached the back of her head. With one hand still holding the gun, Danny helped her sit.
“Hey, welcome back. easy… you took quite a blow to your head.”
She murmured something unintelligible or maybe it was something hawaiian, and blinked a few times
“Kono? Are you with me?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m OK…” she took a deep breath and winced “What happened? Where are the bad guys?” she was now looking around “All down?” her eyes focused on the naked man a few feet from them. “Who’s that?” she gasped.
“I… don’t know. I think it... he ... just saved us.”
Kono was suddenly on her feet, rushing forward. “Saved us?” Danny caught her arm, holding her back.
“Kono, I don’t think it’s a good idea…”
She turned abruptly toward him, the quick movement obviously too much for her as she swayed a little. Danny steadied her “Not a good idea? What do you mean? he is injured!”
Danny looked at the unmoving man, then back at Kono. What could he say? Less than a couple of minutes ago, that seemingly harmless man was a giant animal that took down five men, tearing the throats of two? He couldn’t believe it himself. His grip on Kono’s arm loosened and she approached the man. “Just… be careful” he said as he followed her “I don’t know who he is or what he is doing here…”
She crouched beside the injured man, Danny stood above her, tightening the grip on his weapon “He’s alive. and breathing.” Kono declared “We need to get him to a hospital fast though, he’s bleeding hard. I think the arm is through and through.” She took out a field bandage from one of her vest pockets “Come on, help me with his leg, at least, before he bleeds out.”
Danny swallowed, Kono was already examining the wound “I think it’s also a gunshot. I don’t see an exit wound though.” She looked up at him in puzzlement “What’s up with you, brah? The man is bleeding, you just said he saved you! Come on, help me here!”
“Yeah...yeah, OK” Danny finally holstered his gun and moved to crouch on the other side of the strange man, taking out his phone “Still no reception.” He announced.
Several minutes later it looked like they managed to slow the bleeding, and Kono dedicated a few more minutes to bandage the gashes in his side and neck, then checked for other serious wounds while Danny secured the three unconscious-but-still-breathing perps and cleared the structure, just in case.
“Give me your shirt.” Kono ordered when he returned.
“As much as I appreciate this…” her hand gestured to the naked man “display, he lost a lot of blood and he is shivering.” Danny did as she ordered, taking off his dress shirt and handing it to her. “Really,” the young officer nodded as she took her time spreading the shirt over his groin. “If I had known there were naked men like this one running through the jungle, I might have come here a long time ago.”
Danny had to agree, the guy was admirably built. Lean muscles, tanned skin, broad shoulders, and that intricate tattoo on his bicep...He was also wounded, and unconscious, and the blood of his opponents whose throat he ripped was still smeared on his face.
Danny shook the thoughts out of his mind.
“Get to the car,” Kono took the lead again, probably sensing Danny’s dazed lethargy “drive some until you get reception and call for help. I’ll stay with him.”
“No!” he snapped. She looked at him, brow frowning. “No,” he repeated more softly “I’ll stay here, you...you go.” He didn’t know what he saw, or imagined, he wasn't sure what the hell happened, but he knew for certain that he did not want to leave Kono alone with this… whatever it was.
“OK…” she said hesitantly “You sure? You’ll be OK?”
“Yes, yes, I’m fine, just a little dazed from the fight, adrenalin drop or something. Go. I’ll wait here with our new requisition of perps and this guy.”
She nodded, held his gaze for a few more seconds then got to her feet taking out her phone with one hand, and gesturing toward him with the other.
“What?” Danny asked
“Oh, yeah, here.” he handed his keys, and she turned and jogged, disappearing between the trees.
Danny released a short breath and looked around. He took his gun out again, made sure all living perps were properly restrained, then set beside the unconscious man.
“What are you?” he asked silently, replaying the minutes of the gunfight-battle-animal-attack and the unbelievable transformation that followed. Giant black wolf to a human being. Maybe there was something in the air here. Yes, like...spores and... pollen, who knows what dangerous hallucinogens these damn tropical plants might spread?
The thing is, he couldn’t find any logical explanation to the fact that a- the man was naked, b- the evidence of wild animal attack was laying a few feet away with a torn throat and more of that evidence were apparent on the man’s face.
A shiver went through the man’s body. Danny hesitantly touched his skin. He expected a cold, clammy feel, but the skin was warm. He picked up a still closed gauze wrap and tore it with his teeth, deciding to clean the wound on his arm. Or maybe it was just an excuse to sate his curiosity and explore the patterns of that tattoo. He hardly touched the man when a strong hand gripped his wrist. Danny flinched, the hand holding the gun sprang up, as his eyes snapped to look at the man’s face.
Bright gray eyes stared at him, then at the gun pointed at them.
“What are you doing?” the man asked. His voice was hoarse and low, his jaw clenched, the sudden tightness is the muscles accentuating the paleness and in turn the red bloody smear around his mouth and down his jaw.
“What are you doing?” Danny shot back immediately
The man looked at the barrel aimed at his head, strange expression flickered in his face, then he released Danny’s wrist and uttered what seemed to be the most unexpected answer he could think of “Taking a nap, what does it look like I’m doing?”
Danny blinked. “Well, you should, you lost enough blood to be considered a corps. What are you doing! Stay down, don’t move!”
The man was already halfway to a sitting position when he froze and looked at Danny and the gun again. “Why? Are you going to shoot me?”
“I haven’t decided yet!” Danny exclaimed and the man resumed his slow movement “wait, we just stopped the bleeding, you’ll start bleeding again…”
The man was now sitting, hunched forward. The pain was obvious on his features and he moaned slightly, poking the already soaked bandage on his thigh. “You didn’t do a very good job” he observed.
Danny’s hands started to flail “No, we did a great job!” he protested incredulously. “You should have seen it before. You obviously just lost too much blood to appreciate it”.
The man looked around for a second, then started unwrapping the bandage “Who’s ‘we’? Is that the officer you were with? Where is she?”
”Gone to get help. A better question would be who the hell are you?”
The man stopped poking at the newly exposed wound to raise his gaze to Danny, frowning slightly. His tongue darted out to lick his lips, his mouth contorting as if he tasted something disgusting. Which he actually was. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand then looked at the results. His eyes widened, just for a second, then he grabbed Danny’s shirt from his groin and wiped the blood off his face with it. He cleared his throat, swallowed, then apprehensively looked at Danny. “Steve.” he answered quietly, still looking at him, his muscles tense.
Danny nodded. “I’m Detective Danny Williams, of HPD. What are you…” He wanted to finish that question right there, but it sounded...crazy. “doing here, Steve?” He added.
“I know who you are.” Steve ignored the question, his attention went back to the wound.
“How do you know who I am? I don’t have such a reputation yet, do I?”
“In some circles.”
“I have circles now. And not just under my eyes. Great. What circles would that be?”.
“You don’t happen to have pliers, or something, Do you?”
“I do, in the car, which is currently driven by my partner, getting help as I told you. Afraid it’s just us for a while, until help arrives.” Danny was becoming agitated again. Or maybe he never stopped. He needed some answers but his brain seemed incapable of asking what he really wanted to know, or even acknowledge that he wanted to know it. “Mind answering my questions? How do you know who I am? What are you doing...”
Steve was suddenly trying to get up, an awkward task with only one functional leg. “I need to go.”
”Wow, wow, buddy, hang on.” danny interrupted, trying to support him. “You can’t go anywhere. You can barely stand up”.
“I’ll be fine” Steve assured him then cried out in pain when he tried to put weight on his wounded leg. Blood was starting to ooze again from the exposed wound, he leaned on Danny and for a second the detective thought they were both going to collapse under his weight
“Shit…” Steve breathed.
“Yeah. And you’re heavy and I don’t want to carry you. So sit tight and wait for a bit. You’ve already ruined my shirt with your bleeding and...other...blood related issues…” Danny’s eyes drifted to Steve’s jaw “and it’s a shirt I really liked. Don’t make me damage my pants”.
Steve allowed Danny to lower him back to the ground. One arm was wrapped around the man’s back, the other, holding the gun, slipped under his armpit. He was practically hugging him. Danny swallowed, suddenly very aware of the exposed skin and taut muscles in his grasp.
Wounded. Vicious. Smeared with blood. Danny reminded himself. Vicious, wounded, blood smeared animal-man .
“You gave it to me.” Steve murmured between groans
“What?” Danny wondered if he missed parts of the conversation to inappropriate musings
“The shirt. You gave it me.”
“You weren’t even conscious at the time” Danny retorted.
“Exactly, I didn’t even asked for it, you ruined it.”
“It was not intended for…” he gestured towards Steve’s face “that. My partner was concerned about your virtue.”
Steve smirked. “Then thank her for me and send her the bill.” He stifled yet another groan “Do you have a phone?”
“No reception” Danny answered, but took his phone out of his pocket and checked it anyway.
Steve was moaning, pressing his hand against the wound “Shit. I really need to get that bullet out. I need something…” he started looking around him
”What you need is to sit tight until a bus gets here, with paramedics, and pain meds, and a sterile environment... ” Steve started pressing his fingers into the hole in his thigh, moaning and groaning in pain. Danny was horrified. “What the hell are you doing!” he yelled, shocked “Next thing you would just chew the leg off, you anim…” he trailed off. The man’s groans became more like growls, his teeth, bare as he pulled his lips back in a grimace, were...fangs.
Danny stood up and stepped back, holding his gun in both hands, his eyes fixed on the scene in front of him.
Steve, fingers wedged into his thigh, threw his head back and released a shattering yell-growl. Danny caught a glint of yellow in his eyes before he shut them in pain, as he pulled out his fingers, no, his claws from the wound, holding the small slug between them. His head dropped to his chin, he was breathing hard again, strangled moans escaping between clenched teeth, his muscles trembling violently.
“What the hell!?” the detective breathed.
“That…” Steve whispered without raising his head or opening his eyes “hurt.” His breathing has evened, he was now inhaling slowly, deeply. The claws were gone, the slug discarded as both hands clutched at his thigh. Then he started to get up again, and Danny wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do, keep holding his gun pointed at the...thing, or rush forward to help the man. Frozen in his place by his indecision, before he could do anything, Steve was already on his feet, favoring his healthy leg, but otherwise very much stable.
“I need to go” Steve said, moving his gaze from the gun to Danny’s eyes.
“You can’t go anywhere” Danny said, still pointing the gun, but his voice had a troubled, slightly desperate tone. “You killed two people, and you still need to be looked at…” His voice faltered as he realised that that would not happen. “Besides, you don’t have any clothes…” his voice dropped again.
Steve looked at him for a second, a soft smile on his lips, then started to turn away
“What are you?” Danny finally asked.
He stopped and turned back “You saw...what I am.” The man looked straight at him, his expression severe, yet relaxed. “In fact, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen me before.”
“I’m quite certain I’d remember seeing a freakishly giant beast-man around!” replied Danny angrily, but then his addled brain made the connection. “The dog! That was you?”
Steve winced “Wolf. Not dog.” Annoyance seeped to his voice.
“So that was you. Why are you following me?”
“Protection.” Steve’s attention was drawn suddenly toward the trees. Then his eyes moved back to Danny and his gun. “I’m gonna go now.” He turned again, holding Danny’s gaze until the last possible minute.
“See you around?” Danny suggested tiredly, dropping his aim finally.
Steve turned his head back, a smug smile on his lips. “Absolutely” he said, then he started limping away, his strides more stable and even with each step, until he was running, disappearing between the thick vegetation just as Kono appeared from between the trees on the other side.
So...how do you rate this first date? You think it went well? :)
Danny was staring at the picture of the handsome Navy officer displayed on his screen. It was a standard military picture: impressively decorated uniform, a cap, american flag in the back. The clean, neatly shaven face that looked back at him, was nothing like the disheveled, stubbled, blood smeared wild man he met in the woods, and he began to doubt his own memory. The sketch drawn shortly after the encounter, with the help of Kono, laid on the table beside the laptop. The databases the police had access to didn’t yield any results, Toast had questionable access to some more databases and the unlikely result was now plastered on his screen. Maybe it was his memory, maybe the face recognition software Toast had on his computer was not that good.
On the one hand his instincts told him he now knew the connection between the victims who were all found naked, just like the man who appeared instead of the giant beast. On the other hand, his brain told him that this, by all means, cannot be reality. Despite what he saw, despite that enormous wolf that might or might not be Lieutenant Commander Steven J. McGarrett, who declared he was following him around for protection.
There was a soft knock on the door. Danny looked at the time displayed on screen. 00:23. This can’t be good. Running a tired hand through his hair, Danny went to open the door.
“Hi. I saw the lights were on.” The man at the door was the same one Danny was obsessing about over the last couple of days, the one from the picture displayed on his screen. He was wearing black cargo pants and a gray t-shirt, and final confirmation of the connection between him and the wild man from the jungle was received when he got a glimpse of the tattoos peeking from under the sleeves. Steve looked at him with a friendly smile “You really shouldn’t open the door like that, it’s the middle of the night and… it’s not safe.”
Danny shrugged. “Who ever heard of perps knocking at this time of night? and I have a guard dog watching me. I’m good”.
“Guard wolf.” Steve corrected. He pushed past Danny, stepping into the small apartment, looking around him. “You actually live here?”
”Yes, I do. Temporarily at least. I like the view” Danny gestured to a brick wall facing his living room window.
Steve’s gaze fell on the laptop screen and he looked back at Danny, his face blank. “How did you…?”
“I have my ways. You, my friend, were quite difficult to find.”
“Actually, I was just outside for the last two nights.” Steve tapped on the keyboard, and played a bit with the mouse.
Danny interrupted and swiveled the computer away from him. “That’s mine”.
“These files are classified.” Steve gestured to the laptop, not making a move to retreat from Danny’s space “I need to see what you got, it’s a security breach”
“The computer is protected by some hacker gizmo I can’t even pronounce. None of your details are exposed, except for my eyes.”
“Believe me, the navy gizmos are much more sophisticated than anything you have here, and it obviously wasn’t enough.” He was clearly annoyed, face contorted with a weird expression “What do you have there?”
Danny rubbed his chin, and then started reciting “Lt. Commander Steven J. McGarrett, enlisted 1995, Annapolis, 5 years naval intelligence, 6 years with the seals, Hawaii resident. Nowhere does it mention ‘wolf’”.
“Is that it?” when Danny nodded, Steve relaxed visibly. A hint of a smile creeped to his lips “You learned that by heart?”
“I have a pretty good memory, and there wasn’t really much to memorize” Replied Danny.
“Good.” Steve stepped back, and Danny felt an unexplainable pang of disappointment. He shook it off, watching the man walk around the small room like a police academy drill sergeant inspecting the rookies’ barracks.
“Is that your kid?” Steve picked up the framed picture of Grace.
“Yes she is, her name is Grace and she’s the apple of my eye. Now why don’t you ask me a question you don’t know the answer to? Or better yet, let me ask some questions”
Steve put the frame back on the table carefully “That’s what I’m here for” His eyes resumed their scanning and Danny was suddenly very aware of the nakedness of his apartment. The sofa-bed was already open, well, he rarely bothered to fold it actually, and other than that there were two high kitchen chairs. Steve, of course, chose the bed. “I figured you might have some questions.” he looked at Danny expectantly, looking way too comfortable sitting on his ruffled sheets.
Danny seated himself on one of the chairs. “Ok, let’s start with the basics. You said you’re following me for protection. Protection against whom? Does my daughter need protecting?”
“Protection from the men that are killing wolves. I’m making sure there is nothing interfering with your investigation.” Steve answered simply. “As for your daughter, I don’t know, but I didn’t take any chances. I have wolves watching her too.”
“Ah, that’s comforting.” said Danny, waving his hand, and then stood up abruptly “The woods. Gracies’ trip, that was one of your...wolves?”
For a second there, Steve actually looked embarrassed. He scratched the back of his neck, lowering his eyes, but then a smug smile came up, and Danny was pretty sure he misinterpreted the gesture. “Actually,” Steve said around the smile “That was me. I hope I didn’t scare her too much.”
Danny huffed a laugh, “Scare? She was thrilled that a wild dog guided her to safety, and made the whole experience ‘not horrible’. She wanted to go out to find that dog again”.
“She thought I was a dog ?” Steve asked disgruntled
“That’s your take from this?”
Steve remained silent for a few seconds, just looking at Danny, displeasure written all over his face. But then he huffed, muscles relaxed. “She seems like a cool kid. Very brave. And I really thought you would be much more freaked out, so it’s clear where she got it from.”
“I should have been more freaked out?” spluttered Danny. “There I was, surrounded by five hostile perps, who were about to end my life and my partner’s, when all of the sudden,” Danny’s hands waved, showcasing his surprise, “...a giant beast showed up, took care of them, by ripping two throats out, and didn’t even slow down when it was shot. And then, instead of finishing its dinner with me, it transformed into a...person, who knows who I am, and has already protected my daughter.” He took a deep breath. “So no, I’m not freaked out, I’m fucking flabbergasted”.
Steve’s eyes followed his inanimate explanation, he looked partly amused and partly perplexed. “Flabbergasted?” he half smiled “OK, then you should start with asking about that.” he offered Danny. Or ordered him, Danny was not sure.
“Good point, go ahead.” He gestured with his hand in encouragement.
“I don’t eat people.”
”Well that’s good to know. What do you do? Are you always in control? Is it the full moon thing?”
“Yes, I’m always in control. No, it’s not a ‘full moon’ thing, though the moon cycle does have some effect.”
“The need to shift is stronger at certain days of the month. It’s different from one werewolf to another.”
“How many werewolves are there? Are you prowling the woods or living ordinary lives?”
Steve seemed to hesitate at that question. He studied Danny’s face for a bit and then answered “Most of my pack has what you call ordinary lives. A handful chose to be Guardians of the jungle. As to how many… I can tell you that it’s four less than it was ten days ago.” His head dropped, then he mumbled “Five less as of three weeks ago.”
”The murders...four people. What do you know of the murders? Is there a fifth victim? Are werewolves targeted specifically? How would someone even know werewolves exist? Is it like that movie with the vampires? I can’t believe I’m having this conversation!” Danny buried his face in his hands, as he started to feel out of his depth. A few seconds passed, Danny trying to sort through the unbelievable jumble going in his mind, childishly hoping that the cover of his hands was enough to shut the crazy out.
Then he noticed the silence. It was so damn quiet that Danny suddenly feared Steve left, and he jerked up, dropping his hands and blinking into the room. But the man still sat there, on his bed, examining Danny’s face. “You OK?” Steve asked
“Yeah… you wanted a freak out, didn’t you?”
Steve smiled, the warmth in his expression caught Danny by surprise, causing his heart to stutter, as if he didn’t have enough to deal with. “This was you freaking out?” Steve wondered “worst freakout ever.”
Danny wanted to smile back, then realized the smile was already plastered on his face. He figured it happened involuntarily, in response to Steve’s. “You don’t know me. Prolonged silence is never a good sign with me.”
Steve chuckled, and that damn sound did that thing to Danny’s insides again. This was stupid. He’s seen that man rip humans apart. He is a creature of legends. A predator.
“There are no vampires.” Steve suddenly said, breaking the newly reformed silence between them, making its passing existence noticeable to Danny.
Danny nodded “At least that’s something.”
Then the man was all business again, standing up, taking a hesitant step towards Danny. “Look, I know it’s a lot to take in, but you really need to stay focused. I came to tell you that it’s not over. This little organization you stumbled upon in the jungle? It’s just hired guns. Whoever is behind it, you might have slowed them down but it’s not over yet.”
”What’s the deal with silver?” Danny asks suddenly. “One of the perps there yelled something about silver, and there were traces of silver in the victims’ blood”.
Steve licked his lips, and took a deep breath before he answered “Werewolves can heal quickly from most injuries. It usually takes a lot to slow us down.” He lowered his voice, stepping closer to Danny “But we are sensitive to silver. It weakens us, makes healing slow or impossible. Scorches our skin like hot metal would. It can also prevent and reverse shifting, keep us in human form.” He placed his hand on Danny’s shoulder, the same unnaturally warm touch that the detective remembered from the forest sipping through his thin shirt. “Danny,” it was the first time he heard his name coming through these lips. He liked it. “I gave you this information since it’s relevant to the investigation, But you can’t share it with anyone.”
Danny swallowed, it sounded a bit too loud to his ears.“Of course. Only on a need to know basis. Now I know what the silver was used for”. He slipped under Steve’s hand, and started pacing. “So the person or persons who killed the victims, knew they were werewolves. This is our connection between the victims. This was driving me crazy.” He looked at Steve and continued “The person we’re looking for could be a...werewolf, or have a connection to them. Does your... pack have any enemies?”
“A Werewolf will not use silver to handle another werewolf. I am not saying that there’s absolutely no way that a werewolf is involved, but if so, he is not the executioner.” He took the seat Danny just vacated. “As for enemies…” he thought for a bit “There are hunters. But it doesn’t look like the work of hunters. Hunters... They take trophies. They don’t drain bodies and throw them in the dumpster.”
“Trophies?” Danny shuddered at the thought. Apparently there are worse things than having your body taken out with the garbage.
Steve ignored his question “There is an... internal conflict within the pack right now,” he continued “but the murdered wolves...they were not a side in it.” He laid an arm on the table beside him, looked down, eyelids almost closed, and it was clear to Danny that there was more, so he waited patiently. “However…” Steve continued “I have enemies.” He looked up at Danny “The fifth victim. That was my dad. And the ones that killed him... I… don’t think...didn’t think that there might be connection between his murder and the others, but I can’t rule that out. If this is the case…” He trailed off, eyes lowered again, brow furrowed.
“Your dad...” Danny said gently. “John McGarrett? I’m sorry. I didn’t work the case, but it’s still open, HPD is still looking for the culprit. You think there’s a connection? Someone wants to hurt you so they got to your dad?”
Steve took a deep, shaky breath. When he started talking again, his voice was flat, probably to contain the anger “I don’t think . My father’s murder was a revenge for something I did, there is no doubt there. I know who did it, and…” He suddenly pursed his lips together, it looked like he was stopping the flow of words before something he didn’t want to say slipped out. He took another breath. “The murderer did not work alone. He had help, and if these other killings, if they are actually about me, Danny, I need to know.”
a bit of an info-dump chapter, but Danny do need some answers!
Next time he saw Steve, Danny received the full Navy Commander appearance. It wasn’t a bad idea, considering the man was going to follow him around all day. It would probably raise the same amount of questions from his colleagues as if he were in civilian clothes, but the resistance he might encounter in allowing the man to actually get involved in police business would be more subdued.
It was in fact Danny’s Idea for Steve to tag along. It felt ridiculous for Steve to watch his back from a distance, especially since Danny realized that the werewolf was in even more danger than Danny himself. This way, they can watch each other’s backs.
“Wow, who’s that?” The enthusiastic voice of Kono came behind him. Steve was talking to Duke on the other side of the open space.
“You won’t believe me if I told you.” Danny looked up at the man. His interaction with Duke was very much at ease. He thought maybe they knew each other more than just through John McGarrett.
“Oh? Do tell, brah”
“This is Lieutenant Commander Steven J. McGarrett”
She frowned for a second, then he saw recognition dawn on her face “Naked jungle man?!” she exclaimed out aloud to Danny’s dismay. Steve moved his eyes from Duke toward them and smiled. Danny was sure he heard her.
“Shhh!” he whispered urgently.
“I can’t believe I’m saying that,” She made some effort to speak softly “but he looks even better all dressed up.”
“I’m sure it’s only because he was dirty and injured when…” Did he just said that out aloud? He must have, because Kono was giving him this look, dimples adorning her cheeks. He cleared his throat “Let’s just focus. Did you get the information I requested?”
“What is he doing here? Did you find out what he was doing in the jungle?”
“He is a navy SEAL, he is involved in some secret operation that might be connected to our investigation, so I invited him to tag along. Did you get the information?”
“SEAL secret missions in the nude, ha? Sounds like porn to me…”
She laughed “Yes, I got it.” She opened her laptop, punching a few keys “There were three cases in the last six months in the mainland. Oregon, Texas and Virginia. If we go back another year, there are four more, spread across the mainland. Always a single murder, and no apparent connection between the victims. Various causes of deaths, except for the silver traces and that some were drained, or half drained, before or shortly after time of death . Also…” She browsed through the information until a picture of a dead body was displayed. “There’s this guy, here in Hawaii. He was hospitalized after a wild animal attack, then vanished from the hospital, and was found a few days later in his house. It was classified as suicide, cut his own wrists. It came out in my search only because of the silver thing, there were traces of it in his blood. But look at this…” she brought up a picture of the scene- the guy, naked in a bathtub. Danny noted that there were no marks of any ‘wild animal attack’ on his skin. “Is this how they found him?” He asked,
“Yes.” Kono confirmed
“Where’s all the blood?”
“I wondered about that too. If he cut his own veins, there should be a lot more blood. Someone must have dumped him there, after he died.”
“Good job rookie!”
“Thanks,” He got that dimpled smile again “Listen, I know someone that might have some information, but… I think I should go alone.”
“There’s no danger, really, he’s family.”
“Ah. I should have guessed. OK, fine, call me when you get there, and when you’ve finished. And I need you to find all you can about these cases, let’s look at them with a serial killer in mind. Run searches on arrivals to the places around the date of the murder, see if you can find something. And send me these cases files you found.”
“Sure thing. What are you going to do?”
“The hospital called. One of the guys we took down at the jungle is well enough to talk, I’m gonna head over there.”
“You taking the hulk?” she gestured with her head toward the Commander who was now walking towards them. Her eyes scanning him top to toe, with obvious intention.
“For heaven sake, Kalakaua, he is at least ten years older than you, get a grip.”
“About your age, right?” s he smiled, then turned to Steve.
“Aloha,” she offered her hand, “Officer Kono Kalakaua, Danny’s partner. We haven’t met...officially”.
Steve smiled and shook her hand “Ah, yes, Commander Steve Mcgarrett. I understand I have you to thank for...umm...taking care of me in the jungle.”
“You saved my life, so I’m pretty sure I’m still in your debt.”
“Why don’t you get Detective Williams here a new shirt and we will call it even.”
She laughed, Steve wore this smug smile of his and Danny rolled his eyes.
“I like him” she whispered not so quietly in Danny’s ear and walked away.
Danny glanced at Steve. “I would say I’m sorry about that, but it looks like you enjoyed it” he said.
“She seems nice.” was Steve’s non committal response. “You’ve got something?”
“Yeah, Come on, I’ll fill you in on our way to the hospital.” He picked up his keys and started walking “One of the guys you sliced open is ready to talk.”
“You think these murders are related?” Steve asked after Danny told him about Kono’s findings. The Commander was browsing through the files in Danny’s phone.
“Maybe. If so, it’s something other than revenge on you. You think you can find out if these victims were wolves?”
“I might. We can start with this local guy, but…” Steve shook his head thoughtfully
“If the report is correct, it is very possible he was bitten by a werewolf, then killed before he really had time to be introduced to the pack, so I don’t know if we can find anything about that.”
“So...how does it work?” Danny asked
“How does what work?” Steve asked distractedly as he punched some keys on Danny’s phone, then his own.
“How does one become a werewolf? You just get bitten?” A strange shiver went through his body at the sudden thought of Steve actually biting him. Not that kind of biting . Danny berated himself. Certainly not that kind of teeth.
“It’s one way, yes. If you survive being bitten, and the werewolf who bit you is strong enough, you become a werewolf. There is also the more traditional Mommy werewolf and Daddy werewolf love each other. The biting thing is not really acceptable in the last one hundred years or so.”
“Both my parents. Theirs too. I come from a long lines of Alphas.”
“Alpha? Like you’re the boss now? First in line for the throne?”
Steve smiled sadly “More like expected to be. It isn’t a title to be given. It’s a title to be earned.”
Danny thought for a minute, then “The internal conflict in your pack. Is it about this?”
“Yes. My Dad, the Alpha, has been killed. His natural successor was not around, and has been away for years.” He sounded so sad suddenly, Danny’s eyes were drawn to his face. But unlike his voice his expression was completely blank. “I came back. There was no one strong enough to take his place. I couldn’t turn my back on them. A pack without an Alpha, it’s...not healthy. Most of the pack gives me a chance, as a courtesy to my father. Some think they are better off going into years of fighting over this than letting a practical stranger rule. They are mostly quiet now, as dealing with the killings is more important. But everybody, including the ones that accepted me, are watching my every move.”
“If you were away for so long,” Danny wondered “how come there wasn’t anyone else to take your father’s place?”
“I think he always hoped that I would be back. Even though I never gave him the illusion I would.”
“You never intended to come back?” Danny frowned.
“It wasn’t a part of my plan, no.”
“And you are here anyway, taking a role that you didn’t want in the first place just to keep your pack strong, even though they don’t really trust you?” Danny couldn’t keep the indignance from his voice
“I don’t blame them, Danny. I wasn’t really a part of them since I was sixteen. They don’t know me.”
“So why are you doing this?” it was strange. He himself hardly knew this man, but he couldn’t help being resentful about his situation. How lonely he must feel. He told Danny that he ordered all his wolves to move around in groups for their own protection, yet he was always alone.
“I told you.” a slight irritation crept into Steve’s voice “How they feel, or how they treat me is irrelevant. They are my pack, I am the only one who can keep them together right now, so I need to do this. I can’t turn my back on them.”
“But they are allowed to turn their back on you.”
“They are not turning their backs, they are giving me a chance, giving themselves a chance to go through this without falling apart. Why are you so mad?”
That was an excellent question. Danny had no intention to explore the possible answer right then. “I’m not, it’s just… I’m sorry you have to go through this. And if you need any help in...whatever...just let me know. I’ll roll up some paper and smack them in the nose.”
Steve laughed, and Danny decided that he might want to take that up as a hobby. Making Steve laugh. It was nice.
“Thanks, buddy.” that warm hand landed on his shoulder again “I’ll keep that in mind.”
As Danny predicted, the cops guarding the perp’s room looked at Steve with raised eyebrows but said nothing as they let them in. Jason Kahikilani was laying in bed, leaning against the elevated backrest. His left shoulder was bandaged, as well as his torso. This was the guy that yelled for the silver, got shot by Danny and was then used as a stepping stone for a big bad wolf when it bounced forward to its next target.
He looked suspiciously at Danny as they entered. Steve lingered behind, next to the closed door.
“Hello Jason. I’m detective Williams from HPD, we’ve met. Do you remember?”
Jason looked at him for a minute in contempt “Yes. You’re the guy who shot me.” he spat out, raising the elbow of his injured shoulder to emphasize the point.
”Yes I did. It is part of my job description, shoot people who aim guns, harbor weapons and shoot at my partner. I don’t like it anymore than you do.” Danny shrugged. “Anyway, I will make it quick since it’s obvious you are still recuperating. I know you and your buddies are involved in four murders. I know the workshop we found you in is not for jewelry, there were more guns there than actual jewels. Except for silver, that is. What I don’t know is why. Why were you targeting these people?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Jason said, or rather spat without much interest. “I was hired to guard the workshop. I don’t know anything about murders, and the guns you found are perfectly legal.”
“Allright.” Danny nodded “Who hired you?”
“Nobody.” The perp answered immediately, slight alarm replacing the bored tone he used before.
“Nobody?” Danny rolled his eyes “You just said you were hired to guard the shop.”
“Look cop, let me save you some time here. I am not going to talk.”
Danny examined his face, the defiance in his voice and expression, trying to figure out the best way to get to him. “Listen, punk.” He came more aggressively “I am doing you a favor here. Only because you are lucky to be the first to regain enough consciousness. I know you are just a guppy in a shark pool. Tell me what I want to know, and we can make some kind of a deal here, or I can just wait for another one of your chums to talk and then you are on your own, facing charges like aggravated assaults against cop, no less, assisting four murders at the least, and just for fun we can throw in illegal hunting.”
Kahikilani blinked “I won’t talk.” He sounded much less sure of himself “And neither will anyone of my friends. I want a lawyer”
“A lawyer. OK. but that means the deal if off the table.” Danny leaned closer “Are you so sure your friends won’t just...throw you to the wolves?”
Kahikilani frowned, looking back at Danny for few seconds, then he repeated “Not talking to you.”
“Maybe you’d to talk to me?” Steve suddenly said from behind Danny’s shoulder.
Kahikilani’s eyes widened suddenly in evident recognition, following Steve as he moved to the other side of the bed.
“I take it you recognize my friend?” Danny asked
“I...no, no I don’t…” He murmured, his eyes still fixed on Steve.
Steve was glaring “I think you do. I think you know...what I am.”
The perp pressed himself against the bed, as if he was making a pathetic effort to keep as much distance between the man looming over the bed and himself. “What…” He swallowed “What do you mean…?”
Steve smiled or...sneered, pulling his lips back, exposing sharp teeth. “Oh, you know what I mean. I just wonder… how do you know this?”
Danny could see the man was on the edge of panic. He tore his eyes away from Steve, and looked at Danny pleading “He’s a freak, get him out of this room,” Then he looked around him frantically, as if looking for something “he shouldn’t be here,” He yelled “get him out!”
Danny feigned innocence. “Him?” He gestured at Steve. “He’s just a puppy, he won’t bite you”. He ended the sentence in half a question and looked at Steve intently.
Steve looked up at Danny, the menacing expression on his face completely gone “What are you doing?”
“What am I doing? I’m trying to reassure the guy that we are not biting suspects.”
“He just told you he didn’t want to talk to you.” Steve countered “Obviously he needs some incentive to talk. He’s a tough guy. He doesn’t care about prison.”
“OK, so what do you propose? To slobber all over him until he’s been convinced to cooperate?”
“Slobber? Seriously, man, you are horrible at this. I thought I could just explain to him what happens when I do bite people. Did you know that most won’t survive even the tiniest bite?”
“Really?” Danny hummed “That’s very interesting”.
Steve nodded. Kahikilani looked between them, his face slowly losing its color.
“I am told that it’s a very slow, agonizing death.” He looked down at the perp “This is why I personally prefer just taking the throat out.” Steve’s gaze moved slowly to the guy’s throat. Kahikilani’s hand shot upwards to cover it “It’s...more humane” Steve finished.
“You can’t…” Jason seem to disappear into his sheets, his skin taking the same color, his whole body pressing hard against them “you won’t….”
“I think you’re right,” Danny said thoughtfully to the distressed perp, fighting his own fear at the feral look of Steve “he shouldn’t be here. You wait here, keep an eye on him, I’ll go get help…” he started to turn
“No, no, don’t leave me here with it!”
“You have something interesting to tell me?” Danny turned back “To keep me here?”
Jason swallowed again “I don’t know much…”
“What do you know? How do you know him,” Danny getured at Steve “or people like him?”
“We… got pictures…”
“Yes… pictures, and names and where to find them.”
“Ok, I’m going to need those pictures, those names, any other accomplices you have, and the person who gave you your instructions”. He took out his phone, hitting record.
“I don’t have those, we don’t keep them. They are sent to us, we memorize and delete it. Look, you have to protect me, if I cooperate, I need protection.”
“You haven’t cooperated yet, you gave me nothing!” Snapped Danny. “Start being useful, then you’ll get protection.”
“I want this in writing, before I say…” Steve growled, low, that same noise that was felt more than heard. Kahikilani eyes widened again “Alright fine, I have your word on this? I get protection? From his kind and the others…”
In each story I seem to have a nemesis-chapter. The one that doesn't seem to be interesting enough no matter what I do... This was it for me in this story. Hope you'll bare with me, (Beta-Yul almost didn't, but she has to deal with much more whining than this), Some fluff and some action are coming soon!
Part 6, where Danny and Kono discussing wolves and Grace is just awesome!
Once he started to talk, Kahikilani seemed very cooperative. He told Danny that aside from the four already dead victims, they received orders for one more, with the same instructions- Get the target, shooting to subdue was optional, even recommended if the victim shifted, but no more than three bullets, not in the chest and not in the head. Then tie them up with silver chains, and drop them off, with the Van they were taken in, in an appointed location, different for each victim. The van was to be found the next day in the same parking lot, cleaned and ready for the next victim.
The only exception was Steve. For once, the handlers didn’t wait for the latest target to be delivered before they gave them Steve’s details. There weren’t many other details except for two pictures. No home or work address, and they were not really expected to go after him, just watch for his presence. If encountered, the strict rules about being careful with the shots didn’t apply. It was basically ‘wanted dead or alive’.
The news didn’t seem to faze the Commander. Danny suggested police protection, just for the formality of it, and Steve dismissed it by saying “You are the police protection. You know I can’t have a police cruiser following me around.”
Steve’s phone chimed, and he looked at the screen. Uttered an amused “ha.” and looked at Danny.
“You should talk to your partner,” he told the detective. “She knows more than she tells you.”
“What do you mean?” frowned Danny.
“Drop me off, my car is there.” Steve ordered pointing at a big blue pickup parked between police cruisers at HPD headquarters “I’m gonna go look into the list of people you sent me, let CSU sweep the van to see if they can find something. You go talk to officer Kalakaua, and we will meet tomorrow. You have your daughter today, call it a short day.”
“You do not get to order me around, McGarrett. And how do you know I have Grace… nevermind. Can you just tell me what’s up with Kono?”
Steve stepped out the car and leaned down to look at Danny through the open door. “Nope.” he shut the door and walked over to his car, completely ignoring the fact that he just left his ‘police protection’ and went off alone.
Danny found Kono seated at her desk, typing frantically on her laptop. He grabbed her elbow, hauled her up and ushered her into the conference room, shutting the door behind them.
“OK, Rookie, spill it.”
“Hmm? It takes time, we requested airport footage fro…”
“Not that. Not things covered by HPD. What have you got on McGarrett?”
“McGarrett?” She was tucking her hair behind her ear nervously “What do you mean…? Why would you think…?”
“Because the smug smartass told me you know something. Now what is it?” he almost growled.
“He did?” she sat down on one of the chairs, then stood up, looked around and sat down again. “So...you know he’s…that he’s not… he is....”
“Yes…looks formidable with his fur on. I know. How do you know about him? What else do I need to know? Because I’ve been dealing with this weirdness for a few days, and there’s definitely a lot more going on that I’m not yet aware of, and I need to be”.
Kono practically jumped on him, “Oh! This is great! I’m so happy that you know, that I can talk about this with someone! You know, when I read your report... and Max’s... did you see the whole thing? You seen him change? I never saw it happen! How big was he? What color? Do you know he’s the Alpha?”
Now that kono started asking him questions, Danny sunk into a chair, reality hitting him. “I saw...I didn’t know what to make of it. One minute there was a wolf tearing people’s throats off, and the next there was a naked man lying there, with bullet wounds in him. I mean, stuff like that shouldn’t really be possible, right? Except they are, and... They exist”. He took a breath, composed himself and looked at her. “He’s huge, and his pelt is black. And I noticed you still haven’t answer my question”.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry. I know someone...I have a cousin who is part of the local pack. I found out about him a long time ago. When I saw your reports, and the information about the vics, I suspected that they were all...you know. Because of the silver, and that they were found naked, and the naked man that saved us and walked into the office a few days later with no trace of gunshot wounds. I made the connection. So I asked him this morning. He confirmed my suspicion about McGarrett. I also asked him about that weird animal attack suicide case. I thought maybe it was connected. Maybe he was a...you know... too. Maybe he was bitten and transformed, then a while later murdered. The timeline fits the other murders on the mainland, now that we looked at it as serial killings. It’s like the same person was traveling around the mainland, killing wo...them, then came here. But my cousin didn’t recognize the victim. He said he would ask around the pack if someone knows about biting.” She looked at him for a second, biting her lip, then continued. “They don’t do that, you know? So if someone did...anyway, before he tells me anything else he needs to confirm that with the Alpha. Which is McGarrett.” Suddenly she was all over him again “I can’t tell you how happy I am that you know! My cousin never wants to talk about this, I can’t ask him anything. He is the only one in the family that I know of. Oh my god, I just realized, John McGarrett was his training officer in HPD! If your McGarrett is his son… he was probably a werewolf ...” she placed a hand over her mouth, panic in her eyes, looking around to make sure they were still the only one there and no one was looking.
Danny took a deep breath. “Relax, Kono, just us here. And yeah, he told me he comes from a long line of Alphas. OK. So, someone is actually targeting them. All over the US. Why? And why escalate in Hawaii?”
“Hate crime? Eliminate them from the US?”
Danny shook his head. “They have silver in large quantities, and hired guns. This is someone spending a lot of money for just a vendetta”.
“Maybe it’s an organization. Exterminate the wolves ideology. People volunteering to do the work of god.”
“Just goes to show you lunatics come in all religions”. Danny smirked. “But don’t zealots usually like to boast their achievements? like ‘I killed the beast, stay pure’?”
“Yeah...doesn’t go along well with keeping them a secret. What did you learn from the hospital guy?”
“They didn’t like leaving a paper trail, bad guys got photos and details of their victims, and specific instructions to capture without damaging them too much. Except Steve. They really wanted him. Dead or alive. There’s a van somewhere that needs to be processed.”
“So they want them alive, but then drain and kill them? And Steve, they don’t care that much? You know, the death of John McGarrett could have been the first step. A pack without a strong Alpha is more vulnerable. Then Steve came, he might have messed with their plans. Maybe the other victims from the mainland were Alphas too?”
“Maybe, but other than checking with every pack in the mainland, it’s a stretch. Our victims weren’t the alphas, just ordinary peop...people.”.
“Except for John McGarrett. The MO was different, and it looks like the instructions they got for the new alpha are the same. So they need something from the pack, before they are murdered, but not from the alphas.”
“That’s for the pack to know I guess. How is the alpha different from them”. He looked up suddenly. “Kono, The four victims, they were all natives, right?” He knew the answer, so he didn’t wait for one “Let’s check the fifth intended one. By name he seems to be…”
Kono just looked at him appalled “Why would that matter?”
“I don’t know...” Danny replied and sighed “Just...I don’t know”
It was the first time since Danny came to Hawaii that he felt the mixed emotions most parents always expressed- the immense joy of being with their child, accompanied with the immense relief of bed time. He tucked Grace into her bed, inside the only reasonable room in the small apartment, and hurried back to finally check what was in the email he got from Steve earlier.
All seven murders they found on the mainland were indeed wolves. And there were several more wolves murdered in the past year. Each one in a different State. Like someone was...sampling wolves from all over the united states. Except for Hawaii. Four murders here, and it looks like they weren’t finished. Again, he got the nagging feeling that the fact that the murdered wolves were native Hawaiian might be a factor in it.
Danny was so engrossed in the case files on his laptop, that he didn’t notice Grace sneaking back from her room and peeking out of the living room large window until she called his name.
Danny looked up in surprise “Why aren’t you in bed, Monkey?”
“I think that wild dog is out there again.” she pointed to the window.
Danny sighed. Steve’s efforts to hide himself from view got sloppy since...well, since he was revealed to Danny. Maybe he just stopped making that effort at all. “Yes, he is. Don’t worry about it, he’s just watching out for us.”
“I know.” Grace answered with full confidence. “It’s just that...it started raining…and he is out there...”
“He’s a wild dog, sweetie, I’m sure he is used to being out in the rain. Probably likes it. It’s the only way he can get a decent shower.”
Grace giggled, but stopped herself abruptly wearing back a serious expression “But...he is watching out for us...and I think the rain is going to get stronger…” The damn Hawaiian weather decided to help make her point, as a distant roll of a thunder was heard.
“What do you want to do, monkey? He is wild, it’s not like we can…” Shit. Danny, only paying half attention up to now, caught on where this was going. “Invite him in…” he mumbled the last words
“Why not? I told you, he was really nice and tamed.” Danny couldn’t help but snort “besides, you promised we could adopt him.”
He was in real trouble now. He couldn’t lie to his daughter and point out the dangers of harbouring a wild animal. He knows Steve would not harm her in any way. He was desperate, he needed a strategy. “He...ummm... wouldn’t want to come...Wild dogs don’t like being confined.”
“Can I try calling him?”
“He is too big, there’s not enough…” Danny made the mistake and came to stand next to her. The rain did seem to pick up, and he caught the reflection of eyes from across the street.
“Please…? He can sleep with me”
”No!” Danny reacted quickly, and then sighed. “We’ll arrange a spot for him in the living room”.
That, as expected, got him a hug. A short one though, since it seemed more important for Grace to open the door. Danny went to get a few large towels, still shaking his head. Then he joined his daughter by the door and called out “It’s ok, you can come in...dog…”
Danny forgot how big he was. Wolf-Steve stepped quickly across the street, huge and quiet shadow. When he and Grace stepped aside Steve barely shoved himself through the door. Grace, her joy spilling out just like the water puddling under the wolf, took a towel, maneuvering carefully around him. Steve lowered his head letting her towel his fur.
“Can we call him Wolf?” she asked excitedly. Steve raised his head and looked at Danny, opening his mouth slightly. Danny could tell he was pleased. ”Dunno, he looks like an Eddie to me..” said Danny with a smirk, looking straight at Steve.
Danny didn’t realize what was about to happen until it was too late. Steve closed his mouth, then shoved a giggling Grace gently with his muzzle. He stepped in place, his claws scratching the floor, lowered his torso, then shook his fur, sending rivulets of water all around him, leaving a hysterically laughing Grace and a very wet splattering Danny. “Oh, you’re going to pay for that!” Danny exclaimed, looking down at himself. The wolf just wore a goofy canine grin, and let Grace get back to drying him. “I’m going to change...animal…” Muttered Danny and left the room, starting to take his shirt off. He still heard the remainants of his daughter laughter, coming in short bursts, making it very hard for him to hold on to his anger. He joined them again, with fresh, dry clothes, and pointed a finger at the wolf. “I’m watching you, buddy”, but there was no heat in his voice.
Steve turned from him, and sat facing the door. His huge body filled the small space, and Grace gave up trying to work her way around him. Instead she just climbed over him, holding on to the rich black fur. Her pajamas were already completely wet, but she didn’t seem to notice, using both hands to scratch his neck.
“Danno, come pet him! I think Wolf likes it behind his ear.” Danny got the impression Steve was just accommodating her, tilting his head to allow her access. “No thanks, Monkey, I’ll just stay here, where it’s dry”.
It was surreal. Danny felt strangely calm watching his daughter, the most precious thing in his life, hugging this enormous beast, pressing her head against his cheek. Inches away from that sharp teeth that few days ago tore out a man’s throat before his very eyes. And the only negative feeling he had was envy of his daughter, wondering how it would feel to sink his own fingers into that fur.
My first time taking on some fluff. Did OK? Thanks for the continuous support!
An ex-wife, an old friend, some guns, a car chase and a confession coming up!
“Do you ever sleep?” Danny blurted out the next day, as they were sitting in his car, staking the van. They sent a message from Kahikilani phone to whoever, that the new required package is ready, and got instructions as to where to leave the van. All that was left was waiting for the bad guys to show up, follow them wherever they go - the van itself was also planted with a tracker- and see what awaited there.
Most of the morning was spent planning this operation, or rather arguing about it. Steve insisted that he be the bait, playing as the captured wolf tied up at the back of the van. Danny refused out right. He used all of his usual retorts, with full hands-waving display to make his point. Since the bad guys didn’t seem to care much about Steve’s health state, it was a very viable option that the minute they recognize that this was him, they would prefer to shoot him between the eyes. And no, ‘Maybe they won’t check’ was not a reasonable defence.
Then Kono offered to be the bait, which caused both men to forget their initial argument and enthusiastically agree with each other in a firm dismissal of the idea.
So eventually they used a crash test dummy, covered thoroughly in a blanket, and got ready for a quick response if it would not work.
“Yes?” Steve answered hesitantly.
“You spent most of yesterday with me, then continued working the case wherever, then you came by in the evening and spent the night on my living room floor guarding the door. And here you are today, bright and early, stubborn, argumentative and looking more refreshed than I am on a Sunday morning.”
“It’s not a tiring job, keeping watch at night. In wolf form I can rest and stay alert at the same time.”
“Of course you can.”
Steve shot a smile at Danny “Especially when it’s dry.”
“Well, you can thank Grace for that. And you are welcome to use my dry floor anytime. Gracie would be thrilled.“ Danny’s phone started emitting the Psycho theme song, and Danny sighed and answered. Steve shot a curious look. “This is not a good time, Rachel” Danny spat into the phone.
“ What the hell were you thinking, Daniel, ” Came the reproachful voice of his ex-wife through the earpiece “ letting in a stray dog? letting Grace play with it?! ”
“Rachel, really, you should trust that I would not do anything that will put Grace in harm's way, it was…”
“ Not intentionally! You obviously didn’t consider that it might be dangerous, you don’t know this creature, it could get aggressive unexpectedly! ”
Danny was torn between being annoyed and being amused. He really wished Steve could hear Rachel’s side of the conversation. “I’ve known this dog for a while now,” he answered sending quick glances at Steve, checking his reaction “It’s been hanging around the neighborhood. A very quiet and tamed dog.”
“ And what about the diseases it might carry! ”
“Actually,” Danny said, trying very hard to keep his voice angry, but with little success. The look on Steve’s face was entertaining. “It has a chip, I checked it, all its shots are up to date. It is housebroken, and I think maybe I’ll adopt it. Grace can take it out when she’s with me, clean after it, learn some responsibility.”
“ You cannot be serious, Daniel. Is this some joke? You can’t keep a dog! You are not at home most hours of the day. And you can’t let Grace get attached to it when it’s obvious you would quickly come to your senses and get rid of it! ”
Danny was only half listening to Rachel now. He was much more interested in Steve’s expression; jaw tight, eyebrows knit together, lips a thin, annoyed line. “I have to go Rachel, we’ll discuss it some other time.” he disconnected the call without ceremony.
“Your Ex-wife?” Steve spat.
“Yes. She’s worried Grace might get attached to you and then we would have to throw you out because I don’t have time to take care of you. You did get your shots, though, right?”
“This isn’t funny, Daniel” Steve huffed, and sounded very much like Rachel. Danny couldn’t help but laugh.
“Here they come” Steve announced as a black mercedes entered the deserted parking lot. “Look sharp.”
The mercedes pulled behind the van, and a short dark haired woman stepped out of it. She looked around, Causing Danny and Steve to crouch behind the dashboard, then she approached the back side of the van, unlocking the door. She looked inside, then climbed in.
“So much for not checking.” Danny commented
“Yeah. I should have been in there.”
“Did you see the gun she carries?” Danny countered “How long does it take for a werewolf to heal from a bullet between the eyes?”
The woman stepped out of the van, “Come on, we’re compromised” Steve announced, and jumped out of the car pulling out his gun.
Danny followed suit yelling “HPD, hands where I can see them” the woman stopped in her tracks, inches from the car, holding her hands up. “Turn off the engine!” Danny yelled at the man still behind the wheel. He advanced slowly towards the car. He saw Steve from the corner of his eye moving behind him, gun trained on the woman. “Turn off the engine NOW!” he yelled again.
Instead of following orders, the driver decided to launch forward. The woman went for her gun, and Steve released a quick shot, getting her in the shoulder. Danny shot at the driver but had to jump and roll to the side as the car swirled and accelerated towards them.
The wounded woman jumped through the open window into the car, and it sped away, back the way it came from. Danny released a few more shots after them, the car swerved a few times but continued its getaway. His own car halted in a loud screech next to him, Steve shouting from behind the wheel “Get in!” so he did. The commander hit the gas before he even had a chance to close the door.
“What the hell are you doing!” Danny shouted, fumbling quickly to strap his seat belt. “Why are you stealing my car?!” he demanded
“It’s not stealing if you are in it” Steve countered
“No, it’s carjacking!”
“What did you want me to do? they are getting away!”
“How about letting me chase them? I am the police officer trained in car chases, you...you hunt! Truck! Truck! Watch out!” Steve steered the car away from the truck’s path at the last minute
“Don’t worry” he reassured Danny, “I’ve got this, call it in or something”
“Alright, alright, just keep your eyes on the road, this is not going to end well” he grabbed the car radio with one hand and pulled out his phone in the other “This is detective Danny Williams requesting backup, in pursuit after two suspects in a black mercedes heading west on Nuuanu towards Pali highway, occupants armed and dangerous.” He held his cellular, punching the speaker button “Kono, do you have access to traffic cameras on Pali interchange near our location?”
“ Yes, it’s on, I see your mercedes, it is now heading east on the highway. ”
Steve turned the wheel way too ethusiatically to Danny’s liking, throwing him against the door. “Slow down!” he ordered “We have eyes on the car, some of us don’t have the capability of healing fast after crashing into a concrete post!”
“Relax,” Steve said, and he did sound annoyingly relaxed. Too relaxed, in fact, Danny suspected he was enjoying himself immensely “I got this.”
“I’m not going to survive this, am I?” Danny exclaimed as Steve maneuvered the highway traffic “Next time you offer to be used as a bait please remind me to agree, at least this way I’m safer”
Steve glowered “I know what I’m doing, just relax”
“Stop telling me to relax! I’m about to…”
“ Guys, the mercedes is approaching the Nu'uanu Pali Tunnels” came Kono’s voice “no cameras beyond that point. ”
“Shit,” Steve announced. Danny thought it’s lucky the pedal was already all the way down.
“ Entering the tunnels in 4 seconds… that’s it, I’m sorry. ”
“Shit.” Steve repeated. Then he started to wriggle in his seat and pulled out his cellular
“Oh, no you don’t! Give me that!” Danny grabbed the phone from his hand “Keep your eyes on the road! Who do you want to call?”
“Catherine Rollins,” Steve replied “Five on the speed dial.”
Danny connected the call and hit the speaker. She picked up on the second ring “ Well, hello Sailor ” came a rich deep voice from the other side of Steve’s phone.
“Cath, I need a favor.” Steve started without preamble “I’m chasing this black mercedes, and I lost it north east of the Nu’uano tunnels. Can you give me a visual?”
There were three seconds of silence and then, “ You want me to access a reconnaissance satellite for your car chase? ” Danny could hear the not-so-surprised disbelief in her voice and examined Steve’s face. He didn’t even looked disconcerted. This guy was clearly used to people doing as he asked. Danny eyed the woman’s photo displayed on screen as Steve spoke.
“These guys already killed four wolves, Cath.” Steve said calmly.
“ Look, this is going to raise some flags ”
“Classify it as a dropbox request from NSA for black ops. I really need to stop them, Cath.”
“ You’re like that good looking guy in highschool that knows how cute he is and won’t take no for an answer ” Cath claimed, and Danny had to agree . Steve smiled, looking just a tad bashful at the description. Danny realized that his audacity probably came from the fact that he wasn’t doing this for himself. “ Alright,” Cath said “I’ll get your mercedes and send you the data in a minute. ”
“That’s great Cath, Thanks a lot. Next time you’re on the island, beers are on me.”
“ Beer? ” She answered incredulously “ This is worth so much more than just beers ”
“Dinner and beers then?” Steve tried
“ It’s a date, Sailor. See you. ”
The line was disconnected, Steve exited the highway and pulled over to the side of the road waiting for the information he requested. He stretched in his seat, but other than that it didn’t look like he was going to move.
“May I drive my own car again, Steve?” Danny asked sarcastically.
“You want to change places here? In the middle of the road?”
“Yes. I do. I want to be able to get back home safely today,” he explained patiently “and I already got shot by a perp, almost been run over by a car, and then was almost killed by a maniac driver who was driving my very own car. So I’d like to gain some control back. Plus, you know, it’s my car.”
Steve looked at him for a few seconds, then without a word stepped out of the car and jogged around to the passenger side. When both settled back in, Danny uttered a “Thank you.” and sighed. A few more seconds passed in silence as they waited. Steve tapped on his knee impatiently, looking at his phone.
“Is she your girlfriend?” Danny couldn’t help asking. He thought he successfully kept the disappointment from his voice.
“Cath? No, why would you think that?”
“You just offered her a date.”
“We’re just friends, Danny. She helps, I thank her by taking her to dinner.”
“Does she know that?”
“What do you mean? We’ve been friends for a long time. Besides, she is not really my type.”
“A gorgeous, smart, brunette woman, is not your type?” Danny wanted to ask what was his type, but he was not sure he was ready to hear the answer.
“No, not really. I mean, I like her, but I’m more into loudmouth, slightly annoying, over dramatic blonde men” Steve answered his unasked question.
Danny moved uneasily in his seat, his body reacting immediately to the somewhat surprising good news. “That’s...very specific…”
“Yes, it is.” Steve raised his left hand in a placating gesture “But no pressure, just letting you know we are on the same page.” the smile on his face was shamelessly smug.
“On the same page?” Danny’s mouth joined other body parts, reacting independently without asking permission “How would you even know what page I’m on?!” he exclaimed.
Steve smile faded suddenly, uncertainty passed over his features “umm..I...can smell it on you.” he confessed.
“Smell? Smell?!” Danny shrieked incredulously while making every effort to avoid smelling his own armpits. Stupid gesture “You are an animal!”
“But I’m right.” It wasn’t a question.
“I’ll have you know, my tactless, animal friend, that human being interaction is much more than the basic sexual attraction that you might smell with your animalistic nose!”
“Do not speak!” Danny demanded, finger pointing in warning “Stay quiet for a minute and let me educate you on human behaviour, an area in which it is obvious you have some difficulties!” Danny’s voice and hand gestures were filling the small space of the car. Steve was looking at him, eyebrows raised, lips pursed together in some effort. “We are not animals! We do not succumb to our very basic instincts. We are in control of our desires, and it might be, in fact it is mostly like this, that we choose our partners based on other parameters than how attractive their smile is, or how good they look naked! Our body might respond to such shallow attributes, at first interaction with a physically attractive person,” His hand, without his permission, gestured at Steve “but it does not mean that it will last or that we are interested in pursuing this kind of interaction!”
“So…” Steve braved after a second of silence “You are not interested in… pursuing this with me?” the bastard didn’t have the decency to sound even remotely insecure.
“That is completely beside the point!” Danny exclaimed, then lied “I haven’t decided yet.” because something had to be done about this guy’s overconfidence.
“OK.” Steve acknowledged, “May I hear the considerations against?”
“No, you may not! It is enough that you invaded my privacy by sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong and sniffing me.”
“I didn’t sniff you!” Steve protested “and if you put your scent out there for everyone to pick, it’s hardly an invasion to your privacy!”
“I did not put anything out there!” Danny claimed, slightly shocked “I can’t control this!”
“Well, I can’t not smell you.”
“You can at least pretend not to notice! It is a common courtesy, when you accidently observe an intimate detail reflecting someone’s most inner emotion surfacing, you do not just assume it is OK to call them up on it!”
Steve was quiet for a second or two. “Inner emotion, ha?”
“You said, ‘inner emotion’. As in more than just ‘basic instincts’”
Danny rolled his eyes “Really, Steven, one would think that with your big canine ears you will be able to hear all of it. You keep missing the point.”
Steve just grinned happily, so Danny sighed in exasperation and concentrated on pushing back the urge to wipe that smile off his face by pressing their lips together. That smug son of a bitch did not deserve that.
Steve’s phone buzzed and he looked at it “We got the coordinates. Looks like they parked near pacific university. Let’s go.”
More guns, Grenades, Danny still keeps hold on his car keys and some pack business comes up.
The mercedes was parked near one of the outer buildings of the Pacific University campus. It was a prefabricated structure, that was set separately from the main campus area. There was a silver toyota-matrix parked next to it.
“Backup will be here in ten” Danny said, but Steve was already out of the car, pulling the gun out of its holster. “You are going to get me killed” Danny muttered but followed.
They approached carefully, guns in hand, and took positions on both sides of the door. There were angry shouts coming from inside, then the door opened forcefully and a middle aged woman wearing a lab coat burst out, oblivious to the men with the guns.
“...Leaving!” she shouted. Danny pulled her to the side, curling his hand around her mouth to quell the surprised shout. But it was too late.
Three things happened at the same time. A “What the fuck?!” came from inside, Danny had to stifle a groan as the woman bit his hand and dug her heel in his foot, and Steve shouted “Down!”
Gunfire erupted from within, forcing both men to lay down for cover, as the bullets tore through the thin walls. The woman who started to flee fell down, a circle of blood spreading high on the back of her white coat.
“To the car!” Steve ordered, “Go, I’ll cover you!”
Danny didn’t have time to argue, Steve was already shooting into the room, so he ran low, hesitating just a fracture of a second when he passed the unmoving woman, then rolled forward to take cover behind the Toyota. “Covering!” he shouted at Steve as he peeked behind the car. Steve started to edge his way along the building wall and around its corner. “What the hell?” the detective muttered, lowering his head when a fresh hail of bullets started to rain. He waited for the pause then fired a few careful shots back, while checking on Steve. The Commander was just around the corner, holding something that was not his gun in his right hand. He caught Danny’s eye, then started counting down from three with his fingers.
Danny tensed, firing a few shots absentmindedly to keep the perps busy. When no raised fingers were left, Steve got up, turned, and threw something into the structure through the side window.
There was a bright flash of light and smoke started spilling out of the door and windows. Soon after, a coughing man stumbled out, flailing his gun erratically. It was obvious he was not seeing anything.
“HPD, Lower your weapons!” Danny shouted, and this time the man complied. As Danny secured the guy, Steve, one arm covering his mouth and nose, braved into the structure. By the time Danny handcuffed the perp, and was on his way to assist the reckless werewolf, Steve emerged from the door, dragging a wounded woman under one arm.
“You carry grenades?!” Danny yelled
“You don’t?” Steve sounded genuinely bewildered.
“You crazy animal, I have no idea how I would explain this in my report!”
Steve grinned broadly “Yeah, but I’m guessing it won’t be the most difficult explanation you had to deliver lately.”
Danny looked at him shocked. Sadly, the man was right.
The smoke has cleared by the time HPD arrived, they now had three more perps in custody, and Danny wondered how his life came to this, that custody became a synonym for hospital bed. When he blamed Steve out loud, the Commander helpfully pointed out that Danny was responsible for most of the gunshot wounds. Danny, and the other perps.
The inside of the structure looked like a cross between a lab and a hospital room. A single long metal table lay in the middle, all sorts of monitors surrounded it. The rest of the room was laden with laboratory equipment, from a top-of-the line centrifuge to vials of all shapes and sizes.
Steve stood in the middle of the room and looked around for a few seconds. He picked up one of the packed needles from a box next to the bed and examined it for a few seconds before throwing it in disgust. Then, trepidatiously reached his hand to touch the metal table. He touched it with the tips of his fingers then pulled back immediately. Lips pursed, jaw clenching, he hurriedly stepped out. Danny noticed the slight pallor, and a tinge of anger in his eyes.
“What is it, Steve?” Danny asked as he went out after him.
“Silver.” He answered, the tension obvious in his voice. “The place is filled with silver. Even that table in the middle is interlaced with it. It was built to keep werewolves subdued. In pain.”
Danny laid a hand on his back, the warmth sipping through the shirt still a surprise at first. “Well, it’s off commission now, buddy. And we got the people who worked here. We did good today.”
“Yeah…” Steve shook his head “But I’ve got a feeling that this is not all of it. I’m gonna go make some calls.”
He stepped away from Danny’s touch, taking his phone out of his pocket.
Danny sighed and turned to control the incoming rush of CSU personnel that just arrived on scene.
Fifteen minutes later, Steve was leaning with his back against the Camaro, still talking on his phone. Danny walked towards him, just as Steve shoved the device to his pocket and pushed up from the car.
“What’s up?” Danny asked
“Danny, I need to borrow your car.” Steve stuck his hand out in anticipation
“Excuse me? My car? For what?”
“I have this thing, I really need to get there fast.”
“You have a thing?” Danny repeated, punctuating the last word “A thing that requires my car without me in it? Not gonna happen.” He shook his head.
“You need to wrap things up here, besides, it’s a… personal thing.” He scratched behind his ear, “Come on”. He wiggled his fingers and spread his palm again.
Danny turned around. “Hey, Duke” he called out, “Wrap this up and send me the results, will ya?” At a nod from the other officer, he turned back to Steve “You coming?”, keys jingled from his fingers, held tight in his hand.
“I don’t think it’s wise,” Steve reached for the keys, Danny closed his palm around them “it’s... you know, you should really stay here, Danny, just give me the keys.” he shifted from leg to leg uneasily.
Danny stepped closer to Steve, and quietly said “I’ve seen you drive my car. It’s either I drive you or you hitchhike out of here.” He looked into Steve eyes, trying to convey his determination “Whatever it is, I can handle it. Do you smell any fear? Let’s go.”
“You should be afraid.” Steve sighed “fine, you can come, but I’m driving.”
“No, no you are not. This does scare me. As well as you, out there, without backup. I share your concern that this is not all of it, and we are not out of the woods yet.” He walked around the car to the driver’s side “Get in.”
Steve leaned his hands on the car’s roof, looking at Danny. His face was frozen as he stared at him from across the car. Danny wondered for a second if he’s about to get an aneurysm. Then Steve seemed to come to a conclusion. “I’m going to my pack’s den. I’ll be...safe there, but they don’t like outsiders. You really don’t need to come.”
Danny caught the hesitation before the word ‘safe’. Maybe it was nothing. He just shrugged. “I’m used to being the outsider.”
Steve smiled back “You know that taking off that tie is a good step toward belonging here.” he entered the car, “Come on.”
“Who says I want to belong?”. Danny answered as he got into the car.
He pulled the car back, rushed through the campus grounds and soon he was navigating around the heavy traffic, following Steve’s instructions.
“Listen carefully.” Steve ordered “Ground rules. I’m not sure what’s the situation there. You stay close to me, you ignore any provocation, and if I tell you to leave, you leave, no questions asked.”
“Understood”. Danny didn’t even try to argue. “You know if I have to leave I’ll do that in my very grateful car, you’ll have to terrorize someone else for a ride back”.
“That’s fine.” He looked at Danny “And do try not to talk.”
Steve led them to the outskirts of the city, arriving at a large warehouse on the edge of the jungle. There was a woman standing just outside the door, her long grey hair in contrast to her young face, the appearance made her look ageless. She nodded at Steve as he walked passed her, but Danny noticed she followed in right after him.
The inside of the warehouse looked nothing like the standard, dreary industrial structure its exterior suggested. The dim afternoon light spilling from the high glass window all around lit what looked like a very comfortable mixture of VIP hotel lounge and luxurious night club in the middle of a large open space. When Steve mentioned the word ‘den’ Danny imagined...well, a den. The thought was ridiculous, of course, so he dismissed it. But nothing else really came to mind. Surely not this. He couldn’t help the smirk on his lips when he wondered how they handle all the fur clinging to the luscious carpets.
Stern voices reached his ears and the amused expression faded.
“It’s probably him right now, you can ask him yourself.” came a calm voice from somewhere inside. Five people were standing there facing a sixth one that stood with his back to a closed door.
Except for them and the woman who followed them, There were two more men and one woman sitting at the round bar that stood in the middle of the space.
They all looked at them as they got closer.
Steve turned his head without changing pace “Stay here with Jacky” he whispered and spared a quick glance toward Danny and the woman.
Danny stood still and the woman with the grey hair stood behind him to his left, way too close for his comfort.
“What’s up, Chin?” Steve asked as he approached the group.
The man who was facing the rest answered, “Aloha, Steve. Kawika here seemed to have forgotten your order that no one is to speak with the prisoner.”
Danny frowned at the word prisoner. He was suddenly very aware of the protective stance the man named Chin held, with his back to the door.
The man who stood opposite to Chin, moved to place himself in front of Steve. His skin was covered in tattoos, his dark complection suggested countless hours in the sun. Trimmed beard and moustache framed his mouth, wavy dark hair covered his head. He was shorter than Steve, but his posture made him look at least his height. The other four men adjusted their position to stand behind him.
“What are you doing here, Kawika?” Steve asked. Danny noticed the slight change in his friend’s posture. Legs spread apart, shoulders stretch backwards, arms crossed on his chest.
“I can assure you, McGarrett, that I was not going to speak to the prisoner.” Something in his tone made the hair on the back of Danny’s neck bristle. “I was going to see what it is about him that scares you so much.”
It seemed to Danny that the room grew still. Everyone froze in place. Eyes set on the two men.
Steve didn’t answer immediately, the tension in his muscles grew. Then he said slowly, carefully, “What are you saying, Kawika?”
“I’m saying, that I do not understand why he is still alive.”
“We are not executioners. Once I decide we’ve finished with him, he is going to be trialed.”
“Trialed!” Kawika hissed and Danny didn’t like the flash in the man’s eyes “There is no doubt about what he’s done. He’s admitted to it himself. He killed our Alpha. He should be dead.”
Danny’s eyes opened wide. The man who killed John McGarrett...was held prisoner here?
“I am very aware of what he did.” Steve growled “It is not for you to decide his fate.”
Kawika took a step forward, closer to Steve. The only movement in the room. “No, it is your job” he spit out. “But if you are too afraid to do it, I am offering my help.”
The room was suddenly vibrating with low, guttural growls. Steve also stepped forward, towering over his counterpart, but lowering his face to meet his. “Is this a challenge, Kawika?” his voice was so deep and low that every word vibrated in Danny’s stomach. He suddenly thought that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to come here. Maybe he should have waited in the car. From his spot a few feet behind Steve, he could see Kawika baring his teeth, eyes turning yellow. Next to him, the grey haired woman breathed heavily, every exhale rumbling in his ear.
They stood there, growling and baring teeth at each other for a few seconds. It looked ridiculous and terrifying at the same time. Then Steve straightened, looking around at the people standing watch. “Alert the pack.” he said in that same low voice. “Twenty minutes.”
Almost as one everybody dispersed, leaving Steve, Danny, the man called Chin and the grey haired woman alone.
Steve ran his hand down his face, then laid it on his hip, taking a deep breath, letting his tense muscles relax, just a tinge. He motioned Danny to come closer. “Danny… Detective Williams, this is Chin Ho Kelly” he said almost casually, like they just entered the building and nothing disturbing happened.
Danny swallowed and nodded, trying to adjust himself to the sudden change of air. “Nice to meet you”.
“Kono’s partner, right?” Chin offered his hand “she speaks highly of you”.
“How do you know Kono?” pondered Danny, “Ah, don’t tell me, you’re that cousin she mentioned”.
Chin smiled warmly “I am”
“That’s nice,” Steve interjected impatiently “Danny, if you are willing to hang around for a bit, I might need your help later”.
Danny blinked in surprise. “Other than driving you around? what do you need?”
“Chin,” Steve laid his hand on the other man’s shoulder, Danny felt a strange jolt in his stomach, but dismissed it immediately “I need you to stick with Danny. If you see that things are... going sideways for me, I need you to secure the prisoner. Danny will help. Take him into HPD custody. It has to happen before Kawika understands what’s going on.”
Danny was jolted back to the situation “Who is this prisoner? Why is he being held here?”.
Both men continued to ignore him. Chin shook his head “Steve, if this turns out not in your favor, you’re going to need me there with you…”
“No, I won’t, It is more important that you get the prisoner out of Kawika’s reach. You take him to HPD and then call the number I gave you, Joe White.”
“Steve…” Chin insisted, Steve waved his hand, and Chin fell silent.
“Jacky would watch out for me if needed.” Steve said. The woman next to Danny nodded.
“I’m asking again, who is this prisoner?” Danny interjected, stepping forward, and placing himself in Steve’s space, making sure he is not ignored.
Steve looked at him and said “Chin, let Duke know what’s going on here.” He grabbed Danny’s elbow and steered him to the side.
“The prisoner is Victor Hesse, an international illegal weapon runner, a terrorist, and the man who killed my father.”
“You know,” Danny exclaimed as his suspicions were confirmed, “HPD has been looking for your father’s murderer for the past three weeks, and he’s been at your possession all this time? As a prisoner? Does Duke know about this? Is he one of you? Why didn’t you deliver him before, if you’re planning to do so now!” Danny was flailing his hands, talking in a shouted whisper. He was genuinely angry.
Steve placed one hand on his hip “He wasn’t here all the time, I caught him about ten days ago. I was planning to move him to the custody of the Navy, but then these killings started, and I thought maybe he had something to do with it, so I left him here for questioning. I wasn’t planning to deliver him to HPD. He is wanted by the Navy, so this is where he was going. But now, if... I won’t be able...HPD is the best option, the navy would deal with them.”
“HPD is the only option right now, since he’s a suspect in your father’s murder. You are civilians. Holding someone prisoner is called kidnapping!”
A flash of anger passed through Steve’s face “I’m not a civilian, Danny, I’m a Naval officer. Hesse was my target long before he arrived to Hawaii…Look, I don’t have time for this right now. I need to get ready, and I would appreciate your help in this. Chin would stay with you, he knows where Hesse is kept, if needed, he will help you take him to HPD.”
“What do you mean ‘if needed?’, what’s going on?” demanded Danny again.
Steve scratched his jaw “My Alpha status has been challenged. I have to fight for it. If I lose, Hesse might be killed. You need to know that this puts you in danger too. So if you agree to stay, you will have to listen to Chin, and split with Hesse the minute he tells you to, no matter what.”
Danny startled. “Wait, fight for it? What do you mean fight for it? Like...a duel? A dog fight?“
“Wolves, Danny, it’s wolves” Steve exasperated
“Teeth? Claws? Wild animals fighting for dominance nature-movie style? Steve,” He breathed “If you lose you could die?”
“It almost never happens.” Steve tried to pacify him “It probably wouldn’t come to that.”
“Almost never...Are you out of your mind? What is wrong with you? You want to fight another person for the right to decide what happens with a prisoner? That’s the stupidest, craziest idea I’ve heard you utter since I met you, and you had quite a few! If you win you might be hurt, and if you lose you’ll definitely be hurt, and for what? This is pointless! You should sit down and talk about this, like reasonable human beings!” Danny fumed.
“But we are not human beings, Danny!” Steve’s voice was low, harsh. His eyes piercing Danny, paralyzing him. “We are wolves. Animals, as you keep reminding me. And this is how we do things. So you either respect that and do as I asked” his finger pointed at the floor then moved to point at the door “or leave here.”
Danny stared and swallowed. His body shook with contained anger, unable to ventilate it. This was ridiculous, primitive, pointless, yet he could do nothing about it. Nothing but watch as Steve threw his life on the line for… what exactly?
“I’m not staying here to watch you get killed over a stupid dispute.” he said coldly, and regretted it the minute it came out of his mouth. The look on Steve’s face caused his breath to hitch.
“Then you should go now.” he answered.
Danny just stood there staring at him. His legs refused to move. After a few seconds, Steve turned and walked away, disappearing through one of the doors along the side of the wall, leaving Danny to stare after him in silence.
“It is not stupid for us.” Chin’s voice startled him “This is who we are. He needs to do this, for the pack. For his father.”
“You heard that, ha?” Danny dropped his head “I’m sorry. I just...I find this hard to accept.”
“He’s going to be OK, either way. He is strong willed.”
Danny released a short cackle that sounded suspiciously like a snort. “You mean a stubborn bastard.”
He could hear Chin’s smile in his voice “That too.” A hand was placed on his shoulder. “You came to like him in a very short time.”
Danny finally turned to face Chin “He drives me crazy.” he stated.
“But you’re not gonna leave, are you?”
Danny sighed “No, I’m not.”
Plot thickens. Still with me there?
“Come on.” Chin told Danny, motioning with his head “Stay close.”
Danny followed Chin, his curiosity got the better of him as they walked. “Does this kind of thing happens often?” he asked.
“No. Last time it happened was long before I was born. There are fights, young wolves always testing, finding their place in the pack, so when the time comes for a new Alpha to take his place, the balance of power is usually clear to all.” Chin explained “Steve was away most of his adult life, he didn’t participate in these small battles. He came back to a torn-up pack. Our Alpha was murdered without really having a clear second. Kawika is strong, but not all agree with his ways. Steve convinced the pack to give him a chance, and his heritage, as well as bringing down Hesse, the Alpha killer, were enough for a while. But this was inevitable. And he needs this. This will cement his Alpha status, make it stronger.”
“Or kill him.” Danny groused
“The chances of that are not very high. Both have the option to surrender, and when they do it is not acceptable to kill.”
“What are the chances that Steve would surrender? Acknowledge that he lost?” It wasn’t a rhetorical question, Danny felt he didn’t know the man well enough to judge that. Maybe hoped that what he did know wasn’t enough. Yet Chin looked at him with a sad smile and didn’t answer, confirming Danny’s admiration and fear regarding the man.
Chin led Danny back to the warehouse entrance. Even as they were stepping outside, several vehicles were parking next to his car, and people were passing them by on their way to the den. They nodded to Chin, some shook his hand. All eyed Danny, some couriosly, some suspiciously, but the looks were the only acknowledgment he got. The air of excitement was almost tangible around them.
“Turn your car around and park it there.” Chin pointed to an open space next to a large gate. “If required, we will get out of the side door over there and through that gate. I’ll go make sure it’s unlocked.”
Danny complied as more people seemed to be streaming into the warehouse, disappearing inside. Chin led him back inside, and loud howls rose from somewhere ahead.
“Come, it’s starting” Chin hurried him. They stepped outside through the back door, into a large yard surrounded by high metal sheets serving as a fence. Several trees were scattered, and the ground was covered in wild grass and damp earth. They remained standing by the door, outside the circle of howling wolves. There were at least thirty of them, all sizes and colors.
The loud howling died down, leaving just the low growls of the two large wolves in the middle of the circle. They were both crouching low, front legs spread wide, ears flat to the sides, lips drawn back, teeth bare inches from each other. Their tails pointed straight back, unmoving.
The wolves circling the scene moved uneasily, paws scratching the ground silently, weight shifting constantly.
It was unnerving. Like watching a national geographic documentary up close and personal, without the safety of the screen separating him from the wild life. Danny shoved his hands in his pockets, silently thanking Steve that ordered Chin to remain in human form. It made him feel less isolated. Chin was obviously less happy about it, it looked like he was fighting to remain calm. His eyes grew brighter, taking on that yellowish animalistic tinge, and his muscles were strained.
Nothing happened for a long while. Danny couldn’t help but hope, just for a second there, that this was going to be resolved by the world’s most scary stare contest. But then the gray wolf launched forward, teeth snapping loudly. The large black wolf lowered his torso and threw his head to the side to avoid the attack and then turned his own snout, snapping his teeth at his opponent. Their heads moved back and forth, each trying to close his teeth around the other’s muzzle.
Then Steve bounced back, the gray wolf after him. He stood up on his hind legs, causing Kawika to advance further than he intended, then landed atop of him, pinning him down with his legs and then with his whole body weight.
The gray wolf rolled to his side and then turned his head, almost curling around Steve’s black body. Both of the wolves’ teeth succeeded in finding their marks. The black sank his high on the gray’s shoulders, the gray’s teeth caught Steve’s side. They froze like this, still growling, jaws tightening inch by inch.
Next to him, Chin growled low, his whole body pointing forward, his nostrils flaring, but his face remained a blank mask.
Kawika twisted and squirmed under Steve, finally releasing his grip in favor of wriggling his way forcefully from under the large black beast on top of him. He managed to escape, and howled as the movement caused his flesh, still clutched between Steve’s teeth, to rip.
Danny winced. The wolves around began to howl again.
Kawika launched away from Steve, but the black wolf immediately darted after him, almost succeeding to sink his teeth to his side again. The gray wolf turned abruptly, and both were bashing the side of their bodies against each other, rising to their hind legs and falling back repeatedly.
Then Steve stumbled, his front right leg slipping only slightly on the ground beneath him. It was enough. The gray wolf managed to sink his teeth into the side of his neck. Steve released a pain filled sound, half bark half yelp.
Danny held his breath. His hands were clutching the inside of his pockets, arms shaking under the strain not to pull his gun and stop this madness.
But this was not over. Steve half rolled to his back, his hind legs kicking into the grey wolf’s soft belly. The other wolf collapsed, trying to defend his underside and not relinquish his grip on Steve, and the black wolf kicked hard again, throwing the gray one to his side, leaping to his feet and launching forward.
Danny could not follow the fight any more. Both wolves were entangled around each other, rolling on the ground, growling, barking, cacophony of sounds mingling with the loud howls that rose around them, a jarring noise attacking his ears.
“Chin…” he whispered breathlessly, “Chin, we need to stop this, they are going to kill each other…”
There was a sharp, agonized yelp, Danny could not tell which one of the wolves emitted it.
But then the black wolf got to his feet, head still bowed as his strong jaw was wrapped around the gray’s throat. In the sudden stillness, Danny could feel the low growl. The wolf on the ground whimpered, curled his body, tail tucked between his hind legs. He lay still, unmoving.
Steve pulled back, releasing his grip. His teeth still bare, covered in blood, muzzle wrinkled, head hanging low over the now submissive beast beneath him. The gray wolf whimpered again, then started licking the black wolf’s nose.
Chin’s muscles sagged, all tension leaving him. “It’s done.” he said.
Steve raised his head, releasing a loud, long howl. Kawika rolled to his stomach and crawled away from him, while the other wolves approached their leader, huddled closely around him and joined the howl. By his side, Chin was wrestling out of his clothes which he then left discarded on the ground. A large tawny wolf appeared in his stead, running forward, excitedly, to join his pack.
Danny watched, transfixed and oddly envious at the display in front of him. Relief flowed through his body, and he wished nothing more than to join that stupid, animalistic, primitive, loud concert around his friend.
The pack’s ecstatic howls finally subsided, and they moved back still forming the same circle as before. Chin ran back to his side, transforming back to human form. Danny kept his gaze on Steve. In the corner of his eye he noticed Chin was getting dressed quickly. Steve, in the middle of the circle, transformed back too. He remained crouched for a second, knees bent, leaning forward on his left arm, head hanging. Then he stood, and the wolves around him started shifting too. For a moment Steve was hidden by the mass of naked bodies, but then they parted before him. His eyes met Danny’s, and the haole, human outsider’s heart skipped a beat.
But Danny’s own elation vanished in a flash. Steve was covered in blood, it was leaking from the side of his neck, oozing from bites mark on his left waist, a long deep gash stretched from his left shoulder, across his torso and down his abs, three parallel red lines trickling blood low on his left hip. He was holding his right wrist in his left hand. His pack bowed their head as he passed between them, and Danny stood frozen in place. Then Steve stumbled, leg buckling beneath him, his head fell forward, and he almost lost his balance.
Chin’s strong grip stopped Danny as he jumped forward to help him.“No.” the wolf whispered close to his ear. “He needs to walk out of here on his own two feet.”
Danny pulled his hand forcefully out of his grip, “Hasn’t he done enough?” he asked angrily through his gritted teeth.
“He will be fine. Don’t do anything to diminish his victory.”
Steve walked past them, Danny aching to follow but waiting for Chin to move first. Only when Steve disappeared back into the warehouse, the atmosphere around him eased. Chin moved quickly after him, Danny at his side. He shot through the open space, half running to the cluster of rooms on the other side.
Steve was sitting on an old, worn couch in one of the rooms. His head jerked up as they entered, but he relaxed when he saw them, letting it drop backwards, closing his eyes. He looked beyond exhausted, the strong composed posture gone from his features.
“Anything needs treatment?” Chin asked softly.
“Anything doesn’t?” Danny asked incredulously
“I think my right wrist. Might be broken” Steve replied without moving or opening his eyes.
“I’ll go get Jacky.” Chin turned to exit, closing the door after him.
Danny stood in the middle of the room, looking at the man sprawled naked on the couch, not quite sure what to do.
“Thanks for sticking around, buddy.” Steve suddenly said, eyes still closed.
“Don’t mention it.” Danny sprang into action, locating the small, open washroom at the other side of the room and moving towards it. “I just wish you’d have warned me in time, I would have brought my film crew, pretty sure I could have made a lot of money selling this to national geographic.” He found a towel and soaked it in warm water.
“I’m sorry too.” Steve answered “They would have made a good meal after this workout.”
“Not intimidated.” Danny stated “You already told me that you don’t eat people.”
Danny started cleaning Steve, moving the towel gently over the puncture marks on his neck.
Steve raised his head, finally opening his eyes “What are you doing?”
“Treating your wounds.” Danny answered simply
“No need,” Steve said, but he laid his head back again, closing his eyes “It will heal shortly.”
“Will the blood also magically disappear? Because I refuse getting used to that gruesome look of yours. It is very efficient of you to grow black fur, but your human skin color does accentuate blood. Not to mention, you might stain my car seats.”
Steve was silent, maybe too tired to argue. Danny suspected he was enjoying this attention.
“What will happen to Kawika?”
“Nothing.” Steve answered. “He may choose to leave the pack, but I doubt he would. If he stays he will keep out of my way for a while. Out of everyone’s way, really. But he has his friends, they’ll take care of him.”
Danny concentrated on his work for a while, watching how with each of his strokes across the gashes on Steve’s skin, the amount of new blood oozing lessened. Skin closed over the rims of the wounds. It was a fascinating sight. Without thinking, he used his fingers to trace the fading red line across Steve’s torso and down to his abbs. Steve moaned, a content, hushed sound, and Danny was suddenly aware of what he was doing. The man splayed before him was very much naked, and although he was still slumped unmoving with his eyes closed, his body’s response to Danny’s ministrations was evident. Danny pulled back abruptly, standing, aware now of his own body’s reaction.
Steve perked his head up, his eyes, when he looked at Danny were bright and dark.
“Why did you stay, Danny?” he asked quietly.
The door behind him opened, Danny turned to see Chin and the gray haired woman stepping in. He looked at Steve half panicked, but the fact that he was still naked and obviously aroused didn’t seem to bother Steve in any way. In fact, it seemed that Danny was the only one bothered by it.
Chin sat on a chair to the side of the room, Jacky knelt next to Steve, immediately busing herself with his injured wrist. Danny stood in the middle of the room with a wet, blood stained towel and a question he wasn’t sure he could answer.
He stood and watched, wincing sympathetically each time Steve did, feeling a little dazed and overwhelmed.
When Jacky finally finished and helped Steve lay down on the couch, the man said sleepily “You can go, Danny.” Jacky spread a blanket over him, and he took a deep breath “I need to rest for a while, you don’t need to stay. Chin and one of the pups would watch your back.”
“Yeah,” Danny cleared his throat “OK.” He looked around, wondering where to put the soiled towel.
“Just leave it there,” Chin helped
Danny nodded and put it down. He walked a few steps towards the door then turned around. “See you later?”
Steve was already asleep. Looked like neither of them would get an answer just now.
Dating Steve is never boring! Will Danny get used to his ideas of romance?
Love to hear what do you think of the wolf fight :)
Distractions, Coffee and considerations against.
Later that night Danny stared at his TV absent mindedly. It was the last in a string of distractions he went through, unsuccessfully. First was, naturally, work. He opened his laptop, searched for information about Victor Hesse, but there wasn’t anything there. Apparently international terrorists didn’t have a facebook profile. Going over the files Kono sent one more time, he made it through the second report before he realized he wasn’t really reading anything. Next he called Grace. It was late, but she was still up and more than happy to provide a full account of her day, and he even managed to absorb some details about the complexity of deciding who should be her partner in two different school projects. But it seemed mostly random, the set of considerations hard to follow, and so his mind mostly wandered again. After that he tried cooking. That was a very big failure. He really didn’t have the option to cook something sophisticated in his ill equipped tiny kitchen, so what he did cook, required no brain cells at all. So now the TV was on, some ball game playing, his cellular clutched in his hand, Steve’s details displayed and thumb hovering over the dial button. But he didn’t call. The game progressed and he gave up and let the images of the day flow into his mind.
Steve determined and angry, black wolf wild and vicious, wolves howling, wolves fighting, wolves growling, wolves transforming into humans, naked humans, Steve’s muscular body naked and compliant under his touch...
There was a scratching sound at the door. He frowned for a second, then smiled and got up to open it.
Yep. A freakishly large black wolf was on the other side, shoving his way into the small apartment the second the door was open. Danny let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“Great.” he said with false annoyance “I should have known better than to feed a stray mutt, it’s impossible to get rid of them afterwards.”
Steve huffed, turned in his place almost knocking Danny off his feet and settled himself facing the door.
“At least you’re not wet or bleeding this time.”
Steve perked his head and looked at him. One ear was still turned towards the door.
“Is anyone out there?”
Steve shook his head slightly.
Danny looked at him. “I’d offer you a coffee, but you’d need hands for that” he said casually,
Steve huffed noisily, nostrils expanding, sniffing the air. ”Yes, there’s coffee.” Danny answered the silent question and smirked. “Want me to pour some in a bowl?” Steve huffed angrily, Danny laughed. “I’ll go get you something to wear”.
He dug out the largest T-shirt he could find, and a pair of boardshorts that his sister gave him as a present before he left for Hawaii. He never used them, they were too big and ridiculous and he really didn’t like the beach. That would have to do.
He lay them on the open bed, and sat on the chair near the dining table, looking at Steve.
The wolf stood up, examined the offered wardrobe then looked back at Danny expectantly.
Steve gestured with his head towards Danny.
“This is what I have, you will have to…” Steve lowered his head, closed his eyes, and covered them with his paw. “Oh, you want me to turn my back?” Steve nodded once, and Danny got up and turned. “Seriously? I didn’t realized you were shy, you didn’t seem to have any issues displaying yourself completely in the forest, in the den, in your room afterwards...”
“You can turn back.” came Steve’s voice from behind. He sounded relaxed, slightly amused, and it made Danny’s heart stutter. He closed his eyes for a second, breathing in relief, and turned just in time to get a glimpse of Steve’s abs before he pulled the shirt over them.
“I don’t have a problem with being seen naked,” Steve explained “it’s the...shifting.”
“The shifting?” Danny stepped to the counter, taking out two cups and turning on the coffee machine “So you are saying that you don’t mind running around naked in public, but you have an issue with someone seeing you shift? You do realize I’ve already seen you do it. More than once.”
“I… try not to think about it.” Steve scratched the back of his head “It’s kind of intimate...and not very...ummm aesthetic.” He explained. He actually looked embarrassed. Danny indulged.
He leaned with his back against the counter. “Don’t worry,” He reassured him. “The minute one sees how impressive the results are, on both ends, I might add, the shifting itself doesn’t really register.”
There was suddenly a weird smirk on Steve’s face, and a strange look in his eyes that made Danny want to replay the words he just said in his mind and figure out what caused it.
Steve saved him the effort “You think I’m impressive?”
Danny rolled his eyes. The smirk was suddenly gone from Steve’s face, but the glint in his eyes remained. “Why did you stay?” He asked. His eyes, soft and unwavering looked straight at Danny.
Danny just got an answer to his question, so it was only fair that Steve will have his. Danny fought to find words. A strange feeling for him.
Steve started to move towards him.
“I...ummm…” Danny mumbled. Steve didn’t stop at a reasonable distance, and kept advancing until he was inches from Danny. “what are you doing?” Danny inquired.
The man put his hands on the counter next to Danny and leaned forward, not quite touching Danny, but close enough that the detective could feel the heat emanating from his body. His face hovered inches from Danny’s, gaze flickering between his lips and his eyes.
“Politely checking what page you’re on…” Steve whispered, the warmth of his breath on Danny’s skin sent shivers down his spine.
Danny swallowed and whispered back “You invaded my space, that’s hardly polite.”
“Should I back away?” Steve asked but leaned closer. He smelled like the jungle, and salt water. Danny’s own eyes were drawn towards Steve’s lips.
“I don’t really know you…” Danny claimed in a hushed whisper
“You already know more about me than most people.” Steve countered
“We’re...too different, I’m a city cop, you...you are a magical creature of the jungle...how do I even know you won’t turn to a toad or something if I kiss you…” It was too long a sentence for the meager amount of oxygen he was able to consume at that moment. His head felt light.
“I really think it’s the other way around, but…” Steve brushed their lips together tentatively, then pressed them gently. Danny concentrated on the coolness of the counter digging into his back, the feel of the solid cupboard doors pressed against his hands, trying very hard not to launch himself forward into the man’s touch. It was brief, a fracture of a second, and Steve pulled away, just an inch. Danny could hear the smile in his voice when he spoke again, and realized that his own eyes were shut close. “See?” Steve said, “nothing happened.”
That, of course was completely untrue. Several things happened to Danny’s body. He swallowed again, then peeled his eyes open. Steve’s eyes were still closed.
“I have a daughter…” Danny continued trying to reason...
“I know.” Steve was now speaking close to his ear, their cheeks brushing.
Danny’s eyes slid shut again on their own accord, the deprivation of sight heightening the intoxicating sensation of their closeness. “I don’t know how she would react to this…”
“She loves me…” Steve breathed into his ear, Danny shivered again.
“She loves you as a wolf.”
The warmth was suddenly gone. Danny opened his eyes in dismay.
Steve sighed, backing away, leaning with his back to the dining table across from Danny.
“Look,” he started, then had to clear his throat, as his voice came out gruff. “Grace is a great kid. I’m sure she would just be happy if you are happy,” he gestured with one hand toward Danny. “But, if you want, you can talk to her about this before we take this any further. Or start this, whatever. If you want we can both talk to her.”
Danny blinked. That man seemed to know the right things to say.
“Fuck,” Danny whispered. He closed the distance between them again with a wide step, one hand grabbed Steve’s shirt, the other clasped his nape and he pulled him down, pressing their lips together. Steve’s lips were warm and soft, his arms snaked around Danny, hands splayed on his back, pulling him closer. Danny traced Steve’s lips with his tongue and they parted, and Danny slipped his tongue hungrily between them, moaning at the exquisite taste. His mind went blank.
He backed away a split second before he passed out from lack of oxygen, but Steve still held on, and Danny leaned into him, laying his forehead on his shoulder, taking in air in big noisy gulps.
A minute, or maybe an hour later, Danny wasn’t sure, he got his breathing back in order. He looked up at Steve, and wriggled a bit in his arms until the man released him. He turned back to the counter, “So you want that coffee?”
“Hmm?” Steve replied in mock surprise “didn’t we just...Oh, you actually meant coffee?”
Danny rolled his eyes “Jerk. Milk? sugar?”
“Do you have butter?”
“Nevermind. Plain is fine.”
He handed Steve his coffee, and both drank in silence, looking at each other across the small space separating them. Steve looked serious, eyeing Danny with his attentive, focused gaze.
“You OK? With this?” he suddenly asked. Danny wondered if he just caught a sense of insecurity in the man.
“It seems I’m ok with it whether I want to be or not”, Danny answered with a smile. “I can’t seem to stay away from you”.
Steve laid the empty cup on the table, moved closer to Danny and placed a quick kiss on his lips. “Good.” He grinned… wolfishly. He moved back next to the bed, and Danny pursed his lips together in a stupid attempt to keep the kiss’s warmth.
He suddenly realized that Steve was undressing. His heart started pounding uncontrollably. “Wait, what are you doing, I’m not ready…”
Steve looked at him puzzled for a second, demonstrating again how comfortable he was with his nakedness, then he smiled. “Don’t worry, Danno. I’m still on guard duty and I prefer keeping watch in... my other impressive form.” He motioned with his hand “Turn around.”
Danny lingered for a second soaking the warmth in Steve’s smile and eyes. Then he complied, and turned his back to the man. “Did you just call me Danno?” he suddenly asked.
He heard Steve’s claws scratching the floor, and turned to face a large canine smirk. Steve huffed once and sat on the floor, facing the door, laying his head on his stretched out legs.
Danny approached him. Kneeling beside him, he finally allowed himself to sink his fingers into the dark fur. It was soft and thick and warm just as he expected, and Steve stretched under the touch and heaved a contented breath.
Danny wondered why he felt he ever needed a distraction from this.
A fluffy relief...Now, are you ready to get back to some action and drama?
(Also, I would like to hear your sincere take about the fluff. Writing it is new to me...)
Next two chapters contain a somewhat stolen conversation from season 1 episode 9. It also might be a spoiler. Be warned. (Really? Haven't seen this episode yet? Why are you reading this instead of watching the show??! GO WATCH THE SHOW!)
You might also want to check the new beautiful cover we have, curtsy of Rena. Aside of being amazing, it was really exciting receiving such an artwork and to know it was actually inspired by my writing. I’ve been walking with my head in the clouds the last few days. I can't believe it happened. Thank you so so much for sharing this Rena!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“I don’t like this.” Danny felt like a broken record, but he couldn’t help it. The first few times Steve’s answers revolved around explaining his logic. Danny could accept that Hesse would be kept in Navy custody, he understood that the man was involved in more than the murder of a retired police officer, he saw reason in interrogating him in a less… procedure confined environment. What he couldn’t understand, what he hated, was the fact that he was asked to keep this to himself. HPD detectives were working on this investigation, and will continue to work, even though there was no one to apprehend.
So the next few times Danny expressed his displeasure, Steve simply ignored him.
Now, he just exasperated loudly and said “You really have no choice.”
“I don’t?” Danny answered angrily “What stops me from simply calling HPD and letting them know what’s going on?”
“Well, for starts it’s a matter of national security, you don’t want to mess with that.” Danny snorted dismissively “Secondly,” Steve continued “You don’t want to break the trust I put in you.”
That was low. Really. Danny fumed, but couldn’t find the words to counter this statement. Mostly because it was true. He hated that smug bastard. “I hate you.” he finally said.
“No you don’t” Steve grinned at him.
Danny rolled his eyes. “And I really don’t like this”
Steve sighed. “You know you don’t have to come, right? Why don’t you just go back to HPD, work the case, forget about the whole Hesse thing?”
“You think I can forget this? Oh, no. No, you promised I can talk to the man before you send him off to be tortured for information wherever. Do not back away from this.”
“I’m not, I’m just telling you it’s pointless. He won’t talk. And it will just upset you more.”
“So what, you think if I’ll just ignore his existence I’ll feel better with this?”
“I don’t know, maybe, at this point I’m willing to try anything to make you shut up about this.”
“Such a charmer, McGarrett.”
“You’re bringing out the best in me.”
Thankfully they made it to the den before Danny was able to act on his plans to beat the annoyance out of Steve. Or kiss it out. Whatever. There was a big motorcycle parked just outside the door, and a red headed man was talking to Chin near it.
“No way!” Steve mumbled as he stepped out of the car, Danny could see his face changing from exasperated annoyance to pure happiness. “No way!” he said again, this time out aloud, what made the two men talking to turn and face him.
The redhead returned Steve’s smile, spreading his hands to the sides and swaggering towards him. He was a bit taller than Steve, leaner and held himself in that same self-assured way the commander had.
“Smooth Dog!” the redhead greeted him happily, and they hugged, batting each other fondly on the back. Danny frowned at the nick name. Steve had a reproachful expression each time Danny uttered the word ‘dog’ in relation to him, and there he was, hugging the man who just called him a dog, warmly, and way too tightly .
“Bullfrog!” Steve exclaimed with the same enthusiasm. “How long has it been?” They finally disengaged from each other.
“Two years, I believe. Too long, it seems that you get yourself in trouble without me watching your back.”
“His back is just fine” Danny heard himself say
“Oh,” Steve uttered as if he was surprised Danny was there. “Danny, this is Lieutenant Nick Taylor, we served together in SEALs, Nick, this is Danny Williams from HPD.”
“Nice to meet you,” Nick offered his hand and Danny felt compelled to take it
“You too.” Danny lied. “So you served together…? Like a canine unit?”
Steve rolled his eyes, but Taylor didn’t seem to take the bait “Yes, served under him”.
“Under him, ha?”.
“Three years in ‘Stan…” Taylor stretched the word, gesturing with his hands and looking at Steve like this simple sentence was holding a lot more that just these words. It probably did.
“Stan?” Danny mimicked the pronunciation “What is stan?”
“Afghanistan,” Steve explained offhandedly and returned his attention to the tall redhead “So, Nick, they sent you to bring in the package?”
“They did. Actually, I requested it once I heard you are involved in this.” Nick answered with a broad smile
Danny huffed, but no one seemed to noticed.
“Good, that’s great.” Steve commented, patting Nick on his shoulder.
“Chin here told me that once you approve we can go check the package.”
“Yeah, sure” Steve nodded “we are just going to chat with him for a bit, then you can assess him.”
“OK, then for now I’m gonna do a dry run, map the AO and check for choke points” Nick was turning to hop on his bike
“Wait, what are you saying”, Danny interjected. “Excuse me, was this english?” Danny turned to Steve “can you translate this...smooth... dog?”
“AO is the area of operation,” Steve explained “all the points we need to secure on the drive from here to the base, choke points are the places where the convoy can get slowed or ambushed.”
“OK, I got an idea,” Danny knew he was babbling but he was not able to stop “If you guys keep talking like this, maybe we can get a dictionary?”
“Alright,” Steve half smiled looking at Nick “I’m sorry about him,” he gestured at Danny “It’s good to see you.”
The redhead nodded and smiled at Steve “I’ll call you later” he turned his bike around and drove off.
Danny could feel Steve’s eyes on him. He shoved his hands in his pockets and turned to enter the door without a word.
“Was that jealousy?” Steve asked after him “Are you jealous?”
Danny ignored him, in hopes that Steve would think Danny decided the question was too ridiculous to be dignified with an answer. He turned to Chin “Can we see that guy now?”
Chin looked at Steve behind him then nodded “come on.”
Steve walked close behind him, then put his hand on Danny’s shoulder leaning down to whisper in his ear “I think I like you being jealous.” the warm breath sent a shiver through his body
“Neanderthal” Danny muttered angrily, though he wasn’t sure if it was at Steve or at himself.
As Steve predicted, Hesse didn’t give them anything useful. Nothing that might suggest a connection between Steve’s father’s murder and the other killings, nothing that connected him to the lab they found or to hint about its purpose, just unnerving complacence.
He seemed very curious about Danny, a new player in the game as he put it, which brought out Steve’s almost animalistic protectiveness. It made Danny uneasy. He didn’t mind Steve being protective so much, but the twinkle in Hesse eyes at this reaction was daunting.
The only thing that seemed to have caught him off guard was the news about the newly established Steve’s strong alpha status. But it was just a hint of an emotion passing through his features, Danny wasn’t even sure he saw it.
“He is way too calm for someone who has just been told he is being delivered to Navy hands.” Danny observed as they left the improvised basement cell. Steve didn’t answer, so Danny continued “It’s like he knows something he doesn’t tell us, something that is going to happen.”
“Like what?” Steve asked
“I don’t know.” Danny took a deep breath “Are you sure we can trust that Taylor guy?”
“We served together.” Steve said as if this was enough of an answer “He had my back, saved my life more than once.”
“Why did he volunteer for that mission?” Danny continued as if Steve didn’t say anything “What is he doing here in the first place?”
“Seriously, Danny, Nick is a good sailor, more than capable, you should be glad it’s him doing this.” Steve was suddenly in his space again, wrapping his arm around him, placing a large palm on his lower back. “You don’t have to worry...he is an old friend. And that is it.”
“Geez, back off, not everything is about possessiveness, you know?” Danny placed his hand on Steve’s chest, pushing him back. It didn’t work. Steve didn’t really budge, and Danny didn’t really try. “Besides you owe me nothing.”
“You really think that?” Steve asked bowing his head closer to Danny’s face.
“Steve, what are you doing?” Danny was very aware of several people lounging at the den’s main space taking an interest in them “Here? Now?”
“Why not? Everyone assumed you were my mate the minute I brought you here.”
“Mate?” Danny tasted the word somewhat disgusted. “Geez. And is it a common practice for ‘mates’ to make out in the middle of a working day?”
“We animals always mix business with pleasure…” Steve pressed his lips against Danny’s. It was a soft kiss, Steve’s tongue slipping between his lips just a bit, the tip of it brushing Danny’s lips shortly. It was enough to wreak havoc to his cardiovascular system, and some other body parts. “Your lips taste so good.” Steve announced quietly without moving back. Danny shuddered.
“Well,” he had to stop to clear his throat, his voice sounded funny “We are working now. You can taste them later.” In my apartment. Away from these prying eyes. He will make sure Steve forgot completely about his Lieutenant-old-friend. It wasn’t all ridiculous, teenagery, immensely embarrassing jealousy, Danny insisted in is head, there was something...too slick about this guy. Steve was looking into his eyes, soft smile on his face. Danny thought maybe he himself should be the one to forget about the other guy, because Steve seemed totally focused on him.
“I will, Danno.”
Danny sighed returning his own smile. Maybe it was just ridiculous, teenagery, immensely embarrassing jealousy after all.
Sadly, they had to spend the rest of their day separately. Steve worked with Nick on the details of the transfer, while Danny continued to follow the investigation into the wolves’ murders. So he stupidly clung to that look on Steve’s face, whenever he thought about the two old friends being together. This was annoying, and distracting, and damnit he really didn’t need that in his life now. Idiotic infatuation. He really thought he was immune to those at his age.
The only healthy perp they had, demanded to lawyer up from the get go. So they didn’t get much of him directly. Kono, though, did a great job nagging the crime lab, and by the afternoon the got results on some of the products found there.
The blood of the victims was being processed, this was clear. What wasn’t so clear was the purpose. Some of the substances they found there had to be shipped to specialists to understand their purpose, so there was more waiting to be done. Waiting for substances’ analysis results, waiting for the two other perps to recover enough for questioning, waiting for analysis of the phone calls going in and out of that lab and the perps cellular phones.
And now, in the early hours of the evening, Danny just waited for Steve.
He pulled the curtain away to look out the window. Now that he knew where to look, he could easily spot the two wolves watching his house. None of them was Steve.
He debated calling him, they haven’t spoken since early afternoon when Danny updated him about the interim lab results. He picked up the phone, looked out again and called.
He pushed aside his usual doomsday thoughts, it was an automatic mental action, as common as the surfacing disturbing thoughts, and called Grace.
She was asking about Steve immediately, or rather about Wolf. Danny assured her that he was still around and she would be able to see him again despite her mother’s reluctance.
Kono was on call waiting, he ignored it at first, but she was insistent. So he said goodnight to his daughter and called back.
“Danny,” She started speaking the second she connected, “We finished checking all the calls from that campus lab. Most were inside campus, some to equipment suppliers. Other then that there were frequent calls to a number in Japan that we didn’t trace yet, another number registered to a ‘Nicolas Taylor’ who is a Navy officer. Do you think it’s a coincidence…?”
Danny’s blood was rushing in his ears, he couldn’t hear her anymore. He muttered “Call you back”, disconnected and called Steve again.
Still no answer.
He called Kono “Kono, are you still in the precinct? I need you to run a trace on a number. It’s urgent.” He gave her Steve’s number then tried to call him again.
This time when the voicemail message beeped he said “Steve, call me back, it’s urgent.”
He disconnected, then started typing a text message, deleted it, and tried again. He didn’t want to give too much information, but he really needed to warn Steve. At last he settled for
It wasnt just jealousy. He is not who you think he is.
He hoped the message would make sense to Steve.
He called Kono again. “Kono, Listen I need to get a hold on Steve real quick…”
He got an immediate annoyed “I’m working on it!”
“I know, but in the meantime, you think you can get a hold on Chin? Maybe he knows where Steve is.”
“Yeah, sure, I’ll call now.”
The next few minutes were divided between staring at the phone wishing it would ring, and calling Steve’s number again and again.
He is simply in wolf form. Danny kept telling himself. Wolves can’t answer a cellular phone.
Kono called back saying that Chin is not answering either. Danny thought maybe he was one of the wolves outside, or maybe he was guarding Gracie. He considered approaching the wolves, but really didn’t know what to ask of them. They probably didn’t know where Steve was either.
Kono called again. “Danny, I have Steve’s phone. It actually looks like he is on his way to you…”
Danny breathed again. “So why is the i diot not answering? Good job, Kono, thanks.”
“No problem, Brah. What’s the deal anyway? Do you know that navy guy?”
“Yeah, I’ll fill you in after I talk to Steve.” He said, then wondered if he would actually be able to do that. There was a knock on the door. “Here he is now, talk to you later.”
He disconnected the phone as he swung the door open “Where have you…” He started exclaiming and trailed off.
Standing at his door was Lieutenant Nick Taylor.
It's not really a cliffy. Just an innocent, friendly visit. (MUHAHAHA!!!)
“Where’s Steve?” Danny asked coldly, doing his best to keep as calm as possible. The details of the situation ran automatically through the detective’s brain to assist in analyzing the risk.
Nick was probably one of the bad guys, but it wasn’t decisive. He was standing at his door alone. Steve was nowhere to be found. Nick probably had his phone. If so, Nick read the message. Did he understand the warning?
“Busy,” Nick answered and invited himself in, pushing himself between Danny and the door frame. “I thought we could talk.”
Danny shoved his phone into his pocket as naturally as possible, pressing buttons blindly. Kono was his last call. He just needed to hit the redial. “You and I? What do we have to talk about?”
The tall redhead stepped into the middle of the room, looking around, just like Steve did several nights ago. Danny was intrigued and slightly annoyed then. Now he felt cold fear.
“Steve must trust you a lot if he let you in on his… true self, and told you about Hesse. Yet you only met him...about a week ago?”
“He does, yes.” Danny affirmed. His gun was in a drawer next to the couch. He didn’t lock it yet, he rarely did when grace was not around. “We may have met officially only few days ago, but I’m pretty sure he did a thorough background check on me before that. You probably know how he is.”
“Yes, I do.” Nick set himself on one of the kitchen chairs. Danny sat on the couch, close to the nightstand which held the gun.
“What do you want, Taylor?” Danny asked impatiently. He emphasized the name, saying it loud enough so if Kono was indeed on the line she would hear it. Nick eyed him intently. Danny really hoped she heard it.
“I told you. To talk. As you said, I know Steve. He is an honorable man...and wolf. Too stubborn at times. So much so that it interferes with his foresight at times.”
“Does it?” Danny asked. He was only half listening to the man, trying to pick up any sound that might indicate someone was on the other side of his phone.
“Yes. Like the way he dropped everything and took over being Alpha the minute his father was killed.”
“Murdered” Danny corrected
“I’m sure he thought that he was helping the pack. A pack that he hardly knows, and he dropped his naval career for this.”
“I really think you should discuss this with Steve.” Danny suggested. He laid his arm casually on top of the nightstand, hand slumped over the drawer. He was calculating how long it would take him to pull out his gun.
“I did. He insists on the old ways, on commitment to his old pack. Sentimental crap.”
“I’m sure you were happy that he is that committed and loyal when you served together.”
Nick nodded his agreement. He stood up again, placing his hands on his hips. “That’s just it. It was a greater cause, and he abandoned it for a bunch of lazy, ungrateful wolves.”
“What do you want with me, Nick?” Danny asked again. The tension was choking, he wished the guy would reach the point. He also knew he had to stall for time.
“Look, I know Steve is somewhat taken by you. And I know you...found something about me.” Nick admitted. Danny tensed even more, he didn’t realize that was possible. “But it’s not what you think.”
“It’s not?” Danny repeated his words “You are not...experimenting on wolves’ blood?”
Nick blinked. “It’s... for the greater good.”
“Murdering for the greater good?” Danny said incredulously. His fingers were already playing seemingly absent mindedly with the drawer handle. Nick was eyeing him, taking a step closer, moving between Danny and the door.
“The killing is unfortunate. It doesn’t have to be like this. If there was any chance that Steve would cooperate... ”
“So what, you think I can talk Steve into cooperating with it? With experimenting on his pack?”
“I hoped, maybe. I knew it was a long shot.” Nick now held his hands tense to the side of his body. “I’m sorry, I can’t let you interfere with this.”
“Steve’s wolves are just outside, watching the house.”
“I sent them back. Told them Steve ordered me to watch you.”
“Steve will know what you did!” Danny didn’t think his heart could race that fast with him still being able to talk.
“I’ll be long gone with Hesse by the time he figures this out.”
Danny threw the drawer open and pulled the gun out, his eyes were still trained on Nick as the man started to shift, ripping his clothes in the process. He wasn’t very far, but the change in his shape and mass made it hard to aim. Danny shot anyway, he was sure he got a few hits because the large ginger wolf stumbled back, but he didn’t stay to check. He remembered all too well how little the bullets did to slow Steve down in the jungle. He jumped over the couch, darted into Grace’s room, slammed the door behind him and pulled the small desk over to block it.
He pulled out his phone, somewhat relieved to see Kono was indeed online.
“Kono!” he breathed into the phone, taking position at the far side of the room, pointing his gun toward the door.
“Hang on, Danny, I’ve alerted HPD and I’m almost there, just hold on!” she shouted back.
Something large slammed into the door, and it flew open, throwing the desk to the side as if it were nothing.
Danny dropped the phone in favor of holding the gun with both hands and fired. The wolf bounced forward, sinking teeth into his right arm, throwing him onto the floor. His head connected with the hard surface, and that, together with the wolf’s weight on his chest and the immense pain of the bite caused his vision to darken. Danny yelled out in agony as the wolf shook his arm violently, the gun was released from his grip. His left hand was searching the floor in its reach, desperate for something, anything that could help. His bones were crushing under the pressure of the strong jaws. The pain was blinding.
His hand found something. A delicate string, cold against his fingers, a small smooth surface...he laughed inwardly. Gracie was looking for her lost dolphin pendant for ages. And here he found it, under her bed.
The mangled arm fell uselessly to his chest once the wolf finally released it. The tiny relief was short lived, as he watched the sharp teeth dripping with blood, his blood, aimed for his throat. He was going to die. He would never see his beautiful daughter again. Never see her wearing that pendant.
The realization hit him, bringing him back to his senses like an adrenaline shot. He didn’t think about how small the necklace was, just that it was silver. He curled his head, lifted his shoulder in an attempt to protect his neck, and brought his left hand, silver chain entangled in his fingers, forcefully against the wolf’s open jaw.
The wolf emitted a painful yelp, throwing its head to the side, and Danny dug his fingers into the side of his head, clinging to the fur. The wolf pulled forcefully, trying to get away from the painful touch, and for a fracture of a second his eyes turned human. Danny kicked as hard as he could, throwing the large animal away from him, he even managed to sit up then got his feet under him, stumbling on his one good arm and knees towards the room door. But then again, claws dug into his back pinning him down, and a sharp set of teeth found his left shoulder.
He heard glass shatter, and an angry growl, then suddenly a shadow flew above him and the weight of the wolf vanished. He didn’t waste any time. Dazed and nauseous, pain coursing through his body, blood rushing in his ears, he crawled away, out of the Gracie’s room.
An urgent notion passed through his half conscious brain- he didn’t want his blood all over Grace’s room. He couldn’t make it far, the pain was overwhelming, and he was tired. He decided to rest where he was, just for a minute, cheek pressed against the cold floor. He found it hard to focus beyond the hand. His hand, he realized, fingers still tangled in Gracie’s chain, the dolphin settled on his thumb. From somewhere behind him there were sounds of scuffling. Growls, howls, choked barks. Two wild animals fighting. But that happened yesterday, didn’t it?
“Danny!” He heard an urgent voice from above him “Danny, come on, you need to get up!”
“‘M tired, Kono.”
She was pushing him, trying to to shove her hands under him. It hurt. “I know, but I can’t carry you, and we need to get out of here.”
It made sense. He felt exactly the same a few seconds ago. “Where’s Steve?” he asked blearily, but made an effort to straighten himself
“I think he is here. Come on,” she urged him “Help me, you need to get up”
“We need to warn him, Taylor, he’s...bad wolf…” Danny chuckled, then groaned.
“You said Steve has a black pelt? Oh, my god, your hand, shit.”
“Then he is doing OK, don’t worry. Let’s try getting up. On three. One, two...”
“Can’t... Kono. Rest… second…” he closed his eyes. The sound faded around him. But then a warm hand was placed against his jaw line. He knew that warmth. He blinked. Steve was talking to him. He looked pale, too pale, there was a strange look in his eyes. Was he panicking? “Steve?”
“Danny, are you with me?”
Steve’s voice was tinged with fear. It was disconcerting. Something had to be done. “You...can’t keep...clothes on...around me...can you?”
Steve chuckled. It was a short, strained gesture, but Danny marked it as a success. “You need to stay with me, buddy, OK?” Steve said “You’re going to be fine.”
“Steve,” Kono was speaking now “you need to go. HPD would be here any second”
“I’ll make sure he is taken care of. You need to go, they can’t find you here, not like this.”
Danny agreed, “She...right... go.”
“No, you need…”
“He needs a hospital right now.” Kono declared adamantly
“He’s been bitten, what if…?”
“We’ll figure it out! go! Can you take the...thing with you?”
Danny could hear sirens. They were close. Just outside. Both of Steve’s hand were on him now, caressing his face. “Hang on, Danny. I’ll come get you, you just need to hold on.”
Danny wanted to put his hand on Steve’s to reassure him that he’s going to be fine. It took an effort, the pain in his shoulder made him groan, but when he finally made it, finally felt Steve’s hand beneath his, the man hissed and pulled his hand away in surprise.
“It’s fine.” Steve smiled at him, it did nothing to relieve the stress etched on his face “Probably saved your life. Just, don’t move. I’ll come get you at the first possible chance. OK?”
Danny nodded slightly.
“Kono,” Steve spoke quietly now, Danny frowned trying to figure out what he was saying “...off his hand, it’s…” Then he was gone.
“Stay awake, Danny!” Kono ordered him, he didn’t even noticed his eyes were closing. “Help is here.”
A message from Beta Yul: When we came up with the idea for the story, I realized there would be Danny whump. I'm usually the one asking "why so much whump?" and here I was suggesting it. It was difficult reading it, and difficult for Geshem to write it, but here it is.
Meet Dr. Wolf
Very sorry for the delay, Beta Yul and myself were out of it for a while (in a good way).
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Danny wasn’t sure what it was that woke him up. He thought maybe he was already awake for a while, just not really aware of it. His brain was foggy, a strange feeling of detachment filled him. Something was going on around him, he thought he should probably care, but he really didn’t.
When he felt someone fiddling with his left arm, he came to the conclusion it was probably a good idea to open his eyes, So he did. The room was mostly dark, except for a soft light coming from...somewhere, giving just enough illumination to notice the shadow standing over his bed.
He blinked at it. Then took a noisy breath. The shadow stopped what it was doing and looked at him. A glint of eyes in the darkness.
“Hey, buddy.” said a hushed voice. He liked this voice. “You awake?”
That was a strange question. Or maybe not? He was pretty sure about the answer, so he blurted it out “Yes. What are you doing?”. Not that he really cared, but he thought he should ask.
“How are you feeling?” Steve ignored his question, and asked another one of his own. Steve!
“I like your voice.” Danny said.
Steve chuckled. Danny liked that sound too. “Good to know. Are you in any pain?”
Danny frownd. He was in the hospital, so this question made sense. He closed his eyes and took the opportunity to take stock of his body. There wasn’t any pain, not really. Some discomfort in his right hand. Slight pressure in his head. The position he was in was not very comfortable, laying half on his side, it made his shoulder hurt, but just a bit. “Not really” he answered.
“What?” another voice asked.
He opened his eyes again, but instead of Steve it was Kono standing there. “Where’s Steve?”
“I’m here, Danny.” Came the answer from behind him.
“Why did you go?”
Steve entered his line of sight again. “I’m here” Steve repeated. “Listen, I’m going to move you to this chair. You are still on the good stuff, so it’s going to be fine, but let me do all the work, alright buddy?”
“If you think this is how our relationship is gonna go, you are gravely mistaken, my friend”
“Relationship, ha?” Steve smiled. He removed something from behind Danny, his back felt cold suddenly, and he shivered.
“You really keep missing the point.” Danny complained. Steve rolled him gently to his back. It was even less comfortable than the previous position. Then the bed started to tilt slowly and a spike of pain went through his shoulder and back. He moaned softly.
“No, I really don’t.” Steve countered “Kono, bring the chair closer. Ready buddy?”
“For what? What are we doing?”
Steve snaked one arm around his back, the other under his knees.
“Getting you out of here.” He turned him gently, getting his feet off the bed and pulling his chest to lean against his own. The room was really cold, and Steve was very warm, Danny sank into his touch, laying his head on Steve’s shoulder “How come you’re always so warm? Do werewolves have a constant fever?”
He felt more than heard the chuckle, Steve’s chest vibrating against his own. “OK, on three, one…”
“Wait, wait…” Danny suddenly caught on to what was going on. “Are you busting me out of the hospital? Why?”
“We’ll talk about it when we’re out of here. But you need to stay very quiet, got that?”
“Talk later, quiet now.”
“That’s right. One, two, three”
It was painful. He dug his fingers, the ones he could, into Steve’s arm and swallowed the pained moan as best he could. The pain cleared his mind somewhat, and it felt like he was forgetting something, something important. Why was Steve sneaking him out of the hospital? What happened? Was he in danger? Images of Grace’s room wrecked, blood smeared on the purple carpet, the dolphin pendant. He found it hard to inhale.
“Steve...what...Grace, where’s Grace?”
“She fine, Danny, she’s safe. She’s with her mother. I have wolves watching her, as always. Just breathe.”
“Taylor, he released the wolves, he told them…”
“You don’t need to worry about him, Danny. Look at me.” Danny blinked, hanging on to Steve’s voice, forcing himself to focus. “Look at me Danny. Taylor’s dead. Grace is safe. You are safe. You need to breathe now. Take a deep breath.”
Steve’s eyes were solid, bright, earnest. His voice gentle and commanding at the same time. Danny followed his orders. A tremor went through his body, then he sagged, muscles heavy.
Steve held him for few more seconds, then said “We need to go. I’m gonna push the chair, be right behind you.”
Danny nodded tiredly. Steve’s warmth was replaced with a blanket, but he kept a low mumble of reassurances as they wheeled through the corridors. Danny was confused, in pain, dazed. So he concentrated on that voice, let it anchor him, until everything else became a blurred darkness.
He woke into the pain. Mind sharp, all the memories from his encounter with the large ginger wolf came rushing back to his consciousness. He groaned, looking down at the main source of the pain, his right hand. It was not bandaged, and it looked as horrible as it felt, exposed flesh and bone.
“Easy, easy, buddy, don’t move.” Steve was at his side, laying his hand firmly on his chest to prevent him for getting up. “It will be better soon, just breath through it.”
But even breathing was painful spikes of pain piercing his shoulder, his back, that mangled piece of meat that used to be his right hand. His vision dimmed, and he welcomed the darkness that took that horrible pain away.
Next time Danny woke up, the pain was traded with a nagging throbbing. The room he was in was dimly lit, moon shining through the window. A faint breeze with the smell of ocean came in. Something warm and wet was repeatedly stroking his injured arm. He lifted his head slightly to see the form of a big dark wolf next to him. Two front legs on the bed, the giant head looming above, and his large moist tongue was licking his wound.
“Get off!” Danny protested tiredly, “What are you doing, it’s disgusting!” he tried waving his other hand but even the small movement he succeed in performing caused the throbbing to upgrade back to pain. “Stop trying to eat me...You’ll get that infected, you big animal…” he tried again.
Steve just looked at him, big yellow eyes reflecting the moonlight, and continued his ministrations willfully.
It wasn’t unpleasant, though, and after his protests went completely ignored, Danny simply gave up and fell asleep again succumbing to the monotonous, steady rhythm of the touch.
His dreams didn’t feel like his own. They were alien, unclear, weird even for dreams. When he woke, they dissipated like smoke , leaving nothing but a memory of a taste or a scent, sometimes a feeling of exhilaration, sometimes the emptiness of an unfulfilled desire. Always without context, without anything that might explain them.
The wolf was always there when he woke. A solid presence in the whirlwind of emotions and senses. His hand didn’t hurt quite as much anymore, so he curled towards him, pressing himself into the soft warm fur.
“Danny?” The gentle whisper bore through the sticky cobweb around his brain. A gentle hand touched his bare shoulder. “Danny, you need to wake up.”
“Why?” he asked without opening his eyes. He was cold, and he automatically curled to his left searching for the big lump of warm fur that usually lay there. But he couldn’t find it. And now he lost the warmth of the hand on his shoulder also. He grumbled incoherently.
“You need to eat,” came the answer. “And call Grace.”
Danny opened his eyes. He was in a small, cozy room that smelled like the ocean. The door in front of his eyes was slightly ajar, behind it he could see a bathroom, white tiles and soft light. He rolled to his back, gave the ceiling and the lampshade hanging from it a short look, then spotted the window that hung over the bed, white curtains not quite covering the bright light spilling through it. He knew this room. From his dreams?
“Hey,” said the man seated on the bed beside him. It was Steve. He was smiling at him, but something in that smile was off. He wasn’t happy. “How are you feeling?”
“Peachy” Answered Danny, and started to pull himself to a sitting position.
"Easy…” Steve jumped to his feet, then started arranging pillows behind Danny’s back. “You’re still weak.”
The change in position brought dizziness. His mouth felt dry, limbs heavy. “Maybe that’s not such a bad idea…where am I?” He swallowed, coughed a bit and reached out to a glass of water that was on the bedside table.
“My house.” Steve answered simply, taking the glass from Danny’s hand when he’s finished. “I have some soup here if you’re ready.”
“In a minute...maybe.” Danny looked around, taking in the environment, “What happened? How long was I out?”
“You’ve been... attacked. Three days ago.”
“Three days?” Danny panicked, and sat straighter, immediately regretting it. “I was out for three days? Where’s Grace? Is she OK?”
“Grace is fine. She worries about you. Kono told her you would call today.”
Danny slumped back on the pillows. “Good, thanks”. He was attacked. Yes, he remembered that. Remembered the big, heavy wolf, sinking his teeth into his arm, mighty jaws crushing it. Then something registered. “Three days?” He looked at his right hand. It looked whole. Pale skin, hairline streaks of pink, like long, old scratches, but otherwise, whole. “What’s going on? I was in the hospital, I was bitten, and I was bleeding quite heavily as I recall. Smashed arm and everything”
“Yes. Your arm was a mess. Your shoulder wasn’t much better.” Steve’s voice broke, he lowered his gaze for a second, swallowed hard. “I… didn’t see this coming. I should have been there.”
“You couldn’t have known, he blindsided us. But...how come I’m… not in pieces?”.
“You fought.” Steve’s expression was serious, but there was a gleam in his eyes as he looked at him “You shot him, you fended him off with silver...When I got there he was half...”
“No, I mean...my arm. It looks whole.”
“I...might have something to do with that.” Steve ran a hand down his face “You would have healed nicely yourself, I just...sped things up. You really need to eat. Get stronger.” Steve got up, walked over to a small dresser, bringing back a tray with a large bowl.
The soup smelled great, and Danny’s stomach rumbled and reminded him that his last meal was three days ago, but he ignored it for a second. “You had something to do with my healing from a total wreck to completely healthy, in three days, and I could have healed fine on my own? How long would it have taken without your intervention? A few months and some pretty serious PT and rehab time, no?”.
Steve laid the soup in Danny’s lap and stepped back. He looked at Danny for a long moment, then points at the bowl “Eat.”
Danny shot him a glare, but lifted a spoon full of soup to his mouth, and then came a few silent moments, punctuated only by the sounds of the spoon touching the plate, and the breathing of the men in the room. But that didn’t last. Danny was full of questions. Some of these questions he found hard to articulate, since the haze of the last few days didn’t make much sense to him, so he stuck to the familiar ones. “What’s going on with the investigation, now that Taylor is dead?” he asked, and swallowed another mouthful.
“Not much.” Steve answered, jaw clenched, mouth hardly opening. “Hesse is now back in the hands of the Navy. I couldn’t afford to keep him here any longer. The Navy is running its own investigation regarding Taylor’s… side gig. It is still not clear how Hesse is related to this. If he is.
“He is… Taylor… he said something. Meant to take him and disappear.”
Steve looked at him intently, but just nodded. “According to Kono the perps from the lab aren’t talking. The one that was shot is still unconscious. Kono is still looking into the other killings on the mainland.”
Danny nodded. “Good”. Then he took a deep breath “What happened to you that night? Why did Nick have your phone?”
Steve Swallowed. He rubbed the back of his neck, his jaw tightened even further, Danny could see the turmoil inside him manifested in the tightness of his muscles. “He probably took it when I was in wolf form. I think he meant to clone it, but saw your message and... Chin was driving me to your house when Kono called him, looking for me, to tell me you were in trouble. She didn’t know about Taylor being… she just knew that he was a suspect, and that he was with you.” He let his head drop, took a shaking breath and whispered “I came as fast as I could.”.
Steve’s obvious stress was contagious, Danny moved uneasily, dropping the spoon to the bowl “You got there in time, you got him, it’s fine, it’s over.” He tried to reassure them both.
Steve raised his head, eyes bright, looking straight at him. “You’ve been bitten by a werewolf, Danny.”
“I noticed.” Answered Danny, the rest of a sarcastic answer on his lips, when his eyes suddenly grew wild, his mouth opened, and his face lost what little color it had.
“I’ve been bitten by a werewolf…” He repeated.
Steve stepped forward quickly. He took the tray, put it on the floor beside the bed and sat facing Danny, eyes examining his face.
Danny took a deep breath. And then another one. And then he began to hyperventilate. Steve held him, both hands on his arms, fingers pressing, Danny forced himself to focus on that. He took a shuddering breath and asked “The healing… wouldn’t have taken months, would it?”
“It wouldn’t. You would have healed completely, shortly after you had...changed.”
“Changed.” Danny repeated Steve’s words again. Where were all of his? “You mean I’ll turn into a…” Danny couldn’t finish the sentence.
Steve nodded. His hand moved to Danny’s shoulder, squeezing hard. “You’re alive. And you’re going to be just fine. It’s a change. It can be...disorienting at the beginning, but you are going to be fine.”
“Fine? I’m going to be fine? How the hell am I going to be fine, I’ve turned into a freaking werewolf!” Danny found himself raising his voice with every word, and he ended up almost screaming. “I am a police officer, I have a daughter, I can’t risk her!”
“None of these change, Danny.” Steve said immediately “You are still a police officer, and you are still a father. You are also something else, it takes getting used to, but that is it.”
Steve’s calm, reasonable tone grated Danny’s nerves “That is it.” Danny barked a laugh. A tired, sarcastic laugh. “I can’t touch that dolphin pendant again, can I? Can you promise me I’ll always be in control?”
“You are still you. Look, it would feel intense at the beginning, desires, strong emotions, things would feel amplified. But it would pass. Think of it as puberty.”
“I kind of thought my first time through puberty would make me taller” replied Danny. “Always a surprise”.
Steve smiled tentatively. “Both times grow some hair on your skin...”
“Yeah, just what I needed for the Hawaiian weather.” retorted Danny.
Steve’s hand found its way to the side of his neck now, thumb rubbing Danny’s jaw. “I’m gonna be with you. You’ll be fine.”
Danny leaned into the hand, he felt that this was what he should do. But Steve’s touch didn’t seem to have the same effect as always. “When am I going to change?” He asked. He was proud that he was able to think of a new question, and that his voice didn’t tremble.
“Probably in the next few days. We will need to move to somewhere...more suitable.”
“Suitable means secluded?”
“Yes. you will need space.”
“Space. And not many people around I guess. Because...wolves are not really known for their warm embrace by humankind. Werewolves especially so”.
“Werewolves are legends. Nā keiki a Lona, Children of the moon. Humankind does not want them to be… real.”
“Yeah, Kono said the same thing when I asked her about wolves in Hawaii. A week ago I would have dismissed it as a crazy myth. Now…”
Steve watched him in silence for a few seconds, then “Want something more to eat? Or are you ready to talk to Grace?”
“Uhm… That’s a no on the food, but thanks. I think I’ll talk to Grace. What do I tell her about the hospital?”
“Your injuries required a specialist in the Big Island. You were transferred to a private hospital. She knows that.” Steve handed him his phone and turned to step out of the room. Just before he closed the door behind him, Danny suddenly remembered something.
Steve pushed the door open again, just enough to shove his head inside “Hmm?”
“Did you...lick me?”
The hard lines of Steve’s face softened as he grinned at him for a second and then said “Talk to Grace. I’ll make something a bit more satisfying for you to eat.” Then his head disappeared again behind the door.
So... Will Danny survive the change? What would wolf-Danny look like...?
A rustle of leaves, a chase and an elusive catch
Danny felt exhausted, but he couldn’t sleep. He thought that maybe now, that they were away from the constant pounding of the ocean waves, it would be easier, but it turned out that the gentle rustle of leaves and soft hooting of jungle night birds wasn’t much better.
Steve brought them here several hours ago, a secluded cabin in the middle of the jungle, not too far from the pack’s den. He promised Danny they were safe here, looked him over from top to toe, made sure he was comfortable on one of the small cots, and then said he’ll be just outside for a few minutes and disappeared through the door.
Danny could hear him...smell him, around the cabin. He knew he was in wolf form now, noticed the difference in the breathing pattern, in the soft pounding of paws on the ground.
He dozed for a while, then he heard Steve come in. He watched silently as the man got dressed, washed his face in the small kitchen sink and then threw a short glance toward Danny.
Danny wondered if Steve could tell he was awake. The cabin was dark, yet Danny could see Steve clearly, feel the heat coming off of him. But Steve didn’t give any indication of noticing. He just crawled onto the other cot and soon Danny could hear his breathing becoming slow and even, indicating the man was fast asleep.
Maybe this is why Danny himself was not able to fall asleep. He got used to the vigil next to him, day and night, whenever he awoke, the wolf’s alert form next to him. He suddenly wondered if Steve was actually awake when he watched him this whole time.
He shoved back the tiny part in him thinking that Steve owed him that. It was unresolved anger over what had happened to him, but blaming Steve for it was wrong. He repeated that to himself, then just decided that laying in bed was not going to help in anyway.
He got up, keeping as silent as possible, poured himself some water and found himself staring at the sleeping man while holding the empty glass in his hand.
Steve didn’t look much different in his sleep. The constant alertness in his features eased somehow, but he wasn’t calm. It seemed he was ready for action even now. Maybe he was.
Danny wondered what it was that drew him to this man so strongly, so shortly after they met. He was so different from him, so wild, so sure of himself. A man of action that doesn’t second guess every decision he makes. It’s not that Danny didn’t recognize his own worth, he knew he was a good detective, a good man, but part of his being was constant reflection. He actually was proud at that, but it was tiring, especially when it became a torture of useless what-ifs. And there was this man, not hesitating to put himself in danger for someone he didn’t know, throwing himself between him and bullets without a second thought. And not just for Danny, he risked his life to keep his pack strong and together, even though they were practically strangers. And he didn’t seem to give this a second thought.
Danny bit his lip. He doubted that Steve could smell this . Whatever this was. His attraction was not only to the man’s physique. How can that be? He’s just met him. And if these feelings were real, maybe this is why Danny felt so...betrayed? He trusted this man to keep him safe, but he wasn’t there when…
“Hey.” Steve blinked at him with sudden alertness, going from sound asleep to ready for battle in a split second “What is it?”
Danny felt his cheeks redden “Nothing, I just figured you watched me sleep for three days, it’s only fair I do the same.”
“We are safe here, Danny. The pack is close, you don’t have to watch.” Danny didn’t know if Steve actually interpreted what he said completely wrong or he was just being attentive to Danny’s embarrassment. Then again, the man never showed any inclination to be attentive in that way. The other way around, actually. If he really heard what Danny just said, there would be a smug smile plastered all over his face.
“Yeah...I just…couldn’t sleep.”
Steve reached out his hand to him, Danny moved back, as if he didn’t notice the gesture, went back to his bed, and sat on it. Steve moved his legs off the bed, mirroring Danny’s position, rubbing his face. “You must be tired,” he declared. “The changes your body is going through right now... it’s a lot.”
“What was it like for you?” Danny asked, deflecting Steve’s statement.
Steve seemed to consider his answer before he spoke. “I had to go through this as a teenage boy. So...twice as much puberty” He smiled lightly, but Danny didn’t respond as kind, so his features tightened again. Danny missed the smile, but at the same time it felt oddly satisfying to see it get wiped off Steve’s face. “I was sixteen. My mom just died, and my Dad...he couldn’t handle it very well. So my sister was sent to relatives in the mainland and I was sent to be trained with the Navy. They have a special unit.” Danny looked at him bewildered. Steve talked about losing his mother, being separated from his father and his pack as if it was a reasonable part of growing up. “So I was surrounded with wolves just like me. And we all had a purpose and little time to comisarate over the change. Instead we comisarated over the load of training and studies and the son of a bitch sargent. And I was ready for this, I knew it would happen. It was exciting when it finally did.”
“I...can’t believe you speak about this like it’s… completely normal. A youth adventure.”
Steve frowned “It is normal to me.”
“What, losing one parent and being sent away from home and family in the most delicate period of your life?”
Steve lowered his head “Oh. That. It was a long time ago.” Danny suddenly regretted the distance he put between them. Wondered why it was there. He wanted to place his hand on Steve’s cheek, maybe even try to draw that smile again.
He got up, reaching out with his hand when an intense shiver wrecked his body and he sat back down heavily. “Steve…” He breathed, almost choked. His right arm, the arm that felt fine, that healed completely, was now burning, the blood boiling in its veins, needles filled his flesh on the inside and then tried to pry their way out. He clutched it with his other hand, sinking back slowly to his bed.
Steve jerked up and was at his side in a blink of an eye, crouching down next to him. “What is it?”
“My arm...something...something is wrong.”
Steve put his hand on his arm and it was cold against his skin. “What do you feel?”
“It’s burning” Danny could only spit the words between clenched teeth “Feels like...skin...going to burst.” He couldn’t help the painful groan escaping his throat. His heart was racing.
“Don’t fight it, Danny.” Steve set behind him, his arms around him, enveloping him, pulling him back against his chest,
“Don’t fight it.” His voice was calm, breath soft against his temple “Let your skin burst.”
The pain spread, climbing up his arm, then exploded in his left shoulder, sharp knives digging their way through his chest then trying to cut their way out of his body.
“Going to...kill me”
“No, no, it won’t. Stop fighting, let it happen.”
It felt like every single muscle in his body flexed and tensed. He wriggle out of Steve’s grip, yelling in pain. He wanted out. This wasn’t right. Steve was wrong, he was talking nonsense, Danny was going to die. That horrible knowledge was too much. It was the second time in several days that he understood that this was it, he was never going to see his daughter again. Why did Steve bother to save him, just to die in this agony? He needed to get away from that man, the man that brought this crazy into his world.
He made it two steps towards the door, before he fell to his knees, his muscles refusing to cooperate. He thought he was screaming again.
“Danny! Stop fighting it!” Steve ordered. He was next to him again, close, touching. Danny could detect the strain in his voice, but didn’t care. He turned to him abruptly, concentrating all of the tension he felt just to shove Steve away.
But there was a wolf there, black, huge and growling at him, teeth bare. And all the fear he felt from the engulfing pain became anger. Was Steve threatening him? Was establishing his Alpha status with Danny all that mattered to him?
He wanted to shout “Back off!” but all that came out of his mouth was a matching growl. He wanted to fight the arrogant bastard, wanted to show him he will not submit. He launched forward. It was an awkward movement, his body did not react to that command as he intended to, front paws too high, and his hind legs pushed with too much strength. Steve leaped out of his way gracefully as Danny crashed into the floor behind him. He tried to get up, pulling his legs underneath him, digging his claws into the wood.
Steve stepped back, head raised high, ears turned forward, yellow eyes examining him.
Danny blinked. The pain was gone, but the anger was still there. He growled.
Steve took another step back, then turned his back to Danny, pushed open the door to the small cabin with his two front paws and shot out.
He was running away, and Danny had to follow. He launched forward again, and again stumbled, miss calculating the strength of the leap and what type of motion was required to land on his feet. Steve already disappeared between the trees, and Danny’s anger rose. He stood up again and started walking in the direction he disappeared, each step more confident then the one before it. He then realized he didn’t need to see Steve. He heard him, rushing through the growth, he could smell the trail of scent he left behind him. He picked up his pace, then started running.
The jungle around him felt alive, bright with soft color painted by the moon and smells and sounds as it rushed passed him. It was exhilarating. He leaped again over a dead tree trunk, this time landing on his feet, the movement hardly slowing him down. He was strong, fast, shooting through the trees. And there was Steve, just a few feet ahead of him. Danny could see his tail pointing straight behind him, then he saw his body, movement smooth, coordinated. He was hardly touching the ground in his flight, head stretched forward, ears pulled back. He looked magnificent.
And Danny was gaining up on him. Another leap, and this time he managed to get Steve, and both rolled in their momentum, intertwined with each other.
Steve growled a warning, untangled himself from him and shot forward again. This time, he kept just outside of Danny’s reach. Slowing when Danny fell behind, picking up speed when he got close enough. It angered him, this game, this display of superiority. He stopped in his tracks, and waited for Steve to notice.
Steve turned almost immediately. They were both panting, mouths open, tongue peeking between sharp fangs. Steve stood still, looking at him. He closed his mouth, ears perked forward in question. Danny turned and started to run.
He didn’t get very far before he felt someone jumping at him, his attack much more efficient, pinning Danny down, growling in warning above him. Danny lashed out, squirming, trying to sink his fangs into that overbearing wolf, but Steve was quicker, bouncing and retreating, and Danny could barely contain his anger. Steve ran again, Danny chased, sometimes succeeding in catching him, sometimes almost drawing blood.
He didn’t even notice it, when suddenly, they were back next to the cabin. Steve halted, turned to face him, then changed back to a human. He stood before him, panting. Danny got ready to pounce.
“Do you want to change back, Danny?” Steve asked between breaths.
Through his animal vision, Steve looked even more glorious in his nakedness. The strong chiseled muscles of his chest and abs, long powerful limbs, this raw, wild glint in his bright eyes, luscious lips slightly parted.
“You just need to want it” Steve coaxed. And Danny wanted this, wanted him , needed Steve to surrender to him, to his touch.
He was human again, and he didn’t waste any time. He closed the distance between them in a heartbeat, curled his hands into Steve’s hair, pulling him down for a rough kiss. “Danny…” He swallowed Steve’s words, devouring his mouth, holding him in place, nipping, biting, tasting blood. “Dann…” That taste of Steve flared him up even more, he pushed Steve against the wall of the cabin, pressing their bodies together and grinding. The heat and friction, Steve’s frantic heartbeat against Danny’s own chest, driving him forward. His hands roamed across that firm body, trying to touch everywhere at the same time.
But then he was violently pushed back, Steve’s strong hands on his biceps, holding him at arm's length. “Danny…” He panted “Stop.”
Danny looked at him dumbstruck. Steve’s eyes were dark, lustfull, his cheeks red, his breathing came in short, laboured exhales. A droplet of blood was reforming on his lip where Danny punctured it. He looked so tempting, so ready. It took Danny a few seconds to get his brain going again. “You...don’t want me?” He spat out, half angry, half hurt.
Steve lips curled up, raising his eyebrows, looking down at his own erection than back at Danny “I think it is clear that this is not the case.”
Some of Danny’s tension drained, and he realized he was still slightly pushing against Steve’s hold on him and stepped back, straightening himself. He swallowed. “Then what is the problem?”
“You are hyped. From the change. The run. I can’t be sure you really want this.” Steve explained. His voice was steady, but it looked to Danny as if every word coming out of his mouth was giving Steve pain. He didn’t care.
“Aren’t you the one that told me it is still me? That I’m in control?” he spat out in anger
“It is you.” Steve countered “With less inhibitions. It’s the… animal side. Look, I want this. Let’s rest for a bit. If you would still want this later…”
Danny stood frozen for a few seconds, shaken with fury and insult. “Fuck you.” he spat at Steve and entered the cabin, shutting the door behind him with a bang. If he was not allowed to have this man, he did not want to endure one more second in his presence.
Steaks and puberty roller coaster
Danny woke up. He didn’t even realize he fell asleep, or how tired he was. His still sleepy brain took his surroundings. He was at the cabin, alone. Bright midday light spilled through the window. He remembered running, and being angry, and...being a wolf. It wasn’t a dream, this time. The pain, the fear, the exhilaration, the desire...it was all very real. He could still taste blood in his mouth, or maybe it was just a memory too, but with that taste came the image of Steve, pressed against his body, and then...then shoving him away.
Danny sat up in bed and buried his face in his hands. His body remembered that strong desire, but his mind got stuck on that terrible liberation he felt, how out of control he was, and it scared him as hell.
Where was Steve? Did he leave him there? Danny wasn’t sure he could blame him. But the minute he wondered about him, he noticed his distinct scent, indicating he was near by. He also noticed the delicious aroma of roasting meat. He remembered throwing away the torn remains of his clothes in anger, and realized he fell asleep naked. He rummaged quickly through the bag Steve packed for him, chose a tee-shirt and jeans, and followed the wisps of the tangible scent outside.
Steve was standing next to a grill laden with steaks. An open bottle of beer stood on the picnic table beside him. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt and boardshorts, and smiled at Danny as he approached slowly. Danny wasn’t sure why he deserved that smile. “Hey.” Steve greeted him, “How are you feeling?”
Danny shoved his hands into his pockets “Embarrassed. Do you have more of these?” he gestured to the beer with his chin.
“Yeah,” Steve pointed with the forceps he was holding to a cooler standing on the ground behind the table “over there.”
Danny took a bottle, opened it and emptied almost half in a few long gulps. “Are we having company?” he pointed with his bottle at the large stack of meat, arranged neatly on the grill.
“Nope.” Steve grinned “Just us.”
“Seriously?” Danny raised his eyebrows “You eat a lot.”
Steve laughed “Here.” He put one of the steaks onto a plate and handed it to Danny. “You must be hungry. There are utensils in that box over there.”
Danny was hungry. Very. Only after he fully consumed the steak, he noticed how quickly and how quietly he did it. Steve just put another one on his plate without asking, then sat down to eat himself. Danny swallowed three more big slices before he felt well enough to talk. And being very embarrassed about something never stopped him from talking about it.
“Is it always like this?” He asked “the pain? The anger? The...desire?”
Steve swallowed a big slice of his own, then took a sip from his bottle. “The pain is just a phase. Like activating a muscle you didn’t use for a long time. It won’t be painful after you changed a few times. It will also be less significant if you...just do it quickly. The feelings… they remain...raw. But you’ll learn to recognize them. Control them more efficiently.”
“It didn’t feel like I was in control at all.” Danny admitted.
“You were. You wanted to hurt me, but you didn’t.” Why was Steve sounding so calm about it?
“Only because you didn’t let me.”
“No, Danny,” Steve’s hand reached forward, to grab his wrist, but Danny flinched instinctively. Steve’s frowned, but pulled his hand back, laying it face down, on the table. “You are a strong wolf. If you really wanted to hurt me, you would have.”
Danny wanted to believe him, but the remnants of the rage were still very fresh in his memory, the way he desired to draw blood from Steve, the way he wanted to ravage him. He shuddered.
He took a sip from his bottle, and the alcohol was suddenly too bitter. If his inhibitions were already low, Is it safe to drink alcohol at all? To feel the ecstasy of sexual release? How can he tell what will turn him into a wild animal without warning?
He suddenly felt Steve standing behind him, grabbing his arm lightly. “Come on” he nudged him gently.
Danny shoved the last piece of steak in his mouth. Was it his third? “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere. Take off your clothes, you need to change.”
“It would feel better now. You will control your change. It will be different.”
“I’m not ready for this, Steve.” He said but stood up nevertheless.
“There’s nothing to be ready for. Just do it. Change. Come on”
Danny looked at him, then started to undress, slowly. “How…?”
“You just need to want it, Danny.”
But he didn’t. He didn’t want to. “I...Can’t.”
“Danny,” Steve stepped forward, placing his hands on Danny’s shoulders. “You. Were. In. Control. The wolf...it’s you. You feel more, want more, but it is you. You would never hurt me. Please trust me on this, I’ve been doing this for a while now.”
Steve stepped back, getting rid of his clothes in a quick motion. Then he changed, right in front of him, and the sight of the big black wolf triggered an almost overwhelming desire in Danny to join him. He felt a pulse of pain running through his body, and it terrified him. Where was the control Steve talked about? He shoved it back forcefully, calming his racing heart.
Steve lay on the ground, looking at him intently, with these intelligent, animal eyes. He rolled on his side, exposing his stomach, then stretched his head back, presenting his throat.
Danny understood what he was doing, he knew Steve wanted to show him his trust. But all Danny could see was the invitation to dominate, and... geez, how he wanted to. And didn’t want to. He took a step back.
“I can’t...Steve, stop, it’s... it’s too much, I don’t want it”. He looked away, searching for his discarded clothes, he managed to get into his boxers, but the jeans proved to be too complicated a task so he just bundled the remaining clothes in his hands and started to walk away.
“Danny, wait.” Steve’s hand was on his shoulder again, and again he found that he wanted it as much as he didn’t, and he stopped dead in his tracks but didn’t turn. “I’m sorry.” Steve said, “You...you don’t have to do this now. There’s no rush, come on.” Probably encourage by Danny’s lack of movement, he came closer, but Danny shook his arm off and turned to face him. “Don’t go.” Steve looked at him miserably. Danny regarded him in silence, caught in his indecision. Steve filled the silence ”There are still more steaks on the grill…” his tone lightened a bit. Was almost taunting.
It took Danny a few more seconds to answer. He took a breath, reminded himself that he was still human, that the desire to shift was almost overwhelming, but he managed to remain human. “Are you crazy?” he replied in a lighter tone “I already ate two.”
“Three, actually.” Danny could clearly hear the smile in Steve’s voice now, but it didn’t reach his lips.
“Really?” Danny answered, his voice slightly belligerent “You are watching what I eat now? That is extremely rude.”
“I just want to keep you healthy.” Steve reasoned
“You did not earn the right to watch my health just yet, Steven! And if you think that eating two whole steaks…”
“...is healthy for me, for anyone, you are mistaken, my friend” He scowled at him.
“So... you don’t want another one?”
“No!” Danny’s stomach rumbled. What the hell was wrong with him? “...Yes. Maybe just one more. And would you please wear some pants, so we can eat like normal people.”
Steve left him by himself for most of the day. Not completely alone, he could feel his presence all the time, smell him, hear him, but he rarely saw him. Thankfully, there was cell reception where they were, and he spent the afternoon talking to Grace and catching up with Kono about the case. They all agreed that even though they seemed to have shut down the operation in Honolulu, there was someone else giving orders, someone with enough influence and money to finance a lab, to recruit dirty naval officers and to operate all around the US. It was established that Wolves’ blood was experimented on, but to what end it was still unclear. Kono now focused her search around the injured woman from the lab, identified as Doctor Hali Taroon, a Biochemist. It panned out quickly as it turned out that she visited all specified states around the times of the murders. That narrowed the search for possible accomplices greatly, since she could focus on a much shorter time frame.
It almost felt normal, working, theorizing, discussing a case. It felt detached from the turmoil of the shift he went through, and all he wanted was to get back to his life, to feel that normalcy again. He didn’t want to be here. So next time Steve appeared in his line of sight, Danny shot out “Am I a prisoner here?” He wasn’t even sure why he said it like that. It came out too blunt, too angry, but wasn’t this his life now?
Steve looked startled “What? No, why would you think that?”
“Then what am I doing here?”
Steve shoved his own phone into his pocket and turned to face Danny up front. “You’re here because it’s a safe place for you, to go through the initial transition.” He answered seriously, calmly, though Danny could hear the trepidation in his voice.
“It already happened. So, May I leave?” He couldn’t keep the bitterness out of his voice. He hated how it sounded, he hated how it made Steve look, the stricken look on his face. But somehow it also pleased him, this obvious pain in Steve’s features. What the hell was wrong with him? He kind of knew the answer to that, didn’t he?
Steve shifted his weight uneasily “Danny, you may leave when ever you feel ready, but you still haven’t shifted on your own accord, and you still need to get a better idea about being a wolf…”
“OK, fine, so I’ll go back to my life and when I feel like I need to shift, I’ll come back here. I’ll hold it off as long as possible.”
“It doesn’t work like that, Danny.” Steve was pleading, it felt wrong. “You need to be in control, not wait for it to happen because you can’t hold on anymore.”
“So you’re saying that I can’t be in full control over this?” Danny’s anger rose. That fear he felt since he realized what happened to him was validated. Validated in his feelings right now, validated in Steve’s words. He was trapped. He was no longer in control of his life, or more correctly, lost control over them yet again, and it was too much for him to bear.
“I’m saying that you need to learn how to be in control.” Steve seemed to be losing his patience too.
“So, How long? How long do I have to...learn? How long do I need to be caged here, like a wild animal about to go on a rampage, before I can make sure this would never have to happen again?”
“What...what would never happen again?”
“This!” he waved his hands at Steve “Being a wolf, wanting to taste blood, wanting to see you hurt, wanting to mate like a fucking animal!”
Danny could see Steve’s confusion. Steve didn’t understand this, at all, and it just infuriated Danny more. “You...are a wolf,” He started to explain “you can’t just...ignore it, it’s like...like asking when you will learn to live without food…”
“I’m right then. No way to control it, I’m gonna have to live with the fact that I can’t be trusted near my daughter, cause I might feel the need to go wild…”
“Danny, what are you talking about!” Steve finally lashed out “Why do you think that? You trusted me around her, you even…”
“Maybe I was wrong! Maybe I didn’t get how consuming that feeling is! You have no idea, Steve, no idea what it’s like to fear that much for someone, you have no family, no one needs you to be in control, no ties to the real, sane world!”
He could see Steve growing pale, he could see his eyes darken, but he couldn’t care less. “You will not always feel like this,” Steve pleaded, but something in his voice grew cold. “You just need to experience this a few more times, trust me…”
“Trust you?! Trust you?” Danny felt he was out of control. The weight of his emotions was wearing him down, and he wasn’t even a wolf. Some part of his brain told him he should walk away now, before it would be too much, but he could not listen to it. “Why? because you appointed yourself to be my bodyguard? I did trust you, and the one time, the one time I needed you, you weren’t there, and now you dragged me into this crazy world of yours, and you have no clue what it’s like because to you this in ‘normal’! This is not normal,” He pointed at Steve, finger poking the air between them “ You are not normal, This is a freak show!”
Steve’s lost all color by now. He was trembling, eyes fixed on Danny, but he said nothing.
Danny knew that he went too far. Or maybe a part of him knew. A part that was now buried under his own breathtaking terror. So he turned and walked away, aware of Steve’s eyes on him, aware of the fact Steve was not making any attempt to stop him.
He ran through the jungle, all the way back to the den, where his car waited. Then he drove off, breathing again only when the wheels of his car met the hard, paved asphalt and his senses were engulfed in the haze of the city.
Clean up and mess up
This next chapter was originally two chapters, but after the last chapter I felt like we all needed Danny to get back on track. So, here's a long one. Hope it's not too much info drop at once. Enjoy!
Though it was apparent that some attempt at getting his small house back together was made, Danny still opened the door to a messy crime scene. Someone made sure that his broken living room window was barred with a large wooden plate, and the glass fragments were neatly swept, but there were still broken furniture stacked in one corner, Gracie’s room was a complete mess, and blood stains were everywhere.
He didn’t really mind, once he started to clean up the mess. The physical, slightly sisyphic work was just what he needed to get to a point in which he practically passed out on his still standing sofa-bed.
His dreams were of jungles, wolves and blood, of flesh being ripped from his bones, and of Steve, sometimes human with sad sunken eyes and pale skin, sometimes a wolf growling at him in anger. But it didn’t wake him, and when he was finally brought back to consciousness by an insistent knock on his door, he felt rested.
“Coming, just a minute” Danny called. He rose up from the bed, grabbing his gun from underneath the pillow. He ran his hand through his hair and approached the door. He stopped at the entrance, one hand holding the handle, the other holding the gun raised.. “Who is it?” He demanded.
“Chin Ho Kelly.” Came a steady voice from the other side
Danny lowered the gun. A mix of disappointment and relief washed over him. It wasn’t Steve. He opened the door to a crack, “Hey”.
“Aloha.” Chin smiles kindly “May I enter?”
“Are you alone?”
“I am alone.” Chin affirmed
“Then come on in” Danny offered, opening the door wide and swiping his hand in a welcome gesture, stepping aside. Chin stepped inside, looking around. Danny closed the door after him. “So what are you doing here?”
“Wanted see how you are doing. After you left yesterday.”
“I must be the talk of the den by now.” Danny murmured, then added clearly “How am I doing? I’m fine. My house still looks like a war zone, but it just fits better into this neighborhood. Coffee?”
“Thank you” Chin nodded “You are indeed the talk of the Den. I am not sure it’s for the reasons you think. Did you… sleep well?”
Danny walked the short distance to the kitchen, realizing suddenly that he didn’t check if the coffee machine survived the ordeal. “Yeah, actually. Passed out on the couch for a couple of hours..” Danny chuckled. “Tried to make this place more...habitable.” He managed to find two clean cups, and the machine seemed to be able to do its job.
“You should take it easy in the next few days. Your body has been practically building itself anew.” Chin took the offered cup from Danny “I am also here to remind you that you don’t need to go through this alone. The pack is there for you.” he looked into Danny’s eyes “And you can call me anytime, with...anything.”
Danny sighed “I’m not sure I’m ready for this...pack thing, but...thanks.” Chin said nothing. He sipped from his mug and just looked at Danny. Danny’s eyes were on his own feet for a few seconds before mustering up the courage to ask “So...how long can I go without...changing?”
Chin’s neutral expression changed, just for a second. A frown passed through his features and then disappeared. “It might be several days. It might be a month. I do not recommend waiting for it to happen on its own.”
“So I have to trigger it?”
“You should. It’s...easier. The more you practice it, the more you are in control. You learn to… differentiate between animalistic desires and human ones.” Danny blushed at that remark. “Both can be intense, and both should be attended to, but… it’s like learning when it is appropriate or not to do something.”
“So I’ve been told” Danny admitted feebly.
“You’ll be wise to have someone with you, the first few times.” Chin remarks. He didn’t seem to heed Danny’s blush.
“Yeah...The first time was kind of traumatic” volunteered Danny
“It hurt! Like, really hurt, from head to toe and everywhere in between”. Danny remembered. “And then, there was the...stumbling, the walking on all legs, the running, the blood in my veins…” Danny shut his eyes. “It was all too much, and the feelings remained when I changed back...like an adrenaline rush that wouldn’t ebb”.
Chin spoke softly “The pain becomes insignificant once you shift willingly. And non existent after a while. Moving around as a wolf...becomes second nature very quickly. It is all a matter of practice. The impulses… they do not disappear or change with shifting. You don’t desire things that are not you, you just.. need to experience them differently sometimes .”
“I’m not going to want to hunt rabbits in human form though, but the desires I have as a man will be heightened as a wolf?” queried Danny.
“Yes. If, as a human, you liked the chase, the hunt, you will like it as a wolf. But a wolf hunting is different than a man hunting. You...remember the fight for Alpha?”
Danny nodded “How can I forget?”
“Most people are social creatures. Just like wolves, it’s...a survival need. So a human that needs to feel a part of a group, will dress like them, learn their jargon and such. A wolf will join the group howl.”
“Is it like an instinct? I’d hear the howl and have to join in?”
“It might feel like it, at first. But you can always choose not to join. Not much different than people giving standing ovations after a show, all around you. You are most likely to join them. You would feel great to be part of their enthusiasm. You would feel uncomfortable to remain seated, but you can still do that.”
“So I get to keep my will. I’m not just pure instinct. That’s good to know”.
Chin smiled “I know this is all new to you, but from what you saw, what made you think we work on pure instinct?”
“Just, animal nature and all that, what I felt...it’s more like feeling than thinking, is it? It’s all conscious, but...less structured?”
“Especially at first, your emotions may feel like they are all over the place, you might find it more difficult to control them, to prevent yourself from acting upon them. Like being drunk. But the sooner you learn to identify this, the sooner it would be easier to control it. Or maybe...hide it better.” he smiled again.
“Yeah, to avoid hairy situations…” Danny chuckled.
Chin laughed “Isn’t that the goal of most people?”
“Yeah”. Danny turned back to the coffee machine, filling his cup again “more? It takes at least two to feel human in the morning” then his tone became serious. “I’ll do it soon, I guess. I won’t hide from that”.
“Good.” he pushed his cup towards Danny “This is not a bad thing, Detective. The only… problem with this is having to hide it from most of the world.”
“Yeah, I have a daughter. How do I hide half my life from her?”
Chin didn’t answer immediately. He looked at Danny, then at his cup, took a sip and finally said “Maybe you don’t have to”
“How come? Should I just tell her ‘hey Gracie, your dad is a werewolf now. And you know that big awesome dog you wanted to adopt, he’s also one, He’s actually a man called Steve, and he’s from the navy’?”.
“It’s actually a lot easier for kids to believe in these things… your daughter wanted to adopt Steve?” Chin definitely looked amused.
“Yeah.” Danny barked a laugh. “She noticed him lurking around, and decided to invite him over on the night of the storm, so he wouldn’t get wet. She named him Wolf”.
Chin looked at him as if trying to figure out if he was serious. “Steve...went along with it?”
“Oh yeah, let her scratch behind his ears and everything. Stayed to watch us from the inside that night just like the family dog. She fell asleep on his back.”
Chin shook his head “He’s really got it bad for you.”
Danny shrugged. “I doubt that after yesterday”
“Why? What did he do?”
“Him? Nothing. I lashed out, blamed him for everything and ran away” Danny wasn’t sure why he was telling something so private to this man, but something about him made it easy to confide in him.
“Ah.” Chin took a deep breath. “That explains why he is under the impression you don’t want to be around him. You know, you haven’t told him anything he didn’t tell himself.”
“He told you that?”
"He didn't have to. This is who he is. It was his job. So he is the one who failed. This is how he sees it. He won’t dwell on this failure, he would learn from it and move on, but he does feel responsible. He would not resent you for thinking the same thing. But if he thinks he lost your trust...”
“What happens then?”
“I can only guess that he would go to terrible lengths to fix it. On this…he would dwell .”
“I think I left that impression on him yesterday." Danny admitted sadly.
Chin nodded thoughtfully “You two are adults. I’m sure you’ll figure how to fix this.”
Maybe if I didn’t also threw in his face that he had no family, Danny thought. “How...is he?”
“Worried. Devastated. Determined.” Chin got up “Of course, most people will only notice the third.”
Danny shoved his hands in his pockets and grimaced. “I’ll make it right with him, don’t worry.” he reached to Chin with his right hand, “Thanks”.
Chin shook his hand. “You are welcome. Call me when you decide to shift. Don’t wait too long. And…” he turns Danny’s arm in his grip, examining it “if you are going to return to civilization, it might be wise to put some bandages on this arm. Less questions.”
Danny nodded and followed him to the door. Chin turned back to him just before the door is closed behind him “There are still two wolves watching you. And your daughter.”
Danny blew air out of his nose “Of course there are.”
Kono called, and Danny invested a good half an hour in bandaging his arm before he decided to just cover most of it with a long sleeve, leaving just the edge of it to peek out. He played with a sling, wearing it and taking it off alternately, until she knocked on his door.
She looked skeptically at the arm and the sling still hanging around his neck, raised her eyebrow, studied his face then observed “You look good. Maybe you should wear the holster on your left side though. How are you feeling?”
Danny sighed dramatically. “Physically fine, I guess. What do you have?”
She regarded him for a second, but said nothing more on the subject and started her account of the findings.
CSU was successful in hacking the laptop they seized at the lab. Fong sounded horrified as he explained that his only conclusion was that they were experimenting on human blood to create some sort of a drug. It looked like they were looking for humans of specific heritage, and seemed to make progress with what looked like a Hawaiian bloodline specifically .
“Hawaiian Wolves…” Danny muttered to himself, and Kono nodded.
His first thought was that Steve should be safe, he was not native Hawaiian, then he realized that killing the Alpha was the perps’ very first step. Steve probably messed with their plan and he was the Alpha now. It made sense that the bad guys had different plans for him than for the other wolves. They didn’t need his blood, they just wanted him dead. Danny considered calling him with this information, but he doubted it would do any good. Steve already knew he was targeted, and knowing that the blood of his pack was used to produce drugs… The image of the enormous black wolf tearing through throats jumped to mind. Not that they didn’t deserve it, but he was an officer of the law and he couldn’t just let that happen. Could he?
The second breakthrough came from Kono’s insistent and meticulous work on the cases in the main land. While checking the surveillance cameras in the airports Doctor Taroon visited around the times of the murders in each state, she spotted Katashi Hiraku who is an associate of a known Japanese drug runner related to the Yakuza. Chin had confirmed that at least two of the other victims on main land were indeed wolves, and when Kono checked reports from Japan she ran into a few more murders with the same MO over the last year.
Moreover, according to registrations Hiraku was currently on the island.
The knowledge of the possible involvement of the Yakuza made the presence of his wolf guardians much more tolerable.
Kono also got a call that Doctor Taroon was awake and well enough for questioning, but Danny thought that Hiraku should be their first priority. The doctor was not going anywhere, and Danny wasn’t sure why Hiraku was still on the island, as the bust at the lab was surely known to him. But he would ask that question after he got him in custody.
Unfortunately, when they got to his hotel room, he was long gone. He didn’t check out, but the bill was settled and there were no indications of anyone staying in the room for the last two days, when he was last seen leaving his room with his two complementary goons and a suitcase.
The next stop was the doctor. She was barely conscious but already lawyered up. Through her lawyer she denied any knowledge of the killings. Yes, she tested blood as part of her genetic research, but as far as she knows the blood was donated willingly to her study. Yes, she knew Mr. Hiraku, he was one of her benefactors’ liaisons. No, she doesn’t know who he is, he preferred to remain anonymous. She has no idea where mr. Hiraku could be. Is he not in his hotel room?
“Miss Taroon is shocked to hear about the killings. This is horrible news, to think that her study was pushed forward in such an horrific way.”
Danny wondered if his wolf jaw was strong enough to pull out an arm.
The day ended with pretty much nothing, the progress Kono made ran into a dead end. It was annoying and frustrating and Danny decid ed to get over himself and no t to settle for a phone call to his daughter and stopped by Rachel’s house to see her.
When he left, after tucking Grace in and reassuring Rachel, again, that ‘Wolf’ was not responsible for his injury and in fact helped save him, he decided to man up and call Steve. There was no answer. Danny shoved the consequential disastrous thoughts- From ‘he never wants to talk to me again’ to ‘Hiraku’s accomplices got to him’ - aside and called Chin instead. But disconnected after the second ring. He wasn’t sure what he wanted.
He took his clothes off, and stood in front of the cracked mirror still hanging in what used to be Grace’s room. He took a deep breath and willed himself to become a wolf.
When he tried remembering the horrible pain, for a second there, he felt it course through his body, like a jolt of electricity. But still nothing happened.
His phone rang. He picked it up hastily, feeling that same disappointment and relief to see Chin’s name.
“ Danny. Is everything alright? ”
“Yeah...Steve didn’t answer his phone…”
“ He is out on a run, I think.” Chin reassured him. “You want me to come over? ”
“Umm...no, no, it’s fine.”
“ OK ”
“I...actually just tried to change. Shift. Whatever. Nothing happened.”
“ I’m on my way. ”
“No, no. It’s fine. Maybe I’m just tired, I’ll.... try again tomorrow.”
“ Are you sure? ”
“Yes. Yes, good night Chin. Thanks for returning my call.”
He disconnected the call and got into the shower to excuse his nakedness. This was silly. Moronic. The whole thing suddenly seemed completely ridiculous. Werewolves. Really. Maybe this is all just the most vivid, horrific dream he ever had.
He just needed to get himself together, fix his house so Grace can come over, forget about this whole crazy werewolf thing. Forget about Steve. He laughed bitterly under the stream of steaming water. Like that could ever happen, damn that man.
The next morning, after yet another night of jungle, wolves and Steve dreams, he woken up to his phone ringing. His fingers were buried inside long grooves in his sofa pillows. He was pretty sure they weren’t there last night. He didn’t have time for a full panic attack, the damn phone was insistent, so he filed it aside to think about later.
“Yes. Kono. What is it?” he barked to the phone after identifying the annoying caller.
“ I sent you a video. ” Kono answered curtly. “ It’s from the camera you had installed in Doc Taroon’s room, to see if Hiraku comes to visit. Watch it. ”
Danny blinked a few times to clear his still blurry vision, and opened the file Kono sent. Time stamp 01:43 am. A tall man entered the room. He looked around him slowly. When he was facing the camera, Danny’s suspicions about his identity were verified. The black and white image of Steve reached for the camera, covered it and the feed was gone.
“Kono,” Danny breathed “Did anyone else see this?”
“ Just Poa, who was keeping watch. He didn’t think much of it, since he recognized Steve as the officer that worked with you, and the feed comes back after about three minutes, so he waited to call me this morning. ”
“Make sure he doesn’t tell anyone. And keep that recording to yourself.”
“ Already done. ”
“Good. How’s doctor Taroon?”
“ From the feed after that she seems fine. A little agitated but fine. ”
“Alright. Meet me there.”
He dressed quickly while trying once more to reach Steve. Still no answer. He tried Chin as he swung the door open, but there was somebody there already, hand raised, about to knock.
Danny frowned, a pang of fear went through his body. “Kawika...right?”
“Yes. May I come in, detective Williams?” Danny hesitated. The man in front of him caught the reluctance. “I am here on orders from McGarrett.” He said “This is urgent. I already asked Kelly to join us, he is on his way. We can wait for him if you’d like, but I don’t think we can afford to waste any time.”
“ He is telling the truth, ” Danny forgot that he had his phone pressed to his ear. Chin was speaking from the other side. “ I’m on my way, be there is two minutes. ” Danny nodded and stepped aside to let Kawika in. “ I’ll stay on the line if it makes you feel safer, but you can trust him. ” Chin told him, apparently reading his mind.
“No, It’s OK Chin.” He was already a werewolf. He can’t be turned again. “Just come immediately in when you get here.” He disconnected the line and turned to the werewolf. “What is it?”
“McGarrett is probably in trouble.” Kawika stood in the middle of the room, hands crossed on his chest. “He got intel about the man who was responsible for the murders. He needed our help to infiltrate, and gave strict orders that if he is not out by six a.m. we should contact you with the information we have.”
“Infiltrate? Where? Where is he?”
“He learnt that Katashi Hiraku, the man who is behind this, is hiding in the Japanese consulate here in Honolulu.”
Danny felt the color drain from his face. He was pretty sure the next sentence that came out of Kawika’s mouth included the words ‘Plan’, ‘Execute’ and that ‘Infiltrated’ again, along with ‘Consulate’. But it couldn’t be, could it? Steve wouldn’t be that stupid. “What did you just say?” he blurted out angrily
“I said he had a plan to infiltrate the consulate and extract him. He didn’t want anyone else involved, so we just assisted in creating a distraction while he went in.”
“He got in the Japanese consulate? Alone?” Danny shouted “And you just let him?”
Anger flashed briefly through Kawika’s eyes “We expressed our concern” he said coldly “We suggested other ways of dealing with this. But he decided. He is the Alpha.”
“Isn’t it just great! Very convenient for you isn’t it? He comes up with a crazy plan, and you just happily assist and wait for the Alpha position to clear…”
Kawika was in his face in a flash, a low growl escaped his lips and his eyes turned yellow “I accepted him as Alpha. My loyalty is not to be questioned!” He barked at Danny.
Danny felt that familiar tinge of pain shaking his body. For a brief second he thought his skin was about to burst. He stood face to face with the man for what seem to be a long moment. But then he felt Chin’s hand on his arm, pressing lightly, and his calm voice penetrated the thick air around him.
“This is not our way, Danny” Chin said “We do not work in the shadows. If Kawika ever questions Steve’s right for Alpha, it would be out in the open, not through intrigue. Intrigue is not honorable.” Chin kept his hold on Danny’s arm. “Forgive him Kawika. He is a newborn, yet to learn our way of thinking. And he is currently upset and worries about Steve.”
Kawika seemed to relax a bit, leaning back but still piercing Danny with his gaze. “I offered to accompany him. The cause is honorable. But he chose to keep the honor to himself.”
“Honorable?” Danny back away, tearing his arm from Chin’s grip in favor of flailing it around “Fucking idiotic! What is wrong with you people?!”
“We do what we must to protect our pack.” Kawika answered simply, then Chin said “Steve is trained for such missions, I’m sure he did such things many times before. And he knows you can’t just enter a foreign consulate.”
“Maybe he did, but I’m sure he was never alone! And you are right, you can’t just waltz in a foreign consulate, there are other options! You can apply in diplomatic channels to extradite a criminal…”
“You need to prove he is one to do that…” Chin countered
“Of course you do! This is the proper procedure!”
“And wait while he recovered and build another lab then start draining wolves again?” Kawika lashed angrily again
“And you think it’s better to go in alone and get yourself killed by a maniac wolf hunter!”
“I think,” Kawika replied with barely contained anger, matching Danny’s own “that this was our best option. Now, as apparently it went sideways, you can do it your way, just as McGarrett instructed. He told me to tell you where Hiraku is. To let you know that the sick doctor woman would be ready to cooperate and testify against him. And that you should go through diplomatic channels to arrest him.”
“Like hell I will!” Danny shouted, surprising even himself “The idiot expects me to just leave him there to the mercy of this killer?”
Something changed in Kawika’s stance. He moved back, hands returned to their position on his chest, and he eyed Danny thoughtfully for a few seconds. “So?” he gestured with his chin towards Danny “What’s the plan?”
Diplomatic approach and Cool backpacks. or frontpacks.
Danny walked a few steps in front of his escort, quickening his pace on purpose while Kono walked leisurely behind him, so the security guard was moving uncomfortably between them, not sure whom should he watch.
“Sir,” Danny heard him call after him, “Sir, not that door, please continue straight ahead, Ma’am please step after him…” Danny made an effort to open each and every door he could, taking in as much of the place as possible. He wasn’t really expecting to find Steve this way, they probably kept him in a secret dungeon or something, but he needed to gather as much intel as possible.
So he opened a door, turned his chest and let the tiny camera hidden in the clip of his tie record the surroundings. Toast and Chin on the other side analyzed the information online.
“Please, wait here.” The security guard called after him again when they reached a large hall, but the small secretary at the desk said “Detective Williams and officer Kalakaua, I presume? Please, go right in.”
There were short introductions, which, Danny noticed, did not include the asian man standing at the corner of the room, the consul sat back behind his desk and asked “How can we help you Detective?”
“Consul Takiru, we have reason to believe a man called Katashi Hiraku, who is a person of interest in an ongoing serial murders investigation, is currently taking refuge in this consulate.” Danny explained, searching the Consul’s face intently. But as every politician he’s ever met, his features disclosed no reaction whatsoever.
“I see.” He answered thoughtfully. “And what is expected of us regarding this?”
“We would like your cooperation in bringing him in for questioning.”
“I am not aware of Mr. Hiraku’s presence at the consulate at this minute, but since he is a Japanese citizen and a friend, he does visit this premises from time to time. I’ll be sure to tell him that Honolulu police department is looking for him.”
“As I said” Danny answered coldly, trying to mask his own emotions “We have a strong reason to believe that he is here now, and we would like to search this premises.”
“Detective, I am sure you are well aware that you have no jurisdiction here.” the consul spoke in the same neutral tone “Having you search the consulate is unacceptable. Now if we are finished here…” He gestured toward the door, and the goon that accompanied them stepped forward again.
Danny raised his hand to stop him “Not quite, Consul Takiru. We also believe you have an american citizen kept here unwillingly.”
There was a quick glance from the consul toward the man in the corner. A short glimpse that could be easily dismissed as a roll of the eyes.
The consul leaned forward, putting both hands on the desk. “I have no knowledge of such a thing, Detective.”
“You don’t?” Danny said with mock surprise. “It seem that you have very little knowledge of what is going on in your consulate,” he raised his hands in a placating gesture “with all due respect, ofcourse. Maybe you should check with your security.”
Again, without moving his head the consul's eyes made a quick motion toward the other man in the room. His jaw clenched momentarily, but that was all that happen to indicate any stress. “I will, Detective, I thank you for your concern. Though if my security people do have a man in custody, I am sure there is a good reason for that, and it is well within our rights to hold him.”
“It probably is…” Danny nodded “I just wanted to offer HPD’s assistance with this perpetrator.” He leaned forward, hands grabbing the desk, pressing hard at the underside of it to latch the small surveillance device held between his fingers. “And to remind you that the well being of any american citizen in your custody, is your responsibility.”
“If we do have someone here, I assure you this person would be treated within protocol. Thank you for your offer to assist, now, please, we both have more important work to attend to.”
Danny straightened and nodded again, then shifted his gaze to the man standing there, letting himself and the camera scan his face. The man remained quiet but returned an unwavering gaze.
“Thank you, Consul.” Danny turned, and with Kono they made their way out, both with hasty steps now. The second they were out of the gate and in the street he spoke into his comm.
“Chin, you got audio?”
“We do.” Came the calm voice in his ear. “They definitely have Steve, and I think he is alive. Hiraku is also there. you should hear this yourself.”
Danny jogged the rest of the way to the van parking in the Seven Eleven lot across the street. He entered the back, Kono on his heels, the three moving awkwardly inside the small space at the back of the van until each found his place.
“What have you got, Chin?”
Chin handed the headphones to Danny and adjusted the recording time on screen. “This is what was heard immediately after you left.”
Danny heard himself thanking the consul, then the door closed. Then, the distinct voice of the man was heard.
“I’ve had enough of this.” He said angrily. It sounded like all the emotion he held back were lashing out. “This is a working place, not a Yakuza safehouse. You take your business elsewhere.”
“I understand that, Takiru.” Came another voice. It was calm and cold. Danny guessed it belonged to the other man that was present. “I assure you this is temporary until HPD attention is directed elsewhere…”
“Were you not in the same room with me now, Wo fat?” spitted out the consul. “HPD attention is right here. They know Hariku is here, and they know about your...guest. This was not the deal.”
“Need I remind you, Takiru, what is at stake here?”
“You do not!” there was a loud bang sound “Need I remind you that we are not setup for this here? civilians are passing by here everyday. People work here. You need to take Hariku and your prisoner and leave. Now.”
“No excuses. You are out of here within the hour, take whatever resources you need for this, but leave. Or I will call this Detective Williams and give him your prisoner. We can not keep him here.”
There was silence for a few minutes. Danny didn’t notice he was holding his breath. “Very well. We will leave as soon as we will make arrangements.” Again few seconds of silence. Then, “I thank you for your hospitality, consul. Your….cooperation would be remembered.”
“Do not threaten me.” Another bang. Then a door being opened and closed.
Danny looked up at Chin, then Kono. “They are going to move him. We have a chance.”
Two HPD cruisers were alerted and took position in the adjacent street to provide backup without alerting anyone at the consulate. It was still a delicate matter, depending on how they were going to move Steve and Hariku out of the consulate. If official diplomatic vehicles were to be used, they couldn’t just come up to them, stop and search. Danny, at this point, cared little about proper procedure, though when he realized that, it annoyed him immensely. But he just wanted to get Steve back safe. To make sure the guy knew how Danny felt about him, to somehow erase that last few sentences he threw in his face, to see that stupid, dopey, smug grin on his face.
So he was ready to do just about anything, he was ready to face the consequences, but he could not involve HPD in this. He even sent Kono, under loud protest, to sit in one of the backup vehicles and stayed only with Chin and Kawika.
Each car that left the compound was thoroughly scanned, visually, thermally, audibly and occasionally even smelled if one of them happened to be close by while in the random walk-by they did every few minutes. So far, nothing.
Then, 68 minutes after Danny and Kono left the consulate, a low thump of a helicopter could be heard. Danny watched, eyes wide, as a small chopper landed on the consulate low roof.
“Fuck!” He breathed “Damn!”
“You think this is their ride?” Kono asked over the comm
“Can anyone see what’s going on up there?” Danny asked desperately. “How can they even get a chopper down here! Shit!”
From their point of view they couldn’t see what was going on on that roof. But Danny’s guts told him that this indeed was how they were going to extract Steve and Hiraku and then disappear to who know where, and they will never have a chance to find him, until it would probably be too late.
Kono’s voice came over the comm “I have ATC online, they can track the chopper but they would need a warrant to give us this information.”
“Tell them we have one!” Danny shouted into his comm. The Helicopter took off, slowly, bending the treetops around it in a hail of turbulence. It hovered for a couple of seconds high above the streets turning on its axis and then started to fly southeast.
“Kawika, after it!” Danny ordered, but as the man took them out of the parking lot and into traffic Chin said “Kawika, take us to Kapiolani” and he turned the van in another direction.
“What the hell, Chin?” Danny exclaimed, but the Hawaiian only gestured with his hand raised as he held his phone against his ear.
“Kapiolani, it’s Chin. Steve’s in trouble, we’re gonna need one of your birds.” He nodded “Great.” he disconnected the call “She runs a helicopter tour company, She will have a chopper ready for us in five.”
“Part of the pack. yes. We can trust her.”
ATC tracked the chopper flying toward Moloka’i until it landed in some private property a few miles north of Maunaloa. Angela Kapiolani chose a reasonable spot a few Kilometers away to drop Danny, Chin and Kawika. She told them she was going to fuel at a nearby airfield and come back to get them, then took off.
Kawika, without so much as a glance, took off his gear and clothes shoving them into a strange looking bag with long stretchable straps, hung the straps on his shoulders and shifted to a wolf. The bag fitted perfectly to his wolf form, pressed against his underside. His dark yellow eyes looked at them in anticipation. There was logic in that move, they were out in the wild and Danny guessed they would move quicker this way.
“You have more of these bags?” He asked Chin, trying to delay the inevitable. Chin just took out another one and started to strip.
Danny felt that short pulse of the now familiar pain. “Ummm, Chin” He whispered reluctantly “I don’t think…”
Chin looked at him thoughtfully for a minute and then turned to Kawika “Go. Don’t make a move yet, just scout the perimeter, meet us on the south junction here.” He gestured to the satellite map on his phone. Kawika just looked at Danny for a minute, then turned and ran off.
“Come on, Danny, you can at least try.” Chin demanded severely.
Danny nodded. He took off his clothes, slowly, self consciously, until Chin obliged and turned his back without any comment.
Danny breathed, concentrated, strained his muscles. Except for that terrifying pain pulsing in short bursts, nothing happened.
“Danny?” Chin asked after a minute or so, still without looking.
“I...nothing happens, what...what do I have to do?”
“Relax. You just need to decide to do it. Like you decide to jump or ran.”
Danny decided to...wolf. Still nothing. “We are wasting our time,” He said angrily starting to put on his clothes again, “I can’t do this, maybe I’m broken or something, maybe it was a one time thing. Look, I’ll help you...strap on your gear, and I’ll meet you there.”
Chin turned, “No, Danny, there is no ‘one time thing’ in this…”
“Maybe there is for me…”
“You are just still scared. Don’t think about it, just do it.”
“This is not working. Let’s not waste any more time. Go. Scout. I’ll catch up.”
Chin stared at him. Danny went through their gear, putting on a vest, strapping weapons “Come on, Chin”
Chin, again in complete silence, prepared his bag and shifted. Danny shouldered a small bag, and motioned to Chin with his head. “Go. I’ll follow the road, meet you there.”
Danny ran as quick as he could to the side of the dirt road, keeping cover as much as possible. It was strange, how the way the air did not rush on his face felt somehow wrong. He ran like that his whole life, or rather tried to avoid running like that his whole life, and now, the vague memory of a one time run through the jungle was all he could think about. The large farm house came into view, just as his comm returned to life in his ear.
“Danny, do you copy?” Came Chin’s voice.
“Here” he breathed, taking the opportunity to stand still for a second, leaning forward hands on his knees, and evening his breath.
“Be careful, there seem to be patrols around the perimeter, just outside the fence. Do not approach the rendezvous point, circle the compound from the east, keep your distance, we will find you.”
“Standup! Hands where we can see them!” A demand came from behind him. Danny turned abruptly to see a man standing a few feet away. He wore camouflage uniform, complete with a tac vest and an assault rifle pointed directly at him. Danny lifted his hands slowly.
“Shit, Danny, hold on, stall, we are coming to get you.” Chin announced in his earpiece.
“Wow, OK, don’t shoot.” Danny faked a surprised alarm. Or maybe not really faked.
“Who are you?” The man with the rifle demanded
“Nobody, I just went out for a jog in the fields…”
“You usually jog with a bulletproof vest and a weapon?” the man barked at him “I asked who you are.”
“Do you usually stroll about fully armed?” Danny countered “I’d say you agree with me that this is a dangerous area…”
“Last chance, Haole.” The man raised his rifle to emphasize his intent “This is a private property. You are trespassing. Identify yourself or I’ll just shoot and then the police will have to identify your body.”
“Fine, OK, I’m happy to see you have some knowledge of police work. I am an officer of the law myself, so you should reconsider your attitude. if you let me lower one arm I’ll show you my identification…”
“Keep them up.” The man ordered. Someone approached Danny from behind. “My colleague will do the honors.” A hand was sent to his holster and pulled the gun out, than started going through his pockets.
“Detective sergeant Danny Williams, HPD” Said the voice behind him.
“HPD, ha? Long way from home detective.” He looked at his groping colleague “Report in.”
There was radio chatter, in Japanese or Chinese, Danny thought. His name sounded the same in every language. Then the man holding the rifle asked “Are you alone here?”
“Yes, on a leave, sightseeing…” Danny started to answer, but then rough fingers were shoved in his ear and pulled out the comm, Holding it up.
“Just me and the radio. KDNN. Love those two funny guys.”
The man in front of him gestured with his chin, then something hard and painful collided with the back of his head. He didn’t even feel it when he dropped to the ground.
Ice cold water jolted him back to reality, soaking his hair and shirt. Then a kick to his gut with “Wake up, pua'a laho, I’m not carrying you around.”
He was lying next to a jeep, in the dirt, or more like mud right now, courtesy of the wake-up bath he got. He coughed a little, spitting mud and blinked some water out of his eyes. When they pulled him up, he braced himself for the pain and dizziness he was sure would come, but aside from a slight throbbing emanating from the back of his head, and the inconvenience of his shoulders pulled backwards, wrists bound at his back, there was nothing. He wiggled his hands a little and came to the conclusion they were duct-taped together.
One of the men in front of him held his gun up waving it “Put him with the freak and continue with the arrangements.” he looked straight at Danny “No funny business. We haven’t decided what to do with you yet, but if you prove to be trouble, We will shoot you.”
He was pushed forward, then marched through a gate. Looking around he took as much of his surrounding as possible. They passed what looked like the main building, a one story farmhouse surrounded by a well maintained garden, in contrast to the armed military types lurking about it. They went around it, across a small yard and into a concrete structure. There, on the far side, leaning against the wall he saw Steve. The man handling him pushed Danny roughly to the floor, blocking his view of Steve. Pulling his legs back together he duct taped them, checked the restraints on his wrists and added some more there too, then left the room, heavy metal door clinging shut behind him.
Steve didn’t seem aware of the occurances around him. He was completely naked, head hanging to his chest, hands pulled behind him. His legs were stretched in front of him, bound together at the ankle, just like Danny’s. But instead of duct tape, it was a thick silver chain tightening them together. The skin underneath was raw and blistered. The only sign of life was the slight rise and fall of his chest.
Danny waited just long enough to hear the door clung shut and then whispered urgently “Steve? Steve, wake up!”
Steve’s head jerked up, his body tensed. Danny could see now that another silver chain was wrapped around his neck. Steve groaned, laid his head back against the wall, taking shallow breaths, relaxing his muscles. It looked like every movement caused him pain. He blinked, focusing his gaze on Danny. “Danny?” His voice was gruff “What... you doing here?”
“ Learning to appreciate the Hawaiian countryside. What do you think?”
Steve swallowed. The chain around his neck shifted slightly and he stifled a moan, or tried to. “You OK? Why did you come? You shouldn’t be...here” he looked around him, eyes scanning their surroundings.
“I’m fine” Danny answered, starting to struggle against the binds, “You, however, look like you could use some help”.
“You...came to help?”
“You didn’t leave me much choice, did you?”
“I thought...” he trailed off
“You thought what? That I’ll let you have all the fun? ”
“ I thought that you hated me .”
“Oh, jeez, you sound like a four-years-old. And for your information, I do hate you. Going all ninja with Kawika, your domestic rival, no less, as backup, then with no backup at all, and then sending him to me. Not with a request to save your miserable ass, but only to inform me of your latest crazy stunt and expect me to just...what? Make some phone calls? Hope that the murderous lupophobe be kind enough…”
“Do you ever stop talking?” Steve interjected, but it was the lack of fervor in his words that caused Danny to stop talking, and wiggling, and look at him again. The man was unnaturally still. An occasional tremble went through his muscles, probably from the effort to remain just that, as every tiny movement jostle his painful bindings.
“What happened?” Danny finally asked quietly, renewing his efforts, trying to shift his legs. Still no luck.
Steve held his head up for a moment, then let it drop to lean against the wall again. “I had him. But he had help. Some Chinese guy, I didn’t see him coming until it was too late.”
“Yeah...I think I’ve met him.”
“He...tazed me. And he knew...what I am. I was knocked out only for a second, tried to shift, but he had a fucking arsenal against wolves. Silver darts, silver chains. I couldn’t finish the job, and I couldn’t escape.”
Danny couldn’t help it “Why would you do that? What the hell were you thinking, going there without backup?”
Steve closed his eyes. He was silent for a few long seconds, then he said quietly “Didn’t want to risk anyone else. Turned out I was right.”
Danny shook his head “You were also right in telling Kawika to go get me”.
“Apparently not. You shouldn’t be here.”
“How else are you planning to get out? Just give me a few minutes”
Steve fell silent, but everytime Danny looked up his eyes were set on him, a fixed stare, still like like his whole body. Danny was drenched in sweat, breathing hard, his wrists felt chafed and painful, but no progress was made.
“Fuck! Fuck!” Danny muttered letting his whole body sag, resting his muscles just for a second.
“Haven’t shifted yet?” Steve asked, but before Danny could answer, the metal door clanged, and his eyes were instinctively pulled towards it. A man stepped in, Danny immediately recognized him from the photos, though he seemed shorter than Danny imagined. Hiraku was holding a gun in his right hand, pointed to the floor. Two men walked in after him and stood next to the open door. The Yakuza man closed the short distance to them, and made a show with raising his gun slowly to point at Steve’s head.
Danny looked at his friend. His head was still leaning against the wall, slightly tilted sideways now, as his eyes were on the Japanese man. His face was blank, almost completely. He couldn’t hide the fatigue and pain.
“Your time is up, filthy animal” Hiraku said with clear disgust “Thanks to this guy here,” he gestured towards Danny with his head “our stay here needs to be shorter than I hoped. And this time I am not taking you with me.”
“It’s been...a pleasure…” Steve answered
“It wasn’t. Since I don’t have much time, I’ll make it quick. Where is the den?”
“This conversation is getting old.” Steve grumbled.
“Then let me add something refreshing for you.” He lowered his gun, just a bit, and released a shot. Danny’s breath hitched as Steve groan in pain, blood blossoming from a new wound just below his chest on the right. “What the hell are you doing?” Danny couldn’t help but shout, getting Hiraku’s attention, and consequently the barrel of his gun.
“You worry about him?” the Japanese man asked Danny, somewhat surprised. “Don’t be. He is only an animal, disguised as a human being.” Danny looked at him horrified. “I would have shown you,” Hiraku said almost apologetically “But I do not have time, and it is very dangerous, you will have to take my word on this.” Hiraku turns back his gun and attention to Steve. “Ready to say something? Names of your dogs maybe?” he asked casually. Steve was still gathering himself, eyes squeezed shut, his head pressed forcefully against the wall as he seemed to be trying to hold still. Danny was frantically fighting his bonds. “No? How about that,” Their captor suggested, as an afterthought “You just give me a name, one name. someone else who knows. I’ll make your death quick, The other dog would give everyone else, and no one would ever know it was you behind this. Except the detective here, but I can kill him for you if you want.”
Steve peeled his eyes open. “Let him go.” He muttered through clenched teeth “He is clueless, and if you are leaving, it doesn’t matter. Let him go and I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
“You know what the problem is, inu?” Hiraku’s arm dropped to his side, then he moved the gun to his left hand. “I don’t believe you. Why don’t we do it the other way around? You tell me what I want to know, and then I would let him go.”
“Fuck you.” Steve answered.
“I don’t have time for this.” Hiraku bent down next to Steve, hand crawling slowly between Steve’s neck and the wall. “You are a stinking nuisance. A minor setback, but do not think you are more than that. I’ll get what I want with or without you. Your stubbornness is just condemning another dog to suffer.” Hiraku’s hand seemed to caress Steve’s nape, Danny was transfixed by this unlikely gesture. But than Steve’s jaw clenched, all of his muscles tensed, a low, painful growl escaped his mouth, and Danny caught the movement of the chain around his neck, rubbing the skin then tightening.
“Stop! Stop that!” Danny demanded helplessly, muscles straining against the tight bindings around his wrists.
“Look…” Hiraku almost whispered into Steve’s ear. There was a sadistic glint in his eyes as he tightened the chain further, choking out the continues growl. “He still cares...maybe he doesn’t believe you are not human?” Steve’s legs jerked then started pushing against the floor to no effect. “Or maybe he is one of these people who care deeply about the wild life?”
The bastard turned his head towards Danny “You really shouldn’t worry, detective…” A trickle of blood slid down Steve’s throat, his back arched, his lips parted slightly in a vain effort to draw air.
“Stop it!” Danny was desperate, his own voice sounded choked and breathless “You sadistic bastard!”
Hiraku just kept talking calmly “It’s not like he is part of nature either. Just a freak. No one would miss him. He’s worth even less than the pack of freaks he gathered around him. Their blood at least has some value to humans…”
Steve’s eyes slid shut. His body, gradually, giving up the jerky, convulsed, useless resistance.
Danny, through his watery eyes, could suddenly see everything clearly. He could smell the excitement in the human being. The sweaty smell of the thrill, the rush of hot blood in his veins, the fast thrumming of his heart. He could also smell the dying stress on his friend, hear the slowing beat of Steve’s heart. And he realized that his bonds cannot really hold him.
It took a fracture of a second between this realization and the excruciating pain that felt like his skin is splitting. Then, seconds later, his teeth were sinking into his prey’s throat, cutting the surprised cry before it left his lips. The hot blood bursting into his mouth felt invigorating. He closed his strong jaw with a growl, dragging Hiraku limp body away from Steve.
There were shouts, a gun shooting, he even felt a sharp, stinging pain somewhere in his left shoulder, but it was nothing. Without hesitation he released the dead man from his grip in favor of a long forward bounce, taking down the terrified man shooting at his direction. The other one was already outside, throwing the door shut behind him. As Danny sank his teeth into the man, he caught the growing scent of panic from everywhere around him, and it was exhilarating. He wanted to burst through that door, feel every last men in this place surrender to his powerful bite, to make sure no one, not a single one of them gets near Steve ever again.
He lost his breath, then turned from the closed door, stumbling as he shifted back while rushing toward the prone figure curled against the wall.
“Steve? Steve…” Lips blue, face ashen, and that heinous chain around his neck, drenched in his blood. He reached out to grab the damn thing, but cried out in pain as the touch of the metal burned his skin. “Shit, Damn it! Steve, hold on, buddy” He picked up one of the shreds of his torn clothes thrown on the floor and wrapped it haphazardly around his fingers. He could still feel the heat coming from the metal through the fabric, but he ignored it. One hand lifting Steve’s head from the floor, the other unwrapping the chain’s links almost embedded in his skin. Once completely in his hands, he threw it away, forcefully, like a venomous snake.
“Get breathing, buddy.” Danny ordered softly as he moved on to the chains binding Steve’s wrists. “Breathe. You need to breathe.” The chains were locked tightly around both wrists and ankles. Danny was surprised to find that the fabric wrapped around his hands was not scorched to cinders, once he gave up trying to tear the chains forcefully. The pain was unbearable. He shoved the paralyzing thought of Steve enduring this for hours.
“I’m sorry, buddy, hold on, I’m gonna find something...” Rummaging through the shelves lining the walls he found a rusty secateurs, but it was enough. Both chains were cut and thrown away. Steve was free of the silver. The gunshot had an exit wound. He just needed to start breathing again.
There were fighting sounds coming from the outside, helicopters, gunfire, shouts. It sounded like the cavalry was finally here. Danny fumbled quickly through Hiraku's pockets, while his eyes examined Steve. He found a phone, and moved quickly back to Steve’s side while dialing almost blindly “Come on, man, show me that miraculous werewolf healing, come on…Kono! He shouted into the phone the second his rookie partner answered. The sounds of battle came from outside and from the phone in stereo. “We are in the concrete shed on the north side, hurry, Steve, he’s...”
“ Two minutes, Danny. ” She answered.
Steve’s head was cradled in his lap by now. There was a fluttering pulse, and faint signs of breathing. But his body was still completely limp, lips tinged blue. He pushed his hand underneath the back of his neck, tilting Steve’s head a bit back to ease his airways.
“Steve,” He ordered severely “You can not do this. Are you listening to me? You can not drag me into this crazy, weird, fairytale life of yours and then just leave. Be OK buddy. You need to be OK. I’m sorry, I’m sorry I couldn’t help you sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t listen, but you need to…”
“D’nny…” The voice was so low, so raspy, but it was a voice nonetheless.
Danny’s breath caught in his throat, his own words came out choked “Steve! Steve are you with me?”
“I need…” he moaned quietly, his head rolling to the side
“What? What do you need, buddy?”
“I need that in writing…”
Danny’s mouth remained open for a few seconds. “What?”
“Your apology...for...not listening...in writing…” Steve’s eyes blinked open, and a small tired smile crept to his lips.
“You idiot schmuck! I thought you were dying!” Danny exclaimed angrily, but his own mouth was grinning madly, right hand crawled up to grab the back of Steve’s head, pulling him closer to him. the left flexing slightly over his chest.
Steve released a short, breathy cackle then a moan “That...still might happen.”
“Yes, it might,” Danny agreed fervently “I might strangle you with my bare hands, finish the job, you stupid jerk!”
“I wouldn’t mind having your bare hands anywhere on me…”
“Oh! You are unbelievable! You need some rolled-up newspaper spanking, or maybe we can get you one of these training collars that zap you! Do you realize another one of my shirts was damaged beyond repair because of you? Again? Not to mention you got me shot! And I fucking tore out...the throat...I...” He trailed off, the taste of blood in his mouth suddenly very acute.
A hand reached up to cup his cheek, the touch warm and very much alive and familiar. Danny’s gaze was pulled from the dead body a few feet away back to man in his lap.
“Thank you.” Steve whispered.
Danny cleared his throat, taking his hand off of Steve’s chest to rub the fading wound on his shoulder and immediately returned it to rest above the steady beating of Steve’s heart.
“Yeah, well, if you want to put that in writing, I can tell you that you will have to prepare something yourself.” Danny said almost lightly “There is no ‘Thanks for ripping a guy’s throat for me’ card. Believe me, I’ve looked.”
Almost done! thanks for reading so far
Danny opened his eyes to an empty bed. He woke up a while ago, but refused to acknowledge it. It was ridiculously early, not a time for any normal human being to be awake, especially on a Sunday.
You are not a normal human being. A voice in his head reminded him. The thrill of last night’s run with Steve left him satisfied and longing at the same time. Everything felt so familiar and different simultaneously, like visiting a childhood memory and finding out all the things you missed from a kid’s point of view. The werewolf thing was still pretty new, but he decided that if his wolf side was at fault for this perversion of being awake at six o’clock in the morning, he would tame it until it fell in line with the sane human side no matter what. So he kept his eyes closed, breath even and pretended he was still asleep until all Steve’s warmth that still lingered in bed has dissipated completely, and then some.
Then he decided he would blame Steve, and the stupid pounding waves of his ocean, and rolled out of bed with a displeased groan. It felt kind of forced, the groan, but being happy at six thirty a.m. and before he even had his coffee was another perversion he would not cooperate with.
He went through the motions of his morning routine, going over the last few weeks that preceded that weird state of being that descended upon him. A normal case that turned out to be anything but normal, an inconceivable fundamental change in his very being, and an overly possessive man with control issues and an affection to armed conflicts that took a hold of his life. Then came a strange, almost forgotten feeling. A peace of mind, for the lack of another term to describe it, when all the dust has settled down, leaving only remote loose ends of the case, the remnants of a possible future threat. This peace of mind that allowed him, allowed them, to sink into a new routine, complacent and normal. Or maybe normal with occasional deviation for crazy late night runs through the jungle and community howls.
Just before Danny put on some clothes he stopped. The window was wide open, and the soft morning breeze coming into the room felt pleasant on his bare skin. He decide to take one more step toward feeling comfortable wearing nothing but his own skin. He stood up, Stretched, and stepped outside to the second floor lanai. True, there was no one around, but he was outside, and a nosy neighbour might be stalking the house, and he was pretty sure that if Steve had his Navy friend Catherine divert a satellite to watch the house, there would be several sailors enjoying the view right now.
That thought almost made him retreat back under the safety of a roof, but just then his eyes caught Steve coming out of the water.
He was wearing more than Danny at that minute, the ridiculous shorts Danny got from his sister, in fact. Danny had no idea when and how Steve got them. He really didn’t mind. He stepped forward to lean on the railing, following a dripping wet Steve walking towards the wooden chairs where he left his towel. Steve dried himself sloppily and took his phone from the small table, checking it for a few seconds before he looked up, straight at Danny, raised his eyebrows and smiled. Then, with large strides, he disappeared into the house beneath Danny, leaving him only with the vivid memory of messy dark hair dripping over a goofy grin and tanned, wet skin. Danny sighed happily, then caught himself and huffed grumpily. The sun was barely up, dammit.
It didn’t take long before a warm body was pressed against his back, hands laid on his shoulders and slid slowly down his arms. Somewhere between the beach and the upstairs lanai, Steve seemed to have lost his only garment.
“You’re ocean wet.” Danny complained. At least the intention was to complain, it sounded more like an fond observation. What the hell happened to him?
“Mmm.” Was Steve’s only answer. It was understandable, since his lips were busy doing something completely different right now, somewhere between Danny’s ear and shoulder. Danny tilted his head, recognizing the importance of the mission.
“You know I have to go pickup Grace soon.” Danny mumbled, eyes half closed “It’s your first meeting as two humans, aren’t you even a little bit nervous?”
Steve, still keeping as much contact as possible, moved slightly to Danny’s side, his hand reaching his chest then sliding down slowly. “We still have a couple of hours.” Steve said and Danny had only himself to blame for the temporary loss of lips on his skin, he did ask a question. But then Steve’s hand reached its destination, wrapping around Danny’s growing erection, and he thought that throwing accusations was redundant at this point. He leaned against Steve, thankful that that solid wall of muscles kept his balance at the sudden movement. “And I know a great way to relieve stress” Steve whispered in his ear.
“You are such an animal!” Danny stated another fact and leaned his head back against Steve’s shoulder
“You are too, Danno.” Steve was exploiting this new access he got to Danny’s face, placing small kisses on the side of his mouth “You are a gorgeous wolf with a golden pelt and amber eyes.”
Danny turned his head into Steve’s kiss and spent some time tasting his lips himself.
“Aren’t you tired, babe?” he mumbled into Steve’s mouth dizzily, his words unclear as an extra tongue was exploring his mouth in intervals “you just came back from swimming around the globe…”
“Mmm…” Steve answered “I don’t mind letting you do all the work this time…”
What Steve’s hands and lips were doing were quite enough to convince Danny, really, but these words meant that it was time to stop wasting energy on discussing this. Danny turned to face Steve, and pressed hard against his body to compensate for the resulting loss of the man’s hand on him. “Bed” He ordered “We gave those horny sailors enough of this show.”
Steve raised his head and froze, looking at Danny in puzzlement. “What?”
“Nevermind.” Danny grinned “Let’s go inside.”
And we're done!
This was a lot of fun, and though it feels like Yul and I hardly had enough, at this point I'm not sure I can come up with more in this AU that would be as much fun as this story…
Thanks to the amazing Yul, for editing, for throwing ideas, for giving Danny his voice and after that for putting up with my overbearing Mcgarrettness. I know I said that before, but I need to say it again- It wouldn't be half as fun without you.
Thanks again for Rena for the lovely cover <3
Thanks for all the subscriptions, kudos, comments and reviews! It was really great to see how you emerged in the story; it is really surprising and awesome and beyond what I could think possible.
I would LOVE for you to drop me a line and let me know what you think of the story now that it's finished. What you liked, liked less, what you think is missing, and maybe even some thoughts of the future. All would be appreciated (and maybe drive me to write some more).