One of the biggest advantages of the brand new offices for the Governor's Task Force (which really did need a new name) was the abundance of glass walls. Thanks to them Steve had eyes on the whole of the premises from his private office, even whether someone was coming in through the main doors by checking the reflections and light glares. It allowed him to keep a surreptitious eye on his new team as well.
It wasn't that he didn't trust them. They'd proven themselves to be both competent and loyal but they were still civilians. Steve needed to know exactly what the full extent of their capabilities were in order to effectively command them in the field. It was vital intel gathering.
Which was why this was such a perfect opportunity. The arsenal he'd requisitioned had been delivered that morning and his team was now in the process of checking the firearms. Steve watched them work under the guise of filling out paperwork. It wasn't a complete lie. He was simply multitasking, which wasn't that difficult to do — the abbreviations and codes were different but the forms were depressingly familiar.
So far there were no faults to be found in the proceedings. The table closest to the the newly-designated armory lockers had been put to use, which Danny had insisted on putting on an oilcloth cover on first, citing he had "previous experiences with such accidents waiting to happen." The guns were efficiently stripped and laid out neatly as the individual parts were cleaned and then reassembled. Kono was a bit slow on the disassembling, something which would be improved with practice, while both Chin and Danny had a tendency to struggle a bit with the smaller recoil springs.
Steve was carefully taking notes on all this when he saw Danny frown down at the MK18 in his hands and then turn to ask the other two something. Steve couldn't make out the exact words, only the interrogative tone and the carefree, almost teasing replies. Nothing that was actually serious, then, Steve reasoned and let himself ease back into his chair.
Danny didn't seem to share this view as he put the half-stripped rifle down with the other parts on the table and headed to Steve's office, apparently not reassured in the least. Yanking the door open, he cocked his hip against the jamb and crossed his arms, a headstrong tilt of his head.
"I take it this your idea of a joke then?" he asked and freed one arm to gesture at the table before crossing them again.
That was not the opening Steve had expected. With a frown, he asked, "What are you talking about?"
"What am-- What am I talking about? Are you serious?" Danny shot back through that derisive little chuckle of his. "Do me a favor, didn't you sign off on a delivery just this morning? The one we — your team and not you, I might add — are going through right this very minute? The one you are watching us go through because you might think you are subtle, pal, but let me tell you, you are not."
Steve let the comment slide. Danny's arms had escaped their perch and were gesturing all over the the place in some kind of jury-rigged semaphore. Steve couldn't help it but whenever Danny worked himself into a rant, he was reminded of Taz the Tasmanian Devil. The mental image always made him have to tamp down on a smirk, which only served to wind Danny up higher. This time was no different.
"You know what, I'm willing to take full responsibility for this. Because when I asked you to fill out the requisition forms for the guns your finicky, micromanaging Army—"
"—ass wanted and you handed me enough forms to last us through a zombie apocalypse I, like an idiot, assumed that you knew what you were doing. Apparently I couldn't be more wrong. Because while the guns are indeed very nice — and let it just be known that I'm using ‘guns' in the loosest sense of the word here because we're not talking pistols or revolvers here, oh no, we're talking military-grade rifles and even honest to god grenades. What in the fresh hell are you even? So while you have satisfied your inner weapon fetishist with enough firepower for a respectable militia, you are somehow still willing to waste even more taxpayers' money on a joke."
"You know you're not making any sense, right?"
"That is-- I, I am not making any--" Danny let out another unamused scoff. "Okay, you know what, GI Joe, why don't you come over here for a sec, I wanna show you something."
Danny turned on his heel and stalked back to the table. Steve got up and followed at an amble, mostly just to rile Danny up further. It definitely worked, as Danny was tapping his feet by the MK18 which had started the whole thing. Steve looked over at Kono and Chin who were studiously not meeting his eyes and very half-heartedly pretending they were absorbed in their own work and not aware of the drama around them. As if Steve didn't notice Kono was still cleaning the Blaser's monopod and Chin was no closer to assembling the Remington than he was when Danny burst into his office. Danny cleared his throat, drawing Steve's attention back to him, and indicated his end of the table with an unnecessary flourish.
Steve looked down at the half-stripped firearm his partner was pointing at. It was one he had ordered for himself — a SOCOM MK18 Mod 0 SBR. There were no obvious defects with the piece as far as Steve could see, so he turned his frown back to Danny.
This apparently annoyed his new partner even more. Danny's lips twitched in an aborted grimace, there and gone in a flash, and scratched his thumb against his eyebrow before waving his hand at the gun.
"See those funny little symbols?" Danny asked, all sardonic and patronizing. "They are called letters. They represent sounds and when put together they form a little somethin' called words. This is what is known as the alphabetical system and it, together with the logographic and the syllabic, are the very bedrock of the written language."
Steve reined in the urge to blurt out that he had cracked several classified codes over the course of his career. He settled for staring Danny down, willing him to make sense and maybe also be less insulting. It did not work.
"Read the label!" Danny shouted and stabbed his finger at the manufacturer's name.
Steve scowled and considered refusing just on principle, but on the other hand, if he did play along then maybe he would finally make sense of Danny's tirade and then he'd shut up.
With another dirty look, Steve read the inscription. He didn't see what the problem was. It said exactly what it should: Daniel Defense, Black Creek, GA.
Kono's reverse sneeze and Chin's quiet "Told you," were almost drowned out by the sharp bark of Danny's laugh.
"You didn't, you actually didn't realize? That's just-- Wow." Danny's eyes were wide and very, very blue. The tip of his ears turned pink which flushed into red. His tongue darted out to wet his lip before he bit down on it for a moment. Then it was back to Taz flashbacks all over again. "Okay, how about this, huh? I really hope you like those guns, buddy, because I for one am not going to use them. You want to know why? Because I refuse to further undermine my and this entire task force's professionalism by walking around with what is essentially a vanity plate on my service pistol."
Steve didn't know what to make of Danny's outburst. It seemed disproportionate but then again he had gone off on a ten-minute rant on the price difference on coffee between Starbucks and a local place yesterday. Danny was a battery loaded with words, primed and prepped to fire at the slightest provocation and with seemingly unlimited ammunition. Right then Steve knew he had two courses of action: he could either explain and deescalate the situation or he could trigger another volley. He should go with the first option. He should have, but he didn't.
"It's a rifle and it's not yours, it's mine," he said and crossed his arms, chin up.
Danny made a vaguely asthmatic noise and his hands clenched into claws like he wanted to strangle Steve. A blush had bloomed on his cheeks and crept down his neck, which looked thicker than ever with the tendons and muscles flexing with tension. Then Danny screwed his eyes shut and forced down a deep breath, scrubbing his hand down his jaw before exhaling in a controlled gust. The barrage was suppressed before it even began and to be honest, Steve felt a bit cheated.
"I," Danny, pointedly addressing only Kono and Chin, said affected patience, "am going to get a cup of coffee. Don't call me unless somebody's died." He turned on his heel and started to walk towards the main doors when he paused and added, as if an afterthought, "Unless it's McGarrett, then don't bother."
Steve watched him stalk out of the headquarters — his shoulders drawn up and straining the shirt with their width, neck still flushed where it peeked over the collar — and tried to understand what had prompted Danny's sudden mood swing. Kono appeared unfazed, what with her cheerfully asking, "Can you bring me back a frappuccino too?"
Danny threw a hand in the air and tossed back a "Fine," over his shoulder, which should have sounded snappish but somehow didn't. If the HQ hadn't had swinging doors it would have slammed shut behind him.
Steve turned towards the cousins to gauge their reactions. They had kept a low profile during Danny's spectacle but they didn't help matters at all since the two of them looked nothing but amused. Chin excelled at stoic faces but the glint in his eyes gave him away and Kono had resorted to trying to hide her wide grin behind her hand.
Steve knew he could ask them what was so funny and they would tell him, would probably revel in it, but he wasn't sure he wanted to expose himself to more potential ribbing. While it might shed some light on Danny's weird behavior, he had a feeling they would see right through him; Chin was too seasoned and Kono far too perceptive for her age. It was bad enough that he'd missed the now obvious Daniel-connection, they didn't need any additional ammunition. He strongly doubted they'd hold any of it against him but it was still a bit more incognizance than he was comfortable displaying as the leader of a new team.
Deciding to not open that can of worms, he gave them both a good-natured glare and returned to his private office with his head held high. They were professional enough to not start gossiping until he was out of earshot but when Steve, back behind his desk and with paperwork in his hands, peered at them through his lashes he saw them with their heads together and smirking.
Steve supposed, if he was going to be objective and logical about this, that he did deserve some mockery. It was nothing but a complete coincidence, albeit an amusing one. He should probably let Danny know this when he returned from his Unauthorized Absence hissy fit.
It wasn't until Steve double-checked the requisition forms that he realized he'd also ordered a M4 model V7 pistol from Daniel Defense, also for his own personal use.
Coincidence. Pure coincidence.
.:. fin .:.