Danny Williams fucking hates this place. Really, two weeks in Honolulu is more than enough to want never to return to the goddamn ray of sunshine. But going back to Jersey isn’t an option, not when being here is what his mother wants, not when they’ve all just started to make the effort to fit in a little. His father has transferred to the island’s fire department, his mother has started work in a local hospital, and though the island has yet to win Danny over, his siblings seem to like it here.
Truth is, maybe Danny doesn’t hate the place as much as he’d have you think, maybe he’s letting off steam after a bad first day at school, after a horrible day of all the stares, the humiliating introductions by teachers, and the height jokes; he’s not even that small. Anyway, he pushes through that first day, comforting himself with the news that things can only get better from here, and that maybe his signing up to try-outs for the baseball team will gain some sort of acceptance at Kukui.
Indeed, on the second day of school he tries out for the team, pleased to find that he’s easily the best to turn up, breezing through to make the team with confidence. Thankfully, enthusiasm for the sport back in Jersey has left him ruthless and skilled, and there aren’t too many guys around that play as well as him at his age; especially not in Hawaii.
He spends the next week trying to keep his head down, avoiding the stares until he can return home and waste a few hours away. Now a junior, he’s the only one of the Williams clan to be at Kukui so far, as the rest are all younger, and in a way he’s grateful. Sure, it would be nice to know a couple of people, but he likes to get away sometimes, and coming to some place where he’s effectively anonymous, well, it’s refreshing, blank slate and all that.
Two weeks pass quickly, and if there’s one word he now knows to be a part of the Hawaiian language, it’s haole. And he fucking hates it. It seems that single word has brought more rejection in this god-forsaken high school than even his hair has, and he loathes it.
Things do seem to change a little, though, with his first game of the season. He plays second base with what is possibly one of his best games ever, and the small crowd certainly seems to notice it.
Steve McGarrett is watching him from the stands during the afternoon, because with little else to do and an interest in how this year’s sports teams are shaping up, he’s made his way to the baseball field, dragging his girlfriend Michelle along with the promise of a meal out later that evening. Truth is, he’s been thinking about breaking up with her because, although she may be pretty -- most would say beautiful -- and she’s a nice enough girl, they’ve grown apart. She doesn’t seem to understand the importance of sports to Steve, and really he’s not sure he understands the attraction of cheerleading.
Nevertheless, for the moment, he slings an arm around her shoulder and settles into the seat for the game. And what a game it is. Kukui wins, though it’s by no means a walk in the park for the team. They have a few bad players, a few good ones, and then there’s Danny Williams. Steve only knows the name because he’s the new kid in town, but fuck, the guy is good. He’s short, stocky, and yeah, he hears there may be a blond quiff of hair under that cap he’s wearing, but damn, the guy is fast. His strong build lends itself to the game well, big arms swinging with ease and power, strong stance, and for someone of his height, possibly the fastest Steve has ever seen; may even able keep up with the McGarrett boy.
He carefully deflects Michelle’s questions throughout, watching Danny closely whenever he’s even in the vicinity of the ball, analysing that look of intense concentration on his face, recognisable even from the long distance separating them. He seems modest enough about his talents, smirking every now and then at a catch that he just knows is nothing short of brilliant, but otherwise keeping his head down, baseball cap shading his eyes from the sun.
When the game finally wraps up, and the teams begin to walk to their respective coaches, Steve begins to make a move. He looks to Michelle with a sigh and hands her the keys to his truck. “Hey, babe, go on ahead. I’m just gonna talk to someone for a sec, join you in a minute.” She looks appeased, and Steve leans forward to peck her on the lips before he makes his way down to the fence.
Danny is still being rewarded with a couple of slaps on the back from some of his team mates and the coach, and goes to grab his bottle of water when he hears his name being called.
“Hey, Williams,” Steve shouts to the guy piquing his interest.
Danny turns back towards the direction where the voice came from. Pulling off his cap and stuffing it in his back pocket, he runs a hand through his hair and takes a few steps to the guy with his hands braced on the mesh. He recognizes him instantly; Steve McGarrett, son of John -- an HPD hotshot -- and the poster boy for the school. He’s Kukui’s most sought-after, and the best football player the place has ever seen, which is why Danny has absolutely no idea why the jock wants to speak to him. He takes a short moment to look the guy over; he’s tall, lean, short brown hair, clean-shaven but with a definite hint of stubble along his hard jaw line. He may only be sixteen, but Danny can see why he’s a babe-magnet.
Steve takes a closer look at Danny as he nears; sure enough, there’s a head of blond hair, darker underneath the hat, and looking sweaty and dishevelled after the game. Steve thinks it suits him, suits the subtle swagger as he walks over. Obviously, he’s clad in his baseball jersey, and he’s not quite as stocky up close, with a small waist and a toned body -- really, should Steve be noticing those kinds of things? As for his face, it’s tanned from the time in the sun, and it’s home to bright blue eyes, electric from the adrenaline of the game, only now beginning to wear thin.
Danny stops a foot or so away, squinting his eyes against the sun as he waits for the guy to say something more.
“You play football? You’re small.” Danny frowns at that, but there’s no denying the fact that he is smaller than average -- “but with the speed you got behind you, you could be good.” Steve means it; the guy could be a good asset for the team, particularly with half the squad having left last year.
Danny shakes his head and folds his arms across his chest as McGarrett continues. “You interested in giving it a go?”
He shakes his head again. Baseball is his sport; always has been, always will be. “No thanks.” With that, he turns and walks back in the other direction, the full weight of McGarrett’s gaze on him as he does so. He’s fully aware that he may well have just seriously pissed of the most popular guy in the school with his naturally abrasive personality, but when he chances a brief glance back, the smirk on the guy’s face suggests maybe not.
Steve watches him leave, supposes he should probably be offended by the stark honesty, though he’s not. In all truth, it’s kind of a breath of fresh air, with so many other students tiptoeing around him since joining as a freshman. Only when Williams has disappeared back into the crowd does Steve make for his truck.
Danny doesn’t give a second thought to the incident for the next two weeks. He does his homework on time; he makes sure his room is in a respectable state; he even braves the waters to try his hand at surfing, which really isn’t so bad. His mother keeps up her constant stream of questions…“How’s school, Danny?” “You made any friends?” “Try to tone down the attitude until people have warmed to you.”
To which Danny keeps up a consistent bank of responses, “It’s fine, Ma,” “Yes, Mom,” “Of course, stop worrying.” In fact, he hasn’t really made friends. And it’s not for a lack of trying. Well, actually, yes it is. Frankly, Danny’s not too concerned with making friends, he’s more of an independent guy, likes to have some time and space. And, well, when he needs to rant -- and God, does he need to rant -- there’s Matty just a room away. So, he keeps his parents happy, keeps the school happy, and keeps his siblings relatively happy, all with the ultimate aim of making a move back to the mainland after graduation.