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Chapter 3

 

“Danny!” He snarled angrily.

The man who had been pacing at the other side of the room when he had opened the door stopped and was looking at him in horror, then Danny was striding over to him.

Steve didn’t know if he should punch the other man, or just walk away. He could hear Ryo and Kevin behind him getting ready to move. But Danny was in front of him before he could make up his mind as to what he was going to do.

“Oh my god!” Danny was growling. “Do they not feed you here?!” The indignation in the mans voice was at once so familiar and… and what? Rage enduing…. comforting…

Then Danny’s hand was on his cheek, the other hand clutching Steve’s bicep. “You’re so thin!” Danny was complaining. “And pale! Did they keep you in ISO all this time?!” Danny’s tone was turning angry as he now glowered at Ryo and Kevin in turn.

“Take your hands off him.” Kevin was snarling angrily as he stepped forwards. But Steve put an arm out to block the younger Shifter as Danny at least removed his hand from his face, but didn’t remove his hold on Steve’s arm. If anything, it got tighter.

“Who the hell…” Danny was asking looking the Shifter up and down as he puffed his chest out.

“Kev…” Steve said as softly as he could manage, but not taking his eyes from the man in front of him. “Ryo… It’s okay… you guys can wait outside?”

“But.” Kevin protested, unsure.

“Come on.” Ryo said and Steve felt them leave and the door clicked closed behind him.

“Friends of yours?” Danny asked.

“Shifters.” He answered, still feeling bizarrely numb. “How…?” and he wasn’t sure what he was asking.

“I have no idea!” Danny was saying as Steve let himself be pulled over to the sofa at the back of the room. “Sit, before you pass out.” Danny muttered as he pulled Steve down with him. “And it wasn’t for lack of trying.” He was saying cryptically. “Every damn Monday morning I was at the Registry trying to get visitation, and nothing till a few weeks ago…” Steve blinked at that information. “I heard about Catharine.” Danny whispered and Steve felt Danny’s hand tighten on his arm, but the other man was now looking over to the mirror on the parallel wall. “I guess we are being watched.”

“Yeah.” Steve uttered.

“Well, ‘they’ decided that maybe I could come and finally visit you! Chin and Kono send their ‘Hello’s’ but thing have been insane. Still, we manage.” Danny finally smiled, “Gracy also wanted to come, but she packed a whole suitcase full of stuff she thought you might like… I warn you now; I think there are more stuffed toys.” He rolled his eyes and Steve felt a smile trying to tug his mouth up. “But there’s a lot of stuff from people all over the island. So at least it will keep you busy for a while… IF these… people will let you keep any of it, and not take half of it for themselves.” Danny grumbled as he was looking over to the two way mirror again.

Steve found himself reaching out to his old partner, he didn’t want Danny looking over there… away from him… he needed Danny’s attention just on himself.

“What?” Danny asked, turning back to look at him and as those blue eyes settled on him, he felt more settled. Like he hadn’t in a very long time.

“I…” He managed. For three weeks he had hated any ‘normal’ even in the same room with him… and here he was, letting a human keep a hand on him, as he in turn had his hand atop Danny’s, and he was holding it tightly.

Jesus, he was mad at this guy, he had betrayed him damn it! Because of Williams he had been imprisoned against his will for months! Robbed of the life he had carved for himself, of the people he had loved and from a job that had given his life so much meaning it was unfathomable, and had fed his need for adventure, to suddenly have it all stripped away and thrown into a dead stop.

“Oh!” Steve watched as Danny’s blue eyes widened, then looked down and pulled his hands away. “Sorry!” Danny was apologising franticly as he was pushing himself away. “They lectured me that I shouldn’t touch you! You should have said something!” He said as Steve watched him turn his glair once again towards the mirror as he was standing up.

But when Danny’s hand finally slipped away from his arm, Steve found himself moving, catching the smaller mans wrist, using it to pull himself to his feet as he also threw Danny off his own balance.

Then he had the other man in his arms, pulling him tight against his chest. His arms wrapping around the stocky frame, one arm around Danny’s waist, as his other arm pulled across Danny’s shoulders.

“Steve!?”

Steve growled as he pushed his face into the side of Danny’s head, as he took a breath in, then a shiver went through his whole being as he lifter his arm from the other man’s shoulders, to secure Danny’s head in the crook of his elbow as he pushed his nose into Danny’s neck. Every deep breath he took, he was filled with the warm musk, letting the heavy scent wash through his nose and mouth like a sweet wine.

“STEVEN!”

Steve growled again and tightened his grip as he felt his… his… what? But in his moment of confusion his pray tried to push him away, and he couldn’t have that, wouldn’t as he fisted his hands into what he could, forcing the other being back against himself, where they should be.

He growled when something made the being in his arms flinch and Steve growled at the sound of banging, he opened his eyes to focus on the mirror in the room, as it showed a reflection of the door, then he was aware of voices from the other side of the door. They sounded angry and instinctively he turned, moving so his back was to the door as he glared over his shoulder. Then he growled when the door was thrown open.

Beyond there were too many people. Ryo and Kevin had their backs to him as he saw Mike and a security guard he didn’t recognise tying to get it.

Steve snarled, baring his teeth as a calm anger boiled up inside him. He turned, letting his hold loosen but didn’t let go as his left hand found the others wrist and gripped it hard as he strode over to the open door.

“Leave.” He snarled menacingly at the two humans as he then grabbed the door and slammed it shut, quickly reaching over and grabbing a chair and jamming it under the handle, then kicking the legs to secure it in place. It wouldn’t last too much pressure; he needed something more to barricade the door with.

“Steve?”

“Hu?” He grunted as his eyes landed on the sofa, it might be heavy enough, and he went for it, pushing the table in the middle of the room aside when he heard a groan of pain, and he turned his attention to the sound in alarm. Needing to know what was hurting his Mate.

“You’re hurting.” Danny was wincing and Steve looked down to where he was still holding the other mans wrist.

Instantly, reality seemed to reassert itself around him as he immediately let go, shocked that he would have done such a thing, knowing the social taboo about holding someone’s wrist, even more now it actually meant something to him. No one had done it to him until Catherine had, and it made him feel sick.

“I…” He tried to say, but he couldn’t keep away from the other man as he put his hand on Danny’s shoulder, instantly feeling more grounded, but quickly he moved his hold down Danny’s arm till he was holding onto skin and not cloth, and he sighed with relief.

“Ok… so are you with me again?” Danny asked, though his tone was soft with concern and not it’s usual annoyance.

Steve nodded as he looked back up into those blue eyes that had haunted his dreams.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into you.” Danny was giving him a little smile. “But do you know how much trouble you’re probably getting me into right now?”

Something cold shot through Steve’s chest as he instantly went to pull Danny back into his arms as he glared at the door. But a hand landed in the middle off his chest and he turned his attention back to the other man.

“Will you just calm down?” Danny was saying a little bit more like the annoyed tone Steve was used to. “They had me sign enough paperwork half a rainforest is decimated, saying I wouldn’t touch you.”

Steve smirked a little at that, “You broke that the moment I walked in.” He bantered back, then grinned as Danny pulled an aneurism face.

“I’m pretty sure it should be working the other way around too.” Danny deadpanned back, glancing down at the hand’s Steve still had on his arms.

“No.” Steve said; the typical banter they shared gone as he tightened his hold. There was no way he was letting go! And with that, he knocked Danny’s hand from his chest then pulled him into his arms again, burying his face once again into the crook of Danny’s neck.

The world fell away as he closed his eyes and just breathing in the spicy musk.

The anger he had been desperately clinging at to keep, while he was locked away, the horror of what Catherine had done to him, the need to flee… all just slipped away as he held desperately to what he wanted, what he needed.

Then he found his lips moving as he whispered into the other mans ear. “Bond with me.” He felt the other stiffen in his hold.

“Steven?” The answer was as quiet as his own statement, and breathed into his ear, making his whole body shiver with pleasure. “I…”

Steve tightened his grip as he shook his head. He did not want to hear Danny say no... he couldn’t as he realised home wasn’t Hawaii, or his team or even his family… home was right here… they could lock him away for eternity in this place so long as he never let go of the man in his arms. Home would always be right there.

“Please.” He shivered, not sure what he was begging for, he just didn’t want to hear anything negative right now. Not now.

“Did I say no?!” Danny was growling softly at him, so those who were no doubt still watching couldn’t hear. And Steve heart beat a little faster, till Danny carried on talking. “But if this is what you… we… want… then we need to do it officially.” Steve felt Danny begin to rub a hand up and down his back. “I can put in an official form… Jesus, I can’t even believe I’m even considering this! But you need to let me go.”

“No!” Steve knew that was something he could not do… he knew if he did let go… no… he knew he couldn’t let go. Without thinking he did pull away, enough so he was resting their foreheads together as he looked into the other mans eyes. Then he put his left hand under Danny’s right arm, then began pushing his arm up, his hand slipped over Danny’s as he moved their hands to the back of his own neck.

He watched as Danny’s eyes widened when he realised what he was doing. And he was trying to pull away again.

“Steve!” Danny was saying desperately, “We have to think about this! This isn’t a chase! You can’t just drive us off a cliff or throw around bombs! This is our lives!”

“I know.” Steve answered, not letting Danny’s hand go. “And I’ve had enough time to think about this.” He lied, he had though about nothing but the pain he was in because of the man in his arms, but the moment Danny touched him, the moment he breathed in his scent again… he knew this was where he had to be.

Danny was sighing as Steve watched him close his eyes, and was relieved when they looked at him again. “Look… They told me what happened with Cat… I can’t… I can’t hurt you like she did.”

Steve felt a moment of remembered pain, but this was nothing like with Cat, Danny wasn’t promising him anything. At least not with words. Danny wanted to do this the official way, the right, non crazy way… But it was way too late for that.

“You can’t.” Steve said firmly as he leaned in and pressed his lips to the other mans. And he wasn’t sure what he was doing, but god it felt good, just a simple touch of intimacy, and he wanted more, needed it but he had no clue as to how to get it.

“I don’t want too.” Danny whispered when Steve pulled away a little.

“Then do this.” Steve said as he pushed Danny’s hand up his neck, and when Danny’s fingers brushed that part, just below his skull, Steve groaned as electricity tingled down his spine and his hand around Danny’s forced the other mans fingers to tighten, but before he got them in just the right place, something slammed loudly into the door.

And Steve’s world burst into a thousand colours as it also zeroed in on the man he was holding. His whole body felt warm and his awareness of the other man seeped into every part of his being. Then he was pressing his mouth to his Mate’s again as he felt the other man let out a huff of air.

Steve was vaguely aware that Danny’s other hand, had found its way to his face and then Danny’s tongue was licking at his lips and he opened his mouth and when their tongues touched more electricity flowed through him as he pulled the other man tight against himself as he knew they were slowly crumpling to the floor, and he groaned when Danny’s hand, that had tightened on just the right place on his neck slipped up into his hair.

He was dimly aware that he was rubbing himself against Danny’s leg, desperately trying to find a little friction before he was gasping into his Mate’s mouth, staring into dilated blue eyes as he tried to breathe in every last drop of Danny’s musk. He came harder than he had ever done before.

It took him a long time before he was aware of anything but his own breath and Danny’s solid weight against his chest.

“Fuck…” Danny uttered breathily. “Fuck…”

“Yeah.” Steve answered with a chuckle, he hadn’t felt this good in a long time. Then he pulled back as he could look at the other man. Danny’s eyes were still a little dilated, his cheeks flushed, but he did have a slight smile on his face.

“You okay?” Danny was asking as Steve felt him put a hand on his cheek.

“Yeah.” He said, smiling as he put his own hand over Danny’s again.

“What the hell just happened?” Danny asked as he looked down between them. And Steve moved so he could see the damp spot on Danny’s slacks that matched his own.

“I think we just Bonded.” Steve grinned back up at him.

Danny sighed as he slumped back against the wall, Steve couldn’t remember being next too. “I guess the movies got one thing right.”

“What’s that?” Steve couldn’t help but ask as he slumped against the wall with his shoulder, still facing Danny, unable to take his eyes off him.

“It is actually a two way thing… I thought I was too old to just come in my pants. That was something else.”

“Yeah.” Steve couldn’t agree more as he tried to shuffle closer. Putting an arm over Danny’s belly, pulling him closer with his hand on his hip.

“I’m in so much trouble.” Danny sighed, putting his free hand over his eyes, the other still clutching Steve’s arm.

“We.” Steve stated. There was no way he was letting Danny out of his sight any time soon, if ever again.

Danny gave him a surprised look, before he nodded. “Are you reduced to one word communication now?” he asked a little snarkily, but the smile told Steve he was still in a good mood.

“Maybe.” He grinned as he leaned in, pressing his lips to Danny’s quickly.

“What now?” Danny was asking as Steve followed his line of sight to the mirror.

Steve didn’t know the answer to that one. Despite everything Mike and Sharon had said to him… they actually hadn’t said anything about what would happen if he Bonded to someone. “I have no idea.” He whispered as he moved his gaze back to his partner. His Mate. He felt himself grinning again.

“Don’t give me that look.” Danny grumbled at him.

“Hu?” He asked, feeling his grin widen some more.

“That goofy, ‘I just took something else from this schmuck, and he didn’t even put up much of a fight.’ Look.” Danny groused, though the smile on his own lips and the twinkle Steve saw in those eyes took any sting out of it… it was true after all.

“My schmuck.” Steve grinned harder as he tightened his hold for a moment.

Danny sighed, “Yes, yes.” He agreed as Steve leaned into the hand Danny razed to his cheek. “But just to try a little reality here… I think someone tried to get in earlier.”

Steve moved a little so he could look at the chair he had jammed under the door handle, it still looked secured, but he knew he didn’t want to go out there… it was like the time after Catherine… he couldn’t face anyone else right now… He wanted to take Danny and run, but to where?

He growled when he heard a knock at the door he was still looking at. Without thinking he got to his feet, pulling Danny with him and pushed the shorter man into the corner.

“Steve!” Danny was protesting. But Steve just couldn’t face whoever was beyond that door. “Who is it?!”

Steve growled at his Mate, he needed him to be quiet. He needed to keep him safe, away from anyone else.

“Err… We cleared the way to your room, Steve.”

Steve heard Kevin call through the door, and his body relaxed a little. He didn’t even like the thought of other Shifter being close to Danny, but he trusted them all, they had kept him safe for weeks, and he knew he could trust Danny with them too.

“Do you need more time?” Kevin was asking.

“No.” Steve managed. “You sure no ones close!?”

“Yeah. Mike’s made sure it’s like it was before.”

Steve looked down at his Mate for a moment; Danny was just looking at him, waiting for his go ahead. “Okay, we are coming.” Then he put an arm around Danny’s shoulders, securing him to his side as he made his way to the door. He pulled the chair away, then carefully opened the door, seeing only Kevin beyond, looking nervous, but also smiling.

“Hey.” He said as he opened the door so they could both get through.

“Hi.” Kevin smiled, then gestured for them to go back to the dorms. “Mike isnt happy, but that new lady started ordering everyone out.” Kev was saying as he walked infront of them, opening doors. “She said food will be left for you outside your room, and she said to tell you that she’ll be here till you’re ready to come out again. Just gotta let us know when you are.”

“When we are read?” Danny asked.

“Yup.” Kevin said opening another door. “I think someone’s also bringing your stuff over too… err…”

“Danny.” Steve supplied the blushing kid.

“Bond Mate Danny.” Kevin grinned at them both, with a cheeky gleam in his eyes. “Anyway, I don’t think you’re gonna need your clothes too much.” He giggled and Steve rolled his eyes. The other Shifters were gonna gossip about this for months.

“But you need anything, just yell for someone, we’ll hear.”

“Thanks.” Steve said as he quickened his pace, as they were walking down the corridor to his own room. Then when he had a hand on the handle, he turned back to the young Shifter. “Tell everyone else thanks too,” Then he was pushing Danny inside his own little domain in the place he had been forced to call home for so long.

 

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Aolani felt herself smile as they watched the monitors as Steven lead his new Bond Mate down the hall to the Dorm’s bedrooms.

For months, she had had to witness Detective Williams coming into her office every Monday morning asking for any information, and each time she could tell him nothing, she watched him seem to get more weary each time.

Finally, she had tried giving him papers to ask for a formal request to become a Bond candidate, but he had denied the offer, saying he needed to talk to Steven first before he would even try going down that rout.

So, once she heard about what had happened with a forced Bond, and how Steven had rejected it, she knew her first suspicions about the relationship between Steven and Detective Williams were true. Even though Williams had said he hadn’t touched the back of the Shifter’s neck, something had happened, and she had pulled out all her clout to get Williams here, then for them to finally be left alone in a room together… It had been underhanded of her, and totally against all regulations, but she would deny any knowledge of her suspicions if pressed, and stick to her original argument of Steven just needed to see a friendly face to help him recover from his traumatic Bond.

Mike Franks had been resistant to it, but Sharon Booth had been on her side the whole way, and they had finally talked Franks around.

Now Franks was angry at her. And as they had watched Steve trying to make Williams Bond with him, Franks had banged on the two way glass to distract them both to no avail, then run out into the hall. Where the Shifter who had come with Steven to the room, had stood guard and denied the man entrance. But once security showed up, and Franks had got a kick in on the door. More Shifters had suddenly showed up, and had forced all humans from the aria.

One of the younger Shifters, Sharon had called Kevin, told them that Steven had just Bonded, and they could all feel it.

“Just great!” Franks was huffing as they watched Shifter and Detective disappear into one of the rooms. “What the hell are regulations for if everyone is just going to go around breaking them?!” He yelled. “I said a guard or one of us should have been in that room with them!”

“Well it’s to late now.” Sharon was saying. “We all agreed that Steven needed to see his old partner. This was the man that helped him while he was stuck in his Shifter form.”

“To ‘see’ him! Not to Bond with him!” Franks seethed. “You said he was ready to put in a formal request!”

Aolani nodded as Franks turned his attention to her. “They needed to see each other.” She said firmly. “I suspected that they had connected on some level already… And you saw what we all did. Steven initiated this. And from my enquiries with his old colleagues, they all mentioned how close Steven was with Detective Williams, I did send you the reports.” She finished.

“That doesn’t mean you can just throw them together!” Mike snapped. “Steven was still trying to get over the trauma of a failed Bond! He was in no state of mind to go and Bond with someone else so soon!”

“I will agree with you.” Sharon said softly, and Aolani felt her heart sink, before the other woman carried on talking. “But not in this instance…” she said. “Steven wanted his old life back, and would have done almost anything to get it, but that’s not what I saw in him today… Today, I saw a Shifter wanting to claim what it knew to be its true Mate.”

Aolani nodded again. “Williams did try and resist.” She offered. “But I imagine Steven is a man who Williams has not been able to say ‘no’ to in a long time.” She looked back at the closed door on the monitor. “Williams is a man who likes to do things by the book, but I imagine he would have eventually just tried to storm this place to get Steven out eventually.”

“He should have tired earlier.” Sharon was chuckling, “Wasn’t he trying to escape all the time when he first came here?” she asked Franks.

Franks seemed to relax a little. “Every other day.” He sighed. “So what now?”

“Now, we wait.” She said. “I’m thinking he will not want to come out for at least a week?”

Franks nodded. “With his failed Bonding not being to long ago, he will probably need a bit more time… I’ll set up a food schedule then… You both can explain it to the head of the LA Registry. He likes things to go smoothly by the books. So have fun with that.”

Sharon snorted a laugh, “I’ll make sure his feathers aren’t ruffled too much.” She promised.

 

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Danny yawned as he rolled onto his back, he was stiff and his back was sore as he tried to stretch a little bit.

For the past three day’s they had been locked in this room. Every meal time someone would knock once on the door, and Steve would get up and bring them in the food that had been left.

Now he was looking at his sleeping friend, who lay tight against his side on the cramped bed they hadn’t really moved from since getting here. Apart from a few fumbled hand jobs in the shower and that one time on the floor that they were never doing again… at least not without a thick rug or something!

But they had been like teens discovering mind blowing sex for the first time. And it had been mind blowing, especially when they found their own pace. It hadn’t helped that going in, they both didn’t really have a clue about same sex, sex.

Sure Danny had done anal before, but he had never don’t it with another guy, or been the receiver, and Steve was very adamant that Danny was going to be the receiver, which he hadn’t been to thrilled about at first, but once he coached Steve through what he should be doing, the guy, as always, had thrown his all into it. And Danny had found a new kink he never knew he had. Sure he had heard about prostate massage being good, but jeez, no one had told him it was going to blow his mind seven ways from Sunday!

He guessed though, it had been more of a shock to know Steve was a bloody virgin. Sure he knew Steve was a Shifter, but to actually be faced with the reality he didn’t really have a friend with benefits in every port, had skewed his image of the other man a little. But that was till he was screaming the other mans name as he came. Repeatedly.

He had also picked up on Steve’s unease whenever they heard someone moving outside.

When he had suggested that they maybe stretch their legs, Steve had adamantly refused, finally confessing that he just couldn’t leave right now.

Finally, Danny had written a letter, asking that someone call Chin or Kono, letting them know he was okay, and then asking if they could tell Gracy that he was okay and he would be home soon. They had left the note with their left over food dishes, and some kind soul had left a note saying it was done.

Now he reached out and laid a hand on Steve’s stubble covered cheek. And not for the first time he wondered what he had gotten himself into.

Sure Steve had run full tilt into his life, at first taking his case, then his career, throwing him into all kinds of dangers and thrill rides, then infiltrated himself into even Gracy’s life like he owned her too. And now, the infuriating man had taken his life too.

He knew that whatever happened now. They would be together for the rest of their lives. No take backs, no do-overs.

Steve belonged to him now, as much as he had always belonged to Steve.

He was wondering who would drive the other insane first though. And he found a chuckle well up inside, he would be driven insane first, and he feared it had already happened.

“Humf?” Steve asked as Danny felt himself being squeeze tight.

“It’s almost lunch time.” Danny said instead of voicing his thoughts, it wasn’t something he hadn’t already told the guy in the quiet moments before they were to caught up in each other again.

“Ugg.” Steve stretched, squeezing Danny harder as he did so. “Hope it’s not sandwiches again.”

“Not like there is a menu.” Danny said back, then he was slapping Steve’s arm. “Come on, I need the bathroom.” He complained.

Then, as always, they moved together out of bed, Steve pulled him to his feet as they made their way across the room to the other side, when there was a knock on the door. Danny kept walking as he felt Steve move to the door. Then he froze.

For three days, Steve hadn’t been able to let go of him physically. When they had accidentally lost contact, Danny had watched as Steve almost collapsed before launching himself into Danny’s arms, and they had waited till Steve controlled his breathing, telling Danny never to let go again.

When he looked at the Shifter, Steve was looking back at him, his eyes wide. But there was no pain or fear there now.

“You okay?” Danny asked stupidly.

Steve nodded. “Yeah… err… don’t shut the door.” He demeaned.

Danny nodded as he backed towards the bathroom. When he lost site of the other man he called out. “You still okay?”

“Yeah…” A pause. “I guess this is progress?”

Danny smiled as he was finally able to go to the toilet alone.

When he came back out, Steve was waiting for him and outstretched his hand to him, which Danny took as Steve opened the door with the other. And sure enough, there was a tray with some wrapped sandwiches, two juice bottles and a coffee pot.

“Sure we cant go get something else?” Danny asked with a grin. but Steve shook his head as he picked up the tray with one hand.

Danny sighed as he helped bring the tray in. he guessed they were gonna be there a little while longer.

 

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Two days after Steve could finally stand not to be in physical contact with Danny, his Mate had finally convinced him that maybe they could leave the room and go get something else to eat other than sandwiches. That Danny was sure was someone’s idea of a joke.

So here he stood, one hand on the door handle the other clutching Danny’s hand.

“You know it helps if you turn it and pull?” Danny said softly behind him. “Are you sure I can’t just pull you along? I could hold your wrist?”

Steve actually took a moment to think about it. They had experimented with Danny holding his wrists, and the way it made Steve feel. It was like someone just sucked all the stress from his body, where all his attention would focus on Danny and nothing else mattered. Pressure and angle were also a thing. And now he fully understood why it was such a taboo, he would do anything Danny asked without question, like his brain had been shorted out of his own consciousness to some extent.

He shook his head finally, “No.” he answered. “Think we have to do this together… Also. Don’t want you getting lost.” He grinned at his Mate who just rolled his eye’s, then reached forward, putting his hand over Steve’s and pushing down.

“Then lets do this together, or it’s gonna be suppertime before we get anywhere.” Danny said as he began to pull the door open.

When the door was open, Steve took a deep breath, then stepped out into the corridor, pulling Danny with him.

There was no one there but that wasn’t anything unusual this time of day, till he got closer to the dining hall. Then with another deep breath, he pushed the door open.

It was still early enough that there were not many Shifters there, only one guard and the cooks and servers behind their food lines at the other side of the room. And as soon as he took a step in, all eyes turned to them.

Steve saw one of the younger Shifters get up and go running out the door to the rec room and fields out back.

Steve gave a nod to the room in general as he pulled Danny through the room to the food line.

“We too early?” He asked Kerry behind the line.

She gave him a warm smile. “No, honey, but if you want the lasagne, your just gonna have to wait a few minutes. It’s still in the oven.”

“What else do you have?” Danny suddenly pushed forwards at Steve’s side, as he was looking at what was on offer.

If it was possible, Kerry’s smile got wider as she began listing off the dinner menu.

“Can we get two burgers then?” Danny was saying happily. “Salad on the side, some hash browns, oh, and extra cheese for him?” He finished as Steve felt an elbow nudge him in the belly.

“He knows you well.” Kerry said, giving Steve a wink as she began prepping Danny’s order.

Steve gave a suffering sigh she would hear. “It’s why I picked him.”

“So you can be lazy…” Danny gripped, before he turned to Kerry. “I don’t have to pay for this do I?” he asked and Steve couldn’t help but laugh.

“Oh, no, honey.” Kerry said a little confused, giving them both an amused frown.

“Great!” Danny said. “If we eat out he always just happens to leave his wallet somewhere that isn’t in the vicinity of a cash register.”

“Really?” She asked as her smile returned.

“Every time!” Danny was griping. “He won’t even let me drive my own damn car! Just walked into my home whenever he felt like it.”

“I didn’t hear you complaining.” Steve grinned at his Mate.

Danny glared at him for a moment. “I did… a lot… you just didn’t listen.”

Steve shrugged, he couldn’t deny it, nor would he feel guilty about it. “You always came back for more.”

“Like a glutton.” Danny was sighing, but Steve felt his Mate lean into him a little.

“Sounds to me like you have your hands full.” Kerry was saying to him. “My husbands never let me pay for anything when we were courting though.” She shook her finger at Steve, though she was grinning at him.

“We weren’t courting at the time.” Danny bemoaned, before Steve found himself looking into accusatory eyes. “Oh my god! You were forcing dates on me! All those little presents! And I just thought you were feeling guilty about always almost getting me killed every other day!”

“I was…” Steve pouted. “You never complained.”

Danny sighed as Steve saw him deflate. “You are such a sneaky asshole.”

Steve smirked. “I was a SEAL. It was kinda in the job description.” He offered which just made Danny scoff and start laughing, which warmed him up inside.

“Here’s your burgers.” Kerry said as she put their food on top of the counter on a single tray. “What do you want to drink? I can bring it over.”

“Two coffee’s please, Kerry.” Steve asked and before he could reach for the tray. Danny was already pulling it down.

“Like you can take your hands off me.” Danny smirked at him as he turned, then stopped.

Steve turned and then tensed up.

While they had been bantering with Kerry, a crowd had quietly formed in the dining hall.

“Um… Hello.” Danny said a little awkwardly.

“Hey guys!” Steve sighed at all the kids around them.

“Move! MOVE!” Ryo was suddenly there, shooing the other Shifters back, “Get food or get out! Not the first time you’ve seen a Bond Mate!”

“First time we seen a new one!” A girl called from the back and there was an exited twitter among the kids.

Ryo grinned at him, “She’s got a point. Sorry.” He shrugged.

“So nice to be gawped at.” Danny muttered darkly. “Think we can sit down and eat? Or do we have to go back to our room?”

“We can sit.” Steve said, though his nerves were a little on edge. And luckily enough the crowd did thin out and there were allowed to eat in some kind of peace, even if they were being stared at by the other kids. Steve was just thankful the guard stayed where he was, and none of the cooks came out to clean up.

But it was only to last until they had finished eating. That was when Claire came in, looking a little harried as she ran up to them, her eyes mostly on Danny. Before she started talking.

“Sharon and Mike are coming over.” She said quickly. Kevin tried to keep them at bay, but once they knew you finished eating, they set off.”

“Thanks Claire.” Steve swallowed as he put his arm around Danny’s waist. “I guess the show starts.” He uttered as Claire sat down at his other side.

Danny just shrugged. “So long as they don’t throw me in jail, or something, I’m good. Any idea what to expect?”

“Nope.” Steve answered honestly.

“They can’t separate you now.” Claire said quickly. “Hello by the way, I’m Claire” She grinned at Danny, giving him a little wave.

“Hi, Claire.” Danny acknowledged her and the young Shifter blushed furiously at him, to which Steve rolled his eyes.

Then they fell silent as Mike and Sharon came in. Mike didn’t look like his normal annoyingly cheerful self, but at least Sharon was giving him a warm smile.

“Hi.” Steve said as they came up to their table. “Time to face the music?” He asked to which Danny actually hissed at him.

“Steven!”

“What?” He asked his Mate with a grin as he pulled him a little closer.

“You are such an idiot.” Danny rolled his eyes, but didn’t try and pull away. Instead the other man was folding his arms across his chest.

“It’s nice to finally see you both up and about.” Sharon was saying, then she was looking at Danny and Steve found he didn’t like her scrutinising his Mate so much, but there wasn’t much he could do. But all she did was introduce herself. “I was also one of Steven’s councillors. So It’s nice to actually meet you.” She said.

“I bet.” Danny said to her. “He give you a hard time?” he asked. “He’s like that.”

Sharon’s smile widened. “I think we managed to reach some understanding.” She answered. “But we actually came to see if you are both up to coming with us and signing some paperwork now you are officially a Bonded couple?”

“I am.” Danny said, then Steve found Danny looking at him. “Are you?”

Steve sighed. He still felt a little on edge. Being in a room full of Shifters wasn’t bothering him at all. But he still felt his skin crawling being so close to, well, normals. The urge to go back to his room with Danny was very compelling. But as he looked into Danny’s eyes. He knew he would have to bare it. He knew Danny was his now, but he also knew he had to share the other man on some part with his daughter, and Danny would be anxious to get back to her, even if he hadn’t really said it out loud yet.

“I’ll manage.” Steve nodded.

“If you are not ready!” Mike suddenly said, “Then I insist you take some more time here, there is no need to hurry this.”

Steve sighed. Mike really was like a mother hen when it came to him only thinking of the best for his charges. To making them all feel safe and happy, to protect them with all his might. And it was commendable. The man had a heart of gold. But he was still only used to the younger Shifters and their needs.

“I appreciate your concern,” Steve said softly to him. “But Danny’s missing his daughter.”

“What!” Mike sounded shocked. “This is not about your Bond Mate; this is about your mental well being!”

“Gracy knew I might be a while.” Danny said, mostly over Mike. “I can cope with just a call if you really do need more time?”

Steve shook his head, feeling genuinely warmed by both men’s concern, “I’m good.” He said as he got to his feet, pulling Danny up too. “Lets try and get through this.” He said, then offered. “If it gets too much, can Danny phone his daughter?”

“Of course!” Mike said. “If I had knows sooner, I would have arranged a phone brought to your room.”

Before Steve could answer, Danny did. “We were a little too preoccupied for that,”

Steve gave his Mate a smug smile.

“Shut it.” Danny growled up at him before turning back to his old shrinks. “So, lead the way?”

 

+ + [ # ] + +

 

“So all our assets will be pooled from now on?” Danny asked as he blinked down at the new document he was having to sign.

“Yes.” Sharon said, as she sat besides a clerk the LA Shifter Registry had sent over to the Dormitory. The guy looked bored as he kept pulling out papers from his briefcase and muttering about how it would have been easier if they had just gone to the Registry to do this.

Which was something they were going to do, after all, the Registry wasn’t that far away, but soon as Steve had gone from the interview rooms, into the main lobby of the Dormitory, the Shifter had stopped all forwards momentum. Even though the lobby only had a few family members waiting to visit, Danny knew it was overwhelming for his friend, and had pushed him back the way they had come.

So now, they were in a little cramped office, with Steve’s councillors and this little annoyed clerk whose name Danny chose not to remember.

“Well it’s a good job you like my car so much,” He grinned at his friend, “As that’s all I have.” Steve huffed at him with a slight smile. Thankfully Steve’s humour had come back once Mike had insisted they stay a day or two more. Something Danny wasn’t happy about, but he did not like feeling how shook up Steve had been.

“Hu? Guess that goes both ways.” Steve grinned at him, in that annoying way he had. “As it means my Marquis is also yours!”

Danny groaned. “I’m still not helping you fix that damn thing!” He groused, turning back to the document before him. “So, shared bank accounts, deeds for property and any assents, inheritances, bonds, dividends… basically everything we both own has to be put in out joined names?”

“Yup.” Aolani answered. “We will also over seen any and all your medical needs from here on out.” She said. “We are also here to help financial if needed in any other way.”

“Really?” Danny asked, a little surprised. “Even if either of us is medically retired?”

“To a reasonable extent.” The clerk answered a little waspishly. Which Danny wanted to take exception too, but instead of snapping at the man, he just glared at him.

“I read you have a daughter but aren’t by law forced to pay alimony anymore.” Aolani said.

“No, but I buy her anything she wants, and you can make me not!” Danny said defensively.

Aolani held up her hand, “No, that is not what concerns me.” She said. “You still have contact with your daughters mother?” She asked. And Danny noticed Sharon sit up straight, her eyes going wide as she looked over to Aolani.

“Yes… why?” He hedged. He actually had more contact with her than he should have while he was guilty about losing Steve, and Stan was away on the mainland. But a week of weakness for the pair of them was all it had been. But he also knew Aolani wasn’t asking that.

Both women looked at Steve. “Have you met Daniel’s ex-wife before?” Sharon asked.

Steve just shrugged. “Yeah, she’s okay I guess.” But Danny felt the way Steve’s muscles tensed a little when talking about Rachel.

“Steven?” Sharon asked again a little more forcefully and Danny guessed she hadn’t missed Steve tensing up.

“Fine… I don’t like the way she still looks at him.” He muttered.

“This could be a problem then.” Sharon was saying to Aolani and the other woman was nodding.

“Does she still have romantic feeling for you?” Aolani was asking him directly and Danny felt his heart sink as he felt himself getting defensively angry. Because until that week they spent together over two months ago, he had wanted her back, he had still love her, he still did, she was the mother of his precious daughter!... But when she had gone back to Stan… he knew it was over between them, and that Monday he had gone back to the Registry to ask after his friend. After all, he had let her walk away before, even with Grace, because at that time, when he had had a choice to make… he had chosen Steve.

“I did.” He said letting his anger go. “But she chose her husband over me…” he let out a deep breath as he looked at Steve for a moment. “And I chose this idiot over her, more than once.” Which earned him a goofy smile. “But I will still see her because I still have to see my daughter. I still have some custody.”

“And you have met Daniel’s daughter before?” Sharon asked.

“Oh yeah.” Steve answered. “I love Gracey, she’s a great kid…” Danny saw him glance at him. “She saw me when I was stuck, and she didn’t mind.”

“Does your ex-wife come over to your home?”  Aolani asked, her tone level and serious, enough to make even Danny’s hackles rise. “How much contact would Steven have with her?”

“Not often.” Danny answered, not liking these questions at all. “I don’t think she’s ever been over Steve’s house before… Why?” He watched the woman look at each other again, and the clerk looking like he wanted to be anywhere else.

Sharon took a deep breath. “Shifters can be very protective.” She said.

“Tell me about it.” Danny said, looking at Steve, who didn’t look apologetic at all.

“They can also be extremely possessive, especially when it comes to ex-spouses… And Steven, knowing your personality, I’m guessing even now, the thought of even seeing Daniel’s ex-wife right now is making you feel uncomfortable?”

Danny watched as Steve pulled an unhappy face and shrug. “Really?” he asked.

Steve nodded.

“What interactions do you have with your ex-wife now?” Aolani asked.

“I might talk to her when I’m picking Grace up for her house?” Danny said. “Look, what’s going on?” he demanded.

“Steven would, more than likely, try and attack your ex-wife if she were to approach you, and more so if she touched you…” Aolani answered straight out.

“And if she was still attracted to you and Steve could smell it, he would be going for her throat.” Sharon finished.

“No way!” Danny was angry now. “Steve would never do that!” he stormed as he tried to get to his feet, but Steve’s grip on him tightened, keeping him in his chair. But he wasn’t going to sit there willingly. “He’s met her. And there is no way I’m not going to let go of my visitation rights to my daughter!”

“We are in no way suggesting that.” Aolani said softly. “What we will have to insist on, is that your ex-wife will have to drop off your daughter at the Registry, or another neutral place where your daughter will be safe between her being dropped off and you or Steven being able to pick her up.”

“Oh…” Danny quelled as he let Steve pull him back against his side. “I guess that’s doable.”

“I remember you talking fondly of Daniel’s daughter.” Sharon was saying to Steve. “I’m assuming you have no ill feelings towards her now?”

“No!” Steve said instantly. “It’s half the reason we want to go home.” He said, his voice softening. “I know how much Danny will be missing her… and… I have missed her.”

“I will have to insist that your first meeting with her will be at the Registry.” Aolani said, then she was holding up her hands to calm them. “Would you rather she be safe, than to put her at an unforeseen risk that might not happen?”

“Can we arrange it for the moment we get back to Hawaii?” Danny asked.

“Once we know what time we will be arriving, I will try and have everything arranged. If not, then the next day.”

“Well, I don’t have visitation till the weekend.” Danny said. “And Rachel might not like it.”

Aolani waved a hand as she smiled. “The Registry will insist. This is a matter pertaining to a Shifters wellbeing and it’s Bond Mate.”

“You can stomp all over court ordered visitation rights?” Danny gasped.

Aolani nodded. “To some extent. And if the matter is ever disputed in the future, we can also wade in as representatives. Though we will also be taking into account the welfare of the child involved. But for a simple safety meet and great, the family courts allow us some leeway in where and when.”

“Wow.” Danny grinned. “Okay. That sounds great. Steve?” He asked, looking at his Mate.

“Sounds fine to me.” Steve said with a nod, “Though I would never hurt her.”

“I know that.” Danny rolled his eyes. He had always trusted Steve with her, and that wasn’t about to change now. “So, keep away from Rachel, sort out a meeting at the Registry, then get back to life?”

“That’s’ about it.” Aolani said.

“What about my job?” Steve asked suddenly. “I wana go back to my job.”

The woman looked at each other again. “If the position is still there… I don’t see why not?” Aolani said, though she was looking at Sharon for conformation, Danny guessed.

“I don’t see why not. It’s what he’s trained for.” Sharon answered.

“Danny?” Steve was asking, his voice so full of hope it was totally strange to hear.

“Your jobs still there.” Danny sighed. Then was engulfed as Steve didn’t hold back as Danny found himself smothered in Steve’s arms, all but pulled onto the taller mans lap.

“We still have photos to take and documents to sign.” The clerk suddenly said. “And I have work to get back to, so if you wouldn’t mind?”

 

+ + [ # ] + +

 

Steve didn’t know what he felt as he walked up to his front door.

He was almost in tears when he could see the islands from the plane. He had just held Danny’s hand a little tighter.

They had spent another two nights in the Dorm in LA, asking Aolani to arrange flights back and to arrange for a meet and greet with Grace. While Steve became comfortable with other normal’s around, and they had both packed what little they had, Steve had given Claire the dolphin plush Grace had given him, while giving Kevin the pack of cards he had. It wasn’t much, but the kids took them happily enough. He had also given them his address, phone number and email. For if they ever needed him, or to call him if they ever visited the islands.

Then they had left with a lot of well wishing and tears from the kids and he was sure he saw a tear in Mike’s eye too. He had also got to say good bye to his sister and his aunt before they left. They were also full of tears, and his sister had smirked at them, saying she wondered why it had taken them so long. But his family had promised to come over when they could.

Then they went to the airport with Aolani in a blacked out SUV, then were escorted quietly into the business class lounge, taken on the plane first, and they were the first to get off, then taken through the airport to another SUV and Aolani had wished them goodbye in the car outside his home. With promises to meet them tomorrow at the Registry at three, which was the earliest time she could arrange for meeting Grace. Danny hadn’t been happy. But Steve knew he just needed to reconnect with his life after being gone over four months.

Danny had also told Chin and Kono that they were coming home, but he had asked for them to put off coming over till tomorrow. Which they hadn’t been happy about, but they understood.

So now Steve walked into his home.

There were a few things out of place, but otherwise the place looked like it had the day he had been taken away. Though this time, as he took a deep breath he could smell nothing but Danny. And where as he thought it would irk him, it was making him smile as he turned to look at his Mate. And without thinking to much about it, he reached out and took the smaller man into his arms.

“Welcome home you big goof.” Danny was grinning at him.

“It’s good to be here.” He grinned as he leaned down to steal a kiss. But as he was about to make things a little bit more romantic he heard a rumbling coming from his belly, then Danny laughing.

“Come on. Lets eat, then we can go to bed.” Danny said, slapping a hand against his chest so he would let go.

“We ordering in?” Steve asked, as Danny had taken his hand and was leading him towards the kitchen, where he started to smell someone else, and it took him a moment to realise he was smelling Chin and Kono’s scents.

“Didn’t Kono say she would get us some stuff in?” Danny said as he plucked a note off the fridge, “Welcome home bra, Cleaned out the new life forms, Kamacona insisted on leaving you some fresh shrimp, enjoy. Kono.” Danny read the note. Then opened the fridge to find a couple of boxes of Kamakono’s shrimp laid on salad.

“I wonder how much that’s gonna cost us.” Steve laughed, as he reached for one, plucking a cooked prawn out the box to chew it and he closed his eyes as he savoured it. It was so good. Nothing could compare what the ex-con could do with the little morsels! And again it made him deliriously happy, knowing he was home.

“So, what do you want, coffee or beer?” Danny was asking.

“Beer!” Steve said instantly, if that was one thing he wasn’t allowed it was alcohol. Or he was, but he could only drink it if he had permission to use the staff room and it was just more hassle than it was worth.

Danny was just handing him a bottle, when they heard someone knocking on the front door.

They both froze.

“You.” Danny said to him, poking a finger into his chest, “Stay here! I’ll get rid of them.”

Steve wanted to protest, he didn’t like being to far away from his Mate. And they had already discovered that they physically couldn’t be more then fifty yards apart before Steve felt a compulsion to go to his Mate. Mike had promised that with time it would get better.

So as Danny walked away, he angled himself so he could still see his Mate as he went to the door, but he was mostly out of sight.

Then his hackles rose as he heard who was stood on the other side of the door.

“Oh, so you are home?” Rachel was saying, she sounded a little surprised.

“How?” Danny was asking as Steve saw him pull the door a little more closed while remaining in the house.

“Stan said he saw you in the airport.” She was saying a little pissily.

“Yeah, well, We are home… Look, you really shouldn’t be here…” Danny looked over his shoulder at him, looking apologetic. But Steve really needed her to go.

“But Gracy wanted to see you.” Steve saw her shadow move through the glass.

“You’re supposed to be taking her to the Shifter Registry tomorrow after school.” Danny snapped. “And didn’t the Registry warn you you had to stay away right now?”

“Well, yes.” She scoffed, and Steve felt his lips pull back from his teeth. “But this isn’t true is it? You didn’t go and Bond with McGarrett?”

“Where is Grace now?” Danny asked instead.

“She’s in the car; I wanted to make sure you were home first.” He saw her move again. “Now answer my question.”

“Yeah, we Bonded.” Danny told her firmly.

“Oh Danny…” Steve heard her utter, like she was upset for him and that broke Steve’s last nerve as he strode towards the door, then snarled when he saw Danny flinching back as Rachel was trying to reach for his Mate!

“Shit!” He heard Danny swear as Steve reached for the door and managed to throw it open, he took one look at the woman’s face as he breathed in her scent and the next thing he knew he was falling forwards as he was reaching for her. He was snarling as he tried to right himself, someone had kicked his legs out from under him, but then something slammed into his back trying to pin him down, then the world went still as he felt a hand clamp onto the back of his neck. A place that had proved to bring him such pleasure was now being used against him, and there was nothing he could do as his body went limp of its own accord.

“Calm the fuck down!” Danny was yelling at him. “Rachel, Leave!” he was also yelling.

“But?”

Steve managed to growl again and tried another weak attempt to get up and make her go away, permanently. But the grip on his neck tightened.

“Just go… I’ll see Grace tomorrow!”

Steve watched as finally, the woman started to back up, then she was gone and Steve felt himself finally calming down, though his anger wasn’t cooling down.

“Can I let go now?” Danny was asking.

Steve managed to nod a little as he felt the pressure on his neck finally let up, then he was pushing himself up, ready to turn on his Mate, but before he could push himself to his feet and back away, Danny had his hands on either side of his face.

“Jesus.” The other man was saying, and Steve was suddenly aware of the fear in the other man, and he didn’t understand it. “Your eyes.” Danny was saying. “You were going to kill her!?”

Steve blinked, feeling his anger trying to surface again.

“Stop growling at me!” Danny snapped as he let go of Steve’s face, but as Steve was about to get up, Danny was wrapping his arms around his head, pulling him tight against his broad chest. “Your eyes had no white in them.” Danny was explaining a little desperately. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He was lamenting, then he was pulling away a little. “Did I hurt you?” Then Steve found his head being pulled down as Danny went to his knees to loom over him. Then fingers being run over his neck. “Shit, it’s gonna bruise. Does it hurt anywhere else?” Then Steve was being forced to look into his Mates concerned eyes again. “Talk to me?” Danny pleaded.

Steve opened his mouth, then closed it again.

Here was the man who he had tried to hate for months. The man who had betrayed him, thrown him to the wolves when he was in such a vulnerable state. Then blundered back in with apologies and his own guilt and Steve had forgiven him instantly. And now, Danny was just sat here, pushing all Steve’s anger away like it was nothing,

Danny suddenly sighed, then was sitting back on the floor in front of him, though his hands were now holding Steve’s between them. “Though I’m sure you would like to kill my ex.” Danny was giving him a weary smile. “I really don’t want our first night home being us talking to cops all night while I explain to my daughter why you just ripped her mother’s throat out.”

“Awkward.” Steve managed to utter, feeling a little more grounded. Trust Danny to voice reason.

“And that doesn’t mean you can try again another time either.” Danny warned as he shook their held hands a little.

Steve looked down at their hands. He wasn’t going to promise anything. Now he had a moment to think about it, he had been surprised by his own actions and lose of control. He really had been out for blood.

“Look… If we see her again, I’ll take your wrists and do that thing.” Danny was suggesting as Steve felt his Mate reach out his index finger to run it across the undersides of his wrists, making him tingle all over, making him sigh as he really did finally relax. “That good?” Danny was asking, then Steve watched as Danny wrapped his right hand around his left wrist, then dug his fingers into the soft skin on the underside. Steve let out a contented sigh as he leaned back against the door that was still open.

“Feels so strange.” Danny was whispering. “Does it really relax you?”

Steve nodded. “Yeah.” He smiled.

They stayed on the floor for a little longer before Danny started to pull away, much to Steve’s displeasure.

“I’m still hungry!” Danny protested. “Lets eat, drink a beer, then you can Shift while I lock up and we can go to bed.”

Steve liked that idea as Danny began to lead him back to the kitchen, his hand still around Steve wrist.

 

+ + [ # ] + +

 

Aolani watched as Steven was sat with Daniel’s daughter, as the little girl grilled the Shifter about his time away while also telling him about everything she had done since she saw him last.

The meeting had gone well. Better than she had expected, with what the two men had told her happened last night. A fact Aolani was still angry about. But at least Daniel had proved himself more than capable with controlling the physically larger Shifter. If he hadn’t, then she would have been filling out forms all night over a lawful Shifter homicide. And the fall out was never petty.

She was about to leave the couple alone, while she went and had a word with Mrs Hollander who was being kept at the other side of the Registry building, mostly so Steve might not smell her. And she would let her know how she had almost made her daughter motherless, while also letting her know, now that she had seen Grace and Steven together, that their joined custody would now also include Steven.

Sometimes Shifter’s wouldn’t take well with any children their Mate had before Bonding, and just couldn’t seem to pull the child into their protective bubble. But Steven seemed to have already included Grace as part of Daniel, so she would never be in better hands. So she was relieved that was something off her mind.

She took a step towards the door. “If you will excuse me.” She said to the three other people in the room. “I just need to be about half an hour.”

“Wait.” Daniel said as he got to his feet. “Can I have a word?”

“Of course.” She said stepping into the corridor. Then watched as Daniel rested his hands on his Shifter and daughter, then came over to her, closing the door behind himself. “What can I do for you?” she asked.

“You’re going to talk to Rachel?” He asked straight out.

She nodded. “While she is in the building I thought it would be best coming from someone in person.”

“That she almost got herself killed last night?” Daniel asked.

“I wouldn’t put it so bluntly, but yes.” She answered.

“Can I come?” He asked, which surprised her a little.

“If you think it’s wise?” She said. “Steven will probably be able to smell her on you.” She watched as he took a moment to think it over. Before he turned back and put his head into the privet waiting room.

“Hey! You guys play nice, I’ll be back in a bit.”

“Bye!” The girl called.

“Don’t be long.” Steven was saying, and from the look on his face, Aolani knew he had guessed what was about to take place and wasn’t pleased about it, but was willing to let it happen.

It took them a minute to get through all the fire doors and a few check points until they came to a room with a security guard stood discreetly at the other side of the corridor. “She still there?” She asked the woman, who nodded.

“I got her some water earlier, but she’s just been looking at her phone.” The guard answered.

Aolani thanked her, then opened the door and stepped inside to find a slight woman sitting up and putting her phone away.

“Mrs Hollander?”

“Yes,” Came an English accents, “Is Grace alright?” she was asking as she then looked at Daniel and got to her feet. “Daniel?”

“Your daughter is perfectly fine.” Aolani answered as she went and stood next to one of the other chairs around the only table in the middle of the room. “Shifter McGarrett has no problem with her…”

Mrs Hollander let out a huff. “That’s not what he was like last night.” She snapped. “He was going to attack me! I wouldn’t have brought her here but for the threats!”

“Threats?” Daniel asked. But Aolani saw he was looking at her, not his ex.

“They said if I didn’t bring her in, they would send around people to collect her!” Mrs Hollander was saying. “And the choice was up to me!”

“If you had any prior engagements.” Aolani answered smoothly. “We had to have this supervised meeting between the two individual happen as soon as possible, so as not to infringe too much on your own custody rights.” Which earned her a discussed look from the other woman. So Aolani sat down, gesturing for Mrs Hollander to do the same, which, thankfully, she did.

“I still did not appreciate the implied threat.” Mrs Hollander said waspishly. “You are expecting me to leave my child in the company of someone who tried to assault me last night! Is she alone with him NOW!?”

“Rachel, please.” Daniel said, as he moved to stop her getting to her feet again. “Grace is fine with Steve, you know that!”

“I thought he was fine with me, until last night!” Rachel snapped.

“About that.” Aolani said as she pulled the other chair out for Daniel, who thankfully sat down next to her. “Your daughter will be perfectly safe. Shifter McGarratt see her as an extension of his Bond Mate, Mr Williams, and in so doing will protect her as fiercely as he would his Mate.”

“And that’s a good thing?” Mrs Hollander asked, sarcastically.

“Very much so.” Aolani answered straight faced. “It would be a very tragic thing, is your daughter could no longer see her father, don’t you think?” She watched as Mrs Hollander’s eyes widened a little as the moved to Daniel. Then back at her.

“I suppose.” Mrs Hollander answered finally.

“However.” Aolani said, adding a more serious and less sympathetic tone enter her voice. “That regard does not extend to you.” She saw Mrs Hollander’s eyes narrow again, but before she could say anything, Aolani carried on. “I believe you were informed not to approach either Shifter McGarrett, or Mr Williams.” She watched the other woman shrug and look away, so she had known. “It is a very serious matter, and you put your own life at risk.”

“But we have met before.” Mrs Hollander insisted. “He’s been in my house for heavens sake!”

“That was before he Bonded with Mr Williams.” Aolani said a little more sympathetically. “His Shifter side, will now see you as a threat to his relationship with Mr Williams.”

“What… but…” She was looking at Daniel again.

“What we shared a few months ago,” Daniel was saying softly. “Before you went back to Stan…” but before he could finish Mrs Hollander spoke over him.

“So you just thought you would run off and Bond with Steven the first chance you got because I saw sense?!”

Aolani wanted to wince at that.

“When you went back to Stan I finally realised what I really wanted.” Daniel said deathly calm. “I loved you Rachel, I still do.” He was leaning forwards a little now. “But as the mother of my wonderful daughter… And if I hadn’t managed to stop a fully trained combat SEAL from reaching you last night, I would be consoling my grieving daughter who just lost her mother, and trying to comfort my Mate who would be beating himself up with guilt for making our daughter cry.” He sat back. “He was bad enough last night after you left realising what he had almost done. I don’t want to see him go through that again.”

The room fell silent for a bit as Aolani watched Mrs Hollander process what had been said.

“I just… I just wanted to see for myself.” Mrs Hollander was saying softly. “I didn’t want to believe it I guess.”

“These issues can sometimes be softened by time.” Aolani said. “But Shifter McGarrett will always be hostile towards you, because I am surmising; you still have some romantic feeling towards Mr Williams.” She didn’t wait for an answer, as she was sure this woman’s pride wouldn’t let her admit anything. “And Shifter McGarrett will be able to scene that and his Shifter instincts will always try and eliminate it.”

“But they are Bonded, how can I affect that?” Mrs Hollander demanded a little weakly.

“Because Bonded Shifters are bound to the one and only bond they will ever form with another human, and if that human, for whatever reason, starts to reject that bond, say, falling back in love with an ex-partner, then it can, and usually does, end with the Shifter dieing soon after.” She said, seeing the other woman go a little pale. “Which is why at the moment, he sees you as a threat to his very existence.”

“Wait!” Daniel said at her side. “That isn’t just a movie thing? He will literally die from a broken heart?!”

Aolani nodded. “It’s cascading organ failure, so yes.”

“Shit.” Daniel swore.

“So…” Mrs Hollander whispered. “For him… Steven… It’s kill or be killed?”

“I wouldn’t put it that way, but yes.” Aolani answered. “To look at it another way, He also cant protect Mr Williams if he’s dead.”

“Wait… wait.” Daniel was turned to her now. “Mike, he said something about organ failure when Catherine tried to Bond with him?... right?”

Aolani nodded. “We were not able to get close to him at the time to check, but it is one of the symptoms of a failed Bond. Though the Shifters usually recover quickly with no ill affects.”

“So he’s okay now?” Daniel demanded.

“You were there for his last medical before we came back.” She smiled reassuringly. “He had a full bill of health, we made sure.”

“Okay, good.” He said as he got to his feet. “So, we can drop Gracey here for now when I have visitation, or I can ask Chin or Kono to pick her up. That okay?” He was asking Mrs Hollander, who nodded.

“Yes, that fine.” Mrs Hollander answered, looking more subdued than righteously angry now.

“I will set everything up.” Aolani assured. “If you have to communicate urgently with Mr Williams, I would advise a single text, or contact the Registry and we will forward the messages.”

“Right, well… I have to go.” Daniel was saying as he started backing towards the door and Aolani gave him a knowing smile, he had been away from his Shifter long enough, and no doubt, Steven would also be getting a little angsty.

“Go.” She said. “Before he comes looking for you.

“Bye.” He quickly said to Mrs Hollander, then he was rushing out of the room. Aolani just hoped he wouldn’t get lost.

“I didn’t mean them any harm.” Mrs Hollander whispered when the door closed. “I just needed to make sure.”

“You were lucky.” Aolani answered. “Now, I need to get your contact information, then I will deliver your daughter back into your care.”

 

+ + [ # ] + +

 

Danny took another swig of his beer as he stretched a little as he watched the ocean.

After they had visited with Grace at the Registry they got pizza, eaten it and now Steve was out swimming somewhere. He had tried to get Danny to join him, but there was still no way he was going to set foot in shark infested water, and the fact he was letting Steve do it should be more than enough, thank you very much.

So he was just trying to relax as he pondered the difficulties he would face, trying to keep his Shifter Mate away from his ex-wife so said Shifter wouldn’t kill her. And wondering how he had gotten himself into this. And convincing himself that it was probably mostly Steve’s fault anyway. Which he damn sure was Steve’s fault, cos the animal couldn’t wait to do this by the book.

He took another long sip. He hadn’t got more white hair sick with worry for months, to then finally fly out all the way to LA with the woman who took Steve away, with the hopes of Bonding with the guy. He had just wanted to make sure Steve was okay and to maybe get him moved back to Hawaii so he could at least visit when he wanted.

He was still a little stunned he had actually considered Bonded with the guy as Steve was forcing the issue.

Sure, as a kid, he and Sally had talked about Bonding when they grew up, that was just childish dreams. He didn’t think he had ever actually thought about it since… till he was laying eyes on a wet tiger who was wearing his friend’s shirt.

It didn’t help that Steve also infuriated the hell out of him, even on good days. Now he was stuck with the man for the rest of his life. But it wasn’t like nearly everyone they met made some stupid quip about them being married. Well… It was official, now… for the most part.

He was just about to take another swig of his beer when a cold dread swept through his gut.

He had hated Steve just throwing him into dangerous situation all the time, getting him shot at. Steve just never seemed to get it, he always needed to go home for Gracy. He lived for his little girl… and now he had two people he couldn’t get killed for! For fuck sake! If he died, so would Steve! Just great!

He downed the rest of his beer, then reached for Steve’s and downed half of that too before he put a hand over his eyes. Like he needed his life to get any more complicated.

“Hey, bra.”

Danny groaned as he moved his hand to see Chin grinning down at him.

“Where’s Steve?” Chin was asking as he sat down next to him.

Danny waved his hand at the ocean. “Out there somewhere, probably getting his scrawny ass eaten by sharks.”

Chin laughed at him. “He’s not that scrawny.” The man said as he saw the cooler between the chairs and reached for a beer.

“He is now,” Danny muttered as he relaxed in his chair. “Stupid idiot didn’t eat enough while he was… away. And I know how good they feed their charges!” he said, remembering the damn good food he had every day while there. At least he had made sure Steve was eating properly now.

“I’m guessing he was more stressed out than he wants to let on.” Chin said, matter of fact.

“Yeah.” Danny sighed. “They did warn me he might not be to pleased to see me before I got there.”

“Seems he was more than happy to see you.” Chin was looking at him out of the corner of his eye with a smirk on his face. “Congratulations.”

Danny rolled his eyes. “Thanks.” He said anyway.

“To tell you the truth.” Chin carried on. “Despite how you two argue, I never thought you swung that way.”

“I didn’t swing.” Danny sighed. “I was forcibly sucked his way, pulled in by the ever present vortex that is Steven’s will’s and wants.”

“So, regrets?”

Danny sighed again, “No.” then he couldn’t help the smile as he recalled their day’s together, stuck in Steve’s small room as they found out what worked for them, or that morning, where they had the pleasure of a large bed and nowhere to go all morning. He was still a little sore, but it was a good hurt.

“Hu… nice to see you smile again.” Chin said and instantly Danny felt his hackles rise. “You haven’t since we lost him.” He finished quietly. And Danny calmed down. Chin was always observant like that.

“I’ll stop when he’s dragging me into another shoot out.” He muttered to cover his feelings.

“So he’s coming back to work?”

“You tell him no!” Danny huffed, waving his hand at the ocean. “And lets face it, we could do with him right now.”

“Yeah.” Chin said. “We got a lead on another case. Kono’s looking into it before she’s going home for an early night.”

“That a hint?” Danny asked.

“A little.” Chin grinned. “But it will wait till morning. If you’re up for it?”

Danny was hoping for a few more days to take them over the weekend, but work had been insane of late. “Don’t ask me.” He said as he saw Steve, wet and lopping towards them.

“Jesus!” Chin swore as Danny saw the other man push himself back in his chair, almost toppling the thing.

“I thought a shark had finally eaten your furry ass!” He called to the tiger who was running up to them, then he was grabbing a towel from the side of his chair and holding it out to the Shifter. “Kitty wana a rub down?” he asked it a childish tone, then laughed when Steve stuck his big orange and white head into the towel as he huffed and growled, meaning he was trying to say something.

“Kono’s busy tonight.” He told his Mate as he wiped water from Steve’s eyes, then started rubbing down the rest of his mussel. “And Chin’s over for dinner, beer and to beg me to go into work tomorrow.” Then he sighed as he found himself lifting the towel to cover Steve’s human modesty.

“Chin.” Steve said, greeting the other man.

“Give a bra some warning!” Chin scolded. “That was creepy on so many levels. Not everyone is used to tigers just running around the place!”

“Get used to it.” Danny teased with a grin at his colleague, and the man who had tried to keep him sane over these long months.

“I’ll try.” Chin grinned.

“So… what case are you working on?” Steve was asking as he finished wrapping the towel around his hips, then instantly sat down on Danny’s lap, stealing his beer back to take a swig as he put his free arm around Danny’s shoulders.

“This is definitely gonna take getting used to.” Chin sighed as he rolled his eyes dramatically.

Steve huffed with a grin. “Bitter that Kono won that little bet you two had?”

“It’s Kamacono actually.” Chin sighed. “Kono thought you would just eventually get around to doing each other.”

“So what the hell did Kamacono bet then?” Danny gasped.

“That we were all going to be invited to your wedding before we knew about it.” Chin grinned at him. “So he is technically right.”

“And you bet we wouldn’t get together.” Danny said, at least someone had some sence.

“Na, bra. I bet Steve would get so jealous of your latest girlfriend, he would just take you over his office desk eventually.”

Danny spluttered as he listened to his Mate start laughing and he was thinking about pushing the larger man off his lap. “So no one thought we actually wouldn’t get together!”

“Oh, no.” Chin was laughing now. “Sang Min said it would never happen…”

“At least someone had some sense.” Danny offered.

 “… because you two were too far in Narnia!” Chin finished with a chuckle.

Danny did push Steve from his lap then, but it only ended up with him sprawled across the mostly naked Shifter as he pulled him down too as he laughed.

 

+ + [ # ] + +

 

Steve felt like his skin was itching. When Danny had finally yelled at him about being fidgety and Steve confessing his feelings. Danny had just given him an indulgent smile, telling him it was just anxiety, and he didn’t need to worry.

Steve tried, but he hadn’t been to work in month, thought he would never get back there again. Then the way everyone there would see him now? He wasn’t sure how they would react, how HE should react to them… it all seemed to be going so fast. But for fuck sakes, he was a trained SEAL, done the darkest of shit, he was trained not to crack under torture… and here he was terrified of meeting friends he had known for years!

Now Danny was pulling him into the office, after managing to get up to it without seeing anyone, a miracle in itself.

Then he was facing the smiling faces of his friends as they all stood around the command table. He was thankful none of them came towards him. He still felt a little raw. He was only just coming to terms with himself being a Shifter, never mind now having to deal with people shift in perspective of him.

“Hey bra!” Kono was grinning at him and he could see she wanted to get in his personal space, but was keeping herself rooted to her spot by the table. “It’s nice to see you back!”

“Thanks.” He grinned at her. “It’s great to be back, though my holiday on the main land was getting a little boring.” He joked.

“Can you Shift?” Kono suddenly blurted out as the neared the table, “I’ve never seen a Shifter in person before.”

Steve froze, feeling awkward as his emotions warred between angry and embarrassed.

“What the HELL!”

Steve didn’t flinch on the outside as his Mate exploded, but he could feel Danny’s anger hit him, and he felt a modicum of relief.

“Even on this stupid island I thought you had etiquette and social niceties!” Danny was seethed as he blustered himself in front of Kono, and conveniently keeping Steve at his back.

“I didn…” Kono tried to apologise as she moved uncomfortably on he feet.

“It’s like asking him to get naked!” Danny was on a rant roll as his arms began to flail around. “Would you ask paraplegic to look at their stump? Oh! I know, can I look at your boobs?”

Steve tried not to roll his eye as he watched Danny began doing motions like he was lifting his own shirt. And Kono looked both embarrassed and pissed. A fact he could empathies with, as she had just made him feel the same way,

“I can fight my own battles.” Steve ended up growling. Trying to ease the tension, anything to stop the fragile sense in the air. But Danny spun on him.

“Oh sure,” Danny waved a hand at him. “Then why don’t you do what she asked?” the hand waving back to take in Kono.

Steve didn’t miss the fact Danny hadn’t ordered him to Shift. Something he was stupidly thankful for.

Instead, he stepped into his Mate space so he could look down on him, a small dominant thrill went through him as he forced Danny back a step. “I fight my own battles.” He said in an even, but no nonsense tone.

Danny blinked up at him, then Steve saw the steel come into his Mates blue eyes.

“Fine.. Fine!” Danny seethed at him as he sidled to the side. Then started waving his arms around the room. “You see this.” More arm waving as he spun around. “All this?... Work…”, then Steve found a finger pointed at himself. “Is all yours. You can stomp around like some proud cock… DON’T EVEN SMIRK!...” Steve swallowed as he tried to hide his smirk. “You can be the dominant one all you like here.” Then his finger was waggling between them both. “Us, again, you seem to want to be obsessively domineering, and fine, I know what I was getting into…” Steve couldn’t help the smug smirk this time, but all he got was a glare. “But THIS!” Suddenly Danny’s finger was making little circle motions up and down Steve’s body. “All this… is mine! So if I want to protect this…” More circling finger. “Then I will!”

“Really?” Steve asked, feeling a squirming in his belly as he advanced on his Mate.

He grinned when Danny’s eyes suddenly widened and he began backing away, “No..NO!” Danny shouted at him. “Not in the office!.. umf!”

Steve didn’t stop as Danny backed himself against a wall, he just kept pressing up on him, trapping the shorted man with his own body. He began to lean his head down, wanting to taste that down turned mouth.

“You promised…” Danny let out in a whisper.

Steve growled as his lust left him in a rush. He had promised.

“Oh, Don’t mind me.” Kono singsonged at them. “Please, carry on.”

Steve closed his eyes as he just pulled Danny away from the table and into a hug, knowing Kono would love to see them make out. Which was why Danny had made him promise nothing would happen on the job.

“Pervert!” Danny growled sullenly at Kono.

“Hey!” Kono snapped. “I’m not dead, I can appreciate pretty things.”

Steve rolled his eyes.

“I’m pretty now!” Danny shouted indignantly.

Steve let his Mate go as he advanced on the young woman. He would have stepped in and tried to calm things down, but Kono was grinning and giving as good as Danny was giving.

“Welcome back.” Chin was saying as Steve stepped to his side of the table.

“So, want to bring me up to speed on the case?” Steve asked as his friend smiled at him and proceeded to do just that.

It was nice though, before they left to go run down a perp, Kono had come up to him to apologise, and he knew his old self would have given her a hug, now he knew, at least for the near future, he just gave her his best smile before jogging up to his Mate, grounding himself as he put a hand on the shorter man’s back.

Maybe now he could start to feel normal again with his friends around him. He wasn’t just going to be a Shifter… he was Steven Magarret, he was just extra now.

 

The End.

 

Epilogue:

 

Steve was beyond rage and had slipped out the other side and instead of finding calm, had just found more rage.

As soon as the perp knew he couldn’t ruffle Steve, he had moved his attention to Danny, and there was no way on earth he could put up with that. He had thought he could control his protective Shifter side, but he was having trouble right now just thinking beyond his rage.

Steve was ready to explode, pull out his gun and shoot the perp in the mouth, instead he began pacing, Danny’s eyes on him the whole time, he knew his Mate was picking up on his rage.

It didn’t take Danny long to snap though. “Just because we’re Bonded!” Danny yelled. “Does NOT give you the right to shoot whoever you WANT! So don’t even THINK about it!”

“But he was pointing the gun at you!” Steve growled, his eyes once again on the perp who was looking up at him with fear in his eyes and a bloodied lip, while cowering on the curb where Steve hand thrown him. “He was about to pull the trigger!” he snarled taking another step toward the quivering man, and Steve found his rage could go up a notch at the terror in the man. He just wanted to rip the guys throat out for even looking at his Mate wrong.

“Oh…” Danny said, loosing all his bluster and annoyance. “Carry on then, just don’t get any blood on yourself, I’m bored of apologising to the dry cleaner.” He answered flippantly, but also like he was bored.

Steve finally took his eyes of the terrified bad guy to look at his Mate. Danny stood with his arms firmly across his chest, eyes following him intently.

“I could kill him an no one could say anything.” Steve offered. His rage calming a fraction.

Danny shrugged. “I should think you wont be able to get away with it all the time.” He said with a flip of his hand. “Just save it for those who really deserve it?”

Finally, Steve relented as he walked over to his Mate and held his left wrist out. Danny studied him for a moment, then reached out, his fingers digging into the underside of Steve’s wrist with just the right pressure, letting all the built up frustration and rage drain away. Before he knew it, he was pressed against his Mate, breathing him in. The quivering perp forgotten about as he held his living and well Mate against himself.

It still astonished him how one small action from the man he loved could feel so amazing.

“Feeling less homicidal now?” Danny asked, un-sarcastically.

Steve just hummed happily.

 

The end