Danny’s having a bad day.
He’s started to measure whether days are good or bad by the number of disagreements he gets in over the course of working hours. He’d started today with a routine trip to the precinct, but now he’s in the middle of a group of three vamps that have been causing chaos in downtown Honolulu for the past week. He can’t see how this can end without a fight: hence, bad day.
Danny’s hand rests possessively on the hilt of his sword, his gaze tilted to the deserted beach surrounding them and he wonders, briefly, whether they thought that waiting for him to be alone would mean their chances of success would increase. They’re wrong.
Vampires can’t do much harm to a man like Danny.
Danny makes sure his expression remains indifferent, standing unwaveringly still as they circle him. One of them – the biggest and ugliest son of a bitch – leans in and takes a deep whiff before a flicker of disgust overcomes him.
“Wolf,” he says with a snarl. “It’s all over you. You let your dog fuck you?”
Danny stays calm.
If these vamps had half a clue what happens when a man like Danny is calm, they’d be running by now. He doesn’t move an inch, keeps his hand on his sword and ignores the flap of his tie as it’s blown back by the hot winds drifting in from the ocean.
“You let it mate with you,” the same vamp taunts.
It’s news to Danny, but he doesn’t react. He refuses to flinch. He’s gonna make Steve’s life a living hell later on, but right now he has bigger concerns.
“It’s all over you. It’s disgusting,” the second in the chain of command mocks.
“What about you?” Danny asks of the third. He’s a little smaller and looks like the weak link. In his four hundred years alive, Danny’s learned not to underestimate anyone or anything, so he’s not thinking of this as his way in. He’s just thinking that he better appraise the whole situation for what it’s worth. “Any last words?”
“Yeah,” the third says with a smirk, a giddy laugh slipping past his lips. “You two do it doggie-style?”
Danny counts to ten as he pulls the sword free from its sheath, practicing old moves that are innate in his muscles by now. He’s never felt old, but he’s often felt practiced and never more so than when there’s a battle on his hands. Thirty seconds later, Danny’s spun on his heels twice, bringing the sword down with a practiced vengeance that few could ever mimic.
Sixty seconds later, he’s surrounded by nothing more than ash. It smudges his cheeks and he brushes it aside after he tucks his sword in the scabbard before digging out his cell phone from his pocket.
He dials Steve instantly.
“You and me,” he says, voice low as he strides through piles of ash and bone. “We need to talk.”
200 KILOMETRES NORTH OF LONDON, ENGLAND
He vaguely recalls the pain of a sword pushed into his chest, cracking open his ribs and piercing just above his heart. This is not the thought on his mind, but instead the memory he thinks most important to hold onto at this precise moment.
Daniel Williams opens his eyes to a fog-covered battlefield cleared of the fight and his fellow soldiers either bleeding or bled out surrounding him. Contrary to the rest of them, however, Daniel has a beautiful young woman crouched over him wearing a black dress with a high collar and carrying a black umbrella that blots out the sun.
“It will hurt,” she warns.
Daniel squints to try and better see her features, recognizing her as the flowerlady who pressed a rose into his buttonhole when he passed her in the street three mornings past. “It does a lot more than hurt, milady,” Daniel responds, his voice rough. Every part of him aches and he feels as though he’s not fit to breathe, let alone stand. His fingers trace down his torso and circle around the mark of the sword’s wound, the ugly pattern defined against his chest. “I died.”
“Yes, you did. Temporarily, though.”
She sounds entirely too chipper, considering the topic is life and death. “Is this heaven? Are you an angel? You’re beautiful enough to be,” Daniel murmurs, a faint daze keeping him from feeling in control of the situation.
The woman smiles at him wryly and twirls her parasol within dainty fingers. “You know, that wouldn’t even be the worst attempt at romance that I’ve heard. I doubt you want to get into my petticoats. And if you do, it’s hardly your priority. Deep breaths, Daniel,” she coaches. “My name is Rachel Smith. We’re alike, you and I.”
“And what are you?”
“Immortal.” She leans down and offers one of those small hands out to him. His is bloody and he feels a strange compulsion to keep her gloved hands clean, though she shows few signs of being insulted or offended by the bodily fluids. “I’m what you are. You’re like me, you’re going to live for a very long time, unless you have an accident with a blade.” At this point, she presses her rapier against his neck and Daniel swallows back a breath he didn’t think he’d ever get to take again. She withdraws the sharp point and smiles at him, but it holds a certain cruelty that warns of potential malice. “I’ve been lonely, though.”
“So you’re going to keep me?” Daniel asks warily.
“For now,” Rachel says. Daniel clasps hold of her hand, giving her a sort of trust that she’s yet to earn. She begins to talk, and he doesn’t interrupt once as she explains what they are and what it means to be immortal – dying young of a violent death, called to fight one another, and with only one true escape from endless life.
They’re arm-in-arm by the time they reach the battlefield’s edge. Daniel’s already acknowledged that he has no choice but to trust this woman if he doesn’t want to die a second time this day.
“We need to find you a different sword,” she says, eyeing his military-issued gun with disdain before turning her gaze to the dull-edge of his sword. “Bullets won’t protect you any longer and dull swords will lead you to your death. There are terrible things in the night, Daniel,” Rachel warns, “and you’re one of them, now. You need something better to defend yourself.”
She keeps hold of him as they traverse the marsh to make their way back to the city. Daniel still bears the gun wound on his chest as he walks – impossibility in motion. He catches sight of her every time he gives a sidelong look and finds himself struck with the thought that he shouldn’t be able to feel his heart beat so fast when he isn’t sure his heart is working any longer.
“I have many questions,” he warns her.
“I’ll give you answers,” she says in reply, giving him a sweet smile as she twirls the parasol and steps closer in order to shield them both from the sun. “After we find you a sword,” she says pointedly.
She directs him towards a carriage, opening the door for him and waving to the interior expectantly, as though he ought to trust her completely. Daniel watches her warily, unsure as to whether he’s truly been rescued or simply switched from one enemy to another. One can never be too careful.
“Where are you taking me?”
“Back to London. I’ve a man there who will help outfit you with protection and you need answers,” Rachel replies. “I can see it all over your face. You’re very easy to read, Daniel, do you know that? You don’t trust me and you don’t understand.”
“Should I trust you?” he asks, taking a step inside the carriage, a hand on his gun. “Should I understand?”
“No,” she admits. “And get your hand off that silly gun, it won’t harm me. The most it will do is annoy me and you don’t want to see me when I’m annoyed. I’ve been lonely; that’s the only reason I’m letting you live. Don’t test my magnanimity.”
The ride to London takes days and is spent in turns of silence and sleep. Daniel isn’t sure whether to let his guard down, but eventually exhaustion catches up with him and makes the decision for him. When he rouses on the third day, he can hear the telltale clatter of chaos that tells him they’ve arrived in the city.
“I need a drink,” he informs her, voice scratchy.
“Sword first, then drinks,” Rachel replies. “You’ll thank me later.”
Four hundred years later, Danny hasn’t thanked her. He measures it as a point of personal stubborn pride.
MARYLAND – THE APPALACHIANS
The noises of the forest sound magnified to Steven’s ears. He turns over, his nude body encountering a sticky and warm substance. He realizes, perhaps too late, that it’s blood. It’s made more worrisome by the fact that it is most certainly his own blood, spilling sluggishly from three claw marks embedded deep in his chest.
He opens his eyes and searches the canopy of the forest before turning his gaze to the horizon. There are no predators near, but the wound is fresh. The sun is beginning to creep over the edge of the land and there’s a sense of peace looming within the forest. Steven listens and hears only the chirp of birds and the light snapping of twigs that belies small animals.
He had entered the forest to travel north in leisure, having promised Mary and his father that he would see them soon.
He thinks that his arrival may be delayed.
Steven sits slowly to begin inspection of the wound. It’s deep, but the major arteries are untouched. The birds continue to chirp in the treetops; none seem to want to come near him. Delicately, Steven sniffs the air and finds himself overwhelmed by the sudden stench of a thousand smells he can’t put a name to, attacking him. He looks at his bare form and warily watches the ripple under his skin, as though muscles and bones are trying to reorganize themselves.
“What monster has done this?” Steven wonders with fearful awe, but they are the last words he says before an agonized howl is ripped from his being.
The last thing he sees before falling unconscious is the fading remnants of the full moon in the sky.
When he comes to, Steven is vaguely aware that the world looks different, if only that the color has been leeched from every object around him, but the smells are clearer and he feels powerful. He rears himself to his feet and discovers that there are four of them and that his body is covered in black and silver hair.
The moon is high in the sky, waning and bright above the canopy of trees, and Steven howls towards it, the shock of such a transformation gripping him to his core.
He’s been told stories about this since he was a boy. They were whispered old folk tales, the kind of thing that children ignored once they reached a certain age, but his father had been insistent on telling them. “There are creatures out there,” John had warned both him and Mary. “There are things in the dark that can hunt you and you must be careful.”
The stories had gone away, but in their place had come training. Steven and Mary could both wield a shotgun and aptly use a knife. They had never questioned their father’s insistences, only listened as he taught them their lessons.
“Silver for wolves,” he’d always said, but had never touched the silver himself. “Immortals need to be beheaded, but if you stay out of their affairs, they won’t harm you, for the most part. Vampires can be staked, beheaded, or set aflame, but it will take a good amount of force. Steady your hand, Mary,” he had always said. “Shapeshifters need to be stabbed through the heart and pray to God that you never come across a fae.”
“And what of spirits?” Mary had asked with a hopeful look. “Perhaps Mother is still out there somewhere?”
“Spirits aren’t real,” John had replied gruffly. “Everyone knows that.”
And so they learned their lessons and grew stronger as a family, but Steven reflects that it’s not been strong enough to avert whatever evil has befallen him tonight. His silver dagger lies untouched in his canvas bag – suspended high above him in a tree – and the animal that attacked him is long gone.
He tracks his way north in the forest and lets human thoughts whisper through the wolf’s mind.
Find your pack, is the unbidden response to rational thoughts of clothing and food. Find the ones that belong to you.
He continues north to the cabin and smells out the scent of his sister and his father. His sister’s scent is fading, but that of his father’s is strong. It is the alpha and Steven is to obey it, whimpering as he lies down in front of the door and waits. He stays there until the sun rises and the door is drawn open.
John looks down, finding Steven, and in less than a minute’s span of space, Steven watches an array of pained expressions pass over his face.
“I had hoped to never condone you to this life, but I fear that I was optimistic and stupid,” he says quietly. “There is much we have to speak about. Concentrate, pup,” he says. Steven, all of twenty and one, does his best to focus, but he cannot seem to change. He lets out a sharp whine.
John leans down and grabs at Steven’s ears.
“You’re no domestic animal, you’re a wolf,” he says sharply. “Concentrate or I’ll send you back out there to the bears and whatever else lurks in the night. Change.”
Steven’s response to this new tactic is far less meek. He lets out an angry growl that speaks of his frustration as his human mind fights the wolf to put the pieces together. He begins to understand his father’s knowledge of the dark things in the night and why he never so much as touches silver with his bare hands. Steven also begins to understand that perhaps his mother’s death was no accident after all.
He changes, and instantly leaps forward to pin his father to the front of the cabin, fury blinding all other senses. He abandons dignity and knows that while he is standing there nude, there are far more pressing matters at hand.
“Did you kill her?” Steven demands. “Did you kill Mother?”
“I don’t know,” John replies, sorrow in his gaze. “Sometimes, I wish that spirits were amongst the things created when the world changed so that I could ask if it was me. All I know is that I became the wolf one night and when I returned in the morning, she was gone from this world.”
“Why can’t you remember?” Steven demands. He presses his forearm tighter against John’s windpipe, letting the anger flood through him. “I remember last night as the wolf. I remember the tracks I took and the urges pulsing through me.”
“It will fade. What you seem so sure of now will fade within hours. There are older wolves who say they’ve worked through meditation to retain those memories, but I’m young at this, Steven. I was attacked in the forest only seven years ago.”
“Did you do this to me?”
He receives no response.
Steven tightens his grip and pushes harder. “Did you do this?” he asks again, with great slowness.
He provides little room for John to respond and all he can eke out are short, choked sounds, gasping for air as his face begins to turn blue. “I think...” He splutters again and breathes in rapidly and desperately. “Yes,” he wheezes. “The wolf in me wanted its pack.”
Steve doesn’t hesitate as he storms inside the cabin to find the silver dagger they always used in their training, wrapping his palm around it in order to bring it down on his father’s neck and stab as hard as he can, pure fury pushing through his blood. His intentions are stopped when a second’s clasp of the dagger burns like fire and he drops it. Distantly, Steven hears the weapon clatter to the ground.
“Put some clothes on before your sister comes home, Steven,” John says hoarsely. “We have much to discuss about the rest of your very long life.”
As soon as Danny gets to Steve’s house, he unclips his sword from his belt and places it carefully in the front hall closet amidst the other weapons. When that’s done, he doesn’t hesitate with every determined step inside in search of Steve. He takes a deep breath, but his sense of smell measures as weak against other creatures.
If anything, it’s become dulled over the last four hundred years. There are some smells you aren’t eager to recall, and Danny had lived in London for a long time before they’d started cleaning it up.
“Steven!” Danny growls, some of his old accent bleeding into his words. “Where are you?”
Steve comes in from the lanai, taking long strides to get closer to Danny. When he gets within three feet, he recoils with a look of disgust flickering over his face. The ‘happy puppy’ look that Danny had coined not long after they met has been replaced with ‘angry wolf’. Danny feels sorry for anyone who dares to cross Steve in one of these moods – the kind where he’s not afraid to use his teeth.
“You smell like vampire,” Steve gets out past his bared teeth.
He sniffs the air again tentatively and the look only grows darker.
Danny waits for Steve to suss it out, knowing that it’s coming. “Come on, do your freaky thing.”
“Three of them.”
“And?” Danny prods.
“And I can smell their ashes on you, too,” Steve says with great relief, taking long steps forward and surrounding Danny in a tight embrace, pressing his face into the crook of Danny’s neck and shoulder, inhaling deeply and nuzzling softly against the bare skin. “Next time, call me. Three of them is more than you usually deal with on your own.”
“I’m two hundred years older than you, Steven,” Danny warns mildly. “I don’t need you to tell me what I can and can’t handle.”
“You said we had to talk? On the phone?” Steve says as he pulls away from the sniffing he’s been doing. He’s done this every time they reunite after being apart, since the beginning of their partnership. While it’s odd, it’s become constant and Danny might find it stranger if this wasn’t the usual greeting when he comes by Steve’s place. “What’s up?”
“What’s up?” Danny echoes. “That’s it? What’s up? Okay, let’s start from the top. So, I get ambushed by these three bloodsuck-fuckers on my way back from HPD to do the paperwork from last week’s bust. Not only are these vamps the kind of rude assholes who looked like they’d been feeding off of rats for the last week, but they told me something interesting. Do you want to hear the interesting thing, Steve?”
Steve flinches slightly; he looks like he’s edging quickly into ‘hurt puppy’ territory. “Maybe?”
“They took one sniff, scum of the earth these vamps are, and they told me that I had wolf all over me. They told me that some wolf has mated with me!” Danny practically explodes. “What the hell were they talking about, Steve? What’s going on? Since when are you excreting pheromones on that kind of level that they rub off on me, huh?”
Steve’s wide-eyed look only gets a shade guiltier, but it’s enough that Danny understands perfectly.
“You did, didn’t you?” Danny says. “When?”
“You really don’t want to know,” Steve admits.
“The day we met.” Steve flinches slightly after relaying the news, as though he’s afraid that Danny’s about to retrieve his sword from the front hall and smack Steve over the head with the hilt.
Truthfully, Danny might just do that and leave Steve unconscious while he processes the information. It’s just a shade too much for Danny to handle, even when he considers what he’s grown used to from Steve.
This is a man who’s made a living out of being surprising in all the worst ways, and now Danny gets to hear about the act that takes the cake almost a year later. It’s no wonder he hasn’t been able to get a date since he got here and this is the one time that he’s pissed that immortals don’t have a heightened sense of smell. If they did, Rachel might have figured it out and Danny would have known about all of this a lot sooner.
Steve opens his mouth to protest, but Danny cuts him off with a single finger raised in the air. “No,” he warns. “Nuh uh, you don’t get a say. Not right now. I need to process.”
“Danny,” Steve pleads. “It’s not like I did it intentionally! I was in my wolf form, these things just happen sometimes.”
“As if that makes this better?” Danny demands, his eyes wide. “Steve, shut the hell up! Let me think about this!” Danny turns to head out to the lanai to try and compose his thoughts, but like every time he wants to be alone, Steve is set on preventing that from happening.
One of Steve’s most annoying habits is the way he shifts from human to wolf to heighten the effect of intimidation. It’s what he does, now, at Danny’s heels. He shifts into his animal form and growls at Danny, as if it’ll get him to stay put.
“Are you serious? Do you honestly think that scares me?” Danny demands. “Now that I know you humped my leg, metaphorically, the first time we met, you’re not scary! End of story!”
He’s starting to get really upset, as evidenced by his natural accent bleeding through, suppressing the flat vowels and even the Jersey edges.
“When were you planning on telling me?”
Steve cocks his head to one side and studies Danny, leaning in to brush at his pant-leg with his cold nose.
“Human, Steven,” Danny warns.
The shift is flawless, and if Danny had blinked, he would have gone from staring at a wolf to looking at a man. Steve’s good at it, but he’d better be, being over two hundred years old and experienced at this kind of thing. Steve takes the few steps back inside to retrieve his clothes, sliding back into the Henley and jeans easily. Danny knows so very well that Steve doesn’t bother with underwear (it interferes with the shift is the excuse) and the fact has never done anything but severely distract Danny. He keeps his arms crossed and stays angry through sheer force of will.
“When?” Danny asks again, the questions rapid-fire, as if this were an interrogation. “When were you going to tell me?”
Steve presses his lips together while that furrow in his brow grows deeper. “You know what, Danny? I don’t know that I was.”
It’s the worst possible thing that Steve could say.
Danny throws his hands up in frustration, storming back inside the house to get his sword. He can’t even look at Steve without wanting to punch him, and he can’t see that changing anytime soon. He points a finger furiously in Steve’s direction and then lets it fall back to his side, the intended words not cutting enough to be spoken aloud.
“Danny,” Steve pleads.
“You mated with me and had no intention of telling me about it. Steve, I’ve been around the block enough times that I know these things have implications, so what have I not been aware of for all these months, huh?” Danny asks, a hopeless kind of anger sinking into his bones. “What have I been missing out on?”
Steve looks so lost that Danny almost feels bad, right up until the moment that he remembers that he’s been mated with and wasn’t told -- actively. He would still be in the dark if it hadn’t been for three asshole vamps and their inability to keep a secret.
“Danny, it’s not like I’ve done this before!” Steve says helplessly. “Wolves mate...they mate...”
“Say it,” Danny growls.
“They mate for life.”
Danny balls up his fists and lets them loosen when he realizes that he has absolutely nothing to say to Steve. “You...” He takes a deep breath and raises both hands in the air in a harmless strangling motion – unless Steve feels like volunteering his neck, at which point Danny will happily get harmful. “Steve, I swear to god, the next thing you say better be an explanation.”
“I was the wolf, Danny, I was listening to my basest impulses,” Steve explains, a fraught look of distress on his face.
“Your basest impulse when you first met me was to mate for life?” Danny echoes, putting sharp emphasis on the words. “And you didn’t tell me the minute we became partners because...?”
“Because I didn’t remember! Because I didn’t realize I’d done it until we’d been working together for three months and then what was I supposed to do?” Steve snaps, sounding like he’s slowly beginning to lose control. “You didn’t seem to notice, it didn’t seem to be affecting you, and I didn’t see any of the signs that Dad mentioned when he talked about mating with Mom.”
“Tell me right now.”
“Danny, you’re in the middle of storming out,” Steve points out. “You don’t seem like you want to talk about this.”
Danny squints at him, shaking his head incredulously. “Are you fucking kidding me? No. No, I am going to stand right here and you are going to tell me, in incredibly specific detail, what signs you were looking for.”
“There was supposed to be more of a noticeable shift in your personality in wanting to stay by my side. There were supposed to be physical benefits, but I’ve never met a wolf who mated with an immortal, so maybe we’re rewriting it all,” Steve says. “Danny, please don’t leave like this.”
The truly pathetic look on Steve’s face is almost enough to give Danny pause. Almost.
“Right now, Steve,” Danny sighs, “I need to be elsewhere, okay? I’ll see you at work tomorrow and don’t you dare do anything stupid or too...” Danny gestures aimlessly in the air with his hands, like he can pull words out of thin air and make them appear, “...wolfish. No dead rabbits on my front porch. You got it?”
Steve nods, but he doesn’t look happy about it.
“Good. I’m going to see Rachel and ask some questions,” Danny says, trying to keep a lid on his anger so that Steve doesn’t end up doing anything in a panic (like lock Danny in the house until he suddenly becomes accepting of the whole mating thing) or decide to follow him. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Steve. And trust me, trust me, we will be talking about this at length.”
Danny leaves the McGarrett home without answers, but comfortable knowing that with his particular brand of determination, he is going to find some in the next twenty-four hours.
September 20th, 2010
The smell of death is thick in the air when Danny arrives at the crime scene. He’s been alive for a hell of a long time, but there are some things that you never grow used to. While he’s become accustomed to death, he can’t get over his sense of disgust at the sight of particularly brutal crimes. It’s just his luck, then, that the McGarrett case falls neatly into that vile territory. He brushes past the police tape at John McGarrett’s home and stops for a minute to survey the premises with his senses.
He doesn’t hear anything and doesn’t sense any other immortals near.
He starts with the scene of the crime and focuses on the details directly in front of him. He measures the blood splatter angles and carefully records everything in his notebook -- he’s never managed to get the hang of technology, but he’s forced to use it with the changing times (it doesn’t mean he has to like it). His handwriting is steady and slopes left, a touch of calligraphy here and there that betrays a sense of history in his work.
Danny’s busy with the ballistics when he hears a slight echoing sound coming from the garage.
He swears under his breath; hand on the hilt of his sword rather than going for his gun. It’s not human feet that he hears, he realizes, but the patter of paws against concrete. His gun isn’t loaded with silver bullets because the weapon is police issued, and while they permit the use of additional weapons, they don’t equip their officers with stakes, silver, or salt.
“I’m armed!” he warns the intruder as he heads for the garage, keeping a clear line of sight on every point of exit and entry. “My sword is treated with silver, so whatever you are, no sudden movements!”
Inside the dusty garage, he stands completely still beside the tarp-covered car, listening for any movement, but registers only the faintest of shuffling.
Then, he feels it -- something furry and four-legged winds its way around Danny’s legs, all the while whining pitifully. Danny stares downwards, sword pointed and at the ready to attack. He’s seen multiple wolves before – some good, some bad – but he’s never seen one so cowed and frightened.
Dare he say it, the wolf almost looks traumatized.
“Hey,” Danny says worriedly, crouching down to look the wolf in the eyes.
Just as Danny’s beginning to think that the animal is tame, he shows his teeth and growls when Danny gets close. It lasts for all of a tentative few seconds before he sniffs Danny, cold nose pressed into his neck. The wolf continues to smell him, lick him, and Danny remains there in a crouch, as though frozen to the spot.
Then, the wolf calms.
“I’m Detective Danny Williams,” he introduces himself, hand burrowing through the wolf’s fur and tangling with a mat of it behind his ear. “Who are you? I know what you are; you can shift in front of me.” He’s on his feet in a hurry, stripping off his tie and shirt, leaving him in his trousers and a tight blank tank-top. It’s all so he can extend his striped button-down out to the wolf as a peace offering.
At first, it doesn’t seem like the wolf is going to shift. Danny’s beginning to worry that he’s somehow involved in the murder, but he’s not here to make assumptions without proof. His sword is still in hand, ready to strike if this is all a trap, but Danny doesn’t think that’s the case. He thinks the wolf in front of him is stuck in animal form, simple as that.
Danny sighs and tries to figure out a new approach. “Look, I’m investigating John McGarrett’s murder,” he says, foisting out the shirt one last time – one last offer. “Do you know anything about it?”
The wolf shifts as Danny is speaking. He’s seen the transformation before and the sound of breaking bones no longer sickens him. Once upon a time, he’d been wary of the pain involved, but a wolf had once told him that their bodies produce a ridiculous amount of some kind of chemical (it was two hundred years ago when it was explained to him and he truly doesn’t remember) that limited the pain during the shift.
The cowering wolf turns out to be a man taller than Danny, so when he slides into the waiting shirt, it looks comical and doesn’t cover near enough.
Danny smirks when the wolf still tries to make it work, flipping up the sleeves and standing there in a half-buttoned shirt that manages to show off his completely nude lower half. Danny clears his throat and looks pointedly lower. It’s not exactly the worst he’s seen, but not what he generally wants to see at a crime scene.
“I’m not giving you my pants,” is all Danny says, searching the garage for something to help.
It’s an active crime scene, says the little voice in his head that fully obeys procedure, but he doesn’t think one of the towels hung on a hook is really going to make or break the investigation. He picks it up and tosses it to the wolf, watching him cover up his bare ass by wrapping it snugly around his hips.
“Who are you?” Danny demands.
“Steve McGarrett,” the man gets out hoarsely. Danny’s beginning to wonder how long he’s been the wolf. “That’s my father in the other room.”
Danny is starting to understand all of this a little better.
“You saw, didn’t you?” Danny says when the epiphany strikes. The son had seen and has been in wolf form ever since, prowling around the house and unable to shift back due to the flood of overwhelming grief. He’s seen it before. The wolf takes over when the human brain can no longer endure the trauma. “Who did this?”
Steve’s face darkens. “Vampires.”
“Oh, good, I love it when the fangs rebel,” Danny mutters. “You wanna maybe make my life a little easier, here? Tell me who did it?”
“Victor Hesse. He killed my father and I’m going to rip his throat out,” Steve says, flashing his teeth once more. While definitely not as threatening as the set of fangs he’d been sporting only moments ago, the sudden flash of white is enough to unnerve Danny. “Don’t try and stop me.”
“I’m not an idiot,” Danny promises, one hand up in the air as if to show Steve that he isn’t about to make any sudden movements. “But I also think that you need help. How are you going to find Hesse? Vamps are damn good at staying hidden when they want to be, and Hesse is a criminal on top of that. If he wants to be off this island, he’d be off.”
“I know that,” Steve snaps back.
“Do you know why Hesse would hurt your father?” Danny demands.
Steve gets a look on his face that Danny reads as guilt or knowledge. Either way, Steve has got deeper involvement in this than just being a material witness to a murder.
“I killed Anton Hesse, I killed Victor’s brother. I was overseas and completing a mission for the government. He tried to drink one of my men, so I put a stake through his heart,” Steve yells in reply, like Danny’s the enemy, not the vamp that’s probably islands away. “I had to do it, I couldn’t let that man die.”
“I know,” Danny says as soothingly as possible. “I know, but let’s think about this. Let’s think about this logically. You need someone to get you to Hesse. I need all the help I can get, because I’m damn good with a sword and a bite won’t do anything to me, but it hurts like a bitch and I’m too old to be a vampire smorgasbord.”
“What are you saying?” Steve asks warily, sniffing the air between them and stepping closer. He looks ridiculous with a towel serving as pants, and Danny tries to subdue the inappropriate sick sense of amusement at the sight.
He shakes his head and dispels the darkly humorous mood once and for all, reminding himself of the crime scene just next door. “I’m saying that you and I should work together. Partners.”
Relief lights up Steve’s face. “Oh, good, you agree, then.”
Later, Danny will look back on this moment and realize he was a genuine idiot for agreeing with Steve, but in his defense, he genuinely thought that they were just talking about the case at hand. How stupid he’d been.
“I have resources at HPD. You have that freakish sense of smell and whatever else you wolves keep hidden from the rest of the world,” Danny says, not beating around the bush. He’s well-versed in the political underbelly of the various supernatural groups. It’s the same with his kind. Immortals aren’t running around giving all their secrets, and the ones who might are dealt with swiftly and quietly.
Steve steps closer, nostrils flaring as he takes in another deep inhalation, head tipped towards Danny’s neck. He seems to like what he finds, given the look of abject bliss that flickers over his face.
“My partner,” Steve agrees with the edge of a possessive growl in his words. “I like that.”
“Great,” Danny says sarcastically. “Maybe later we’ll throw a party.”
Danny holds out his hand expectantly. Maybe he’s old-fashioned in a couple of ways, but he expects that if he’s going to end up being someone’s partner, that they’ll shake on it. It’s just who he is. Steve leans in and sniffs him again, his nose lingering against the pulse-point on Danny’s wrist. He licks it, slightly, and then sniffs once more before straightening his posture.
He shakes Danny’s hand and that’s it – done deal, partners.
Wolves, especially ones who can revert back on command, usually have better control over themselves than this. Danny reckons the trauma of watching your own father die must have been enough to force Steve to crawl back into the animal.
“Okay, let’s get out of here. I have a lead we can pursue and you can tell me about what you saw on the way,” Danny says, clapping Steve on the back to forcibly lead him out of the garage before the sniffing can continue.
Steve lingers close in Danny’s personal space. Danny doesn’t think it’s so strange, given the circumstances of the day – he figures he’s got a wolf that’s seen a murder and is in need of a little attention on his hands.
He’s wrong, but that’s a problem for another day.
Danny’s ready for the day to be over. Maybe if it had just been the vamp attack, he could have managed, but adding the sudden revelation that Steve’s technically his mate and that anyone with a well-developed sense of smell has known for months pushes him over the edge. He’s too exhausted to function and he’s too tired to care that it’s not his day to be at the house.
He leans his weight forward on the gate, hand firmly on the buzzer. “Rachel,” he mutters. “Rach, open the door. I need to talk to you and I want to see Grace.”
At eight, Grace is just a girl. She’s not the first child that Danny and Rachel have taken in, but she is the one they’re least sure about. Rachel has a finely-tuned sense when it comes to sniffing out potential immortals. She’s been roping Danny into helping her bring up their kind from childhood in order to prepare them for the potential world of immortality.
Rachel has as much as admitted that she’s unsure whether Grace is one of them. “She could be human, for all we know,” she’d said to Danny one night over a shared bottle of wine. “Besides, you know the lore...”
“Yeah, yeah, no violent death, no immortal life,” Danny had replied.
It doesn’t matter much to Danny, who’s been alive long enough to know that his life is better when he has a son or daughter in it. Life’s made better with someone to bear his name and call him ‘Dad’. Well, usually they do. Grace had been an orphan when Rachel had found her at six months old, but it’s like some part of her has always known that Danny her biological father. He’d become ‘Danno’ and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t undo it.
He supposes it’s better than being called by his proper name, which is how Grace has always addressed Rachel.
The gate is finally buzzed open and Danny trudges inside, unbuckling his sword from his belt at the front door and making a big production of showing Stan, the new husband, that he’s unarmed. “I’m not here to behead you. Today,” he allows, quelling his senses to stop alerting him that there are other immortals around. He already knows. It’s like a goddamn doorbell that he can’t turn off.
“Daniel,” Rachel greets from the top of the stairs. “You look like shit.”
“Yes, thank you, dear,” Danny replies, allowing for an incredibly brief shift back to his natural British accent. He’d dropped it the moment that they arrived on American soil and Rachel hasn’t forgiven him since. “You’d look like shit, too, if you had the kind of day that I did.”
Rachel leans her hips against the doorframe and makes a tutting noise as she regards him. She pushes away and descends the stairs, tapping the hilt of his sword with her fingers when she meets him in the front hall. “You know the rules,” she warns.
“I’m putting it with the rest,” he promises, throwing the sword in the pile with Stan and Rachel’s large collection. Some of them are more ornate than Danny’s ever seen before in his life, which only leads him to think that they want to be noticed. “What do you know about wolves?”
“Other than them making quite the decent pet if you find one obedient enough? Very little,” she admits. “I’m more versed in fae and shifter lore, remember? It’s why I came here in the first place.” Hawaii has the highest population of both compared to the rest of the world. It’s a haven of sorts and when Rachel had begun to study them, she’d made a home of the islands. “What, specifically, are you looking for?”
“Mating habits,” Danny says.
She’s a smart woman, his Rachel, and Danny knows that there’s no way that he can announce something like that and not have her connect the dots instantly.
It has to be done if he wants answers.
Rachel gestures to the bar and Danny nods, knowing that he’s definitely going to need a drink for this. “As far as supernatural creatures go, at least you were picked by one that has a similar life-expectancy to ours, given the way their lives are tied so intrinsically to the moon.”
“Steve tried to explain that to me once, I still don’t get it,” Danny admits. It’s got something to do with how after a person is turned, their lifespan doesn’t follow mortal rules. The only time that matters is the time spent as a wolf. Given that the full moon is the only time the wolf needs to be loose, a werewolf can live hundreds of years – thousands if they’re healthy and don’t shift too often. The moon controls them, Steve had told Danny, but it’s just a bit too complicated for Danny. The last thing he wants is to get bogged down in mathematical formulas to work it out.
Rachel tilts her head, tapping her fingers against her cheek. It’s an old habit of hers that means she has something to say and isn’t saying it because she thinks he’s going to fly off the handle.
He lets out a small, frustrated sound. After the day he’s had, Rachel’s sympathetic face is only making him angrier. “Say it,” he snaps.
“Why don’t you just ask your wolf?” Rachel asks. “It’s the most logical solution, Danny. He knows the most about this and the man is practically glued to your side. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind another excuse to spend time with you.”
“That’s the problem.” Danny pinches the bridge of his nose. “He mated with me and never told me. Hell, he doesn’t even remember doing it.”
“And what do you want, Daniel?” Rachel says bluntly. “What is your innate problem with this? Is it the fact that he mated with you or is it that you’re angry that he didn’t tell you that he did it? Or,” she continues, her tone growing sharper in the way that makes Danny worry that he’s really not going to like what’s coming next, “are you upset that you’ve been wasting all this time when you could have been with Steven in a way you and I haven’t been able to achieve for over a century?”
Danny scowls heavily. He hates the fact that, as usual, Rachel’s hit the goddamn target on the head.
“What happened to us, huh?” Danny asks, rubbing his hand over the back of his neck.
Rachel’s smile still has that edge of sympathy, but once Danny asks her that question, the one he’s been asking since it all fell apart, there’s a small degree of sadness that filters in. “Can’t I blame our arrival into this godforsaken country? And to New Jersey, of all places, Daniel,” she sighs.
It’s not a real answer. They’ve stopped looking for a real answer when they realized that they couldn’t find one exact cause for their relationship falling apart.
“There are a number of werewolf experts on the mainland,” Rachel says after taking out her phone and searching her contact list, fingers flying over the keys. “I’m sure Steve wouldn’t be terribly upset if you left for a weekend. Or will he? Have you been apart from him for a long duration? Or is that one of the side effects of mating with him..?”
“Rachel!” Danny snaps. “I don’t know!”
“Yes, I know, Daniel,” she responds calmly. “You don’t need to snap at me. What about Steve’s friend? That woman he calls on for help. She’s well-versed in supernaturals, isn’t she? Doesn’t she work in intelligence with a specialization in supernatural crime?”
“Catherine? His little Ramboette?” Danny clarifies. “The woman he screwed around with before me?”
“When you put it so nicely...” Rachel says snidely.
“What? She was his fuck-buddy!”
“And is likely more than that to him. Daniel, you’re over four hundred years old. Respect?”
“What are you, my mother?”
“In a way, yes,” Rachel says. “How is it that we’ve been divorced for a century and yet you still manage to get me riled in ways I thought impossible?” she demands, with a frustrated exhalation.
“It surprises me too,” Danny says with a smirk on his lips, glancing up the elegant staircase in the direction of the bedrooms. “Is she asleep? Can I see her?”
Rachel shakes her head and gives him a rueful smile, her fingers doing their best attempt at hiding it, but it’s no use. “Grace, your father is here,” Rachel summons without looking away from Danny for a single moment. “She’s different from our other children. You always took a shining to them, but never quite like Grace. You agreed to move to Hawaii for her.”
“She’s my little Monkey,” Danny says with an idiotic smile on his lips. “What was I supposed to do? I still hate you for moving out here, but I guess I owed you one after you followed me to Jersey.”
“That,” Rachel concurs firmly, “you did.”
Soon, Grace is barreling down the hall, feet pounding against the expensive hardwood. “Danno!” she shrieks delightedly, jumping into his arms with the total and utter faith that he’ll catch her -- and he will, he always will. He wraps his arms around her tightly, burying his face in her neck and praying that if the day ever comes that she ends up on the wrong side of a violent death, he won’t be anywhere near or he might find himself interfering.
He doesn’t think that anyone will appreciate that kind of vengeance.
“Hey Monkey, Danno had a bad day,” he confesses. “I hope you’ve got something to cheer me up. What’s Dolphin Trainer Annie doing, huh? I feel like maybe the tales of her life will tide me over.”
“Danno, what’s wrong?” Grace asks worriedly, staring up at him with that face that makes Danny want to fix everything. “Can I help?”
“What are you talking about? You? How could you do anything but help, you’re the best helper in the world,” Danny rambles, distracting himself with the way she starts to smile like he’s personally grabbed the sun out from behind the clouds. “Come on, Monkey. Let’s go cheer Danno up, huh.”
Danny feels strangely guilty going behind Steve’s back to talk to Catherine. He knows that she’s going to have answers, but he doesn’t like doing this without telling Steve about it. He just wants to know as much as possible before he talks to Steve so that he’s well-informed in his yelling. She’d answered his call, but told him that she had to call him back from a satellite connection.
It’s left him pacing back and forth in his office, trying to ignore the way Steve keeps plaintively staring at him from his office. Danny ducks his head into the hall and Steve is instantly on his feet, which would amuse Danny if he weren’t still so annoyed with him.
“Yeah?” Steve asks eagerly. “Danny, can I do something for you?”
“Yeah, just, leave me alone for a little while. I’m expecting a call,” Danny says, his gaze lingering on Steve as he retreats back into his office, his cargo pants shifting tightly over his ass in such a goddamn appealing way that it makes Danny even angrier -- because he could have been doing something about that for months.
Danny locks the office door and resumes pacing. He stares at the phone the whole time, like it's an uncooperative suspect.
It’s another half an hour before the phone rings and Danny pounces on it, pressing the receiver tightly to his ear like he can protect the conversation. “Catherine?”
“Danny Williams,” she greets him with a hint of amusement in her voice. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Ditto,” Danny admits with a rueful smile, sitting on the edge of his desk and watching how Steve is determined to look like he doesn’t give a crap about what Danny’s phone call is about, but Danny knows for a fact that Steve’s pencils do not need that level of organizing. He huffs out a laugh, shaking his head. “Sorry,” he apologizes. “I’m watching Steve be an idiot.”
“He does have a tendency to do that,” Catherine says. “So, what can I do for you, Danny?”
“How well-versed are you in wolf-lore?”
“It’s not my best subject,” Catherine admits. “That’s fae, but I’d say that as far as werewolves go, I know enough. I take it this has to do with Steve?”
“Give the woman a prize. I’m about to tell you something that is confidential, can you promise that you won’t spread this around? Not even to Chin or Kono when you see them,” he insists stringently. “Catherine,” he warns when he receives nothing but silence on the other end. “I’m serious.”
“Okay, Danny, okay,” she finally says. “I’m listening. What do you need to know about werewolves?”
“I need to know about mating.”
There’s a long pause and Danny can only imagine the look on her face. “...Seriously?”
“I swear to god, Catherine Rollins, I am four hundred and two years old,” Danny says. “I am well aware of the intricacies of mating with men, women, and in one very unique case, a shifter stuck between two forms. I know all about mating. What I don’t know is what happens when a wolf mates with you for life and you don’t find out about it for eight months.”
“Yeah, oh,” Danny agrees, rubbing a hand tiredly over his face. “Look, I just need to know a couple things. Have I been experiencing any symptoms I don’t know about?”
“They’re not really symptoms, Danny,” Catherine says. “As the person that Steve’s mated with, you would have likely begun to experience a diminishing level of attraction to other people. Have you noticed that?”
“Honestly?” Danny scoffs. “I figured that was because of the workload and the near-death experiences taking their toll on me. When I spend every day thinking that Steve is actively thinking up new ways to kill me, yeah, I’m not exactly going nuts thinking about sex.”
He’s not thinking about sex with other people, but he does spend a good portion of his time thinking about sex with Steve. He takes in a deep breath and faces the music, aware that if he doesn’t tell Catherine the whole truth (and nothing but the truth), she won’t get the full picture.
“Okay, okay, fine, I’m lying. I think about sex all the goddamn time. It’s just always about Steve.”
“That sounds normal,” she assures him.
Danny laughs, a choked feeling catching him and settling in his throat. “Normal? Obsessing about Steve all the time is normal?”
“I’d be worried if you didn’t think about him,” Catherine says. She doesn’t sound overly sympathetic like Rachel might in this situation. She just sounds kind. He drinks it up, not sure when he’ll receive this level of warmth again. “Listen. Danny, I’d like to give you more information, but I need some more details.”
This is how Danny ends up in the midst of an hour-long conversation with Catherine about his day-by-day reactions to Steve. It seems excessive, but if it’s going to help her get a better read of the situation, then Danny is all for it. He only cringes twice in the conversation and that involves detailing exactly how long it takes him to become aroused when the moon starts to rise to its fullest state.
“Not a long time, okay?” he gets out, gripping the phone tighter and praying that no one is listening in on this. “It’s pretty easy to get me there when the moon is full.”
“I’ll look into this,” she promises, “but like I’ve said. I don’t think that you’re going to experience much of a difference. Now,” she says, and she sounds serious, so Danny starts paying attention, “mind you, if something happens to Steve, you’re going to know about it and it’s going to hurt. That much isn’t so secret when it comes to wolves and their mates. God help you, Danny, if he goes first. That’s a lot of pain to deal with, considering you’ll be bearing it for a very long time.”
“I stopped believing in God two centuries ago, Catherine,” Danny replies, unable to focus on her actual words (the mere thought of losing Steve is like a sword through his heart). “But you’re saying that I’m gonna turn into a miserable bastard if Steve gets killed.”
“It goes both ways, Danny,” she warns. “I’m sure you can only imagine how Steve would be if he lost you.”
Honestly, Danny doesn’t want to entertain that idea for very long. It’s chaos in the very brief moment that he gives to the thought. He doesn’t think that the islands would ever recover from their inevitable destruction.
Apparently, Danny’s going to have to survive every battle he comes across and never, ever die. That, or he and Steve better work out some kind of murder-suicide pact in advance.
“Listen, I’ll look into it. But promise me something, Danny,” Catherine says.
“Why do I have the feeling I’m not going to like this?”
“Because you’re not,” is her swift response. “Be nice to Steve. It’ll benefit the both of you in the long run. I promise.” Danny’s considering making faces, but he has this feeling that Catherine has the uncanny ability to hear it through the phone. After all, she’s been putting up with Steve and his Faces for the last couple of years. She’s probably the Face Whisperer, by this point. “Danny,” she says again when he’s yet to promise.
“Fine, yes, I will throw the dog a bone.” Danny can’t even help his amused little smirk. “Not literally. At least, not yet.”
“Has anyone told you that you’re not funny?”
“Chin and Kono, mostly. Steve. Occasionally Rachel. Grace. HPD,” Danny lists, veering away from any degree of seriousness somewhere around citing HPD as a source of people telling him that he’s less than hilarious. “Fine. Fine, I will treat Steve as kindly as I can in the face of the fact that he’s basically pissed all over me and claimed me as his.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll ream Steve out for that. He should know better.”
Danny shifts uncomfortably, hating that he’s about to hop the fence in order to take Steve’s side after so long lambasting him. “In his defense, his father had just been murdered. As far as ‘thinking in your right mind’ goes, that’s not really a highlight.”
“Hang in there, Danny,” Catherine says and he can hear the smile in her tone. “I know you’re not going anywhere, but I’ll get you this information as soon as I can.”
She hangs up and Danny is left considering just how he’s supposed to be nice to a man that he still wants to punch every time he sees him. The cute puppy act is only serving to piss Danny off even more, because the wolf in Steve is what got them into this mess in the first place.
He inevitably gives in to the part of him that hates to think about Steve being depressed and stops by the man’s office, leaning against the doorframe. He tries to ignore the flare of pleasure he gets when Steve literally drops everything to give Danny his full attention. “Yeah?” Steve asks, perking up.
“Down, boy,” Danny says wryly. Steve scowls, because he’s never, not ever, liked being given commands -- even if Danny has occasionally drunkenly insisted that he could make Steve like anything.
Steve growls at him and Danny grins right back.
“Speak,” is Danny’s next command, a wicked look in his eye.
“I will maul you,” Steve snaps.
“Yeah, but I’d win,” is Danny’s easy reply, sinking down into one of the visitor chairs in Steve’s office. “Also, considering I know that you’re practically in heat every time I walk down the hall, that’s less a scary threat and more of a sexy one.”
“Dogs, Danny. Wolves are related to dogs, not cats. Cats go into heat.”
Danny rolls his eyes and mimics a little hand puppet jabbering away. “Yeah, yeah, so, look, I’ve been thinking that maybe Catherine is right and I ought to cut you a little bit of slack, if only because not talking to you during our plentiful and endless car rides is getting incredibly awkward and I refuse to let Chin ferry me around on that motorcycle of his. So, I’m not saying you’re absolved for what you pulled, and you bet your ass we still need to talk about it, but for right now, I’m declaring a truce.”
“A truce?” Steve echoes suspiciously.
“Yeah, have you not heard that word in the two hundred some years you’ve been alive, you ancient dork?” Danny replies instantly and doesn’t even let Steve get a chance to jump in and note Danny’s age. “And yes, I’m aware I’m older, but I at least make a passing attempt to be aware of current pop culture. You, you, my friend, you are just sad. Sad and pathetic and ...Steve. Steven, what have I told you about the puppy-dog eyes?”
“I’m not doing it on purpose!” Steve says irritably, reigning in the doe-eyed look he’d been giving Danny. “It just happens around...”
“Yes? We’re waiting,” Danny coaxes.
Danny sighs and presses his palm to his chin so that it hides the ridiculous smile that’s burgeoning on his face and is perilously close to making him look like an absolute idiot in front of a man that he’s sworn to be mad at. It’s difficult when it’s the same man you’ve been trying not to jump and you’re running out of reasons.
Danny finally lets his hand slip and offers Steve just a glimpse of said stupid grin, just a tiny hint that Steve’s not alone when it comes to being in too deep in a situation that makes no sense while simultaneously making all the sense in the world.
Sure, Danny doesn’t like how he’s gone about it, but the idea of being stuck with Steve for life isn’t so bad once you get past the constant ringing in your ears thanks to the increased grenade usage.
“Why are you calling Catherine?” Steve asks, changing the subject with alacrity.
“How did you...” Frustration flashes over Danny’s face when he realizes exactly how Steve knew and, of course, Danny doesn’t like it at all. “Okay, just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you get to spy on everyone’s phone conversations.”
“I was worried. You were being avoidant,” Steve replies defensively, crossing his arms over his chest as his nostrils flare with a brief burst of anger. “You could have been looking to transfer out of here, maybe back to HPD or the Jersey department or Scotland Yard. Danny, I don’t know,” he admits.
“Fuck the Yard, the benefits were terrible,” Danny mutters, shaking his head. “I was calling Catherine to ask her about what you did in a frantic moment of panic and loneliness, since your answers haven’t exactly been enlightening.”
Steve presses his lips together so tightly that they seem to vanish. “And?”
“And,” Danny says in reply, sighing out the next words, “We’ve got a lot to talk about when I can talk to you without wanting to punch you in the face.”
“Do you want to test your resolve tonight?” Steve offers hopefully. “I’ve got steaks that we can grill up. And I’m taping the Knicks game.”
“You think you know me so well,” Danny says, an edge of grumpiness to his tone because it does sound like a damn good night – especially if the steaks are anything like the last ones Steve got, the ones that made Danny think that all wolves have an inherent sense of the best cuts of meat. “Fine. Yeah, I’ll be over at seven.”
The look on Steve’s face is hilarious. It’s made doubly so by the knowledge Danny has that if Steve were in wolf-form right now, he’d have fractured his tail with happiness.
Danny walks into the office the next day to find Chin and Kono sparring in the first floor training room, Steve absent, and someone new sitting in the main room with a thick folder clutched in her hands. He clears his throat to get her attention, which makes her jump to her feet, gesturing at the sword with an expansive hand.
“I try and go by Danny,” he replies. “It’s easier to say.”
“No, I mean,” the woman closes her eyes tightly and takes a deep breath. “I’m sorry, I’m nervous. I was sent here because you have a reputation for being the best on the island and you’re involved in a case that I’m looking into, so I came here. I know that there are two natives, human, and then a wolf and an immortal, and you’re the immortal. The swords always give you guys away.”
“They do,” Danny agrees mildly. He’s known some of his brethren to conceal their weapons, but it takes too long to retrieve and assemble. He’d rather be obvious than dead. “Who are you?”
“I’m Jenna. Jenna Kaye,” she introduces herself, extending a hand while she pushes her glasses up her nose at the same time. “I’m sorry about the whole anxiety-nerves-whoa thing, but I’ve been looking for someone to help me for so long and I’ve never had any luck. You guys are my last option.”
Danny keeps a hand on the hilt of his sword, surveying the office. “Steve’s not here?”
Her look of confusion reminds Danny that he’s probably the first one she’s spoken to.
“The wolf,” Danny clarifies. “Also known as the pain in the Hawaiian infrastructure's ass.”
“You’re the first person I’ve seen,” Jenna says apologetically. “I can wait to brief you on what I’m here for if you want to wait?”
Danny has a bad feeling that Steve is out shooting things or possibly stalking the jungle in his wolf form, tearing the throats out of poor innocent animals. It might be time for another guilt-trip with Grace so Steve stops upsetting the goddamn ecology with his immature moods. He’ll probably be back in a couple of hours, which gives Danny time to look into some reports of a vampire that resembles Hesse, close down a couple of active cases (one jewel thief, two assaults, and one shifter accused of identity theft), and give Catherine a check-up call to see if she’s uncovered anything else.
He’s pretty sure it won’t upset the apple cart too much if he pencils Jenna in.
“Chin and Kono ought to be upstairs in about thirty. You willing to wait?” Danny asks as he heads to his desk to start rearranging his papers and make as many phone calls as he can.
She nods emphatically and Danny wonders what the hell has got her acting more high-strung than Danny is when Steve’s done something borderline insane. He makes her a cup of decaf and has her sit in the main room until Chin and Kono come back, at which point Danny meets them by the door.
“Where’s Steve?” he demands.
Chin and Kono exchange a look. Danny swears that they’re holding out on him because there’s no way they should be able to sense each other’s thoughts as seamlessly as they do without being telepathic. “I thought you would know, brah.”
Danny does. He just really wishes he didn’t know Steve well enough to know exactly where he is.
His grip on the folder tightens in his hands and he shakes his head, well aware that of the many things they have to do today, there’s only one that Steve is pursuing. It’s the last time Danny leaves his work lying open around the McGarrett home.
“Son of a bitch,” he swears, digging out his cell phone as he points into the main room. “That’s Jenna Kaye. Says she needs our help in regards to something otherworldly. She’s nervous, so no sudden movements.”
“What are you doing?” Kono asks.
“Me? I’m calling home the dog,” Danny says, glad that Steve has picked up in the middle of that sentence because he wants Steve to understand how thoroughly pissed off he is. “You,” he growls. “Office. Now.”
“No buts,” Danny interrupts. “I know you’re chasing after the lead on Hesse and we will do that, Steven, but we will do it together. Now get your ass back here because we have a visitor and I’m not going to make her repeat what she has to say because you can’t be punctual.”
There’s silence on the line, as if Steve is weighing out the benefits of listening to Danny versus ignoring him.
“Get your ass back here and tonight I’ll come by your place again and maybe I’ll think about staying the night,” Danny says, starting to play with the weapons he’s got, if Steve is going to insist on being difficult. “Steve?”
“Fine, I’m coming.”
“Ten minutes, dear,” is Steve’s sarcastic reply. “You know,” he adds, almost as an afterthought, “One day, one day soon, Danny, you and I are going to sit down and figure out this thing between us. As far as I’m concerned, it’d better be soon. It’d better be soon because I don’t know how much longer I can take watching every move of yours and not being able to claim you. I feel like I’m going to burst for every moment you’re in public and people can’t see that you’re mine. Do you know how much that kills me?”
Danny’s speechless. He’s standing in the foyer of the office, staring as Chin and Kono make Jenna comfortable, and he’s speechless. “Steve, I...”
“Yeah, Danny?” Steve replies, his voice thick with something beyond mere frustration.
“Just get back here. We’ll deal with the rest later.”
He hangs up before Steve can say anything else to slowly undress him of all his wits, relieving all sensible and pragmatic thought. He doesn’t even know how to describe what Steve does to him, but he knows that if he’s not careful, Steve can make him lose control completely. He takes an extra moment to compose himself before meeting the others with a placating smile painted on his lips.
“He’s on his way,” Danny says, taking a seat. “So? Are we all friends?”
Chin and Kono don’t look half as cheerful as they did when they came upstairs from the training room. Jenna looks slightly less nervous, but considering she was verging on the edge of critical mass, it’s probably good for everyone around that she isn’t about to blow – so to speak.
“Jenna’s here because she thinks we can help her,” Chin says.
“That’s a good start, we tend to do that,” Danny concurs, sliding his phone into his back pocket. He crosses his arms over his chest and encourages her on with a nod of his chin. “Well?”
“She wants our help contacting a spirit,” Chin goes on.
Well, that explains the look on Chin and Kono’s faces.
“It’s -- it’s my fiancé. Or it was my fiancé. He’s not around anymore because of a vampire. It’s a man, a creature, named Wo Fat. And I know that everyone swears that ghosts don’t exist, I know that there are four hundred years of records of all the scary things that go bump in the night and all the rumors about ghosts turn out to be fake, but, but I don’t know if I believe that and if it isn’t true,” Jenna says, rambling on and taking in deep breaths of air like she can’t continue without a shot of oxygen courage, “If it isn’t true and if spirits are out there, then maybe, just maybe, I can talk to Josh and I can ask him what happened. Maybe I can take Wo Fat down, because I know I’ll never get Josh back, but if I can’t do that, then justice is the next best thing.”
“Wo Fat?” Danny asks. It’s a new name to him and, from the look of Chin and Kono’s faces, to them as well. “Why would you think we had any kind of resources to help with him?”
Jenna peers back at them, unflinching and confused through her tears. “Wait, you don’t know?”
“What don’t we know?” Kono asks suspiciously.
Steve enters, then, and Danny pinches the bridge of his nose, fully aware that this isn’t going to go well. “Who are you?” Steve demands of Jenna, only confirming Danny’s suspicion that Steve’s social skills at work are akin to a bull in a china shop.
“Steven, this is Jenna Kaye, our guest,” Danny says, emphasizing the ‘guest’ part of his sentence.
“Thank you, Daniel,” Steve replies sharply. So yeah, he’s pissed. Danny’s not surprised, given that Danny’s pulled him off of Hesse’s trail and he knows as well as anyone that it could mean losing the vamp to the underground. “What do you want?”
Jenna’s eyes have widened and she’s meek as she stares at Steve.
“Don’t worry, I’ll yank on his leash if he lunges,” Danny says, shaking his head in dismay at the horribly poisoned work environment he’s a part of. “Steve, seriously,” Danny continues, harsher than before. “We’ll chase the lead later.”
“You all know Wo Fat, even if you don’t realize it,” Jenna speaks quickly, as if she’s trying to get out the information before Steve can cut her off. “Hesse works for him, so does Sang Min. That’s why I came to you. You’ve been dealing with his infrastructure of immortals and vampires for months. I thought, I thought you’d have figured out their connection to Wo Fat by now,” she says the last part mostly to herself. “But nonetheless...”
She doesn’t get a chance to finish.
Steve is already clenching the keys to the Camaro in his fist and making for the door. Danny takes a long breath to calm himself, shooting apologetic looks to Chin and Kono. “Can you make her comfortable, get as much information as you can? I doubt we’ll see you until tomorrow, but we’ll meet again and debrief.”
“Wait, where are you going?” Jenna asks, confused.
“Steve,” is all he says in explanation, shifting his sword so when he starts to run after Steve, it isn’t smacking against inopportune places. Steve’s walking like a man determined to find an end to something, but Danny’s running.
It doesn’t take long to catch up. He ducks in front of Steve, shoving against his chest with both hands.
“Hey!” Danny starts loud, aware that this conversation might turn into a fight very quickly, but he’s not above shoving sense into Steve any way he can – whether with very loud words or very firm fists. “Hey, asshole, are you serious? Are you seriously about to storm out there without me and try and take on a homicidal...we don’t even know what he is,” he says with a huff of frustration. He pokes at Steve’s chest again, taking minute pleasure in the way Steve recoils and glowers. “Are you actually serious?”
“Danny, he’s connected to Hesse. That means he’s connected to murdering my father.”
“I get that, Steve,” Danny says, proud of the way that he keeps his voice from denigrating into pure irritation and anger. “Trust me, I hear you on that front, but you know what? Remember the guy who’s been investigating that same murder since day one? Remember the guy you bloody well mated with in a garage?”
“Danny,” Steve interrupts.
“Your accent is slipping.”
“Thank you for pointing out the obvious, it does that when I get furious with knobheaded idiots!” Danny shouts, taking a moment to reign himself in. “Steve! You mated with me, okay? I know we’re avoiding talking about it, but let’s bring it into the spotlight for a brief moment to talk about the obvious. You picked me! You picked me to be the person with you for life, which means that when you go chasing homicidal maniacs,” he says, using his hands to gesture in the air, “you take me with you! And right now, you aren’t in your right mind to track down anybody, so you’re taking me home.”
Steve’s nostrils flare and he doesn’t need to say a word for Danny to know what he wants to get out into the open.
“You’re taking me to your home and we’re going to talk like civilized adults. We’re going to discuss the case. We’re not going to mention the way you’re eyeing my neck or the fact that when you get angry, I want to just...” Danny makes fists with both hands in place of saying ‘fuck you against the nearest hard surface’.
He’s pretty sure Steve’s aware of Danny-to-English translation by now.
At the very least, Steve adjusts his stance and Danny can pick out the very slightest trace of relaxation in his shoulders. He lets out a sigh of relief and leans forward to steal the car keys from him, wiggling them in the air as high as he can. “You’re not driving, not in this state.”
“Danny,” Steve protests. Most of the anger has faded from his voice and all that’s left is resignation.
“Do I want to die in a car crash? No, Steve, no, I do not. So, right now, let me drive.”
Danny’s not sure that words are going to do it for him, so he steps forward and places his splayed palm flush against the space between Steve’s arched shoulder blades. He eases closer until they’re practically sharing the same air and looks up through the distance between them. He’s forcing himself to take deep breaths in an effort to become calm, projecting it furiously in Steve’s direction at the same time.
“Hey,” Danny breathes out, watching the way the sunlight catches Steve’s cheek from this angle. “Calm down, babe,” he says soothingly. “It’s going to be okay, we’ll find him. Let’s just figure out a way to do it and keep us all alive. Okay?”
Steve nods. His expression is dazed, almost as though he’s been put in a trance by Danny’s touch and words alone, which is one hell of a power trip to be handed.
“Okay. I assume you still have the evidence that I prepared?”
“Good, then we’re going back to your place. We’re going to go over it, and when you’re ready to deal with people again, we’ll meet up with Jenna and you’ll play nice.” Danny has yet to move his hand from Steve’s back and might have slipped it under the fabric of his shirt so that his fingers are brushing and curling against warm, inviting skin.
They might be, that’s all.
“Got it?” Danny coaxes, as sweetly as he can.
“Anything, Danno,” Steve says, leaning into the touch and sounding like a man possessed. Danny crooks his fingers and marvels at the way he’s probably stroking the intricate whorls of ink on Steve’s back. It’s a thought he puts aside, focusing instead on trying to register whether Steve is calm enough to let go of. “Anything for you.”
“Good,” Danny says, withdrawing his hand – to Steve’s great displeasure. “Let’s get out of here, babe, before you get pent up again.”
Danny doesn’t stop thinking about that damn tattoo the whole ride back to McGarrett’s place, imagining tracing out the lines with his fingers and his lips and marking it pink with possessive marks.
When he passes out in Steve’s bed after one too many beers, he even dreams about the damn thing.
Danny’s woken by the sound of the doorbell ringing. He has to take a minute to place where he is. After the fight, he and Steve had knocked back a couple of beers, but Danny doesn’t remember anything happening that he’d need to feel ashamed about.
Still, he’s in Steve’s bed and Steve is...
Danny shifts in order to find him, but doesn’t have to look very far. He’s not in his arms, but the warmth at his feet is tell-tale enough. Danny sighs and sits up, still fully dressed save for his tie. He arranges his body until he can peer down at Steve in his wolf form, curled protectively around Danny’s bare feet.
“Babe, someone’s at the door,” Danny murmurs, his voice husky.
They’ve yet to discuss the whole mating situation again, but they’ve reached this tentative truce. Danny’s glad for it. He refuses to acknowledge it out loud, but fighting with Steve had put him in a deep mood of despair (and according to Catherine, he couldn’t even be sure how much of that mood had been from himself and how much he was blaming on Steve). He sits up and reaches down to scratch behind Steve’s ears, smiling fondly at the adorable whine Steve makes at the touch.
“Door,” Danny reminds him. “Shift and put some clothes on, because I’m not getting up,” he says, adjusting his wrinkled work-shirt and pulling the covers up to his shoulders as he curls up to try and steal a couple more minutes of sleep.
Steve shifts back to human in the midst of a lupine stretch, giving Danny an up-close and personal look at the way Steve’s back stretches out gracefully and how the morning light from the window hits the tattoos on the lower portion of his back. The curve of his spine is sinful and makes Danny want to touch it reverently, but he avoids it in order to stubbornly pretend he’s not looking at all, eyes affixed on the wall.
Out of the corner of his eye, he watches Steve slide into a t-shirt and a loose pair of shorts and only when Steve’s gone does Danny let loose a tense breath that he’s been keeping in.
He is going to explode soon if he doesn’t figure out what to do about the whole ‘mate’ situation. If Danny doesn’t have sex with that man, he will...he’ll...he doesn’t actually know what he’ll do, but he imagines it will involve his sword and some very poor decisions.
Five minutes pass and Steve doesn’t come back to bed.
Ten minutes and Danny starts to hear voices at the edge of his peripheral hearing.
Twelve minutes after someone’s rang the doorbell and Danny is starting to wish he’d been the one to answer. “Up here, you said?” There’s absolutely no mistaking that voice and Danny is about to be caught in Steve’s bed, in yesterday’s clothes, with a sleepy and blissful look on his face. He’s about to be caught by Rachel and she is never going to stop giving him smug ‘I told you so’ looks. At the very least, Danny has the small solace of knowing that he’s still fully clothed.
Of course, they’re yesterday’s and they look like they’ve been put through a wringer in the meantime. So, you know, Danny’s not exactly going to win any battles looking like this.
Rachel’s got both hands resting comfortably on her sword as she stands in the bedroom doorway and simply looks at him pitifully.
“Daniel,” she sighs and unstraps the buckle of her sword, setting it in the corner as she approaches. Steve is behind her, but he’s remaining tentatively in the hallway, as if he’s unsure on whether he’s supposed to intrude. “Come in, Commander. This conversation includes you. More so, now that you’ve smeared your pheromones all over my Danny.”
“I haven’t been yours in a century, Rachel,” he warns, his accent slipping slightly. She brings it out of him and when he’s frustrated, it comes out loud and crystal clear. It’s like four hundred years haven’t passed at all and he’s still walking the streets of London with his weapon at his side and a battle on the horizon.
Steve is bristling visibly at all this talk of Danny being anyone but his, which Danny should have expected. He sighs and sits up, giving Rachel a look in warning when she reaches over to brush at his shoulder and remove a piece of harmless lint.
Steve growls like she’s just stabbed Danny in the heart.
“Oh, he’s very vocal, isn’t he?” Rachel says with heavy bemusement, casting a look over her shoulder at where Steve has decided to make his stand. He’s in the doorway with his arms crossed tightly over his chest. It’s doing worryingly wonderful things in pulling his t-shirt too tight across his pectorals.
Danny revisits his earlier assessment. He’s not just screwed; he’s going to end up so thoroughly fucked by the time they work this out.
Rachel rolls her eyes and gestures to the bed. “Come here. I hope you appreciate what I’m doing, because I think it’s very magnanimous, though Stan is of the opinion that it’s practical suicide.”
“Wait,” he says. He looks up at Steve, who hasn’t taken a step closer, then looks back to Rachel. She’s looking at him like he ought to be able to read her mind. “What are you doing here?”
“I got to thinking about our little conversation,” Rachel says, adjusting her skirt so that she can reach out and forcibly tug Steve onto the bed with him, stretching his t-shirt in the process. “And I thought to myself that maybe my four-hundred year, approximate, claim on Daniel wasn’t helpful in the face of your new bond.”
“Oh, Jesus,” Danny mutters when it finally clicks.
“What?” Steve asks cluelessly.
Danny wishes that he didn’t have this mental bond with Rachel where he can practically predict every step she makes. “She’s about to do a ceremonial thing. She’s...she’s here to make a gesture. I swear to god, Rach, if you brought a ribbon to cut, I will behead you,” he warns.
“Oh, Daniel,” she croons. “You’re so sweet to me.”
She reaches over to grasp Steve’s hand and drag it atop Danny’s, placing them there together with a sure look on her face – only made more unbearable by the degree of smugness to her grin. “Rachel,” Danny says wearily. “Seriously, what the hell are you doing?”
“By the power vested in me as Daniel’s appointed caretaker, I hereby transfer said duties, responsibilities, and possession...”
“Whoa, hey, no one is possessing anyone here!”
“...to Commander McGarrett for the duration of his lifetime or Danny’s, whichever ends first.”
Danny stares at her. He’s expecting something more to come and he’s not sure how this can get worse, but Rachel has always had a way of surprising him. He chances a look at Steve and wishes he hadn’t, because all he sees is relaxed bliss flickering over his face. His lashes are pressed to his cheek and he’s breathing out slow and calm.
Danny wants to stab everyone right now. “Steve, you have got to be...Rachel, this is...”
“A very nice gesture that you’re about to say ‘thank you’ for?” she remarks sharply. “That’s how the rest of your sentence goes, unless you’d like to find out the new techniques Stan has been teaching me. The ones that you don’t know about,” she says, words rife with implication.
Danny takes in a deep breath and weighs his options.
There’s no way this is going to end well if he holds tight to his desire to shout and scream and so he squeezes Steve’s hand, gives Rachel as polite a smile as he can muster, and even goes so far as to say, “Thank you.”
“Excellent. Now, let’s discuss Grace.”
Danny’s still clad in yesterday’s clothes, the sheets strewn around his waist, and Steve is slowly closing the distance between him and Danny – as if he can manage to do it without Danny noticing if he’s sly enough. Rachel doesn’t show any indication of leaving.
“...is this going to turn into a threesome?” he asks warily.
“It’d better not,” Steve says in a deceptively calm tone. “Seeing as you and I haven’t even done anything yet.”
“Wait. What? Daniel, you told me that you’d talked about this,” Rachel says, choosing this time to be the one that she doesn’t see any of Danny’s ‘quit, quit now’ hand gestures. “Well, at least you’ve had all these months to thoroughly explore the realm of making out...” Yeah, Danny’s fingers are going to be sore from the gestures he’s making, but she’s not getting the hint.
And now Steve’s face has fallen with irritated disappointment.
“When you said that Steven had mated with you, I will admit that I’d imagined that you two might have worked through some of these issues already,” she says, narrowing her eyes at Danny. It’s like the sun. He knows he’s not supposed to stare, but he can’t look away. “That’s not a crazy assumption. Correct?”
“Right,” Danny says slowly, waiting for impact.
“And you’ve yet to kiss him,” Rachel says.
When Danny looks, Steve’s now directly at his side and is fiddling with his waterproof watch like it’s suddenly the most interesting thing in the world. Traitor, Danny thinks to himself and gives Steve an elbow in the side to try and make himself feel better. It doesn’t work. In fact, it does the opposite of what it’s meant to and now Danny feels like shit for kicking a dog while he’s down.
So to speak.
Danny lets out a long breath and runs his fingers through Steve’s hair absently. Steve curls into the touch, resting his forehead on Danny’s shoulder where his shirt has slipped away and given way to bare skin, warmed by the sheets and Steve’s proximity.
“I didn’t know,” he says.
“You could have done something anyway. Do you really need to be someone’s mate to jump their bones?”
“Yeah, Danny,” Steve mumbles, sounding half-drunk, “do you?”
“Stop, stop ganging up on me, both of you!” Danny says, eyes widening incredulously. He points an accusing finger in Steve’s direction. “He was sleeping with someone else!”
“Yeah, about that...” Steve mutters
“Is that why you were so physically ill when Catherine was last in town?” Rachel asks curiously. “I thought it was just the flu.”
Danny hauls Steve off of him by the scruff of his shirt and stares at him with fury in his gaze. Steve seems aware of the danger in front of him and all the drowsiness has evaporated from his expression. In its place is a very guarded look as he extends his hands in the air. “Danny...”
“I thought I had the flu! I was miserable, only made worse when the Governor hauled me out of bed for a murder case. I was running to the bathroom to puke every other hour and now, now, you’re telling me that it was your fault? It was because of your mate-happy instincts?” Danny clenches his knuckles and takes a deep breath, just like so many therapists in the past have instructed him to do when his anger gets too overwhelming. “You owe me a new sweater.”
“Okay?” Steve replies warily, sinking back in against Danny’s side. He’s getting comfortable, by the looks of it, sneaking an arm around Danny’s waist and shooting Rachel all these little ‘hands off, he’s mine’ looks. It’d be cuter if Danny wasn’t a grown man capable of choosing for himself and if Rachel wasn’t capable of killing Steve within three seconds if she really wanted (she’s never told him how old he is, but he guesses it’s old. He’s heard rumors floating around that she’d been Cleopatra, once upon a time).
“No, Rachel, no, I have not kissed Steve or made out with him, I have not groped him, we have not fucked,” Danny begins to list off all the things they haven’t done. “I have not sucked him off, I have not stuck my tongue up his ass, I have not stretched him out with my fingers, I don’t know what he looks like when he’s got my dick in his mouth...”
Danny winces when Steve’s hand around his waist gets very tight.
“Danny, now would be a good time to stop,” Steve says, his tone strained. Danny doesn’t need to look at him to know that if he doesn’t shut up, he’s about to be fully claimed in front of Rachel and God. “Unless you want...”
“No,” Danny cuts him off. “No,” he adds, flashing a panicked smile to hide the fact that yes, he does in fact want Steve to follow through on that predatory smile and pin him to the bed to finish off what they started a long time ago. “Rach? Steve and I actually do have some work to go over and a lead to follow, so can you...?” He makes a little shooing motion with his fingers.
“You were just getting started, too,” she says with a lamenting sigh. “You always were so good at being bad.” She chances a look in Steve’s direction. “Don’t worry. Stan satisfies me plenty these days. I don’t step on toes that don’t belong to me anymore. You boys place nicely, now, and I’ll see myself out. Danny, call me later so we can talk about Grace’s situation.”
Danny listens carefully for the last click of her heels before he lets out a breath he’d been keeping in. He collapses back against the sheets and pillows of Steve’s bed, glancing to the side to see that Steve has reverted back to wolf form.
“Coward,” he accuses, reaching out to tangle his fingers in Steve’s fur and haul him closer.
Steve’s answering whine isn’t much of a denial, either. Danny can’t even blame him. If he had the option to retreat after facing down Rachel like that, he would. One more hour of sleep, he tells himself as he curls up with Steve again. One more hour and he’ll be ready to face the day, their leads, and whatever Jenna has to say.