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New Fic: Overwhelmed- Part 1 of 2 (Hawaii Five-o)

I've been fussing and frogging around with this one for weeks, which is really not like me. Hope it measures up to all the fuss I've put it through.

Title: Overwhelmed (Part 1 of 2)
Pairing: Steve McGarrett/Danny Williams
Genre: Pre-slash, angst
Word count: 9098
Rating: PG13 (for some language)
Warnings/Spoilers: Everything for episode 2:15 and some mention of 1:23
Summary: Coda for episode 2:15- This is a follow up to the fall out in the wake of the events following Grace's kidnapping. This is also pre-slash as well. Danny's not dealing at all with what happened and Steve only wants to help his partner.

Special thanks to: HCat for a few reasons. This went through a bunch of rewrites and tweaks and a great deal of my bitching and moaning about being on character. She bore up with all of that and then some. She also remains the goddess of betas, of which I could never live without

Also, sorry, had to post this in two parts, but both are up here.

Also archived at AO3




Steve stayed with Danny and Grace late into the night. Chin and Kono would take care of everything else. That was their way of being there for Danny. Steve's was to be nearby, where Danny could see him, Grace too for that matter. But he kept in the background, watchful, assessing, waiting. 

This was Steve's family. Somewhere over the last year and a half, these two, and even to some extent Rachel, had become his.  

He hadn't fully understood that until now, as he leaned against the wall in the corridor, arms crossed, on guard across from the ER room where Grace was being checked. He hadn't known how torn up, how completely wrecked he would be when he realized Grace had been kidnapped. And that Danny was under the control of a madman.  

For all that, Steve knew it wasn't close to what Danny must have gone through, what he found himself pressed to do.  

He’d had a taste—when Danny got poisoned and came close to dying. Kneeling in front of Grace on the steps of her school, Steve knew it could have been a lot different. But it hadn’t been and Steve could pull back from the wash of emotions that had threatened to overwhelm him then.  

He could carefully avoid what all this meant, his friendship with Danny, avoid that it was going somewhere past that point.  

That was then.  

Now, standing in a hospital corridor, everything he’d been too afraid to examine came back at him. There in that storage unit—it rolled over him like a wave as Danny held Grace, as Danny apologized over and over and not just to her. There was the shattered look he gave Steve, as he whispered once more he was so sorry. But that one was for Steve, not Grace.  

And then Danny was walking away with Grace clinging to him, to Rachel who ran up, tears streaking her face.  

Steve stood, practically shaking with the rush of adrenaline and emotions as he watched Danny wrap both Rachel and Grace in his arms.  

The voice mail Kono had uncovered echoed in Steve’s thoughts. Danny’s plea to Rachel to give this another chance.  

What was he supposed to do with that? The knowledge that Danny still hadn’t let go of Rachel. Which meant he wasn’t ready for anyone else in his life.  

The knowledge hit Steve hard and he didn’t like being faced with it or the implications.  

                                                                        ***  

When it finally hit Grace that she was safe, the shock came in. Even from where Steve stood, bathed in the flickering lights of the blue and whites and the ambulance, he could see her start to shake, her eyes glazing over. Danny took her back from Rachel and she clung to him, face buried against his chest, hands fisted in his shirt. Danny never stopped talking to her or rocking her.  

The world as Danny knew it, in his arms. It still somehow managed to blindside Steve at unguarded moments.  

Danny glanced at him over his daughter’s shoulder, his eyes holding a riot of emotions. Steve recognized he was barely hanging on, wishing there was something he could do to help.  

But there wasn't. 

Danny couldn't give in, not yet. Steve knew he couldn't but when Danny finally did, he had no doubt the resulting crash from the adrenaline rush would be nothing short of epic. He wanted to make sure he was there when that happened. That Steve could be there for.  

And it would happen, just not yet.  

Grace didn't want to go in the ambulance. And anytime a uniform came anywhere near them, she shook that much harder, clung to Danny even tighter. Steve waved Chin over, told him to politely move the uniforms back. Chin didn't question, the look he gave Steve telling him that Chin had noticed as well.  

Steve couldn't chase the thought away. Would Grace ever trust a police officer again?   

Here at the ER, she absolutely refused to let go of her father, even with Rachel and Danny both trying to coax her. She wanted nothing to do with anyone she didn't know.  

Steve worried they might to have to sedate her.  

Stan arrived, arm in a sling. He nodded to Steve who saw no anger or resentment in the other man's eyes. He had a right to be furious—his wife's ex-husband had just shot him. The same man who had an affair with his wife. Yet there was none of that here. Maybe that would come tomorrow or a few days later. Right now it didn't seem the time or place.  

Grace was released to go home. She'd come out of it with some scratches and bruises but that was the extent of her physical injuries. The emotional trauma, well, that was another matter altogether. That would take time for it all to shake out over the next week or so as Grace came to grips with what happened.  

She wasn't the only one as Steve watched Danny buckle her into the backseat of her mother's car. She hadn't wanted to leave her father and Steve was surprised that Danny would let her go. Instead Danny stood back, shoulders rounded, his face etched with lines of exhaustion and watched as they drove off. Steve saw Rachel look back at Danny before the car turned into traffic.  

"You following them? You need me to take you?" 

"No. I'm just gonna go home." Danny's voice was low and raw.  

"I'll drive you." 

"I'm fine, Steve—" 

"No you're not. And you aren't fit to drive." Steve waited for it, the lash of anger, the sarcasm and sharp gestures that were Danny's way of coping but there was nothing. Just exhaustion and guilt that settled on his friend's shoulders like a ten ton lead weight. 

Steve rested his hand on Danny's arm, hoping the touch would ground him a bit. "Come on, let me take you home."  

                                                                        ***

Danny kicked off his shoes and lay back on the couch in his office, covering his eyes with one arm. He hadn't bothered with the lights as the Five-O headquarters were dark at this early hour but for the street lights that spilled weakly through the blinds. Danny fisted his hands, swallowing, fighting back the shakes that tried to take hold of him. 

It was the inevitable post adrenaline crash he'd been fighting off since they took Grace to the hospital. Now, by himself, with no Grace or Rachel or Steve, for that matter, he had nothing to fight it back with. His daughter was safe—not okay, thanks to him, but safe. Stan would be all right, so would Rachel.  

But he and Grace, they were a long, long way from being okay and wouldn't be for a while.  

The terrified look in his daughter's eyes when they found her only to be replaced with a dazed, vacant stare as she went into shock... Danny did that to her, he was responsible for what had happened today. This was all on him.  

The most important, the most precious thing in his life and like his marriage, he failed her.  

Danny sat up, wrapping his arms around himself, bowing his head under a truth he would never be able to escape. He didn't deserve his family and now he’d proved he didn't deserve Grace. Rachel had tried to take her away once—accusing him, saying it wasn't safe for Grace to be with him.  

How right she'd been.  

His selfishness to keep her in his life nearly cost Grace her life. Hawaii seemed so far away when he came here, but it wasn't far enough to keep Grace safe from the decisions of his past come back to exact retribution.  

He couldn't stop it now, couldn't fight it back any longer. The shaking seized his body, Danny digging his fingers into his arms as he felt the hot prick of tears in his eyes. He couldn't swallow against the dryness in his mouth, struggled to breathe as he rocked back and forth.  

Steve had wanted to stay with him, telling him he shouldn't be alone tonight. But Danny had managed to brush him off at his hotel room, telling him, lying to him that he was fine and just wanted a shower and to sleep. His friend had been reluctant, genuine worry in those slate blue eyes but Danny ducked away from his concern. He took his keys from Steve, nodded to Chin who had followed in Danny's car and told him everything was all right.  

The truth was, Danny knew he was too vulnerable, too wide open. The possibilities terrified him if Steve stayed. For the last several months he'd been avoiding analyzing what was going on between them, unwilling to give it a name let alone acknowledging it.  

It didn't change the fact that there was definitely something there.  

But tonight, Danny feared the elephant in the room. He couldn't let Steve stay.  

Steve had to know he was lying. He pushed, just a little, telling Danny that he was his friend and he didn't feel right about leaving him alone. But in the end he left, taking Chin with him.  

Danny ignored the wounded look in the other man's eyes. And the unspoken plea. 

He stayed only long enough to shower and change. He couldn't stand the smell of Rick on him any longer. Couldn't bear to see the stains of Grace's tears, the dirt smudged from her face or scent of her fear. He didn't care if it was a complete waste of perfectly good clothes and money- he threw out the shirt and pants without a second thought.  

He'd get the damned Camero detailed tomorrow.  

Then he drove to headquarters, still battling the adrenaline crash, haunted by the image of Grace duct-taped to that chair and Rick's voice still in his ear with a promise that she would die and it would be Danny's fault. Danny still saw him in the passenger seat, hatred spilling off him in waves.  

This was now his nightmare.  

There was no escaping any of this and the only relief Danny could find was in the sad knowledge that his friends weren't there to watch him come apart. 

                                                                        *** 

Steve was more than a little surprised when he walked into headquarters the next morning and found Danny working at his desk. Chin was already there as well, leaning back against the computer table, arms crossed and face set in grim lines. 

"Hey, he say anything?" Steve nodded toward Danny's office.  

"No." Chin glanced over his shoulder, then back at Steve. "And he was here before me."  

Okay, Danny was often here first, but today? 

"Kono and Lori?" 

"Lori called, she's running late. Kono will be here any minute."  

"Okay, good." Steve kept glancing over at his friend but Danny didn't seem to notice. He had his head down, typing and studying his computer screen. "Listen, I want to talk to you and Kono when she gets here, before Lori does." 

"If it's about that voice mail, you don't need to say anything, Steve. This is ohana, it stays just with the three of us, Kono knows that." Chin stood up, turning to look at Danny. "You going to tell him?"  

"I don't know." Steve shook his head. "Let's see how this plays out today, where he is head-wise, okay?"  

It had been intensely personal. How to explain to it to his friend that they not only knew, but heard it for themselves?  

"Understood."  

At least it was only them, no one else. Not even Lori.  

Steve rested his hand briefly on Chin's shoulder before going over to Danny's office and nudging the glass door open. Danny didn't look up but kept working on his computer. He was in a dark blue shirt, the sleeves rolled up and no tie. 

Steve was still getting used to that, the no tie look. He'd given Danny such grief about them, yet there was that small part of Steve that missed them.  

"Hey, partner, you don't have to be here. You should be with your family."  

If he hadn't been looking he'd have missed the slight flinch. As it was, Danny's fingers paused on the keys, then he started typing again with a bit more emphasis. "They're fine." 

"Okay, but what about you?" Steve eased himself onto the corner of Danny's desk, arms crossed.  

"I'm fine. They're fine, everyone is fine, Steven. It's over and done with, okay?" He glanced up at Steve before turning away, Steve unable to catch Danny's gaze. Danny dug for a file in the stack he had on his desk.  

And he didn't look fine. Steve could see the paleness, the circles under his eyes, the exhaustion etched in the handsome features. He looked like he hadn't slept. Steve knew Danny, knew his friend better than most people and he recognized trouble when he saw it. It was there just under the surface, in the tightness across Danny's shoulders, in the set of his jaw, in the sharp but contained movements.  

This was Danny turned inward, pulling away, shutting down. This wasn't the Danny they all knew—the man who was in constant motion, hands waving, ranting or snarking when he was angry or upset. This was Danny hurting, confused and at a loss. Much the same as when his brother Matty ran off, betraying him. 

"Danny, if you need to talk," Steve shifted his weight, shrugged his shoulders. He kept it casual. Don't push, McGarrett, not here, not now. "Maybe not here, but you know the door's always open at my place. You want to get good and drunk, I'm right there with you." 

"No, I don't, but thank you." Danny sighed and ran his hands over his hair. "Really, Steve, it's all right. I just have a mountain of paperwork as usual and since we seem to be in between cases of mayhem and madness, I'm gonna try and catch up." He still refused to look at Steve.  

Steve knew when to push and when to back off. Sticking with his decision that now wasn't the time he stood up, nodding. "You need to knock off early, see Gracie, just go, okay?"  

"Sure, thanks." 

                                                                        *** 

He couldn't sleep. He kept hearing Rick's voice and the promise that Grace would die. Grace's dark eyes so wide, her face streaked in tears. Danny couldn't elude it, couldn't shut it away in the darkness of the tiny room he currently rented. The TV was only so much noise, the late night traffic on the nearby highway, the voices of people who walked by his door or the occasional siren or car horn. It washed over him like the crashing surf, constant, threatening to drown him.  

But even that couldn't chase Rick's voice out of his head. 

He found himself at headquarters for the second night in a row, sitting on the couch in his office, face buried in his hands. The outside noise was muted here, barely more than a murmur as he listened to the sound of his own harsh breathing. The trembling was back, stealing over his body, Danny feeling cold and sick at the same time.  

Grace had said she wanted to go home. Since he no longer had the apartment, shabby as it was, he didn't even have that to offer her. He bounced around, from crummy hotel rooms to Steve's couch to the Hilton. But he still had no place he could call his own. Truth was, even the sad little apartment he started out in never was home either. He never meant for it to be because he didn’t consider Hawaii home.  

But neither was New Jersey. The first chance he had to go back there, to reclaim his family, he’d turned his back on it. He had to choose, Steve and Five-O or Rachel and Grace five thousand miles away. Every decision, every choice he made came with consequences. Rachel and Grace came back but they were no longer his family. He chose Hawaii but had no place to live. He left HPD to be on this task force and Meka died. He left New Jersey and Matty gets in way over his head and abandons all of them. Choices he made before Grace was even born cost the life of a friend of his and nearly Grace as well.  

And still Rick was there, reminding Danny he had a choice, he didn't have to turn on his partner. Now he would pay for it or Grace would die.  

He jumped, his heart racing when his cell phone rang. Fumbling for it he dropped it, swearing under his breath as it hit the floor and tumbled several feet away, still ringing. Getting down on his good knee, he looked at who was calling and at this hour. Rachel's name showed on the ID. Biting his lip, he sent the call direct to voice mail, the same as he had her previous ones earlier that day and sat on the floor in front of his desk. Blinking back tears he threw the damned cell phone at the couch before wrapping his arms around his legs and burying his face there, giving over to the shaking that just never seemed to leave him.  

                                                                        ***
Over the next few days, they all watched Danny with quiet but building concern. It ate at Steve. He figured a little time and Danny would finally implode—which is really what he wanted, what they all braced for. Chin and Kono knew what to expect, they figured it was lurking somewhere on the near horizon. Danny was a shouter, loud and sarcastic and animated. It would happen, they banked on it. And they'd be there to pick up the pieces, help him to deal with it. That's what family did for each other.  

And that's what this was—family.  

Instead, Danny became more tight lipped, more withdrawn. He brushed off questions from all of them about Grace, stating she was fine. He offered nothing more. He looked ragged and exhausted, refusing invitations to come to Steve's for a beer and steak, or to the local cop bar for pizza and drinks with all of them.  

He stayed in his office for the most part, walling himself off from all of them.  

They watched, worried and waited.  

                                                                        *** 

"Can we talk?" Lori, still on crutches, stood in Steve's doorway.  

Steve finished signing the report Kono had given him and closed the folder. "Sure, what about?" 

She hobbled the rest of the way into his office but didn't sit. Restless, Steve got up, crossing the few steps to the windows that faced Danny's office, watching his friend.  

"It's about Danny."  

Steve glanced back over his shoulder at her, eyes narrowed. She stood, balanced on her good foot, looking at him with that flat stare she always seemed to have that made it impossible to read her. He felt the muscles across his shoulders tighten as he crossed his arms and turned to face her, feeling suddenly very protective of his friend.  

"What about him?" Steve kept his voice flat as he raised his head. He wasn't going for friendly or indulging here.  

And she had no idea where she tread right now.  

"You do realize he's in trouble, right? He's shutting down, closing everyone out. You should make him talk to a professional at the very least after what happened." 

She was part of the team, Steve having long since accepted that and graciously, knowing who she was—the Governor's. But being a member of the team didn't make her part of their family—she hadn't earned that and Steve wasn't sure she ever really would.  

And she couldn't have picked a worse time to flex her profiling skills.  

"Your opinion is noted. Anything else?" He was so not in the mood for this, not from her. If Kono came, or Chin, but it would be different with them. They cared, and more importantly, they knew Danny.  

She stared at him, annoyance flickering across the sharp features. "Listen, I get he's your friend—" 

"Which makes me a much better judge of him than you, your profiling techniques aside."  

She stood up straighter, her mouth in a thin line as she shot him a cool look. He didn't care if he offended her. Not when it came to Danny. She had no real idea of who Danny was or just how much he loved that little girl or what he gave up to be here. She may think she did but Steve knew better.  

"I understand you're concerned, but Danny's been through worse and came out just fine. We know what we’re doing here." 

"We?" Lori glanced out into the main office. Chin and Kono worked at the computer table, shoulder to shoulder. "Right. I get it." 

"I hope you do." Steve didn't care if his tone was just this side of sharp. He wasn’t there for Danny when it all came apart. He'd be damned if he wouldn't protect him now.  

                                                                        ***  

Danny, please, will you call me? Grace is just miserable and she doesn't understand why you aren't talking to her. Danny—no one blames you. Stan wants you to come by and see her. Danny, please, just call.  

Danny stared at his cell phone, then deleted the message. Rachel had called, several times over the last three days. He could come to the house or she'd bring Gracie out to meet him somewhere if he wanted. Just please call, anytime, day or night.  

Grace missed him.  

Grace needed him.  

But Danny knew differently, his decision made. She'd be much better off without him. He'd been confusing everything for her since Rachel asked for the divorce, convinced that being in her life, still being her father in person and not just in name was the right thing to do.  

There was one last message from Rachel from this afternoon.  

Danny, Grace had a really bad day at school. She got terribly frightened and we couldn't calm her down. I brought her home. Please come by, she really needs to see her father. 

He turned the phone off, dropping it on his desk before getting up and leaving. He didn't have anywhere to go, but he couldn't stay there, not right now. Outside, a quick rain storm had just cleared off, everything dripping in its wake. Danny ignored it, sliding into the driver's seat of his car. But he didn't put the keys in the ignition, only stared straight ahead at nothing.  

                                                                        *** 

Steve didn't want to say it, didn't like even thinking about it, but it was as if something had broke and Danny wasn't even trying to put the pieces back together.  

That wasn't the only thing. There was something else going on as well, something Steve couldn't quite put a name to but still knew was there.  

Of course they asked Danny how Gracie was doing, when would he be seeing her again? When was his next weekend with her—maybe they could all get together and do something special, like a cookout at Steve's or Chin's. Kono offered to take them surfing. Danny simply told them she was fine and left it at that.  

Little things started to nag at Steve about Danny. Like how he seemed to ignore his cell phone calls. He'd glance at the caller ID but not answer. Steve didn't think much about it at first. But this morning, it occurred to him that he hadn't heard Danny actually talking to Grace. There was rarely a day that didn't go by that Danny didn't touch base with his daughter. Steve always found it sweet and endearing, Danny often snarking at him to shut up already.  

But not since the kidnapping. Not once. And that set all of Steve's internal alarms off.  

Something was wrong, very wrong.  

For now, there wasn't anything Steve could do and that ate at him. Danny was more than just a partner, more than just a casual friend to have a beer with after work. He was Steve's in undefined terms that Steve didn't question or necessarily understand.  

So was Grace.  

And maybe it was that unknown element that found Steve pulling up the driveway of Rachel and Stan Edwards’ house. It'd been four days since the world upended. Steve couldn't stand it anymore, not really knowing how Grace was doing and Danny refusing to fill in the gaps. So here he was. He hadn't planned this, hadn't decided when he got in his truck that hell, he'd drive over and see his partner's sweet daughter.  

Yet here he sat, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, trying to decide if this was such a good idea. But he loved Grace and he had no problem admitting it. Dusk settled in, draping the courtyard in shadows and muting the bright colors that were Hawaii. A light breeze blew in through his truck window, scented with citrus, jasmine and the sea.  

He could still smell the rain in the air, a quick storm having raced over the island less than an hour ago. Everything was still wet, rain water dripping from roofs and vegetation.  

He didn't know how long he sat there before Rachel came out, her hair pulled back in the simple pony tail she wore these days. She wore a sundress and sandals. She looked good although he could see a tired sadness in her eyes. Steve got out of the truck.  

"Steven, this is unexpected. Danny's not with you?" Rachel glanced past him as if expecting Danny to climb out of the truck as well.  

"No, I hope that's okay. I just, I thought I'd see how Grace was. Say hello, if that's okay." Steve pushed his hands in his pockets, unsure of his welcome all of a sudden.  

"She'd like that. It's been a rough few days, as you can imagine. She's been having nightmares and tears." Rachel shook her head, crossing her arms over her chest, her hands restless. "She wants her father but Danny hasn't been over." She looked close to tears herself.  

Steve stopped dead in his tracks, cold washing over him. "Excuse me, did you say Danny hasn't been here?" 

"I've tried to call him, left him messages. He's welcome here, no one blames him for what happened—not even Stan. I've said I'd meet him someplace with her if he'd rather, but he won't return my calls."  

Steve couldn't image anything keeping Danny away from the one thing he treasured more than anything else. He knew something was wrong, but not like this. Never like this.  

"Aw man, I'm sorry, Rachel, I didn't know. He hasn’t been himself lately but I didn't know about this." Christ, what did it say about him that he hadn't realized Danny was in this much denial, hurting this deeply and so guilty he wouldn't come to see his daughter? And that Steve let it go on this long… 

"She trusts you." Rachel indicated the door in a clear invitation for Steve to come in. "She had a rough day at school and I brought her home early. I'm sure she'll be happy to see you, though." 

"Your husband?" Steve wasn't sure how welcoming Stan would be.  

"He's at work. Please, won't you come in? I know Grace would love to see you."  

She led Steve up to Grace's bedroom, knocking softly on her open door. "Grace, sweetheart, you've got a visitor." She stepped aside so that Steve could come in. He found Grace sitting cross legged on her bed, face streaked in tears, eyes huge. The foolish dog was right there with her, tongue lolling and head tilted sideways as he looked at Steve before letting out a sharp bark.  

"Uncle Steve!" She scrambled off the bed as he knelt down and gathered her into his arms, hugging her tight. "Thank you for coming! Did you bring Danno?"  

His heart broke as he picked her up, rocking her like he'd seen Danny do every time he held her. "No baby, he's not here. But I promise we'll fix that, okay?" He kissed her cheek as he looked at Rachel. "I'll fix it."  

                                                                        *** 

Rachel had just put the baby down when Steve appeared in the kitchen. She had the kettle on, needing a cup of tea. She remembered that Steve, although a coffee drinker, liked tea as well and got another cup down.  

"She's asleep." Steve gave her a lopsided smile.  

Rachel couldn't help but wonder if he knew how incredibly endearing he was. And such a study in contrasts. A warrior, a man who fought for his country, Rachel had seen him at his most fearsome. And she'd seen him with Danny and their daughter, seen the sweetness and gentleness and what was Danny's favorite word? Goofy, yes, that's what it was. It fit him perfectly, she thought as she poured the hot tea into the cups.  

"Thank you. She's been having such a rough time." Rachel sighed, feeling worn and sad.  

"What happened at school today?" He took the cup with a nod before sitting at the kitchen table with her.  

"HPD had an officer come in to talk to the children about safety and how not to talk to strangers. He was in uniform and I guess he approached Grace, who flew apart. Her teachers said she simply started to scream he was a stranger too and never trust a police officer. They couldn't get her to calm down." 

"I'm sorry." Steve sipped his tea, Rachel noting how big his hands were. Like Danny's.  

"She misses him." Rachel didn't try to hide the ache in her voice. "I never thought anything would keep him away from her. He's sacrificed so much to be in her life."  

"He's not dealing with what happened and I let him have it his way, thinking it was the right thing to do." Steve shook his head. "He feels responsible, I think we both know that. I know how he thinks and he's blaming himself for what happened." Steve glanced out the window, tapping the fingers of one hand restlessly on the table. "He thinks that maybe staying away from her is the right thing to do but he loves her too much. At some point he's gonna break." He looked back at Rachel, eyes dark with his concern. "I think maybe it's time I nudged him to that point." 

Rachel smiled. She doubted either Steve or Danny knew yet but it was there between them. Something way beyond friendship. She thought maybe Steve had started to put it together, but Danny… Danny wasn't ready yet and Rachel understood him enough to know why. He'd fight it, afraid of what this man would offer him.  

They belonged to each other though, Rachel having realized it when she saw Steve with Danny that first time here in her house more than a year ago. 

What's more, they were good for each other, Steve being what Danny needed.  

"You know, when I first met him, I didn't completely understand just how much he loved Grace, what he'd done and given up. This is Hawaii, after all—how much of a hardship is it to come here to live and work when you're from New Jersey of all places?" Steve looked at the cup in his hands. "I'm still floored sometimes by him. I mean, who does what he did and comes halfway around the world for a couple of weekends a month and a few days in between here and there?" 

There was no accusation in Steve's voice, just an acknowledgement of the circumstances between herself and Danny.  

She got up and fetched the teapot from the stove, bringing it over to warm up their cups.  

"He was in love with her the moment she was born." Rachel would never forget the look on his face when he held Grace for the first time. That he had this with Rachel, that he had a part in what he held there in his arms. She sat back down after setting the kettle aside. 

Steve smiled in that lopsided way of his. Was it any wonder Danny was in love with this man even if he didn't know it yet? 

"He must have been something to see then." 

Rachel smiled. "I remember waking up once, it was late and Danny had been working a night shift on patrol. I'd found him in the nursery, still in his uniform, holding her. He must have just got home." Rachel shook her head softly at the memory, still so fresh in her heart. "He's whispering and humming to her, rocking her, walking with her. This after a hellish long night and you just know he's exhausted yet there he was, all smiles." It was one of her more cherished memories she had of them, of Danny. "He couldn't get past the wonder of her and that he was part of it somehow." She brushed the back of her hand over her eyes, drawing in a ragged breath. "I don't understand why he's doing this, Steven." 

"I'll fix this, for both of them." Steve reached across and squeezed her hand. There was such a look in his eyes, one that had her believing he would be as good as his word.  

She never doubted Danny's love of Grace, but now she saw that Steve was just as lost on her. On both of them.  

                                                                        *** 
Part two

Tags: danno, danny williams, fic, h5o, hawaii five-o, new fic, steve mcgarrett
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