At The Last Dusty Fountain
Danny hated Hawaii. If it wasn't the sand getting into everything, it was the pineapple and the spam that seemed to be in almost all of the food, and if it wasn't that it was all the asshats that called him a haole on a daily basis. So yes, Danny hated Hawaii.
Today, though, Hawaii taught him a new reason to hate it here.
The day had started like most of his days. His partner, Lt Commander Steve McGarrett, woke him by pounding on his door as he picked the lock and let himself in. Now most days it wasn't a problem because Danny was up and getting ready for work. But today Danny had a blessed day off and he planed to sleep in and relax. He had not intended to see Steve until tomorrow at the earliest, but like many things in his life, today was not going to go the way he wanted.
Steve was obviously excited about something if Goofy Hamster Face #4 was any indication. Danny hated that face. The last time Steve had broke in while wearing that face Danny had been roped into hiking up a mountain, where Steve stumbled upon a dead body and broke his arm. Not the best day off for either of them.
Groaning in despair for his lost day off, Danny rolled over and buried his face in his pillow. He knew it was a futile effort to ignore Steve but he really wanted to sleep for another couple hours, at least until the sun was all the way up.
Groaning again Danny kicked his foot at Steve as he tried to grab it to tug Danny off the bed. A loud curse behind him and a throbbing in his foot let him know he had gotten a lucky shot in and connected with Steve. Danny was guessing Steve's family jewels were safe based on the fact the cursing wasn't worse and because he was still breathing on his own.
"Go 'way an let me sleep," Danny growled through his pillow.
"Fuck, Danny! That hurt." Steve rubbed the spot at the front of his abdomen that Danny had connected with. "Get up, there are things to do."
"It's my day off, Steven." Danny rolled onto his back, sheets twisting low over his hips, revealing more of the golden treasure trail. "I don't have to do anything."
"You have to come with me," cajoled Steve.
"I don't wanna."
Steve sighed and yanked the blankets off the bed, freezing, a blush rising up through his tan as he realized Danny had been sleeping naked. Clearing his throat, Steve grabbed Danny's arm and yanked him upright and off the bed.
"It'll be good exercise and fun."
"The last time you said that we found a dead body and you had to be airlifted off the damn mountain." Danny crossed his arms over his chest and glared at his partner. He wouldn't admit it but he loved seeing Steve squirm.
"God, Danny, do you have to argue about everything? Just admit that prior to finding the dead guy, you were having a good time!"
Danny smirked. "I admit nothing."
Steve threw up his hands and stomped off to the closet, grabbing a pair of blue-jeans and tossing them at Danny. A blue tee-shirt quickly followed, and laughing silently, Danny got dressed, watching the way his partner tried not to look at him below his navel.
He supposed it wouldn't hurt too much to go tramp through the woods with Steve since he was now completely awake. He just wished Steve would have asked yesterday, or called this morning before storming his crappy apartment. "Alright, SuperSEAL, I'm dressed. What now?"
Steve turned back to look at him, taking a long look up and down Danny before smiling widely. "Now we have some fun."
Four Hours Later, Waihee Valley National Park, Oahu
At first, despite how much he loved cities, Danny was charmed by Waihee Valley. There was none of the noise and mess caused by large numbers of tourists tramping about. It was quiet, except for the songs of birds flying about, or the sound of water from the nearby streams and waterfalls. Walking through the park, it felt like the two of them were the last people alive. It felt like the world was empty of all other people, or perhaps that they had stepped back in time to a place where man didn’t exist. It felt magical and peaceful in a way Danny had never experienced back in Jersey. He had just stopped on the trail, looking around him and breathing it all in. Maybe he had read too many fantasy stories to Grace at bedtime, but he felt like he had stepped into her favorite story, The Last Unicorn, and that at any moment the Unicorn and her wizard companion would walk out of the forest. Or maybe the singing butterfly from the beginning of the story would fly by, singing rhymes to him. Catching back up with Steve, who was still talking about how Waihee Valley was the last ahupua’a, whatever that was, and that the land had belonged to Hawaiian priests from the 11th century until the 1800s when it was turned over to farmers.
He had missed most of what Steve was telling him, and honestly he didn’t much care what Steve said because the sound of his voice was dancing along Danny’s nerve endings, making him feel even more pleasant than he already was. For the first time since his ex-wife forced him across the country and over the ocean to this tiny little chain of islands, Danny felt truly happy, truly peaceful. He felt, dare he think it, like he was Home.
“Look at this, Danny,” Steve’s voice pulled Danny from his thoughts.
“It’s lovely, Steve.” Danny looked from the waterfall to his smiling partner. “Is this the reason I just spent my day off hiking through this bug infested forest?”
Steve rolled his eyes and shot Danny a sly little grin. “Maybe. It’s a pretty romantic spot. Not a lot of people around either.”
“So, it hot out and you look mighty sweaty in your shirt.” Steve smile grew wider as he reached, gently stroking his hand down Danny’s chest, thumbs tracing over his nipples. “Maybe you’d like to take a dip? Cool off a little?”
Danny licked his lips and tried to ignore the way his groin twitched. “Why, Steven, are asking me to go skinny dipping with you?”
“Maybe I am.” Steve stepped back and traced his fingers over the hem of his shirt.
Danny rolled his eyes and cocked his eyebrow at Steve. “Isn’t this against park rules or something, babe?”
“I didn’t see a sign. Besides, it’s hot out. Just look at the water. Doesn’t it look just perfect for a little bit of a cool down.”
Danny licked his lips and looked down at Steve’s hands, which were slowly unbuttoning his pants. Danny swallowed convulsively as he watched those fingers dip down, stroking over the bulge hidden behind the press of the zipper. His body started to heat up and Danny found he couldn’t remember why not skinny dipping in a public location in the middle of the day was a bad idea.
“Yeah.” Tearing his eyes away from the tempting strip of golden flesh Steve was teasing him with. “Okay.”
“Yeah,” asked Steve, his expression switching into Excited Puppy Face.
“Yeah.” Danny smiled and tugged his own shirt off, smirking at the look of lust that passed over Steve’s face at the sight. “Race you?”
Steve blinked and then grinned as well, yanking his shirt over his head. “You’re on!”
Danny laughed but toed off his shoes and tugged at his zipper as he watched Steve trying to pull his cargo pants off over his boots. The two were neck and neck as they both managed to get their pants off. Smirking at the look on Steve’s face, Danny waved his hands in Steve face before pointing at his feet. Another wide smirk stretched across Danny’s face as Steve groaned, realizing that he still had his shoes on.
Pushing against Steve’s chest, Danny darted towards the pool of water at the base of the waterfall. Still smiling he waded in until the water reached his chest. The cool water was so refreshing against his overheated skin. Closing his eyes, Danny leaned back into the water, letting it hold him up as he listened to the sound of Steve cursing from the shore as he struggled with the knot of shoelaces. “Having trouble, Aquaman,” teased Danny.
“Shut up, Danno” grunted Steve as he finally pulled on of the boots off.
Danny opened his mouth to make another witty retort when he felt something tugging at his ankles. Gasping, Danny struggled as he was suddenly pulled under the water. Danny kicked out at whatever was holding him and managed to push his head above the surface long enough to take a gulp of air and catch sight of Steve fearfully tugging off his second boot, before he was yanked back under the water.
He couldn’t see anything in the water around him but he could feel hands pulling playfully on his ankles, pulling him deeper into the water. His lungs were burning as he desperately tried to hold his breath long enough for Steve to get to him.
For a moment he thought that he saw Steve swimming towards him, but whatever had a hold of him was strong, keeping him always just out of reach. The burning in his lungs got worse and suddenly all the air was rushing out of his lungs and darkness was creeping in.
Steve couldn’t understand what had happened. One minute he was playfully racing Danny to see who could strip down first and the next thing he knew Danny was disappearing into the water in front of him. He had swam as fast and as hard as he could to reach Danny and he was sure that a for a moment his fingers had brushed Danny’s before he just vanished into the depths. He had gone back up for air and dove right back down, but no matter how hard he looked he just couldn’t find Danny. Finally, after he didn’t know how long, he had gone back to shore, to get his cell phone and call Chin. Danny had been under too long for there to be any hope he was still alive.
And so here he sat just watching the water hoping for any sign of Danny as some rescue divers went back in to carefully search through the spring. It wasn’t that big and it shouldn’t have been as deep as it seemed to have been when he had almost caught Danny’s hand. Chin was at his side trying to talk to him, but Steve couldn’t focus on anything but the water where Danny had been. He had failed to protect his partner. He had let his desire spur him into teasing Danny until he went into the water, even when he knew Danny didn’t like the water. That he probably couldn’t swim. Guilt had formed a vise around his heart.
What was he going to tell Grace?
Steve felt tears pooling in the corners of his eyes and took a long trembling breath, forcing the tears away. He had to be strong. He was letting his feelings for Danny keep him from helping Chin and the others find his body and he couldn’t let that happen. If he had gotten Danny killed the very least he could do would be to find the body so that his family could burry him.
Shrugging Chin’s hand off his shoulder, Steve stood up and moved to go back into the water.
“Steve!” Chin grabbed Steve’s arm, pulling him away from the water. “What are you doing, brah?”
“I have to find Danny.” Steve turned to look at Chin, a wild, desperate look in his eyes.
“Steve,” started Chin a strange look in his eyes, “Are you sure Danny was with you today? It’s pretty hot out, brah, you could have hallucinated the whole thing.”
Steve glared at Chin, tugging his arm out of Chin’s grasp again. “I didn’t hallucinate anything. Danny was here with me and something pulled him under!”
“Steve, there’s no body in the water and unless the mo’o wahine took a liking to Danny and pulled him under into her world, then he must not have been here. Brah, his cloths aren’t even here and you said that he took ‘em off before going in.”
“But,” Steve stopped talking, the memory of Danny vanishing into the dark water haunting him. “It seemed so real. I’m sure he was here with me…”
Late Evening, Waihee Valley National Park, Oahu
Danny hated Hawaii. He really, REALLY, hated Hawaii. He didn’t know what God he had pissed off in a past life, or this one, to be pulled underwater and nearly drown. He didn’t know how Steve had found him in the water when it was so dark, but he was sure the SEAL must have found him and pulled him to shore, otherwise he would be a bloated corpse floating in the otherwise pretty looking scenery. Instead he was laying there in the grass, soaking wet and shivering from the cool night breeze.
Groaning, he tried to roll onto his back only realize his body felt too heavy and awkward. Cursing McGarrett for not being here when Danny needed him, and really where had the big goof gotten off too, Danny tried again to roll onto his back only to again feel that strange distortion in his limbs. Cursing out loud, Danny froze at the sound of his voice.
Yeah, that had been a strange noise.
Trying again Danny called out Steve’s name only for a loud whinny like sound to fill the clearing. “What the fuck,” Danny cried out, confused.
Twisting his body onto his belly, legs neatly folding beneath him, Danny swung his head about. Yeah, this really had to be a dream, he was sure of it. While he was certainly pale in comparison to most everyone else on the forsaken island, he had never been pure white and slightly sparkly before. Oh God. Danny’s eyes widened as he looked over the long, graceful length of his body and convulsively swallowed as the long, almost lion like tail behind him flickered about nervously. He SPARKLED!
Jerking clumsily to his feet, Danny tried to walk back to the water to look at his reflection. It was harder than he thought, not that he was really thinking about it much just then. If he could have seen himself he would have been reminded of the awkward way baby horses and deer stumbled about in the nature documentaries Grace watched on Animal Planet and Nat Geo Wild. But, he couldn’t see himself, so he was unaware of just how awkward he looked, all long graceful limbs, silver cloven hooves, long flowing white blond mane, long neck and a beautiful head that seemed to look like an Arabian’s but with the nose of a deer and the beard of a goat. He couldn’t see himself just yet, but as he finally came to a stumbling halt at the edge of the water his large blue eyes locked on the water, waiting for it to still long enough to catch his own reflection.
When it finally did, when he could finally see himself he nearly fainted. There looking up at him from the mirror like reflection of the water was a unicorn.
Feeling his legs buckle, Danny dropped to the ground, his whole attention locked on the reflection staring at him from the water. He was supposed to be a grown ass man, but here he was looking at his daughter’s fantasy dream.
“You are very beautiful,” came a gentle, flowing voice.
Startled Danny looked up into the lake where a figure was lounging in the water watching him. She looked like a very beautiful nude girl at first but Danny blinked and watched as his skin flowing like the water around her, as if she was made of the waters of the spring.
“Who are you?”
Her laughter curled over him and through him. “I am the mo’o wahine of this water, pretty little haole.”
“The what now,” Danny asked, confused.
She smiled at him and moved closer, reaching one watery hand out to caress his nose. “Consider this a gift, little haole. Be thankful for it and that I have given you a form you are familiar with.” Smiling a strangely knowing grin her body collapsed into water droplets.
Danny was left laying on the banks, staring at where she had been and wondering again what he was doing to deserve this and how he could blame this on Steve, because if there was one thing he had learned since arriving in Hawaii it was that everything came back to Steve. Thinking about Steve, Danny realized he should try to find him. If Steve wasn’t here then he must not have pulled Danny from the spring and if that was the case his partner was probably having a little guilt-ridden breakdown.
Glaring back at the waterfall and the spring it poured into Danny stood back up, his legs not as shaky as before. Snorting loudly he shook his head and tried to pretend that this was all a dream. Water nymphs and animal transformations. Unicorns. It was all a mess. Who ever heard of a spirit-blessed spring? Or a spring that "gifted" chosen people with a new form? Really? They didn't have anything this fucked up back in Weehawken.
Ignoring the birds that seemed pleased to fly above him singing like they were in a Disney movie, he stomped through the forest, complaining to himself as he walked towards the park entrance and the road that would lead back to Steve’s house. He really hoped that no one else saw him looking like this.