Characters: Steve/Danny, the whole team
Warnings: Language. Daemon shenanigans.
Spoilers: Vague sort of mentions to things, but nothing specific. Or relevant.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Steve meets Danny. Things go from there. Daemon (His Dark Materials) AU.
Author's Note: So, I wrote a Hawaii Five-0/His Dark Materials AU crossover thing. This is a good Daemon primer to read before reading this fic, though I'm mostly disregarding 5 and the sleeping part of 9 for reasons that may/will become obvious later on. Um, there's some stuff that's evolved from other fandom daemon!fic as well. Also switched how they find out about Chin and his family so it happens earlier, but that's hardly mentioned, ha. Images of the daemons are linked in the fic.
Steve's ten when Malie decides she likes being a cat. It's not exactly what he'd hoped for because they live in Hawaii and there's water all around them, and it brings them no end of grief from Steve's father and his gull daemon Nalani, but Malie doesn't care. And, Steve decides after Malie shifts into a large housecat and settles across his shoulders, if she doesn't care, he shouldn't either.
They're partners, after all, and besides that she doesn't mind a little wet fur, or so she tells him, whiskers brushing his cheek one night.
For three years after that, Malie changes from tiger to lioness to sleek leopard, but when he wakes one morning and he's fourteen, amber eyes meet his and blink heavily once. She's a reddish color with slightly darker marks over her eyes and a long tail curled over his leg.
"Did you?" he mumbles, even as she purrs an affirmative. He figured, anyway; Steve's not sure he's ever felt this right before. Surety sinks into his bones at the touch of Malie's fur, and eventually he only needs to glimpse her out of the corner of his eye to feel safe and whole.
Chin's daemon, Jarek, is growing back his tail. The subject clearly lies within their family issues, so it will never be mentioned, but it makes Malie flick her own tail and pace instead of sitting still. For all that Steve understands her frustration, he can't let it affect him.
On the way to his dad's house, Malie sinks her teeth into the already ragged doll in the back of the truck (brought for situations when her anger can't be constructively used), snarling when Steve tries to reason with her.
"It's not right, but it's family, Malie. You know that as well as I do."
She sighs, heavy and tired, which is the best he'll get as an agreement. In the next minute they’re pulling into the driveway. The house looks almost exactly the same if a little worn. Nothing indicates that Steve's father was murdered here except a lonely strip of police tape on the front door, which wouldn't stop anyone from entering. It certainly doesn't stop Steve and Malie.
Steve's not rushing exactly, but he doesn't linger too long in the house because Malie's pushing their bond and trotting to the garage. He trails after her, grinning at his dad's old car still under its cover after ten years. Nalani always bugged him about fixing it, but Steve's dad never did.
"Look," Malie says.
She's on her hind legs and pointing at a toolbox that says "Champ" on it, just like Nalani said. Steve opens it and listens to his dad's voice, shivering when the tape first crackles to life, and that's pretty much when things go to shit.
Danny Williams is surprising. He's a mainlander, yeah, and Steve could see that even without the aid of a tie, but he's loud, competitive, and, at the moment, angry. Danny Williams appears to be the polar opposite of his daemon, something small and white-ish that poked it's head out of his shirt pocket when Danny started yelling and then disappeared again soon after.
Steve's not sure if the daemon is just used to the shouting or what, but he doesn't see her again until after he says, "Book 'em, Danno."
Back at the office, Danny powers through his paperwork, scowling at Steve anytime he interrupts. When he signs the last page and sets his pen down, he reaches into his pocket with gentle fingers and pulls out a bat.
Her tiny thumbs clutch at Danny's skin and she yawns, blinking in the sunlight. "Are you done?" she asks, in a soft voice.
Danny coos something back at her, Steve doesn't know what, he's stuck on Danny cooing. Malie steps on his foot in warning as Danny and his daemon approach.
"So, I know we didn't exactly get off to the best start, you know, because you got me shot and all," here Steve rolls his eyes and Malie carefully applies more pressure to his toes, "but I'd like you to meet Adelaide." Danny holds his hand out so Steve and Malie can see Adelaide's face.
"Hello," she murmurs.
Steve waits, expecting more. It doesn't come. Eventually Malie clears her throat and says, "I'm Malie" and "It's nice to meet you." Steve throws in a "yeah."
"Okay," Danny says, placing Adelaide on his shoulder where she grabs his shirt and leans into his neck. "Now we're getting something to eat."
Steve orders takeout.
Four cases later, Danny's arguing with Steve about something at headquarters that doesn't even matter (and Steve's getting now that arguing is just something Danny does because that's the way he's programmed and he's from New Jersey), and Adelaide sort of swoops off Danny's head to land between Malie's shoulder blades. She nestles in and promptly falls asleep.
Danny doesn't even hesitate in continuing his rant, but Steve's brain must short circuit because he shuts his mouth and stares at Malie's face. Her tail is twitching but she looks more puzzled than anything else and Steve can't tell if she's the one feeling pleased or if it's him.
The Five-0 team fights more crime in a shorter time span than Steve's ever considered before and it's still not enough. They're in danger all the time: One day it's Chin skirting the edges of his family with Jarek tucked away, the next Malie is pinning some asshole's fox daemon by its throat because said asshole went for Danny's busted knee when Steve wasn't paying as much attention as he should have been. Kono and Kai volunteer for everything they can and end up in four times as much danger as any of their graduating class do.
It's scary and thrilling and confirms that Steve won't be without adrenaline for a long time, and he loves it.
Malie lays her head on his belly one night and says, "I like this and I don't want to lose any of it."
He falls asleep while tracing the marks on her brow and thinking about danger.
Most of the time, they fight. Danny gets so worked up over the smallest things and sometimes Steve likes to frustrate him even more; an animated, angry Danno is an entertaining Danno. During these fights Malie and Adelaide don't even bother to roll their eyes.
"It's posturing and it's pointless," Malie tells Steve every time afterwards, although she refuses to explain further than that.
Which isn't to say they don't argue about serious things because they do, and Malie and Adelaide snap and hiss at each other like two minutes ago they weren't saying how silly their humans are. On more than one occasion, Malie carries Adelaide between her teeth, a reminder of who's bigger in the sharp points of pressure.
"Why isn't that posturing?" Steve asks her, a solid meter away. Malie spits out a chunk of the stuffed animal she's tearing to pieces, and rips its belly open with the claws of her hind paws. The fluff falling onto her would be adorable if he hadn't seen that same move exercised on more lively opponents.
"Because they should know better," she hisses.
"Huh," she repeats. "Don't pretend you don't understand. If Adelaide could hold me down in her claws she would," Malie stretches, looking at the wreckage around her disinterestedly and sheathing her claws, "And Danny would punch you in the face again if he had cause. But we're right on this one. Doesn't change what they'll do next time, but I'm not letting them go out there unprepared."
The sentiment isn't too special. Steve was a damn good SEAL and that's standard operating procedure, even when they didn't know much about the situation they were entering. Go in as prepared as you can be.
But the way Malie is still restless, anger picking up an edge of panic, worries him.
"Hey," Steve says. "Come here."
His daemon paces over and sighs when he digs his fingers into her tense muscles.
"Why are Adelaide and Malie together all the time?" Grace asks. Danny brought her to Steve's house because Steve has a beach as a backyard and beaches are cool for kids, no matter where they're from. Her daemon Roland is shifting quickly in her arms. He's a rabbit one moment and the next a bat like Adelaide. He flies a few feet above her head then lands in the sand and changes into a bay cat, like Malie.
Steve nearly chokes on the sip of beer he just took. A foot from his chair, Malie sleeps curled around Adelaide, who's dozing.
Luckily, Danny is used to fielding questions from his daughter. "Steve and I are together for work all the time, Gracie, so Adelaide and Malie are pretty close."
"But George and Martha are together and they don't touch all the time," Grace protests. George and Martha are the names of Grace's mom and Step-Stan's daemons. Steve feels himself start to sweat, something the sun alone hasn't managed in months. Malie's ears twitch like she's waking up, so he tries to calm himself with minimum success.
Danny kneels before his daughter. "Steve and I catch bad guys, you know that. And it takes a lot of trust to do what we do every day. Malie and Adelaide are close because they have to be to keep each other safe."
Grace says, "Okay" and rambles about her art class like nothing happened. Roland flips into a sea otter and wriggles belly up in the sand.
It takes a while for Steve to really relax but when he does, he notices something warm settling over him. It's an emotion but it's not his or Malie's, so he stares at Danny who's watching Roland run in circles as Adelaide burrows into Malie's fur.
Later, Steve's brushing the sand out of Malie's coat with long, smooth strokes. Malie says, "Adelaide was telling me about Roland and Grace today," and recounts how Roland has taken to mimicking other daemons because he hasn't found anything he likes yet. She purrs the story out, voice somehow softening more when she mentions Adelaide or Danny, and Steve stops his motions.
"Fuck," he says. "We-"
"Yes," Malie confirms.
"And we work with them."
"Fuck," Steve repeats and Malie snorts an agreement.
There comes the unfortunate realization that Danny is very free with touch. If Steve or Kono or even Chin is around, Danny's unafraid to tap, push, or hip-check them. Worse is that Adelaide perches on Malie every chance she gets, causing a weak loop of emotional feedback between the four of them. When Danny finds the link between the suspect and their victim, a nineteen year old just getting to the islands, Steve feels it through Malie. And because it's difficult to watch Danny shout about something and not feel fond, he catches Danny raising eyebrows at him mid-sentence several times.
But what really sticks with Steve when Adelaide isn't touching Malie, is how it feels when she is. How he can feel it between his shoulders when Adelaide settles on Malie's back, how he gets goose bumps when she noses into Malie's fur.
He tries not to think about how perfectly Adelaide and Danny complement each other because that always brings him around to psychoanalyzing his partner, which is creepy on a lot of levels.
If he tries not to think about what Danny's fingertips feel like pressed into Steve's arm to get his attention, well, it's because he didn't notice much it in the first place.
Keeping things to themselves is something that Steve and Malie usually excel at. They wouldn't have been chosen for half the jobs they'd finished if total silence was an issue. That doesn't seem to matter around Mary. For whatever reason, she's always been able to tell what he's thinking and it's no different when she flops next to him on the couch after Danny leaves late one night, a few months into their partnership. He'd carried Adelaide out, chucking as she started awake when they stepped into the night air.
Mary squints at Steve and her daemon Lex taps Malie on the head.
"When did you two get married?" she asks.
Steve still puts up some resistance; she's his sister, not a therapist. "Not married, Mary. Not ever going to happen."
"So then I have to assume you let everyone else's daemons crawl all over Malie and sleep on her. Never mind that you were so possessive as a kid that even Lir had a hard time getting Malie alone to talk to her."
It's a shame there's no comeback for shared childhood memories.
"Still not married."
Lex huffs and says, "Steve, really."
To be honest, Steve doesn't realize how bad he must look until something solid but light slams into his chest and starts swearing at him. It takes him another minute because of the concussion he got when badass criminal number one slammed the butt of his gun into Steve's forehead to realize that the thing on his chest is Adelaide, and then he's too stunned to do more than stare at her and the words leaving her mouth.
Her nails dig through his shirt and into his skin and her sharply pointed snout looms in his vision as she rants. It hits him that oh fuck Adelaide's touching me Danny will be so pissed fuck shit shit before he tears his eyes away from Adelaide's to apologize to Danny and freezes again. Malie is winding herself in and out of Danny's legs. Steve watches her stand and place heavy, warm paws against his chest, murmuring something, but Danny stays silent. His knuckles are white at his sides and he looks so, so tense, like he'd snap in two if she pushed him any harder.
Malie noses Danny's chin and a shock of emotion slams into Steve, everything Danny's feeling fearangershockworryreliefworry, and Adelaide fucking bites Steve's neck and he jerks up, hissing in pain and catching her in his hands without thinking.
"You're a bastard," Danny grits out over their daemons' voices and the onslaught of foreign emotion.
"You knew that when I recruited you," Steve returns roughly, feeling Danny's amusement through the mass of irritation.
"Still," Danny says, and then he helps Steve stand and walk out of the warehouse.
They aren't married. Danny is not Steve's wife. Yes, Adelaide and Malie are close, but it's not because Danny and Steve are sleeping together.
On a ship, in an office, by the ocean, at the shave ice stand Malie groans, a low, longing sound, when Steve is asked. Their only saving grace is that Danny and Adelaide are always out of hearing range when she does.
The changes now that Steve can compare Danny's warmth to Adelaide's are one: they all worry more. Or, at least, he's more aware of Danny's worrying and can tell when it's real and when Danny's too freaked out to say anything.
Two: Malie's more affectionate and it's rubbing off on Steve. Really, the only reason he noticed is because Kono started waving her hands around and wondering about the apocalypse because he's "been smiling a lot. Like, more than once a day a lot. Don't look at me like that, you're no robot, but this much happiness? Brah, it's weird."
Three: Steve can feel it when Danny touches Adelaide.
The first time it happens, Steve looks around, wondering who touched his shoulder, but then it happens again and again, and when he turns to ask Danny what's going on, Danny is running his fingers through the fur on her wing. After that, Steve grinds his teeth and does his best to ignore the goose bumps appearing on his arms, back, chest.
Knowing that Danny must feel the same thing is - Steve really doesn't know what it is when he's checking Malie over after a fight, rolling his eyes at her protests and running his hands lightly over her, and he sees Danny staring at them, eyes glazing over.
Stranger still is that it doesn't happen all the time, just often enough to leave the idea lingering in his mind when he's alone.
"Danny," Steve hisses, "shut up. I'm here, I'm going."
"Here" being another warehouse behind stacks of crates waiting for a potentially dangerous weapon's smuggler to appear. "Going" meaning "I'm going to kick his ass for distributing guns to dumbshit kids on the mainland."
Sprawled on top of a nearby crate, Malie looks ready to take out a falcon and whatever backup daemons will appear. She's loose but tense enough with adrenaline that he's not worried.
Danny, on the other hand, is not pleased.
"Oh, forgive me for wanting you to wait for me to get there, never mind that the last time you went in alone I found you laying on the floor, bleeding from god knows where with a gun's serial number imprinted on your face," Danny shouts and Steve rolls his eyes. There was no serial number, the guy had scratched it off. "Never mind that I'm your partner and, by definition I might add, I'm the one you wait for!"
"Danny, come on," Steve wheedles, frowning as Malie leaps off her crate and walks over to him. "It's your day with Grace," he continues, aware how his tone softens.
There's a frustrated sigh on Danny's side, and then Malie's curling around Steve's legs, pressing tightly against his calves. Steve shoots her a questioning look that she ignores.
"Give me the phone," Malie says in a way that means Steve will be in big trouble if he doesn't. He holds it down where she can talk into it and his heart hesitates when she says, "Danny, tell Adelaide it'll be okay."
Danny tells Steve he'll see him at Five-0 headquarters once he's done and that he's briefing a team to back Steve and Malie. He’s got to take Grace back to Rachel’s, but he’ll be there when they are.
From then till Danny spots Steve and Malie walking into headquarters, Steve can feel hot fingers running down his back and he knows that they need to deal with this.
Waiting for the adrenaline come down after their latest arrest, Danny and Steve head to Steve's house. Mary's just heading out, she and Lex and flurry of activity and laughter, and she slugs Steve on the shoulder for some unknown reason with a smile.
Steve retrieves two beers for he and Danny, who has sprawled on the couch with Adelaide just poking out of his shirt pocket. Steve joins him and passes a bottle over.
"Did you see Chin's face when the con artist started hitting on him?" Steve asks.
Danny laughs loudly, a genuine smile on his face. "He almost let him go out of shock."
"Kai dove at his gecko and made he and Jarek jump. I would have been worried if I hadn't seen Kono cracking up around the corner." Steve grins, feeling so proud and pleased of his team, as Danny laughs at Kono's pranks. He sets his own beer down and reaches to where Malie curled half on his legs to rub at the spot in her neck that makes her purr. The touch makes Danny's laugh turn into a sigh. Steve's suddenly very aware of his heartbeat and he knows now he should say it, say something.
"I touched Adelaide," Steve says, staring at the contrast of Malie’s fur and his skin.
Danny blinks, swallows, and bites his lip. "I touched Malie." They face each other on the couch quietly for a minute, letting it sink in. "Have you," Danny starts. He stops, clears his throat, and asks again. "Have you ever, you know, touched someone else's...?"
"With Rachel, once. It wasn't," Danny shakes his head. "She didn't like it and it wasn't like this. I could never feel it when she held George."
"Yeah, why do you think we can?"
"Because we trust each other," Danny shrugs, like it's that simple. "Almost unconditionally," Adelaide adds from Danny's pocket.
Maybe it is. Maybe it's as monumentally simple as everyone else seems to think it is. Maybe it's not, but right now, Steve's not sure it matters.
Steve shifts Malie out of his lap, leans over, and kisses Danny, hand on his collar to keep him still. Danny sighs again, this time into Steve's mouth. His fingers curl in Steve's t-shirt, pulling him closer, points of heat bleeding through the material against Steve's skin. When Steve pulls back, Danny grins.
"Finally," Adelaide murmurs, crawling across Danny's shoulders towards Malie, who snuffles into her fur the instant Adelaide settles.
"Shut up," Malie purrs, warm and safe and happy.
And it's hard to argue with his daemon, so Steve meets Danny's gaze and shrugs. Danny smirks back and Steve's pretty sure they'll be alright.
Mary still laughs at them when she gets home, though.