blue flamingos

Snow White Furball

Fandom: Hawaii Five-O

Category/Rated: Gen/PG

Year/Length: 2012/1861 words

Pairing: Steve, Danny, team

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: Steve finds a box of kittens in his truck

Author's Notes: When I was about 12, we stayed in this rundown house my uncle owned in the middle of nowhere in the French countryside, and one day a little yellow kitten came to play and stayed all day. There are dozens of pictures of it somewhere, and I was heartbroken that I couldn't keep it. This story isn't about that, except for how it sort of is.

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

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Steve found the box in the bed of his truck when he got to Five-0 HQ, or at least that was what he told the team when Danny demanded to know why there were four small kittens crawling over Steve's desk.

"But why are they crawling about our –" Danny stopped to catch the largest kitten before it could fall off the edge of the desk –"Our office."

"You brought the dog here." Lori scooped up the ginger kitten and cuddled it close, Kono leaning in to rub its ears, both of them grinning. Even Chin looked charmed, watching the smallest of the kittens, little more than a ball of white fur with huge blue eyes, crawl over Steve's thigh.

"And let it use my office," Steve added, not looking up from the kitten. There was something odd about him, a weird tension that he shouldn't have been able to retain with a kitten crawling over him.

"We were working a murder case, or did you want me to drop that to deal with the dog? You might remember that we've had nothing on the books for the last two days."

"So we can accommodate four kittens for the morning," Chin said.

"Or we could take them to the adoption center," Danny countered.

Both Lori and Kono looked up with wide betrayed eyes – seriously, the two of them becoming drinking buddies could surely only be the first step towards them taking over the world.

"They were dumped," Steve said, tumbling the kitten onto its back and tickling its stomach. "The box didn't get into my truck on its own. The shelter's got more kittens than they can house."

"You cannot adopt four kittens, Steven," Danny said firmly. "Even with your whole house."

"I know. I figured maybe someone here would take a couple. Give them good homes."

Danny took a good look at his team, at the four fur balls climbing over them and the paperwork, and gave up as gracefully as he could. "You're making a run to the pet store with me," he told Steve. "Before one of these decides to use my neatly completed forms as a litter tray."

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Lori took the ginger kitten – a boy, it turned out – home with her the first night, and taped a picture up on Kono's monitor, which made her grin.

Akemu, from the office downstairs, took the largest kitten for his two girls, and came in the next day with scratches on the backs of his hands, which apparently his partner said was punishment for bringing a cat home without asking. "He wanted to buy them a goldfish," Akemu said glumly.

"A goldfish isn't a real pet," Steve said firmly, which made Akemu nod in deep agreement.

That left them – Steve, it left Steve, Danny was not taking responsibility for any small furry animals – with the tiny white kitten, who liked to curl himself around Steve's coffee cup and sleep, and a gray girl who disappeared into the wider offices of HQ if they forgot to close the main door.

The fourth time security brought her back to Steve, the return was accompanied by a sharp reprimand about animals in the offices. "At least keep her in here, yeah?" the officer suggested, handing her over to Steve.

She gave Steve a disdainful look, hopped out of his arms, and stalked into Chin's office.

"I'm on it," Steve said, watching her go.

It was a week before he triumphantly tucked the kitten into an empty paper box at the end of the day. "You remember McKay? From the Missouri?"

Danny nodded. He knew Steve had gone to see the retired sailor a couple of times while he was recovering from being shot, but hadn't realized Steve had kept on keeping in touch. Somehow, that didn't surprise Danny as much as it probably should have.

"His wife has Alzheimer's. His daughter suggested a cat, I guess they're supposed to help somehow, and I persuaded him to take this girl." Steve reached in to stroke her head, getting a disgruntled hiss in response.

Curled up on Steve's desk, the white kitten opened one eye to look at him, closing it again as soon as it saw Steve looking back.

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"So," Danny said a couple of days later, walking into Steve's office and finding him typing one handed, the other occupied with stroking the kitten, curled up around his mouse. "What's happening to this guy? You need a ride to the shelter with him?"

Steve shook his head, not looking up. "I'll take him when I get chance."

"Get chance? Since when do you prioritize paperwork over... anything, actually?"

"You're always going on about how important paperwork is and how you wish I'd do more of it, and now that I am, you're complaining?" Steve's tone was light, teasing, but his face, even tipped down to watch the keyboard, didn't match.

"I am not complaining about the paperwork. I am expressing some surprise at your diligence in completing it, but I fully support continued and on-going diligence with all things paper-related. I am actually wondering – not complaining, just expressing some curiosity – about why this kitten continues to reside in our offices."

"He's not disturbing you," Steve said, spectacularly missing the point, as usual.

"It's a kitten, Steven! Police offices are no place for a kitten to live, it needs a good home with a family that can take better care of it."

Steve stroked one finger down the kitten's back, not looking at it or Danny. "I'll take him when I get chance," he said firmly.

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A week later, Danny was feeling pretty good about life. It was Friday, they had the weekend off (assuming no-one blew up the islands in the next six hours), it was his weekend with Grace, they had plans to go to the Aquarium, and best of all, he'd solved the problem of the kitten's residence.

"I am about to make myself your favorite person."

Steve's face did something complicated in response to Danny's announcement, but all he said was, "Okay."

"I, my friend, have searched high and low. I've asked my neighbors, I've asked Gracie's friends, I've even resorted to asking Rachel to ask around her mother and baby group. And I have found you –" Danny presented the scrap of paper with Grace's history teacher's name and number with a flourish – a home for this flea-bitten fur ball."

Steve didn't take the paper, or look particularly pleased about the results of Danny's hard work. "Thanks."

"Wow, don't overwhelm me with your enthusiasm there. I get that you like this little thing, though God knows why when all it does is fall asleep on your computer equipment, but it can't live here."

"I know that," Steve said, but he was scooping the kitten into his lap as he said it, which somewhat undermined the statement. Especially when the kitten immediately started purring.

"I'm not going to steal it, Jesus. I'm just saying, you found good homes for the other three, congratulations, McGarrett the cat-whisperer, this one's going to feel sad and rejected that you're not bothering for him. I've met Ms Kalike, she's had cats since she was yay high, her last one just died and she's lonely without it. And hey, you have a kitten that needs a good home -" Danny brought his two hands together to make the point, teacher, kitten, two birds, one stone etc.

There was a long, painful pause, the kind that made Danny glad the office was empty but for the two of them; Steve's shoulders tensed, his head ducked over the kitten so Danny couldn't read his face.

"Look," Danny started, with no idea what he'd say next, nothing but a vaguely formed need to fix whatever he'd just done to hurt Steve, when he'd meant to do the guy a favor.

"I'm going to keep him," Steve said before he could continue. Steve's voice was tight, his face angry and frustrated – with himself, Danny was pretty sure, with the way this obviously mattered to him – but his eyes were sharp, like he was hurting. "I wanted – I –"

Danny took in the covetous, childlike way Steve held the kitten, almost greedy, the way Grace was with something she really wanted, something that mattered to her. The kitten really was tiny, and it had been abandoned, no mother or father, a fuzzy replica of all the parentless children Five-0 had dealt with.

Some days, Danny wanted to kick someone – Steve's dad, who'd completely screwed up raising his kids after being widowed, or maybe Joe White, for messing with Steve's head and then leaving.

Some days, he just wanted to give Steve the biggest hug ever and promise not to leave him.

"Lori took the gingernut, and she lives on the third floor," he said instead, trying not to think about Ms Kalike, who'd given him the kind of smile he dreamt about getting from attractive women, when he'd offered her the kitten. "I bet a kitten would love having your whole house to play in."

Steve nodded, but he didn't put the kitten down, and Danny knew that hadn't been enough. That for some reason, one small kitten had gotten to Steve in a way that nothing else had, hit him somewhere under all the protective walls he put up.

What the hell. Danny couldn't kick anyone, but he could do the other thing. "Come here," he said, tugging at Steve's shoulder and feeling Steve go with it before he'd even finished speaking. "We're not going to leave you," he said to the top of Steve's head.

"You can't promise that," Steve said, and it sounded so normal, would have been believable but for the way Steve's free hand curled tight, tight in Danny's shirt, like he was worried Danny was going to leave right now. "None of you can, especially you. It's okay."

It wasn't; Danny wasn't stupid enough to buy that line. But the rest of it was true, and Danny couldn't even deny it. Grace came first. Grace would always come first, and he didn't think Rachel would leave again, but he hadn't thought Rachel would do a lot of the things she'd done. He was starting to accept that he maybe didn't know her as well as he liked to think, not any more.

"It's all right," Steve repeated, starting to pull away. Danny's first instinct was to hold on tighter; he let Steve go instead, and glanced away to give Steve the moment it seemed like he might need. "And hey, now I have a kitten, right?"

He was smiling, and it was almost convincing. So close that it hurt, because Steve was Danny's best friend, and Danny couldn't fix this, even though he kind of knew how.

"Vet bills, litter trays, and waking up with it sleeping on your head, what more could a man want?" Danny said, playing along, because if that was all he could do for Steve, then that was what he was going to do.

And maybe keep up with the hugs. Couldn't hurt, right?


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