Shave Ice

by Jane Davitt

Kamekona gives Danny a skeptical look. "You really want some shave ice?"

"I'm standing here next to your shave ice stand," Danny replies. "Why is it so hard to believe that I want some of your product?"

"Because you usually want information," Kamekona says simply. He rubs his thumb and fingers together. "And you pay me."

"Today, I'm just paying for the ice while I wait for McGarrett. Who's late." Danny studies the flavors on offer as if his choice is life and death. ‘Rainbow’ catches his eye. Lemon, strawberry, pineapple, with vanilla ice cream under it. Hmm. Sounds refreshing on a hot day, and today qualifies. He opens his mouth to order one.

"Thought you didn't like pineapple."

Danny sighs. "Only on pizza, which this is not. Do I see a crust? Cheese? Tomatoes? No. Then we're good with the pineapple." Belatedly, he realizes that he hasn't ordered yet and he gives Kamekona a suspicious frown. "How did you know I was going to --"

It's wasted. Kamekona is staring down the street at an approaching Steve McGarrett, his broad face remote, lacking its usual geniality. "You're going to need the special," he says, his voice a low rumble.

From nowhere, he produces a glass bottle, the sides tinted green. It looks old and the contents shift strangely.

"I'm in a rainbow-flavored mood." Danny is being ignored. Clearly on Hawaii the customer isn't always right and is, in fact, invisible. Kamekona prepares the shave ice and tilts the bottle over it. A single drop of clear liquid spills out and falls, absorbed instantly, turning the mound of snow-like ice the color of…the same shade as…

Danny blinks and accepts the shave ice because it's shoved into his hand. "This isn't what I ordered."

"On the house, brah." Kamekona points at Steve, still a long way from the stand, walking briskly, yes, but not with the urgency of a man who's ten minutes late. Of course, Danny was five minutes late himself, but that can be ignored, glossed over, expunged when he berates the tardy Steve. "Take a good look."

"Are you always this weird on Mondays?" Danny inquires. He uses the straw in his ice to scoop up a mouthful, his parched mouth craving cool wetness. It tastes salty.

"Okay, what flavor is this?" he demands.

"Tears," Kamekona replies. "You're not looking."

Tears? God, this island is deeply, deeply strange. He takes another bite and it's as disgusting as before. Even knowing he didn't pay for it isn't lessening his outrage. He squints down the street, his eyes battling sunlight.

Steve's closer now, still too far to talk to -- yell at -- but Danny would've waved if Steve's attention hadn't been on a woman standing on the edge of the sidewalk, peering down the road. She's pretty from the back, all long legs and longer hair, dark and silky, the breeze stirring it, but Steve's frowning.

A kid barrels past Danny on a skateboard, weaving and whooping. Fourteen, fifteen, lanky and tanned, his arms windmilling. One catches the woman, a glancing blow, and she staggers, the silly, charming high-heeled shoes she's strapped to her feet giving her no stability.

Danny's too far away, so far away, but he moves anyway, the shave ice splatting to the ground, the air like treacle against his legs.

Steve's closer.

Steve reaches, grabs, the world tilts and the screech of brakes is a scream in Danny's ear and that's good because he can't breathe and if he can't breathe, he can't scream.

That's biology.

So is the messy seep and spurt of blood from Steve's ruined body, the white of bone sticking out, splintered, from his leg.

Danny skids to a halt, brushing past the woman who's screaming for him, just like the brakes. He falls to his knees, noticing the way the grit on the road pierces his knees, tiny stabs of pain he welcomes because he's numb and he can't shut down, not now.

"Steve --"

Steve dies before he can say anything, before he can come up with the perfect words to reassure, comfort, lie.

It's like the last gift Steve will ever give him, absolving him of the need to confess and be shriven for a hundred mean, impatient thoughts, a thousand lustful ones.

He licks his lips and tastes --

Kamekona gives Danny a skeptical look. "You really want some shave ice?"
The sense of movement from then to here makes Danny stagger, his legs weak. Ignoring Kamekona, he glances down the street, his heart beating hard enough for him to notice it, his lungs drawing in air like he's been underwater.

Steve's sauntering along the sidewalk, watching a woman dangerously close to the edge.

"Oh my God --"

He's running. He's running so fast. And Hawaii has its flaws, plenty of them, but if he’d known it had mystical groundhogs, he never would have --

It takes him six attempts, six agonizing deaths, two of them his -- and God, getting hit by a car hurts like hell, but not as much as seeing Steve's eyes glassy with horror, Danny's blood on his face like a lipstick kiss -- to realize the person he needs to take out of the equation is the fucking skateboarder.

He whirls away from Kamekona and that goddamn question of his -- like it matters when he's numb to the core, after losing Steve over and over and fucking over -- slams his arm out and brings the asshole to the floor, trapping the board under his foot before it can go an inch, a fucking inch, closer to Steve and the damsel in distress.

The kid can't speak. All the breath's knocked out of him and he's making some pitiful noises.

"Danny! What the hell?"

Steve's by his side, eyes wide, puzzled, angry.

Kamekona's chuckling like Danny's told the funniest joke ever.

"You're just in time," he tells Steve. "Danny's been waiting for you." He turns his head to look at Danny and gives him a shave ice, rainbow this time, sweet and wet. "Isn't that right?"

"Yeah," Danny says, still dazed by, well, everything. The skateboarder's on his knees now, hacking up a lung, but Danny doesn't care.

He opens his mouth to tell Steve what just happened, but he can still smell blood, taste tears, and he settles for hugging the guy, hard, right in front of the world, and somehow he's not surprised when Steve hugs him back without hesitation, his body warm and strong.

He breathes in the scent of Steve's skin, his lips brushing against Steve's neck in what isn't quite a kiss and then reluctantly lets him go. He thinks he's left shave ice smeared down the back of Steve's shirt, but it's a hot day; it'll dry.

"So what did he do?" Steve asks with a nod down, his gaze fixed on Danny. He reaches up to touch his neck, not to scrub it clean, but to touch it lightly, fingertips resting over the exact spot Danny's mouth had been.

Danny shrugs. "Going too fast. Reckless. Dangerous. People could get hurt."

Important people.

"Seems to me, he's not the only one going fast."

"That's a problem?" Danny's willing to wait for Steve to catch up if it is, no matter how long that takes. Well, he’ll give him a day or two, at least.

Steve's fingers are back at his neck, like it itches, though that's not the most romantic of thoughts. "No. Fast is good. Who knows how much time we've got?"

And that makes Danny turn to look at Kamekona, who stares back blandly.

“Yeah,” Danny says and he’s still staring at Kamekona. “Who knows.”

Kamekona shrugs.

It’s not comforting, but it comes with a smile and a scoop of rainbow shave ice for Steve.

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