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FIc: kumu (part 4)



(part 3)
*h5o*wingverse*

The next morning, Danny and Steve sent Grace off with Kono and a limping Uncle Chin and sat Rachel down. She was instantly suspicious. “What is this about?”

“Doctors. For you and… Grace,” Steve answered diplomatically.

Danny had dispensed with diplomacy for the time being. “And the baby.”

Rachel wanted to deny the news in front on Steve, but Danny was just too happy with the idea and the feeling was infectious.

“Rachel, we are putting the choice entirely in your hands,” Danny told her. “If at any time, any of the docs make you feel like you’re an experiment and not a human, they’re fish food. You will only be left alone with them when you want to. Whatever you want, babe, it’s yours. But we need to make arrangements soon.”

Rachel nodded. “I liked Grace’s doctor here in the islands. He’s good with her… when you’re not around.”

“No can do, babe,” Danny said as non-confrontational as possible. “The man has money problems.”

“He does?” Steve and Rachel chorused.

“How do you know?” Rachel added.

“You remember how he was acting at Grace’s last appointment? How even you said that was odd?” Danny asked. “He was too nervous. Some people have a guilty conscious and honestly, I don’t care about most of them. I do however care when they have authority and power over my daughter. So I asked Chin to look at his financials. Dr. Finn has been able to keep his debts from piling up but just. We pull him in for Gracie and someone will make his debts worse within days.” Or hours, depending on the source of his money problems.

“Oh.”

“So do you want to pull someone from New Jersey or pick from a list of the most renowned doctors of the world?” asked Steve.

Rachel thought about it. “How is Aunt Annie’s latest round of treatments going?”

Danny shook his head. “Not terrific, but if you ask her, Aunt Annie will come here regardless.”

“I can handle someone else for the pregnancy, but I’d really like her here for the birth.”

“Okay,” Steve was glad that a decision had been made. “I’ll pass that along. You know, this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario. You can have Aunt Annie vet any prospective doctors. She will have to work with them in the end, after all.”

“I’d like that,” Rachel said gratefully.

“I’ll have a list of doctors that pass a stringent security check and their credentials available to you by the end of the day. You’ll have your pick of them.”

Danny wrapped an arm around Rachel. “Maybe you’ll be more sympathetic about my paperwork now.”

“Unlikely,” Rachel retorted.

“We have a couple more issues to discuss.”

Danny squeezed Rachel’s shoulder, indicating that whatever coming was a surprise to him too.

“The President of the United States would like to meet you, all of us who are claiming sanctuary. Basically a photo op. Also, the Prime Minister and the Queen of England are claiming priority since Rachel is a citizen of the United Kingdom. Most of the United Nations would like to visit, but we can put everybody else off. It’ll be on your schedule, but since we’ll exclude Grace from all of the pictures and we don’t want to leak the baby’s existence, you’ll either have to do this before you start showing or after his or her birth.”

“You’ll think we’ll be able to keep the secret that long?” Danny asked.

“From the ship? Not a chance, but they’ve already off-loaded anyone that might not be able to keep their mouths shut. From the rest of the world? I’m betting that the leak will happen sometime after the military starts approaching pediatricians and OB/GYNs. Right now, only the three of us know.”

“Lovely,” sighed Rachel.

“Four,” Danny said.

Rachel looked at him severely.

He raised his hands in surrender. “I promised you full disclosure. I told Cath at the same time I told Steve ‘cause I figured you needed a female sounding board and she has been ordered to keep our secrets. But I haven’t told Chin and Kono yet.”

“Lovely,” she said again. She addressed Steve. “I haven’t asked to contact my mother yet, but I will need to do so. In part, to tell her about the little one. You said that there were several issues?”

“Education for Grace. What do you want her learn? We’ll make sure she gets tutors for her regular subjects but you can add anything you want on the military’s tab. Languages, science, whatever sports interest you.”

“Even tennis?” Rachel said with a smirk.

Danny reacted predictably with a rant about tennis not being a sport. Rachel looked as entertained as Steve was.

Steve waited until Danny wound down and then ignored the entire segue. “Make a list and we’ll start shipping in teachers.” He paused and looked in between Danny and his ‘ex’-wife. “Also, Cath now has a single room with extra bunks. It doesn’t have as much room as officer quarters, but she’s rarely in there…”

“’Specially since she’s sleeping in your quarters,” Danny teased.

“But, Rachel, she’s offering you a key so that you have a sanctuary for whenever you need alone time. No one will bother you there.”

“I appreciate that and I accept.”

“Cath gets off her shift at 1800hrs. She could swing by then and show you the room.”

“That would be lovely.”

“I’ll let her know,” Steve promised. “Make a decision on Gracie’s teacher or teachers, subjects and doctors and we’ll get them flown aboard immediately. You can change you mind at any time.”

“What are we going to do about socialization?” Danny asked sadly. “’Cause any parent volunteering their kids for this school should be drawn and quartered.”

Steve shrugged. “We don’t know yet, but we’re trying to figure something out. Does Grace have any cousins that might be a target already?”

“None on my side,” Rachel admitted.

“My sister Katie has two boys. Last I heard neither of them had solid wings, but they were colored. One’s older than Grace and one’s younger. We’ll see how it goes.”

“Okay and now for an easier question. Or at least, one of less importance. Danny showed us Gracie’s old flight harness and Kono suggested selling it, or donating it to a museum that they’re making in our old 5-O offices. Rachel, you were the one who kept it. What do you think of the idea?”

“The baby,” was her first protest.

“Will get one fitted to him or her. I’ll help you make it myself out of military grade materials. It really isn’t all that adjustable to a different form. I’m sure it worked great for Grace, but it’s unlikely to suit the baby, especially if it is a different gender.”

“It shows so much of her personality,” Rachel mused. “I like the idea of people seeing proof that Grace is more than a name and a pair of wings. I’d like to donate it.”

“And Grace won’t want it?” Steve asked her parents.

Danno laughed. “She wanted to do a ceremonial burning of it as soon as I said that she didn’t have to use it anymore. Grace doesn’t care for it. You heard her.”

Rachel had a better understanding of her daughter’s reasoning. “She was so afraid that you’d change your mind and make her wear it for another flying session, or worse yet, a month of them. She wanted it out of your reach so you couldn’t go back on your promise.”

Steve smiled at the way Grace worked her father. “Then I’ll see about getting it sent to the museum. We’ll call it a loan, just in case Grace wants it back someday.”

There was a pause in the conversation.

“Anything else?” Rachel asked.

“Not that I can think of. Are you having any problems at all?”

“No, not really. Everyone has been very helpful. I haven’t ventured much further then the cabin and the wardroom. The cabin is very small.”

“But it’s the biggest one onboard,” Danny finished the thought.

*h5o*wingverse*

After showing off in the sky the day before, Danny was in a pretty good mood. So Steve took advantage, corralled him in the office and tried to get as many students picked as possible. Charlotte Berigan of the Army had brown wings and a husband, Jeffrey, also Army, that adored her. Danny gave both Berigans the nod. Melody Petrarca, Air Force, and Samantha Laitman, Army, also had brown wings. So in keeping with Danny’s current theory of colored wings being part of the way to flying, the women were invited to the ship. Derrell Cassidy, Army Ranger and Doyle Marchiny, Coast Guard, were the two men in the personnel files with brown wings. The rest, Anne Bracy, Army, Mike Hoensheild, Recon Marine, Kurt Schwerin, SEAL, Idana Espinosa, Navy, Samuel Quinn, Army Ranger, Kaoru Okada, Navy, and Vince Delfin, Recon Marine all had essays that caught Danny’s eye for one reason or another.

Steve considered thirteen possible students a win and let Danny escape when Grace came to ask for some time with her father.

*h5o*wingverse*

Steve, Kono and Chin wandered into the mess at eleven-thirty. Grumberger and his SEAL team were already there in uniforms so clean, they were pressed. Chin and Steve were amused at the creases, though from the way that Danny liked to dress in his collared shirts, it might start them on the correct foot.

Steve was quick to realize that they didn’t have nearly the family-team dynamics of 5-O. They more individuals that could work together and each one could fill in where the others had weaknesses. They weren’t ‘ohana , which was good since the military would probably separate them as soon as they could fly. He could see the Navy trying to put one flier on every special ops team, trying to diversify the talents.

Jorge Flores and Philipe Guzman were Hispanic and bi-lingual. Flores listened much and spoke little. He gave no personal information. If his inclusion had been dependent on an essay, Steve was sure that Danny would pass on him. Guzman was easily the smallest SEAL Steve had ever met and had this amusing head-bob thing happening every time someone mentioned ‘Danny’ and ‘wings.’ Gil Heselden was Grumberger’s second in command from Maine with extremely fair-skin, blue eyes and white-blond hair. He was easy going and more awake than the others. Steve bet that he was excellent at negotiating between the chain of command and the team. Davy Devet was friendly enough. Michael Karg held himself apart from the others. Even in a group of individuals, Karg did not try to fit in with the others.

They didn’t have to wait long before Danny and Grace walked into the mess. If the conversation had been stilted before, it was down-right uncomfortable now. Karg was bypassing Danny and trying to exclusively communicate with Grace. Steve wasn’t sure if he was indirectly trying to butter up Danny or if he had guessed that all of the crazy exceptions to wings were genetic.

Danny sent Grace off with Chin before too long. Something was making him uncomfortably quiet and Chin understood a father’s instincts enough that when Danny said it was time for Grace’s math/computer lesson, he didn’t even look surprised. He just took the little girl by the hand and led her out.

“Let’s get this over with,” Danny said. “Let’s go someplace with a little space and check out your wings.”

“Weight room?” Steve suggested.

“Sure, why not?”

Grumberger’s SEALs followed Danny like puppies, tumbling over each other. The walk to the weight room was short and the SEALs stripped off their shirts and lined up. Jorge Flores was first in line. “Long-whiskered Owlet,” Danny declared when he grabbed the man’s wings. “Small, not much is known about them.” Steve thought it was fitting.

Gil Heselden was next. “Northern Hawk-Owl, hunts mostly by day, exceptional hearing, will plunge through snow to capture rodents.” Well, that explained why the man was more awake than the rest of his team.

Davy Devet was either the Long-eared Owl or the Tawny Owl since their wings shapes are so similar.

“What’s the difference?” he asked.

Danny tilted his head, thinking. “If I remember correctly the Long-eared is found mostly in dense woods and prefers dawn and dusk. The Tawny has excellent vision and is nocturnal.”

“Neither one sound horrible.”

“We will know for sure if… when you fly. Both have a rather distinctive and… awkward flying pattern.”

Devet swore. That did not bode well for him. If his wings belonged to a bird that had trouble flying he was going to have to work even harder to get up in the air.

“I’m betting on the Tawny,” Grumberger chimed in.

“Oh?”

“Devet always sees the important things first on a mission. And he likes the night hours like most of us.”

Philipe Guzman had the wings of a Burrowing Owl.

“That’s not a surprise,” Devet commented. “He’s damn good at camouflage on the ground. Even I have a hard time seeing him if he’s still and he’s good at being still.”

“Any other characteristics?” Grumberger asked.

Danny shrugged. “I’m sure you’ll find out more. I just remember that it hunts day or night, is small and bobs its head when agitated. “

The group laughed because Guzman was, at that very moment, doing his head-bob movement.

Michael Karg was last. Danny took a deep breath, grabbed his wings and released them before they could fully solidify. “Absolutely not. No, Nene. I don’t like him.”

“Hey,” Karg protested. He took a step closer to Danny. Steve stood in his way and Grumberger put a warning hand on Karg’s shoulder. “You don’t know me. You can’t make the kind of judgment call.”

“’Cept that I can. I want him gone.” Danny didn’t bother addressing Karg but was making his demands straight to Steve. “I want him off the ship.”

“Okay, we’ll do it. Will you tell me what is going on?”

“Steven, I’m not joking around here. I don’t want that man on the same ship as my daughter.” Danny yelled that last sentence to Karg, now being held back by Grumberger.

“There’s no truth to those allegations,” Karg yelled back.

Steve turned so fast, Danny lost his balance getting out of the way. “There are allegations?” he asked silkily. How could Danny possibly know something by touching his wings? Was Karg really a pedophile? What Steve considered to be truly odd was that the rest of Grumberger’s team wasn’t standing beside the man. They were standing in the middle, preventing Karg from getting any closer, but none of them were protesting the slur and they were blocking his escape route. If someone had called Chin or Kono a pedophile, Steve would have knocked their block off. No one in Grumberger’s team had a vested interest in Karg. Part of Steve was glad that this wasn’t devolving into a brawl and the other part of him felt sorry for the guys that didn’t have that kind of friendship to depend on.

“We’ll get him out of here,” Grumberger said. “He’ll be put off Enterprise immediately.”

“Detain him at the port base. I want to look into his background.”

“Aye, sir.” Grumberger and his team ushered Karg out of the weight room. Steve knew that they wouldn’t see Karg ever again.

“I wonder what kind of wings he had,” Kono whispered, but not soft enough.

“Eurasian sparrowhawk,” Danny spoke with clipped consonants. “They eat other birds exclusively. A lot of birds prey on other birds if the regular food sources dry up but the sparrowhawk… Males and females both hunt other birds but have different species preferences.” He was literally shaking with fury. There was some history there.

“Go hug Grace,” Steve suggested. “He’s being taken to the brig on the island and Chin, Kono and I will comb through his life and find an allegation that will stick.”

“I should help.”

“Grace…”

“No. I’m a detective. I know what to look for. I’m helping. This is how I protect my daughter.” There was no arguing with Danny’s stubbornness. This was at the very core of the detective’s character. Even though the circumstances had changed, Danny really hadn’t.

“Then let’s find his victims.”

*h5o*wingverse*

“Okay,” Steve started as they circled around their old 5-O table. “I’m going to find the old allegations. See if I can’t find a pattern.”

Danny stood at Kono’s side. “You and I are going to come at this from a different angle. We’re cross-referencing missing girls close to Grace’s age around any place that Karg was stationed. I don’t think he left evidence behind and by that, I mean bodies.”

“Okay.”

It took four hours of concentrated searching, two of which after Chin finished Grace’s math lesson. They found three little girls’ suspicious disappearances. The most notable one had happened in South Korea. Steve suspected that Karg had been sloppy there because he had been expecting the Navy to back him up. He had supposed to have been on watch and there was no true evidence that he had left his post, but DNA had been left at the scene. Chin compared that DNA to Karg on file in the military database. It was enough of a match to deep-six Karg’s alibi and forward the information to JAG. With the weight of 5-O’s reputation behind the e-mail, it was sure to be given top priority. Since Karg was smart enough to know that an American prison was decidedly better than a Korean one, chances were good that he’d cop to the murders of Lucy Ogawa, of Arlington, and Kuni Ti, of Jacksonville.

“Hey you know what?” Danny asked the team at large.

“Context?” Steve asked back.

“Grumberger’s team. It’s not a SEAL team anymore.”

“Yes, it was… is.”

“Nope. It’s a parliament of owls now.”

Kono threw a crumpled up piece of paper at him. Steve socked Danny in the shoulder.

Steve hoped that one day they would be considered normal and not freaks. Danny would always be a freak though. He could do too much. What Steve did do was requisition every accurate bird book written in English. Steve knew his science and chemistry but Danny knew his ornithology.

And yes, a group of owls –as very rare as that was- was called a ‘parliament.’

*h5o*wingverse*

The books arrived so fast –within hours- that Steve was suspicious that Robins had had the same thought and had already ordered the books. Danny begged off studying but did point out what books he preferred in his personal library. It was then that Steve realized that at least half of the books had ‘Daniel Williams’ written on the inside cover. These were from Danny’s apartment. Robins probably had been reading them since they had been transferred to the Enterprise. If Danny was a teacher, then he was the kind that pointed the student in the correct direction and let them figure out the answer for themselves.

“Do you think our wings are a reflection of us?” Kono asked when she looked up from the book of hawks. “What we didn’t know about ourselves? What we should learn about ourselves?”

“It’s possible,” Chin allowed. “Why ask?”

“I was just thinking about Danny and his wings. ‘Bout one of the first things you read about Red-tailed Hawks is that they are monogamous.”

Chin and Steve considered it, but were silent.

“We don’t know what kind of bird Rachel is, but you can bet it’s not a Red-tailed Hawk and a lot of avian species are not monogamous.” The men shifted uncomfortably, this was a lot of supposition into a friend’s life. “So does Danny keep trying for Rachel because the bird part of his brain tells him too? And Rachel’s is not?”

Steve saw an easy way to derail the conversation. “Danny has a bird brain?”

“Very complimentary, cuz,” Chin chimed in.

Kono flushed. “That’s not what I meant.”

“Sure sounded like it,” Steve said as he returned to his book on ospreys.

*h5o*wingverse*

“Mr. McGarrett, Detective Williams,” Robins said outside the 5-O offices the next morning. “Permission to enter?”

“Granted,” Steve answered. “Pull up a chair.”

“You want some coffee,” Danny offered from where he was pouring his own.

“Please. Crawford reported that your coffee is much better than ours, even to someone who has fried their taste buds.”

Steve laughed, glad that the daily dose of coffee delivered to their ‘doorman’ was appreciated.

“Black,” Danny confirmed before passing Robins a mug. He sat next to Steve and said, “Is something wrong, that we merit a personal visit?”

“Not wrong, per se, just some things I’d like to address in person.”

“Karg,” Danny guessed.

“Yes. As predicted, he admitted to killing all three girls. He told us where to find their bodies. The girls on US soil were retrieved and Karg was immediately discharged dishonorably and imprisoned. JAG is advocating the death penalty. Do you wish to be kept abreast of any developments?”

“Please,” Steve answered for the both of them.

Robins nodded. “On to more uplifting news. The equipment you requisitioned as arrived.”

Danny groaned and Robins smirked and continued talking. “We emptied out one of the maintenance bays for your use. There should be enough room for everything.”

Steve looked from Robins to Danny. “I only ordered a zip line, all associated rigging and an air pillow.”

“You might’ve, but I added a nylon glider and several industrial fans.” Danny glared at Robins. “Uplifting, really?”

Robins shrugged. “No one’s called me on it before.”

“That’s because you say the pun before you’ve told the joke. That’s like doubly worse than saying a pun to begin with.”

Robins didn’t mind being called on it. “What time should I have Grumberger’s team report to the bay?”

“It’ll take over an hour to get everything set up,” Danny mused.

“They’re SEALs, use them to get it set up,” Robins suggested.

“Sure,” Steve accepted the offer. “We’ll be there in an hour.”

“Very good.” Robins drank the last of his steaming coffee and motioned with the cup to Danny. “And very good. Thank you.”

5-O tidied up their offices, gave Crawford another mug of coffee and then walked the passageways to the newly claimed bay. Danny tore into the glider because ‘he had to fix it.’ Kono got the job of setting up the fans to create a crosswind and hunting down extension cords so that the wind could be adjusted.

Steve and Chin set up the zip line and the air pillow across the diagonal of the bay. They wanted as much practice space as possible. Grumberger and his team fetched and carried and generally were helpful with the set-up.

“Not so tight,” Danny instructed from across the room.

“That’s how you put up a zip line,” Steve yelled back.

“What bird have you ever seen come in for a landing as full speed and on a direct course?” he argued.

Well, it was hard to win against that logic. Chin smirked as Steve and Grumberger loosened the zip line to Danny’s specifications.

“All right, who’s first?” Danny asked.

“You have to ask?” Steve answered. Of course, he was first.

“I thought that you might have learned to let others go first. After all, you have been spending a lot of time with Grace and Rach. Some manners might have been imparted.”

“Nope.” Steve answered cheerfully. “I’m first in line.” He climbed up the crates to the start of the zip line. He ducked under the wing and hooked himself to the glider.

Danny yelled, “No, not like that.”

“I know how to use a glider, Danno.”

“But that’s not a glider, now. It’s fake wings.” Fair point. “Hook yourself higher into the glider so that the wings are lower on your back.”

Steve did so and noticed that it completely changed the balance of the contraption. Soaring down the zip line was rather fun, but he felt awkward and put down his legs as soon as he was over the air pillow. The glider tilted with his legs lowered and over balanced him. Steve swung wildly on the zip line and was thankful for the safety harness Danny had insisted he wear.

“You just have to practice landing. You’ve been walking around for decades, trusting your feet. Now your instinct is to put your feet down immediately, but you really want to wait as long as possible.”

“It’s close to a parachute landing.”

“If you say so. That’s not one of those things that I haven done nor have a desire to do.”

“Or should have to do, considering your wings,” Kono added.

“True. Once you get used to landing with wings, I’ll come back and show you how to land in crosswinds. That’s a challenge and sometimes, I still land on my butt.” Danny looked at the line to use the zip line and shrugged. “This will keep you busy for a while. I’m going to go find my family. Enjoy.”

“Oh, we will.”

Steve set up the rules and the schedule for using the zip line. The number one rule was that everyone had to have a spotter. No exceptions. Once they started messing around with the glider and the fans, they were going to have some accidents and the students would need to be rushed to the sickbay immediately. Steve scheduled himself for early every morning. He would either drag Danny down here for personal training or grab one of Grumberger’s team as a spotter. Kono and Chin signed up for the hour after him.

Chin was next on the zip line. He was as clumsy as the rest of them. While they were waiting for their turn, the parliament (Grumberger’s team and damnit, Danny’s got him thinking it too) and 5-O sat around after making their flying harnesses.

*h5o*wingverse*

Steve tapped on the captain’s cabin the next morning with news. “Robins just told me that our stuff has arrived. It’s in a larger conference room. One that they use to brief large groups. Do you and Rachel want to go through it now?”

“Yes, please,” Rachel answered for the both of them.

“What took so long? My coffee machine has been around since Day One and all my clothes since Day Two.”

“Your belongings had priority and were easier to up and move, since you didn’t have much in your tiny apartment. They had to check for bugs and trackers. They found several.”

“We knew about the ones in Steve’s house,” Chin reminded them. “Turned out that our stuff was lousy with them.”

“Did they exterminate the bugs, Uncle Chin?” Grace asked.

“Yes, they did,” he answered seriously. “Even followed most of them home and took out the nests as well.”

Good to know. Steve was going to have to ask for those reports. He wanted to know who was after them. He had to know the identities of their enemies.

Danny climbed into the midst of the pile and started dividing up the boxes of what belongs to whom. “Kono, Kono, Kono and Kono. Steve, Steve and Kono and Steve. They have these nicely labeled. Hey babe,” he called to Rachel. “I found your things. You’re going to have to go through them out here, decide what you want in the cabin and what goes into storage.” Chin found his pile and they worked in companionable silence finding their belongings.

It wasn’t long until Rachel held up a fitted black dress that wasn’t too formal. “I think I’ll wear this to meet the president.”

Danny paused in his unpacking. His wide eyes met Steve’s amused ones. “So we’re doing it, babe?”

“Yes, Daniel. It would be rude otherwise.”

“I’m cool with rude,” he reminded her. He was trying to give her an out.

“Daniel. There is no reason to make everyone wait months. People will get suspicious. We’ll do the photo and, hopefully, everything will die down by the time the baby arrives.”

“All right,” Steve said. “I’ll arrange it. Next week?”

“Thank you, Steve. Next week would be lovely.”

Danny scratched at his scruff. “I guess I’ll have to clean up.”

“Yes Daniel, you will. You too, Steve.”

“What will we do? Wings in? Wings out?” Danny asked as casually as if they were all going to have their shirts tucked in or not.

“Everyone’s going to expect a picture of the wings out,” Kono said what they were all thinking.

“I know you have a classy backless shirt, Kono, but what are you guys going to do for that?”

Chin and Steve looked at each other. True, they normally went shirtless during the ‘lessons,’ but they couldn’t be shirtless in a photo with the President. Especially not one that would be on the front page of countless papers over the world.

Rachel took charge. “Both of you, pick a favorite dress shirt and have it delivered to my cabin. I have all the supplies to tailor it to your needs. Danny’s mother taught me how.”

Steve happened to have a decent shirt in his hands. “Thank you,” he told her sincerely. “You should do 5-O’s PR officially. Between setting up the photo op and the museum donation, you’ve got a natural feel for it.”

Rachel looked rather suspicious.

“Just think about it?” Steve asked.

“You’d be great at it, babe,” Danny chimed in.

“I’ll think about it,” she promised.

*h5o*wingverse*

Robins informed 5-O in the wardroom at breakfast that the first students were arriving in a couple hours, along with Grace’s new teacher. Steve had enough time to practice on the glider wings, do a little weight lifting and get cleaned up. He stood next to Danny, Chin and Kono and got his first view of the Wing School students.

To Steve, it looked like some of them barely had washed off the combat dust. They were sharp-eyed and excited. They had packed for a non-standard deployment.

Robins conducted the introductions and assigned the rooms and bodyguards. He even asked if any of them were willing or had taught kids and the subjects that they could teach. They had several volunteers. Danny looked like he didn’t even want to shake hands, let alone look at wings. He didn’t ask to see any and, wisely, no one offered. Steve was insanely curious as to the new students’ briefing for this year long tour.

Rachel appeared long enough to meet the teacher she had chosen for Grace for basics. She seemed pleased enough with Ms. Reinfield’s qualifications.

Danny didn’t look inclined to chat so Robins ushered the lot of them to baseline physicals.

*h5o*wingverse*

Steve and Grumberger took the new students around to the mess and the landing flight zone and the weight room. They explained that unless approached, to stay away from the Williams family. Steve hoped that most of them understood that ten days ago, 5-O had been living a completely different life. They were still adjusting and Danny had the biggest adjustment to make.

*h5o*wingverse*

The photo opportunity wasn’t as horrible as Danny had verbally feared. Steve had been tasked by Rachel to keep Danny distracted and clean. It turned out that they helped Grace dress for the meetings while Rachel was planning the photo backdrop and met with the photographers. Chin was at her side to reinforce the fact that the photographer was not to take a single picture of Grace.

She was forbidden.

Thankfully the President and the Prime Minister had important things to do elsewhere. They kept their visit short. They basically stopped on the Enterprise, shook hands and thanked 5-O for their loyalty and their attempts to share their talents, took the pictures and flew away. Every Wing School student had a chance to get their picture taken with the President, while their wings were still shadows. He assured each one that he would return for their ‘graduation’ and take a picture with them with their solid wings. Then entire group were photographed together. Steve was amused as the photographer tried to balance the height and breadth of 5-O’s wings to the students crushed together on either side.

Rachel had tea with the Queen and glowed for days after as she basked in the remembrance of the genteel conversation.

*h5o*wingverse*

Danny had agreed to Steve’s suggestion of doing some weight training with his new ‘students.’ With the exception of Grumberger and 5-O, Danny hadn’t asked to see anyone’s wings. It was as if after the incident with Karg, Danny had been reminded of some of the downsides of his… powers. He disliked the idea of a school even more than before. Steve had to break through the reticence before someone in the military made a fuss about Danny not holding up his side of the bargain.

The new students were scattered throughout the weight room, doing normal reps. Danny looked around with a frown. “Most of those won’t help them get into the air,” he muttered.

“Then tell them what will,” Steve said, thoroughly exasperated. “You have no problem telling me what to do. You’re bossy. Use your bossiness.”

Danny glared but charged into the middle of the room, more like the Danno Steve knew. He started instructing those with the free weights to strengthen their shoulder muscles rather than the biceps. Those waiting for equipment were shown how to do the leg lifts, twists and crunches that the 5-O team had been doing for months. The students were eager to follow Danny’s suggestions. Danny taught them all something within minutes. He had them in various groups and would tell them to switch before they could hurt themselves. Steve led one of the free weight routines, Chin led the other and Kono directed the leg lifts.

While Danny was overseeing the various groups, he was eyeing the resistance machine. Finally Steve took a break while the students were rotating to a different station and stood at Danny’s side.

“You’re thinking too hard.”

Danny huffed.

“What are you thinking?” Steve asked directly.

“Would anyone mind if I permanently changed that resistance machine?”

“Absolutely not. Need help?” Danny glared at him and Steve was pretty sure that whatever needed changed was going to be out of Danny’s reach. “Or do you need a stepstool?”

Danny was muttering under his breath as he dragged a weight bench over to the resistance machine to stand on. He moved the pulleys for the resistance cords so they were more overhead and he changed the weights that the lifter would be pulling against.

Danny jumped down and put the weight bench back to its original position. Then he stood in the machine to test it. He opened his wings, pulled down on the resistance cables and then pushed the cables out with his wings. The entire room stopped and stared at Danny’s powerful wings. His wings were technically lifting the resistance weights. Danny did twelve reps, barely breaking a sweat, and then sighed and released the resistance handles.

“Not bad,” Steve goaded.

Danny smirked at him, knowing that he had impressed them all. “I’d offer to help you do it, but it’s still going to hurt like hell to even try.”

“Don’t care,” Steve told him. He backed into the resistance machine, opened his wings and waited for Danny to make them solid.

“You’re going to pay for this,” Danny warned one last time before turning Steve’s wings into the real thing.

Steve pulled down on the resistance cables and then tried to apply his wings to the cables like Danno had done. His back twisted up to one huge throbbing pain and white flashed in front of his eyes. When he could breathe again, he realized that he had collapsed to the floor.

“I told you so,” Danny teased.

Steve might have been curled up on the gym floor in excruciating pain, but he still managed to swipe a hand in Danny’s direction.

Danny jumped back laughing. “So are your muscles screaming, super-SEAL?”

Yes, oh hell yes. He had never hurt this bad in all of his life, including all of his military training and occasional captures/tortures. No wonder Danny had refused to take him up after Chin.

Ow.

Steve gathered up his pride, breathed deep and stumbled to his feet. Danny took pity on him. “Gracie likes to do this, if you want to go get her.”

Steve nodded and walked out the door, trying to regain his dignity and trying to breathe through the pain. The last thing he heard as he walked out the door was Danny warning Chin that if he tried it, he end up in the exact same position. Chin was smart enough to wait.

Ow.

The pain faded away (mostly) by the time he walked to Grace’s classroom. Finding Grace was easy enough and she loved the idea of escaping from Ms. Reinfield’s spelling test. She was even more excited when Steve explained what Danny had set up. By the time Steve and Grace returned to the weight room, Danno was giving everyone a chance to try the resistance machine and flex their solid wings for the first time. Danny could look at most of them and have a pretty good guess at to the type.

For Joseph Bell, Danny said, “I’m thinking a Red-breasted Merganser. It’s a diving duck and possibly one of the fastest fliers of the birds.” Bell cheered.

For Kaoru Okada, of the Navy, Danny guessed, “Spotted Owlet, it lives in small groups and thrives in cities. It’s not strictly nocturnal.” Okada looked thoughtful and sat next to Espinosa and several others that had already made friends.

Idana Espinosa, of the Navy was declared to be an American Black Swift. “It tends to like heights near water and flying, and always eats in a group.”

She grinned. “I hate eating alone.”

“There you go.”

Carmen Forbes had wings similar to the African Marsh Harrier. Melody Petrarca wings were that of a Hen Harrier. Danny really didn’t add any editorial comments for the women because he had seen his daughter.

“Gracie? You ready to show everyone how this machine in supposed to work?” he asked her.

She nodded so hard her ponytails bobbed.

The resistance handles weren’t long enough for her to grab as she stood in the machine.

“I could get a stool for her,” Steve suggested.

“No need,” Danny said.

He lifted her up and she straight-armed the handles, hovering above them like an Olympic gymnast. She balanced for a moment and then opened her wings. Her wings pushed against the resistance cord just like her father’s. The more she pushed, her body was raised in connection. Just as slowly, she returned her wings to her back in the rest position before trying again.

Two.

“You’re doing awesome, Gracie,” Danny cheered. “Now do three.”

Grace lost her balance for a second, regained it and did her third repetition. She was showing them all up.

“Four,” Chin and Kono chorused.

She flashed a quick grin at the cousins. And did her fifth rep.

The entire room chanted, “Five.”

“Three more,” Danny asked of her.

Grace nodded, took a deep breath and…

“Six.”

“Come on, come on,” Danny said. “I know you’re getting tired but you can do this.”

“Seven.”

Grace was sweating and shaking, but she set her jaw and did the last repetition. Danny caught her before she fell.

“You did wonderful, Monkey. Now do you want to go back to Ms. Reinfield?”

She nodded, safe in her father’s arms.

Before leaving to escort his daughter back to her classroom, Danno agreed to be in the weight room every afternoon from one until four, directing the exercises. Steve considered that a win. Daily, everyone would have a chance to stretch their wings.

After four every day, the students would rotate through the sick bay for weekly physicals. Steve felt pity for the students but not too much. They whined almost as much as Danny did and weren’t nearly as entertaining while doing so.

*h5o*wingverse*

Dr. Standish, the OB/GYN chosen by Aunt Annie, finally arrived. She settled in a berth not far from 5-O and spent a lot of time chatting with Rachel before suggesting taking the conversation into the sick bay for tests. Danny kicked everyone out of the infirmary and it was just him, Rachel and Dr. Standish.

“How was the appointment?” Steve asked later.

Danny grinned with glee. “Rachel is healthy. He is healthy. And as frosting on my cake, he has wings.”

“Rachel,” Steve addressed the expecting mother. “How did Dr. Standish do? Are you keeping her?”

“Yes. Aunt Annie did an excellent job screening physicians.”

Danny was thrilled about the health of the baby and could discuss little else. It was Rachel that told him that the ultrasound technician had been confused with what she had seen on the screen. The shape had worried her and Dr. Standish had started to explain about possible abnormalities. Rachel had had to poke Danny and order him to make the baby’s wings disappear. He did as ordered. That was something new: Steve hadn’t known that Danny could make wings disappear as easily as (easier than?) making them appear.

Since Danny was in such a good mood due to his wonderful news, he conceded to taking Chin and Steve up flying.

Twelve minutes each.

It was hard, glorious work. Steve was sore afterwards, but it was the good type of sore, and the new rigs worked well. He would adjust it so that it didn’t leave bruises next time.

*h5o*wingverse*
(part 5)