by Maudlin Mush
disclaimer: The characters of Hawaii 5-0 do not belong to me. I'm just playing in their sandbox.
Chapter 1: Denver
They watched as the normally up-tight man twirled in a circle, snow falling softly all around them.
Fuckin' cold snow! And the sidewalk was slippery as well.
But that didn't stop the happiness being expressed in front of them. Swinging off his backpack, Danny stopped his deliriously happy dance and faced his friends. His incredibly under-dressed friends. He tugged the zipper on the pack and began to extract articles of clothing more suited to the winter clime.
First, Kono. A cheerfully bright scarf, a knitted hat and a pair of warm, lined gloves. Then Chin, who was resembling an ice cube, his teeth chattering. More subdued colors in the scarf and hat. Plus thicker gloves. Finally Steve. Dark blue! He'd thought Danny would try to deck him out in pink. Actually, he deserved it given how much grief he'd given his partner over the past month. But here he was, grinning like a kid on Christmas morning, pulling a cap over his friend's head.
"Ya didn't think I'd let any of you freeze, did you?" he said as he zipped his pack and moved to the curb. A car had been secured and the cousins elected Danny in charge of driving. He had experience driving in snow.
Of all crazy things to go to, the Governor decided to accept an invitation to a 'Special Units' conference. Her little task force had already gained attention from some of the larger units on the mainland and they were asked to sit on a panel debating the use of a state force separate from the police department.
Outside of Denver, Colorado. At the Evergreen Conference Center in the mountains west of the city. Jameson had gone so far as to renting the team a two-bedroom cottage at a nearby resort. She felt they could use the 'bonding' time.
Not that any of them complained about that. They actually didn't mind the prospect of sharing the cottage. It was the snow and cold that three of them balked at.
"I also took the liberty of buying extra thermals for all of you," Danny said brightly as he headed down the highway. "Gov. Jameson insisted I get some proper gear for you. Chin smiled. Leave it to Williams to quietly take care of their needs.
"I can't believe you didn't lord that over us!" Steve grouched as he tugged on the actually comfortable hat. Williams did not take his eyes off the road.
"None of you have ever lived for any extended period of time in a snow-bound area. It's one thing for me to over heat in Hawaii, all I need to do is start takin' off layers," Danny said. "But when it's cold and all you got is cargo pants and muscle shirts, no way you can get warm."
"I hope you got me something warm," Kono said as she rubbed her gloved hands over her upper arms and reached over the seat to turn up the heater.
"Oh, yeah," Williams grinned.
"Mine better not be pink!" McGarrett growled.
"Would serve you right, Boss, if he did!" Chin tossed in. Steve turned and glared over his shoulder at the back seat.
"Naw," Danny quickly assured. "Anyway, nothing pink in Ninja Seal size anyway!" A gentle roll of snickering filled the four-wheel drive. They settled down and gazed out the windows at the snowy landscape. Whereas McGarrett had been in snow a couple times, Chin and Kono had no experience in it.
"Wow!" Kono said as they started to climb the mountain. "Look at that!" she pointed out the high drifts of snow that had been plowed. Signs proclaiming 'snow chains required' loomed on the side of the highway.
"We don't have to worry about chains," Danny said. "The jeep has snow tires on it as well as four-wheel drive. I'll just keep it on the slow side for safety's sake."
"We have plenty of time to make it to the resort," Chin agreed. "And the first 'social' is tonight." Steve grunted.
"Whoopie, a meet and greet," he muttered.
"Hey, it includes dinner," Kono pointed out. "Won't have to worry about eating."
"Plastic chicken," Steve stuck out his tongue.
"Talk about a negative attitude, McGarrett!" Danny chastised. "We're here for the bonding and learning, not the food!"
"Bonding! Bonding!" Kono and Chin chanted in the back seat before bursting into laughter.
Steve wondered about the sanity in sending them to this conference. Their team was solid; they'd really come together after Danny had been beaten and his apartment destroyed just a couple months back. In fact, their Haole was just back to physical normal. Mental normal was not a concern as they were all a bit... bent. They'd even begun the search for a new place for their Haole.
But Jameson was adamant they'd learn something at the conference and they'd make the Hawaiian task force look good. That political punch would help her in the long run with federal monies for her state. She'd gone so far as to caution McGarrett to 'play nice' and follow William's lead in meeting with other state special task forces.
After about an hour the jeep turned into a cluster of cabins and a large lodge. They left their things in the car and climbed the steps up to the main desk.
"May I help you?" a down-jacketed man asked as they stepped up to the desk.
"Uh, Steve McGarrett, Hawaii 5-0?" he said. The man pushed a few keys and looked up.
"Danny Williams?" he prompted. With a grumble Steve stepped back and let the 2IC move up.
"That'd be me!" he said with a smile. He pulled out the credit card given to him back in Oahu. The desk concierge accepted the card and started tapping various keys.
"Ah, yes, 5-O from Hawaii," he smiled. "You are in the Alpine cottage! Very nice, two bedrooms and kitchen. I see that we cleaned and placed some clothing in your room earlier. And the fire is ready to be lit. Perfect!"
"Was the clothing washed first?" Danny asked as his team mates listened.
"Yes, Mr. Williams!" the concierge affirmed. "Washed, dried and marked as per request! We are very good at the details. We also laid out the wood for your fire and you'll find plenty stacked by the front door."
"Excellent!" Danny smiled as he filled out the lodging card. A map was placed before him as the concierge explained how to find not only their cottage but the place where they'd be going for the conference. Williams noted these things, accepted four keys, and signed off.
"Let's go boys and girls!" he sing-songed as he turned and handed off keys. The contingent moved back to the jeep and drove the requisite distance to the cottage.
Even with the scarves and gloves it was COLD. At least the heater was on in the cottage and soon all the luggage was dragged in. Chin and Kono took one bedroom leaving Jersey and the Super Seal the other. Danny lit the fire before claiming his bed and stashing his clothing.
"Ok, let's see what Santa left!" Kono said clapping her hands. On the sofa were stacks of winter clothing. She immediately gravitated towards the feminine pile and happily started looking at the long sleeved turtlenecks and pretty floral thermals.
"Cute! You done good, bro!" she bussed Danny on the cheek. "And I like the down jacket!" It was a light mossy rose with lots of pockets inside and out. Chin was happy to find less girly wear for himself.
"So, how do you wear this stuff?" he asked as he checked out the flap on the thermals.
"Cuz! That is so wrong!" Kono complained. The men snickered.
"Thermals first," Williams directed. "Then I'd put on an undershirt and flannel boxers."
"Wouldn't want certain things to get cold!" Chin teased flapping his hand through the placket again. Kono stuck out her tongue at him.
"Then a turtle neck. I like my flannel shirt over that," he directed. "Double socks, I got you all a couple pairs of woolen ones for the top layer. You all brought boots?" He received affirmation.
"Well these little clamps will help you with traction in case it's icy on the walk to and from the conference," he held up strange looking straps with metal cleats. "Finally, your jackets. I had those labeled so we don't loose 'em." Kono and Chin glanced at the tags inside the jacket, locating their names.
"RAMBO!" Steve yelled. "You had mine labeled 'Rambo!'?" This sent the entire team into gales of laughter as the man so labeled made to grab his 2IC in a strangle hold. Williams easily dodged him and stood behind the cousins for protection.
"I don't know about you, but I could use some coffee," Chin said. "Is there stuff in the kitchen to eat?"
"Jameson said it would be stocked appropriately," Danny shrugged.
"Well, let's find out!" Kono headed off to check it out. It turned out to be well-stocked, even beer in the fridge. Steve located the coffee and filter and got the pot going.
"Oooh, cookies!" Kono pulled out a container with treats from a local bakery.
"I was a bit leery of this whole trip," Steve admitted, "but Jameson is class."
"She really wants us to put on a good show for her," Danny said. "So that means she's keeping us happy." He pulled out a bottle of brandy.
"Way happy!" Kono grinned.
"Now, we have to be sober when we go over to the meet and greet," Chin pointed out and glanced at his watch. "We have less than two hours!"
"So half a shot in the coffee," Kono said reasonably. "It helps warm you up!"
The foursome sat down at the kitchen table and began their planning session. They were going to do their state proud.