Steve had dreaded this day like he had nothing in a very long time.
His recovery from the incident with the collapsing building had been slow, even more so because he had to recover from that triple zone as well with a lot of meditations and grounding exercises. But Steve hadn’t bat an eye at that, which he knew was more than atypical for him, because Danny was there.
Danny, with his flying arms and excessive rants about everything military related (especially sleeping hours, food and the very bad coffee they served here). Danny, with his unwavering solidarity whenever Steve made a step back rather than forward in his recovery, goading his willpower and ambition again and not shying away from Steve’s frustration. Danny, with his blue eyes and his laugh lines around them. Danny, with his loud Jersey way of crawling under Steve’s skin and settling there like he owned the place. Danny, with his warm skin Steve couldn’t touch the way he wanted, because they were neither bonded nor nearly in private enough to fully indulge in the sensation. Danny, with his carefully structured hair that Steve itched to run his finger through, because it looked so soft at the base of his skull. Danny, with his scent of dark teakwood and hints of salt and gasoline that had burned a hole in Steve’s heart with such force that he now was hopelessly addicted to.
But it wouldn’t be appropriate to bury his nose again at the crook of Danny’s neck without a real lifesaving need. Not under a thousand prying eyes of the Navy Guild. They had eventually shown up, which was no surprise. Danny had been able to pull an A-Class Navy SEAL Sentinel out of a triple zone without so much as sweating. Normally this would have evolved at least a couple of days with two or more guides taking turns, burning so called scent-bombs to activate the still intact sense of smell again. But Danny had just been sitting by Steve’s side for a couple of hours, talking by all means, and Steve had come back just like that.
Steve had tried to brush it off, told the Navy Guild Officer something about the fortunate circumstance that Danny’s scent had triggered the memory of his childhood in Hawaii, happy days with his father and sister loitering in the garage and fixing the Marquise. He wasn’t sure, if they had bought it. They actually wanted to do some test and Danny had looked more than apprehensive about that announcement. But somehow a wonder had happened and they backed down.
Steve was still suspicious about it, but he wouldn’t question it as long as Danny was still with him on the carrier. This had to be some test to see if Steve had told them the truth. That they weren’t compatible at all. So Steve toned his interactions with Danny down, in public as well as in the privacy of the meditation room.
But it was so fucking hard. Nothing ever before did prove itself such a challenge as the temptation of Danny was.
Steve had tried to be subtle about it. He took deep breaths, when Danny leaned in close for some reason, trying to memorize that scent and taking comfort in that faint resemblance of that one time he got drunk on it. Of course he felt bad about it, mostly because it felt like he would take advantage of Danny and his guide nature like some pervert. To some part he also felt like a drug addict that greedily waited for his next shot. That was disturbing, because Steve had to doubt his own ability as a SEAL as well as his own sanity if he acted like a loose dog in the presence of one man.
He couldn’t bring himself to care enough, though, and that scared him. Steve naturally wasn’t scared by much, so that was something to go by. In those couple of days, where Danny had become a constant presence in Steve’s life, he got so used to having him around that he hardly could recall the times, when Danny hadn’t been and how he had functioned then.
Well, he would soon enough know it again. His doctor had deemed him recovered for training again this morning and his commanding officer had been quick to assign him to the next training mission that would start in a week. Somewhere off the ocean, no specifics given. But it was clear as day that the day Steve would jump into a helicopter to be thrown off somewhere over dark waters, was the same day Danny would mount a flight of his own that would bring him back to Oahu. Far away from Steve. He should be thankful for it. Of course his commanding officer had bugged him about that guide, if he didn’t think he would at least be acceptable for Steve to accompany him on his missions until another match was found. Steve declined him politely with all the reasons he could come up with. It tore at his heart that he had to deny his guide.
Danny on the other side looked forward to seeing his daughter again. She had been with her mother and step-father on vacation in England, visiting her grandparents from her mother’s side for the last couple of weeks. Otherwise Danny wouldn’t have been able to come to Steve’s rescue. It had stung the moment Steve discovered the fact, that he wasn’t Danny’s upmost priority. But that was selfish, since his brain brought forward every logical and reasonable argument that spoke in favor of Danny’s behavior. It was another perfect reason why they were clearly not compatible and the Navy Guild should lose their interest in Danny again. Only it sounded much easier than it actually was.
Steve tried to make the most of Danny’s remaining days with him. He indulged in far more meditations than he ever had before going on a mission, even if it was just a training mission. He tried to get Danny the best coffee there was on the base; he even talked someone into buying some cinnamon buns for Danny, because he wouldn’t stop talking about food, especially Italian food, pastries and the abomination that obviously was Hawaiian pizza. Steve argued back about that, because honestly, there was nothing better than the combination of ham and pineapple on a fine dough with tomato sauce. He argued with Danny about almost everything, just because he could. He knew that others stationed with them on the carrier were either really irritated (especially Navy Guild Officer Susan Delano, who couldn’t scribble “constant arguing” and “disrespectful guide-behavior” quick enough in her report, which Steve had spied on from some distance) or silently amused about their rants, but Steve couldn’t care less. Arguing with Danny came naturally to him, like breathing, and it was just as important. Danny talked with his soul on his tongue and if he talked like that with Steve, Steve could cherish the illusion that they were connected, bound soul to soul.
Steve could only do so much and try to lock all memories with Danny somewhere deep down, so he could relive them when he was somewhere far away, surrounded by bombs and terror. But he couldn’t stop the time. Too soon, Danny had packed his small duffle bag. He had run out of clean shirts after a couple of days, because he had packed in a hurry to get here and therefore had grabbed at least five sweatpants instead of his shirts. Danny had bitched about it and Steve had just grinned. Now, Danny stood in the hallway leading to the aircrafts before him in a borrowed navy shirt that clung to his broad shoulders like a second skin. The SEAL’s motto stretched over Danny’s broad chest and seemed to mock Steve.
The only easy day was yesterday. Yeah, indeed.
“Hey,” Danny said softly and touched his shoulder briefly. “You can’t do that, Steve, you need to stay focused, ok? No zones, we talked about that.” He grinned slightly, trying to be cheerful, but Steve looked in his blue eyes and saw a storm raging behind them.
People bustled about, but they could also have been on another planet.
“Yeah, no zoning, right, Danno,” Steve said around the lump in his throat. Danny stood there, staring at Steve with unreadable eyes, his duffle clutched tightly in his fist as if Danny as a guide needed something to ground himself. He had an odd sense of déjà-vu, seeing Danny standing before him with a farewell hanging thick in the air between them.
Steve couldn’t bear it any longer. This was the last time he would see Danny in God knew how long. Maybe the last time ever. This actually should be the last time, if he wanted to keep Danny entirely safe out of this. But also the last time he could touch that skin and smell that addicting combination of dark teakwood with its subtle hints of salt and gasoline. His only chance to know if Danny’s hair really was as soft as it looked.
He moved before he could think too long about it and wrapped his arms around those strong shoulders. Something, probably the duffle, hit the floor and Danny’s arms clutched tightly at the back of his BDU. Steve buried his nose in Danny’s neck, forgetting that they stood in the middle of the hallway to the hangar and that everyone could see them. They weren’t important. Danny, warm and secure in his arms, hugging him back just as tightly, was. Nothing else mattered.
One of his hands wandered up and buried itself in that dark blonde hair at the base of Danny’s neck. Steve sighed at the sensation, caressing the hair absentmindedly. Danny turned his head, leaning into the touch, and it felt only natural for Steve to do the same, lifting and turning his head until his lips met Danny’s straight on.
The sun exploded behind Steve’s closed eyes. Danny’s slight stubble burned, but his lips were so soft. Steve’s brain almost knocked itself out with the stimulus satiation of Danny’s scent mixed with his taste and the feel of his lips under Steve’s. It was as if a hunger Steve had tried to stifle without knowing what he would miss finally got satisfied, but at the same time, it wasn’t nearly enough. Without thinking, Steve licked over Danny’s lips, who promptly opened up for him and tentatively pushed his tongue against Steve’s.
He shuddered as a soft moan escaped Danny, almost shy and so, so careful, like Steve was about to brake under too much onslaught. Oh, he did anyway. The moan vibrated through his body, traveled all the way down directly to his dick. He kissed Danny almost feverishly now, nipping at his bottom lip only to deepen the kiss once more.
Steve was startled when suddenly Danny took a step back, breaking the kiss. He looked at him, irritated and upset. Why did his guide push him away? It was alright to kiss, maybe going deeper as well, they were more than a compatible match.
Danny’s eyes were nearly black, his striking blue irises only visible as a thin circle. Heat instantly pooled in Steve’s stomach and he was about to close the gap again and press himself against his guide.
“-mder? Lieutenant Commander!”
Steve slowly turned his head and stared at the guy before him. “Lieutenant Commander, I’m sorry, but we need to take Mr. Williams back to Hawaii now. The plane’s ready for take-off.”
Steve blinked himself back into reality. Suddenly the buzzing of the hallway came crashing down on him. Some people gave him strange looks, but he had only eyes for Danny, who stood just a step away, but it felt like miles. Shit.
“Yeah, sure,” he said, his voice rough. This was it. Time to break away.
Danny stared back with hard eyes and seemed to hesitate for only a moment. Then he came back right into Steve’s space, grabbing him by the neck and pushing their foreheads together. His eyes were blue again.
“Make sure you bring your sorry ass back in one piece,” he rasped. It was exactly the same request he had put upon Steve, when they had met for the first time, ages ago in another base.
Steve swallowed, gripping Danny’s arm tightly. “I will.”
“Mr. Williams, we really have to go now”, urged the Petty Officer at their side. Danny nodded, let go of Steve and walked a few steps back. His eyes never left Steve, who stood there frozen. Danny picked up his duffle and turned around to follow the young Petty Officer, who seemed relieved that there wasn’t any further delay. Steve stared at Danny’s back, the Navy SEAL’s emblem staring back at him, stretched over Danny’s broad back. Just before Danny vanished in the crowd, he turned around one last time, cracked a small smile and everything in Steve shattered. His heart was too small to hold all the pain that seared through him at the sight of Danny leaving; leaving him behind.
He suddenly felt very detached from everyone and everything.
The only easy day was yesterday.