Danny had been patient. He had been fucking patient and well-behaved, but his will to stay that way had dwindled rapidly in the last half an hour. He paced the room again, trying to reach Steve over their still wavering telepathic connection and still only deafening silence greeted him.
Thankfully this Guild Officer and her assistants had left almost instantly after their so-called bonding ceremony was over and Commander Steely-Eyes was out of the room. Danny didn’t think he could have borne with them any longer.
He had tried to focus on packing Steve’s meager belongings, but soon his thoughts had strayed to the mission that loomed over his head. He had known that this would happen, it was all the navy saw in him: a tool to help one of their precious sentinels be even better at their damn jobs than they already were. But he at least had the audacity to believe they would give them some weeks to settle in their bond. Hell, he would have been even grateful for a couple of days. But they hadn’t allowed them the luxury of even a couple of hours.
Danny sighed, rubbing his eyes. He had known what he was getting into, but he had hoped that he could give Grace at least another call before leaving for a mission. It had torn his heart to pieces, deciding between his one and only daughter, who he loved more than anything, and Steve, who had clicked with him like a missing puzzle piece and had put Danny on ease for the first time ever since his guide-abilities came online. The day the Navy Guild had knocked on his door had been looming over his head ever since he had opened his mouth and spoke to McGarrett during that first meeting at the base.
Or rather, the day the Navy Guild had waltzed into Danny’s office and made a scene in front of the entire HPD. Meka had been great and supportive, but in the end he had to watch how Danny was pulled away with the matter of a dying military sentinel on his shoulders and the dagger-like glares of his captain in his back.
What a fucking disaster.
Danny flopped down on the bed and tried to stir his thoughts in a different direction. They came back like a boomerang. If he had never met Steve, life would be easier. But if he truly hadn’t, then he would still have no clue that the constant buzzing in his head and the slightly nauseous feeling every time any sentinel would walk by, touch him or speak to him were not normal. He would still believe the thousands of voices and emotions in his head were the burden of every guide. He would still be convinced that this was his life, the total maximum of his abilities, the end of the rope. But with Steve, there suddenly had been silence or better, peace in his head, as though he had walked around listening to a badly tuned radio station and suddenly he found his favorite station via digital audio broadcasting. Instinctual, Danny had known that Steve only existed for him and vice versa. Deep down, he had felt that pull even over thousands of miles and only with a sat phone connecting them. Steve was his mate and he would do anything for him. Just like Grace, only on a different level.
He sighed again. Why couldn’t life be stress-free and put the two people he loved the most together in the same spot? Easy answer: it was Danny’s life. There was no clam and easy in his life.
It felt like hours later, when the door opened again. Danny peeled an eye open to watch Steve enter the room. His face was like a mask and instantly a big ugly fear settled in Danny’s stomach. He shot upright.
“What is it? Where are we heading?”
Steve looked at him and slowly a grin spread across his face. “Home.”
“Home? What do you mean, home?” Danny stalked over to him to give him a good shake, so Steve would stop being so mysterious and just spill it.
“Home. Back to Hawaii.”
“Why? I thought we were assigned on some classified superman-saves-the-world-mission? Would you please open that mouth of yours and shower me with words?!”, Danny snapped irritated. He couldn’t deal with bullshit like that right now. No way he was able getting his hopes up just to see them crushed again.
“I … I pulled the reservist card,” Steve said, suddenly looking hesitant as though he might have done something not as clever as the thought it was. Danny furrowed his brows, but Steve hastily stumbled on: “I am more than ten years in active service now, Danny. That gives me the opportunity to get transferred into the reservation, if I wish so. Normally, as a bonded sentinel, it would take special circumstances to get that application through. But I know some people and the fact that you have a daughter, who is now legally my daughter as well through our bond, and who is now possibly not able to grow up with her father being around since we could very well not return from one of these missions … so I, yeah … Signing off completely isn’t possible at the moment, that isn’t something the Navy agrees to easily.”
Danny stared at Steve without saying a word. He couldn’t, in fact, because he thought that he just had misheard.
“Danny?” Steve looked suddenly unsure.
Danny’s mouth dropped open and it took him some willpower to release words into the air. “You put us into the reserves?”
“And they accepted that, just like that?”
Steve’s eyes got determined. A short flash of a furious looking Commander Banks and some other uniformed people Danny didn’t know passed over their bond. “Yes.”
“But this is your whole life, babe,” Danny burst, because he suddenly couldn’t keep it to himself any longer. His arms described a wide arc through the room to make Steve see his point. “This – the Navy, being a SEAL – is everything you’ve worked for. Hard. This is your career and you’re throwing this over board, because … because …”
“Because of you, Danno.”
“But you don’t need to sacrifice –“
“Listen, Danny,” Steve said and stepped closer, cupping Danny’s head in his big, warm hands, “I didn’t sacrifice anything out of a whim. Yes, I do love being a SEAL, that’s something I’m proud of, because I’m good at it. But it isn’t the end of my life. You are my mate now, Danny, and if you are willing to sacrifice your possibilities of being with Grace for me, then I’m more than willing to do anything in my power to get you back to her. What is a job compared to family, Danny. Ohana is what matters, not some stupid career. I want to share my life with you and I would be a shitty mate, if I willingly make you suffer. I can’t promise we won’t be called in at some point, but –”
Danny moved without thinking. The kiss was more a messy press of lips against lips, but Steve instantly melted against him, pulling him close. They stumbled backwards under Danny’s force until Steve’s back hit the door. The impact made their teeth clink together and Danny pulled away enough to breathe out: “You are unbelievable, Steve.” The love he was feeling for this man, his mate, was overpowering him, it was just too much to keep inside himself. He felt it crashing through the wall Steve had drawn and manifested between them earlier like Niagara Falls tearing through a flimsy levee of mud and sticks. Steve growled.
Danny was suddenly grabbed just under his ass and picked up like he weighted nothing, spun around and pressed into the door himself. Steve was like a furnace, burning through the material of Danny’s new uniform, clawing at the clothes while his mouth was a hot and heavy mess on Danny’s lips. He tried to give back as good as he got, but truth be told he was already drowning in the sensation of his mate’s full attention focused on him. Danny felt Steve in every fiber of his being, as though he crawled under his skin and set everything on fire with the need to claim and settle their bond for good. And Danny wanted nothing more than to be claimed by his sentinel. He needed Steve. Needed him like the air to breath and the water to live. A high keening noise broke from his throat that he would have been embarrassed about otherwise, but not now. Not with his mate pushing against him. Not with Steve this close.
Steve’s mouth left his and Danny felt raw and open – vulnerable – and he was about to protest, as Steve’s tongue suddenly was licking that spot just below his ear and Danny went boneless. He shivered and pulled Steve closer, bending his neck to offer his mate a better access. Steve made a pleased noise as he buried his nose in the crook of Danny’s neck and Danny couldn’t help it – he purred. That was apparently for Steve some signal that shortcut his brain, because Danny felt more than he heard the answering growl vibrating through Steve’s chest and then he sucked at Danny’s skin. Hard.
Danny gasped, bucking even more into Steve, his back describing an arch away from the door he was pressed into. It was far from a real bond bite, but nevertheless oh so good. He felt his energy thrumming in his veins, his blood boiling as he withered beneath Steve, a helpless, purring mess. He would actually feel embarrassed at this wanton display of need, but Steve’s presence filled his very being.
A knock vibrated through the door at his back and a voice filtered through the blissful fog in his brain.
No! Commander Steely-Eyes and that evil lady from the Guild could go to hell. To hell with everybody. This time they wouldn’t interrupt him and his mate. Not if the world was burning down.
Danny slammed a barricade up against the door that would withstand a rocket launcher or more, if needed. Not a single sound filtered into the room, not a smell from the world behind it. Right here, in this room, everything that mattered was Steve.
Growling, Steve tried to lick his way down Danny’s neck, but that impractical uniform was still in his way. Danny shoved against Steve’s chest, trying to get him off a bit, so he could wiggle his hands down Steve’s front to get to those stupid buttons.
“Off,” he panted. “Take that off!”
Steve seemed to agree with Danny’s demand as he took a step back, but then his hands were under Danny’s ass, his nose still buried below Danny’s chin, as he walked them away from the door and into the room, towards the bed. Danny was too busy holding onto Steve and not blacking out from the sensation of his dick, hard and pulsing, pressing into Steve’s stomach, rubbing against his clothes with every step Steve took, driving him insane.
A low whine worked its way up his throat. He couldn’t … he needed …
Steve’s tongue was warm and reassuring as it pressed against his glands, sucking gently and Danny lost every power to hold onto Steve. He slipped down, bouncing off the bed in a boneless heap, Steve chasing him, coming after him, pressing him firmly down. Lips were on his, messy, uncoordinated, biting and pushing.
Danny let him. Pushed back just as desperately. Clawed at the clothes still separating them. He needed to feel him. Needed to touch, needed to connect.
His other half.
The energy he had used since his childhood to draw up shields that would protect him from the onslaught of the world slowly diminished. The shields he had never lowered once. Never. Doing so meant madness, insanity. Death. System overload.
The shields wavered.
Air kissed his overheated skin as the clothes were peeled off his body. He kicked them off, eyes glued to Steve, who looked wild and devasted and overwhelmingly beautiful.
But so far away.
Danny reached out, cradled Steve’s face in his hands and pulled him back down. The kiss was slower this time, less teeth and more tongue. Steve’s hands roamed his body and Danny touched every bit of skin he could reach in return.
He pushed against those shields. They trembled, as Steve grabbed Danny’s thighs.
Danny wound them around Steve’s waist, pulling him closer, needing him closer.
They stared at each other, panting into each other’s mouths. Danny grabbed Steve’s hair, pressing his forehead into his, mouth going slack with a raw, guttural moan as Steve pushed inside.
“Eyes … your eyes,” Steve panted, pushing Danny’s head gently back again. “Wanna see …”
The quivering shields expanded with a surge, crashing like the tide over Steve, wrapping themselves around him, his mind, his entire being.
Heat, boiling up and up with every move, every push and shove, every erratic thrust and every groan. Hands on his thighs, his ass, his hair. Teeth on his skin. Hot and wet, biting, pushing. Melting, mending, sealing. One where there were two, finally whole.
As the heat exploded behind Danny’s eyes he didn’t even feel or hear his own cry. But he felt Steve, echoing through his body and mind, doubling the sensation and mirroring it endlessly, bouncing off the edges. Blurrily, he saw Steve, eyes wide and black, with blood on his lips, staring down at him, moving, pushing that heat through Danny again and again. He surged up, licking at Steve’s neck and tasting sweat and salt and Steve, until his teeth closed around his strong muscles and he bit down, while Steve howled, his body pressing into Danny in an arch.
A blast of energy stronger than anything he had ever felt. Warm, welcoming, gently thrumming.
And then nothing.
Danny felt himself drift out of a very blissful haze. He moved slightly, pressing himself back against the warmth that engulfed him from all sides.
It smelled like the ocean. A bit coppery, too.
Steve lazily trailed a hand down his back. Why are we floating?
Danny cracked an eye open. Steve had wound himself around him like a big octopus, but Danny managed to glimpse around them. Sunlight filtered through the thick blinds in soft, subdued tones. A sock lazily danced by as though they were underwater.
Danny blinked. He gently pushed Steve’s arm from his chest and twisted his torso to take in the room. Nothing was disturbed. Their clothes were strewn left and right. The bed was a mess of disheveled blankets – and stood six inches underneath them.
In between – nothing but air.
Danny gripped Steve’s upper arm instinctively, but they floated safely without sagging unexpectedly. They even spun in a slow, languid circle as if they were in zero gravity. As he stared down at the floor, he caught another sock softly bouncing off the bedside table. The sleeve of a jacket wavered like algae in the gentle swaying of the ocean.
Steve nuzzled closer, totally unimpressed as if he was floating around every other day. His calm slowly transferred to Danny, who relaxed with every second in which nothing happened. He let his head fall back again. If he hadn’t known it better, he would say it felt like a pillow underneath him, not thin air.
Never happened before?
No, definitely not. I would remember that.
Good. Steve practically purred in his contentment.
Good?!, echoed Danny, but Steve’s fingers crept over his chin, then his cheek. Steve’s head came up and Danny felt like seeing a panther unfold, lazily stretching up with a soft smile on his lips. Then he leaned over and kissed Danny, firm and gentle.
Sh, don’t ruin it, Danno.
There was so much Danny wanted to say, but it was hard to concentrate, when Steve’s lips were on his. He opened his mouth, though, but Steve’s tongue was pushing inside, prodding against his, and he forgot all words. He sighed, cradling Steve’s face in his hands, kissing him, soft and thoroughly, savoring every nip and brush and gasp.
The heat was there, it would always be, but it simmered low and warm in Danny’s belly. Happy. He was simply happy being here with his mate.
“Are we really going back?” he whispered in the air between them. He still couldn’t believe it.
“Yeah.” Steve bit his jaw playfully. “A bit more paperwork to sign, though.”
“Anything, as long as I can take you back with me.”
A satisfied growl rumbled low in Steve’s chest. He nosed up Danny’s jaw, licking at the shell of his ear. A shiver ran down Danny’s spine and he pressed his knees against Steve’s waist.
How did you even manage that, babe?
No, you didn’t, sighed Danny. You told me a fantastic fable about pulling the reservist card, but we both know it wasn’t that easy. You know how they drooled over me? Fucking disgusting, by the way.
Steve’s content growl deepened and his tongue pressed against the bite mark on Danny’s neck. A hot jolt of energy flashed through Danny, catapulting them a good few feet higher into the air. The shield around them flickered like air above hot asphalt, humming softly.
See what I mean? They wouldn’t let you off the hook so easily. Not when they finally got their hands on me.
Steve bit down on the mark and Danny threw his head back with a gasp, granting Steve even better access to it. The lines between them began to blur and Danny felt light as a feather, his heartbeat echoed by Steve’s, strong and unwavering. But there was something important … something he had to know …
“Ste-Steve … “
Needed to know if this was real or if this was just a moment. If they would take Steve from him just like they had with Gracie … no, not like that, different, but all the same. He couldn’t be … couldn’t bare it … torn apart between places … between people he loved … If this was some joke, some test …
Warm hands grabbed his face, holding it secure between Steve’s calloused palms.
“Danno.” Steve’s voice was rough. “We’re not gonna be separated, I promise. Never again.”
Danny gripped Steve’s forearms, breathing heavily. Steve’s hair looked mussed, but he couldn’t recall putting his hands there. A dark mark crusted with blood sat low in the crook of his collarbone. Danny stared at it. His mark. He traced it with two fingers, lightly over the sensitive skin.
Steve shivered and pressed his forehead down on Danny’s, squeezing his eyes shut.
A flicker behind Danny’s eyes, then pictures flitted through his mind that weren’t his memories.
A room full of people, talking, saluting. Commander Steely-Eyes, showing some maps and charts. Training Program for Civil Guides stood on one sheet. Commander Steely-Eyes gesturing, explaining, switching to angry. Banging his fist on a desk. Pointing a finger. At him, arguing back.
The door opened, a woman entered. Rollins, that was Rollins! She smiled, but it felt … off. Your request, Commander. No, he hadn’t requested anything, but he flicked the file open anyway she pushed into his hands. Verification for years of service, Newark Police Department and Honolulu Police Department. Suddenly it was easy. So easy. He grabbed Rollins’ hand, squeezing it gratefully. The thought of grilled steaks flickered through his mind.
Custody for a child was a reason for consideration. Added with fulfilled years of service was a certainty. Minimum fifteen active years. For a bonded pair it didn’t matter, whether he, his partner or both had served them. What mattered was that they did. And who they had to take care of. Gracie. Gracie was theirs, now. Shared custody. A sentinel’s family. A child he had with his guide.
He looked up and saw in Commander Steely-Eyes the same realization dawn. He was out. Danny was safe, with Grace.
You would need a job, without that we can’t sign those. Until then you still are –
Grabbing the telephone receiver from the desk, asking to be put through. The Governor of Hawaii was a bit surprised, but not less pleased. Of course she still remembered. She looked forward to meeting him and his guide, to working with them. Proud that her plans of the task force took form after all.
The pictures and sounds slowly faded.
Danny blinked up at Steve, who still held him between his warm palms, going cross-eyed, because Steve’s forehead rested against his.
“Babe? We’re really going back to Hawaii?”
“Yeah, Danno,” whispered Steve in the air between them.
“Back to Gracie?” Danny’s voice cracked. “Working for the fucking Governor of Hawaii?”
Sorry I didn’t ask you. Steve’s lips ghosted over Danny’s. But I didn’t have much time -
Danny grabbed Steve’s face and pushed him back enough to look at this stupid idiot. “Sorry? Steve, you just gave up your life, for me, for my daughter. You made everything possible so we could get back to Hawaii – together. And on top of that you tell me you got my badge back?”
Steve looked clearly bewildered. “It’s not really the same badge, Danny –“
Danny lunged upwards, kissing Steve harshly on the mouth. The momentum kicked Steve over. He tumbled backwards, still floating as if they were underwater, and Danny crashed down on him. “You are the most stupid, reckless, beautiful man I’ve ever met.”
A smile spread over Steve’s whole face, warming their bond to the very core. He looked young and untroubled and Danny couldn’t believe it that this sentinel was his mate. He had fallen for this man, head over heels, no matter what, not knowing what he got himself into. In the end, it didn’t matter. They were two sides of the same coin. Two in a million or more.
“I love you, too, Danno.”