Tuesday starts with a suspect and an argument.
It’s no different than any other day. If Steve could only have seen his day in full, he’d know that wasn’t true, but hindsight is twenty-twenty and there’s no way he could’ve expected what happened.
He spends the morning in hot pursuit of a suspect that’s been circling laced cocaine around his island. It’s resulted in a successful bust. That very bust had also involved him, his truck, a cliff, and shuffling out of the driver’s seat before it pitched over the edge.
Danny hadn’t been with him. Danny had been on a separate call to pick up a woman soliciting products in the market that Steve suspected had a tie to Rodriguez, their coke runner.
Danny has heard all about it, judging by his cold demeanor when Steve gets back to Five-O Headquarters and finds Danny in the middle of a casual interrogation with a woman clearly from off the island. She’s blonde with blue eyes – Steve stops the similarities to Danny there, because she’s fairer than him, fairer than anyone Steve’s seen on the island before they strayed out to the beach too long and went red. Danny excuses himself politely, but the politeness stops the minute he gets out in the hall with Steve.
“Are you an idiot? No, don’t answer that,” Danny snaps. “One, congratulations on the bust. Two? You’re lucky to be alive. Three, I’m just working up to being really angry,” he says in warning. “But I got a girl in there who everyone thinks is related to this drug thing, but I think is just a nice girl who moved to this island to make a living and I think shouting is gonna make her day even worse.”
“Don’t! Don’t you even try,” Danny says tersely. “Jesus, Steve. Do you know the phone call I got this morning from HPD? Telling me that my partner,” he says, patting down his chest with his fingers to emphasize his point, “my partner just pitched over the edge of a cliff and may or may not be dead. For all that everyone in this place talks about us being married, Steve, I sometimes wish we were,” he continues, voice getting louder.
Chin and Kono are out booking other suspects, otherwise they’d be out here to gawk by now. As it stands, their suspect is staring through the glass walls at the both of them with mild curiosity.
“Because if we were married, maybe, maybe, I might get a little respect from you! Or compromise! Or the slightest moment of hesitation before you do insane things!” Danny continues on his verbal rampage.
Steve doesn’t try to get a word in edgewise. He’s learned better.
He could interrupt here and tell Danny that in the moment before he slid out the truck, the moment before gravity took hold of the vehicle and claimed it for the ocean, all he could think was a calm, If anything goes wrong, Danny’s got this followed by a sincere and regretful, If anything goes wrong, I’m sorry followed by an intense wave of loss and worry.
He doesn’t tell Danny this.
It’s hard to, what with Danny already back in the room with the suspect.
Steve follows along and leans against the frame of the door as he watches Danny from behind, acting as the silent partner in Annoyed Cop, Scary Cop.
“Look, Rebecka, I don’t think you were involved in this, but we’re gonna need some samples of your dolls, just in case,” Danny is saying.
Steve isn’t a detective, but he’s a smart guy and he knows Danny. He can see the softness in his eyes, the way he talks to the woman with sympathy like they’re in the same boat. Haoles, the both of them, just trying to make a living in a strange place.
“Am I free to go?” she asks. She’s talking to Danny, but looking at Steve.
She’s Swedish by the sound of her voice and Steve wonders how long she’s been here. Her skin is pale as if she just arrived yesterday. No wonder Danny’s picked up on a kinship with her. Steve keeps his thoughts to himself and won’t comment about how maybe, just maybe, Danny is taking this personally.
That’s not a thought that’s bound to lead them down a safe road.
Steve crosses his arms over his torso and looks Rebecka up and down, debating what kind of threat level she possesses and whether or not he believes if she has any involvement in the crime. “We’ll need you to come back in the morning,” Steve says with a nod of his head. “And we’ll need you to bring in your things. If they’re clean, you’ll be exonerated.”
She looks at him, perplexed, and it’s Danny who offers a laugh and a shake of his head. “He means you’ll be free to go for good if you check out,” Danny says, interpreting Steve’s words. “You can go for now,” he adds, dismissing her with a wave of his hand.
She picks up her large purse and leaves, edging out past Steve – her shoulders hunched – but she stops just for a moment, just a hesitation of a second to look at him. “You should listen to your partner,” is what she says.
She leaves in a hurry after that, as if she’s been testing her luck and doesn’t want to linger around any longer to see if she’s gone a step too far. Steve watches her leave; tightness lingering in his limbs that makes him suspect a storm is breaking.
The way Danny is looking at him, it might hit closer to home than he expects.
“I’m still pissed at you,” Danny says with heavy warning in his tone, flicking through his papers, “But we got a lead on some of Rodriguez’s accomplices and we should head out to see if it’s a real lead or if we’re barking up the wrong tree.” He points his finger at Steve as he passes, not flinching like Rebecka did. “And this time, I’m coming.”
Steve holds up his hands to show that he isn’t about to protest and he dutifully follows after Danny. He hasn’t been in a serious relationship with anyone in a very long time, but he remembers this dance.
He screwed up. He needs to pay the price.
The drive to the docks is spent in unnatural silence, which bodes poorly for the rest of the day. Later, Steve will sit at home and go over every second in his head. He should’ve seen the ambush coming. Steve should’ve done better with the ambush, given his training, but at the time, he’s distracted with thoughts of Rebecka Mueller and wondering just how pissed Danny is with him.
They get the call just as they’re leaving the car. Steve practically launches his hands to get at the cell so they don’t tip anyone off and hisses a brief, “What?” while Danny lingers just behind him.
It’s Chin and he sounds vaguely frantic. “It’s Rebecka. She never made it home, seems like Rodriguez sent a message to his guys. They watched her coming out of Five-O and they picked her up. They want to know what we’re asking, how much we know. She’s somewhere up there, bro, we got ourselves a hostage situation on our hands. Be careful.”
Steve hangs up and shares a stormy look with Danny as he tries to formulate a plan in his head that gets them Rebecka, gets them their arrests, and manages to get everyone out alive at the same time. “Okay,” Steve says.
“Okay?” Danny replies, looking wary. “Is that an ‘okay, I have a plan’ or is that ‘okay, Danny, you should call Grace and get your last words in’.”
“Would you just trust me?” Steve says heatedly, anger rolling over his expression. “Is that so much to ask after all this time together as partners?”
“Trust comes a lot faster when you don’t get your partner shot so often!” Danny heatedly shouts back at Steve, grabbing him forcibly by the sleeve and shoving him out of the way. “Come on, I got a visual. They’re down by the shipping containers. We got a clean approach if we hurry.”
“Okay, I’ve got the lead,” Steve says, a firm nod confirming this plan. “You’re the backup.”
“Just like old times, huh?”
“Just like old times,” Steve says in reply, a fond smile on his face as he claps Danny on the cheek just once, time slowing down long enough that Steve has time to brush his thumb over the line of Danny’s jaw, memorizing the line and stubble and taking this moment, stealing it away in a pile of ones similar to it, all moments that never led anywhere.
Steve puts it aside, burying it, and gets in the right mindset for this mission.
He’s not going to catch any criminals pontificating about the smell of Danny’s skin at the juncture of neck and jaw.
His movements are stealthy and slow; his focus laser-like as he approaches and follows Danny’s lead, knowing that there are two men waiting for them and Rebecka is likely in the hostile care of another accomplice. He clears the aisle of the next row of containers and turns to signal to Danny.
That’s when it happens.
He doesn’t even see it coming, but he feels it intensely. The pain swarms over him as he registers that he’s just been hit and Danny has to cover him. He knows that his partner’s on it and his last thought before his vision swims dark is, C’mon, Danny, I know you can do this.
Steve should’ve known that his week would only get worse from that point. He just had no idea how bad things could get.
Steve wakes up on Wednesday morning and feels sick.
His stomach lurches, his head swims, and he’s too hot for his own good. There’s also another body breathing close-by.
Instinct kicks in before Steve’s even fully awake and even in this haze of his vision swimming and his world settling, he finds it in him to slide forward and trap his would-be attacker with his knees, pinned to the bed. His hands go for the neck and form a chokehold there.
“What’s going on?” Steve barks, only easing up on the tight grip when he starts getting slugged repeatedly in the chest.
That, and he realizes that this isn’t a stranger in dark wear coming to burgle his home.
And Danny’s all-but-naked, only a pair of boxers keeping him from full nudity. Steve is on top of him, so close that he can hear Danny’s accelerated heartbeat. He yanks both hands off and stares down in panicked horror at what he’s just done while Danny wheezes and clasps at his neck.
“Fuck,” Danny coughs out. “No. No. I’m still not into that sort of thing, Steven,” he gets out, clearing his throat again and again, trying to get back full use of his voice. He kicks at Steve’s shin and Steve collapses back against the bed. He’s still in his house, in his bed, but Danny is there.
Danny is there, practically naked, and wearing the ring Steve had seen him tuck away after he and Rachel just couldn’t make things work.
“I’m going to be sick,” Steve says carefully and considerately before he lurches out of bed and takes long strides to the bathroom, slamming the door behind him and collapsing to his knees, shoving up the seat of the toilet and hugging the porcelain.
It takes several minutes, but eventually Danny comes after him.
“Okay, Steve, who gave you the drugs?” Danny says flatly. “Was it Kono? Because I told her that being your partner doesn’t mean she gets to medicate you.”
“You.” That’s all Steve gets out.
“Yes, hi, hello,” Danny agrees courteously. “Me, what?”
“You’re my partner.”
“Yeah, and I’m not arguing that, but only so far as the door. Then Kono gets you all day, babe,” Danny goes on. “Seriously, Steve, should I be worried the crazy parasite in your brain’s finally taken over? Is today the day it bursts loose and sheds its Steve skin before conquering Hawaii?”
Steve hears the lock come loose and looks up over his shoulder at Danny – who’s seen fit to find a shirt in the meantime. He’s managed to find (and decided to wear, without protest) one of Steve’s shirts.
“This isn’t funny,” Steve says flatly.
“What, you hugging the toilet? No, it isn’t. Do you want me to call the doctor?” Danny asks, gesturing back into the bedroom.
Steve tries to put together the pieces despite his fuzzy mind, but it’s too difficult at that exact moment. “What I want is for Chin and Kono to come out from behind the curtains so this joke can be over and we can go back to normal.”
“This joke,” Danny repeats in a deadpan. “You know what, Steve? I’m gonna let you stew in this for a little while until you come to your senses. And when you come around and have an apology ready, then maybe we’ll talk.” He slams the door behind him as he goes. “And you’re sleeping on the couch!”
“It’s my bed!” Steve shouts after him.
“Our bed!” Danny shouts right back. “And you’re sleeping on our couch! I’m going to work!” he continues, rolling right along like a steamroller. “And I’m taking the truck!”
That snaps Steve into action, but he’s too late. By the time he gets down to the garage bay, the truck is gone. The Camaro is still there, though, and Steve palms the keys, throws on a pair of cargo pants and a polo shirt, and goes to work.
He’s an idiot for thinking that getting there will give him any kind reprieve. The moment he arrives at Headquarters, the looks on Chin and Kono’s faces should be enough to tell him that his day isn’t bound to get any better.
“…boss,” Kono says with trepidation when she sees him.
Chin looks worried, too. Danny is nowhere to be seen, and Rebecka Mueller is in the interrogation room again this morning with her wares. Five-O has a warrant to search them for drugs and at this point, Steve could really use a victory. He could use anything to make him feel better.
“Where’s Danny?” Steve demands immediately. “What the hell kind of joke was that this morning?”
“Steve,” Chin says, pitching his voice lower, “Did something happen?”
“A lot of things went wrong, but sending Danny to my bed is not professional,” Steve snaps, considering he’s barely been keeping himself together when it comes to Danny. He’s already had enough lurid and lewd dreams about the other man to put together a finely-bound novel of pornography. Now he’s being sent naked Danny into his bed like it’s some kind of joke? And they’re acting like he’s the problem. Like he’s not the one whose patience is being tested at an impossible level.
“You’re not wearing your ring,” Kono says. “Danny is going to kill you.”
“From what I hear, he’s going to raise you from the dead and kill you again,” Chin says. “I heard you’re already in deep trouble, brah.”
Steve raises his hand in the air to make sure that everyone stops talking for a minute because he needs to concentrate and put the pieces together. It’s difficult when his head is pounding like a freight train is bearing down on him. When he looks up, Kono has a simple gold band in the palm of her hand and she’s holding it out to him.
“What is this?” Steve asks flatly.
“Make that dead three times over,” Chin says.
Kono is starting to get anxious by the look of her body language and Steve doesn’t ease off. He knows from experience that constant exposure to a demanding question will yield an answer.
“What?” Steve asks again.
“It’s your wedding band,” Kono replies evenly. “I just thought you might want to put it on before Danny comes back from getting malasadas.”
“Which is the easiest way to tell you two are having words,” Chin says, barely waiting for Kono to stop speaking. “When you two are fine, he stays off them in respect to your belief they’re only leading to bypass surgery.”
“It’s not serious, is it?” Kono asks worriedly, like she’s concerned that her parents are about to split and she’s going to have to choose sides in the divorce. Steve, however, still can’t exactly put things together and is having a hard time with this.
He shakes his head, but swipes the ring and shoves it in his pocket. “Let’s get this straight. I am not married to Danny. I am not Steve Williams-McGarrett, I do not share my house with him, and I am not, never have been, and never will be his husband.”
“No,” Kono agrees.
Steve sighs with relief, feeling like he’s about to earn at least some headway.
“You guys can’t get married. Domestic partnership only.”
And the impulse to strangle something is back.
Danny waltzes into the room at that moment with a paper bag in his hands, looking just as tense as he did that morning and missing a tie. Steve can’t help the singular moment in which he has to swallow back a wave of desire that threatens to overcome him at the mere sight of Danny without his tie.
He is in deep trouble.
Danny’s eyes roam over Steve’s body and when his gaze lands on his hand, his shoulders lift and he starts to carry the majority of his tension in his back. “Danny,” Steve greets pleasantly. “Rebecka Mueller is back.”
“That’s nice,” Danny says, grumbling heavily. “He does know he just upped his couch-time?” he gripes in Chin and Kono’s direction.
“What?” Steve asks, clueless. “What did I do?”
“You’re still not wearing your ring!” Danny shouts at the top of his lungs. “Steve! Rules of being together! You make sure that people do not shoot me, you call for backup in bad situations, and you wear your ring.”
Steve glances to Chin and Kono to see the both of them nodding along like this is as regular as singing the national anthem and reciting the pledge of allegiance.
“Chin, I hereby release you from babysitting me today, I am in a mood,” Danny says, pressing his lips together tightly. “And in this mood, I am going to interview our suspect and the three of you can take over the island or whatever it is you do when I’m not around.” He reaches forward to clasp a folder from off the table and enters into the witness holding room, all the while Steve watches him go with a wide-eyed gaze.
He grimaces and starts to rub at the back of his head, cringing when it still aches.
“Boss?” Kono asks worriedly.
“Did something happen?” Chin asks. “I hate to say it, but you’re not really acting like yourself.”
“I woke up this morning and my head was killing me.” Normally, Steve would just put this aside and tough through it, but normally, Steve doesn’t wake up in places where he’s married to Danny. “I don’t know, maybe yesterday at the docks was rougher than I thought.”
“Did you get that looked at?” Chin asks.
Steve neglects to answer in a very expert fashion.
Chin sighs heavily and beckons him with two fingers. “C’mon, brah, let’s get you checked out before Danny explodes like a volcano god displeased with his sacrifices. Cuz, you got the fort?”
“You can count on me,” Kono promises with a sunny smile.
Chin drags Steve away and takes him to the local clinic where they get a diagnosis: low-grade concussion. Steve asks if it could be playing tricks on his memory and after a long pause, the doctor reluctantly agrees.
“It’s not common,” the doctor says. “But the world is made up of uncommon moments.”
The doctor is related, distantly, to Chin and it means that there’s a line from him to Steve through the bonds of family. It means that he should trust in this. It means that now he doesn’t even know where to begin when it comes to this world.
He lets Chin drive him back to Headquarters and they spend the drive in silence. The lack of conversation itches at the back of Steve’s neck relentlessly. He has a bottle of painkillers in his pocket and no explanation about how he could go from being single and okay to married and confused as hell.
“If I were Danny,” Chin says, halfway through the drive, “I would be commenting on your silence. I think he says it’s the warning bell that sounds before disaster comes to shore.”
“Danny’s a worrier and a nag,” Steve replies out of rote.
“No arguments, but I’m also not thinking that he’s wrong. You okay, bro?”
Steve shifts and stares out the window. He’s caught himself looking at the sights going past, like he can pick out something different and tell himself that the world is changed. He wants to be able to believe that his axis has spun out of balance and he can see the difference, but everything is so painstakingly similar that it’s driving him to the edge of mad frustration.
“I don’t know, Chin,” Steve exhales and rubs his palm over his face. “Yesterday, I thought I had my life in some kind of order. I had Five-O, I had Mary, I had the island, and I had Danny. And today, I wake up and…” And he still has all those things. He just has more of one of them. “I wake up today and everyone is keen on telling me that somewhere along the way, Danny and I got together.”
“In all fairness, I just thought the two of you were bound for some ridiculous weekend of sex followed by Danny straining his knee again. But I’m not half the romantic that Kono is,” Chin says, breaking out with a smile as he pulls into Steve’s driveway. “Doctor’s orders. You’re officially on bed rest.”
The itchy feeling is back, like something he can’t exactly scratch, and Steve clasps Chin’s shoulder in thanks as he gets out of the car and heads inside.
He starts to inspect the home like he did the island. Here, though, he finds the differences that he’d been searching for. The mantles are filled with framed photographs of three lives. There are pictures of Steve’s childhood, Danny’s, and several of Grace. Steve picks up a framed photograph that someone else has taken of the three of them. Danny has bowed his forehead to press to Grace’s hair. She’s holding a stick of cotton candy and staring skywards, and Steve’s gaze is attentive and laser-like in its focus and fondness of the two.
It goes on like this.
He finds Danny’s clothes in his closet. He finds good ties, the quality of which Danny would probably never buy for himself. He finds books that aren’t to his tastes and some that are, and he finds food in the fridge that he would never touch.
There’s even a postcard of New Jersey stuck to the bathroom mirror, notes scribbled beneath it in Steve’s writing, reading: Are you honest to god serious, Daniel? and Danny’s response of, Better place, Steven. At least, for summer holidays.
Steve brushes his thumb over the postcard and the school picture of Grace just below it. There are photos of her all over the house and that’s a subject that Steve can’t even broach.
If he and Danny are serious, then what is he to Grace?
What is he supposed to know in this place he barely understands?
After hours of exploration, Steve checks his cell for any missed calls (just one from the pharmacist calling to give a message of instruction) and heads outside with a glass of iced tea to sit on the lanai and watch the shore bring the ocean waves home.
Steve hears the creak of the front door – something that he keeps saying he’ll fix and never gets around to – hours later, after Kono calls and gives him an update about the Rodriguez case. She also helpfully warns him that Danny is on his way home and is in a good mood. “So,” she goes on, “if you could not ruin it, that’d be great. I just got rid of my Danny-headache.”
Steve has gone through three glasses of iced tea, wishing that he could grab a beer, but erring on the side of caution in not mixing it with his painkillers.
“I uh, heard from Chin that maybe you got a head injury,” Danny says when he finds Steve on the back steps of his house. His house, but it’s apparently their house now in this strange world that Steve’s been transported to.
Steve pinches at the bridge of his nose and wonders if he’s really left a different reality where he and Danny never got this far, where he only ever looked at Danny and never made the move because the delicate balance of their partnership was too precious to ruin. And yet, here he is. Here he is with a ring in his pocket and documents of proof all over the house.
“I could’ve sworn I had things right in my head,” Steve insists, but the more he thinks about his sureness, the more it goes blurry. “You and I, we’re partners.”
“We were,” Danny agrees with a lopsided grin as he settles down beside Steve and drapes his arm around his shoulder. “I mean, it’s not exactly a traditional wooing that you gave me, what with our guns in each other’s faces the first time we met, but then you got me and Grace that hotel with the dolphins and you just kept on being that guy and, Steve, I didn’t date after Rachel. I just forgot how and then you came along and we fumbled through it like drunken idiot teenagers hell-bent on wanting to get to the good bit.”
Danny shrugs, like he’s lost for words.
“Maybe when we got things together, I was an idiot, but you’re a stubborn jackass who never lets go of his toys, so we got here, didn’t we?” Danny pries the ring off his finger and holds it up to the light, letting it glint in the sun. “I mean, sure, you were a cheapskate about the ring…”
Even though Steve doesn’t remember any of what Danny is telling him, he still knows who he is and he wouldn’t let that go idly by. He shoves Danny in the side and Danny goes sideways, arm falling away as he laughs in that warm tone that always makes Steve feel good to the very base of his being.
Danny’s laugh is the one that makes him feel like he’s found home.
“So, we’re married,” Steve says, staring out to the ocean and squinting as he processes the information. “Or, relatively close to it.”
“You wanna play twenty questions here? I mean, I got all day.”
“So, after we signed the papers, where did we go? The big island?”
There’s a wicked look on Danny’s face. That’s a look that Steve doesn’t like in the least and he regrets asking the moment the words come out of his mouth because coupled with a sneaking suspicion and the look on Danny’s face, he suddenly knows.
“Oh, yes,” Danny says gleefully.
“No. No, I refuse to believe this. Head injury or not, there are some things that deserve to be lost to memory.”
“Atlantic City, babe,” Danny crows, leaning in and pressing a comfortable kiss to the corner of Steve’s lips. “It was you, me, a gorgeous penthouse, gambling until two AM, screwing until dawn, and then dinner with my parents the next night. We went to Jersey for our honeymoon.”
“You’re making this up,” Steve accuses. “You’re inventing things just to screw with me!”
“I am not making anything up,” Danny says dutifully, holding up his hand. “What else you wanna know? Rachel was my best man and you had Mary come stand as your witness. And then Kono made us do the garter thing, which…if I weren’t buzzed on champagne and you weren’t trying to humiliate the crap out of me, I swear to god, would never have happened.”
“Are there pictures?” Steve asks suddenly, desperately needing to see this.
Danny sighs and leans his shoulder heavy against Steve’s. He doesn’t move, resting there as though he perpetually leans on Steve like this. “Yeah, there’s pictures,” Danny finally says. “But you don’t get to see them until you’re all rested. I think, sometimes, that there’ll come a day when you stop scaring the crap out of me,” he says, shaking his head. “And then you do something idiotic and prove that I’m going to an early grave, care of a heart attack.”
“You seem to like me well enough to keep me,” Steve says mildly, playing on assumptions that he’s not sure are fully true, but feeling daring enough to try anyway. “And Danno, if you’re concerned about a heart attack, we might have to re-evaluate your food intake habits.”
Danny lets out a brisk laugh and shakes his head, looking like a cat that just got the canary. “Yeah. You’re an idiot,” Danny says knowingly, sliding his fingers into the pocket of Steve’s cargo pants – and sheer trust and months of partnership keep Steve from smacking Danny’s hand away – before prying out the simple gold band. “But I’ll keep you anyway.”
Steve waits for what’s going to happen next and just watches the way that Danny slides the ring onto Steve’s finger with such caution and fondness that Steve realizes he’s experiencing the kind of love his parents must have had before the accident.
Because if anything ever happened to Danny the way it did to his mother, no matter in what reality, he’s not sure he’d ever recover, either.
The simple gesture unlocks the floodgates. Instantly, Steve feels comfortable and falls into old patterns. He starts to tell Danny all about his day. He tells him about the doctor and the pills. He waves his empty glass around like a helpful tool. Danny keeps his hand on Steve’s neck and brushes his thumb at the nape every few seconds and it makes Steve wonder if the sudden inability to speak can be blamed on the concussion or whether he’s going to have to blame Danny for that.
An hour later, the sun is going down and Danny is talking about the investigation when Steve’s stomach rumbles loudly.
“I guess a hit to the head doesn’t damage that freakish schedule of yours. Dinner at six, on the dot,” Danny says with a wry scoff. “What are you in the mood for?”
“How about dough, sauce, and mozz,” Steve suggests with a smile playing at the corners of his lips.
His appetite is running along the lines for something heftier – maybe a steak thrown on the grill – but considering how uneasy he feels in his own skin, it’s good to make Danny grin like that, unfettered and free. It makes him settle and the itch at the back of his neck goes away.
“Would you look at that,” Danny says, giddy as a kid on Christmas. “There’s a little Jersey in you after all”
There are lines that Steve shouldn’t cross.
With the case on hold for the day and Kono and Chin gone, it leaves Steve and Danny in the office, a beer in Danny’s hands. Steve watches his every move carefully, still unsure whether to think this is all the result of a heavy concussion or whether this really is some kind of alternate reality that’s messing with his head. The lines that Steve needs to stay behind are starting to become apparent as he studies Danny and the weight of the ring on Steve’s finger seems like it’s trying to nudge him to across those lines.
He watches Danny play with the neck of the bottle, stroking it with his fingers. He watches the way Danny wets his lips every time he takes a break from watching the Magnum P.I. marathon on the television screen to look at Steve. He lets out a soft breath every time Danny reaches over to casually tap at his knee.
And even if Steve doesn’t know how he got to this situation, he knows that he has the opportunity to do something that he’s never been so sure of before.
They’re married, or as close to it as they can get. Steve could grab hold of Danny’s wrists and restrain him against the wall, kiss him, and he wouldn’t think twice about it. He could do anything that he’s spent countless hours thinking about and Danny wouldn’t mind. Danny would expect it.
“Okay,” Danny sighs as he leans forward and presses pause. “You’ve got your face on.”
“What face?” Steve demands.
Danny gestures wildly to his face. “You! You with the face-face! How can you think I don’t know that face? It’s like clockwork. Anytime you think about sex, you get this look on your face and I thought I told you we’re not doing it at the office since the Governor practically joined in on us that one time by accident.”
“I do not have a sex face, Danny, stop being ridiculous.”
“You have a sex face and you are wearing the sex face. Steven,” Danny says in a deadpan, “if you wanted to have sex, you could’ve just told me and I would’ve turned off the nice television show set in an unfortunate location and we would’ve gone home and had sex. Do you want to do that? Just say yes, just nod that pretty head of yours, because truth be told, I’m kind of in the mood seeing as I’ve been thinking of fucking you ever since you pissed me off enough to get banished to the couch.”
“Our arguments arouse you? Is that what you’re saying?” Steve is learning all sorts of new information today and he can’t even be too upset by that.
Danny flashes a sheepish grin. “What can I say, Rachel started a trend.”
“Danno, I don’t even know how to feel about that,” says Steve.
“Well, considering you’re getting to half-mast at me talking about sex, I think you feel horny. Steve, you, Lieutenant Commander McGarrett, feel like you want to do me. Correct me if I’m wrong, here.”
And here’s the line.
Steve stares at Danny across the table and knows that it would be easy, it would be so incredibly easy, and no one would blame him. But he would hate himself and Danny might hate him if ever he found out, but as strong as Steve is, there are some ways that he’s still weak.
Danny makes him weak.
“Let’s go home,” Steve says, taking a leaping jump and landing as far over the line as he can.
Steve palms the Camaro keys and drives, abusing the speed limit all the way there, but it still seems like an eternity between the moment they leave headquarters and the time they get back to the house. It’s made worse by the fact that Danny has started to get handsy during the drive, dragging his crooked knuckles over the inseam of Steve’s jeans.
“Fuck you, Danno, fuck every inch of you,” Steve very calmly says as he flicks on the turn signal and tries to ease off the gas pedal as Danny tries to take him apart with just a touch. The verbal abuse only seems to encourage him more, which explains so very much about Danny. “Fighting is just a prelude to fucking for you, isn’t it?” Steve spits out when Danny leans over the gearshift and starts mouthing hot kisses over Steve’s neck.
“What can I say?” Danny says, sounding blissful and relaxed. “I’m a passionate man.”
Steve wants to haul that passionate man up the steps where he can properly divest Danny of his clothes. He practically kicks out the door of the car to the sound of Danny’s loud protests and takes long strides around to yank Danny’s door open and grab hold of his tie.
Danny makes a small choking noise, but hurries to his feet. “Still no on the asphyxiation,” Danny says, seething from the roll of his eyes. “You are the most stubborn, pigheaded, sonuvabitch that I have ever met, do you know…”
Experience says that if you let Danny keep rambling on, there’s no end in sight, so Steve takes advantage of this knowledge and his proximity to lean in, hunker down, and press his lips to Danny’s, indulging in a kiss that he’s not sure he’s ever experienced before.
Rationality and knowledge of his injury tells him that they’ve done this before. This isn’t their first kiss.
The rapid-beating pace of his heart, the sweat on the back of his neck, and the way his stomach is riddled with butterflies, on the other hand, are keen to convince Steve that this is the first time they’ve kissed like this, intent and deep.
Steve gives up on trying to find a line of explanation in this and slides his splayed palm under Danny’s untucked shirt, thumb brushing against Danny’s nipple and rubbing until he provokes it to firmness, shoving the shirt aside and popping buttons as he goes.
What he does do is takes his time with the tie, both hands taking care to pull it away, like it’s habit not to ruin his ties – like he knows the shirts are game, but Danny’s ties are not on the menu of destruction.
It’s almost worrisome that he’s starting to lose his grip on what is and isn’t real in his head.
“This is new,” Danny murmurs throatily. “Usually I’m the one doing all the thinking in the bedroom. What’s wrong, McGarrett, the hit to your head knock some thoughts loose or something? How about sanity, any of that in there?”
It’s practically a dare. Steve takes it as one and crouches over to haul Danny into a fireman’s carry, arm slung around his ass as he transports Danny up the stairs and straight to the bedroom, Danny hollering all the way.
“Okay, Steve!” he shouts, sounding like he’s using every inch of his lungs’ capacity. “This is degrading and if you ever pull this in front of Grace, you are sex-benched for the next millennia!”
“Yeah, yeah, Danno,” Steve says dismissively and drops him on the bed, crawling overtop him on all fours to get closer. He’d be a lot more concerned about Danny’s threat if he didn’t see the look in Danny’s eyes that says that Steve is about five seconds away from being practically devoured sexually.
That, and Danny’s got a raging hard-on.
Steve feels entirely capable of taking care of it, even if his experience in this area is slightly lacking. Still, nothing stops him from sliding his body tightly overtop Danny’s, snaking his palm between their hips to stroke at Danny’s cock, thumb brushing the ridge of his own in the process. He goes into this eyes open, aware of everything and missing nothing.
He misses nothing. Not the breathless way Danny sounds, not the way his mouth parts open and Danny’s robbed of sound, not even the belabored way Danny moves his body. Steve doesn’t miss any of it. He bows his head forward, pressing his nose to the crook of Danny’s neck as he rocks forward and tries to seek out as much friction as he can.
Eventually, Danny manages to find speech again and it’s all, “Oh Steves” and “Fuck”s and “McGarrett” in a strangled tone that practically puts Steve on alert. His whole body is thrumming with energy and he lifts his head long enough to watch the way Danny falls apart when he comes, come spilling over Steve’s hand.
This might be a mistake. Steve knows what he’s been missing, now, and he can’t bring himself to restrict himself from taking again. Given the situation, he’s almost forced to. Steve knows well-enough that Rachel and Danny had a healthy life in the bedroom and Steve never did settle for second best.
Danny looks groggy, peering up at Steve worriedly.
“What?” Steve asks.
“You want a hand, there, Superman?” Danny asks, his vowels softened and his words sticking together.
Steve’s already on it, hand bringing himself back to the edge. Truth be told, he’s not feeling entirely like he needs to be brought off. The dull edge of pain throbbing in his head is sending mixed signals through his body and some part of him says that he’s accomplished his mission of pleasuring Danny.
Rest can be had.
Danny wraps an arm tightly around Steve’s waist and presses his lips to Steve’s temple. “Steve?”
“I’m okay, Danny,” Steve says, and grabs for the blankets to cover them both up despite Hawaii’s heat and the tight space between their bodies saying they’re not in need of the warmth. “Really.”
They lie there in silence, but Danny’s breathing is too shallow for him to be asleep and eventually Steve folds to his curiosity.
“Just wondering,” Danny says in a hush, “if this is going to be the injury that makes you realize you have people that worry about you and that you aren’t a foolhardy revenge-bent ninja anymore. Maybe a year ago, babe, but you’d kinda piss me off if you died on the job. I mean, sure, I’m the beneficiary and everything, but I’d rather have you than a cushy check.”
Steve shifts in order to look at Danny in pale moonlight.
“Danny, I’d never leave you, not on purpose,” Steve says, incredibly serious. Danny’s breathing has started to even out, calmed now that Steve has given him some reassurance. Steve lets his fingers splay over Danny’s chest and contents himself in feeling the steady presence of a heartbeat and a reminder that Danny is alive.
Sleep is harder for Steve with the pain in his head, but he endures it. He’d have to get up in order to take a pill and he’s found the perfect position with Danny. He wouldn’t move for the world and inevitably his persistence pays off.
The pain fades away until Steve, too, relaxes and falls to sleep.
The sun rouses Steve in the morning, but if that didn’t do the trick, Danny’s little snuffle-snort and half-turn onto Steve’s body would’ve done it. Steve barely keeps back his smile and adjusts his body to let Danny use his torso as a pillow.
Danny grumbles when Steve starts pushing his fingers in through his hair. Steve knows that Danny’s not a morning person, but he is a light sleeper and the simple touch has been enough to wake him.
“One day, I swear to god, Steve, I’m going to pay Chin to beat the morning person out of you,” Danny mutters and slings his arm around Steve’s torso just that much tighter, confining him to the bed.
They’re both naked and they still smell of sex. After the long night, they hadn’t made it to the shower, which is probably for the best. Steve has the feeling that if he gets Danny near a constant stream of water, he’s not going to let him out for a very long time.
It’s Thursday morning, Steve’s head is aching slightly less, and Danny is in bed with him again. Steve lets his breathing even out and idly runs his fingers up and down Danny’s neck, pausing occasionally to rest on his pulse.
“Chin can’t take me,” Steve says with smug superiority.
There’s a long sigh coming from Danny, but he doesn’t move. “Your ego is not an attractive quality in you, babe.”
Steve could get used to this. He grins and flips them over deftly, straddling Danny’s thighs with his knees digging into the bed and soaking up that exasperated smile on Danny’s lips.
“Okay, normally, I would be all for morning sex, but I have a note from your doctor that says no extra strain, so we’re keeping it to once a day. Tuck it back in your pants, slugger,” Danny says, sliding his hand across Steve’s cheek and pushing it through Steve’s hair, thumb brushing against the grey hairs he knows are at his temple. “And do not even think about making the puppy eyes. I am immune.”
Steve has no idea what Danny’s talking about. And this is just how he always looks when he doesn’t get what he wants. So maybe his eyes are a little wider than usual.
“Oh, Jesus,” Danny whines out as he exhales. “I’m immune, I swear to god, I am.”
“I’m not doing anything,” Steve protests his innocence.
“Yeah and you didn’t blow up the docks last month either.”
The strange part is that Steve really had. Even when he thought he was living in a world where he and Danny weren’t together, he still remembers the argument vividly – soot staining Danny’s face, shrapnel causing minor injuries all around.
He’d wanted so badly to take Danny home after that whole mess, pin him to the wall and fuck him senseless. Steve has to wonder what happened here when the dust settled; literally. Danny tightens his grip slightly on Steve’s hair and sighs heavily.
Steve finally cedes to the doctor’s advice and slides off of Danny’s body, stretching out his limbs next to him.
“So if I can’t have sex, what about a …”
“If you say swim, five-mile run, or anything else that makes me want to smack you, Steve, you’re not getting breakfast in bed,” Danny interrupts. “And you were gonna get pancakes!”
The itch beneath Steve’s skin clamors against the desire for pancakes in bed, possibly in a position where he could easily snag his thumb into the beltloops of Danny’s pajama bottoms. Say what Danny will, but he is in no way as immune as he thinks he is. The desire for pancakes and a possible handjob wins out over the driving need for exercise.
He relents and gives Danny what he hopes is a serene smile.
It doesn’t seem to work completely. Danny still looks suspicious as hell, but Steve has the feeling that Danny hasn’t seen a day of his life when he didn’t find something suspicious.
“Pancakes?” Steve helpfully reminds him.
Danny’s out of bed, grabbing hold of a loose pair of pajama bottoms and Steve’s Navy shirt and shrugging it on. It sags on him, covering his ass and making it a tragedy in clothing form, but Steve can’t help the slow smile of pride he gets at how right it feels to watch Danny claim a t-shirt of Steve’s like it’s nothing at all.
“I’m going, I’m going,” Danny promises, lifting a hand in the air to give a pump of solidarity. “Hold tight, Steve-o.”
Steve bunkers down and amasses covers around him to keep himself comfortable, basking in the feeling of warmth and something like sheer acceptance. He knows Danny, even if he isn’t sure of his place here, and he knows that no matter how crazy he’s being, no matter how bent on revenge he might be, or how unable to communicate he is, Danny still gets him.
Danny gets him and Steve gets Danny, here.
It’s enough of a comforting thought that Steve stays in bed all day and lets Danny pamper him. He eats up every last pancake, lets Danny put on the Jets, and falls asleep to the steady hum of Danny’s voice as he talks to Chin over the phone and gives him a Steve update. “I’ll wake you in two hours, babe,” is the last thing Danny murmurs to him before Steve drops off to sleep and the last thing he feels is a reassuring kiss to his temple.
When Steve wakes on what should be early Friday morning, he feels dizzy and sick all over again. This time, he can place his surroundings. He’s back at the docks where they tracked Rodriguez’s allies to and he’s lying face-up to the sky, his head throbbing like he’s just been hit with a baseball bat. Which, as he strains to recall, is exactly what happened.
“Steve,” Danny – one of three Danny’s – is saying. “Welcome back to the world of living. I’m telling you, you’re crazy lucky our little friend here is no Babe Ruth and that his swing is about as intimidating as Grace’s football offensive maneuvers.”
Steve groans heavily and rubs at the back of his head as he sits up. “Danny,” he gets out, his throat feeling a bit like something had crawled in there and died.
“Yeah? I’m here.”
“Danny,” is all Steve says again as he reaches out and grasps at Danny’s left hand, fingers searching over his palm and fingers, spanning the width of it and rubbing his thumb over the long, lean lines of his bare fingers. Every single one of them is bare.
“You took a mean hit to the head, boss,” Kono says worriedly as she leans over Danny’s shoulder, both her hands on those broad and steady shoulders. Those steady shoulders that Steve had been gripping onto hard enough to bruise when Danny straddled him and Steve got him off – in a reality Steve made up in his mind.
Like he needs this kind of worry about his mental state.
“Rebecka is safe,” Chin says, snapping his phone shut as he joins the fray and peers down over Kono and Danny – Danny, who is still kneeling over him, who hasn’t loosened Steve’s grip on his hand, who is looking at him with kindness and worry and Steve has never wanted to kiss him more than he does in that moment. “HPD has got her in protective custody and she’s thinking about taking a trip home. Apparently, island life doesn’t suit her.”
“Brilliant woman, that one,” Danny says. “Maybe I should follow her example.”
“Don’t,” Steve says, firmly, tightening his grip on Danny’s hand.
“Okay, ow,” Danny says mildly. “First off, ow. And second, what’s gotten into you? It’s a joke. We joke about things and then we laugh. Calm down, Steve, I’m not going anywhere. Grace is here, I’m not leaving until she does.”
“Don’t,” Steve repeats. “Even then.”
“Okay, I’m thinking maybe you got hit harder than we thought. C’mon, Smooth Dog, let’s get you up to the ambulance and get you all checked out by the nice doctors,” Danny says with a smile, tipping his gaze upwards to squint in Kono’s direction. “I got McGarrett, if you two can deal with the perps.”
“On it,” Chin assures, clapping Danny on the shoulder and prying Kono’s hand off at the same time – which is roughly the same moment in which Chin had noticed that Steve has a laser-like focus on Kono’s hands touching Danny.
There are only two Dannys, now, but Steve is still thinking that’s a bad thing. He tries to sit up and he manages, but it’s too fast because now he feels like he’s about to be sick all over Danny.
“Whoa,” Danny says, steadying Steve by the shoulders. “Okay, Superman, I get that you think that you have a higher-than-average healing rate, but I guarantee that you cannot automatically heal from a concussion that quickly. Let the nice doctors tell you that if you don’t trust me, but the last thing I need is you puking all over me.”
Danny slides his arm around Steve’s torso and brings him to his feet, steadying him as they sway in the direction of the ambulance. Steve feels instantly assured.
Danno’s got him.
They make it to the hospital without issue and Steve even convinces Danny to leave him alone while he gets checked out by the ER doctor. It’s not a relative of Chin’s, but Steve experiences the strangest déjà-vu he’s ever had in his life as he receives the very same diagnosis he got before, except then he was heading back to a full home and a waiting caregiver.
As it stands, he heads to the nurse’s desk and arranges for a room to recuperate in. “So long as I can pick up a few things first,” he says. “My partner will drive,” he adds, jutting a thumb over his shoulder in Danny’s direction.
It’s almost like something’s taken root. It’s almost like Steve is being cautious for a Danny that doesn’t exist outside of a hallucination by doing something so simple as not driving when he’s hurt.
The little voice that resides in his mind (and sounds a little like Mary) taunts him by reminding Steve that the Danny he’s trying to be safe for isn’t so different from the one watching him with a suspicious look. Steve excuses himself to head to the washroom just before they leave, rubbing his fingers over the bump on his head and staring at his reflection in the mirror a minute too long, trying to reconcile who he is with who he’d thought he was.
When he can’t merge the two, he gives up and heads back out to the hall to find Danny waiting for him. Steve nods, just the once, in the direction of the parking garage. “You parked up there?”
“Nah, I ran home while you were getting checked out,” Danny says, gesturing to the front doors. “Flashed my badge and told them Steve McGarrett authorized me to park in the emergency lane.”
“You’re abusing your privileges,” Steve says, but he can’t help but be amused at the same time as he feels a tightening in his chest. Danny is doing this for him. This Danny and the other Danny are not that far apart.
Danny just grins at him, like the sun parting through the clouds on a rainy day. “What can I say, I’m learning from your example.” The tightness refuses to vanish and Steve tries not to stare.
Instead, he goes through the motions. He feels a bit ginger again, like all those days of healing never happened. He didn’t miss the heavy ache in his head and now that it’s back, he wants to drug it gone once more.
It’s about halfway through the drive that Steve notices that Danny’s backseat is stuffed to the brim.
Steve spends the entire trip back to his place staring at Danny and the bags in the backseat in turns. It’s admittedly slightly blurry, but he’s pretty sure that he agreed to twenty-four hour supervision in the hospital, but he’s in Danny’s car and they’re going to Steve’s place and Danny has packed the mother of all overnight bags.
“Okay,” Steve bites, when he can’t take it anymore. “I told them I’d check myself in. Why have you packed for the weekend?”
“And after you were finished being a big martyr, I told the doctor I’d give you at-home care so you don’t contribute to the stress-rates of at least a dozen nice nurses and perfectly good doctors,” Danny replies almost instantly, clutching the wheel and watching the road. He almost looks like he’s relishing getting the chance to drive his car again. “Instead, you got me, babe.”
Something hot and heavy settles in Steve’s chest and he doesn’t think it has anything to do with the physical injury.
He’s just spent almost a week in his own head living out some misguided fantasy. It had to be that, or was it something else? His grandparents always taught him to respect culture and tradition, to never spit on lore and legend, but it’s crazy to think that Danny’s off-the-cuff wish in front of Rebecka could be tied to a hallucinatory dream he had while passed out.
Steve’s sticking by that, lest rationality fails him and he really has no idea what to think of the whole thing.
What Danny is saying finally catches up to him and Steve immediately realizes the severity of this bad idea.
“No, you can’t stay with me.” Steve is coping with memories of some alternate time in his life in which he had really felt happy and things hadn’t even been that different. Now, Danny is just going to keep plowing forward like he can force his hand back into that, even if he doesn’t have the slightest idea that it happened. “Danny, just drop me off at home and call a nurse.”
“You got Nurse Williams. Deal,” Danny says, starting to sound really tetchy.
Steve tightens his fist into a frustrated ball, but lets it go when he knows from experience that Danny’s like a dog with a bone and the chances of him giving this up are slim to none. He releases the tension in his fist and sighs heavily.
“Is that you letting it go?”
“Dann-yes, this is me letting it go,” Steve agrees, interrupting Danny before he can go on too much long. “Just drive, okay?” he says bluntly.
It’s not far before they arrive at Steve’s house and he even stubbornly helps Danny with the bags, tersely explaining that a bump to his head does not mean all the functioning muscles in his arms and legs are out of commission.
“I will knock you on the head one more time,” Danny threatens when Steve tries to carry all of them. “Really,” he goes on, a snide tone in his voice. “I will just beat you senseless and tie you down to the bed until you recuperate from this lifelong insanity you seem to be suffering from.”
Steve really wishes that his body didn’t find it promising to imagine Danny tying him down and having his way with him. He’s fairly sure that Danny doesn’t mean it in that way.
He puts his mind to ignoring it and sets Danny’s things in the guest room, taking his time in walking through the house, cataloguing each difference for the second time in a week. He isn’t sure, yet, whether or not to tell Danny about what happened. If he’s going to tell anyone, it’ll be Five-O and it’ll be Danny first, but that’s only if he chooses not to keep it to himself.
He keeps the thought at the back of his mind as he moves from room to room, inspecting each corner with the precision and tactics of an elite Navy SEAL. Everything is methodical and sharp. While he searches, Danny shouts up at him that he’s grilling dinner and Steve is just going to have to live with the results.
It’s the smallest thing that makes Steve falter. It’s when he looks to the mantle and there isn’t a picture of the two of them and Grace and he can only feel as if it’s missing. There’s a part of his life and it’s missing.
“Danny,” Steve calls out, trying to get him back from making dinner. “Can I talk to you for a second?”
He hears swearing in the kitchen, but Danny’s in the living room in seconds, sucking on his thumb.
“What did you do?” Steve asks, vaguely bemused.
“Nothing, your oven is a menace,” is Danny’s instant reply. “What is it, does your head hurt? Are you dizzy? Do you want to go back to the hospital?”
“Danny, breathe,” Steve says, trying to coax calm into his partner, like Danny’s the one that got injured and not Steve. “I’m fine. At least, I think I am.”
“You think you are,” Danny echoes. “That doesn’t inspire the highest of confidences, babe.”
Things like that are what make Steve falter. He can clearly see Danny and sees the lack of a ring. He sees no evidence to support a belief in his being with Danny, but the way they act hasn’t changed except for a distinct lack of a sex life.
And yes, okay, so Steve doesn’t like it.
“When I first got hit, before I came around,” Steve starts to explain very slowly. “I had a brief…experience.”
“Experience?” Danny says. “Are we talking white light here or born again?”
“I’m talking the world was exactly like it was supposed to be except that you and I stopped dancing around the pink elephant that’s sitting between us.” Steve’s not an idiot. He’s caught the way Danny looks at him sometimes. He hears the fondness in his tone, he knows that Danny doesn’t have to keep letting him drive his car.
Steve’s just never seen fit to talk about it because the risk was too high.
The keen tightness in his chest and the itch under his skin is convincing him very quickly that it’s well-worth the risk. “Danny, I woke up and we were married.”
That seems to be funny. It seems to be very funny if the way Danny is practically bent over laughing is any indication.
“I’m glad this is funny for you!” Steve almost shouts, his patience already burning on a short fuse.
Danny rights himself and he’s still grinning like a maniac. “You woke up and we were married. Jesus, McGarrett, what else is new?”
“No, I mean,” Steve says heatedly, taking a deep breath to calm himself down. “I mean, really, actually together. Pictures of you and Grace all over the house, shared bed, rings,” he says. “It was all a crazy hallucination, I know,” he hurries to add, so Danny doesn’t think he’s gone off the deep end. “But it got me to thinking.”
“Are you about to get down on one knee?” Danny asks, deadpan.
Sometimes, Steve wonders how he came to be half in love with this idiot, he really does.
“Danny,” Steve announces with a long look at the man, “I’m surprised my other self hadn’t killed you yet.” Somehow, Danny is grinning broader than before at all this, as if Steve isn’t insulting him to his face, “And you’re lucky that you were good in bed in my head…”
“Because otherwise, I might strangle you. Again.”
“Steven, your hallucinatory state sounds like it was a real party,” Danny says, now with a hefty amount of appreciation inherent in the words. “What exactly were you doing to me in there?” he asks, tapping Steve on the temple with two fingers.
Steve remains stoic and silent.
“Ah,” Danny says helpfully. “I see.”
“Danny, we had a life,” is what Steve tries to get back to. All he knows is that sometimes he catches Danny looking at him. It might not mean anything, but if they don’t talk about it, then they’ll never know. “And sometimes, here, I think about the same thing. I mean, then you do something like get crumbs everywhere or you mock the Navy…”
“Topic,” Danny cuts him off.
“Look, Danny, I’m saying that I have a thing for you,” Steve says bluntly. “And I was happy to let it go to the grave until I got hit on the head and my mind concocted up a life that I wanted. And turns out, it’s the kind of life that would make me just perfectly content. So here’s what I’m asking. Are you in or are you out?”
“Am I in or am I…”
“Yeah,” Steve agrees.
“Okay, let me explain something for you,” Danny says, crossing his arms over his torso. He’s got a pinched look on his face, like he’s having one of Steve’s aneurysms for him. “You do not get to just bulldoze over a guy with ‘are you in or are you out’ before even listening to his side of the story. Huh? Huh! What if I didn’t have a thing for you back, huh?”
Steve can practically feel the hope lifting the corners of his lips upwards.
“Oh, sweet merciful Lord…” Danny sighs.
“You have a thing for me back,” Steve says, like this is it – evidence is in, case closed. He might even be feeling just slightly smug and he’s sure that Danny, perceptive as the man is, might have noticed that.
Danny is pinching the bridge of his nose. “Let it be known that I am not yet sure whether my thing for you is entirely devoid of Stockholm Syndrome influences.”
“Danny,” Steve says, still smiling away like an idiot.
“Steven,” Danny replies back, really forming that gorgeous mouth around the words. “Yes, fine, I have a…thing for your crazy ass. But I’m not the one dreaming up wedding color arrangements!” he accuses.
“In my concussion dream, Grace did it for us,” is Steve’s helpful reply.
He’s almost entirely sure that’s the right thing to say when Danny closes the distance between them and slides his palm around Steve’s neck to bring him close. “You’re a goof,” is what Danny breathes out quietly, “but I’ve come to accept that at least you’re my goof.” He proceeds to kiss Steve and it’s like a first kiss all over, except this time Steve knows that he’s both in his right mind and in the rightful place.
Danny pulls back and they share something of a dazed and – dare he say it – dopey grin.
“Come on, you’re injured and I’m making you dinner. The doctor says rest, you rest!” Danny orders, his voice already ascending the scales to higher frustration and further anger. “Don’t make me pull out all the tricks.”
Steve goes willingly to the couch and allows Danny to fully mother-hen him under the knowledge and good news that Danny Williams wants him right back.
“Hey, Danny,” Steve murmurs groggily when dinner has hit the spot and he’s on the verge of falling asleep. “About this morning…”
They’re sprawled out on the sofa with Danny’s arm slung comfortably over Steve’s shoulders as they watch baseball on Steve’s satellite television.
“What? What about this morning? Was it the part you were an idiot or the part where some guy with a bat brained you?”
“The first part,” Steve says, fighting past the cotton-mouthed feeling the drugs are giving him. “I have,” he struggles to get out, “a remarkable amount of respect and consideration for you. Just so you know. I always consider you before my actions.”
“And you’re a maniac anyway,” Danny laments with a shake of his head. “Well, I guess beggars can’t be choosers and someone’s gotta keep you from going the whole nine yards off the edge.” He rubs his thumb idly at Steve’s shoulder and it’s like magic in releasing pent-up tension. Steve relaxes into Danny’s good hands and smiles as Danny starts in on yet another rant.
He closes his eyes and lets the constancy of Danny’s voice lull him to sleep, aware that he’ll pay for it in the morning, but finding that he’s almost looking forward to it.
It takes weeks before Steve comes back to the Rodriguez case files. Since then, they’ve put away smugglers, murderers, and dealt with a particularly gruesome arson case. They’ve all been good distractions, but Steve can’t ignore the one that set his world askew any longer.
“Did you ever ask her what the dolls were?” Steve asks distractedly as he brushes his thumb against the computer screen and takes his time looking through the pictures.
Danny is hovering nearby with a cup of coffee. It’s before ten and Danny’s belief is that the day doesn’t start until coffee is had and his brain cells perk up. He drifts past Steve like a phantom presence, fingers brushing Steve’s back every now and then.
“Earth to Danny,” Steve summons. “I know it’s still coffee time, but in the civilized world, people are awake by this time of day.”
“I’m not the fucker who kept me up all night doing lewd things to my person,” Danny says with a grumble.
“You’re doing the words thing again,” Steve says. “Danny, the dolls. What did Rebecka say about them?” Steve had watched them for days and it would’ve been impossible to miss the way Danny took to the witness. Of course he would’ve asked about the dolls. He’s a good detective and a better man. Of course he would have asked.
“They’re supposed to be some personification of a wishing thing. You know, like shooting stars or whatever,” Danny says, perching his ass on the edge of the table. “You buy a doll, you make a wish, you cherish it tight and it’s supposed to come true. I don’t know, I think it’s almost sweet.”
“She gave you one.” It’s not a question.
“She gave you one.”
“Two,” Danny says after a long pause is drawn out. “She gave me two. I gave one to Grace and I maybe kept one, but it’s a memento,” Danny says, pointing his finger in Steve’s face. “It is not a chick thing.”
Steve holds up both hands to protest innocence. “I didn’t say anything.”
“Yes, but I can hear you. I can hear that brain of yours,” Danny accuses.
There’s another long pause as Steve goes through the photos and indulges in the sound of Danny drinking his coffee. Chin and Kono aren’t in yet, taking a late morning because Steve had suggested they deserved more time off.
“What’d you wish for?”
Danny arches his brow and regards Steve over his mug. “What are you, new?” he says in disbelief. “Birthday candles, shooting stars, and goodwill from suspects who were exonerated,” he lists on his fingers. “These are things you wish on and don’t tell people about, because then they don’t come true.”
Steve, who maybe has held a wish in his heart to feel something that he saw his parents share with someone he trusts unconditionally, says nothing. He suppresses his smile and watches Danny for a long moment.
Long enough that it seems to get Danny twitchy.
“What? What is it? What, do I have something on my face?” he asks, turning his face back and forth. “Don’t gimme that look, McGarrett, or I’ll wipe it off.”
“Danny,” Steve says, letting loose the smile he’s been holding in. “I just wanted you to know that my wish came true.”
Danny grins at him and sets his coffee back on a table that won’t earn Chin Ho’s wrath (one coffee ring on the monitor is all it takes to learn). It looks like the morning is ready and raring to go because Danny Williams is awake as anything.
“You’re such a goof,” Danny announces. “Honestly. I sense that you were abused in high school for being a gigantic dork. How off the money am I? I mean, I’m pretty close, right? You were terrorized.”
“Danny,” Steve says, looming over the other man and grasping onto his hips forcibly enough to leave fingerprint marks. “Shut up.”
“Babe, this time you’re gonna have to make me.”
Steve has never backed down from a challenge. Today is not the day he starts.