"I'll have you know," Steve says as he pulls up outside HQ, "that I've been on plenty of dates since then."
Danny blinks at him, and Steve can see the exact moment that he makes the connection to the little conversation they had over the roof of the car outside of Hennessey's place earlier this morning, his expression immediately turning dubious. "Oh, really? You have, have you? With whom?"
He puts the car in park and unbuckles his seat belt, his other hand poised over the door handle; then, before he can think about it, he turns to look at Danny over his shoulder and says, serious as he's ever been, "With you." He slides smoothly out of the car before his partner can reply, leaving the door propped half-open behind him, and Danny's scrambling out the passenger side a beat later, sputtering. He doesn't bother to try to keep a smile from tugging at the corner of his lips as he heads off toward where he parked his truck; it's easy now, in the wake of Danny's customary loud bluster, to put aside any anxiety he feels about that confession, before he goes back into case mode and he has to anyway.
"Steven!" Danny finally manages behind him.
Steve ignores him—they can talk later, if he can't distract Danny on some tangent—just gives him a jaunty little half-wave before ducking into his Silverado. For now, they've got a murder to prove, and he's got an M.E. to see.
The cord goes suddenly slack around his neck. He disentangles himself from it and Kang's now-limp body and pushes away, swimming for the edge of the tank where a strong arm helps him lever himself out of the water, and dimly he registers his partner saying something, saying his name. He crawls as far away from the edge as he can manage and coughs up water and CO2 until he can start to breathe again before settling on his ass, and then there's a touch to his chin, nudging him to face forward.
"—me, look at me, you all right?" his partner's saying. "What's my name, huh?" Steve narrows his eyes, trying to focus on him, trying to grasp the familiar name floating frustratingly just out of reach, and his partner says again: "What's my name?"
He swallows, sucks in another breath, and yes, he knows it, it's— "Danny."
"Good. Good, good," Danny says; "How long have we known each other?"
Another breath. "Fifty years," he says, matter-of-fact.
"Fift—" Danny starts, closes his eyes and holds back a long-suffering sigh; Steve's almost disappointed. "That's not funny."
Steve turns and spits out a globule of blood before meeting his partner's eyes and telling him, "Feels like fifty years."
"That's not funny. I'm, I'm trying to be serious, here, okay?"
"It's gonna take more than a little brain-scrub to make me forget you, pal. Okay?"
Danny laughs once, disbelievingly, and shakes his head a little. "Fifty years," he repeats, almost to himself. "Is that how long you've been dating me without telling me, too?" Steve doesn't say anything, but he doesn't have to; Danny already knows. He's already shown his hand. Danny huffs out another laugh. "So that time in the Marquis, that was supposed to be a date, and that hiking trip, and the, the, the time you actually paid for drinks for once, when Melissa and I broke it off, was that one too? And…"
But Steve can't listen, turns away and concentrates on getting his breath back so he doesn't have to listen, and he opens his mouth to say sorry, is just getting the s out when he feels another touch at his chin and Danny turns him back to look at him.
"You, babe, are an idiot," Danny says feelingly, and leans forward to kiss him, a soft, lingering press of lips. The tension bleeds from Steve's shoulders as he starts to kiss back, one hand coming up to curl over Danny's nape, his thumb smoothing along the line of his jaw. After a moment, Danny pulls back softly, blue eyes bright and fond and amused. "Okay?"
"Yeah," he says, giddy and pleasantly breathless and so utterly, completely besotted. "Okay." He can't help the goofy grin that he gives him then, at the thought that he can have this, that they're partners in every sense of the word, now. "I love you," he says between breaths, putting as much weight and feeling into the words as he knows how.
Danny smiles back at him and says, "Love you too, babe." His grin stretches into a smirk as he gives Steve an appraising once-over, one eyebrow quirked. "You look ridiculous, by the way."
"Yeah," he agrees. The sooner he can get out of this atrocious orange wetsuit, the better.
Footsteps echo down the corridor leading to the sensory dep room, and Danny moves to crouch next to him as they both tense for a fight, just in case, but it's Tani leading Junior and Lou behind her, weapons ready, and they all relax.
They'll be all right.