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Love On The Auction Block

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Danny glances around as he walks towards the shrimp truck, looking for Steve. There’s a small crowd gathered around Flippa, who is seated at a picnic table playing his ukulele, but mister tall and handsome isn’t there yet.

Danny frowns and hopes Steve shows up soon, or at least the rest of the team. He’s not really in the mood for socializing with this bizarrely cheerful group of Flippa fans. He shakes his head at himself, leaning back against a palm tree to wait. It’s not as if he’s got anywhere else to be, or if spending a few minutes waiting for his friends to arrive is a hardship. Danny needs to get a grip.

He just feels like he hasn’t seen Steve for days, and it’s making him grumpy.

It hasn’t been on purpose, just a matter of scheduling and making sure one of them is always around for the younger members of the team. Add that to Charlie’s soccer games (the kid is actually turning out to be pretty good, which is nice given the lackadaisical approach he takes to most things), Lou’s extended trip to the mainland to see his kids, and the general chaos that is Steve’s life, and Danny is definitely suffering from a lack of Steve and Danno time.

He supposes it isn’t really fair to hope for a big case to come their way and demand all hands on deck. But he could really use the help of a narrow escape to bring Steve’s focus back to him. He’d even settle for a situation that let Steve do something blatantly stupid but moderately successful, so that Danny could yell at him fondly for a while and make Steve grin in tolerant amusement.

Flippa ends his song with a flourish, to a round of applause, and starts a new one. Danny hasn’t heard it before, and it catches his attention.

Well I went down to the Grundy County Auction
Where I saw something I just had to have
My mind told me I should proceed with caution
But my heart said: "Go ahead and make a bid on that"

The chorus is fast, words tripping out of Flippa’s mouth like he’s trying to beat some kind of speed record, but the song doesn’t sound very much like traditional ukulele music to Danny.

Hey pretty lady won't you give me a sign?
I'd give anything to make you mine o' mine
I'll do your biddin' and be at your beck and call
Yeah, I've never seen anyone lookin' so fine
Man I gotta have her she's a one of a kind
I'm going once, going twice, I'm sold

Danny makes the mistake of questioning Flippa’s song choice out loud, not realizing that Kamekona is standing nearby. The big man turns and glares at him. “It’s for charity, brah.”

Danny is searching for an appropriate come-back when Tani appears, grabbing him by the elbow and tugs him away. “Don’t engage, you should know better by now.”

They find a table and sit down, Junior joining them a few minutes later. Tani immediately starts questioning Junior about a case they’re working on which has some tangential connection to a woman her brother once dated, Junior preening when Tani praises him for tracking down an informant who might actually have useful information. After a while the conversation veers back to the immediate problem, which is that all of them are hungry and there’s no food in sight. “You did call in the order, didn’t you, Junes?” Tani asks.

“Oh,” Junior says, looking somewhat abashed. “Right… Kamekona says he won’t serve us until we sign up for his charity thing. It’s something to do with some kids’ clubs, I think? And a chance to advertise his businesses, of course. Anyway, I told him I’d talk to you all about it.”

“Might have been nice to mention that a few hours ago,” Danny grumbles. Work is slow today, but they do have to go back to it at some point.

“You don’t need to strong arm me,” Tani says. “I already agreed to work front of house and sell tickets. Maybe help advertise.”

“Kamekona told me,” Junior says with a grin. “Said he asked you personally, because he needs someone he can trust handling the money.”

Tani looks pleased. “Makes sense.”

“Although he also seemed to want to show you off. He may have dropped a hint about the red sequined outfit you wore to the New Year’s Eve party last year?”

Tani seems torn between being flattered and annoyed. “Yeah, I do look hot in that dress. Whatever. Want to help me with advance ticket sales? I’m working on a schedule to visit some community groups…”

Danny is only halfway listening to this conversation, distracted as he is by Steve slowly making his way over to them with four bottles of beer in one hand and what looks like a pile of flyers in the other. There’s nothing unusual about his look today – he’s wearing a dark blue short sleeved shirt and cargo pants – but somehow Danny can’t keep his eyes off of him. Steve keeps stopping and talking to people, the beers swinging from his long fingers but in no danger of falling.

Danny’s not sure how Steve dangling glass bottles from his fingers can be turning him on, but it is. Pretty much everything about Steve turns him on these days. He doesn’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the way the low thrum of desire he always felt for Steve kind of burst out of wherever he was managing to keep it contained, and now he can hardly rein himself in. He’s like microwave popcorn bursting out of the bag. Horny, sad, middle-aged popcorn.

Later, he blames this on Steve and the ink peeking out from his sleeves, rendering his biceps even that much more enticing. And the fact that Danny hasn’t seen him in a while, dulling his ability to be reasonable in Steve’s presence. And that little smile Steve gives Danny as he hands him his beer, even better in person than when Danny imagines it.

Because it’s Steve’s fault that Danny was so distracted that he agreed to be sold in a charity auction.

It might have been okay if Danny could have put the ridiculous thing out of his mind and just show up at the event. But no, everywhere he turns people are talking about it, reminding him that in two weeks’ time, he’s going to be prancing around on stage for the questionable enjoyment of the general public.

It’s all in fun, he knows that. It’s not as if he’s actually going to have sex with whoever wins him. It’s a lot more likely they will want him to help clean out their garage, or come to their kid’s class for a show and tell about catching bad guys. Lots of people he knows are participating, police officers and firefighters and even some people from the governor’s office. But it still floods Danny with embarrassment every time he thinks about it.

He knows he isn’t bad to look at, and he keeps himself in good shape. But he’s short, and not particularly striking in any way. And he’s a far cry from young. There are sure to be plenty of more attractive, appealing men and women up for auction. What if no one bids on him at all?

To make it worse, Steve is up for auction, too. Tall, confident, I save the island every other day with the power of my handsome face and love for weaponry Steve. This comes as no surprise to Danny or anyone else. Steve, in fact, is milking it for all he’s worth, helping Kamekona with publicity, and winking and smirking like there’s no tomorrow.

It makes Danny want to shove him up against a wall and kiss that smirking face. Or punch it. It’s a toss-up.

He definitely doesn’t want to think about gorgeous young things bidding for Steve’s time. Against all odds Steve is still unattached, even after his trip to the mainland with Catherine to find himself or punish himself or whatever that was. Now that Steve has returned from that piece of risky business unscathed and still single, Danny isn’t really keen on sharing him, even for a night. Because with Danny’s luck one night could turn into more, and then whatever small piece of Steve’s attention Danny has come to count on could be lost.

Danny has managed to forget about the auction for almost a whole afternoon (most of which he spent on a stake-out with Steve that was so easy they felt a little guilty about it, parked in the Camaro across the street from a beachside bar, car windows open to let the warm breeze through – a damn good day that would have turned into a perfect one if Steve could have joined him for dinner with the kids afterwards, but no, he had a dentist appointment or some such mundane annoyance) when he comes home and finds Grace sitting cross-legged on the living room floor with Charlie, strumming her ukulele and singing that damn song.

Well the auctioneer was going about a mile a minute
He was takin' bids and callin' them out loud
And I guess I was really gettin' in it
Cause I just shouted out above the crowd

And I said
Hey pretty lady won't you give me a sign?
I'd give anything to make you mine o' mine
I'll do your biddin' and be at your beck and call
Yeah, I've never seen anyone lookin' so fine
Man I gotta have her she's a one of a kind
I'm goin' once, going twice

Charlie breaks into giggles as Grace speeds up into the next part, trying and failing to sing along with his sister. Grace goes on, glancing up at Danny, her eyes twinkling because she knows how much this whole thing is driving him nuts.

I'm sold
To the lady in the long black dress
Cause she won my heart it was no contest
With her ruby red lips, blonde hair, blue eyes
Well I'm about to bid my heart goodbye

Danny tries to interrupt them. “Come on, guys, if you want pizza-”

“Danno, no,” Charlie whines. “Not yet, this is the best part.”

Grace gives a little extra strum on the uke and flashes her best smile at Charlie, who is swaying and clapping along.

Yeah, we found love on the auction block
And I hauled her heart away
And we still love and laugh about the way we met that day

Later, when the pizza has been eaten, stories read, and he and Grace are perusing Netflix for a movie, he finds himself humming the damn song, and Grace grins at him.

“It’s catchy, right?”

“How did you even learn it? It doesn’t sound like it’s meant for the ukulele.”

Grace just rolls her eyes. “You can play anything on the ukulele. It isn’t that hard. Besides, Kamekona asked me to.”

Danny forces himself to remain calm. “He asked you to be in the auction?”

Grace laughs. “No, you’d kill him, he knows that. He asked me to learn the song. Me and a few other kids are going to play during intermission.” She grabs her instrument and strums a more familiar traditional Hawaiian tune. “He says I’m really good for someone who’s only played for a few years.”

“That you are, monkey. You’re the best.” Danny gives Grace a sideways hug, and she leans into him for a minute. “But I still don’t get that song. Isn’t it sexist?”

Grace sits up and considers him, her big brown eyes serious. “Have you actually listened to it? The singer” and Danny catches the way she emphasizes the word, purposefully not allowing him to assume that it’s a guy, “the singer sees someone at the auction who they think is beautiful, and they fall in love. Get it? They’re ‘sold’ to the person they fall in love with, not the other way around.”

“I guess.”

Grace shrugs and settles herself back on the couch. “Be a spoil sport if you want. It’s a song about a meet cute, and it’s perfect to use to promote the charity auction. Besides, it’s really fun to sing.”

The big night finally arrives. Danny, dressed in slim fitting slacks and a sapphire blue shirt, shoes shined and hair slicked in place, is backstage at Kukui High School. He had flat out refused to wear any kind of ridiculous costume, and he thought that his arguments about having to maintain the dignity of the police force were well taken. That is, until Steve comes striding up next to him, looking smug. Steve is naked except for a bow tie and well fitted black tuxedo pants. He might actually be wearing eyeliner.

“Looking good, Commander,” Noelani chirps from her seat next to the curtain. “You’re up next, then Danny.” Noelani carefully sets a string of fragrant white flowers over Steve’s head.

“Thanks, Noelani.” Steve smirks, preening as Noelani arranges the lei so that it doesn’t catch on his bow tie. Danny feels heat rise in his face, and hopes he can blame the lights.

“Wish me luck, hey Danno?” Steve flashes him a grin and struts out on stage.

Kamekona is playing the role of the auctioneer, convincing the audience members to shell out hundreds of dollars for a few hours with some of Oahu’s finest. Danny knows it’s a good cause, he’s always game to help out kids, and the area in question really does need updates to its community center and outreach programs. But two weeks of anticipation haven’t helped him avoid the fact that this particular charity event presses every one of his buttons. His Steve-related buttons, that is.

“Hawaii’s very own Captain America, our favorite super-SEAL, you know you want him. What will you give me for a night with Commander Steve McGarrett?” Kamekona is working the crowd, getting bid after bid. Danny bites his lip, wishing he could have a chance for a night with Steve. Of course, he’s had plenty of chances, hasn’t he? Dozens of evenings hanging out in Steve’s backyard, or on Danny’s couch. Mornings surfing until they’re exhausted, late nights decompressing after cases with a beer. But somehow Danny has never even placed a bid.

Danny sticks his head around the curtain, watching people bid on Steve, most of the bidders dropping out as the price rises. It looks like the last two people competing to win Steve are an elderly lady with a sparkly green purse hanging from her arm and a good looking young guy who looks like he could bench press more than Junior. Danny’s rooting for the purse lady.

“I’ve got $400, do I hear $450? $450? Who’s gonna give me $450 for a night with Commander McGarrett?”

Thankfully, purse lady wins, and she nods gracefully to the crowd as she goes backstage to meet Steve, who gives her a little kiss on the cheek and set his lei over her head. Turns out she’s Duke’s sister, one of the main sponsors of the event – and not likely to be buying Steve’s time with anything lascivious in mind.

With a sigh of relief, Danny accepts some last minute coaching from Noelani, she gives him his flowers, and he walks out on stage.

With a wink, Kamekona excuses himself, and Tani prances up to take his place. “Hello everyone,” she says, grinning as she poses in her sparkling dress. “I’m Tani, your auctioneer for the next part of the show. Kamekona and I have a bet going that I’ll be able to raise more money in the next fifteen minutes than he did…”

Danny stops listening to Tani and focuses on just hitting his mark, doing the silly little wave and runway walk they had practiced, and then coming to a stop by the podium.

He tries not to grimace as Tani introduces him (“Detective Danny Williams, he may be small but his shirt is too, we’re all grateful for that, aren’t we?”). Danny wouldn’t have thought that Tani would be as good an auctioneer as Kamekona, but apparently his sheer will to make a profit doesn’t necessarily win out over her charm and sultry sex appeal.

Tani’s also got the auction chant down, her words running together in a hypnotic flow. “$300, $300, I’ve got $300, wilyagiveme $350, $350, $350 bid, now $400…”

There are several people bidding energetically for Danny. He tries to see who they are, but with the lights shining in his eyes he really can’t tell.

“Come on, he’s a bite sized hunk of handsome, he’s all yours for $450, $450 bid, now $500…”

Danny can’t help but notice that it’s the same bid Steve went for, and something that he hadn’t realized was bothering him dissolves.

“Sold. $500, bidder number 50!” Tani brings down her gavel on the podium and smiles broadly at the audience, then turns to Danny. “Well done, boss. Go on, the winner will meet you backstage.”

Danny lets out a long breath and ducks back behind the curtain to see who he has to make nice to in exchange for their generous donation. He’s a little confused to see Steve, less naked than before with a dark hooded sweatshirt on. Steve pushes the hood off his head and blinks at Danny with an uncharacteristically shy smile on his face.

Danny frowns at Steve and scans the backstage area, looking around for the person he’s supposed to meet. Just as he’s about to go find Noelani and ask her what’s going on, Steve comes up to him, holding up a bid card with the number “50” in large print. It’s the number of the winning bidder.

“Are you serious?” Danny asks, annoyance spiking through him. “What is this - do I not do enough of your paperwork during work hours?”

Steve bites his lip, and then steps right into Danny’s space. “That’s not why I bid on you,” Steve says, his voice low and determined.

Suddenly all the air seems to disappear from the room, and Danny feels his heart thud in his chest. He can barely think, something like oh my fucking god reverberating inside his head.

“Danny,” Steve says, and Danny could swear Steve’s gaze flickers down to his lips and then back up again, “Danny, for a long time, too long, I’ve wondered… I see the way you look at me. I think, I mean I hope, I really hope, that you might want something more, from me. If you do… I’d like that too. Am I…” Steve moves even closer, until his chest is practically touching Danny’s. “Am I wrong?”

Danny feels like he’s spinning, blood rushing crazily away from his head and butterflies doing cartwheels in his stomach. “No,” he finally gets out. “You’re not wrong. But… how did you – you…?” He’s not even sure what he’s trying to ask. Not in a million years did he imagine this, Steve McGarrett bidding for him, practically announcing his intentions right out in front of the whole world, or at least the few hundred folks crammed into the KuiKui High School auditorium tonight.

“One of us had to take a chance,” Steve says. He lays a grounding hand on Danny’s shoulder and then leans in, his lips brushing against Danny’s in a sure, soft kiss.

“So, what do you say?” Steve asks when he pulls back, his eyes hopeful. “Are you gonna give me that lei?”

Danny holds Steve’s gaze as the moment expands, filling his heart with something unbearably bright. “Sold.”