“Welcome to O’ahu, local time is 7:30 am, partly cloudy and 82 degrees. Please remain seated as we taxi to the gate and the pilot has turned off the seat belt sign.”
Steve held Danny’s hand, lightly rubbing the tiny pink scars on the second and third knuckles of his right hand with his thumb, his thoughts fleeting to what caused them, wishing he could make them disappear. But maybe the point of scars were so you wouldn’t forget. Danny rolled his hand under so they were palm to palm.
“Was I hurting you?” Steve asked.
“No. Just felt weird. Back of my hand is still kind of numb so when you rub it, it feels odd is all.”
“Forget about it.” Danny squeezed his hand.
“Should we call Grace and let her know we’re back early?”
Danny glanced at his watch. “Nah, by the time we get our bag and drive to the house, she’ll be in class. No need to wake her up early.”
“Yeah, OK.” Steve leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.
“You still worried about Mary? Or is it Joanie”
Steve smiled at how well his husband knew him. “Joanie’s the same age now that Gracie was when we met. I got to watch Grace grow up but didn’t realize how much of it I’d really missed until this week.”
Steve and Danny had flown to Los Angeles after Mary had called to say she’d found a lump in one breast and was going to need surgery. Danny had gone along to take care of Joan so Steve could focus on Mary. The lumpectomy went really well and was benign which made all of them breathe easier. Danny noticed that once their fear was lifted, Mary became more resistant to Steve’s fussing over her until she’d pulled him aside one day and asked if he could get Steve to agree to head home early. Mary loved her brother, but he was a bit of a control freak which only got worse when he was frightened. Danny did as asked and now they were flying home three days earlier than planned.
“You’re getting that with Charlie now though.” Danny said, trying to be encouraging but knowing it’s not the same.
“Boys are different.”
“Yes and no. The daily stuff, talking to them, hearing their amazing insights of the world as they see it, their enthusiasm for anything they love...you get that wether you’re playing legos or dolls or playdoh. It’s all very individual to the kid. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m parenting Charlie differently. I’d like to believe that it’s only because I...I..know more than I did 20 years ago. That I learned to be a better father. But I know that’s not only it.”
“Right? When we took Joan to the park, I realized I was always telling her to be careful and worried she was going to get hurt, but I don’t do that with Charlie. I mean, I don’t let him do anything crazy, but I accept he’s gonna get hurt sometimes. I couldn’t accept that with Joan.”
“Yeah. I had Grace to call me on that too. The other way I mean. She has pointed out many times that I let Charlie do things I didn’t let her do. Or if I did, I hovered over her. She’s so much like her mom. So now I got two women calling me out. It’s fun.” Danny said drolly.
“You’re a great father, Danny. I know you know that.”
“I think I’m a good father for younger kids. Not sure how I good I am with Grace now that she’s an adult. We argue so much more than we used to.”
“Pretty sure that doesn’t have anything to do with you being a good father. That’s just Grace growing into her own person.”
“Maybe.” Danny wasn’t convinced.
He was starting to feel like Grace has internalized different values than he thought he’d taught her. He knew she was drinking sometimes and 6 months ago he’d walked in on her and Will making out, after which she got angry with him for “overreacting”. Then had come the worst fight they’d ever had when he learned she’d been attending anti-policing demonstrations. She’d not told him she was going until he got a call that she’d been arrested and they notified him before booking her. He’d gone to the precinct but she refused to leave with him saying it would be hypocritical of her to use her privilege as his daughter when her friends were still being booked. He was furious but also a tiny bit proud of her. However, their subsequent arguments over “defunding the police” had cut him deep because she threw in his face things she knew he’d done on the job and Steve had to intervene and ask Grace to leave the house. Since then, they had come to an uneasy peace which mostly consisted of them just not talking about politics or his job at all.
Steve grabbed his hand and leaned over to whisper in his ear as people started to empty the plane cabin. “Rebellion is what teenagers do, Danno. She will always love you. She’ll figure it out.”
Danny nodded. He wasn’t so sure, but he squeezed Steve’s hand, thankful for the reassurance.
Eddie greeted them enthusiastically at the door and then went and grabbed his food bowl, bringing it to them and dropping it at their feet.
“You hungry boy? Didn’t Gracie give you breakfast?” Steve asked as he picked up the dish and rubbed the dog’s soft ears.
“I wonder if she overslept? She should be on campus by now.” Her car was in the driveway so he knew she was home. “You feed Eddie and I’ll go see what’s up.”
“OK. You want breakfast? Huh? Do you?” Steve teased as Eddie jumped and ran in circles around him as he headed for the kitchen.
Grace’s room was at the opposite end of the hallway from the master bedroom he shared with Steve. Her room had been Mary’s room when his husband was growing up. Charlie had Steve’s old room. He paused at the door and knocked loudly. “Gracie! Did you oversleep hon?”
“Fuck!” He heard Grace say behind the door. Followed shortly by an second voice that said, “Oh, shit!” He heard a loud crash, so he opened the door.
“Get out Danno!” Grace yelled as Will’s naked form disappeared into the closet.
“What the hell, Grace!” Danny yelled just as loud. “Boy, get your ass out of this house!”
“Danno! Get out of my room!”
Danny looked at her fully and realized that she was sitting up, holding the sheet over her chest, bare shoulders and rage blurred his vision. He was about to charge the closet when he felt strong arms around his waist pulling him backwards. “Fuck you, Steve! Let me at him!”
Steve lifted him completely off the ground and turned him around so he was facing the hallway door, forced out of the room. At the doorway, he heard Steve say, “Grace, you and Will have 15 minutes to get dressed and get to school.” Then he pulled Grace’s door shut.
Danny spun on him and tried to plow past his husband but Steve stood firm and grabbed Danny on the shoulders. “Enough! You gonna beat the shit out of the kid? Huh?
“Steve! He was in her bed! They didn’t have clothes on! FUCK!”
Steve spun him again and pushed him down the hall to their bedroom and closed the door behind him.
“You need to calm down.”
“Don’t ask me to calm down! That fucker is in there with her, they were...he just...” Danny paced needing to vent everything that was burning inside but having no where for it to go.
“She’s almost 20.”
“So?! They are just kids! They aren’t ready for...they aren’t married...”
Steve crossed his arms, blocking the door with his body. “Danny no one waits to have sex until they’re married anymore. You and Rachel didn’t. They’ve been dating for 4 years now. Are you really surprised by this?”
“How can you be so calm? Oh, I know. Because you aren’t her father!” As soon as the words left mouth he instantly regretted them but he was too enraged to apologize. He turned his back so he didn’t have to see the hurt on Steve’s face.
“We came back early, Danny. They weren’t expecting us to show up.” Steve said evenly.
“We asked her to stay here and take care of the dog, Steve. Not to turn our house into a shack-up week with her boyfriend!”
Steve sighed. “Go take a shower. I will bring up our bags and make sure they’ve left. Stay here until I get back.”
“Don’t order me around.” Danny spat.
“I’m protecting you from yourself. Unless you want to jeopardize your relationship with Grace forever, stay in this fucking room.” Steve left, closing the door hard behind him.
By the time he got downstairs, Grace’s car was gone, so he grabbed the bags and headed to the laundry room first in the hope his partner would get a hold of himself. He set the suitcase on top of the washer and sorted everything into the different hampers.
He wasn’t as surprised as Danny at what just happened. He hadn’t known for sure if Grace and Will had progressed to intercourse, but he had suspected because they were teenagers and had been dating for a long time. Broaching the subject only ever distressed his husband, and he knew Gracie had her mom or Kono to go to if she needed advice or support, so he hadn’t figured it was something he needed to talk to either her or Danny about.
You’re not her father. Danny’s words stung more than he wanted to let on. Of course they were true, but Danny had always encouraged his relationship with both Grace and Charlie. He’d not even blinked when Charlie said he wanted to call Steve “Daddy” instead of “Uncle Steve” after they got married. However, Steve was not a part of any parenting plan and never had been. Following their divorce, Stan had left Hawai’i for a job on the mainland, and effectively left Charlie’s life. Though from his conversations with Grace, once Stan had learned he wasn’t Charlie’s dad, he’d withdrawn from all of them, accelerating the inevitable divorce. Their current plan had Charlie with them for a week and then with Rachel for a week, unless there was a big case and then Charlie stayed with Rachel until either he or Danny could get away. Grace lived on the UH campus, except for the holidays, summer, and often on weekends, when they’d work out with her directly whether she planned to be at their place or at her mom’s.
Asking her to stay at the house during Mary’s surgery had been easier than asking one of the team to do it. Before they left, Danny had semi-seriously told her not to throw any beach parties for her friends. And she hadn’t. Just hadn’t occurred to either of them to lay out any rules about Will. Which made Steve wonder how that conversation would have gone if they had.
Steve has always carried a relaxed comfort about sex; having it, talking about it, wanting it. He’d lost his virginity at 16, not long after he’d been sent to the Army/Navy Prep Academy in California, and while he was aware of the religious morality around sex they’d taught at school, it was more about making sure they didn’t knock up any girls in town than any actual pressure to not have sex at all. Later, when he’d uncovered his attraction to men as well as women, he shoved any outdated morality about purity out the door.
But was Danny right? Does he feel like Grace and Will having sex is no big deal because he’s not her dad? He has definitely felt very protective of both Grace and Charlie. And he might feel different if she and Will hadn’t been dating for so long. Even there though, he’s not sure. She’s an adult. She’s in college. Sexual exploration is normal at that time. It had felt normal to him. Danny, though, he has always treated Grace as though she’s supposed to be perfect. Too perfect. Not that she has been. And honestly, when she’s made mistakes, Danny talked through it with her, even if he reacted harshly at first. It didn’t help that things had been getting more tense between them lately and he felt like finding her this morning might have been the match that lit the fuse on a bomb. He hoped the fuse was long enough that they could all extinguish it before it blew up in their faces.
After setting the clothes washer on time-delay, Steve had found Danny in the shower and decided to join him. When he pushed the curtain open, he saw Danny standing with his forehead against the wall under the shower head, right fist resting on the wall. Steve came up behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist.
“You gonna be OK?” he said softly, lightly kissing him on the shoulder and up the side of his neck.
“No.” Danny said, not reacting to his husband’s touch at all.
“C’mon Danny. This is not the end of the world. Grace is an amazing young woman and Will Grover is a great young man too. You know this.”
Danny hit his fist against the shower tile. “They did this in our house Steve. In your sister’s bed.”
Steve rolled his eyes. “It hasn’t been Mary’s bed for over 20 years, so let’s not act like the bed was some sacred shrine to virginity.” Danny stiffened and pushed his way past to the back of the tub, reaching out for his towel.
“Danny...” His husband ignored him and left the shower. Steve had just turned the water off when he heard his phone ring. It must have been a number Danny recognized because he answered it.
“Yeah Tani. OK. Give me the address. How’d you know we were back? Of course he did. No, it’s fine. We’ll be there in 30. OK. Thanks.”
Steve was already out of the shower, his towel wrapped around his waist. “What is it?”
Danny didn’t look at him, instead focused on putting mousse in his hair and grabbing his comb. “Some teenagers found a body under the King Street bridge.” Danny finished combing his hair and started to leave the bathroom when Steve laid a hand on Danny’s shoulder, which his husband shrugged off. “Just get dressed Steve. We have a case.”
Steve let him go, shaking the water out of his short hair and running his fingers through to style it. “This is gonna be great day.” He said to himself in the mirror.
By the time they got to the scene, Dr. Cunha and her team were busy marking and tagging. Tani and Junior saw them approach and met them on the other side of the crime scene tape to brief their Commander.
“What we got?” Steve asked.
They looked at each other, Junior clearly wanting Tani to do the briefing. “Seriously?” She asked dryly, giving him a pointed look.
“Someone needs to talk to me.” Steve demanded.
“Squeemy over here just doesn't want to talk about lady-parts.”
“Oh, like I didn’t see you make a face when we got here.” Junior said defensively.
Steve held up his hand and looked at Tani. “Talk.”
“Victim is white female, late teens or early 20’s. COD seems to be blunt-force trauma to the head, but she was found naked from the waist down and there’s evidence of genital mutilation.”
“Dr. Cunha think she was raped as well?”
Tani shook her head. “No. The mutilation isn’t new. She was circumcised at some point in the past but it’s healed.”
“I don’t understand. What do you mean she was circumcised?” Danny asked
Steve answered him. “In parts of Africa they cut off or sew over the clitoris of girls before they reach puberty. The practice is euphemistically called female circumcision and has been denounced by the World Health Organization for years, but some people still practice it.”
“Jesus.” Danny breathed out, not blaming Junior for not wanting to talk about it.
“It’s not only in Africa though.” Tani challenged. “The practice only became a felony in the state of Hawai’i a year ago.
Steve looked at her with surprise. “Really? I thought it’s been illegal since the ‘80s.”
She shook her head. “The first states started passing laws against it in the late ‘90s. Current estimates show thousands of girls may be subject to it each year, even in states where it’s illegal. Like any other kind of child abuse, it goes under-reported.”
Danny just shook his head. “Wouldn’t these kids doctors have noticed?” He’d only taken Grace and Charlie for their annual check-ups a couple times, but being in the room, he knew a quick examination of genitals was a part of any well-child visit.
“Most people who do this to their kids don’t see regular pediatricians, Danny. They have their own healers and practitioners they go to because yes, most doctors would report it as child abuse. Some cultures feel the practice is necessary to prevent girls from seeking sex until they have been bound into marriage.”
“Alright, I don’t need to hear any more.” Danny said as he walked further in toward the crime scene to talk to one of the techs.
Tani looked at Steve. “He OK, Boss?”
“He gets edgy around child abuse.” Steve said dismissively. She nodded.
“Well, I took a scan of her fingerprints and she wasn’t in the system, so I’m going to take her photo over to an encampment nearby and see if anyone recognizes her. She doesn’t look like she’s been living on the streets, but they still might recognize her.”
“Sounds good. You and Junior work that angle and Danny and I’ll supervise the rest of the scene detail.” Tani and her partner exchanged looks. Something was going on for the Commander and Danny to opt to stay on-scene instead of assigning that to one of the rest of them, but they didn’t say anything and headed off.
“Good Morning Commander.” Dr. Noelani Cunha greeted Steve as he walked up to where she kneeled over the body, even as he kept an eye on Danny who was talking with Adam next to a couple of skater kids.
“Tani said you had a probable COD. You have time of death?”
“Liver temp and lividity puts it likely between 9pm last night and 4am this morning. But this isn’t where she died. She was dumped here sometime before 6am.”
“Why do you say that?”
She rolled the body towards her. “Ground under her is dry. We had rain this morning.”
“Right.” Steve remembered there being some turbulence as they flew in but by the time they’d landed, the rain had stopped and the sky was mostly clear again. Welcome to Hawai’i.
Steve lifted the opaque polymer sheet that covered the lower half of the young woman’s corpse. Aside from being naked, she looked normal, no bruising or cuts visible. “Tani said she’d been...”
“Yeah, here.” Dr. Cunha reached gloved fingers down and spread the labia to apart. He knew it didn’t look right, but he’d been expecting something much worse somehow. She pointed with her fingers explaining. “She suffered a Type II mutilation, where the clitoris and upper labia minora are sliced away, so what you see here is the exposed urethra. Based on what I see here, this was probably done when she was 11 or 12 and was done by someone who was practiced at it. Most of the time when we see this in the US, it’s in immigrant children where FGM is still steeped in cultural norms and misunderstandings. It is unusual to find in someone white.”
“So, what, would it be religious based then?” Steve asked as he lowered the sheet, really not wanting to see more.
She shook her head. “No established religion endorses the practice. It could be a cult, but I’ve not encountered one in Hawai’i so far. That doesn’t mean it’s not happening though.”
“OK, so while disturbing, it may have nothing to do with why she’s under this bridge with half her skull knocked in.”
She murmured in agreement. “Her skull impacted with considerable force, but I won’t be able to speculate more than that here. Once I’ve finished the autopsy, I should have a better idea.”
“Alright, keep me posted. Thanks.” Steve headed towards Danny who was walking back with Adam.
“So, uh, these boys say they were taking a short cut through here to the skate park and found her like that. Apparently they called their parents first and the parents told them to call 911.”
“Either of them know her?”
“No. Danny and I each asked them separately and neither has any idea who she is.” Adam answered.
“OK. Adam, call Lou and divide up the public and private high schools and see if anyone recognizes her. Danny and I will head back to the office and see if we can find if there is any history of this kind of mutilation on the island. May not be what killed her, but it might help us identify her.”
Adam looked quickly between the two of them for a moment and said, “Ok, sure thing.” He pulled his phone out to call Lou as he walked back to the car.
“Let’s go.” Steve said as he turned to walk back towards the Camaro and Danny had little choice but to follow.
There were back on the highway towards the Palace when Danny asked, “So, you’re sidelining me.”
“Yes I am.” Steve said matter-of-factly. He could feel the tension rising in his partner but said nothing.
“And why are you doing that?”
“Because this case is too close right now and I don’t need you going off and risking the investigation.”
“Excuse me?” Danny said, fully pissed now. “First of all, no matter what has been happening in my personal life, I have never let that jeopardize an investigation. Second, I don’t appreciate the implication that this case even comes within the stratosphere of what happened this morning.”
“You don’t? Really? You telling me you can’t possibly relate to some parent deciding that they could control their daughter’s sexual life?”
“Fuck you.” Danny seethed.
“Not exactly an answer.”
Danny said nothing for the remainder of the drive and Steve let it drop. For now.
Steve had given Danny the basic information on Female Genital Mutilation that Dr. Cunha had told him and they had each gone to their own offices for research. Danny was only partly right in his decision to give them an office day. Truth was, Danny had challenged him to do a better job of having a life outside Five-0. To do that, he needed to know that the team could out-last him. Tani and Junior were the next-gen and they weren’t going to learn to run things stuck in the office.
His phone buzzed in his pocket and he saw Grace’s name. He got up and closed his office door before he answered it.
“Hi.” Her voice was quiet.
“Rough morning?” He teased lightly.
“Is it possible to die of mortification? I feel like it is. I wish it was.”
“It’s not. Most of us want the world to stop when we’ve done something really stupid.” He could hear her start to cry. “Grace, honey, it’s gonna be OK.”
“I just...I knew he’d be so mad if I ever...” her voice trailed off.
“It’s not something most kids tell their parents, even if they have good relationships. I never told mine.”
“He’s never going to talk to me again. And Will is terrified of him.”
“You know that’s not true. He’s upset now, yes, but that’s how Danno works, right? He erupts in massive bursts of emotion and then he settles down. As for Will, your dad won’t really hurt him. But I don’t expect he’s gonna be welcome at the house for a while.”
“Will he tell Mr. Grover?”
Steve thought about that. Another reason for keeping Danny in the office was to keep the two fathers apart while Danny was still hot under the collar. “So Will’s parents don’t know what is going on with you two?”
“His mom does. But she told him to keep it quiet since his dad and Danno work together.”
Steve definitely didn’t want to get into the Grover’s marriage, but he knew that if Grace had come to him with this information and he’d kept it from Danny...well, there might be enough therapy to overcome the fallout, but he doubted it.
“I don’t know if your dad will bring it up or not, but I am pretty sure Captain Grover would much rather hear it from Will than anyone else.”
“Oh My God. How did this get so fucked up?” She cried.
Steve felt sympathy for her, but also felt she and Will bore the responsibility for what happened. If you’re ready to have sex, you shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks about it. That’s the mark of being an independent adult. He wasn’t sure that telling her that would help though. She needed to own it for herself.
“What do you want from me, Grace?”
She gave a loud sniff in his ear and his heart clenched with how young she still was. “I don’t know. I guess I wanted to thank-you for taking him out of my room this morning and giving us a chance to leave.”
“Well, to be honest, I did that for Danny, not you.”
“OK.” Her voice sounded wary. “So you’re mad at me too?”
“I’m not mad...”
“You’re disappointed.” Grace interrupted.
“No. How about you let me finish before telling me what I think, huh?” He said firmly.
“I’m not bothered by the idea of you and Will having sex. You’ve been dating for a while and sex is a natural expression of loving someone. What bothers me is that you both are not being upfront about it. And now that it’s out, you’re still trying to find a way to avoid uncomfortable conversations. If you decided you’re ready, then fine. Be ready. You don’t have to give all the details to your parents, but especially if you’re wanting to do it in their houses, you should extend the courtesy of asking how your parents feel about that. And I’m not just talking about us but the Grover’s too.”
“You make it sound easy but if I even talk to a boy in front of Danno I got an hour lecture about how boys have ‘motives’. He likes Will OK, but this morning was proof that I only have his approval as long as I live like a fucking nun. Please tell me why any conversation with him that involved me having sex would have ended differently than today?”
Steve waited thoughtfully. She had a point. His parents never had a chance to give any opinion on his sex life and by the time Doris was able express herself about his relationships, he gave no shits what she thought
“Grace, I know how much your dad loves you and I can promise you, none of this has changed that. But if you want things between you to be better, that’s work you have to do with him. I’m staying out of it.”
“Are we OK?” Grace asked quietly.
“Yeah, hon, we’re OK.”
“I wish he was easier to talk to.” She sighed again.
“Y’know, your dad is the one person in the world I have found it very easy to talk to. You might think it’s better to have a parent that never tells you about what they are doing, thinking, and feeling, but take it from me, secrecy and lies are much worse.”
“He’s different with you.”
“Not really. He gets just as mad and reactionary with me as he does with you and your mom. This is who he is. And if we want him to accept us as we are, don’t you think we need to extend him the same courtesy?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
Steve wished she didn’t sound so defeated, but there really wasn’t more he could say here. This was between her and Danny.
“I need to get back to work now, Grace. I love you.”
“I love you too. And thanks.”
He ended the call and looked up, seeing Danny at the command table waving at him. He got up and went into the center office.
“It’s Junior. He called me because you weren’t answering your phone.”
“What’d you find, Jun?” Steve asked over the com.
“One of the case managers at the CareForce shelter recognized our vic. Said she had come to the shelter last week for the first time. Told them her name was Vivian but the case manager didn’t think that was her actual name and her instinct was she was a runaway. She hadn’t had much of a chance to earn her trust.
“If it was last week that means she’s local.” Danny observed
“Yeah, and probably doesn’t live too far from the shelter either. Thanks. I’ll have Adam and Grover focus on Moanalua High and Warner Academy. Those are the closest high schools to where she was found.
As if on cue, Grover and Adam walked through the doors. “Already did,” Adam offered. “Her name is Brittany Stubbins. She had been a junior at Moanalua last year but then she decided to finish her courses on-line. Counselors say she had transferred in at the end of her sophomore year so they didn’t get to know her well.”
“Seems to be a running theme.” Danny remarked a bit snidely. “Didn’t anyone want to get to know this girl?”
“Sometimes teenagers aren’t all that keen on adults nosing into their lives.” Grover remarked.
“Yeah, well sometimes adults need to be nosy so you can protect them from themselves.” Danny challenged.
“Then you’ve been lucky to know teenagers who spill their guts. Most of ‘em give you nothing more than grunts when you talk to them.” Steve could see Grover trying to be jovial, not understanding Danny’s building ire.
“Probably all comes down to the parents. Good parents don’t produce manipulative, lying, corrupting...”
“Danny! In my office. Now.” Steve interrupted. Danny looked around. Everyone was just staring at him. “Now.” Steve repeated with a growl.
Danny flushed a little. “No need. I’m taking the rest of the day off.” He held out his hand to Steve who pulled the keys to the Camaro out of his front pocket and dropped them wordlessly into his palm. Danny didn’t say anything else and walked out the door.
“And that was....” Tani held the question they all were asking.
“None of anyone’s business.” Steve said. “Let’s just focus on finding out who this girl’s parents are.”
He’d driven around for an hour before heading up to his spot. The one he went to when life got too heavy. He sat on the wall and watched the surf crash into the rocks below, lost in his own thoughts. He heard the deep vibration of the Escalade’s engine long before it pulled alongside the Camaro. He turned enough to see Steve get out and that Grover was driving. He turned back toward the view, knowing Steve would come to him. He felt a hand on his shoulder and then a kiss close to his ear before Steve sat down next to him, back to the surf.
“Did you tell Lou?”
“No. None of the team knows.”
“But they asked?”
“Of course they asked. You were being a grade-A asshole for no apparent reason and they love you enough to be more concerned than pissed off.”
Danny nodded and looked out, silent. Steve held the silence with him for a while.
“Do you think this was her first time?” Danny asked.
“Does it matter?”
“Yeah. Because if it’s not then she’s been lying to me and I’ve been...”
“Ignoring the signs? Not being attentive enough?”
“Danny, are you seriously beating yourself that if you’d been a better dad Grace would still be a virgin?”
His husband made no verbal response, but he could see the acquiescence in his face. “Listen to me, Grace is a phenomenal kid. She’s feisty and loyal and loving. She stands up for the things she believes in and she seeks to help those who struggle to help themselves. So please tell me in what way any of that becomes negated because she’s had sex.”
“It doesn’t. Of course it doesn’t. But I raised her to value herself enough to...”
“To what? Are you hearing yourself? She fell in love. She’s been with the same boy for years. A boy who’s been raised to be as strong and ethical as she has. Will is a good kid.” Steve saw Danny start to shut down again so he rested a hand high on Danny’s leg, creating a physical connection for his husband to hold on to.
“Can you maybe make space for this not being about Grace at all?”
Danny rolled his eyes. “Sure, Dr. Phil. This ought to be good.”
“Being defensive only convinces me that I’m right.”
“I’m not being defensive!” Danny said even as he unconsciously clasped his hands on his forearms, closing his body off. Steve grabbed Danny’s wrists, opening his arms back up as he leaned in, kissed him, and pulled him close. Danny slid one hand up to Steve’s neck and slid the other under his arm and around to his back, answering the gentle force of the lips and tongue that always shattered whatever wall he tried to erect around his heart. Feeling the moment of surrender in his husband’s body, Steve broke the kiss and looked into his warm, blue eyes.
“You’re scared of being replaced.” Steve rubbed Danny’s ear gently, watching as his words sank in. He could see Danny process what he said, an internal war waging between his own denial and the truth of Steve’s words. When he saw those eyes blur with unshed tears he kissed him again, swallowing Danny’s fear and hurt with each tender caress of his lips.
It was Danny who broke the kiss this time. “How do you do that?”
“I’ve been in love with you for close to 12 years. A guy starts to learn things in that amount of time.” He stood up and pulled on Danny’s hand. “Let’s go home.”
Danny kicked his legs over the wall and stood. Before they’d taken two steps, Danny handed Steve the keys without him even having to ask.
Steve busied himself making a simple dinner of broccoli, rice, and meatballs with jarred gravy while Danny sat on the counter watching him, nursing a Longboard.
“Should I call Lou?”
“I feel like I should sit this one out, man. You gotta do what you think is best.”
“This is me figuring out what is best; by asking you.”
“As long as we’re clear that I’m functioning only in an advisory capacity here.”
“Absolutely.” Danny nodded.
“Then as an advisor, I’d offer that we shouldn’t do anything that takes away Will’s right to his own choices and decisions.”
“So that’s no?”
“If you didn’t know what you know, would you rather hear it from Grace or from Lou?”
“From Grace, obviously. But I’d rather hear it from Lou than not at all.” Danny countered.
“Why? Are you actually better off today knowing what’s going on than you were yesterday when you didn’t?”
Danny took a few swallows of his beer, not taking his eyes off Steve.
“Ask the question, babe.”
“Did you know?” Danny said with some accusation.
“I didn’t.” Steve leaned against the fridge. “I suspected. But I didn’t know for sure until today.”
“How long have you been suspecting?”
“Since last Thanksgiving.”
“I asked you!” Danny’s voice rose. “And you shut me down; treated me like I was overreacting.”
“You were overreacting.” Steve kept his voice calm. “I wasn’t sure and honestly, I was afraid of exactly what happened today. It was precisely because I didn’t know that it seemed unfair to sic you on Gracie without confirmation.
“Does Rachel know? Am I the last to find out?”
“If you want to know what Rachel knows ask Rachel. Or Grace. As for being the last to know, maybe you need to ask yourself why you weren’t the first to know.”
“What’re you talking about?”
“You lost your virginity at what, 16? 17?” Steve guessed. They didn’t talk about their sexual history much and these stories were not ones they’d shared before.
“Sixteen. Right before Junior year. Her name was Angie. She was a friend of Stella’s.”
“And who was the first person you told? Your mom? Your dad?”
“Aside from your brother, how many people knew before your parents.”
Danny shifted uncomfortably and took another swig of his beer. “Alright.”
“I don’t know, Steven because I never told my parents. Happy now?”
Steve smiled smugly and opened the oven door to check the meatballs.
“OK then Mr. Overshare, how old were you when you lost your virginity?” Danny asked.
“With a guy or a girl?” Steve tossed hot pads on the counter and walked closer to his husband.
“Which was first?”
“16. Suzie Densmore. She was the daughter of the groundskeeper at the Academy. School didn’t get many upperclassmen transfers and she zeroed in on me pretty quick. She was blonde, stacked, and very, very willing.” Steve nestled himself between Danny’s thighs, hands wrapped around hips and drew his pelvis forward.
Danny draped his arms over Steve’s shoulders. “Blonde, stacked and willing, huh? Well, I guess I’m two out of three.”
Steve slid his hands up and thumbed two nipples, drawing small circles, willing them to harden. “You’re stacked, babe, just with muscle instead. And yeah, I think I have a type.”
Danny dropped his head and growled as he leaned in and started sucking and kissing along along Steve’s neck. “How much more time on the meatballs?” He whispered into his ear as he trailed the folds with his tongue.
“Not long enough to do this properly.” Steve responded, pinching and tugging erect nipples through Danny’s dress shirt.
“Long enough to choke on me?” Danny rasped. “Then I can go longer later.”
In answer, Steve pushed Danny back a little, so he had to brace hands on the countertop, and released the thick cock from the confines of Danny’s pants and boxer briefs. Steve bent forward, taking him into his mouth in one smooth motion, sucking him back as he felt Danny place a hand on the back of his head, guiding the rhythm. Danny loved the smooth, wet, pressure he felt as his glands slid across the roof of Steve’s mouth while a warm tongue pulsed against the bottom of his shaft.
They heard the key in the kitchen door too late and there were intermingled shouts of “Oh, Shit!” “Oh my God! I’m sorry!” And “Grace wait!” Danny’d been thankful Steve stood in front of him, blocking Grace’s sight line while he tucked himself back into his pants as fast as he could, but she was out the door as quickly as she’d come in and by the time he had himself sorted and got to the door, she had already backed down the driveway and driven off.
“She’s gone.” He said dejectedly as he walked back into the kitchen. Steve was sitting in one of the chairs at the table, face red and lips still wet and swollen, when he started to laugh. Not a light chuckle but a deep, breath-halting laugh.
“You think this is funny? We’ve just traumatized our daughter.”
“Oh, Danny, if you can’t laugh after this fucked up day, then you’re not having enough fun in baseball, man.”
Danny sank into one of the other chairs. “I guess it is a bit ironic.” Steve only laughed harder.
The next day, Danny recused himself from their current case once again as Steve headed off in the Silverado. Junior had managed to scare up some friends of Brittany Stubbins’, including a possible boyfriend, since the autopsy had come back revealing the young woman had been 11 weeks pregnant when she died. Lou had been able to locate the girl’s parents so he and Tani had headed out to make the death notification. That left Steve and Junior to lean on the boyfriend and see what they could learn.
Stopping at Morning Joe’s for coffee and malasadas first, he got to Rachel’s by 10. She had been working from home for about 6 months, telling him that she enjoyed the freedom, but part of him wondered if it was just easier to not be with co-workers who had all sided with Stan after the divorce. He handed her a London Fog from the tray he was carrying. “Grace in her room?”
“Should be. She told me what happened.” Danny stiffened a little but said nothing, not sure if she meant him walking in on Grace and Will, Grace walking in on him and Steve, or both. “They are being safe you know. He loves her and treats her very well.”
Danny nodded. He was glad, but it burned that Grace told Rachel but not him. He understood why, but it still stung. “Coffee’s getting cold,” he said as he headed down the hall.
He knocked and this time waited until she told him to come in. “Brought you a Cinnamon Dolce Latte and coconut cream malasada.”
She smiled. “This one?” He nodded and she pulled her drink out of the tray and took the white bag from his other hand and climbed on top of her bed.
Danny tossed the tray in her recycle bin and turned her desk chair around, sitting in it backwards as he sipped his own drip coffee with cream. They held an awkward silence as Grace nibbled at her malsada.
“So...” Danny started, feeling his face flush warmly. “We’ve had a pretty embarrassing 24 hours.”
“That’s putting it mildly.” She said as she swallowed the last bit of delicious fried dough.
“Let’s start with last night. Obviously, if we knew you were coming by, we would not have behind doing...what we were doing. But I’m not going to apologize for it. It’s our house.”
Grace waved her hand at him, “Forget it. I never should have come over.”
“You are always welcome, Grace, you know that. The weeks we don’t have Charlie, well, things are different when it’s just Steve and I.”
She raised her eyebrows at him. “Obviously. Still, I didn’t even knock. And you’ve only been married a year, so of course you’re still gonna be...doing that.”
“Yeah.” Danny shifted uncomfortably. “But about yesterday morning...”
She looked down at the lid of her coffee cup like it was the most interesting thing in the world. He kept going, knowing she was still listening. “I was shocked, yes. And angry. But I’m not ashamed of you or what you were doing. Truly, I’m not.”
She lifted her eyes, watching him with equal parts trepidation and curiosity. “Ok,” he continued, “let’s break it down because it’s a lot. I was angry that you two had clearly, uh, had sex, in the house. Our house. The one we provide for you. That’s what parents do, provide a home for their children. Adults who do adult things, do them in their own home. At least, that is what I think should happen.”
“You never did it at Gramma and Grampa’s? Even when you were married to mom?”
“Monkey, I never had sex in that house until two years ago with Uncle Steve and even then, both of us felt really awkward about it.”
“Another reason I was upset was that you waited until we were out of town and we only found out because we came back early so you were clearly trying to hide what you were doing. Did he stay over every night we were gone?”
She started to answer and he held up his hand, “You know what, I don’t need to know. If you’d asked if Will could stay with you while we were gone, I’d have told you no.”
“See?! That’s why I don’t talk to you about these things. You don’t understand! Mom does. She let’s Will stay over here all the time.”
Danny swallowed a grimace. He and Rachel had always coordinated their parenting precisely so this wouldn’t happen. “What? So....so...I’m only worth talking to if I give you what you want? I’m not allowed to have reasons for what I’m comfortable with in my own house?” He struggled to keep his voice down.
“I thought it was my home too.” She challenged, her own temper rising
“Yes, it is. And it’s not. It’s your home because we want you to feel safe and loved. But any home your mom or I provide to you is still temporary because our job as parents is to bring you to the moment where you can create your own home. Until then, you are in a home I’m sharing with you, but it is still mine.”
She leaned back against her headboard and they sat in silence for a while. “Fine. I’m sorry for not asking if Will could stay over before having him do it. But you have to understand that talking to you about this is really hard. My whole life, you have been so aggressive about boys that you’ve made it a non-topic.” There was unmistakable bitterness in her words that shamed him.
“I get that. And my only defense is I did that because I know exactly how awful men can be. The number of women I’ve arrested for rape or domestic violence I can count on one hand. I’ve stood in locker rooms, or parties, even at the precinct. I know how men talk about women, especially women they have sex with. We are, collectively, terrible. I was trying to protect you from that.”
“Danno, be honest with me. Aside from the arrests, did you put as much energy into telling those guys you overheard talking badly about women to stop as you did in telling me to avoid them?”
He loved how smart she is, even as she pushed all his buttons. “Over the course of my life, no. I’m better about it now, but you’re right. Part of why men behave badly is because we don’t call out bad behavior among one another, and we should. But see, they don’t hand you any kind of booklet or manual when they place this tiny life in your arms and call you ‘dad’ for the first time. They make sure you have a car seat and send you on your way. So I’ve done the best I can. I’m not perfect, but I have learned. I’m not the same dad I was when you were 9. Same way you’re not the same kid.”
They sat quiet again as she thought about what she wanted to say. Uncle Steve was right, she needed to just tell him and deal with what came after. “Will and I started sleeping together about a year ago. Mom knows and his mom knows. He didn’t tell his dad because he works with you. I didn’t tell you because I was afraid to. I got a birth control implant not long after we started that lasts for five years.”
It took all his self-control to process what she was telling him. A year? She’s on birth control? They put some implant in her body? It was hard to not feel like she’d become a stranger. What else didn’t he know? He couldn’t help but feel that all her secret-keeping was a big part of why they had been fighting so much lately. “I, uh, thank-you...for sharing that. For trusting me with that. Is he...uh...is he good to you? Does he take care of you? I don’t need details, I just want to know he’s a solid guy.”
“He is. And I take care of him too. I love him and that’s only grown as we’ve explored this together. We have talked about getting married, but he’s thinking he wants to go to law school and I’m not sure what I want to do yet, so it seems better to hold off on that until we are sure we are headed to similar places.”
Again, Danny was a bit taken aback by how mature and logical she was being about all of this. Steve and Rachel both say Grace is like him, but in these moments, he can see they are totally wrong.
“You’re a smart girl, you know that? I’m so, so proud of you.” He saw her face tighten as he spoke and then the dam burst on her tears. He moved quickly to the bed, pulling her close in a tight hug. She clung to him and sobbed. “Oh, Monkey, I’m so sorry for ever making you doubt how much I love you. I never wanted you to think you could do anything that would stop me from loving you. I’m so sorry.” She cried harder on his shoulder and his heart broke for all the ways he’d failed her.
The smell of puttanesca hit Steve like a wave when he entered the house and was his first clue into how his husband’s day had gone. Danny didn’t cook if he was really upset, but he cooked big when he was processing. That meant things were better with Grace, but he still wasn’t feeling sure of himself.
“Smells amazing, babe.” Steve said as he came in and kissed Danny hello before grabbing a Longboard from the fridge. He went back to stand behind him, one arm wrapped around his partner’s waist. Danny kept stirring the sauce slowly as he felt now-cold lips kiss his ear and shivered.
“You keep starting stuff in the kitchen like this and we might as well set up cameras and shoot amateur porn.”
Steve pulled Danny tight against him and thrusted against his backside. “I am not an amateur.”
“Alright Dirk Diggler, that’s enough. I gotta start the pasta.”
Steve gave him a playful bite on his shoulder before letting go of him and walking to the cabinet above the dishwasher where they kept the plates. He started to set the table when he saw Danny pull out fresh noodles that were wrapped in paper towels.
“You even made the pasta from scratch?”
“Shaddup. Tell me about the case.”
“The girl and her parents had been part of a religious cult in Oregon. It was there that the FGM happened and that was when mom started planning their escape. Mom and daughter managed to get to Hawai’i four years ago. Mom said Brittany had tried to attend public school but it was too much, too many people, so she’d gone back to homeschooling.
“She met her boyfriend at the library and they started meeting there every day. I guess they had sex once in his car, but she cried the whole time, so they didn’t do it again. He didn’t know she was pregnant. Neither did mom. Noelani says it’s possible Brittany herself didn’t know since it doesn’t seem she had much in the way of sex education.
“Dad had found out they were in Hawai’i and he stalked her to the library. After watching her with the boyfriend, he followed her as she walked home. He confronted her, she tried to run, and he grabbed her and threw her to the ground. She hit her head on a rock when she landed. He stripped her and dumped her under the bridge thinking we’d think she was a prostitute and not investigate further. Guy was a total idiot and a coward. When Lou and Tani showed up, he was hitting the mom, so even if we hadn’t made him for the murder, we have him on DV Assault. But Grover broke him easily under questioning and he confessed right away.”
Danny kept his focus on the sauce and pasta, shaking his head.
“You OK?” Steve asked.
“Yeah. I’m not standing here believing I’m somehow like that bastard, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“You gonna tell me how your day went?”
“Grace and I talked. They’ve been having sex for a year and she’s got some kind of implant for birth control, which I didn’t even know was a thing. I spent time researching that when I got home because it sounded awful, but actually isn’t so bad. I told her I loved her but they couldn’t do that here. I guess Rachel gave them a free pass, so, she’s not apt to choose to live here on her breaks anymore.”
“That’s a bummer.”
Danny turned around, arms crossed. “You think I’m wrong.”
“I told you this was your call. I’m totally neutral.”
“But I want to know what you think.”
“And I’m not going to tell you. You laid down a hard stop and I am respecting that.”
“Which means you don’t agree with me.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Oh, so you agree with me?”
“Fuck, Danny. I didn’t say that either. Look, would I want to come downstairs at 2 am and find Will standing before an open fridge in his boxers? Not really. But the idea of them having sex generally doesn’t bother me and I’d rather they did it somewhere safe than in a parked car somewhere dark. I also know I don’t want to overhear noises coming out of her bedroom, like, ever. There’s no clear right and wrong here, babe. And I feel you have the right to set a boundary and make her stick to it.”
“Thank-you.” He hadn’t trusted himself to be objective and Steve’s words made him feel better. Part of him wanted to feel as accepting as Steve and Rachel were, but he just couldn’t.
Danny was back at work the next day and he ordered lunch for the team as a way of apologizing. No one asked him about the details or reasons for his behavior; they all acted like everything was normal. That was what made them more than co-workers; why they were ohana.
They were standing around the comms table teasing Junior, when Will came in. Grover noticed him first.
“Everything OK, Son?” His voice full of concern.
“Yeah, Pops. I, uh, I need to talk to Mr. Williams for, uh, a minute.”
Grover gave Danny a look, followed by immediate understanding and a nod. He obviously didn’t know the details, but something had happened between their children and now Danny’s mouthing off to him a few days ago made sense. Danny gave him a slight nod and turned to the young man.
“Let’s go into my office, yeah?” Danny held his arm towards his open door and followed Will inside. He gestured for him to sit and Danny sat behind his desk. He could see Grover standing outside through the glass and watched Steve walk over and gesture for Lou to go to his office instead. He refocused on Will and felt bad for the utter terror on the kid’s face.
“Hey, relax. Will, seriously. I’m not gonna hurt you. Ok? No matter what you say, I promise. Do you believe me?”
Will blinked a few times. “Yes, sir,” he answered unconvincingly.
“Walking in here today, after what happened, that takes courage. So let’s talk.”
Will nodded and shifted in his chair a little, the tension in his shoulder’s relaxing a bit. “I wanted to apologize. I never should have stayed over, but I did and then Grace got really upset and I hate that I was a part of making her feel like that so I want to do whatever I need to for you and her to be ok again.”
Danny was truly impressed. “You don’t have to do anything. Apology accepted. I gotta ask, as a father, have you talked to your dad yet? About what you and Grace are doing?”
Will felt his face grow hot and he looked away. “No, sir.”
“Will, look at me. Call me Danny. You’re an adult now and you’re involved with my daughter, so our relationship is no longer formal. OK? We’re talking as men now.”
Will nodded and Danny could see him pulling himself together. “Mom said it would be better not to tell Pops. She was worried it would cause problems.”
“Between me and your dad?
“That was thoughtful of her. But not necessary. Your dad and I have been through some pretty rough shit over the years. We’d have figured it out. Are you going to tell him?”
“Not like I have a choice.”
Danny mused on that. Kid was right. He and Steve had agreed to not tell Lou and wait for Will to do this on his own. By coming in this morning though, there was no way Grover wasn’t going to ask him why he’s here.
“You’re probably right. My guess is you’re not gonna get out of this office without telling him.”
Will shook his head and then asked “Do you hate me now?”
“Look, I’m not mad anymore and no one’s getting their ass beat here, I promise. I’m not thrilled with how I found out and I’ll tell you what I told Grace, which is you can’t do that in my house. But she loves you and you...you seem to love her too, so no, I don’t hate you.”
Relief washed over the young man’s features and he rubbed his hands on his thighs, clearly drying the sweat that must have been building. Will then extended a hand towards him as he stood up. “Thank-you, Mr...Danny”
Danny stood as well and they clasped hands firmly. “Thank-you for coming down. You’re a solid young man, Will.”
As soon as Will opened the door, Danny heard Grover’s bellowing, “You know you’re not done here, boy.”
Will looked back, “Round two, I guess.”
Danny smiled at him. “Good luck.”
Danny followed him out and headed to Steve’s office. “Team made themselves scarce?” He asked, realizing that he, Steve, and Grover were the only one’s left.
“Yeah, suddenly they all seemed to have something they had to go do.”
“What’d you tell Lou?”
“How’d he take that?”
“‘Bout as well as you’d expect. How’d things go with Will?”
“Uh, good, actually. He came by to apologize and we had a talk, man to man, so we’re good.”
Steve smiled. “Took a lot of balls for him to walk in here like that.”
“It did. And I told him that.” Danny softened a bit. “He’s a good kid. Sounds like the moms were both offering the advice that keeping us out of it was the way to go, which I don’t really like, but not much I can do about that.”
“Well, all of us regularly threatening to kill anyone who messes with our families has probably played a role there.” Steve said dryly.
Danny looked at him with seriousness. “We have killed people for messing with our families.”
“I know.” Steve replied with equal gravity.
“Shit,” Danny groaned, the extra stress and worry of the past few days triggered the rising panic like a gunshot. “I really didn’t need that to come up today.” Danny sat, twisting his hands together.
Steve pulled a chair over and sat right in front of him. He took his hands in his own, rotating them palms up and massaged the center of Danny’s hands with his thumbs.
“Stay with me.” He said, holding Danny’s gaze. “Matt’s gone. You can’t undo what happened. But you can move forward. Let it go.”
Danny kept his eyes locked on Steve’s, working hard to push down the rising attack as tears filled his eyes, the memories of that oil drum flooded his brain and then he was standing before Reyes, gun pointed at his face. The feeling of dreadful power the moment he knew he was pulling the trigger. The blood-splatter hitting his face. He clenched his eyes.
“Danny, I’m right here, babe. Open your eyes. Look at me. C’mon.” Danny’s breaths were coming in huffs now. Steve moved closer, placing his hands on either side of his husband’s head, fingers rubbing lightly. “Look at me. That’s the only way this stops. Look at me.”
Danny opened his eyes, unfocused, breaths ragged. “That’s it. Say my name.”
“Say your name.”
“Where are we?”
“Where are we?”
“Uh, we’re in your office, Five-0 headquarters. Iolani Palace. Honolulu, O’ahu. State of Hawai’i.”
Steve smiled. “Good, babe.” He kissed him, gently at first and then with increasing passion as Danny responded to him until he felt his phone buzz. Steve rested his forehead against Danny’s and pulled his phone out. “Hold right there.”
It was a text from Grover saying he and Will were going home and Lou was taking the rest of the day off. With a renewed freedom, he shoved his phone back in his pocket and resumed kissing.
Danny was overcome with a desperate need and his hands scrambled at Steve’s waist, pulling open buckles, snaps, and zippers. In one motion he fell to his knees and swallowed Steve’s partial erection down.
“Fuck, Danno.” Steve voice guttural as his hand rested lightly on the back of Danny’s head, careful to not mess with his husband’s hair too much. Man was fucking precious about his hair.
Steve leaned back, sliding his pelvis forward as Danny pistoned himself on Steve’s now fully-hard cock, coughing as he intentionally went down far enough to trigger his gag reflex. This was what Danny had to do to beat the demons back and Steve’s job right now was to last as long as he could and talk his partner through it.
“That’s it. Surrender to me, babe.” Steve growled as Danny sucked harder and faster. Steve reached down and grabbed his own balls firmly and grunted. “Yeah, fuck that sassy mouth of yours.” Danny slowed and panted, letting his cheeks and jaws relax from the effort.
“Did I tell you to stop?” Steve flexed his fingers in blond hair as Danny’s head pulled away, fighting him a little. But Steve knew he wasn’t really fighting, he was asking to be controlled.
“Hands behind your back. Interlace your fingers.” Steve ordered as he placed both hands together, holding Danny’s head while he waited for him to comply, and then forced a fierce rhythm as Danny’s neck went lax. The pressure deep in his core built quickly until he forced Danny’s face firmly against his groin as he came hard, only releasing once Danny started to choke.
He looked down to see tears falling, cheeks red, and lips swollen. He wiped Danny’s tears with his fingertips. “Put me away and sit on my lap,” he ordered and Danny complied. Steve drew him into a tight hug and held him. “You did so good babe. That one wasn’t bad at all. You came out of it quickly. You ok? Hmm? Talk to me.” Steve kept rubbing his back and shoulders as Danny’s face was buried in his neck.
“I’m good. I never really believe that will help but it always does.”
Steve kept holding Danny close, petting him, and whispering into his ear. “I know. You were beautiful and strong and I love you so much.”
For the remainder of the afternoon, Steve had a Command Staff meeting with the Governor and Danny busied himself compiling the evidence file on the Brittany Stubbins case for the prosecutor. He hadn’t done much to work this one, so he felt the least he could do was process all the paperwork, which everyone found tedious but it had to be done.
On their way home, they stopped at a farmer’s market and got fresh beans and a couple large portobellos to grill. Once in the house, Danny’d opened a bottle of Pinot Noir.
“What was wrong with the Merlot?” Steve asked.
“Nothing, just wanted this one.”
“But you know I like Merlot better.”
“No you don’t. Your favorite wine is a Cabernet.” Danny was busy brushing the large mushrooms with olive oil and an herb blend he’d put together.
“I told you I was tired of the Cabs which is why we bought the two Merlots.”
“What the hell are you talking about? We ordered wine from that vineyard you like 6 months ago, and all reds we got were Cabs and Pinots.”
“I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about the bottles we got in LA and brought home with us last week. They will go better with the portobellos.”
Danny rolled his his eyes, poured two glasses and held one out for him to take. “This is the one that is open.”
Steve didn’t take the glass. Instead he stared confrontationally at him, “I want the other one.”
Danny studied him for a moment, realization slowly emerging. “Steven, are you bratting with me right now?” Steve glanced away and licked his lips before looking back but didn’t answer. This is new. Danny thought to himself and decided to roll with it.
“I see.” Danny grabbed Steve’s hand and brought it to the glass. “This is what you’re drinking tonight. And since you decided to start this dumb-ass argument instead of just telling me what you needed, you get to go upstairs and plug up until I have time to deal with you.”
Steve looked into his glass. “Which one?”
Steve looked at him, mouth open. “C’mon, Danny, we have over an hour until we’re done with dinner.” The Keg was not just big, it was heavy so sitting on it all through dinner was going to be distracting to the point of madness.
“Then maybe that will remind you to ask for what you need and not pick stupid fights for no reason. You have three minutes. Go.”
“Fuck.” Steve cursed heading up to the bedroom. Danny had purposefully not given him much time to ease it in, so his ass was gonna burn. Which is honestly what he wanted, but they’d only used The Keg once and that was after Danny had toyed with him for a long time. As he took the stairs two at a time, he was calculating the last time they’d done serious dom/sub play had been a couple weeks before they left for L.A. and he groaned. He’d started this. It was his own fault, but sometimes he really was a dumb-ass.
Once he got back downstairs, Danny was putting together a tray to take out to the grill and he motioned for Steve to follow him. Once on the lanai, Danny motioned for him sit in one of the portable camping chairs they took to Charlie’s baseball games. It was the kind that collapsed small and sat only two feet off the ground, so he had to squat to sit in it. Plus the fabric had a lot of give, which, when you’ve got seven inches of heavy PVC up your ass, is actually far less comfortable than a solid chair because you can’t keep your body in one place easily as you try to relieve pressure or control how it moved inside. To make it worse, Danny kept asking him to get him different things from the kitchen, so he had to keep getting up and down.
After dinner was over, Danny told him he had to clean the kitchen completely, including the grill, and when he was done, then he was to come upstairs. Steve complied as fast as could, anxious and aroused. When he entered the bedroom the sight took his breath away. Danny was sitting on the end of the bed, leaning back on one arm, flipping through his most recent Sports Illustrated. His casualness was juxtaposed by the fact that he was naked and had put on a cock/ball ring. Chances were good that Danny had jacked off already while Steve did chores and then bound up and stroked himself hard again. Now, it’d be a very long time before he came again.
Steve closed, and locked, the door. They had taken to doing that ever since Grace had walked in on them in the kitchen. He walked over and stood next to Danny, waiting. Danny tossed the magazine over onto the dresser and patted the bed beside him. Steve sat and then shifted uncomfortably in his arousal at having Danny naked and hard next to him. He was impressed at how his husband seemed so nonchalant yet in such control.
“Tonight was new, babe. Bratting is not something you’ve done before. Do you know why?”
Danny raised an eyebrow and held his gaze silently. “Earlier,” Steve continued, “at the office. You needed me and I was happy to be there and to help you through that, to hold you after. But by the time we were driving home, it felt like I had this massive itch under my skin.”
“And you wanted me to scratch it.”
“You could have asked. I told you I’m ok with doing this but we also agreed you’d talk to me so we could negotiate it. You didn’t do that tonight.”
“It felt...I thought it would be rude so soon after...”
“I see. So because I needed a moment of submission, you decided that locked you into topping when you really wanted sub-time for yourself?”
“I guess, yeah.” Steve shifted again, grabbing himself to adjust his cock in his pants but Danny slapped his hand hard. “Ow.” Steve said, shaking his hand out.
“Hands off unless I give you permission.”
“Fuck Danny, I was just shifting a little. I got a plugged up ass and semi-hard cock and you’re giving me a fucking therapy session.” Steve felt irrational and burdened and why didn’t Danny just give him what he needed?
“Fine.” Danny pushed on his back. “Clothes off and kneel on the floor.”
Steve pulled off his polo and tossed it the hamper and missed. As he walked to pick it up, Danny said, “Squat down to get it.”
Steve closed his eyes and whispered, “Motherfucker” but did as ordered feeling the plug stretch his insides hard. Once he stood back up, he kicked off his shoes, pulled off his cargo pants and boxers right next to the hamper. Once bare, he went back and kneeled before his husband, looking up at him, very aware of the trussed-hard cock inches from his face. He couldn’t help licking his lips. Danny cupped his chin.
“You want to go hard tonight? Are you asking me to really push you?”
“Yes.” Steve answered strongly.
“OK. Give me a safe word then.”
“Danny...”, he whined because he didn’t want a fucking safe word.
“Camaro.” He answered petulantly.
“You’re so fucking sassy. If I ever need one, it will not be Silverado. You ready?” Steve grinned at him and nodded.
Danny opened the bottle of lube that was on the bed and when he did, Steve saw that underneath Danny had hidden another cock and ball ring like the one he had on. “Stand up, parade rest.” Steve shivered. He loved it when Danny used navy terms, which he seldom did. He stood, feet shoulder-width apart, hands behind his back, thumbs interlocked. Danny lubed up the rubber ring, which was going to tug going on due to Steve already being hard. The lube helped but getting the lower one around his balls hurt worse because they are much more sensitive and he felt hairs pulling out as Danny carefully, but persistently, pulled at him to get it on. Once in place, Danny sucked on the tip of his cock, drawing more blood up until he could feel it throb then chill as Danny leaned back, leaving his dick wet to the air.
Danny sat back, admiring him. “God, you’re mesmerizing, babe.” He stroked the shaft lightly with his fingers down to his balls, and then between his legs where he pulled just a tiny bit on the plug. “Now we’re gonna have some real fun.”
Steve’s eyes were heavy with lust as he waited, muscles tense with anticipation.
“This is gonna be a bit awkward at first, so listen carefully.” Danny was still sitting on the end of the bed, feet flat on the floor. “ I want to turn around and drop to all fours. Then you need to back up and get your feet and legs on the bed, one on either side of me. Keep backing up until I tell you to stop. I want you up on your hands, legs on the bed. Do you understand?” Steve nodded and did as he was told.
Once he was settled, the full understanding of his position enveloped him. His cock and balls hung heavily in air just off the bed and his ass was fully at Danny’s command. The muscles in his arms, chest, and shoulders twitched as they bore most of his weight.
Danny’s hands ran over his ass and down his outer thighs and back up again. “I’ve fantasized having you like this, y’know. Just hadn’t figured out how to put it into action until tonight.” Steve dropped onto his forearms to rest as he relished the gentle caresses, but then a hard, stinging slap on his butt told him he needed to pushed back up. “You stay in position until relieved, understood?”
Danny gave him a few more swats. “Just a ‘yes’ in enough. The ‘sir’ makes it too much like the military.” Steve grunted but said nothing.
Danny started to twist the plug inside him, which focused all of Steve’s attention. “You’re gonna do some push ups babe. When you go down, the plug comes out, when you lift back up, it goes in. You count reps and I’ll tell you when you’re done. Go.”
Steve started doing a few reps very fast, and then he felt the sharp sting of more swats to his ass and Danny’s order to stop. “Fucking SEAL. Down, hold for 2, then up, hold for 2. Apparently I have to tell you everything.”
Steve was glad he was facing away so Danny couldn’t see his smirk. He’d totally understood that Danny had wanted him to go slower but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to fuck with him a little. Maybe he was more of a brat than he ever knew because there was a different kind of thrill that ran through him each time Danny spanked him.
“Start again.” Danny said, voice tinged with annoyance. This time, Steve went down and the plug pulled out, stretching him hard twice, as it had two bulbs, the first heavy and unyielding and the second wider but more giving. He felt coldness as Danny poured more lube on the plug and around his hole. He pushed back up and Danny drove it home firmly. “Ugh, 1” Steve chuffed out a breath, pausing.
“Don’t hold for more than two or we will start the count again.” Steve dropped and the plug came out, then back up and in again. He got to 12 before his ass felt hot and raw and his muscles burned. 12 push ups should have been no problem but the angle of his legs being higher than his shoulders coupled with the stretch and strain in his ass and throb in his cock were draining him.
“Shh, I know babe. Three more. Come on, you can do it.” Steve counted up to 15 and then Danny pulled the plug out and dropped it to the floor. “Perfect. You can rest on your forearms now.”
Steve tucked his arms underneath his chest and rested, feeling tired and empty, which was not what he wanted. He looked under at his cock which was still hard and swinging. He could see precum dripping out of him in a long string and it was both stifling and incredibly arousing. He rested his head on his fists and whined.
“Feeling frustrated babe?” Danny asked as he fingered him and then the rush of sparks filled Steve’s brain as fingertips drew across his prostate, over and over.
“Oh fuck” Steve’s hips gyrated, his cock desperate for friction but getting only air. Danny’s fingers kept up their insistent massage as hunger and want filled him, pushing him higher, even as his cock screamed at him. He grunted and moaned as he crossed his ankles and bent his knees, bringing his calves against Danny’s back as he got more desperate for release, and ended up kicking his partner lightly on the back of the head.
Danny pulled his fingers out. “Bummer, babe. You’d been doing so well. Get up.” Steve cursed and growled in frustration at being denied release. Danny slapped his ass hard until he started to move.
“Fuck! I’m moving. Shit.” Steve crawled on his forearms enough to drop his legs from the bed, rolled over, and sat up, resting his elbows on bent knees. He wanted nothing more than to stroke his swollen cock, but knew Danny wouldn’t like it, so he sat and rocked a little, his ass tender from the spankings.
“You need a break?” Danny asked.
“No.” Steve said defiantly.
“Great. On the bed on your back.” Danny stood and went to the dresser drawer where they kept their toys.
Savoring a moment of rest, Steve laid back, closed his eyes and took inventory of his body. He could feel twinges of soreness across his butt but nothing that wouldn’t be gone by morning. His ass felt stretched and empty, though he was certain Danny would ease that desire soon enough. His balls ached from being edged and his cock throbbed. Unable to resist, he started to stroke himself with his right hand.
A vision of Danny earlier, sucking him through lips thick and moist as he palmed the back of his head, filled his brain. Danny looked so beautiful and he gripped his fingers just under the head of his cock, thumb stroking fast along the frenulum, bringing him close...so close.
His mind had no time to register the cold steel click around his wrist, followed quickly by a jerk on his hand back until the other cuff latched to one of the wooden bars on the head board.
“Fuck you, Danny” Steve cried out, angry at another orgasm denied.
“Brought that on yourself. Do I need to do the other one, or will you behave?”
Steve’s hips writhed and he cursed more as the crest of his release sank back like a shallow wave.
“Just fuck me already, will you please?”
Since he hadn’t answered the question, Danny cuffed his other wrist to the headboard and then drew his fingers down Steve’s trussed arms, brushing the soft skin of his inner arms, fingers tickling through his armpits causing Steve to buck as fingers drifted down to rub around his areoles. Danny’s hands left him briefly so he could climb up and straddle him, Danny shifting him, so his cock slid right along the crack of his husband’s ass. Steve tried to thrust but Danny let his weight fall, pinning his hips down as he pinched both nipples.
“You think I’m going to reward this behavior by letting you fuck me? If you get to come tonight, it will only be because I wish it.” Danny scolded as he pulled and released and pulled again on Steve’s nipples, causing them to swell. Then he let go and picked up the clover clamps he’d slid under a pillow while letting Steve masturbate for while. Steve grit his teeth as Danny put them on and for the second time tonight he became painfully aware of just how far he was going to get pushed. Steve didn’t much like the clovers because they were unrelenting if Danny pulled hard and he was certain Danny was not going to be gentle. To his surprise, though, Danny let the chain fall to his chest. Danny leaned forward and reached under his head lifting and moving pillows.
“C’mon babe, pull up a little. Your head isn’t supported enough. There ya go.” Steve held on to the head board and pulled himself up so Danny could wedge pillows underneath him.
“Why do feel that if I say yes, that’s not gonna turn out so well for me?”
Danny smiled and scooted down so he laid over him, kissing him tenderly, and slowly. Steve relaxed his arms and enjoyed the feel of lips and tongue. “Of course I want you to feel comfortable. Your pleasure, that’s at my discretion. And your pain, well, that’s based on how good you are.”
Danny sat up again and moved up his body until his knees were close to Steve’s shoulders. He scooped up the heavy chain that connected the two clamps and draped it over his tight, hard cock, the chain pulling against the clamps. Danny moved his hips forward, bringing the tip of his cock to Steve’s lips, drawing the chain tighter. “Lick me.” He ordered and Steve lapped at the red, engorged cockhead. Danny moaned in appreciation and made the noises Steve loved. But as Danny responded by pushing further past Steve’s lips, the chain that stretched across Danny’s groin caused a sharp pinch on his nips.
“That’s it babe. More. You can take more.” Danny inched in and the clamps pulled harder.
“Arrggggh.” Steve growled around Danny’s cock as shallow thrusts worked past his lips.
“God, your mouth is heaven. You are so good at this. You feel amazing.” Steve relished the praise even as he closed his eyes to the fire at his nipples. He flexed his arms, still holding onto the bed posts, as he sought relief by trying to pull himself closer to the end of the bed, but Danny knew what he was doing and pulled out, lifted the chain over his glistening cock, and let it fall heavily on Steve’s pecs once again.
Danny moved down and settled between Steve’s legs, poured some lube into his right hand and stroked him in long, slow moments. He then reached under the pillow with his left and closed something in his fist, so Steve couldn’t see what it was.
“I’m gonna let you come this time, but you will have to work hard for it. I want to try something but we need to talk about it first.” Steve blinked slowly and nodded, enjoying the feel of Danny’s hand on his cock too much to disagree. Danny kept moving his hand as he opened his fist and a small piece of metal hung from a ring on one finger. It was about and inch and half-long, shiny chrome, and reminded Steve of a narrow rifle bullet. He focused on it for a moment and realized what Danny wanted to do with it.
“When did you get that?”
“A while ago. Was surfing the net and saw it. Kind of an impulse thing. I tried it on myself first and it was too much for me so I put it away. You handle things differently than I do, so I thought I’d see how you did. But I wasn’t going to without asking.”
When Steve looked at porn, which wasn’t all that often really, he’d been captivated by guys who used sounds but he’d never tried it. It scared him and aroused him so hard his cock strained. “Yeah. Let’s do it.” Steve laid back and moaned as Danny kept stroking him, cherishing the pure pleasure, barely registering the dull pinch at his nipples anymore.
As if reading his mind, Danny lifted the chain and held it to Steve’s lips. “Open” Steve did and bit the chain behind his incisors. Danny caressed his face. “So good.”
He stopped stroking long enough to hold open the slit at the top his cock and drizzle some lube into it. Next he poured lube all over the sound and then gripped the head again. He looked at Steve, making sure he wanted to proceed. Steve nodded and watched in fascination as the pointed tip slowly entered him. Then the burn of the stretch started as the sound got slightly wider and he felt it slide against raw, sensitive nerve endings. He was suddenly thankful for the chain in his teeth as he bit down and groaned loud. Danny was stroking now and each upward pull caused the sound to sink in a fraction more, millimeter by millimeter until only the base of the ring rested on at the tip of his cock. Danny pulled it out half way and it sank back easily and quickly as Steve moaned deep.
“Holy shit that’s hot.” Danny said under his breath as he lubed himself up and entered Steve’s well-stretched ass. “Bend your knees up, babe.” Steve complied and shifted his pelvis to where he knew Danny’s cock would glide fully across his prostate.
Danny thrust slowly as he started stroking Steve again and played with the sound some more, unable to resist the moans and cries his lover made.
Steve tilted his head back, which made the clamps pinch hard into his nipples, but that paled to the exquisite, raw, edge of pleasure-pain that fired with every stroke and slide of the sound and Danny’s firm grip on his now overly sensitive cock. He surrendered to the sensations and let it lift him outside of his body, every inch of him hyper-stimulated, and yet it was not enough. He needed Danny to fuck him.
“‘Arder!” He groaned around the chain in his mouth. Danny was reluctant to stop playing with the new toy but he knew he’d strung Steve out long enough. He wrapped his left arm under Steve’s knee, lifting his leg higher and plowed harder and faster, trying to match pace to the strokes of his right hand. Steve was basically keening now as he built closer and closer. Danny knew he was close so he shifted to short thrusts, dragging his cock back and forth across Steve’s prostate until Steve screamed with release. Danny kept thrusting, watching with fascination as the thick, white, cum bubbled around the ring, unable shoot out clean, but rather oozed up with each stroke, like cream dripping out the end of a malsada.
Danny kept up his steady thrusts as he undid the clover clamps. Steve let the chain drop from his mouth and he gasped. “You close? Cause I don’t know if I can stand...”
“Yes you can.” Danny whispered. “You’re doing so well. I’m so fucking proud of you.” Danny dropped his hips so he could thrust without hitting Steve’s prostate every time. He went harder and faster but his orgasm built slowly, as had always been his intention. Steve ground his teeth, overwhelmed by the stimulation that wouldn’t stop. His own orgasm faded and he settled into the space that he was now just being used for Danny’s pleasure.
“Danno. Please come.” Steve begged.
Danny drove into him at an unhurried pace until his cock finally released it’s load and he collapsed forward. Steve winced at having Danny’s body heavy against him. “Too much, Danny please.” Danny recovered himself and pulled out and off of his love. He unlocked the two sets of cuffs and gently lowered Steve’s arms, massaging fatigued shoulders. Steve rolled to his side, curling himself protectively.
“You want me to remove the sound and cock ring?”
Steve shook his head. “I can’t even think about anything touching my junk right now.”
“OK. But you’re gonna start to shiver as you drop, so you need to get under the covers. Just lift up a little, that’s it.” Danny tugged the sheets and blanket and pulled them over them as he curled up in front of Steve, petting him along his face and neck, kissing him tenderly. He kept whispering loving words and Steve drank in every sound and touch, craving it like warm milk until he fell asleep.
Once he started to snore, Danny slipped out of the bed, removed his own cock ring, and gently pulled the sound out of Steve, thankful doing so didn’t wake him up. He tossed the toys in the bathroom sink and washed himself with a warm cloth. He took a fresh washcloth, ran it under the hot water and took it back to bed. He gently cleaned Steve up and carefully removed the cockring before covering him up with blankets once more. He brushed his teeth and then swirled all the toys in warm soapy water before rinsing them and leaving them on a towel dry.
Crawling back to bed, he snuggled up close and finally let himself fall asleep.
Danny woke up to his cock in Steve’s mouth. “Good morning to you too, babe.” Steve looked up at him with such loving eyes, emotion flooded him. “God, Steve, do you have any idea how gorgeous you are?” He stroked the side of Steve’s head, mesmerized for a while and then said, “Let me kiss you, huh? Come here.” Steve kissed his way up Danny’s body, pausing longer at his nipples and the nape of neck before stretching out on top of him as they licked and sucked one another.
“How are you feeling this morning?”
“Horny.” Steve answered honestly, sucking Danny’s earlobe into his mouth and playing it against his tongue.
Danny laughed, “Glad to know I didn’t push you too hard last night.” Their hips were thrusting now, cocks rubbing hot and dry against one another. Without lube, the skin caught and burned but that only seemed to shift Steve’s lust into overdrive. Gripping them both firmly, Steve tugged hard and aggressive. When dribbles of precum pearled on each head, he growled and smeared it across both with his thumb in tight circles as Danny panted. He wasn’t as into pain as Steve was, but when the more animalistic side of Steve came out, it was like ratcheting back the bowstring of his desire, causing heat to burn him from within. Steve stroked them faster, Danny coming first and he dug his fingers into Steve’s biceps as he endured the continued stroking of over-sensitive skin until Steve came too. Both men panted and clung to one another.
Danny went soft but noticed Steve was still semi-hard. “You take a viagra or something?” He teased.
Steve looked at him, a little wild-eyed but in control. “I just...this is gonna sound crazy, but I dreamed about you sounding me all night. When I woke up, I was hard as rock and even now, I think about it and...”
“Guess we found a new thing you like.”
“So much. I want to get a longer one. And maybe one that that can stay in for a while.”
“The one I got will do that. You just have to attach it to a silicone head ring and it will stay in. But I gotta research that first because I don’t want you getting a UTI.” He saw his partner’s face pout at that.
“Stop it. You brat on me again and you’ll quickly find out that withholding things can be just as unpleasant as punishing you.”
“God, I love it when you talk all dom-like.”
“I’m figuring that out.” Danny smiled at him wryly. “For now, though, we only have about an hour and then we need to get to work and Charlie’s week starts tonight, so we’re gonna have to temper this for a bit. Gives me some time to do some research and order some stuff.”
Steve forced himself to calm down. He’d woken up with such hunger, he felt mad with it. Danny was right though. Work loomed and Charlie-bear was coming for a week, which was time neither of them ever wanted to take for granted.
Still, the way he felt last night, both in the release that came from his submission and the powerful comfort of Danny’s tender loving after, it was like someone had drawn open the curtains on a window of possibility inside him. He felt high, content, and deep longing all at the same time. What if all those years of arguing and controlling Danny had really been about this? About wanting to surrender to Danny and trying to force him to be dominant?
Danny tossed the covers and walked to the bathroom. “Coming?” He paused at the door
“Make me.” Steve’s eyes twinkled at him.
Danny put his hands on his hips and rolled his eyes. “You really are gonna be the death of me aren’t you.”
“You love it.”
“A little bit, yeah.” Danny walked back to the bed, grabbed Steve’s wrist and pulled him up. “Let’s go SuperSEAL. We have work and unless you want me to start researching cock cages you’re gonna move your ass.” He swatted him a few times in emphasis.
“I fuckin’ love you, man.” Steve turned and pulled him close.
“I love you too.”