Pairing: Steve/Danny, implied Chin/Kono
Disclaimer: These characters don't belong to any part of me.
Word Count: 7315
Summary: “Danny, I don’t know that I can, with prior knowledge, marry you knowing you have a sickness that makes you prefer New Jersey.” In order to bring in a murderer, the Governor politely informs Five-O that their services are needed. Danny ends up married for the second time as a result.
Notes: gyzym is a dream who betas like a machine. The title is from the Sam Roberts' Band song 'I Feel You'.
Danny needs a raise.
There are so many reasons for that necessity, but chief among them is happening at this exact moment. He’s been summoned to Five-O headquarters at six AM, which is so far outside of his job description that it definitely merits a raise or at least a handshake and maybe a day off.
He manages to get a shirt on and buttoned, but it stays untucked. He’s also pretty sure his shoes don’t match. It’s six in the morning, he is allowed to make a couple of sartorial mistakes at this hour.
What he sees when he gets to headquarters is something that makes him think that this is all part of a really strange and really weird dream.
Steve and Governor Jameson are standing behind Chin’s table, gesturing to an array of photographs spread out atop the desk and in the midst of a serious-seeming conversation. Splayed carelessly on top of all those pictures are two plain gold wedding bands.
“…I’m dreaming,” Danny says uncomfortably. “I’m dreaming and of all the possible nice things that could be featured, the lottery or beautiful people or New Jersey, instead, I got dreams about you two getting hitched? What did I eat last night?”
The Governor looks less impressed with Danny’s antics than Steve, which is saying something, considering Steve looks like he’s ready to decapitate some bad guys – or whatever it is he does on his days off. Danny thinks he ought to be excused considering he’s forgotten to put on socks and is currently flexing his toes against his definitely mismatched shoes.
He scrubs at his face with a hand, feeling a little weary and not sure why he’s here.
“Okay, seriously,” Danny says tiredly, peering at the table and realizing what all the photographs are of.
It’s a scary day when Danny has absolutely no idea how he got himself into this mess, but the fact is that he’s staring at about three dozen pictures of him, Steve, and the story those pictures are painting is one that Danny is one-hundred percent absolutely sure he’s not living. He skims his fingers atop the photos, brushing from one of Steve clasping his arm to one of Danny leaning in to brush away tomato sauce from Steve’s lips with his thumb.
“Okay, stalkerazzi,” Danny scowls. “What the hell?”
“These were intercepted on an open wireless connection in the course of our observation on Nate Adams,” the Governor explains. “We’ve had a team on him for a little while and it seems he’s been spying on Lieutenant Commander McGarrett. At this point, we do not believe that he’s aware that he’s being watched, but it’s only going to take time for him to realize otherwise.”
Danny squints at her and shakes his head. “…still not making sense as to where I come in,” he says.
“Nate Adams,” the Governor continues, “believes that the two to you are together. I’m officially bringing Five-O on the case and tasking you with surveillance and making the arrest. This is a suspected murderer and we think he’s renting this house while he prepares himself for his next kill. We don’t want to arouse his suspicion and so if he believes you two have some kind of thing, we are going to encourage this bastard.”
Oh, shit. Danny’s starting to wake up and is getting a pretty clear idea about what’s happening here.
He sees the rings in a whole new light and then he understands the look on Steve’s face. The minute he locks eyes with Steve, a whole conversation passes in the blink of an eye. Without even having to say a word aloud, Danny knows that Steve understands the magnitude of his issue with the plan and Danny is well-aware of Steve’s counter-argument.
“Danny,” Steve pleads, skipping the minutia.
“I would like,” Danny says very calmly, “I would like everyone in this room to take a minute and to think about what is being asked. For one minute, can we all do that? I am begging us to do that,” he says, clasping his hands together in prayer. “You think, you think that slapping a ring on me and making me live in Casa McGarrett is gonna placate a serial killer? Is that really where we are on this investigation?”
“If he runs and we can’t put together a case, I will never forgive myself,” Governor Jameson says, with the kind of passion and determination that says she’s ready and willing to go to any lengths for this. “Could you live with yourself, Detective Williams?”
Danny sighs and rubs his hand over his face one more time. “Six in the goddamn morning,” is all he says again as he steps forward to the table and stares blearily at the pictures. “Chin and Kono, what are their roles in this?”
“Mostly, they’ll stick to the van,” Steve says, crossing his arms over his torso and sliding into tactician mode. “If necessary, there’s an empty house down the lane that they’ll occupy to help us out with surveillance. They’ll pose as a newlywed couple. Chin’s building a background as we speak.”
In other words, Danny is at least allowed back-up this time around.
He exhales deeply, puffing his lips out and debating whether he’s even allowed to say no to the woman who signs his checks and leans on Rachel’s lawyers to ease up custody. He’s not even sure he could begin to get away with that.
“Okay,” Danny agrees, flashing Steve a weary smile. “You promise to take me in sickness and health?”
“Danny, I don’t know that I can, with prior knowledge, marry you knowing you have a sickness that makes you prefer New Jersey,” Steve deadpans, a glimmer of amusement in his eye, “but the Governor insists.” He takes a moment and looks to the Governor before giving her a nod. “I’m in, too.”
“Then, by the power vested in me,” Governor Jameson says with a wryly bemused tone, sliding one ring on Danny’s finger and the next on Steve’s. It fits, how does it fit, why does it even fit, what is going on in Danny’s life that the Governor knows his ring size? “I now pronounce you husband and husband. Now go catch me a killer.”
For a solid hour, Danny remains in a state of shock. He lets Steve drag him to the store to buy groceries and Danny’s pretty sure he gives his opinion about types of milk and steak, but that all eludes his short-term memory for a while as he processes what’s just happened.
It all sinks in when they get back to Steve’s place.
Danny crosses the threshold of a house he’s been in numerous times and this time, this time he freezes the minute his feet get into the foyer. It’s like the ring on his finger has been built in with electroshock and distinctive boundaries and holy shit, it scares Danny to think that a piece of jewelry can incapacitate him like this.
Steve practically shoves him inside with a bump to the hip. “Danny,” he says, shifting the grocery bags. “Just act like you normally do. That’s what got us into…”
“…this mess?” Danny interrupts, licking his upper lip as he hauls one of the bags from out of Steve’s grip and storms to the kitchen. He knows where everything goes. He knows which cupboard to put every item in and for some reason, right now, that’s making him so furiously angry that he doesn’t even know what to do with it. “I can’t even wrap my head around this, Steve, how are you so calm?” Danny asks as he shoves a bag of pasta into the cupboard.
“The Governor is asking us to keep up our normal lives to bring in a killer,” Steve says.
Danny shoves his hand up – right into the dawn light – and wiggles it back and forth so the whole world can see the ring. Steve and the neighbors and the seagulls and the goddamn murder suspect down the street. They can all see it. “This? This to me is not normal, Steve. Coming into your house is one thing, but pretending as if I belong here is something else entirely. And now I’m gonna, I’m gonna eat your food and share your bathroom and your bed and that’s normal? How is that normal?”
“Okay,” Steve admits after a hesitation. “Maybe it’s not normal, but you’re wrong about one thing.”
“Oh, and what’s that?” Danny says tiredly. “Please enlighten me as to what I’m wrong about, Steve. Please, I am begging you.”
“You belong here. Maybe you won’t agree that you have a place on this island or in this house, but guess what,” Steve says sharply, like he’s gearing up to be really irritated with Danny at any minute. “I think you belong. I think you belong here and I think you belong with me.”
It’s still early and asking for a coherent reaction is already asking for the world, but Danny’s stunned beyond what he thought possible by Steve’s little speech.
Danny’s really glad his hands aren’t busy putting anything away when Steve steps forward and slides one of his big hands around Danny’s neck. He just tips his head to the side and then leans down, sliding his lips to the corner of Danny’s. Danny’s pretty sure that anything in his hands would’ve been smithereens at this point.
They stand there snugly, like Steve thinks doing something like this is just something else that belongs. Danny doesn’t even breathe for fear of sliding their lips closer together, but inevitably he needs oxygen to live. He manages a shaky inhale, but not much more than that.
“Hey,” Danny breathes the word out. “C’mon, Steve. Is this about you thinking if I don’t feel like I belong here, I’m gonna leave?” Every word he speaks brushes his lips just slightly against Steve’s, like the promise of a kiss to come.
It never does.
Steve’s silence betrays him and Danny eases away with a fond look. He ruffles Steve’s hair until it’s a god-awful mess and lets out a sound that tells Steve just how pitiful he’s being. “Steve. I get it. Okay? I get it. I just didn’t expect to have the governor fake-marry us this mor…”
A terrifying thought crosses his mind.
“Steve.” Steve has moved on to fire up the oven and cook some breakfast. “Steven!” Danny snaps. “That was fake, right? She doesn’t have the ability to…that was fake, I didn’t just get married again, did I? Did I?”
“Danny,” Steve says mildly. “You’re making a fuss and the neighbors are going to hear you.”
Danny laughs hysterically as he feels a lightheaded terror grip him and he thinks that he needs to go lie down or something before he passes out. He waves his hand around a good deal and tries to put his mind at ease, but every time he comes up with a sane and coherent argument against why it’s not legit, his brain pipes back Steve McGarrett and they’re off again.
“We are not done with this conversation,” Danny warns. “You hear me?”
“I hear you, darling,” Steve says as he hums out the words, flashing a bright smile at Danny like their world hasn’t just been upended on its side.
Danny goes upstairs to call Chin and Kono, check in, and warn them that if they receive a domestic abuse complaint from the house that they are not to answer it and that Steve deserves every last bruise.
After three days of twelve-hour surveillance shifts, Danny’s pushing exhaustion and admits that they need help. He tells Steve to make the call. Chin and Kono go from the van to the house and take on the mantle of a newlywed couple so very much in love.
Now that he’s spending a little less time staring through a pair of binoculars, Danny feels a little bit of the pressure ease off. They still surveil, but they do it a lot less now that there are two units out there doing the same amount of work. Danny’s the one on duty tonight. His foot is propped on the open windowsill and he’s letting the sea breeze waft over his body.
It’s one of those little reminders that whisper in his ear that Hawaii isn’t so bad. The breeze tonight is perfect against his cheek and it settles him into a state of calm in conjunction with the two beers he’s already drank.
“What do you think it’s like?” Danny ends up calling over his shoulder, his tone complacent to match his mood.
Steve is shuffling around the bedroom getting his surveillance equipment ready for the next shift, and looks caught off guard when Danny poses the question. A set of thick headphones to his ear, he pauses and stares at Danny blankly. “What?”
“Chin and Kono, their cover,” Danny says with a gesture, turning his attention to the little house two down to see their two teammates in the dining room, dancing around as they cook dinner. It’s a perfect little show of happy family for their murder suspect. Hell, it’s a perfect show for Danny to the point that he’s starting to wonder if he’s been so busy detecting out in the world that he’s missed something right under his nose. “I mean, right now, for this particular moment, we’re not discussing whether or not their cover is a flimsy version of the truth…”
Danny hasn’t decided yet if Chin and Kono are using the cover to hide in plain sight. He’ll have to get back to that when his fine detective mind isn’t occupied wondering if the same is true about him and Steve.
“I’m talking about that whole falling in love part of the relationship, when everything’s so damned perfect that you ignore all the flaws and the faults.”
“I think that’s a myth,” Steve says. “Danny, I think that’s total crap. I think that when you were in love with Rachel and just newly married, her bad habits still pissed you off.”
“Yeah? You think that?” Danny asks.
“Yeah, I do,” Steve says, sounding convinced. “I think when you’re really in love with someone, both feet in, those flaws and faults just make you love them more for being real and human. I think that when someone is a hothead, you love them because it means they care so openly and passionately about the world that they can’t hold it in. And when someone’s kind of an asshole sometimes, you love them anyway, because they kind of make you laugh.”
Danny’s putting a lot of pressure on the foot pressed to the windowsill and he feels a sharp weight sitting against his chest. If he were older, he’d worry about a heart attack. As it is, he’s wondering if Steve is gearing up to give him a Steve-Stroke.
“Sounds to me like a pretty specific hypothetical,” Danny says, his fingers gripping the binoculars so tightly he’s afraid they might break. He dares to look behind him and finds that Steve has shifted his attention to more prep-work. This time it’s not for the stakeout. This time, he’s getting Danny’s bedclothes ready and putting out something for tomorrow – shirt, tie, pants, and all.
Steve takes a step back from hanging the tie over the door and makes a thoughtful noise. “Is it?”
“Yeah,” Danny agrees with a laugh of disbelief. “Yeah, it is. Hey,” he says, turning his attention away from Adams – the man has been flossing and Danny really doubts that whether he brushes or not is going to be the reason he’s brought in. “Not that tie, I like wearing the red one with that shirt.”
“No,” Steve says with great confidence and wearing a smile that could charm the coldest of hearts, “the blue’s really gonna bring out your eyes.”
He disappears into the washroom and Danny takes the opportunity to finally breathe. He feels a little like that vice gripping his chest is making it impossible and is definitely named Steve. Danny presses his thumb to the cold band of the gold ring and closes his eyes as he tries to settle the situation in his mind.
It’s just a cover, he tells himself. “Steve,” he calls out, trying to assuage himself of that fact. “Hey, Steve, you didn’t have a thing for me before this, did you?” No answer. Danny rouses himself from his seat and wanders into the bathroom, but Steve can’t hear him because he’s in the shower with the water running loud.
Danny raps his knuckles just lightly against the glass door. It’s frosted and Danny doesn’t avert his eyes as he looks down, figuring they’re all grown-ups here who have adult thoughts, mature fantasies, and run responsible hypothetical scenarios about what a man would do to his upstanding and fine partner if ever there were no consequences.
“Danny, I’ll be out in just a few minutes. You can go to sleep.”
Danny looks down, pressing his chin to his chest and thinking what he’s going to say next. “I don’t disagree. With your theory on falling in love with a person.” And here goes the jump off the cliff. “Chin and Kono, they look pretty good together, yeah,” he says, rambling as his heart starts to beat way too fast. “But I dunno. I think there’s something to be said about hating the way he jumps from the roof just to save someone and still being able to be fond about what drove him to do a stupid thing like that in the first place. And, and,” he says, watching Steve press a hand against the tiles of the shower wall before him. “And the bad taste in music, I mean, come on,” Danny whines. “That’s gotta be a deal breaker, but not when it just makes you love that idiot even more.”
Fuck, he feels like he can’t breathe.
“I’m going to bed, Steve. You uh, you should think about your little love theory,” Danny says. “You should think about it good and hard and make sure you don’t have it wrong.” Danny thinks he’s made things pretty clear and he goes to bed that night with the assurance that he did not chicken out, he did not do that at all.
When he wakes up, there’s a fresh mug of coffee waiting for him, and Steve is perched on the chair with his forearms on his thighs, and he’s looking straight at Danny.
“Good morning,” Danny says, fumbling to rub the sleep out of his eyes.
The other half of the master bed is empty as it’s always been. Steve and Danny have been effective about taking opposing shifts and so they haven’t found themselves with a need to switch off. Not yet.
Danny pats down his hair, his face, and then his body when Steve won’t stop staring at him with a crazy goofy look on his face. Honestly, it’s making Danny wonder if he’s actually woken up or if this is one of those recurring dreams and Grace is about to make her entrance riding a land-dolphin anytime soon.
“Wha…? What is it? Did I get Hawaii on me?”
“No, Danno, you’re fine,” Steve promises. “You just look a lot younger when you sleep, is all. Like you haven’t lived through half the shit you have.”
Danny sits up slowly and tries to make heads or tails on whether that’s a compliment. He reaches a hand up to try and tame his hair while peering blearily at Steve. Ever since they started this charade, Danny’s gotten used to smelling like him as if he’s been soaking up the scent from his blankets and pillows. It’s a comforting smell, one that keeps Danny from waking up in a panic at his strange surroundings.
The only thing ruining his safe zen is the reminder of a murderer down the block and a ring that doesn’t belong on his finger. “Kono and Chin got us covered so we can go into the office?”
“Yeah,” Steve says, gesturing to Danny’s outfit. “Get changed and I’ll warm up the car.”
Sometime during the night, Steve’s taken away the blue tie and replaced it with the red one, like he thinks that they need to compromise on these little things. Danny just stares at his clothes for a hot second, laughs, and then reaches into the closet for the blue tie.
Steve doesn’t say anything about it when Danny joins him inside the Camaro.
It’s not the comment that Danny’s waiting for. It’s the private and overjoyed smile on Steve’s face that makes the switch entirely worth it.
The idea to grill is Steve’s (Danny’s pretty sure that Steve would grill from here until the end of days if he got his way), but Danny’s just glad to be outside for once. Kono’s surveying Adams’ house , giving Danny time to pace back and forth on his cell phone and bitch to his cable company about how they’re thoroughly and relentlessly gouging him. He’s in the middle of a pointed threat about ripping someone’s throat out when he feels the warmth of a palm pressed to his hips.
His body jumps before it goes shock-still.
“Uh,” he says, his whole brain going blank.
“Sir?” the tinny voice on the phone prompts. “I believe you were moving on to threatening violence against my children.”
“I’m gonna have to call you back,” Danny says, trying to register thoughts past the white-shock in his mind at that hand slipping under his shirt. Holy hell, what is going on, he wonders, as he leans back slightly against the hand that has to be Steve’s, has to be. He shoves his cell in his jeans pocket and looks back worriedly over his shoulder. “I was on the phone!”
“Danno, you can threaten people later,” Steve says, leaning in to press his lips to Danny’s neck. “I saw a glint of light from Adams’ house. He’s watching us,” he warns. There’s a calculating tone to his voice that directly opposes the soft and careful way that he’s treating Danny with his hands and his mouth.
Danny wills his body to release its tension and slides back against Steve’s frame. It’s easy. It’s too easy. He fits in all the spaces Steve leaves open for him, like slotting the puzzle pieces where they’re meant to fit and he presses his palm over Steve’s hand to guide it down just a little lower – slipping just past the waistband of his jeans.
He tilts his head back, breathes a hot and heavy exhalation against Steve’s neck, his lips brushing against the beginnings of a five o’clock shadow. “How long you think he’s been watching?” Danny asks, eyes flicking back to Adams’ house momentarily. He’s straddling a line in his careful attempt to convince Adams that what he thinks is true without going overboard.
He’s pretty sure he’s doing a damn good job because he can feel the hitch in Steve’s breath. Their bodies are so close together that Danny can feel everything, up to and including the bulge in Steve’s cargo pants.
Danny closes his eyes and counts to ten.
He loses it when he hits eight and Steve thrusts forward just slightly.
“Steve,” Danny hisses out, trying to keep his body from undulating in a desperate rhythm and attempting to communicate to his knees that they’re expected to remain on full duty and there will be no giving out tonight. “What the fuck? Answer the damn question.”
“I don’t know, I can’t tell.”
There’s another glint of light catching the window down the way, which means that Adams is still watching and Steve is probably going to do something else idiotic in his attempt to convince a murderer that they are truly, happily married. Apparently, Steve has never heard about how married couples inevitably come to loathe each other and the very air they breathe.
There is a distinct chance that Danny’s marriage to Rachel fucked him up a lot more than he realizes.
Steve presses a palm flush against his hipbone and coaxes Danny into turning. Because his body is secretly a traitor in league with Steve, he does, hating that now he’s no longer got eyes on the perp. He looks up the short distance between them and tries to ignore the fact that Steve is swaying them from side to side.
“Okay, now what are we doing?” Danny asks, faintly amused.
“I’m pretty sure they call it dancing. Did they change that during my last tour?” Steve asks, feigning ignorance. Danny shouldn’t even begin to find so stupidly appealing on Steve’s face and yet here he is, grinning stupidly while little Hawaii butterflies take root in his stomach like a goddamn sickness. “Adams has been scoping us out, but I don’t think he suspects anything,” Steve murmurs, flattening his lips to prevent anyone from sounding out the words from lip-reading alone.
He brings Danny’s left hand to his lips, mouth brushing over the knuckles and pressing a kiss to the ring. To anyone who isn’t Danny, it looks like his attention is on his doting husband.
Danny, though, knows Steve’s looks.
And this look is ‘I’m gonna bring in a murderer come hell or high water and try to get laid while I do it’. Maybe it’s not just the face that’s telling Danny that, but the fact that Steve is starting to get hard. It’d be fairly impossible to miss that one.
Danny lets Steve sway him side to side while the steaks sizzle on the grill.
He feels like an idiot. He says as much aloud.
Steve takes entirely too long to answer, solidifying a place for him on Danny’s ‘I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns’ list. “Danny,” Steve protests with a warm laugh when Danny smacks him at the shoulder. “Come on, you seriously never just danced with Rachel on the backyard porch while dinner was being made?”
It sounds suspiciously like Steve has called Rachel to take notes about How To Be Married To Danny, because that is precisely what he used to do with his ex-wife.
Danny furrows his brow. “You, you are not Rachel,” he says, “firstly. And secondly, what a man does with his wife is an entirely different story than what he does with his fake-husband. Thirdly…”
“How many points are there, Danny?” Steve interrupts. “And can I just have the Powerpoint summary of them?”
“All I’m saying is that maybe I’d prefer just sitting down and having beers with you,” Danny says, sliding his palm up Steve’s forearm, thumb tracing along a prominent vein. “Brush my fingers over your knuckles and laugh at all your stupid jokes. And you know, maybe kiss you.” It’s not far from what they already do and Danny hopes that Steve gets that. “Good marriage exists on the shoulders of good friendship.”
Steve smirks at him.
“What?” Danny demands.
“Did Oprah tell you that?”
“You fucker. No, common sense told me that,” Danny says sharply, voice inching higher on the decibel scale for every minute he and Steve spend together. “You know it? It’s that little hole in your brain that you should be storing the little voice that tells you not to do stupid shit like jump off cliffs or through plate-glass windows.”
“Lately, I’ve been noticing that voice sounds a lot like you,” Steve replies. “It’s a bit worrying.”
“Look at that, I’m having an effect.”
Steve sways just that much closer and Danny finds out how much truth there is to those words as to how much of an effect he’s having. Before Danny can slip a hand into Steve’s cargo pants and do something about Steve’s problem, Steve takes a long step backwards.
It’s beyond frustrating.
It’s like they’re not spending their surveillance time talking to each other about what it’s like when you fall in love with your dingbat partner. It’s like Steve hasn’t basically admitted to being in love with Danny.
Danny lets out a growl of frustration and wishes that Adams would make his move so Danny could go pummel something instead of listening to the calm and sane voice in his head – that sounds suspiciously like Steve – telling him that any progress they make as a thing during an undercover situation won’t hold and if Danny really wants things to last, he’ll be patient too.
“Goddamn, I hate that little voice,” he mutters.
It’s loud enough for Steve to hear, because when the other man is done taking a pull from his beer, he shares a look of commiseration with Danny. “You see how annoying you are?”
“Fuck you, McGarrett. And grill my steak to medium rare before I file for divorce,” Danny mutters, flipping him the finger.
The case is closed in a way that is tragically comical, and Danny doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the ridiculousness of the situation.
They’ve been watching Adams every minute of every day for two weeks, waiting for him to make a move. Chin had called in the middle of the night two days ago thinking they had it, but turned out to be false hope. That moment is going to feature prominently in Danny’s dreams for a while because after he’d hung up the phone, he’d rubbed at his face and tangled his legs up with Steve’s. It was one in the morning, their lead was a bust, and all he wanted was to slide back into Steve’s welcoming and warm embrace.
The next morning, Danny would realize how monumental that had been considering it was their first night sharing the bed. At the time, he’d only cared about how good it felt to press his forehead to Steve’s shoulder and drop off into sleep. The next morning Danny realized that he just spent a night in bed with Steve and the only weird thing about it was how it wasn’t weird at all.
Two days later, Chin is calling in the early hours of the morning before Danny can experience his daily panic attack about whether or not he’s been cuddling with McGarrett overnight.
“You’ll never believe this.”
Danny has a high threshold when it comes to unbelievable events, so he’s not really expecting to be amazed. It turns out that he ought to have a lot more faith in his team, though.
It does turn out to be pretty unbelievable.
“Are you kidding me?” Danny asks for the twentieth time as Steve drives them to the station in the Camaro. “I mean, are you seriously kidding me? He got implicated in a neighborhood watch raid? He…he…”
“He stole his neighbor’s little pink flamingo,” Steve says when Danny gets stuck in disbelief. Steve sounds calm and rational, like all suspects will inevitably be felled by plastic animals. “And there was an altercation. He brought the flamingo back into his home, at which point Mrs. Estes called the police to report the incident.”
“A flamingo got us the warrant,” Danny says, finally past the stuttering pronouns. “I’m kissing the damn thing if Mrs. Estes lets me.”
Steve purses his lips together slightly, like he wants to say something but is afraid of how ridiculous it sounds. The face he’s making is pretty ridiculous too until Danny realizes what that face – pressed lips, furrowed brow, guarded eyes – means.
“Oh for god…I’m joking, it’s a goddamn plastic flamingo, of course I’m not gonna kiss it, do you know how many disgusting Hawaiian germs are probably on that thing?” Danny heaves out the words with great derision. “You’re a smart guy and then suddenly you get around me and you get stupid, Steve. Really stupid.”
Steve stays silent in the face of that accusation, which is a terrifying thing in and of itself.
Steve parks in the station lot, drumming his fingers on the gearshift like he’s beating out a tune to a missing song. Danny’s already unbuckled and halfway out of the car when he leans back in through the window and stares at Steve. His fingers keep drumming and he seems to be in his own little land, a dazed look all over his face.
Eventually, the drumming pulls Danny’s attention to the ring.
The rings that they’re still both wearing and don’t need to be, now that Adams is in custody and a search warrant has been issued. Danny clears his throat and slides the ring off his finger, the band dragging against rough skin.
It feels like it takes forever and there are at least two points in which Danny thinks he just ought to pretend he’s forgotten about it. Still, Danny’s gotta be an honest guy in this situation and he leans into the Camaro to press the ring into Steve’s palm.
“So,” Danny says, when an awkward silence threatens to strangle the both of them, “you’re not gonna say your favorite thing? Not gonna tell me to go book ‘em?”
“Kono already did,” Steve says. “She sent me a text,” he goes on when Danny stares at him blankly and wordlessly asks him how he knew that already. Steve just stares at the ring in the palm of his hand and shoves it into the pocket of his cargo pants. “I think we’re officially off the case, now. The Governor will bring in professionals to interrogate Adams and get the conviction.”
“And what about us, huh?” Danny leans his elbows against the roof of the Camaro.
Steve slides out of the car, unfolding his lean legs as he tucks away the keys in his other pocket. “I don’t follow.”
“How about you calling the governor and asking her to file for divorce, how about that?” Danny suggests, using both hands to gesture in Steve’s direction. “I mean, unless, unless, Steve. This wasn’t real, right? This was a fake thing. Those were fake papers, right?” Steve keeps walking inside with long strides and Danny struggles to follow after, grabbing hold of Steve’s wrist and twisting hard. “No. You don’t walk away from me. Jesus,” he hisses. “McGarrett, what the fuck, was that for real?”
“Danny, just, drop it,” Steve says sharply. “We booked a murderer today before anyone else could get hurt. We successfully accomplished our mission.”
Danny has a scary impulse to salute right now.
He does not even want to begin to know in what insidious secret ways McGarrett has been Pavlovian training him. It’s just too disturbing to even think about for very long. “Sir, yes, sir,” Danny drawls sarcastically, physically willing his hands to stay at his sides. He can feel his upper lip curling in anger and disgust and there are twenty things he shouldn’t be saying accumulating on his tongue.
“We did a good thing today, Danny,” Steve says, casting his eyes down from whatever fixed point he’d chosen to fixate on in the sky. Now, he looks at Danny. He looks at Danny like he’s the only thing in the world.
It is, frankly, a little bit of a turn-on.
“We accomplished something greater than the two of us. Whatever our situation,” Steve says and Danny can’t help sputtering a laugh at the implication that they’re nothing more than a briefing in Steve’s fucked head, “Hey,” Steve snaps. “I’m serious. You and me, we’re still going to be here tomorrow.”
“Okay, Steve, you haven’t ever really been married,” Danny says and when Steve opens his mouth to protest, Danny cuts him off. “No, nuh uh, a couple weeks with me doesn’t count. There’s this thing, this principle, this idea, that when you start taking things for granted, that when you start taking your partner for granted and always assuming there’s gonna be a tomorrow, that’s the beginning of the end,” he says, explaining this with his hands like Steve’s not gonna grip it otherwise.
He needs to say this, because if Steve is working under the assumption that there’s always going to be a tomorrow, Danny needs to yank that rug out from under him.
“Steve, I’m not going anywhere,” Danny says when he feels the need to clarify. “But you take anything for granted, I’m not just saying it’s me, but anything and you’re gonna start waking up with regrets when suddenly those things don’t stick around because they never got started. You, of all people, ought to get that.”
Danny’s got his fist in the air like he’s ready to make another point, but he can feel the point slipping away from him by the minute. Arguing with Steve is like running face-first into a brick wall, sometimes. It just hurts and the brick wall doesn’t learn anything from the disaster.
So he lets it go. He loosens his fingers and just shakes his head.
“Go talk to the Governor, Steve,” Danny says. “I’ll start in on the paperwork for Adams.”
Danny walks away with the burgeoning feeling under his skin that he’s not the kind of guy who’s ever lived with regrets. He says what he means, does what he says, and leaves no room in between for hesitation. It’s why he picked up and moved to Hawaii because it was the thing he was supposed to do so he didn’t go to his grave saying, ‘I wish I had…’
So what happens if there’s not gonna be a tomorrow?
That thought’s gonna bug Danny for a while.
Danny has a lot of trouble sleeping since they booked Adams.
He’s trying not to put much thought into it, but the truth is that he misses the familiar warmth of another body in his bed. Hell, if he gets down to the nitty-gritty of it all, he misses a bed. His pull-out couch is a pretty sad alternative to living in style and it’s something he’s having trouble coping with. He rolls over to face the blaring LED lights of his alarm clock and fumbles for the phone, dialing Steve before he’s even really committed to doing it.
Steve picks up in two rings and sounds as alert as he ever does, like he’s been awake the whole time – or maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance he hasn’t slept since he and Danny had words on HPD’s doorstep. “Danny, what is it? Are you okay? Do you want me to come by?”
Danny laughs tiredly and shakes his head. “Steve, calm down,” he commands. “I just wanted to know if you were around is all.”
And then he hangs up.
He grabs three things before getting in the Camaro with a plastic bag in the passenger’s seat. The drive to Steve’s place seems endless and even though the streets are deserted, every inch that Danny drives feels like he’s stuck in an onslaught of traffic. His phone rings four times and every time, it’s Steve. It’s Steve calling to check on him and Steve calling to worry about him.
Danny hits ignore every single time.
The phone is ringing for the fifth time as Danny rings Steve’s doorbell with a pillow tucked under his arm and a bag filled with steak and movies. He leans his weight up against the wall and just grins when Steve pulls the door open.
Steve’s appraisal of the situation borders on cute. His gaze goes from the pillow to the bag to the movies to Danny. They’re very clear-cut movements and it’s both too late at night and Danny is exhausted, which is clearly why he thinks this is so adorable.
He’d probably call Steve’s ‘act now, think never’ stunts ‘endearing’ at the rate his brain is melting.
“I can’t sleep and Adams is behind bars and things are back to normal and I’m tired of waiting for tomorrow,” Danny says.
Steve arches his brow and there’s this look he’s got like he really wants to ask about the pillow. Danny prevents him asking by foisting it at him and stepping inside the house. “Danny…?”
“Look, Steve, I like your bed, I do. But this pillow comes from Jersey. It is the best pillow I have ever had in my life. It was once a hotel pillow, but I liberated it, bleached the crap out of it, and have enjoyed it ever since,” Danny says as he ambles around the house, sliding the good steaks in the fridge and placing the DVD’s on the table for tomorrow. “So, you gotta let me have my own pillow is what I’m saying.”
“Danny, what are you even saying? Why do you have a pillow?”
“Look,” Danny says, feeling a bit panicky and blunt, “We’re not gonna beat around this topic. You drive me absolutely batshit crazy, McGarrett. Fully and totally and I’m still not entirely over the governor basically marrying us in a procedure that was possibly legally binding, I’ve yet to decide if it was.” He takes a deep breath, extending both hands to make a very clear point, “But the thing is that you drive me crazy and I got this thing where I find you endearing anyway. I find you goofy, I find you stupid, I wanna kiss the idiot out of you, I wanna touch you until you’ve got Williams on every inch of your bare skin.”
Steve keeps backing up and soon they’re on the stairs – the pillow abandoned in the front hall.
Steve takes three steps up and Danny follows.
“And don’t even try and tell me you don’t want me right back. You told me and then we were mature adults working a case,” Danny says as they ascend five more steps while he speaks. “But the case is over now and I got you on record saying I belong here, so either you’re a liar or you’re a chicken.”
“Why can’t I be something else?” Steve asks when they reach the top of the stairs.
“Cuz I have to make the first move!” Mount Danny is erupting and no one is safe. “Hence, chicken. If you don’t want me and I don’t belong, you’re a liar. So which is it gonna be?” They’ve made it to the doorway of Steve’s bedroom at this point. “And don’t even think of trying that McGarrett charm on me and pulling a third option out of your pants, cuz I don’t even wanna hear it.”
“Is that really what you want me to pull out of my pants, Danny?” And oh, that is a wicked smile on Steve’s face and Danny hates it as much as he loves it.
“Get on the goddamn bed and later we’re gonna have a talk.”
Danny kicks the door shut and starts to make headway into finding out so many more of the things that Steve has kept hidden from him that he takes apart in turns until he’s left with things he loves, hates, and can put up with.
And in the morning while Danny is running his fingers idly through Steve’s hair, he asks what happened to the rings. Since they booked Adams, Danny hasn’t seen a single glint of them.
Steve murmurs quiet ignorance before slipping into pleased moans when Danny starts massaging his shoulders. Danny takes it at face value and gets distracted by round six.
It’s three months after that when Danny finds the rings in John McGarrett’s CHAMP toolbox sitting atop a neat pile of signed documents. He swears to high heaven and the deepest hells as he reads over the legally binding documents that his signature has managed to make its way onto. Three months later and he’s apparently been married to Steve the whole time.
It must be love because Danny has never hated someone more in his entire life, but somehow, he just can’t stop grinning