Danny loves dogs. Anybody will tell you that. He likes the big breeds and the not-so-big breeds, and hey, he even likes the little mop-like thing Stan brought home for Rachel, a cockapoo or some such thing. And yes, Danny admits that he likes him mostly because the little guy weighs all of six pounds but can have Stan running around trying to make him happy without so much as barking, and it's always good to see Stan learning his place in the world, but Danny's never claimed to be a candidate for sainthood.
So, yeah, Danny loves dogs, but that doesn't mean he's okay with having them running riot around the office, dozens of them, all different ages, but all the some breed, tall and lean, with long feathery fur. Danny is sure they're a bitch to groom.
"McGarrett," Danny calls as he makes his way across the hall, his progress being followed by a veritable Greek chorus of alert, intelligent eyes. "I take Grace to the mainland for a week, a week, and you turn this place into a kennel?"
Steve looks up at Danny's voice, smiling that open smile that's incongruously sweet on a guy who Danny has personally seen beating the shit out of suspected perps, and oh, jeez, Danny had hoped the break would have been enough to break that automatic--and pretty damn inappropriate--reaction he has to that smile, but apparently not.
"Danny!" Kono comes flying out of her office to give Danny a hug, which at least gives Danny a chance to get his act together. Plus, what's not to love about getting a hug from a surf goddess. Whatever else Danny hadn't missed about Hawaii, Kono was definitely on the good side of the equation.
Chin comes out, too, and Lori, so Danny does some hand-shaking and gets another hug, all of which is good, very good, but there are still dogs in his office. Also, Steve's still smiling at him which isn't helping with the inappropriate feelings. Focus, Danny tells himself. Partner. Crazy man.
"The dogs, Steven?" Danny gives him his best arched eyebrow and the smile turns into the one that generally accompanies some insane scheme and signals an impending migraine, and Danny stifles a sigh, because not even that is knocking him off his happy-to-be-back mood. He is so screwed.
It's not actually all that crazy of an explanation. Or, y'know, Danny has permanently succumbed to the crazy and can't tell any more, but he thinks it's somewhat normal, at least for Five-0. Of course, it involves a rogue dog-breeding operation and a smuggling ring that's falsifying AKC papers and apparently bilking people of large amounts of money, but as far as Danny can tell, there were no grenades involved in the interrogations. It's surprising how much leeway that leaves for things not being as bad as they could be.
"I know it never crossed your I'll-do-it-myself brain that there are people who take care of these kinds of things," Danny says to Steve before he raises his voice, "but I had more faith in the rest of you."
"We're working with the local rescue groups," Kono says, shrugging. "But they're a little overwhelmed at this point and the boss didn't want to risk sending the rest of the dogs we took out of the breeding farm to a regular shelter." She reaches out and pets one, a creamy beauty with a long, feathered tail, and the dog inclines her head gracefully, accepting the affection with a grave serenity. "It's only for another day or so."
Everyone's watching him expectantly, as though they're waiting for him to lose it or something, but whatever. It's only for another day or so, right?
"Danno!" Steve calls across the office. "I'm taking the dogs for a run; you want to come along?"
"Do I look like I'm dressed for a run, babe?"
"I stopped trying to figure out why you dress the way you dress a long time ago," Steve says, with, goddammit, one of the crooked smiles. Danny spares a brief few seconds to acknowledge how very deeply fucked he is to know all of his partner's smiles in such detail.
"Do I even want to know where you go to take this, this pack for a run?" Danny eyes the milling dogs with a more analytical eye. Danny has, on more than one occasion, taken a dog or two out for a run, and this particular breed, Salukis, from the crash course Danny has just given himself, is bred for more than he knows he′s up for. "And not to impugn the honor of the SEALs, but I'm thinking not even you can keep up with this crowd."
"Oh, I've got that worked out," Steve says. "Come on, I'll show you." He leans against the doorframe like a kid waiting for permission to run out to play, all big eyes and hopeful attitude. Danny sighs, but he's doomed and he knows it, which is how he ends up sitting on the back of Steve's truck on one of the approximately ten thousand dirt roads west of the city, a cooler at his feet, waving as his lunatic partner swings himself up on a horse, dogs swirling and dancing around.
Danny eyes the dogs, and the horse, and back to the dogs again. "You sure about this?" he asks dubiously, but all he gets is another wave and the whole traveling circus moves off at a trot. Danny pulls out is phone and makes sure he has a signal just in case he has to call in the MedEvac chopper again, and then he's alone.
If nothing else, he thinks, he's got a little down-time to have a heart-to-heart with himself, go through all the reasons he needs to keep a lid on his feelings. He and Steve, they have a good thing going--trust and friendship and family in all the best senses of the word. He does not want to fuck that up. He's been doing it for a year-and-a-half already, he shouldn't have any trouble keeping it together. He reminds himself of all the crazy shit Steve's pulled, all the insane risks he takes, and the positive joy he takes in ignoring all of Danny's objections.
Like he's trying to help Danny along in his efforts to remember all the ways anything other than a professional relationship would be a freaking disaster, Steve stays out long past the twenty minutes he'd promised, leaving Danny alternately fuming and debating whether he should call for a search team. Calling in the cavalry is looking better and better when Danny finally hears the dogs barking, faintly at first, but growing louder, until they top the hill in front of him and start down toward him. Steve's bent low over his horse's neck, riding easily and the dogs are ranged beside and behind him, all of them going flat out, and seriously, Danny is only human. It is not fair to expect him to ignore Steve like this, windblown and disheveled, laughing down at Danny just because he's having a good time.
"Oh, for the love of God," Danny mutters as Steve swings down, the hem of his t-shirt riding up enough to show off a hint of skin, and that's it, that's just it. Danny steps up close, right up into Steve's personal space and maybe it's not such a disaster after all, because Steve's meeting him halfway, kissing Danny just as much as Danny's kissing him. It's a little gritty from the dust the dogs and Steve have thrown up into the air and the dogs are dancing around and barking and generally, it's even crazier than Danny's been telling himself it would be, but Steve settles himself a little more firmly against Danny and Danny doesn't give a flip about the rest of it, not at all.