Actions

Work Header

More Than a Picture on My Screen

Chapter Text

“You realize,” Danny asked, pausing for a drink, “that those two words do not belong together, right?” He took another drink. “They’re like an oxymoron.”

“An oxymoron?” Steve’s smile never failed to do funny things to Danny’s stomach, and this was no different. “Decaf coffee is an oxymoron? Really?”

Danny nodded. “Yes, because this,” he held up his cup, “is what coffee is supposed to be like. Strong, bitter and with enough caffeine to keep you going.”

“Like you need caffeine to keep you going?”

Danny raised his eyebrows. “And by that you mean?”

Steve was saved from answering by his phone. “McGarrett,” he said, frown deepening as he listened. “Yes, sir,” he said eventually. “I’ll be there in the morning.”

He hung up and pushed the phone back into his pocket, “That was my old commander,” Steve said, looking at his coffee. “Back in ’05, I led the capture of this mid-level terrorist, who’s been in a hole ever since. But apparently he crawled out.”

Danny shuddered at the thought of being in a hole, wondering how anyone escaped one built by the US military. “How does that happen?”

“I don’t know. But I knew him better than anyone, and he’s not a guy we want running around out there.” He met Danny’s eyes. “They want me at the base first thing in the morning to give them everything I can on him. Can you cover my meeting with the governor?”

“I’d rather have a root canal,” Danny said.

Steve rolled his eyes. “She’s not that bad, Danny.”

“She scares me.”

“To be fair, a closet scares you.”

“Bite me.”

Steve’s eyes lit up, but he said nothing. After a moment, Danny cleared his throat and said, “Fine. I’ll deal with the governor. But you owe me dinner.” Because if he was going to deal with the governor, he was going to get something out of it.

“Deal.”

***

Danny was trying to focus on the report the governor had requested when Steve walked in. “Sorry, but I’m going to have to give you a raincheck on dinner.”

“You realize the governor spent half an hour bitching about your report?” Danny pointed at his tablet. “I’ve spent half an hour trying to rewrite it, and now you’re telling me I don’t even get dinner?”

“I’ll buy you dinner,” Steve said, as he perched on the edge of Danny’s desk. “It’ll just have to wait.”

“For what?”

Steve folded his arms over his chest, exaggerating his sigh and drawing Danny’s attention to the bottom of that tattoo peeking out under Steve’s shirt sleeve. “I’ve been reactivated.”

Danny was mesmerized by the tattoo, so it took a second for the words to register. “You what?"

“They’ve called me back to active duty. Temporarily.”

“They can’t do that…can they?”

Steve nodded. “Whether I want to or not, though in this case, I volunteered.”

“Of course you did.” Danny leaned back in his chair, fighting the urge to say ‘what about your team here?’ Which was, at least, better than his original urge of ‘what about me?’ “Planning to go after this guy armed with a knife and a garrote? “

“Funny,” Steve said. “A lot of his old contacts are dead or locked away. They need someone who knows how he thinks right there as they go after him.”

“He’s been imprisoned for over a decade. Wouldn’t someone from that hole you spoke of know him better?

“Someone from there is going along, too. But with two of us we have a better shot and figuring out his moves.”

Danny couldn’t argue against that any more than he could argue against Steve protecting the country. But SEAL Steve twelve years ago had a full functioning liver that started out in his own body from day one. Today’s Steve…not so much.

“Active duty, though?” Danny said. “Is that…I mean, are you….”

Steve’s head tilted back, his face getting that pinched look that Danny hated. “Don’t worry,” he said, the words clipped. “They made it clear I’m in a consulting capacity only. They’re not going to ‘risk your recovery,’ as they put it.”

He made it sound like they’d said he had leprosy.

“Nice to know at least someone involved with the military is somewhat sane.” At Steve’s look, Danny shrugged. “What? You don’t seem to realize that you have some limitations you didn’t used to—forgive me if I’m surprised someone in the military does.”

“Yeah, well, they do, so you can rest easy as I ride along in the back, unable to actually do anything,” Steve bit out as he pushed off the desk and stalked out of the room.

***

Danny waited a few minutes before going into Steve’s office. Steve was looking through his desk drawers, pretending he didn’t notice Danny was even there.

“I’m sorry,” Danny said, even though he wasn’t. Not entirely. He wasn’t sorry that he pointed out Steve had limitations, at least. He was just sorry that he had to point it out, and that it bothered Steve so much.

Steve sighed, looking up at Danny through his lashes. “Why?” Steve asked. “You’re not wrong. I have limitations. It’s time I realized it.”

His tone and his body language were totally at odds with the statement, but getting him to even say that was the first step. “And yet you’re still back on active duty and about to head out to—where, exactly are you heading out to?”

“I can’t say.”

“Great, so we won’t know where you are or when you’ll be back?”

“Danny,” Steve’s voice softened. “I can’t say, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be in touch. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

That tone had slipped into their conversations more and more of late. Combined with Steve’s recent break up with Lynne, it had started to let Danny think maybe they might end up where he’d hoped when he’d broke things off with Melissa.

So, of course, now Steve was going to God only knew where to chase down terrorists. Because that had worked out so well last time.

Though he got Steve’s need to go with Catherine last time a little more now. Danny was less annoyed that Steve was leaving and more annoyed he couldn’t go with him to watch his back. It wasn’t a job he easily entrusted to anyone outside their own team. And that ability to let go hadn’t exactly gotten easier lately.

“Danny?”

Steve was studying him closely, and Danny shook his head. “Sorry, just…spaced out a little there. Nice to know you’re not just going to leave me a letter and disappear.”

Steve sighed, but Danny could see the amusement lurking in his eyes. “Are you ever going to let that go?”

“Nope. So how long do you think you’ll be gone?”

“Hard to say. Hopefully not too long—with no contacts and an extended stay in a US prison making him contaminated, he’s going to have a tough time getting help.”

“Good.”

Steve pulled something out of his desk and closed the drawer. “I need to go pack. Wanna give me a lift home?”

“Since your truck is there, I don’t know how else you were planning on getting home.”

“I could just take your car.”

“Over my dead body.” Danny jerked his head towards the door. “Come on, Rambo, let’s go.”

***

Danny watched as Steve packed, the movements even more economical than usual, as if he was already reverting to robot SEAL mode. The old duffel Danny was familiar with, had seen it on a number of trips, but he wasn’t used to seeing quite so much camo going into it.

“I’m surprised you don’t keep some kind of go bag ready for things like this,” Danny teased. “Just in case.”

“I have one under the stairs,” Steve said. “Clothes, cash, guns, MREs, water—everything I’d need. That's for emergencies, though.” He glanced up at Danny. “You mean you don’t have one?”

Danny stared at him for a moment. “I kind of hate that I can’t tell if you’re serious or not.”

He didn’t hate that grin, though, the one Steve got when he and Danny were sharing a joke that almost no one else would get. "Go look for yourself if you don't believe me."

"No, I believe you." Danny leaned back against Steve's dresser, admiring the view as Steve bent over his nightstand to get something out of the drawer.

"You should have one," Steve said, still searching through the drawer. He went on, something about living on an island, but Danny was too wrapped up in all the ways he'd like to bend Steve over the bed to understand actual words.

He realized Steve was looking at him funny. "Danny?"

"Sorry, what?"

Steve looked amused. "Everything okay?"

You're going off to play soldier just when we were heading towards playing something else. No. "Fine. Why?"

He shrugged. "No reason."

Danny knew that tone, and it wasn't any more helpful than when Steve had bent over the nightstand. "Are you done packing?"

Steve took one last look in his bag, then zipped it up. "Yup."

"What time do you have to be on the base?"

"Nineteen hundred."

Danny rolled his eyes at the military time. "Good, then you have time to buy me dinner after all."

 

***

"I'm just saying, this does not count." Danny took another bite of his Zip Dog.

"You said dinner," Steve said, digging into his Teri Beef. "This is dinner."

"This is Zippy's."

Steve shrugged. "It's food. I paid for it."

Danny raised his eyebrows, taking another bite of his food without blinking. Steve's gaze didn't waver, but flickered down to Danny's mouth when Danny licked a bit of cheese off his lips. Danny put down his Zip Dog and sucked chili off three fingers in succession, watching as Steve's mouth dropped open just a little. "But when you get back," Danny said, sucking non-existent chili off another finger, "you owe me a real dinner. Somewhere that doesn't use plastic forks."

Steve cleared his throat, his voice still hoarse as he said, "Yeah, okay, dinner when I get back, then."

His reward was Danny licking his thumb, which made Steve's eyes get even darker, and Danny want to scream at the Navy and some random terrorist for the worst timing in the world.

***

Danny pulled up to the gate at Hickham. He could use his badge to go further, but he found himself reluctant to say goodbye in front of a lot of military prying eyes. "See you sometime, if the Navy lets you come back."

"I won't be gone that long, Danny."

"Yeah, right."

Steve's voice got softer. "It's not like I'm actually going back to active duty. I'll be back before you know it."

"And then you're buying me dinner."

Steve nodded. "It's a date."

The words held an odd inflection, one that had Danny shifting in his seat. "Good. Don't get dead."

"I'm not going to get dead."

"I'm just saying, you'd go a long way to get out of buying me dinner."

"Danny," Steve said, leaning in, his voice low, "I'll be back in no time, and I will take you wherever you want to go for dinner. Okay?"

Danny shifted again. "You'd better," he said, then cleared his throat.

Steve put his hand on the door handle. "I gotta go," he said. "But I'll call you."

"You'd better."

Steve leaned in a little, then stopped, giving Danny a wry smile. "I will. Bye."

"Bye."

He got out of the car, closing the door quietly behind him. Danny watched until Steve disappeared around the corner before throwing the car in reverse and heading home.

***

Chapter Text

Getting a call from the Governor instead of Steve about a case was not the way Danny wanted to wake up. He still felt off-kilter as he drove to work. He drove his own car almost every day, but suddenly it felt like the wrong side of the car. His favorite classic rock station was all wrong, and the lack of non-verbal huffed responses to his cursing the other drivers was deafening in its silence.

He walked into HQ, looking into Steve's office on auto-pilot, then immediately wishing he hadn't. Steve's office was generally neat, but the perfect angle of the chair, the completely unused look, was unsettling.

Coffee. He just needed coffee. He detoured into the kitchen, where Kono was standing over the Keurig. She looked over her shoulder at him and raised an eyebrow. "Dude, Steve's only been gone, what, twelve hours?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You look like your puppy's been lost for a week."

Danny sighed. "I haven't had any caffeine," he said, looking pointedly at where her full mug was still sitting on the coffee machine.

She picked it up and moved aside, watching him silently for a moment before she turned and walked away. Danny got his coffee, taking a long drink before he went out to find her standing in front of the computer table with Chin.

"Wow," Chin said, glancing at Kono. "I see what you mean."

Danny looked at Chin, then Kono, then back at Chin. "Excuse me?"

"Nothing," Chin said quickly, turning to the computer table. He pulled up what they had on their new case, which wasn't much. When Chin was done telling them what had come in, Danny waited a few seconds before he realized they were looking at him because there was no Steve to dole out assignments.

"Okay," Danny said, "you guys go check out the ex-wife. When Lou gets here, we'll go visit the girlfriend."

After a brief, awkward moment, Chin and Kono nodded and left. Danny checked his watch and wondered how it was only five after nine.

***

"Okay," Danny said, counting off on his fingers, "so we've put a tail on Kowalski, we have HPD watching Kanaka's house, and we're reasonably sure that the next hit isn't going to happen for two days, right?"

The team nodded in unison, and Danny absolutely didn't miss Steve's complete inability to make some kind of comment. "If Kowalski makes a move in the meantime, we'll see it," Chin said.

"Then there's nothing else to do but go home and get some sleep." Danny checked his pockets for his keys and phone. "If HPD calls I'll let you guys know. Have a good night."

He turned to leave, but Kono's, "Hey, Danny," stopped him, so he turned back. "I, uh," she glanced at Chin, who made some face that apparently only cousins could decipher. "Tell Steve we said hi."

"Who said I was going to talk to Steve?" Which was part of what sucked—he had no idea when he'd talk to Steve, only that Steve would, 'be in touch.'

Kono shrugged. "Just in case, tell him hi."

"Sure." Danny turned and walked out.

***

Danny dropped his keys by the door as it closed behind him, scrubbing a hand over his face. By Five-0 standards, it hadn't been a long day, but it felt like it had been a year.

He plugged his phone in by the couch and made sure the volume was up, just in case, even as he told himself Steve wouldn't be calling this soon. He probably had some kind of reprogramming or training or something, even if he was mostly going as an advisor. It might be days before Danny heard from him, if he heard from him at all. For all that Steve said he'd stay in touch, things happened.

He should get some dinner and pass out. If things got crazy with Kowalski, he might not get a lot of sleep the next couple of days. Which wasn't necessarily the worst thing. If nothing else, it should make the time go by faster.

***

Danny flipped through the channels, landing on a rerun of ER. He had vague memories of the episode from college, mostly the memory of making out with the first guy he'd ever slept with while the episode ran in the background.

He should turn off the TV and go to bed.

A commercial came on, and Danny flipped through the channels again. Before he could choose, his phone rang. He muted the TV and dropped the remote on the couch to reach for his phone. Steve's name and picture showed up in the new encrypted app they'd had Toast install on all the team's phones recently. Danny had no idea how it worked, but apparently it was the way to talk without fear of being intercepted. Or so Toast said.

Danny accepted the call, watching the black screen intently until it lightened, Steve's face filling most of it, the background nothing more than a dark wall or screen.

"So," Danny said, stopping to clear his throat, "not dead yet?"

Steve rolled his eyes. "I've been gone for, what, twenty-four hours?"

Twenty-seven. And a half, to be exact. "You work fast," Danny said.

He wasn't sure what that smirk was, but his body liked it. "On the contrary," Steve said, his voice low, "I can work very slow when I'm properly motivated."

Danny shifted, his body liking that even more. He knew better than to go too far down that road without knowing who might be listening in, though. "So where are you?"

"It's—"

"Classified, yeah, never mind. I know that face."

Steve chuckled low in his throat, and Danny had to shift again, trying to get comfortable when he was half hard and couldn't do a damn thing about it. Not that he was opposed to phone sex—or video chat sex, as the case may be—but again, no idea who was listening in. Besides, he wasn't really interested in his first experience with Steve and sex taking place when they were in different countries.

"Any leads on your guy?" Danny asked.

"A couple."

He knew that face, too, and the voice—that was Steve being guarded with his words. As much as Danny understood it, it was weird, being shut out by Steve. It was rare these days, and Danny didn't like it.

"You're missing out on all the fun here," Danny said. If Steve couldn't fill him in on his case, Danny would share the one they were working. He told Steve about the body, and about the hit man and all that they'd uncovered in a day.

"Looks like I'm not the only one who can work fast," Steve said, sounding impressed.

"Oh, don't worry, I can be slow when properly motivated, too."

Steve swallowed, and Danny had to tamp down on the desire to bite at Steve's neck. All he had was a phone screen, and that wasn't really going to do any good. "Good to know," Steve said, sounding a little strangled. "I'll be sure to remember that."

"Glad to know it'll be on your mind."

"I suspect I'll be thinking about little else the rest of the night."

Danny gave him a smile, settling into the couch a little more. "How goes the 'advisory capacity?'"

Steve's face wrinkled up like he smelled something particularly disgusting. "A lot of reminders of what I am and am not allowed to do," he said, and Danny felt a twinge of thanks for the Navy's rigid rules for the first time ever. "But at least people listen to me—that's a novelty."

"Are you saying we don't listen to you?"

Steve see-sawed his head back and forth, that light in his eyes that Danny had missed over the course of the day. "Okay, people don't argue with me as much, is that better?"

"That's just because they don't know how crazy you are. Give them time."

"Whatever." Steve was smiling, so Danny considered that a success. "So how are Grace and Charlie?"

Danny filled him in on what little had happened in the day he'd been gone, from Grace and Charlie to their team and anything else that came to mind.

After Danny's third yawn, though, Steve gave a soft laugh. "You should go to bed."

With you, Danny thought, but wasn't going to happen anytime soon. "I'm fine."

"Danny, I've been looking at your tonsils more than your face the last five minutes."

He was tired, but he didn't want to let Steve go. "I'm fine."

Steve's face softened. "I'll call again soon," he said, his tone warm. "Seriously, go get some sleep."

Danny gave up pretending. "When?"

"We'll be on the move tomorrow, so probably the day after. If I can't call for some reason, I'll text, okay?"

After a moment, Danny nodded. "You're right," he said around another yawn, "I should get some sleep. We have a hit man to take down, and I might have to do some crazy Ninja moves without you here."

Steve frowned, and it was ridiculous that Danny thought the little wrinkles between Steve's eyebrows were cute. "No crazy stuff without me there to watch your back."

"Heed your own words, there, Rambo."

Steve shook his head. "Go to bed."

"Yeah," Danny said, yawning again. "Going."

"Night, Danno."

"Night."

***

Chapter Text

The driver's seat still felt weird the next morning. Danny flipped around to different radio stations, settling on one with a song that sounded vaguely familiar. It wasn't until the chorus that he remembered Steve singing along to it drunkenly at a bar about a month ago, after a case that had been a bad one for him. A man, been murdered in his home, found by his daughter, exactly one week after the anniversary of John McGarrett's death.

Danny had all but poured Steve into bed, and it had taken every bit of willpower Danny had not to join him. Steve had looked playful and heartbroken, all at once, as he'd insisted he wasn't tired, even as his eyes were closing against his will.

It had taken Danny a long time to leave the room.

He beat Kono to the coffee machine this time, but was still watching his coffee pour into the cup when she came in. She took one look at him and said, "So, did you tell Steve we said hi?"

"How did you—never mind. What is with this weird obsession you have with me and Steve?" He wasn't stupid; he knew what it was. But he wasn't ready to give up any info, not until Steve was back and Danny was sure where they stood. And he figured Kono would be too nice to put it into words.

She opened her mouth, then closed it and shrugged. "Just wanted to make sure he knew we missed him, too."

The 'too' was a subtle dig, but Danny ignored it. "I'll be sure to tell him next time I talk to him?" he said, as he picked up his coffee.

"So you're planning on talking to him tonight, then?"

"Hey, here's an idea," Danny said, walking out of the room backwards. "Why don't you save your interrogation skills for when we catch a Kowalski?"

She shrugged. "A girl's gotta get her practice somewhere."

"Go practice on someone else," he said as he reached the door and fled down the hall to his office.

***

Danny somehow found himself relegated to the passenger seat of Kono's Cruze. She drove like Steve, but, while she was definitely attractive, she was not nearly as distracting to Danny as Steve could be. Or as fun to rant at.

He kept one hand firmly wrapped around the door handle, but the other was free when his phone buzzed with a text from Steve. busy?

in pursuit of suspect Danny typed back.

texting and driving danno????

kono driving. me praying for my life.

Kono glanced over at him, then at the phone, then rolled her eyes. "Tell Steve hi."

Danny sighed, but he typed in, kono says hi

hi kono!

"He says hi," Danny said. "Any other messages you would like me to—hey!" He slammed into the door as Kono took a corner practically on two wheels.

"We must be close to the drop—he's doing his best to lose us."

gotta go. suspect being stupid. Danny sent.

Steve's reply was quick. will try to call you later

Danny put his phone in his pocket. "I'm not even gonna be sorry if I have to shoot this guy," he said, gripping the handle tighter as Kono took another corner.

***

The door felt three times as heavy as usual as Danny pushed his way into his house. He didn't bother with the light, he just dropped onto the couch and leaned back, closing his eyes for a second. He probably should've gone straight to bed, since now he'd have to find the energy to stand up again.

His phone buzzed. He fished it out of his pocket with effort, looking to see three texts from Steve in the last hour, asking if he was around.

just got home

A moment later, it buzzed again, this time with Steve's name and face. Danny accepted the video call, relaxing into the couch a little as Steve appeared live on the video screen.

"Hey," Steve said, his smile the best thing Danny had seen all day.

"Hey yourself."

Steve's smile melted into a frown. "You look like shit."

"Yeah, well, chasing Kowalski was exhausting, and then Kono beat me to the last k-cup with caffeine when we were finishing the paperwork."

"How did Kono manage that?"

"She discovered my deepest secret."

Really, Steve shouldn't be so cute when he was so confused his brow turned into a V. "And that would be?"

"It would be a secret." At the look on Steve's face, Danny relented. "She found out," he said, drawing it out just because he could, "that...I'm ticklish."

"You're...ticklish?"

He realized his tactical error immediately. The delight on Steve's face told Danny he was in for a lifetime of being tormented by Steve poking him in the sides until he gave in. Assuming, of course, Steve ever got back from wherever the hell he was. "So ticklish I throw up on anyone who tickles me," Danny said quickly.

"Right. Sure you do."

He was so screwed. "Anyway," Danny said sharply, "having any luck out there in the middle of Classifiedistan?"

Steve huffed a laugh, even as he looked a little annoyed. "Not yet. Possibly a lead, they're out checking it now, while I'm stuck here. Waiting."

Which was not something Steve McGarrett did easily. Or happily. But it explained the number of texts he'd sent. "I realize you're used to being the brawn," Danny said, sinking lower into the couch, "but now maybe you'll appreciate what it's like for me being the brains all the time."

Steve laughed again, some of the strain around his mouth disappearing this time. "Don't make me fly back there just to tickle you."

If only.... "Yeah, promises, promises."

"Well, maybe if this lead pans out, I'll be home sooner rather than later."

"Let's hope."

Steve cleared his throat. "So, did you actually get Kowalski?"

"We did."

"Tell me about it."

Danny ignored the feeling of sand in his eyes and the rasp to his vocal chords and started in on the story.

***

Chapter Text

Danny leaned in Grace's doorway, waiting for her to look up from her phone where she was sprawled out with it on her bed. When she didn't look, he asked, "Did you brush your teeth?"

"I'm not five," she said without looking up.

"That's not what I asked you. Did you brush your teeth?"

She gave him a quick glance. "Yes."

"Good, then tell Will goodnight, put that thing away, and go to bed."

She sighed, but she typed something in, then hit send. The phone buzzed and lit up, and Grace smiled before she put the phone on its charger and laid it on the bedside table. That done, she slid down into her bed.

Instead of turning off the light, though, she fixed Danny with a look he knew all too well. "Danno, when is Uncle Steve coming back?"

"I don't know," he said, leaning against the doorjamb. "He's gotta catch the bad guy first."

"But that's what he does here. Why did he have to go somewhere else to do it?"

"Because that's where the bad guy went."

"Then why aren't you there with him?"

Because life sucks? Not that he could say that to her. "Because this is a Navy thing."

It wasn't a great answer, but he didn't have another one. She seemed to accept it, though, shutting off the light at last. "I hope he's home soon," she said, as she sunk down under the covers.

"Me, too."

***

Danny checked on Charlie one more time, watching him sleep for a minute before going to his own room and closing the door. He'd just climbed into bed when his phone buzzed. He glanced at the screen before accepting the video call.

Steve's beard had filled in a little in the days he'd been gone. It reminded Danny of when Steve had been a fugitive, all those years ago, when Danny hadn't had the chance to appreciate how good Steve made that beard look.

"Did I wake you?" Steve asked, the low tone in his voice sending a little shiver through Danny.

Danny shook his head. "Just got into bed."

"Mmmm, a bed. I vaguely remember what that feels like."

"I'd be happy to share mine if you were here."

Steve swallowed, his tongue flicking out to wet his lips, sending another shiver through Danny. "I'd be happy to take you up on that," Steve said, and yeah, that time his voice sent more than a shiver through Danny, as his dick twitched.

"Shame you're all the way out there in the desert, then."

It was a guess, but it was a pretty easy one, considering the kind of guys Steve would've been involved in putting away that many years ago. "If I was in the desert," Steve said, ever the good little closed-mouth soldier when he needed to be, "I'd much rather be there."

"Oh?" Danny said. "Missing Hawaii?"

"Missing a lot of things about it, yeah."

"Like what?"

Steve swallowed again. "A lot of things," he said. "The ocean, for one."

"There's a shock. I think you might even love the ocean more than your guns."

Steve laughed. "Did I ever tell you that I used to be scared of the ocean?"

"Seriously? I thought you were born with gills."

"Sorry to disappoint you, but no. Normal human being here."

There was nothing normal about Steve McGarrett, but Danny wasn't about to feed Steve's ego. "So you were afraid of the ocean? Really?"

Steve nodded. "Dad said I crawled down to it when I was a baby and got hit by a wave. I don't remember it, but apparently I used to have nightmares about wave monsters."

"What happened then?"

"Swimming lessons. I thought I'd conquered the water once I learned to swim. So what was there to be afraid of once I'd conquered it?"

That figured. "As long as you have a healthy respect for the fact that you did not, in fact, conquer the ocean, and that it could still conquer you."

Danny didn't have a translation for the look that passed over Steve's face, and it wasn't one he felt comfortable asking about with Steve thousands of miles away. "Don't worry, Danno," he said, voice soft, laced with something that matched the face, "I have a healthy respect for the ocean's abilities."

"Good." Danny cleared his throat. "So, Grace asked me tonight when you'd be back."

"It's only been five days," Steve said.

"Clearly she thinks you're some kind of superhero who should've been able to save the world in under an hour."

"I just didn't think she'd—I mean, she doesn't see me every day, so I wouldn't think it would be obvious I was even gone yet."

There were days, sometimes even weeks, that Danny forgot about Steve's stoic 'I'm not important to anyone' streak. He hid it well. "Of course she noticed. Charlie, too. In fact, I'm pretty sure if you don't call while they're awake soon they may form their own search party."

Distance might hinder a few things, but it did nothing to lessen the impact of that smile Steve had, the one that Danny equated with some of the happiest moments they'd shared. "Yeah," Steve said. "I can try to call a little earlier tomorrow."

"Good."

***

Chapter Text

They had just finished dinner when Steve called. Danny picked up the phone from the table and accepted the call. "Hey," he said, as Grace put the plates in the dishwasher.

Steve looked hesitant, his eyes shifting off to the side where, Danny realized, he was watching Grace at the sink. "Did I call at a bad time?"

"Nope, your timing is perfect. We're done eating and no homework has been started yet." Danny pulled Charlie from his chair over into his lap. "Say hi to Uncle Steve."

"Hi, Uncle Steve!" Charlie said with a big wave.

Steve's wave back came with that smile again, and Danny took a deep breath, getting himself under control. "Howzit, Charlie?" Steve said.

"Great! When are you coming back?"

"I don't know yet. Soon, I hope."

"Can we go swim at your house when you get back?" Charlie asked.

"You can go swim there anytime you like." Steve focused his attention on Danny. "My house is your house."

Danny swallowed carefully, trying to keep a lot of things from coming to the surface as he realized how much Steve really meant that. It was too much, too soon, and too many emotions to deal with in the middle of the kitchen with his kids around and Steve too far away.

Grace leaned in from behind Danny, resting her chin on his shoulder. "Hey, Uncle Steve!"

"Hi, Gracie! How's school?"

In the small box on the screen, Danny could see Grace's wrinkled nose and frown. "Too much homework."

"How else are you supposed to learn anything, though?"

"In class?" She reached over Danny's shoulder and stole a brownie off his plate.

"Hey," Danny said, turning his head to fix her with a mock glare. "Stop stealing my dessert."

Her grin reminded him of the little girl who was rapidly disappearing into this young woman growing up in front of his eyes. "It's not my fault you gave me your robber genes, Danno."

"Robber?" Steve said from the phone.

"Never mind—" Danny started, but Grace cut him off.

"Danno stole candy from a store when he was a kid."

The look on Steve's face clearly said Danny was never living this down. "Oh really? How much trouble did he get in?"

"None—nobody knew but Uncle Matt until a long time later."

He noticed Grace barely hesitated anymore at the mention of Matt. He was glad for the distance healing them all from Matt's death, even as it felt wrong, somehow, to see Matt's absence as just another fact, like trees and air and water. "Yeah, and Matt held that over my head for decades," Danny added.

"So you never actually got busted?" Steve said.

"Nope. I make a good thief."

"Hm...maybe I should arrest him," Steve said. "What do you think, Grace?"

Which led Danny to thoughts of Steve and handcuffs that had no place anywhere near his kids. "I think that you'd have to catch me first," Danny said.

"I have ways," Steve said, and that spark in his eyes was as dangerous to Danny's sanity as the smile.

"Good, then put those to use and catch this guy so you can come home," Danny said.

Something in Steve's face dimmed. "Working on it," he said, the frustration evident in everything from his voice to the change in his posture.

Before Danny could ask, Steve's attention was pulled off to the side, and Danny heard talking, but he couldn't make out the words. "In fact," Steve said, "I need to go work on it now." He waved at the camera. "Bye Grace! Bye, Charlie!"

"Bye Uncle Steve!" they said in unison.

Steve's voice was softer as he added, "Later, Danno."

"Yeah. Later."

***

Chapter Text

Danny checked his watch as he ushered Grace and Charlie into the house. "Okay, showers and teeth brushed in fifteen minutes," he said, closing and locking the door behind him. "It's already past your bedtime."

"Can't we stay up longer, Danno?" Charlie said. "It's still your birthday."

"Sorry buddy, as much fun as it's been, we really need to go to bed. You've got school tomorrow."

"Why don't you have school?"

"Because I have work." He could see Charlie gearing up for his new favorite game of a million and one questions. "And, as I just said, you have school tomorrow. And you have," Danny checked his watch, "fourteen minutes to be in bed."

Charlie gave him a hug and went running down the hall. Danny checked his phone, frowning when there was still no message from Steve. It wasn't like they talked every day, but Danny at least got texts, if nothing else. And on his birthday, Danny would've expected at least a text.

He tidied up while he waited for Charlie to get out of the shower, then tucked him in, getting an extra hug and one more 'happy birthday' before Danny turned out the light and went down the hall.

Grace was waiting on him in the living room, in her pajamas, a nicely wrapped box in her hands. "Here," she said, holding it out.

"You already gave me a present."

"It's not from me." She put the box in his hands before she gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Happy birthday, Danno," she said, before retreating to her room and closing the door.

There was a folded piece of plain white paper stuck into the ribbon, completely out of place with the ornate wrapping. Danny opened it the note, recognizing Steve's handwriting instantly in the "To Danno, from Steve" message inside. Only it wasn't an original – it looked like a print out of a picture.

Glancing down the hall at Grace and Charlie's doors, Danny went to his room and closed his own door, sitting down on the bed before he tugged at the ribbon on the box.

His phone interrupted before he could open the box. Steve, of course, though the perfect timing was a little suspect. Danny accepted the call. "Are you corrupting my daughter, Steven?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

An obvious lie. "Well, she just handed me a package from you, and I'm going to guess she just texted to let you know I had it, so clearly you've been plotting with her behind my back."

"Actually," Steve said, scratching at his now-full beard as he almost managed to look at the phone, "I plotted with Kono. She plotted with Grace so you'd get the present when you got home from dinner with everyone."

"So it's a conspiracy then?"

Steve shrugged, mostly managing to look at the phone this time. "I had hoped to be there in person, but this guy is apparently still a lot more connected than we thought."

Danny really hoped this guy rotted in some prison for a long, long time to come when Steve finally caught up with him. "Well, I appreciate the gift, even if you can't be here to give it to me in person."

"Have you opened it yet?"

Danny shook his head. "I was just about to, but you called."

"Go ahead and open it."

Danny pulled the ribbon off and lifted the lid. Inside was the largest bag of Peppermint Patties he'd ever seen, and an envelope on top. "Funny," Danny said, glancing at his phone, before he opened the envelope to find a gift certificate to Mediterraneo. "Nice," Danny said. He put the certificate back in the box and set the box aside.

"Though I'm not sure which is the present—the gift certificate or the implication that you're willing to go to an Italian restaurant," Danny teased, even though Steve had been there with him several times. "I mean, they don't even have pineapple."

Steve let out an exaggerated sigh, a light in his eyes that made Danny acutely aware of how far away Steve really was and how much that sucked. "The things I do for you...."

"Yeah, yeah," Danny said, then he smiled. "Thank you," he said, the words more serious as he settle back against his pillows and held the phone up a little closer.

"You're welcome." Steve's crooked smile was every bit as good as the big wide one that never failed to do things to Danny's stomach, and regions below. "I still owe you that dinner, and since I can't be there for it for your birthday, well...."

"Yeah, well, I'll hold onto it until you get back," Danny said. "Because don't think you're getting out of taking me to an actual dinner when you get back."

"I wouldn't dream of trying to get out of it." Steve's grin grew. "We'll tell them it's your birthday anyway and get you a free dessert."

Danny feigned shock. "Lie for a free dessert? Who would dare?"

"Me," Steve said. "A month after my nineteenth birthday."

Danny's exaggerated sigh was ruined by the smile he couldn't quite erase. "Lying for free food, corrupting my daughter...figures, it's always the bad ones."

"What is?"

Danny raised an eyebrow. "Get back here in one piece and maybe I'll tell you."

***

Chapter Text

"You didn't!" Steve said, laughing.

"I did." Danny moved the phone to his other hand, shaking out the cramp from holding it too long. "To this day you can see the outline of my initials in the statue at the stadium."

Steve shook his head. "It's almost enough to make me want to go to Jersey just to see that."

"Alert the media—something actually made Steve McGarrett almost willing to go to New Jersey!"

"Hey, I'd go there to see your mom anytime," Steve said, and really, the words shouldn't have warmed Danny's heart as much as they did. "But did you get caught?"

"Er...well...." Danny shifted under the covers, sinking lower into his bed. "Um...no."

Steve perked up. "You wrote your initials on it—how did you not get caught?"

"Jason took the blame for the whole thing."

"Wow, that's some friend," Steve said.

Danny schooled his features into as blank a mask as he could. "Yeah, he was something."

"Okay, spill."

He should've known that wouldn't work. "What?"

"I know that face. That is the 'I am trying to hide something but I'm terrible at it' face. They teach that translation in Danny Williams 101."

Danny Williams 101? "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Daniel...."

God, if Steve had any idea how that word in that tone from those lips affected Danny, then Danny would never hear the end of it. "Yes, Steven?"

"Don't make me come over there and tickle you."

"Brave words from thousands of miles away."

"Danny...."

And that tone affected him even worse. It was the one Steve pulled out when he felt alone and left out. "Okay, fine." Danny took a deep breath. "Jason offered to take the blame for everything, but only if I gave him something in exchange."

"And that was?"

"A kiss."

Steve's eyes widened. "You mean motorcycle-riding, bad boy Jason had a thing for you?"

Danny nodded. "I mean, I could've refused. He wouldn't have made me, and he'd have taken the blame anyway, but...like I said, it's always the bad ones."

"A-ha...."

"What?"

Steve shook his head. "Nothing."

"Steven...."

"Daniel...."

Fucking hell. Time to change the subject. "So, any luck finding your guy yet?"

Then again, maybe the wrong subject change, given how Steve's face fell. "No. Took them a day to get to the actual supposed hideout, and he was long gone. If I could just be right there with them—"

"They can't just take you on the actual mission?"

"They could, they just won't."

One part of Danny was grateful they wouldn't. The other part, the part that both knew Steve and his abilities, and that wanted him home, wished they'd just get over it already. "It's for the best," Danny said.

"Yeah, that's what they keep trying to tell me, but I should be doing something."

"You are. You're all the way over there—wherever there is—helping find him."

"Yes, and I should be doing it closer to the action."

Time for another subject change, clearly. "Hey, hang on a minute, that whole conversation earlier got started because you said something about getting hit on."

Steve pressed his lips together for a second. "I have no recollection of that," he said finally, the words rushed.

"Yes, you do." This was the most time they'd had since Steve had left, and from what Danny could tell, the most private location on Steve's end. Danny wasn't missing his chance to dig deep. "Spill."

Steve bit his lip for a moment before he said, "First away game my senior year of high school. Some friends and I went to a bar that was known to be a little lax in checking IDs. I was in the bathroom alone and this guy came in and he was...well, my type, though I didn't realize I had a type at the time." Steve smiled a little at the memory. "We were making out in the stall when one of my friends came in looking for me. I ended up having to pretend I went home with some girl and finding my own way home the next morning."

Danny wasn't a detective for nothing. "You left out what happened between the bathroom and the next morning."

Steve's eyebrows shot up. "Do I need to draw you a diagram?"

Danny felt a ridiculous amount of jealousy at some unnamed guy a couple of decades ago. "So, high school, huh?"

"Says the guy who was making out with gang members freshman year?"

"He wasn't a gang member," Danny said. "And anyway, all I did was make out with him."

"And he was the only one?"

Danny pressed his lips together. "Well...."

"Yeah, that's what I thought."

Danny shrugged. "Mostly I dated girls."

"Mostly?"

"Well, none of the guys could compare when I had a massive crush on the gym teacher."

Steve laughed. "Talk about clichés...."

"Says the guy who is a walking cliché."

"Oh, I'm a cliché, am I?" Steve said.

Danny gave him a look. "Gorgeous all-American quarterback, straight-A student...you're telling me you're not the living embodiment of some hero from a high school movie?"

"Well...."

"Okay, so the all-American in a movie would be circumcised," Danny said, deliberately pitching his voice low just to see the reaction, "but still...."

He wasn't disappointed, as Steve's eyes went dark, and he wet his lips. "How did you...."

"You mean you haven't snuck a peek, Steven?"

That blush told him everything. "Enough to know that you buy your Hanes in colors...."

"At least I'm not running around with the name Calvin on my underwear," Danny shot back.

"Not today I'm not."

"No Calvins?"

"No underwear."

Danny swallowed, then swallowed again, an all-too-vivid picture of Steve unzipping his cargo pants and there being nothing underneath running through his head.

"What's the matter, Danno?" Steve said, and that voice...oh what that voice did to him. "Cat got your tongue?"

Danny took a deep breath and recovered. Two could play at that game. "Sorry, that just reminded me of this guy I met once."

"Oh?"

That note of jealousy sent a little thrill through Danny. "Yeah, he wasn't wearing underwear, either."

"And who was this?"

Danny shrugged. "I didn't get his name."

"So what, he mooned you and ran off?"

"I said I didn't get his name," Danny said. "I never said I didn't get anything else."

"Lucky him."

Steve's voice was strained, and Danny thought maybe the guy was lucky that Danny never got his name, given that look on Steve's face.

"Hey," Steve said, the strain losing out to a teasing note that Danny absolutely wanted to hear more of, especially in person. "Did I ever tell you about the time my mom almost caught me jerking off?"

Fuck, the mental images that put in Danny's head.... "Uh...." Danny cleared his throat. "No."

"You're taking the kids over to my place to swim tomorrow, right?" At Danny's nod, Steve smiled. "Good, then see if you can figure out which room I was in when she almost caught me."

"Steven...."

The growl only seemed to amuse Steve more. "Gotta go, Danno. Sleep well."

"I will kill you."

"No, you won't," Steve said, smile growing wider. "Night, Danno."

"Night, asshole."

***

Chapter Text

Danny crawled into bed just as his phone buzzed, leading him to wonder if Steve had hidden a camera in his room, given his timing the last few days.

"Hey," Danny said, then he got a look at Steve's face. "What happened?"

Steve shook his head. "It was a long day, that's all."

"Yeah, that's not all." When Steve didn't start talking, Danny prompted, "Seriously, come on. You should know better than to think I'm going to let you sit there and suffer silently."

Steve pressed his lips together, but after a moment, he said, "This kid, Jenkins. He wasn't even six months out of training," Steve said slowly. "He was telling me the other day he'd decided he wanted to be a SEAL. He spent half an hour badgering me with questions about training, what to expect, what he needed to do to prepare."

"What happened?"

"We're closing in on—on the subject. We raided a house, but he wasn't there. He'd left behind booby traps, though, and Jenkins...."

He didn't finish. He didn't need to. "I'm sorry," Danny said, wishing Steve was there so he could reach out and touch him. "It's not your fault," he said, even though he knew how little good it would do.

"Maybe not, but I could've stopped it if I'd been there."

"By what, being the first in so you triggered it instead?"

"No, because I know what to look for. I would've seen it before he triggered it."

"You don't know that."

"I do, I—"

"Steve. Don't do this to yourself."

Steve took a deep breath. "Sorry, I just—"

"You think you need to explain yourself to me by now? I know exactly what you're thinking, just as I know that it won't help," Danny said. "Focus on what you can do, all right? Focus on getting this guy so he can't do this again."

"How can I do that if they won't let me be out there protecting my team?" Steve said. "They think I can't do that anymore, not with my...my 'handicap,' as they put it," he added bitterly.

"Clearly they haven't seen you leap tall buildings with a single bound or shimmy down several floors of drainpipes."

Steve's attempt at a smile fell short, but it was something. "Can I bring you in as a character witness?"

"Tell me where to go and I'll hop the next flight."

This time the smile was better. "You would, wouldn't you?"

"You know it."

"Yeah," Steve said softly. "Yeah, I do."

***

Chapter Text

Danny climbed into bed and turned out the light. He settled in on the pillows and closed his eyes, frowning when his phone stayed silent.

No texts from Steve all day, and now no call, even when Steve seemed to have some freakish sixth sense about when Danny was near his own bed.

It was nothing. Steve hadn't called every single night. Though he had, at the very least, texted at least once every day. And the nights he hadn't called were few and far between.

Still, he'd said the night before they were getting close. And getting close often meant not having enough time to spend chatting on the phone.

There was nothing to worry about.

Danny turned over onto his side and punched his pillow. He should just sleep. He'd hear from Steve tomorrow.

He laid there in the dark and stared at the phone on the table.

***

Steve didn't call.

Danny slept on and off, checking for texts, calling his own voicemail at work, just to make sure the phone was working, but there was nothing wrong with the phone.

Steve just hadn't called.

Danny checked his phone all morning, but nothing. By lunch, Danny tried a video call, but it just kept trying to dial and not connecting. He tried a regular phone call, but it went straight to voicemail. He sent several texts, but none of them got any response.

By four, Danny went to Chin. "Listen," he said, leaning against the computer table. "I know that what I'm about to ask you to do is probably illegal, since Steve is on some super-secret mission with the Navy, but I need you to trace his phone."

Chin didn't even hesitate. "Sure," he said, pulling up something on the computer table. Danny watched Chin's fingers fly, then stop, as Chin frowned down at the screen. He typed a few more things, swiped a couple, his frown deepening as he looked up at Danny. "His phone isn't on."

"Dammit." It didn't mean anything—Steve could be on a plane, he could be out of service area, even for his sat phone, he could be underground.

Or he could be on a mission.

It would be just like Steve to convince the Navy they could take him on a mission. That he could prevent people from getting hurt. Maybe get the job done faster.

And Danny had no way of knowing until it was over.

"Danny?" Chin said.

Danny shook his head. "Sorry, I just...thanks."

"No problem."

Danny turned and went back to his office.

***

Chapter Text

By the time Danny went to bed, there was still nothing. He put the phone on the charger and lay there for a long time before sleep finally came. It was fitful at best, though, so it didn't take long for him to wake at the first sound of the phone around 3 a.m.

He barely took the time to see that it was Steve before he answered. "You forget to pay the phone bill?" Danny said.

"Sorry, I know it's the middle of the night—"

"Please. I'd have taken the call anytime to know you weren't dead."

"Yeah, sorry about that, too. I had to leave my phone behind suddenly. We got a tip on the guy, and we had to go right then."

"'We?'"

Steve bit his lip. "I might've persuaded the Captain to let me go this time. I couldn't let another person die if I could stop it."

"You think I don't know that? You think I didn't realize when I couldn't reach you exactly what you'd done?"

Steve studied him for a few seconds. "I can't tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing," he said finally.

"Honestly...that makes two of us."

Steve laughed. "But hey, we got him, Danny. He's back in custody."

"So that means you're coming home, then?"

Steve nodded. "I'm actually on a flight in a couple of hours. I was hoping you could pick me up tomorrow afternoon?"

"Yeah," Danny said, then stopped to clear his throat. "Yeah, I'll be there. Just send me the info."

"I will. You should go back to sleep."

"Yeah." He didn't want to. He wanted to stay up and hear all about the capture and anything else that would keep Steve talking to him.

But he also wanted to actually be awake tomorrow.

"Hey, Danny."

Steve's voice was soft, and Danny had to swallow carefully before he could say, "Yeah?"

"I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yeah," Danny said, smiling. "See you tomorrow."

***

Chapter Text

Danny used his badge this time, and was waiting out on the airstrip when Steve's plane landed. He watched as the plane rolled slowly to a stop, and a set of stairs was wheeled up to it. The door opened, the stairs reminding Danny of an assembly line, spouting out nearly identical toy soldiers.

Except for Steve. For all that he looked just like the four men who'd already exited, complete with hat, beard and sunglasses, Danny recognized him instantly. He spotted Danny quickly, and made a bee-line to where Danny was waiting near the doors to the building.

"Nice to see you," Steve said.

"You've seen me almost every day the whole time you've been gone," Danny said.

Steve shrugged. "Four weeks of a phone screen isn't quite the same thing."

God, didn't Danny know it. Though in some ways, the phone suddenly seemed so much better. So much less threatening.

Steve, standing right there, in the flesh was threatening in ways that Danny wasn't sure he was ready for.

Steve's knee nudged Danny's thigh. "What do you say we get outta here?" Steve said. "Don't quote me on this, but I've had enough of the Navy for a while."

Danny choked on a laugh. "I'm sorry, who are you and what did you do with Steve McGarrett?" he asked, but he turned and started toward the car.

"It's not that I don't get the rules and regulations are there for a reason," Steve said. "But...."

"They're a lot more annoying when they don't let you dictate what to do?" Danny teased as they both reached the driver's side of the Camaro.

Steve looked down at Danny, eyes hidden behind the sunglasses, waiting. "What?" Danny asked after a few seconds.

Steve took off the sunglasses and put them in his breast pocket, still just looking at Danny. With a long sigh and a mental kick to his own ass for being unable to resist those puppy eyes, Danny handed over the keys and went around to the passenger seat. He got in as Steve tossed his bag and his hat into the back, then adjusted the driver's seat to where Danny's feet would no longer reach the pedals, and sped off.

"I swear to God," Danny said, gripping the door handle as Steve whipped the Camaro onto the H1, "either Kono's driving isn't as bad as I thought, or yours has gotten worse."

"I haven't driven in a month," Steve said. The grin he directed at Danny loosened Danny's grip on the door—and his other muscles. "Besides, I'm highly motivated to get home as fast as I can."

"Okay," Danny said, letting go of the door while trying to hold onto his annoyance. It faded as that grin grew. "Okay," he said again.

Steve focused on the road then, allowing Danny to focus on Steve, taking in the changes that seemed different in person, even though he'd seen them over the phone screen as they happened. "Nice beard," Danny said, if only to break the silence.

"Helps to blend in over there," Steve said, shooting him a quick glance. "Though not having to shave all the time does have its perks. More time to talk on the phone, for example."

He flashed Danny another grin, and this, this was familiar, bantering back and forth with Steve in the driver's seat, and the city flying by too fast to see.

"So," Danny said, checking his watch and realizing it would still take 15 minutes to get to Steve's, even with Steve driving, "can you tell me anything about how you captured your guy?"

Steve gave him what Danny could tell was an edited version of the story, and not just edited for things that were classified. "Hold on a second," Danny said. "The guy was already on the bus when you found out. The bus was moving. How, exactly, did you end up on it?"

"Um...that's classified?"

"Classified my ass."

He didn't miss the way Steve's eyes darkened, and he wasn't naïve enough to not know what he'd said to cause it. "It was only a little jump, Danny," Steve said, his voice almost normal.

"Right." Danny cleared his throat. "Little. What, like, 100 feet?"

Steve rolled his eyes. "It was only 20 feet from the helo."

"Oh, only 20? What, you didn't have a rope?"

"Jumping was faster."

The way Steve looked out the other window, avoiding even catching Danny's glare out of the corner of his eye, spoke volumes. "I'm sure it was."

They turned onto Steve's street. Danny realized his hands were clenched and relaxed them with effort. He got out of the car and walked up to the house at a normal rate of speed, all the while aware of Steve right behind him. He even managed to unlock the door and turn off the alarm without incident.

Then Steve closed the door.

Danny wasn't sure who reached for who first. He heard Steve's bag land on the floor about half a second before Steve's back hit the door, Danny plastered to his front. Steve's beard scraped just a little against Danny's face as they kissed, but Danny didn't mind. Let it leave behind a mark. Let everyone see what they'd been up to. He didn't care.

It would be nothing next to the bruises he was sure were on his ass and thighs where Steve had a stranglehold, all of his fingertips digging in, leaving more marks, Danny had no doubt.

"Danny," Steve said, the word muffled against Danny's lips. "Fuck...Danny—"

"Great idea." Danny's words were just as muffled as he reached for Steve's fly.

Steve pushed hard, and Danny had no choice but to step back. "Upstairs," he said, but then he pulled Danny back in for another kiss. "God, no, just—" Steve muttered. "Want you." Another kiss. "In." Another. "My bed."

He pushed Danny back and spun him around. "Upstairs. Now."

Danny went willingly, pulling or being pushed, he couldn't say, as they stumbled up the stairs, the trip only slightly hindered by Steve's inability to keep his free hand off Danny's ass. But they made it up the stairs and stumbled into Steve's room, already kissing again.

Something hard hit Danny's leg and he fell, only realizing with the soft landing that it had been Steve's bed. Steve landed on top of him, his hands fumbling at the buttons of Danny's shirt. "Why," Steve asked, lips against Danny's neck, "do you," he stopped to take a bite where Danny's neck met his shoulder, "insist on," another bite, "button downs?"

"Professional," Danny said, having his own issues with Steve's t-shirt, which wouldn't come over his head as long as Steve's mouth was working its way down Danny's body. "Fuck, Steve, shirt. Off."

Steve raised up, his shirt over his head and gone before Danny could protest the loss of that hot mouth. Danny's own mouth went dry as Steve made quick work of his pants, shucking everything down to his shoes, only to get caught by his boots.

"Fuck!" Steve sat on the side of the bed, leaning down to remove his boots. Danny couldn't resist that back, so much skin stretched over amazing muscles that worked as Steve tried to free his feet. Danny got to his knees, letting his hands skim over Steve's back in a move that had Steve letting go of his boots and leaning back into Danny's touch, moving his head to the side when Danny's mouth latched onto Steve's neck.

"Wait," Steve said, turning his head for a kiss. "Boots."

"Clothes suck," Danny said, but he let go, getting rid of his own clothes as Steve dealt with the damn boots.

By the time Steve turned back around, Danny was undressed and staring, taking in a fully naked and very hard Steve McGarrett standing over him like he wasn't sure where to go first.

"Are you going to make a full battle plan," Danny managed, not caring that he sounded a little desperate, "or are you going to get your ass down here?"

And there was that slow smile that drove Danny insane every time he saw it. "Yes, sir," Steve said, putting one knee on the bed, then the other, the frantic speed gone, even if the need was still there, just under the surface, driving them both.

Steve lifted one leg over Danny's thighs, straddling him, before he leaned down for a kiss, slowly letting his weight settle on Danny's body. Danny found himself at a loss for words for one of the few times in his life, having no vocabulary to even begin to describe how this felt. The slide of skin on skin, quickly dampening with sweat, combined with the heat of Steve all around him after waiting so long, and the slide of Steve's cock brushing against his, it was enough to short out his entire knowledge of the English language.

Danny pushed up in short thrusts, just enough friction against his cock to send sparks flying through it. The sounds Steve made as he tasted Danny's mouth, his cheeks, his throat and everywhere else his lips could reach only amplified the sparks, and when Steve closed his mouth over one of Danny's nipples, Danny's brain whited out for a brief second.

He thrust harder, but Steve propped himself up on his elbows, taking away all that wonderful friction. "You," Danny said, mostly into Steve's mouth, "are a bastard and an asshole and I don't know why I like you?"

Steve lifted his head. "Danno, you say the sweetest things."

"Get back down here and get me off," Danny said, pulling on Steve, but Steve just pushed up to his knees, giving Danny that delighted grin that was absolutely not, under no circumstances, going to make up for...okay, fine, it was working, which was all the more reason why Steve was an asshole.

Who had an amazing ass, one that Danny's hands could still reach and maybe use as leverage to get Steve back down to—

"Ah ah ah," Steve said, wagging a finger at Danny. "If you can somehow find it in you to be patient for one minute—and I realize that's difficult for you—" Steve said, as he climbed off Danny and leaned over to the side of the bed to open the nightstand, "then I promise it will be worth it."

"Patient?" Danny said. "Patient?" Because it bore repeating. "Who was it that went off and left me to be patient for nearly a month?"

Steve slid back over, moving in between Danny's legs this time, instead of over them. "Yes, you're very patient," Steve said, sounding like he didn't mean a word of it. "And patience deserves a reward."

Steve uncapped a bottle of lube that was at least a third empty—and Danny suddenly wanted very much to know what that third had been used for, and if there was anything else in that nightstand Danny might find interesting. But then Steve was opening up a condom, and Danny decided that discovery could wait.

For the first time since they'd gotten to the house, Steve looked a little uncertain as he held up the condom. "I—I mean, um...we haven't actually talked about which—"

He broke off, but Danny wasn't fluent in McGarrett for nothing. He took the condom out of Steve's hand and rolled it onto Steve's cock. "Is there anything else we need to talk about?" Danny asked, leaning up on his hands until he could reach Steve's mouth for a kiss. "Or are you going to fuck me now?"

Steve's mouth dropped open a little, his eyes going impossibly darker before he leaned in for a kiss that left Danny on his back again and wondering if there was any part of his mouth Steve hadn't claimed.

Steve's finger pressed inside Danny, slick, despite Danny not noticing that Steve had apparently stopped touching him long enough to manage that. He didn't care, though, not as long as Steve was pressing into him with those long strokes, pushing and opening until Danny growled in frustration and pushed with both hands, rolling them over until Danny was straddling Steve.

"I was getting there," Steve said, the mild tone at odds with the pure heat in his eyes.

"Not fast enough," Danny said, reaching down and closing his hand around Steve's cock, sliding his hand up and down a few times just to watch the way it made Steve's face do all kinds of amazing things.

Not, however, as amazing as the feeling when Danny raise up and guided Steve's cock in, lowering himself slowly, inch by incredible inch, until Steve was fully inside, his balls pressed against Danny's ass.

"God, Danny...." Steve's look made Danny feel like he was some kind of all-powerful being. "Do you have any idea how good you feel?"

"You're not so bad yourself," Danny said, his breath hitching as he raised himself up and slid back down again. He lost himself in the rhythm for a moment, everything but this fading away, nothing existing but Steve and the way finally having him felt.

He was so lost he missed any sign that Steve was about to move until Danny was on his back again, Steve thrusting impossibly deeper into him. "All that time," Steve said, bending Danny in on himself, changing the angle to hit just the right spot every time. "All that time I was dreaming of this, and nothing I dreamed, no matter how good even—fuck, God, Danny," Steve stuttered, pushing in harder, "nothing came close to this."

"Not in four weeks?" Danny said, going for teasing and missing by a mile, his words too breathless, too needy.

Steve laughed, leaning in, bending Danny to the point where his hamstrings were going to hate him tomorrow, and he didn't even care. "Years, Danny," Steve said into Danny's ear. "Years."

The words took a second to sink in, the raw honesty in Steve's voice undeniable. Before Danny could even start to formulate a response, Steve found a spot on Danny's neck that never failed to send Danny through the roof.

This time it clearly sent him all the way to the sun, every nerve in his body on fire with pleasure as he pushed up one last time, arms tight around Steve as if it would somehow keep him from blowing into a million pieces.

He was still in one piece when he came down, though, Steve still thrusting into him, making soft, needy noises against Danny's neck. "Come on, babe," Danny said, his lips moving against Steve's ear. "You're right there. All this time, and you're right there, finally mine. Let go."

"Danny...." The word was more of a choked off exhalation as Steve thrust in one last time and came. Danny could feel Steve throbbing inside him, and his cock made an effort to get back up again, but it was too soon, even for something he'd waited this long for.

Steve collapsed on top of Danny, the weight welcome, a solid reminder that this was real. This had happened, and would happen over and over again, as long as Danny had any say in it.

After his breathing slowed, Steve managed to get one elbow under him and lift himself up just enough to give Danny a long, slow kiss. "That was...."

Danny laughed. "Yeah, it was," he said, leaning his head up for another kiss. Steve slumped down again, then, his breath warm against Danny's neck. "Don't think, though," Danny said, "that you're getting out of that dinner."

"I wouldn't dream of even trying," Steve said into Danny's skin. "It's a shame, though," Steve said, managing to push himself up again. "We used up all our first date talk over the phone while I was gone."

Danny laughed again. "I'm sure we'll think of something."

"Well, if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that you can always find something to talk about."

Danny started to protest, but Steve leaned down for another kiss, and Danny decided to be magnanimous, just this once.

---
END