Danny knew this would be a disaster.
The club was loud and crowded, full of tanned, toned bodies gyrating under pulsing lights. And okay, it wasn't that he was out of shape, but compared to the regulars at this meat market, he wasn't exactly going to win Most Popular Boy. Not that he was trying to, but the instinct to compete was strong. He was a guy, after all.
He didn't see Steve right away, so he headed over to the bar and ordered a beer, keeping his eyes peeled for Henderson as he did. The good thing about looking for a suspect in a pick-up joint was that you could stare at the patrons all you wanted.
Of course, it being a gay pick-up joint meant that when Danny locked eyes with a guy about twenty feet away near the dance floor, he was treated to an appreciative once-over and a sexy smile. He supposed it was an improvement over somebody wanting to punch you because he thought you were putting the moves on his girlfriend.
“You come here often?” a voice drawled in his ear. Danny jumped and whirled, looked up into Steve's smirking face.
Sometimes he wanted to take that smirk and – Jesus, the guy hadn't even been looking at him, he'd been looking at Steve, and there was no reason that should piss him off so much.
“If that's your best pick-up line, you're not gonna get any action tonight, I can tell you right now,” Danny yelled back.
Steve's smile turned mischievous, and Danny had half a second to think holy shit before his partner trailed his index finger right down Danny's sternum. Danny clenched his jaw to keep it from falling open. And then Steve leaned in and said, “Cute shirt. You get that from Gracie?”
Danny gritted his teeth. He'd worked hard on this look. “This is club wear, genius.”
“Yeah, if this was 1995,” Steve smirked. “The sparkly body condom's kind of gone out of style.”
“Oh, for –” Danny growled, gesturing at Steve's white-tee-and-cargo-pants uniform, “I'm not discussing this with a guy who threw on the same thing he wears every damn morning.”
“Okay, genius,” Steve said, spreading his hands. “Which one of us looks more like he belongs?”
Reluctantly, Danny did. And fuck if Steve wasn't right. Nearly all the guys who were wearing shirts – which comprised about half the population – were sporting casual tees, polos, and tanks – and not a single one was wearing anything like what Danny had squeezed himself into earlier tonight.
“Well, fuck,” Danny sighed.
“You have to move past the stereotypes,” Steve said, lips practically brushing his ear.
“Yeah, fine,” Danny growled, and stepped back to pull the shirt over his head and toss it on the floor. When he looked back at Steve, he saw a new expression there, something between Aneurysm Face and Stick-Up-His-Ass Face.
“What?” Danny snapped.
Steve shook his head, and his face kicked back into neutral. “Nothing,” he said. “Let's get to work.”
Of course, 'work' when you were on a stakeout consisted of a hell of a lot of waiting, which was fine if you were in a nice, quiet car behind a warehouse, but not so hot if you were supposed to be on the make in a noisy dance club. The more they hung around watching the crowd, the more they were hit on, and after an hour Danny was getting sick of it.
It wasn't any surprise that even with his shirt off, he only got about half the offers Steve did, but Steve didn't seem fazed by the near-constant stream of sharks hunting fresh prey. Danny would glance at him when he was supposed to be keeping an eye out for Henderson, and he saw even without being able to hear what was being said that Steve had a great brush-off technique: he bestowed apologetic smiles and bashful head-ducks like royal favors, delivering a touch to the shoulder or a brief caress to a forearm that seemed to always leave them happy for the attention, even when they were being rejected.
“What'd you tell that one?” Danny demanded, as the most recent victim receded into the crowd.
“Same thing I tell all of them,” Steve said, coming up behind him and leaning in. “That I have a very jealous boyfriend.” Danny felt Steve's nose brush against his temple, and his fingers convulsed around his beer bottle so hard they almost cracked the glass.
The thing was, it wasn't like Danny didn't know Steve and him had – something, he didn't really know what. He'd married a woman who'd shown him that fighting and fucking were just two sides of the same coin, and pretty much every time he yelled at Steve in the car lately, it felt like foreplay. Danny hadn't actually reached the point where the arguing made him want to slam Steve up against the nearest hard surface and hump his leg like a Doberman, but it was getting there.
And now Chin had drawn the long straw – the lucky son of a bitch – which meant Danny was stuck doing a stakeout where his partner was hell bent to win the prize for World's Biggest Cocktease, and yes, thank God, there was Henderson.
Steve made him, too. “Eleven o'clock,” he said, all business now, though shit, Steve's military lingo kind of turned Danny on, too.
“I saw him,” Danny said, turning his head to talk so that he could be heard. Just for show, he leaned back into Steve's solid weight. Steve stiffened momentarily, and then his hands came up to bracket Danny's shoulders, seeing his bet and raising the stakes all in one smooth motion. “How do you want to play this?”
“Depends on what he does.”
Danny watched out of the corner of his eye as Henderson – who was about forty-five but could pass for mid-thirties – walked up to the bar about ten yards from them and ordered two drinks. He surveyed the crowd the same way Danny had, but with an intent that was clear in the arch of his spine and the jut of his hips. Within a minute, a young – really young – blond guy had walked up to him and plucked one of the drinks off the bar. His other hand went right to Henderson's crotch.
“Wow,” Danny said, impressed in spite of himself. “That's a pretty hefty return on one drink.”
“Yeah, well, I'm sure it's going to cost him more than that before the night's up.” At Danny's glance, Steve lifted his chin. “Kid's a hustler.”
“How are you so sure?”
There was a slight pause, and then Danny felt the puff of breath against his ear. “I've seen him here before.”
And that was right about when Danny's vision of Steve flipped upside down, turned itself inside out and exploded all over his shoes. He opened his mouth to say something, but he found he'd forgotten every English word he ever knew, and since he'd gotten D's in high school Spanish and knew exactly six words of Hawaiian, his language ability was pretty much fucked.
And then Henderson and the hustler – the kid who'd maybe offered Steve a blow job for fifty bucks, as though somebody who looked like Steve would ever have to pay for a blow job, Jesus Christ, the kid was an idiot, and Danny was an even bigger idiot for thinking about this now – started moving toward the back of the club. Steve nudged him from behind, nearly making him stumble, and Danny snapped, “What? What?”
Steve eased out from behind him, then grabbed Danny's wrist and tugged. “Uh, it's called tailing the suspect? Maybe you've heard of it?”
“Oh, shut up,” Danny said. He tried to yank his hand out of Steve's grip, but Steve wouldn't be shaken off.
“Would you please play along? Jesus,” Steve hissed in his ear, and Danny fumed but allowed himself to be tugged away from the bar and through the crowd. Right, so playing along meant Danny was the jealous boyfriend, and Steve was going to – what? Drag him along like a caveman and –
Danny kept his eyes on Henderson as he and the hustler disappeared through a door at the back of the club. “Whoa, hold up,” he yelled, digging in his heels, “We can just wait out –”
“Come on,” Steve said, and then they were through and into the room beyond and oh, wow, there was a lot of groaning going on in here.
Danny had caught a few episodes of Queer as Folk back when it was on, mainly because Rachel had found the guys hot, but this wasn't much like anything he'd seen on TV. The room was small and dingy, and there were hot and not-so-hot guys in pretty much equal measure, and instead of flattering blue light glinting off toned bodies, there were a few dim fluorescent bulbs making everybody look like they were auditioning for a part in Dawn of the Dead.
None of which was stopping about a dozen guys from getting off, including Henderson, who was – holy fuck – currently getting his cock expertly sucked by the blond kid. Steve was probably right; nobody who wasn't a professional was that good at giving head. Henderson was clearly loving it, his head thrown back against the wall as the kid went to town.
“Well, now what?” Danny hissed, finding an unoccupied nook where Henderson wouldn't be able to see them and pulling Steve with him. “We can't just stand around here watching him get blown.”
“We'll wait until the kid's gone and nab him. No need to get him involved,” Steve murmured, as calmly as if he were announcing the weather. Unfortunately, he was announcing it really close to Danny's ear, and between that and the chorus of groans and moans, it was a little hard to concentrate.
“That's real sweet of you, but what the hell do we do until then?”
Steve pulled back and grinned at him, and oh, Danny did not like that grin, that grin always meant trouble.
“We play the part,” he said, and then he proceeded to lean down and bury his face in Danny's neck.
“Oh,” Danny said aloud; he'd originally intended to say a lot more than that, but his brain had declared itself on strike at the first brush of Steve's lips against the underside of his jaw. Unfortunately, his dick was clearly not in the same union, because it was still working away. In fact, it seemed to be jonesing for the Employee of the Month title, with the certificate signed by the boss, the picture on the wall, the whole nine yards.
“Touch me,” Steve murmured, nuzzling Danny's ear. “You're supposed to be my boyfriend, remember?”
Luckily, Danny had just enough presence of mind left to fight the inclination to do as Steve said, because he knew if he got his hands on Steve's body this could get way too real, way too quickly. There wasn't much use denying to himself that he wanted this, but if it was ever going to happen, he didn't want it to go down like this, in the seedy back room of a club with the two of them pretending it didn't mean anything. So he kept his hands fisted at his sides, and after a few seconds Steve pulled back to look at him.
Danny met his gaze, expecting him to look pissed that his orders hadn't been followed, but that wasn't what was on Steve's face. Instead, Steve looked – God, he looked wrecked, like a kid who hadn't gotten anything he'd wanted for Christmas – and Danny had just enough time to wonder what the hell that meant before Steve's expression turned completely unreadable.
And then Steve kissed him.
This, okay, this was not playing a part, no damn way was Steve this good an actor. Steve was going for it full throttle, but the hands bracketing Danny's face were gentle, and his body was curved toward Danny's, compensating for the difference in their heights. In a flash everything made sense: Steve thought Danny didn't want this. He thought this was the only chance he was going to get, and he'd decided that a pretend kiss was better than no kiss at all.
Dumbass, Danny thought affectionately, hands rising now to slide up Steve's chest to his neck, then burying themselves in his hair. Steve jerked at the touch, then groaned and tentatively ran his tongue over Danny's lower lip. Danny tilted his head and opened his mouth, and after that it got kind of crazy. By the time Danny realized what was going on, Steve had Danny's back pressed against the wall and a thigh pressed against Danny's crotch, and shit, shit, not here –
“No,” Danny managed, pushing Steve away with all the will power he had. Steve took a stumbling step back, his expression dazed and uncomprehending. “We can't.”
“Listen,” Steve muttered, looking at a point on the wall over Danny's head, “that wasn't –”
Danny poked Steve's chest with a finger, and Steve quit talking. “Do not bullshit me, I just had your tongue down my throat.” Steve flinched. More gently, Danny added, “Jeez, you are so high-maintenance. I swear to God –”
Which of course was when the blond kid walked past them, wiping his mouth.
“Shit,” Danny breathed, cursing Henderson's lack of stamina. At Steve's frown, Danny lifted his chin in the direction of the kid, and Steve turned slowly to register who it was.
“C'mon,” Danny said, pushing himself off the wall with a lot of effort. In another minute they'd nabbed Henderson, his dick barely zipped back into his pants. Of course, the asshole kicked up a fuss; Danny had his mouth half opened to say hey, at least you got off before he thought better of it.
“Shut up,” Steve snapped at Henderson, and Danny bit down on his tongue to keep from smiling. At least he wasn't alone.
Three hours and a successful interrogation which did not involve any form of torture later, Steve pulled the Camaro up to Danny's apartment. Danny sat for a few seconds, staring out the windshield. He'd left a light on in the kitchen, and it gave off an almost welcoming glow through the curtains. He couldn't believe he was looking forward to getting inside that rathole.
Correction: he was looking forward to getting Steve inside that rathole. It wasn't exactly the same thing.
“Well, this is you,” Steve said, which was really ridiculous even in this situation.
“Shut off the engine,” Danny said.
“I don't think –”
Rounding on him, Danny jabbed a finger at him. “I am not dealing with your issues here in the car at twelve-thirty in the morning. Shut off the engine and come in already.”
Steve's expression hardened into that military mask he wore so well. “Look, you said no, and I respect that. You have my word you'll only have to tell me once.”
Danny rolled his eyes. “Oh my God, you make me crazy. I didn't say no, okay? Well, yeah, I said no then, because hello, we were working, but I didn't mean no forever, or hell, even no tonight.”
Steve's expression went from bland to wary and a little bit hopeful. “Are you saying you –”
“For fuck's sake,” Danny said, exasperated, “no more talking. You are coming inside, and we are going to get our hands on each other the right way, in private, just you and me.” He reached over to turn the key in the ignition to kill the engine, but before Danny even saw him move, Steve had wrapped a hand around his wrist and was using his own momentum against him, tugging him across the cockpit.
“What are you –” was as much as Danny got out before Steve's mouth was on his, desperate, hungry, and yeah, that was nice, but the steering wheel was digging into his arm and if Steve kept trying to haul him into his lap he was going to wreck a lot more than a ligament in his knee. “Come on, give me a break, here,” he complained, still kissing Steve because he had discovered about three hours ago that he really enjoyed kissing Steve. “You'll like it inside, there's a bed and everything.”
“I have a real bed,” Steve murmured, hands tightening on Danny's arms.
“It's twenty minutes to your place,” Danny whined. “We wouldn't make it out of the driveway, what are you –”
With a soft curse, Steve gently eased Danny back into his seat, fucking finally shut off the car, then opened his door and clambered out. Danny blinked for a second, then followed suit, digging in his pocket for his keys as he stood. Steve met him at the door and reached for him again, but Danny was ready for him this time, holding him off at arm's length while he jammed the key in the lock and shoved the door open.
As soon as Danny was through the door, he turned around, because he didn't trust Steve not to attempt a flying tackle. What he saw punched the air out of his lungs: Steve was advancing on him with one of those lopsided grins, only instead of being cute, this one made him look like he wanted to eat Danny for breakfast. He advanced on Danny slowly, inexorably, like a sexy tank.
Navy. Navy, Danny heard in his head, in Steve's voice. He barked a laugh because it was true, Steve would pout if Danny compared him to a piece of Army equipment.
Steve did pout at the laugh, which only made Danny laugh harder. “What's so damn funny?” he demanded, though his eyes were dancing.
“Nothing,” Danny said, still grinning, “not a thing.”
Steve closed the last few feet between them and put his hands on Danny's hips, his touch strangely tentative like he still couldn't believe he was allowed. “You got a problem with my technique, Danno?”
“Okay, first, you are not allowed to call me Danno when we're doing anything even vaguely sexual, because that's just wrong, and second, I haven't seen all that much of your technique yet, and therefore I will have to reserve judgment until such time as you show me some.”
Steve's grin turned wolfish again. “You want to see some technique, huh?” he asked, crowding Danny away from the bed and toward the wall. Danny went a little reluctantly, because while he was a big fan of technique, he was hoping it would be demonstrated somewhere horizontal so he didn't have to feel like he was fucking a giraffe. But as soon as Danny's back hit the wall, Steve eased off and started undoing Danny's shirt buttons.
“Might as well not have bothered putting this on,” Steve murmured, head bent to his task.
“Yeah, well, sue me, I like to be dressed when doing my job.” Danny had long since learned to keep a change of clothes at the office just in case Steve managed to get him drenched, filthy or set on fire during the course of the day. It had come in handy more than once.
“Made me crazy when you stripped off in the club,” Steve admitted softly, still looking down, and Danny's breath caught in his throat. “You're always so covered up, it's like porn just to get to see your chest.” The last button undone, Steve parted Danny's shirt with his hands slowly, revealing him, and Danny felt the cool brush of air just before Steve bent down and grazed his teeth over Danny's left nipple.
“Ohfuck,” Danny gusted, hands flying to Steve's shoulders. Steve followed up teeth with tongue, lapping slowly, and every lick felt like it was happening lower down. Locking his knees to keep them from wobbling, Danny leaned his head back against the wall and gulped air into his lungs.
“Knew you'd be sensitive,” Steve whispered, moving to lavish his attentions on the other nipple, and shit, he never thought Steve would be a talker. “God, Danny.”
“Shut up, shut up, oh, Christ, keep talking,” Danny breathed, not even caring that he sounded like a huge slut, and Steve grinned up at him like Danny had given him a pony and slid to his knees.
“You like my voice?” Steve murmured, nuzzling Danny's cock through his pants.
It took a couple of seconds for Danny to remember how his mouth worked. “Like what you're saying,” he managed, reaching down to brush his fingertips over Steve's temple, over the curve of his cheek. Steve leaned his head into the touch, eyes slitted, and something old and rusty creaked to life inside Danny's chest. He wanted to ask how long Steve had been thinking about this, about them, but it seemed too personal a question right now, too raw. He'd learned that Steve didn't like giving up pieces of himself on demand, which was fine. Danny was the same way.
And then Steve reached up and undid the button on Danny's pants. “That's good,” Steve said, smiling up at him, “but now I've got a problem.” He dragged down Danny's zipper and ran a finger over the bulge he found underneath. “I can suck you or I can talk, but I can't do both. So what would you like more?”
Danny ran his thumb over Steve's lower lip. “That a trick question?”
Steve ducked his head and sucked hard on Danny's thumb, and Danny groaned. “Jesus Christ, Steve,” he managed weakly, and apparently those were the magic words because Steve quit teasing, yanked down Danny's trousers and boxers, and promptly swallowed Danny's dick whole.
And wow, apparently Navy SEALs had all kinds of hidden talents Danny hadn't known about, because Steve could suck cock like a pro – not that Danny had first-hand experience, but hey, he'd watched a lot of porn. Just enough tongue, the occasional barely-there scrape of teeth lending that jolt of sensation that told you he was doing it on purpose, and lots of sweet, fucking incredible suction.
“Steve –” Danny began, hips jerking minutely in warning, but Steve only groaned and sucked harder, and then he looked up at Danny through his sinfully long lashes, eyes huge and almost pleading, and yeah, that was it, game over. Danny came so hard he was surprised it didn't rattle the windows, and Steve took it all, swallowing around him and turning his legs to water. He tried to prop himself against the wall, but clearly it wasn't a very smart strategy because the floor kept getting closer.
“Hey, hey, Danny,” Steve was saying, suddenly rising and wrapping his arms around Danny's back, holding him up. “Shit, man, your knee –”
“My knee's fine,” Danny managed, getting his legs under him again and shifting in Steve's grasp so that the touching was a little more mutual, “it's my dick that'll never be the same again.”
Steve stared down at him for a moment, then ducked his head and grinned. Danny wished he didn't find that so damned cute.
Tugging at Steve's t-shirt, he grinned back and said, “I can't believe we didn't even get our shirts off.”
“Hey, don't look at me,” Steve shot back, “you wanted technique, I gave you technique.”
“Yes, you did, yes you did,” Danny said, “and well done, I might add. Speaking of that,” he continued, sliding his hand down Steve's stomach, “I think it's your turn for a demonstration.”
“Uh,” Steve said, grabbing Danny's hand and stilling it, “actually, you, uh, don't have to –”
“Whoa, hold up. I'm not on the verge of a gay freakout, okay? I mean, I do not doubt it's impressive and all, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to pass out if I touch your dick.”
“What I mean,” Steve said, rolling his eyes, “is I already – did.”
“'Did'? What does that –” Suddenly Danny gaped at him, comprehension dawning. “You – holy shit, you did? When did you? How did you?”
Steve actually squirmed. “Right after – uh, when you did. I, uh –” he made a quick jerking motion with his hand. “You know. It didn't take much.”
Danny's eyes widened. “Oh my god. You are so fucking hot for me.”
Steve made a face even worse than Aneurysm Face; it was hilarious. “Right,” he said, trying to scoff and failing miserably.
“You're blushing,” Danny grinned, fisting a hand in Steve's t-shirt and tugging him forward as he backed toward the bed.
“Shut up, Danno,” Steve said, muffling Danny's protest with a hard, take-no-prisoners kiss.
Which, you know, Danny was perfectly fine with.