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Down the Shore Everything's All Right

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Things that are not good: waking up in a hospital room with Rachel looking at him, her mouth drawn in a tight, worried frown.

Things that are even worse: waking up with Steve standing right next to Rachel, looking simultaneously anxious, angry, frustrated, and something else that averages out into crazy eyes.

"Daniel," Rachel says, in the voice that Danny knows is absolutely red-flags, all-hands-on-deck danger.

Since he's currently held hostage by an oxygen tube and a couple of IV's, he's going to put his chances at being able to physically flee at about negative five hundred, especially since Steve's laser eyes just took in his fingers twitching and Steve would probably sit on him if he even thought about moving.

"How are you feeling, Danno?" Steve asks, and then just takes his hand in front of Rachel like that is a.) normal and b.) no, seriously.

"Uh," Danny says, still hoping he might be able to shut his eyes and feign sleep, since he's obviously not up to the tag-team from hell.

"Well, then," Rachel says, and shares some kind of loaded glance with Steve. "I'll leave it to you, shall I?"

Steve just nods, and holy shit -- if there's anything more frightening than Rachel on the warpath, it's the thought of Rachel and Steve having extended conversations over his unconscious body.

Fuck it, he decides, and closes his eyes as Rachel's heels click down the hallway.

"I can tell you're not asleep," Steve says after a few minutes, amusement in his voice.

Danny's really not feeling up to much, but he does manage to contract the necessary muscles to flip Steve off.

***

"You left Rachel as your emergency contact," Steve tells him when he wakes up again. It turns out that if he closes his eyes, he'll fall asleep again even if he only means to pretend, so he slept some unknown period of hours. It's dark outside, though, and Steve's still wearing the same clothes, which suggests that it's still the same day.

"Grace," Danny says by way of explanation. He still feels bruised all over and muzzy, and he's not inclined to talk more than he has to. But Grace is the only thing he moved to this island for, and if something happened to him, he had to let Rachel know, for Grace's sake.

Steve nods in understanding, because he gets that without Danny having to say it all, but his eyes narrow in that way that says he's not precisely happy about it.

"What happened?" Danny asks. He can almost guess from the catalog of injuries, but he's not precisely sure.

"You went off a pier in a car and concussed yourself on the steering wheel," Steve says.

Danny gawks at him. "Why?"

"You don't remember?" Steve says. Gently, though. He's apparently learned at least a thing or two from Danny's traumatized-witness-questioning technique.

He gives Steve a look intended to convey that if he remembered, he obviously wouldn't be asking.

It seems to work, because Steve holds his hands up in surrender. "Okay. Okay. Hey, you want to hear about science?" He holds up an issue of Popular Science and waves it hopefully. "There's an article about what would happen if every element on the periodic table came into contact simultaneously."

His eyes slip shut again as Steve starts reading aloud, and he thinks about opening them when Steve says "Large Hadron Collider" in a way that most men might reserve for the hottest sportscar on the planet, but then he slides into sleep.

***

He's spared from having to whine to get discharged from the hospital, mostly because Steve does it for him.

"He'll have plenty of supervision," Steve wheedles. "He's staying with me."

"Right," Danny says. "Wait, what?"

"You don't have to worry about anything," Steve says soothingly. "Chin and Kono already moved your stuff into my house."

"What?"

"He'll be fine," Steve tells the doctor, grabbing Danny's hand again for no good reason and giving the doctor his best I'm-a-super-trustworthy-Navy-SEAL smile.

"Right," the doctor says slowly, and signs the discharge papers.

***

"I can walk," Danny grouses, and pushes halfheartedly at Steve, who instead gently but firmly pulls Danny in even closer to his side.

"But not in a straight line," Steve says. "Watch the step."

Steve leads him through the house to his bedroom, and deposits Danny in a chair while he strips the bed, remaking it with sharp, precise flicks of his wrist, the whole thing an orchestrated exercise in military efficiency. And then he pulls Danny up again and leads him to the bed.

"I'm not really tired," Danny tells him.

"You're going to be," Steve says, drawing the sheet over him. "Here, take these." He holds out two pills.

Danny groans and swallows them with the aid of a glass of water that Steve presses into his hand. "I'm fine, you know."

"I broke two of your ribs doing CPR, and you have a knot on your head the size of your daughter's fist. You're not fine," Steve says.

That pings something in Danny's head, and he thinks, oh shit. "Is it my weekend with Grace?"

"It's fine, I worked it out with Rachel," Steve says.

"You moved me into your house, and now you're negotiating my custody arrangements? How is this happening? No, wait -- why is this happening."

"I told you," Steve says. "You don't have to worry about anything."

***

He wakes up again to find Grace staring at him.

"Hey, monkey," he says, and winces at how rough his voice is.

She inches closer on the bed, very, very carefully. She has Dolphin Trainer Barbie clutched in one arm. Steve bought it for her last week, even though Danny's told him a million times that Grace needs more Barbies like Danny needs more bullet holes in his body. Which is to say none at all, ever, except for special occasions like birthdays or major terrorist takedowns.

"Do you want pancakes?" she asks, very serious.

Danny takes a minute to wonder if Steve has anything in his cupboards in the way of Jiffy Mix, because he can't really see Steve having flour and sugar unless it's in a bunker for the apocalypse or something. "Uh, maybe," he says. "Let me take a look at the kitchen, see what we can put together, huh?"

"Steve's making them right now," she says.

"Really?" He's a little skeptical. So far, Steve has demonstrated a certain mastery of the caveman variety of cooking -- i.e., applying fire to meat -- but not so much with the tender familial art of Saturday morning pancakes.

"They don't look like yours, Daddy," Grace whispers, as if Steve could hear her reluctantly maligning his pancake cooking technique from across the house.

"Okay, okay, I'm up," he says. "Let's go save some pancakes."

They make their way to the kitchen, where Steve is looking at a frying pan with the kind of concentration he normally reserves for disarming explosives. He looks up when he sees them come in, and says, "How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine," Danny says, which is a lie because his head is throbbing. "What are you doing to those poor, innocent pancakes?"

"I'm--" Steve says, and then tries to flip one. Even from where he's standing, Danny can see it's a minor disaster.

"Okay, no, out of the way," Danny says. Steve moves, but not much.

Danny just sighs, takes a look at the batter in a bowl -- hopeless, completely hopeless, he'll have to start over -- and when Steve hands him a clean mixing bowl, Danny says under his breath, "Thank you."

Steve flicks his gaze quickly to Grace, who is sitting at the kitchen table happily with Dolphin Trainer Barbie and an ancient Matchbox car. "No problem," he says, just as quiet. Then, louder, he says, "Okay, Danno, show me your secret pancake technique, and then have a seat."

"First of all, it's not my technique, it's my mother's, so you pay attention, McGarrett," Danny says.

"Bossy," Steve says, but he sounds appreciative.

***

Pancakes are followed by another nap -- supervising Steve in the kitchen really seems to take it out of a guy -- and then Kono drops by in the afternoon. She has a hushed conversation with Steve, who looks progressively more stone-faced.

"Hey, Gracie," Steve says. "Want to go see if the turtle is outside today?"

"Mr. Turtle!" Grace shrieks, at a decibel that Danny was really hoping she'd grown out of. She obediently takes Steve's outstretched hand, and they go out to the backyard.

"All right," Danny says, and waves a hand at the chair across from the couch where he is currently ensconced. Steve had piled pillows behind him earlier, which seemed sort of gratuitous until he realized that the angle made the pressure on his broken ribs more bearable. "Hit me, Kono."

She's sitting up straight in her chair -- this isn't a friendly chat, it's work, and they both know it. "Can you walk me through what happened, as far as you remember?"

"Steve and I went to check that tip on Nishizawa -- I was covering the front entrance while Steve went to the back, and Nishizawa rabbited my way."

"Okay," Kono says. "Then what?"

Danny squints up at the ceiling. "Then -- I don't know. I was in the car with Nishizawa."

"Did he have a gun?"

There's a glint of metal in Danny's memory. "I -- maybe. But I think it was a knife."

He can almost see her slotting the information together in her head. "Did he threaten you?"

"I don't know," he says, shaking his head in frustration.

"Why did you drive the car off the pier?"

"I don't know," he says again, even more frustrated, but trying to keep a reign on his temper. "I'm sorry, Kono, I really don't know."

She just nods again, and then says, "Last question. Do you know what happened to Nishizawa?"

"What, Steve didn't fish him out of the ocean, too?"

"Just you," she says softly.

"So, let me just see if I have this right: Nishizawa is MIA, my car is in the ocean, and we're still nowhere on the case."

"Uh, they brought your car up?" Kono offers.

"Aw, man, you know what this means," Danny grumbles, looking out the window to the backyard where Grace is pointing at something and hollering something that is indistinct at this distance and very high-pitched. "Steve is seriously never going to let me drive again."

***

They settle Grace in the guest bedroom, and when she pulls Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban out of her overnight bag, Danny opens to their bookmark and starts to read. When his voice begins to give out -- probably what comes of swallowing half the ocean -- Steve pulls the book from his hands and takes over.

Steve's not a natural reader of bedtime stories. He sounds like he's reading from a very serious report, but he loosens up as he goes along, and by the end, he sounds more like a human being and less like someone who is reciting a building's defensive capabilities. Danny is on the verge of dozing off when Steve touches his shoulder and lays a finger against his lips, and when Danny looks around him, he sees that Grace is fast asleep. He lets Steve help him out of the chair and herd him back to the bedroom again, mostly because there's no stopping Steve anyway, and Danny has this idea that it makes Steve feel better.

He hears Steve brushing his teeth in the bathroom, and when he comes back out in boxers and a t-shirt and climbs into the other side of the bed without comment, the only thing Danny can think of to say is, "Can you put the game on?"

"What game?" Steve asks, remote in hand.

"The Jets are playing...the Patriots, I think."

"I'm sorry, my TV doesn't get New Jersey," Steve says, deadpan.

"You asshole," Danny says fondly. "Come on, I'm injured."

"You don't even have your own NFL team," Steve says. "I mean, come on. The New York Jets. They only play in your stadium, they can't even be bothered to take on your name. Ditto the Giants."

"Ditto Hawaii," Danny says, and ruins it with a yawn that makes him wince from how it moves his ribs.

"At least we have a college team," Steve says, but he finds the game anyway.

"Hey, we have...Rutgers."

"Really?" Steve says skeptically.

"No, I'll admit that's pretty indefensible," Danny says.

They watch the game in peace for the first two quarters, but when it gets to half-time, Danny's fading fast. His last pain pills have worn off, and when he asks Steve for another dose, Steve gets him a glass of water and shakes another two pills out of the bottle. Steve's back in bed again when he blurts out, "I'm sorry about your ribs."

"What are you talking about, it happens -- they'll heal," Danny says dismissively.

He shouldn't have said it, because Steve looks genuinely distressed. "No, I'm sorry I broke them -- I didn't mean to, but you weren't breathing, and I had to--"

"Hey," Danny says softly. "Hey, it's okay. You did what you had to do -- you think I'm going to care about a rib or two? If it weren't for you, I'd be floating in the ocean."

He'd meant that to be reassuring, but Steve's expression just goes blank in a way that says, more than anything, that this has been eating at him.

Danny sighs, and reaches out to awkwardly grasp Steve's forearm. "There's nothing to be sorry about, babe. You saved my life, and my little girl still has a father. What's more important than that?"

Steve visibly relaxes at that, and turns his attention back to the game.

Danny doesn't take his hand back, and Steve doesn't ask him to, and he falls asleep to the Jets getting their asses handed to them.

***

Even in his sleep, Steve is a control freak. And handsy.

Danny will admit to being something of a cover thief. He can't help it -- he's done it for years, and he and Rachel eventually solved this problem by just having separate blankets. Steve has apparently solved this by firmly tucking his half around and under him, and also -- Jesus -- having one hand firmly clamped on Danny's ass to prevent him from rolling away.

He's not really ready to commit to being awake, so he just lies there for awhile, until Steve's eyelids flutter open.

"Morning," Steve says, his voice gravelly.

"Morning," Danny responds reflexively. He decides to give Steve a minute, because he just woke up and it's possible his brain isn't totally online yet.

"How're you feeling?"

Danny considers it. "Head's better, I think. Ribs still suck, but they're going to for awhile."

"Yeah," Steve says, and yawns. "More painkillers?"

"Probably a good idea," Danny admits. Then he narrows his eyes. "McGarrett, seriously, how long are you going to keep groping me? Despite what certain MTV productions might have you believe, not all Jersey girls are like that."

Steve considers that, and then actually squeezes his ass. "No?" he asks, deceptively lightly.

"Well," Danny says, and that's as far as he gets when Steve kisses him.

And kisses him some more. And then carefully rolls him onto his back and goes for the underside of his jaw, which is totally cheating.

"Wait," Danny says, when his brain catches up to the crazy.

"Hmm?" Steve says, his lips moving against the very sensitive skin under Danny's ear, which nearly derails his train of thought again.

"No, seriously, what are you doing?" It comes out less like a serious question and more like, how much property damage did you rack up this time.

Steve pulls back, looking genuinely confused. "I thought we were doing a thing."

"A thing," Danny echoes, hoping a little more elaboration is forthcoming, but knowing Steve, it's going to be sort of horrifying.

"Yeah," Steve says, an expression on his face that is not dissimilar to a Labrador -- not so much with the IQ, and absurdly eager to please. "I told you, I've got it all worked out. Your stuff will all fit in the house, no problem, and Gracie will have her own bedroom when she comes to stay, and I have the papers for you to change your emergency contact, so that's most of it." He peers down at Danny. "Am I missing something?"

"Are you missing something," Danny repeats flatly. He seems to do that a lot with Steve. "Okay, I recognize that maybe you haven't done this before. Maybe you don't know, or maybe you think it's different if it's a guy, which I'm pretty sure it's not, but here's the thing: if you want your partner to shack up with you, it is considered polite in many societies to inform them of this intent."

Steve frowns. "I informed you. When I took you home from the hospital."

Danny manfully resists giving himself any more head injuries. "See, no. I bet a nationwide survey of not-crazy individuals would conclude that telling your work partner that you'll take care of everything does not, in fact, equal come live with me and be my love. My love without pants."

Steve actually looks down between them at their boxers-clad selves. "Okay, except here we are."

Danny takes in a deep breath, which goddammit, really hurts. "I'm not saying I object, I'm saying I would have like to have been asked."

"So you want me to ask," Steve says slowly.

"Yes, I want you to ask."

"You want me to say the whole thing -- the love without pants thing?"

"I'm going to hurt you," Danny warns him.

Steve smiles then, genuine and heart-melting, and just says, "Danno."

And if there are people who can resist that -- well, Danny just isn't one of them. "Yeah, okay," he murmurs, and he doesn't have to tug down Steve for another kiss -- Steve's on it, and clearly he's got a plan. A plan that seems to involve not letting Danny move and driving him crazy, or so he gathers from the grip Steve has on his shoulders and the knee planted on the mattress between Danny's thighs and the terrible hickey Steve is currently making on low on his neck, and what is this, high school?

"Steve," he mutters, a note of complaint in his voice as he scrabbles ineffectually at Steve's t-shirt.

"I've got you," Steve says, fingertips skating carefully down Danny's side before hooking into the waistband of his boxers and pulling them down. "I've got you, let me."

And for all that Danny's injury rate has skyrocketed since their partnership began, everything about this is measured and deliberate, Steve keeping all of his weight off Danny as he curls one palm around both of their cocks. Or anyway, it seems like Steve has it all under control, but Danny most definitely does not, because he's panting against Steve's lips and trying to touch everywhere he can, and it's all warmth and the early morning sun coming in through the window, and Steve over him and around him and moving his wrist just so and stroking his thumb against their cocks just like that, and when Danny comes, it's with Steve coaxing him through it before finishing off against Danny's hip.

"I told you I'd take care of everything," Steve dares to say afterward.

"That degree of smugness, no matter how warranted, is not attractive," Danny tells him.

Steve grins at him. "Just wait until you're recovered, I'll show you warranted."

"You're a menace," Danny tells him feelingly, but it just makes Steve grin even wider.

***

Steve wasn't exaggerating about the emergency contact paperwork. He'd even pre-filled everything out.

"I was trying to be helpful!" he says defensively.

"You can't even be bothered to do your own paperwork when you sink freighters and accidentally blow up meth labs, but you did this?" Danny says, incredulous.

Steve frowns at him. "This is important."

"Arguably, so is massive property damage," Danny says, but he's actually a little touched. He signs his name and pushes the papers back across the kitchen counter.

Grace is sitting at the table with her Hello Kitty laptop, apparently absorbed in choosing the exact shade of purple she would like Steve to paint her room. Danny's not sure when the pair of them got around to talking about redecorating, but Grace is clearly on board and Steve is clearly wrapped around her little finger, so all in all, it seems like a good situation.

Then something -- maybe it's a cop instinct -- makes Danny pause. "Steve," he says slowly. "You have domestic partnership papers in that drawer, don't you."

Steve is suspiciously silent for half a beat. "No," he says, totally unconvincing.

"One thing at a time, huh?" Danny says. "Just make sure you actually ask me."

"Maybe you'll ask me," Steve shoots back.

It surprises a huff of laughter out of Danny. "Maybe I will," he says, and it could be that he's been hanging around Steve so much that he's getting crazier by association, but it feels like a promise.