"This is getting ridiculous," Danny says, exasperated. "I mean, seriously?" He looks around at the rest of his team who seem to be trying to remain as blank faced as possible. It's not working. "Seriously?"
Steve holds his hands out in a 'what can you do?' gesture and Danny throws his arms up in the air.
"Fine! Fine, whatever, just this time I get to drive."
Chin ducks his head quickly and Kono doesn't turn around fast enough to hide her smile and Steve just nods at him and says, "Whatever you say, Danny."
Danny scowls and says, "I hate you all," and then strides out of the bullpen yelling, "I'll pick you up at seven, McGarrett, wear a fucking suit."
"Well that went well," Chin says and Kono loses containment and excuses herself with a wave of her hand.
Steve runs a hand over his face and says, "I'll meet you back here in an hour. Apparently I've got to go dry clean my suit."
"You got it, boss," Chin says with a sloppy salute, and Steve heads out to his truck.
It's not that Steve doesn't get Danny's frustration. They've done this four times already, and that's probably four times too many for most people to get intimately acquainted with their partner, let alone Danny who'd rather yell at Steve than do pretty much anything else with him.
They're not the only ones who've had to go undercover as a couple. Danny and Kono did it once to distract Frank Salvo and his men, Danny and Chin ended up pressed together pretty intimately at a club for about an hour while they listened to a kidnapping deal go down, and Steve and Kono once had an incredibly awkward attempt at making out before they thankfully got to blow shit up.
But he and Danny must've screwed with fate somewhere along the line because they have had the absolute worst luck with this.
The first time was spur of the moment and didn't amount to more than Steve crowding Danny against a wall; Danny's breath hot on his neck as he related what their suspects were doing, Steve’s hand cupping his stubbled jaw, and Danny's hands dipping dangerously close to Steve's ass. It was pretty tame, comparatively, and Steve had been damn happy to get out of it without any real awkwardness on either side.
Obviously his hubris had come back to bite him in the ass on that one though, because the next time involved significantly less discretion, significantly more tongue, and a low, needy moan that Steve was prepared to go to his grave swearing that he hadn't made.
Danny had heard it though, jerking back abruptly, all wet, red mouth and shocked blue eyes.
"Danny," Steve remembered saying quite clearly, and what he meant was, I'm sorry, and, I didn't mean it, but what it sounded like was, More.
Then there had been voices over Steve's left shoulder and Danny had yanked Steve back down so hard that their mouths crashed together and then banged apart.
Steve didn't move them together again, just stood there breathing heavily into Danny's parted mouth as the two guys they'd been following moved off down the hallway. Steve had stepped back and pulled down his shirt from where it had ridden up from Danny's questing hands, and Danny hadn't been able to look at him for several hours after, which was good. It was good because that meant he probably hadn't spotted that Steve was half hard and not having any luck talking himself down from it.
The third time was planned in advance, but it didn't cut down on the awkwardness at all.
"I don't like it," Steve said, "Kono's known down there, someone's going to recognize her."
"They probably won't recognize you," Kono said easily.
And Steve didn't get it until Danny froze right next to him and said, "You've got to be shitting me."
When he did get it, he tensed as well: one part of his mind screaming at him, Abort! Abort! and the other part figuring all the angles of how it could work. The professional side of him won, and he took a deep breath before turning to Danny and saying in the most neutral voice possible, "It could work."
Danny's eyebrows flew up and his eyes went wide and his hands started flailing as he said, "Are you insane?"
But Steve had gotten pretty good at reading Danny and knew when he was mostly bluster, and this time he was. Because yeah, it was going to be uncomfortable as hell, but this was their job and it was a good plan. So all he said was, "Danny," and what he sounded like was, We can do this, and, This is our job, but what he meant was, I promise I won't take advantage of you again.
He made good on his promise. He and Danny had walked hand in hand down the private stretch of beach owned by the hotel, eaten in all the restaurants with their heads bowed close together, and even danced one night, pressed body to body so they could keep an eye on the couple they suspected of murdering six people across two islands.
In fact, the only time things got tense was entirely Danny’s fault. They were at dinner on their first night there, and bickering about the case had turned to bickering about the awful crap that Danny sometimes ate, which led to Danny ordering the most sinfully rich dessert that he could find on the menu.
Which would have been fine until Danny fluttered his eyes closed, moaned, and said, “Oh, Jesus, Steve, this is amazing.”
Steve didn’t even think about it, just reached across the table to grab Danny’s hand, guiding the fork to his own mouth. It was rich and creamy and chocolately, and Steve might have been more impressed if he hadn’t caught Danny’s wide blue eyes and watched him swallow hard underneath the dark knot of his tie.
“S’good,” Steve said, licking his lips, and then there was a jangle of cutlery as Danny stood up abruptly and excused himself.
When he came back all he said was, “Let’s get out of here,” and didn’t mention his dessert, which still sat on the table mostly untouched.
Steve had to brush his teeth for five minutes before the bitter taste of chocolate disappeared.
But that wasn’t even the worst one, oh no. Because Steve had obviously fucked up hardcore in a past life, which meant in this one he had to pay and pay and pay.
How that fuckup translated into him having to go undercover as some sort of male escort, Steve would never know, but he ended up half undressed and collared at a high priced event where everyone but the entertainment was wearing thousands of dollars worth of clothes and jewelry.
It was going fine. Steve was pretty good at compartmentalizing and ignoring the staring and touching and he didn’t have to work very hard before he came up with a list of solid suspects. There was Guillermo near the bar who had hard eyes and at least two concealed weapons. There was Eleanor by the lounges who had a sparkling laugh and a vicious temper, and then there was Steve’s pick, Brady Waterston, who just felt wrong.
Steve had been making his way over to Waterston’s secluded corner of the room for the better part of an hour when Danny unexpectedly walked through the doorway in a what looked like a six thousand dollar suit and slicked back hair. He zeroed in on Steve almost immediately and strode over to him, and Steve’s urge to drag Danny into a dark corner and peel him out of his suit along was paired with the equally strong urge to demand what the hell was going on, because Danny showing up had not been in the plan.
“You’re with me,” Danny said, his voice clipped.
Steve opened his mouth, cursing the fact that he hadn’t been able to wear an earwig to this thing, which left him completely out of the loop for any information they might have uncovered while he was in here, but Waterston spoke first.
“Shame,” Waterston said, “I do believe we were just about to enjoy his company.”
“I promise to bring him right back,” Danny said, his smile knife edged.
“No,” Waterston said, tutting, “That won’t do at all. If you’re going to have him, you’ll do it here.” Danny’s eyes were blazing and his grip on Steve’s arm was close to bruising, but Waterston merely smiled. “As a good friend to the host,” he continued, his eyes gleaming, “I can assure you that I will get what I want.”
“I don’t mind,” Steve said before he realized it. Because something had gone wrong and he didn’t know what, but he could feel the prickle against the back of his neck that told him that bad shit was about to go down if he didn’t do something.
Though his idea of doing something was apparently the exact wrong thing, because Danny’s gaze snapped to his, the blue of his eyes going dark and shadowed like old bruising as his mouth twisted in a sneer.
“You know what, fuck this,” he said, then turned back to Waterston and pulled out his badge. “Five-0, asshole, and you’re under arrest.”
“What-” Steve started, completely bewildered.
“We got him cold,” he said softly, before he dropped his grip on Steve’s arm and started towards Waterston. “On your feet.”
Waterston smirked as Danny put the cuffs on him, his eyes never leaving Steve’s, even as he casually tilted his head back and said to Danny, “He would have done it, you know. Gotten on his knees for you.”
Danny jerked his arms roughly as he snapped the other cuff on and said, “You, fuckface, have the right to remain silent.”
He didn’t look at Steve on the way out the door, and when Steve turned around, he saw the rest of his team and HPD pouring into the room. “That’s it, everybody,” he said loudly, pulling his ragged cloak of professionalism around him, “Party’s over.”
The fall out from that one had lasted the longest, but it hadn’t broken them and this time Steve’s not going to let it break them either. He’s going to pick up his suit and meet Chin to go over the rest of the plan. He’s going to let Danny pick him up and let Danny set the boundaries, and he’s going to keep his goddamned mouth shut and his hands to himself.
It would have worked too if Danny hadn’t stopped playing by the rules. The rules that said clearly that Danny wasn’t supposed to keep touching him: his arm, his hand, the small of his back.
He’s fiddling with Steve’s tie, his thumb stroking the hot skin if Steve’s neck when he says, “We’re not going to get anything out of them tonight, they’re too cautious for that, but I’ve got an invite for golf tomorrow.” His eyes flick to up meet Steve’s briefly before he adds, “How’s you’re club handling?”
“I can golf just fine, Danny,” he says suppressivly, because they are wearing earwigs tonight and he doesn’t need to give Chin and Kono any more ammunition.
“Glad to hear it,” Danny says, and then winks like he wasn’t the one to pitch a fit over this whole thing less than four hours ago.
At the end of the night, they’ve ingratiated themselves with a ring of smugglers, gotten four invites to events by other random couples, and Steve’s left standing in his driveway watching the taillights fade on Danny’s car feeling uncomfortably like a teenager who didn’t get a kiss goodnight.
The take down goes smoothly the next day, though it’s in the middle of the yacht club, which Steve could have lived without. He’s just cuffing the second suspect when a woman from the night before walks up to Danny and says, “How exciting, Daniel, you’re a police officer,” like it’s the best surprise ever. “Oh, but you’re still coming to our party on Friday night, yes?” she asks, glancing at Steve before continuing with, “Such a handsome couple.”
She flutters off without waiting for response and Danny meets his eyes with a bemused smile and shrugs. “Takes all kinds, I guess,” he says, and then leads his struggling suspect out the door.
There’s no reason for Danny to show up at Steve’s door that night looking agitated, but the minute Steve opens the door Danny’s barreling inside and saying, “So the thing is, I’m not sure what the problem is here.”
“There’s a problem?” Steve asks, because he’d just been congratulating himself on catching the bad guys without getting his hand slapped by a sexual harassment suit.
Danny squints at him like he was a moron and says, “What do you mean, is there a problem, of course there’s a problem, haven’t you been paying attention?”
Apparently not, Steve thinks, and then closes the door because this sounds like it’s going to take a while. “You want a…beer?” he asks, trailing off when Danny comes out of his kitchen, beer in hand. “So what’s the problem?” Steve asks, sitting on the couch.
“The problem is that I don’t know what the problem is,” Danny says, pointing at him with the beer bottle. “Keep up.”
Steve motions at him to continue and Danny stops pacing and perches himself on the arm of the chair.
“So here’s the thing,” Danny starts again. “I don’t know if you’re being all,” he waves his hands in the air vaguely, “because you’re pissed that you keep having to kiss me or if it’s because you’re pissed that you keep having to pretend that it’s not real.”
Steve swallows dryly, but he can’t force himself to look away from Danny’s gaze.
“For me it’s the latter,” Danny says, like a verbal shrug. Like it’s easy and casual and doesn’t mean anything. “I mean, if you’re curious.” His eyes drop then, to his hands that can’t stay still as they pick at the label on the bottle. “I just figured it’s about time we cleared the air here, see if we’re on the same page.” When he looks up, his face shifts ever so slightly, jaw tightening, lips firming. “Which we clearly aren’t,” he continues setting the bottle down gently and starting for the door. “Thanks for the beer,” he says, and it sounds like goodbye.
Steve’s up and to the door before he can think of moving, his body pressing Danny’s against the door, his hands on Danny’s face. He still can’t find any words, but the way Danny’s face softens as the hint of smile teases the corners of his mouth, maybe Steve doesn’t need to.
Danny’s hands slide over his hips and he tilts his head up and he murmurs, “Maybe we’re on the same page after all.”
Steve breathes Danny’s name softly against his lips before they kiss for the first time, for real, for themselves: the slick of tongue, the hint of teeth, and no cops listening in or criminals they need to collar.
He breathes Danny’s name, but what he means is, Yes, and Please and Everything.
And what it sounds like is, Forever.