Danny had seen Steve recover from wounds many times, enough times that his heart didn't entirely stop when Steve pulled his hand away from the back of his skull, his fingers wet with blood. He holstered his gun and knelt by him, knowing Steve needed to be kept calm. "Everything's good, Kono and Chin have got the bad guys cornered." He patted Steve's knee awkwardly. "I'll call paramedics. You just sit here because you shouldn't be running around with a probable concussion, okay? Just sit."
"Can you call my dad and mom too?" Steve asked, his voice very quiet, his fingers shaking a bit. His eyes looked past his fingers, to the badge on Danny's waist. "Um, detective?" he added.
That's when Danny's heart stopped.
Another sight he'd seen several times was Steve sitting on an examining table in a hospital room, wearing one of those embarrassing backless gowns decorated with little flowers. Only this time Steve was swinging his bare feet, back and forth with boredom or impatience. Danny cleared his throat. "Steve."
"The doctor says he's talked to you about your… situation."
"I'm 34. Thir-ty-four," he repeated, accentuating each syllable.
"I know that you don't remember it, but yes. You're a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserves, and the leader of the Governor's Task Force called Five-O." He knew the doctor had told Steve that much, because Steve was an important man and needed to understand the basics of his situation.
"I was playing football. I messed up a catch and got hit in the head. I remember going down. And now I'm 34. Thir-ty-four."
"Steve, you're going to be okay. The doctor says your memory should return in a few days."
"Did we win the game? Did – " Steve shrugged helplessly, because how do you ask, what happened to 19 years of my life? "Are my mom and dad going to come soon?"
Danny wished the doctor had been more authoritative about what Steve ought to be told and what he needed to be allowed to remember himself, but amnesia was a tricky thing with few rules. "I'm Detective Danny Williams. I'm your partner. You call me Danny," he added, because Steve thought like a teenager, and he was pretty sure Jack McGarrett hadn't allowed his kids to call adults by their first name. "I'm going to look after you until you feel better."
"Can we get out of here?"
Some things never changed in Steve's world, and a desire to vacate the hospital was clearly one of them. "Yeah." Danny handed over the bag he'd brought. "I got you some clean clothes from your house. These are things I know you wear regularly."
"I have a house?"
"I'll be outside. Come out when you're dressed." Danny fled.
Danny went over the basic facts about Steve and the task force on the drive home. Steve had become a semi-famous person in Hawaii, interviewed several times about high-profile cases they'd solved. Danny fully intended to keep Steve at home as much as possible until his memory returned, but life wasn't always predictable where Steve McGarrett was concerned. He needed to know enough to bluff through any encounter with a stranger or reporter. Otherwise, the trip was eerily silent, Steve staring out the window, with his elbow on the window sill, his fingers tapping on the car roof.
"My mom and dad are gone, aren't they?" Steve asked as they drew close to his house. "I'm like a police officer. They always call the family when a police officer is hurt. Mom and dad should have come to the hospital."
"Yes, they're both gone. Your mom several years ago, your dad about eight months." Danny parked in the driveway and turned the car off. "Try not to think about it, okay? The doctor said your memory shouldn't be forced."
"What about Mary? Is she okay?"
"She's fine. She lives in Los Angeles."
"On the mainland?" And wow, distaste for any state except Hawaii had clearly been well-established in Steve's mind from his early years.
"Yeah, close to Hollywood."
"Mary always wanted to be an actress." Steve got out of the car, carelessly slamming the door behind him. As Danny followed him, he watched how he walked, his stride and the posture of his body. The Navy must have changed him a lot. Adult-in-his-mind Steve was focused, even in his movement. Teenage-Steve 's stride was relaxed, almost gangly, like he hadn't grown into his body.
But even with the small patch of shaved head showing where his wound had been stitched, still just as hot. Not that Danny should be thinking about his partner's attractiveness. Ever. And especially not now.
Danny sighed, hoping Steve recovered his memory quickly.
"This is officially freaky," Steve announced, coming into the kitchen where Danny was drinking coffee and laboriously checking his work email on his cell phone.
"You changed clothes," Danny noted. Steve had ditched the tan cargoes and plain black t-shirt for sinfully short cut-offs and a black t-shirt with a surfer on it. Somehow the blue denim fringe of the cut-offs made his legs look even longer than normal. His hair was wet on the ends, suggesting he'd showered.
"Adult me wears boring clothes." Steve rooted through the refrigerator, pulling out a milk carton. "I'm going to have to *shave*." He opened the top of the cartoon and tilted his head back, bringing it to his lips.
"Hey, hey! Don't drink straight out of the carton."
Pausing, Steve gave Danny a surly glance. "It's my house, right? And my milk?"
"Yes, and you frequently invite my daughter and I here to eat, and we don't need your germs."
Without a word, Steve opened a cabinet and got a glass out, pouring it full. Danny remembered those days, when he obeyed his parents but wouldn't admit it out loud, like silence meant he was still in control. "I'm taller. I don't look in the mirror at the same level."
"So you had a growth spurt you don't remember." Danny wished he'd had another one of those himself. "And that's good, because believe me, being short is not easy in this world."
"I'm hungry." Steve put the milk away and stood staring in the refrigerator, examining the contents. "You want something to eat?"
"Steve, I know this is scary for you, but even if you don't remember me, we're partners. You can talk to me about what's bothering you, okay?"
"There's peanut butter and jelly. You want a sandwich?"
"Yeah. Sounds good."
Danny didn't press, just watched as Steve moved around the kitchen, making sandwiches, not finding potato chips where he thought they would be, and digging out apples instead. From Steve's ease in using the kitchen, Danny had to wonder if either the senior McGarrett or Steve had ever rearranged anything. A tribute to Steve's mother or a lack of domesticity?
"What am I supposed to do?" Steve asked, after he'd devoured half a sandwich in a few bites. "I don't go to school. I don't have homework. I can't go be this task force leader."
"You're on medical leave until your memory comes back. You're supposed to relax and not force it."
"Just hang around? And do nothing?"
"Did I say do nothing? Not at all, partner. I have got an experience waiting for you after lunch. You will love this."
Danny crowed, pumping his first in the air, as Steve flung his body back, thumping his head against the couch. Asking Chin to pick up a Wii and a couple of games had been inspired. They'd done nothing for hours but play Pac-Man and snack. "You didn't believe I'd ever reached triple banana level," he said, grinning. "I guess I proved that I am the man."
"You're good," Steve conceded grudgingly. "Really good." Even though he'd lost, Steve looked relaxed, happy. Keeping him occupied had been a good strategy to stop him brooding. "For an old guy."
"Hey, what is this old guy?" Danny felt obligated to protest. "I'm only two months older than you."
"Really?" Steve gave him an appalled look that might have been funny on another occasion, an occasion when it didn't mean he thought Danny looked old.
"Yeah, really." Oops, perhaps he shouldn't be reminding Steve of his actual age, but Danny was pretty sure Steve had never been the kind of guy who liked to be coddled. "We can try some more games if you want," he offered. "There are all different kinds."
"Hey, can we go surfing tomorrow?"
Danny winced, but agreed.
"Oh no," Danny said, as Steve pulled a beer out of the refrigerator. "You do not drink beer."
The mulish expression reappeared in full force. "I'm over 21. And it's my beer."
"Yeah, here," Danny waved one hand up and down Steve's body, "you are over 21." He tapped the side of his head. "Here, you are 15. Trust me, alcohol does not help dealing with weird situations, and this doesn't get much weirder."
With a pout, Steve returned the beer to the refrigerator, getting the milk out again. "I don't even have any soda."
"You don't drink it. You're a very healthy guy."
"Huh," Steve said, leaving Danny to wonder what impression Steve was developing of himself as an adult.
"You're good in the kitchen," Danny complimented Steve as they finished dinner, steak and vegetables, simple but delicious. He'd never cooked with Steve, but it had been companionable, easy.
"Dad works – worked long hours. And mom worked too. Mary and I had to learn to do all the household chores as soon as we were old enough. Mary's always good – was good – at skipping out of everything she could though." Steve's jaw tightened, obviously upset that he was struggling with making the adjustment to current day.
"Yeah, I had the impression you were the responsible one." And Mary was the royal screw-up.
"She's just like that. Dad's – Dad was always a little too hard on her about it."
Standing up, Steve began gathering the dishes as a phone started ringing, and Danny realized it was Steve's cell phone, tucked away in his pocket for safekeeping. He winced at the sight of Catherine's picture, but answered. "Catherine, it's Danny Williams. Steve's okay."
"And yet you have his phone," she noted. "And rush to assure me that he's okay, which means at some point he wasn't. What happened?"
Steve had paused, watching him.
"Steve hit his head today. He got a bit of a concussion. He's a little disoriented."
"Can I talk to him?"
Steve made a grabby motion. Danny held the phone to your chest. "It's your girlfriend."
"I can talk to her."
Reluctantly, Danny surrendered the phone, beginning to gather the dishes, listening as Steve talked to Catherine. He seemed to handle the conversation decently, though he was vague and didn't reference the amnesia. At one point, he blushed, a sight Danny hadn't seen before. He looked good when embarrassed, and Danny definitely needed to not be finding new reasons to find Steve appealing.
Danny only hoped that Catherine hadn't said anything too raunchy. Maybe he should have explained the repercussions of Steve's injury before handing over the phone.
He was loading the dishwasher when Steve entered the kitchen, poking at the phone. "She's pretty."
Of course someone who was a teenager before cell phones were standard would still be able to figure one out and find the contact pictures better than Danny could. "She seems pretty cool too. Intelligent and charming. I don't know what she sees in you," Danny said, adding a smile to make sure Steve realized he was teasing.
Steve smiled back, but shifted on his feet, hesitantly. "Do I - ?"
Danny turned away from the sink, leaning against the counter, wiping his hands on a towel. "You can ask me anything, Steve."
"Do I just like girls?"
Danny's shock must have shown on his face, because Steve instantly backed away.
"Forget I asked that."
"Steve. Steve, no." Danny grabbed Steve's arm, forcing him to stay, meeting his eyes calmly, levelly. "You can ask me anything. You just took me by surprise, that's all. You were dating Catherine before I met you, and she's the only person I've seen you with." Steve relaxed infinitesimally. "Do you think you're also interested in boys?"
"There's a guy – " Steve hit the palm of his hand on his forehead. "Was a guy on my football team. Was. I've never said I liked guys?"
"No, you never have. But you were in the Navy, Steve. If you were gay or bisexual, you would have had to hide it to keep your career."
"But I don't anymore, right? Not really? I work for the Governor."
"You're still in the Reserves. The rules still apply to you. Or maybe you changed your mind about the boy. Maybe it was one of those childhood crush things that went away." Not that Danny believed that was likely. Not if a teenage-minded Steve had a woman like Catherine flirting with him and was still focusing on some boy on his football team. "I've messed around with guys some," he admitted. "A few times in my life."
"Yeah." Danny cleared his throat. "You may not have realized it. I went through a bitter divorce, so I haven't been dating much. But I'm… flexible. It's no big deal these days."
"I hate that I don't know. You're my partner. Have been my partner for what? How long? I don't know. I don't anything about you. I don't remember half of my life." Steve was tense, frustrated, hands clenching, looking a lot like he was ready to kick down a door and shoot a terrorist. "I talked to the woman who is my girlfriend and I lied to her that I was okay and I don't even know what she looks like other than one picture on my phone."
"You know what? Screw the doctor. This isn't working for you. Come on, I need a beer for this. No, better yet, we both need a beer."
Walking around the house, checking all the locks, making sure that the alarm was set, Danny hoped he'd done the right thing. He'd planned on finding some aimless movie to watch that evening, or maybe trying another game on the Wii. Instead, he'd spent the entire night talking to Steve about themselves and their shared history.
He told Steve what he knew about his naval career, which was precious little, and about Hesse and his father's death, what they'd learned about his mother's death, and Mary's visit and kidnapping, and her ultimate return to the mainland. They'd fired up Steve's computer and gone online, reading articles in the Hawaiian newspapers, talking about cases, even finding a few clips of Steve being interviewed.
He'd talked about himself too, his family in Jersey, his marriage to Rachel, his adoration for his daughter. He touched a little on his experiences with guys, because he wanted Steve to be reassured that whatever thoughts he'd had in high school were okay, but he didn't go in-depth. Steve regarded himself as a teenager, and a teenager did not need to know about Danny's sex life.
Steve listened intently, asked intelligent questions, and absorbed the information like a giant sea sponge. Danny let him drink one beer, figuring it might help to relax him. Steve sipped and seemed to find it decent tasting, but didn't complain when Danny got a second beer only for himself.
Nothing jogged Steve's memory beyond the fateful day when he'd been hit in a head with a football, but at least he'd seemed more grounded. Steve was a direct guy, one who appreciated honesty, a trait that had clearly been set in his youth. Danny prayed that too much knowledge was better than ignorance.
"Chin Ho Kelly!" Steve grinned, waving at Chin as they walked across the beach from the parking lot. Chin and Kono had already laid down towels, and were standing by their surfboards, waiting for Danny and Steve to arrive. "I saw you play football. You were great."
"I broke records until you turned around and broke them again."
Steve turned to Danny. "Did I?"
Danny hadn't thought to cover what he'd learned about Steve's early life. "That's what I hear. Chin was your dad's partner too."
"And you work for me now, right? And you must be Kono." Steve shook hands with both of them like it was a first meeting.
"Right now we work for Danny." Kono smiled. "And he ordered us to spend the day surfing with you."
Giving Danny a startled glance, Steve asked, "But you're surfing too, right?"
"I'm just learning. I wanted someone more skilled to be with you."
They spent the day surfing, or more accurately, Steve and Chin surfing, Kono taking turns surfing and continuing Danny's lessons.
"I can't believe I'm so lucky to work with them." Steve sipped a Coke, watching Kono and Chin paddle, waiting for the perfect wave. "They're cool."
Danny squinted at the ocean, then adjusted the beach umbrella to shade him better and worked on reapplying his sunscreen. He'd never tan like the other three but at least he could avoid the embarrassing lobster look. "You put together a good team. And you're a good boss. You're a little prone to disregard proper police procedures, but you're getting better about it."
"If I don't remember soon, I'm going to have to start studying. There are so many things I don't know. I can't keep goofing off indefinitely."
"Don't rush it. It'll come."
"And if it doesn’t?"
"Then the three of us will help get you back up to speed."
Steve shook his head, like he couldn't quite believe his luck. "I'm going to go out again." He grabbed his board and ran toward the ocean.
Danny allowed himself the luxury of watching Steve and Steve's ass and back as he ran over the sand.
There was something different about Steve when Chin and Kono decided to knock off surfing and return to headquarters to check on any messages and finish up some paperwork. Danny waved goodbye to them and turned back to Steve, who was lying on a towel, his body drying in the sun.
"You remembered." He was surprised Chin and Kono hadn't caught it, but then they hadn't spent the last day with Steve, noticing the subtle differences in his expressions, voice and body.
Sunglasses hid Steve's eyes, but he nodded affirmative. "Sitting on my board on the waves. The memories just flooded back."
"That time you seemed to take forever to find a wave you liked."
"Yeah." Steve rolled to one side, propping his head on his elbow. "You took time off without complaint just to make sure I was okay. To watch over me."
"And to kick your ass at Pac Man."
Steve smiled ruefully. "And you did. I apologize for calling you a liar."
"Good. So back to work tomorrow, boss?"
"Yeah. Back to work." Steve sat up, facing Danny. "You know when I told you about that kid in high school?"
"The one you kinda liked? It was last night. Hard to forget so soon."
"He was a blue-eyed blond. And mouthy. Just like you."
That Steve would bring up Danny's physical similarity to his first male crush was… disconcerting. And perhaps a little thrilling. "So you are bisexual."
"Yeah. Catherine's a good friend, but she's not my girlfriend. She's mostly a fuck buddy, a term I know you wouldn't have used yesterday. You're a good father figure to a teenager."
"It's not a term to use in front of a teenager. Or even someone who only thinks he's a teenager. And do not even start me thinking about dealing with Gracie's teenage years." They sat for a moment, looking at each other, and Danny wished Steve wasn't wearing sunglasses. "So any special reason you're telling me this? You're still you, whether you think you're 15 or know you're 34, whether you like girls or boys and girls. You still have bad taste in music, drive too fast, and believe the Miranda Warning is best said to unconscious people."
Steve laughed softly, like he appreciated the description. "I thought I should clear the air, in case you were wondering." He took off his sunglasses, dropping them on the towel. He stood effortlessly, not even putting a hand down to help himself up. It put Danny in the awkward position of being way too close to his groin. "I learned a valuable lesson back then."
He reached down, and Danny gave him his hand, letting himself be pulled to his feet. "I learned that I should always make sure one relationship is finished before starting another." He leaned down, tilting his head, giving Danny a kiss, soft and sweet.
A kiss that was a promise.
Steve smiled. "Come on. Let's ride one more wave." He picked up his board and held one hand out.
Danny tucked his board under his arm and took Steve's hand.
~ the end ~