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It’s his cell phone ringing that wakes Danny up. He spares a second to glance at the time, 5:40 am—twenty minutes before his alarm is supposed to go off—before answering the call.

“Yes, Rachel?” He tries to keep his irritation at losing those twenty minutes of sleep at a minimum.

“Daniel? Sorry it’s such short notice, but would you mind terribly driving Grace to school this morning? Stanley and I have an engagement, and my driver is ill. I’ll be able to pick her up in the afternoon.”

Danny rubs his face, trying to clear the vestiges of sleep from his mind. Even the prospect of seeing Grace can’t shake his annoyance. “Rach, not that I don’t cherish every moment I get to spend with Grace, but sometimes I get the feeling you use that as insurance, knowing I’ll drop everything for the chance to see her more.”

Rachel’s voice is clipped as she responds. “It’s not as if I orchestrated this. Contrary to what you might think, I don’t set out to make your life hell.”

Danny scrubs a hand through his hair. It’s too early for them to get into this argument. He’s still tired enough that he’s likely to lash out and say something he’ll really regret. Not that it wouldn’t be true, but with things between him and Rachel unsteady at the moment, it wouldn’t do any good. “I’m just saying, in the future, try to give me a call the night before,” he says, “I’ll be there as soon as I’m ready.”

Danny shifts on the mattress, grimacing at the knots in his back. He really should just cave and invest in a real bed. After all, he’s not leaving Hawaii anytime soon, and prolonged sleep on a pull-out can’t be good for one’s health.

The drive over is annoying; there’s construction going on in at least three places—and really, can’t they plan better and do that stuff at night? There’s also a fender bender on one stretch of road between a blue Prius and a silver Volvo, the drivers exchanging insurance information but oblivious to the fact that they’ve blocked a lane of the road. Honestly, it isn’t as if your cars are totaled, Danny thinks, you can at least move to a parking lot. Or something.

He arrives at Rachel’s house considerably more irritated than when he’d woken up, but that dissipates when Grace runs out to greet him.

“Danno!”

“Hey, monkey,” he says, pulling her into a hug. “How’s it going? You eaten breakfast yet?”

“Yep!” Grace nods, pigtails bouncing. “I had a bowl of cereal and half a banana. I wanted pancakes, but mom said there wasn’t time.”

Danny makes a mock face of affront. “No pancakes? Well, we’ll just have to remedy that next time you stay at my place.”

The drive to Grace’s school is uneventful, with the exception of one car that cuts him off, and only the fact that he has his daughter with him prevents Danny from making any rude gestures. Grace, for her part, regales him with the continuing adventures of Mr. Hoppy, stories of her classmates, and her progress in boogie boarding.

“Your mom will pick you up this afternoon,” Danny says as they pull up to the school. “Have fun, and don’t listen to anything Tommy tells you.”

“’Kay! I love you, Danno.”

“I love you more.”

Danny smiles, watching Grace run inside. She’s growing up too fast, he thinks. He’s interrupted from his thoughts by the sound of his phone ringing. It’s Kono.

“Brah, where are you?” she asks when he answers the call. “You flaking out on me, forget we have a lesson this morning?”

Shit, surfing lessons. Danny knew he had set his alarm early for a reason; they weren’t needed at Five-0 headquarters until noon today.

“Sorry about that, Kono,” Danny says, calculating the time it will take for him to go back to his apartment and get his stuff. “I had to drive Grace to school today, kinda last minute, and I forgot to call you. I’ll be there.”

Twenty minutes later, Danny’s lying on a board on the sand, making swimming motions and trying to get his form right. After an hour of that, Kono deems him good enough to actually venture out into the water. Of course, Danny ruins all of that on his first wave, when he overbalances and faceplants into the sand.

He sputters, spitting out grit while Kono runs up to see if he’s alright.

“Damn tourists,” he says. “Why are they all on the beach at this time? Shouldn’t they be doing normal things like sleeping in on vacation?”

Kono grins. “Hate to tell you this, but when you start getting annoyed by the tourism, it might be time to admit you’ve actually made a home here.”

Danny shakes his head adamantly. “That is a dirty lie, take that back right now. Everybody’s annoyed by tourists. You know who isn’t annoyed by tourists? Tourists. And I, my friend, am not a tourist, I am here against my own better judgment, detained by our crazy boss and my ex-wife.”

Kono shrugs. “Just calling it like I see it.”

Danny gets up. The fall hadn’t been that bad, more of a blow to his pride than anything. His knee seems fine. Still, Danny thinks it best to call it on day on the surfing lessons. Kono shakes her head at him, pursing her lips in a pretty epic bitchface. “You’re not going to get any better if you give up every time you make a mistake.”

“Maybe not, but my own personal sense of well-being will thank me,” Danny retorts, lugging his board to the car.

Danny takes a quick shower to clean himself off, and then heads to Five-0 headquarters. He stops for lunch on the way, a deli place that makes decent sandwiches. He orders an Italian sub without peppers, light onions. They mess it up, giving him no onions and extra peppers. He wants to press the issue, but decides against it. It would make him late for work, and he prides himself on his professionalism in that regard.

When he walks into their headquarters, Steve takes one look at him and says accusingly, “You were at the beach earlier.”

“So, what, I’m not allowed to go to the beach now?” Danny asks as he dissects his sandwich, gingerly peeling peppers from it.

Steve makes a face at him. It’s a milder version of his Constipated face, which Danny likes to think of as his “Sunday Morning Sudoku” face.

“C’mon, Danny, I want the chance to see you surf. You never know, I might be able to help you.”

“No, thank you, my pride has suffered enough. I do not need you there to make it worse.”

Steve looks wounded, but that changes a moment later when Chin walks up.

“Guys, we’ve got a call. Armed robbery in progress. SWAT is meeting us there.”

“I’ll drive,” Steve says.

Danny grits his teeth the entire drive over. When they arrive, HPD fills them in on what’s happened so far. At least three perpetrators, all in masks, entered the bank about thirty minutes ago. They pulled out weapons and demanded money. Someone within the bank triggered a silent alarm, and now there’s a hostage situation with at least a dozen people inside.

“Perfect, just perfect,” Danny says. “Is it just me, or is the criminal class becoming more stupid?”

Steve’s already in SEAL mode, instructing Kono to take position on one of the surrounding roofs with a sniper team. Chin is going over the security feed, trying to find anything that will help identify the people involved. Steve is looking at plans for the building.

“You are not planning on sneaking in there alone, I hope,” Danny says.

Steve looks up sharply from the building plans, and Danny’s not surprised to see his Rambo face out in full force. At this point, he’s used to it, the way Steve throws himself headlong into every dangerous situation they encounter. That doesn’t mean he has to like it.

“Danny, I’ve got to get eyes on what’s going on in there. There’s a way for me to access the building from below, and I’m taking it. I’m just going to get in, recon this, and get out. I’ll report everything to you as I go.”

Danny rubs at his temples. “No. I’m sorry—In fact, I’m not even sorry. Just, no. Not happening, I’m not letting you do it.”

Steve’s gearing up to argue more when his phone rings. Steve walks off to answer it. His manner becomes agitated, and Danny guesses he doesn’t like whatever he’s hearing. When he comes back a minute later, he’s got an epic Aneurysm face going.

“That was the governor. She’s officially forbidden me from going in alone, says we’re doing this one ‘by the book.’” He sounds disgusted as he says it.

“Good, she’s got more sense than you,” Danny says.

Several minutes later, they’re in the back of a communications van with several members of HPD trained for crisis negotiations.

The thing Danny hates most about police work is the “hurry up and wait” mentality. A lot of hostage situations are just that, with negotiators ascertaining how many people are in danger, the threat level, and whether or not all people can be safely recovered. It requires a lot of patience, and while Danny has a somewhat successful track record of talking people down from stupid situations, it’s something best delegated to other people. So, Danny is on standby, taking notes while other people do the talking once they finally get the perpetrators on the phone. Chin is recording sound bites and putting them through vocal recognition software.

Finally, an agreement seems to be reached, with the perpetrators agreeing to release several of the hostages as a goodwill gesture. Of course, that’s when everything goes to hell. One of the hostages on her way out of the building stumbles, leaving a clear view of two of the perpetrators escorting people out. One of the guys panics, bringing up his gun. Steve reacts instantly, bringing up his own gun and firing, but not before the guy gets a shot off. For Danny, it feels like whiplash, white-hot pain along his collarbone as the bullet hits him, knocking him back and to the ground.

He’s not entirely aware of what happens after that. There’s a huge commotion going on, a few screams, and then it’s over.

“Danny! Danny! Are you alright?” It’s Steve’s voice, and he sounds panicked. Also close, incredibly so.

Danny opens his eyes, and sees Steve crouched over him, face pale with worry. He’s clutching at Danny’s shirt, trying to ascertain the damage.

“Son of a bitch, that hurt,” Danny groans, pain zinging along his shoulder.

Steve’s expression changes to one of relief. The bullet is lodged in his bulletproof vest.

“Anyone injured?” Danny asks, pushing himself up, and wincing as he does so. The bullet might not have gone through him, but there’s going to be some serious bruising where it hit. Concern passes over Steve’s features again, and he offers a hand to help.

“Two of the perpetrators shot, one dead, the other wounded. The third gave himself up after that. A couple of the hostages have some minor scrapes, but none of them were seriously harmed.”

An EMT takes a look at Danny’s shoulder and pronounces him fine. Danny’s got a chemical ice pack pressed to the spot on the drive back, and two Motrin already in his system to quell the pain. Steve glances over from the driver’s seat, and really, why does he still look worried? Things could have gone worse, so in spite of the throbbing along his collarbone Danny is going to count this as a win.

“I’m sorry,” Steve says.

“Don’t be.”

“Yeah, well, I am. And I’ve been told that when you get someone shot, you should apologize.”

Danny looks over, meets Steve’s eyes. The joke is meant to dispel the mood, and it somewhat succeeds. He laughs.

“Yeah. Whoever told you that must’ve been pretty smart,” Danny says.

“He has his moments.”

And just like that, they’re okay again. The rest of the day passes uneventfully enough, no more crises to avert. Kono and Chin arrive later with the identities of the perpetrators, Malcolm Davis, Eddie Burns, and Neil Reynolds, the one who was killed. The information is a moot point by now, but Danny knows it will help on the paperwork. He’s thankful at least that he got shot on his non-dominant side, so he’ll be able to write without it hurting too much. At some point, Danny realizes that he never got the chance to eat his sandwich, and goes and gets another.

Finally, it’s time to go home. Steve’s been shooting him concerned glances all day, and when he sees Danny getting up to leave, he says, “Hey, Danny, can I give you a ride home?”

Danny contemplates driving with his sore shoulder, and decides against it. “How are you planning on getting home, yourself? It is my car.”

“Well, I’d offer to crash on your couch, but…”

“Oh, haha,” Danny says, rolling his eyes at Steve. “Yeah, you can drive me home, as long as you promise to pick me up in the morning.”

“No problem.”

When Danny gets back to his tiny apartment, he pops two more pills and slumps onto the bed. Tomorrow is Saturday, he remembers, which means sleeping in, and no going into work. He dwells on that thought as sleep takes him.

---

Danny is woken by his phone ringing.

For a moment, Danny feels disoriented, and he doesn’t know why. Still, the phone is ringing, and he really ought to answer that.

“Yeah?”

“Daniel? Sorry it’s such short notice, but would you mind terribly driving Grace to school this morning? Stanley and I have an engagement, and my driver is ill. I’ll be able to pick her up in the afternoon.”

Danny shakes his head, still feeling groggy. He glances at the time—5:40 am. Something isn’t right. “Rachel, what are you talking about? It’s Saturday.”

There’s a pause over the line. “What are you talking about? It’s definitely Friday, and Grace has school. Will you be able to drive her, or won’t you?”

Suddenly, Danny realizes what was bothering him. There’s no pain in his shoulder or collarbone. Danny presses a hand to the place where he got shot, and nothing, nada. Not even a twinge of discomfort. It happened though, Danny is sure of that. Unless…maybe he dreamt it?

“Uh…yeah, sure. I can do that. Sorry, just a little turned around this morning. Um…I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Danny gets out of bed and readies himself, ignoring the bizarre feeling that he’s already done this. That feeling only increases on the drive over to Rachel’s house. He encounters construction in three places, and is held up when he sees a fender bender between a blue Prius and silver Volvo.

By the time he gets to Rachel’s house, he’s seriously weirded out, but seeing Grace run out to greet him cheers him up.

“Danno!”

“Hey, monkey,” he says, pulling her into a hug. “Sorry, Danno’s having a bit of a strange morning. You eaten breakfast yet?”

“Yep!” Grace nods, pigtails bouncing. “I had a bowl of cereal and half a banana. I wanted pancakes, but mom said there wasn’t time.”

If Danny did dream everything that happened, he’s certainly recalling it with frightening clarity. He goes with it. “No pancakes? Well, we’ll just have to remedy that next time you stay at my place.”

On the drive to Grace’s school, the same car cuts him off. Danny is too shaken by the overwhelming sense of wrongness to get too pissed off. In the passenger seat, Grace talks about Mr. Hoppy, her classmates, and boogie boarding.

“Your mom will pick you up this afternoon,” Danny says as they pull up to the school. “Have fun, and remember what I told you about Tommy.”

“’Kay! I love you, Danno.”

“I love you more.”

Danny smiles in spite of himself. His day may have gotten off to a bizarre start, but somehow Grace makes everything better. He’s interrupted from his thoughts by the sound of his phone ringing. It’s Kono.

“Brah, where are you? You flaking out on me, forget we have a lesson this morning?”

Oh, yeah.

“Sorry about that, Kono,” Danny says, remembering that he left his stuff at the apartment. “I had to drive Grace to school today, kinda last minute, and I forgot to call you. I’ll be there.”

When Danny gets there, Kono has him lay on his board again. She’s impressed by the fact he gets his form down quicker, but she makes him stay at it for a little while, as punishment for being late. Finally, they venture out into the water. When Danny gets up on the board for his first wave, the sense of déjà vu returns. He remembers the moment when he overbalanced, and manages to keep his feet steady. At least, for a few extra seconds, that is. He still ends up with his face in the sand.

Danny wipes sand from his face as Kono runs up.

“Not as bad as you could have been for your first wave.”

“Glad to hear I’m not completely abysmal,” Danny says.

“We’ll make a surfer of you yet,” Kono says with a grin.

Danny gives it a few more goes—some of his attempts are more successful than others—before calling it a morning. Kono gives him an encouraging smile as he carries his board back to the car.

Danny takes a quick shower to clean himself off, and then heads to Five-0 headquarters. He stops at the deli place for lunch. He repeats his order to them twice, placing extra emphasis on the no peppers. They give him peppers anyway.

“You were at the beach earlier,” Steve says as Danny walks in.

“Yes, I was at the beach. What of it?” Danny asks. He doesn’t bother taking the peppers off, just begins eating. He won’t have the chance later.

“C’mon, Danny, I want the chance to see you surf. You never know, I might be able to help you.”

“When I’m looking for the chance to be humiliated, I’ll consider letting you know,” Danny says between bites.

Steve pouts—that’s definitely a pout—and Chin walks up a moment later.

“Guys, we’ve got a call. Armed robbery in progress. SWAT is meeting us there.”

“I’ll drive,” Steve says.

When they arrive, Steve goes into SEAL mode, assigning them all to their positions.

“Wait, wait just a second,” Danny says. “Chin, can you check a couple of names for me? Malcolm…Burns or Davids, Davis? One of those. Eddie…something. And Neil Reynolds. Can you pull files on those names?”

Chin looks puzzled. “Yeah, no problem, but where’d you get that from?”

“Call it a hunch, I just need to figure something out,” Danny says, before turning to look for Steve, who is going over building plans.

“Don’t even think about it,” Danny says. “You’re not going in there, alone or with anyone else. End of discussion.”

“Danny, I’ve got to get eyes on what’s going on in there. There’s a way for me to access the building from below, I’m taking it. I’m just going to get in, recon this, and get out. I’ll report everything to you as I go.”

“Didn’t I say end of discussion? Not happening.”

Steve’s phone rings. Steve glances sharply at it, looks back at Danny, and then walks off to answer Danny already knows that Steve doesn’t like what he’s hearing. When he comes back a minute later, he’s dejected.

“That was the governor. She’s officially forbidden me from going in alone, says we’re doing this one ‘by the book.’” This time around, knowing what the governor would say, Danny finds Steve’s reaction to be almost comical.

“At least she agrees with me,” Danny says.

When they get to the communications van, crisis negotiators have the perpetrators on the phone. Chin is running the names Danny gave him, and after several minutes pulls up the files of Malcolm Davis, Eddie Burns, and Neil Reynolds.

“These our guys?” Chin asks.

Danny nods.

“Seems they’ve got several minor infractions, though nothing of this scale. Except for Neil, his record is clean. Malcolm and Eddie have been on the island for five years, Neil got here just a couple months ago. That’s as much as I’ve got at the moment, but I’ll keep looking deeper.”

“Thanks, Chin, this is great,” Danny says.

Danny passes the information to the people manning the phones, who in turn try to use it to get their perpetrators to back down. It doesn’t succeed, but they do agree to release several hostages in a goodwill gesture.

“Keep an eye on Neil,” Danny says to Steve as they exit the van to wait for the released hostages. “He’s a bit jumpy.”

Steve gives him an odd look, then turns his attention back to the hostages exiting the building. Everything seems to happen in slow motion. Danny sees one of the hostages stumble, sees the clear line of sight to Neil and Eddie. Sees Neil panic, draw up his weapon, and sees Steve react. Danny hears the shot, and he’s ready for it, twisting his body out of the way. There’s a flash of burning pain on his arm; the bullet grazed him.

Everything after that happens too quickly. Neil drops, a bullet in his chest. Someone else gets another shot off, hitting Eddie. Members of HPD rush forward to stop Malcolm from doing anything rash, but he gives up when he realizes his plan has fallen apart.

Danny clutches his bleeding arm, hunched over the pavement.

“Danny! Danny! Are you alright?” It’s Steve, and he puts a hand on Danny’s uninjured shoulder.

Danny looks up, sees Steve’s face, pinched and drawn with worry. He’s tugging at Danny’s shirt, trying to see the source of the blood.

Fuck, not again,” Danny groans.

Steve’s expression changes to one of relief when he realizes the wound is only superficial. He grips Danny’s good arm, helps him to his feet.

An EMT takes a look at Danny’s arm and pronounces him fine, after slathering some cream and gauze on it. Danny loudly bemoans the loss of another good shirt in the line of work, but it’s more for show than anything. On the drive back, Steve keeps glancing over from the driver’s seat, still apprehensive. Danny can’t shake the frustration he feels. Even with this bizarre déjà vu he’s feeling, he didn’t even change much.

“I’m sorry,” Steve says.

“It’s not your fault,” Danny says automatically.

“Doesn’t change the fact that I’m sorry. You warned me about Neil, and I should have been more vigilant. And I’ve been told that when you get someone shot, you should apologize.”

Danny smiles in spite of himself. It’s hard to feign anger when Steve’s making an effort to admit his shortcomings, even though Danny still feels that Steve has nothing to apologize for.

“Yeah. Whoever told you that must’ve been pretty smart,” Danny says.

“He has his moments.”

They get back to their headquarters, and Danny fills out the after-accident report in record time. It’s still fresh in his memory from the last time he filled it out. Finally, it’s time to go home.

Steve looks up when Danny gets up to leave. “Hey, Danny, can I give you a ride home?”

Danny looks at the bullet graze on his arm. It doesn’t hurt that much, he’s sure he could drive home well enough. But Steve is looking at him with this puppy-dog sort of expression, and if it’ll make him feel less responsible for the whole injury thing, Danny will take it.

“Yeah, you can drive me home, as long as you promise to pick me up in the morning.”

“No problem.”

When Danny gets back to his tiny apartment, he collapses on the bed. Sleep takes him quickly.

---

The ringing of his phone wakes him up.

Danny lays there for a moment. He’s definitely not imagining it this time. It’s still twenty minutes before his alarm is set to go off, and there is no pain in his arm where the bullet grazed him. He’s halfway to a panicking, but the phone is still ringing, and even though he knows who’s calling, he should still answer it.

“Daniel? Sorry it’s such short notice, but would you mind terribly driving Grace to school this morning? Stanley and I have an engagement, and my driver is ill. I’ll be able to pick her up in the afternoon.”

Danny scrubs a hand through his hair. This can’t be right. “Rachel…Is any of this familiar to you? You didn’t call me about this yesterday?”

There’s a pause over the line. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Are you sure you’re alright? I hope you’re not hung over. Will you be able to drive Grace, or won’t you?”

“Yeah…yeah, I’ll be there soon.”

Danny encounters the same construction on the drive over. The same fender bender between the same blue Prius and silver Volvo. When Grace runs out to greet him, it’s exactly the same as the past two days.

“Danno!”

“Hey, monkey.” He pulls her into a hug. “Sorry, Danno’s having a really weird morning.”

“Would pancakes make it better?”

“No, I don’t think even pancakes would help.”

Grace frowns. “Pancakes make everything better. I wanted to have pancakes this morning, but mom said there wasn’t time.”

Danny puts on a face of mock affront. “Well, we’ll just have to remedy that next time you stay at my place.” Which might be never, a voice in his head tells him.

The drive to Grace’s school is the same. The same car cuts him off, and Grace chatters away about the same topics. Danny tries not to feel too bad about tuning it out, but he’s heard it twice before now, and he’s really trying to figure out what the fuck is going on.

“Your mom will pick you up this afternoon,” Danny says as they pull up to the school. “Have fun.”

“’Kay! I love you, Danno.”

“I love you more.”

“I hope your day gets better!”

I wouldn’t count on it, he thinks but doesn’t say.

When his phone rings, Danny is expecting it.

“Kono,” he says, cutting her off, “I know, I’m sorry, I missed the start of our lesson. I had to drive Grace to school today, and I forgot to call you. I’ll be there.”

When he gets there, gear in tow (after he’d gone back to get it because he forgot it…again), Kono is looking impatient.

“Look, Kono, before you say anything, I need to talk to you,” Danny says, holding out a placating hand. “I know this is going to sound completely insane, but…is any of this familiar to you?”

Kono raises an eyebrow. “You mean, the part where you ask me to give you surfing lessons and then try to avoid said surfing lessons?”

Danny winces. “No, I mean this day. Today. Nothing seems…strange to you?”

“Brah, I think you’re just trying to get out of our lessons. On the board. Now.”

Danny goes through the motions, but his mind’s only half in it, and Kono can tell. She keeps him at drills for longer than normal, and when he does finally get in the water, he’s too preoccupied to pay attention, and faceplants in the sand. Danny is ready to give up after that.

“You’re not going to get any better if you give up every time you make a mistake,” Kono says, clearly irritated with him. She has every right to be, but Danny just can’t make himself care right now, as he takes his gear to the car.

Danny showers and heads to work. He stops someplace different for lunch, doesn’t feel like dealing with a messed up order. When he walks into Five-0 headquarters, Steve looks at him and says, “You were at the beach earlier.”

“I think I’m stuck in Groundhog Day,” Danny says, slumping into his chair and poking at his lunch, noodles and stir fry pork.

Steve can change subjects easily, he goes with it. “Geez, Danny, I knew you had some issues with your job, but I hardly think it’s that bad. Now, when I was in the ‘Stan…that was like Groundhog Day.”

“Oh my god, will you stop that for a moment? Were we talking about your problems? No, we were talking about the fact that I have experienced the same day three times now!”

Of course, that’s when Chin walks up and says, “Guys, we’ve got a call. Armed robbery in progress. SWAT is meeting us there.”

“Oh my god, not again,” Danny complains, holding out the car keys for Steve before he has the chance to say anything.

Danny gives Chin the perpetrator’s names, like before, and even tells him what information he already knows. After giving him a strange look, Chin is able to dig up a little more information, but it doesn’t do much good, in the end. Neil still panics, still gets off a shot, though Danny does manage to avoid the actual bullet this time, as he ducks and rolls to the ground. Neil isn’t so lucky.

“You alright, Danny?” Steve shouts once they’ve got the area secured.

“Yeah, I’m fine, he missed me.”

When they get back to Five-0 headquarters, Danny suggests they go out for drinks as a team. No sense in doing paperwork again. For the third time. Steve seems surprised by the suggestion, coming from Danny, but he agrees, letting them off early so that they can enjoy the Friday evening.

An hour later, they’ve taken over a booth at a bar, already a couple pitchers of beer in. Danny is feeling the pleasant buzz of alcohol, and Steve has a goofy grin plastered on his face. Kono seems to have forgiven him for this morning, and Chin is declaring that they should all switch to something stronger, as he goes back to the bar to get them a round of shots.

After a couple of shots, Danny is feeling even more chatty.

“No…but really,” he slurs, “It’s the third time today has happened. And this—” he gestures at the empty glasses littering the table, “might not have happened the other two times, but it always starts the same.”

Perhaps he shouldn’t have told them when he was plastered, though on the bright side, they’re more inclined to believe him.

“Man, that sucks,” Steve declares. “You know what you gotta do, though, right? You gotta…like, make ice sculptures and stuff. Or learn the piano.”

“Or surfing,” Kono adds helpfully.

“No no, no, every time I surf I get sand in my face,” Danny says.

Chin is looking forlornly at the bottom of his glass.

“Or,” Steve says, idea dawning on him, “you could rob a bank! No…wait. Bad idea. You should stop the bank robbing.”

For some reason, this is completely hilarious, and they all laugh. None of them are in any state to be driving, but Steve’s house is only a couple miles away, and they stumble there sometime after 3 am. Danny loses consciousness sometime after that.

---

When Danny wakes up to the sound of his phone ringing, he considers not answering.

But that would mean not getting to see Grace, so he picks up anyway.

He at least remembers to grab his surfing gear before he leaves the house.

---

The fifth time he wakes up and it’s the same day, he actually remembers to call Kono ahead of time and leave a message that he’ll run a little late.

---

He’s really beginning to hate his phone. There’s also some irrational anger towards Rachel going on, even though he knows she can’t help it.

He also hates his pull-out couch.

---

Around the seventh day they manage to get all the perpetrators alive, though due to some unfortunate timing one of the hostages is killed. Danny insists that he and Steve question the perpetrators. Steve doesn’t fully understand why they’re questioning people at this point, when all that’s left is booking them, but Danny needs to know more about them. He needs to find a way to prevent all this.

---

They’re in the communications van, and Danny gestures for someone to hand the headset over to him.

“Neil Reynolds? I’m detective Danny Williams,” Danny says into the mouthpiece.

“How…how do you know who I am?” The voice on the other end sounds surprised and a little frightened.

“We know all about you, Neil,” Danny says. “We know that you’ve only been on Oahu for a couple of months, we know that you graduated in the top two percent of your class. You’re a smart kid, you don’t need to be caught up in this. Malcolm and Eddie, they’re taking advantage of your skill set.”

The voice on the other end trembles somewhat. “Are you willing to cave to our demands?”

He’s covering for time in front of his accomplices, Danny can tell. “If you tell them that we plan to capitulate, if you work with us, I can see to it that your sentence gets commuted a bit. You just made a couple of bad decisions, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. How does that sound?”

“I—…yes.”

“Okay, okay, good. Convince them to release some of the hostages, tell them it’s a gesture of goodwill. No matter what happens, don’t panic. Don’t make any threatening gestures with your gun, and you’ll be okay.”

Nobody dies that day, and Danny gets out of it unharmed. Steve shoots a rare look at Danny, and it takes him a moment to realize that Steve is impressed.

---

He isn’t always that lucky. Sometimes the timing isn’t quite right, sometimes Danny gets ahead of himself. Sometimes he’s standing just a couple inches to the right of where he normally stands.

Neil panics, and Danny feels the bullet tear into flesh, knocking him back. It’s happening quickly, too quickly, and he feels dazed. Feels blood soaking his collar as he gasps, fumbling on the pavement. The bullet missed his vest by an inch, lodging in the place where neck meets shoulder.

Steve is there beside him in an instant. “Danny! Danny! Are you alright? Oh, god…” He’s whipping off his loose outer shirt and wadding it up, pressing it to Danny’s neck.

Steve’s voice grows increasingly desperate as Danny’s vision blurs. “C’mon, buddy, just hang in there. Don’t you fucking die on me. Think of Grace, yeah? Come on, just hold—”

---

Danny jolts awake at the sound of his phone ringing. He scrabbles at his neck for a moment, feels the pulse there, the phantom-remembered pressure of Steve’s hands. When he’s gotten his breathing somewhat under control, he answers the phone.

“Daniel? Sorry it’s such short notice, but would you mind terribly driving Grace to school this morning? Stanley and I have an engagement, and my driver is ill. I’ll be able to pick her up in the afternoon.”

“Yeah,” Danny says, “Sounds great, I’d love to. And don’t worry about it, I can pick her up, too.”

As soon as he’s off the phone, he calls Kono. It goes to voicemail.

“Kono? Hey. Sorry about this, but I’m gonna need to cancel our lesson today. Something’s come up.”

Let her be mad, Danny thinks, as he silences his phone. He won’t blow her off the next time today rolls around.

On the way to Rachel’s, Danny stops by a payphone, and drops an anonymous tip to HPD that there’s going to be a robbery later that day. He gives the bank’s address, and the time the robbery will take place, and hangs up the phone. Let them deal with it now.

When he arrives, everything is achingly familiar as Grace runs out to greet him.

“Danno!”

“Hey, monkey,” he says, hugging her tightly. He remembers Steve’s frantic voice telling him, Think of Grace, yeah?

“You’re squishing me!” Grace protests.

“Sorry about that,” Danny says, releasing her. “I just love you so much. You know I love you, right?”

“Of course I do. That’s a silly question.”

Danny smiles, can’t seem to help it where Grace is concerned. He escorts her over to the car and buckles her in.

“So,” he says, once they’re pulling out of Rachel’s driveway. “You eaten breakfast yet?”

“Yeah!” Grace nods, “I had a bowl of cereal and half a banana. I wanted pancakes, but mom said there wasn’t time.”

Danny gasps, “No pancakes? Well, we’ll just have to remedy that.”

He turns from his normal route to the school, driving along until he finds a promising-looking diner.

“But what about school?” Grace asks.

“Can you keep a secret?”

Grace raises an eyebrow at him, and when did she learn that?

“Yes, I know you’re supposed to have school today, but let’s change things up a little,” Danny reasons. “Spend the day with Danno? We can do whatever you want.”

Her face breaks into a grin. “Okay! Pancakes first.”

“Sounds perfect.”

Grace orders banana-chocolate chip pancakes, and Danny gets blueberry. They’re alright, made better by the company.

“Okay, so what do you wanna do with today?” Danny asks.

“Can we go see the dolphins?”

“I’ll do you one better. We can swim with the dolphins again, how does that sound?”

Her face lights up.

And that’s how Danny ends up, two hours later, in a tank with dolphins. Grace’s smile is infectious, and Danny’s having an easy time enjoying himself. Besides, he reasons with himself, he’ll be back to square one tomorrow. If he’s going to be stuck in the same day forever, he might as well get to be selfish on some of those days and spend them with Grace. No consequences, right? It’s not as though he’s going to rob any banks or drive off any cliffs.

After swimming with dolphins, they grab a late lunch. Danny’s just about to enjoy a shave ice afterward, when he looks up and sees Steve. He nearly drops his shave ice.

Grace sees him too. “Hi, Steve!”

Steve turns, smiles when he sees them, and walks over to join them on the picnic table.

“What are you doing here?” Danny hisses under his breath. This isn’t the normal pattern for Steve.

“Hey, Grace!” Steve says amiably, then drops his voice to respond to Danny. “Looking for you. Kono said you bailed on her, and didn’t give a reason. You weren’t answering your phone. Then, when you didn’t show up for work, I was concerned.”

“So, what, you decided to look for me? How did you even find me?”

“I tapped into and tracked your credit card activity,” Steve says, as though it’s as simple as looking someone up in the phone book.

You tracked my credit card—Is that even legal? No, wait, don’t answer that, I know it’s not. It didn’t occur to you, with your amazing powers of deductive reasoning, that when ‘swimming with dolphins’ turned up on my credit card activity right after ‘pancake breakfast,’ I might not be in any danger?”

Steve has the audacity to feign bewilderment. “You never know, Danny, someone might have kidnapped you, stolen your card. How am I supposed to know these things?”

Danny’s shave ice is dripping sticky blue juice onto his hand. “How is this my life?” Danny bemoans.

“I also used the GPS locator on your phone to determine your position.”

“Of course.”

“Well, since you’re in no danger, mind if I join you?” Steve asks, “What’s next on the agenda?”

“Wait, wait a second,” Danny says, something occurring to him. “What about Five-0? Anything…happen today? No bank robberies or, or other disasters?”

Steve shakes his head. “Nah. I heard something about HPD managing to stop a bank robbery attempt, but we’ve been pretty dead, so I called it a day.”

Just like that, Steve has insinuated himself into their plans. Danny finds it difficult to stay annoyed with him, especially when he offers to take them up in a helicopter so Grace can see the islands from the air. And if he’s gripping his seat a little too tightly as they go up, well, that’s just because he’s familiar with Steve’s driving.

---

Danny doesn’t pull Grace out of school every day; on the off chance he ever gets out of this time loop or whatever the hell it is, he doesn’t want to face Rachel’s ire. Whenever he does, he’ll find ways to change his plans somewhat, but Steve always manages to find them. On a couple occasions, Danny pulls out cash that way there won’t be a credit card trail, and Steve finds him anyway. Danny doesn’t want to ask how he achieved that. Grace loves it, and Danny has to admit that their day always becomes more fun once Steve is involved.

---

On the days when he doesn’t pull Grace out of school, Danny continues his surfing lessons with Kono. After countless days of faceplanting in the sand, he’s actually begun to make some real progress, and Kono can’t hide her surprise at how “quickly” he’s managed to pick it up.

---

Sometimes Danny goes to meet Kono for surf lessons with Grace in tow. Seeing Grace clap her hands gleefully from the beach when Danny angles his board into the wave makes this endless ordeal seem worthwhile.

Danny thinks he may be imagining it, but Steve’s pout seems to be more pronounced when he says accusingly, “You were at the beach earlier.”

Danny resolves to invite Steve to the beach the next morning, since he’s no longer making a complete fool of himself on the surfboard.

---

The look on Steve’s face is priceless.

---

Danny resolves that if he ever gets out of this, if he ever makes it to a real tomorrow, the first thing he’s going to do is sleep in. If he never has to wake up to the sound of his phone ringing again, it will be too soon.

He also plans on buying a real bed. There have been a few days when he’s torched his pull-out out of sheer irritation.

---

The worst part of it all, aside from the endless repetition (ha), is the loneliness; seeing everyone carry out the same basic patterns, knowing that even if he changes things, he’ll be the only one to remember it.

He’s at the beach with Kono, about to start their surf lesson again.

“Kono, I’m going to say something that’s going to sound really crazy, and I know you won’t believe me at first, but hear me out.”

Kono levels a humorless gaze at him. “Alright, I’m listening.”

“I’m experiencing the same day over and over again. This day, this exact Friday, I’ve relived so many times I’ve lost count.”

Kono doesn’t say anything for a moment, just looking at him with an appraising gaze. Finally, she says, “You’re right, that does sound crazy. But I don’t think even you would make up a story like that to get out of surfing, so prove it.”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

Danny looks around the beach.

“That guy, right there,” he says, pointing. “He’s about to drop his shave ice.”

Sure enough, a couple seconds later, he does.

“Brah, I could have told you that from the way he was holding it,” Kono says. “Something else.”

“Alright, fine,” Danny says, grabbing his board and going out into the water.

He’s done this so many times, has so many mornings of remembered practice. He knows the direction of the wind and the pitch of every wave crashing towards the shore. He’s got this. When he braces his arms and gets his feet on the board, everything feels perfect. He doesn’t need to look down, knows his positioning and balance are good. He rides the wave, putting every bit of experience he’s learned into it.

When he’s on the beach again, Kono is staring at him, open-mouthed.

“You’ve been getting other lessons,” she says.

“And risk your wrath if you found out? Not a chance. No, that was all you. Your teaching. Every single day, over and over again. I was bound to pick it up at some point.”

Kono looks dubious.

“You know I’m telling the truth,” Danny says, imploring her to believe him. “Remember our first lesson? Look at my progress now, and tell me, for a fact, if there is any way I could have made that kind of improvement without weeks—months—of practice.”

Kono’s eyes widen at that last bit. “Months? How long—how many times have you repeated today?”

Something unclenches inside of Danny. She believes him. He sits down on the sand, head in his hands. “I don’t even know anymore,” he says. “I lost count sometime after 50. They all start to blur together after a while.”

Kono’s hand rests on his shoulder, reassuring. She crouches down beside him on the sand. “What can I do?”

“Help me find a way out of Groundhog Day,” Danny says, voice muffled by his arms.

Kono gives him an encouraging smile. “I assume you’ve already tried different things.”

“I’ve tried changing details…I’ve lived through dozens of variations,” Danny says. It’s a relief, being able to talk to someone about this. “The only constant is, I always wake up, and it’s today.”

Kono looks thoughtful for a moment. “Maybe you’re going about this the wrong way. Have you heard of Ho’oponopono?”

“Hopo-what?”

Kono laughs. “Ho’oponopono,” she says, more slowly. “It’s an ancient Hawaiian belief. It means to make right with the ancestors, or to make right with the people with whom you have relationships.”

“I wasn’t aware that I had wronged anybody,” Danny says.

Kono rolls her eyes at him. “Hey, I’m trying to help you here, don’t get mouthy with me. Ho’oponopono also refers to accidental wrongs, things you do without realizing it. When put into practice, it’s a process of mental cleansing.”

Put that way, it did sound like something that could help him.

“Okay, so how do I apply this Hopono-thing to achieve Nirvana and make it to Saturday?” Danny asks.

“I can’t answer that for you. It’s something you have to explore yourself and figure out.”

“I hate you, just a little bit,” Danny says, holding his thumb and forefinger close to demonstrate just how much hatred he feels.

“And with that kind of attitude, you’ll be stuck in today forever.”

---

“Danno!”

“Hey, monkey,” Danny says, pulling Grace into a hug. “Can you do me a favor and wait in the car for a minute? I need to talk to your mom.”

“’Kay!” She runs over to the car, and Danny smiles at her before going up to the front door and knocking.

Rachel answers, gorgeous as ever in a blouse and pencil skirt. “Everything in order, then?”

“Yeah, it’s good, it’s all good,” Danny says, though it couldn’t be further from the truth. “I just…I wanted you to know,” he pauses. Even knowing he’ll get another chance (and another, and another) if he messes this up, it’s difficult to find the words. “I’m sorry…I’m sorry for the way things turned out between us. I’m sorry that even once we realized we just weren’t quite right for each other, that things still went down the way they did. I…I don’t want you thinking that I resent you, for the life you have now, or for the fact that you moved here and I followed to be close to Grace. I just…wanted you to know that.”

Rachel’s face is one of astonishment. “I—…thank you. I’m sorry as well,” she says, and she truly sounds like she means it. “Are you…is everything alright?”

You don’t know the half of it, Danny thinks. “It could be better,” Danny says. “But it’s getting there, I hope.”

She gives him an encouraging smile, and Danny heads back to the car.

---

Danny makes a habit of telling Kono about the time-loop, after that. He has to re-convince her every time, but it’s worth it to have someone to talk to about everything. Kono listens attentively when Danny recounts the advice she’s given him already, and she’s always willing to offer more.

---

Another day. Danny forgets to call in the anonymous tip, so the bank robbery happens. On the bright side, Danny has enough collected knowledge of that scenario that nobody gets hurt. The Five-0 team goes out for drinks afterwards.

Kono and Steve are battling it out to see who can drink the other under the table first. Personally, Danny’s putting his money on Kono. He stopped himself after the last round of shots, and is now pleasantly tipsy. He looks over to the other end of the table, and sees Chin looking forlornly at the bottom of his glass.

“What s’matter?” Danny slurs. Okay, maybe a bit more than tipsy.

“S’nothing,” Chin murmurs.

“Hey…hey, don’t say that. It’s not nothing. We’re,” Danny gestures at the four of them, “you know, family and stuff. Whatever is bothering you is bothering us.”

Chin doesn’t say anything for a little while. For a moment, Danny wonders if he’s nodded off.

“Did you know I was engaged?”

“Kono might’ve said something, but I didn’t give it much thought,” Danny says, sobering somewhat at the seriousness in Chin’s tone.

“Her name is Malia. I loved her…still do love her. But…I messed things up. I messed it all up, and I don’t know how to fix it.”

Danny leans across the table. “Maybe I can help,” he says.

---

If Danny had given it more forethought, he might have realized that asking Kono about Malia might not have been the smartest course of action, especially not at the start of his surfing lesson. Her expression goes taciturn, and she says in clipped tones, “She’s his ex-fiancé. When HPD was pointing fingers at Chin, she broke things off.”

“Really?” Danny recalls Chin’s behavior, the things he said. “Because…I was sort of under the impression that Chin feels responsible for the way things went down.”

“That’s because Chin is a martyr sometimes. He blamed himself for the bomb strapped to his neck, remember?” And whatever Chin’s history with Malia is, it’s got Kono in an irritable mood.

Danny decides not to do the whole I’m-stuck-in-a-time-loop thing today. With Kono in the mood she’s in, it isn’t worth the effort it will take to convince her.

---

Finding out Malia’s full name takes him another day, and then Danny simply uses his own skill as a detective, as well as Five-0’s state-of-the-art computers to find out as much information about her as he can. She works at the Honolulu Medical Center, in the Oncology ward. That makes things a little more difficult…had she been an EMT or something, Danny maybe could have orchestrated at meet-up between her and Chin following the bank robbery, or something. But it wasn’t as though one could fake a cancer emergency.

---

In the end, Danny goes for a direct approach. He’ll always get another shot if he gets it wrong, after all. He goes into the Honolulu Medical Center and asks the receptionist if she can page Malia, tell her it’s someone from Hawaii Five-0, thanks very much.

When Malia comes out of the elevator, her face falls somewhat when she sees Danny. She had been expecting Chin. This bodes promising for him, Danny thinks.

“Pleased to meet you,” Danny says, offering a hand. “I’m detective Danny Williams, I work with the Hawaii Five-0 taskforce.”

“Is Chin okay?” Malia asks, anxiety in her tone.

“He’s fine, but it was about him I wanted to talk to you, if that’s all right.”

They sit down in the hospital’s cafeteria.

“I understand the two of you were once engaged?” Danny asks. He knows the truth, of course, but he wants to gauge her reaction, see how much (if any) affection is still there.

Malia’s hand comes up a moment, as if to reach towards her neck, before she becomes aware of the gesture and rests her hand on the table again. She passes it off as an offhand movement, though Danny can see the chain around her neck. He’s willing to bet she has an engagement ring hanging from it.

“Yes, we were,” she says. Even guarded, her voice is tinged with regret.

“May I ask…what happened?”

She looks up sharply for a moment. Finally she says, “I…don’t know how much you know about Chin’s departure from HPD. Without telling you too much, I can say that he didn’t have any friends there, after things went down. He broke off the engagement to protect me.” There’s an edge of bitterness at that last bit.

Danny considers putting a hand out, and thinks better of it. “Look, I’m really sorry to be bringing up painful memories, it’s just…it’s Chin.”

And there the worry is, again, on her face.

“I’m concerned about him,” Danny continues. “He’s been a bit unhappy, lately, and I got the impression that he really regrets how things went down between the two of you.”

Malia casts her eyes downward, and her hand flexes back for a moment, as if to reach for the ring. She doesn’t say anything for several moments.

“I’m not saying…that I’m unwilling to forgive him,” she says carefully. “But the way things panned out at the time…it really hurt. If Chin has regrets, if he wants to make amends, he needs to be the one to apologize. It’s his own misguided sense of chivalry that made him leave in the first place.”

Danny nods. This isn’t going to be easy.

---

Danny’s not trying to be fatalistic, really, he’s not, but sometimes he thinks he’ll never get out of this Friday.

“I would kill for it to be Saturday,” he says to no one in particular. He’s driving to pick up Grace…again. “I could even go for a Monday at this point.”

He’s tried everything he could think of to improve the lives of those around him. He makes sure to apologize to Rachel every morning, and he’s making progress regarding the Chin and Malia situation. He and Kono are on pretty good terms; he tells her about the time loop thing on an almost-daily basis, now. It makes things easier, knowing that someone else knows what he’s going through, even if they only know it for the next eighteen or so hours.

For reasons Danny can’t entirely justify, he hasn’t tried to tell Steve yet. Except for that one time when Steve was drunk, and that totally doesn’t count. He isn’t sure why; it isn’t as though he’ll have to live with the consequences if Steve thinks he’s completely gone off the deep end. Maybe he just isn’t prepared to deal with a patented Steve Face.

He hugs Grace when he sees her, one thing he’s never going to change. If there’s one thing he’s grateful for, it’s that this endless day happened to be one where he gets to see his daughter. Seeing her is well worth listening to her talk about Mr. Hoppy for the umpteenth time.

He must have zoned out without realizing it, because suddenly Grace is breaking the normal pattern, saying, “What’s the matter, Danno?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Danny says, realizing he wasn’t being very attentive. “It’s just…long day.”

“But the day just started,” Grace points out.

“Yeah…yeah, it did.” Danny doesn’t like to think about it.

He pulls up in front of her school, and gives her another hug. She hasn’t reached the age yet where hugs are uncool. “I love you, so much,” he says.

“I love you more,” Grace mumbles into his arm. “I hope your day gets better.”

If only. Danny watches her run inside. He’s never going to see her grow up, he realizes suddenly. As much as he dreads the day when she finds hugs from dad to be uncool, dreads how quickly she grows up, the idea of cell phones, driving, boyfriends—the thought of never getting to see any of that makes something inside him constrict painfully.

He needs to find a way out.

---

Another thing Danny realizes, when he wakes up (again) to the sound of Rachel calling him, is that he’s never going to see New Jersey again. He’s going to be trapped in an endlessly repeating loop on this pineapple-infested hellhole forever.

Okay, so maybe calling it a hellhole is a bit is harsh. He will grant that Hawaii is not as bad as he had originally thought it to be. The fact that he can surf passably well now is a definite plus.

And on second thoughts, he isn’t trapped here, necessarily. He may be repeating the same day over and over again, but there’s no rule that says he has to remain in Hawaii, right?

After answering Rachel’s call, Danny does a quick search on his phone. Ah, the wonders of technology. There’s a Continental flight leaving at 9:30, direct to Newark. It’s a ten-hour flight, but that will still give him at least eight hours in New Jersey. At this point, he’ll take it. Anything for a change of scenery.

He’s got the flight booked in minutes. He calls Kono’s phone, knowing it will go straight to voicemail, and cancels their surf lesson. Excited now, at the prospect of doing something different with his day, Danny gets ready. He leaves the house a few minutes earlier than normal, hoping to get ahead of the construction traffic he encounters every time. He stops along the way at a pay phone, calls in the anonymous tip to HPD about the bank robbery. Can’t have that happening while he’s out.

Danny goes straight to the airport after dropping Grace off at school. He doesn’t have a bag to check, so printing his boarding pass and making it through security doesn’t take too long. Soon enough, he’s sitting in his seat. It’s cramped; he has a middle section seat, and there isn’t anywhere near enough arm space, but Danny deals with it.

The flight takes off. They play the in-flight movie, some action piece that came out a few months ago. Danny tries watching for about five minutes, before giving up and trying to sleep. Because he’s always woken up twenty minutes before his alarm clock goes off, he has a perpetual feeling of not getting enough sleep.

The food sucks, the company on either side of him is awful, and after ten of the longest hours he’s experienced in this time loop, the plane lands. Danny turns his phone back on. There are several voicemails there, but he ignores them.

Danny has a moment of dissonance when he finally steps out of the airport, and it’s pitch black out and thirty degrees. He buys a jacket from one of the airport’s shops. Stupid, stupid, stupid, he thinks. Of course it’ll be cold, it isn’t Hawaii, after all. And of course he forgot to take into account the time difference. His watch says 7:30, but it’s after midnight. Too late to bother his parents, at any rate. If he were to go to their house, it would be close to 2 am by the time he got there.

Danny gets into his rental car and just drives for a while. Now that he’s here, he’ll admit he didn’t really have any sort of plan of what he wanted to do. Those plans would have been ruined anyway by the fact that the only things open at this time are gas stations and casinos. And tempting though it might be to use the time loop to his advantage in gambling, what’s the point when he wouldn’t even be able to keep any money he won?

Danny’s driving takes him to Point Pleasant Beach, where he parks at the end of the boardwalk. He gets out of the car and leans against the hood. It’s chilly, and all the shops and attractions are boarded up for the night, but it’s a strange sort of comfort to hear the distant sound of waves, something he didn’t quite realize he was missing until now.

How long Danny sits there, he isn’t sure, but it’s still dark out when another car rolls up a couple spaces next to him. Danny looks over, and oh shit, it’s Steve. He’s getting out of the car, and the look on his face is one Danny has never seen before, anger and worry and fear all rolled into this pinch-lipped expression.

A second later, and he’s got Danny by the collar of his shirt. “What was that about?” His voice is frantic. “You can’t just—you don’t…we’re a family, Danny, and you can’t just run out on that without even a word!”

And under normal circumstances, Danny might argue for argument’s sake. He might flail his arms and get in Steve’s face and clock him in the jaw for thinking he can manhandle Danny about. But he’s tired. He’s tired of this day and he’s tired of being the only one going through all of this. He’s tired, and the fight goes out of him. Steve seems to sense it immediately, too, because the anger dissipates, leaving only worry and tension. The last time Danny saw Steve this worried was…shit, the last time he got shot by Neil, when Steve was frantically pressing a shirt to Danny’s bleeding neck. Steve releases Danny’s collar, taking a half-step back.

“I’m not—” Danny begins. “I wouldn’t…leave you guys, I wouldn’t do that without warning. It’s just…this day. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Try me,” Steve says, his tone dangerous.

“All right…okay, I will. But you first. How did you even get here so quickly?”

“Kono said you bailed on her this morning. She tried calling you, but you weren’t answering, so she contacted me. When neither of us could get you, I tried locating you by the GPS on your phone, but it was turned off. So, I tapped into and tracked your credit card activity.”

“Of course you did,” Danny said. He really should have expected this, after playing hooky with Grace.

“I saw that your flight had just left. I got on the next plane to LAX, and the first connecting flight to Newark from there.”

“And how did you find me here?”

“I may have…contacted some of my connections in Naval Intelligence and asked for a satellite search based on your rental car info.”

Danny nods. It all makes sense, and honestly he can’t say he’s surprised.

“Your turn,” Steve says, the look on his face implying Danny’s explanation had better be pretty damn good.

“I’m trapped in a time loop,” Danny says simply. Like a band-aid, best to do this quickly. “I’ve been repeating the same day over and over again.”

Steve’s expression darkens. “I’m serious, Danny.”

“So am I. Every morning, I wake up and it’s 5:40 am on this day. It never ends. I’ve lived through so many variations I’ve lost track. And today…today I realized I might never get to see New Jersey again, so I booked a flight.”

Steve looks dubious. Danny doesn’t blame him, but that doesn’t stop him from forging ahead.

“I know it sounds crazy, but look at me, Steve. Look me in the eye, and tell me I’m lying.”

He’s pleading and he knows it, imploring Steve to believe him. For some reason, it’s very important that Steve understand. Danny can see the moment it sets in, sees the crease between Steve’s eyebrows diminish.

“Okay,” Steve says, and Danny feels himself relax, tension he didn’t realize he’d held in dissipating. “Okay…I believe you.”

“Thank you,” Danny says. He feels weary.

“So…let me get this straight,” Steve says slowly. “You left Hawaii without warning, traveled on a ten-hour flight to get here, and the first thing you do once on Jersey soil again is go to the beach?”

“Fuck you.”

Steve raises his hands in deference. “I’m just calling it like I see it.”

“I admit to nothing,” Danny says.

They lean against the hood of the car for several minutes in companionable silence.

“Where are the waves?” Steve asks.

“It’s the East Coast, the beaches aren’t for surfing. They’re for arcade games and funnel cakes.”

“Ah.” Steve draws the syllable out longer than strictly necessary, looking out at the deserted boardwalk. “So…Groundhog Day. You tried robbing any banks yet?”

“No, though I managed to prevent one.”

A look of genuine astonishment passes over Steve’s face. “Chin mentioned something when I called him…about HPD stopping a bank robbery attempt thanks to an anonymous tip. That was you?”

“You’re welcome.”

Steve nods, suitably impressed now. “Have you tried staying awake until—when was it?—5:40 am?”

Danny levels a withering glare at him. “Please, what do you take me for? I tried that in the first week. It feels like changing a channel. One moment I’ll be doing something, and then the next I’ll be waking up to my damn phone ringing at 5:40 am.”

Danny glances at his watch. “Though…thanks to the time difference, I’ve actually got until 10:40.”

Steve pushes off the hood of the car, takes a step forward. “Well, come on, then.”

“What?”

“You traveled a third of the way around the world just to get here; did you plan on sitting there until the reset button gets hit?”

Put that way, sitting on the hood of his car in the chill, pre-dawn light did seem a bit ridiculous. They began walking along the boardwalk. It’s quiet, except for the sound of their footsteps on the wood planks and the ocean gently rolling on the shore.

“When I was a kid, my family used to come out here every summer,” Danny says. “I would hide underneath the boardwalk and hold dollar bills up through the cracks, and then pull them down when people tried to grab them.”

Steve laughs. It’s a good sound, Danny realizes.

“By the way,” Steve says, “I don’t know if you realize, but New Jersey charges ridiculous tariffs for you to drive on their highways.”

“Ah, so I see you’ve encountered the turnpike,” Danny says with a laugh. “You get used to it. And you learn to find alternate, if more time-consuming routes.”

Soon they aren’t the only ones on the boardwalk; early morning runners are there, trying to get in a workout. Shop owners start opening up the various attractions. Danny challenges Steve to a game of mini-golf at the Castaway Cove course. Danny wins; he’s got years of experience as both a kid and now a father, and he knows all the traps on the course. Steve tries and fails to hide his Aneurysm face at losing.

Danny buys fudge and saltwater taffy from his favorite candy shop. He offers some to Steve, as a consolation prize.

“Tell me,” Danny says between bites. “If I had been coming back here for good, what was your game plan?”

Steve hesitates, and Danny recognizes that face, it’s the I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-my-feelings face. “You never do anything that impulsive,” Steve says, his voice guarded. “I knew that something had to be seriously wrong, if you were leaving without warning.”

“Uh-huh,” Danny says. “Now, what’s the real reason? Don’t lie, you know you would have missed me.”

“Yeah, so what if I would?” And there’s a challenge in Steve’s tone, one that Danny’s not sure if he wants to step up to or not.

“Would you have tried to woo me back to Hawaii with Liliha’s cocoa puffs and promises to drive no more than fifteen miles over the speed limit?”

Steve grins. “You know what? I’m not going to tell you.”

“Not fair,” Danny huffs.

“You’re a detective, you can figure it out,” Steve says. “Or, if you make it past your cutoff time, I’ll tell you.”

I can figure it out? No, you do not get to pull that shit, not on fucking Groundhog Day. If you think I’m going to suffer that ten-hour flight again—to come all the way out here—just to test how you would react, you’ve got another thing coming.”

“I thought you liked it here?” Steve asks innocently.

“I do like it here! It’s where I grew up. Only…”

Only, the answer is on the tip of Danny’s tongue, but he can’t quite place it. Steve is looking at him expectantly, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, as though he already suspects where this is going, damn him.

Only

---

Danny wakes up.

His phone is ringing. It’s 5:40 am.

He can still taste the echo of taffy in his mouth.

First things first, he answers Rachel’s call, agrees to take Grace to school. He gets ready, like he’s done countless times before, the actions automatic.

His mind is elsewhere. You’re a detective, you can figure it out. And Danny is mentally kicking himself. How could he have not seen it? All of his near-misses with the bank robbery and getting shot, and Steve’s reaction. The not-so-near-misses, too. Steve always offering to drive Danny home. All the times Steve had shown up when he was with Grace, and invited himself along on their plans. Steve’s desire to see Danny surfing; Steve’s reaction when he thought Danny had left for Jersey. More than a hundred Fridays he’s lived through, how could he have missed this?

“You’re slipping, Williams,” Danny mutters to himself, grabbing his surf gear as he heads out the door.

He calls Kono on the way, leaves a message that he’ll be a little late to their lesson. He stops at a payphone, calls in the anonymous tip to HPD. He doesn’t feel like encountering that particular source of stress today. This is what his life has become, a series of patterns. He can’t quite hate it entirely, however, when he sees Grace run out to greet him. He will never get tired of seeing her.

After hugging Grace and asking her to wait in the car, Danny goes up to the door to talk to Rachel. It’s a small thing, apologizing to her for the way things turned out, but it does give him some amount of catharsis every time. That, and it’s worth it for Rachel’s reaction.

He meets Kono after dropping Grace off at school. He tells Kono about the time loop, no sense in not telling her since she’s relatively easy to convince. After proving it by landing a perfect wave, Danny recounts some of the advice she’s already given him, as well as the entire trip-to-Jersey situation.

“And we’re standing on the boardwalk, and Steve’s all, ‘I thought you liked it here?’ And I do, I love Jersey, only…and that’s when I woke up, and it was today again.”

Kono, who hadn’t been at all surprised by Danny’s recounting of Steve’s behavior, says, “Only, what?”

Trust her to get right to the heart of the matter.

“Only…the more I think about it, the more I realize I’ve made a home for myself, here,” Danny finds himself saying. He isn’t normally one for heart-to-hearts, but if there’s one really good thing about this time loop, it’s that he can say what he feels without worrying about what people will think. “Going to New Jersey, it didn’t feel like going home. Something was missing. I’ll always love it, and I’ll always consider myself ‘from’ there, but my heart is here. Grace is here. And not just her, but you guys…I’ve never had a team that I cared so much about, where I always felt like someone would have my back.”

Kono grins, a wide smile that dimples at the corners, and punches him lightly on the arm. “Knew you liked it here, brah.”

“I have, on occasion, been known to be wrong,” Danny says grudgingly. “By the way…I know you don’t remember most of it, but I truly appreciate all your help with the surfing. I couldn’t have gotten as good as I am without you.”

Kono beams.

“So, are you going to tell Steve and Chin?” she asks.

Danny’s used to this. Kono has asked the same thing a handful of times on the days he tells her about the time loop, depending upon the direction their conversation takes. Usually, he waves it off, saying that he’s tried to convincing them, to no avail (which is only partly true, though Danny doesn’t count the times they believed him only because they were drunk). Today is different, though.

“Yeah, I’ve got a plan regarding that, actually. Though I may need your help.”

Kono’s smile is devious, and Danny reminds himself, not for the first or the last time, never to get on the wrong side of her designs.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got your back,” she says.

Danny checks his watch. He’s got to hurry, if he wants to get the timing right.

“I’ve got to go for now, errands to run,” he says. “Meet you at headquarters later. When I get there, I need you to keep Steve distracted while I talk to Chin. Don’t tell him anything.”

When Danny walks into the Five-0 headquarters later, Kono already has Steve engaged with some piece of heavy weaponry that she requisitioned from HPD’s armory. Suffice to say, Steve is sufficiently preoccupied. Chin is at the surface table, paging through possible leads.

“Chin, can I talk to you for a sec, in your office?”

Chin looks up, surprised. Once they’re in his office, Danny shuts the door.

“Okay, I know this is going to sound completely bizarre, but bear with me. I’m trapped in a time loop, Groundhog Day, whatever you want to call it. I’ve been repeating this day for months now.”

Chin opens his mouth, about to bring up the fact that Danny’s right, that does sound bizarre, not to mention impossible. Danny holds up a finger to halt him.

“Please, I know what you’re going to say, just let me finish. Kono can vouch for me, she believes me. Point is, I’ve been repeating this day for quite some time now, and I noticed on some occasions that you seemed down about something. Well, we’re a team, right? We watch each other’s backs. You weren’t very forthcoming at first, but after seeing your behavior, and talking to you about it…I found out that Malia was the reason you were troubled.”

Chin is still disbelieving, Danny can tell, though his eyes take on a carefully guarded look at the mention of Malia’s name. “She isn’t to blame for anything,” he says.

“Yeah, I came to realize that. Months of the same day, remember? I made the mistake initially of asking Kono about the situation, but on later days I just did my own detective work. Point being, and I’m sorry for this, I did a bit of prying. It wasn’t my intention to invade your privacy, just to find a way for you to be happy. I’m stuck in my own personal Purgatory, you see, and Kono had this theory about ‘making things right’ with those I’m closest to. Ho’oponopono.” Danny has had plenty of time to both research the practice and pronounce it correctly.

Chin gives a nod of recognition. He’s partly there, is willing to trust in what Danny is saying. He just needs a little more convincing. Danny checks his watch.

“Anyway, in exactly three minutes and twenty-three seconds, Malia is going to call your phone.”

“What?” Chin asks, eyes wide. There’s a moment of panic there, as though Chin is calculating whether or not it’s worth taking a dive out the window. Or maybe that’s just what Danny’s used to with Steve’s expressions. “What did you do? What did you tell her?”

“I arranged to have a bouquet of flowers delivered to her with the message, ‘E kala mai,’” Danny says.

“‘Forgive me,’” Chin murmurs.

“I didn’t put any name with the message, but she’ll know they’re from you. They’re purple dendrobium orchids.”

“Her favorite.”

Danny nods. “I know.” He checks his watch again. “One minute, forty-four seconds.”

There’s the edge of panic again. “Danny, I can’t do this.”

“Yes, you can, and you can hate me or thank me later. I also made you reservations for 6 pm, here,” Danny says, holding out a piece of paper. It’s the restaurant that Chin took Malia to on their first date.

Chin glances at the paper, looks up, and Danny can see that he believes him, now.

“What if this doesn’t work? What if she says no?”

“She won’t,” Danny says simply. “I’ve been repeating this day for quite a while, now…I’ve had time to get the details right. And when she calls in a minute and twenty seconds, just talk to her. Apologize for the way you handled things, and take the second chance that she’s willing to offer.”

He hugs Chin then, a quick embrace. Chin looks stunned after, though arguably most of that is from the conversation they just had. Danny gives him a quick thumbs up, and leaves the office. He goes and sits down at his own desk. Right on time, he hears the phone ring.

Steve walks up a couple minutes later. “So,” he says, casually, though his demeanor suggests the opposite. “You were at the beach this morning. Kono says you’ve been getting pretty good.”

Danny shrugs, his manner just as insouciant as Steve’s. “She’s the expert.”

Steve pouts—and yes, that is a definite pout. Danny wonders why he didn’t notice it earlier. He tells himself he’s not supposed to find it endearing. “C’mon, Danny, I want the chance to see you surf.”

Danny gives a very put-upon sigh. “Well, I suppose, as I’m no longer at risk of completely embarrassing myself, you could come along next time. It would put to rest your comments that I can’t swim.”

Steve’s got his Boyishly Ecstatic face out, and Danny can’t help but grin in response.

Danny doesn’t try to tell Steve that afternoon. Kono shoots him pointed look, but he ignores it. He’ll do this on his own time, damn it, and he wants to wait until later.

Danny pretends to occupy himself throughout the afternoon, all the while steeling himself for what he’s going to say.

The thing about Steve is, he may think he’s stoic and carefully guarded, but for someone who rarely shares his feelings, he’s surprisingly easy to read. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, his facial expressions hiding nothing. It just took Danny a while to recognize that Steve’s panic (on the days when Danny got shot), his concern (on the days Danny played hooky with Grace and wasn’t answering his phone), his relief (when he realized Danny wasn’t planning on uprooting to Jersey again) went deeper than on strictly a friendship level.

If anything, it was his own feelings regarding Steve that he was out of touch with. He wasn’t blind, he knew Steve was good-looking, but that wasn’t what this was about. Steve had worked his way into Danny’s life, to the point where—if he was honest with himself—the real reason he wouldn’t go back to Jersey was because of Steve. Grace was the reason he had come to Hawaii, yes, and the reason he stayed, and he loved her more than anything. But Steve…Steve had made being here worthwhile, had made it enjoyable. Steve was like a gravitational force, pulling him in, and he had no desire to resist that pull any longer.

When it becomes clear they aren’t getting any interesting cases for the day (thank you, Detective Williams, Danny thinks to himself), Steve gives them permission to leave early. Chin seems nervous, probably about his date later that evening, and Danny gives him an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

“You need a ride home, Danny?” Steve asks.

Way to be obvious, I don’t even have an injury for plausible deniability’s sake, Danny thinks. “You know, I did drive myself here.”

Steve seems momentarily crestfallen. Danny takes pity on him.

“Better idea,” Danny says. “How about I give you a ride back to yours? You owe me a beer or three.”

“Sounds great,” Steve says, flashing a smile. Danny tells himself that it isn’t completely adorable.

Kono, across the room, raises an eyebrow. Danny can feel how pointed her gaze is. Fortunately, she says nothing.

Danny is nervous the entire drive over, even though he tells himself he has no reason to be. Anything he messes up he can repeat. Of course, there’s always the chance he misinterpreted the cues Steve was giving him, and he might be setting himself up for a fist to the jaw.

“Something the matter, Danny?” Steve asks as they pull into the driveway.

You don’t know the half of it. “Why do you ask?”

“Because you’ve never been this quiet in the car before.”

Point. “Long day,” Danny says vaguely. He doesn’t want to have this conversation here.

Steve doesn’t press the matter, but there’s a crease of worry between his eyebrows. A couple minutes later, they’re inside, each with an open bottle of beer. They’re standing in the kitchen, and Steve keeps looking at Danny expectantly; Danny realizes he’s acting strange, is never this quiet anywhere, but he just needs a second to collect his thoughts, okay.

“All right, want to hear a funny story? Well, the funny part is subjective,” Danny says. “I woke up one morning. Just your seemingly average day, except for the fact that I was woken up early by a phone call from my ex-wife. I drove my daughter to school, I had a surf lesson with Kono, I came to work. A bank robbery happened. I got shot, but no worries, I was wearing my vest. All in all, my day could have gone better, but considering my track record since I met you, far from the worst.”

“What does this have to do with the way you’ve been acting today?”

“Will you just let me finish, please? Thank you. Anyway, I go to bed. Next morning goes the same as the one before, only I notice, hey, my injury from the previous day is gone. That’s a bit strange, but there’s always the possibility I could have been dreaming. Whatever. I go about my day, same stuff happens, I go to bed.”

“This had better have a point soon, Danny,” Steve says, his no-bullshit face on.

Danny continues, heedless. “Next morning, I wake up. It’s the same day. Every single day, the same as the one before, over and over again. It never ends.”

He’s staring at his beer now, not looking at Steve, not quite sure he wants to know what he’ll see there. He risks a glance upwards now. Steve’s brows are furrowed, his expression part confusion, part disbelief. He’s assessing the situation, but Danny doesn’t know how this is going to play out. This variable is a new one.

Steve crosses his arms. “You realize that what you’re saying is impossible, right?”

Danny laughs, can’t help it. The sounds comes out strained and desperate. “Don’t I know it,” he says, rubbing at his temple with his free hand. “I know, okay? I know that what I’m saying—what I’m trying to convince you of—is completely outside the realm of physical possibility. But it’s the truth, alright? I’m telling you the truth.”

“I don’t know, Danny…” Steve trails off.

Danny lets out a defeated sigh. He doesn’t know why he thought convincing Steve would be easier this time around. “You believed me last time,” he says, mostly to himself.

“Okay,” Steve says slowly. “Hypothetically speaking, if what you’re saying is true, what was it you said or did ‘last time’ that convinced me?”

Danny laughs to himself. “I’d just travelled on a ten-hour flight to New Jersey. You followed, wanted to convince me to come back. I explained that I’d only done it because, thanks to the time loop, I was worried I’d never see Jersey again. You believed me, because it was the only excuse for the irrationality of my behavior.”

Steve’s gone visibly tense at the mere mention of Danny leaving Hawaii. But really, that doesn’t surprise Danny in the slightest; the guy hopped on a plan to follow him. That sort of behavior is standard when it comes to Steve. Danny’s mind is occupied with another detail, with the fact Steve believed him on the previous day, because he thought Danny’s actions to be irrational. Danny, who is always the one to talk Steve down from stupid behavior, did something impulsive.

“You know what?” Danny says, setting down his beer on the counter. “If you don’t believe me, that’s fine. It’s okay, it doesn’t matter. Believe this.”

And then he’s moving in, barely giving Steve time to react. He gets his hands on Steve’s face, thumbs tracing the line of stubble, and then pulls him down into a kiss. It’s impulsive, it’s hard and fast and fierce. It’s a little uncomfortable, but great at the same time. Then Steve opens his mouth, and it turns into something wonderful, Steve slowing the pace down somewhat as he deepens the kiss. And Danny wants to laugh, really he does, that Steve of all people wants to kiss more slowly. But Danny goes with it, because it’s taken him this long to realize how much he wants this. Even knowing he’ll have the chance to repeat this again, Danny still wants to commit this moment, this day, to memory.

Steve pulls back, far enough that their lips are parted, but their foreheads are touching. “I believe you, Danny…I believe you,” he says softly.

“Yeah,” Danny murmurs. “Wait…what? That’s what it took to convince you?” He pulls back.

There’s a flicker of guilt in Steve’s eyes, and he suddenly seems to find the countertop pattern fascinating. “Uhh, that is…Kono told me everything. I was waiting to see if you would tell me on your own.”

“She what?!” Danny sputters, indignant. “But she—I told her not to tell…She said she had my back.”

Steve’s trying to soothe Danny, pulling him back in, but Danny is bristling with annoyance. “She seemed concerned that you might—ah, how did she put it?—use your knowledge gained by the time loop to take advantage of me.”

“‘Take advantage of you’? You’re not a blushing virgin. And that she would think that I—” Danny stammers, words failing him. “And you! You knew this entire time, and you let me carry on with that charade of telling you!”

Steve shrugs, unapologetic. “I admit, I was a bit curious to see how you’d try to convince me.”

Danny gapes, incensed. Steve takes the opportunity to lean back in and mouth along Danny’s jaw. “I can’t believe I find you attractive,” Danny bemoans.

Steve tilts his head, grinning smugly. “So, you’re admitting you do find me attractive?”

Danny is pulling at the hem of Steve’s t-shirt, running his hands underneath and against the taut muscles of Steve’s abdomen. “What kind of a question is that, huh? Of course, why else would I be kissing you?”

Steve shrugs. “Time loop? Because there aren’t any consequences?” He says it casually, but Danny can see the way Steve tenses at the possibility.

“What are you—Is that what you think this is?” Danny asks, pushing Steve back so he can properly see his face. “Look at me—no, look, you overgrown man-child. I don’t know how much Kono told you, but I’ve been stuck on repeat for a while now. A long time…and it’s given me some time to think. And I realized something, during that time. Yeah, I’ve done a lot of things without regard for consequences, like taking a ten-hour flight to New Jersey, or pulling Grace out of school for the day just to spend time with her.”

He pauses, making sure Steve’s following, because Danny needs him to trust, to understand this next bit.

“But what I realized is, somehow everything kept coming back to you. No matter what crazy things I did, you were a constant in my life. I’m not sure how or when it happened, or if it was always that way and I’m only just now realizing it, but it’s the truth. And yeah, this time loop might have given me the courage to make that first move and kiss you, but I’m not doing this because I’ll have a blank slate the moment I wake up. You got that?”

“Yeah, Danny,” Steve says, smiling fondly. “Yeah, I got that.”

Steve leans down, kisses Danny again, slowly at first. Now that they’ve got a rhythm going, things speed up pretty quickly. Steve presses against Danny, and he pushes right back, forcing Steve backwards until he’s braced against the counter.

“Off, get this off,” Danny mutters, tugging at Steve’s shirt hem again.

Steve pulls his shirt off as Danny slides down his torso, licking and nibbling at the planes of his stomach. He nuzzles the smattering of hair he finds there, then thumbs open the button and zipper on Steve’s cargo pants. Steve’s cock is hard in his boxer-briefs, and Danny tugs down the grey cotton until he can pull it out. Steve shivers at the contact, making a small noise of protest—“Hey, you’ve still got your clothes—” which quickly gets cut off as Danny closes his mouth over the head of Steve’s cock.

He takes it in as far as he can go, working his hand where his mouth won’t reach. Steve groans, head falling back, exposing the long line of his throat. Danny releases Steve’s cock for a moment.

“Look at me, Steve,” he says.

Steve’s breath hitches, and he leans his head forward, watching Danny. Danny grins, flicks his tongue out to taste precome, swirls it around the head, before swallowing Steve’s cock again. The angle is a little awkward, but it’s worth it to see the way Steve’s pupils are blown wide with arousal. One of Steve’s hands is gripping the edge of the countertop tightly, and the other comes down to twine in Danny’s hair. It isn’t forceful, but Danny leans in all the same, trying to take Steve deeper, groaning around the weight of him in his mouth.

Fuck, Danny,” Steve grates out.

Danny loves this, loves watching Steve come undone. And to think he could have had this—that Steve wanted this—over a hundred Fridays ago…well, better late than never. He just needed time to realize the signals Steve was sending his way.

Steve tugs at his hair, mutters, “Danny, Danny, I’m gonna—”

Danny just grips Steve’s hips tighter, holds on until Steve is coming down his throat. He swallows around Steve’s cock, nuzzles him through the aftershocks. Steve shudders as Danny slides off and gets to his feet.

“C’mere,” Steve says, grabbing Danny’s tie and pulling him forward.

Steve kisses him forcefully, chasing the taste of himself across Danny’s tongue.

“You sure you haven’t done this before? Another day in your time loop?” Steve asks, voice breathy.

“Babe, are you saying I blew your mind?” Danny can’t help the grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.

Steve laughs. “Not as much as I’m gonna blow yours,” he says, low and dangerous.

“Is that a promise, Steven?”

Steve’s response is to pull Danny forward by his tie, tugging as he walks backward through the kitchen and into the living room. He pulls the tie free of its knot, tossing it until it lands on the back of the couch. Their progression is halted momentarily as both of them try to undo each other’s clothes at once.

“No, I got—let me…”

“Jesus, Danny, just go with it.”

Finally, they’re fully naked, and Steve crowds into Danny’s space, gets him onto the couch and on his back. Danny groans at the contact of skin on skin, loves the feel of Steve braced above him. They kiss for a while, and that’s good—great, even—but Danny seems to remember a promise to have his mind blown.

“How long?” Danny asks.

“Hmm?” Steve hums against Danny’s throat, and it’s almost enough to distract him again.

“How long…have you wanted this?”

Steve seems surprised at the question, though he’s quick enough to come up with the answer. “Almost as long as I’ve known you,” he says. A small huff of laughter escapes him. “I admit, I thought about all sorts of things I would do to you involving your ties.”

Danny raises an eyebrow. “Oh? Do continue, please. Don’t withhold information on my account.”

Steve grins, a devious glint in his eye. “Well, there was the obvious…tying you down to the bed.”

Danny’s breath hitches at the mental image that produces, being spread out and restrained beneath Steve’s fingertips.

“And then, there were plenty of times I considered using one as a makeshift gag to shut you up.”

“You aren’t the first or the last person to think of that one, babe. C’mon, something a little more creative,” Danny says, the challenge heavy in his tone.

“Well, in that case,” Steve says, trailing off as he moves down Danny’s torso. He grabs Danny’s tie from where it’s draped over the couch back. Then, with a glance back up the couch to make sure Danny is watching, he wraps the tie in a loose hold once, twice, around Danny’s cock. He begins to jack Danny through the material.

Oh, fuck,” Danny exhales, head falling back on the armrest.

The silk of the tie as it slides up and down the length of his cock feels fantastic. Steve varies his pace until he finds one that works, his wrist twisting on the upstroke in a move that makes Danny’s hips stutter with pleasure. He doesn’t think he’ll last long, but then the bastard uses his free hand to tug the ends of the tie until it’s snug around the base of his cock. Not tight, but snug enough that he won’t be coming anytime soon.

Steve ducks his head, licking at the head of Danny’s cock, teasing at first, before taking him in, soaking the edges of the tie. Danny makes a noise that is completely undignified.

Nngh…fuck, Steve,” He groans, wanting to make a snarky comment on Steve’s creative use of ties but managing only, “Fucking—fuck me.”

Steve pulls his head up, and Danny totally does not whimper at the loss.

“I, uh…don’t have any supplies here. They’re all upstairs,” he says, sheepish—as sheepish as one can look when that someone had just been sucking cock.

“Oh my god, you totally and completely fail as a Boy Scout forever,” Danny complains, and then makes a flailing gesture with his hand. “Pants, my pants. Back pocket.”

Steve disappears a moment from Danny’s field of vision, and then he’s back, waving the condom and lube sachet. “Danny Williams, are you sure you weren’t planning on taking advantage of me?”

Oh for fuck’s—I swear, if you don’t get your fingers in my ass sometime in the next twenty seconds, I will honestly snap, and shoot you in the face.”

“I’m just pointing out that this was clearly premeditated…”

“In. The. Face.”

That gets Steve moving, though whether it’s because of his own impatience or because Danny’s threat had any impact is hard to tell. He slicks his fingers and slides one in. Danny forces himself to relax, accommodate the change. Steve’s being considerate, taking his time, but after a few seconds of that Danny mutters, “Another, come on.”

“Stop being so bossy,” Steve says, but adds another finger.

Danny draws in a sharp breath. “Wouldn’t…be me if I wasn’t.” The fingers inside him twist, crooking upwards. “Oh, yeah.

Once Danny’s loose, Steve pulls his fingers free. He’s hard again, and he rolls the condom on, using the rest of the lube sachet to slick himself up. Then he lines himself up and presses forward. Danny groans, letting out the breath he’s holding, as Steve slides in. Steve pauses a moment, as if to gain his bearings, and then he begins to move. Danny bears his hips down, trying to take Steve in deeper.

After a few moments, Steve brings one of his hands to Danny’s cock, still wrapped up in the tie. He grips it again through the material, and begins jacking it hard and fast. That’s what does it for Danny, sending him over the edge as he shoots across his belly. Danny’s orgasm has Steve faltering, and after several short thrusts he’s shuddering, letting out a low, broken noise.

Steve holds himself there for a moment, unmoving, before pulling out, disposing of the condom, and slumping down on top of Danny. He nuzzles at Danny’s collarbone, and while Danny would be perfectly content to remain that way for the remainder of the night, their bellies are sticky with come.

“Steve,” he says, pushing at Steve’s shoulder. “Hey, c’mon, get up.”

Steve makes an unintelligible sound, burrowing his face deeper against Danny’s neck.

“Not that I don’t love you boneless and all, but any chance we could move this someplace more comfortable?”

“Mmm, comfy here,” Steve murmurs, but there’s a smug smile tugging at the corners of his mouth that says he knows just how difficult he’s being.

Danny’s trying to shove Steve off him. “What are you, some kind of octopus man? Do you grow extra limbs when no one’s looking? Off. Bed, now. I want to make the most of the time I still have, and I plan on coming at least once more tonight. Preferably, I want to keep going until we both pass out from exhaustion.”

Steve lifts his head, waggles his eyebrows suggestively. “I can get behind that idea.”

“Oh, for the love of—you think you’re so clever, don’t you? I don’t even know why I’m attracted to you.”

Steve is laughing, getting off the couch and pulling Danny to his feet. He leans in, kisses Danny quick and deep, and Danny tries to ignore the way it feels like a goodbye, tries to forget the fact that they won’t have this when he wakes up.

But then Steve pulls back, and whatever had passed over him momentarily is gone now, replaced by a fond smile. He leads the way upstairs, and Danny can’t help but follow.

---

The sunrise is bright against Danny’s eyelids, easing him gently into wakefulness. He blinks his eyes blearily a few times, disoriented. For the first time in longer than he can remember, he isn’t waking up with a sore back. It’s that detail that clears his head. He tenses instantly. No phone call from Rachel waking him up, no 5:40 am, no dingy apartment ceiling above him.

He’s in a bed. Steve’s bed, as the details from last night—last night, yesterday—all rush back to him.

“I’m still here,” Danny says, feeling dazed.

The bed shifts, and Steve stretches an arm across Danny’s torso. “Were you planning on going anywhere?” he mumbles, half asleep.

A brief wave of panic grips him. Him, and Steve…last night. And now, where do they stand? He meant everything he said last night, but he had still been expecting to wake up and have it be the same day. He had never dared to hope…

“I’m still here,” Danny repeats, because he can’t seem to get past that. “Steve, I’m still here.”

Steve’s waking up now, and Danny sees the moment it dawns on him.

“It’s tomorrow,” Danny says. “Today…it’s Saturday.”

Steve goes tense then, as the implication of that sinks in for him. “So it is,” he says, and his voice sounds way too cautious for comfort. “Any regrets?”

Danny gapes at him—because no, no way in hell is he going to pull that, not after last night.

“What did I tell you, huh? What part of I wanted this do you not understand? Was it when I was telling you about my epiphany—that sometime during the last year and who knows how many repeated days I realized, hey, my life partly revolves around you?”

“I heard you last night,” Steve says, but he still isn’t meeting Danny’s eyes. “I just—I didn’t think—…”

Danny realizes the reason for Steve’s wariness. He’s self-conscious, worried that Danny doesn’t feel the same way. And it’s stupid, completely ridiculous, that Steve would feel that way…but also a little endearing.

“No, you didn’t,” Danny agrees, unable to keep from smiling. “You’re just…you are so goofy sometimes, you know that? I love you, but you’re emotionally stunted.”

Steve perks up. “What did you say?”

“You heard me. Want to make something of it?”

Steve’s moving then, pinning Danny beneath him and kissing him almost senseless. They’re both sore in awkward places from last night, they both need a shower and to brush their teeth, but right now it’s the best feeling Danny’s ever had.

“Wait, wait a second,” Danny says when Steve pulls back. “Oh my god, is that all it took? Was us having sex all that was needed for the universe to set itself to rights?” He’s appalled. All those Fridays, when if he’d only gotten a clue sooner…

“I’m flattered you think sex with me could have that much effect on the inner workings of the universe,” Steve says, grinning broadly, “but it probably has more to do with what you told Kono, about considering Hawaii your home now.”

“I said no such—…Oh, god, I can’t tell her anything, can I?” Danny complains, though there’s no animosity in his tone. “You’re going to be insufferable now, aren’t you?”

Steve laughs, and leans down to kiss him again. It’s warm and welcoming; it feels like relief and love and home. And yeah, Danny thinks, as he shifts them so they’re both on their sides, he could get used to this.