Waking early had always been Steve's custom, but waking up facing a sleeping Danno was an experience he knew he'd treasure every day for the decades to come. He didn't move, laying quietly, a shaft of light coming through the gap in the curtains allowing him to watch Danny's sleeping face. As if aware of Steve's appraisal, his Guide gave a little yawn, snuggling closer, tightening the arm he had draped around Steve's middle, and rubbing the back of his calf on Steve's. "Morning."
"Good morning," Steve answered, smiling with pleasure because Danny's eyes stayed closed, like he could delay leaving their warm cocoon. "You sleep well?"
"Like a rock. I don't remember ever sleeping that well." Danny finally opened his eyes, seeing Steve's face on the pillow next to his. "Fuck," he swore, jerking up on one elbow, looking over Steve's shoulder at the alarm clock. "I'm going to be late for work."
"Call in transferred. Let's spend a few days in bed."
Danny looked wide awake now, adrenaline having unfortunately eliminating the last of his cozy sleepiness. "Not until the Governor signs your proposal. I'm not going to be out of work because a politician changed her mind."
"She won't. She was very serious about that offer."
"Pol-i-ti-cian," Danny sing-songed. "What she sincerely wants to do today and what she can get approved tomorrow may be two very radically different things. And I have rent and child support to pay."
Under the covers, Steve stroked one hand up and down Danny's side, appreciating the warmth and the smoothness of his skin. "You won't have any rent as soon as we can get you moved."
"Like I could just move in here and mooch off you – "
"Danno," Steve said forcefully, pushing Danny onto his back, crawling on top of him, nudging their cocks together. His Guide had agreed to live together, but he didn't seem to quite understand the depth of Steve's commitment. Adjusting would take time, and Steve would give him as much as he could. "What's mine is yours. There is no such thing as mooching off me."
"Yes, I get that we're bonded, but – "
Perhaps it was pushy of him, but Steve surrendered to his baser instincts, shutting Danny up with his kiss. Maybe he'd ask Mary to let Danny buy her share of the house if it would make him happy to feel he was contributing, but in the meantime, he'd been awake at least ten minutes, and the craving to taste his Guide couldn't be ignored any longer.
Danny moaned into Steve's mouth, one hand holding Steve's head in place, the other flattening on his hips, encouraging them to undulate.
Settling his legs comfortably inside Danny's, Steve thrust slow and easy against him, sharing long, deep kisses with him. For the rest of his life, this was the way Steve wanted to start every day.
"Captain, yeah, I'm not going to be in today. I'm... in a certain amount of pain. You know how it goes. These things flare up. I'll give you a call tomorrow." Danny winced as he ended the call, not liking to phone in sick when he wasn't, but he'd surrendered to Steve's persuasiveness that they needed to spend the day together. Besides, being a little in pain wasn't entirely a lie, though hopefully the Captain would assume it was a recurrence of his knee injury. Despite Steve's gentleness last night, Danny's ass wasn't accustomed to being stretched in that fashion. That the pain was a very enjoyable ache, an ache that made him pleasantly anticipate the next occurrence, was something the Captain didn't need to know.
"Are you okay, Danno? I didn't hurt you, did I?"
"No, I'm good. A little sore, is all."
Reassured, Steve returned to poking through his Dad's refrigerator, tossing out food that had gone moldy, while Danny sat at the kitchen table, watching him. They both wore white t-shirts and their boxers, and maybe Hawaii's generally mild temperature wasn't such a bad thing, if it meant Steve regularly showed lots of skin. Danny appreciated Steve's skin, all golden with a pleasing amount of hair. Not too much, not too little. "You have someone else you need to call?" Steve asked, glancing toward him.
"Yeah. I just – " Danny stopped fiddling with his cell. "Gotta call Mom and Dad. Let them know what's happened."
Steve's voice was neutral as he asked, "Is that a problem?"
"It's not a problem, per se. It's just not what I ever expected, you know? I took the divorce hard. I was a total wreck for six months. My brother Matty was a rock, my rock who got me through it. When I said I was going to move to Hawaii, he encouraged me to start dating, to not just hang around Gracie and argue with Rachel. And I thought, he's wrong, because I don't want to meet anyone, because meeting someone means I'm settling in Hawaii, but maybe also that he's right, because he's my younger brother but he's pretty bright. So maybe in a couple of months, I might be able to call him and my folks and my sisters and say hey, I met a girl, a nice girl, and then maybe in a few more months, call them and say hey, this girl, we're really serious." He poked at his cell, tapping on the contact list. "I didn't expect to call them and say hey, I'm now one of an elite group of people who no one understands and by the way, I hope you like my new partner Steve because not only is he my boss but he's basically your son-in-law now and he's never going away." Looking up from his cell, Danny knew from the tight, closed expression on Steve's face that he'd messed up badly.
"Damn." He rose, going over to Steve, urging his head down to Danny's neck. He didn't understand why smelling Danny's neck comforted Steve, but he'd put that knowledge to good use. "I'm an idiot, okay? I didn't mean this is a bad thing. This is a great thing. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. But my parents are thousands of miles away and they may freak out a bit and I'm nervous about handling it, that's all. When we go visit them, they're going to love you as much as I do."
"You think so?"
"I know so. I know them and I know you and they cannot help but love you."
He was a physically demonstrative guy who had had plenty of girlfriends and a wife, but as Danny hugged Steve, he realized he'd never felt so comfortable being physical with a lover. Was it because Steve was a guy or something about his personality or the bond itself? Not that the why mattered, not compared to how much Danny liked the feeling that he could touch Steve at any time or in any manner he wanted, without feeling he'd squeeze too hard or mess up the perfect make-up or hairstyle.
"We should visit them soon," Steve suggested, with still a hesitant quality in his voice.
"We should. Definitely. But first I'll talk to them, and we'll visit Gracie, who you will absolutely love, and we should probably spend a few weeks establishing our new jobs before we take off to Jersey. Maybe we can go on spring break and take Gracie. My parents miss her."
"That would be good. I'd like to spend time with all of your family."
Danny gave Steve a little push, returning to his chair as Steve went back to cleaning the refrigerator. He hit his parents' name, watching the phone dial, his mom answering.
"Danny? Is something wrong? You don't usually call during a workday."
"Hi Mom. No, nothing's wrong. Things are great, really. I've got some news to tell you. You remember when I was supposed to have my Guide testing but I had tonsillitis?"
"Of course, dear. You were very sick and I sat by your bed and held your hand and sung to you. You'd hardly let me leave your room."
Glancing at Steve, Danny wondered if he had his hearing ramped up to hear both sides of the conversation, but Steve was sniffing at the contents of a tupperware, seemingly not paying attention. "Yes, well, it turns out that I should have been tested, because I'm a Guide."
"You're a Guide? How can you be a Guide, honey? No one else in the family is. Well, your great-aunt Lizzie always claimed she could feel other people's emotions, but she was a little bit odd. Guides feel emotions, don't they? But she believed in auras and aliens too."
Danny spoke as soon as his Mom took a breath, because she could get wordy once she started listing the more colorful members on both sides of his family. "I don't think they've worked out the genetics of these things very well, Mom. I found out I was a Guide because I helped a Sentinel. I'm bonded to him now. Hs name is Lieutenant Commander Steven McGarrett. Oh, and he's my boss now. I'm transferring from HPD to this new taskforce that the Governor has established. We don't have a name yet but I'll send you a business card when we get them."
There was a momentary pause, which made Danny give his second wince of the morning, because maybe yeah, that was a lot to spring on his elderly mother in one lump. It was too bad that all those elements were tied together and couldn't be separated well.
"That sounds like a lot to take in, honey. Are you okay with all of this? You don't have to be a Guide. They can't make you."
"Yeah, Mom. I'm good with it. All of it. I mean, I don't know much about being a Guide yet, but Steve's a great guy. I can't imagine wanting anyone else as my partner and boss."
"Then I'm happy for you, honey." There was another pause. "Maybe you should call your brother and explain it all to him too. He can come tell us about it."
"Yeah, Mom. I'll do that."
They chatted a little longer, Danny also giving the latest Grace update, and his Mom talking about their days. By the time he ended the call, Steve had finished tossing food out of the refrigerator and was well into breakfast preparations, beating eggs, cooking bacon, and toasting bread. Apparently he did occasionally eat something other than gruel in the morning. "I got time to call my brother?"
Watching Steve be domestic was a very comforting and comfortable feeling. Danny touched his brother's name, quickly running through the highlights of the last two days with him. "So you can look up Sentinels and Guides and kinda explain things to them, right?"
"Sure, Danny." Matt paused, and what was it with his family needing to think things over today? "So bonding means you two are – "
"Yes, bonding means I'm off the market, permanently. You don't have to come out and find some nice Hawaiian girl for me."
"I gotta admit, I was hoping you'd move on from Rachel, find some hottie in a bikini. A boyfriend is a lot to take in."
"He's more than just a boyfriend," Danny said with some irritation, because 'boyfriend' was such an inadequate term to describe Steve, "and he's incredibly hot."
"Hey, no insult intended." Matt had never been as talkative as Danny with his hands, but Danny could picture him putting both up in a 'backing away now' gesture. "Change is good, older brother. I wouldn't want you to get too stuck in your ways."
Steve placed a laden plate in front of him, and poured a cup of coffee.
"And he's made me breakfast, so I have to go."
"That go okay?" Steve asked, sitting down in the opposite chair with his own plate.
"This is not oatmeal. Or even yogurt with granola. Not that I'm complaining. Believe me; I very much appreciate you taking after my mother."
"I am capable of cooking a Williams-style breakfast, even if I don’t normally. And Dad's bacon was going to go off soon."
"You can tell that just by smelling, can't you?" Danny forked up some scrambled eggs. "Mmm, perfect."
"Scent isn't my strongest sense, but yeah, I can tell when something will go bad. Though I still expect you and Gracie to cook for me this weekend. You promised."
Danny almost teased Steve at the almost visible pout on his face, except that his obvious emotion made it clear how much the promise meant to him. How much Danny and Gracie meant to Steve, even though he hadn't even met the 'pup' yet. "A Williams breakfast is definitely on the agenda. And don't worry about Mom and Dad. I mean, it'll take a while for them to take it in and accept all the change, but my family's pretty good at being supportive."
"Good." Steve's face twisted into a sad grimace. "I need to start arrangements for my father's funeral. Give my sister a call."
The eggs were fluffy, the toast was the right shade of brown, and the bacon was crispy. Was there anything Steve didn't do well? "I need to stop by my apartment and make sure my uniform is aired out."
Swallowing a bite, Danny answered Steve's question. "He was a vet, right? I need to wear my uniform."
Steve paused in the midst of eating, his expression some weird mixture of blank and surprised. "How are you divorced?"
"You're going to get out your uniform to wear to my father's funeral?"
Danny figured it was probably his turn to look somewhere between blank and surprised. "Of course I am. What else would I do?" Then it clicked. "What, you think my wife should have appreciated the responsibility of a man who understands how to do the right thing for a funeral? My wife would have appreciated having a husband who worked a safe, secure job in an office so he didn't need to face the possibility of attending a co-worker's funeral."
"But you said you were 25 when you got married. You were already a cop, weren't you?"
"She knew what I was. She just didn't understand the effect the long hours would have on our lives, and the risks drove her crazy." Danny scooped up the last bit of egg with a piece of toast. He'd devoured breakfast way too fast, but it had been a long time since anyone cooked him a meal, and he hadn't realized how hungry he'd been for that kind of attention and care. "That was excellent. More coffee?" he asked hopefully.
"Yeah." After collecting their plates, Steve poured both of them more coffee. "So funeral arrangements, start getting your things moved here, meet Rachel and Grace, meet the Guide specialist. There are a couple of old suitcases in the garage. We can grab those to help pack your stuff. We might as well wait to pack up your desk at HPD until we have a headquarters for the task force."
"I knew as soon as we left the hospital together that you were a fast mover." Rachel had been a planner too, but she liked taking steps at a steady pace. Danny guessed every detail of his and Steve's lives would be organized and firmly entwined before the week was out. He was mildly surprised at how little that bothered him.
Steve gave a slow smile, obviously unperturbed. "I've been slow on one thing."
"I haven't sucked your cock yet."
"Jesus," Danny said, as he went half-hard. They'd already had sex once this morning, grinding against each other, and now he felt fully ready to go again. Who knew becoming a Guide would be like revisiting puberty? "You trying to give me a stroke?"
"I'm going to keep you in excellent health," Steve promised, setting down his coffee cup, tugging Danny out of his chair, and swiveling him around to perch on the kitchen table as Steve sat in Danny's chair. "And make sure you have plenty of aerobic exercise." He peeled apart the flap in Danny's boxers, Danny's cock eagerly springing out as Danny put his feet on the arms of the chair.
"Seriously? On the table? Does that seem sanitary to you? And what about my coffee? It'll get cold."
"We can nuke the coffee." Steve didn't answer the rest of the complaint, possibly realizing it wasn't sincere. Instead, he feasted on Danny's cock, giving it long, slow licks up the shaft, running his tongue around and around the head, mouthing at Danny's sac. Lounging back on the table, Danny petted Steve's hair with one hand, bracing himself with the other, and enjoyed the intentness with which Steve devoted himself to his task and the steady rising hum of pleasure.
Steve stroked the soft skin behind Danny's balls, taking his cock deep into his mouth and sucking voraciously, making Danny give a helpless shudder as he came.
"Of course you're a swallower," he said fondly, too wrung out to move anything except his hand, still petting Steve's hair.
"You taste so good, Danny." Standing as he shoved down his boxers, Steve wrapped his hand around his own dick, stroking fiercely, drops of pre-come landing on Danny's thighs.
"Yeah, babe. Come on me."
With his free hand, Steve gripped the strong muscle of Danny's thigh, and gave his cock a few, fast strokes, before obeying the order.
Taking the stairs two at a time, Steve listened to Danny singing in the shower. His voice was robust and only slightly off-key, as he warbled a Springsteen medley, possibly because he didn't seem to remember the full lyrics to any single song, switching from chorus to chorus.
He dumped the grocery bags he'd found in the kitchen closet on the bed, snapping one open and kneeling at the dresser, rapidly sorting through his dad's clothes, dumping them into the bag. Shorts, t-shirts, socks, underwear – would a charity take the underclothes? No matter, they needed to be gone so he and Danny could get settled in.
The top drawer had smaller items, mostly in boxes. Steve snapped open one, recognizing his dad's service medal. The next yielded his mother's engagement and wedding rings, sparkling diamonds and shiny gold. They were beautiful, classic in design, and he remembered how she would carefully remove them before doing housework, placing them on the kitchen windowsill. A faint trace of her scent lingered in the box. She'd always smelled nice, though as a kid, he'd never paid much attention to her perfume. As much as he couldn't regret going online, he wished it had been when she was alive. His Sentinel senses had forever etched the smells from her funeral, her embalmed body and too many cloying flowers, on his memory.
"Hey." Danny's hand touched the small of his back, resting there, a steady, reassuring presence. "You okay? You looked like you were zoning."
"I was," Steve admitted, snapping the box shut. "I would have pulled out."
"I'm not saying you wouldn't have. But this is what I’m here for, right?"
"Only one small portion of it, Danno." Danny had dried off after his shower, but his hair was still wet, slicked back, and he wore only a towel around his middle. Steve leaned toward him, giving him a kiss, keeping it light or he knew they'd be tumbling back on the bed. Though his primal instincts wanted to spend all day having sex with Danny, his pack mentality was prodding him to get Danny permanently moved in. "I'm going to leave this drawer for later. I'll want to keep some of these things."
"Great, let me get dressed and I'll help."
The maid kept them waiting on the doorstep. She always did, which Danny tried to not take as a slight. After all, there wasn't any real reason he needed to enter the house when he was picking up Grace. Besides, getting into a snit was impossible, considering his mood. They'd spent most of the morning working on rearranging their lives. They'd packed Jack McGarrett's clothes into bags, dropping them all at a charity place, before stopping at Danny's and throwing the bulk of his clothes into old suitcases. Then lunch at a local place Steve remembered liking, after which they'd lingered in the booth, making phone calls, Danny to his landlord and everything involved with closing an apartment and changing his mailing address for all his bills, Steve to transfer to the naval reserves and organizing his father's funeral. They weren't fun calls to make, Danny's tedious at best, Steve's stressful, but knowing he was spending the rest of his life with Steve made even punching through endless automated menus an agreeable chore.
Thankfully Rachel didn't dawdle, appearing within a few minutes, looking beautiful in a green dress that matched her eyes. "Daniel, what are you doing here?"
Danny suppressed the urge to respond with 'hello and nice to see you too.' This was going to be weird enough without starting on a hostile note. "I need to talk to you about a few things. Can we come in?"
"Yes, certainly. Come in." She led them into a front room as large as Danny's entire apartment. "Can I have Olina get you anything? Tea?"
"No, thank you."
"I'd love some tea," Steve inserted, smiling warmly at Rachel in a way that irritated Danny. Steve didn't need to be sharing his warm smiles with Danny's ex. Then Steve took Danny's hand, and Danny instantly relaxed. "Sugar and cream, if you have it."
"Olina, tea for two, please."
"Rachel, this is Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett. Steve, this is Rachel Edwards, my ex-wife."
"Commander," Rachel said politely, shaking Steve's free hand, though with a pointed look at their joined hands. "Do I understand there's some interesting reason for this introduction?"
"Mrs. Edwards, it is my pleasure to meet you."
The fact that Steve could so effortlessly turn on his charm took Danny aback. He hadn't gone out of his way to charm Danny, seeming to think that bickering at him was the best way to convince him to bond.
"Steve is my boss, my partner, and my Sentinel."
"I’m sorry?" she asked in that polite, British way of hers. "Your boss, your partner and your Sentinel? Why would a Lieutenant Commander work at the HPD? And what do you mean, your partner and Sentinel? Only Guides have Sentinels."
"Danny is a Guide. My Guide. Which makes him my life partner. And I've been appointed by the Governor to run a special task force, so Danny's going to be working with me. Sentinels and Guides always work in pairs, whenever possible."
"Daniel, maybe we should talk privately," Rachel suggested.
Yeah, because Rachel was freaking out, and she hated to be upset in front of a stranger. But excluding Steve from the conversation would create an 'us and him' attitude that Danny couldn't accept. "It wouldn't matter, Rachel. Steve's a Sentinel. You could make him go sit in the car and he could still hear us. Besides, from now on, anything you have to say to me will affect Steve too, and he should be involved."
"The only thing we normally discuss is our daughter."
"Steve should especially be involved in discussions of our daughter."
"I'm sorry?" she said again politely, because even if she wanted to say, "What the fuck?" Rachel was too English to sound crass.
"Steve is my life partner, which makes him involved in all of my life, including what happens with my daughter."
"And yet, you're the one who always tries to exclude Stan from decisions affecting Grace."
"Stan is just some guy you married who thinks he'd like to be Gracie's father. Steve is my Sentinel. It's different."
"It doesn't seem any different to me, Daniel. It seems exactly like it's always been; you want to have everything your way."
"Danno!" Grace ran into the room, dropping her backpack on the floor as Danny scooped her into his arms, hugging her.
"Hey, monkey." Timing their visit for shortly before she arrived home had been wise, because he wanted Steve to meet Grace before he and Rachel were at each other's throats.
"I didn't know you were coming today, Danno."
"I didn't know either, monkey." Danny sat her down on the floor, kneeling with his good knee on the floor. He loved her so much. Not seeing her every day was the worst result of his failed relationship with Rachel. "I had something important come up, something that I needed to talk to you about. Have you heard about Sentinels and Guides?"
"Sentinels are people with special senses and the Guides are the ones who help them," Grace answered promptly. "We're going to be tested next year at school."
"Well, it turns out that your Danno is a Guide, and this guy," Danny waved toward Steve, "is the Sentinel I'm going to be helping. His name is Steve McGarrett and he's a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, but you can just call him Steve, okay?"
"Hello, Steve," Grace said, holding out her hand, her smile shy.
Steve knelt beside them, holding out his hand, shaking hers solemnly. "Hello, Grace. I'm very glad to meet you. Your Danno loves you dearly."
Her smile broadened, and Danny was pleased that no matter how much he and Rachel fought, they'd always made sure Gracie understood she was loved. Then her brow furrowed. "Are you going to be taking Danno into danger? Davey said that he wanted to test as a Sentinel because Sentinels are always risking their lives for other people. They're heroes."
"Danno and I are going to investigate crimes together, just like he does now as a cop, and he's going to be very safe because I'm going to be there every single day, protecting him."
Grace leaned into Danny. "That's good. I don't want anything to happen to my Danno."
"I'd like to ask you a favor, if I can. I'd like to smell you."
She gave Danny a hesitant look, seeking understanding from her father. "Smell me?"
Steve tapped the side of his nose. "My sense of smell is very strong, and I like to know what everyone close to me smells like."
"It's okay, monkey. It's just a Sentinel thing."
"I just - " Steve took her hand bringing her wrist to his nose, the expression on his face very peaceful as he smelled her. "Smell you."
"Daniel - " Rachel started to say, but Danny waved dismissively at her, stopping her speaking. She crossed her arms, her face and shoulders tense, signaling that she was very definitely not happy, which was unfortunately a common condition around him.
"And also here," Steve added, tilting her head, burying his face in the crook of her neck, the same place that he liked to smell Danny. "You smell a lot like your Danno."
"I do?" she asked, giving a little giggle.
"Of course not, darling. You smell like a little girl. Your father smells like a man. Those are two very different scents," Rachel said sharply.
"A Sentinel's sense of smell is unique, and to me, you smell just like Danno."
Grace glanced between the three adults, and Danny could tell she sensed the tension between them. "And that's all Steve needed, right?" he said, more a statement than a question as he stood, giving Steve a pointed look, willing him to back off. If he needed more, they could do it on the weekend.
"Yes, thank you." Steve stood too, more effortlessly than Danny. He'd obviously never blown out his knee.
"Are you going to smell Mommy too?"
"If she'll let me."
"I don't think that's necessary. I'm not part of your father's family now. Or should I say pack?"
"Sentinels often use the term pack. It expresses our connection to our spirit animal. But family is fine too." Steve ran a hand over Gracie's head, with her slicked down hair and ponytails. "Gracie, can you let me talk to your mom and dad for a bit?"
"Yeah, monkey. You get a snack now, don't you?"
"Okay." She gave Danny a big hug. "Love you, Danno."
As Gracie ran out of the room, Danny gave Steve a curious look, wondering what was going on, hoping he didn't think he could badger Rachel into letting him smell her. Rachel responded to any perceived attempts at coercion by becoming more stubborn. Steve took a step toward Rachel, the way he loomed over her startling Danny. Steve truly was a big guy, tall and well-built, and there was something in his posture… Danny stepped forward, subtly inserting him between the two of them, because Rachel drove him crazy, but she was still the mother of his child. "What's going on?"
"I know you're afraid of me."
"Don't be ridiculous," Rachel snapped. "I don't even know you. Why should I be afraid of you?"
"I don't know if it's because you're afraid of Sentinels, or that you're afraid of things you don't understand. Either way, there are a few things you should realize before you think about restricting Danny's access to Grace."
Danny swung to face Rachel, shocked. "You'd try to keep me away from Grace? Because of Steve?"
"Danny." Steve curved a hand around Danny's waist, his touch calming. "Danny is my bonded Guide. Under Sentinel law, that makes him my spouse, with all rights and privileges. As you said, that also makes Grace a member of my pack. If you stop Danny from seeing Grace, we'll sue for custody, and we'll have the full resources of the Sentinel Center supporting us. You should have Stan explore what that means before you take any hasty action."
"I haven't even suggested that I would try to keep Grace from Danny. You're making threats based on your assumptions."
"It's not a threat. It's a statement of Danny's new reality. Keep letting him see Grace regularly and we'll all get along fine."
"Of course," Rachel said, but Danny knew her, knew that stiff way she held her head when she was agreeing unwillingly. He swallowed hard, the enormity of her fears sinking in.
"You'd try to take Gracie away from me? Because of Steve? I love her. She's my daughter. My daughter, not just yours, and not Stan's."
"Daniel…" The reluctant guilt in her eyes affirmed what Danny could tell from her body language, what Steve must have known from… her scent?
"He's a Sentinel. They're heroes. They do things people can't."
"Yes, things people can't. Normal people, Daniel. You're both members of his pack now, like he's an animal. And Gracie's a puppy. What does that make you, Daniel?"
"That's just the way they talk, Rachel. He'd never hurt her. He'd die to protect her."
Steve's hand on Danny's waist tightened. "I'll ask the Sentinel Center to send you some of the literature on Sentinels and Guides. You should understand us better."
Danny felt himself pushed toward the door, and tried to dig in his heels, but Steve had both strength and size on him. "We have to talk this out."
"Talk it out or argue?" Steve planted himself in front of Danny, blocking his view of Rachel. "Give her time to learn about us."
"It's my weekend with Grace. I'm supposed to pick her up Friday after work."
Without budging, Steve turned his head toward Rachel. "We'll be back on Friday. Be smart, Rachel."
"Yes, of course," she said tightly. "I'll make sure she has her bag packed."
She wasn't happy, but Danny could tell she'd let Grace come on Friday, even if it was pacifying him while Stan's lawyers did research, so he didn't resist when Steve pushed him out of the door.
"I'm driving," Steve said, reaching into Danny's pocket and removing his car keys.
"Hey! It's my car and those are my keys."
"You're too upset." Steve unlocked the car and got into the driver's seat. Fuming with anger, Danny dropped into the passenger's side, slamming the door behind him. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have handled it like that."
"Excuse me; did you just apologize for the fact that Rachel is a bigoted putz?"
"Lots of people don't understand Sentinels. I could have handled it… less confrontationally."
"You do not have to apologize for stopping Rachel from doing something incredibly stupid and extremely irritating." Danny sighed. "If you have stopped her, 'cuz I have to say, babe, you might want to give the Sentinel Center a call if you were serious about that legal support."
"I was completely serious, Danny. I would never lie about the lengths I will go to protect and support you."
"Yeah." Danny rubbed the back of his fingers against Steve's jaw, the stubble a rasping but pleasurable sensation against his skin, not surprised when Steve leaned into his touch. "I can't imagine to what lengths I'd go to protect you."
"I've got an idea that might help. Let's go visit the Guide specialist."
It took Danny a moment to place who Steve meant. "Oh, the person who was supposed to help you out of the zone-out? Yeah, I guess that's next up on the list anyway."
Rachel had not been what Steve expected. He'd automatically pictured a Jersey girl, loud and assertive to match Danny, not an Englishwoman, feminine in appearance, refined in speech, and uptight in her responses. He guessed her personality wasn't normally so tense, or she and Danny would never have made it down the aisle. Her fear indicators had spiked as soon as Danny announced his new status, suggesting she'd experienced some unpleasantness with a Guide or a Sentinel, or she'd heard horror stories of feral Sentinels. No matter the cause, her irrational concerns couldn't be ignored.
Thankfully, the Guide specialist was perfect in Steve's opinion. She was older, his parents' generation, short and pleasantly plump, with tousled gray hair. She didn't look like some powerful Guide, just a happy tourist, relaxing by the pool with a good book, a large drink with an umbrella and pineapple slices in it sitting on the table in front of her. Some Sentinels and Guides overcompensated for their perceived hero status, dressing pseudo-military, trying to look tough, an attitude Steve had never felt the need to emulate. He couldn't have asked for a more grandmotherly-looking Guide, someone who could reassure Rachel. "Sentinel McGarrett," she said, rising and giving Steve a kiss on the cheek. "I'm B.J."
"B.J. This is my Guide, Danny Williams."
"Guide Williams." She gave him a kiss too.
"Is this a thing? We go by our titles?"
"It's the standard greeting, but now I'll call you Danny."
"Yeah, okay," Danny agreed, as he and Steve dropped into chairs. "What's B.J. stand for?"
"Billie June. You can call me Billie or June or Billie June, if you'd rather."
"I like June. I can't really think of you as a B.J.," he said. "I don't associate those initials with elderly ladies."
She chuckled, her eyes amused. "I'll spare you the tales of my youth. Or my present."
He had a feeling he was blushing, and rubbed his hands on his slacks, seeking a distraction. "Nice hotel."
"The Center believes Sentinels and Guides should travel in comfort."
"And they have the money to pay for it, apparently."
"They do." Steve laid his hand over Danny's, interlacing their fingers. Hopefully June checking into a pricey hotel would convince Danny that the Sentinel Center had the resources to cover legal fees. Though entirely avoiding the messy business of a custody dispute would be best. He wanted Danny to focus on them and their future, not fighting with Rachel.
"I understand you need to be confirmed as a Guide," June said to Danny.
"Yeah, the whole thing has been a surprise. No one in my family has ever tested for Guide potential. So this was completely out of the blue for me and frankly, bizarre." He glanced over at Steve, who gave Danny a half-smile. He wasn't disturbed at this admission, and was pleased that Danny was being upfront with June. "But when I'm around Steve, and this thing I feel between us… I know I'm his Guide. Whatever you have to do to confirm it, I'm ready."
"Good. I'm glad you've come to that realization because the bond between you two." She gave a dreamy sigh. "It's almost tangible. You may not test high, because you're an adult who has never used your abilities, and they can atrophy. But your level may increase significantly as you work with Steve."
Steve gave him a smirk. "I'm going to make you more powerful."
"Working with you *may* make me more powerful," Danny riposted. "Probably because it'll test my already extremely high levels of patience and flexibility."
"You're patient and flexible?"
With a shake of his head and a smile, Danny turned his attention to June. "What do we do? And does the dog help?"
"The dog?" Steve asked.
"You can see my dog?"
"What?" Danny looked between the two of them, trying to see if they were teasing him. "Of course I can see your dog. He may be small, but he's not microscopic. Is he some sort of Sentinel service dog?"
"I don't see the dog, Danny."
"Your level may be higher than I supposed," June said dryly, holding her hand toward the empty chair.
"Oh no. No, no. Do not tell me that was your spirit animal." Danny gave June a horrified glare, which Steve took to mean that the dog had faded into her. "They're supposed to be all wolves and cougars. His," Danny pointed at Steve, "okay, his is a seal, that seems appropriate, but I am not having a little yappy dog as my spirit animal, no offense intended."
To Steve's surprise, June didn't seem to take offense, giving another small chuckle. She was a woman who seemed to laugh easily. "Our spirit animals can be any be any kind of animal, not just large predators. You don't get a choice."
"It's going to be a rat terrier, I know it. Matty will never let me live it down."
Steve cupped the back of Danny's neck, smoothing his fingers up and down his spine. "A Chihuahua," he suggested solemnly.
"I'm ready to confirm Daniel Williams' status as a Guide and your bond with him, Sentinel McGarrett," June said formally.
"You don't need to test him?"
"I don't need to do the limited amount of testing I can do in a hotel room. You two should come to the Sentinel Center in a few months and do the full testing together. That'll give a better indication of the strength of your bond and his abilities. And now I think you need to take your man home and teach him to meditate before he has a heart attack."
"One favor?" Steve pulled out his phone, beginning to text. "I'm sending you the address of Danny's ex. Can you stop by and talk to her about Sentinels and Guides? She seems to have some misperceptions about us."
"Being reassuring is my specialty."
"And see if you can get a chance to talk to Danny's pup Gracie. She may have Guide potential."
"Wait, what? You think my daughter has Guide potential? And when were you going to mention this to me? And again, no calling her a pup. She is a little girl."
"I said she smelled like you." Steve hit send and slipped his phone in his pocket, not bothering to argue about the terminology. Danny would fall into using it eventually.
"That does not mean you think she's a Guide! No one ever said Guides are identified by smell!"
The intensity of Danny's aggravation was disconcerting. "Would it be so bad if she was?"
Danny opened his mouth, spluttered a few incoherent syllables, closed it, and reached over to squeeze Steve's hand. "Of course it wouldn't be bad. I'm glad that I'm your Guide. But it does change her entire life. I need to know facts that may change my daughter's future, okay?"
"Okay." Steve squeezed back. "And I'm not sure. It's only a hunch, Danny. I would have said something to both you and Rachel if I was more certain. And if she hadn't already been afraid."
June picked up her glass, draining the last of her drink. "Sounds like my cue to do some actual work to justify my Hawaiian vacation."
"It could be a black bear," Danny said, staring out the window as Steve drove them back to his place. "Black bears are native to New Jersey."
"Your spirit guide doesn't have to be an animal native to your birth place."
Danny turned his head to look at Steve. His profile was actually more attractive to watch then the city scenery, with fascinating traces of gray in his short hair and the corner of his mouth curved in a fond smile. "Yours is."
"But lots aren't."
"I'm just saying, I could be. Ferocious, protective, right?"
"Danny, you'll be fine with whatever it is. What's your salary?"
"My salary? You're going from my spirit animal, which will undoubtedly be an opossum or a vole, maybe a skunk, because what else is native to New Jersey, to my salary? What does that have to do with anything?"
"The taskforce. I thought I'd clone most of HPD's personnel policies and benefits, only increase the salary ranges for detectives at least ten percent and make my salary as taskforce leader twenty percent more. Give you a ten percent salary increase, bring Kono in at the lower end of the range, since she's a rookie, and make Chin's salary almost equal to yours."
"And which of us would be slightly higher in that 'almost equal'"?
"You. You'd be head in my absence. But Chin has more years of service with HPD. I want him to know how much I appreciate him returning to police work."
"If you're absent, I'm likely to be gone too."
"Probably, but things happen. A clear chain of command is good."
"Yeah, okay," Danny agreed, realizing he should probably be thinking more about his new job, suggestions on how to set up the task force, and the difficulties of handling high-profile cases, but his mind was fixated on remembering that small, white dog, its fluffy fur that undoubtedly weighed as much as its body. If spirit animals could be weighed, that is. "Raccoons, squirrels? What animals are native to New Jersey? I've always lived in cities, Steven. I like cities. I don't do bonding with nature."
Steve took his hand, and it had not gone unobserved, how often Steve touched him, a tendency which Danny highly appreciated and hoped would become a lifelong habit. Bringing Danny's hand to his mouth, Steve swirled his tongue over his thumb, before sucking on it. Danny's dick remembered the excellent wickedness of Steve's mouth and was immediately envious.
"What are you *doing*?"
"You didn't do sex with a guy before last night either, Danno."
Danny squirmed in his seat, pulling his hand out of Steve's mouth. "Yes, okay. You may be making me be more flexible. But still, I think you should tell your seal that I want a black bear. Put in a good word for me with Spirit Animals R Us."
"Meditation, Danny. You'll find your spirit guide when you meditate. And it'll be just what you need."
As Steve pulled the car into the driveway, Danny said, "Screw meditation. Or more precisely, let us screw first, and then we can meditate. If I'm going to have to look at a Scottie dog for the rest of my life, I need to be exhausted enough to reconcile myself to this reality."
Turning the car off, Steve gave Danny a broad smile, replying, "I can get behind that idea."
Danny groaned at Steve's idea of humor as they slammed out of the car, and stumbled into the house, already kissing and tugging at each other's clothes. Steve should definitely be naked all the time, Danny decided, shoving his cargo pants down his thighs, the fact that Steve was on a higher stair making it easier for Danny to bend and lick his cock. His first taste of another man's cock, and while it had felt impossibly large in his ass, it was the absolute perfect size and flavor for his mouth.
"Fuck, yes." Steve ran his fingers through Danny's hair. "You want to do me?"
"You mean top you? You'd let me?"
"I'd let you do anything to me, Danno. Anything. We've got the rest of our lives to explore."
The fervency of Steve's promise made Danny moan around his cock, his mind afire with anticipation. Reluctantly, he released Steve's cock. "No, I want you to do me again. I want to feel you inside me. But remember that promise."
"I will." Steve pulled him up from the stairs and into the bedroom, stripping the last of his clothes from him.
Sprawling on the bed, Danny spread his legs wantonly, welcoming Steve. Their lips met, kissed, as Steve settled on top of him, their hands searching for the spots that would give the other the most pleasure. Except that every place on Steve's body seemed to be a hot spot; everywhere that Danny touched made Steve shiver or gasp.
Danny heard himself unabashedly gasping as Steve caressed him, then even louder as Steve stretched him and plunged in. Hugging Steve to him, digging his fingers into the flexing muscles of Steve's back, he rocked with Steve's thrusts, knowing only Steve and Steve's passion and an indescribable feeling of being bound together forever as he came, yelling Steve's name.
Too relaxed to move, Danny was content to lie on the bed, Steve spooned around him. He knew his stomach would grumble soon for dinner, but food could wait. Nothing was as wonderful as this peaceful state, his mind blank of anything except how good loving Steve made him feel.
A head popped over the bed, resting its chin on the sheets. "Hey, little fellow," Danny said, stretching his hand toward the animal. Spirit animal, but… not Steve's. Not a seal. Lighter in color, different in facial features, but both sleek, aquatic mammals.
"A river otter," Steve said, his voice quiet as if he didn't want to scare the little creature away. "Native to North America. Including New Jersey."
The seal's head joined them, the two animals turning their faces, whiskers touching as they sniffed each other.
"He's perfect," Danny said, his voice equally hushed.
Steve held him tighter. "Yes, he is. You are."
~ the end ~