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The Broken Road, Chapter Three

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When I woke up to the first gray light of dawn in the cabin, I felt rested. My sleep had been dreamless and deep, and I felt like I'd purged a lot of old poison out of my system the night before. Maybe Danny really can hang out his shingle as a therapist if this cop thing doesn't work out for him. I was lying on my back, and Danny was on his side, his back to me. I wanted him like I never wanted anybody else. I wanted to be inside him, to take him, lay claim to him, make him mine forever. 

I eased my arm out of the sling and tossed it aside. I was sick of the restriction. I wanted both arms around him while I was making love to him. If I could crawl through a jungle with multiple injuries, I ought to be able to hold the man I love and do this thing right without too much effort.

I moved up behind him and kissed his neck, nuzzling him, inhaling the scent of his shampoo and the warm scent of him in that spot between his neck and shoulder. I kissed his shoulder and his arm until he woke up and reached back to touch my cheek, smiling.

"Hey, somebody's up early," he said, flopping on his back and looking up into my eyes as I leaned over him. I ran my hand from his stomach up to his chest. "Where's your sling?"

"On the floor, Dr. Williams. Don't worry about it." I kissed him, and kept kissing him, until his mouth opened for me and I spent a long, unhurried time just enjoying his mouth while I climbed on top of him and pinned him to the bed, using both arms to hold him. This was so much better than favoring all the sore spots and having one hand practically tied behind my back. Making love to Danny properly was a two-armed, full-body job.

He put his arms around me and I could feel the strength in them, but he was very gentle, more mindful of my healing body than I was, or wanted to be. I wanted to drown in him, taste him, smell him, touch him, and I didn't want to be distracted by anything else. He spread his legs enough for me to be between them, so we could rub against each other. That was good, but I wanted more. 

"I want you, mea aloha," I whispered in his ear, right before I kissed my way down his neck to a nice spot where I sucked on his fair skin and left my mark. 

"Anything you want, babe, it's yours."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure," he said, smiling at me. I looked deep into his blue eyes. 

"I love you, and I always will. When you look at me, do you see an ending?" I asked. I remembered Danny telling me that even when he was happy, he'd see the end of that happiness on the horizon. When a relationship was good, he was already envisioning the pain of it ending.

"No, I see a beginning," he said, and his smile got even brighter, and as we kissed, he laughed a little, in that sweet, wonderful way he does sometimes when he hugs me or he’s letting off a little steam. 

I got the appeal of kissing every part of someone you love like that. Getting to know his body, every spot that tickles and the spots that make him moan, the way his skin feels under my lips and my tongue, how he tastes. As much as I love kissing all over him, nothing compares to being in his arms, with my arms around him, kissing his sweet mouth until it seems like we’re running out of air. I had to do that some more. With my arm out of the sling I was getting addicted to having my arms full of him. I was trying to figure out how to be closest to him while we were doing it, so I suggested he lie on his stomach so I could get close to him without issues with my shoulder or my side. He agreed, and it sure was a nice view for me. Those broad shoulders of his that taper down to that very solid, sturdy waist, that curves into his perfect ass and then down his strong, muscular legs. I was beginning to wonder how I’d made it four years without throwing him on the ground and showing him how to really work off an adrenaline rush.

I was kissing his back, working my way down his spine. He located the little tube on the night stand and tossed it over his shoulder. I don’t think it was entirely accidental that it hit me in the head.

“Thanks, buddy,” I joked, and he laughed, but he shifted on the mattress. I knew he was liking what I was doing, and I was liking it, too. I moved back up and kissed his neck while I rubbed and squeezed his cheeks. “Love you,” I said against his soft hair. I hoped when we were old he still had some of it left, so when I couldn’t do much anymore, I could still lie there and nuzzle it and smell it and feel it slip between my fingers. 

I put some of the stuff on my finger and just took my time rubbing back and forth between his cheeks. I didn’t try poking him yet. I wanted him to relax, and somehow I know Danny well enough to know that telling him what I was going to do and when I was going to do it would make him brace himself, the way I see him doing sometimes when I take a wild corner in the car.

“That’s nice,” he mumbled, sounding about as laid back as I’ve ever heard him sound. I got a little more of the slick stuff and kept up what I was doing, until I finally, gently, tried slipping my finger in him just a bit. I was surprised when he just moaned low in his throat and shifted his legs apart a bit more. I was waiting for him to hate this part, to tense up on me. It was almost too much to hope for, looking at his great ass and thinking about how much I wanted to have him that way, that he was going to really like this and be into it right from the start. My finger was all the way in, moving around, and he was liking it. 

“Stick this under me,” he said, pulling a pillow over toward himself and raising up a bit. My quick reflexes do still serve me well when I need them the most, and I stuck the pillow under his belly so when he relaxed, his ass was at an even nicer angle, raised up a bit. 

“You’re fucking beautiful, Danny, you know that, right?” I eased my finger out and put more of the stuff on and went back with two. It was tight like nothing I’d ever felt before, but he still didn’t seem to mind it. 

“Long as you think so, that’s all that counts,” he replied, looking over his shoulder at me with a shy little smile and all kinds of love and trust in his eyes. He was handling all this so well. I knew there was a spot I needed to find to make things really take off. When I did, he shouted a couple of curses and arched his back. I thought it was pleasure but I also know some guys don’t particularly like getting their prostate poked, so I froze a second or two. “Do that again or I’ll get my gun,” he gasped. 

“Anything you say, mea aloha,” I replied, grinning like an idiot, going for the gold again - and again - until I had him gasping and cursing, trying to fuck the crap out of the pillow under him. I loved that he was having a good time, and I hoped he still liked it once I was in there for real. 

I slicked myself up and got in position. I thought about warning him, but I don’t think he was really unsure of what I was up to back there. I pressed against the opening and feeling that tight ring of muscle around my cock just about finished me right there. I was hoping he didn’t move, because if that squeeze moved up and down me a couple times, I’d be done before we started. 

“It’s okay, babe, push in more,” he said, and I was glad to oblige. I was in him to the hilt in one long slow stroke. “Wow...that’s more than your fingers.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I said, kissing the back of his neck. “Love you, Danno.” 

“I love you, too,” he responded, reaching over his shoulder to take my hand. I lay against his back, kissing across the back of his shoulders. I wanted to move, but it made me smile to think all my years of training in endurance and self-control were serving me well for easily the most important moment of my life.

I tried sliding back a little and then thrusting back in. It felt so good I thought I’d come before he even joined the party. 

“Do that again, babe,” he urged. “God, it’s really good.” 

Seriously? Part of me wanted to ask him what the hell happened between him being totally freaked out about this and now being this into it, but I’ve always been smart enough not to question things when they’re going my way. I know Danny well enough to know when he’s lying or faking, and when he’s being real. This was real. He was loving it, wanting more, and I was just the man for that job. 

I kept my pace gentle, rocking in and out of him, staying as close to him as I could, caressing and kissing his back. I got my hand under him and stroked him, which made him work at getting up on his knees so I could do a better job. He was favoring his bad knee and I was favoring my bad shoulder, but somehow we managed to stay upright and it was so fucking amazing that I wondered why the hell I’d waited so long to do this. I knew there was a long list of shit to explain that, but I really didn’t care. Danny and I were moaning and gasping and swearing and working up a sweat, and when we came, it was like the fireworks over the water back home. Beautiful, explosive, bright, amazing...like a celebration of life and love and everything that matters.

I tried to come to my senses reasonably soon and urged him to lie flat. I wanted him to be comfortable because I planned on crushing him into the mattress, lying on top of him. If I could stay here, like this, with him, forever, I would die happy.

“Wow,” he mumbled into the pillow. I hoped he could breathe with my full weight on him. 

“Yeah, wow,” I repeated, resting my cheek on a sweaty shoulder. “Are you okay?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m good,” he said, and then he did that little laugh of his. “Really, really good.”

“That was amazing. You’re amazing,” I said. And I meant it. I wasn’t just flattering him or trying to make him feel special. My dick felt like the last drop of life had been drained out of it, and I was with the man who felt like the other half of my soul. How could you improve on that?

“You’re pretty damn good yourself,” he replied. “Even though I could die happy after that, I’d still like to breathe,” he complained. That’s my Danny.

“Sorry,” I eased out of him and it took us no time at all to wind up facing each other, arms and legs all tangled up to get as close as we could.

“They’re kind of blue-gray right now,” he said, and I could tell he was studying my eyes. I know they tend to change color depending on the light, what I’m wearing, whatever, but somehow having Danny focusing on them was really romantic. “I love looking into your gorgeous eyes, babe. Just never know what I’m gonna see.” He paused. “No, that’s a lie. I know what I always see.”

“What’s that?” I asked, intrigued. I was doing a little of my own staring, into his blue eyes.

“Your beautiful soul. Your good heart. I can’t believe you’re mine.”

I hugged him hard, shoulder be damned. “Love you so much,” I whispered against his ear. “Always.”

********

We spent some time on the creek fishing that morning, and we came up with a nice little bunch of fish to clean and grill according to Danny’s foil-and-vegetables-on-the-grill method. I figured I hit it lucky hooking up with an Italian-Irish guy who discovered he doesn’t mind cooking. I can cook basic stuff, but I’m not real creative in the kitchen. Danny has flair, from his polka dot socks to his hair to his cooking. Anyone who thinks that makes him less tough has never seen him take down a violent suspect a head taller and kick the crap out of him. We’d been eating good on this vacation, and that was mostly due to his ideas in the kitchen.

Danny seemed a little on the quiet side, and I started to worry that something about what happened that morning, which frankly had me kind of walking on air most of the day, was bothering him. So while we were sitting at the picnic table enjoying the nice weather and gutting fish, I asked him.

“Everything okay?”

“Sure,” he said, smiling at me. “Can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing,” he joked, focused on his task.

“Is anything bothering you?”

He paused for a minute. And trust me, I knew that meant something, because pausing for a minute when you’re up to your wrist in fish intestines isn’t pleasant.

“I must’ve done something wrong, and I hate that it hurt you.”

“What? When?”

“When I...did you,” he said, quietly, like he thought the squirrel that was running along the porch railing was going to overhear us talking about sex.

“You didn’t hurt me.”

“You didn’t like it.”

“Whoa. I never said that. I said it didn’t feel great until near the end, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it or that you hurt me.”

“So how come it was so good for me? I must have done something wrong, or not stretched you enough, or something and I hurt you when you already got hurt so much and I just added to it, banging away on you,” he concluded. “I feel like the world’s biggest dick.”

“You’ve got a good one, Danno, but don’t get carried away,” I said, glad I had finished my last fish. I hoped the little fuckers were good, because being wrist deep in fish guts was low on my list of fun vacation activities. Just because I’m an ex-Navy SEAL doesn’t mean Ienjoy torturing myself on vacation. Plus, I wanted to touch Danny, and I couldn’t without getting fish gore on his arm. He did laugh a little at the joke, but it was short-lived. I took the fish he was working on and finished it for him. It was the last one anyway.

“The last thing I wanted to do was give you something else that hurt.”

“Danny, I’m fine. I don’t even notice it today.”

“You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”

“No, I’m not. Look, I didn’t bleed, I wasn’t ever in serious pain, and what discomfort I felt is over. And it was worth it. It would have been worth a lot worse, but it wasn’t that big a deal.”

“I suppose compared to torture, no.”

“Let’s go inside and wash up.” I held up my gory hands, and he nodded, though he looked miserable. 

We took our fish inside, cleaned up the mess at the picnic table, scrubbed up with soap and water, got ourselves a couple beers and some chips and went back outside. The weather was great and it really was beautiful there. Our own little corner of the world. I couldn’t remember having so much time to just be with Danny, one-on-one, and it was paradise. With Danny, I learned that’s not a place, it’s a person. It might be a cranky, nagging, agitated, occasional pain-in-the-ass person, but it’s a person I wouldn’t trade for anything who loves me like no one else ever has.

“There is no comparison between having sex with you and torture, Danny. Why are you so hung up on this?”

“Because it kills me, what they did to you,” he said, and his eyes were filling up and I knew he was having a hard time not breaking down. “You’re the last person in this world who ever deserves to be treated like that, and all I want to do is make that go away, and then I...do that to you and it hurts you more.”

I reached across the table and took his hand. 

“You didn’t hurt me. I loved us being together like that. I’m feeling better now and I can move around more without as much pain, so things will go better next time.”

“Shouldn’t you put your sling back on?” he asked. 

“My shoulder hurts but it’s okay for a while. Cleaning fish didn’t aggravate it.”

“I’m so sorry,” he said, wiping at his eyes with the hand I wasn’t holding. Danny had spent so much time working through what was eating me, why I was panicking and having nightmares. I know there’s a lot of complex, unresolved...sadness in him sometimes. I hoped I could return the favor and lift a little of that. He’d given me insights into his past, into his psyche that I know he hadn’t shared with anybody else. People, including me, rag on him for being negative. What the fuck did the guy have to be positive about? The idea that it’s not in him to be happy is bullshit, but anybody has a saturation point with pain and loss. Danny’s experiences have made him wary and kind of slow to trust. Then there’s me. I just kind of barge in where angels fear to tread and seem to forget all the shit that happened the last time I did it. That’s not always good, but it led me here, to Danny, so the rest of it was worth it.

I moved around the table and sat on the side next to him, and put my good arm around him. I knew what was bothering him had less to do with our challenging first time than it had to do with the footage he’d seen. I didn’t see it; I didn’t want to. I lived it and once was enough, but I could imagine what it looked like. Danny watched his partner, Grace, murdered in front of him. He’d seen Meka’s charred remains, desecrated, in a barbecue pit. Probably the only friend he had on the island before I took over his life. Then he saw me almost die on that video.

“It’s over, Danny. I’m trying to put this behind me, but you need to do that, too.” 

“Just be careful, okay?” he said, turning to hold me close. “You know, next time you feel the urge to go halfway around the world and defeat terrorism and all the evil men do single-handedly.”

“I will, Danno, I promise.” I had to chuckle at his assessment, maybe because it was a little too accurate. And I loved him so much for being hurt like he was for my pain. Maybe it was time to cut back on the insanity and start enjoying my life. To hear Danny tell it, a routine day with me provides enough danger for any adrenaline junkie, so my risk of getting bored should be minimal. I pulled back a little and touched his cheek, pressing my forehead against his. He made a move to kiss me, and I was all for that. 

I’m not sure how long we sat there, but I could get used to not caring. When I thought back of all the times I’d wondered what it would be like to kiss him, what he’d taste like, how he’d respond, I wasn’t about to rush it when I got the chance to enjoy it now. 

We took on the task of putting together our meal of fresh fish and vegetables and got it going on the grill. It was a beautiful early evening, so we ate at the picnic table, and Danny was right. The fish was delicious prepared that way. We spent some of our meal talking about how we were going to handle things when we got home. Neither of us wanted to live a double life, so we eliminated the idea of keeping our relationship secret. We decided Danny would move in with me, since my house is bigger and on the beach, and Grace does love the beach. 

“Do you think we need to tell Rachel before we tell Grace?” I asked him. 

“She’d probably think so.” He took another bite of fish. “It’s more important to me how Grace feels about it.”

“Maybe it’s worth a courtesy visit to Rachel to keep the peace, since you guys are doing pretty well with the whole custody arrangement.”

“I suppose. What about work?”

“Catherine was on the Five-0 team and Denning knew we were involved. He never made an issue of it. If he makes an issue of this, it’s discrimination.”

“I’m your partner, though.”

“Not on paper. On paper, you’re a member of the Five-0 task force. Everybody knows we work like partners, but in the structure of things, it’s not the same as if we worked as cops for HPD.”

“Really? Huh.” 

“What?” He hadn’t said much, but I could hear everything in the tone of his voice. Something was wrong. Very wrong.

“It’s just weird. I’ve always taken for granted we were partners.”

“We are.”

“You just said we weren’t.”

“I said we weren’t officially, on paper.”

“Where is it written that we’re not partners?” 

“There’s no reason to get upset about this, Danny,” I said, because he was escalating. 

“No reason to get upset? I thought I was your partner for the last four years!”

“You were. You are. In every way that counts.”

“Wow. Why does this sound like the speech you’ve got ready for why we shouldn’t get married legally either?”

“How in the hell did you jump from this to that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. The fact I’ve been going around acting and talking like I was your partner and it’s not even an official distinction. You said you needed a partner when you dragged me kicking and screaming onto this task force!”

“I did need a partner and that’s what you are.”

“No I’m not. You said so yourself. Where is it written that I’m not your partner?” he repeated. God help me, he had a bone and he wasn’t about to let go of it.

“It isn’t written somewhere that you’re not my partner. It just isn’t written officially that you are. When has anyone not treated you like you were? The Five-0 task force was assembled on paper as a team. No one has ever questioned that you’re the one who works closest with me, most often.”

“Like a partner but not one.” He shook his head. “I feel like an idiot.”

“Danny, you’re turning this into something it isn’t. It’s actually a loophole that un-complicates our professional relationship in light of our personal relationship.”

“My not being your partner is not a fucking loophole!”

“Why is this such a big deal? If you were my official partner, we probably would have to split the partnership because most law enforcement agencies won’t let people who are romantically involved be partners. Denning turned his head with Catherine because she was part of the overall team, although even that was kind of dicey to have me be her boss when we were involved. The fact that your official status is no different than the other members of the team backs him into a corner to not cause us problems now.”

“Why is this such a big deal? It’s like someone telling you the person you were married to for several years isn’t legally married to you! It defined my fucking life, Steven. I’m Grace’s father, and I was your partner. The two most important relationships in my life and one of them wasn’t even official! You tell me how the fuck you’d feel in my place!” He got up from the table and stormed into the cabin, slamming the door. 

“Shit,” I muttered, running my hand over my face. I was pretty pleased with myself that I’d figured out how to keep Denning from messing with us. I could see now that Denning messing with us was a lot less of an issue than how Danny felt about what I’d told him. It didn’t make sense to me, because everyone treated Danny like my partner, called him my partner, and I thought of him as my partner. Why does a title or a description on a piece of paper in a file somewhere matter? 

I sighed, because it was hitting me why it did. It was the reason same sex couples all over the world weren’t content to just shack up together and call themselves married. Making it legal makes it different, permanent, more lasting somehow. At least in the eyes of people who want that official recognition. People who need to feel a sense of permanence. And, maybe, people who fear their happiness coming to an end without something there to reassure them. People who have been hurt enough to be just a little afraid to take that leap. Danny relied on that partner role, and I’d just yanked the rug out from under him.

Sometimes I have to step back and work at seeing things through Danny’s eyes, because we’re enough different that often what riles him up doesn’t make any sense to me. I love him, I’m gonna grow old with him, and I love and respect him as my professional partner. It’s like my word isn’t enough without a signature on a line someplace. He’s not alone. It’s not enough for a lot of people or there would be a hell of a lot fewer weddings going on in the world, almost no legal contracts, and a lot less work for lawyers.

I couldn’t change how I’d filled out some paperwork four years ago, but I could fix this easily enough. I got up and headed inside. He was sitting on the couch, slumped down so his head was resting against the back of it. I tried to remember the last time he looked that unhappy.

“Sit up straight,” I said, and he glared at me.

“Fuck you, Commander McGarrett. I’ll sit here however the hell I please.”

“Danny, just roll with it. Sit up straight for a minute.”

He stared at me a moment, and there was more hurt than anger in his eyes, which was saying a lot because there was a nice veneer of anger over the top of everything. Finally, he straightened to an upright position.

“Happy?” he asked.

“Ecstatic,” I replied, using a word that was more typical of him than me. I got down on one knee in front of him and took his hand. “Danny, I can’t do anything about how I filled out paperwork four years ago and I never meant to hurt you or make you feel like you've ever been anything less than my partner. I can do something about making sure you know that you’re my life, my other half, and the only person I want to grow old with. I can do this paperwork right. When we get back home, will you marry me?”

He stared at me for a long moment, and I wasn’t sure what he was going to say. He looked more hurt than when I started.

“You don’t have to do this.”

“That’s not exactly the answer I was hoping for.”

“You’re only asking me to marry you because I’m upset about not being your partner. I don’t want a pity proposal.”

“That’s what you think this is? A pity proposal? I’m asking you to marry me because I feel sorry for you?”

“You’re using it to fix something else, not because you wanted to ask me. I don’t want it that way.”

“Maybe you don’t want it at all, then.” I stood up. Fuck this. I loved Danny but I wasn’t going to grovel at his feet, literally. His angry look and stony silence pissed me off more than anything else he could have said. God help me if Danny ever figures out that silence makes me angrier than an argument. We won’t be speaking after half the gun battles I get him into. “Fine. Sit there and pout. Let me know when you grow the hell up and we’ll talk!” I shouted, frustrated, and stormed out the door, giving it my own slam. 

Son of a bitch, that hurt my goddamn motherfucking asshole shoulder. I’ve found a string of curses sometimes helps overcome pain, so I resorted to that, at least silently, because I’d be goddamned if I’d hold onto my shoulder or put it in the sling in case Danny happened to look out the window. It’s hard to make a dramatic, tough guy exit that way, and I wanted to do just that. I found myself stomping along the trail in the woods instead of just walking, long after I was out of view of the cabin. I finally stopped and leaned against a tree and gave in to rubbing my shoulder, and supporting it with my other arm. 

Old instincts die hard, so after I’d been there a few minutes and I heard twigs snapping, the sound of someone approaching, I was sorry I didn’t have my gun. It didn’t occur to me it would be Danny, since I’d just turned a marriage proposal into telling him off.

“You should put this on,” he said, holding up the sling. “Don’t be a stubborn asshole. Let me help you.” So I did. I stood there and let him help me put the sling on after I’d just told him off for being hurt about something I could kind of understand and not wanting a marriage proposal as a consolation prize. “You shouldn’t have slammed the door like that.”

“No, you’re right, I’m sorry.”

“I don’t mean it that way. I mean it was a bad idea for your shoulder.”

“I know that. Now,” I admitted. “Danny, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to...I’m not sure how to fix this.”

“I’m sorry I threw your proposal back in your face. It’s just...you have no idea how much I wanted to hear that from you but how much I didn’t want it to be a way for you to fix something, or because you felt guilty about something else. I don’t want you to feel like you have to marry me or make me your partner officially or anything else.”

“Maybe we could go back to the cabin and talk? Do you still have any of that pain stuff left?” I asked, since my shoulder felt like someone jabbed it with a hot poker and I knew nothing would feel better than Danny rubbing it with some of that stuff and fussing over me. My training would serve me well to help me crawl through the jungle with a limb dangling if I had to, but having someone who loved me putting all kinds of effort into making my pain go away was getting addictive.

“I’ve got some of that, yeah. I packed extra,” he added, smiling. 

“You’re not mad?”

“I’m disappointed. Not mad exactly. I know you think it’s silly, so let’s just drop it. Come on, I’ll take care of your shoulder.”

“Danny, wait,” I said, catching his arm as he started back toward the cabin. 

The sun was getting low in the sky and it was streaming through the trees. I loved the way he looked in this light. He was wearing a gray, long-sleeved t-shirt, and he’d pushed the sleeves up a little. I love his arms, the color of the hair on them when the light hits it, their sturdiness and strength, hands that are strong and capable and gentler than any other hands that ever touched me. I thought about making love to him that morning and the prospect of waking up next to him every day for the rest of my life. I was already counting on that, but counting on that comes with a commitment. In a matter of a few minutes, I’d managed to fuck up both ways he felt committed to me. 

I took him in my arms and kissed him. I wasn’t sure how he’d react, but he kissed back and held onto me, responding like there wasn’t a thing wrong between us. I wanted so much for that to be true. I’d do anything to make him happy, and anything to not hurt him. He’d gotten a lot of that from his other relationships, and he wasn’t going to get it from me.

“As soon as we get home, I’m gonna find out what paperwork I need to fix in regard to Five-0. Change your title, so you’re officially my partner. It’s not because I didn’t feel that way about you, Danno. It’s because I did, and I’m in charge, and I hate paperwork so I didn’t do what I needed to do to properly document everything. Okay?”

He was still in my arms, and he let his head rest on my shoulder. I held him close and stroked his hair.

“Aw, come on, the hair again?” he teased, moving away, checking for the imaginary damage he thought I’d done to his ‘do. 

“There are a couple squirrels in the trees who’ll notice it’s not perfect, so let’s get you back to the cabin where there’s a mirror,” I needled. “You have a problem with me messing up your hair when we’re making love?”

“We’re not making love.”

“We could fix that.”

“So you’re just doing this paperwork thing to get in my pants?” I knew he was joking now, and my heart danced a little because I knew he was okay. That we were okay. 

“What if I am?”

“I’d hate to have your good intentions go unrewarded,” he replied, grabbing my hand and pulling me by my good arm toward the cabin.

“Wait a minute. What’s wrong with right here? It’s beautiful here.” I managed to stop the locomotive that is Danny Williams in motion long enough for him to pause and look back at me like I was insane.

“Bugs and...and...yard waste up my ass, that’s what’s wrong with it.”

“Yard waste? In the forest? Seriously?”

“Leaves, twigs, weeds - yard waste! What if there’s something poisonous out here? You want me to have a rash on my ass for the rest of this trip?”

“So don’t lie down.” I backed him up against a tree and started unfastening his belt. 

“What are you doing?”

“What does it look like?” I got down on my knees. “I’ll give you a hint, I’m not proposing again. Next time I do that, I’m gonna do it right.”

“There was nothing wrong with how you did it.”

“There was something wrong with it, Danny. You were right. I was using one thing to fix the other, and both of them are too important to do that. You’re too important to do that. Now will you shut up and let me suck your dick already?”

“You say the sweetest things, babe,” he said, laughing, touching my hair.

“Now you’re doing the hair thing and it’s okay?”

“Until you grow it out more, there isn’t enough to mess up for you to worry about.”

“Sometimes I can’t figure out why the hell I’m in love with you.”

“As long as you are, I’ll take that as a win,” he said, smiling down at me.

“I am.” I finally freed him from his pants and took him in my mouth, getting one hand inside his underwear to play with his balls. He leaned his head back against the tree and gasped my name in the huskiest, sexiest tone I’d heard out of him yet. I could feel my own cock straining to get loose and enjoy itself, so I unzipped myself and jerked off while I was still working on Danny. He looked so hot there with his pants open and his head back, holding onto the tree trunk now with both hands to control himself. He’d moved his hand out of my hair when he started really getting into it, and I suspect that was to avoid pulling it out in clumps. 

“God, Steve...babe...I’m gonna lose it,” he warned, and I was ready for him. I’m a quick study and I didn’t miss a drop this time. I was pretty proud of myself for that, because I was coming while he was. When I released him, I broke his descent as he slid down the tree trunk and landed on his butt at the base of it. His pants were still covering him, so I wouldn’t get complaints about critters or foreign objects violating him. I sat next to him against the tree, and he took my hand.

“Love you, babe,” he said. He kissed the back of my hand. I don’t know if anybody ever kissed my hand before. I liked it. “Let me take care of you.”

“Already done.”

“That’s the legendary military efficiency at work, huh?”

“That’s it. And you make me really hot when you come, so a couple good jerks do the job.”

“I do, huh?” 

“You’re really something else, Danny,” I said. I wasn’t sure how to put it into words, but I love watching him, looking at him, seeing him in that unguarded state of pleasure...

“You’re not too bad yourself. Think we should go back to the cabin and see what comes up?”

“Nice pun.”

“Thank you.”

“How about sleeping under the stars on the roll away bed?”

“That sounds nice.” 

I’d finally found a way to make camping sound appealing to Danny. He’d signed up for it when we went with Grace’s little troupe of Aloha Girls on that disastrous camping trip. Even as I was trudging through the woods with a little girl and a gun-wielding criminal, I felt especially cheated out of a night cuddled up in a tent with Danny. It’s not that I thought we’d do anything, but I always loved spending time with him, and I was picturing all his fussing and griping and nesting that would be necessary to make the sleeping bags and tent suitable for his tastes, and then all the stupid crap we’d talk about, how we’d get laughing about something, and the beers we’d be able to share out of view of a bunch of little girls.

And he did have to spend a couple nights camping with me when we hiked out to that grave site in Cambodia. No complaining that time...I guess he knew I needed him to just be there and support me, and that’s what he did. He didn’t have to really complain. I watched him fussing around with things he didn’t like, and sucking it up in uncharacteristic stoicism because he was doing it for a cause he believed in - being my best friend, and mypartner, even if he thought I was fucking insane to go through all that to look in a grave.

When we got back to the cabin, we soaked in the hot tub for a while and it did help my shoulder and any other aches and pains that still made their presence known. I was feeling better, but I had a ways to go to get back to full speed. Once we were dried off, we went inside and Danny rubbed some of his miracle potion on my shoulder and gave me a back rub that made me realize I was the luckiest man alive. 

It was a cool, clear night, so we put on sweats and socks and lay on our backs on the roll away bed and looked at the stars, extra blankets handy for when it got colder. There was no rain in the forecast, and very little wind, so it was a perfect night for stargazing. I named some of the constellations, and he listened to me talk about them. We dozed off like that, and I didn’t come to again until sunrise. A couple of the blankets were over us, so Danny must have felt chilly through the night and covered us. He was sleeping soundly yet, his head near my shoulder.

I let myself doze a bit, drifting in and out of a state of peace and happy dreams. There were no terrorists, no machetes, no pain, no violence in that place. Just Danny’s even breathing next to me, birds chirping, the sun coming through the trees, and the promise of a new beginning. 

********

We were both a little sad to pack up on the last day of our vacation, but we were anxious to see Grace, and get started on our new life together. I wasn’t looking forward to moving, though I was looking forward to living with Steve. His bruises were almost gone, and his shoulder was feeling better. I knew he wasn’t looking forward to PT, but we’d get through that together, and he’d rise to the occasion and do just fine with it. I’d buy more pain gel and give him more massages. Not something I really minded doing. Anybody who doesn’t want an excuse to rub Steve’s muscles is probably dead.

He walked into the bedroom, fresh out of the shower, towel around his hips. I stared at him, enjoyed the sight of him, because I could. I didn’t have to steal a look. He was my lover and I could look all I wanted. I wanted to look. A lot. Steve’s just so damneddefined. He’s not just muscular, or in great shape, he’s sculpted. Throw in the tattoos and that dusting of dark chest hair, and those eyes of his. Sexy Eyes, indeed.

“See something you like?”

“A couple things,” I said, trying to get back to focusing on packing up the last of our stuff. If we got sidetracked now, we’d never make it to the airstrip in time to catch our plane. We’d already gotten sidetracked once that morning and that had put us both a bit behind schedule.

“Hey, Danno, I need to talk to you for a second.” He sat on the bed and when I stood in front of him, he held onto my hips and encouraged me to straddle his lap. 

“This isn’t the way to keep us on schedule for our plane,” I told him, kissing him, thinking this position was a little weird at first - I’d never sat on another guy’s lap before, but then I’d never sat on another guy’s dick, either, and that had been quite a good experience earlier that morning. 

“After we get some things sorted out at home, I’m gonna ask you a question again. I just want you to know that.”

“Good, because the baby is yours and I’m keeping it.” That made him laugh out loud, and I loved seeing that. He’d been through so much, and to see him happy, laughing, and getting back to the sweet, goofy, loveable guy he’s always been made me happier than anything else.

“I don’t ever want you to question where you stand with me. It’s right at the center of everything that matters, Danny. I mean that.”

“I know. Besides, if you ever try to leave me, I’ll hunt you down.”

“You think you could manage that?”

“Not a doubt in my mind. Because I’d spend my life looking for you. And I always will.” I kissed him, slid my hand into his damp hair, and wished we had a couple more hours in our retreat from the world to follow through on it. 

“I guess we have to get going, huh?”

“What is this? Have I corrupted Steve McGarrett so completely that he’s contemplating being late for something?”

“If we didn’t have a plane to catch, I’d do more than contemplate.”

“Save that thought.” I kissed him again and reluctantly moved away. “We’re almost packed.”

“There’s still toilet paper in the bathroom,” he said.

“All right, so I bought too much toilet paper,” I replied, laughing at him this time. “That’s not something you want to run out of.”

“We have six rolls left.”

“Better than being six rolls short,” I retorted, still smiling. I tried to ignore the fact he’d taken the towel off and was wandering around the bedroom, naked. I thought he was just getting off on exposing himself and driving me nuts when he finally explained himself.

“Danny, I hate to break this to you, but while I was in the shower, you packed all my clothes.”

We both got a laugh out of that as I opened up one of the bags and began pulling out what he’d need for the day. 

********

I didn’t especially like going our separate ways when we got back to Oahu, but I needed to take in my mail, return some phone calls, and do some laundry. I also needed to think about what I wanted to move into Steve’s place right away, versus the stuff that could wait. Most of it could wait. I mainly needed my clothes and personal effects. His house was pretty well furnished and most of the stuff was in good shape, so we’d look over my stuff together and figure out if any of the furniture was going. I had some stuff on the walls I liked, especially my family photos, but that was a given those would travel with me. I suspect I had some better, newer kitchen items since once I had a respectable kitchen, I had to stock it, and that was recent.

My phone rang, and it was Steve. I smiled like a lovesick teenager and answered it on the second ring.

“Hey, Sexy Eyes,” I said.

“Miss me yet, Boo Boo?”

“Enough that I’m not even gonna give you a hard time for calling me ‘Boo Boo’.”

“You’re coming over here tonight, though, right?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there,” I said, and I turned to mush at the little bit of wistfulness in his voice that let me know how much he wanted me there. “Everything okay?”

“Fine. Just going through the mail and threw the laundry in. Exciting stuff. When are we gonna get together with Grace?”

“I left Rachel a voice mail. I think you’re right about us telling her first. I asked her if she could meet us for lunch tomorrow.”

“Okay. You want to order pizza or something tonight?”

“I can bring Chinese.”

“Sounds great.” 

“And some of my stuff so I’m not running back and forth.”

“Even better.”

“Love you, babe,” I said. 

“I love you, too, Danno. See ya later, buddy.”

********

We were happily camped out on Steve's couch, sharing a container of garlic chicken, when the doorbell rang. 

"You expecting anybody?" I asked.

"No." Steve got up and went to the door, peering out the little ornate window first. "It's Rachel," he said, frowning, before he opened the door. I was on my feet in an instant, panicked that there was something going on with Grace that would send Rachel to see me in person.

"Rachel, come in," Steve greeted, stepping back for her to enter. 

"Is Grace okay?" I asked. I guess I sounded worried, because her expression softened a bit.

"She's fine. I got your message, and I can't make it tomorrow. Stan's home this evening, so I thought I'd slip out on the chance we could talk about whatever it was tonight. You weren't at home so I figured you'd be here," she said. I guess Steve and I always have wound up at each other's places fairly often. "You said you and Steve wanted to see me." She was wearing a pretty light colored dress and sandals; Grace was getting her emerging sense of style from her mother.

"Yes, we did," Steve said. "Please, sit down." She chose a seat on the large ottoman by the easy chair. "Would you like something to drink? Egg roll?" he offered, smiling. 

"No, I'm fine, thank you. We just had dinner - which it looks like I'm interrupting for you two."

"This is more important," I said. Steve and I sat on the couch. "There's something we need to tell you. We decided to talk with you before we tell Grace."

"Tell Grace what?" she asked. Steve looked at me, giving me the chance to start the ball rolling since she was my ex.

"You know Steve and I have always been close. For a long time now."

"Yes, and?" She seemed confused and a bit impatient.

"Well, recently..." I paused. "When Steve got hurt on this last...mission, it really brought some things into clear focus for me about what's important to me. How I feel about him." I knew it was coming out clumsy and I wasn't saying it well. So I reached over and took Steve's hand. "We're together."

"Together...as in, romantically together?" she asked.

"Yeah, for as long as he'll have me," Steve said, lacing our fingers together and looking at me like I was the best thing on earth. I loved him so much at that moment I couldn't have expressed it in words. "Danny's moving in with me, and we want to tell Grace as soon as possible."

"Well, that certainly explains a lot. You could have just told me, Danny." She got up and started pacing. "I can't say I'm surprised."

"What do you mean?" I asked, though I had a sinking suspicion where this was going.

"You used me for some charade of a marriage when you were gay all along."

"I wasn't gay, and our marriage wasn't a charade. Steve's the only man I've been with."

"This is going to be very confusing for Grace," she said.

"How is this confusing?" Steve asked, and I knew he was simmering after the insult she'd thrown at me. "Danny and I fell in love and we're together. I think Grace could have figured that out as soon as she mastered Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Don't sell your daughter short. She's a very smart, open-minded young lady."

"She's twelve!"

"And we didn't raise her to be a bigot," I said. 

"This isn't about bigotry. It's about her believing a certain thing about her parents and then suddenly having all that turned upside down."

"You've moved on with your life with Stan, so now it's Danny's turn to move on with his life, with someone who loves him. How is that upside down? Because I'm a man?"

"Look, Rachel, we're not going to tell Grace anything...inappropriate or beyond what she can understand, but Steve and I are together and we're going to be together when Grace is with me. Steve's going to be a more active, regular part of her life, like Stan is when she's with you."

“Well, that’ll be safe for her, won’t it? It’s bad enough the kind of danger you’re in by association since you partnered up with Steve, but now you want our daughter right in the middle of it?”

“We weren’t planning to take her on the job with us, Rachel,” Steve said. The simmer was bubbling a bit more now. Steve is a gentleman around women, and his anger is a slow burn, but eventually, he hits a breaking point. He stood up. That point was approaching. “And don’t start playing the danger card here. She’s never been car jacked or had her home ransacked when she was with Danny or me.”

“She was never kidnaped because of me!” she protested.

“What’s really bothering you about this, Rachel?” I asked, standing.

“I just told you. I don’t want my daughter spending part of her formative years around nothing but guns and criminals and violence!”

“You had a kid with a cop!” I protested. “Guns and criminals and violence go with the job. That didn’t bother you then. And when have I ever let anything like that touch Grace?”

“That was before you started spending your time with Hawaii’s answer to James Bond,” she said, picking up her purse and storming toward the door. “I’m going to talk to my lawyer.”

“Just stop,” Steve said, and it was on the tip of my tongue to tell him to not make it worse, but if we were together like this, truly a couple now, he had a right to have his say. “I don’t want you threatening Danny with your lawyers anymore. That stops now. He’s a good father to Grace and he doesn’t have that coming. Whatever you think about me, I love Grace like she was my own daughter and I would die protecting her. She is notin danger, and you know it.”

“How do I know that? Look at you! You’re barely healed up from your most recent...secret mission gone bad!”

“You don’t want to start this thing with threatening Danny about custody. Please take my word for that and let’s end it there.”

“Or what? You’ll send some international thug after me?”

“No, but Stan’s got enough skeletons in his closet that I don’t think you want dragged into the light. You’re not the only one who can bring in big gun lawyers, and just be sure your current husband is clean enough to withstand a background check like he’s never withstood before. And, that he’s willing to suffer some financial setbacks to continue enjoying the privilege of being Grace’s stepfather. Add to that, be sure you don’t want to tell all your friends about your affair with Danny and stringing him along telling him Charles was his child, and then ditching him to go back to your rich husband because you claim you got your dates wrong. Maybe we need a DNA test on Charles just to verify that. After all, if you made another mistake, Danny should have visitation rights with his son, too.”

“Steve, don’t,” I said. That was a painful wound for me, too, and I really didn’t want it brought up that way. 

“You don’t mind fighting dirty, do you?” she asked, and I could see she was shaken by that threat. It was awful, but it was effective. Something twisted inside me, and for a horrible moment, I wondered if she’d lied to me about Charles because she wanted to go back to her husband... It was in her eyes, the fear I saw there, which is not Rachel’s style. As soon as Steve brought up the baby’s paternity, her whole posture changed.

“Are we done threatening each other? Grace has two sets of parents who love her. From where I sit, that’s a good thing for her. Maybe we should quit before we do something that destroys it.”

“Tell Grace whenever you like,” she said, her hand on the doorknob. “I hope you’re happy, Daniel,” she said to me before walking out and closing the door behind her.

“Oh my God,” I said, sitting on the couch. 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to all come out like that, but I’ve watched you suffer through four years of bullshit with her and Stan and worrying about whether or not they were going to punish you for your job or use it against you to take Grace away from you. Stan doesn’t know about what went on between you two while they were having problems, does he?”

“She told me that once she'd told Stan it was over, and that she was getting back together with me, and about the baby, that she didn't want to be here anymore. That's why I agreed to go back East with her and Grace. I just assumed she told him everything when she left.”

"Maybe she didn't. She wouldn't have to tell him everything. Do you think he even knows you slept together?"

"I just assumed she told him. It's not like that's a conversation I've had with Stan since all that happened."

“Danny, I’m sorry if I overstepped with Rachel, but her threatening you with taking Grace away pushed me a little too far, and it’s gone on long enough.”

“What if you’re right?”

“About which part of it?” Then realization seemed to dawn, and he sat next to me on the couch. “You really think Charles might be yours?”

“She did back down pretty fast after you threatened her with a DNA test on him.”

“That could be because of Stan, even if it is his kid. If she didn't tell him everything, or fudged the timing on the pregnancy and didn't tell him about it before she went back to him.”

“I believed Rachel when she said the baby wasn’t mine. God, Steve, you think she lied to me about that just to end it with me, so she could go back to Stan without any sticky strings attached?”

“Admitting you’ve been sleeping with your ex is a pretty sticky string, Danny. Add to that being pregnant...I can see a healthy motive to lie.”

“You suspected her of that, didn’t you?”

“Truthfully? I wanted to steal the kid’s pacifier and have Max run the DNA, but I wouldn’t have done that to you, behind your back. There’s loving someone, and then there’s trusting them. I learned that dealing with my mother.”

“Why didn’t you say something?”

“We weren’t together this way when Charles was born, and it was your business. You made the decision to take Rachel at her word. Now she’s trying to jerk you around about custody again and I’m done sitting back and letting her get away with it.”

“You’ve always been there for me when she’s given me a hard time about custody, right from the start. You pulled strings for me then, and we were just friends...not even long-time friends at that.”

“You’re a good father, Danny. I could see that - anybody can. You gave up your life for Grace, just to be close to her, and came someplace you hated and started over by yourself. You didn’t deserve to be treated that way, and Grace didn’t deserve to not have you in her life as much as you could be.”

“You still up for stealing Charles' pacifier?” I asked. Steve laughed.

“The kid’s what, two now? We might need another plan.” He paused. “Do you want a DNA test, Danny?”

“Yes and no.”

“You need to be prepared to handle it if she’s telling the truth and he’s not yours.”

“I’ve already been down that road. I’m assuming he’s not mine. But what if he is and I don’t check it out? I took her at face value, and maybe that was wrong.”

“How do you want to handle it?”

“I’ll just tell Rachel I want the test done, and we can keep it quiet until we get the results back. If he’s Stan’s, nobody has to know about it. If he’s mine, then we’re back in court again for custody, because I want to be part of his life.” I leaned back on the couch, wishing I could recapture even a tenth of the serenity we had at the cabin. Steve did the same, so we were shoulder to shoulder.

“No matter how this test goes, I just want you to stop worrying about losing Grace. I promise you, nobody’s going to take her away from you, and that’s that.” He moved to put his arm behind me and I was glad to put my head on his good shoulder and get close to him. He started playing with my hair, and I knew he was doing it to tease me. I really needed the distraction.

“You’ve got a thing for my hair, babe,” I joked, reaching up and catching his hand and holding onto it.

“I’ve got a thing for you, Boo Boo.” And he said it in a terrible Yogi Bear voice that made me burst out laughing while he hugged me against his side.

********

I stared at the ceiling, thinking about the conversation with Rachel. I looked over at Danny, glad but a little surprised he was sleeping so soundly. I must have disturbed him with that feeling of being stared at, because he stirred and turned his head to look at me.

“You okay, babe?” he asked, looking concerned. 

“Better now,” I said, taking his hand. “Nothing’s wrong. I was just thinking.”

“Don’t hurt yourself,” he teased, yawning. “What time is it?”

“I don’t know. You think you could wake up enough to do it?”

“I’m awake,” he said immediately. “Who wouldn’t wake up for you?” he asked, rolling toward me and kissing me. 

We kissed for a while, but our hands were busy getting rid of underwear and doing a little mutual jerking off to get things going. I didn’t wake him up for a hand job, though. I was nibbling on his earlobe when I told him what I wanted.

“I want you inside me.”

“You sure?” he asked, but he sounded hopeful. We had done it a few times with him on the receiving end, and it had gone well. Very, very well. For both of us. He hadn’t pressured me about reversing things again, and I loved him for that, but I was more than ready to take another shot at it. 

“Real sure,” I said, and that made him smile. 

“Can you lie on your side?”

“You don’t have to ask twice,” I joked, easing onto the good shoulder-side. I wasn’t ready to run any marathons yet, but I was feeling better. I was thinking of getting Danny to go out and play in the water with me a little in the morning. Strenuous swimming wasn’t on the menu yet, but a little gentle movement was going to get me limbered up again.

“I love you a whole lot, you know,” Danny said, snuggling up behind me.

“I know,” I replied, and I did, and do know. Danny was my way back to being okay again. He wasn’t just my reason for getting through it, he was my source of strength until I could stand on my own two feet again. “I love you, too, Danno.” He kissed my shoulder in response to that and his hand ran gently across my chest, pausing to tweak at my nipples. His other hand moved lower, and I wondered if he was a magician, because I had no idea how he'd gotten his hands on the lube, or how he had some on his finger that fast. 

He did to me what I'd done to him - just kind of teased me, ran his finger back and forth down there until I really wanted him to do more. "Want you so much, babe," he said, kissing my neck, easing his finger in me. I was really relaxed in his arms, and the position was a lot easier than the first time. I still had some pain in my side and my shoulder, but it was a lot less intense than before, and I could focus on the good things going on instead of trying to regulate my breathing so I could deal with my bruised ribs.

"I'm all yours, mea aloha," I replied. "I have been for a long time." And it was true. I wonder if, on some level, Catherine had felt that. I did love her, but Danny had my heart, and he always will. I think Rachel felt it when Danny stayed in Hawaii as long as he did when I was in jail. I figured that's what made her so angry when we finally got together. It validated what she suspected all along.

"Makes me the luckiest guy alive," he said, stretching me, spreading the slippery stuff inside me. It felt good, and so did the kisses he kept planting along my neck and shoulder, his thigh rubbing against mine. I wanted to feel him in me again, to be that connected to him. "I'm gonna try two fingers, okay?"

"Yeah, it's good," I said, smiling, leaning back into him. 

"Better than before?" he asked hopefully. 

"Way better," I confirmed, though I didn't want him to think he'd done anything wrong the first time. 

The second finger was a bit of a challenge - Danny doesn't have small hands or skinny fingers - but it still felt good, and when he went after my prostate, it was off the fucking charts. I think my shouts scared seabirds off the beach. I was more than ready when he withdrew his fingers and I felt his cock against me. It felt good when he eased inside me, even if it was a stretch. I wanted him in there, in me and around me. 

"You feel so good, babe. Love you," he whispered, stroking my cock as he started moving carefully in and out. 

"Relax, partner. It feels good. Just enjoy it." I knew he was tentative and nervous, afraid of hurting me. He wasn't hurting me and I wanted him to move. I wanted him to feel good and I wanted the motion. He was moving a little faster now, more decisively, and the pressure on my prostate was making me groan and call out his name. I knew I wouldn't last long when he increased the pressure on my cock, pumping it in time with his strokes inside me. 

"Love you, love you, love you," he was gasping against my ear, and something about the emotion and passion his voice made me even hotter, and I lost it, coming like crazy, hearing him crying out my name as he came inside me. 

We lay there quietly, joined, while we caught our breath. He tightened his hold on me and went back to kissing my neck, shoulder, arm, back...anything he could reach easily. He caressed my chest, his hand coming to rest over my heart. I covered his hand with mine, and laced our fingers.

"Steven?" 

"Yeah?"

"Will you marry me?" he asked in a soft whisper by my ear.

"Name the time and place, Danno. Yes."

"Good," he replied, sighing, and I could hear the smile in his voice. 

"I was gonna ask you again."

"Yeah, I know, but I didn't wanna wait for you."

"You're just plain impatient, aren't you? Is that a Jersey thing?"

"I don't think I'll ever master that laid back island vibe," he replied, chuckling, squeezing me tighter. "Shit, am I hurting you? I forgot and just hugged you pretty hard."

"No, you're not. Hug me hard anytime you want."

********

I can't think of many mornings when I wake up before Steve, but I did that morning. I was still holding him, curled around his back. I tried not to move much or disturb him, because it's so rare I get to watch him sleep. He's so good-looking; he turns heads no matter where we go. He's tall, and he's got that air of confidence...add that to his looks and his brains and he owns anyplace he walks into. And he picked me. Sometimes I still can't believe it. 

That morning, I couldn't believe I was the one who got to wake up naked, a little sweaty, pressed up against him and crazy in love with him. I'd get to watch those dark lashes start moving, then open to show me his beautiful eyes. He'd smile at me, and look at me with all kinds of love. 

For now, though, he was still, at peace, his chest rising and falling evenly as he slept. He wasn't having nightmares and he didn't seem to be in much pain. His bruises were almost completely gone now, and you'd barely know to look at his handsome face how much he'd been through. 

Making love to him that way, knowing he liked it, that it felt good to him, I felt on top of the world, and more than a little protective of him. He didn't need my protection - he could take on anything I could, and then some - but maybe his good heart and his gentle nature could use someone to look out for them. I was up for that job for the next fifty years or so.

"'Morning," he said, yawning and stretching, though he seemed to remember quickly to make it a modified stretch to not aggravate his healing body. It still gave me a nice view of that perfect body with all its sculpted muscle, soft skin, and nice dusting of dark hair in all the right places.

"Yeah, it sure is a good morning, babe." I reluctantly moved back a little to let him turn over. I wasn't in any big hurry to let him out of my arms. Of course, now I could look into his eyes and see the big smile I was getting, so that was okay, too.

"How about a swim? I need to start moving things around again before I start PT on my shoulder."

"I could go for that. But you're gonna take it easy to start out, right?"

"I'll go slow so you can keep up with me," he teased, running his hand across my chest.

"After that, maybe we can have breakfast."

"Kamekona's breakfast burritos?" he suggested.

"Keep doing that and I'll even eat Spam," I said, kissing him, enjoying the feeling of his hand on my chest and his not-so-accidental way of brushing over my tits while he was doing it. I really wanted to give him something special, so I slid down in the bed and went to town with my mouth on his morning hard-on. I love making him shout my name and go crazy for me. I was getting better at it, and he didn't seem to mind living through the learning curve with me. 

I know doing him like that was getting me hot and bothered and then I started thinking about the night before and he was shouting my name and coming...and just like that, I came, too, with a couple clumsy jerks from my own hand. I flopped on my back on the bed, and he rolled until he wound up with his head on my shoulder and his arm around my middle. He slid his hand down a little, and chuckled when he found that there was nothing left he needed to do for me.

"A little quick on the draw this morning, Danno?"

"You're really hot when you come. Give a guy a break," I added, kissing the top of his head. I hoped he was planning on a little nap before we got up for that swim. 

"After starting the day that way, you can have whatever you want."

"I'll keep that in mind."

We did relax a while and then got up and went out for a swim. He wasn't doing his usual cardiovascular full body power swim, but rather a more relaxed version of it, so we were actually able to enjoy being out there, swimming together. 

"How's the shoulder?" I asked as we were toweling off, walking back up to the house.

"Sore, but not like it was. After we take a shower, I wouldn't object to a massage with some of your magic muscle potion."

"After we take a shower? I like where this is going." I took his hand while we were walking up to the house, and he gave me a big smile for that, squeezing my hand. I didn't bother clarifying it was just some over the counter pain relief stuff. I'm sure he knew that, but I don't think Steve was used to having someone take care of his aches and pains. That's probably because he takes stoicism to a new level. My forearm is shattered but I have a couple twigs and rag, so I'm good. I'm glad he lets me see under that armor of his.

"I like where it's going, too," he said, stopping us out on the lawn for a minute to kiss me. It's amazing how beautiful the ocean and the beach and the flowers and the foliage looked to me now. I never did develop much of a passion for Hawaii, but I obviously had one for Steve, and the sights and sounds of those islands are part of what I associate with him. So it was all beautiful now in a way it never had been before. 

We went inside and took a shower, and it veered off track just the way you'd expect it would. He gave me a hard time about how long it took me to style my hair and I shot back at him with some equally acid assessment of his lack of effort on his own. I happily gave him that massage he asked for, and enjoyed moving my hands over his perfect body when my guts weren't being ripped out by his bruises and his pain. It was kind of nice to just focus on making him feel good. Our itches were sufficiently scratched to the point I'm not sure I had another round in me right then, and Steve was obviously a boneless mass on the bed, groaning in pleasure at the massage.

We stopped at Rainbow for breakfast, because as much as I think of Kamekona as a friend, his breakfast concoctions have a way of coming back to visit me uninvited by about noon. We sat in the car eating our food out of boxes, listening to the radio and talking about picking up a couple movies Grace would like, since Rachel was going to drop her off at the house in time for dinner. It was Friday, and we were going to have her for the weekend and tell her our big news. Steve answered me and added a few comments here and there, but he seemed quiet.

"Out with it," I finally said. 

"What?"

"You're only half here."

"Honestly?" he asked, looking a little troubled.

"No, why don't you lie to me? That's why I asked." I was glad that made him snort and smile a bit.

"I was thinking about Catherine. She didn't much care for this place."

"Women don't think of eating out of a box as a date."

"So I discovered."

"Didn't you get car jacked?"

"That part wasn't my fault."

"You took her to a fast food place and got car jacked. It's a good thing you're as hot as you are or you'd have never gotten any before you met me."

"I'm hot, huh?" he asked, grinning.

"Incendiary," I replied through a mouthful. "It's been a while since you've heard anything."

"Yeah, I was just wondering if she was okay, where she is. It's one of our team unaccounted for, and it doesn’t set well."

"Catherine was part of Five-0, and we've never been good at turning our backs on one of our own," I said, still digging around in the box to finish my breakfast. I was starving and it tasted good. Sitting next to Steve made pretty much anything okay. I looked up and he was staring at me with this odd little smile. "What?"

"Nothing," he said, but he was still smiling as he went back to his food. "I guess I should have dated guys before," he said.

"Not guys," I corrected. "This guy." I pointed at my chest.

"When you're right, you're right, Boo Boo."

"Don't forget it, Sexy Eyes."

 

TO BE CONTINUED...