The thing is, it's embarrassing. Steve thinks so, anyway.
And really, it shouldn't be. He's a Navy SEAL, for fuck's sake - it's not like he can't appreciate the value of taking rest when you can get it. He's slept strapped into trees, curled up on rock ledges - once, with his arms wedged into a piece of floating debris while he waited to get picked up by chopper off the coast of... somewhere he's still not supposed to talk about.
But somehow, calling a nap makes it weird. Embarrassing. Not that he can admit that or anything.
If only Danny agreed with him.
The whole thing is absolutely Danny's fault.
Danny is a big believer in naps. He's practically a nap missionary. He's always telling people to go home and sleep, throwing cushions at Steve's face when he's nodding at his desk when they're stuck waiting at HQ until late at night and shoving him towards his couch. Steve often finds Danny asleep in his office on his lunch break when they don't go out - half-reclined on his office couch, one arm behind his head, a book open on his chest.
Steve tries not to linger too long, watching, staring, but he's seen an awful lot of Danny the half-dozen times he's found him napping - the way early afternoon light hits him and makes the hair on his arms and in the tugged-open collar of his shirt glow; the way his lashes are golden-pale against his cheeks; the way he kicks off his shoes and props his stocking feet up on the arm of the couch; the way that sleep not only softens Danny's sharp and prickly edges, but throws him into sharp relief, as well. Sometimes he feels like he notices Danny more than other people — as if Danny's details are more vivid than other people's.
Or maybe it's just something that happens to people when they don't know they're being observed and has nothing to do with Steve at all.
Once, Danny wakes up and finds him there, and Steve has to cover, because his brain is going places he gave it no leave to go.
"You need your teddy bear?" Steve says, after an uncomfortably long moment of feeling like his face has frozen in an embarrassingly fond expression. When he smirks down at his partner, it feels a little forced, but Danny is rubbing at his eyes like an eight-year-old kid, blinking up at Steve.
"Huh?" Danny says, and then "no, thanks. You want something?" Danny's voice is rough and thick with sleep and he's not even bothered by the dig, which Steve finds weirdly annoying. He's grown accustomed to (and takes comfort in) his ability to annoy Danny to distraction, and this sudden desertion by his newfound superpowers is disturbing.
"You know," Steve says, trying for sarcasm but not quite reaching it, "most grown-ups do not take naps in the middle of the day."
"Not true," Danny returns, running a hand through his messy hair. He doesn't seem to have noticed Steve's discomfort; maybe he's not quite awake. "Mr. world traveller - you never heard of a siesta? Naps, they are good for you. You should try it some time."
"Yeah, well," Steve says, shocked that he not only doesn't have a good retort for that, but that he is totally out of parting smirks. Instead, he looks uncertainly away towards the wall, uncrosses his arms, and books it out of there. Danny's laughter echoes after him for what feels like the rest of the day.
They have two high-profile, high-priority cases in a row - like they ever have anything else - and they all sleep almost not at all for nearly a month. It starts to get alarming by day two of the second week during day two (and hour thirty-three) of a kidnapping case, when Kono nods off during a briefing and almost falls out of her chair. She's saved only at the last second by Danny, who uses his creepily-astute Dad reflexes to somehow teleport across the room and cradle a big gentle hand around the side of her head before she can crack it on the table edge.
Kono is flushed with embarrassment but mostly drawn with exhaustion. The meeting stops while Danny hustles her slender and un-protesting self into her office, points firmly at the couch, and stands over her while she curls up against the arm and drops off like a rock. He does all this while loudly admonishing everyone in the exact same voice Steve has heard him use to scold Gracie for going too near the water alone at the beach behind Steve's house. Steve is knocked nearly flat and a little freaked out by the rush of overwhelming fondness he suddenly feels for Danny, who stomps back to the table and levels at Chin and Steve a look so utterly don't-fuck-with-me that whatever jibe Steve had on the tip of his tongue dies on the spot, and Chin slumps almost meekly down in his chair. There's a pause, and the briefing goes on, a little more subdued.
The following afternoon, a huge sectional sofa appears at the back of their headquarters, in the big vacant space they've mostly been using to store empty boxes and the paper shredder. Steve comes in in the morning and it's just there, lurking quietly in the shadows just out of view of the briefing table. They've all got something resembling couches in their offices, but this thing was clearly built for napping.
Late that night (or early the next morning, to be strictly accurate), Chin comes back from a stake-out that nets them absolutely nothing, sits down at the big table for only about thirty seconds before Danny glares meaningfully at him, and then gets up and shuffles over to the couch and conks out for two hours. In the end, the missing kid is sent home with her parents and the team doesn't even have to take a day off to recover like they usually do.
Steve, who doesn't want to go home when it's already morning, has nodded off three times in his desk chair by ten-thirty AM. He jerks awake every time with a crick in his neck and Danny looking smug in his office door.
Steve's not a paranoid man (no matter what Danny says), but sometimes it really does feel like the universe is just fucking with him. After the pretty extraordinarily bad run they have been experiencing for the past 1.5 days — two drug-runners, one kidnapping and a money-laundering scam — the storm feels like the icing on the cake. A tropical storm, to be precise, with high winds and a blackout that traps Steve's truck in the parking garage and strands him at 5-0 headquarters.
Steve is aware that he's in a bad mood by the end of the first hour; he sent Chin and Kono home when the rain started coming down for real around noon and Danny left a little after that to pick Grace up from school and take her back to her mom. He’s also exhausted, nodding off every time he sits still for more than a minute or two, so he keeps moving — it’s barely three in the afternoon and he’s not up for giving in yet.
Steve tries not to stomp his feet as he goes around checking the locks on the windows and doors and making sure all the important computer stuff is powered down, though Chin, probably not trusting him to do it, dealt with most of it before he left. Eventually he's left standing in the middle of the main room, hands in his pockets, shoulders hunched up around his ears, trying not to listen to all the things that Danny is saying in his head. Things like “maybe you should have taken that ride Kono offered you, Captain Independence.” He’s standing at the outside entrance, imagining Danny glaring at him for forgetting to bring a jacket when the branch comes in through the window.
In the aftermath, he’s crouched behind the never-used reception desk with his arms over his head, heart pounding. He can hear the tinkle of safety glass trickling to the floor as he peers up over the edge of the desk. It’s the front window, so no damage to anything but the window, really; but there’s a tree in the entranceway, and that’s probably bad.
He comes out from behind the desk and surveys the damage. Yup: tree inside the building. Definitely bad. Rain pelting in through the broken window: Danny’s definitely going to scream about that. What are you supposed to do about broken windows? Board them up? Do they have boards?
His pulse is just about back to normal when somebody starts pounding on the outer door. His heart leaps back into his throat as he turns, ready to fight — but it’s just Danny, backlit by a flash of lightning and soaking wet. He looks kind of pissed.
He unlocks the door with hands that only fumble the latch a little and lets in a definitely annoyed and very wet Danny, who immediately starts yelling.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Danny demands. “I got a call from Chin that you sent him home, telling me I oughta check on you. And do you know what I said? I said ‘surely, Steve McGarrett has enough sense to get home before the storm hits for real.’ Which was admittedly a little optimistic of me. And then I’m listening to the radio on my way back from Rachel’s, and I hear the Palace lost power, and most of downtown, and I think ‘hey, didn’t Steve park in the parking garage?’ And I think that maybe, probably, my friend Steve will call for help if he’s stranded, since he knows I’m still on the road. But then I pick up my phone, and of course on this pineapple-infested back-of-beyond ridiculous island that is highly prone to tropical storms, they install a cell phone tower network that is susceptible to interference from storms.”
Steve, who is still pretty much running on tree-borne adrenaline, just stares at Danny as he rages and drips on the floor. “Um. Sorry?” he tries.
Danny glares fiercely at him for about six seconds and then sags like a deflating balloon. “I’m going to blame it on your sleep deprivation, since I am guessing you still haven’t — actually, when was the last time you slept? For more than twenty minutes, I mean.”
Danny stares at him expectantly, not actually tapping his foot but giving the impression that he is doing just that. Steve thinks about crossing his arms defiantly, but he suspects this would be a show of weakness. “Uh. Tuesday?”
Danny glances at his watch, and then glares at it, shaking his wrist. “My watch is dead. Do you see that? This is a toxic environment. Nine years on the force in Jersey, a hundred thousand encounters with Grace’s bath time, and all it takes in Hawaii is five minutes in a storm waiting for my lunatic partner to open the door.”
Steve blinks at him, kind of swaying a little on his feet. The adrenaline is leaving him as quickly as it came and Danny’s right — he hasn’t slept in a couple of days.
Danny squints at him then, and Steve realizes that at some point in the past few seconds Danny has stopped yelling. Behind him, the tree branch sticking through the window is dripping steadily. A gust of wind sneaks in and sends Danny’s hair into even greater disarray.
“Okay,” says Danny eventually. He points at Steve. “You?” He points at the unoccupied rolling chair next to the reception desk. “Sit. I’ll be right back.”
Steve sits. Eventually. Because his legs are kind of wobbly, not because Danny told him to.
When he looks up again, Danny is gone, but he’s back pretty soon with his arms full of bright blue tarp. Then he goes outside again, and a moment later the tree is shivering around, working its way back out the window and — oh. Danny’s out there, pulling the tree free. He’s back in a minute, holding up one thumb like a trophy. “I’ve got a splinter,” he says. “I hope you’re happy.”
“Hey, I didn’t bring the tree down, you know,” Steve protests half-heartedly, as Danny sucks his thumb into his mouth for a second and then disappears into the next room only to return a minute later with a roll of duct tape around one wrist. He heads over to the window and shakes out the tarp, then holds it up at arm’s length before turning around with an expectant tilt of his head.
Steve scrambles up and helps affix the tarp at the top of the window frame where Danny can’t reach. “One short joke,” Danny warns, “and you can walk home for all I care.”
Steve just grins. After all this time he’s pretty sure he’s done all the good ones already.
Once they’ve finished covering the window, Danny wipes his hands on his pants and jumps at another roll of thunder. “We should probably get going if we want to get out of here before any more trees decide to make an entrance. So to speak.”
Steve grins at him and raises a hand, but Danny gives him a warning look before turning to open the door. “Come on, Superman. Time to go.”
The rain is coming down in sheets by the time Danny pulls into Steve’s driveway, the car rocking a little when a gust of wind hits it, and Steve grabs Danny’s arm. “Come on, you can’t drive in this!” Danny agrees without too much protest.
Inside, Steve is a little damp and Danny is possibly even wetter than he was before, his hair straggling into his eyes and his shirt wet through. Steve stares at him, and maybe stares a little too long at the way Danny’s shoulders strain against the thin white fabric. Danny reaches out to try the light switch — nothing; seems like the power’s out here, too — but he’s watching him when he looks up, reaches out a hand to catch Steve as he sways. It’s only then that Steve realizes just how tired he is, now that he’s home and someplace safe and dry and there are no trees bursting in through the windows. He feels almost drunk, and Danny’s there, holding him up, studying him closely. For all of three seconds, Steve’s really not sure what’s going through Danny’s head — something that doesn’t happen often, considering how loudly Danny is constantly broadcasting everything. He feels his face grow warm, and hopes that the dim light in the entryway is hiding it.
“Huh,” says Danny, softly. Then he straightens up and gives Steve a little nudge towards the stairs.
“Hey, where’re we going?” Steve asks, trying not to yawn and failing. Danny gives him another shove in the small of his back.
“Lights are out,” says Danny. “Not much to do but sleep. Or fool around, but—”
Steve’s head whips around so fast that he almost tips over on the stairs and just barely catches himself on the banister. Danny is bright red, but doing an admirable job of pretending he’s not. “Uh. Anyway,” he’s saying as they make the top of the stairs. “Sleeping.”
“But…” Steve feels entirely wrong-footed by fatigue and the fact that Danny’s nipples are very much at attention under the wet fabric of his shirt. “Danno, it’s not even four!”
A few steps below him, Danny puts his hands on his hips. “And what exactly do you think you might accomplish during a total blackout? You gonna fight crime? Maybe do some home renovation? No. You are going to go to sleep and maybe wake up again fit for human company.”
Steve tries to grin at him. “What, I’m not fit for human company?”
“Hardly ever,” Danny tells him. “But less than usual when you haven’t been sleeping.” He drops his hands to his sides and looks at Steve the way he sometimes looks at Grace when he catches her raiding Steve’s candy stash. Then he takes the last few steps and wraps a hand around Steve’s arm. “Come on.”
Steve lets himself be pulled down the hall and into his room, where Danny gives him a little shove towards the bed. Steve stands there feeling confused, looking at his bed and listening to the storm and the sound of Danny sighing behind him, a sound of deep, deep exasperation.
"Oh, for crying out— you do know how this works, right?" and then, fast enough that Steve doesn't really have time to react, Danny's hands are on his shoulders, manhandling him around.
"What—" Steve says, as Danny pushes him down to sit on the edge of the bed and then stands there, hands on hips. Then he turns away, pulling his tie loose. A second later he's going through Steve's drawers.
"Don't think I won't come over there and help you," Danny says, not turning around. "If you get pneumonia from sleeping in wet clothes, I'm the one who's gonna end up doing all your paperwork."
And there's a mental image - but Steve manages to get it off his face before Danny throws a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants at his face and goes on rifling through drawers, pulling out a pair of each for himself before starting to unbutton his shirt. Steve quickly peels off his t-shirt to obscure his view of maybe more naked Danny than he can handle without giving himself away, but by the time he's pulled on the dry shirt Danny has gone into the bathroom and there's water running. By the time he comes back, Steve has changed and is sitting on the bed, feeling vague and staring at the rain-streaked window.
"I used your toothbrush," Danny announces, and then stops, staring at Steve in a long-suffering sort of way. "What, did you forget the next step?
Steve starts to answer, but he's caught on a yawn, which is enough time for Danny (who has the borrowed sweatpants rolled up at the waist and ankles) to take the few steps across the room and push Steve back onto the mattress. "Jesus, it's like babysitting," he says, not unfondly, as Steve's head hits the pillow. "You know, if kids were seven feet tall and knew a dozen ways to kill a man."
"I'm not—" Steve starts, but Danny holds up a quelling hand.
"Go to sleep, Steven," he says, and turns to leave, probably to sleep on the couch — which would be fine, because Steve's having a bunch of inconvenient, sleep-deprived thoughts about Danny wearing his clothes. He closes his eyes.
He's not sure how long it's been when a crack of thunder seems to shake the house, and he's jolted upright with a cry before he's fully aware of it. He blinks into the dark room, breathing hard, heart pounding. For a second and a half, he thinks he's floating on the ocean, frozen to the bone, the storm pelting down on him directly rather than far away through layers of wood and plaster and siding and roof. Huh. He hasn't remembered that mission in years.
He can't have been sleeping long; he doesn't feel rested. If anything, he feels twice as tired as before.
"Steve?" It's Danny, a dark, messy-haired shape in the doorway. "What's the matter?"
Admitting he was startled awake by a storm is too stupid to admit, so he doesn't. "It's fine," he says instead. "It's nothing."
Danny comes into the room anyway, because Danny never listens to him. "Yeah, I can tell," he says, hovering for a second before sitting down on the edge of the bed. Before Steve can do anything to stop him, Danny's hand is curled around the side of his neck, palm warm and dry and steady. "Jeez, babe, your pulse is off the charts. Bad dream?"
Steve lets himself lean into the touch for all of two seconds, because he's tired and not thinking too well.
Danny sighs. "Yeah, that's what I thought." And what? What does that mean? And why does Danny always act like he knows everything? "Come on, babe." And now he's climbing into the bed, pushing Steve firmly back down into the pillows, and Steve doesn't fight him as he lies down too, sighing hugely like Steve is a constant trial.
"Come on," he says again, and his hand is stroking slow circles between Steve's shoulder blades, gentle and constant and easy. "Sleep."
When he wakes again, the room is lighter. Maybe not full morning but after dawn, and the storm's slacked off, mostly stopped. He feels tired, still, but better than he has all week. He feels warm and loose and easy.
Danny's still here.
Steve lets himself look, the way he only ever does when Danny's not going to notice. It's different in the dark; different from watching Danny napping in a sunbeam. More dangerous, maybe, because there's not the awareness of other people nearby to keep him from going too far, showing too much.
Danny's conked out on his stomach, one arm still slung over Steve's chest, the other tucked underneath the pillow. The borrowed t-shirt has ridden up his back a little. Asleep, he looks kind of soft, kind of young. His hair is hilarious. Steve wants to touch it.
He doesn't, though. He lies still, breathing slow and even. He could go back to sleep if he tried, but he wants a few more minutes of this. The morning's quiet, and they've got nowhere to be. Soon enough Danny will wake up and remember that most guys don't cuddle with their male best friends, no matter how hands-on Danny is; no matter how scary the thunderstorm.
"Have I got something on my face?"
It's only many years of black ops training that keeps Steve from starting with surprise.
Danny scrunches up his face, eyes opening a little. "What?" he asks, voice creaky. "You're staring."
"Am not," says Steve, turning his head to look at the ceiling. Any second now, this is going to get weird, and then Danny will leave. It won't get as weird as it should, because nothing ever does with Danny - Danny doesn't seem to have the same boundaries as other people. And he doesn't pay that much attention to other people's, either.
He still hasn't moved his arm.
"How you feeling?" And now Danny moves his hand, cups the side of Steve's head, and it's so startlingly gentle, even as Danny pushes up on one elbow to study him critically. "You look a little less..." he shrugs one shoulder, "...like the dead."
Steve lets out a soft chuckle. "Thanks, Danno," he says. "You say the nicest things."
Danny smiles, the soft, stupid smile that makes his eyes crinkle. "Seriously, though," he says, sobering a little, "sleep. It is good for you."
"Yeah," Steve agrees. He's trying not to tense up, because he doesn't really want Danny to move, but holding himself steady like this is hard.
"You should listen to me more often," Danny tells him.
"Hmm," says Steve, noncommittally. Danny's hand is sliding back into his hair, fingertips idly stroking, and this... cannot be what Steve thinks it is.
"You know, if I didn't know you were a badass ninja Navy SEAL, I'd think you were scared of storms," Danny says conversationally. Conversational is not a typical Danny tone - he doesn't have a neutral setting, so... so he's trying to do a thing, here. Holy shit. Could this be a thing?
"Long time ago," Steve tells him. "Bad mission. And I was tired."
Danny studies him, looks like he's going to ask more, but to Steve's relief, he just sighs. He drops his head a little, so that for a second Steve can't make out his expression. When he looks up again, nothing's really changed - Danny is warm all down his side, and his hand is still curled around the side of Steve's neck, and Danny's hair is still a hilarious disaster.
"I, uh," Danny says, and Steve is amazed to realize that Danny is thinking hard about what he's about to say - that Danny is at a loss for words. He feels like he should document the moment, but he's distracted quickly. "I said something last night. And I sort of figured we were going to pretend I hadn't said it, especially since you were basically unconscious at the time, except here we are and you haven't tossed me on the floor yet, which leads me to believe you have no objection to..."
Danny rolls his eyes ceilingwards almost desperately; Steve marvels at it. He's seen Danny in any number of stages of discomfort, but he's never seen him unsure of how to say something - say anything. Danny has his failings, sure, but communication is not one of them.
"The thing is," Danny carries on resolutely, if with a little less certainty than usual, "when I said it, you almost fell down the stairs, but..." Danny trails off, looking a little helpless and a little bit more worried. He can feel Danny's pulse, suddenly racketing against Steve's ribs and in his wrist pressed against the side of Steve's neck. This... actually seems like it's happening. Feels like it is. Steve thinks about putting his hands on Danny, and after a minute's consideration raises his hand to Danny's shoulder. He watches the hand as it slides down Danny's side, comes to rest at Danny's waist with just enough pressure not to tickle, because Danny's ticklish as hell and this is not the time to indulge.
Steve waits, but Danny's still got his thinking-face on, eyes darting all over Steve's face, and he hasn't said anything.
"But what?" Steve asks, quietly.
"But you didn't seem like you would be totally averse," Danny ventures uncertainly. "Actually not for the first time, in my opinion, but I might be a little, uh, biased."
In the watery dawn light, Steve can see that Danny is blushing, and maybe this should have been more obvious, sooner, because apparently he really likes to watch Danny blush.
Steve isn't sure what to say. It's been a long time - pretty much forever - since he could talk about this kind of thing out loud, if he could talk about it at all. He knows things are different now, and that they've always been different with Danny, but a lifetime of conditioning still wants to throttle the words before they can make it out. In the end, all he says is: "me too." His voice sounds weird; hoarse. Like he can almost hear that part of himself that's used to having to hide, choking back what he wants to say. What he thinks he wants to say. "Biased, I mean."
Danny looks at him with eyes that are narrowed a little, considering. "Oh, yeah?"
Steve licks his lips. "And I'm — I wouldn't be. Totally averse."
A smile starts to pull at the corners of Danny's mouth. "No?"
Steve slides his hand down a little, to where Danny's t-shirt is riding up. His skin is shockingly warm, and smooth, and Danny's muscles are quivering with what Steve thinks might be anticipation; what he hopes is anticipation. At the touch of Steve's hand to his bare skin, he drops his head a little and shivers.
"Okay," he says, and dips his head lower, low enough to bring their mouths together.
And— okay. Steve has thought about this. Over the years he got used to thinking taking the place of doing, and he's made a hobby out of imagining doing things he could never let himself really do. He particularly likes imagining with Danny, not least because Danny's mouth is so constantly moving, talking, and how much a part of Danny that is.
And that's the other thing that has kept Danny in Steve's imaginary top ten, then top five, and lately, the reigning champion. Not that this is kissing, but that this is kissing Danny.
Danny is careful and slow — Steve expected that. For all that Danny's usual interpersonal tactics are about as subtle as a full-on frontal ballistic assault, when he's trying, he's always careful. Gentle. Deliberate. Right now he's all these things plus a warm puff of breath against Steve's cheek, the slow, thoughtful twist of his fingers in Steve's hair. Danny's mouth is as warm as the rest of him, soft and curious and steady and questioning, a question to which Steve's answer is yes, yes, yes.
Enjoyable as it is, though, Steve can't take slow and careful for very long, not this time. The kiss gets serious fast, and Steve surges up, his free hand grabbing at the back of Danny's neck. One of them makes a noise — Steve's afraid it might be him — that sounds like a cut-off whine, and Steve licks wetly into Danny's mouth, swallows Danny's noises, can't help but arch up against him.
Steve could go a little longer, but Danny has to breathe, and when he tears his mouth away, Steve blinks hard and surveys the situation. At some point he's rolled them over, and Danny's shirt is gone. Danny is spread out underneath him flushed and dazed and breathing hard and his mouth is pink and he has stubble-burn on his cheeks and chin. Steve is straddling Danny's thigh and rutting a little absently, mindlessly. Danny has one hand down the back of Steve's pants and the other gliding restlessly up and down Steve's back.
"So when you said 'not averse,'" Danny says eventually, arching one eyebrow, "you were maybe kind of understating the case."
Steve wheezes out a laugh and lets his head drop to Danny's shoulder, which Danny thankfully takes as an affirmative. Underneath him, Danny sighs a long-suffering sigh, not much different than when he loses an argument over pineapple on pizza or what constitutes appropriate office-wear. The main difference is that this time he follows it by sliding one hand back up into Steve's hair, doing what could only be termed petting.
"This is the part where I say we should probably talk about this," Danny tells him, still petting, and then waits, expectantly.
"Do we have to do it right now?" Steve asks, not raising his head. He opens his mouth against the side of Danny's neck, just breathing there.
Danny's quiet for a while. Steve can feel that he's hard, but he can also sense, somehow, that it's not the first thing on Danny's mind. After a minute or so, Danny's hand slides around the side of Steve's head and urges him up to look into Danny's face.
"No," Danny says, and Steve grins. "But! We are going to have to talk at some point. Today. Because..." His eyes flick up towards the ceiling, and then back down, and when he looks at Steve again his face is soft, uncertain and fond, all at once. "...because I think we both know this thing is not... is not a one-time thing." He studies Steve for a few seconds, and them prompts: "Right?"
Steve kisses him in answer, trying out his own version of careful and slow, a close-mouthed press followed by a slick flicker of tongue that makes Danny open up and welcome him in. This kiss goes on a little longer than Steve intends, but eventually he pushes up on his elbows again, looks down at Danny. "Right," he agrees, and even though his heart is hammering in sudden panic it's also as full as it's ever been.
Danny eyes him suspiciously, but apparently decides that this will do, because he nods, decisively. "Good," he says, right before pulling Steve back down into another kiss.