Danny was going to make Steve lose his shit—violently, and possibly in public. After every little disagreement, Danny threatened to pack his things and move into another dingy hole in the wall until he could find a new place. He refused Steve’s kind offer to let him bunk in the same room on the basis that Steve probably kicked in his sleep. That particular rejection might also have had something to do with the fact that Steve had to adjust himself after extending the offer. But that wasn’t entirely his fault; Danny was watching TV and wasn’t wearing any pants. Danny spent a disturbing amount of time wandering around the house in his underwear, something Steve had considered banning but hadn’t been able to summon the willpower to actually go through with.
“I told you to stop calling me that.” Danny punctuated his ire by closing the dishwasher door with extra force.
“Hey, you break the dishes, you pay for the dishes.” Steve wanted to say that he’d kick Danny out, but that would just give the other man the reason he was looking for to go.
“It’s empty. You might have noticed that I was putting the dishes away because somebody got a little too carried away this afternoon and threw out his shoulder jumping out a window.”
“I saved your ass.”
“My ass doesn’t require saving or interference of any kind.” Danny put up a finger, silencing Steve. “Don’t even pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.”
The complaint rising in Steve’s throat fell flat. “I’ll load the washer tonight,” he said.
“Thank you. That’s very courteous of you, Steven.”
“Uh. Yeah. No prob.”
“Problems with the wife?” Kono snickered, earning her every crappy surveillance assignment Five-0 had for the next year. Steve was just grateful Danny was talking with Chin and hadn’t heard.
“You’re going to get me in trouble,” Steve hissed, then stomped his foot and growled at the ceiling when he realized what he’d said. The morning had been a long, painful series of scowls and glares on his part while Danny ignored him and sang along with the radio. They’d parted immediately upon entering the office, and Danny hadn’t looked at him since.
Kono looked from Steve to Danny and back. “What’d you do this time? Bitch about the TV? Take his clothes out of the dryer and throw them in a pile?”
“How do you remember these things?” His lips moved around soundlessly for a bit before he pointed a finger toward Danny and said, “Has he been talking about me?” It was sick that he was part angry and part pleased that, even though the nature of the comments wasn’t complimentary, Danny was mentioning Steve to others.
Kono grinned and turned away, bound for Chin and Danny. “I’m going for coffee. Come with?” she asked Chin, not waiting for his response before dragging him away. “You boys play nice while we’re gone.”
Steve looked at the clock on the wall. Lori was due to arrive from the archives in less than two hours.
“Did you say something to her?” Danny asked as soon as the cousins had left. “No, wait, I can tell just from that lemon custard expression on your face.”
“Lemon custard? Really?”
Danny stomped closer. “Yeah, lemon custard. You made the same face last week when I brought home that lemon custard from the bakery.”
Steve thought back to the day. “I loved that stuff.”
“Love it or not, you still made a face, and that face is the same face that you just made when I said you were talking to Kono about things that don’t concern her.”
“So is the custard a good face or a bad face?” Steve’s eyebrows knit together as he tried to figure out what Danny was really pissed about and how they could both mutually ignore it and get through the business day. “Instead of making these crazy metaphors, maybe you could just tell me something straight for once.”
Danny snorted. “So you’re saying I’m ambiguous?”
“Yeah.” The word ‘ambiguous’ hadn’t gone through Steve’s head since a high school vocabulary test. Now that he thought about it, though, it was the perfect way to describe their situation.
“Well, Steven, if I’m ambiguous then what does that make you?” Danny took the last step needed to bring them nearly nose to nose. He stabbed a finger into Steve’s ribcage. “Maybe if you’d just say whatever’s going through your crazy brain, we wouldn’t be having this problem.”
Steve pushed down the burning swell of irritation that rose in his esophagus whenever Danny called him Steven. “I don’t remember us having a problem except for your constant bitching about everything I do.” It had started out as light nitpicking about his tendency to punch things during work, but had recently escalated to comments on how he folded his clothes and how infrequently he dusted the television.
Danny turned abruptly and ran his hands over his face then through his hair. “What is wrong with you?” he asked, punctuating the question by throwing his hands in the air.
“I’d like to point out that only one of us is shouting, and that isn’t me.”
Steve was unprepared for the tackle and subsequent fist to gut, though he rallied quickly. The two rolled on the floor, landing only half the punches they threw while snarling at one another.
“It appears I’ve arrived at an inconvenient time,” Max said, opening the office door, the sound of his voice stopping Danny and Steve in mid-rumble. “Would you like to me to return later or email you my findings?”
“Nah, everything’s fine here,” Danny said, crawling off from on top of Steve. “What’ve you got?”
While Max began to hand Danny files from a folder in his backpack, Steve waited for the room to stop spinning. Danny had totally felt him up before kneeing him in the groin.
Progress, at last.