When Steve had insisted Danny go with him to his own family Christmas celebration this year, he was expecting to finally meet the section of the McGarrett clan that hadn't sequestered itself to a pineapple-saturated ring of hell.
He wasn't expecting the excess of vampires.
Or any vampires, to be precise. Leave it to McGarrett to turn Christmas into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer special…though if anybody here got to be Buffy it was him, because he was so much more kickass than the only other blonde in the room, the stupid reporter girl who kept making woeful eyes at Steve and putting her hand on his arm and reminiscing.
Oh hell no. This girl obviously didn't know the status quo, because nobody took Buffy, er, Danny's man. Danny hadn't spent the last two years turning McGarrett into a semi-functioning pseudo-member of society just to have some, some internet journalist come in and steal him away.
She hadn't even gotten Steve to stop leaving grenades in the junk drawer. That just proved Danny's superiority right there.
It was, Danny realized, a bit odd that he was focusing more so on the blonde making eyes at his SEAL than on the fact that he was spending his holiday party, once again not with his adorable daughter or even his best friends and fellow somewhat-maybe-only-on-alternate-Tuesdays reformed criminals, but with McGarrett's horde of vampire buddies. Of which he had been one. Because Steve spent a good portion of his life, oh yeah, not living.
This deserved a rewind, just for full scathing effect.
Danny had hopped on a plane to LA with Steve expecting to meet up with his family. The offhand remark that Mary was spending the holidays with a new boyfriend's family was a bit suspicious, but understandable. The hesitancy to answer questions on what side of the family they were visiting was a bit weird, but maybe Steve was just a bit tender given that he had lost both of his parents so horribly. Maybe relations with this part of the family were tense. It could happen; look at Chin and Kono's family, right?
Despite some fairly obvious clues that something was up ("We need to buy a freezer…Who wouldn't want a freezer for Christmas?...They like packing meat. It's a hobby…Maybe it's just weird people from New Jersey who don't get the joy of packing meat products!"), Danny liked to think that only his truly honed and refined detective skills let him on the fact that Steve's increasingly odd, frantic and aneurism face-filled remarks were trying to hide something.
When they drove up to a huge and overly extravagant yet still tasteful mansion, Danny decided that maybe Steve was just jealous of Reuben and all of Danny's admittedly cool and sometimes-rich friends. It was sort of sweet in a sad way that he wanted to surprise Danny by having his own rich friends to show off.
When Steve just walked on inside, tugging Danny's wrist to make him follow, Danny decided that Steve must have spent a lot of time here to be so comfortable. It was acceptable though, he ceded grudgingly, for his boyfriend to have his own rich friends that he hadn't told Danny about. Danny had pulled the same thing on him; fair's fair, right?
When some man in an expensive tailored suit veritably slinked (and oh, that was a slink, Danny so saw that) over to Steve and did that whole shake-your-hand-pat-your-back-we're-bros thing but with so much more grace and finesse than was necessary, Danny decided that Steve's rich friends were also douchebags, and he missed nauseating paisley shirts and big hugs and people calling him a knucklehead.
When said douchebag started calling Steve "Mick," Danny decided he was being played, and a played Danny did not a happy Danny make.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up there, super-SEAL," Danny interjected, making a time-out gesture with his hands. "Mick? What, your name is Mick now? I wasn't aware of this, Mick; apparently I've been screaming the wrong name in bed all this time and I never knew. I apologize, how rude of me. Please, inform me on this little factoid I must have skipped over in the 'You Think You Know Your Boyfriend' handbook."
Steve, the infuriating bastard, only raised an eyebrow in challenge. "Really? You, of all people, are going to judge me, Turk?"
Danny steadfastly refused to blush, because dammit, this wasn't about him!
"Hey, unless you also ran in a crime gang for a few years and got your real name put on a couple of international wanted lists, I think you can keep your indignant words to yourself."
Pausing, he spun and pointed at the other man and his slinky ways. "You, you heard nothing!"
The man smirked in obvious amusement but nodded placatingly. Danny swung back around and pointed at Steve.
Steve rolled his eyes and sighed loudly, though the glint in his eyes showed he was only doing it to piss Danny off. It was working.
"Danno, this is my friend Josef Kostan. Say hello, Josef."
The man cut amused eyes towards Steve but obliged with another smirky little look. "Hello."
The SEAL nodded. "Good. Josef, this is my boyfriend and partner, Detective Danny Williams. Danny is very sorry for being so disrespectful in your home."
"No I'm not," Danny interjected sullenly, but Steve steamrolled over him and continued on.
"Danny's just a little bit put out that I didn't tell him how we knew each other ahead of time."
"Put out? Put out? More like what the hell is going on, McGarrett?"
Steve, the pineapple-loving bastard, only smirked and continued at his sedate pace. "I used to live in LA, Danno, before I joined the SEALs. While I lived here, my name was Mick St. John."
Danny's mind was working furiously to slot this in with what he knew about Steve, and it just wasn't working. Things just wouldn't compute. "Why the hell would you need another name?"
His boyfriend and the other man, Josef, Danny reminded himself grimly, exchanged looks that were far too amused for Danny's liking.
"Because that was my birth name, Danno."
Okay, now Danny was getting a little freaked out. "Then who's Steve McGarrett supposed to be? Oh my God, you killed him! You're a murderer who killed him and took over his name and now you and your slinky little friend are going to kill me!"
Steve gave him a look halfway between amused, aneurysm face and "how in the world does your brain function?" while his friend muttered "slinky?" under his breath.
"Not too far off the mark there, Mick," Josef commented drolly, ignoring Steve's glare.
"No, Danny, I didn't murder anybody. At least…no, I didn't murder anyone, not for what it matters to you. Steve McGarrett…well, I've always been him, as long as you've known."
"Oh my God he is dead! You, you, you…identity thief!"
Steve rolled his eyes. "Yes Danny, it was credit card fraud. You caught me."
Danny didn't hear him because he was still rambling about murders and bank accounts and did he just say something about arresting Steve for being a jerk? Okay, time to put a stop to this.
"Danny…Danny! Calm down. There was a real Steve McGarrett, and you're right, he's not me. You also never met him. Steve McGarrett died undercover in Afghanistan. My own…connections informed me before the government noticed – his mission allowed little contact and nobody expected a check-in for at least a week anyway – and so when I heard, I just…slipped in and took over."
"You possessed his body? How do I even charge you for that?"
Steve chose to ignore that his boyfriend was currently creating a mental tally of all the things he wanted to arrest him for and opted to trudge dutifully on.
"No, we just happened to look nearly identical. All I had to do was cut my hair and get some tattoos and a few scars and nobody knew the difference."
"You carved yourself up to trick people? I knew you were a freak!"
It wasn't even worth listening to Danny anymore, unless you were Josef and looking for the entertainment value.
"Danny, it wasn't a big deal."
"Big deal? Big deal? You took over a man's life! You lied to his family and friends and pretended to be him!"
At this, Steve started to look a bit sheepish. "Well, yeah. But he wasn't using it anymore."
"Wasn't using it anymore? No, just, no. You can take somebody's old TV when they 'aren't using it anymore.' You don't take a dead man's identity."
Steve sighed loudly and ran a hand through his hair; Josef looked ready to break out the snacks.
"Look, I needed a fresh start and I knew I could pull off being Steve, and I knew he wouldn't completely hate the idea had he known as long as I continued helping people. And I did! I stayed in the SEALs, I've been working to avenge his parents, I've looked after his sister, I'm looking after his islands – Steve McGarrett wouldn't be too put out with someone doing good with his identity."
Danny made a frustrated noise and gestured emphatically at Steve, hands jerking with each word. "But that's just it! Why would you need to be him? You. Aren't. Steve. McGarrett!"
Steve-who-wasn't-Steve sighed again. "You're right. I already told you, my name's Mick St. John. I needed McGarrett's identity because I needed a fresh start and I couldn't get one with my name, because Mick St. John is dead."
"You faked your own death!"
"…Not exactly. Danny, I was born almost a century ago."
"Oh, I'm sure. You also have pretty fairy wings and a pot of gold you're hiding!"
"He isn't lying," Josef interjected.
Danny's face went white when he saw the slinky man, complexion suddenly paler, eyes an eerie, blind blue, with a set of fangs protruding from his gum lines.
It was at this point that Danny cursed every customs agent to ever live for his lack of gun.
"Kill it! Kill it now!"
Steve looked a little uncomfortable. He shifted his weight and wrung his hands before muttering, "Josef was my best friend for a really long time because I was a vampire-"
"Vampires, McGarrett? Vampires? There are vampires – oh back off Sparkles or I will Buffy your ass! – and you decided to just tell me this now?"
His partner's hands went up in the air. "Well geeze, Danno, you're taking it so well I just can't decide why I never told you before!"
Josef's head moved back and forth as if he was watching a particularly entertaining tennis match.
Steve made his own frustrated noise and started pacing while he spoke. "My name is Mick St. John and I married a woman named Coraline and it turned out that she was a vampire and I didn't know it till she decided to change me, and long story short she found a way to be human again and here I am."
"…You were married and never told me? And it took getting to talk about vampires for you to finally speak in more than grunts and smoke signals? If you'd only told me I would have let you and Gracie go on and on about Twilight together."
Steve gave him a dull look. "I tell you I'm a vampire and you're pissed that I didn't tell you I was married and don't talk enough?"
Danny crossed his arms and sniffed petulantly. "Well, you weren't properly impressed by my criminal background so I thought it was only fitting."
"Uh-huh. And you're not focused on, you know, the part where I used to be a vampire?"
"I'm choosing to ignore that part on basis of you being an insane imposter."
Josef raised a hand and pointed to his fangs. Danny's trigger finger twitched, but he worked to ignore the vampire happily flashing his fangs at him and adding in little campy hisses just because he could.
"Well, I'm not. I was a vampire for over fifty years, and Coraline, my former wife, found a cure. And I became a human and needed a fresh start. Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett was that fresh start. He was my sister's grandson."
Danny stared at him. "Do you fail to see the creepy in this situation? Because I see the creepy in this situation."
Steve – Mick? – whoever he was – obviously failed to see the creepy in this situation. "I saw an opportunity and I took it and I did good with it, end of story!"
His partner sniffed. "End of story my ass. But we're going to ignore your obvious insanity and the David Boreanaz wannabe here-"
"-Because I'm here to have a holly freaking jolly Christmas, dammit, and that's what we're doing. Now come on, give me the stupid tour."
Bemused and a little put out, Steve nodded, took his boyfriend's hand and led him off. Josef followed after like a sad puppy, because he had nothing better to do and this was his house, darn it.
Jump forward a few hours and the "festivities" were in full swing. For the most part they just consisted of Josef throwing a huge house party that was much too much like a club, complete with slutty simpering girls who…were they getting their blood sucked? And Rachel hadn't believed him when he said that Twilight was harming today's girls and thus inappropriate for Gracie.
Their freezer had gone to some shut-in gamer dragged out for the holidays; Logan, Steve had called him. Danny didn't even want to know what that was for. Then there was some more manly back-slapping with some guy named Guillermo who apparently worked in a morgue, and something about the blood-sale business? More things Danny didn't want to know. He also steadfastly stuck to drinking water, because that punch? Ew. Who knew what was in there?
And then the blonde had shown up. Beth, Steve said her name was. Beth Turner, and he'd known her since she was a little girl, which, hello? Added to the creepy.
At this point Danny started ignoring the fact that all of his Buffy references were making him start to think like a teenage girl.
But still, blondie had attached herself to his Steve's arm and promptly started going on and on about their shared past, and oh were things working out, and how she missed him and they could be human together now and dammit that was Danny's human!
Danny hadn't ever really considered that Steve could have an ex-girlfriend. Sure there had been Catherine, but she was only a fling and had gracefully stepped down when Danny and Steve got together, and Danny hadn't thought Steve would have dated anyone while in the SEALs.
Steve hadn't, but apparently Mick his creepy vampire great uncle counterpart had, and oh God Danny was dating an ex-vampire, why was he worried over being jealous when there was all this freaking out to do?
Because freaking out on his own was no fun, he decided. What was the use of working up a full-rant, hand gestures and all, only to rave at himself? There was none, of course. So his complaints would have to temporarily take backseat to jealous sniping at his boyfriend's ex, who appeared to be trying to make herself a bit less…ex.
This was rather unacceptable.
Just as Danny was about to go over and be all alpha-male badass get-your-slimy-paws-off-my-insane-vampire-impostor-super-SEAL – and he totally was – Josef appeared out of nowhere, an exotic and drunk girl on his arm, and slung an arm over his shoulder.
"Just watch," he said, giving Danny a too-charming smile and a good natured shake. "Fun's about to start."
He swung Danny around to see the entrance to the large ballroom, where a dark-haired bombshell of a woman had just entered. Her dress was more than a few sizes too small for Danny's objective liking, and her gaze, zeroed in on his wayward Lieutenant Commander, was much too predatory.
"Who the hell is that?" he growled, trying to wrest free of Josef's iron grip. He failed, and the man in question only chuckled quietly and shooed away his arm candy.
"That," he said right next to Danny's ear, "Is Coraline. Mick's sire. And his ex-wife. They've got a…complicated relationship. She ran out on him, everyone thought she was dead – well, more dead than usual – she showed back up and got him all excited over that vampirism cure – whoa and behold, it actually worked! But she wasn't expecting him to then run off to the Aloha state to play cops as his own great nephew. She was looking for more…gratitude, don't you think?"
Danny's eyes narrowed and he bared his teeth, which only made Josef laugh. "What the hell are you saying?"
The vampire – and shouldn't Danny be more nervous about a vampire not only existing, but hanging around his neck? – only shrugged too innocently. "Nothing at all. Just stating the facts. Coraline thinks they've got some unfinished business. And Beth – oh, dear little Beth thought that Mick's vampirism was all that could ever keep them apart. He wanted to be human for her, you know. Or that's what everyone thought, myself included. I told him not to give it up for her, for one insignificant little human he'd spent his whole life looking after. But they thought they were soul mates, that it was true love, and hardheaded stubborn Mick, he went through with it anyway.
"But it was too weird for him, being a human here in LA. Did you know Mick used to be a private detective? Pretty good too, for an amateur excuse of a job. But all of his contacts were vampires and he'd spent his life as a vampire, and suddenly he didn't want to play human in a place where every single thing he saw made him think 'vampire!'
"So he left, and little Beth was heartbroken. And well, you know the rest. So now he's back in town with two women after him, and here you are, the love of his new life. I think that makes for a pretty interesting situation, don't you?"
Under different circumstances – such as, if he wasn't trying to manipulate Danny's feelings and wasn't getting his sick kicks out of real-life soap operas – Danny was fairly sure he and Josef could be good friends. But for the moment, the slinky vampire could go to hell.
"Shut up," he growled under his breath, still plenty loud enough for all the stupid vampires to hear. "He's not going to leave me for any of them. Did they get to go to the holiday parties with him? No? Then he's not leaving me."
Bringing someone to a holiday party, in Danny's mind, was the ultimate show of commitment. Why would you want to show someone off to people you saw once a year if not because you had them to keep? Otherwise there was potential for your date to end up on someone else's arm at the party next year, and hello? Awkward.
Josef just continued his stupid slinky chuckling. "If you say so, Danno-"
"- If you say so."
He then slinked off, because slinking was what he did – Danny briefly wondered what Josef would look like if shoved down the stairs – and Danny was left staring at Steve surrounded by now two women who were giving him big lusty come-hither eyes.
Well. Danny would just have to put an end to that right now.
Rolling up his sleeves in case of potential vampires/internet reporter beat-downs, Danny marched over to the trio.
"Mick, what about us?" Beth was saying while Coraline rolled her eyes, smirked and gave Steve something like a thrice-over.
"What about you?" she replied.
Danny walked up, grabbed Steve by his stupid little tuxedo bowtie – and look, Steve in a tie! He should take a picture to commemorate the moment – and hauled his boyfriend down for a long, thorough and oh-so-smug kiss. When they finally came up for air – take that vampire bitch, Steve-the-human needs air! – Steve was looking delightfully debauched and his groupies thoroughly confused and put-out.
Danno: 1. Steve's stupid exes: 0.
"What was that about?" Steve asked with a wonderfully dopey and affectionate grin. Danny barely resisted victory dancing.
"Nothing," he said with a slight shrug even as he wrapped an arm possessively around his boyfriend's waist before giving the women a pleased smile. "Just missed you, is all."
Coraline appeared furious but was covering it almost completely with a debonair grin. Beth looked like somebody had broken her little internet journalist heart.
Well, too freaking bad, ladies. Steve was Danny's ex-vampire-boyfriend and that's just how things were.
"Beth, Coraline, this is Danny, my partner," Steve said with an oblivious smile. The pair stared at him.
"Mick, you...partner?" Beth stuttered in confusion.
"In all senses of the term," Danny cut in with a heavy nod, delighting in her broken confusion.
Steve started to catch on to the problem here. "Beth, I'm sorry, I uh…well, you knew I didn't expect to come back to LA permanently after I left anyway…I thought that, well, you know…we'd all move on?"
She stared at him incredulously. "After all we've been through?"
Coraline raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. "After what I did for you?"
Steve only shrugged helplessly. "Sorry? I'm with Danny now. And we don't plan on breaking up."
The women looked like that wouldn't be true if they got their way, so Danny decided to defuse the situation before it got too out of hand and he had to lay down his vampire-slaying prowess.
"Come on, super-SEAL, I'm tired and you need to go rest your Neanderthal brain after all that talking you did today. Must've used up a year's worth of words right there."
Steve's various exes appeared gobsmacked, and Steve himself looked a bit bitchy and ready to protest, but that was nothing new, so Danny just grabbed his wrist and started tugging towards the exit.
"Say goodnight, Steve."
With bordering-aneurysm-face all around, Steve did. Danny was quite smug as he confidently marched the pair back to their room deep in the recesses of Josef's mansion. Nobody had to know that he'd made a map of it on a napkin just for this purpose.
When they reached their room, Steve finally spoke. "Danny, what was that?"
Danny only shrugged, his good mood still in place. "They wanted you. I want you more. I proved who wins."
Steve stared at him, mouth ajar, and Danny couldn't help kissing him. "Don't think about it too hard, Steve-the-oh-yeah-I-used-to-be-a-vampire! Never fear, I have a full speech prepared for you for the trip back to your hot and humid excuse for a state about this vampire crap. And it's gonna be great."
His boyfriend winced, but muttered, "I was expecting something like that."
"Good. Now come on, all that staking-my-claim tired me out."
Steve smirked now. "Staking your claim?"
Danny was unrepentant. "They can get their own SEALs, you're mine. Now, bed."
A finger pointed to the ceiling. It was thoroughly covered in mistletoe.
The criminal-cum-detective groaned loudly. "Again? They did it again? God, we should just introduce them to the gang and have a joint Christmas; they can cover the whole house in it."
Steve only smiled and curled his fingers in Danny's waistband. "Maybe next Christmas," he murmured before tugging his boyfriend to him for another kiss.
But Danny's mind kept going. His gang with Steve's vampire buddies? Nuh-uh, that was more hell-on-Earth than heaven, thank you very much. Besides, there would be way too many arguments about whose mansion to have it at, so it couldn't happen.
...wait a minute…
Wet kisses to his neck, a tongue curling around the shell of his ear.
"…Do you sparkle?"