"Low seniority grunt work."
"What?" Steve thought he'd heard what Danny said, but it was mumbled under his breath and with such petulance that he wasn't sure.
"You heard me. Back in Jersey, this is what we give the junior detectives to do. New Year's Eve stakeouts. Christmas stakeouts. Stakeouts when guys like me, with seniority, aren't working."
"So you never had to work a case on a holiday?"
"I didn't say that. Working a case is different. That's when you actually have something worthwhile to do other than drink a lot of coffee and piss in a mayonnaise jar after five or six hours."
"You actually do that?" Steve asked, wrinkling his nose.
"Yes, princess, if I can't leave the car and I've been drinking coffee all evening," he said, holding up the cup he was presently working his way through. "Would you prefer I open the door and pee on the street? Aside from the fact that will make the overhead light go on, it's a good way to get a black-and-white to roll up on you for indecent exposure."
"I'll remove the overhead lightbulb, or just dim the interior lights so it doesn't come on."
"All so you don't have to see me pee in a jar? For a military tough guy, you sure are prissy."
"Prissy? I'm prissy?"
"So what do you do when you have to go and you can't?"
"I don't pee in jars."
"Okay, then what do you do? Command your kidneys not to function?"
"I don't drink coffee like the poster child for Starbuck's. It's called self control, Danny. If you don't have bathroom facilities, you limit your fluid intake."
"If your partner isn't easily shocked, you pee in a jar. That way, you can have your coffee, stay awake, and heed the call of nature."
"Then you sit in the car with it until the end of the stakeout?"
"It's not a live snake, Steven. You screw on the lid and then you set it on the floor and forget it. Unless you have to go again."
"You do this more than once?"
"How the hell should I know? If I have to, yes. Geez, you act like I'm gonna whip it out and water the floor mats. It's all very tidy, very sanitary. I even have antibacterial hand gel in the glove compartment."
"Oh, God, that's what you use that for? I used it before lunch the other day."
"No, I haven't used that particular bottle for that, so settle down, princess."
"Do not call me that again. And I'm not sitting here while you pee in a jar. How come I never knew this about you?"
"Because we usually don't sit for hours in a car doing useless surveillance. You typically enlist a couple of low-seniority cops from HPD for this kind of a gig. But this year, you drag me out on New Year's Eve and make me sit in a car with you until God knows when instead of going to a party or doing something fun - which might have included getting laid, which it's been a while so that would have been a nice bonus - and you expect me to sit here until my bladder explodes? Not happening."
"Your bladder won't explode."
"You're right, because I'll be relieving myself before that happens."
"I can't believe I'm spending New Year's Eve talking about bathroom habits."
"Neither can I. Call Chin or any other cop who's had to sit through a long stakeout, and ask them if they haven't done something like that before. If they say no, they're lying. I learned the trick from an old PI when I first started out as a cop. I was getting a tip from him, sitting in his car, and his jar was there."
"Oh, for God's sake."
"It's almost midnight," Danny said.
"How exciting," Steve grumbled.
He'd had selfish ulterior motives in dragging Danny along on this stakeout. He'd wanted to spend New Year's Eve with him, but Danny was talking about taking Amber to a party, and any other invitation he'd have extended to Danny would have involved laying his cards on the table. So he'd put a cooler in the trunk with champagne in it, and lied to Danny that he had a tip from one of their usual informants that the drug dealers they'd been tracking were going to move a large quantity of merchandise that night. He figured a few hours ought to be enough time for him to work up his courage to say something to Danny, to make a move, so they could toast champagne and celebrate New Year's making out in the car, hopefully moving the celebration to one of their houses so things could progress to their natural conclusion.
Instead, they were bickering over peeing in a jar and he'd sat there and let hours go by without saying or doing anything. He'd blown it, and he didn't blame Danny for being pissed off. The location where they were positioned wasn't really in danger of anything, because he had no intel on the drug dealers and nothing was going down there. Once Danny found that out, he'd be furious and Steve would look like an idiot.
"I've gotta get something out of the trunk."
"What? What about blowing our cover?"
"It'll be fine. Just take a minute."
"Turn down the interior lights, at least, so they don't come on."
"Yeah, right," Steve agreed, doing so and then getting out of the car and retrieving the cooler from the trunk. He handed it to Danny and then got back in.
"Just so you can't complain that you got stuck on New Year's Eve without champagne."
"Yeah, just get the bottle out of there and I'll put the cooler in the back seat."
"Whatever," Danny said, taking out the bottle, and Steve put the cooler in the back seat. He also retrieved the two plastic champagne glasses he'd stashed back there.
"What time is it?"
"11:53," Danny said, yawning.
"Too late for you to be up, old man?" Steve needled.
"Ha ha. Don't put my eye out popping the cork on that stuff."
"You would assume the worst about popping the cork on a champagne bottle."
"In a confined space, yes, I would. Plus, I don't want you dripping that stuff all over my seats so my car smells like midnight in the bar at the Hilton."
"Fine." Steve opened the car door again and popped the cork, keeping the champagne drizzle to a minimum, managing to keep all of it out of Danny's car. "You'll pee in your car but you're worried about me opening champagne."
"Will you give it a rest? Since you don't see any danger in getting in and out of the car and opening the trunk, it's a moot point. I'll just go across the street and use the john in the gas station." Danny shifted in his seat so he was almost sitting sideways and pinned Steve with an intent gaze. "Just when are they supposed to move all this merchandise tonight, anyway? This is like a fucking graveyard out here. Oh, wait, sorry, it's like an ancient sacred burial ground out here."
"I lied, okay?"
"You what? About what?"
"This whole thing. There was no intel on them moving anything anywhere tonight."
"I don't understand."
"I wanted to spend New Year's Eve with you because I had something to tell you and this seemed like a good time, but then you were talking about taking Amber to a party and I didn't know how else to do this."
"So you made up a fake stakeout, and we've sat in this car for four hours, talking about the next weird part you need to fix your car, what a dick my landlord is for raising my rent again, and, let's not forget, the etiquette of peeing in a jar on a long stakeout...and you wanted to do this why exactly?"
"I told you."
"No, you said you had something to tell me."
"You're not making it easy."
"I'm not making it easy? You've held me prisoner in this car all evening and I'm the one not making it easy? So whatever it is, tell me, because I'm going to get out of this fucking car and walk home if you don't."
"It's ten miles."
"I'll find a cab."
"At midnight on New Year's Eve?"
"I'll commandeer a civilian vehicle then. Make someone sane drive me home."
"That's smart, Danny. You'll flag down some drunk to drive you home so he can wrap both of you around a tree."
"Now who's seeing disaster behind every corner?"
"Danny, shut the fuck up," Steve said, lunging across the console and kissing him. He grabbed a handful of Danny's shirt and stuck his other hand in his hair, and kept on kissing him until shock gave way to response, Danny's mouth opened for him, and the kiss turned into something hot, intense, wet, a little rough, and wonderful. Somewhere, fireworks were going off, and Steve thought he'd lost his mind. Kissing Danny had really made him hear fireworks. Then he realized it was midnight.
"That was what you wanted to tell me?" Danny asked, visibly stunned and a little breathless.
"That was it."
"What does that mean?"
Danny moved on Steve this time, pulling him close and kissing him, passionately with plenty of tongue.
"I'm sorry I lied to you and screwed up your New Year's Eve," Steve said.
"It would have been nicer to spend the last four hours at a party." Danny paused, and Steve knew his face fell. At a party...with Amber. "With you," Danny added, kissing him again.
"What about Amber?"
"What about her?"
"You were going to make plans with her."
"Well, yeah, I didn't expect you to ask me out. Should've known this was your screwed up idea of a date."
"I made a New Year's resolution. You were it."
"You resolved to kiss me?"
"Well, yeah, but I also resolved to come clean with you that I...that you're more than my friend."
"Just say it, babe. It's gonna turn out good, so just say it," Danny said, taking Steve's hand.
"I love you, Danno. Like this."
"I love you too, Steven. Like champagne at midnight on New Year's Eve. Not like a buddy."
"Yeah, that's it," Steve said, smiling, relieved, loving Danny even more for accepting his clumsy declaration of love the way he had.
"Hey, we got champagne, let's toast."
Danny held the glasses while Steve poured.
"To New Year's resolutions," Steve said.
"Yeah, to making them and keeping them." Danny paused. "I'm not playing here."
"So next year..." Danny said, letting the words hang there.
"We'll celebrate midnight the same way, only at a party...or at home."
"At home, huh?"
"There's more to my resolution."
"Yeah. By this time next year, we're gonna be at least living together."
"At least?" Danny asked.
"If it goes really well, we'll be...really together. Officially."
"You just proposed, didn't you? I mean, that's as close to a proposal as you're gonna do, right? So you're asking and I'm saying yes." Danny looked nervous for a moment. "That's what you meant, right?"
"Yeah, that's what I meant." They toasted their plastic champagne glasses again and took another drink.
"You wanna move this party back to your place?"
"Yeah, our place."
"Let's go," Steve said, starting up the car.
"Hey, you mind pulling up by the gas station? Unless you want me to use the jar."
"Gas station it is," Steve replied, laughing. Then he kissed Danny again, just because he could. "Yeah, they're still going off."
"Fireworks. Kissing you is still making me hear fireworks, Danno."