Danny realized a long time ago that a lot could be learned about someone by the way they slept. When people sleep, they are either more open than they ever would be while conscious, or they lock themselves up, burrowing into the safety of sleep. Watching someone sleep was probably the best way to discover someone’s personality, to really gauge what you knew about them.
From the age of four when Matt was born until Danny moved out at the age of eighteen, they’d shared a small bedroom in the Hoboken, the sounds of cars outside the window lulling them both to sleep every night. Danny started to watch Matt sleep when he went through a particular rough patch as a teenager. Full of rage, Danny found it hard to get to sleep, so he’d turn on his side and watch his little brother for a while.
Matt always slept on his side, arm curled tightly around a stuffed animal (until he reached his ninth birthday, when stuffed animals were no longer cool for a boy to have) or a pillow, his slack face pressed into the soft cotton. In Danny’s insomniac phase, he’d probably watch his little brother sleeping for half the night until he could no longer keep his eyes open. Knowing his brother now, knowing his tendency to keep things close to the chest and not confide in anyone, it came out the same way in his sleep – he tended to draw in whatever closest to him that could be used as a shield and refusing to let the people who mattered in.
Living with Rachel for so many years, it was hard not to see her personality bleed into her sleeping habits, especially towards the rocky end of their marriage, right before the divorce that tore a hole inside Danny that wasn’t filled until he moved to Hawaii.
Rachel was what he would call a “defensive sleeper” – she curled in on herself, even when he spooned himself close behind her. She liked to pull the duvet over her head as if the layer of thick cotton would block out the world and keep her safe in a warm bubble. He tried several times to get her to relax in her sleep, whispering soft nothings in her ears, smoothing a hand down her side, but after the first few failed attempts, he realized his efforts were futile. Even after sex, Rachel would lay in his arms until she fell asleep, and then it was like her unconscious mind was telling her to get away from her husband and she’d roll away from him.
As their marriage disintegrated, if Danny wasn’t sleeping in the living room on the couch, he was sleeping as far away from Rachel in the bed as possible. It broke his heart, but not as much as when she’d yank away from him when he woke up. Danny knew he couldn’t blame all their problems on the way Rachel had pushed him away in her sleep all those years, but he sometimes wondered if things would have been different if her defensive sleeping hadn’t been a part of the equation.
Grace was almost a mix between Matt and Rachel, though slightly more open and relaxed. He remembers nights back in Jersey when he’d sit at her bedside while she was deep in the throes of a cold or the flu, holding her hand and waiting for her fever to break. He was anxious with worry, even if he knew she would be okay soon. He just hated seeing his precious Monkey in pain.
Grace slept on her stomach, arm curled around whatever stuffed animal was her favorite at that moment. Danny was happy to notice recently that it was the green dolphin Steve had given her for her first birthday on the island. She seemed to cling to it even more after he was able to put it through the wash cycle on a memorable weekend at Steve’s for a team barbeque. They made a sand castle taller than her and Steve continued her beach surfing lessons with some help from Kono and Chin. He put Grace to bed that night in Steve’s guest room and watched as she fell asleep, face open and seeming to glow, as if the happiness she had felt that day just couldn’t be extinguished even in sleep. He just hoped she was always like that, and he would try to ensure that was the case until his dying day.
But, Steve…Steve was the most expressive sleeper Danny has ever encountered. He noticed this the first time they shared a bed together after several rounds of exhaustive, sweaty, athletic sex that left Danny pleasantly aching in all the right places. They’d been tentatively tip-toeing around each other for weeks at that moment until Danny was fed up with it and kissed Steve out on his lanai, standing on his toes to lick the taste of beer out of the taller man’s mouth before Steve pushed him inside and upstairs to his bedroom.
As it turned out, Steve slept in two ways – what Danny exasperatedly referred to as “the octopus” and “the sprawl”, respectively. When they shared a bed together, Steve went with the former, going from Super SEAL to super octopus in three seconds flat, playing the big spoon in their improvised island cutlery drawer.
Pressing himself along Danny’s broad back, Steve pressed his face into the back of Danny’s neck, his stubble a pleasant scrub against the delicate skin there. Sometimes, when he was really tired, Steve would mouth at the small ducktail at the back of Danny’s hair, pressing his nose against it to inhale Danny’s scent – sometimes clean sweat, if they’d taken a shower beforehand, sometimes like hair product, gun oil, and that unique musky smell of Danny. He’d lick at the skin under the little piece of hair until Danny began to squirm in his grasp, murmuring Steve’s name and squeezing his fingers.
The rest of Steve’s ridiculously long body fitted to Danny’s like a puzzle piece in all the places that made no sense when they were standing next to each other. Even though the majority of their body parts were never in the same place as the others, it was still perfect. Steve’s crotch generally rested right under Danny’s butt if he had his face pressed into the smaller man’s neck, one hair leg slipped in between Danny’s thighs, the other leg resting near Danny’s feet, rubbing back and forth. One arm would curl around Danny’s side and belly, his hand playing with Danny’s chest hair, forcing it against the grain before smoothing it back unconsciously. The other arm was fitted under the pillow beneath Danny’s head, gripping one of Danny’s free hands as they slept.
Danny would probably never say it out loud, but this was the only place he felt completely safe now, Steve’s body wrapped completely around them as if they were twins in the womb.
Steve also slept in a sprawl, but only when he didn't have Danny with him. His giant body pressed face down into the pillows and blankets, usually because he was so tired when this happened that he didn’t even bother to take his clothes off or get under the cover, which Danny’s parental instincts tended to click in at the sight before he would sigh and begin the not-so-small task of undressing his partner and wrestling him under the sheet before settling in himself. Afterwards, Danny liked to sit perched at the edge of their bed, watching his partner sleep. Unlike his calm and collected persona while awake, Steve was open and unafraid while sleeping. The lines that were etched into his skin in the light of day were smoothed down by the dark of night, as if he were a completely different person.
When Danny finally lies down, Steve’s body seemed to sense that Danny was near, curling himself around the detective within seconds. Danny didn’t mind, though he would grumble about Neanderthals and Not Your Living Pillow, to which Steve would press his lips to Danny’s neck and tell him to Go to Sleep.
One night the crew had been forced to sleep in headquarters because of a severe thunderstorm warning put out for all of O’ahu, which meant there was also a big chance for flooding. Most of the streets around 'Iolani Palace were shut down due to the flood warning, and the Governor advised 5-0 to stay put where they were safest. Danny had been in hysterics until he got confirmation from Rachel that Grace was safe on high ground with her and Stan.
They had collectively decided that the best place to sleep would be in Steve’s office, as it had the most space and a nice couch. The men let Lori and Kono duke it out over the couch, while they set up pallets of blankets on the floor. To Danny’s surprise, he found several sleeping bags and blankets in a tub in the bottom of Steve’s filing cabinet, as well as in the trunk of the Camaro in the rare case that he got stuck somewhere with Grace. He helped Chin lay out four pallets while Steve tracked the weather on the tech table, only cursing a few times when he pressed the wrong button.
After a spaghetti dinner thrown together by Danny and Lori from the ingredients they found in the basement of headquarters, the five of them got comfortable in the office with a few beers and swapped tales from other jobs they’d had, either on a police force or otherwise. Danny and Steve had decided to tell the rest of the team about their relationship several weeks ago, to overwhelming approval and smug looks exchanged between Chin and Kono. Danny frowned when he saw money exchanging hands.
Steve sat close to Danny, pressed together from side to thigh, on top of one of Grace’s Disney princess blankets, right hand holding his beer while his left unconsciously rubbed at the bone in Danny’s wrist delicately as Danny finally told the crew about the time he was tased at a Halloween party in Hoboken, blushing madly. The power went out as they were all settling in for sleep, but no one really did anything. They were too exhausted and knew they’d need their rest for the big day of clean-up tomorrow. As the rain continued to beat down against the high windows, Steve wrapped an arm and blanket around their bodies, falling asleep as comfortably as if they were in their own bed, his knee tucked between Danny’s to take the pressure off his bad one, knowing it would be a pain in the morning after sleeping on the floor.
Danny woke up before the others, content to feel the solid weight of his super SEAL against his back and the constant reminder of his presence by the puffs of warm air on his neck. He looked up at a small sound from his right to see Kono grinning at him from her own pallet on the floor next to Chin, who looked ten years younger in his sleep. He just smiled back at her sleepily, nodding. She nodded back at him before slipping back into sleep, her face more peaceful than Danny could remember ever seeing it. Turning slowly in Steve’s arm so as not to jostle him too much, Danny stared at the man’s face, wondering if Steve could tell his personality in his sleep.