Basically, you know you can’t stand a guy when your girlfriend boots you out, you’re crashing on a friend’s couch ‘cause there’s literally nowhere else for you to go, and the worst thing about that whole situation? Is him.
Him being Steve, and Steve being Chin’s roommate. Steve also happened to be the reason that Danny just woke up for the third day in a row with a crick in his neck and the imprint of a Wii remote down the side of his face.
“God damn it, Steve!” Danny threw the controller somewhere over the back of the couch, kind of hoping the thunking sound it made meant it was permanently busted and Steve wouldn’t have anymore excuses for sitting on Danny’s feet and playing his disturbing War games all night.
‘Cause far be it from Steve to maybe fake a little consideration, right? Or maybe realise that there were some people in the house who still gave a shit about graduating, and had to get up before the crack of noon on weekdays.
Steve, though, he pretty much kept steady hours following Chin and Danny between classes (god forbid he actually show up to any of his own) during the day then hustling innocent cadets out of their hard earned beer money at night. Or, if that didn’t pan out, he’d just end up deepening his butt-groove in the couch cushions and tormenting Danny with some running commentary about his “mad skills” while aiming a fake gun at the tv screen and shooting at some probably-eleven-year-old kid from halfway across the world.
Danny asked Chin once how the hell he put up with it, ‘cause seriously, but Chin just shrugged and said as long as Steve kept paying his half of the rent (and god only knows where that money came from), well, he wasn’t gonna judge. It wasn’t his business if Steve wanted to live off of pizza slices and spend 60% of his time playing C.O.D. (the other 40% being made up of something like:
2) using speed dial to call up the nearest pizza place and flirt with whatever skank answers the phone while he/she takes his order for ‘the usual’
3) occasionally banging said skanks
Or whatever. Roughly 40%, anyway. It’s not like Danny’s done the exact math or anything.)
Danny and Chin, though? They were a team. They clicked. Danny’s first day at the academy he knew he’d get along with Chin after he saw the guy elbow some asshole in the face for talking smack about his cousin. (Didn’t matter that his cousin ended up being more than capable of holding her own, or that she’d probably put her own elbow in Chin’s face if she knew he was out there fighting her fights for her.) Chin was old school, like Danny. Danny could respect that. Steve? Yeah. Not so much.
Danny would probably write Steve off as an overgrown kid, but he knew kids, he planned on having kids of his own someday, and he’d never insult an entire group of people like that by lumping them in the same category as Steve McGarrett. Steve was... well... a special kind of moron. Danny’d known guys like him in high school; there’d even been a few others at the academy, but you don’t last long trying to work your way onto the force when you’re filling your time with pizza and beer, no matter what Steve Guttenberg wants you to think. That is, of course, unless you’ve got your daddy somewhere high up on the food-chain pulling strings for you. Even if Steve outright denied ever asking his dad for anything like that, there had to be some reason his ass hadn’t been handed to him by the top boss. Because really, Steve was an asshole, and for whatever reason, be it karma or sheer dumb luck, Danny was the one who had to deal with that.
After smoothing away most of the button-marks on his cheek (and probably a couple layers of skin in the process), Danny managed to roll himself off the couch, cracking his shoulders and neck, and stumbled his way to the bathroom.
In the exact amount of time it took for Danny to take a piss and brush his teeth, Steve had also peeled himself from his mattress, poured out a bowl of cereal and gone on to do what Steve did best in the mornings. Annoy Danny.
“You do know that anyone could just wander in while you’re busy manscaping in the shower, or whatever it is you do in here. You should try locking the door.”
Spitting toothpaste into the sink, Danny spared a glare for Steve’s reflection in the mirror where he was grinning around a spoonful of Cap’n Crunch. “Believe me, it’s not a mistake I’ll make twice.”
Steve barely paused to swallow before shovelling more cereal into his mouth. “I think it’s a sign.”
“Yeah. A sign you’re getting too comfortable here.”
“Somehow I don’t think that’s the problem.” Danny rubbed at his still-sore neck.
Steve wagged the spoon at him like that would somehow clarify his point. “No, it is. Listen, this was supposed to be like a pit-stop for you, right? A halfway house?”
Danny towelled off his hands, his face, the spots he’d left on the mirror. “If in this metaphor you’re comparing the end of my relationship with the act of being paroled, then... yes.”
“Right. Exactly. This was supposed to be your sanctuary or whatever. So you could begin the process of your reintegration into society.”
“Meaning, you get dumped, you move on. You, Danny Williams, are not moving on.”
“What are you talking about, not moving on? I’ve done plenty of... moving on.”
Steve’s face worked its way into a frown while he shook his head at Danny. “Danny. I want you to look at this bowl.” He held up the cereal bowl in his hands. “You see this bowl?”
Danny rolled his eyes. “I see the bowl.”
“You wanna tell me where we got this bowl? ‘Cause I didn’t buy it, and it’s sure as hell not something Chin would own.”
Danny threw up his hands. “So I bought a bowl! What are you even--”
“You’re nesting, Danny! You’re settling down and you’re getting comfortable, and you’re not moving on, and as your parole officer, I can’t allow that.”
“My parole officer?”
“Halfway house. It’s a thing. Go with it.”
“I have no idea what you’re saying to me right now.”
“What I’m saying is... Someone has to keep you from stagnating.”
“Stagnating.” Danny repeated, blank.
Steve shrugged. “Stagnation leads to boredom. Boredom leads to relapse.”
“So, what you’re saying is, you think someone needs to keep an eye on me, to stop me from--”
“Relapsing, yes, thank you. And... you think that that someone should be you?”
“Hey, who was it that took your phone away when you were talking about drunk dialling Rachel?”
“Took my phone away, yeah. That’s good, I like that.” Danny smiled, nodding, then added, “You threw it into a pool!”
“I did what I had to do! You were about to make the biggest mistake of your life.”
“According to you, this shirt was the biggest mistake of my life!” Danny plucked at the wrinkled blue button down he’d fallen asleep in.
“No. That tie is the biggest mistake of your life, and the only reason I can still say that is because I stopped you from drunk dialling your ex.”
“McGarrett, I swear on my grandmother’s grave, if you do not stop talking right now--”
“You know, Nanna Williams wouldn’t like you abusing her memory like that.”
“Out!” Danny picked up whatever was closest from the cabinet and threw it at Steve.
“That was your toothbrush.” Steve called out, and finally shut the door behind him.
Danny leaned his hands against the sink and very slowly counted to ten, then went ahead and did it two more times, just to be safe. The fact that he opened the door only to find Steve leaning against the doorframe right outside only proved that there would never be a number high enough to keep anyone from wanting to deck Steve McGarrett.
“So I think I’ve figured it out.” Steve went on like he hadn’t even noticed the pause in conversation.
“Figured what out?” And one of these days, Danny was going to figure out why the hell he kept humouring the guy, because really. He was only hurting himself.
“How to keep you from relapsing.”
“Of course.” Danny’s eyes went to the ceiling, like maybe it held the answers to dealing with Steve’s crazy.
“We gotta get you out of here. Get away from all of this...” he flailed a wrist at the apartment. “No more Rachel, no more shitty couches, no more bowls.”
“No more going to class, no more graduating...” Danny finished for him.
“Uh uh. You’re forgetting. Courses are finishing in two weeks.”
“Yeah, for Christmas, genius. Not Spring Break.”
“So? No one ever said you can’t have just as much fun with eggnog as you can with a beer bong.”
“You’re insane. Seriously. You’re mentally unbalanced. I am not spending my Christmas with you.”
Steve eyeballed him and, for once, he almost looked sincere. “You got a better offer?”
“Just... Forget it, McGarrett. There’s no way I’m gonna spend whatever free time I have watching you hit on every waitress between here and Jersey.”
“Okay. So. We won’t go to Jersey.”
“Where, then? Cancun?”
“Nice... but not really what I had in mind. I’m thinking something a little more... laid back.”
“Oh I see. Laid back. Really. So what, then? Aruba? Jamaica?”
“I’m gonna let you pretend you didn’t just say that. How about Hawaii?”
“You want to take me to Hawaii? What do you think this is? We are not about to have our fifteenth wedding anniversary!”
Steve made a face that could only be called a pout. “You don’t like Hawaii?”
“How should I know if I like Hawaii? I’ve never been to Hawaii!”
“So let’s go!”
Danny moved the two steps it took to cover the space between them, crossed his arms over his chest and made sure Steve was looking him in the eye before he spoke. “Listen to me right now, okay? Whatever this is? This thing that you’re doing? Stop doing it!”
“No no no no no! No. No talking.” Danny clasped a hand over Steve’s lips ‘til all he could do was make a vague murmuring sound. And drool a lot, apparently. “I’m gonna say this one more time, and then I’m going to go take a shower and put on some clothes and go to class, and I’m gonna do all of that without you following me like a god damn shadow, you got that?”
Steve stayed frozen until he realised Danny wasn’t planning to continue his rant without some kind of confirmation that he’d been listening, so he gave in and nodded.
“Good. Okay. We-” Danny motioned between them with the hand that wasn’t sealed over Steve’s mouth. “-Are not a couple. We do not just pack up over Christmas and head to Hawaii together. This is not a buddy movie. I am not the Hope to your Crosby. I do not want to go to Hawaii with you. I do not want to spend Christmas getting drunk and picking up waitresses and probably a lot of STDs with you. I do not like green eggs and ham.”
“Mrfm--” Steve argued against Danny’s palm.
“Ah!” Danny raised a finger in warning, then nodded when Steve rolled his eyes and quit mumbling. “I do not like them, Sam I Am.” he finished, stepping back and letting Steve breathe again. “Understood?”
Steve gave a full-body shrug, like he was resettling his feathers or something. “Fine, whatever. No need to be all dramatic about it, it was just an idea.”
“Hey, I’m not dramatic. Dramatic is setting fire to the refrigerator just so you don’t have to be the one to clean it out.”
“I already told you guys that was an accident. And I paid for the fridge, didn’t I?”
“Whatever. I’m going to shower your saliva off of my hand now.”
“Don’t forget to lock the door this time.”
“Or maybe you could just stop trying to open it when you know I’m in there.”
“But then how would you learn?”
Danny pinched hard at the bridge of his nose, shaking his head as he walked away.
“Hawaii. Seriously. What is with that?” Danny hunched further over the bar and took a long pull from his beer, waiting for Chin to share in the joke with him. McGarrett, man. That guy was weird.
Eventually the silence grew heavy enough that he lifted his eyes and found Chin basically looking at him like he was an idiot, which is exactly what he felt like when Chin told him “Steve’s from Hawaii. We both are.” Danny just gaped at him, so he went ahead and added “It’s where his dad and sister live.”
“We used to travel home together every chance we got, but what with training and classes and now everything with Malia... I haven’t been able to go in a while. You know, I thought Steve hung around because he wasn’t interested in seeing his family, but maybe he just didn’t want to go alone.”
“So, what you’re saying is, Steve wanted to go home for the holidays and he was asking me to go with him?”
“Looks that way.”
“And you think he probably won’t go unless I do.” Danny lifted his beer to his lips but forgot to actually drink any before lowering it again.
Chin gave him a look. “You should probably be asking him these questions.”
“Yeah right, ‘cause direct questions and Steve McGarrett really go hand in hand.”
“So try anyway. He might surprise you.”
“When does Steve ever not surprise me?” Danny smirked, finishing his beer and tapping the empty bottle against Chin’s half-full one. “You want another?”
Danny waved over the bartender.
Steve woke up to the sound of something rustling above his head.
“Are these seriously the only shirts you own? How do you even function as an adult?” came a voice from the end of his bed.
“Wha--” he blinked a couple times, waiting for his eyes to focus, then blinked some more when he realised that Danny was in his room, rifling through his closet and throwing shit into an open suitcase on the floor.
“Do you even own socks?”
“What are you..? Are you leaving me? Is this a divorce?”
“What?” Danny grunted back, balling a pair of mismatched boot socks together and throwing them into the case.
“Well, you’re taking half my stuff.”
“I’m packing, genius.”
“I can see that.”
“I’m packing for you, I mean. The next flight to Hawaii leaves at two, so if you hurry up and shower now we should just about make it.”
“We’re going to Hawaii?”
“If you get your ass moving in the next ten seconds we are, yes.”
“But what about all that stuff you said? With the STDs. And the... ham?”
“The what?” Danny finally looked up from where he was kicking at the stray clothes that had fallen off their hangers during his rampage. “No, just... never mind. Get in the shower. We can discuss whatever you’re babbling about once we’re in the cab.”
Steve smiled up at him, his face still half mashed into the pillow. “You wanna tell me what changed your mind?”
“Nope. ‘Cause there’s nothing to tell.”
Propping himself up on his elbows, Steve just grinned some more. “If you say so.”
“I do. I do say so. Now can we please get moving? Here.” Danny kicked the overflowing case over to Steve’s bed. “Shower, clothes, breakfast. I’m calling the cab.”
Pulling the sheet around himself as he stood, Steve clapped Danny hard on the arm as he headed for the bathroom. “I knew you wanted to spend Christmas with me.”
“Yeah, that’s what this is about.” Danny rolled his eyes.
“It’s okay, you don’t need to deny it. If that’s what it takes to keep you from, you know—”
“—Relapsing, then hey, that’s what I’m prepared to do.”
“You’re a real giver, you know that?” Danny twitched his lips in a way that Steve chose to believe was a smile.
“Danno, you don’t know the half of it.” he smirked, bumping against Danny’s shoulder on the way out.
Danny made a mental note to examine this brand new masochistic streak he was obviously developing, and went to retrieve Steve’s suitcase from the floor.