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Red Line Overload (the Lytton Strachey remix)

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All those years in Jersey, Danny was a good cop because he knew when to walk towards danger and when to walk away.

Then he moved to Hawaii and that knowledge went to shit.

It happened in a New York minute: a discrete knife’s edge of time, cutting between the old life and the new.

There was Steve was on top of that cargo carrier, bloodied, body-armored, high as a kite on adrenaline, facing down the man who killed his father. And there was Danny looking up at him and facing another kind of truth.

He fought it. Of course he fought it—because, please, he had some self-respect, didn't he? He fought it with all the Jersey cunning and tenacity at his disposal. He berated Steve for his driving habits—both on the road and through the doorways of buildings. He offered to pay for therapy—if there was a brand of therapy that specialized in why some people put grenades in the trunks of other people even though those other people, who might have small daughters to consider, quite rightfully did not approve of such behavior.

But then they started fucking once in a while and that just screwed the pooch.

+++

“You like the danger, huh?” Steve asked.

Danny’s pants were around his ankles, his dick was in Steve’s hand, and the wind was picking up out on the open rooftop of HQ, so it wasn't an unreasonable thing to ask.

But he shook his head. Or at least rocked it back and forth on the concrete wall they were jammed against. “I like you,” he got out, before his orgasm made words impossible.

+++

Sometimes Danny thought Steve was a train wreck and he couldn’t turn his eyes away. Sometimes he thought Steve was a fuse and he couldn’t resist seeing how long it took to trip the bomb. What he knew was that risk and violence lit Steve up like Disneyland, strung every muscle in his body taught as a trip wire, got him hard. It was Steve who was addicted to danger. But it was Danny who was addicted to Steve.

 

+++

That addiction could lead him places he didn't want to go. The fire that lit Steve up so pretty sometimes was at others like those burning oil wells in the Gulf—guttering and toxic.

Danny found him once in his garage, laying into a vintage hubcap with a sledge hammer. He watched for a moment--he'd let himself into the house with his own key and Steve gave no sign of knowing he was there. The dull, furious thump of metal on metal set his teeth on edge and the sullen hardness of Steve’s face made something go cold in his stomach.

“Whoa,” he said eventually. “What did that hubcap ever do to you?”

Steve didn’t startle at his voice and he didn't look up. "It's the wrong sort." thunk. "Those bastards sent me the wrong fucking size." thunk. "Piece of crap isn't good for shit" thunk.

Steve rarely used that much profanity, but it wasn't the cursing that got to Danny--it was the flatness in Steve's voice, the way he maintained laser focus on the destructive chore at hand. He’d always wondered what baggage Steve carried from the things he’d done before coming back to Hawaii; he thought he might be getting part of his answer now.

The hubcap buckled and flattened, no longer anything that could grace a car. Finally, Danny could stand it no longer. He moved closer, put a hand on the workbench close to the now-mangled metal. “Hey, Thor, mission accomplished—time to put the hammer down.”

Steve paused mid-swing, the weight of the upraised hammer cording the veins in his arms. He looked at Danny as if seeing him for the first time.

“C’mon, let’s give that thing a decent burial, huh?”

Something thick hung between them, like the murky light of an approaching storm. Danny felt himself tensing, his body sure the hammer would land on him next. But after one of the longest minutes he'd ever lived, Steve lowered the tool.

“What you gonna do, Danno?” he asked, the nickname a contemptuous drawl. “Interpose your body to save it?”

“Inter-what my body?” Danny asked, knocked off guard by the weird stuff that came out of Steve's mouth sometimes.

“You know that story.” Steve didn’t wait for an answer. “Some English guy, a writer, gay as Christmas—he was a conscientious objector during World War I. And the draft board asked him what he would do if he found a German soldier raping his sister. And he said, ‘I would endeavor to interpose my body.’”

Danny laughed. It was a good line, and, even better, he could hear the tightness easing in Steve’s voice as he spoke it.

“Are you implying I have some kind of rape fantasy because I want you to stop doing stupid shit?” he asked, taking advantage of the let-up to crowd Steve a little. “’Cause that’s what it sounds like. I gotta tell you, not my usual thing. But for you, babe,” he closed his fingers around the hammer shaft, tugged it out of Steve’s grip, “well, you’re kinks are my kinks, I’m just saying.”

Steve’s eyes widened; then he laughed, let himself lean a little closer to Danny. “Nah. Not mine either. Just off in my own thoughts, I guess.”

“Yeah.” Danny laid the hammer carefully on the bench. “But you're back now. Whadya say we get out of here? You wanna burn off some of that crazy I’ll let you kick my ass on that mountain trail you like so much. Heck, I’ll even nod approvingly while you make ninety-nine kill shots in a row on the firing range.”

Steve smiled, the dark flame in him back to its ordinary glow. “Why don’t you just buy me a beer?”

+++

After that, Danny started thinking more about controlled burns.

“I’m kinda thinking I wanna suck your cock when we get home,” he said in the middle of a fire fight once, just to get things stoked. “Maybe not even take our clothes off, just do it in the foyer.”

Steve goggled at him, while a stray bullet cracked the plaster three feet to their left. Catching him off guard like that was its own kind of pleasure.

They finished off the fight—it apparently took more than Danny's come ons to get Steve to miss a shot—but when they’d handed the gun runners over to uniformed officers, Danny pressed the point home.

“Everyone thinks you’re so cool under fire,” he said, “but you’re not. Oh, you’re cool up here.” He touched Steve’s temple. “But down here,” he brushed a hand over the front of Steve’s cargo shorts. “Not so much. It makes you want to fuck, and when you can’t fuck, you find a way to fuck shit up instead.”

+++

They stumbled into Steve’s house blind with lust. Danny pushed the door shut and shoved Steve up against it. Or maybe Steve let himself be shoved—and fuck if that idea didn't stiffen him like a broomstick.

Tonight he wanted to swallow Steve whole, wanted to drink whatever moonshine ran in his veins until it ran in his veins too, too, wanted all Steve's passion for danger for himself.

He dragged Steve’s shorts down around his hips and palmed his heavy cock. He knelt, smelling the earthy damp of sweat, nothing of fear in it. He ran his tongue over the head and tasted salt.

“You think of this when you wanna shoot something,” he said, pulling the shaft partly into his mouth and easing off slow. The barely suppressed moan it drew out of Steve sent a shiver through him. “You think of my mouth when you wanna get high off that dangerous bullshit, you come to me.”

Steve’s hips bucked as he fucked into Danny’s mouth, sounds coming out of him that might have been “please,” or “more” or just “Danny” over and over again.

Danny thought about what it meant that he could take Steve apart like this, what Steve was willing to surrender to him, and he came without a touch or word.

+++

Afterwards, they shed the rest of their clothes and crawled into Steve’s bed. Steve, so often a restless sleeper, sprawled heavy and boneless, barely stirring even when Danny drew a proprietary finger around the whorls of his tattoos.

He’d known something about danger back in Jersey, Danny thought. He was glad he’d come to know something completely different about it in Hawaii.