Danny had just said a few simple words that turned Steve's world upside-down — in a good way, an amazing way, a fantastic way.
"I love you, too."
"You mean it?" Steve asked. "You're not just saying that to make me happy?"
Danny rolled his eyes. "Have I ever said anything just to make you happy?"
Steve laughed. "How long have you known?" he asked.
"Since you went to Korea. I couldn't stop thinking about you, worrying about you. I knew that I had to find you, no matter what. What about you?"
"It was Korea for me too, actually," Steve said. "When Wo Fat had me, thinking about you kept me sane. All I could think about was getting back to you. When you found me, it was like every dream I'd ever had, had come true."
The two men moved into each other's arms, and they didn't talk for a long time after that.
When Steve woke up the next morning with Danny next to him, he was happier than he could remember being in a very long time. He was tempted to call in sick for both of them so that he could spend the day in bed with Danny, with no interruptions. But they had a job to do, both of them, and no matter how tempting it was to stay in bed together all day, Steve reluctantly dragged himself and Danny out of bed.
They did, however, linger over their shower together.
When they arrived at the Palace, Steve realized that he'd have to tell his co-workers what was going on. So he called Chin in to his office.
"I have something to tell you," he said. "Danny and I are together. We're a couple. We're, uh, boyfriends, I guess you would call it."
"So?" was his teammate's response.
"So, I just thought I should tell you."
"This isn't news, Steve."
"What do you mean, it isn't news? It just happened last night."
Now it Chin's turn to be surprised. "I thought you and Danny were together long ago. The way you act around each other made it pretty obvious."
"We've had feelings for each other for a long time," Steve admitted. "I guess both of us were just too scared or stubborn to admit it."
Chin laughed and slapped Steve on the back. "Well, congratulations, brah. I won't say I hope you and Danny are happy together, because I can tell you already are."
"Does Kono know?" Steve asked.
"She suspects, same as I did."
"Then I guess I don't need to tell her. Thanks, Chin."
With a smile, Chin left Steve's office.
Now that he and Danny were a couple, working with him was a bit different than it had been before. But they were still partners, and their relationship hadn't changed that drastically. They still argued the way they always had, They still disagreed on tactics. But they both recognized that their arguments were a sign of their affection for each other.
When the day was over, Steve had one more person to talk to. "I'm going to go see Joe," he told Danny. "I want to tell him about us."
"Want me to come?" Danny asked.
Steve thought about it. "No, you go back to my house and wait for me. I probably won't be too long. I'm sure Joe will be happy for us." The two men kissed goodbye, and Steve went to share his news with his mentor.
"To what do I owe the pleasure?" Joe asked when Steve arrived at his apartment.
"I have some news," Steve said.
"It must be good news," Joe observed. "You look happy. Sit down and tell me about it."
"It's very good news," Steve replied as he sat down and put his feet up. "Danny and I finally admitted our feelings for each other. We're together now, finally."
"Together as in...?" Joe asked.
"We're lovers," Steve stated.
Joe sighed. "I was afraid of this," he said. "Steve, you must know this isn't a good idea."
"Why isn't it a good idea?" Steve asked confused. "You know that Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been repealed."
"The law may have changed, but attitudes haven't changed. Once your fellow sailors find out you're in a gay relationship, they'll show you what they think of that. Any chances of promotion will go down the drain. You'll stay a Lt. Commander for the rest of your time in the Navy."
"You know what? I don't care what people think. Attitudes are changing — slowly, but they are changing. If I really am denied a promotion in rank, well, I'll live with that. As for my fellow sailors, I'm a big boy, Joe; I can take care of myself. If someone tries to mess with me, they'll regret it."
“Steve,” Joe said in a serious tone. “This kind of relationship — it's just not right. It's not normal. Don't you want to get married, have children one day?”
“If I want to get married, it's to Danny,” Steve replied. “As for children, we already have Gracie. If we want to have more children, we can foster, or adopt, or hire a surrogate.”
“Speaking of Grace, does Grace's mother know about you and Danny?” Joe asked.
“We haven't told her yet, but I'm sure Danny will tell her the next time he picks up Grace.”
“Do you think she'll approve of her daughter being around the two of you?”
Steve had had it. “Joe, you are out of line. Rachel trusts me with Grace the same as she trusts Danny, because she knows how much Grace means to me. But even if she didn't, that is none of your business.”
“You're the one who came to me about your affair with your partner,” Joe pointed out.
“Because you're my friend. Because your opinion is important to me. But I don't have to stay and listen to your bullshit.” Steve got up and walked out of Joe's apartment.
When Steve got back home, Danny was waiting for him. “Judging by the look on your face, things did not go well.”
“No, they didn't,” Steve sighed. “I didn't realize that Joe was so narrow-minded.”
Danny handed Steve a beer. “Want to talk about it?”
Steve already felt better now that he was with Danny. “It's pretty much the same bullshit you get from anyone who's ignorant, except Joe disguised his as being concern about my career in the Navy.”
“How could us being together have anything to do with the Navy? I thought they finally repealed that 'don't tell' rule.”
“They did,” Steve confirmed, “but Joe thinks that they still have the same attitudes, and if anyone finds out about you and me, it will affect my chances for promotion and make people not like me.”
Danny was concerned. “Will it affect your chances for promotion?”
“I doubt it,” Steve answered. “But even if it does, I don't care. The Navy isn't a big part of my life anymore. Five-0 is my career now, not the Navy. My life is here, with you. The Navy is a few weeks a year.” Seeing the expression on Danny's face, he added, “Don't worry about it. My being with you isn't changing the way I feel about the Navy. I chose Five-0 before I even knew you would be part of it. But being with you has made me even more certain that I made the right choice in staying here.”
“I'm sorry about Joe,” Danny said.
“So am I,” replied Steve.
“Is there anything I can do?”
Steve took his partner in his arms. “You're already doing it.”
The next day it was Danny's turn to go see Joe.
“What can I do for you?” Joe asked when he found Danny at his door.
“I want to talk to you about Steve,” Danny told him.
“What about Steve?”
“You must know how important your opinion is to him. He cares about how you feel. The way you reacted to his news about his and my relationship really hurt him.”
“As Steve told me himself yesterday,” Joe answered, “he's a big boy who can take care of himself. If he can't accept that I don't approve of his being in a gay relationship, he'll have to just deal.”
“So hurting Steve doesn't matter to you?” Danny asked.
“Don't twist my words around,” Joe told Danny. “I care about Steve. I don't want him to be hurt. But I'm not hurting him. He's hurting himself.”
Danny was relieved that at least Joe hadn't said that he, Danny, was hurting Steve. “Listen to me,” he said. “You are the closest that Steve has to a father in his life. Your acceptance would mean a lot to him. He was really hoping that you would be happy for him.”
“I can't be happy for him,” Joe replied. “I was happy when he was with Catherine. I can't be happy now.”
“That's too bad,” Danny said. “I know that if you were with somebody, no matter whether it was a man or a woman, Steve would be happy for you.”
As Danny turned to leave, Joe said, “Danny....”
“If you hurt him, I'll kick your ass from here to the Big Island and back.”
Danny was confused. “Why would I hurt him?”
"I know how much you hate it here. You would leave Hawaii in a second if your daughter weren't here. And your ex-wife — if Rachel changed her mind about staying here, you'd follow her wherever she went. You'd follow her to the ends of the earth. You care about her more than you care about Steve."
"You know nothing about how I feel about Rachel or about Steve," was Danny's response. "If you actually paid attention and were observant, you would be able to tell how much Steve and I care about each other. But you choose to be ignorant instead."
"Does Steve really need my approval that much?" Joe asked.
"No, he doesn't need it. But he wants it." And Danny left.
When he saw Steve, his partner wasn't happy. "Why did you go see Joe?" Steve asked.
Danny sighed. "I guess I thought that if I just talked to him, if I told him how much I care about you, he might see reason. He might realize that you and me being together isn't such a bad thing after all. But I guess he's just set in his ways."
"Well, I appreciate you trying," Steve said a bit sadly.
"He did tell me he'd kick my ass if I hurt you," Danny added.
That brought a smile to Steve's face, which made Danny feel a bit better.
Things went along pretty much as usual for the next few weeks, except that Joe didn't drop by Five-0 as often as he used to. He was always friendly when he did come around, but it was obvious that his relationship with Steve was strained.
Danny hurt for his partner. He hated to see how much it upset Steve to no longer have the close friendship/mentorship with Joe that he'd enjoyed since he was a kid. He kind of blamed himself for it. He knew it wasn't his fault that Joe was homophobic, but he still felt partially responsible, because he was the one Steve had chosen to be with.
It was almost ironic that Five-0's next case was a series of homophobic hate crimes. Same-sex couples were being targeted for violent attacks. Some people who just happened to be out with friends of the same gender had been targeted simply for being at the 'wrong' place at the wrong time. Steve couldn't help but wonder if that was why the case was getting so much attention.
Some of the victims didn't want to talk to Five-0, but some did. The ones that did were very determined to make sure they were heard.
"How do I know you're actually going to do something about this?" one victim, a man named Brian, asked. "The cops don't care too much about us queers."
"These cops do," Steve told him. "Five-0 does."
"What makes Five-0 different from any other cops?"
Steve thought for a moment. "Because Danny and I are queer, too."
Danny shot him a look. Steve shot him one in return that said, "We'll talk about it later."
"So they assigned you guys because you're the token gay cops?" Brian asked.
"The Governor assigned us because we're the best, not because we're gay," was Steve's response. "Now, are you going to waste time arguing with us, or are you going to help us catch the guy before he hurts someone else?"
"You'll have to excuse my partner," Danny butted in. "He needs lessons in how to actually talk nicely to people."
Danny's comment defused some of the hostility from Brian and his boyfriend, but he could tell they were both still touchy. He wondered what kind of experience they'd had with police in the past.
Eventually Steve and Danny had all the information they could get from their two victims. As they were walking back to the Camaro, Danny turned to his partner. "So, you want to tell me why you suddenly just blurted to those guys that we're gay?"
"Well, for one thing, it's true," he answered. "At least, as far as our relationship goes, we would be considered to be a gay couple. But I hoped it would help those guys relate to us instead of treating us like the enemy."
"I guess I never really thought of myself as gay," Danny admitted. "I don't know what I am — gay, bi, or even a straight guy in a relationship with another guy. All I know is, I'm in love with you, whatever that makes me."
As they reached the Camaro, Steve took Danny in his arms and kissed him. "What that makes you is mine," he said, "and that's all that matters."
Because they were kissing, they weren't paying attention to their surroundings, Steve realized later. That was why they didn't notice the car speeding toward them. Danny saw it a split-second before Steve did and pushed him out of its path. As the car struck Danny, someone yelled, "FAGGOTS!"
Steve was at his lover's side in an instant, afraid to move him or touch him, not knowing how badly he was injured. He called 911, then called Chin and Kono. He decided not to call Rachel; he would have to tell Grace eventually that her father had been hurt, but he decided to wait until he knew exactly how badly hurt Danny was.
The 911 operator told Steve not to move Danny unless he was in danger, lying in the middle of the road. Steve moved the Camaro to try to block traffic, then sat next to his frighteningly lifeless partner, holding his hand and trying not to think the worst.
He realized he hadn't even gotten the licence number of the car that had tried to run them down. He wondered whether the attack was just another random gay-bashing or was aimed at them as the investigators of the attacks.
"Come on, Danno, wake up," Steve said softly. "I need you. You can't leave me. It took me long enough to find you. I won't let you go."
Just as the ambulance arrived, Steve saw Danny's eyes flicker open. "Steve...?" Danny tried to get up, and Steve gently pushed him back down.
"Don't get up, Danno. You got hit by a car. The paramedics need to take a look at you. I'll be just over there while they take care of you."
"I'm fine," Danny grumbled as the paramedics looked him over. "Ow," he added as one of them felt his ribs for breaks.
"How long was he unconscious for?" the other paramedic asked Steve as she examined an injury where Danny's head had struck the pavement.
"A few minutes," Steve told her.
"You, sir, get to go for an ambulance ride," the female paramedic informed Danny.
"I told you I'm fine," Danny protested.
"You have broken ribs and probably a concussion," the paramedic told him. "You were unconscious. That adds up to an ambulance ride and probably a hospital stay."
Steve was going to ask if he could ride in the ambulance with Danny, but he didn't want to leave the Camaro behind, so he reluctantly drove behind the ambulance to the hospital, trying to not break too many traffic laws on the way.
Kono and Chin Ho were waiting for him at the hospital. "How is he?" they both demanded at once, and then, "What happened?"
"What happened was that we were attacked, probably by the same people who have been doing the gay-bashings," Steve told them. "As for how he is.... They're saying broken ribs and concussion, at least, but he was awake and he was talking when they put him the ambulance."
Chin suddenly went into professional mode. "I know this isn't a great time, but I need you to tell me everything you can remember about who attacked you."
"Can't this wait?" Steve groaned.
"Boss, you know as well as we do that time is important when you're investigating a crime," Kono told him. "The best way you can help Danny is by helping us catch whoever did this to him."
Steve suspected this was their way of keeping him out of the doctors' hair while the doctors took care of Danny, but he understood that his teammates had a job to do. He explained that he and Danny had been interviewing two of the victims of the recent gay-bashings and, with a bit of embarrassment, how they had been standing and kissing each other next to the Camaro when a speeding car had come out of seemingly nowhere. His voice shook as he described how Danny had pushed him out of the way at the last second and taken the full impact himself, and how someone had yelled "Faggot" at them.
He buried his face in his hands. Danny had pushed him out of the way. Danny had thought of Steve's safety before his own. He hadn't had time to jump out of the way himself because he was too busy pushing Steve out of the way.
Two pairs of strong arms embraced Steve. His teammates and friends were there for him.
When Steve was ready to talk again, Chin asked him to describe the car that had struck Danny. Steve didn't want to think about the car. He didn't want to replay in his mind the scene of the car hitting Danny. But the image was burned in his mind, whether he wanted it there or not, and that image meant that he was able to give Chin a description of the car, though he hadn't seen the licence plate.
Chin left to call HPD and give them a description of the car while Kono and Steve sat waiting for permission to see Danny. While they waited, someone unexpected showed up.
"Joe!" Steve exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"
"I heard that someone from Five-0 had been hurt," Joe said a bit self-consciously. "I was concerned."
Steve didn't know what to say. On the one hand, he appreciated Joe's concern. On the other, he still hadn't forgiven Joe for his reaction to Steve and Danny's relationship.
"Obviously it wasn't you, Steve," Joe continued. "Or Kono." He looked around for the other team members.
"It was Danny," Steve muttered.
"What happened?" Joe asked. "Is he going to be okay?"
Kono gave a quick explanation. "We haven't heard from the doctors yet, but it sounds like he has broken ribs and a concussion. Those are serious, but it could be worse."
"Are you all right, Steve?" Joe asked. "Kono said that whoever it was tried to run over both of you."
"Danny saved me," Steve told him. "He pushed me out of the way of the car, but he didn't have time to save himself."
Joe was about to say something when Chin Ho interrupted. "We got a break," he said. "A homeowner with video surveillance cameras on his property got the whole thing on film. HPD got the licence plate number, and I'm going to go with them to pick up the car's owner."
Steve jumped up. "I'm going with you."
"No, you're not," Chin told him. "If this is the guilty party, we want him alive, and preferably in one piece, to go to trial."
Kono looked from Steve to her cousin and back. She wanted to go with Chin, but she also wanted to stay with Steve.
"I'll stay here with Steve," Joe told her. "You go get the guy that did this."
Kono gave Steve a quick hug before hurrying off to join her cousin.
Joe sat on the hard waiting room couch next to Steve. "So tell me how this happened," he said.
"What happened was a gay-bashing," Steve told him. "Done by people who have attitudes like yours."
"Steve," Joe said. "You know I'm not like that. I might not approve of the lifestyle, but...."
"Just can it, Joe," Steve said. "You may not be going out and attacking people, but you believe the same things they do. You don't approve of me and Danny, of what you call our lifestyle. Well, let me tell you something. What Danny and I have isn't a lifestyle. What we have is love. We love each other. It's because Danny loves me that he thought of me before himself, and that's why he's the one in a hospital bed instead of me."
"Danny risked his life for you," Joe stated.
"Yeah, he did. A queer did that. A faggot did that. Did you know that's what they called us when they were speeding away after hitting Danny? They called us faggots."
Joe was about to open his mouth, probably to defend himself, when a nurse walked in. "Commander McGarrett?"
"I'm Commander McGarrett," Steve said. "Is Danny...?"
"Your partner is asking for you," the nurse said with a smile. "In fact, the doctor told me to please fetch you as soon as possible, because Detective Williams won't shut up until he sees you."
With relief, Steve got up to follow the nurse. He almost wanted to kiss her, he was so happy to hear what she had said. He turned to Joe. "Don't bother waiting for me," he said. "I'll probably be here all night, with the man that I love."
Steve walked in to Danny's hospital room, where he found his partner with a bandage wrapped around his head and his ribs taped up. "How do you feel?" Steve asked.
"Oh, I feel great," Danny said. "They have me on some excellent drugs. I may never feel pain ever again. You should try it sometime."
"I think I'll pass," Steve said, leaning over and kissing Danny. "So what do the doctors say?"
"They say I have a concussion and three broken ribs, I have to stay here overnight, and then I have to stay home and not go to work for a few weeks. And someone has to keep an eye on me when I go home to make sure I don't suddenly develop what they call complications. I guess that's your job."
"I guess it is," Steve agreed. "It's a job I will do gladly. Listen, Danno...."
"What is it? Why are you so serious?"
"I just wanted to say thank you for pushing me out of the way of that car."
"I did that because I love you, Babe. You know that," Danny told him.
"I do know that," Steve said. "It just takes some getting used to, knowing that you love me."
Danny patted the bed beside him. "Get up here," he said. When Steve obeyed, Danny wrapped his arms around him and pulled him close. "I love you. Get used to it."
Steve held on to Danny, some of the fear that he'd been feeling since Danny was hit by the car finally leaving him.
The next day Chin Ho and Kono came to the hospital to see Danny and to update him and Steve on the case. The owner of the car was indeed one of the people behind the gay-bashings. They'd searched his house and found that he had videos of some of the crimes he'd committed. Faced with this evidence, he was quick to indict his co-conspirators. They would all face harsh penalties for hate crimes.
Brian and John, his boyfriend, had agreed to testify in the case after they heard that Steve and Danny had been attacked right after talking to them. Chin said that Brian sounded as if he felt a bit guilty for what had happened to Danny.
"I guess you and Kono are going to have to take care of things at Five-0 for the next little while, while I look after Danny," Steve told them.
"You don't have to stay with me 24/7, Babe," Danny told him.
"What if I want to?" Steve asked.
"In the immortal words of Mick Jagger, you can't always get what you want," Danny replied.
"How about I stay home with you for the first few days, and then we'll see what happens from there?"
Danny agreed to this proposal, not even saying anything about the fact that Steve had called his house "home," even though Danny hadn't yet agreed to move in.
As Kono and Chin left, Joe walked in. Steve gave him a solid glare. "What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I'm here because I want to talk to both of you," Joe answered. "Is that okay?" He sounded tentative, almost nervous.
Steve sighed. "What do you want to talk about?"
"I want to apologize for the things I said to you, both of you, when I found out about your relationship. I was out of line."
"You bet you were," Steve said.
"Steven, let him finish," Danny reprimanded his partner.
"Thank you," Joe said. "Now, I'm kind of a traditional man. I don't know a lot of gay people. Being in the Navy kind of made sure of that. I'm afraid that I just listened to the things the people around me said about men who had sex with men, and I didn't think too much about it.
"When you came out to me, Steve, I just repeated all those things I had heard. Yes, I was concerned about your career, but I should have been concerned about you as a person, not as a sailor. A true friend would be."
"You got that right," Steve muttered.
Joe ignored the comment. "After seeing you and Danny together, I started thinking about your relationship, the way you work together, the way you obviously cared about each other even before you were … lovers. Then when the attack happened, it slapped me right in the face. The things you said, Steve, about the people who attacked you having the same kinds of beliefs that I do — that hit too close for comfort.
"When I heard that Danny had thought of your safety, Steve, before his own, I felt ashamed for the way I'd judged you. How could I judge someone who loved you so much that he would risk his life for you?"
"What are you saying here, Joe?" Steve asked.
"That I'm sorry," he said. "I'm very, very sorry for the way I've treated you. I won't say I've changed 100 percent or that I've done a complete about face. I'm still getting used to the idea of the two of you being together. I'm still a pretty traditional kind of guy. I won't say that I approve of your relationship; I'm not there yet. But I accept it. Will that do?"
Steve smiled, took Joe's hand and shook it. "I think that will do for a start. What do you think, Danno?"
Danny took Joe's other hand. "I think so too."