It feels like the longest two minutes of Danny’s life – and that includes waiting for his baby girl to be born – but then Steve finally lets out a groan and blinks open his eyes.
“God, Steve, finally.” Danny lets out a sigh of relief, his hand brushing invisible strands of hair off of Steve’s forehead. “I thought you weren’t going to wake up.”
He’s got his right hand still firm on his gun, and the other is patting down Steve’s cheek now.
“You with me, babe?” Danny asks as Steve’s eyes snap into focus.
Danny’s face is just about to crack open in a smile when Steve starts scrambling away with a jolt, panic seeping out of every pore.
“Whoa, Steve,” Danny says, reaching out for Steve’s shoulder, but Steve is backing up, shuffling back until he reaches the wall. Then Steve finds his gun and before Danny can grasp what’s going on, his partner is pulling a gun on him with a panicked look on his face.
“What are you doing?” Danny cries out, and in the back of his mind he knows he should probably point his gun at Steve as well but he finds that he simply can’t . “Have you lost your mind?!”
“How did I…?” Steve stammers, confused, eyes darting from Danny to his surroundings. They grow wide as they fall on the dead body not far from where they’re sitting.
“Did you kill him?” Steve’s voice sounds accusing , his gun still pointed at Danny.
“Yes!” Danny yells, trying hard to keep his gaze fixed on Steve’s eyes and not the gun pointing in his face. “Of course I did. He knocked you unconscious. He was going to finish you off! I was saving your stupid ass! What the hell is the matter with you?”
The gun wavers for a second before Steve lowers it to his side, but Danny knows better than to reach for it. He just watches Steve as he sags completely against the wall, his breathing hard.
“Babe?” Danny asks carefully, hands reaching out slightly but not quite daring to touch.
And it’s not like Danny doesn’t realize that something is very wrong here, but it still feels like a punch to the gut when Steve finally asks, “Who are you?”
It’s been two years now that he and Steve have been working together, and it hasn’t all been fun and games. Steve has the tendency to get Danny’s blood pressure rising at every opportunity: jumping out of buildings, throwing people in shark tanks, and pretty much ignoring proper procedure every chance he gets. But not since Steve turned to him that first day and said, "You're the back-up" have three words filled him with such dread.
“What do you mean, who am I?” Danny can’t help but sound offended, even though the worry is definitely keeping the upper hand. “I’m your freaking partner. What are you talking about?”
“Partner?” Steve asks, like he’s not even familiar with the word.
“Partner,” Danny repeats, thumb hooked behind the badge on his belt to illustrate his point.
“You’re a cop,” Steve says, somewhat relaxing at the sight of the badge.
“Steve…?” Danny asks, finally laying his hand on Steve’s knee.
“I can’t remember,” Steve says.
“Like, anything?” Danny asks, and he knows it’s a stupid question because if Steve can’t even remember him , then he doubts he’ll remember much else, let alone how they got to be here in this basement, chasing down drug dealers.
Steve thinks for a while, looking back from Danny to the dead body on the floor, to the room they are sitting in. Then finally he focuses on Danny again and simply shakes his head.
“Okay,” Danny breathes, trying to come up with a plan. “Okay… You got hit on the head, and apparently a little bit harder than I thought. I will tell you everything you need to know, but we need to get out of here first. This guy’s buddies might come back. So here’s the gist of it, I guess… We’re cops. You’re Steve, I’m Danny, and I’m your partner. And we need to get out of here now, so just follow my lead, alright?”
Danny’s scrambling up off the floor, heading towards the basement door, but Steve’s not moving an inch and Danny looks at him with a ‘what now?’ look on his face.
“And what? I just trust you?” Steve frowns, and Danny had almost forgotten how stubborn Steve could be.
“Yes.” Danny doesn’t hesitate for a second, because isn’t that what they do? They trust each other, unconditionally. But Steve doesn’t know that, does he? He doesn’t remember that.
Steve snorts and says, “You’re pretty confident.”
“Look, I know,” Danny says, a quick glance at the door to make sure they’re still alone, and then he crouches in front of Steve, “I know you don’t remember and it seems easy for me to say, but yes. You trust me. Just like I trust you. In all the time we’ve known each other, that’s never been in question. Ever. So I guess I need you to do just that… Trust me.”
Steve seems to contemplate those words, then he nods towards the dead guy. “He could be the cop. You could’ve killed him, taken his badge.”
Danny sighs. “That’s true. I could’ve. But I didn’t.”
He puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder, as if he can somehow make his memory appear again just by a simple touch. “I have no way of proving this to you right now. But it’s the truth. Don’t you, somehow… I don’t know, feel it? That you know me? That you trust me?”
Danny wonders, if the situation was reversed, would he somehow magically trust Steve? But he just can’t picture a world in which he would look at Steve and not know who he is, not know that this man is his partner, that this man has his back – unreservedly. It seems too surreal to him, so he’s not quite sure how he can just expect Steve to put his life in the hands of… well, a stranger.
Danny doesn’t know if it’s because Steve does in some way feel a connection with Danny, or simply because he really doesn’t have much choice, but Steve gets on his feet, grips his gun tightly, and says, “Lead the way. I have no idea where we’re going.”
Danny lets out a breath and heads for the door again. “We need to find Chin and Kono. They were at the other side of the building.”
Danny sticks his head out the door for a quick sweep, then motions to Steve that the hallway is clear. Steve follows without question, his training apparently engraved in his subconscious.
“Who?” Steve whispers as they slowly make their way through the hallway towards some stairs.
“They’re the good guys, so please don’t shoot them,” Danny whispers back, “Gorgeous girl with long hair, and intense dude with a loud print on his shirt. They’ll be wearing vests and badges, and they should be pleased to see us.”
“Long hair, loud shirt. No shooting. Got it.” Steve nods.
Danny shoots him a smile. “Should’ve known you’d catch on quick.”
Danny’s not sure but he thinks he can see the ghost of a smile on Steve’s face.
They get out of the building without any trouble, about the same time Chin and Kono come around the corner – unharmed.
“Chip and Kono, I presume?” Steve asks with a look so innocent that Danny can’t help but bark out a laugh.
“You guys okay?” Chin calls out as they approach.
“Yeah,” Danny says, “Gotta get McGarrett to the hospital though.”
Kono looks up from her phone call with Lori – who is back at HQ – with a concerned look on her face.
“You hurt?” Chin asks Steve, and Steve looks at Danny as if he’s asking permission to answer.
“He got hit in the head,” Danny answers for him. Danny looks over at him and Steve’s pose is awkward and insecure, and isn’t that just wrong ? “Doesn’t remember a thing.”
“What?” Chin and Kono say in unison, and Danny can swear he can even hear Lori call out over the phone that’s still pressed against Kono’s ear.
“Oh, and there’s a dead drug-dealer in the basement,” Danny calls out over his shoulder as he leads Steve towards the car.
They both stand by the passenger side for a second, before Danny remembers.
“You have the keys,” Danny says matter-of-factly, and Steve starts patting down the pockets of his vest.
“They’re…” Danny starts, but then just reaches in Steve’s pant-pocket himself because he knows exactly where Steve keeps his keys.
Danny ignores the wide-eyed expression on Steve’s face and just walks around to the driver’s side of the car.
“Come on. Hospital,” Danny says as he gets in, and Steve crawls awkwardly in the passenger’s side, fumbling to push the seat back.
“This my car then?” Steve asks, looking around the interior of the car.
“No, actually.” Danny says, “It’s mine, but you have control issues.”
“So you let me drive?” Steve asks.
It’s weird, having Steve so clueless next to him, but Danny has to remember that it really isn’t Steve’s fault. He’s also pretty sure that, if roles were reversed, he’d probably be panicking by now.
“‘Let’ is a big word.” Danny flashes a smile at Steve in what he hopes is a reassuring manner.
“I force you?” Steve asks in horror.
So much for reassuring, Danny thinks.
“No, no, of course not,” Danny says, hand briefly reaching out to pat Steve on the knee. “It’s just… an unspoken agreement, you could say. I let you drive my car, and you try not to get me killed.”
Danny looks over to find Steve still looking slightly horrified.
“I’m not doing a great job reassuring you, am I?” he sighs, but Steve just shrugs.
“Is it scary, not remembering?” Danny continues after a few minutes of silence, and Steve just puts on his Constipation Face – some things never change – and stares out the window.
“It’s going to be okay, Steve,” Danny goes on. “We’ll have a doctor check you out. You’ll be fine. In the meantime, just ask me whatever.”
“I’m Steve?” he asks.
“Steve McGarrett. Lieutenant Commander in the Navy. You’re a SEAL,” Danny says, “but you’re in the reserves now, and leader of the Governor of Hawaii’s special task force. We’re called Five-0.”
“And you’re my partner?” Steve asks again, for good measure.
Danny nods. “I have that honor, yes.”
“Why did I go into the reserves?” Steve frowns, and Danny hesitates for a second but decides the truth is the best way to go.
“You took the Five-0 job to find your father’s murderer,” he says softly.
“Oh…” Steve says, and Danny resists the urge to pull over and hug the crap out of this man.
When they get to the hospital, there are a lot of questions – all of which Danny has to answer while Steve just looks around, looking lost – and scanners and tests and Danny doesn’t move an inch from Steve’s side the whole time. Steve looks at Danny as if he’s the only one anchoring him down, and Danny just can’t help but shoot him comforting smiles, as if that’s going to help Steve get his memory back. It does seem to relax him a bit, so Danny counts it as a win.
The doctor’s conclusion is one Danny could’ve guessed already: the hit to Steve’s head caused temporary memory loss. Otherwise, he’s absolutely fine – except for the bump on his head and a looming headache. The doctor can’t say how and when it’ll blow over, but he’s quite confident it won’t take very long. All Danny can do in the meantime is take him home, take care of him, try to do familiar things, and Steve’s memory should just come back on its own.
So Danny takes Steve home after calling HQ to give them an update, and Steve just stands in the middle of his living room, taking in the sights.
“It looks sort of familiar,” Steve says hesitantly, his fingers tracing the edge of the couch.
“It was your father’s house,” Danny supplies, “You grew up here.”
Steve nods and keeps looking around, focusing hard on every single object in the room. After a while he lets out a frustrated sigh, and Danny is by his side in the blink of an eye.
“Look, you’re not gonna get your memory back by pure willpower, alright?” he says, and takes Steve by the arm to guide him to the kitchen. “Although if anyone could, I’m sure it’d be you. But this has no point. You need to relax.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” Steve asks, slightly irritated.
“I don’t know. Just…” Danny says as he parks Steve on a chair by the table and starts nosing in the freezer. “Just looking at you makes my head explode. You’re giving this entire house a death-glare just because you want to remember something. It doesn’t work like that.”
“ Just because I want to remember something?” Steve asks incredulous, “Danny…?”
“Yeah, okay, bad wording,” Danny says in a tone that’s remarkably close to a snap.
“I have no memories, Danny,” Steve says poignantly, “I don’t know who I am, who you are.”
“I know, babe. I know.” Danny’s voice softens as he looks at Steve again. “I’m sorry.”
“Shouldn’t you, I don’t know… head home or something?” Steve asks and damn if he doesn’t sound just a little bit like a petulant child.
“First of all, the doctor doesn’t want you to be alone right now,” Danny answers as he takes out an icepack and wraps it in a clean kitchen towel, “and secondly… Uh… I kind of live here.”
“Here?” Steve asks, and Danny just nods and comes to stand by Steve’s side, carefully pressing the icepack against the back of Steve’s head. “In my father’s house?”
“Well, it’s your house now.” Danny shrugs, one hand around the cold towel, the other keeping Steve’s head steady.
“And we live here… together?” Steve frowns.
“I needed a place to stay and you were kind enough to offer,” Danny says, looking Steve straight in the eye.
“Oh,” Steve just says after a while and lets Danny’s fingers caress his scalp for a second.
“See,” Danny smiles as he makes no effort to hand the icepack over to Steve. “Partners.”
Danny wakes up to a weight sliding between his back and the couch, and an arm wrapped around his torso. Steve shifts and wriggles until he’s comfortable, and doesn’t even try to be subtle as to not wake Danny up.
“Steve…?” Danny asks, his voice coarse with sleep.
“Shhh,” Steve mumbles. “Go back to sleep.”
“What?” Danny whispers, but makes no effort to push Steve off. “What are you doing?”
“It’s okay, Danny,” Steve whispers back, now quite comfortably pressed between the back of the couch and Danny, his right arm squirmed underneath Danny so he can wrap both arms steady around his body.
Danny instinctively covers Steve’s arms with his own hands, and he tries very hard not to think about what that means.
“I figured it out,” Steve says, and Danny can’t help but twist a little in Steve’s grasp and go, “Just what do you think you have figured out, Steve?”
“You call me ‘babe’, we live together, I drive your car…” Steve mutters as he shrugs, and Danny can hear his voice drifting off.
Danny would pinch the bridge of his nose if his hands weren’t so busy holding Steve’s arms in place, because he’s not quite sure how they ended up in this situation. But Steve’s breath is evening out against the back of his neck, and even though the couch is probably too small for two grown men to sleep on, he can’t help but feel comfortable and relaxed.
“Oh God ,” Danny whispers, even though he’s quite sure Steve doesn’t hear him anymore, “Just go to sleep…”
The only answer Danny gets is a soft snore just behind his ear.
In the morning, Danny carefully slips out of Steve’s embrace and spends a good ten minutes watching him sleep before heading to the kitchen where he spends another few minutes watching the coffee drip and trying to think of what the day will be like. He should really call the Governor and inform him of what’s going on, but knowing the team, they might’ve done so already.
He’s pouring himself a cup when he hears some noise coming from the living room and Steve walks in – in boxers and a t-shirt – and smiles at him.
“Morning,” he says and he’s stepping closer to Danny and Danny just about spills coffee all over them as Steve tries to lean in for what looks a hell of a lot like a kiss.
“Whoa, Steve,” Danny says, trying to get some distance between himself and the man who not only can’t remember anything, but also seems to have made some very wrong interpretations.
“Are we not…?” Steve asks, posture suddenly very stiff, “I thought…”
“What exactly…?” Danny starts, then shakes his head. How the hell did he end up in this situation anyway? As if a McGarrett- with -memories isn’t hard enough to deal with sometimes?
“Steve, we’re not dating,” he says eventually, in one rushed breath, and he wonders why it seems so difficult to say.
“Oh,” Steve says after a moment of silence, and it seems like he isn’t quite sure what to do with his hands all of a sudden. “I thought…”
“Yeah…” Danny says, drawling out the word. “I gathered. I should’ve been more clear, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you’d jump to that conclusion.”
“It’s just… What with the ‘babe’ and the living together, and you on the couch. That’s all.” Steve shrugs, but Danny knows him well enough to know that he’s lying. There’s something else, something that made Steve come to this conclusion, only Danny can’t quite figure it out yet.
They’re both saved from continuing the awkward conversation by Danny’s cell phone, and Danny can’t quite shake the feeling that he did something wrong as he picks up the phone.
“Hey,” Kono’s voice rings through the line, “how’s our fearless leader?”
“Forgetful,” Danny says, throwing an apologetic shrug at Steve.
“No progress yet?” Kono asks, and Danny can tell she’s disappointed.
“Not exactly, no,” Danny says, “but it’s only been a day.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Kono says. “Just wanted to let you know that Chin called the Governor, so you don’t need to bother with that anymore.”
“You guys are angels.” Danny smiles, glancing over at Steve who is now leaning against the kitchen table, his eyes focused on the floor.
“We figured sticking you with an amnesiac was rough enough, so…” Kono says, chipper, like they’re discussing what they’re having for lunch or something.
“It’s fine,” Danny says, but he’s sure Kono didn’t miss the sigh that accompanied that statement.
“Not going so well?” Kono asks.
“No, no,” Danny answers quickly, feeling immediately guilty for discussing their friend when he’s standing six feet away from him, looking like he’s been punished. “It’s just hard on him.” Steve raises his head and looks at Danny when he realizes the conversation is about him.
“But we’re managing,” Danny says and forces himself to smile at Steve.
He cuts the conversation short after that, assuring Kono they’ll be at HQ in just a little while. When he hangs up the phone, Steve says, “I’m sorry.”
“What for?” Danny asks confused.
“For being such a burden. For having to babysit me, for thinking… you know…” Steve trails off.
“Hey, stop that,” Danny says, closing the gap between him and Steve and curling his fingers around Steve’s biceps. “You are never a burden, alright? Yeah, you drive me up the wall sometimes. I’m sure I do the same. But we’re there for each other, okay? So this is no trouble. Don’t even think that.”
“It’s so strange,” Steve admits reluctantly. “I look around this house, I look at you, and… There’s all these feelings, but I have nothing to back them up. No memories to tell me what’s right or wrong.”
Danny is quiet for a beat, because he’s sure there are things Steve is not saying.
“What feel…?” Danny starts, but Steve pulls himself away from Danny and says, “Just, forget it. We going to work or what?”
Danny just shakes his head as Steve grabs a banana from the fruit bowl on the counter. "Yeah, come on," he says, grabbing Steve's shirt sleeve. "We’ll get dressed and I'll buy you breakfast."
Arriving at Iolani Palace, Steve is still gushing over how much he loves the malasadas Danny bought them when Lori corners him in the hallway.
“Steve!” she practically shrieks, and hugs him before he knows full well what’s going on. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”
Steve’s got that ‘I’m not sure what to do with my arms’-vibe again as he looks over Lori’s shoulder at Danny and mouths, “Lori?” because he hasn’t seen her since he got hit in the head the day before. Danny nods, and then Lori’s pulling back suddenly.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” she says, her face somewhat flushed. “You probably have no idea who I am. You’re basically being pounced on by a stranger!”
Danny can’t help but smile as Steve starts stammering, “No, it’s fine. You’re Lori, right? It’s okay, uh… Danny filled me in.”
“Right,” Lori says, recuperating from her embarrassment quickly.
Then Kono strolls in and goes, “Bossman! Remember how you said I’d get a raise?”
“Kono…” Danny growls warningly, but to his relief Steve just starts laughing.
“Sure, sure,” he retorts, “and I bet I owe you some vacation days too.”
“You catch on quick, brah.” Kono winks as she taps him on the shoulder.
“Yeah, apparently not always,” Steve mutters, and Danny doesn’t miss the quick glance Steve gives him.
“Nothing yet?” Chin asks as he joins them in the bullpen.
“The doctor said it could take several days,” Danny answers in Steve’s place, and Steve just smiles.
“I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.” Chin nods.
“I better get cracking on my reports of yesterday’s bust,” Danny announces and starts to retreat into his office when he notices that Steve takes two steps to follow him before stopping abruptly and looking around as if he’s searching for something.
“Oh, uhm…” Danny hesitates, because he’s not actually sure what Steve is supposed to do all day. He can’t do paperwork because he can’t remember what to write down, and he sure as hell isn’t going to go out in the field today, Danny will make sure of that.
“Hey boss, why don’t I fill you in on how life’s treating us all this morning?” Kono says suddenly, and Danny couldn’t be more grateful.
“It’s okay, you know,” Steve answers politely. “You can all just go about your business and I’ll keep myself busy. You don’t need to babysit me.”
“Are you kidding?” Kono smiles. “I have the opportunity to talk your ear off, to actually teach you something instead of the other way around, and you’re going to take that away from me?”
Steve relaxes visibly as he smiles and nods.
“Oh God.” Danny rolls his eyes. “You’re going to turn him into some sort of McGarrett-Kalakaua hybrid bad ass robot, aren’t you?”
“No, brah,” Kono says as she guides Steve into his office, “I’ll just talk to him about our Ohana and stuff, that’s all.”
But Danny is sure the smile on her face tells him he’s right.
“I’d like to know all about it,” he hears Steve say before the both of them disappear into Steve’s office.
Chin and Lori get to work too, and Danny retreats into his office and digs into the pile of papers on his desk. He tries hard not to think about Steve and his feelings, and fails miserably. And what if his memory never comes back? Sure, the doctor was pretty confident, but when has Steve ever listened to anything a doctor says? What if he never remembers and Danny never gets the old Steve back? He tries to shake off the thought.
He tries even harder not to remember how well he slept last night, and the irony of that isn’t lost on him.
“What’s this?” Steve asks, eyeing the glass that Danny placed in front of him on the desk.
“Aspirin,” Danny says, “and don’t even tell me you don’t have a headache, I could see you squinting from across the hall.”
“It’s not that ba…” Steve starts, but Kono – who’s sitting on the edge of the desk – cuts him off. “It’s no use, brah. Danny knows you better than that. Just take the drugs and say mahalo.”
“You’re a wise woman, Kono Kalakaua.” Danny nods and watches until Steve caves and downs the glass in one go.
“Happy?” Steve asks with a smile.
“Ecstatic.” Danny returns the smile as he takes the glass back. “Listen, I’ve been meaning to mention. I’m supposed to have Grace for a few hours after school today…”
“Grace?” Steve frowns.
“It’s just…” Danny shuffles his feet a bit, uncomfortably, “I don’t want to put more pressure on you, but you were supposed to take her swimming, and if I take her somewhere else and she doesn’t get to see you, she’s going to think something horrible has happened, ‘cause you do have a bad record of getting in trouble and I don’t want her to spend all evening worrying about her Uncle Steve, so I was hoping I could at least bring her ‘round the hou…”
“Danny!” Steve holds up a hand to stop Danny’s rant. “It’s fine. I can still swim with her.”
“Yeah?” Danny asks, letting out a deep breath.
“Sure. I mean, you’ll have to explain to her, you know…” Steve circles his finger in front of his face, as if his amnesia is somehow showing.
“Yeah, of course.” Danny smiles.
“I’m Uncle Steve then?” Steve asks after a second, and if he didn’t know better, Danny would swear there was a slight blush on his face.
“Her favorite,” Danny assures, which causes a ridiculously goofy smile to appear on Steve’s face.
Steve and Danny are both leaning on the hood of the Camaro, waiting for Grace to come out of school, as Steve interrogates Danny about nine-year-old girls.
“You really shouldn’t be nervous, you know,” Danny says, ‘cause he reads Steve like an open book.
“I’m not good with kids,” Steve admits, fingers fidgeting with the hem of his shirt.
“How would you know?” Danny teases, and it earns him a stern glare. “Besides, you’re great with Grace.”
“I sincerely doubt that,” Steve mutters, glancing over at the school every two seconds.
“Hey, where’s the trust?” Danny taps him on the arm with the back of his hand, “I’m telling you, my Monkey adores you more than she adores her Step-Stan and he insists on buying her all the crap she wants but really doesn’t need. So that’s saying a lot.”
Steve quirks an eyebrow at the mention of “Step-Stan”, and wipes his – no doubt sweaty by now – palms on his cargoes.
“Yeah, but Danno, I don’t even kno…” Steve starts but is cut off by Danny grabbing his arm.
“What did you just say?” Danny asks, and his voice comes out just a little more forceful than intended.
“Huh?” Steve just stares at him.
“The name. The name you just called me,” Danny urges, fingers digging into Steve’s biceps.
It takes him a second, but Steve’s eyes go wide and a huge smile appears on his face as he repeats, “Danno.”
Danny mirrors the smile and he resists the deep urge to pull Steve into a bone crushing hug.
“Your memory’s going to be just fine.” Danny smiles, and then his attention is caught by Grace who’s running up to them, calling out their names.
After hugging her father, she throws herself in Steve’s arms, and Danny watches as Steve wraps his arms carefully but lovingly around this little girl that Steve essentially doesn’t know.
“No, see, you hate pineapple on pizza,” Danny says as he yanks the take away folder out of Steve’s hand.
“Danno, you’re not supposed to lie!” Grace reprimands, “It’s not nice.”
“Monkey…” Danny says, almost whining.
“But we’re supposed to help Uncle Steve get his memory back,” she says in all her wisdom. “You shouldn’t lie because you don’t want to have pineapple.”
“Really, Danno.” Steve shakes his head as if he’s deeply disappointed, already in cahoots with Grace.
They’re both sitting there in their swimwear on Steve’s lanai, wrapped in a towel.
“I don’t hear you complaining that we’re getting pizza though,” Danny tells Grace, tapping the folder gently on the top of her wet head. “You know Uncle Steve isn’t a fan of fast food.”
“I’m not?” Steve asks, and Danny tries to ignore the way beads of ocean water are still dripping down his face, along his neck.
“You say we need to eat healthy,” Grace explains, and Danny’s heart warms at how close she’s sitting to Steve, and how comfortable Steve seems to be with it after only a few hours in her presence.
“I’m sure I’m right,” Steve smiles, glancing over at Danny quickly before turning his attention back to Grace.
“You said it was because you wanted us around for a very long time,” Grace adds as she grabs the take away menu from her father and starts browsing through it.
“He did?” Danny asks, surprised, and by the way Steve’s head snaps up at Grace’s comment, Danny can tell he’s not the only one.
Steve shrugs somewhat apologetically at Danny, as if to say that he really can’t remember, but Danny just smiles as Steve looks over Grace’s shoulder at the different kinds of pizzas. He doesn’t miss the quick glances Steve keeps shooting him though, nor the effect it seems to have in the pit of Danny’s stomach.
Rachel had come to pick up Grace over an hour ago now – Danny could tell that Steve was somehow intimidated by her – and ever since, Steve’s been sitting in the sand, looking out over the water.
It’s hard for Danny to imagine what Steve might be thinking. So many impressions to try and give a place in his head, so many new people and experiences and feelings. It’s the feelings that Danny keeps getting stuck on. The fact that Steve thought they were dating. When he thinks about it, Danny can understand how Steve came to that conclusion. In fact, he’s sort of starting to wonder how he never saw it. Everything about them screams ‘couple’, and shouldn’t that freak him out just a little bit? Shouldn’t that make him want to put some distance between them? But all it does is make him want to get closer.
Danny goes to sit down next to Steve in the sand. The sun is tinting the water a beautiful orange as it is slowly setting.
“Talk to me, big guy,” Danny says after a few minutes of silence.
“Grace is lovely,” Steve says, and even though it warms Danny’s heart to hear, he knows that’s not what Steve really wants to say.
“Chip off the old block, right?” Danny says.
Steve turns to look at him and there’s an almost sad smile on his face as he says, “Yeah.”
“Come on, Steve,” Danny urges, his hand somehow finding its way to Steve’s arm again, “Tell me what’s up.”
“I don’t know…” Steve says, shaking his head, “I just… I don’t know who I am.”
“I would’ve thought you’d know it better by now,” Danny says softly. “Now that you’ve been around your friends, your family.”
“No,” Steve confesses. “I don’t know… I don’t understand.”
He sighs and stares out in front of him again.
“What don’t you understand, babe?”
“This. You ,” Steve almost snaps, shaking off Danny’s touch, and it takes Danny by surprise. He wasn’t expecting the slight twinge of rejection that creeps into his heart.
“I don’t understand any of this,” Steve says, and it sounds accusing . “You’re telling me things, but it doesn’t add up. It doesn’t make sense.”
“What…?” Danny stammers. “What do you mean?”
“We’re colleagues, right?” Steve says, getting up and brushing the sand off his pants. “But you live here, and we’re always together, and your daughter …” Steve doesn’t finish his sentence.
Danny just stares up at Steve, because he gets it. He gets what Steve is saying without actually saying it. And he wishes he could offer something, some kind of explanation, but the truth is that Danny doesn’t quite get it himself anymore. So all he does is stare as Steve goes on.
“I don’t know what this is,” Steve says, gesturing between the both of them, “And it’s driving me insane. I can’t place this.”
There’s another deep breath as Steve turns and says, “I need to be alone” and walks off to the house.
Danny’s still staring at him as he disappears inside and the realization sets in like a brick in the stomach. Danny is in love.
Steve has been avoiding Danny ever since the conversation on the beach, and Danny can’t say he’s entirely sad about it. The fact that he doesn’t know what to do with Steve’s feelings and doubts, the fact that he just wants to scream at Steve that he loves him… even though Steve has no memory and it would be a gross manipulation of Steve’s already fragile and confused feelings. Maybe it’s a good thing Steve isn’t in a particularly chatty mood.
The drive to work is a silent one. Steve is sitting in the passenger seat, and it somehow feels all wrong. Danny keeps glancing over, trying to think of a neutral subject to start a conversation, but comes up blank.
He’s sure Steve is pretending not to notice the way Danny keeps looking over. Even without memory, nothing gets by Steve unnoticed.
When his cell phone rings, Danny is grateful for the distraction.
“Chin, you’re on speaker,” Danny calls out.
“Danny, you guys leave Steve’s yet?” Chin’s voice echoes through the car.
“Yeah, like five minutes ago. What’s going on?” Danny asks, sharing a concerned look with Steve.
“We just got in a call for an explosion on Piikoi Street,” Chin says. “Number 2386.”
“What kind of explosion?” Danny asks, already turning the car around.
“I don’t know. We got practically nothing here,” Chin says, and Danny can hear car doors slam in the background. “We’re on our way now. So is HPD and the fire department. But since you’re closer…”
“We’re on it,” Danny says, putting his foot down on the gas pedal.
The drive back to Steve’s street takes about half the time but is equally silent. Danny leaves the car somewhere on the sidewalk, mindful to leave enough space for the fire department to maneuver. There are people scattered all over the street, watching as half the house burns up. A quick scan tells Danny that nobody appears to be hurt.
“Is there anyone still in the house?” Danny yells, flashing his badge.
“We don’t know,” an elderly lady says. She’s shaking but she appears to be fine otherwise, so Danny really can’t afford to pay much more attention to her.
He looks back up at the house. The entire front porch and front room have crumbled down. Flames are finding their way out of the windows.
“I’m gonna go see if I can get in from the back,” Danny tells Steve.
“I’m with you,” Steve says with such determination that for a fraction of a second there Danny almost thinks he’s the old Steve again.
“No, you can’t,” Danny says, because there’s no way he’s letting Steve come in there with him.
“Danny…” Steve starts, but Danny cuts him off.
“You can’t, Steve,” Danny says forcefully, his hands already pushing Steve back towards the street. “I can’t do this and worry about you too. Right now you’re not a cop or a SEAL. I need you to stay here. Please.”
Steve clenches his jaw and he’s clearly got a million things to say but there’s simply no time so he just nods and takes a step back towards the street.
“Thank you,” Danny whispers as he starts to run around the house, but he’s not quite sure Steve heard him.
The back of the house is relatively unscathed. Danny wishes he knew who lived here. It’s a big house, so maybe a family? The kids should be at school, but what if they’re not? What if the parents aren’t at work? He resists the urge to call back and ask Steve just how many people live here, but wouldn’t that just be a waste of time? Even if Steve actually knew them, he wouldn’t remember now.
The back door is locked, which Danny can only hope is a sign that nobody’s home. He shoots out the lock and rushes inside, only to be greeted by smoke, and… a dog that comes running up to him, barking heatedly. He’s big and brown and hurriedly makes his way past Danny towards the now open back door. If anything, Danny thinks, he at least managed to save the dog.
“Is anybody here?” he yells as loud as he can, starting to make his way through the house.
He doesn’t get much further than the kitchen when another explosion rattles the entire house. Danny is able to avoid getting hit by the beams of the ceiling as they come down, which is a small miracle in itself.
Steve appears from somewhere through the smoke, frantically calling out his name.
“Steve?” Danny asks, coughing.
“Danny!” Steve yells, making his way towards Danny through the debris.
“Didn’t I tell you to stay outside?” Danny shouts as Steve reaches him, hands patting down his body to make sure he’s alright.
“Yeah, and then the whole thing exploded again,” Steve snaps back. “What did you expect me to do?”
“To stay outside!” Danny shrieks. “Like I told you to!”
“Come on,” Steve says, ignoring Danny’s little outburst as he looks around the place. “This thing’s gonna come down any second now. We need to get out of here.”
The whole house creaks as they make their way towards the back door again, Steve’s hand firmly on Danny’s elbow as if he wants to make sure he doesn’t lose him somewhere in the rubble or the smoke.
Danny isn’t sure how it happens exactly, but part of the door frame comes down just as Steve is ushering Danny through it and before he can truly comprehend what’s happening, Steve is down on the floor with a gash on his forehead and Danny finds himself screaming out Steve’s name. There’s blood on his fingers as he brushes them against Steve’s face and Steve isn’t moving.
“Steve! Babe, please?” Danny’s pleading but there’s no time, so Danny grabs Steve under the armpits and starts pulling him towards the exit. There’s debris everywhere, but Danny has no time to think about that. Steve will be able to handle a few scrapes to his back. The important thing is to get him out of here, now .
There’s a grunt from Steve as they reach the back door, which Danny counts as a win, and by the time he’s pulled him all the way outside on the lawn, Steve is moving slightly.
Danny collapses on the grass, Steve sprawled half on top of him as he watches the house go up in flames. Too late for anyone who might still be in there.
“Danny?” Steve mutters weakly, and Danny’s kneeling beside him instantly.
“Are you okay?” Danny asks, noting that the gash on his forehead isn’t gushing out blood anymore like it was before. He rips off part of his sleeve to put on the wound nonetheless.
“I gotta stop getting hit in the head…” Steve mumbles, and Danny can’t help but smile.
“Yeah, you sure do.” He exhales deeply. “You’re taking two years off my life every time you go down.”
“That’s my Danno.” Steve smiles faintly. “Always thinking of himself.”
“Yeah, ‘cause I never ever think of you, do I?” Danny lets out a huff of relief.
Steve just grins up at Danny through his half-bloody face, and yeah, he’s going to be just fine.
“Besides…” Danny says, trying to clean up his face as best as he can with the dirty shirt-sleeve. “It’s not as if you can actually remember that.”
“Actually…” Steve frowns, as if he’s just coming to this realization himself. “I do…”
Danny studies his own dirty clothes as he waits for Steve to come back from the multitude of tests the doctors have lined up for him, despite Steve’s urgent protest that he’s “fine.” Suddenly Danny has this vision of Steve hopping around on one leg – Monty Python style – insisting that it’s “just a flesh wound.” He shakes his head with a quiet grin.
Danny’s relieved when Chin calls to reassure him that the fire department confirmed there were no people left in the house as it went up in flames. He’s ridiculously happy when Chin also adds that the dog has been reunited with its owners, and that he’s just fine. The fire department has yet to make an official statement, but preliminary reports say that a gas leak caused the boiler in the bathroom to blow up.
Danny nods and takes in all the information, but keeps his eyes firmly on the door of the exam room where Steve has been brought in. The waiting is – yet again – eating away at Danny’s nerves, but this time it has the added bonus of that nagging ‘Holy fuck, I’m in love with my best friend’ feeling that Danny can’t quite place yet and doesn’t really know how to process.
Somewhere along the line he hums a distracted ‘goodbye’ to Chin, pockets his cell phone, and goes back to waiting.
When Steve finally does emerge, he’s walking and talking to the doctor, and he looks pretty okay, despite the dirty clothes and the butterfly stitches on his forehead.
“So…” Danny smiles as the doctor leaves. “They haven’t managed to kill you just yet?”
“What can I say? I have a hard head,” Steve answers, starting his way towards the elevators.
“And the memory?” Danny asks.
“Back.” Steve smiles. “I mean, some stuff is still a bit fuzzy, a bit like a fog in my brain or something. But overall, I remember.” He turns to look at Danny as they wait for the elevator. “I remember you.”
And the words linger and flutter in Danny’s stomach, as if it were three other words altogether. ‘I remember you.’ Still, it’s the best three words Danny’s heard in a long time.
“I also remember that you let me eat malasadas and pizza.” Steve looks pointedly at Danny. “On the same day!”
Danny barks out a laugh. “You loved it!”
“Do you have any idea how long I’ll have to swim to work it off?” Steve asks. “Seriously, Danny!”
“Oh my God.” Danny rolls his eyes dramatically. “I forgot how stuck-up you could be. At least Amnesia-Steve knew how to live a little.”
“ Amnesia-Steve ?” Steve tries hard not to grin. “Is that what we’re calling me now?”
“Yes!” Danny laughs as they step into the elevator. He spreads his arms wide. “Amnesia-Steve went with the flow…”
“I didn’t know what else to do!” Steve counters, and Danny’s grateful they have the elevator all to themselves because they probably look like a pair of nutcases right now.
“And it was a thing of beauty.” Danny grins cheekily.
“You just want to snuggle up on the couch again,” Steve mutters and Danny’s mouth suddenly goes very dry.
“Hey,” Steve says, nudging Danny in the ribs with his elbow. Danny looks up at him, not quite managing to wipe the bewildered expression off his face. “It was just a joke,” Steve says, his smile soft and heartening as the elevator doors open and they silently make their way to the exit.
Danny wakes to the dip of the couch as Steve sits down by his feet. For a second he thinks maybe he overslept, but it’s still dark outside and Steve is looking disheveled and not at all well-rested and perky like he usually does in the morning.
Danny knows that Steve knows he’s awake, but he waits and just watches Steve as the glow of the TV flickers across his face. Somewhere along the way the sound got turned off – which defeats the purpose of drowning out the sound of the waves, but Danny had fallen asleep anyway.
“It wasn’t a joke, was it?” Steve asks finally, and Danny has to take a moment to figure out what Steve is talking about, sleep still clouding his brain.
“Steve…” Danny pushes himself a little straighter up on his elbows.
“I know you.” It isn’t the first time that Steve has said these words to him, and they feel just as significant as before.
“Steve…” Danny tries again, but doesn’t find the words to follow.
“There’s a reason why I thought we were together, Danny,” Steve says. “And I know you know it too.”
“Your brain is still fuzzy, Steve,” Danny says as he sits up, arms tightly around his pulled-up knees. “You don’t know…”
“My brain is perfectly fine, thank you very much.” Steve sighs, but he’s not ready to give up yet. “If this isn’t what you want, then fine, just say the word and I’ll never mention it again. But you can’t pin this on me and my ‘fuzzy brain’, alright?”
“You got hit in the head, Steven. Twice. You didn’t remember a thing, and now I’m supposed to believe that what you think you’re feeling has nothing to do with that?” Danny counters.
“Yes, because what I think I’m feeling, as you so nicely say…” Steve snaps, “hasn’t changed one bit in the last few months. All that changed with the memory loss is that I forgot I was keeping it a secret from you.”
Danny is sure he’s still sleeping. He’s sure of it. He’s still sleeping and he’s dreaming up this entire conversation because there is no way Steve has just professed his love for Danny. That can’t possibly have just happened.
“I’m dreaming, right?” Danny blinks his eyes a few times at Steve.
“Need me to punch you to prove you’re not?” Steve deadpans.
“Normal people pinch , Steven,” Danny says, exasperated. “Can’t you be normal for once?”
“Guess not.” Steve shrugs as he scoots over a little closer, clutches one hand in the front of Danny’s shirt and leans forward. And then Steve’s lips are on Danny’s, and it’s better than a punch or a pinch. So much better. Steve’s lips brush against his tentatively for a second, before crushing down and stealing Danny’s breath.
Danny thinks he might have morning or middle-of-the-night breath, but Steve doesn’t seem to mind as his tongue snakes out and traces the line of Danny’s bottom lip. Danny’s hands are stuck somewhere mid-air until Steve leans in closer, pressing Danny back against the couch and covering him entirely with his own body.
“Steve…” Danny mutters against Steve’s lips, his hands now clinging to Steve’s shoulders, and he’s sure he means to push him away softly, but all he seems to be doing is pulling him closer, pulling him right on top of Danny.
“Steve…” Danny says, Steve’s mouth sliding over his jawline, the prickle of the stubble making him shiver underneath the touch. “Wait. You…”
“Danny, if you’re going to question my feelings again…” Steve sighs as he sags against Danny’s body in defeat.
“No, just…” Danny takes Steve’s face between his hands, looking him straight in the eye. “How can you be so sure it’ll work?”
“Because I got a chance to just feel, without rationalizing or fearing for our friendship, without all the crap of responsibilities and what-ifs weighing me down,” Steve says, his voice almost a whisper. “Because I couldn’t remember a single thing about my life and I was still sure we needed to be together. And you can’t tell me you don’t feel the same or you would’ve kicked me off this couch the first time I woke you.”
Danny blinks up at Steve, and he can’t seem to remember a time when he wasn’t touching Steve, when he didn’t feel Steve’s solid weight pressed down on him, because all that matters is this and now and Steve . And Danny just nods like his life depends on it and pulls Steve back down, crushing his lips against Steve’s.
Steve bites Danny’s bottom lip and it makes him buck up against Steve instinctively, every single droplet of sleep draining out of him, making place for something fierce and hot in the pit of his stomach. He slips his hands around the hem of Steve’s shirt and pulls it up, reluctant to break the kiss for the time it takes to slip it over Steve’s head. But then Steve is shirtless and there are planes of skin and muscles to explore, with his fingers, with his lips, with his tongue, his teeth…
“God, Danny…” Steve actually shivers as Danny scrapes his teeth over Steve’s nipple.
“You drive me crazy, Steve.” The words hum against Steve’s skin as Steve just seems to melt into him.
Danny’s not quite sure how it happens – Steve must have some wicked skills – but soon they’re naked and grinding against each other and Steve’s hand is wrapped around both of them and Danny fears he might black out soon.
Steve is panting hard in the crook of Danny’s neck, and little grunts and groans escape his mouth and it’s the most beautiful sound Danny has ever heard.
Danny’s fingers are digging into Steve’s shoulder blades as he squirms underneath Steve’s touch, and he thinks he might leave marks but somehow he doesn’t think that Steve will mind. Steve, who is muttering things like “Danny” and “please” and “beautiful” against his skin. And Danny knows that neither of them is going to last very long. He can feel the tell-tale tightening in his balls, and as much as he would like this moment to last a lifetime, he has wanted this too badly, too long.
He captures Steve’s lips in a kiss, his fingernails scraping along Steve’s spine as he pushes his hips up into Steve’s hand.
He can feel the wet slide of Steve’s hardness against his, the solid weight of Steve’s body on top of him, the warm wetness of Steve’s tongue teasing his. Danny slips his hand between their bodies, covering Steve’s as he continues to stroke them both towards their release, and Steve stills above him, breaking the kiss as he comes with a gasp, spilling all over Danny’s stomach.
Steve collapses on top of him as he lets himself slip from his grasp. It takes him a second to get the rhythm back up, but then he squeezes and twists his wrist on the upstroke and that’s all it takes for Danny to come, Steve’s name on his lips.
Danny can hear the waves break through their harsh breathing as Steve’s face is plastered against his collarbone. Steve wipes his hand on Danny’s already sticky stomach.
“This is all your fault…” Danny mumbles, but tightens his arms around Steve’s frame.
Steve hums questioningly against Danny’s skin.
“It’s the middle of the night and now I need a shower,” Danny says, closing his eyes for just a second.
“Sleep,” Steve mutters, his entire body sprawled out around Danny’s. “Shower tomorrow.”
“This is gross, you know…” Danny says, not bothering to open his eyes again or put up much of a fight.
“It’s us , Danno,” Steve whispers, taking a deep breath against Danny’s skin. “Can never be gross.”
Danny smiles as he presses his cheek against the top of Steve’s hair and thinks that maybe, just maybe, Steve was right all along.
Danny wakes up the next day, face down into the comfortable mattress. They made their way from the couch to Steve’s bed for round two. And round three. And some fondling that maybe could be considered round four. Danny smirks into the mattress, then peeks open an eye.
“That’s creepy, you know?” he grumbles as he sees Steve propped up on one elbow, staring at him. “You just gonna stare all day? You’re a very scary man.”
Steve’s eyes betray nothing as he says, “Just trying to figure it out…”
Danny’s pushing himself up on his arms in an instant, eyes big and face falling. “Fuck. You don’t remember?”
Steve bites his lip and looks around the room, then at Danny. “No.”
Danny nearly falls out of bed as he scrambles to get up. He thinks he should probably cover himself, but he’s too busy running his hands through his head and cursing under his breath.
“I mean…” Steve says, and there’s something unreadable about his face, like he’s trying hard to keep a neutral expression. “I remember bits and pieces?”
This time Danny’s “Fuck” is followed by “Best damn sex of my life and you can’t even remember it? Good. That’s great. Just wonderful.” And his repertoire of expletives expands a bit.
“Danny?” Steve gets up and lays a hand on Danny’s arm.
But before he can continue, Danny huffs, “Guess I should be glad you at least know my name this time, huh?”
“I mean, God, did you hit your head again? It’s not like we weren’t both really getting into it but I think I would remember if you’d fallen out of bed during, you know?”
“- and I’m definitely not into all of that BDSM stuff, so that certainly didn’t happen. Did you sleepwalk? Are you a sleepwalker and went and fell down the stairs? Am I seriously going to have to chain you to the bed to stop you from getting yourself hurt by something as simple as sleep, ‘cause I gotta say, I can think of more fun things to d…”
Steve cuts him off by kissing Danny, his smile pressed against Danny’s bewildered expression. “Pancakes, Danno.” He kisses his partner again. “Just trying to remember my Mom’s secret recipe.”
Danny had not really kissed Steve back, shocked into silence. Steve just smiles at him, giving it a moment to register.
“You. You are an absolute asshole, Steven.”
“Yeah,” and he’s still smiling, “but I’m your ass…”
Danny clamps a hand over Steve’s mouth. “Don’t finish that sentence, you animal.”
Steve nips Danny’s palm with his teeth, then licks, succeeding in getting Danny to remove his hand. He’s still smiling and plops back down on the bed with a smug expression that really shouldn’t be this hot. “Best sex of your life, huh?”
“Oh God,” Danny rolls his eyes. “ That , you remember.”
“Should we tell the Governor?” Steve asks, hands tightening on the steering wheel.
Danny whips his head to look at him.
“Tell the team?” Steve continues, eyes firmly on the road.
“What are you talking about?” Danny asks. “Are you over-thinking this? Are you having a freak-out?”
“Does it look like I’m having a freak-out, Danny?” Steve deadpans.
“You look like you’re about to strangle the steering wheel,” Danny points out.
Steve sighs and loosens his grip a bit. Danny shoots him a soothing smile and Steve’s lips curl upwards.
“You know, there was something to be said about Amnesia-Steve…” Danny smirks, just to tease him. “He went with the flow. So why don’t we just not over-think it, you know? Not bring out the schematics and tactics and just see what happens? We’ll figure it out.”
Steve nods, pulling the car into a parking spot in front of Iolani Palace. “But do we tell the team?”
“Tell you what…” Danny smiles, unbuckling his seatbelt. “Why don’t we keep it professional and just wait until you simply can’t resist me anymore?”
Steve nods and beams as he gets out of the car.
It takes exactly fifty-two minutes of the whole team standing together in the bullpen for Steve to come around the tech table, grab Danny’s face between his hands and kiss him.