tag to 2.01
Chum the waters
Steve was tired, very tired, his stomach hurt like hell, his head too, but he really didn’t want to go home on his own. He was surrounded by people he trusted, although Danny, his best friend, his partner was hiding out in his office, and after their discussion in Max’s car, he understood why. But there was the rub, Steve wanted to feel sorry for him, to commiserate with him, but he found he couldn’t. What he did was smile to himself in triumph. Yes, he hurt because Danny was hurting, yes he wanted to make him stop hurting, but in truth he felt pretty good that that silly woman had walked away from Danny, again. That left him a chance, something he was going to grab with both hands, but first things first. He walked into Danny’s office with a beer, with a comment on his lips, but asked him what he was doing instead. And the shock he felt when he saw his father shaking hands with Wo Fat and Jameson threw any ideas he had about seduction out of the window.
But again though, Danny was there for him, backing him up and being his backbone. “We need to talk to Hesse.” Steve said, and Danny nodded, but took his arm in his hand before the Commander could head off again. “Danny?” he asked him with a frown. “What…?”
Danny shook his head. “Not today.” he informed him firmly, and kept his hand around Steve’s bicep as he stood. “You’ve had a hard day, Steve,” he added with a slight smile, his tone wry. “You’re exhausted, and don’t try to tell me that you’re not hurting because I won’t believe you.”
Steve was going to deny his pain and tiredness, but one look at his partner’s own face stopped him. “You’re right.” he admitted, and smiled at the shocked expression on Danny’s face. “He’ll still be there tomorrow.”
Danny looked him up and down overtly and shook his head. “He’ll still be there the day after too.” he commented, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Jenna take a phone call, stand from the table and walk away. But he ignored her for his partner, much more important to him that a phone call. “Come on.” he instructed, and tugged him gently with him. “I’ll take you home.”
Steve watched him for a moment and then allowed himself to relax, finally, for the first time in forever it seemed. And his tiredness hit him full force. He nodded, and didn’t care that his friend kept his hand around his arm while he packed his stuff away with the other hand. Danny nodded at Joe as he shut the lid of his laptop and picked it up, holding it tightly in his free hand, and the older SEAL nodded back and stepped back, letting him take Steve out of the office. The other people in the main room noticed their entrance and Chin walked over but Danny shook his head at the bottle he was offering. “He’s exhausted,” the detective told the Lieutenant. “I’m taking him home.”
“Come over tomorrow, everyone.” Steve invited, and at their choruses of acceptance he let Danny lead him out of the offices.
Danny looked around them before he pulled his friend out of the building, making sure there wasn’t anyone hanging around the doors or his car parked nearby – he didn’t think for one minute the press hadn’t heard of today’s actions and they were like vultures. Wo Fat and his minions were still out there, despite them confiscating a lot of his money and his boat too, so he did a quick check of the car, still holding Steve’s arm and quickly ducked down to look under the car for anything that shouldn’t be there. It was clean, and he handed his laptop to his partner while he fished for his keys, and shook his head when Steve opened his mouth. “No, Babe, you’re not driving.” he commented as he unlocked it. “Not when you’re like this. Now get in, and don’t argue.”
For once in his life Steve did as he was told, and he climbed in the passenger side, still holding onto his partner’s laptop. Danny finally let go of his arm and shut the door behind him, to jog around the front and get in his own side. Oddly, or not really, Steve felt a lot more vulnerable when he didn’t have Danny’s strong hand wrapped around his arm, so much so he stared at him as he rounded the front of the car and got in himself. Danny noticed and frowned at him as he glanced over as he shut himself in. “Are you all right, Babe?” he asked, reaching over to him again. “Do I need to take you to a hospital?”
Steve shook his head. “Max stitched me up and stuck me full of antibiotics.” he assured him. “I just…” Need to touch you, need to see you, to be with you, to hear you, to … to …
“Steve?” Danny asked him again. His partner had stuttered to a halt mid sentence and was staring at him, eyes wide, a face the detective hadn’t seen before – it seemed to be a mix of confusion and exhaustion, and he really didn’t like it a lot. “You okay?” he asked again, and laid a hand on the thigh nearest to him.
His touch seemed to pull Steve out of wherever he had gone and he looked up at Danny again and smiled. “I’m okay.” he assured him. “Thanks to you.”
Danny smiled too and shook his head. He was going to say something about that, but behind Steve he could see the van of a local news station speed into the car park of the Palace. “Shit,” he cursed and let go of his friend to turn to the car. “Strap in, Babe.” he instructed, and fired the throaty ignition of the vehicle. The Camaro leapt forward like a gazelle at his persuasion and they sped out of the car park, straight past the van, out and into the main flow of traffic before the other driver could compensate.
It didn’t take long to get back to Casa McGarrett and Danny was pleased that he had spent some of his time when he was unemployed cleaning and tidying up the place after HPD had gone through it. At least nothing had been broken, and they had left the licensed weapons there, at his insistence. Of course the officers hadn’t found the other weapons he had hidden himself, and Steve’s escape stash of cash, fake IDs, fake bank accounts etc. that he had also hidden – they didn’t need to know about that stuff. So at least, when he got the owner home and into the house he wasn’t upset or overwhelmed with any mess. Indeed he looked around and frowned. “Did HPD not search the place?” he asked as Danny relocked the door behind them, making sure they were secure inside. “Or have you…?”
Danny nodded. “I have.” he answered him, and quickly did a check of the ground floor. He had been followed virtually everywhere the last week, even to the grocery store, his apartment had been searched too, and he was a bit paranoid. But he could have lost his best friend this morning, if Hesse had stabbed him just a little more to the left, if Max hadn’t gone home at the time he did, if the cops had gotten to Kamekona’s quicker, or if they hadn’t found the camera McGarrett Snr had planted, he could have, so he checked to make sure no one had broken in and was waiting for Steve to return. Steve knew what he was doing; he watched and waited for him to do it before he followed him up the stairs, waiting for him at the top to do the same on the first floor. “What happened to you this week, Danno?” he asked him quietly as he followed him into his bedroom when he had found it clear.
Danny looked up and smiled grimly. “I’m not telling you,” he answered him, and took the laptop Steve still held from him. “Not today anyway. Are you hungry? Do you need anything that I can get you?”
Steve shook his head. “Kame fed me.” he assured him. “I just…” he started, and then stopped. Again.
Danny shook his head fondly and put the computer down on a chest of drawers nearby before he gently pushed his friend onto his bed. “Is it that word – just?” he asked him as he crouched in front of him and started to unlace Steve’s boots. “You can’t finish what you’re gonna say if you’ve uttered that word?”
Steve watched him, tired, in pain, but soothed as Danny kept talking. It didn’t matter what he was talking about, his voice flowed over the SEAL like a warm, gentle wave, assuring him more than the words that he was finally out and at home. Danny’s hands were gentle on his skin, he pulled off his boots and socks, then stood in front of Steve and slipped his hands under the hem of his tee shirt to take that off too. He was concentrating on stripping Steve, just to get him out of the clothes he wore to get him into bed, to get him comfortable enough to sleep, not seeming to care about the intimacy of his actions.
But he was still talking, and Steve let him, raising his arms when required, and watched as Danny moved close to him to check his bandaging. It was clean, no blood or pus staining it, and Danny looked up at his partner and smiled gently. “Max did a good job.” he assured him, and laid a hand on Steve’s side, just above the dressings to check the skin temperature.
Steve moved then, covering his hand with one of his own, and stared up at him. He studied him closely as Danny looked down at him – he had dark circles under his eyes, those normally bright orbs were dull, more lines around those eyes, and it also looked like he had lost some weight – his cheek bones stood out more than they had before.
Danny looked … not just tired, but done in, completely finished, as much as Steve himself.
And he knew then that he couldn’t let him go, he couldn’t let him leave him, especially like this. “Are you all right, Danno?” he asked him, quietly and interlocked their fingers. “Please, tell me the truth.”
Danny was going to do a SuperSEAL and tell him that he was fine, but he couldn’t. He shook his head and squeezed his fingers. “Not yet,” he answered him truthfully. “But you’re out, so things are looking up.”
Steve smiled, just a quirk of the sides of his mouth. “Stay,” he said, asked, pleaded, demanded. “With me, I need you here, with me, so I… we can sleep.”
Danny raised one eyebrow and glanced over his shoulder at the bed behind him. It was large and comfortable, he knew that, and crashing with Steve would stop him, hopefully, from having more nightmares about him stuck in prison. Not only that, he knew he loved his partner, he had only tried to rekindle with Rachel because he knew Steve needed someone much better than him, and he was probably in love with Catherine so making a move would, no doubt, be turned aside gently. But sleeping with him, just sleep, nothing more, could reassure him that he was here, with him, even for just one night. He nodded. “Okay,” he agreed, easily, and was somewhat surprised when Steve gave him one of his wide, wide smiles and scooted over to the side to give him some room. It didn’t take his partner long to pull off Steve’s pants and then his own clothes, and he was soon under the covers with him, watching him. There was a gap between them, but the SEAL didn’t like that, at all. So he smiled at him, reached out for him under the blankets and simply pulled him close, despite some flailing, and tucked him under his chin. Danny muttered under his breath about controlling army marines, but slipped his own arms around his partner’s trim waist and closed his eyes. He took a few moments to listen to Steve’s steady breathing and heartbeat under his ear before he said anything. “I’m pleased you’re safe, Steve,” he murmured, his voice muffled. “Don’t do anything like this to me again.”
Steve smiled and closed his eyes, holding him closely. “I’ll see what I can do, Danny,” he replied fondly, not promising him anything, just in case. “Go to sleep.”
Danny had had a bad week, so it wasn’t difficult for him to follow his instructions and sleep. Steve was thinking that he would be awake a bit longer, just relaxing in Danny’s embrace, but he had barely slept in prison, concerned about whoever was either side of him, and it was actually easy for him to slip into a deep sleep, Danny snuggled close against him providing him with much needed comfort.
Morning came and went with barely a mutter from either of them: Steve had woken early, checked the clock and decided that today at least, they deserved a break. Danny, still snuggled close to him, had snuffled a bit when his pillow had moved, but hadn’t woken, and the Commander decided that following his example was the best idea. So he didn’t get up, instead he closed his eyes again and reburied his face in Danny’s soft hair, and quickly fell asleep again.
He woke again a few hours later to find he was alone. He stretched onto his back, sniffed the air, and smiled – the reason Danny wasn’t with him seemed to be obvious with the scent of bacon in the air. Quickly he got out of bed, pulled on a t shirt, and padded down the stairs in his sleep shorts to go and find him.
Danny was in the kitchen, humming to himself as he stood over the stove, and he jumped, startled, when Steve padded silently up to him to stand close beside him. “Morning, Danno.” he greeted him with a grin.
Danny looked up at him with a frown that didn’t last very long. “I need to get you a bell,” he commented, as he looked him up and down. “Far too quiet. Are you okay?” he asked him.
Steve nodded and smiled at him. “I feel fine.” he assured him. “My side doesn’t hurt, I’ve slept well, and I’m fine. What about you? You haven’t been up long?” he queried, looking him up and down too. Danny didn’t look as tired as he had been yesterday, but he didn’t look completely well again, not yet.
Danny shook his head. “Not long.” he agreed, and then quickly checked the pan in his hand. “Do you like you’re bacon well done?” he asked him, amused.
Steve laughed quietly and left him there to go to the fridge for some juice. “Yep.” he agreed, and quickly poured some orange juice into two glasses.
Danny cooked breakfast for them, Steve made coffee and poured juice, laid the table and got a couple of plates for them, and they ate their breakfast at the kitchen table. It was calm, something Steve hadn’t had for over a week, and he found himself watching as Danny ate with a goofy smile on his face.
“What’s with the grin?” the Detective asked him as he reached for his mug of coffee. “Is it good?” he asked, nodding at Steve’s virtually empty plate in front of him.
Steve nodded, his grin getting wider. “You don’t know how good this feels, Danno,” he replied, and leant across the table to grasp Danny’s free hand in his own.
Danny smiled back, turned his hand over and interlocked his fingers with his partner’s, watching him all the time. “Don’t worry, Babe.” he assured him fondly. “I know.”
They spent the day in and out of the house, Danny pottering around while Steve swam, and the Detective ended up sitting in his favourite chair on the lanai as Steve stroked cleanly out to the horizon, and back again. He really was part Seal, Danny thought to himself as he watched the man, a blob in the blue, turn and swim back towards him. He knew Steve loved the sea, he was in it as much as possible, and Danny was so pleased, so relieved that he was safe and back in his own home. The Jersey detective had felt like his right arm had been amputated this past week, the lack of Steve beside him had been painful, and he had done as much as he could to get him out. He had hated seeing him in Halawa, orange was definitely not Steve’s colour, and seeing him in Max’s home was such a relief.
But not for long when he realised how badly hurt he was.
He still was.
“Damn.” Danny murmured to himself as he stood and walked over to the shoreline. “Come back, SuperSEAL. I need to check your wound.”
Steve left Danny in his kitchen, doing something with ingredients, and squeezed his shoulder with his hand as he left. But his partner knew him well enough to know what he was going to do, what he needed to do, and he would be right. However much Steve wanted to stay with Danny, to let him, with his gentle humming, filling up his empty spaces with his sheer presence, the sea outside was calling him. It had been a tortuous week, not only being stuck in a place where everything was regimented, where there were a lot of people there looking to kill him, but also, he had no access to the sea, his home element. He couldn’t wait any longer, so he quickly left his partner and walked to the bathroom downstairs where he kept one of the three first aid kits in the house. This one was decked out with items he had put in to make waterproof dressings, and he quickly covered the patch on his chest with a polythene cover, taping it down carefully. To do that he’d already stripped to his board shorts, and he strode out of the bathroom, through the living room, and out of the door onto the beach.
He looked out for a moment, breathing in the fresh air, and grinned to himself. The sea was calling, and who was he to ignore it? He held back a yell of joy by sheer stubbornness, and jogged across his beach and didn’t stop until he got deep enough in the clear, warm water, teeming with life. The water encased him, embraced him, surrounded him when he dove into it, and finally felt free and at home again. The only thing that would make it even better would be if Danny was beside him, but he now had the time to persuade him to do that.
He didn’t wallow in that though, instead he surfaced again, took a deep breath, and headed out to the horizon.
Danny waded into the ocean when he spotted his partner on his way back; his strokes slow with none of his usual vigour. The great goof had gone too far, even the way he pulled himself up out of the water told him that. So he walked out to him, caught him before Steve could collapse back into the waves, and dragged the SEAL’s arm over his own shoulder, and helped him out of the water. “You went out too far, goof,” he said to him as Steve leant heavily against him. “Deny it and I’ll drop you.”
The SEAL took the support his friend gave him and smiled to himself – as usual Danny was his back up, was there to hold him up when the world tried to break him into little pieces, was there to put him back together when it worked and he ended up in pieces. Like now. He leant on him and let him help him back to a chair on his lanai, lowering him in as if he was the most fragile thing Danny knew, which he probably was at that point. Once he was sure he was settled Danny turned back to the other chair, picked up the towel Steve had left there and used it carefully to pat away the seawater from the dressing on his friend’s stomach. He studied it, a frown on his face, and only looked up again when Steve laid a hand on his arm to get his attention. “Thanks, Danny, for everything,” he said to him softly. “Everything.”
Danny looked up at him and noted that he was wide open, none of the usual shutters, and he could see Steve’s emotions. He was tired, yes, in a bit of pain, but relief was uppermost, with affection and dare he think it, a bit of love there too.
Danny smiled a little and used his free hand to cup his partner’s cheek in his hand. “Did you really think I would leave you here?” he asked him, his voice soft. “That I would abandon my partner, my best friend to this crap?” he asked.
Steve blinked and shrugged. He had thought that, he had been terrified that Danny would leave him too, and he had been so relieved to find him on the other side of the glass. “I had hoped…” he murmured and looked away from him for a moment.
Danny huffed a laugh and straightened his knees so he was level with him. “You goof,” he said fondly, and surprised him by pressing a kiss to Steve’s forehead first, then the tip of his nose. He paused for a moment, checking Steve’s reactions, and, when he got a smile, he continued and lightly kissed the SEAL’s lips. They were slightly chapped and dry, but soft, and as he continued he felt Steve’s arms slip around him and hold him tight.
But before they could do anything else, they both heard the doorbell ring and a voice yell from the front door. It was Catherine, even Danny recognised her voice, and he groaned and momentarily pressed his face back against Steve’s shoulder before he climbed off him. He handed Steve the towel he had dropped and left him to answer the door, secretly wondering what the hell she was doing here. She hadn’t been around when Steve had needed her, Danny had called her a couple of days after Chin had arrested Steve, but she had made some excuse about not wanting to see him locked up. So now, when he was out, the Detective in him was wondering why she was here now. And he was worried too, Steve and Cat knew each other a lot longer than Danny did, and he knew he was second fiddle to her, whatever his partner told him. So he sighed and tried to school his face before he opened the door, and even managed a smile for her as he greeted her.
“Hey Catherine.” he greeted her, and stepped back to let her in. “Surprised to see you here today.”
She smiled at him and walked into the house, looking around the lower floor of the house for her quarry. “I heard you cleared him,” she told him as she dodged around him. “Is he here?”
Danny sighed to himself and nodded. “He’s out back, on the lanai,” he told her, and stood back as she virtually jogged over him to get out of the open back door. He could hear her voice as she found the Commander, high pitched and happy, and Steve replied, his voice a bit calmer but no less happy to see her.
Danny waited a few moments, checking his feet, anything other than the door, but he couldn’t leave it anymore, he had to know what they were doing. So he crept to the back door and glanced around the wall. As he had feared and thought, Cat had taken his place on Steve’s chair, his arms around her, seemingly trying to find each other’s tonsils.
Danny left them there to creep back upstairs and gather his stuff together, quickly shoving his clothes and toiletries he had brought over with him a couple of days ago into the holdall he had used. He had to stop at one point when he pulled his sleep shorts from the bed, because he really didn’t want to cry over his partner, and it took a moment of deep breathing and his eyes squeezed shut to stop that. He had hoped that after virtually a year of wanting he had gotten somewhere, but no, fate had gotten one over on him again. With one last look out of the back door, where Steve was looking at Cat with such a soft expression on his face it hurt, he left, shutting the front door behind him. Steve probably wouldn’t even notice he was gone.