"And the governor wants us to –" Chin broke off, looking past Steve at the doors to their offices. "Visitor."
Kono followed Chin's line of sight, Danny and Steve turning, Danny already asking, "Can we help you?" before Steve could say anything.
Mike was in uniform, the way Steve remembered him best, hair cut short and neat, grin lighting up his entire face when he spotted Steve. "I was going to say I was looking for someone, but I found him already."
"Oh, no," Danny said. "Tell me this isn't another one of your military friends."
"He's –" Steve cut himself off, knowing he was matching Mike's dumb grin. "Mike." Being military officers who'd known each other since they were teenagers made it okay to hug in public, even if they had both gotten used to a mental countdown of how long they could hold on without being suspected. "Didn't know you were in town."
"Even better," Danny grumbled. "We do remember the last time one of McGarrett's old military friends turned up unexpectedly, right? Because if we don't, I'm pretty sure there are still bullet holes in the house that we can use as reminders."
"Don't ask," Steve said before Mike could. "This is Mike, we were in school together for a couple of years, before the Naval Academy. Danny, Kono, Chin, my team."
Mike eyed the rest of 5-0, obviously matching the faces to the people Steve had told him about, as Danny and Kono eyed him suspiciously in return. Fortunately, Chin at least could be relied upon to offer the handshake and any friend of Steve's that polite society required at least a nod towards.
"I don't want to interrupt too much," Mike said, before Steve could press him for what he was doing in Hawaii, or offer to buy lunch. "You're obviously busy, but I was passing and –" His eyes ticked away from Steve for a moment, familiar check for how much they could get away with saying. "Maybe we could get a beer later?"
"We're in the middle of a case, it might be late."
Mike laughed a little, probably at Steve sounding like a police officer. "You've got my cell number, I'll probably be awake."
"I'll call," Steve promised. He knew better – years of rules ingrained in his skin – but he also knew his team, knew he was okay to pull Mike in for another hug. Two years since they'd seen each other, nearly three, with all that those three years had included, and it felt so good, so familiar, to be close to Mike.
"Hey," Mike said quietly, pushing Steve away and holding him in place with a hand on his shoulder. "We'll catch up later, right?"
"Right," Steve agreed. He still needed the space of a deep breath before he could turn around, but at least it was just one deep breath. That was okay, and he'd see Mike later anyway. "Where were we?"
"So," Danny asked, in the car on the way to interview their current favourite clueless suspect, "Mike."
"Mike," Steve agreed, then added, "Shanahan," just in case that was what Danny was asking.
Which, from Danny's exasperated hand gesture, it wasn't. "Mike the military friend." Steve felt Danny looking at him and kept his eyes firmly on the road. "Is he a military friend like Nick Taylor, or a military friend like Catherine?"
"Those are my only choices?"
"Is he a friend of the you'll-need-major-work-on-your-house-after-his-visit type, or a friend of the sexy, help-providing type?"
"Nick was –" Steve started, then cut himself off. There was a big difference between Danny knowing he was mostly gay and Danny knowing about men he'd slept with in the past.
"A sexy friend?" Danny asked, tone neutral. "Because I have to tell you, babe, if you were about to say that he was a help-providing friend, I am going to have to disabuse you of that notion right here and now, he was many things, but helpful was in no way one of them."
"He did get us information on the assassin's file," Steve pointed out, mostly just to be contrary, and only a little bit because Danny didn't seem to care about that particular revelation.
"That, my friend, does not constitute helpful. Helpful in that case would have been mentioning that he was working with her and, oh yes, that he was planning on trying to kill us all later that evening."
"Can't have everything."
"Hmm," Danny said, and lapsed into silence.
Of course, Danny and silence wasn't exactly a match made in anywhere but Jersey, so Steve was ready and waiting for Danny to break it.
What he wasn't prepared for, was Danny asking, "So, just out of curiosity, presumably you have old military friends that you haven't slept with? Just – well, mainly so I can preserve at least some of my former impressions of what it meant to be in the military."
"Yes, Danny, I have old military friends that I haven't slept with." A hell of a lot more than he had slept with. "You just haven't met any of them yet."
The case ran late to the point that they were still in the office at three in the morning, and even Steve wasn't going to presume on someone's good will at that point. He sent a quick, apologetic text, and was in the break room, pouring cup of coffee number you're-probably-better-off-not-counting-any-more when his phone buzzed for an incoming message.
"Everything okay?" Chin asked, looking up from adding sugar to Kono's coffee, which she drank so sweet that Steve was convinced she secretly hated the stuff.
"Yeah, just – jet lag's getting to Mike, I guess, he says he's just been swimming."
Chin shook his head the way he did when he thought Steve was doing something crazy and Steve thought he was doing something normally Navy. "I wanted to –" Chin started, before Steve could defend the honour of Navy men everywhere.
Steve hesitated, something in Chin's expression suggesting this maybe wasn't a conversation he wanted to carry into the main offices.
"Correct me if I'm wrong," Chin said, "But Mike's the same Mike you told me about when you were home right before the Naval Academy?"
Steve looked away, feeling the back of his neck heat. He hadn't really known Chin back then, only as the football star he'd had to beat, and a little as his dad's trainee officer, but he'd been freaked out, back on the island, back in the house where his mom wasn't any more, away from school and friends and Mike. Chin had come over to the house one night when Dad wasn't there, shown what Steve now recognized had probably been mostly a polite interest, and Steve had spilled out the whole story. About Mike, how they'd been assigned as room-mates, how they'd kissed, done other stuff, agreed that they'd apply to the Navy together, both been accepted, and Steve wasn't an idiot, he knew they couldn't be open in the Navy...
"Yeah," he said. "He's the same Mike."
Chin nodded. "Then I guess there must have been something in my advice after all."
Chin's advice had essentially boiled down to, you're young, you don't have to make a life-time commitment right now, relax and see where it goes. It'll all work out somehow. So far, he hadn't been wrong.
It took them two days to get a solid suspect, and another twelve hours after that to figure out how he was finding and luring his victims.
Which resulted, to Danny and Chin's apparent wild amusement, in Steve and Kono posing as a couple of potential victims at a tourist bar in downtown Honolulu.
"Explain this to me again." Kono twirled a strand of hair between her fingers, leaning in. "How Five-O's queer half ended up doing this."
Steve shrugged, watching the room over her shoulder. Still early, and everything seemed normal. "You date men."
"You have Catherine."
Steve raised an eyebrow at her, but she was Kono, of course she didn't even blush at the reminder that she'd slept with Catherine after picking her up in a bar on vacation and not realizing who she was.
"And now also Mike," Kono said, teasing.
Steve shrugged again, not ready to talk about it in the middle of an undercover op. At least they weren't wired for sound, not that it would matter that much.
"That's all I get?" Kono demanded. "He's pretty cute, boss."
"Okay, maybe cute's the wrong word. He sure knows how to wear a uniform though."
Which, really, Steve couldn't argue with.
"Hey," Mike said softly. His hand was on the back of Steve's neck, Steve's head on Mike's chest, the cool night air pleasant on over-heated, sweaty skin. Steve made a noise in the back of his throat to indicate he was listening, not up for opening his eyes after a week of eighteen hour days followed by an aborted drink and falling into bed with Mike. "I was so sorry to hear about your father. I'm sorry I couldn't be here for you."
Steve had called him, sitting waiting for his flight to Hawaii, unable to do anything more in the search for Victor Hesse until he was there, just wanting to hear a friendly voice after getting Mary's voicemail over and over, knowing that Catherine wasn't around to take his calls. He'd gotten Mike's sister instead, telling him that Mike was deployed and out of contact for at least another two weeks.
"Is everything okay?" she'd asked. "You don't sound too good."
"It's nothing," Steve had promised. He'd put it all in an email instead, carefully phrased so it hadn't said anything he'd wanted it to say.
He pressed closer to Mike, relaxed a little when Mike's arm slid around his waist, holding him there. "Thanks," he said, pleased when his voice didn't crack at all. "I'm glad you're here," he added, since Danny was always telling him it wouldn't kill him to say what he was feeling, and it was true. Mike was on indefinite reassignment to Pearl in a teaching role, which meant they'd be in the same place for the longest time since they were kids.
Mike sighed, shifting until Steve moved away, then sitting up. Steve moved with him, arranged himself so he could rest his head on Mike's shoulder, Mike's arm around him again. "We should talk," Mike said, which wasn't exactly what Steve was hoping for. He told himself firmly that Mike wouldn't have slept with him if Mike intended to break it off. They'd never had any kind of commitment, but Steve and Catherine's thing had always been based on, amongst other things, the knowledge that Mike was Steve's first commitment, coupled with Catherine's lack of desire to get into anything more serious than friends with benefits with anyone.
"I know the repeal went through, and you're in the reserves now, but we still have to – I don't know what's going to happen with us, but nothing's changed."
"It has for me," Steve said, then, before Mike could take that the wrong way, "My team knows about me. That I like guys, not about you in particular. Well, except I think they've all guessed." He felt Mike tense slightly, the same instinctive fear he'd felt telling Danny, putting that risk out there. "I trust them. I know you don't yet, but they get it. They'd never do anything that would put either one of us at risk."
"They seem like good people," Mike said slowly. "Like they look out for you."
"They do," Steve said. Thinking about Korea, about finding out his mom had been murdered then finding out she was alive, about Mary's kidnap and the time he'd spent in jail.
"I can't trust them yet."
"I know." Far better than he ever could have imagined, even with Mike and Catherine, the handful of other queer officers he'd known over his years in the navy. He hadn't realized, until he wound up back in Hawaii where it was, if not totally safe, then a hell of a lot safer, just how wary he'd felt the whole time he'd been in, a constant low level worry that someone would see or hear something they shouldn't and that would be it.
"But I guess it looks like I'm sticking around," Mike added slowly. "So maybe I should get to know them better."
"Yeah," Steve said, grinning like a dork and not even caring. "That sounds good."