The luau is winding down. Most people have gone now, and Steve's at the door, seeing Kurt and Mike off as Mary and Danny work on clean-up.
"Thanks for coming," Steve smiles at them, sure Joe has Kurt completely wrong. They managed to have a conversation earlier without any of the old issues coming up, and it seems to Steve that Kurt's just happy to have an old buddy from the Navy around who's in a similar situation to his own, although Kurt has the added bonus of a partner who's been through many of the same things.
Kurt and Mike offer him thanks and brief hugs, and then they're on their way. Steve shuts the door after them and heads out back to see what else needs doing. Danny's disappeared and Mary's relaxing in one of the outdoor chairs, sipping from a glass of red wine.
"Have a seat." She waves at the empty one next to her and goes on to answer Steve's unasked question. "Danny went up to check on Grace. She's probably fast asleep; she looked beat when he took her up earlier."
Steve smiles and flops into the offered lawn chair. Most of the mess has been cleared and there's only the trestle table and a few empty bottles to put away. He'll pick up the bottles on his way back inside, and the table can wait until tomorrow.
"Thanks for coming, Mary," he tells her, reaching out a hand.
She takes it and holds it, looking at him fondly. "You know I had to be here; had to see the cuteness of you and Danny together. It's so sweet it's almost sickening," she teases, squeezing his hand and then letting it go.
He grins back at her. "You're just jealous."
"I am; I always wanted a short, gesticulating Jersey cop of my own."
"Oh, you did, did you? Well, maybe Danny can set you up. He still has friends back there."
Danny comes out through the door in time to hear the end of that. "You need me to set you up with someone?" His smile is wide. "Someone like me? Now, let me think…" He feigns consideration and comes to push Steve's feet off the lawn chair so he can sit where they've been.
"Oh, please," Mary says, sipping more wine. "I can find my own boyfriends. And maybe I should head upstairs now so you two can canoodle alone out here under the stars." She stands up, shaking her head.
"Canoodle?" Steve asks, although Danny's got a hand on his knee now, so canoodling might not be out of the question.
"Yeah, don't go on our account," Danny puts in.
"Night boys," She throws over her shoulder, holding up a hand and waggling her fingers in a vague wave. "Don't do anything out here you'd be embarrassed to explain to Grace in the morning."
"As if," Steve calls as she disappears through the door.
"As if? Does that mean no canoodling?" Danny asks softly, rubbing the knee he's been touching.
"It's not completely off the table," Steve says, giving him a teasing look before he pulls him in for a kiss.
"I'd rather kiss you here than on the table," Danny replies, and comes back for more, sliding closer in between Steve's legs.
They make out for a few minutes, tongues sliding together wetly, although the angle isn't the easiest. Steve would like to drag Danny onto his lap, but he knows he should probably tell him about Joe, and perhaps explain more about Kurt, before they get too carried away. Not that he's willing to go too far out here; bed is a much better prospect at this point.
They ease up with a few more kisses that are more gentle touches of lips – the give and take an easy and relaxed thing – until Steve cups Danny's face in his hands and smiles at him. "You want to go in?"
"Mmhmm," Danny agrees, and gets to his feet reluctantly. He holds out a hand and helps Steve up, though he doesn't really need it, and they collect the last few stray empties and turn off the outdoor light on the way inside.
"Where'd Joe disappear to?" Danny asks, as if he knows there's something odd going on there.
"He…" Steve stops, licking his lips as he decides how much to say. "Sit with me in the living room for a while, babe? There's a couple of things I need to tell you."
Danny looks worried, but he follows Steve and they sit on the couch, mirroring each other with one leg up and the other on the floor and an arm each along the back of the couch so their hands are touching.
"Joe left early; I don't think he approves of us."
"But he knew about you before, right?" Danny looks confused.
"Yeah, and Kurt too. He saw the fall-out between us when we split and… it wasn't pretty. I think it was the first time he'd had to deal with… that kind of thing."
"What kind of thing? C'mon, babe, you're going to have to give me more than that if you want me to understand. How serious was it?"
"Between me and Kurt?" Steve asks, and Danny nods. "I thought… we both thought it was serious. But… it just didn't work. When it was good, it was great, but we just kept… clashing, and then it was… terrible. We'd have all-out fights, and that wasn't good for us, for the team… and I couldn't do that any more, you know?"
"When you say fights…" Danny gestures with the hand that's not rubbing Steve's knuckles absently, "You mean physical fights?"
Steve nods. "It sounds ridiculous, but it happened far too many times back then. When my tour was up, I told him it was over, and later, I got posted elsewhere. I went into the SEALs and…" He shrugs. "We lost touch for a long time. I ran into him some time later and he'd already met Mike; they seemed pretty together, so… we e-mailed and phoned occasionally after that. This is the first time I've seen him in years, though. We've both grown up and things are obviously different now."
Danny looks amazed, and Steve's not sure if it's the story itself or the fact he's told Danny without much prompting.
"Did you love him?" he asks, dropping his eyes, like he doesn't want to see anything vaguely resembling such a thing on Steve's face at the moment.
"I thought I did, but… when we split, all I felt was… relieved. By the time I saw him again, I was seeing Catherine. That…" He laughs, embarrassed at the memory, and runs a hand over his mouth. "It was pretty weird for all of us. Thank God Mike was there, actually. He didn't know I was Kurt's ex until later. Cath… well, she dealt with it pretty well, considering how awkward it was. It got Kurt and me talking though, and it cleared up the worst of what had gone down between us. I think things are good now. We've both moved on; grown up."
Danny has looked up again while Steve's been talking, and he smiles now. "I was a little bit jealous tonight when it was obvious you'd been more than just Navy 'buddies'."
"You? No, really?" Steve shows mock-surprise. "You were a little sensitive, babe."
"I was sensitive? What gave it away?" Danny's grinning as he says it, though.
"Oh, I dunno; the innuendo about me 'lei-ing' both of them, or your insistence on introducing yourself as my 'partner', perhaps?" He reaches out a hand, smiling stupidly, and strokes his fingers along Danny's jaw.
Danny turns his face and kisses Steve's palm, holding it in place, then grins just as goofily back at Steve. Then his expression gets serious again. "So what happened with Joe tonight?"
"He tried to warn me off staying friendly with Kurt, and… in all honesty, I don't think he's very comfortable with gay relationships. He knows I'm bi, but he'd be a lot happier if I just stuck to women. I guess he thinks that if I like both, I can choose. I tried to explain it's not that simple, but…" He shrugs, taking his hand back carefully. "Maybe he thinks it's always that volatile between men; I don't know. He seems to think Kurt's here to cause me trouble – cause us trouble – but I don't believe that. You talked with Kurt and Mike too; what do you think?"
"I don't know them as well as you, obviously, but… they seemed pretty relaxed; just here to catch up with you and have a good time."
"See? Anyway… I don't know about Joe. I hope he'll come around. He knows you as well as anyone else on the Five-0 team, and while you and I argue, it's nothing like it was with Kurt."
Danny looks like he's remembering something, but Steve doesn't have to ask. "That first time we met… that was different. We didn't know each other; didn't trust each other yet. What happened between Kurt and me was not like that at all. We were young and it was the first serious relationship for both of us. Considering the circumstances – where we were and everything – it's not surprising it got a little crazy. It's not like that with you and me."
"Yeah," Danny agrees. "Joe's bound to come around, Steve. Once he sees how different this is from what you had with Kurt." He stops talking and just looks at Steve for a moment. Steve wonders what he sees. "I’m proud of you, babe."
Steve hadn't expected that. "You are? What for?"
"You've come a long way since we met. Seriously." Steve looks away, feeling embarrassed again. Danny moves his head so he can see Steve's eyes, and reaches for Steve's chin, turning his face so they're looking at each other properly. "You… it's like you've opened up a whole lot since we got together; since Grace got involved with our relationship, especially."
"She's a great kid, Danny. I… I love her like she's my own." He's not sure if this is the right thing to say, but it's true; it's also true he's felt easier about the emotional side of things recently. Maybe it's because it's nowhere near as volatile as it always was with Kurt – something that hadn't occurred to him before – and because, yeah, Grace really has helped ease the way a whole lot.
"I know you do," Danny says, and there's a depth of feeling in the words that almost make Steve tear up. He swallows hard and leans in to kiss Danny.
"I love you, Danno," he says softly when he pulls back enough to smile at Danny.
"Love you too, ya goof," Danny teases, the light touch exactly what Steve needs to stop him turning to complete mush. "Don't worry about Joe, anyway. He's just one person, and while he may remember the bad stuff before, if he sees us together enough, he'll realize I'm not Kurt, and you're not the same kid you were back then, right?"
"Absolutely," Steve agrees, and he knows it's going to be okay; Danny's right.
"Hey, c'mere." Danny waggles his fingers, inviting Steve closer.
Steve isn't sure what he's going to say but he moves closer, as if there's some secret they're going to share and the room is still full of people.
Danny gets close enough to whisper in his ear. "I'm glad you're not a brilliant cake decorator."
"Don't remind me," Steve says, feeling a blush creep up his face.
"Shush." Danny bites his earlobe gently. It feels good, and Steve starts to relax again. "The cake itself tasted wonderful – as I knew it would – but your skills with frosting are for crap. But that's a good thing, ya know why?"
Danny's been moving his lips across Steve's skin as he says all this, and the ripples of pleasure it's causing have gone straight to Steve's cock. He almost doesn't think to answer. "Uh… why?"
"Because it means you're not perfect." His hand creeps up Steve's thigh and all thought is leaking away. "I was beginning to think you'd take the cake on that…" He laughs softly, realizing the appropriateness of the play on words, perhaps. "So it gives me hope for finding a few more things that I'm better than you at."
"Okay," Steve agrees, unable to think about much beyond Danny's hand getting closer to his crotch.
"Like keeping my wits about me, maybe?" Danny says, biting his earlobe again; who knew that would feel so good?
Steve takes hold of Danny's hand with his own and somehow manages to get off the couch, dragging Danny upright with him. "Who's keeping their wits? Have you already forgotten about baby steps, Danny?"
He's referring to the first time he kissed Danny, when he'd almost pushed Steve back in the house to take things further right after giving Steve the 'baby steps' lecture. Steve kisses him again, just like that time, grabbing Danny's ass and pulling their bodies flush. The kiss is much deeper than the making out they've done so far tonight, and Danny makes that noise from deep in his throat that usually has Steve on his knees in minutes.
"C'mon, babe," Steve manages between kisses as he slowly shuffles them across the floor towards the stairs.
"Fuck baby steps," Danny mutters against his neck, already pushing Kamekona's pink t-shirt up Steve's torso.
"Let's just get up these steps first, huh?" Steve laughs, turning away and dragging Danny behind him up to the bedroom.
"You got it, babe," Danny agrees, not resisting. "You got me, too. Forever."
At that, Steve turns, halfway up the stairs, and pulls Danny in tight. "Same here."
Steve's heart is close to bursting, but that's not frightening at all any more, and even the things that aren't perfect in their world can't worry him right now; as long as he has Danny – and Grace and the rest of their ohana – there's nothing they can't deal with as it arises.