Danny had known Steve was not normal from the moment the insane fucker got him shot. The whole 'driving a police vehicle onto a Chinese freighter' not so long afterwards just hammered the point home. And Danny – he could cope with that – he could, okay? So maybe his voice got a little louder when Steve did things like dangle suspects off buildings and – the shark cage – he wasn't about to forget that, but he tried. He did. If he sometimes got a little angry and upset (he was a modern man – he had emotions, he was fine with that) when Steve decided to run over the tops of buildings, or dive around in front of bullets, well that was – it had been okay. It had been. Up until that complete maniac ran into a building wired with a bomb. And then Danny's world stopped. Because the bomb went off and Steve didn't – did not – get out of the building before that happened.
Danny could feel the heat of the building, saw the debris falling and there was noise, so much noise, everywhere. He heard Kono yelling at him to get back – he heard her – he just couldn't move. Couldn't move because Steve had been in that building and now, now there was dust and debris and he couldn't, he couldn't believe that was all that was left. Danny blinked and rubbed his eyes, Chin was pointing at something – at someone – and no, that couldn't be because that building blew up, okay, it blew up and no one could survive it.
Except that Steve had. Steve was walking, just, and he had black smudges across his body and there were blood smears, but. But he was alive.
Danny needed someone to pinch him because he was fully ready to believe a piece of the building had hit him on the head and this was a dream. Steve walking over to them, his brow furrowed, his cargos with burn marks, his shirt not whole any more, that wasn't real – it couldn't be. And so when Steve opened his mouth, Danny couldn't help but slap a hand across Steve's mouth and shake his head.
“No, no – you don't – no. You, you are dead right now, you realise that? You,” Danny poked Steve in the chest with his free hand as his voice fell to a whisper. “You're dead, Steve. Dead.”
Danny let Steve pry his hand away from his mouth and didn't protest when he grabbed Danny's other hand. “Danny – I promise I'm alive. And I promise I'll explain, but this – I have to call someone. We have to get out of here.”
“We – what?” Danny can hear words coming out of his mouth and he's confused, but he follows Steve to the Camaro and right then is the moment Danny realises he's awake because Steve – Steve grabs the keys out of his hand and gets in the driver's seat. Danny likes to think that if it were a dream, he would at least be able to drive his own fucking car.
Danny lets Steve make his calls, if he's honest, he's not sure he wants to hear whatever it is Steve had to say about being in an explosion. Realistically, Steve is dead – and Danny, he knows that's not true, but that doesn't stop him sitting in Steve's living room and just – thinking. About what he would've done if that had been the case, because Danny isn't in the habit of lying to himself and he knows – it is a simple fact – that the things most important to him on this island are Gracie and Steve. He's fairly sure the addition of Steve was against his will, without his knowledge and he's adjusted, he's made room for that and all the bugfuck crazy that comes along with it. So the idea that he came within a breath of losing one of the few things keeping him tethered to Hawaii has knocked him off his usually steady equilibrium and he needs a moment to process.
“Hey.” Steve stands at the bottom of the stairs. He's showered, changed and Danny cannot help but stare at him.
“Hey? That is what you have for me right now?”
Steve approaches him slowly, like he thinks Danny will bolt and, actually, Danny isn't entirely sure that isn't going to happen. Except that Steve looks worried and Danny hates that. Steve should not look worried about – them – about anything that goes on between them. So Danny closes his mouth and waves a hand as Steve sits next to him.
“Danny – I don't. This isn't something I've had to talk about before.”
And Danny just gives in because if there's one thing he knows how to do, it's talk. “Hey, okay, so how about we start with how you don't have the injuries you should have after being in an explosion? You have scratches, Steven, scratches. That is so beyond any type of normal I don't even know what to say.”
“I heal quickly. Quicker than most people.”
“I think I got that already, babe. I'm asking why.”
Steve rubs a hand over his face before he looks at Danny. Danny doesn't give an inch, he just stares back because he knows - his spidey sense is tingling – whatever, he just knows Steve needs to talk about this.
“Okay. Fine. The Navy, there were some things that they did to us. We volunteered, it wasn't – not everyone signed up. There aren't many of us.”
Danny nods and keeps listening because this is how Steve is, he talks and thinks he's explaining things when all he's actually doing is putting words together. But he gets there eventually, he does and Danny – Danny is patient when it comes to Steve, he can wait.
“They gave us this serum, they didn't give us details. Later we found out it was adapted from one that was created during the Second World War. It pushed our bodies to the limit. We could – can – do anything.”
“Like survive bombs?” Sometimes Danny can't help himself. It's a flaw, he knows this.
“Yeah, Danny, like survive bombs.”
Danny keeps quiet for a moment, he spins this around in his mind for a while because this – this is just strange. It's not like he expected a normal explanation, this is Steve, it could never be normal, but hearing your partner had been – what – manufactured? That is something that had to be thought about. But Danny looks at Steve's face and, fuck, that is a face Danny never wants to see. Steve looks scared and that's not okay. That's really not okay. Steve should never look scared. Danny is done, okay, he's done with any of the barriers they have left between them because this is not how it should be. He reaches across and takes Steve's hand between his.
“Okay. Okay. So what you're telling me is that you are actually Captain America? Like, super strength, super speed, can hardly be killed, type Captain America. Because that's – that's just great, really.”
“Hey. Let me ask you something first. Is that why - and don't think I haven't noticed this, Steven – is that why you always throw yourself in front of guns before I do? Because you're actually invincible and I'm just – what? A normal cop?”
“It's not because of that, Danny. You know I respect you. It's because - you're - “ Steve breaks off and Danny can see him getting frustrated, but he has to push this, he needs the answers now or else Steve will just close off again. Danny knows this. “Look. I'm not invincible. I can be killed, but I have a better chance of surviving than you do. It's science.”
“Science? Science? That is what you're giving me right now? Because you can die, Steve. You can die. And I do not want to have to explain that to your sister, and I really do not want to have to explain that to my little girl because, she - she loves you and you dying on her is not an option.” Danny looks down at where he's still clasping Steve's hand and loosens his grip slightly. Super serum or not, Steve needs to understand this, somehow Danny needs to get it through his damn stubborn head that people care about him.
“I'm not trying to die. It's not like I have a plan, here, Danny. I'm the only one of us in the reserves. Everyone else who was given the serum – that I know of – is still on active duty,” Steve sinks back into the sofa, pulling his hand away from Danny. “There's not exactly a playbook for after you leave.”
“Okay and, I get that, I do, but you've got to meet me halfway here and understand that you have people who are invested in you staying alive.”
“I – fuck – Danny, I know that. I do. I don't want to die, it's not like I wake up each day and think about how I can get shot, or blown up or whatever else you think I plan on doing.”
“Well. Good. That's good,” Danny slumps back into the couch next to Steve and nudges him with his shoulder until Steve looks at him. The face is gone and that makes Danny happy, okay, he is so happy that he is able to change Steve's face like that. There's something else though, and Danny has to ask this because if he doesn't it will chew away at his guts and he promised his Ma that he would not get another ulcer. “Why didn't you tell me? I know, I know, classified. But, babe, this really isn't about the Navy, this is about you. And that shouldn't be – it shouldn't be hidden behind bureaucratic walls and shit. Despite what they tried to drill out of you during Hell Week, you are allowed to be a person. And don't even argue with me on that, Steven, I will punch you.”
Steve shrugs. “Punch me, I'll be fine.”
“You'll be – I'm not even going to attempt to explain to you how fucked up that is, Steve, I'm really not.” Danny knows he has a grin on his face and he knows this is ridiculous, this whole thing is ridiculous. Less than an hour ago he thought Steve was dead, gone, and Danny would never get to see his stupid face again and now Steve is sitting next to him and he has what passes for a relaxed face on.
“Yes, at last, thank you. You're a shitty host, you know that?” Danny watches as Steve fluidly pulls himself up from the sofa and he wonders if that's part of the serum, or if Steve comes by such grace naturally. He can't stop watching Steve.
“If I'm such a shitty host, how come you're always here?” Steve smiles as he hands Danny a beer and heads towards the beach, settling in one of the chairs.
Danny pauses a moment before following him outside, sitting in the chair next to him. “I'm a masochist, babe.” Danny smiles around the neck of his beer as Steve opens one eye to look at him before he leans back with his eyes closed, basking in the last of the sun. Danny takes the opportunity to run his eyes over Steve, cataloguing the lack of damage to Steve's skin. The scratches that were left after the bomb blast are already fading and Danny's hands twitch. He wants to touch them, wants to run his fingers over the marks before they vanish. It's crazy, he knows this, but this day has been so strange, beyond what passes for a normal day with Five-0 and he just – he just wants something to hold on to. Danny likes tangible things. He always has.
“Danno, relax.” Steve's voice is low and Danny thinks he might be drifting off to sleep. Super serum or not, Danny can't watch Steve sleep in a chair, it makes his own back ache, so he reaches over and pokes Steve in the arm.
“Relax? I'll relax when you're not looking to give me sympathy backache by falling asleep in a chair.”
“You saying you want to take me to bed, Danny?” Steve opens his eyes, a smile, a proper smile on his face, and fuck, but Danny cannot even try and play with him when he looks like that. Danny looks up at the sky and wonders how his life has come to this. What did he do to deserve this? Who did he piss off in a previous life to be saddled with this ridiculously attractive, apparently semi-superhero, partner? Danny would just like an explanation, that's all he's asking for.
”Danny? I didn't -” Steve's looking at him now, he's nervous and Danny can't deal with that again, he just can't. There are some faces that Steve should never show and Danny wants to wipe that off his face, wants to fold himself in on Steve until he believes, until he finally realises, that whatever else Steve finds to feel nervous about, this – what they have – is not one of them.
“Don't. Okay? Just – there's a bed in this house, right?”
Steve nods slowly and Danny stands up, watches Steve's face as he realises what Danny is doing, where this is going. Danny waves his hand expectantly and Steve gets up with the biggest, most wonderful, ridiculous grin on his face that Danny cannot help but return.
“Yeah? You want in my bed?” Steve's voice is soft, teasing and he takes a few steps towards Danny until he's all in Danny's space and Danny – he wants this. He's always known they work differently, they push and pull at each other, but they work and this is just how it is.
Danny can feel Steve's hands on him and for all that it's been a fucking long time – 15 years and Rachel ago - since Danny has done anything like this with another guy, he's good. This is right and – holy fuck did Steve just lift him up? “Hey,” Danny bats his hands against Steve's back because, no, this is not okay – Danny is not a princess, despite what his legs seem to think as they wrap around Steve's waist. “Steve, Steven! You are not pulling me out of a burning building, I am perfectly capable of walking up stairs – I am a grown ass fucking man and I swear, if you do this around people I will end you.”
“Danny. Shut up.” And Steve's looking at him so intently as he holds him up with one arm, and that should not be such a turn on, it really shouldn't, but fuck if Danny's body doesn't feel differently.
Somehow they make it upstairs and Steve – Steve isn't even breathing heavy, which, okay, super serum, Danny's good with that. Danny's really good with it when Steve ducks his head a little and presses his lips against Danny's and Danny – Danny can't help but make a noise that he would probably be embarrassed about if he could be bothered to give a shit. Because, fuck if Steve's mouth is not the best thing he's felt in a really long time. And Danny's pushing back, opening his mouth, his hands are fisted in Steve's shirt and he wants – he wants that damn shirt off now.
Danny pulls back and shifts impatiently until Steve gets the message and lets him go, his eyes dark as he watches Danny undress and sprawl on the bed, Danny raises an eyebrow and smirks. He laughs, fondly as Steve pulls at his clothes – Danny's fairly sure that if Steve had the ability to Hulk his way out of his clothes, he would – and tumbles onto the bed, reaching for Danny as he does so. There's nothing but skin and heat, Danny feels like he's drowning in Steve, but he is so fucking fine with that.
Danny's tracing patterns on Steve's back with his fingers. Steve has tucked himself all around Danny, his head buried in Danny's neck, his arms curled around his body, legs tangled and Danny – Danny's just smiling. He realises he probably looks like a goof, but he doesn't care because this, Steve McGarrett, actual super SEAL, being clingy is something Danny never thought he'd be dealing with in his life and he, lord help him, he likes it. “So, I'm just curious, is the whole clinging thing part of the serum they gave you, or is that all McGarre – ow! That – that was not nice, Steve, that was pinching in a very sensitive area and if you ever want to be near that area again, you will be good to me.”
Steve lifts his head and rests his chin on Danny's chest to look up at him. “I'm always good to you, Danno.” And he has this face, this face that Danny has never seen before and if there's someone who can resist that, Danny would like to meet them because they're made of stronger stuff than he is.
Danny lifts his hand and traces the laugh lines at the corner of Steve's eyes, his chest tightening as Steve sighs and tips his face into the touch. “You are gonna get older, right? The serum doesn't stop you ageing?”
“It doesn't stop me ageing, Danny.”
“Okay. Good. What else – I mean – is there anything else?”
“Not that I haven't already told you. What they did, it was a way of making us the best we could be. We don't have superpowers, we're not Superman, we're just – enhanced.”
“There's a really terrible joke in that and I am manfully resisting making it, I just want you to know that.”
Steve snorts and lowers his head, pressing kisses along Danny's neck before he settles back into his previous position, his lips resting against Danny's collarbone. Danny goes back to running his hands across Steve's back, occasionally digging into the knotted muscles he finds, making Steve groan and that – that sound makes Danny happy. Somewhere during Danny's ministrations, they both start to drift off, Danny feels Steve's breath against his neck and his own hands start to go slack – he sighs and he's happy. He's still not – he can't be sure about what this serum is, what it could mean in the future for Steve. Danny – he's not sure he trusts the Navy to have told Steve everything about what it does, okay, and he's worried about that, he can't help but worry about that. It's the same way he worries about Gracie whenever she climbs something high, the way he worried about his pop whenever he was working at the firehouse, it's what he does – he worries when it comes to the people he cares about. But - he tightens his grip on Steve, brushing his lips against the top of Steve's head when he shifts – Danny has this, here, now. He thinks – he thinks they can do this because they've been doing it all along, they just hadn't realised it.