In the beginning, there was Gainsborough
When Danny was twelve, his parents took him on a trip to California to visit his Aunt Mildred and Uncle Henry. He doesn’t actually remember the relatives that much, but he does remember the trip they took to the Huntington Library in San Marino.
He remembers standing in a big room looking up at a huge painting of a boy in a stupid blue outfit who somehow made it all look good. The kid had kind eyes, Danny remembers, and looked a little shy. He was holding a hat with a feather on it that looked so real that Danny could almost feel it tickle his hand.
The guide told them that the painting was called, naturally, the Blue Boy. And then he spent much too long telling them about how this one old British guy said that you couldn’t paint a picture all in blue and have it be art or something, and this other old British guy painted this picture to prove him wrong.
Danny teased his brother and sisters, and generally made a nuisance of himself, naturally, but he never forgot the majesty of the painting, or what the guide said about it.
The painting stayed with Danny long after they left California. The face of that young boy, the vividness of the stupid blue suit he is wearing. The sheer beauty of it. And some idiot painter said that it couldn’t be done.
And that guy should have been right, because nothing about that painting works, except that it does when you put it all together. It works just fine. Magnificently, actually.
Sometimes, Danny finds that he needs to be reminded that things that shouldn’t work just plain do when you put them together. That sometimes, you really can paint the boy blue.
Painting the Boy Blue
It happens on a Tuesday, because Tuesdays are the most evil day of the week for some reason.
Danny is hanging white-knuckled onto the oh shit handle in his car, as Steve executes a maneuver worthy of Dale Earnhardt--Sr. not Jr., because Jr. is still alive--and they’re having a cargument regarding yet another of Grace’s stalker ten-year-old classmates, when it hits Danny. He’s engaged. To Steve.
Because this kind of discussion only ever used to happen with Rachel. And now he’s telling Steve about how this kid has called Grace twelve times over the past week, and he really thinks that they need to take some kind of legal action requiring said stalker to make him stay 50 feet away from Grace at all times.
They need to take some kind of legal action. Not Danny needs to take. They need to take. As in Danny and Steve.
It gets worse when Danny realizes that over the past year, he has spent most of his time with Steve. Grace or no Grace. And in the past six months, he has been the instigator of many of these events.
For example, two months ago Danny noticed that Jersey Boys was playing at the Capitol Theater, and promptly purchased two tickets. And then informed Steve that they were going, and that he had better wear something better than those stupid cargo pants because they were going to dinner at a nice restaurant before the show.
And there was the time when he called Steve at 11:00 on a Friday night to inform him that they were going surfing the next morning, and did he want Danny to bring a lunch?
There is also the passing fact that Danny has given Steve complete access to his baby girl, when he didn’t even introduce her to Gabby until they’d been dating for four months. And even then, there was only that one incident. And he’d watched the two of them like a hawk while they made that butterfly.
Steve got handed the keys to Grace pretty much from day one. And Danny has never stopped Grace from calling Steve to beg access to his beach, or for Steve to join them on their adventures.
He will never forget the time that Grace saw an ad on television regarding a shop that rented bicycles. She called Steve to ask if he wanted to ride a tandem bike with her, and only after Steve agreed did she call Danny to ask if he wanted to rent a bike of his own, so that they could all go riding around the bike trails.
Danny never did get to ride on the tandem bike with Grace, something which irritated him, but not nearly as much as it should have.
And, oh, yeah, let’s not forget the fact that Danny has never, ever, let anybody else just drive his car whenever they wanted.
It hits him, in that moment, that he’s been treating Steve the same way he treated Rachel. After he got an engagement ring on her finger. He’s been courting the bastard.
So he’s engaged. To a guy. Who is insane. And likes to try to get him killed in various and sundry ways on a daily basis. Who still hasn’t truly apologized for getting him shot on the day they met. Or any time since then.
It isn’t that he hasn’t been dating other people. Gabby was delightful and pleasant and could have been a true soulmate if it wasn’t for crazy-boy over there. Even Grace liked her. She just liked the unapologetic idiot better.
And so did he, if he were honest. What sucks is that he’s actually been faithful to the jerk. He and Gabby kissed. They cuddled on the couch. They held hands and did some minor necking. And that’s as far as it got. And he felt guilty about it. Every. Single. Time.
It isn’t as though the brainless wonder has been faithful to him. No, there’s Catherine the beautiful and smart and female. And he has a strong feeling that when Steve has romantic thoughts, or even just plain lustful thoughts, they head in the direction of Catherine and Catherine alone. Or at least someone of Catherine’s gender.
And Danny understands that. He’s been known to like a womanly figure here or there or everywhere because he’s never, ever looked at a manly figure with anything but jealousy for the excess height or lack of hair loss--not that Danny has to worry about that, thank you.
But here is jerk-face, and he’s definitely got the whole manly thing going. He’s got the body of a Greek god, he’s got fabulous hair--most of the time; his cheekbones are to die for, those giraffe lashes just aren’t fair, and he’s got those cool tats, though the tramp stamp just makes Danny want to point and laugh every single time he sees it, because really?
And Steve’s handsome--freaking gorgeous actually. But he’s not perfect. He can look kind of goofy sometimes, especially if he’s rocking the whole bed-head thing. And his eyes can’t decide what color they want to be, so sometimes they end up playing chameleon throughout the day and that’s just funny. Plus, the guy really does have these faces, though he claims he doesn’t. And they’re really, really funny. The aneurysm face is enough to set Danny off on internal giggles every single time. And sometimes external ones as well. Depends on the amount of time he’s had to spend with the idiot lately. And it’s not the worst of Steve’s faces; no that title would have to be awarded to his constipated kangaroo, which has arm flails as well as facial twitches, and occasional butt wiggling as well.
Don’t even get Danny started on the mode of attire the dipshit chooses.
And there’s the whole guy thing that Danny is having a hard time with. The fact that brainless has the same equipment as he does? Yeah, that should be an issue, even if it isn’t. And it’s all complicated by the fact that it’s him. The bane of his existence. The pain in his ass. Mr. “I will get you killed soon and you’ll like it because it’s fun!” That guy. How on earth did Danny get engaged to him?
And more importantly, what does he do about it, ‘cause this, this just isn’t going to work.
So Danny spends a few days thinking about it. Or obsessing about it, whatever. And he comes to the conclusion that the only thing he can do is to end this stupid engagement and go back to just being friends and partners. To kill that aspect of their relationship before shit-head notices it exists and decides to make Danny’s life unbearable. Because Danny is fairly sure that Steve McGarrett is the type of guy who would decide that being engaged means you actually have to get married, and Danny has been there, done that, got the lack of visitation rights and he’s not going there again.
Plus, Danny is fairly sure that Steve McGarrett would be the one guy in the world to manage getting another guy pregnant, because he’s just so Steve. And Danny is not going to lose his girlish figure just because SuperSEAL is a mutant.
...starts on a Thursday, because that’s the morning Danny wakes up filled with resolution and something of a plan. Not much of one, but he can work with that. He’s good at making it up as he goes along.
He begins by grabbing his cane on the way out the door. Tweaking the knee is a good way to keep himself out of Steve’s grabby hands, and to perhaps keep his car keys in his own, thank you. Maybe. If he’s lucky. Because Steve has been known to be sneaky regarding those keys.
So he hobbles into work with a good story about how he tweaked his knee rushing to find the stupid phone when McGarrett called him at two in the freaking morning to tell him that HPD had found their suspect, and did Danny want to go down to HPD and interrogate him? And Danny said no. He really said no. Or maybe. Or something.
But he ended up down at HPD headquarters in their not-so-comfortable holding cell watching as Steve put the fear of god and the US Navy into their suspect, who turned out not to be so much of a suspect after all.
Which is why Danny doesn’t feel the least bit guilty about making the Steve feel bad about the whole knee thing. Crazy-boy totally deserves it.
The first thing that happens is that Kono comes tearing over, sympathy and sadness on her sweet face. “Brah, what happened? You were fine yesterday. What did Steve do to you?”
Well, this presents an opportunity that simply can’t be ignored. He looks into her concerned eyes and says “Well, SuperSEAL decided that we needed to interview Mr. Prescott at two this AM and that he obviously required my expertise in this endeavor. Hence, he called me, requiring me to exit my somewhat comfortable bed in a hurry in order to determine exactly what tragedy had befallen this island, only to stumble over my nightstand and twist my knee in a painful manner. Ergo, I am forced to use the cane again.”
“Oh, Danny, that’s awful. How long are you going to be stuck riding a desk?” She reaches out and gently pats his arm in sympathy. Danny suspects that it reminds her of when her knee was blown, and is grateful for her understanding. Even if he doesn’t deserve it this time.
“I don’t know yet, I haven’t gone to the Dr. I was planning on going this afternoon if we ever get off work in such time as the Dr. is actually a viable option. I don’t want to have to deal with the ER.”
“Why don’t you just tell the boss that you’re taking the morning off so that you can go and get it taken care of?”
Danny sighs. “Too much paperwork to do. It’s not as though Steve does any himself. I’m fairly sure that he sits in his office playing angry birds or something instead of actually doing work. If there’s no possibility of blood or explosions involved, Steve’s not interested. Must be a SEAL thing.”
Kono gets this upset look on her face, followed quickly by a look of determination, kind of like the one she gets right before she decides that she’s going to follow Steve into that burning meth lab no matter what Chin says. She turns on her heel and heads into Steve’s office. Danny actually feels kind of bad for Steve, but there’s nothing to be done. If he expects to get un-engaged from crazy-boy, sacrifices have to be made.
He slips quietly into his office, and closes the door. He carefully places his cane where it can be best viewed from Steve’s office, starts up his computer and begins his day’s work. He kind of expects Steve to burst into his office, either worried about him, or complaining that there was no knee twist when they hit HPD at 2:30 that morning. But instead, he looks over and there’s Steve, sitting at his desk with a contemplative look on his face. This isn’t one Danny has seen before, so he’s kind of worried. This is a face that denotes some serious thinking. And that just can’t end well.
But, Danny’s determined to wait it out. To see to it that Steve goes out with Chin or Kono today and that this becomes a pattern for the near future. Or possibly the entire future, depending on how the un-engaging thing goes. And doesn’t that just make his gut clench? Ouch. Clearly, he’s left this process a bit late in the game, but who can blame him? It’s not like he’s ever accidentally gotten engaged before, especially since he seems to have picked a man this time, which, who knew?
He kind of expects Steve to at least mention something about his knee, but Steve never does what you expect, so it’s not that much of a surprise when he simply nods at Danny over the tech table when they get together to discuss the case that almost, almost went somewhere so very much earlier that morning. Danny puts his opinions in, professionally as possible, while waiting for the shoe to drop and show that Steve actually cares that Danny has been damaged again. But nope, nada, nicht, nothing. And isn’t that a nice how do you do?
Steve takes Kono out with him to go follow up leads, and Danny schleps back to his desk to deal with paperwork, and perhaps get onto the com should anything come up. But nothing does, and he spends the entire day doing everybody’s paperwork, which sucks. Eggs. Through a straw.
What’s even suckier is that Prescott turns out to be so much more than a suspect. He’s the actual brains behind this particular little drug-cartel-kidnapping-fiasco. And Steve knew it at 2:30 that morning and never mentioned it.
So Danny girds up his loins at the end of the day and manfully hobbles out to his car. Where Steve is waiting. Like a spider. A really strong, exceptionally good-looking, well-tattooed spider. Or something.
But Danny’s no fly, so when Steve holds out his hands for the keys, Danny shakes his head and says “Oh no, you have your truck today. You just want to drive my car in order to aid with your obsessive-compulsive issues.
Steve shakes his head sadly, “Kono said you hadn’t been to the Dr. yet, so I thought I’d drive you so that you didn’t have to stress your knee.”
“And what in our history as partners makes you believe that this would be an acceptable arrangement?”
“Well,” Steve tilts his head and smiles in a manner that is not at all charming. “Seeing as you weren’t injured this morning when we went to interview Prescott, I know that you lied to Kono, which means that you most likely injured it doing something embarrassing. And you will do just about anything to get out of going to the Dr. when you have something embarrassing to discuss. Ergo,” and he actually smiles when Danny gives him the “Look of Death” he perfected back in Jersey, “you won’t actually go to the Dr. unless I make you.”
Then, shithead actually proves that asking for the car keys from Danny was just a kindness by opening the car doors with his own set of keys. Which Danny never, ever gave him, thank you very much.
And then, the jerk has the temerity to actually go around the open the passenger-side door for Danny. And all Danny can think is that this plan is not working out. He needs another one.
The fiasco that Danny comes to refer to, at least in his own mind, as the Great Knee Dr. Appointment from Hell of 2012 goes even worse than Danny had feared it would. The Dr. can plainly see that there’s no new swelling. And no matter how Danny attempts to pretend that it hurts worse than it does--which isn’t an insignificant amount of pain in and of itself, thank you very much Commander Just-Walk-It-Off. The Dr. just isn’t all that convinced. And neither is Steve, which just makes the whole situation that much more vivid.
The Dr. gives him a prescription for a couple of Ibuprofen 1000s and tells him to make sure to take them with food and perhaps an over-the-counter antacid, and sends him home without, thankfully, making a comment on the fact that Danny totally seems to be faking this one. But Steve can’t let it go. Oh, no, that would be too easy.
He turns to Danny, looks him in the eye, and says, “So, Danno. Want to explain that one to me?”
And Danny does the only thing he can think of to do. He blinks, looks away, and croaks out a less than manly “no”. And Steve gets this little smile on his face that totally doesn’t set Danny’s heart happily thumping, and looks at Danny like he’s just figured out the answer to life, the universe, and everything and it turns out it isn’t 42.
Asshole. Just couldn’t leave it alone, could he? So that’s the end of Danny’s plans to put some distance between them that way. So it’s on to ...
...which involves, handily enough, the lovely, intelligent, and very feminine Catherine. Who has just retired from the Navy, it seems.
Steve brings up her imminent retirement the next Thursday, after a Wednesday in which he not only dragged Danny into a drug distribution warehouse without backup, (“you are the backup” is getting really, really tiresome, let me tell you) but he also managed to put a rather spectacular ding in Danny’s beloved car. So Danny isn’t expecting this one to hurt nearly as much as it does.
“So I have some great news,” Steve starts out, getting Chin and Kono to look up from the tech table with surprise, and more than a bit of trepidation in their eyes, because let’s face it, Steve’s version of good news and the rest of the world’s rarely mesh.
“Lieutenant Rollins has put in for retirement, and has been offered a position here at Five-0 as an analyst. You’ve all met her, and you all like her, and I’m excited to have her here.”
Chin grins like he’s just been given an entire set of ukulele lessons without having to bid for them, but Kono gets this little frown between her perfect eyebrows and looks carefully at Danny before pasting a happy smile on her face and looking at Steve, “That’s great,” she says. Fortunately her bad acting, which would merit a razzie if she were being filmed, flies right by Steve, who is too wrapped up in his own little bubble of excitement to notice.
Danny just smiles, more than a little sick, and says “Congratulations, really. I’m glad for you.” Then he does not run away and hide in his office. He goes there with a sense of purpose because he’s got work to do, damn it.
So of course Kono comes in shortly thereafter, with a sympathetic look on her beautiful face that makes it almost unbearable to look at her. She doesn’t say anything, just comes up behind Danny and puts her arms around him and squeezes him tight. Then she pats his arm gently and walks out his door without saying a word. Oh. Yeah. Just what Danny needed.
Except. Except that he really did need a hug, even though he would never ask for one. Ever. But why did Kono have to be that observant?
The worst thing about this is that he really likes Catherine. She’s genuinely caring, intelligent, kind, efficient, and won’t, most likely, lead Steve off on some misbegotten quest that will get him tortured in some communist country that shan’t be named but sounds a lot like North Korea.
Apparently, she has none of the usual hang-ups that the other women who have come into that office and were not named Kono have displayed. She’s strong. She’s capable. And she hits the ground running. And she already has Steve in her back pocket, so there’s none of that pining thing that Lori always did. She’s totally going to last.
Danny manfully invites them both out to dinner to celebrate Catherine’s new status, and he thinks that he does a fairly good job of pretending that his heart isn’t busy tearing itself into itsy, bitsy pieces right before their eyes.
“To Five-0 finally getting an analyst who will actually analyze,” he raises a glass of beer and points it in Catherine’s direction.
“Oh please,” Catherine actually blushes, and darn prettily too. “I’m sure that Lori did a good job. I mean, she’s a homeland security profiler.”
“Who spent way too much of her time pining for Steve. Which is something I don’t see you doing, actually, seeing as you know too much about him to ever pine.” Danny smirks at her and then winks. She closes her eyes and laughs in a way that makes Danny understand all over again why Steve fell for her. She’s perfect, damn it. Her little nose even crinkles cutely. And then she chokes on her beer and Steve, being the good boyfriend/probable future spouse that he is, pats her back lovingly until she can breathe again.
Danny has to excuse himself before he pukes on the table, which would be waste of perfectly good pie, without pineapple and ham, thank you. And if he goes home that night and calls his mother to discuss the possibility of kidnapping Grace and running away from home, then it’s nobody’s business but his. And possibly his mom’s.
Danny has to watch the lovebirds come in to work every single day, practically cooing at each other. They hug, they cuddle up by the tech table or by Steve’s computer. He catches them kissing in the breakroom.
Or, almost, since the kissing part seems to have ended just before he got there. He's just sure of it.
Danny actually considers offering Catherine his office so that she can be closer to Steve, but doesn’t, in the end, because he just can’t, for some reason, even though he feels guilty about it.
Danny does offer to let Catherine partner with Steve, but both of them inform him that she’s an analyst, not “field personnel”. Which means that while Steve is canoodling with Catherine in the off-work hours, he’s still dragging Danny out to dangerous situations and attempting to get him killed in new and ingenious ways.
For example, one Tuesday comes along, and Steve is driving about 100 miles per hour down the freeway, having a surprisingly cogent discussion regarding immigration policy and possible solutions, when the guy that they’re chasing decides to pull a crazy Ivan. He hits the brakes, and twists the wheel at the same time, and flips himself around in a move that would make Joss Wheden spontaneously climax, and Steve doesn’t even blink. He just keeps going, only now he reaches out the window with his gun and starts shooting. Danny sighs to himself and sticks his upper half out the window to help with the shooting, because that’s what you do in situations like this.
Mind you, he starts screaming at Steve, telling him to pull over before they all get killed. Steve doesn’t answer, he just hits the gas and slides past the perp, allowing Danny to get a good shot off, taking the jerk’s tire out, causing him to slide to an ungainly halt--which is ok, except that Danny was really hoping that he’d just flip the car and get all this over with.
Steve pulls his own version of a crazy Ivan and stops directly behind the drug dealer, leaving Danny to realize that they crossed three lanes of exceedingly busy freeway, with him leaning out the window, and he’s still alive and so is everybody else.
He kind of melts down the door like an ice-cube on the beach and lays there, panting. Steve pulls the dealer out of his car, cuffs him, and then looks over to where he expects Danny to be. When he doesn’t see him, Steve actually drags the drug dealer on a Danno hunt. And when he finds Danny, he just looks down at him, smiling. “What are you doing down there, Danno? Need a nap? You could have just told me, I’d have pulled over.” And that smile? That makes Danny’s entire week, because when Steve smiles at Danny like that, the world is suddenly an alright place to be. Because Danny actually likes this shit. Lives for it in a way. Can’t live without it, possibly.
Naturally Danny kind of sputters at him, then manages to reach out to grab the hand that Steve is holding out to him. He isn’t impressed by the ease with which Steve hauls him up. Not at all. And to hide the fact that he has a sudden desire to reach out and bite those biceps, Danny starts talking quickly. “What was that? Are you actively trying to make my daughter have to live with Step-Stan as her only father figure for the rest of her life? Are you insane? Nuts? Mentally deficient?”
Steve just beams down at him and throws the dealer in his basic direction with a happy “read him his rights, and book him Danno.” Which makes Danny sigh and close his eyes for just a second before reaching out, grabbing the perp, and hitting him with his Miranda rights, even though he knows that it won’t do any good considering how deeply brain damaged the guy is.
The thing is that he’s kind of grateful for the entire almost dying thing, because it means that things are good between him and Steve. It means that Steve still thinks of him as his partner, his friend, his Danno. It means that just because Catherine has invaded their lives and set up housekeeping like a really pretty magpie, he still has Steve. At least some part of him. She can’t take that away from him. And isn’t it sad how pathetically grateful Danny is for that? Because Danny isn’t entirely sure that he’d survive losing Steve completely, plans to run away from home notwithstanding.
When they get back to the Palace, Danny watches while Steve grabs Catherine and hugs and snuggles her while telling the tale. They’re so easy together, so right. They fit in a way that he and Steve never could. So Danny brushes off Steve’s offer of an after-work beer and heads home, rather proud of himself in that he doesn’t let the prickling in his eyes take over before he gets into the car.
That night he sits on his bed and stares out the window. This isn’t working. This whole “let Catherine have him and then, when he’s unavailable, I’ll un-engage him and can go on with my life” plan just isn’t working. It just hurts. It hurts worse than Rachel, and that is something he would have sworn was biologically impossible. It makes him think that maybe his marriage to Rachel had died off more than just a little bit before it finally crashed and burned.
Either that or he just plain loves Steve more than he ever loved Rachel, but he doesn’t even want to begin to think about that.
Which is when he finally admits to himself that he is totally, completely, and quite possibly irrevocably in love with Steve.
It’s obvious that he has to do something, or his heart is simply going to prolapse and then where will he be? He’s fairly sure that one doesn’t survive prolapsing hearts. And it is on that long, lonely night that he finally comes up with his last plan. The one that simply has to work.
...is pretty simple, actually. It’s called “Find Danny Somebody Else”. But it isn’t an easy plan to carry out, because it’s not something that Danny ever wanted to do. After he un-engaged himself from Steve, yes, then he’d look for somebody else. But he was supposed to become un-engaged first.
Gabby didn’t count, apparently, not only because they were no longer seeing each other, but also because she couldn’t even begin to compete with Steve. In order to survive this, Danny is going to have to find a Steve of his own. So to speak. And apparently that includes qualities that he’s never had to look for in a romantic partner before. Lots of them.
So he starts by thinking about what it is that Steve possesses that nobody else of his acquaintance has. And it comes down to a list of not so simple requirements: Steve is generous, intelligent, strong, honest, fearless, capable, a patriot, a warrior, a man of wisdom--at least in some things. A man of character. A man of honor.
He also has characteristics of the physical manner that Danny had never noticed before Steve came tripping along. Like calm and steady eyes, which, though they can’t make up their mind as to color, are beautiful, and filled with all the emotions that he can’t find words for.
Steve has big hands, worn with hard work. Gun-calloused, strong, capable. Steve’s hands are not the hands of a “gentleman”. They’re the hands of a man who has used them in protection of his nation, and in rebuilding a life after losing everything. Those hands even found a way to express forgiveness to a mother who abandoned him when she should have forced her husband to pack up the entire family and leave. Danny has seen him gently hold her face in those hands and look into her eyes with complete love and forgiveness.
Personally, Danny thinks that Dorris McGarrett needs a swift kick in the ass, but that may be just him. He’s kind of seriously grateful that she chose to stay in Japan. And he knows that his attitude is something Steve finds as inexplicable as his disgust regarding pineapple on pizza. But Steve, the loving, generous man that he is, is just allowing Danny adjustment time.
Sometimes Danny really, really hates Steve.
Steve has powerful shoulders, shoulders that have carried an entire worlds’ weight on them and have done so safely, letting nothing fall. Not even grumpy New Jersey detectives who really wanted to be someplace, anyplace else. Or said detective’s beautiful, sweet, incredible daughter, who fell for Steve just as Steve fell for her. No, Grace has always been safe with Steve.
He has a mouth that Danny really, really wants to kiss. And to draw words from. Words that Steve can’t find a way to express himself with. Danny wants to kiss him until they come spilling out, healing both of them.
Steve has a strong back that has never bowed once, in spite of the pain and suffering it has borne. In spite of the torture that Wo Fat inflicted on him. In spite of the incredible weight of serving his nation. In spite of the family issues that have plagued him since he was basically a child. Steve’s back is unbroken.
And then there are the tattoos, because yes, Danny can be superficial once in awhile. He really wants to nibble on those tattoos, and lick them, and trace them with his fingers. Possibly all at once. Except for the tramp stamp, because really?
And there are those legs. And that ass. And that package. That Danny has never actually allowed himself to oggle, though he’s fairly sure what he wants to do with it.
Yeah, Danny has it bad.
So there’s only one thing to do, and that is to find somebody kind of like Steve, since apparently his tastes have swung towards the masculine end of the sexual spectrum. And after a great deal of research--Steve isn’t the only boy scout in their ohana--Danny finds a place that might, possibly, cater to a certain type of gentleman, including those from Pearl Harbor who, after the repeal of DADT, have been able to express a desire to look for companionship of a less than usual sort.
It’s not a bar. Danny doesn’t think that you can actually meet a soulmate in a bar. And let there be no mistake, the guy he picks had better be soulmate quality, or Danny really is going to have to kidnap Grace and run away from home. Because this is serious. This is the rest of his life.
He waits until a Friday night when everybody he knows is occupied, including Rachel, Grace and Charlie. Steve is on a major athletic challenge disguised as a date with Catherine. Kono and Adam are at a club. Chin and Malia have headed to the Big Island for the weekend. Rachel, Grace and Charlie have headed to Las Vegas for a couple of weeks’ visit with Stan. So he’s safe.
The club that he’s paid an incredibly ridiculous amount to join is situated in a discreet, quiet section of Honolulu, with its own private section of beach. It’s called the Puna Awa Club, which Danny’s dictionary tells him means Spring Harbor. Ok. Whatever.
He dresses nicely, because apparently if you pay that much for a membership, you’re expected to dress well. He puts on his best dress pants, a cream silk shirt that he carefully irons, and the blue tie that Kono said made his eyes pop. Whatever that means.
He showers carefully, makes sure his hair is just so, shaves just a bit--stubble is good here--and brushes his teeth three times. Then he puts on just a splash of that stupid Paco Rabanne that Grace gave him for Father’s day. (Which means that Rachel bought it, wrapped it, and gave it to Grace to give to him. But Grace also gave him lot of drawings, so that was just fine.)
He presents himself at the door with his newly minted membership card and is admitted to an exquisite building. The floors are dark hardwood, varnished to a shine. The walls are cream with darker accents in the crown moulding. There are tray ceilings everywhere, and the rooms are large and airy. There is a sense of understated wealth here, and Danny immediately wants to run and hide, ‘cause in Jersey, this is the kind of place where the mafia goes.
But he steels himself and goes to the bar and orders a 12-year-old single malt. He’d like to go for something older, but he’d also like to eat real food for the rest of the month. He places himself carefully in order to be able to see most of the room and have a look at the other members. There’s one that has that same air of stillness that Steve wears about him, which, along with the powerfully built body, chiseled face and strong, calloused hands says one thing to Danny: power and danger on the hoof. And also, sex on a stick.
He makes eye contact, but keeps it light, easy. Nothing he can’t deny later, should Power and Danger on the Hoof take offense. He sips his scotch slowly, savoring it. He’s usually a beer kind of guy, that matching his basic budget. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy an occasional good scotch, and even if nothing ever happens in this overpriced meet and greet, at least he will have gotten a really good drink out of it.
Just as his drink is getting down to the last bits of gold in the shadows of the ice, Mr. SexOnAStick (as Danny has designated him) stands and comes over to sit next to him at the bar.
“You’re new.” He says.
“To the club, yes. To life, not so much.” And doesn’t that make Danny want to beat his head against a post or something, because that? That is the best he can come up with?
Mr. SexOnAStick laughs, and it’s a good sound, warm, filled with promise. “True. Very true. So I’m Jace. J.A.C.E. Your name?”
“Daniel. D.A.N.I.E.L. Call me Danny. Nice to meet you Jace.” Danny holds out his hand and Jace takes his in a grip that is warm and strong, and so like Steve’s that it aches. But he’s determined to put Steve behind him, so he just pushes thoughts of Steve away and enjoys this moment with Jace.
“If I got you another scotch, would you come out on the lanai with me?”
“Depends,” Danny tilts his head, consideringly, “on what you’re planning on doing out on the lanai.”
Jace laughs again, and oh that’s a nice sound. Warms Danny’s heart, and his loins. And when Jace says “I had planned on talking. What about you?”
“Talking’s good. I can do talking.” Danny nods and looks carefully at Jace. He isn’t Steve. And that’s comforting. He’s gorgeous. Tall, well-built, dark brown hair that is close-cropped and thick and looks like it would feel like velvet against Danny’s hand.
His eyes are brown, liquid, beautiful. Like really good dark chocolate. Danny thinks that maybe he could get lost in those eyes, and that would be quite nice.
Jace has a voice like heavy cream, and it makes Danny feel kind of sleepy and heavy, with warmth pooling in his gut. Yeah. This could work.
Jace orders Danny another scotch, and nabs one for himself, then points towards the French doors. Danny follows him, kind of glad that Jace doesn’t put a hand on his lower back to guide him. Danny always did that with Rachel, and he’s noticed that Steve has a habit of doing it with him, and he’s just not sure how he feels about that, because, on the whole, not a girl.
The lanai is cooled nicely by a mist of cold water that somehow or other hangs just over the edge without making the lanai itself wet. It’s delightful on this hot Friday evening. Danny notices that they are not the only couple to seek out the soft darkness, and he’s glad when Jace guides him to a somewhat isolated alcove.
Somehow, Danny ends up with his back against the wall, Jace leaning close to him. That’s kind of nice too, considering the fact that Steve has a tendency to do the same thing, and Danny has discovered that he likes it.
Jace leans close and gently, gently brushes his lips against Danny’s. “So,” he says in that whiskey velvet voice of his, “tell me Danny, does Commander McGarrett know where you are tonight?”
Danny knew this was going too well.
He tries to pull away, but Jace holds him tight with just one hand resting casually on Danny’s bicep.
“For your information, Mr. SEAL Team Number 9, McGarrett is out on a date with his most likely future fiancée. So it doesn’t matter what he knows. I’m not his personal property.”
Jace smiles, and kisses him. And oh dear lord Danny thinks that there’s a possibility that he’s never actually been kissed before this moment. Jace’s lips are soft, yet insistent. And Danny’s never had his mouth just taken before this and he thinks that there’s a good possibility that this is the best kiss he’s ever had.
There’s just a flash of tongue as Jace coaxes his lips apart, then Jace is pulling back, and looking at Danny with eyes blown almost black with arousal.
In that instant, Danny realizes that he’s never actually been this hard before, and that if Jace would just touch him he’d have a really, really nice orgasm. In the next instant he realizes that Jace isn’t going to do that, though, and he whimpers, though he will deny it to himself to his dying day. One kiss and he’s that far gone. What on earth is this man like in bed? Is there any actual possibility of surviving it?
Danny would really, really like to find out.
But Jace is tilting his head gently, and looking down at Danny with something kind of like pity, and Danny’s stomach stops heating up and starts to boil with nausea instead. So what Jace says takes him off guard completely.
“Go home, Danny. Go home and get McGarrett out of your heart and mind and then come back to me. Because I don’t share.”
And he very, very gently caresses Danny’s cheek, turns, and leaves.
Danny manages to get out to his car and drive down the street to a slightly shaded spot before reaching down and pressing the heel of his palm against his groin. He thrusts up hard, once, and that’s all it takes. He’s a goner. Coming harder than is most likely healthy. And damn it all if it isn’t Steve’s name he cries out.
Danny drives home, sticky and guilty and feeling more dirty than he’s ever felt before. He dumps his very, very best clothes in the trash, climbs in the shower for 30 minutes, and then collapses on his bed and spends the next three hours deciding exactly where he and Grace should go when they run away from home.
Danny falls into an exhausted, emotionally-drained sleep somewhere around two in the morning. He wakes up when the stupid sun decides that he’s obviously slept way too long and it’s time to punish him for something he may or may not have done in a past life.
He pushes himself off of the bed to go and close the stupid curtains, and stops when he notices a pair of tan boots happily ensconced on his blankets. He follows said boots up to a pair of long, long legs in cargo pants, hurriedly past a package he’s never actually allowed himself to look at, to a ridiculously tight set of abs and a chest that would make his grandmother whimper, to those shoulders. That he wants to bite.
To Steve’s face. The face of the man that he loves. And Danny really is going to have to run away from home, because while Jace was beautiful, Steve is...well..everything.
Danny sighs softly and allows himself to fall to his bed and put his head in his hands. “What are you doing here Steve? You could have just called if there was a case. I’d have met you there.”
“No case, Daniel.” And crazy-boy sounds angry. Coldly angry. And what is that about anyway?
“What’s with the attitude, Steven?”
“So at 1:00 in the morning, I get a call from a friend out at Pearl telling me that one Daniel Michael Williams has presented himself for membership at the Puna Awa.”
Danny sticks his finger in Steve’s face, “Hey, you do not own me, McGarrett. I...” But Steve is sitting up, feet down, learning over Danny like a lion with its terrified prey.
“And, Danny. He tells me that Daniel Michael Williams is putting himself on the market. Like he doesn’t belong to anybody.
“Now you are going to tell me exactly why you were there last night, and what you thought you were doing. And you are going to do it now.”
The last sentence is said in a manner that Danny has never heard Steve use before. A manner that he hasn’t heard anybody use before, and it scares the shit out of him. And it’s just plain too much. Danny’s head checks out and his heart leaps into the chasm. So instead of telling Steve to go fuck himself with a crowbar wrapped in barbed-wire, Danny tells him the truth.
“I went there because I don’t belong to anybody, and I want to. I need to. Because the man that I’m in love with is in love with a gorgeous, intelligent, very womanly woman. Whom I would be in love with under other circumstances.
“And I’ve never been in love with a guy before, and I have no clue why I decided on you. But God help me I did, and I can’t take it anymore. It’s either find somebody else, or transfer back to HPD, because this is killing me.”
And then he’s done. There are no more words. And naturally Steve walks out the door, and that is the end of that. And Danny thinks that maybe he can find the resignation form online and email it to Steve and maybe get Kono to get his stuff from his desk, because, clearly, he’s never going back there again.
Except that there are warm arms around him, and a mouth that he’s been aching for gently pressing kisses into his hair. And that voice, that voice that has haunted his dreams is whispering “I love you, I love you, I love you” over and over and over again.
And when he lifts his head, Steve’s beautiful face is there, and his eyes are filled with love and tears, and he gently presses Danny back into the bed so he can lay by him, and hold him, and kiss him properly.
Steve is so gentle it almost hurts. Danny wraps his arms around this hallucination, willing to take it while it lasts, and kisses back. He accepts Steve’s offering of his mouth, parts his lips, and moans when Steve gently slips his tongue inside and tastes him. But it isn’t just Danny who is moaning. And it isn’t just Danny’s tears that are wetting their faces. Steve is crying too, and he’s not just taking, he’s giving, and it’s the most beautiful thing that Danny has ever experienced.
Much later, after Steve has undressed him and kissed and nuzzled and caressed pretty much every piece of Danny skin he can find, and Danny has been gifted with the opportunity to do the same to Steve; after they have found a pleasure neither of them thought actually existed, they lie, sated, exhausted, and happy in Danny’s bed. Steve’s head is on Danny’s broad shoulder; his arms wrapped tight around Danny’s chest. One long, long leg is tangled with Danny’s and it seems that Steve isn’t going to be letting Danny go anywhere for a while.
Danny’s actually good with that.
Later they’ll have to talk, and Steve will carefully explain what a pair of exceptionally high-priced headphones in a leather case with a black bow actually mean--”You don’t recognize an engagement present when you see one Danno?”
And they’ll have to discuss the fact that Catherine is a friend. And yes, Steve had a long-standing affair with her. But that ended when Steve realized he was in love with his best friend and Catherine actually made him say it out loud.
And Steve will patiently explain that he encouraged Danny to date Gabby because he’s an idiot, and Danny isn’t the only one who has had insecurity issues during this engagement of theirs.
But that will all come later. Right now, it’s as good as it gets.
Danny’s last thought before the first real sleep he’s had in months drags him down is that they did the impossible. They painted the damn boy blue.
Gainsborough would be proud.
"It ought, in my opinion, to be indispensably observed, that the masses of light in a picture be always of a warm, mellow colour, yellow, red, or the green colours be kept almost entirely out of these masses, and be used only to support or set off these warm colours; and for this purpose, a small proportion of cold colour will be sufficient. Let this conduct be reversed: let the light be cold, and the surrounding colour warm, as we often see in the works of the Roman and Florentine painters, and it will be out of the power of art, even in the hands of Rubens and Titian, to make a picture splendid and harmonious.” -- Joshua Reynolds
“Meh” -- Thomas Gainsborough