How do you get to Carnegie Hall if you don’t practice? Ask Grandma.
When Steve McGarrett was 12, he went with his Mom to New York to see his Great-Grandmother one last time. Mary stayed behind with her best friend in Hawaii, because all she remembered of Great-Grandmother Ryabtseva was bad smells, and that she couldn’t understand a word she said.
Jack stayed home ostensibly to work, But, Steve suspected, he felt the same as Mary did.
But Steve was older, and he remembered that she always sang Russian lullabies to him when she came to visit. And she told him about the old country, and how she had fled the Soviets when she was just a girl. She told him about Russian winters, and how the snow caused the nights to glimmer with an eldritch light. She talked of palaces and an empire long dead. Of a Tsar and his daughters and poor little son. She told him of her parents, and how her father always called her Lenotchka and her mother always called her Lena.
She sang the music of her life to him.
Dorris was the product of the Yelena Ryabtseva’s daughter Evgenia, and a Hawaiian surfer turned high school teacher. Dorris didn’t know much Russian because her Mother didn’t know much Russian. Great-Grandmother Ryabtseva had declared that they were Americans, and should speak American.
Great-Grandmother Ryabtseva was dying. But, like so many women of her generation and heritage, that didn’t slow her down much. And when Dorris and Steve arrived in New York, she refused to stay at home and rest like her Dr. told her to. When Dorris tried to get her to relax a bit, she glared at them with big black eyes, “what, you think I’m going to want those extra three weeks it will give me? After I’m gone, who will see to it that you have any culture in your lives? My daughter? Please. Bozha moy, she is her father’s daughter, God rest his soul.
It’s too late for you, Maya Krascuivaya, but it may not be too late for this one. He needs to know he is Russian, and I doubt that you’ve ever taught him anything !” She reached down and chucked Steve under the chin. He hated it when anybody else did that, but if Great-Grandma wanted to, it was ok with him.
His mother may have had a few things to mutter under her breath regarding her Grandmother; something about how if she wanted them to be Russian, maybe there should have been some kind of effort given before this.
But in the end, they all bundled off to Carnegie Hall. To hear some old Russian Guy play the piano.
Steve wasn’t very excited about this.
He learned, later, that he was one of the last few to see the old man play. He learned that those last concerts were considered the old man’s best. He learned that the old man was considered to be the world’s greatest living pianist.
He learned exactly why his Great-Grandmother demanded that they attend that concert.
And he learned that the old man played his favorite music; offered it like a gift on the wings of sound, to the audience.
All of this Steve learned. But that was later.
At that moment, all he knew was that when it was over his cheeks were wet with tears he hadn’t even known he was shedding. All he knew was that he would have given almost anything for it to never, ever end.
Nocturne in C# Minor (featuring Stevie Ray Vaughn)
So one day Steve notices that his new partner smells good, and he’s never thought about guys smelling good before.
Steve likes the ladies. Catherine is hardly the first Lieutenant with Benefits that has been in his life. He’s a sexual being, and he likes having sex. And he has always approved of a woman who smells nice. A bit of perfume at the pulse points is always a turn on.
It’s interesting when he notices that Danny has a rather pleasing smell. It’s even more interesting when he realizes that Danny’s after-shave has long since faded and it’s pure Danny that he’s smelling.
Well. That’s new.
After he notices that Danny smells good, it all just kind of devolves from there.
The next thing he notices is that Danny’s butt is really, really pleasant to watch. Danny has a tendency to wiggle it a lot when ranting. And since Danny loves a good rant, if he gives him extra reasons to complain upon occasion, then they both enjoy themselves.
There’s his mouth. That mouth is something dreams are made of. It’s always moving, naturally, so there’s this sudden urge to reach down and see what it would take to make it stop for a while. What it would take to make Danny moan.
Steve knows he’s a good kisser. It’s not just that he’s been told it, he has verifiable experience. He once made a woman climax from kissing her alone. It...was good for his ego. So he knows that he could make it good for Danny. And damn does he want to try.
He also develops a thing for Danny’s hands, because they are so much a part of the man himself. He’s fairly sure that if you tied Danny’s hands up, he’d be unable to talk, because his hands are just as much a part of his speech patterns as his words.
He really likes that about Danny. And there may, possibly, have been a few dreams which involved Danny’s hands put to an entirely different purpose. But Steve isn’t allowing himself to think about those at this juncture.
Then there are those shoulders.
And here, for some reason, Steve’s appreciation changes from something rather earthy into something more. Something almost spiritual. Because what Steve appreciates about Danny has more to do with the man himself than his (exquisite, gorgeous, delectable, delicious) body.
Those shoulders are so strong and broad. And they need to be. They support the world for one little girl. Gracie’s Danno holds Gracie’s heart aloft. And that requires strength. That requires character.
Steve hates it when Danny’s shoulders slump with exhaustion or anxiety. He wants to go over and rub his back and hold him close and take whatever is holding him down off of him and make it all better. And knowing that he can take care of some things really makes Steve happy. Knowing that there are others he can do nothing about makes Steve ache.
Steve also has this fairly strong desire to rip those shirts off of Danny so that those shoulders are never hidden again. So he can maybe...nibble on them whenever he wants to, or something like that.
Danny’s eyes he noticed on the very first day they met. How could you miss them? Those baby blues stand out like blue searchlights across the sky. And in them, Steve sees a lot of things, depending on the day. A kind man. A father. A partner. A brother. A son. An honorable man. A good cop. A human being who aches to make things right for all the victims that they see.
When Steve looks into Danny’s eyes, it’s impossible for him not to want to see the future there.
So, to recap, Danny has beautiful eyes, great shoulders, a pleasantly-shaped butt, a delectable mouth, expressive hands, and he smells good.
You know, Steve has gone to bed with women who didn’t have that much going for them.
Steve watches Danny for months. He notices that his attraction to Danny just increases as time goes by. He can deal with that.. He may never have wanted a man before, but Steve can handle the fact that things change. He’s flexible.
Steve’s so flexible, in fact, that he doesn’t mind being bossed around by Danny, or that Danny seems to want to plan activities for them without asking. One afternoon while they’re shooting at a cartel member who is trying to stop the wheels of justice as they apply to him, Danny tells Steve that they’re going to Jersey Boys on Saturday evening.
“And you’d better wear something better than those stupid cargo pants, Steven, because we’re going to La Dolce Vita beforehand and they have a dress code.”
Dinner is delicious. The show is boring, but Danny loves it, and that’s enough for Steve. When Danny drops him off, Steve looks at him slyly and says, “What? No goodnight kiss?” Danny just rolls his beautiful eyes and punches him in the arm. “Out. Out before I forget why I wanted you to come with me in the first place.”
That night, as Steve lays in his bed, he watches the moon slide across the ceiling and thinks. Seems he quite possibly in love with Danny. Huh.
Then there’s Grace. She’s part of the Danny factor too.
The next Friday signals the beginning of a Gracie weekend. Steve loves Gracie weekends. Ok, so Steve just plain loves Gracie. Gracie is one of the good things in life, and Steve doesn’t have that many.
Actually, you combine Gracie and Danny and Chin and Kono and Five-0 and you’ve pretty much got it for Good Things in Steve McGarrett’s Life.
That afternoon, as he’s driving home from work, his Gracie signal rings--Brown-Eyed Girl, of course. When he answers, it’s with a smile in his voice and on his face.
“Howzit, Gracie!” Her answering giggle makes an entire week slide off his shoulders.
“Uncle Steve, will you go on a bike ride with me?”
“A bike ride. That sounds fun. When and where?”
The fact that he doesn’t even ask if she’s got permission for this should perhaps tell him something regarding the depth of his attachment to Grace. As it is, though, he never even thinks about it. If Grace wants to go on a bike ride with Steve, then Steve’s going to take Grace on a bike ride.
“Tomorrow morning. We can ride along the bike trails in the park by your house. There’s this place that rents tandem bikes there, and I want to get one and ride it with you.” Her voice is full of excitement and laughter.
Steve grins harder, even though, naturally, there’s no way that Grace can see it. “That sounds great, Grace! Tell you what, you get Danno to bring you to the park and I’ll go and rent one before you get there. Sound good?”
“YEAH! I’ll call you back and tell you everything!” And she’s gone, leaving Steve a little dazed and confused, and a little tingly in his heart, because Grace makes everything glow a bit.
The next morning, promptly at 10:30, Danny and Grace arrive at the park where Steve awaits them, tandem bike for Steve and Grace, and single bike, for Danny, at the ready. It takes a while for the two of them to get it working, but Steve and Grace manage to ride that bike all over the park and through town to Kamekona’s stand, where Steve buys them lunch. It’s getting dark by the time that they drop off the bikes, and head back to Steve’s house for dinner on the beach. Grace is visibly flagging and drops off shortly after some spaghetti, salad, and breadsticks hit her little tummy.
Steve looks over at her then back at Danny and smiles. “I’ll carry her upstairs.” Danny nods and heads to the kitchen to start in on the dishes.
On his way down the stairs, Steve realizes that this felt the way it should always be: Danny, Grace, Steve. This was the way it had felt when his parents were here. When they were a family.
This is how home felt.
That night, with Danny sprawled out on the couch--because the idiot refuses to sleep in Mary’s room for some reason--and Grace safely tucked into Steve’s old room, Steve watches the moon glide across the ceiling again, and decides that his initial assessment was correct. He’s in love with Danny.
It’s not a surface love either. It goes all the way core-deep. And that’s good. His Dad and Mom had the same thing. Steve always said he’d never marry unless he found someone he could love that deeply.
Mind you, the fact that it’s his short, cranky, male partner is still a bit of a surprise.
So with that settled, Steve puts together a plan.
He calls it Operation Secure Danno. It has a sub-plan named Operation And Grace.
Operation Secure Danno is pretty simple. It involves dates. Lots of them. And if Danny doesn’t recognize them as dates, well that’s just fine. He’ll get there in time.
Dating Danny is like walking through a minefield. Danny’s always been a bit explosive, and Steve isn’t stupid. He knows that Danny will blow up at the slightest thing if provoked. And this is kind of provoking. So he has to be stealthy. And in spite of Danny’s belief to the contrary, Steve is fully capable of being stealthy.
He keeps asking Danny if he wants to come over with Grace on Grace weekends. He has a perfect excuse for this, because Danny knows full well that Steve is head-over-heels in love with Grace. So at least every other week, Steve gets pretty much a full weekend with both his favorite people.
He takes them out for lunch. He takes them out for dinner. He takes them on horseback rides, and that provides no end of pleasure for him what with Danny bouncing about like he does. He makes sure to ride behind Grace and Danny in order to watch out for Grace, and thoroughly enjoy the Danny scenery.
He takes them on a helicopter ride that makes Grace absolutely incandescent with excitement, and Danny more than a little woozy, which means he just leans on Steve a bit. Steve isn’t stupid, you see. If Grace is happy, then Danny is happy. And, for that matter, so is he. So it’s a win-win for everybody.
Steve’s not alone in social engagement requests either. Danny calls Steve late on a Friday night and informs him that they’re going surfing the next morning and asks if Danny should bring a lunch. Steve tells him yes, that he who does the asking always pays. Danny hangs up on him and Steve finds that hilarious.
Danny surfing is a joy to behold, what with the board shorts that keep slipping because they’re just a wee bit too big. And lunch is pleasant, eaten at the picnic table under a tree at the beach. Danny has prepared falafels. Steve didn’t even know that Danny knew what falafels were.
Then life gets even better.
Danny’s crappy apartment gets torn down, and Danny is homeless. This means that Steve is happily able to take care of Danno at his leisure.
He feeds him decent food. He makes him go to bed on time. He spends hours just talking to him, taking his time to get to know Danny as much as possible. Those couple of weeks are paradise for Steve.
Except for the fact that Danny seems unable to sleep without having the TV on. Which means that Steve can’t sleep. Because if Danno can’t sleep, Steve can’t sleep.
He’d like to just out and out ask him to come on up and sleep in Steve’s lovely bed, but he’s just not sure that Danny’s ready for that. Damn. The image of Danny wrapped in his arms is just about enough to blow the top of his head off. And even though he yells at Danny, he sure does enjoy himself afterwards, when he is able to take matters into his own hands.
So to speak. Seems that crash course in internet porn is working out well.
So he goes out and buys Danny headphones, because Danny needs his sleep. And so does Steve, if you get right down to it. He stops at the best electronics store on the island. No, not the one owned by Kamekona’s cousin. And not the one owned by Kono’s cousin either. This one is owned by a former SEAL who specialized in electronic intelligence gathering. And this means that he actually knows what he’s talking about as opposed to being somebody’s relative.
Pete looks at him carefully when asked what headphones he’d recommend.
“Depends,” he says, “on who it’s for. Because I know that Catherine would prefer to select her own electronics, thank you. And as far as I’m aware, you’re not dating anybody else seriously enough to buy something this expensive. So,” he leans forward, “spill.”
Steve rolls his eyes. ”It’s my partner. He can’t sleep unless he has the TV on. I think it’s a Jersey thing.”
“And you’re buying him expensive headphones because...”
“Because I can’t sleep if he has the TV on.”
Pete looks at him a wee bit slyly, and then says, “Exactly how much do you want to spend here, Smooth Dog?”
Steve rolls his eyes. “Whatever works the best.”
And after he takes home the $500 headphones, in a leather case, with a black bow on them, he looks carefully at himself in the mirror and thinks, “Did I just buy Danno an engagement present?”
The answer is, unfortunately, yes.
Unfortunately, because Danny doesn’t recognize said gift as an engagement present. And, on top of that, moves out of Steve’s house shortly thereafter. But Steve is not discouraged. Danny has never been the quickest of emotional learners. Look at how long he mooned over Rachel after she broke his heart and tore it into tiny little pieces, which she then chewed up and spit out. And stepped on it.
And then reeled him, and did it again. Bitch.
So Steve takes a deep breath, revamps Operation Secure Danno, and carries on.
Until there is suddenly Gabrielle. Gabrielle who is lovely, sweet, gentle, and has Danny with stars in his eyes.
The hit that Steve takes to his heart about that moment is enough to have him shivering in his bed for night after night, trying hard not to cry. The problem is that he wants Danny to be happy. In the end, that’s all that really matters to Steve when it comes to Danny. Danny must be happy for the rest of his life. And if that means Gabrielle, and not Steve, then Steve will suck it up and help him get Gabby.
So he takes the plunge and tells Danny that he ought to ask Gabby out for coffee. Because coffee is not just a beverage, it’s a statement. It’s a beginning. A question waiting to be answered between two people.
And Danny asks her out, and Steve’s life gets even suckier.
And the sucky doesn’t seem to ever stop coming. Jenna, for example. And Wo Fat and his delightful instruments of torture over something Steve has, in all honesty, no clue about. There is a good while there, in the jungle, where Steve thinks he’s going to die. Jenna comes through in the end with a way to help him escape, just before getting killed herself. But in the end, it doesn’t make a difference. He’s too tired, too hurt, too broken. Wo Fat catches him again.
Lying there in the back of that truck, bound for who knows where, Steve closes his eyes and dreams of Danny. He dreams of holding Grace close and kissing her sweet little head. He dreams of the smile that Danny has held in reserve for him from the beginning of their relationship. He dreams of a life he will never have. Just this once, Steve McGarrett allows himself to dream of what he wanted most in life.
Here, at the edge of death, Steve dreams of Danny, and what could have been.
When he opens his eyes, it’s to Danny’s anxious face peering through the gloom. He honestly thinks he’s gone insane. Or perhaps he’s dead. Either way, he’s not arguing. It takes until they are halfway home before he realizes that this is reality. That Danny came for him.
It takes longer than he’d like to think about for him to heal. Maybe because for once in his life he is truly broken. And it’s not just the torture. Not just the betrayal. It’s the loss of hope. He has never lost all hope before, and it takes it out of you.
Upon reflection, one night, while Danny sits across from him in the other chair, both of them kind of happily buzzed, he realizes that if this is all that he can have of Danny, then he’ll take it. He watches the moonlight play across Danny’s face, and allows his eyes to wander, there in the dark, over the face and body of the man he loves. And he decides that he’ll do whatever it takes to help Danny get whatever he needs.
So he calls Catherine, and renews their relationship, as much as he can. And he stops asking Danny to come over after work. And he keeps encouraging Danny to go for Gabby, if he wants to. He even helps Danny to decide that Gabby needs to meet Grace.
That night is warm. The air is lightly perfumed. The light is sweet. And Danny walks across the sand to sit and watch Gabby and Grace make a butterfly.
Steve leaves shortly thereafter, and gets very, very drunk on his lanai. Good thing it’s a weekend.
Catherine is not an idiot, though, and she does not like being used as a substitute. A few weeks into their renewed relationship, she looks at him from across the breakfast table. “Steve,” she starts out, gentle and mild. “Do you love me?”
Steve looks at her for a second, mouth agape, spoonful of oatmeal halfway to his mouth. “Of course I love you,” he frowns, just a second too late.
“You had to think about it didn’t you?” Like I said, Catherine is no fool.
Steve, however, may be. “No.”
“Uh huh. Steve. Look at me.” She leans over and looks him directly in the eyes. And all he can think is how beautiful she is. And how much he has loved her, and will always love her, and how much he can’t love her the way she deserves it.
“Cat,” he starts, then stops and flails about for the right words. “You’re one of my best friends. You always have been, from the first time we met. I love you deeply.”
“But,” she closes her eyes a bit sadly. “But you don’t love me like you love Danny.”
Steve chokes on his oatmeal. Where the hell did Danny come in here? He never mentioned Danny. Where did she get that?
She laughs at him, sadness still lingering, but good humor surfacing. “It’s a good thing you weren’t on the same side of things that Bullfrog was. You’d have lasted a week at most. And that would have included 6 days of on-base training.
“Steve, every other word you say contains his name. ‘Danny and I did this’, ‘Danny and I went here’, ‘Danny and I were in this gunfight the other day and he said this...’ And that’s disturbing in its own way Steve, let me tell you. Not the gunfight itself, per se, though that’s a concern, yes. But the fact that you are far more cognizant of the conversations that you have with Danny while you’re in the middle of a gunfight than that you had a gunfight at all. That is disturbing.
“But Steve, it’s not just what you say about him. It’s how you say it. You say it like he’s the light at end of the tunnel that you’ve just discovered isn’t an oncoming train like usual. You say it like you’ve been doing dive tests and he’s the air you’re going to come up for finally.
“You say it like he’s life. And I think he is, isn’t he, Steve?”
Well, shit. When she gets you like that, there’s not much else you can do but just give in.
“Yeah. He is.” And there it is. That’s the end of their relationship as they knew it. And that’s ok. Catherine is still one of his best friends, and always will be. It’s just the start of a differing phase of their relationship. One that forces him to look far more carefully at himself and what he wants out of life.
The problem with that is, naturally, that what he wants out of life is currently happily dating one very lovely Dr. Asano.
Catherine leaves. She moves back on base for the duration of her stay, and while they go out occasionally, it’s never as anything more than friends. He does manage, however, to convince her to go to the charity event with him so he has something gorgeous on his arm instead of having to fight Lori off again.
Lori. Oh yeah, there’s yet another story there.
Steve isn’t happy when the Governor decides that she needs to be a part of Five-0 so that he can keep an eye on them. He does not understand exactly why the good Governor Denning wants to keep an eye on them, considering the fact that he couldn’t apparently keep an eye on his own running mate when she went so very badly wrong. Five-0 is responsible for keeping the state of Hawai’i from being run by a Chinese mafia boss, and as far as Steve is concerned, Denning should give them medals. And raises. Those would be good too.
Instead, they get to go back to their office and act like kids who’re finally being allowed out to play again after being grounded for a year, but only if they take their nanny with them to make sure that they play right.
So, as kids always do in those situations, they corrupt the nanny.
The problem is that the nanny likes Steve. She likes Steve a lot. And Steve doesn’t dislike Lori. She’s ok. She’s just...not a very good profiler, frankly. She can sit there with them for almost a year and never once notice how he feels about Danny, when Chin and Kono knew most likely before Steve did.
Catherine didn’t even have to work with them on a daily basis and she knew.
Sometimes he worries about the fact that Lori apparently has so much experience. Does it mean that she’s really nice, and everybody likes her, but they can’t figure out what to do with her because she really isn’t that good at her job, so they keep foisting her off on another agency?
Lori becomes an annoyance because she will not leave him alone. She keeps coming along on activities that would have ended up just Steve and Danny at the end because Chin and Kono know when to leave. But Lori never leaves. Ever. Drives Steve nuts.
The team goes scuba diving because Danny’s never been before and that can’t be allowed to continue. Lori comes. That’s fine. Steve invites them over for a barbeque afterwards and she comes to that. That’s fine. But at the end of the evening, she won’t leave. She reminds him of Napoleon in Moscow, sitting around waiting for the Tsar to come home when everybody knows that is never going to happen.
The team has a movie night in the tech room. That’s always fun. They watch Serenity, because you can never get enough of Kono’s future-self kicking ass. Lori’s there. That’s fine. But she keeps stealing Steve’s popcorn, even though she has her own. And Steve’s is no butter, light salt only, which is the way he likes it. And there’s an entire room full of full-on butter, good and salted popcorn. Just the way she likes it.
But she keeps on stealing his.
Takes him half the movie to figure out that she’s doing it so that she can brush her fingers against his like a teenager on her first date.
So he goes to the bathroom and, when he comes back, he strategically moves his chair a bit. And she moves hers. Closer to him. Steve gives up on the popcorn and goes for a power bar instead.
Lori asks for a bite.
Steve goes home and bangs his head on the wall after the movie. It gives him no comfort to know that Lori is probably doing the same thing.
But Lori is gone, having given in to her “feelings about him” and helped them to create an almost international incident. Whatever. He says the right things, tells her that they’ll miss her, and hugs her. And damn if she doesn’t grope his butt. And suggest that they should maintain their “friendship”.
He is so very grateful when he hears that she’s taken a position in DC again.
But then life goes to hell and back again. Steve sometimes wonders if God hates him, or if he did something really, really bad in a former life, because he can’t honestly think of anything he did in this life that would have been bad enough to warrant this.
He gets a lead on Wo Fat and has to go after him. He has to go after him. He has no choice.
What he doesn’t tell Danny is that Wo Fat has put a hit out on him, and Steve is putting their lives in danger just by being close to them. He doesn’t tell Danny that because he knows Danny too well. Danny won’t care.
But Steve loves Grace and Danny, and he won’t take chances with their lives. If Steve’s around, and Wo Fat can’t get to him, he just might take second best.
Steve goes after Wo Fat, and it takes forever. He keeps going, working with the SEALS and InterPol, chasing after the bastard from China to Japan to Indonesia and back again. And finally he catches him. Mind you, Wo Fat lets him catch him, and that opens up a whole different can of worms. But he does catch him, and after a great deal of pain on everybody’s part, Wo Fat is finally in jail wearing an orange suit that looks horrible on him.
Steve isn’t sure that Wo Fat is going to stay there, but for now, it’s enough. Steve’s tired.
And if there are a few members of SEAL Team 9 who think that they should possibly, maybe, pay the CIA office and Halawa Prison a visit or two and deal with certain individuals therein, then Steve isn’t telling.
He knows that Danny is angry with him. Danny has good reason to be. Steve walked away leaving a note on Danny’s desk. Not a single word about when he’d return. No contact at all. Nothing to let Danny know he’s even alive.
Danny calls at least twice a day for the first few weeks. Then it falls to once a day for the rest of the time. Steve never once answers, though he listens to every single message many times over, because to go without Danny’s voice at all is beyond his ability.
Danny talks and rants, and rants and talks, and basically gives Steve both a diatribe and a daily report of things at home. Steve clings to those calls like they’re air and water in one.
But Danny doesn’t tell him everything. No, Danny doesn’t tell him everything at all. Steve learns that there are little pieces missing from Danny’s daily reports. Like the passing fact that Danny and Grace and everybody else on the stupid island--and indeed everybody else on the planet--could have died. And it came down to Danny, Chin, and the NCIS LA guys to deal with it. And he likes Sam, he really does, but Sam isn’t Steve. And Steve doesn’t know if he can truly forgive himself for not being there when Danny needed him so desperately.
The worst part is the knowledge that he would have never had the chance to even see or speak to Danny again. Never have the chance to argue with him. To drive him into a rant. To just know that he existed.
Never have the chance to hold Gracie close and kiss her sweet head. Never hear her little chirp as she asked him questions.
And that is an intolerable possibility.
Joe White comes back and tells him that it’s ok to go and meet Shelbourne. Finally.
On the way back to Japan, Steve thinks about everything that Joe White has done for and to him, and comes to the realization that his commander in Team Six had a point when he told Steve that there comes a time to let go of your training officers, even if they’re family friends.
He wishes more than just a little that instead of calling Joe White--who never went beyond Lieutenant Commander, something Steve would have surpassed him at within a year or so, given the promotion schedule, and who only served as an actual combat SEAL for two years before lapsing into training--Danny had called Jake Tanner, who is a full Captain now, and well on his way to being McRaven’s successor.
Tanner would have called in Alpha Group, Gold Squadron, Team Six, and there would have been so much less suffering involved. (And a lot more butt kicking as well. And explosions. Steve likes explosions.)
Tanner would have had the operation sanctioned.
Wo Fat would not have gotten away from Tanner.
The bottom falls out of his world when they get to Japan, and Steve doesn’t know what to do. The fact that his parents did this to him makes him sick. He can’t even begin to understand this. How could his parents let him and Mary think that they were alone, with a dead mother and a father that didn’t want them?
He just knows that Danny will have something to say about this one. Or a lot. Yeah, probably a lot.
And Danny will be right. But if there’s anything Steve learned the moment that Victor Hesse put a bullet into his Father’s brain, it’s that forgiveness is a pretty small thing compared to regret. So he holds his mother close, and offers her his forgiveness.
He spends a week with her, talking, crying, and laughing; learning who she is all over again. And he finds that he likes her, though he can’t believe the stupidity of the choices that she and his father made. She’ll never be his mother again. That’s gone. But perhaps she can be a friend. And he’ll take that.
She gets to tell Mary by herself, though. Steve ain’t even going to touch that one.
Danny shows up, absolutely furious. Steve doesn’t think he’s ever seen Danny like this. This isn’t Danny on a rant. This isn’t Danny angry or frustrated.
This is Danny ready to kill. Turns out that when Danny is ready to kill he’s basically silent. Steve really doesn’t know how to deal with a silent Danny.
The question is who Danny wants to kill. Steve? Joe? Dorris? Major parts of Tokyo and surrounding areas? Who knows? Steve sure doesn’t. Danny probably doesn’t either. What Steve does know is that this isn’t a Danny he knows how to handle. The cold fury in his beautiful eyes doesn’t sit well with Steve’s inner images of Danny, and Steve decides he really, really doesn’t want to ever see this again.
Danny walks into his hotel in Tokyo a week after Steve arrives. He picks the locks like an expert thief and walks right in.
Steve is getting ready for bed when Danny arrives, and waits for his intruder in the shadows of his balcony, Glock 17 in hand. But he isn’t really that stressed about it. Maybe it’s that he’s just plain tired. Or maybe it’s that there’s a part of him that knows that it’s Danny. Either way, he doesn’t even get close to pulling the trigger.
He does, however, get a punch in the mouth when Danny stalks across the room, and takes his best shot. Steve discovers that Danny was holding back a bit that first time. Danny isn’t holding anything back now.
Steve reels back, falling onto the balcony gracelessly, hitting the concrete with a thud. There is a part of him that wonders if Danny is going to turn around and walk out, having delivered his message rather well. But Danny comes out onto the balcony and hits him again, while he’s still on the ground. Then he leans over Steve and looks him in the eye, blue eyes filled with a deep angry ice.
“You rat-fuck son of a bitch. You promised. You swore you’d never do this again. Yet here you are. Across the world once again when we needed you. I don’t know whether to kill you right here or let Chin do it when we get back. Frankly, killing you right here and now would be kinder than what Chin will do to you.”
Steve is paralyzed by his words. What on earth could have happened this time? He tries to find the words to ask, but can’t. Danny knows that tongue-tied look, though and proceeds to tell him exactly what could have happened. Exactly what did happen. In great detail. Delano out. Malia dying. Kono dumped into the ocean.
Chin forced to choose.
What he hears is enough to send Steve running for the bathroom, barely making it before his stomach evacuates into that high-tech Japanese toilet.
He vomits until there is nothing but acid left, and then vomits some more. When he comes back to himself, he notices two things: there is a cool, wet cloth at the back of his neck and a glass of water waiting for him, held in Danny’s hand. After a while, he also notices that his high-tech Japanese toilet is asking him if he wants it to call for an ambulance. Or perhaps to ask the concierge for a hangover remedy. It makes the whole situation seem all the more surreal, in a world that has gotten all too surreal by itself.
That stupid toilet is also offering to take a sample of his vomit and send it to the medical center in case he wants to go to the doctor.
Steve has no idea what to do with that.
After a long while he is able to pull himself somewhat upright and take a drink. He ends up vomiting the water back up again, but it’s sure better than having nothing in his stomach. Eventually he is able to stand, rinse his mouth out, and brush his teeth. Then he follows Danny back into the room. Danny takes his hand, and pulls him onto the bed. He ends up being held in Danny’s arms while he cries out his sorrow and fear.
Long hours later he is able to tell Danny how his week has been. Danny agrees that they’ve both had really sucky weeks and perhaps a long nap would be in order. He feels the core of Danny’s anger still there, but it’s tempered now by understanding and the beginnings of forgiveness.
They share a laugh over the fact that Delano put Kono into the ocean like that was going to do something besides get her wet. And that laughter is something they both need right now.
He wakes wrapped in Danny’s arms. He realizes that it’s been one of the best night’s sleep he has had in almost 20 years. Danny immediately pulls away and sits up, coughing, like he is trying to pretend that they weren’t cuddling. But Steve doesn’t buy it, because Danny was awake before him, and he was stroking his hair.
This? This is good. This is the best thing that has happened in months.
They shower, dress, and try to eat without a great deal of success. Then Steve takes Danny to meet his mother.
That...is an interesting meeting. Especially since he has held nothing back from her regarding his feelings for his partner. Thankfully she says nothing. Perhaps she feels Danny’s anger towards her. Perhaps she’s just discreet. Either way, he’s grateful.
Steve tells Dorris that he has to leave. He explains the situation with Frank Delano and Chin and Malia and Kono and takes a wee bit too much satisfaction in the pain that flickers over her face. But she stands, kisses his face and hands, and tells him that he had better call her when he gets to Honolulu. Danny snorts behind him, but neither Steve or Dorris acknowledge it.
They return home safely, and spend four long days at the hospital until Malia is finally out of critical condition. Steve decides that Chin Ho Kelly is perhaps the most forgiving man on the planet when he tells Steve that it’s ok that he wasn’t there when Chin needed him the most. And Steve can see in Chin’s eyes that it’s the truth.
Then Chin has the audacity to apologize for Delano’s escape, which Steve can hardly believe. He just stares at him for a moment, then blinks his eyes a couple of times, trying to figure out what to say.
Eventually, he just says, “Chin, we both know that whatever needs to happen is going to happen when it comes to our family. I’d have been very unhappy if you hadn’t done what you did. We’ll find him. What matters now is that our family is alive, and Malia is coming home.”
He steps away, then turns back, “And when we find him, you get the kill. He’s not going back to jail.”
Steve feels Danny’s eyes on his face at that moment, and knows that he’s said something that goes against every single thing that Danny stands for. But when he looks at Danny, all he sees is a hard smile and a nod. Danny gets it. Nobody does this and lives. Nobody.
Which is interesting considering how hard he has worked to keep Wo Fat alive. And how hard he worked to keep Victor Hesse alive. But that was about justice for people who could no longer be harmed. This, is about keeping Malia and Grace and Rachel alive, because they’re not fools enough to believe that piece of walking shit won’t go after the rest of the people who matter to them. Delano isn’t just after freedom. He’s after revenge. And he’s willing to do whatever it takes to achieve both.
Danny comes to stand next to him and puts a hand on his shoulder. It feels like heaven, and Steve finds himself unconsciously leaning into it.
“Steve, I’m not sure that we’ll get the chance to deal with Delano. Adam Nishimuri knows full well what happened with Kono. And while they’re not presently speaking, the man is head over heels in love with her. Delano is a dead man walking. The Yakuza is out for his blood.
“And personally, I say we should let them have it.”
Steve smiles just a bit, and nods. “I can get behind that.”
He notices that Chin Ho Kelly, one of the most upright men he’s ever had the privilege to know, doesn’t say a thing. He kind of likes that. He also kind of likes the little tiny smile that Chin gets on his face.
Things eventually begin to move again. There is a rumor that the Yakuza has found Frank Delano and dealt with him, though no body is ever found. Kono and Adam start dating again, but openly this time, with Adam’s knowledge that if he mistreats her again there will be blood. His. Steve worries about her, this little sister of his heart, but she’s an adult, and he can see in Adam’s eyes exactly how much he loves her. Privately, Steve thinks it could be a good thing for both of them.
He’d never say that to Chin, however. He’s not stupid.
Danny starts coming over after work again, though not very frequently. He comes over with Grace more frequently. The three of them have a great deal of fun, and Steve begins to hope a bit again.
When Danny tells him that he and Gabby have broken up, Steve offers his condolences, then goes home and celebrates with champagne that he buys on the way. It’s a glorious day in his opinion.
He celebrates with Danny the day that the judge rules that Rachel can’t take Grace out of the state. That’s a good day for everybody.
Then Danny does something really odd.
Steve calls him at 2:00 in the morning because HPD has picked up one of their suspects, and Steve wants to get to him before he can put himself together again. He calls Danny because the last time he didn’t call Danny he heard about it for weeks. That and calling Danny just makes him feel happy, so that's a win all around.
Danny shows up at the precinct, grumpy and grumbling about SEALs who may or may not need sleep, but hard-working policemen sure do, and couldn’t they have done this in the morning?
It turns out that Steve does the interviewing, and he’s kind of surprised to see that Danny doesn’t call him on a single tactic. Either he’s softening Danny up, or Danny is too tired to notice. Either way, he thinks this was a successful meeting. Especially when the suspect inadvertently tells Steve that he’s very, very guilty. Steve doesn’t press things, though, because they need proof or the DA is going to throw the whole thing out--he has a tendency to do that with Five-0, which makes Steve want to deal with him in a very hostile manner.
When Danny comes into work later that morning, Steve is alerted by an ever-watchful Kono to the fact that Danny has his cane again, and is limping.
“You need to let Danny sleep when you go on these nighttime raids. Look what you did to him! You broke him! Fix it. Now.” She turns and flounces out of his office, something Steve would have sworn she wasn’t physically capable of.
Steve knows full well that Danny was fine after said nighttime raid. He looks over at Danny through the windows, and his Danno warning starts sounding. Something is up. Something is different.
The look on Danny’s face and the way that he refuses to meet Steve’s eyes tells a story. It takes Steve a while to figure it out, but when he does, a warmth rushes through him.
Danny is playing possum. And he’s doing it because he’s scared. And if he’s scared, then there may just be something there for the two of them.
But Steve can’t just go off half-cocked. This is serious. Steve has to figure out if he’s right.
Steve’s a bastard. He knows that. Loves it. So he never once mentions Danny’s “injury” until Danny’s ready to go home. Then he waits by Danny’s car, patiently, like a cat waiting for the mouse. Steve almost feels like purring.
Danny hobbles out, and Steve’s almost driven to laughter, because it’s the worst hobble in the world. He’s seen Danny hobble on that cane, and it ain’t nothing like this. This is so exaggerated it’s almost comical.
So Steve does his best to make Danny’s day complete by telling him that it’s obvious that he hurt himself in an embarrassing way, because he knows that Danny wasn’t hurt this morning.
“I figured that if I didn’t make you go to the doctor, you wouldn’t, because you hate going to the doctor when you’ve got something embarrassing to tell him. So I thought I’d drive you.”
To make things even more delightful, he pulls out the second set of keys to Danny’s car that Danny didn’t even know Steve had. He gallantly strides over to the passenger’s side of the car and opens the door.
The look that Danny gives him is almost enough to make Steve start laughing hysterically, because that look makes him feel warm all over. Beneath the frustration and genuine embarrassment at being caught, is the sweetness of a man who is in love with him.
But Steve’s not stupid. He needs to let Danny come to his own conclusions, and if he’s running like this, he’s not quite there yet. Besides, it doesn’t get much better than this. Taking Danny to the doctor Watching the doctor tell Danny that he’s faking it--though not in so many words, because the doctor doesn’t want to get sued by a loud-mouthed Jersey boy.
They get back into the car and Steve looks over at Danny, a slightly gleeful delight on his face, and asks, “So, you want to tell me what that was all about?”
And Danny squeaks. He actually squeaks. And somewhere in that squeak is a “No.” And Steve can’t help but smile.
It’s going to be ok.
Catherine calls him a couple of days later to tell him that she’s retiring from the Navy. The truth is that she’s gone as far as she can, advancement wise, and knows that she had better find something else before the Navy decides to put her to use in Antarctica or something.
Steve happens to know that Five-0 really needs a profiler, and Catherine is far more proficient than Lori ever was. So he calls the Governor, gets a meeting set up, and pitches Catherine to him. And the Governor is very happy to agree. He thinks, Steve suspects, that Catherine will be a stabilizing influence on Five-0.
Poor deluded man.
He doesn’t quite know what to tell the team, so he doesn’t tell them anything until the day before she arrives, when he really doesn’t have a choice on the matter.
He gathers the team around and tells them that they’re getting a new team member. “You all know her, and you all like her, and I’m glad she’s going to be a part of the team.”
Well, that could have been said better, but Steve never was that good with words.
It doesn’t seem to matter to Chin, who looks like somebody just did a high-speed processor drive by. He notices that Kono puts on a happy face, but isn’t really happy. He’ll have to talk to her about that later, because he suspects it isn’t herself she’s upset for.
Catherine comes early the next morning, and by noon has made herself absolutely and completely irreplaceable. She reads a suspect like a book, and tells them exactly what is going on in the poor, idiotic man’s mind. Everybody except Steve is impressed.
Steve isn’t impressed because he’s been watching her do similar things for 15 years now.
Danny sure is quiet, though. And though he asks the group out to dinner to celebrate Catherine’s arrival, the smile on his lips doesn’t reach his eyes. Steve knows exactly why, and knows that he’s going to have to deal with this soon, but right now there’s too much else going on.
They catch a case with a drug-dealer gone nutso--Steve loves those, they usually involve car chases, guns, and/or explosives. They’re going down the highway at around 100 while Steve discusses immigration policy with Danny. It’s a subject that Steve’s been thinking on lately, and he wants to get Danno’s thoughts.
At one point he notices that Danny isn’t even clinging to the oh-shit bar anymore. He’s just tightened his seat-belt, and is rationally responding to his concerns and ideas. A deep warmth moves through Steve’s veins, and he finds himself driving along with an insane smile on his face, because Danny has gotten to the point where he’s right there with Steve. No complaining any more, just going along.
Nobody Steve has ever worked with before has gotten in this deep.
After they execute a couple of pretty-near perfect crazy Ivans, Steve goes and gets the jerk and hauls him over to where Danny has kind of collapsed at the side of the passenger door. Steve can’t help but grin down at him. This? This is perfect. This is the way life should be.
Steve gets frustrated by the next two weeks, however, because whenever he thinks that he can invite Danny over for steak and a good long talk, a case comes up. Something always happens to make it impossible for Steve to get Danny into his backyard, and into his arms.
The one Friday that things could have all come together, is the one Friday that he promised Catherine he’d take her cave diving.
They have a good time. She asks about Danny, and he is able to safely say he believes that things are about to come together for them. She smiles that smile that made him love her in the first place, and gives him a hug. Then they stick their masks on, test the oxygen, and hit the water. It would be perfect if only his Danno were there too.
He gets home at around midnight, and settles himself in front of the TV, wondering if it’s too late to call Danny and see if he’d come over. Steve is comfortable. Not exhausted, but happily tired. His body is pleasantly sore; the kind of sore that only comes with just the right amount of exercise. The endorphins are still running through his veins. Steve is happy.
He debates calling Danny until around 1:00 AM when he decides he’ll do it tomorrow. The last thing he needs is a grumpy Danno.
He’s just about ready for bed when the phone rings. It isn’t a number he’s familiar with, but he knows that the basic exchange is Pearl. It’s not one of the numbers that they’d use if they were calling him up, though, so it must be somebody he knows.
He just hopes it isn’t bad news; the last thing he needs is to hear about more members of Team Six being shot out of the sky, like he did last August.
There’s a slight chill in his veins for just a moment when he answers, but it fades nicely when he hears Jace’s voice.
Jace Sarandon. Former Team Six who came to teach at Pearl and relax a bit. Got sucked into Team Nine because you just don’t let Team Six members relax if you can help it. Jace Sarandon. Good friend.
Good looking friend. Gay friend. Steve always knew that. Had no issues with it. Because that would have been...odd. Especially considering what he knows about himself at this juncture.
Jace is one of his best friends. One of the people he can count on to have his back. And boy does he come through tonight.
Seems a certain Daniel Michael Williams has been a very, very bad boy. And it seems that Steve McGarrett needs to take things in hand like now.
Because Jace likes Danny. He likes him a lot.
There’s a moment when Steve wants to reach through the phone line and strangle Jace because it seems that Jace kissed Danny. Tasted him. And Steve sees red before he realizes that Jace used it as a strategy to make Danny decide what it is he really wants.
So he relaxes. But that doesn’t mean that Jace Sarandon isn’t going to find fecal matter of some kind in his boots at some point this year, because that is totally going to happen, because He. Kissed. Danny.
But there’s Danny to deal with first. Foremost. Always.
Steve lets himself into Danny’s shoe-box and waits. He silently sits in Danny’s one chair and puts his feet up, because he has always hated that stupid comforter. Possibly because Rachel picked it out. Possibly because it’s just fugly.
And then there’s the fact that Danny absolutely and completely deserves to have his comforter ruined.
Yeah, Steve doesn’t have issues with passive-aggressiveness. None whatsoever.
But even admitting that to himself isn’t enough to make him take his boots off of the bed. Doesn’t look like Danny’s ever going to need that stupid quilt again. As of today, he’s going to be sleeping in Steve’s bed. He may not need blankets again, ever. Period. Steve will happily keep him warm should he need it.
He sits by Danny’s bed and watches him toss and turn. Danny’s having a hard night.
At around 7:30, Danny wakes and shuffles towards the window to close the drapes that Steve so helpfully opened for him early this morning. He stops just short of the bed, staring for a moment at Steve’s boots.
Then his eyes begin a happy path upwards towards Steve’s face, making stops at important points along the way.
Finally, Danny looks him in the eyes, and Steve sees exactly what he needs to see: guilt, and love. Danny shines with his love. But Steve isn’t about to let him off just yet. Things need to be addressed.
Danny sighs softly and falls to the 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 Steve keeps his voice absolutely cold. Cold because his anger is still cold. Because Danny placed himself on the market when he belongs with Steve. And that needs to be dealt with before they can move on. Danny has to admit certain things now. There is an order to be followed in this last part of Operation Secure Danno. (Operation And Grace will commence again after Operation Secure Danno is completed successfully. Steve doesn’t think it will take long.)
“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...” Steve leans over Danny, physically pushing him back to the bed with the force of his anger.
“ 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 .”
There is a second or so when Steve thinks that Danny is going to forcefully tell him exactly how to copulate with himself, but that fades, and after a moment, 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.”
Steve closes his eyes for a moment. There it is. There is his world, on a platter. He feels his broken heart start to heal. And he tenderly reaches down and pulls Danny into his arms.
Steve kisses his hair, and rocks him gently, whispering, “I love you, I love you, I love you,” over and over again until Danny calms and relaxes against him.
Danny finally looks up, and Steve nuzzles his face gently, then pushes him back to the bed, so he can hold him properly.
He softly brushes his lips against Danny’s mouth, and feels Danny quiver; so Steve does what comes naturally. He offers himself to Danny, while reaching out for Danny at the same time. And his beloved responds exactly the way Steve always knew he would.
Steve doesn’t even notice that he’s crying until suddenly there’s a wetness on his cheeks that he can’t account for with Danny’s tears. Steve doesn’t let people see him cry. Not his mother. Not his father. Not Mary. Nobody.
But for Danny, he weeps, and lets all the sorrow and pain and suffering out, and lets the joy in. And Danny does the same. And it’s perfect.
Steve can’t help himself. There are bits of Danny that need bared and kissed and caressed. So he does it. The only problem is that he has to deal with Danny getting in the way of his exploration. Seems Steve needs to consider handcuffs at some point so that he can thoroughly indulge his need to explore every single inch of his Danno.
Clothing becomes a hindrance. Kisses become like breathing. And there is something more; something almost unbearable that takes over both of them. And Steve’s never felt this before, ever. It’s almost frightening, this thing. Huge. Overwhelming. Like lightning.
He kind of likes it. Kind of loves it. Kind of needs it for the rest of his life.
When the world finally settles to a sweet, gentle thing again, he finds himself wrapped up in Danny.
They’ll have to talk. There are words to say that have to be said, unfortunately. But most of them are explanations that they both need to hear, so that’s ok. Steve would rather just lie here for the rest of his life with Danny in his arms, listening to his heartbeat, though he accepts that this is not a possibility. But for now, he’s good.
For some reason he can hear music in his head. Music he hasn’t heard for a long time. His favorite music. Chopin, like he heard Vladimir Horowitz play on an evening so long ago. It fills his soul, just like it did then. And Steve realizes that this is the sound of his love for Danny.
Except it’s a bit different, this Chopin. This isn’t quite Chopin as performed by Vladimir Horowitz. This is Chopin performed by Vladimir Horowitz with more than a bit of Stevie Ray Vaughn mixed in.
Must be Danny.