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With You Through The Dark

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Six months in and Danny's got used to having an actual Super SEAL as a partner in all senses of the word. He has. Okay, occasionally there are problems, like when Steve goes insane and Danny forgets – just for a second – that Steve has a better chance of surviving bullets that almost anyone else. It's easy, see, for Danny to forget because Steve is so careful, so gentle, in every other aspect of his life. When Danny has Grace and she's begging Steve to take her swimming, he gives Danny this look – like he can't quite believe Danny trusts him to keep Grace safe. And – that's just ridiculous – Danny has told Steve so many times that he's one of the few people Danny will willingly leave Grace with. Yet still – still – the big goof gets this look. So. Danny has adjusted to it. He has.

Until the day he and Steve get to work and there's a guy with an eye patch – like a fucking pirate – standing in the middle of the room like he owns it and Danny. Danny just knows this is not going to be good for his blood pressure. This guy – the eye patch guy – is looking at Steve as if he knows him and that's not the case for Steve – Danny can tell.

“Commander McGarrett?” Eye patch guy steps forwards and nods his head at Steve.

Steve frowns – just slightly and glances at Danny before answering. “You seem to know me, who are you?”

“Someone interested in your capabilities.”

Danny laughs, he can't help it, it's how he deals with strange men entering his place of work and expressing their interest in his boyfriend. “In his capabilities? Really? That is how you – Steven please tell me you are not being kidnapped by Government agents because I – no – this is not happening.”

Steve knows by now to just wait for Danny to stop talking, but one glance at eye patch guy and Danny can tell he's developed some kind of twitching problem. Danny kind of thinks that this guy can shoot him and get away with it, so maybe he should stop talking. So he does, waving his hand at Steve to get him to make some sort of sense of this. Steve folds his arms and glares at the man – Danny has not been witness to this glare before, he really hasn't. He thinks that maybe it's Steve's actual SEAL glare and that – that's kind of hot, actually. Look, Danny is the master of inappropriate thoughts, he knows this. Danny waits for one of them to crack. He can't quite tell – he thinks eye patch guy will crack first, but that's only based on his own extensive knowledge on what it takes to break Steve McGarrett and if eye patch guy even thinks of deep throating Steve – Danny will be having serious words.

Turns out Danny is right and eye patch guy cracks first. Danny would do a victory dance if he didn't have an inkling of how serious this could be.

“Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD.”

“And what is it you want from me, Director Fury?”

“We at SHIELD are aware that you were part of a group of SEALS given a variant of a serum.”

“There aren't many with the security clearance to know that kind of information.”

“Being that SHIELD has the person who the original serum was used on, we're kept appraised of any developments with the variations.”

Danny has to stop and think for a moment because the original serum – that – no. “Hold on – you mean you have Captain America at your – headquarters – or whatever?”

“Actually at the moment he's at Stark Tower, but essentially, yes.”

“Stark – Tony Stark – Iron Man Tony Stark?”

“Lord help me if there was ever another.”

Danny pulls a face at Steve. “Huh. Okay – carry on.”

Steve rolls his eyes a little and turns back to look at Director Fury. “I don't know what you want from me, but if it's to take me away from Five 0, I can tell you now that's not going to happen.”

“We don't want that. There's something coming to Hawaii and we need your help.”

“You're in command of a whole group of people, including Captain America and Iron Man, but you need my help? I find this hard to believe.”

“Believe what you want, Commander, but if you're not willing to help us, Hawaii may not exist in a week.”

“Woah, okay. Now I am obviously not the biggest fan of this island, but destroying it seems a little excessive. So. Steven, I think you should listen to the man.”

Apparently saying that makes Director Fury happy with Danny because he smiles and – wow – that's actually terrifying. Steve has kept his arms crossed and his SEAL stare has not left his face. Danny isn't quite sure what Steve's thinking but if he knows anything about Steve by now – and he does, he knows lots of things – then there's no way Steve will refuse the request.

Once the details were ironed out – Danny will say this for SHIELD, they are scary efficient – Five 0 got word that The Avengers would be flying in that evening. And – really – Danny thought his life took a turn for the ridiculous when it turned out Steve was an actual Super SEAL, but sitting around the office waiting for actual superheroes was just – well – Danny is just trying really hard not to think too deeply about it. He can see Steve in his office, shuffling papers as if that's fooling anyone. Chin and Kono are huddled around the tech table, doing – okay, Danny has no idea what they're doing, but he assumes they're not just ordering take out – though that would be good. He shakes his head and goes to see Steve.

“Hey, you want to talk about this?”

“Talk about what?”

Danny sighs because, really, he loves this idiot and he doesn't want to know what that says about him. “About what, he says? How about the fact that a few hours ago you got recruited by some secret Government agency to fight – something – who knows what, with a bunch of superheroes? That ring a bell?”

“It rings a bell, Danny,” Steve looks up. “What do you want from me?”

“I want a whole lot of stuff from you, most of which we cannot do here because the walls are made of glass, but what I want right at this moment is to promise me – promise me – that whatever happens, you intend on coming back from this. That you will not put yourself in unnecessary danger. And I know – I know you'll be fine, I know this because I can't not know this, but I just want you to promise me.”

“Danny – of course – you know I'll come back.”

And Danny makes the fatal mistake of looking at Steve – who has puppy eyes almost as bad as Grace – he's a Dad, he should be immune to those by now. But Steve's face – well – Danny can't, okay, he just can't. He rests his hand against Steve's cheek and shakes his head because he knows Steve will do everything he can to stay alive – he knows it. “Okay. I can't – look, you know I'm not exactly enthusiastic about this – unknown super villains or whatever they want you to fight. But I understand why you're going to do it and –“

“Danny, hey, I'm going to be okay,” Steve stands up and grabs Danny's hand. “I will come back to you. And who says you won't be fighting alongside me?”

“Uh – I do. There will be two super soldiers, Iron Man and whoever else turns up, I do not think they're going to need me.”

“Even if they don't – I do.”

Steve gives Danny this blinding smile and Danny doesn't care at all that there are glass walls, and that a squadron of superheroes could turn up at any moment, he has to – has to give in and kiss that stupidly attractive face. So he does.

And of course that's the exact moment when Kono raps her knuckles on the door, badly hiding a grin, and tells them Stark's plane has landed. Because that's just how Danny's life is now.

Turns out, there's a whole fucking gang of superheroes, which, who knew, right? Danny knows there's been weird shit happening on the East Coast, but he figured that was just – New Yorkers being New Yorkers. Apparently not. So, aside from Captain freakin' America, there's Tony Stark, a giant dude who Danny has been assured is an actual God, a guy who keeps fondling his bow like it's his date and a woman who Danny thinks is the most terrifying of them all. She reminds him of Rachel's mother – if Rachel's mother had been young and hot – they share an eerie stealthiness that unnerves Danny.

Danny's leaning against the door to his office, looking at this ridiculous gang of misfits as they explore. The God dude, Thor – no, really – is watching avidly as Tony plays around with the tech table. Captain America – Danny cannot call him Steve, he just can't – is talking quietly to Steve in his office. Danny doesn't – he's not sure he wants to know the details of what Steve has signed up for. Not unless he absolutely has to.

There's a commotion coming from around the tech table and Danny can see Chin glaring at Stark which is just not going to end well. Danny sighs, he's resigned to his fate here – he is and walks over to them.

“ - telling me that this is the best the State of Hawaii can do for their elite crime fighters?”

“What's wrong with it?”

“Eh,” Tony's tapping his fingers on the table, apparently unable to leave any bit of technology alone. “It's fine, if it were 2001. We had this at Stark Industries – oh – years ago.”

“Not everyone has your budget.”

“Or my genius – true,” Tony clicks his fingers, looking up as Steve and Captain America join everyone. “Hey, how about I get you all kitted out with some StarkTech? You're lending us your Super SEAL, right? Call it compensation.”

Danny glances over as Steve and grins when he sees his face because – Steve – Steve has grown to hate being called that. The only person who can even get away with that any more is Grace and that's because Steve cannot deny her anything. It's cute – Danny can't help thinking that, okay? It's his little girl and his partner bonding, and there is nothing cuter than that.

“Tony - ”

Captain America has this tone in his voice when he says Stark's name and – oh. Huh. Danny isn't quite sure, but he's pretty sure he's heard that tone in his own voice when he says Steve's name and. So.

“Waiting until we're done here, yes Cap, I know.”

Danny sees the smile Tony shoots Captain America and he knows, he does, that there's something going on there. He wonders if the rest know – their faces give away nothing, Danny would hate to play poker with them. Tony has hooked up a video link with the rest of his team and – Danny really needs to start paying attention.

“ - Bruce Banner and Agent Coulson, who is the one to blame for not letting Bruce come and play in the sun, isn't that right?”

“Bruce took the decision himself, as you well know Stark.”

Tony's grinning as he looks at the screen. “Come on, even The Hulk deserves a holiday.”

“Tony,” Bruce talks quietly, but firmly. “I don't think anyone would look upon me too fondly if the other guy happened to destroy Hawaii.”

“And we understand that. Right, Tony?”

“Sure, Cap, sure.”

“Have you got anything for us, Dr. Banner?”

From there, the conversation heads off into science land and Danny – Danny can get by with the science talk sometimes, but it's really more Steve's thing. So he just hangs back, watches everyone and tries to ignore the bits of the conversation he does understand because it sounds like it involves aliens, and Danny just – no. He can't.

Apparently Dr. Banner's information means there's nothing for them to do until tomorrow, so Kono suggests they all go out for dinner, some sort of superhero bonding session and Danny – he kind of wants to just take his own super soldier home and get some sleep, but then Tony says he'll pay and – well, Danny will never turn down a free meal. So they all rock up to the Hilton – Tony is apparently renting most of the Ali'i Tower – and Danny proceeds to watch with wide eyes as Thor puts away more food than anyone he has ever seen before, including his Great Uncle Louie.

“Impressive, isn't it?” Tony smirks.

“It's – something.”

“So,” Tony nods his head towards where the Captain and Steve are talking. “You've got your own super soldier. How's that working out for you? The stamina is a bonus, right?”

Danny is a suspicious person - he knows Tony timed that statement just as Danny took a swig of his beer because Tony is laughing at him as he chokes to death. Which – really – is not very team like of Tony. “You – you are a terrible person.” Danny manages to spit out.

“So I'm told. Regularly. By my team mates.”

“Okay. Not touching your issues with a bargepole.”

“A sense of self preservation. Smart man. Why are you a cop?”

“Some days, I wonder. Then I look at my kid and that – that's why,” Danny shrugs, it's the truth and it's not something he's ashamed of. Wherever Gracie goes, he goes and being a cop is all he knows. The fact that he gets to put away some of the worst people on the earth is a bonus. “So, if we're getting personal here, let me ask you something.”

“If it's about a foursome, I'd be up for it, but persuading Cap would be all on you.”

“Funny – that's funny. Does he ever talk to you about it? The war, the serum, all of it?”

“Huh,” Tony pauses for a moment, studying Danny with an intensity that Danny finds a little unnerving. “It's different for us than it is for you, I think. Cap and I – we both have horrors in our past that we don't – won't – talk about and that's – we work like that, somehow. SHIELD, because they have nothing better to do, have sent us to have our heads shrunk. Steve's a little more co-operative than I am, but not by much,” Tony sips at his pineapple juice. “Fury says it's my bad influence on him. The thing is – you either deal with this shit in your own way, or you give up on ever having normal relationships with other people.”

“Normal relationships? Really?”

“I'm a billionaire genius who fights monsters while wearing a metal suit. Normal is relative.”

“Right. So – what? You dealt with your own shit and now you're in happy fuzzy land with him?”

“Hah. No. It's an ongoing process. Are there times when he doesn't sleep – not because he doesn't need to – but because he doesn't want to risk dreaming about things he'd rather forget? Yeah. The same goes for me. But that can't ever be all your relationship is about.”

Danny nods, he knows that – he does. There have been times when Steve has had nightmares, times when Steve has bolted upright in bed as if he's just waiting to be attacked and Danny – it breaks Danny's heart because he doesn't want Steve to have to remember that shit. It's bad enough that he had to live with it, has to carry it around with him. He shouldn't have to relive it when he's sleeping.

“Look, there's all sorts of things Cap and I don't talk about because we don't need to – we both know what it's like to have things in your head that haunt you. You might not know what it was like for him in wars, or getting the serum, but you're a cop. I'd bet money – mostly because it wouldn't bother me to lose it – that you've got your own horrors in your head and those fuck with you in their own special way.”

“Yeah, but that's – compared to wars – it's just not the same.”

“Don't. You don't have to be a soldier to suffer, and the world would be a lot better off if everyone realised that. We all fight monsters, in our own way and what matters, as I've come to realise, is that if you can find something – anything – that brings you some peace when you need it the most, you should hold on to it.”

“That what he does for you?”

Tony's gaze falls on the Captain and Danny doesn't really need him to answer because he can see it – he can see the way Tony's face instantly relaxes when he looks at the Captain. The tiny smile that Tony gets in return makes Danny think that whatever it is they find in each other, they know it's something special, something to fight for. Danny can understand that.

The night eventually disintegrates around the time Thor insists on being taught local dances. Danny watches for around 30 seconds before he ends up being horrified because – no – a Norse God should not be attempting such moves. He's hiding his face in Steve's chest – so maybe he's had too much to drink – when he hears Tony talking to Cap and then they leave, Tony tugging impatiently on Cap's hand as he says goodbye to everyone. Danny raises his head to look at Steve. “If they're leaving, we're leaving.” Steve's looking over Danny's head and his face is twisted into a look of horror – Danny is not even going to ask what is going on – he can hear Kono and Natasha whooping and he knows that cannot be a good thing.

“Yeah – okay, we're going.”

Danny waves a hand behind him as they leave, he's fairly sure they won't notice anyone missing until the morning, and follows Steve towards the car. Despite the – really disturbing – end to the evening, Danny thinks it was good. He's never liked working with people without getting to know them in some way and – yes – it makes him feel better about Steve going out into battle with them. Danny may not trust Fury – generally secret Government agencies creep him out – but he trusts the people sent here for Steve to fight alongside.

“Saw you and Stark talking.”

“Yeah, we - ” Danny yawns, his head is listing against the window – he drank too much, he's realising that now. “It was a good talk. You and Cap seemed to get on.”

“He's a good man. Good soldier. I never got to – the others – talking to someone who went through the same thing as me, it was something new.”

Danny nods and slips a hand onto Steve's thigh, squeezing gently. He gives Steve a small smile when Steve glances at him. It's not something Steve has ever really talked about – but Danny isn't stupid – there's only so much Steve can explain to people who didn't go through what he went through. So it's good that – even if it's only for a few days – Steve has someone who shared those experiences in some way.

They gather at the Five 0 HQ the next morning, somehow none of them look any worse for wear. Danny isn't convinced that Thor can even get a hangover and Natasha – well, Danny thinks Natasha probably scares hangovers away just by virtue of being Russian. Clint seems to always be on the verge of yelling at people – so a hangover wouldn't make any difference to him and Danny's been drinking enough times with Chin and Kono to know that they are suspiciously adept at chasing off hangovers.

Tony is waving his hands across the tech table and chatting with the Captain quietly, something about that makes Danny want to smile. After talking to Tony he just – he can tell Tony has issues, okay, the man wears them on his sleeve – and Danny is sure, so sure, that the Captain has his own problems, but Danny watches them together and. They're different sides of the same coin. He can see it. Danny wants people to be happy, okay? The world can be crappy and if people can find some happiness in a way that isn't illegal, or irritating to Danny personally, then Danny is all for it.

Captain America looks up and gestures them over. “Dr. Banner sent some information over night, he thinks he's pinpointed the portal, here. We could do with your knowledge of the area to draw up a plan.”

Danny watches as Steve nods before he pulls up the satellite maps. Steve could do this in his sleep – Danny is quite sure of that – and now he has the bonus of being able to incorporate a God who can summon lightening, a master archer and a man who can fly, into his plans. Danny knows that if Steve was less controlled, he would be making noises that would shame a teenage girl – Steve's left leg is twitching and he's working hard to keep a grin off his face and Danny – Danny just wants to shake his head and laugh because this is just typical. He knew what he signed up for when he started this – thing with Steve, and the moronically happy reaction Steve has to anything dangerous is something he's trying to – look, accepting it is a work in progress. But Danny is trying.

Natasha and Clint join them for the planning. Tony has pulled out a tablet and is doing – something – Danny is fairly sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the imminent alien threat, which is – Danny can understand the need for distractions right now. There's a chiming noise and Dr. Banner appears on the screen with an ETA for the opening of the portal and Danny cannot, will not think about the fact that his life now involves portals. He will not.

They have five hours, is what Dr. Banner says. And as soon as he says that, Danny cannot help but look at Steve and try – try to resist the urge to drag him away from this ridiculous idea of fighting aliens. He won't – he won't because he knows that Steve would not come with him and also that there's a slight possibility that Steve would end up hurting him. A lot. And, really, Danny would like to avoid that. Danny does, however, lean in a bit closer to Steve. He sees Tony doing the same with the Captain and that's – Danny likes knowing that Tony will be in the field with Steve. He trusts him.

They're lucky – apparently - in that the portal will be opening in an unpopulated area, and that it's the alien equivalent of a pizza delivery, it's just going to dump the aliens out and seal itself back up. Danny doesn't miss the look of relief shared amongst the others when Dr. Banner tells them that and – yeah, he heard the stories about that thing that happened in New York – flying monsters, lost of damage, a big swirly thing above Stark Tower. Danny's not a genius, but even he can work out that whatever that was involved a portal that did not close after spewing stuff out onto earth.

Danny looks down for a moment, and when he looks up again, Natasha and Clint have vanished. It's – disturbing, yes – but from the non reaction he guesses that it's just what they do to prepare before a mission. He heard them talking, before, calling what they do 'missions' – like they're soldiers – and Danny's still not sure if he was meant to overhear them or not. Natasha kind of spins him in circles – possibly a good thing. She's smarter than him, and Danny appreciates that in a woman – always has done. Thor has commandeered the tech table to watch television – Danny guesses that a God doesn't really need to prepare for battle, it's kind of his natural state – always aware, always prepared.

Chin's running though the tech connections and working with the impromptu upgrades Tony has given them – Danny thinks he can't help himself, that Tony just sees tech and his hands need to fiddle with it. It's already been decided that Chin and Danny will stay behind – conference with Dr. Banner in case anything changes – not that anything will, because Danny cannot drive himself mad thinking about the variables right now. If he even starts to think about how things could go wrong – he – no. This is not a train of thought he can ride right now.

“Hey, Cap, want to let off some steam? We've got a sparring room down the hall.”

And of course – of course that is what Steve would suggest before going into battle with aliens. Go a few rounds with a fellow super soldier. Of course. Danny just shakes his head and shares a look with Tony who grins at him before shrugging. The Captain agrees and – wow – Danny could almost be jealous by how happy that makes Steve. He's not, because he's a grown man and he knows – he understands – that this is one thing he can't give Steve. The freedom to spar hard and fast without holding back – if Steve tried that with Danny, he'd break him – they both know that and Danny – he is not a fan of broken bones.

“Has your sparring room got security cameras?”

Tony's voice jerks Danny away from watching Steve and the Captain leave. “Uh, yes – yeah, I think we do.”

“Excellent.”

Danny watches Tony play with the tablet and – that really could be worrying – but then Tony walks over and puts the tablet in front of his face and oh. Okay then. Somehow – because he's Tony Stark – he's managed to hack into the security feed and there – on the screen – is possibly one of the hottest things Danny has ever seen. Steve isn't holding back at all – and Danny knows he does, when taking down perps because he wants justice, not death. This is – it's incredible is what it is.

“That's – wow.”

“Yep,” Tony is practically bouncing on his feet. “Gorgeous, right? See, I know how Cap is when he spars and I figured – what's better than one super soldier sparring? Two super soldiers. What use is my genius if I can't use it to look at attractive men without them knowing? Well, Cap probably knows I'm doing this – I do it at the tower all the time. Full time feed to my workshop.”

“You have a – of course you do.”

“I can set one up for you, if you like. Your sparring room, not mine – watching Cap is a one time deal for you since I'm getting to watch your super SEAL get all sweaty. Have it sent directly to your computer, uncrackable protection, no one would ever know. Think about it, let me know.”

Danny is – he's tempted, he's not going to lie, but there's a line somewhere and he's pretty sure this would cross it. This thing with Steve, is still new and he's not willing to – he can't bring himself to do anything that could damage it. Not that Danny thinks Steve would – Danny's being careful, okay? Respectful of boundaries and personal bubbles and things that his therapist tells him are important. So there's that. And there's the very simple reason that if Danny had the opportunity to watch Steve train and spar while sitting at the computer, Five 0's paperwork would be in an even worse state than it generally is.

There's nothing wrong with watching Steve now, though, Danny thinks as Tony offers him some pretzels. Look, Danny's moral strength only goes so far – when faced with two sweaty, shirtless super soldiers, he's weak. Danny is fine with what this says about him.

They're just about to head off and Danny – he's watching them get ready, standing by Steve as Steve triple checks his guns before holstering them. Tony had offered – with a mischievous grin – to sort out a suit for Steve. And Danny - he's kind of disappointed that Steve didn't take him up on that. Having seen how tight the Captain, Clint and Natasha's outfits are, yes, Danny possibly would like to see Steve in something like that. It's a thing. Sort of. Mostly Danny would've appreciated the distraction – something to stop him thinking about what Steve is heading out to face.

Tony hasn't put the suit on yet, he's got his briefcase to take to the scene – he's going over last minute details with the Captain and there's absent minded touching – a hand drifting over a shoulder, fingers tapping on an arm. Danny knows that feeling – the need to cling to something real – Danny understands it. It's why he's pressed up against Steve's side now – his forehead resting against Steve's arm, his palm softly touching Steve's back. It's peaceful and Danny needs this tiny bit of peace before – he thinks Steve might need it as well, the way his breathing has evened out.

“You okay, Danno?”

“Oh – yeah – sure. You and Kono are about to join a superhero gang so you can kill a bunch of aliens – sure – I'm just peachy,” Danny sighs. “I feel like a fucking war wife, Steve.”

“Hey, come with me. Come on.” Steve turns, takes Danny's hand and pulls him into his office, closing the door behind him.

Danny doesn't even have a chance to take a breath and speak before Steve kisses him and – okay – yes – this is good, this is better than good. Danny's fisting his hands in Steve's shirt, pulling him in closer because if – just. They've been in danger before but this is something Danny was never trained for and – Danny worries, okay? Worrying is just part of the Danny Williams package.

Steve pulls back and meets Danny's eyes. “Okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah, okay,” Danny steps back and sighs, looking through the glass wall to where the others are waiting and he knows that it's time to go. “Go, go be a hero.” He stands by the door of Steve's office as they all troop out, getting a nod from Tony as he passes by.

As the doors close behind them, Danny closes his eyes for a moment – he's fine. He really is. Danny takes a breath before joining Chin at the tech table.

“We all hooked in?”

“Yep. The upgrades Stark gave us really helped, we've got access to his AI as well if we need it and Dr. Banner will be joining us in a moment.”

Danny nods. As much as he wants to be out there, he knows he's no match for whatever alien beings are invading earth and he would not be okay with being a distraction at best and a liability at worst. Danny will not be the reason anyone gets hurt – he will not have that on his shoulders. He hears them all checking in – code names now, apparently – and that's funny, it tickles Danny to hear these names and he almost laughs out loud when he hears Steve's voice saying the words “Super SEAL” because Danny knows that is – that it has to be – Tony's work.

They're on a countdown now, everyone is in position – Kono is up a tree with Hawkeye, her sniper rifle in hand. Captain America, Iron Man and Steve are on the ground, facing the portal, Thor and Black Widow to the left and right of them. And they're – waiting. Just waiting for something – they don't even know what – to come tumbling out of a space portal and attack.

All too soon noise starts coming through over the comms and it's mostly a haze – Danny's concentrating on making sure he hears no sounds of distress. They've got visuals via Iron Man's helmet – Danny doesn't even know how Tony hooked that in and it's going – well, it's going. The monsters are yellow and kind of scaly, but – and Danny sees this as a good thing – they seem to be hurt by guns and arrows and, oh, knives. He sees them drop as Iron Man blasts them and Danny catches a glimpse of Steve as Iron Man swings around – giving them a view of the area – and, okay, it's going good. It seems to be working.

And it's just as Danny thinks that – of course – he hears a yell and the visual from Iron Man swings around violently and he sees Steve clutching his arm because that stupid fucker has gone and done what he said – he said – he wouldn't do and Danny – okay, no. This is not how this is going to go. He can hear Tony talking to him – that Steve's life is not in danger – that Danny should breathe and Tony is right – Danny knows this.

Danny can already see Steve getting up and – he's still firing his gun – of course he is because that is the kind of moron Danny is dating. Danny is well aware that the slices on Steve's arm will be well on their way to healing by the time he gets back to the office and Danny manages to say something to get Tony to shut up. Which – Danny didn't think that was possible – and apparently it's not because Tony is off again, listening to the Captain's orders and talking trash as he fires at the scaly things. There's only one or two left, arrows from Hawkeye are flying around and Black Widow has jumped on the back of one – from what Danny can see, she's electrocuting them which – he wonders if he could get Grace something like that for when she's a teenager. Danny would sleep better at night.

Then – like that – it's all over. The last one gets killed and – silence. It's eerie up until the moment Tony walks over to Steve and pokes him in the arm – making Steve swear and Danny laughs. He is a terrible person, he knows this, but Steve's face via the Iron Man cam is hilarious. Tony's muttering excuses – checking the wound, seeing how fast Steve heals compared to Cap – but Danny's fairly sure Tony just cannot help himself. He can hear the Captain telling everyone to start to head back and – it's over. Danny doesn't know how it can be over so quickly – the last few days have been – if Danny didn't know better he would swear he'd been asleep and this was a – possibly alcohol induced – dream.

It's not long before they all fall through the doors, Tony is out of the suit already, the rest of them go and change – taking bandages with them. Danny follows Steve into his office – Steve's pulling his shirt off and Danny can see three healing slices on his upper arm. He can't help himself – he reaches out to touch them and Steve winces a little, tightens his jaw and Danny just nods before stepping back. Tony raps his knuckles on the door before entering and Danny looks over, Tony has a slight bruise under his eye – Danny thinks he remembers him getting hit while in the suit and seeing that – it makes Danny realise how strong those creatures were.

“Spoke to Bruce, he doesn't think, I mean even without taking into account the accelerated healing, there shouldn't be any problems with the injury. He'll be fine by tonight. Which – party? I have rooms, a lot of rooms, I don't know why Pepper booked so many, really I don't and, we did a good thing today, no aliens roaming around Hawaii -”

“Tony, stop, jeez,” Steve interrupts him with a tired smile. “Yeah, a party sounds good. We're going back to the house to get changed, but we'll be over after that.”

“Get changed, uh huh, okay, if that's what you guys call it here, who am I to argue? Oh – there's my super soldier. See you guys later – behave.” Tony gives them a little wave before he rushes off to see the Captain.

Danny ducks his head and starts to laugh – it's ridiculous – it's all so utterly ridiculous. Steve looks over at him before he grins and joins in and, yes, this might have been one of the most dangerous things Steve has done in a while, but Danny's got him back and alive and that's – that's good enough for now.

The party goes on for a while – Danny remembers back in Jersey, after a big case, the amount of alcohol used to decompress could've drowned an elephant – people are relaxed, talking, laughing. Danny can hear Steve and Thor having a conversation about difficult siblings although – to be fair to Mary – she has never attempted to destroy a city, so, really Steve should give up and let Thor win this one.

He can see Tony – Tony isn't drinking and Danny knows there's a story there because he remembers the stories in the magazines his sister would bring home – but maybe that's what happens when you find a reason to live instead of self destruct. Danny thinks it's not something Tony would ever talk about – with anyone – but, despite the chaos surrounding The Avengers, the insanity that comes with being Tony Stark and Iron Man – Tony seems to have found a sort of peace.

Natasha and Kono are having a deep discussion over a bottle of tequila and – Danny is just not going to interrupt that. He values having his balls, thank you. Clint apparently has no such worries and keeps poking his face in their conversation – occasionally getting hit around the head by Natasha and yet – he doesn't learn and goes back for more every time. Chin is watching this with a look of horror on his face – like he thinks either Natasha or Kono will end up stabbing Clint.

The Captain can't get drunk – apparently this is something they changed in the serum because Danny knows Steve can get drunk – knows he is well on his way at the moment. It doesn't seem like the Captain minds – he's tucked in next to Tony and he's enjoying the conversations floating around the room. He has the same look on his face that Steve gets sometimes – like he's so satisfied with knowing his team is alive and happy, he doesn't need anything else.

Danny – he's been working through some whiskey and he's a little tipsy. Everyone on Five 0 took up Tony's offer of rooms in the hotel and Danny thinks a bed would sound real good about now. He's trying to summon the energy to get up – he knows that this makes him old, he doesn't care – but all he ends up doing is falling to the side, his head ending up in Steve's lap. Which is comfy – don't get him wrong – but he wants a real bed. Danny thinks he mutters that into Steve's thigh because Steve's laughing and – that's a gorgeous sound, it really is.

The next thing Danny knows is waking up in an – oh – insanely comfortable bed with Steve pressed up against him. Which – really – that is his preferred way to wake up. Or it would be if it weren't for the pounding headache he currently has. He is not twenty one any more, he really isn't. Danny cracks his eyes open a fraction and sees a glass full of a strange liquid he doesn't recognise and a note. He reaches for the note and shifts onto his back to read it.

Take note of this Detective Williams – Tony Stark is using a pen and paper. This hasn't happened in – huh – I actually can't remember. We've been called back – super villain attacking New York, yadda yadda yadda. Boring. So. The glass contains an exceptional hangover remedy I spent years working on – only getting the mixture right after I stopped drinking. Cap finds this hilarious. Drink it. It won't poison you. Probably.

The hotel is paid up until the end of the week – enjoy it. Or move some homeless people in for a while – complimentary spa treatments.

Tell Chin the StarkTech will be arriving at the Five 0 HQ tomorrow.

Tell your Super SEAL thanks for the help.

If you ever manage to get back to the East Coast, you've got a standing invitation to stay with us.

- Tony.

Danny snorts at the letter – Tony Stark using paper – he bets he could sell this on eBay and cover Gracie's college fund with the proceeds. He looks at Steve's arm – it's healed now, no sign that anything had ever touched him. It's still strange – he's still not used to it – but he loves Steve and this is part of Steve. Sometimes Danny wishes Steve had more scars – there are some, from early in his Navy career, before the serum – things that Danny could trace his fingers over and have tangible proof that Steve survived worse things than what he throws himself into now. But – Danny can cope – because Steve keeps coming back to him. Even after being blown up, fighting aliens, Steve comes back. Danny curls back around Steve and – this is good. They can do this.