So Steve says, "Maybe you're not as alone out here as you think, Danno," and Danny thinks, What; Danny thinks, Hold on, is he coming on to me? Steve crosses his arms and smiles at the television where a younger version of himself is weaving across a football field, and then Kono says something, and then maybe Chin Ho says something, but Danny doesn't even know what they are saying because his mind has ground to a halt. He goes home that night and sits in the dark trying to figure out a way that "Maybe you're not as alone out here as you think" wouldn't be a come on and isn't very successful, because Jesus Christ, has Steve been coming on to him all this time?
Okay, Danno, Danny thinks, you're a cop. You can handle this. The first thing to do is to look at the evidence: he flips on a table lamp and tears a piece of paper out of a Lisa Frank notebook his daughter forgot, sending her a silent apology, and writes a 1) next to the iridescent unicorn in the corner.
1) Constant commentary on my clothing
2) Weekend reservation at the dolphin hotel for Gracie
3) Got the governor to intimidate my ex-wife
4) Always asking me out for a beer
5) Always buys the beer (!!!
NOT HIS GIRLFRIEND) 6) Looks like James Bond in casino
Which doesn't manage to clear anything up, really. Maybe Danny doesn't have sufficient cultural context to interpret Steve's actions, and what looks like Steve softening him up before he makes a pass is all part of some bizarre Hawaiian hospitality ritual that they put mainlanders through. Maybe one day Danny will actually buy Gracie that pony she keeps asking for. He feels lightheaded, and realizes he is starting to hyperventilate.
Getting his breathing steady takes Danny another ten minutes or so; it's easier once he crumples up the list and throws it in the trash bin. The rest of the night is very long.
It all feels unreal the next morning; sometime during the night Danny had hit that sweet spot of sleepless delirium where everything seemed hazy and detached, mesmerized by Alton Brown's mastery of tempura and the flashing of the frying pan over the open flame.
"Hey," Kono says, squinting. "You look like you got run over by a bus."
"Ha," Danny says.
"Long night?" Steve asks, eyebrows twitching up. Danny makes a small wheezing noise, everything rushing back into immediacy. He braces himself, but then Steve gets a phone call about a body in Makakilo, and one thing leads to another and culminates in Danny dangling from the side of a gunrunner's boat at around four in the afternoon after getting shot at a few times. Steve's amused face materializes over the railing and he says, "How's it going down there?"
"Great," Danny says. "How about a hand up."
"I told you the sharks are harmless," Steve says, but his long fingers wrap around Danny's numb forearms and somehow between the two of them they manage to get Danny back up on the deck. Steve isn't even breathing hard, Danny notes with no small amount of disgust, barely mussed and a faint flush that could be the wind as soon as exertion staining his cheeks.
"Good times," Steve says, grasping the back of Danny's neck. His fingertips slide through the soft underside of Danny's hair and Danny blurts,
"So yesterday, were you coming on to me?"
Steve freezes. His eyes dart over Danny's face and it is just a beat too long before he says, "No," and removes his hand casually. "Someone should probably arrest those guys," he continues, jerking his head at the two unconscious Yakuza who are sprawled across the bow. "I'm going to call HPD."
"I'll just go do that, then," Danny says at the back of Steve's head.
"Jackasses!" Kono shouts, pulling up alongside with Chin in a speedboat. "You could have waited for us."
"And miss the boat and the bust?" Steve shouts back. Kono gives him the finger. Chin comes over to help Danny with the cuffing since the loss of the last shreds of plausible deniability have shot Danny's motor control all to hell. "You okay, man?" Chin asks.
"Yeah just," Danny says, rubbing the circulation back into his arms. "Awesome."
So apparently Steve McGarrett was making a pass at him. Thing is, okay, Danny doesn't really have any perspective on this kind of situation; he married Rachel straight out of high school and then it was eleven long, emotionally draining years before he looked up and suddenly he was in Hawaii, surrounded by beautiful people in negligible amounts of clothing who couldn't be bothered to give him the time of day.
After the first week he called Lydia—a lesbian from high school that had been his wife's friend first but his friend best, a Princeton alum who insisted on talking like every moment of her life was an audition for Jersey Shore—who said, "Oh, babycakes," and "You're trying too hard, Danny," and "Bitch, relax, you have to let your aura of despair and desperation dissipate a little first." So basically Danny hasn't had sex with anyone but his ex-wife since he was 17 years old, and now there is Steve, who is crazy and an adrenaline junkie and absolutely nothing like her, and also a dude.
Danny figures that at the least he owes it to Steve to figure out how he feels about dick, one way or the other. Steve has been pretty decent to him, when he hasn't been an asshole—at this point Danny's screwdriver goes up his nose as he realizes that all the crap he's been dished was probably Steve's version of pulling his pigtails, and once he clears the vodka and orange juice out of his sinuses he feels slightly better because his game may be stalled around the eleventh grade but Steve is taking his cues straight out of elementary school—so he deserves an honest assessment of Danny's feelings. That way Danny can walk up to him and say, "Look, dude, I'm flattered but it's not my thing," with the full weight of confidence and they can put the whole mess behind them.
For example, Danny could probably handle a handjob, but he isn't really sold on the idea of having someone's dick in his mouth. He thinks about having Steve's dick in his mouth and decides he needs another drink, or twelve, which is why he is putting all of the blame on the hangover the next day at work when the first thing he says to Steve is,
"Look, I don't really know how I feel about dick in my mouth."
"What," say Steve and Kono simultaneously, because that is the moment Kono walks through the door with Chin, who already looks like he regrets getting up this morning. Danny can commiserate.
"It's a joke?" he tries. Kono opens her mouth but Chin touches her elbow and shakes his head, so she shuts it again.
"You've got a strange sense of humor, Williams," Steve says.
"Look who's talking, Commander It-is-totally-hilarious-to-undermine-my-partner's-authority-in-front-of-criminals," Danny retorts automatically.
"That is pretty hilarious," Steve says. He blinks placidly and smiles, no teeth. "If that's all, I'd like to get to work."
"Please," Chin says.
Over the next three weeks, Steve gets two search warrants signed by a judge, waits the five minutes for backup three times, lets Danny take point on about thirty percent of interrogations, and reads a skinny-mean drugpusher his honest-to-god Mirandas instead of waiting for Chin or Danny or even Kono to get around to it. Every time it happens he gives Danny this split-second look that Danny doesn't know how to interpret: smug? irritated? angry?
If anyone should be mad it should be me, Danny thinks, crossing his arms in the passenger seat on a stakeout. Put in a position like that by a commanding officer. He's working up some good old righteous indignation when Steve leans over and waves a hand in front of his face, says, "Hello," and "Everything okay over here, Danno?"
"No," Danny says, too loud.
"Is it Grace? Is Rachel giving you shit over custody again?"
Steve winces. "Do you need to like, talk? Should we get a beer?"
"I don't want you to buy me any more beers!" Danny says, aware his voice is flirting with a register it hasn't come near since his balls dropped.
"Who says I'm buying?" Steve says, frowning. He looks annoyed now. "You know, if you pulled out your wallet once in a while."
"I have child support! And I live in Hawaii! I don't know if you've noticed, but it's not cheap!"
"If you're having money problems—"
"I'm not having money problems!"
"—I'm sure I can get you a raise. Elite task force and all that."
"I AM NOT HAVING MONEY PROBLEMS MY PROBLEM IS WITH YOU."
Steve throws up his hands. "Look, if this is about that undermining your authority thing, I'm making a god damn effort. I know it's important for criminals to take you seriously, but you know what would help with that?"
"What," Danny says, quiet and dangerous.
"Losing the tie," Steve says triumphantly. "Just saying. Hey, hey, Danno!" This last bit after about half a minute when Danny doesn't say anything, because he's in the middle of an honest-to-god rage blackout. He looks at Steve's hand on his shoulder and then at the tentative half-smile on Steve's face and feels all the anger leak out of him.
"I thought you were supposed to be good in a crisis," Danny mumbles. "Isn't that like, your thing."
"Ah," Steve says after a pause. Danny covers his eyes with his hand.
"I don't even know what you want."
"I would like," Steve says finally, "to buy you a drink."
It's weird how much taller than Danny Steve is, how much space he takes up in Danny's apartment after he invites himself in. What is rapidly getting less weird is Steve's mouth on Danny's throat, Steve's impatient fingers on Danny's fly; "You drive me fucking nuts sometimes," Steve mutters, dropping to his knees in Danny's entrance hall. "Fuck," Danny gasps, slamming his head painfully against the wall.
"You okay?" Steve asks.
"Yeah, yeah," Danny says, carding his fingers gently through Steve's hair and pulling him back in.