After Joe White has left, Steve retreats into his office, sitting down at his desk to brood. Danny, who thinks that Steve should have gone home to rest straight after the case had been solved, decides to let him be for a while; seeing his father shaking hands with Wo Fat must have been quite a blow, after all. With a sigh, Danny begins with the paper work; what a week it has been.
Two hours later, he gets up, stretching for a moment; it is getting dark outside, and his own fatigue is catching up with him. He walks over to Steve's office and pokes his head in; Steve is still sitting at his desk, pale-faced and rigid. He looks forlorn, which Danny can't bear.
“Hey babe,” he says in a low voice. “Time to go home. Come on, I'll take you.” He has already decided that he is going to stay with Steve tonight, because his partner shouldn't be alone after a day like this.
For a moment, Steve looks as though he is about to protest, but then he nods, closes his laptop and gets up. His movements are weary and unusually slow, reminding Danny of the injury and the fact that Steve probably hasn't had a proper meal all day. Neither did he, but then he isn't the one who passed out on Max Bergman's bathroom floor from pain and blood loss.
Steve indeed feels like he is going to crash, therefore he doesn't protest when Danny announces that he's driving and it's not up for discussion. It's not only the recent events which are taking their toll on him, it's the feeling of betrayal and something else- the video once more made it obvious how little he actually knew his father. He wishes, not for the first time, that John McGarrett would have talked to him at one point; instead of feeling the need to keep protecting his meanwhile grown-up son, he should have told him what was going on, should have let him in; Steve is certain that he could have helped. He just hates how it is too late now, how he is left with riddles and questions he doesn't even know if he wants the answers to.
He is pulled out of these musings when the car stops in front of a supermarket.
“I'll quickly get a few things,” Danny says. “Anything particular you need?”
Steve shakes his head, too numb to recall the craving for fresh fruit he had in Halawa. He closes his eyes for a moment; his wound is throbbing gently, the pain meds Max gave him are wearing off. Fortunately, Max made him take the rest of the package with him; he really needs some sleep.
It doesn't take long for Danny to come back. He puts a large paper bag into the trunk before getting in: “Speed shopping,” he explains, “a skill which parents acquire while their children are teething or going through other difficult phases.”
Steve gives an amused snort; he can't really imagine Grace ever being difficult. So far, he's only ever seen her pleasant side. He has at times been jealous of Danny; he thinks he'd like to be a father, but then again he's wary, considering his line of work and how his own family turned out.
He's glad when, upon arrival at his house, Danny gets out of the car as well, takes the paper bag out of the trunk and comes inside with him. He wasn't sure he wanted company, but now it's a relief to know that he isn't alone in the house. He realizes that Danny in fact is the only one he feels able to put with right now. Danny, who is currently rummaging around in Steve's kitchen, and even that is welcome.
“I'll take a shower,” he says, because he wants to wash the past week off his skin.
“Careful with your wound,” Danny replies, and somehow, it's not as annoying as it might have been on any other day.
Upstairs, Steve looks longingly at his bed, but that will have to wait. He drops his clothes into a heap on the floor and turns on the water, then he has to stop and lean against the wall for a moment because he suddenly feels dizzy. With very slow and measured movements, he steps under the spray. He feels filthy enough to forego his three minute rule and besides, it's such a luxury to be able to shower in private and for as long as one wants.
Danny, who has found all the utensils he needs to prepare dinner, is just cutting up some carrots when he hears an ominous sound from above. He wipes his hands on a kitchen towel and goes to check on Steve, who was entirely too silent and subdued in Danny's opinion, which didn't bode well.
He finds his partner on the bathroom floor, still wet and stark naked and just trying to get up again.
“Steve,” Danny says, grabbing the nearest towel and wrapping it around Steve while he helps him into a sitting position. “What happened, did you black out?”
Steve is blinking owlishly: “I... yeah. It's just a moment, though.”
Danny cups his face with his hands in order to look at him: “You okay? Not seeing double or anything?”
Steve blinks again; he appears very young and vulnerable with his wet hair clinging to his head and his eyes huge. Danny's thumb gently strokes over Steve's skin because he hasn't gotten an answer: “Buddy?”
Steve's expression is so bemused for a moment that Danny wonders if he could actually have gotten a concussion, but then he blinks again: “I'm okay.”
Relieved, Danny reaches for another towel which he also wraps around Steve, who's trembling now. It can't be from being cold, since Steve's skin is still radiating heat from the shower; exhaustion, probably, and maybe his blood sugar is low. Very likely, his injury also made itself known; at least the water-repelling bandage doesn't look as though the wound has begun to bleed again after the fall.
Danny steadies Steve with one arm around his back: “Can you get up?”
When Steve nods, he helps him to his feet and steers him towards the adjoining room where Steve sits on the bed breathing a little strainedly while Danny finds a set of fresh clothes for him to sleep in.
Shakily, Steve gets dressed while Danny hangs the wet towels to dry.
“I'll have to search the house,” Steve says. “Maybe he's hidden something else, a hint-”
“You need to rest,” Danny interrupts him. “You're completely done for, which is why you blacked out right now.”
His tone is quiet, this is not a typical rant- Steve can see that Danny's mainly worried, and for some reason, that stirs something in him and it quells the protest he'd usually have had at the ready. So he just listens to Danny, who is now shaking his head: “You've had a hell of a week, you've been stabbed and on top of that you had an additional shock courtesy of that video.” Which he wishes he'd not shown Steve today. “Therefore you need to rest and recover a bit before you do anything, you hear me? I'm making you something for dinner and then you should sleep. And if you want to search the house once you've rested and are feeling better, I'll help you if you like. But not now, not today.”
“Okay, Danno.” Steve nods, crawling further onto the bed and pulling the blanket haphazardly over himself in the process.
Danny stares at him: “Okay, Danno, just like that?” He comes closer to feel Steve's forehead. Steve blinks up at him: “I mean it. You're right. I'm knackered. No point in making myself sick.”
“Oh.” Danny wasn't prepared for that. “Okay. It's nice to hear you acknowledge it once in a while.”
Steve half-heartedly rolls his eyes; it's nice to be lying in his own bed.
Danny pulls the blanket up properly around his partner: “I'll go back to the kitchen. You okay for now?”
“Hmmm,” Steve is already on the verge of dozing off. “Thanks, Danno.”
Danny's answer is soft: “Anytime.”
Back in the kitchen, Danny's doing everything on autopilot. Steve felt fragile underneath Danny's hands just now; Danny's heart was beating like a drum all the while because he wanted to wrap Steve in his arms and hide him from everyone who'd ever hurt him, wanted to kiss Steve until he forgot about Wo Fat and the rest. Undo the arrest and subsequent week in prison. It would have been inappropriate to take advantage of his partner's vulnerability however. Danny is certain that Steve and he have something going on between them that has nothing to do with friendship, and he has been trying to work up the courage to address the issue, but so far, there hasn't been the right moment.
He sighs; patience has never been his strong suit.
Steve wakes up because someone gently but insistently shakes his shoulder. Danno. Steve blinks; his eyes feel gritty, but something smells heavenly and he realizes how very hungry he is.
“Sorry for waking you,” Danny says, “but Max said you shouldn't take your painkillers on an empty stomach and knowing you, you'd have done just that.”
Steve sits up; the wound is definitely throbbing by now, therefore he's grateful that Danny knows him so well. His partner now puts a wooden bed tray with a full plate and a bottle of water in front of him: “I found this thing in the pantry.”
Steve involuntarily smiles: “My mother used it when we were sick.”
“How fitting.” Danny smiles as well.
Taking up the cutlery, Steve sniffs: “This looks good. What is it?”
“Mashed potatoes, caramelized carrots and minute steaks. I thought you could do with the protein.”
“Hmm,” Steve takes a few bites: “This is delicious, Danno.”
“Good, tuck in then. For dessert there's mango, if you like.”
Steve feels much better after having eaten; he takes one Max's pills and lies down again, listening to the faint sounds from the kitchen. He didn't know Danny was such a good cook, but the meal was amazing. He tells Danny so when he comes back in after taking the tray downstairs, and Danny smiles and gives a mock little bow: “Grace and I can't only eat takeaway, after all,” he then says. He sits down on the mattress; Steve already isn't so horribly pale anymore, which is a relief. “How're you feeling?”
“Better,” Steve says truthfully. “Just tired.”
“Good. I'll let you rest now, but I'll be downstairs if you need anything.”
For a moment, Steve looks as though he is about to say something, but then he just nods and smiles: “Thanks, Danno.”
“Sleep well, babe.”
With that, Danny leaves the room, and Steve suddenly feels bereft- he doesn't know what he expected, and certainly wouldn't have wanted Danny to sit with him until he fell asleep, but still. He slides down and gingerly turns onto his side: if he is honest with himself, he just wants Danny to be with him. In fact, he wants to have Danny around all the time. When his partner found him in the bathroom earlier, he didn't even feel embarassed to be naked because Danny would never make him feel uncomfortable about that. On the contrary; Danny is usually very thoughtful in difficult situations. Steve vividly remembers how he suddenly ran out of a house during a murder investigation to intercept the victim's son who was just coming home from school entirely unaware what had happened, which no one else who was present had even thought about; Danny however can be relied on to handle such matters tactfully and with empathy, no matter how he otherwise likes to complain and rant. Steve smiles to himself; Danny has such a big heart. It's good to know that he's here, close by. Steve listens into the darkness for a while, but eventually, he succumbs to his exhaustion and just lets go.
When he wakes up again in the early morning, it is raining heavily. Steve goes to the bathroom and crawls back into bed afterwards, but he's awake now. For a while, he just listens to the rain drumming onto the roof, but eventually he gets up again, puts on a sweater and quietly pads down the stairs.
Danny's lying on his back, blanket drawn up to his shoulders, his face turned toward the backrest. He's still fast asleep, and Steve sits down on the coffee table and just looks at him, listening to his even breathing. Danny's expression is relaxed as sleep is smoothing out his frown lines; Steve looks at his mouth and wonders, not for the first time, how it'd feel to kiss him. To have Danny kiss him back, to feel his body against his own. Steve blinks; this isn't the first time that he's thinking these thoughts. Danny and he have clicked pretty quickly and easily, despite their frequent arguing. And he's certain that they've had plenty of moments charged with tension far beyond the realm of friendship, moments which always went by unexplored. Steve hopes that Danny has noticed that as well, that it's not a one-sided thing. The problem is that Danny'd probably be here nevertheless because he cares about Steve at any rate, so his current presence isn't a reliable indicator.
Steve is still mulling this over when Danny stirs and a moment later opens his eyes. He must have felt the other's presence because he just turns his head towards Steve: “Babe? You okay?” His voice is drowsy and a bit scratchy from sleep.
Steve clears his throat: “I'm okay,” he says softly.
Danny regards him: “You don't look okay,” he murmurs.
Steve shifts on the coffee table: “I don't?” he asks meekly. His heart is beating in his throat by now, making it hard to think.
Danny gives him a sympathetic smile: “You look sad.”
And Steve suddenly feels an overwhelming wave of affection for this man who understands him like no one else seems to do, and who is always honest. Danny was the one who had been assigned to his father's murder case, he had seen John McGarrett's blood on the wall and the raw pain in Steve's eyes; Danny had conveyed genuine sympathy back then but he had not once tiptoed around Steve pityingly, had made it clear from the start that they were on equal terms with each other (boy, did Steve remember that right hook).
So Danny deserves the truth in return, doesn't he? Steve smiles, which takes a bit of an effort because he isn't sure about the outcome of what he is going to say.
“Everything is such a mess,” he begins. “My life... everything outside of work used to be uncertain. It was like walking on very thin ice. Ever since my mom died...” He pauses, searching for the right words. “My work was the one stable thing I had, but even that has been compromised lately.” He closes his eyes for a moment, then looks at Danny, who is listening attentively: “Finding myself in Halawa... I knew I was innocent, but I didn't know how to get out of this one. It was as though the ice had finally spread everywhere. Except... except where you were concerned.”
“Yeah, you.” Steve gives a small smile. “Right from the moment we met... if it hadn't been for you, I'd probably have given up at one point.”
“Nah...” Danny looks doubtful. “You're just thinking that because you've had a bit of a shock yesterday-”
“It's true,” Steve insists. “I haven't gotten any closer to solving anything, and the damn toolbox is driving me crazy! But you- you're good people, Danno. I'm... really glad you're here.”
Danny's expression softens, then he reaches out for Steve's hand: “Me too,” he says with a smile, his thumb stroking Steve's skin again.
They are silent for a moment, then Danny slowly sits up, never letting go of Steve's hand; apparently, the right moment has snuck up on them. “Incidentally,” he says, “the same is true for you, babe. The first few months on this island were hard. My colleagues, with the exception of Meka, barely tolerated me and my baby girl was living with my ex-wife and her rich new husband. My dog had died. I was living in a dump. Pineapples everywhere. It was a really awful. Five-0 changed everything, which means you changed everything because without you, there wouldn't even have been a task force. Therefore I've got to thank you. And I'm glad that this whole murder thing got sorted out. I really missed you while you were in prison.”
They look at each other fondly, still holding hands.
It's now or never, Steve thinks, don't let another moment go to waste, McGarrett!
“You're giving me goosebumps,” he says because it's the first thing which comes to his mind, then he panics- he shouldn't have said anything, should have-
“Of the good kind?”
Steve just stares at Danny. “What?”
Danny smiles in a rather shy way Steve has never seen before. “Of the good kind?” he repeats.
“Er...” Steve is momentarily lost for words. “Yeah. Yeah, that's what I meant. I think.”
“Maybe you need to elaborate a bit. Just to make sure we're on the same page.”
Steve blinks: “Er... I mean...” To his horror, he feels himself blush. “Sometimes I see you and I'm struck by... you.”
“Ah. I don't understand.”
“What's not to understand?” Steve asks, his impatience flaring up because he feels like an idiot who is incapable of expressing himself. He continues slowly, sorting his thoughts: “You are amazing... and lovely. And I... sometimes I see you and I'd...” He swallows. “I'd like to kiss you. Which I can't do, obviously, so I'm getting goosebumps.”
Danny's expression is amused but also affectionate and something else- relieved? He raises their joined hands to his face and kisses Steve's hand: “You're lovely and amazing,” he says softly, smiling at Steve. “Do you know how often I wanted to kiss you?”
They stare at each other for a long moment, then they both move simultaneously, towards one another, and the kiss is glorious, hungry but tender. Danny pulls Steve onto the couch with him, and when they come up for air after an unaccounted amount of time, they're both rather flushed.
“Goosebumps,” Steve whispers against Danny's lips, and they chuckle.
The next time Steve wakes up, he's back in his bed, but he's not alone. It's still raining and Steve has no idea what time it is, but for once, he doesn't care. It's Sunday and Danny and he are together, naked at that, and that's all that matters (he really hopes that neither of their phones will ring with something urgent).
Danny, who is still sleeping, is lying half on top of Steve, a whole new experience. He marvels at his partner's soft skin and how different it feels when it's not a woman. Steve only kissed another man once, but nothing more, and it wasn't something he remembers with fondness. This however- this is breathtaking, and even though they were mindful of his wound, neither of them would have wanted to wait a second longer, since they have been waiting so long already. So they undressed each other slowly, carefully, exploringly; Danny has had a boyfriend once, he told Steve, before Rachel had crashed into him. An eternity ago, it seems.
Steve thinks it was marvellous to learn how Danny tasted and where he was ticklish and which sounds he made, and it made him feel even closer to the other.
It fleetingly occurs to him that he hasn't worried about the video ever since last night, which is quite an achievement. It's also good to know that no matter what, he won't be alone in this. That he's got someone strong by his side, someone who'll always have his back, especially when there are days like the previous one, days on which Steve needs someone else to be strong for him at one point, someone who will take over and take care of him if the need arises. Someone who loves him and whom he loves in return. Who makes the ice turn into solid ground.
Smiling, Steve presses a kiss on his sleeping partner's forehead: “Thank you, Danno.”