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=== 1700 Thursday ===

Steve was pacing in the emergency room waiting area, anxiously waiting a sign that his partner was okay. He hadn’t expected the idiot drug dealer to try to get away on a boat, nor had he anticipated that the idiot would have a meathead lackey roughly the size of a fridge. And he really didn’t plan on his partner getting grabbed by the throat, slammed against a bulkhead, and tossed off the back of the boat into the harbor. He had no choice to let the drug dealer escape while he dove into the water to save his dazed partner.

Here he was now, stuck for six hours, unable to do anything except wait. His entire team would swear in court that while a lot of adjectives could be used to describe Steve, ‘patient’ wasn’t one of them. Especially when he started the day by fishing the partner he cared too much about out of the harbor and then having to watch his stunned, still body get carried off in an ambulance. Just as he was approaching the receiving nurse again (and she could really stop glaring at him – he’d bothered her only three times in the last thirty minutes and only charged the ER doors once when he first got here), Danny came limping out of the back with his left arm in a sling, a necklace of bruises forming around his throat, and a frown combining the best aspects of anger and misery spread across his face.

“Danny! Are you okay?”

All the misery left the glare, replaced by frustration as Danny opened his mouth and quickly shut it. He gestured and leaned in to Steve, as if to whisper something in his ear, but instead swiped Steve’s keys out of the taller man’s pocket – Danny’s were now at the bottom of the harbor, probably being eaten by a crab, so Steve was glad he had an extra copy made for himself. He watched Danny stalk out to the parking lot, sliding in to the driver’s seat.

“Okay, we’re talking about whatever’s pissing you off later, I guess,” Steve muttered as he got in the car. “It’d be better if you talked about it now. At least let me drive, since you’ve only got a concussion. And one hand. Not that you normally keep your hands on the wheel when driving.”

Danny only turned his head to stare at Steve and pressed a finger against his lips – Steve, shocked by the warmth spreading from Danny’s touch, could only nod. His shock deepened when Danny leaned forward against the wheel, breathing slowly, then got out of the car and moved to the passenger side. When Steve just sat there, stunned, Danny reached in and dragged him out of the seat. Flopping in, he motioned Steve to the driver’s side and tapped his badge, making a driving motion.

“Back to the office, then. I really should take you back to my place. We’d have to break in to yours, since your keys swim worse than you do.” Danny would be suspicious if Steve didn’t make fun of him, and Steve really did not want to discuss the emotions triggered by seeing the ring of bruises on Danny’s pale neck. “Somewhere we can keep an eye on you, Danny.”

When all he got in return was a sharp glare, Steve decided to save the fight for later and drove to the office. Silence reigned through the entire drive and walk up to Five-0, where Danny stormed into Steve’s office and leaned back against the desk, his eyes closed.

“So, what’d the doctor say?”

Danny pointed angrily at his throat then drew his thumb across it.

“Huh?”

Danny opened his eyes to glare at Steve and turned to look at Steve’s desk. Grabbing a pile of sticky notes, he started scribbling furiously. As he reached the end of the first note, he slapped it forcefully against Steve’s chest. Steve peeled it off to look at it, trying to not react to Danny touching him again.

“A dislocated shoulder, a slight concussion, and a bruised larynx? Okay, makes sense. So why are we passing notes?”

Scribble, scribble. Slap.

“Oh, you’re kidding. Absolute vocal rest, because of the bruising? Not a word?” Christmas was early, and no one told him? “How long?”

Scratch. Slap.

“Three days!? You’ll explode.” Steve knew if the situation was reversed, he'd have a hard time following the instruction. Danny? Impossible.

Grab. Scratch. Underline. Slap.

“Minimum! And you can’t say anything at all?”

Scratch. Scribble. Pause. Scribble. Steve caught the note from Danny’s hand before it could hit his chest. There’d been too much touching for his sanity in the last few minutes.

“You can just pass these like a normal person.” Steve looked down at the note then back up at Danny, feeling guilt at his early glee. “Oh. ‘It hurts too much.’ Damn. What can I do, Danno?”

Danny started to write then just shrugged.

“Okay, here’s where we’re going to start. I’m listing you as on desk duty for the next week – don’t look at me like that, your shoulder’s messed up too. You can dig into those piles of forms you’ve been glaring at on our desks. Since you only need a chair and a laptop to process them, you can do it from my lanai.”

Stare. Scribble scribble scribble.

“Nope, not an option. I want you somewhere safe while you’re winged and can’t call for help. Besides, think of it as a day where you’re paid to sit on the beach. Don’t you have Grace this weekend?”

Sigh.

“Exactly. You’ll need someone to help corral her. And you know I like hanging out with her. If it’ll help convince you, I promise, no surfing lessons.”

Glare.

Steve grabbed both of Danny’s hands and looked straight at him. “Just…Danno, go along with this for me? We still need to get that dealer, and I don’t need to be worrying about you.”

Sigh. Nod.

“Huh. I just realized something. You can’t argue with me. That means I win all the arguments.” He smirked at Danny, knowing the response he’d provoke.

Danny raised a hand as if to poke Steve in the chest, threw it into the air, and stormed off to his office.

 

=== 2100 Thursday ===

It was really strange around the office.

He hadn’t really noticed how much noise Danny made when he was awake and vocal.

This silence? It was freaky. They were still stuck there, doing a post-mortem on the bust and arrest – the idiot dealer actually tried to sell to a cop later in the day, so at least that was out of the way. But then they had to deal with the paperwork. To Steve’s distaste, the stack of paperwork was probably three times as large when an incident caused a team member to be admitted to the hospital.

Danny had insisted that he stay and help with the forms, but he didn’t last long; he was currently sacked out on Steve’s office couch, shifting to get comfortable but the look of misery on his face belied his success. Steve knew the doctors had forbidden any sort of pain killers until they were sure Danny wasn’t concussed. Truth be told, Steve only minded slightly, since a restless Danny was a living Danny, and it kept reminding him that he didn’t want to get in the habit of breaking any of his team more than absolutely necessary.

It wasn’t as if Danny had been much help anyway: while he could type two-handed, watching him try to type with only his off-hand was painful, and having to stop every three minutes to translate a particular tight-eyed glare to Chin as “You are aware that sentence will lose our funding” or a specific eye roll and shoulder shrug to Kono as “sure, that works, if you want the guy to get off on a technicality” was getting in the way of Steve getting his own reports written.

But he was realizing just how loud Danny usually was when he made this sort of paperwork “quietly” disappear. Since Danny crashed on his couch, Steve noticed:

– A lack of humming, sometimes of a single note, sometimes a recognizable song – and he really did need to mock Danny about his Disney repertoire, even if Steve understood why a grown man would  know the entire soundtrack to the last five princess movies;

– No “Hi” or “How’s it going” to anyone that passed through the office – Steve had favors scattered all over the island from his father and his own career, but he was convinced Danny was on a first-name basis with every uniform in the entire HPD;

– No random shouted-out questions to one of the team about some procedure or detail from a case, even though the team usually sat down at the end of the day to make sure they were all on the same page;

– A cessation of the not-so-quiet mutterings about having to translate Steve‑caliber craziness – Danny said it had spread like a virus to all the officers in the task force – into something that would ensure their continued funding and high conviction rate;

– The end of the frustrated rapping Danny had used to replace the vague and loud imprecations he always produced whenever his desk computer failed to read his mind and do exactly what he wanted;

– A complete lack of their friendly banter, since about 30 minutes in, Danny had thrown post-its and a pen at Steve and had disappeared into his office to have what Danny would call “a manly sulk” if he caught Steve doing it before he resurfaced only to pass out on Steve’s couch.

Usually, he knew when Danny was in the room. All the little noises kept his SEAL-trained senses fully aware of where his partner was at all times. But now that Danny was curled up like that, face scrunched in lingering pain, Steve had to keep checking to make sure his energetic partner was still okay. Seeing Danny in so much pain unnerved Steve, flashing images of seeing Danny going under and coming up so still. The concussion was just a handy excuse to keep wandering in and making sure those blue eyes would open, an excuse to touch Danny lightly and make sure he was still there. He knew he was going to kidnap Danny back to his house once they finally got out of here, so that he could check on his partner every hour like the doctor wanted. But all that contact, when his feelings were already messed up about the shorter man?

It was going to be a long weekend.

 

=== 1500 Friday ===

It took Danny less than 18 hours to remember he still had thumbs. Chin owed Steve $20 now.

Steve had spent the entire damn day isolated in government meetings feeding the bureaucrats who’d never seen the real world, having had turned his phone on silent to not be interrupted. He had left a still-asleep Danny back at his house with Mary given orders to wake him and make sure he was okay. Danny had brought home a laptop and forms to catch up on, but with the morning’s dose of painkillers sitting on top of them, Steve hoped Danny would take the day off and rest. Since he had been waiting for Kono to send a message about some forensic evidence waiting to be processed, he turned his phone on immediately after the meeting to see the results. To his surprise however, he had not one, but sixteen text messages, all from a man who had previously described texts as “lazy-man’s voicemail”.

9:57 - Yes, mom, I’m up. You didn’t have to have your sister babysit me. I know I left sunblock here. Where did you hide it?

10:08 - Found the sunblock. Your bathroom closet is scary. Are you laying in for a zombie apocalypse?

10:36 - Trying to do the forms for Le case - what did we decide for “hung him off a balcony rail by his belt”? “High-altitude improvised interrogation tactics”?

10:42 - Stupid pineapple weather. Need new form and signature from Chin on Le case. Shouldn’t be able to rain while sunny. Laptop’s fine, I think.

10:53 - Emailed Chin. He sent me a copy of the form. You’re helping me figure out how to open it when you get home.

11:26 - Are you ignoring me? It’s not nice to ignore the injured, Steve, especially when it was you charging in without backup that got them injured.

11:55 - bored. bored. bored. bored. bored. No adrenaline junkie to get me killed. Gonna watch the Jets game.

13:07 - Do you have nothing tasty in your house? Took one of the hundred soup cans from the pantry. Again, zombie preparation? Ma would kill you, she saw this kitchen.

14:03 - The Jets lost. I blame you.

14:08 - Rachel called to talk about this weekend. Had an excuse to hang up on her. This week isn’t a total loss. I need to text her, but the shock may kill her.

14:42 - She’s mad you didn’t call her after I got out of the hospital this time. Did you call her last time? Why are you plotting with my ex-wife? Since when?

14:43 - She also blames you for the Jets losing. She called to trade days. She needs me to pick up Grace this afternoon.

14:50 - You didn’t leave me car keys. You have to pick Grace up from her school in ten minutes. Don’t be late, or I’ll sic Rachel on you, since you’re in cahoots now.

14:55 - You’re out of beer, too. Just grabbed the last one. Pick some up when you get Grace.

14:57 – If you were wondering, alcohol and throat bruising is a bad idea. The floor needs mopping, now.

14:59 - Don’t forget my kid, McGarrett.

Laughing, Steve checked his watch to see that he was officially three minutes late, so he quickly called Grace’s school to have her held in the classroom. He figured that Danny had sent her a text when she bolted out of the room toward him and grabbed his hand as he greeted the teacher.

“Mr. Steve, what happened to Dad? He actually sent me a text message!” She was quivering with worry.

“He’s fine, Grace. He got injured slightly at work yesterday. The doctor wants his throat to heal. He can’t talk until Monday.” He couldn’t help the grin. As worried as he was about his partner, it was still funny to think of him desperate enough to text everyone he knew. Herding her into the car, he drove home and warned Grace when they arrived, “He’s gonna be a little tense, so he’s gonna need a lot of hugs.”

Grace smiled. “Okay! Are you gonna hug him too? You have to hug him, too, Mr. Steve, if he needs hugs!”

Like father, like daughter. Steve knew he wasn’t going to win the argument, so he just sighed and nodded. Grace’s happiness came first; Danny would understand.

At the house, Grace calmly waited until Steve turned off the engine then bolted for Danny, who had opened the door to see who arrived. Steve made a mental note to talk to his partner about maintaining the security of a facility, especially one that had its integrity damaged recently; his thoughts were interrupted by a loud “Mr. Steve! Come hug him too!” Giving in to the inevitable, he drifted over to his partner, who was backing away with a distrustful look on his face.

“Sorry, Danno. The little lady commands.” Steve was grateful for his greater reach as he grabbed Danny by the shoulders and dragged him in tightly, ignoring Danny’s attempts to push him off. “She said I had to hug you too,” Steve said, enjoying the close contact with the shorter man, reveling in the amount of heat he put off.

After a minute, Danny stopped resisting and collapsed into Steve’s chest, wrapping his arms around Steve’s waist. Realizing that Danny was nuzzling into the comfort of the embrace with a surprising vigor, he leaned down to whisper, “We’re gonna talk about this when you can yell at me again. And the fact I’m now glad the task force’s phone plans have unlimited texting. Are you a fifteen-year old girl now?” He smiled at Danny’s subtle snort and pressed a light kiss to the top of Danny’s head. “Let’s go feed your daughter and watch movies. Disney good? I miss your singing.” There was the annoyed face he loved causing! Hopefully, things would be back to normal soon.

 

=== 2000 Saturday ===

Steve knew he had been studying Danny too closely for too long when he realized that he could actually translate Danny’s hand-waving into English. After spending the entire day with Danny and his daughter, he noticed even Grace had to have Danny write something down a couple times. But he didn’t have a single problem.

It wasn’t that Danny was using any sort of sign language. Steve remembered a high school friend’s brother who was deaf, and those organized, structured gestures looked nothing like Danny’s expansive waving. Nor was Danny using any sort of military signal system that he recognized. It was just that he’d seen all these gestures before in many a rant and story.

Like when he would slowly raise one arm to level with his shoulder with the palm up, then quickly drop the arm while twisting the wrist away. That was clearly Danny getting agitated about something Steve just did, but wanting to argue right now (Grace wasn’t even near his surfboard, anyway). Both hands going up palms up was a sign of intense frustration and they dropped back down to signal that Steve needed to drop it before Danny killed him. If the arms went out to the side instead of down, Steve knew to leave Danny alone for a while until he got his temper under control. Any sort of circular motion was Danny telling him to continue making a fool of himself so that Danny could mock him later.

Danny was just as expressive in a good mood. When he was happy, he tended to actually touch Steve more to get Steve’s attention instead of just yelling across the room. Steve wasn’t objecting to the increased contact – he guiltily reveled in the contact from Danny.

As much as Danny accused Steve of wearing his emotions on his face, Danny’s flowing expressions did nothing to hide what he was thinking. Right now, the frustration on his face as he held on to Grace before she climbed into the car Rachel sent to pick her up was enough to make Steve hurt for his partner. Knowing the silence was frustrating Danny, Steve couldn’t help but to walk up behind him and ruffle Grace’s neatly tied back hair.

“Hey, you know he can’t say it, but Danno still loves you, Grace.” Steve smiled down at the little girl when she looked up at him.

“I know. I love him too.” Grace grinned up at him sneakily – Steve was pretty sure she got that expression from her father – and hugged her dad again before running off to the waiting car. “Goodbye, Uncle Steve. See you next weekend.”

Danny watched the car drive off, then leaned back, pressing back against Steve’s legs. He turned his head upward, looking for something in Steve’s face. After a few seconds, his lips shaped the words “thank you” before dropping his head back down to stare at the driveway.

Steve let him have his usual post-Grace sulk for a few minutes before dragging him up to his feet by his good arm and steered him inside. “C’mon, you. Neither of us slept well last night. You went and hit your head so I had to keep waking you up and you refused to make it easy and sleep in my room. Let’s go watch the game on the TV.” When Danny didn’t object, he steered Danny inside. When Danny turned to go toward the living room, Steve grabbed him by the good shoulder and steered him toward the master bedroom. “Nope. In here, where I can keep track of you and don’t have to move your corpse from the living room.”

And there was that face on Danny, the “Steve is a crazy possessive bastard about anyone on his team” face.

“You kept tossing and turning all night, Danny, and rolling on your injured shoulder. And you’ve been limping all day. The bed will be better for your knee, too.”

Disbelief spread across Danny’s face. Steve could read the objection about personal space invasion in Danny’s torso, with the eyebrows contributing an option on obsessive watching.

“So yes, we’re gonna share a bed. Maybe if there’s another body in there, you won’t roll as much.” Apparently, Danny’s mouth thought that logic was particularly poor, but Danny wasn’t resisting as he led them into the master bedroom, so Steve took it as another win. Climbing into the other side of the bed, he turned the TV on to the Giants game he had recorded earlier when they were on the beach with Grace. Steve couldn’t help but smile when he saw his still-injured partner finally start to relax from the long day.

Steve waited until the game was over and his partner was fully asleep before rolling over to snuggle in against Danny’s good arm. He knew he should wait until they talked, but Danny’s warm bulk in his bed was just too tempting, and since Danny just snuffled and slipped his good arm around Steve’s back to pull the taller man closer, he decided that it was worth the yelling later.

 

=== 1000 Sunday ===

“C’mon, boys, up and at ‘em. We’re going shopping.”

Steve groaned and buried his head deeper into Danny’s hair. Just because he had already been up for a swim didn’t mean he actually wanted to get moving for the day, especially when his partner’s warm form was still lounging in bed. So he had crawled back in and curled up behind Danny’s comfortable body. When he wrapped his arm around Danny’s waist and Danny grabbed it and interlaced their fingers, he settled into a comfortable doze. At least, until his annoying little sister came tramping in like a big brass band.

“Okay, you two. Move.” Steve watched in shock as his sister calmly strode in his bedroom and pulled the sheets off the bed – he was grateful he and Danny were still pretty much clothed. “Especially you, Danny. You were the one texting me about the pantry here. You can come help get my brother off his canned food obsession.”

Steve decided he fully agreed with the succinct gesture Danny saluted Mary with, and had to get a word in as well. “You’re lucky we’re still clothed, sis.”

“Not really. He’s still injured, so you won’t do anything too strenuous until he’s healed. I know you like your sex strenuous – I’ve heard it too many times. And you’ve called out his name enough other nights that if you were more naked, there’d be sex. I didn’t hear anything, so it was safe.” She grinned at the blush rising on both their faces. “See? I can be a detective, too. We’re leaving in fifteen minutes. Move.”

“Stores are gonna be open all day, Mary.” Steve muttered, burying his head in Danny’s neck.

“True. But a Trader Joe’s is opening and having a huge grand opening sale all weekend.” She grinned when Danny’s head perked up off the pillow. “You interested? There’s plenty of healthy food for you to hoard, Steve.”

“What is this place?” Not that he wanted to get out of bed, but anything that got that much interest from Danny this weekend might be worth scouting.

“It’s a grocery store done right. Not a huge selection, but what they’ve got comes from everywhere. Lots of local and organic products as well as strange imported stuff. They’re environmentally aware, and they pay their employees decently. So you in?”

Danny was already rolling out of bed and digging through his bag, looking for clean clothes. Steve sighed, and rolled off the other side of the bed, already in a clean shirt and pants. “Can we get breakfast first?”

“Nope, ‘cause you’ll stall. They’ve got a bakery in-store. I’ll be waiting by my car, since we all won’t fit in the Camaro or the truck. And if you keep me waiting, you’re going dress shopping with me next weekend.” She walked out the door, denying Steve the chance to get the last word, so he turned his attention to Danny.

“A fancy grocery store? With imports and specialty food? You? Who dragged you in there?” He watched Danny’s shoulders rise and his jaw set in a very familiar way. “Ah. Rachel dragged you. You want to go? I can scare my sister off our backs, if you don’t want to go.”

Danny shook his head, shrugging, and buttoning up a clean shirt. He started to open his mouth, then frowned. He slumped a bit, looking so miserable Steve had to go wrap him up in his arms.

“Just one more day, Danno. You’ll see the specialist and he’ll let you know if you can start talking again. Though, I gotta say, it’s been a nice weekend. Quiet, even.”

Danny rolled his eyes and pulled away, smacking Steve’s chest as he went, and walked out of the room. He paused in the doorway to shoot Steve his “you’re being obnoxious and can stop talking at any time now” face; Steve wondered if Danny knew he had as many identifiable faces as he said Steve had. Following the shorter man out to his sister’s car, he decided he might as well use the time to catch up with his sister after her latest jaunt to the mainland.

The storefront once they got there looked safe enough, and the crowds were fairly thin. Still Steve moved in close formation to Danny’s bad shoulder, ready to jostle anyone who got too close. Danny had spared him a quick glare at Steve’s complete lack of tact, but Steve just threw an arm around Danny’s shoulders and followed where Danny led him.

He had to admit, for something from the mainland, the store wasn’t bad – fairly open layout, good prices as far as food on the island went, and a really interesting selection of oddities from all over the world. After swinging by the bakery, which to Danny’s glee had actual doughnuts and danishes for the opening, Danny had drifted down the aisles. Steve was amused to no end about the amount of time Danny spent in front of the pastas; he gleefully pointed out Danny being a stereotype and ducked the ensuing smack. They wandered through the store until they reached a massive produce section. Steve knew better, but he was in too good a mood to not grab a fresh pineapple and toss it in Danny’s cart, starting a massive silent argument with a bit of gratuitous-but-necessary hip-checking. It was probably why he wasn’t paying attention to his six and was ambushed by a short mousy girl with an apron, a basket loaded with citrus, and a nametag that declared her to be “Monmon”.

“Can I help you with the pineapples, gentle…Steve? Steve McGarrett? Is that you? Monica Desjardins. We were in high school together.”

Steve reeled back into Danny as she stepped fully in his space. Danny of course was smirking at his discomfort when Steve glanced at him for help. “Uh, yeah. Hi, Monica. It’s been a while.”

“How’re you doing? Are you back to stay?” She looked up at him with a hungry look on her face.

“Uh, I should be here for a while. I’m heading a task force for the governor. This is my partner, Danny Williams.” He grabbed Danny’s good arm, dragging him forward. There was no way he was facing Monica alone. He remembered high school.

“That’s good, that’s good. Wow. The Navy’s been so good to you.” She was now visibly leering at him. “You used to be so thin and scrawny. McGarrett the Ferret.” She smiled at Danny, who lit up at the nickname – Steve knew he’d be hearing it again. “He was so lean, and always twitching and high-strung. But bendy. Very bendy. Some of the tackles he would just flex his way out of, well, it was inspiring.” She turned her gaze back to Steve, openly evaluating him. “But filled out is a good look, too.”

Steve knew Danny could read all his faces, so he hoped his jerk of a partner was reading the sheer panic on his face. When Danny tapped his watch and waved towards the front of the store, he mentally decided that he owed Danny a week of no height jokes. “It was good to see you, Monica, but we’ve got to get running. If you work here, I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah, this place pays so much better than others, and the boss isn’t trying to grope me all the time. So win-win, there. Maybe we can go out for coffee? Or drinks? Or out for drinks one night and stay in for coffee the next morning?”

And that was a leer. She was openly leering at him now. He decided Danny earned a month of minimal teasing when Danny wrapped an arm possessively around Steve’s waist and flapped his free arm at Monica.

She stared at them confusedly, then lit up. “Oh. Oh! Partners! That’s cool. Thought you meant partners at work. No, that’s cool. Uh…do you both want to go out for drinks, then? Together?”

Steve didn’t have to fake the frown, though it was more from Danny peeling off him and storming off into the store with his basket than anything else. “Uh. Guess not. I’m sure I’ll see you around, Monica, but I gotta run.” He didn’t even wait to see the disappointment fully appear on her face before he took off to find Danny. When he caught up to the shorter man, Danny was calmly lurking in the canned soups, considering between minestrone and clam chowder.

“Danny, I’m sorry. Monica’s always been…forward. That was remarkably subtle, for her. I…”

Danny turned, holding up a hand and frowning while he looked at Steve appraisingly for a few seconds – then busted up in hoarse laughter, waving his arms like he was shooing something away, poking at Steve’s chest, then mimicking picking something out of thin air.

“That was an escape route? You were acting to just get rid of her?” Steve wondered if it was all acting, including the possessiveness, but he wasn’t going to ask.

He needn’t have bothered, since Danny yet again proved he could read the taller man like a book by stepping forward and pulling Steve into a tight embrace for a minute, stroking a hand up and down Steve’s side. After letting go, he shrugged, grabbed both cans of soup and headed for the checkout, Steve close behind.

 

=== 1130 Monday ===

Steve was getting sick of hospital waiting rooms and doctors’ lobbies.

Even though this appointment was scheduled, it didn’t help that he had been stuck out here for two hours while Danny got poked, prodded, and scoped, all to see if he’d be able to talk again. So Steve, being the responsible and concerned boss that he was – at least, that’s what he told the receptionist – drove Danny here and was waiting to take him back to the office. But it meant he was stuck here with no entertainment, long since bored with the magazines in the office and the games on his cell phone. And work was no help – it was so slow, Kono had time to message him links to “demotivational” posters she wanted to put up in the interview rooms and pictures from some site called “There I Fixed It”, suggesting that she send pictures of his home repair.

Danny appeared right as Steve was debating bothering the receptionist again, rubbing his throat. He glanced at Steve and headed straight for the door. Steve trailed along behind, waiting until they got in the car to bring up the dreaded topic.

“So by your silence, I take it the doctor wasn’t happy?”

Danny coughed slightly and whispered at a fraction of his normal voice. “No, I can talk. Doc said the swelling was pretty gone and nothing seemed permanently out of place. It’s just going to still be sore for a few days, so I gotta take it easy. You can continue to enjoy winning the arguments.”

Steve slumped back into the seat, grinning. “You do listen to me. And even remember it! How sweet.” He waited for the eyeroll and shrug. “That said. We need to talk. About us. If there’s an ‘us’. If you want that.” He paused when Danny turned fully towards him from the driver’s seat and felt Danny’s heated gaze slide slowly down and back up his body. Steve was ecstatic when Danny, instead of saying anything, just pulled Steve’s head down and pressed their lips together. Steve figured he was going to stop questioning his luck when he felt Danny’s lips open beneath him. The moan when their tongues tangled together was the best sound he had heard that week, even better than hearing Danny’s voice again.

Turned out, they really didn’t need to have words after all.