"As I was saying ten minutes ago…"
Danny smiled sarcastically as he slid into the room. Some people didn't have slightly-less-bitter-these-days ex-wives to deal with; particularly not one who decided that just as he was trying to get ready for work was exactly the right time to discuss visitation arrangements for the holidays for the seventh damned time.
No, Steve probably woke himself up at 6am, did a 10K swim, a thousand pull-ups and then left for work at 6:30 on the nose.
"We have five dead couples, two local and three from out of town. All were gay, celebrating anniversaries, staying in hotels in North Beach, and all five ended up drugged and beaten so badly their own mothers wouldn't recognize them. The Governor is taking a personal interest in this one.”
"Tourists being brutally murdered near North Beach?" Chin interrupted. "Can't think why."
"You know the drill," Sir yes sir! Danny's mind supplied, "she wants this dealt with quickly and quietly. Emphasis on quickly."
"Ten known vics, four in the past eight days," Kono said, pulling up the file details. "Whoever this is," she looked up from the panel, "they're not slowing down."
"Ideas?" Steve barked and for a moment, Danny was back in junior high in front of the vicious football coach again. He’d hated that man.
"What, nothing? C'mon!"
The outburst was out of character for Steve, even when the Governor was bearing down on them. Danny made a mental note to find out why Steve was taking this personally, for his own safety if nothing else. Kono seemed equally taken aback, but Chin was looking contemplative.
Chin took a breath and hesitated before speaking. "I might have an idea, but you're not going to like it."
Danny was concerned that Chin was looking at him when he said that.
"The Grand Palace Hotel. We need to go in undercover there." Chin was now staring fixedly at the pictures in front of him.
Danny refused to acknowledge the idea he'd just had. There was no way that Chin-
"It'll have to be me and Danny; too many people know you."
Steve just had to say it, didn't he?
"Shouldn't be so hard, you're practically married already."
Danny gave Kono his best 'Oh really?' glare. She quickly looked down at the panel, but he could still see her smiling.
"No,” he argued. “I'm not doing it." Because he wasn't; this wasn't happening, this was a bad idea and it was not going to happen.
"The Millers and the Mendes-Arturos were both staying there, and we have a possible ID of Greg Athers at the bar the night before he died. It's a credible lead."
"So we go and ask a few questions. Job done."
"Except Kono has already done that." Steve said, clearly irritated.
"What?" Because that had clearly been mentioned in the couple of minutes before Danny got there.
"A brah in uniform noticed the pattern before the Governor kicked it up to us. After the Mendes-Arturos turned up, I helped him canvas the area but I got stonewalled by the bartender. I was lucky to get a half-assed shrug when I showed them Athers’ photo. But there's something going on there, I can feel it.”
“We're still waiting on the Lutons’ and Coopers’ credit card statements, but I'm willing to bet there'll be a link to the Grand Palace on them," Chin agreed.
"Look, we're blown already," Danny reasoned. "The killer probably already knows there are police creeping around; he's not going to try anything."
Kono looked unconvinced. "Serial killers don't just stop because the police are involved, not when there's an escalation like this. The killer's probably already looking for his next victims."
"You want to sit back and wait for a few more bodies?" Steve threw that out there with barely-concealed impatience.
Danny racked his brain, trying to come up with a better idea. He knew there had to be one, but there was a niggling voice in the back of his head telling him otherwise.
"The best way to find the killer is to become a potential victim."
Chin was right. Danny knew Chin was right. But he also knew that this was going to cause problems. He threw out a final Hail Mary pass.
"And you're fine with this, Captain Don't Ask Don't Tell?"
"It's Lieutenant Commander No Longer Serving, and yeah, I have no problem."
Danny stared at Steve. There wasn't a flicker of concern across his face, not a flinch or tiny sign that he was bothered by the idea of playing house with Danny.
They were all staring at him now. He'd run out of time.
"Are you at least going to propose?"
Check in was...enlightening. Not from the woman behind the desk, she just seemed professional but bored, as though she was doing something she'd done a thousand times before and would do a thousand times again.
No, it was when Steve wrapped an arm around Danny's waist and slid a hand into his pocket that made it different. As did Steve leaning down to whisper in his ear.
"You might want to relax a bit more." Could he have done that without breathing into Danny's ear? "Given that we're supposed to be together, this is pretty tame."
The woman finished typing and smiled apologetically up at them. "I'm afraid we're almost sold out at the moment. The only suite available is our Grand Deluxe, 564."
"We'll take it." "How much?"
Their replies were nearly simultaneous.
"Danny, it's our anniversary." Steve's tone made it clear that that was an end of the discussion.
"Oh, congratulations!" The reception clerk sounded surprised, but not shocked. Danny made a note of her name (Clara) just in case. "I'll have room service bring up a complimentary fruit basket. If you could please complete the guest registration form, I'll get you your keys."
As soon as she left, Danny tried to pull away, because close enough to smell the combination of sweat and aftershave on Steve's skin was too close, and right now he didn't need the distraction. Steve clearly disagreed, refusing to let him move too far.
Fine, if that's how they were playing this, he'd go with it. Reaching into his pocket, he closed his hand around Steve's and pulled it out and upwards, gently kissing the palm before he released it. Steve dropped the pen, which rolled off the desk towards where the receptionist had her back to them.
"Sweetheart, I need to go get the bags. I'll meet you at the elevator." It would be a long time before Steve's shocked expression left him. Worth it, though. Danny only just resisted the temptation to look back as he walked out of the entrance to grab the bags of surveillance equipment. He'd have to get his hands on the tapes from the security camera later.
It was their third night in the bar and looked to be passing as uneventfully as the first two. Chin and Kono were in the suite, keeping an eye on the video feed, but after the first night they'd given up on audio surveillance - the speakers caused piercing interference that Danny had feared would be overheard. They'd wired up the next night but the music made the recordings almost unintelligible. It wasn't an ideal set-up, but at least they still had the cameras.
"So," Steve brought back two more beers from the bar and Danny steeled himself. So far conversations had run from why he was still wearing ties to whether Jersey Shore was representative of Jersey.
"Why did you and Rachel split up? And don't feed me that ‘woke up married to a cop’ bullshit, again. What set off that realization?"
Danny figured he'd been working with Steve too long when the question didn't even faze him. "And how's your love-life going, Steve?"
"I asked first."
"Yes you did. Which means I get to not talk about it first."
After five minutes he cracked because they were only thirty minutes in and two hours of silence was going to be ridiculous. Steve could give the silent treatment better than Rachel, and that was not something he’d ever expected to be thinking about.
"Let's just say when she found out some stuff about me, she decided that as long as we both shall live didn't actually apply to her."
Steve seemed to take a moment to absorb this information. "I can kinda see her point."
"What? How, how can you see her point? You don't even know what her point is!"
"Well it's something important and you didn't tell her when you were dating, when you married, hell, even before Grace was born."
The dull hum of alcohol in his head was amplifying Danny’s annoyance.
"Oh and when was I supposed to drop that into conversation? 'Could you pass the potato salad and by the way, I used to date guys.'"
Danny was confused momentarily by the small triumphant smile on Steve's face. Then the moment was over and reality sank back in.
"I need another beer."
Steve clamped down on Danny's hand before he could leave the table.
"Before you go get us both another, check out the guy by the window. He's been watching us for the past ten minutes."
Making his way to the bar, he stole a glance at the man Steve had picked out. Tall, a little overweight and definitely staring. He was trying to hide it behind his laptop, but the way he shifted when someone crossed his line of sight made it obvious.
He placed his order at the bar and asked the bartender about him.
"Mickey? Oh, he harmless; just likes to watch people. Never causes any trouble, though."
"If you say so."
"I do. You guys staying here?"
"Yeah. Second anniversary present."
Danny caught the barman's twitch after the word 'anniversary'. He masked it with a friendly false smile, which Danny returned.
"Listen, can I be honest with you?"
"This is the second night in a row I've seen you in here, and you didn't look ecstatic the first time."
Shit, they'd been made. Not now, not when his gut was telling him this guy was someone to take an interest in.
"Trouble in paradise?"
"What? No! No, definitely not." If he was on to them, he was doing a good job of covering it up. More convincing than Danny's protest, if the disbelieving look on the guy’s face was anything to go by.
"Only you seemed a little..." He let the sentence drift off.
"It's ancient history. We're fine."
"Tell you what; let me help you guys out. I know the chef at the restaurant across the street, the Jade Garden. Great place and I can get you a thirty percent discount.
"That's good of you," Danny grabbed the bottles from the bar "but I don't think-"
"Never had an unhappy customer there. I might even be able to swing forty percent." Beneath the helpful demeanor, Danny could make out the desperation.
He turned back towards the bar, "Yeah?"
"Not a one."
"You do this a lot?" An expression crossed the barman's face that he couldn't quite place. It disappeared quickly, replaced by the same genial smile.
"Not a lot, but it's a mutual arrangement. The restaurant kicks people across here when they ask for a good bar."
"Okay then. You've convinced me...sorry, what was your name?"
"Marcus. I'll call my guy and tell him you're coming, ok? Tell the hostess that Andre's expecting you and they'll take care of you. Then you can let him," he nodded towards where Steve was looking over, "make it up to you."
"Thanks, Marcus. I think you've helped me more than you know."
Once Danny had filled Steve in on the conversation at the bar, they'd stayed just long enough to make their exit look natural and returned to their suite.
The door had barely closed behind them when Chin called out.
“I did a check on that guy watching you. He’s a local and a ticket from Oahu places him outside of the area for the Miller murders. Dead end.”
"Forget him,” Steve ordered. “Grab a still from the footage of the bartender. I want to know everything there is to know about him and a restaurant called the Jade Garden."
"Yeah, I saw Danny talking to him. You onto something?"
"As soon as I mentioned we were celebrating,” Danny answered, “he practically begged us to go to the restaurant where his buddy, Andre, works as the chef."
"There was something off about him," Steve concluded. "I want Marcus and Andre run through every database you can find, DMV-"
"Hold on, Marcus?" Kono looked wary. "Tall guy, short brown hair and really pale skin?"
Chin zoomed in on a still and Kono laughed in disbelief.
"That's the bartender I spoke to, the one who brushed me off."
Steve caught Danny's eye. Danny nodded, as much to himself than to anyone else. He could almost feel Marcus' frustration when he spoke to him.
"He's involved somehow, but I want to know where the Jade Garden features in all of this. Pull up the credit card statements again."
Chin shook his head as he brought up the records on a second screen. "There's no mention of them all going to the same restaurant, we'd have picked that up earlier."
"Do any of them have a charge to the Jade Garden?" asked Danny.
"Hold on, the Coopers do. Just a drinks tab. None of the others though, just them."
"Okay, so that charge posted the morning after they died, meaning they were at the Jade at some point the day before." Kono typed furiously. "Given the size of the drinks bill, I'd bet it was the evening they died."
Danny clenched his fist. He could practically feel that this was the right way to go. Steve was more reserved, not even cracking a smile yet, just that driven grimace on his face.
"Any way of telling if the same chef was working the night of all the disappearances?"
Another round with the keyboard and Kono's shoulder sank. "No, there's no staff roster I can get a hold of."
"You thinking we've just found our prime suspect?" Chin asked.
Steve didn't answer, instead turning to Danny for the first time since they entered the room. "Will the barman have tipped him off?"
Danny shrugged "He was still pretty desperate to get us there, even when I pushed him."
"So we've got two guys in this so far. Who's leading who here?"
Good question. "Guess we'll find out tomorrow."
For the first time in four days, Danny had his badge back on his belt. It felt good to have the weight back on one side, even better as the hostess glanced at it before rushing off to find Andre Green the moment they asked. They followed her into the kitchen and saw her having a hurried discussion with a squat, black-haired guy. No matter how hot it was in the kitchen, he should not have been sweating that much. She'd spooked him. Now if he could just keep Super Seal under control for ten minutes, they might get something useful out of him without threats of bodily harm.
"Hey, Andre Green?" Steve pointed at him and gestured for the hostess to leave. Green turned, backing into the hot stove-top. He quickly jumped away, brushing at his back as though he'd burned himself.
Jumpy little bastard. He's in it up to his eyeballs.
"Hi, Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett with the Five-0, this is Detective Danny Williams.” Danny nodded. “We'd like to ask you a few questions."
"Uh sure, anything you like." The guy was practically shaking as he tried to back away.
Steve clapped an arm around Green's shoulders, pulling him towards a bare steel work surface while Danny laid out pictures of the five couples.
"The thing is, Andre, I can call you Andre, right? Andre, these guys were all seen around your restaurant the nights that they died."
"Look man, I don't know anything about any killings." Green was practically shaking as he answered the question.
Killings? Danny shot Steve a look, who tried his faux reassuring tone. It was practically a Columbo tribute, "We just want to know if you recognize them. Simple as that. You can tell us if you remember any of them, can't you, Andre?"
"Yeah, yeah, of course. No problem."
Green stared at the images for a while, seemingly making his mind up. He pointed to the Coopers' picture. "Yeah, I remember them. Anniversary couple."
"How about the others?" Steve pushed the chef's head down until it was inches from the images.
"Uh yeah, maybe a couple of the others too."
Andre struggled beneath Steve's grip as Danny continued the questioning. "Did Marcus tell you they were coming?"
"Yeah, that's the deal. Marcus sends them over and we show them a good time."
"Did Marcus tell you to put something special in their food, too?"
Andre froze. Bingo, Danny thought, just as all hell broke loose.
Green swung wildly with something heavy and metallic, knocking Danny off-balance as it collided with the side of his head. His vision blurred, but he could make out someone running and followed them. A gust of freezing cold air hit him as he kept going. When his eyesight cleared, he registered that he was in a walk-in freezer, sides of beef hanging from the ceiling and boxes piled up around the sides.
Someone barreled into him and swung the door shut. He yanked at the handle, which jammed before it opened, and banged on the door. Steve had to be out there somewhere. Steve would let him-
"Did that bastard just lock us in?!"
Oh shit. His head began to swim again and he staggered against a wall, putting out a hand to hold himself steady. He retracted it a second later when the cold burned his palm.
"Crap," Steve swore and grabbed at his head, opening each eye in turn Danny shrugged him off and wrapped his arms around himself, rubbing his sides through the thin shirt he was wearing. Steve barely seemed to register the cold, too busy un-stacking boxes from the sides and piling them in the middle. If Danny didn't know any better, he'd swear Steve was building a shelter.
"Come here, sit down." Steve gestured to some flattened cardboard on the floor with a wall of boxes blocking the cold air vent behind them.
"What, no igloo?"
"Maybe later, when you don't have a concussion. For now, we need to keep your body temperature up."
Even as he was speaking, Danny tried to work out what he was doing. Everything became apparent when Steve sat behind Danny, legs outstretched around Danny's. Instinctively, Danny flinched away but Steve pulled him back, so that Danny was resting against his chest and shoulders. He distantly remembered something about sharing body warmth, but the room had started spinning again. He heard Steve curse beside him, but it sounded far away and he couldn't work out why. It was becoming really difficult to think clearly.
"Okay, here goes."
It was a few seconds before Danny realized that Steve's hand was on his cheek. It was a few seconds more before he registered that Steve had turned his face and was kissing him. After almost ten seconds, he worked out that it wasn't a one-way kiss.
The shock was enough to make him break away and stare at Steve. Wait, what? No, okay so he...but Steve didn't...not like that...not with him...did he?
He was jolted out of his thoughts by a scraping outside the door and he held back a hysterical laugh as the warm air poured in. Kono was first inside followed by a uniform Danny didn't know. She looked them up and down as Danny remembered he was still sitting between Steve’s legs.
"Taking this undercover thing a little seriously?"
"Medics sign you off?"
Steve was eyeing Danny suspiciously, as though he suspected Danny would come back with or without medical approval. Which, sure, he was right about, but was also completely unnecessary this time.
"Just the usual crap about being careful for twenty-four hours. Doctor said the cold might even have helped reduce the swelling."
"I'll remind you to thank our chef-cum-attempted murderer when you see him."
"I'd rather thank Kono and her excellent timing."
"Hey, you know me," she joked, "right dingy alley, right time to catch Green fleeing the scene."
"So what’d I miss?"
"Cuz has been in with our suspect. As soon as he mentioned the two counts of attempted murder, on top of conspiracy for the other eight murders, he started singing."
Chin interrupted, "I couldn't even get him to shut up long enough to ask if he wanted his lawyer present."
"And we were right about the scam, but wrong about the Grand. The Coopers were never there, they just happened to turn up at the Jade for drinks. Green heard them toasting each other and fed them a line about a free meal for their celebration. Then it was the same, he drugged their food, helped them out of the door-"
"Without paying so nothing would show up on their bills," Steve added. Damned perps were getting too smart.
"-and called our too-friendly bartender Marcus Valo to get them afterwards."
"He says he doesn't know what happened to them after that, but I think we can get more out of him."
"That's enough to grab Valo, let's go." Danny grabbed his jacket and headed for the door.
"Where the hell are you going?" Steve called after him. He turned back and saw that no-one else had moved.
"Oh I'm sorry. You want to sit back and wait for a few more bodies?" Danny knew throwing Steve's words back at him wasn't exactly a good idea, but he was not going to put up with being benched for this one.
"Really?" Steve looked pissed, but then again it could have been amused. It was hard to tell sometimes. "Fine, but if you get smacked in the head again, I'm not helping you."
Danny barely bit back a comment about making Steve brush his teeth before he 'helped' Danny again. There was a time and a place and neither of those involved witnesses.
You couldn't say the arrest had gone well.
They’d approached Valo’s house quietly. Kono had spotted Valo inside and signaled to them. Danny had quietly called for backup, but noises from inside had forced their hand. It sounded like Valo was tearing the place apart. Steve had tried to announce their presence but before he'd even gotten out the D in PD, Valo had blasted a chunk of siding clean off the wall beside them with a shotgun.
Chin and Kono had gone around the back to cut off any escape attempt. Danny crept beneath the window and started yelling, trying to distract Valo long enough for Steve to kick the door in. It had worked; another chunk of siding on the yard floor beside Danny was a testament to that. Steve rushed in, Danny scrambling to catch up and inside the house everything was quiet. The shotgun had been discarded in the front room, and Danny checked to make sure it was empty before shoving it under the couch. Steve checked in with Chin as they searched the rooms. He’d already headed into the bedroom, when Danny caught something out of the corner of his eye.
He dodged one punch but couldn't move out of the way fast enough for the second. It clocked him right in the stomach, forcing the air out of him and smacking him into the table behind him, as Valo kept on coming, spewing homophobic venom. He blocked a few strikes, took a couple more hits before finally Steve emerged from god knows where and gave him a patented McGarrett knock-out blow.
Which failed to work and Danny half wondered if that had ever happened before.
Reaching behind him on the table for anything heavy, he found something and smacked Valo over the head with it. There was a thunk and Valo went down. They both waited a moment, in case he decided to emulate Glenn Close; but there was nothing, just the rhythmic movement of his chest as he breathed. Steve called in for an ambulance as Danny looked at what he was holding.
It was a sturdy, leather-bound bible.
Steve finished up and looked pointedly at the book.
"Not a word," Danny warned.
"You know, when I say-"
"Because that's not what I mean-"
"You want me to hit you with this thing? I have no problem knocking you-"
Chin came round the corner closely followed by Kono. He looked down at Valo.
Danny knew it was coming and pre-emptively rolled his eyes.
"Danno booked him."
If this was a cop movie, Danny thought, the surveillance equipment would have already miraculously made its way back to headquarters. Movie cops never had to spend an hour or more breaking down computer equipment and microphones, packing them away, ferrying them back to the station disguised as luggage and signing them back in to a stony-faced technician.
It must be nice to be able to go home still basking in the glow of bust. Trying to arrange the polystyrene around the monitor and fit it back into the box was successfully diminishing the smugness of actually catching that bastard.
But as he and Steve, as the only legitimate occupants of the room, were stuck packing things up, Danny figured he may as well take the opportunity that presented itself.
"Okay, so the freezer thing?" Danny forced himself to look up at Steve "If I thank you, do you promise to never tell anyone that happened?"
If this had been his first week working with Steve, he'd have missed it. Hell, if it had been the first month he probably wouldn't have seen it. But it was well over a year now and that tiny flicker of disappointment was practically a flare. He paused, considering his options.
"Okay. So, if we don't forget that happened?"
Steve smiled, nodded and walked Danny backwards until his heels hit the wall. He leaned down to kiss Danny, who allowed himself to be held down while he tried to work out if this was as good as the kiss back in the freezer. There was something triumphant about it, and a complete lack of desperation. Not as good, but he could do something about both of those things.
Using the wall for leverage, Danny yanked Steve to the side, reversing their positions. He took a second to appreciate the look of surprise before it was replaced by one much less innocent.
Danny raised his eyebrows in a flash of defiance. Sure, Steve could kick his ass six ways from Sunday. Didn't mean he was going to get things his own way.
That was his job, to be a counterweight to Steve's...to Steve. Which meant this, as predicted, was going to end badly. Really, really badly.
That said, he couldn't make himself care right now, not with Steve's hand massaging his crotch. "You want to get on with it?” Steve said. “Only you've been holding out on me for four days already."
Another time and Danny would have held back just to spite him. But he was right. Four days he'd been pretending that this was just an undercover op. Four days he'd been trying to keep himself focused in the face of extreme distraction, and for four days he'd had to be incredibly careful around someone who seemed morally opposed to clothing, especially when in their hotel room.
Looking back, he should really have thought about that more.
For now, he was satisfied enough to kiss the smug smile off Steve's face and drag him into one of the bedrooms. He wasn't surprised when Steve pushed him down onto the bed, his legs dangling off the end, and instead focused on peeling off Steve's polo and then pulling down his board shorts. He couldn't help but smirk to find Speedos beneath. Steve whispered something about Hawaii, but it was all lost on Danny when Steve began sucking on the spot just behind Danny's ear. He didn't even bother pulling down the swim trunks, just reached inside to find Steve almost ready for him.
"Thought it was Scouts that were always prepared."
"Where did you think SEALs came from?"
Danny laughed until Steve covered his mouth, kissing him hard. His hands were busy with Danny's pants and for the first time since he'd moved there, Danny seriously considered swapping them for shorts, a kilt, anything that would come off faster than his damned chinos. Steve yanked them down past his hips but not all the way off, just enough to get at Danny's semi-hard cock. Danny wasn't surprised; Steve had seemed like the instant gratification type the moment he met him. Breaking away, Steve pressed three fingers against Danny's lips. Danny caught on quickly and opened up, swallowing around them and covering them in saliva. He licked the each finger individually from base to tip and savored the increasingly deep breaths from Steve.
"Some other time," Steve promised as he pulled his own cock out of the Speedos, "I'm going to blow you so hard it’ll make that knock Green gave you feel like a love tap."
Danny smiled around the fingers as they were withdrawn and wrapped around both their now-exposed cocks. The spit wasn't quite enough but this wasn't going to last forever - four days wasn't even close to how long Danny had been waiting for this. He pulled Steve down against him, not caring how his back was compensating for the difference in their heights. All Danny knew is that right now, he wanted to taste Steve, wanted to swallow down each ragged breath as he came.
It wasn’t perfect; too gentle of all things and he’d never have guessed that about Steve. A few encouraging words dealt with that and then fuck yes that was good. Everything was good; Steve’s tongue in his mouth, his spit-slicked hand fucking them both, the friction of their cocks pressed against each other and just the fact that this was actually happening. That was the overpowering sensation,
Even as he thought it, the realization that Steve was fucking him drove him into an orgasm that left him shaken. A few brief pumps later and he was gone, with Steve following bare seconds later. From the uneven breaths above him, it hadn’t been too bad for Steve, either.
Steve slumped to the side, one hand reaching across Danny’s chest. In his post-orgasmic haze, he didn’t realize what Steve was doing until he was done.
"No, no, no. You did not just wipe your hand on my tie."
"You don't need a tie."
"Really? You want to start this all over again?"
"It's ridiculous to wear a tie in Hawaii."
"And so you decided that covering mine in spunk is the right way to persuade me?"
"Not really, just thought you might like a memento."
"You're welcome. Happy anniversary, Danno."
Danny weighed things up. On the plus-side really, really badly had turned out to also be really good. And clearly nothing had changed with Steve.
On the minus-side, he needed a new tie.
"Happy anniversary, Steve."