“No, really,” Danny said, “how is this my fucking life?”
He watched as Steve jiggled the handle of the meat locker for the twentieth time, like through some miracle it was going to be any less locked than it was the other nineteen times he'd tried it. “Would you please stop that?”
“I'm trying to escape, Danny,” Steve said, still wrestling with the door handle. “You might want to consider helping.”
“Uh, pass, sorry. With the luck I've been having this week, my flesh will stick to the damn metal. And so will yours if you keep doing that.” Another jiggle. “Come on, will you? You may be SuperSEAL, but even you can't open locked doors from the inside.”
Steve gave the handle one last, frustrated push, then threw up his hands and stalked back to the place where Danny was sitting perched on a crate of sausage. “All right, all right.”
“Look, don't worry so much, will you? Chin and Kono will find out where we are; they're just a little busy right now. I'm sure as soon as they've caught those guys – thereby doing a much better job than we did – they'll let us out of this place.”
“They know we were headed to the docks,” Steve said, “but how are they going to find out we're trapped in a meat locker in this particular warehouse?”
“Have you met them?” Danny asked, and Steve rolled his eyes. “No, seriously, you think you're scary, all Kono would have to do to one of those guys would be to look at them and they'd piss themselves.”
“That's because they weren't all that tough,” Steve said, pouting.
“They were committed environmental warriors determined to end America's dependence on red meat,” Danny said, quoting the leader guy chapter and verse just to piss Steve off as he gestured at the huge slabs of beef hanging on hooks all around them. “And you liked them so you let them –”
“I did not! Well, okay, I didn't want to shoot them – I mean, they weren't violent, and they –”
“– you went soft on a bunch of geekass college kids, who yes, fair enough, it was pretty clear were not going to cap us, but nevertheless, they were not exactly benign, because they have taken our guns and left us here, which, may I humbly point out, sucks.” Steve opened his mouth to speak, but Danny held up a warning finger and he closed it again. “But you know what the worst part is? The worst part is that Chin and Kono are going to laugh their asses off when they find out. They will laugh at us, and I would like you to point out when that happens that most of this was your fault.”
Steve glared at him for another few seconds, then – oh, yes, they had achieved pout, that was a definite pout. “Fine,” he snapped, folding his arms across his chest and flopping down dramatically beside Danny, kicking out one of his feet as he did like a petulant five-year-old. Danny refused to find it cute.
Once Steve had subsided into wounded silence, Danny decided to be magnanimous. “One thing about this,” he said, bumping Steve's shoulder completely by accident, “it feels a lot more like February in here than it does out there.”
Steve grunted in response. Danny bit his tongue to keep from grinning.
“Of course, you're going to be an icicle inside of an hour.”
Steve treated him to the Special Forces Glare of Death, which Danny was willing to admit he did find cute. But not sexy. No, not the least bit sexy. “I went through cold water training, Danny,” he said, the tone of his voice revealing he'd gone past pouty and was now headed for a full-blown snit, “believe me, this is nothing.”
“Uh-huh,” Danny said, unable to keep from poking Steve to see what would happen, “so you sat in a tank of chilly water for a few minutes while wearing a nice, comfy wet suit. So what?”
A muscle in Steve's jaw leapt, and that was not sexy either. “Try an hour in a tank full of ice cubes wearing only my boxers,” he growled.
Just for the hell of it, and maybe because he was going to need the thought to stay warm, Danny let his gaze roam from Steve's face all the way down to his toes. “Hunh,” he said. “And how long ago was that? BUD/S training would have been what, eleven, twelve years ago?”
When he looked back up at Steve, he was gaping with a mixture of shock and something Danny couldn't figure out. “It's only been ten years! And that's not the point. Since then, I've done lots of –” He cut himself off abruptly.
Steve scowled at him. “You're trying to get me to tell you about the operations I've been on.”
Danny rolled his eyes. “Believe it or not, not everything is about you. I'm mainly trying to keep myself entertained by seeing if I can make that vein in your forehead pop out.” He leaned in a little, peering at Steve's face. “Nope, not yet. Gotta try harder, I guess.” For emphasis, he tapped Steve's skull, just below the hairline.
Steve's eyes widened, huge in his face, and Danny had a split second of wondering if Steve was going to throttle him or head-butt him, and then the frozen, pissy expression abruptly broke and he burst out laughing. Danny joined in, the two of them grinning dopily at each other, and after a minute he noticed Steve's face was really kind of close.
They both straightened at the same time, laughter dying. Danny blew on his hands, more for something to do than because they were cold.
“You're right,” Steve said, staring straight ahead as if he were on parade. “Chin and Kono will have us out of here in no time.”
“Blink of an eye,” Danny said, nodding.
Two hours later, Danny's toes were starting to go numb. Fuck if he was going to tell Steve that, though.
About twenty minutes ago, Steve had started his fourth reconnaissance of the meat locker, trying to figure out a way to escape that hadn't occurred to him before. Danny was half convinced he was going to try to Macgyver a beef carcass into a battering ram.
When he heard crashing sounds and cursing from the back of the locker, he went to investigate. Steve was rubbing his knee and glaring at a crate of ham like it had insulted his ancestors. Danny sighed and crossed his arms.
“Okay, you realize the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?”
Steve looked around, his eyes a little wild. “There's something I'm missing,” he muttered.
“You're not missing anything. I'm not missing anything. We just have to hang tight and wait. They'll be here soon.”
Steve jerked his head up to look at him then, and Danny sucked in a breath. “Shit,” he murmured. “When did your lips turn blue?”
Steve wrapped his arms around himself, and Danny could see the tremor in his muscles the thin t-shirt he was wearing totally failed to hide. “I'm fine.”
“You idiot,” Danny said, far more fondly than he would have liked, “come on.” He led Steve back to the front of the locker. “Sit down,” he said, pointing, “here. It's probably a couple of degrees warmer from having my ass on it for the last couple of hours.”
“You want me to sit on your ass print? Shouldn't you buy me dinner first?”
“Sit,” Danny growled, and amazingly, Steve sat. Danny immediately took hold of his hands, wincing at what he found. “They're like blocks of ice, Christ.” Without thinking about it, he untucked his shirt from his trousers and stuck Steve's hands up under it, pressing them flat against his chest.
“Shit, fuck, fuck,” Danny gusted, squirming at the cold. Steve started to pull his hands away, but Danny tightened his hold. “Quit it. I'll get used to it, and you'll get warmer.” After a minute, he flipped Steve's hands around so that the backs were pressed to his chest, then held them there until they no longer felt like they belonged to a dead guy.
“Okay,” Danny said, looking around him. “Help me with this, will you?” He walked over to a crate of similar height and began dragging it toward the one they'd been sitting on. With Steve's help, they soon had a platform about seven feet long.
“Now what?” Steve asked, but Danny was already lying down on his side on top of the crates. They weren't exactly designed for comfortable reclining, but they'd have to do.
“Better than lying on the floor,” Danny said. “Come on, already,” he said, patting the narrow space beside him. “Join the party.”
Steve frowned at him for a moment, then sighed, clearly bowing to Danny's logic. “Okay, okay,” he muttered, stretching out facing Danny, lining up so that their heads were finally on the same level.
Still frowning, Steve peered down the length of their bodies. “Hunh,” he said.
“What 'hunh'? What is 'hunh'?” Danny demanded, already moving closer to Steve, taking hold of his hands again and bringing them up so that they'd be trapped between their bodies.
“Nothing. Just that we're pretty evenly matched above the waist. Your proportions are almost the same as mine.”
“Yeah, thanks for reminding me my nickname in junior high was Dorf.”
Steve bit his lip to cover the surprised snort. “It wasn't.”
“Mock my pain, see if I care.” He took Steve's hands in his again and closed the final distance between them, and it was like gears meshing: hips pressed to hips, belly to belly, chest to chest. Danny only had to tilt his head up a little, and suddenly he and Steve were breathing the same moist air.
“Head down,” Danny ordered, and Steve followed him again without question, their foreheads touching as they created a small pocket of warmth to conserve what heat they had left.
“Here,” Steve said, lifting his arm, “put your hand in my armpit,” and even though it sounded ridiculous, Danny could see the point of it as soon as he did it, because their warm air pocket acquired another insulating wall. Silently, he lifted his own arm, and Steve copied him.
“Good idea,” Danny said, as he realized he could actually feel his nose again.
Steve grunted. “I am a SEAL,” he said, quietly because their faces were so close together.
“Is this in the manual?” Danny asked, just as quietly. “How to Keep From Freezing Your Ass Off: The Buddy System?”
“Unfortunately, our asses are a little exposed here,” Steve said, and Danny chuckled.
“Yeah, well, I hear they can graft on a new one now if it falls off.”
“That takes a load off my mind,” Steve said, and Danny could tell he was smiling. He felt the cold tip of Steve's nose pressing against his forehead, and shivered a little. The nose withdrew immediately.
“Sorry,” Steve murmured.
“It's fine,” Danny said, and after a moment Steve shifted a bit. The next thing Danny knew Steve's hips were pressed to the tops of Danny's thighs and his breath was puffing right against his mouth.
“Okay?” Steve whispered. Danny nodded without looking Steve in the eye.
“Feeling a little warmer?” Danny asked after a minute. He tried to focus on Steve's face, but it was making him cross-eyed, so he shut his eyes instead.
“Yeah,” Steve murmured. “You're like a fucking furnace.”
“Just more used to cold climates than you are. Admit it.”
“Okay, okay,” Steve said. After a pause, he said, “How'd you know about BUD/S training?”
“I read a book,” Danny said. Actually, he'd read six books about SEALs after getting saddled with McGarrett, and every one he read just made him more and more scared – and impressed. “Wanted to find out just how psycho you were likely to be.”
“And what was your conclusion?”
“Let's just say I made sure my will was up to date.”
Danny felt Steve tense up under his hand, and pulled back a little so that he could focus on Steve's face. “I'm sorry,” Steve said. “I fucked up.”
“Not hugely,” Danny said. “We're gonna be fine, and I'm glad you didn't shoot them.”
Steve's mouth quirked into a half-smile. “Thought you'd be pissed if I did.”
“Oh, come on, you love pissing me off.”
“Not always,” Steve murmured, and suddenly Danny couldn't focus on him any more, and then he felt Steve's breath get warmer just before Steve's mouth pressed against his, way more tentatively than Danny would have expected.
“Your lips are cold,” Danny said, when Steve pulled back.
“So warm them up,” Steve growled, mouth covering his again, and okay, Danny could do that, Danny was right on board with that. Maybe he'd never been a Boy Scout, but he bet he could light a fire under Steve McGarrett like nobody's business.
“How'm I doing?” Danny panted some time later, when he was draped over Steve like a blanket. “You hot enough now?”
In response, Steve shifted so that his hands were free to slide down Danny's back. Danny groaned as they cupped his ass, squeezed a little.
“Don't want this one freezing off,” Steve murmured in his ear. “They might give you another I don't like as much.”
“Seriously?” Danny demanded, lifting himself off Steve a little. “You got yourself a nickname like Smooth Dog with lines like that?”
Steve scowled at him. “You know, sometimes – oh, fuck it,” he muttered, taking his hands off Danny's ass and hauling him down again.
Which of course was when the door suddenly burst open and Chin and Kono rushed in, causing Danny to leap off Steve like he'd caught fire.
Too bad he wasn't fast enough.
Steve poked his head past the emergency room curtain as Danny was doing up his pants. “So, uh,” he said, gesturing at Danny's feet, “they have to amputate any toes?”
“Nope, still got all twelve.”
“Ha ha,” Steve said.
“How about you?”
“Yeah, I'm –” Steve waved a hand “– good. I, uh, I sent Chin and Kono home. HPD is going to take care of those guys.”
“So did I hear that right? They tipped HPD off to our whereabouts?”
“Yeah,” Steve said, sticking his hands in his pockets. “Took them a little while to come to a consensus, but they actually ended up turning themselves in.”
Danny reached for his shirt and shrugged into it, telling himself he was not going to fumble any buttons. “Bet Kono was disappointed.”
“She was,” Steve said. After a pause, he added, “I think we made it up to her, though.”
Danny fumbled one of his buttons; it took three tries to get it in the hole. Fuck. “You talk to her?”
“When the hell would I have had a chance to get a word in edgewise? After she was done with the safe sex lecture, she wished us both luck and warned me not to break your heart.”
Danny snorted. “As if. You're the fragile princess in this relationship, not me.”
“Do we have to have one of those?” Steve asked, making a face.
Danny clutched a hand to his chest. “I'm telling Kono on you.”
Steve took a couple of strides toward him and took him by the shoulders. “Just promise me we won't have to talk about our feelings for at least another week and I'll be happy.”
“Oh, this is peachy,” Danny said, throwing up his hands. “How come I always gotta fall for ice queens?”
Steve leaned in and brushed his lips against Danny's, and Danny's shiver had nothing to do with the temperature. “Maybe because you have a talent for thawing them out,” he murmured, and okay, Danny decided as he fisted his hands in Steve's t-shirt, that wasn't such a bad line, as lines went.