An unmarked envelope slides across the desk of Danny Williams. He catches sight of it from his peripheral, refusing to look at the person who put it there. He does not have time for that white piece of paper, nor the man hovering over his desk. He’s filing the report he's working on, changing into his suit hanging behind his door and then heading to Grace’s school. It’s graduation day—one of the proudest moments of Danny’s life. He will be front row to watch his girl walk across the stage and collect her diploma. He will not miss it, not for anything, not even a world-ending threat, which is more than likely what Steve has brought him.
“No,” Danny says without looking up from his screen. He uses two fingers to shove the envelope back across the desk. He’s not opening it. It can wait until tomorrow.
“What do you mean, ‘No?’”
“You heard me. No.” Everything he has done in the last decade has been for Grace, to watch her experience this day and many more like it. He’s grateful he’s alive to be here for it when he knows there have been plenty of dark days when he thought he wouldn’t.
“You don’t even know what it is.”
“And I don’t want to,” Danny says. “Not now. I’ll deal with it later. Nothing is stopping me from where I need to be. You hear me?”
“You should open it.” Danny hears the irritation in Steve’s voice, but if he looks up from his computer and into those bright eyes he’s fallen into too many times to count, he’s done for. He’ll get sucked into whatever plan Steve has and wants him to be a part of and then he'll resent him and everything that’s lead up to this point.
“I don’t want to open it.”
“Why not?” Steve shuffles his feet, sighing dramatically. There’s an argument brewing which Danny doesn’t have time for, even though he lives to argue with this man.
“I can only focus on one thing and one thing only: my baby’s graduation. And that,” he points to the envelope sitting on the edge of his desk, “is trouble.”
“You have a real problem, you know that?”
“Yes, you’ve told me countless times before and I would like to engage in whatever you want to engage in, just not right now.”
“Danny.” Steve makes a noise in his throat, mumbling about Danny’s paranoia and trust issues and he’s heard all of that before, too. He knows without looking at Steve his expression is fluctuating between constipation face and kicked puppy.
“I know you, Steven, and whatever it is will wait until tomorrow.” He types the last sentence, saves the report and shuts his computer. Ignoring Steve, he walks to the door, then unzips the garment bag holding his suit. When he turns to ask Steve to leave, he finally sees the man before him decked out in a new navy suit with expectant eyes staring back at him. It takes Danny’s breath away. The way Steve wears a suit should be illegal. His broad shoulders fill empty spaces perfectly and his long legs are proportioned precisely with the cut of his jacket.
Danny does not have time this!
No time for Steve in his ‘James Bond’ tailored attire complete with a tie and a patterned pocket square flashing in Danny's face, and from the soft look in Steve’s eyes he knows it, too.
“You’re coming?” Danny asks, swallowing the lump in his throat. Tickets were limited, each student allowed only three and with Danny, Rachel and Stan it meant Danny couldn’t invite his team to this proud moment, as much as Grace would've liked them there.
“Lou gave me Will's extra ticket. Samantha couldn’t make it, so…” Steve smiles and says, “Although I might’ve called in some favors from the Governor if he hadn’t.”
It makes Danny chuckle, because it’s the truth.
“I wasn’t going to miss this, Danny. Wasn’t going to miss being there for you.”
He doesn’t know what to say to that, only that for the last decade they’ve had each other’s backs. And until now, he didn’t understand how deep that sentiment went. They are family in more ways than most.
To avoid a breakdown that he doesn’t have time for, Danny makes quick work of changing into his suit, and as he’s buttoning his shirt, he gives in and asks, “So, what’s in the envelope?”
“Maybe you should open it and find out.” Steve picks it up, holding it for him, and when Danny doesn’t reach to take it, Steve huffs, rolling his eyes as he pulls out a thin piece of paper for Danny to see.
His eyes aren’t what they used to be, so he knots his tie as he moves to take a look.
“What is this?”
“What does it look like?” Steve holds it closer to Danny’s eyes.
“I know what it looks like. It looks like a cashier’s check for twenty thousand, one hundred, fifty-three dollars and forty-seven cents. You rob a bank or something?”
“Did I rob a bank? Where did you get this kind of money and why are you giving it to me?”
“Remember that first year we met, and you came to live with me for a couple of months?” Danny nods his head, unsure where this is going. “You insisted on paying rent.”
“Yes, and you were a stubborn asshole about it and would only take five-hundred dollars a month. I think you’ve overpaid me by eighteen thousand six hundred and fifty-odd dollars.”
“I took that fifteen hundred and invested it.”
“It was sitting in the bottom of my drawer for the longest time. I didn’t want to spend it in the event you needed it and then I forgot about it.”
“Okay....” Danny waits for further explanation.
“It started as a joke. Toast came to me looking for investors for that ‘Penguin’ thing. I wanted to help the guy out and thought what the hell. I’ll give him your money and we’d have a good laugh about investing your money in a poop game. Well, we know how that went, and before you know it we were in some serious cash. Four years later, this is where we’re at.”
“Are you shitting me?” He realizes the irony of his question and also notices the 'we’ Steve keeps using.
“There was lots of shitting up until this point,” he smiles and winks, “but I assure you there’s none now. It’s yours.” Steve shakes the check, wanting Danny to take it, so Danny does if only to get a better look to see if it’s real. Which it is.
Danny starts to laugh, giggle really. He feels it bubble up from his gut and surface in an unmanly way, but he can’t help it. It’s absurd and sweet and he doesn’t know what to do about it.
“It would’ve been a hell of a lot more but I was reckless with my investments.”
“You? Reckless?” Danny scoffs.
“Let’s just say we lost more than our livers that year. I learned my lesson, though, and had Adam take over.”
Danny stares at the piece of paper in his hands until his eyes fill with moisture and the numbers are blurred. He doesn’t know how he feels about profiting from a friend he still misses, one they couldn’t save and never should have died. He can’t say the money wouldn’t help, though. College is not cheap, especially on a detective’s salary, and as much as he’s touched by Steve’s gift, it’s not his money to take. It’s not how Steve and Danny work. It’s not how their friendship stays balanced. They give and take, and if he takes the money he has nothing to give Steve in return.
“Steve,” Danny says and it’s hard to get out. He clears his throat. “I can’t take this. This is yours.”
“It's yours, Danny.”
“It was your rent money.”
Steve nods, holding up his hands in defense. “Which I deducted from the total with interest calculated because I knew you’d be stubborn about it. That's what's left.”
“Why?” Danny says above a whisper.
Steve takes a step closer. Danny feels the heat from him, it's always there, a constant warmth in his life.
“I never needed the money. But you were proud and angry back then.”
Steve smiles, but he doesn't waver from his objective. “I never spent it. I thought you might need it for Grace someday, you know? And when that never happened, I wanted to do something with it. I did it after Colombia. I promised Grace I’d get you back no matter what, and when we did, it got me thinking. Figured if something ever happened to you...to us, I wanted her to have a future. One that was provided by you, not Stan’s money or Rachel’s, but from you.”
Danny’s eyes are swimming in tears, and the evening hasn’t even started.
“I don’t think you understand what your family means to me.” Steve clears his throat, looking up to the ceiling. “You’ve given me so much over the years, Danny,” he says. “You can give this to Grace knowing she’ll be okay. She can buy a car or invest it for her first house. Put it toward college. Marine Biology studies are not cheap.”
“No, they are not.”
“You’re an amazing father. The best. And I know money’s never been important to you, to either of us, but this will help.”
“That's one hell of a graduation present.”
“Charlie has one, too.”
The last string holding Danny’s resolve is snipped away. He fucking loves this man so fucking much he just doesn’t know what to do about it.
“What are we doing?” Danny mumbles under his breath, head down, staring at the paper in his hands and the years it represents. “What are we doing?”
“What do you mean?”
“You love me. More than a partner.” He takes a step, takes a chance. “More than friends.” Danny meets Steve's eyes to prove his point. He wants to see if he is wrong, but the way Steve's skin flushes and he glances around the room means Danny isn’t wrong.
“Danny, I...” Steve rubs at back of his neck.
“What are we doing?” Danny repeats, only this time louder as he grips Steve’s forearms squeezing until Steve looks at him. “You could’ve just told me. All these years.”
Steve focuses on Danny like he’s given him the world. It’s typical McGarrett gallantry and the gall of him when it's Danny's life that was unequivocally changed the day they met.
“I love you, too, you goof.” And that’s it. Danny takes a breath and lunges, planting his lips on Steve's with the vigor of a decade behind him, giving him the courage to do what he should have done years ago.
Steve kisses back, bending his knees so they're on equal footing, pulling Danny against him until he feels the last ten years of wasted moments hard against his hip.
“Fuck,” Danny says, pulling away. He cannot go to Grace's graduation with his cock like this.
“What? What?” Steve says his face full of confusion.
“I told you that envelope was trouble!”
“What?” Steve says, his shoulders rolling forward.
“We don't have time for this.” He points to the front of their pants, both tented obscenely. “We're late, babe. I really want to continue this...conversation,” he says for tact. “But—”
“We're not missing Grace's graduation.” Steve smiles.
“No, we most definitely are not.” And as much as he wants his feet to move they're stuck to the floor. He reaches for Steve one more time, kissing him with everything he has to let him know this is the real thing, not some fleeting moment of gratitude, and that after tonight he wants to explore this thing between them in depth.
“We'll use the siren,” Danny mumbles against Steve's lips.
“I'll drive,” Steve says, and for once Danny is happy to hear those two words together.
They kiss until they hear a tap on the window, and when Danny turns to see who is interrupting years of pent up feelings of repression his heart swells more than he thought possible.
Dressed in their finest, Chin and Abby are there along with Adam and Kono. He hasn't seen them in over a year, and they're standing on the other side of the glass, smiling and looking like they never left. Kono has her hands to her face, shaking her head mumbling words that Danny can’t make out except for the word ‘finally.’
“I did call the governor,” Steve says, shrugging his shoulders. “She owed us...owed you a couple extra tickets.”
His family is here. His baby girl is graduating, and Steve, the love he never thought he deserved, loves him back. He can make it through this day, make it through the next few months before he has to say goodbye to Grace knowing that everything he's done up until this point has been for her and the price he’s paid has been worth so much more.