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That's Not Just Friendship, That's Romance

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Allowing himself to be set up on a blind date was one of the stupidest things Danny had ever agreed to.

Kono was being weirdly insistent about the whole thing. “You’ve had a bunch of tough cases lately, tougher than usual,” she said. “I think you need a break.”

“Break? I don’t need a break.” Danny looked at the mountains of papers on his desk and forced a smile. “I don’t think the boss would be very appreciative if I took a break. This“ -- he gestured at the case files -- “is a week’s worth of ‘Book ‘em, Danno’s.’”

Kono raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms. “Which is why you need to relax.”

“I’ve got time to relax. I’ll relax tonight, okay? I have a nice night at home planned.”

Danny wasn’t going to relax, though, and he never had a “nice night at home” unless Grace was around. Usually after work he’d go back to his apartment, have a beverage, occasionally of the alcoholic variety, watch a little TV, and fall asleep on his sofa bed, which hadn’t seen its days as a sofa since he moved in.

“You need to get out more. You pretty much live here.”

“I don’t –“ Danny started to protest, but then he realized, yeah, he did spend most of his time at the 5-0 headquarters.

“You do,” Kono said, and then, “So that’s why you’re going out.”

When Danny didn’t say anything right away -- she probably meant drinks with the team; they did that sometimes -- she added, “On a date.”

Danny head snapped up from where it was bent over a file, and his eyes went wide. “What? Uh, Kono, I think -- I’m not trying to be rude here, I promise -- but I don’t think you should be asking me out.”

Kono laughed. And she laughed some more. “Oh my god, no, no. Although …” She trailed off, looking toward the window.

“Wow. Okay.” Danny took a deep breath and put a hand on his chest. “You freaked me out a little bit there.”

She turned her attention back to him and smiled. “I know, and I enjoyed it.”

Great, exactly what Danny needed was another McGarrett, someone who basically lived to get him riled up. He moved a file over to his “completed” stack.

“Anyway, I appreciate it, but I’m fine,” he said. “I don’t need to go out. I need a full night’s sleep that’s not interrupted by Steve texting me every five minutes.”

Kono looked like she was holding back a laugh. “What’s he texting you about?”

“God, I don’t even know, random shit.” Danny picked up his phone and scrolled to a message sent the previous night. “Okay, this one says, ‘Do you want to come over? I bought pizza.’ Jesus Christ, no, I don’t, and not at one in the morning. Does he actually sleep? What is his problem?” He grimaced at his phone and set it back on the desk.

Kono still had that weird, amused look on her face.

“I think he’s just trying to get you out of your apartment,” Kono said. She sat down on the edge of his desk. She stared at him until Danny looked up from what he was doing. “So … you’re going out with someone, okay? No pressure or anything, just dinner.”

“I -- “ Danny said. He was about to tell her, thanks, but no thanks, he didn’t need her help getting a date, he didn’t need to go out anywhere, he was perfectly okay with spending a night in watching a football game after dealing with McGarrett all day. Then he remembered he was dealing with Kono, and if he said no, she could probably kick his ass.

“I think you’ll have fun.” She smiled, and there was something in her eyes that should have told Danny she had a devious, devious plan up her sleeve.

Before he could ask any questions, she said, “I’ll text you the time and place later,” and walked out.

“Tonight?” he called after her, but she was already gone.

*

“Kono set me up on some date thing,” Danny said to Steve later, walking up to him as Steve stared intently at the touchscreen table.

He was studying a map, using his hands to move it around, and he glanced at Danny, eyes narrowed, lips pursed. He straightened up and turned around so he was leaning against the edge of the table, his arms over his chest.

Steve raised his chin. “Oh, yeah?”

“I don’t get it. I also don’t know why I’m telling you, except it’s weird, because that’s not like her, and she says I need to get out. I do get out, okay. When was the last time we went out for drinks?”

“Two months ago.”

“See? That’s not that long,” Danny said, and Steve laughed. “And since when does ‘needing to get out’ mean needing to go on a date?”

Steve shrugged. “She’s just looking out for you. Making sure you don’t spend so much time here.” He turned back to the touchscreen.

Danny came closer and stood next to Steve, their arms touching. Steve went still for a moment before he moved away. He used his fingers to zoom in on the map, and Danny watched the flick of his wrist, the way Steve bit his lip in concentration.

“What are you doing?” Danny said.

“Trying to track down our suspect. GPS keeps going in and out.”

Danny waved a hand. “Okay, Mr. Wizard. Let me know when you find something.”

Steve pointed at a blinking white dot on the map. “Right there. Come on.”

*

It was really saying something that taking down a couple of drug traffickers was a slow afternoon.

Danny was standing next to his car and taking off his vest when Steve came up to him and said, “HPD’s got them” and, as if it was a natural thing to add next, “When’s your thing tonight?”

“I don’t know, eight? Why? Planning on inviting yourself?”

Steve shook his head and opened the driver’s side door.

*

No matter how much he wasn’t looking forward to that evening, Danny knew Kono had a point: he spent way too much time at work. It was the main reason why his marriage ended; since the divorce was the reason he came to Hawaii, he could say his devotion to his work is why he was living in this hellhole.

In Newark, he had a certain kind of stability to his work. Now, work meant running around this island with a neanderthal of a Navy SEAL who thought that “immunity” meant he could do things like break down doors without probable cause and dangle suspects off of roofs. Danny had seen some crazy shit in Newark, but nothing like this. And at his old job, he never had to remind his partner that proper police procedure actually existed.

Working with Steve was exhausting. He was what Danny’s mother would call “a handful.”

There would always be a certain level of unpredictability involved in police work, and hell, Danny was a detective -- he wouldn’t have become a cop if he couldn’t deal with a job that was hardly ever routine. But Steve took any semblance of routine and chucked it out the window. Steve thrived off of craziness; he needed it to survive. If things started to stagnate -- which they rarely did -- Steve would come up with some way to stir things up again.

Danny was starting to get used to it; some days, he even enjoyed it. He wasn’t about to say that aloud, though. If his yelling became less frequent, if the looks he gave Steve started to soften, he pretended not to notice, and hoped Steve didn’t, either. Their working relationship kind of depended on Danny’s occasional outbursts at Steve; it was Danny’s way of keeping him in check. He also liked getting a reaction out of Steve, but that was another thing he wasn’t going to tell anybody.

*

Danny hadn’t been on a date in about thirteen years -- his last first date was with Rachel, and he still remembered it fondly: a little Italian restaurant in New York, her smiling at him over the top of her wine glass, stealing a kiss as he walked her to her car.

So, he hadn’t dated in a while, and he’d never been on a blind date before. Big deal. He’d manage, and his date would, too. He could be charming when he wanted to be.

He sat alone at a corner table, looking down at his phone, tapping his foot, and occasionally taking a sip of water. He checked the time. He arrived early, and he’d been sitting there for twenty minutes reminding himself that he was actually good at getting to know people, at making conversation, and wasn’t that what a first date was all about?

Danny drew in a breath. There was no reason to be nervous; he faced a hundred situations every day that were a lot more nerve-wracking than a first date. Most of those situations involved Steve in some capacity, and Danny had made it out alive -- so far. Sometimes -- okay, most of the time -- Danny was convinced that Steve was going to get them killed, but at the same time, they had an implicit, unspoken trust. He never thought he’d see the day he started to trust Steve with anything, let alone his life, but somehow the fact that he did wasn’t all that alarming. It had just kind of … happened.

A shadow appeared over the table, and Danny looked up from his phone right into Steve McGarrett’s face.

“Oh my god.” Danny rested an elbow on the table and pressed a fist to his forehead. “What are you doing here? You know when I said earlier about inviting yourself that I wasn’t serious, right?”

“I’m saying hello,” Steve said, in that tone of voice he used when he thought whatever he was doing was perfectly normal and obvious; it was the same tone he used when, for instance, he decided to throw a suspect into water full of sharks. “What are you doing here?”

“I have that -- that date thing, remember? I’m waiting for someone, so it would be nice if you could, you know, go.” Danny made a shooing motion. “Not that I don’t want to sit here and talk to you, because you know I don’t see you often enough already.”

Steve smirked. “I really don’t think it’s often enough, Danny.”

“You need to leave.” Danny sighed, and he looked up at Steve, who was dressed in his best impersonation of James Bond. The restaurant was nice, but it wasn’t that nice, not befitting of a fancy suit. However, Danny had a sneaking suspicion that Steve’s wardrobe consisted entirely of cargo pants, t-shirts, and that one suit hanging in the back of his closet.

Steve pulled on the lapels of his jacket, straightening it out. “I’m supposed to be meeting someone here, too.”

Danny’s phone vibrated with a text. He picked it up and read it aloud: Have fun with Steve! He groaned and muttered, “What the hell.”

A second later, Steve got a text that said, Enjoy your date with Danny! He looked at the screen and then held it up for Danny to see.

“I don’t get it,” he said, sliding into the seat across from Danny.

“It means she set us up on a date, Sherlock,” Danny said, reaching for the bread basket. “Why, I don’t know. Did Kono think this would be funny? Me and you, going out together.”

“Some sort of prank,” Steve said in a serious voice. Then he shrugged. He fucking shrugged, like it was no big deal. The waiter stopped by to take Steve’s drink order, and once he’d gone, Steve said, “This has to be a joke.”

Danny bit into the bread and swallowed. “I guess. I don’t know why else she’d do it. And then you show up in your James Bond suit, thinking you’re probably going to get laid tonight. Too bad.”

Steve rolled his eyes. “I didn’t think I was going to get laid. I just wanted to look nice.”

“You’re more dressed up than anyone else here.”

“At least I’m not wearing a tie,” Steve retorted, and they were quiet for the couple of seconds it took for the waiter to drop off Steve’s beer.

Now it was Danny’s turn to roll his eyes. “Seriously, are we really going to do this again? Let go of the tie thing. The tie is respectable. It communicates professionalism.”

Steve took a pull from his beer bottle. “Does it say, ‘I’m an officer of the law’?”

“Fuck you,” Danny said, but he was smiling, and when he caught himself smiling, he stopped. “What does your attire say on a day-to-day basis? ‘I enjoy cargo pants’?”

Steve’s mouth twisted up in annoyance before he smiled back. “I’ve just never seen you not wearing a tie.”

“I’ll take it off now if you want.” Danny leaned back and worked the knot free, taking the tie off. He opened the top two buttons of his shirt, just enough to show the base of his neck and part of his chest. “There.” He set the tie in his lap. “Better?”

Steve stared at him. “Uh.” He reached for his beer, and he shook his head like he was trying to clear his thoughts. “Yeah.”

There was something indecipherable in Steve’s expression, but whatever it was, it was new. Steve’s eyes got dark, and he made a point to look away from Danny, out at the other tables. What was his deal? Was he trying to hide something?

“Hello,” Danny said, waving a hand, and Steve’s attention snapped back to him. “Remember, you’re supposed to be on a date. A date that you don’t want to be on and I don’t want to be on, but do you really want to let Kono down by telling her you spent the entire time staring out at the restaurant and ignoring me? No, you don’t.”

It wasn’t like Steve to daydream or get distracted. If Steve actually daydreamed -- which Danny would bet he didn’t -- it was probably about polishing his guns or beating up bad guys.

“Sorry.” Steve fixed his eyes on Danny’s, and he looked like he was about to say something else right when the waiter returned to take their orders.

Danny was grateful for the distraction, grateful that he didn’t have to sit there and try to figure out what was going on with Steve. Or with himself.

Maybe it was weird for Steve, almost as weird as it was for Danny, and not just because they worked together and Steve was his boss. He’d never been on a date with a guy before. His experiences with guys had been brief: a couple of one-night stands in college, a few hookups with one guy from his baseball team. He’d never thought about asking out another man, about extending his hookups to dinners and hanging out. He’d just wanted to have sex, not get to know the guys he slept with. He hadn’t exactly been on tons of dates with women, either; Rachel was the first one he’d gone out with more than twice.

It wasn’t that he was trying to keep it a secret, or like he was in denial. Obviously he liked guys, but he’d never thought about it, never had any kind of freakout or spent time mulling over his sexuality. He’d never bothered to put a label on it, never bothered to come out because he never thought he had to. The way Danny looked at it, he was more attracted to women than men, but if once in a while he thought a man was attractive, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Objectively, if he didn’t work with Steve, if they’d never met, if Steve was just some guy on the street or at a bar, Danny would have thought he was hot. He was Danny’s type: tall, dark-haired, and broad-shouldered. Danny liked the physical differences between them, the way they contrasted. But somehow, now, working with him, Danny could disconnect that attraction from the general disbelief and irritation he usually threw in Steve’s direction.

And he couldn’t even think of this as a date. It was just Kono being funny, playing a joke on them. That was it. Unless …

“Steve,” Danny said, “did you make Kono pretend like she was setting this up?”

Steve pulled a face. “No. Although, I have to say, I’m enjoying our time together.”

“Of course you would,” Danny muttered, and Steve smiled at him, the kind of rare smile that Danny hardly ever saw because usually Steve was in serious mode most of the time they were together. It lit up his entire face and made it really hard to be annoyed with him.

“I think you actually enjoy spending time with me,” Steve said, like the thought had just occurred to him. “You put on a really good act, but is there a reason for you to sometimes show up at my house at nine o’clock on a Saturday morning? I don’t think so.”

The back of Danny’s neck started to heat up. “That was only two times, okay, and I needed to talk to you about something work-related, but if you’d like me to show up with coffee and breakfast every Saturday, you’re going to have to start to pay up.”

“How about I pay for dinner tonight and we call it even?”

“I wish you’d told me before that you were paying; I would have ordered something more expensive.” Danny grinned.

“You’d really take advantage of me like that?”

“Hey, I deserve it.” Danny sat back in the booth. “Having to be in a car with you for a few hours every week is reason enough.”

“I’m not that bad of a driver.”

“Well, it’s not just your driving. It’s sometimes your music, and also your refusal to listen to common sense, but hey, you’re the boss.” Danny threw up his hands. “I have to live with it.”

“Technically I’m the boss, but we’re a team. We’re partners. Equals.”

Danny nodded, ignoring the warm feeling he suddenly had in his stomach. He brushed it off with a quick comeback, tamped it down until he forgot it ever even existed. “If we’re equals, maybe you should let me drive my own car more often.”

“You’re never gonna let that go, are you? The driving thing?”

“Probably not.”

*

At the end of the night, as they left the restaurant, Steve said, “I’ll walk you to your car.”

“Steven,” Danny said.

“Yes, Daniel?”

“This is not a real date. You don’t have to walk me to my car.”

“Maybe I want to.”

“Are you going to try to kiss me, too?” Danny asked, laughing. It was a stupid thing to say, and almost immediately he felt his face heat up with embarrassment.

It was dark outside, but he could have sworn he saw Steve blush for the very first time.

“No, Danny, I’m not going to try to kiss you. That would be taking this whole fake date thing a little too far, don’t you think?”

“Whoa, whoa,” Danny said. He stopped walking and turned to face Steve. “Fake date?”

“Yeah.” Steve looked confused; it vaguely resembled the Constipation Face, which was an old one, but a great one, of Steve’s faces. It was one of Danny’s all-time favorites (Aneurysm Face was still number one).

“I was under the impression this was an actual date. Way to break my heart.” He gave Steve a light punch to the chest. “The night’s not even over yet.”

Steve shook his head, had that same eternally put-upon look that he got sometimes when he thought Danny was being ridiculous. But there was a smile there, too. He got his keys out of his pocket and unlocked his truck. “It is now.”

“Is that what you do to all your dates? You leave them alone in parking lots afterward without even saying good night?”

Steve opened the door. “It’s what I do to the dates who are short loudmouths from Jersey.”

“That’s a low blow, McGarrett.” Danny put his hands in his pockets and smiled. “Seriously, that hurts.”

“Just being honest.” Steve still had his hand on the truck’s door. He rubbed his free hand over the back of his neck. “So, uh. Do you wanna come over? Have a drink?”

“I’m not going to take a pity invite.” Danny backed away toward his car, hands raised. “Have a good night.”

Before Danny turned around, he saw Steve smile as he got into his truck.

*

On Monday, Kono sauntered into the office wearing a triumphant grin. She set a cup of coffee in front of Danny.

Danny looked first at the cup, then up at Kono. “This for me?”

“Yes.” Kono leaned against his desk, holding her own cup of coffee. “Thought I’d surprise you.”

“Good, because you owe me something after what you pulled on Friday night.” Danny popped the lid off the coffee and took a drink. It was still really hot, and he winced as he burned his tongue and swallowed.

Kono raised an eyebrow. “Did you enjoy yourself?”

“It was wonderful. Good food, candlelight, and McGarrett sitting across from me in a suit making faces and criticizing my clothing. Best date of my life.” Danny shuffled some paperwork and stacked it on his desk. “Great joke, Kono.”

“Who says it was a joke?” Kono said, still smiling, stepping backward toward the door with both hands on her coffee cup. “Or that I was behind it?”

Danny squinted at her. “What are you talking about?”

Steve chose that moment to stick his head in the door to Danny’s office, saying, “They found a body at the Kohala Hotel. Let’s go.”

“He has great timing,” Danny said to Kono, and they were off.

*

On the way to the scene, Steve drove like a madman and spent more time looking at Danny and arguing with him than he did paying attention to the road. So, the usual.

“I don’t know why you’re so upset by the fact that you had to go on a date with me,” Steve said, glancing at Danny. “It wasn’t bad. I actually enjoyed myself.”

“I wasn’t upset,” Danny clarified. “I was annoyed that Kono pulled a fast one on both of us, and you didn’t even seem to care. You were just like, ‘Oh, I guess it was a joke’ and shrugged.” Danny shrugged himself, for emphasis, and spread his hands. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you wanted to be there.”

“I paid,” Steve said, like that made up for everything.

“Such a gentleman. You finally remembered to bring your wallet.”

“Hey, I only forgot my wallet twice, okay, and you won’t let it go,” Steve said. “And I paid for dinner because you kept bitching when the check came.”

“I did not bitch. I merely pointed out that your half of the bill came to thirty dollars because you had to get beer and the most expensive thing on the menu, and I was going to offer to split it, but you grabbed it out of my hand and said, ‘Let me,’ so I did,” Danny said.

“Sometimes I swear you get some sort of thrill out of pressing my buttons,” Steve muttered, and Danny didn’t know if he was meant to hear it, but he did. And he’d say most of the time, Steve was pressing his buttons, not the other way around.

“It’s better than getting a thrill out of jumping from helicopters and punching people, or whatever gives you an adrenaline rush,” Danny said. “Armed conflict. Being a ninja. Shooting bad guys. That’s you, babe.”

Steve smiled and looked over at him through half-lidded eyes, and it was funny, the things that did to Danny’s insides.

Steve made a sharp turn, and Danny squeezed his eyes shut and leaned into it, saying, “Sometimes I can’t believe the state of Hawaii actually gave you a driver’s license” and jumped out of the car as soon as they arrived at the scene.

*

A few days later, Kono approached Steve, saying, “Hey, I heard you guys had fun the other night.”

Oh, god. No. Not again. If Danny could go the rest of his life without ever having to hear about his “date” with Steve McGarrett, he’d die a happier man.

Chin stood at the touchscreen table, laughing to himself and pretending to be very interested in photos of some suspects for a recent drug bust. Danny tried to pretend to be interested, too.

“Uh, yeah.” Steve shot Danny a look, and Danny made a face back at him, like, What, it’s not my fault.

“So I got you some dinner reservations for tomorrow night,” Kono said, looking between them expectantly, like she wanted them to hug her and say thank you. She was acting weirder and weirder lately. “I figured the boss could use a nice night out with his partner.”

“I tried to talk her out of it, guys,” Chin said, shaking his head.

“I don’t need to be talked out of anything,” she said. She shot him a look.

“Kono,” Danny said, trying to be careful with his words, “that’s very nice of you, but –“

Steve butted in. “What time?”

“As I was saying –“ Danny tried again.

“Seven,” Kono said.

Steve smiled at Danny, who had his hands balled into fists at his sides. “I think that’ll be perfect.” He walked around the table and set a hand on Danny’s shoulder. “What do you say, Danno?”

“I say ‘Don’t call me Danno,’” Danny said, and he turned around and walked into his office, closing the door behind him. It was a move that would have had far more of a dramatic impact if his office had been farther away and if he had actually done it with anger. Instead, he was just displaying minor annoyance. Another dinner with Steve. Another date.

Okay, how could he get out of it? Fake illness? Say that Rachel needed him to take Grace a day early?

He was pacing. And Chin was watching him through the glass door, only to be replaced a moment later by Steve, who walked right in because he was Steve and that’s what he did: he just walked right in whenever he felt like it.

“Are you pissed?” Steve asked. It would help if once in a while he did something else with his face besides whatever he was doing right now.

“No.”

“Then what was that?” He put his hands on his hips, which Danny knew right away meant Steve was going to start arguing.

“What was what?” Danny stopped pacing and started talking with his hands. “Look, I have -- there are things I need to be doing, okay.”

“So we’re not going to talk about this.”

“Honestly, I don’t know what we have to talk about besides, oh, you trying to -- I don’t know what you’re trying to do. If you want to hang out with me outside of work, you could have just said something instead of making Kono do all the work for you. Because I’m on to you, Steve. I know what you’re doing. And I don’t know what exactly you’re after, but it would be helpful to know.”

“What I’m after,” Steve said. He spoke slowly, like he didn’t understand what Danny meant.

“Yeah.” Danny crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you trying to spend quality time with me? Are you trying to date me? What is it?”

“I’m not -- it’s just -- I think it would be nice to hang out. That’s all. I have nothing to do with Kono, though, trust me.” He looked away, and Danny had been interviewing witnesses for long enough to know Steve was lying.

“All right.” Danny tried to lighten things up. “If you wanted to take me out for a real date, you could’ve said something, you goof.”

Steve raised his eyebrows in surprise, but he quickly turned away, muttering something under his breath. Before he walked out, he said, “We’re going to talk to a witness in five minutes. I’ll meet you outside.”

Danny watched Steve’s back as he left. He seemed tense, rigid, like Danny had said the wrong thing, implied something that made Steve uncomfortable. Danny was just kidding around, but the line between kidding around and actual flirting was starting to get blurry, just like everything else about them.

*

In the car, they were quiet until Danny said, “We could just go and hang out since Kono got the reservations already.”

“Okay,” Steve said. “I’ll get the address from her later.”

He fiddled with the radio until some absolutely awful, cheesy R&B song was playing. Why he gravitated toward that particular station was one of the many things Danny wondered about Steve. (The other things had included, at various points: Does Steve ever sleep? Is he human or a creature engineered in a secret facility by the United States Navy? Was he specifically created to annoy Danny and turn him on at the same time?)

Steve started to hum with the song, and Danny rolled his eyes. “Please don’t do that.”

“Please don’t do what?” Steve glanced at Danny, curious.

“Don’t hum. And change the station, or turn it off, or something, because if I have to hear one more time about how this guy wants to make ‘sweet, sweet love to my lady,’ I’m going to do it myself.”

“You have a lot of rage issues.”

I have a lot of rage issues? You think I have rage issues, and meanwhile you’ll jump at the chance to punch someone or have a gunfight. Christ.” Danny reached out and jabbed his finger against the radio’s on/off button. “And pay attention to the road.”

“Do you want to drive? Because I can pull over right now and let you.”

“Well, considering it’s my car –“

“You don’t have to remind me, okay?” Steve glared at him. “Anyway, we’re almost there.”

Danny crossed his arms over his chest and clamped his mouth shut. He wasn’t going to argue anymore. They had work to do, and work was more important than getting in the last word with Steve. Especially since they had another date tomorrow night. Maybe he shouldn’t call it a date. Hanging out. Getting dinner. It was not a date. He was not dating Steve.

Steve was his partner, and they were going to have a meal together, and that was it.

“Look.” Steve sighed. “I’m sorry for saying you have rage issues, okay?”

And then he reached over to where Danny’s hand was resting on his thigh, and for the briefest moment -- seriously, if Danny had blinked, he would have missed it -- Steve put his hand on top of Danny’s. His palm was rough and warm, and it took everything Danny had not to twine his fingers with Steve’s. Which was just … ridiculous. Because they couldn’t hold hands, and how old was Danny anyway, twelve?

“I’ll admit I get a little angry sometimes,” Danny said. “But it’s only when you’re doing something that pisses me off.”

“Next time, just change the radio station yourself.”

“I’ve tried before, and you’re all, ‘Hey, I was listening to that,’ and I say, ‘You couldn’t have been listening to it; it’s not real music.’”

“Real music? What’s real music, Danny? Bon Jovi?”

“Excuse me, do not insult Mr. Bon Jovi. Like me, he’s a son of New Jersey. And come on, have you never caught yourself singing along to ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’? Everyone likes that song. Everyone knows the words. Even people who don’t like Bon Jovi like that song.”

“I don’t.”

“Now you’re just being difficult.”

“I’m being difficult because I don’t like Bon Jovi?” Steve turned to him, eyebrow raised, smirking.

“Yes. I mean, you’re difficult all the time because of other things, but now you’re just trying to be contrary.”

“Contrary?”

“If you’re not familiar with the word, it means ‘pain in the ass.’”

Steve shook his head. “Maybe I’ll call you that the next time you’re lecturing me.”

“I lecture out of love, Steven,” Danny said.

Steve was quiet after that. And Danny didn’t change the station.

*

The next night, Danny was waiting outside his building, hands in his pockets, looking down the street every few minutes for Steve’s truck. His palms were sweating. When, exactly, he became this nervous about Steve remained a mystery. Steve had made him nervous at first, but in a different way; in the oh my god, we’re going to die kind of way, but now it was something different. Like there was tension building up inside of him, tightly wound and unrelenting, and Steve was the cause of it. And something told him Steve would also be the only person who could help him release it.

Steve pulled up to the curb, seeming to speed up as he did so instead of slowing down. Danny reached out for the door handle and climbed into the truck. He cocked his head to the side. No. It couldn’t be. Was Steve actually blasting “Wanted Dead or Alive”?

Danny reached for the seatbelt and turned toward Steve, barely able to hide his delight and triumph. “Are you seriously listening to Bon Jovi right now?”

Steve shrugged and pulled away from the curb. “It’s what you like.”

“I can’t believe you’re actually making concessions to my taste in music.” He started to sing along. “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride.”

“Just -- please. Don’t do that,” Steve said.

“Why not?”

“Because I said so.”

“Yes, Commander.”

Detective.”

“What? I referred to you by your title so now you’re just going to call me ‘Detective’ for no good reason?”

“Would you prefer ‘smart ass’?”

“Okay, point taken,” Danny said, “but part of the fun of listening to Bon Jovi is singing along. It’s not the same if you don’t sing. Do you want to do background vocals?” He grinned.

“I’m not going to sing. I don’t even know the words.”

“Steve, even my daughter knows the words.”

“Yeah, because she’s your daughter. She was probably born knowing the words to the entire Bon Jovi discography. I bet Rachel was horrified.”

Danny shook his head and looked out the window. “Gracie loves my music. But she also loves Justin Bieber, so we compromise.”

“Please tell me she makes you sing with her. I’d give good money to hear you sing that stuff.” Steve shot him a look like he’d give Danny five bucks right now if he’d belt out a couple of bars. “Is he one of those people from the Disney Channel?”

Steve didn’t have to know about the time Grace made him duet with her in the car to a medley of Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana. Which he did and enjoyed because he loved his kid.

“Justin Bieber is not from the Disney Channel.” Danny coughed and added, “Don’t ask me how I know that; I just do. And can we not talk about this? Bon Jovi is on. Let me enjoy myself.”

Steve smiled. “I’m not going to ask anything else about it, I promise.”

*

As soon as they sat down, Danny pointed out, “You’re not wearing the Bond suit this time.”

Steve glanced down at himself, taking in his faded blue t-shirt and jeans. “This place is a little more casual.”

“We’re next to the beach. I’m pretty sure there are people here eating in their bathing suits.”

“I like the …” Steve pointed at Danny’s shirt.

“Okay, so you’re just going to point at me now? Is that what we’re doing? Are we communicating with pointing? Maybe we can add grunts and cave drawings into the mix.”

Steve could roll with Danny’s comments now, smiling at him with a kind of affection Danny was beginning to recognize. Most of the time, Steve came across as serious as hell, maybe even too serious and intense, and it was in the moments where he let that go, where he smiled and prodded Danny back or just ignored his jabs that made Danny happier than he could say.

He pointed again. “No tie.”

“I remembered your preference.” Danny reached for another slice of pizza. It wasn’t bad, but mostly it made him miss home. Pizza just wasn’t the same here. And Steve had insisted on making him try the pineapple.

“Whenever I picture you in high school, I imagine you wearing a tie. Just, this short, loudmouth kid wearing a tie.”

Danny smirked. “You picture me when I was in high school, huh? That’s very flattering.”

“No, I mean, generally, when you were younger.” Steve waved a hand.

“Would you like to know what I was like when I was younger? I can contribute to your overall mental picture.” Danny took a bite. Okay, so the pineapple wasn’t terrible. Not that he was going to say anything about it.

“You played baseball,” Steve said.

“Yep. Shortstop. I wasn’t too bad, either.” Danny looked at Steve. “You know, I can’t even imagine you in high school. Part of me is convinced you were born six feet tall knowing how to shoot a gun.”

Steve laughed. “I was kind of an awkward kid. I didn’t know how to carry myself; I had this growth spurt and I really didn’t know what to do with myself, how to move. I don’t think you’d be able to relate.”

Danny would be pissed, but Steve’s words were said with a knowing smile, a slight duck of his head. He responded with the same teasing tone, “Hey, McGarrett, you making a crack at my height, you tall bastard?”

Steve just raised both eyebrows and kept eating.

“I’ll have you know I’m secure with my height,” Danny said.

“I like your height. You make me feel like a giant.” Steve grinned at him.

“That’s because you are a giant.”

Danny liked that Steve was taller than him. Once in a while, like right now, he could imagine Steve using that height for his advantage, pressing the length of his body against Danny’s, backing him up against a wall, caging Danny in and kissing him.

“Hey, don’t you have Grace this weekend?” Steve asked, and his voice shook Danny out of his reverie.

“Yeah. She wants to go to the beach.” Danny pulled a face. “You know I’d do anything for her, but this is pushing it.”

“You have an aversion to water.”

“Not to water, to the beach itself. I don’t like sand. I don’t like wearing a bathing suit. I hate the smell of sunscreen.”

“Maybe I can come along, show you how to enjoy the beach,” Steve said. He balled up his napkin and tossed it on his plate. “Give Grace a little surfing lesson.”

“No. I’m not letting you do that. Handing my only child over to a madman? No. It’s not happening –“

“Danny, I grew up surfing. I think I know what I’m doing.”

“Do you know how often she asks if she can go surfing? She has Surfing Barbie. All I ever hear about is how Barbie is allowed to go surfing. And her mom says no, so she tries to ask me, and I get the whole act with the puppy eyes and the pouting and ‘Everyone at school surfs.’ That kind of stuff doesn’t work on Rachel.”

“Rachel’s the tough parent, huh?”

“I wouldn’t say she’s tough. She’s just … “ Danny tapped his fingers against the table, stalling, trying to find the right words. “Less willing to give in when Grace looks sad. She thinks it’ll pass and Grace will forget about it, but that’s not how kids work. So for the past couple weeks, whenever I see my kid, she’s whining that no one ever takes her to the beach.”

“Well, we should take her.”

Danny’s eyebrows shot up at the “we,” but he let it go. “I can’t go over Rachel’s head like that. I’d never hear the end of it.”

“Clear it with her first. You don’t have to mention surfing. Just say you’re taking Grace to the beach for an afternoon.”

“I have to mention the surfing. I know, you know what you’re doing, but –“

“I do know what I’m doing, and that’s all the more reason for me to give her a lesson. Come on, I won’t take her far out into the water. Since it’s her first time, we probably won’t even be in the water just yet.”

Danny regarded Steve with a wary look. “You really want to spend a Sunday afternoon with me and my daughter?”

“Of course I do,” Steve said, like it was a stupid question.

“You realize you’ve basically invited yourself to our father-daughter bonding time.”

“I promise I’ll disappear as soon as the lesson is over.”

“Okay. Fine. Does Grace need a helmet or something? Like, I know surfers don’t wear helmets, but she’s a little girl –“

Steve was laughing at him. “A helmet?”

“I don’t know these things!” Danny said, raising his hands. “I don’t want her to get brain damage! She might turn out like you, and no one wants that.”

Steve reached across the table and set a hand on Danny’s arm. “She’ll be fine. Also, that brain damage comment means you’re officially on notice.”

I’m on notice? You do realize that your thinking is a little messed up sometimes, right?”

The waitress came over to drop off the check, and Danny reached for it almost immediately.

“Hey, no. Give me.” Steve tried to grab it out of his hands.

“I’m not letting you pay for me again, okay? This is not a date, Steven, and you don’t have to pay for my meal. We shared a pizza; we’re going to split the bill.”

Steve looked like he was about to say something else, but he quickly shut his mouth. He took a glance at the bill once Danny set it down, biting his lower lip for a moment, squinting like he couldn’t see the numbers. Without saying anything else, Steve took out his wallet and paid for his half.

Danny sighed, surprised at his relief at the gesture. Something about having Steve pay for him -- again -- would have made Danny uneasy, made it feel too much like a date. He’d feel the same way if he were paying for Steve, which he’d considered, briefly, but had decided against. It would send the wrong message. All tonight was, was two friends, two co-workers, hanging out. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. And if Steve’s smiles and their back-and-forth had made Danny feel warm inside, he was going to ignore it and blame it on the beer he’d had.

As they left, Danny realized with surprise that they hadn’t talked about work at all. And when they got in Steve’s truck, Steve was still playing Bon Jovi, and they just listened to the music for the short ride back to Danny’s apartment.

Steve parked the truck outside and turned off the engine, abruptly ending right in the middle of “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

“Do you think you’re coming inside?” Danny asked, looking first at Steve and then at the parking brake.

“No, I don’t know, force of habit, turning it off,” Steve said, and -- what was he doing?

“I know, you think this is a date, and you want to walk me to my door.” Danny kept his tone light, joking. “I’m touched.”

“Danny,” Steve said quietly.

His voice sounded different, and he looked different, too. Serious, but not in the way Danny was used to -- the “I’m going to solve this case” or “I’m going to shoot some bad guys” look, which, as far as Danny was concerned, Steve should have a patent on or something. He was looking at Danny with a hint of curiosity, a little bit of longing, and the same sort of affection he’d had during dinner.

Danny’s throat went dry all of a sudden, and before he knew what he was doing -- he was never impulsive, not like this -- he had a hand on the back of Steve’s neck and was leaning over to kiss him. Steve’s mouth was warm and pliant under his, and Steve’s strong, solid hands were against Danny’s chest, his fingers gripping Danny’s shirt. The kiss was slow, cautious, like they were testing each other out, figuring out how they fit together and what they wanted.

They pulled apart for just a second, maybe even less than a second, and it was long enough for Danny to hear Steve exhale a shaky sounding “Fuck” before he went for Danny’s mouth again. Danny kept one hand anchored on the back of Steve’s neck and let the other one wander up Steve’s thigh, brushing over his cock -- that earned him a little shudder from Steve, which made Danny smile into the kiss -- up to the hem of Steve’s t-shirt and underneath to feel the muscles there.

“Hey.” Danny broke the kiss first, and he rested his forehead against Steve’s, listening to his ragged breathing.

He wanted to say, You can walk me to my door, you can come in, I want you, I want this. Fuck everything else. Fuck professionalism and fuck his worries and fuck dancing around this any longer. His inhibitions were lowered, but he didn’t care. He could have Steve tonight and worry about what happened next later. It wasn’t like him to behave that way, but he’d waited long enough, put it off, denied it, pretended like his feelings didn’t exist, but they did and he didn’t give a fuck if this was the biggest mistake he ever made. Danny was giving everything over to his desires; for once, he was going to do something that wasn’t careful, that he hadn’t thought over.

“I should --“ Steve moved away and put both hands on the steering wheel. His hands were shaking a little bit, and his voice was raw. “I’ll meet you and Grace at the beach on Sunday, okay?”

Danny blinked a few times and shook his head, slowly coming back to reality. “Yeah, okay,” he mumbled, and got out of the truck.

*

Steve sent him a text the next day to ask what time on Sunday, but Danny didn’t reply right away. He was busy with Grace, taking her to the movies and out to eat and spending more time than he ever thought possible coloring pictures of Disney characters.

It took Grace reminding him, “Daddy, didn’t you say Steve was going to teach me to surf tomorrow?” for Danny to text Steve with the time.

Danny knew he’d have to see Steve sooner or later -- Steve was his partner, and he spent more hours with Steve than he did coloring with Grace -- and he decided the best course of action was not to mention the kiss. They just wouldn’t deal with it, which wasn’t the most adult thing to do, but Danny told himself he was going to forget it happened for the sake of his job and making his work days bearable.

Besides, Danny didn’t want to be the one to bring it up, because maybe Steve didn’t want to talk about it. Maybe it would be for the best if they pretended that it never happened.

On Sunday afternoon, Danny took Grace to the beach, and she was bouncing around with excitement in the car. Once they got there, Danny took her by the hand and tried to slow her down. If he didn’t, she would probably go running into the water.

Steve was already there, and his face lit up when he saw Danny and Grace, who shouted, “Hi, Steve!” while Danny tried not to look at Steve’s chest and abs. His plan to ignore what had happened between them, and to ignore his attraction to Steve in general, was going splendidly.

“Are you wearing jean shorts, Danny?” Steve asked, amused, and Danny glanced down at himself. He had on an old pair of jean shorts and a Newark Police Department t-shirt. It was perfectly acceptable beach attire for someone who wasn’t going to go in the water.

“Yeah, you have a problem with that?”

“Danno doesn’t own a swimsuit,” Grace said. “He doesn’t like the beach.”

“I know, but maybe we can get him to like the beach, Grace.” Steve crouched down to Grace’s level, and okay, Danny was just going to ignore that strange feeling in his chest. “Once he sees all the fun we’re having, he might want to go in the water.”

Grace smiled up at Danny, and instantly his insides turned soft. He patted the top of her head and leaned down to give it a kiss. “Go have fun, baby.”

Danny spread out a towel and sat on the sand watching Steve and Grace. They spent a lot of time practicing on the sand, Grace on a kid-sized board they’d borrowed and Steve on a fancy-looking one that Danny was willing to bet had been custom-made. Even though Danny had been worried beforehand, Steve seemed like a good teacher. He was patient with her, smiling and praising her. Grace beamed back at him the entire time, clearly enjoying herself.

Danny shielded his eyes from the sun to see her running up to him.

“Steve said I’m ready to go in the water, but that I had to check with you first,” she said.

“Do you want to go in the water?”

She nodded.

“Stay with Steve, okay?” he said, and she nodded again before she rushed back to where Steve was waiting.

The whole scene made Danny feel warm and fuzzy -- and he was never, ever going to tell that to anyone, but especially not Steve.

Steve stayed true to his word, not taking Grace far out into the water, and holding her steady on the board. She looked like she was having the time of her life. When they came out of the water, she ran up to him, vibrating with excitement and calling out, “Daddy!”

“Did you see me?” she asked.

“I did, and you were great.” Danny reached for her hand and squeezed it.

“She’s a natural,” Steve said, coming up behind her. He handed her a towel, and Grace wrapped herself up in it and plopped down next to Danny, who was doing his best to avoid looking at Steve’s (very wet, very tan) body. All that did was make him think about the other night, about Steve’s mouth and hands. And how pissed he was at Steve for leaving, and how pissed he was at himself for ignoring his own common sense.

“Daddy,” Grace said carefully, looking between them, “are you and Steve partners?”

Danny shared a look with Steve, and he said, “Yes.”

“My friend Tommy said partners are supposed to live together.” She knitted her eyebrows together. “Are you going to live with Steve?”

“We should try to get your dad out of that apartment, right, Grace?” Steve said, and oh my god, was he seriously trying to convince Grace that he needed to move? Once Grace got an idea in her head, it was hard for her to forget about it.

“I think he likes it now. Maybe you can just get him a real bed.”

“I have a nice house,” Steve said. “And I live by myself. There’s room for your dad there.”

Grace seemed to be considering this information. “Is there a real bed?”

“Yes, there’s a real bed,” Steve said, laughing.

Danny crossed his arms over his chest. “I love how the two of you are having a discussion about my living situation without including me in it.”

“You’re going to live with Steve now,” Grace said, and the look on her face was the exact same no-nonsense look Danny had whenever he was giving orders.

“I don’t think so, monkey.”

“But being partners is like being married.”

“We’re job partners. You and Tommy are thinking of a different kind of partners.”

Grace bit her lip. “I thought you could be both kinds.”

Danny and Steve looked at each other again.

“Maybe you can,” Danny said, “but Steve and I are just job partners, okay?”

“Are you sure?” Grace asked.

No, he wasn’t sure. At all. But he said, “Yes.”

Before Grace could ask another question, Steve asked, “How about some shave ice?” and Grace leaped to her feet and said, “I want strawberry!”

At that moment, Danny couldn’t have been more grateful that Steve was there.

*

Steve walked with them over to the shave ice stand, Grace talking the whole time about surfing and how next time, she wanted a lesson from Kono, too.

They ran into a kid from Grace’s class, and they went off to play together while Danny and Steve sat on a bench nearby.

“Thanks for today,” Danny said. “She really enjoyed herself.”

“She’s a great kid, Danny.”

“Yeah, so what are you doing trying to convince her that I should move in with you?” Danny smacked the side of Steve’s head.

Steve touched his head where Danny’s hand had been, but Danny knew it didn’t hurt. “I wasn’t!”

“Come on, ‘There’s room for your dad at my house’? You can’t give her ideas like that.”

“You could come live with me,” Steve said, like it was nothing, like he wasn’t suggesting something huge. Like it was normal to invite your co-worker to live with you. That was Steve, though. He didn’t really have a great grasp on “normal.” “Your place isn’t in the safest area.”

Steve regarded him like he was reading Danny, trying to figure out how he felt about it. And Danny wouldn’t admit he liked the idea, that it scared him because it was actually something he wanted. Part of that was his pride -- not wanting to let Steve be right -- and the other part was just freaked the fuck out that he could so easily imagine himself sliding into Steve’s life, filling up the empty space in his house with their stupid arguments and Grace’s laughter.

“My place isn’t safe? You live in a house that was the scene of a shootout,” Danny said. “You’re nuts. Are you aware of how nuts you are?”

“Only when you remind me on a daily basis that I am.”

“Anyway, okay, I know, she’s cute and precocious. She thinks we’re life partners or something, but she’s a kid and she misunderstands certain things.”

“She told me today that if you ever get married again, she wants you to marry me.” Steve laughed, but there was a serious look in his eyes, something that scared the shit out of Danny and confused him at the same time.

“Oh my god.” Danny put a hand over his face. He had to do some damage control tonight. “Do you know what gave her that idea?”

“She said I make you happy.”

Danny didn’t say anything.

*

Whatever the thing was that he had with Steve had been building for a while now.

What started as contentiousness -- you don’t exactly get off on the right foot with someone when your first interaction involves pulling guns on each other, and later you punch the guy in the face -- became this sort of comfortable, almost fond annoyance that they had for each other, until the annoyance began to fade away a little bit, replaced by Danny’s occasional outbursts at Steve’s ridiculousness. They used to be two guys who had to work together, who grudgingly had to be in the same car and same office, and now they were working with each other. They knew each other’s strengths and rhythms, all the ways that they were good at doing what they did.

And now Steve was suggesting that they move in together because Danny’s place wasn’t “safe.” Even his own daughter thought they should live together. Was there something he was missing?

He’d picked up on some things: the fond look in Steve’s eyes whenever he saw Danny with Grace; the look of amusement whenever Danny had a good comeback to something Steve said; the way Steve let him keep the postcard of New Jersey in the car and said, “Well, it’s your home. But this is your home now, too” and Danny was quiet, thinking to himself that Hawaii didn’t exactly feel like home, but Steve and Kono and Chin did.

And even though Steve had a disregard for certain aspects of the law, he was good at what he did: he was smart, thorough, and brave. He had Danny’s back. Danny had his. Despite any reservations Danny may have had on that day when Steve barged into Danny’s life and basically did everything but put a flag in Danny’s apartment to claim him and make Danny his partner, it worked out. All together, the four of them, they made a good team.

He didn’t want to fuck up that dynamic. Steve was his partner, his boss; getting involved would be a bad idea, and not only if things didn’t work out. He didn’t want to think about how things would change if he let himself get too close, if he let himself touch and be touched even more than he already had.

They were moving in that direction, though, toward something more, and Danny would have to be blind not to see it. Their moving toward being together just made sense. And, despite everything, Steve made sense in Danny's life. He knew it; he’d accepted it. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t scared.

*

A week went by, and they didn’t talk about it. They were too busy, and in the hours Danny wasn’t working, he was attempting to get some sleep.

They’d been in the office too long, so long that Danny didn’t even know what time it was. Not looking at the clock made the time go by faster, and so did the insane amount of work he had to do. Danny sat at his desk, filling out paperwork -- “Book ‘em, Danno” were not words he longed to hear -- when Steve walked in and sat down on the edge of Danny’s desk.

“You should go home,” Steve said.

Danny didn’t look up. “I’ll sleep better if I can get this shit done tonight.”

Steve moved so he could face Danny better and put a hand on top of the papers on Danny’s desk. He leaned in, forcing Danny to look at him. “Really, go home. Get some rest. You’ve been working your ass off.”

“Okay.” Danny sighed and closed his eyes, opened them again after a second, and Steve filled his vision.

“You’re actually not going to fight me on this?” Steve asked, surprised.

“No.” Danny shook his head. “I think I’m too tired to.”

“I never thought I’d see the day Detective Danny Williams wouldn’t try to argue with me,” Steve said, smiling a crooked grin.

Danny got up, stretching his arms. “I’m not always argumentative, you know.”

“Yes, you are. You’re a hothead. The one thing I can always count on is you arguing with me about something.”

“I am not a hothead.”

“You are, and you’re even going to argue with me about it.”

Danny rolled his eyes. “I think you secretly enjoy it. The bickering.”

“Things wouldn’t be the same without it.” Steve looked at him with -- what was that? Fondness? -- and Danny lowered his arms, straightened himself up.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

They were quiet for a moment until Steve asked, “Hey, my place?”

Danny weighed the options in his head: beers with Steve, or driving himself home to his dark, lonely, crappy apartment, where he’d probably pass out on his sofa bed without even bothering to change clothes.

“Yeah, sure.” He turned off the light and followed Steve out to the parking lot.

*

As soon as they got to Steve’s house, Danny went straight to the fridge to get two beers. He’d never stopped to consider it before, but he knew where things were in Steve’s house. He knew where Steve kept the beer, all the way in the back of the fridge; that he had extra toothbrushes and razors in the second drawer on the left in his bathroom; that he kept things like the sympathy cards from his dad’s funeral hidden in a drawer in the kitchen. And that maybe the only person other than Danny who knew those things was Mary Ann.

Danny straightened up and closed the refrigerator door. Steve was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, and he took the beer that Danny offered and led him out to the beach behind the house.

They lowered themselves into the chairs and opened their beers. Danny leaned back and closed his eyes, surrounded by the moonlight and the quiet, and sighed. It was nice. Sure, Steve was there, and he was probably going to say something any second now. But for the moment, Danny was going to enjoy the tranquility.

Maybe that meant he was actually starting to enjoy Hawaii. Huh. That would be new. Sitting here with Steve, maybe it was starting to feel a little bit like home. It couldn’t replace where he was from, but the thought of staying in Honolulu no longer filled him with disgust. The weather was nice. Grace loved it here, and that’s what really mattered. And although he’d never tell Chin, Kono, or Steve, pizza with pineapple on it wasn’t that terrible. Still, fruit had no place on pizza. Just because it didn’t taste so bad didn’t mean it was right.

“You kissed me,” Steve said, and Danny immediately opened his eyes.

He set his beer down on the sand and leaned forward, elbows on his knees, and turned to face Steve. “Is that how you start a conversation? No preamble, nothing, just ‘You kissed me’?”

“Yeah, because we need to talk,” Steve said. He slowly shifted his body, turning it toward Danny. There was no getting away, no avoiding the conversation the way they’d been doing for the past week, no more excuses. Danny would be lying if he said he hadn’t been expecting it. Kissing his partner wasn’t exactly a topic they could avoid forever. He just -- something changed that night, and where they stood afterward had been left up in the air.

“What do you want me to say?” Danny said. “Do you want me to tell you it was a mistake? That it was just something I randomly decided to do?”

“Stop asking me questions.”

“You’re the one who brought it up.”

“Because I want you to tell me why.” When Danny opened his mouth, Steve said, “No, Danny, let me finish. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but I know how I feel –“

“What do you feel, Steven? Huh? If you think it was stupid, or a bad idea, just fucking say so and stop giving me this ‘I’m being sensitive and want to know about your feelings’ bullshit.”

“It’s not bullshit. Is that what you think? You think I’m playing some kind of game with you? Because I’m not. I’m not asking because I’m mad. I just want to figure this out, this -- whatever we’re doing.”

Danny stared straight ahead. “Well, you’ve asked me to move in with you, and it looks like you’ve been wining and dining me –“

“Wining and dining?” Steve said. Danny detected some amusement in his voice, and he shot him a look.

“Yes, and if you’re taking me out to dinner and implying that I should move in, how do you think I’m supposed to interpret that, genius?”

“It took you long enough to catch on. I would think after the first time you would have figured it out.”

Danny shook his head. “That was Kono’s idea. You know it; I know it.”

Steve looked away.

“It was you? It was you, and you were using her as a cover? I guess I was right. You really are that insane.” Danny shook his head. Unbelievable. When, exactly, did his life become that ridiculous? (His brain said it was the moment he met Steve. He couldn’t argue with that.)

Steve tipped his bottle in Danny’s direction. “Good work, Detective. Thought you’d pick up on that a little sooner.”

“Oh, I did pick up on it. I just didn’t tell you. And honestly, I’m surprised when you asked Kono that she didn’t smack you. I’m surprised I didn’t smack you. ”

Steve took a drink. “Oh, she wanted to. A little bit. I think.”

“Why couldn’t you just be normal for once and ask me out yourself?”

“Because you never would’ve said yes.”

Okay, true. Point in Steve’s favor.

“I’ll take your silence as agreement,” Steve said.

“Fine,” Danny said. He let himself think about it for a minute, and then he said, “Are you serious? What is wrong with you?”

“You’re putting up a good front, but I know you had fun.”

“Okay, yes, I’ll admit it. We did have a good time. I was as shocked as anyone that I could have fun with you, or that you do things like have fun” -- Steve looked down and smiled at that, and Danny’s stomach did something stupid when he smiled -- “but I like you. Okay?” He reached over and tilted Steve’s face toward him. “You’re an idiot.”

“You like me because I’m an idiot?”

“No.” Danny loosened his tie. “I like you because -- “ He knew why, but telling Steve seemed absurd, impossible, because he’d never imagined the two of them having this conversation. “You’re smart. You may not use your brain all the time, but you’re smart. You’re capable. You’re a damn good partner. You’re great with my kid.”

“So you noticed all those things.”

“Why do you think I spend so much time with you? Of course part of the time I’m forced to, but I was under no obligation to go with you so you could make me eat pizza with fruit on it, or let you teach Grace how to surf. Also, ‘idiot’ is a term of endearment in my family. Embrace it.”

“I guess I have to.”

“Can you just clear something up for me?”

“Sure.”

“Back to our original topic, but you were never pissed about what I did, were you?”

Steve set a hand on Danny’s knee. “I don’t regret it, Danny.”

Danny took a deep breath of the cool night air. “Okay. But I meant it when I said you’re an idiot,” Danny said, and Steve responded by moving closer, cupping Danny’s cheek in his hand, and kissing him.

Danny made a surprised noise into the kiss, but instinctively his hands found their way to Steve’s arms, holding on, holding him steady. Steve touched the tip of his tongue to Danny’s lips, and Danny opened up for him, deepening the kiss. Danny let his hands wander down Steve’s sides until they caught in his t-shirt, and he slipped them underneath to rest against warm skin. Danny heard Steve’s breath catch at that, and it was so fucking satisfying, that little stutter of breath against Danny’s skin, the way Steve’s body went still.

“Hey, hey,” Danny said quietly, pulling away. His mouth was still close to Steve’s, who didn’t seem to be dealing well with the sudden loss of contact, leaning in to nip at Danny’s lower lip. “I don’t actually think you’re an idiot, okay?”

“I know. And I’m sorry for -- “ and Danny shut him up by kissing him again. Knowing Steve, he might not have finished the apology, anyway. He wasn’t any good at admitting when he’d done something stupid. Neither was Danny.

Steve murmured, “Inside?”

“Yeah.”

Danny’s stomach clenched, and this was it, holy shit, this was actually happening; they were walking inside, and then they were headed toward Steve’s bedroom. Steve took off his shirt, exposing tanned skin and muscle and those stupid tattoos that somehow drove Danny crazy enough that he always wanted to reach out and touch them, trace them with his fingers, feel the flex of Steve’s biceps underneath, watch Steve’s eyes watching him.

Steve tossed his shirt aside, licked his lips, pulled Danny to him, and Danny couldn’t stand the feel of his shirt against Steve; he wanted skin on skin, heat touching heat, Steve’s mouth everywhere.

“Let me…” Danny trailed off and backed up a step, loosening his tie and unbuttoning his shirt, and then Steve’s hands were pushing the shirt off his shoulders, onto the floor. He pressed against Steve, felt Steve hard against his thigh, rubbing against him, desperate for contact.

They lost the rest of their clothes in between kisses. Steve was really good at kissing -- not that Danny was surprised -- but he knew exactly what to do to drive Danny crazy, the right amount of pressure and heat that he needed, that he wanted.

Danny backed them up against the bed, until he had Steve right where he wanted him and pushed him down. He went easily, his eyes glinting more than a little mischievously as he moved back on the bed and Danny followed, tangled between Steve’s legs.

“Do you know how long …” Danny said, and he rubbed his thumb against Steve’s chin, kissed him again.

He grabbed Steve’s arms, pushing them back, holding down Steve by his wrists. His mouth opened in surprise at how effortlessly Steve let Danny do that, let Danny control him. And, just as easily, Steve raised an eyebrow and flipped them over so he was on top. He had Danny pinned now, and Danny moved under him, making sure he hit that perfect spot of friction so his cock rubbed against Steve’s.

Fuck,” Steve said under his breath, and Danny did it again.

“Steve,” Danny breathed out, shuddering. He slid a hand through Steve’s hair, bringing him closer, and he pressed his lips to the corner of Steve’s mouth. “Wanna fuck you.”

Steve pulled back a little and licked his bottom lip, leaving behind a shiny spot that Danny couldn’t look away from, that made him want to kiss Steve again until they were both breathless.

“Like this.” Steve moved so he was straddling Danny, and he reached over to the nightstand to grab the lube. He shoved it in Danny’s hand, and Danny popped the cap and slicked his fingers, making eye contact with Steve as he lifted himself up. For Danny, for Danny’s fingers. “You ready?” Danny asked, and Steve nodded, not looking away from him.

Danny didn’t want him to look away. He started with one finger, slowly working Steve open, watching for his reaction, gauging how much further he could go. One finger became two, and Steve rocked against him, his head thrown back, and holy fuck, even when Danny had stopped to think about what this would be like, he had never imagined this. He added a third finger, and it wasn’t long before Steve was gasping, “Now.”

Seeing Steve like this, totally open and needy, was new and unexpected, and Danny loved it. He loved knowing he could make Steve look like that, sound like that.

“Condoms?” Danny asked, and Steve pointed at the same drawer where he’d found the lube.

Danny grabbed one and pressed it into Steve’s hand, and without even having to ask, Steve opened the package with his teeth and rolled the condom onto Danny’s cock. Danny was more than capable of doing it himself, but it was hotter this way, Steve glancing up at him as he put it on, as he slicked up Danny’s cock and Danny hissed at the touch.

When Steve lowered himself onto Danny, slowly sliding down the length, he shuddered, and god, he was gorgeous and everything Danny wanted. He started to move his hips back and forth, and Danny arched up to meet him. Steve’s cock moved against his stomach, shiny with pre-come, and Danny wrapped his hand around it, moving his fist up and down in long, lazy strokes.

“Steve,” Danny murmured, and Steve leaned down, smiling a little, and brushed his mouth against Danny’s.

“You actually said something. I thought I’d finally gotten you to shut up.”

Danny didn’t even have a comeback for that, because his brain was totally fried. He tilted his hips, changing the angle, and it felt so good; Steve felt so good, hot and tight, clenched around Danny’s cock.

Steve groaned, and Danny started jerking him off faster. Steve slid his hand around Danny’s, moving in the same quick, messy strokes, until Steve pushed into their hands and came over Danny’s chest and stomach. He was still shaking through the aftershocks when Danny gasped and went motionless, his own orgasm catching him off guard. Steve rode him through it, slower than before, as his fingers relaxed their hold on Danny’s hips.

Steve cursed under his breath as Danny slid out. He rolled onto his side and started kissing his way along Danny’s jawline, down his neck.

“Let me just … “ Danny said, and he got rid of the condom, tossing it in a trash can near the side of the bed. He grabbed a tissue from the nightstand, doing his best to clean up what was on his stomach and chest, but he was too tired and happy to really care about cleaning up. Briefly he thought about getting in the shower with Steve, but that could come in the morning.

For the first time in a long time, he felt completely relaxed, like all of the anxiety and stress and annoyance he’d been carrying around since he arrived in Hawaii had disappeared. It was probably still there somewhere, under the surface, but for now, he felt better than he had in months.

“Later,” Steve said, his stubble scratching against Danny’s, “I get to fuck you.”

“You think there’s going to be a later?” Danny said. He rolled onto his side to face Steve, draping an arm around his waist.

Steve just gave him a knowing smile before Danny drifted off to sleep.

*

There definitely was a later.

*

Danny woke up when the first rays of sunlight started to come through the curtains. He opened his eyes slowly, wincing at the light, blinking a few times. He tentatively stretched his legs, feeling a slight ache in his bad knee. But he kind of ached all over, actually, and not in a bad way.

A warm weight pressed against him, and Danny looked down to see Steve’s arm wrapped around his waist. He wouldn’t have taken McGarrett for a cuddler, but he enjoyed it. Steve felt good: big, solid, and comfortable.

Danny smiled to himself and very carefully moved Steve’s arm so he could get up. He could stay in bed, and he wanted to, but he needed coffee. Okay, maybe he didn’t want to stay in bed. It’d been a … well, he wasn’t sure how long, but it’d been a long time since he’d had to navigate a morning-after. Too long.

Steve made a noise when Danny left the bed; he was still asleep, but the noise was a grumpy-sounding one, and Steve pulled his aneurysm face. Danny chuckled and reached for his boxers near the side of the bed.

In the kitchen, Danny looked around for the coffee pot; instead, he was faced with an unnecessarily complicated coffee maker. He approached it carefully, squinting at the buttons and LCD display. Damn it. Seriously? How the hell was he supposed to figure out how to make a simple cup of coffee from this damn machine? There wasn’t even a pot, and he didn’t even see a place to put the water or grounds.

As Danny poked at a few buttons, Steve appeared in the doorway of his kitchen, sleepy, mussed, and wearing only a pair of boxers that sat low on his hips.

Danny’s heart stuttered a little bit, and his cock twitched with interest at the sight of all that skin.

"Outta the way, Danno," Steve mumbled, walking into the kitchen and waving his hand in the direction of the coffee maker.

"I just want some coffee. I mean, what is this? It looks like a spaceship.”

Steve turned around from where he was fiddling with the machine, an amused little smile on his lips. "No, it's a single-serve brewing system. And it makes excellent coffee. Just wait and see."

Danny watched Steve pull out these little cups that apparently had coffee in them. "Don't you have like, Folgers or something?"

Steve sighed, very put-upon. "No, I do not have Folgers. What do you people drink in New Jersey?"

"We have good coffee in Jersey!"

"Folgers is not good coffee, Danno."

“Well, I drank it for a long time.”

“Which is exactly why you need to be introduced to good coffee.”

“I didn’t know you took this so seriously.”

“I don’t. But you will never find a Hawaiian who drinks Folgers.”

"You have a fucking spaceship coffee maker that only Navy SEALs can use, apparently, and you’re going to insult my taste in perfectly normal coffee? You are so frustrating to deal with sometimes, you know that?"

"I wasn't frustrating you last night." Steve grinned, and oh god, of course he'd use a line like that. Of course.

A warm feeling crept up the back of Danny's neck, and he looked down, muttering, "Just make the damn coffee, okay."

Steve grabbed a mug and slid it under the machine. He pressed a button, and the thing gurgled to life. "Coffee in less than a minute. Watch this."

"How much did you spend on that thing?" It was large and chrome and Danny was pretty sure it even had a milk foamer. Christ.

Steve just shrugged and watched the coffee pour into the mug. He looked over his shoulder. “You would think for a guy who had sex twice last night, you’d be in a better mood.”

“I am in a good mood.” Danny crossed his arms over his chest, and Steve’s eyes immediately flicked downward to Danny’s forearms.

“This is you in a good mood?”

“Yes.”

“Maybe you need more orgasms. I’m totally willing to help you out.” Steve smiled again, and it was the combination of the grin and the thought of more sex with Steve that made Danny’s stomach flip. Great, Steve had reduced to him to stomach flips, what the hell.

Steve handed Danny the cup of coffee right after it finished brewing. Danny took it and said, "I’m more than capable of giving myself orgasms, thank you."

Steve raised an eyebrow. "Well, then show me."

"What? You want me to show you?" Danny gestured with his coffee cup, spreading his arms wide. "Here, now, in the kitchen? What is wrong with you, Steve? Do you realize that's unsanitary? Or that I am not going to do everything you ask at the drop of a hat just because I slept with you, and granted it was good, I mean, great, it was amazing, but --"

Steve stepped closer and rested his hand on the side of Danny’s face, his thumb gently sweeping over the stubble there. "Do you ever shut up?" he asked, and kissed him.