"Just humour me, please. I promise it's nothing bad." He said and with a sigh, Danny did as told. "I just want to try something, and if you don't want it, just pull away."
Danny tilted his head up to look him in the eye. God did he feel small next to Freddie.
And before he had time to react, he was pulled into a hug, giant arms wrapping around him and tucking him in. Danny repressed a shudder: when was the last time someone bigger than him had hugged him? He was only getting hugs from his kids nowadays and while he loved them to hell and back and would give him life for them, he also missed being held.
Freddie held him closer and Danny couldn’t help but melt in the embrace with a sigh.
Freddie didn’t say anything, just held him in silence, rubbing his back. Danny was clearly a touchy-feely person, so why the hell was he so touch starved? And why was he holding him back with him and Steve?
But then again, why wouldn’t he? They had just met a mere couple months ago and Danny had just about hated their guts then. He was like a prickly porcupine trying not to get hurt.
Even if he had warmed up to them a lot ever since Steve found out about how he and Meka had been treated by Tanaka and everyone else, it was obvious Danny was still holding himself back. He knew Danny didn’t fully trust them yet, his secrecy about his soulmate and why he didn’t have one and wasn’t looking for them being the main obvious clue.
Maybe he was hurting too because he hadn’t found them yet, just like Steve and he hadn’t found their third yet. He knew how it felt to not be completed, and he had been lucky and had Steve almost since the get go.
But then… Ever since Danny had gotten in their lives, they had felt more at peace, he could feel Steve’s own happiness emanating from their bond in a way he hadn’t before. Steve was a lot calmer, not shooting first and then asking. He seemed to be enjoying life more. He laughed more often and was even more open with his affection than he had been before, and he had already been incredibly touchy, liking to snuggle and hold him close.
But he supposed that was also true about himself. He felt more centered, and the darker thoughts about their soulmate hating their guts hadn’t resurfaced in weeks, he found it easier to focus, too. Not many people knew that, but sometimes he found it hard to focus on the report at hand, or the investigating part of an investigation. But now it was slightly easier.
Freddie looked at the blond mop of hair resting against his chest. Danny was tiny compared to them, and it was kind of adorable. He would never tell him to his face. He had already sported a bruise of his hand on his face and he had been the lucky one who hadn’t actually gotten the fist on his jaw, loosening a tooth.
He would like to keep it that way.
He mentally sighed: they should probably make sure they just weren’t getting attached to the first unbonded person they saw, because that would just hurt when Danny moved on.
Steve came into the room and stopped, his heart speeding up at the image of Freddie hugging Danny. He looked so small in Freddie’s arms. He watched them, warmth spreading in him.
He kept waiting for the jealousy wave to hit him, but it still didn’t. It felt exactly the other way around, like it settled him, like Danny belonged there. Even if they knew he didn’t, it was hard to deny that Danny didn’t feel right, next to them, between them, with the kids running out and about.
But Danny didn't have any bruises, didn't have any tattoos. Lord knew he had checked the back of his neck hoping to see the little rune they had. But nothing. Just smooth, unmarred skin.
He walked up to them and settled behind Danny, arms at his side. “So, do I get a hug, too?”
Danny rolled his eyes and pulled away from Freddie. “You get a pat on the shoulder.” He said, reaching over and doing just that, laughing at the pout on Steve’s face, so he simply shook his head and gave him a quick hug, not wanting to make things weird between them.
He almost melted into it when Steve wrapped his arms around him and squeezed him.
Steve was a strange one.
He was a hardass when you first met him, most people probably wanted to punch him just like he did. He was insufferable, acting like a spoiled child, but then, when he was comfortable around you, he’d act like a curious child, wanting to know, to touch. So much softer, although he attributed that to Freddie being in the same room as him.
“I invited Danno and the kids tonight for dinner.” Freddie told Steve, giving him a kiss.
Steve smiled at him and nodded at Danny. “That’d be great! We can fire up the grill and have steaks, or make burgers if the keikis prefer burgers.” She said, smiling at Danny.
“You sure it’s okay?” Danny asked them. “It’s really kind of you, but you two have your own lives and friends and family and…”
“And,” Steve interrupted him, holding a hand up. “you are one of our friends, Danny. We love having you and the kids over.” He said, squeezing the back of his neck, feeling a warm current go through him when Danny leaned into the touch. He was tempted to brush his cheek, feel the rough touch of his 5 o’clock shadow against his finger tips. “You don’t only have Meka anymore, you have us too, now.”
Danny honest to god startled at those words. He looked at them with so much hope and insecurity behind those ice blue eyes. And how… sad was that? The fact that someone telling him he had people who he could consider his friends literally shook him to his core... It was heartbreaking.
Steve never wanted to see that look on his face again.
“Thank you.” He mumbled, not meeting either of their eyes and if they saw how wet they were, they were kind enough not to bring any attention to it. “Be there at 19.30?”
“Sounds perfect. We have to go see Mrs. Kelly, but we should be back by 19.00.” Freddie told him with a smile.
Danny cocked his head to the side, staring at them as if they were idiots. “Uh… Am I supposed to know who she is?”
Yeah, that would explain that look.
Steve rolled his eyes at Freddie. “She’s a Kalakaua. They can all see the Soulmate connection. Even Kono, but she never really talks about it, she says it feels like she’s spying on people’s lives. And… Well, we got some new bruises neither of us caused and it’s been years since we’ve gotten one. The last thing we got was a tattoo mark on our ankles. We want to know if she can see anything from our third.” He explained, his voice getting a sadder and more subdued tone as he spoke. He then seemed to realise something, and looked at him straight in the eye. “Shit, sorry Danny. I know you don’t like talking about Soulmates.”
Steve squeezed Freddie’s hand when his soulmate cursed behind him.
“No, it’s okay.” Danny said, shaking his head. “I don’t like talking about mine. I’m genuinely happy for you. You deserve to find them and be happy.”
They shared a strange look, but nodded. “Thank you, Danno.” Freddie said, squeezing his arm, thumb rubbing the inner side of his wrist.
As soon as Mrs. Kelly saw them, she nodded, a small smile coming to her face. She had been seeing those boys for nearly twenty years now and this was the first time their third bond had become stronger.
“I imagine you come with good news, don’t you, keikis?” She said, inviting them to sit down in front of her.
They looked at each other and grinned, nodding. “We got bruises a few days back, Auntie. And another one last night.” Steve said, rolling up his pants to show a bruise on his calf, Freddie doing the same.
“That’s very good, boys. And it’s a healthy bruise, too. It’s not faded like the ones you used to get.” She said, examining them. “Do you know what that means?” She asked them.
“That… they are reaching through the bond?” Freddie asked, excited at the prospect of their third really wanting them, that they might not be pushing them away. He reached for Steve’s hand, holding it tightly.
She shook her head. “I can’t say that for sure, the longer an unclaimed bond goes the harder it’s to tell when they are reaching back but it does seem that way. And they are closer. In one of the islands, I’d say.”
They gasped at the same time.
“They’re here?” Steve questioned, feeling like everything had shrunk, and air was being sucked out of his lungs.
“Not just flying by?” Freddie pressed, stroking Steve’s hand to help him calm down, it wouldn’t do any good if both of them started sending anxious signals through their bond.
“Yes, they are. However, I could not say which island.” She told them.
They nodded, still eternally grateful. “That’s okay, Auntie. We can… We can start looking now.” Freddie said, feeling as ecstatic as he had felt the day he realised Steve was going to be with him forever.
“Are you seriously not going to get into the water!?” Steve asked him. He had Charlie standing up on his shoulders and they were both grinning and laughing. Freddie had Grace on his paddleboard and was showing her something near the rocks, probably one of the native fishes, or a starfish.
He had never trusted his children with someone else but he knew they were safe with Steve and Freddie.
“Danno don’t swim.” Charlie told him, patting his head.
Steve lowered him back to the water, grinning when Charlie laughed and started kicking around, one he made sure the floaties were secure around his arms, he let go of him, to focus on Danny, who was nodding at his son’s words. “Exactly. Danno don’t swim.”
“You can’t swim? Buddy, you live on an island. You need to learn how to swim.” Steve said with a frown and a worried tone.
“No Uncle Steve! Danno can swim, but he doesn’t like to!” Grace explained, yelling as Freddie started to come back. And yeah, she was definitely her father’s daughter.
“That’s even worse! This is Hawaii, Danno. It is mandatory that you swim at least three times a week!” He told him, a grin in his face.
And fuck, that was a good look on him. Danny wondered how many people got to see him like that, relaxed and happy. Freddie, of course. His sister and his dad. Maybe that Uncle Joe they had mentioned a couple of times. He smiled back in spite of himself. He knew he wasn’t doing himself any favours, being here with them, knowing he could never have them, or what they had. Even if they miraculously happened to be interested in him, he would never compromise their friendship for a roll in the hay until they realised they didn’t really want him.
Not like he wanted them, at least.
“And I'm an officer of the law and I know that’s BS, Steven.” He called back, laughing. “C’mon, the pasta is ready to be eaten once you all have showered and gotten changed.” He said, wrapping his son in a bright yellow and pink towel.
Dinner was filled with stories about school and New Jersey and horses and football and baseball matches.
And it was probably one of the best nights he had had on the island so far.