Steve sends him a grin, and Danny responds in kind.
It's like being hit in the head with a rock.
A hard, heavy, sharp-edged rock that leaves a big fucking permanent dent in its wake.
That's what it feels like the very instant it becomes clear that all these weird swirly emotions and warm gushy feelings that have been creeping up into his chest from deep down in his gut aren't actually stemming from any newfound love for the place he swore he'd never love-
It's that he's developed some kind of deep seated love for his crazy-assed, very nearly certifiable partner who has more women drooling in his wake than he can shake a stick at, and who he's pretty sure flies as straight as an arrow down the middle of the path of all that's heterosexual.
He knows this. Danny knows this, he does. Has been reminding himself of this for weeks now, ever since he got hit by the rock and realized that it really hadn't been any sort of flu that had been making him feel so weird for all this time. It was Steve. It is Steve.
It's a Steve rock of love--
And he's trying to ignore it best he can.
Even goes so far at to point out attractive women to Steve because he's apparently a masochist like that--and every time he does he sweeps a little bit more of his own sexuality under the rug because this thing between them? This back and forth, give and take, 'how long you two been married' thing? Yeah. Okay. That's friendship, is what that means to Steve, apparently. Just good old-fashioned two buddy friendship, and not the 'take off your pants so I can get to know you better' buddy thing. Much to Danny's dismay.
Thing is, though, the more he sweeps his bisexuality away in a cloud whenever Steve's around, the more he wishes it could be different. Not the attracted to men part, that doesn't need to be different--he's fine with that. Always has been. He never was a very good liar, especially to himself, and accepted his attraction to those of the male persuasion years ago. Years. Even Rachel was sort of okay with that side of him, let him look as much as he wanted as long as he didn't touch. Of course, apparently Rachel couldn't keep to her own rules. She touched. Oh yeah, did she touch. Stan.
Still, the McGarrett rock has flown, has hit him, and has, apparently, left a massive depression in the part of his brain that controls all sanity and reason, replaced with a profusion of sheer stupidity and intense longing for a man he's with every day, side by side, and yet will never get any closer to physically than sniffing his hands for Steve's aftershave after the man's been handling the steering wheel of his car.
So yes, he's turned into a thirteen-year-old girl with a bad case of crush and apparently, there's nothing he can do about it.
Nothing, and then, as if he isn't already miserable enough wallowing in the unrequited, he looks over at Steve's office where what he witnesses happens often enough he shouldn't be surprised. Isn't surprised, and doesn't stop himself from watching the flex of Steve's bared back muscles as he's changing his shirt. Changing his shirt.
Of course he is.
Of course Steve is half-naked in the middle of his office in the middle of the work day, ridiculous cargo pants slung low on his hips, muscles bunching and flexing as he stretches from side to side before slowly pulling his tee-shirt over his head. Slowly. Slowly like a reverse strip tease.
As if Steve knows Danny's staring at him while harboring secret fantasies as he sits way over here behind his desk in his smaller office.
As if Danny'd really be doing that while at work, fantasizing about his partner and his no shirt penchant and all that skin and all. Like he would ever do that.
What was the word for the day? Oh, yeah. Obverse--with it's example of converting a proposition to its obverse, as in: Everything is possible becomes nothing is impossible.
Yeah, okay. Nothing is impossible except the man in the next office who has no shirt on.
That man is impossible.
This situation is definitely impossible.
Impossible and unfortunate, and damn--
He's got it bad.
Grace gave him the word-of-the-day calendar at the start of the year, and he's had fun over the months working each word into his vocabulary at some point during the day and driving his team members pretty much crazy--especially Steve. Mostly Steve.
Last week, he'd been in the kitchenette at work when it happened, the word blurting forth totally unplanned and out of the blue at the same time he'd yelled and jumped away after reaching into the cabinet to get his coffee mug. "Attercop!"
"Danny, what?" Kono had asked, almost crushing the yogurt cup in her hand as she'd leaped up from the small table with a look of confused panic filling her own features.
Both Chin and Steve had rushed to the door.
"Attercop," he'd repeated, pointed to the door he'd slammed shut. The cabinet door. "In there." The thing was still in there, hiding in there, lurking. The idea of which had sent chills down his spine.
Chin stared at the cabinet door as well. "What--what's an--"
"Attercop?" Steve finished.
"Yeah," he'd agreed. "Biggest one I've ever seen. Big. Like my hand "
"Attercop?" Steve had asked again.
He'd nodded. "Yeah, attercop. You know, spider."
"You're making that up."
"Making it up? Uh--no. No--it's in there. I dare you--no, I double dare you to go in there and kill it." He'd grabbed the roll of paper towels.
"No, I mean--attercop. What is that? Did--did you name it?"
"What?" He'd looked at the three of them looking at him like he'd lost his mind. "No, I didn't name it, why would I do that? Why would you even think that? Attercop--it means spider! Spider! As in the big fucking hairy spider that's lurking in there right now just waiting to suck the blood out of whoever opens the door--and let me just tell you all right here and now, it is not going to be me!"
Shoved the paper towel roll at Steve. "Here. Kill it." Then had barreled past them, shuddering as he'd left the room because, ugh. Spiders.
Five minutes later, Steve was leaning against his door, and he'd automatically caught the wad of paper towels Steve threw at him.
"What's this?" he'd asked, although that sense of dread had already begun tugging the hair at the nape of his neck.
"Present. Proof of death. You know I'll always love and protect you, Danno--don't say I never gave you anything. "
Danny had quickly tossed the wad containing the carcass into the trash and shuddered.
Love. If only.
Lester "Zippy" Harris is a huge, disgusting, greasy excuse for a human being, and Danny wants to punch the shit out of him every time the man opens his mouth. Which has been most of the ride back to HPD.
"Fucking assholes, both of you."
"Excuse me?" The look on Steve's face is icy, his eyes piercing and--scary, frankly. Danny wouldn't want that expression aimed at him. Lester doesn't look like he's all too thrilled with being the recipient of that gaze, either, as Steve fixes eyes on him in the rear view mirror.
"Zip it, Zippy," Danny tosses over his shoulder and it's kind of hard not to laugh. Zippy. Then again, looking at Lester's face, it's also hard not to punch him. "We're almost there," he's telling himself as much as either of the other two.
"These handcuffs are too tight."
"Deal with it, you anencephalous idiot," Danny tells him, not missing the look Steve sends him from the driver's seat. "What?"
"Yeah. It means brainless--as in missing a brain. As in Zippy back there." He points to Lester, annoyed as hell the man's sitting there. They should have called HPD to come pick him up.
"Seriously, Danny? Anencephalous? This along the lines of--what was it the other day? Attercop?"
"Attercop?" Now Lester sounds excited. "Oh, hey--Tolkien."
Steve's back to glaring into the rear-view mirror. "What?"
Lester's grinning now. "Tolkien, that's where that word comes from. Attercop. You know the poem that Bilbo says when--"
Okay. Enough. Now Danny has to turn around. "Okay, you know what? Nobody cares! Now shut up, Zippy, or I'll do it for you."
Lester's glaring right at him. "Like to see you try, you short hobbit fuck. Like you're going to be able to hold me for any of this, you know. Not my stuff. Not my knife. Not my fingerprints. You'll see. I was just strolling by."
Danny stares at him. He can feel himself rising to the bait. He's hot. He's tired, and he's annoyed. "I'm sure you were. Did you hear that, McGarrett? All four hundred pounds of Tiny back there just happened to be strolling by the place because that's what big fat fuck's like him do. They stroll." He turns to the back seat, Lester's face red with anger. He looks like he's about to have a coronary. "Which is why you got caught, Zippy. Right? You can't help it--you can't move any faster than a slug because you are a slug. A big, greasy--"
Lester's shooting dagger eyes at him, his words a low hiss between yellowed teeth. "I will squash you like a bug under my boot, you little shit--"
Danny springs half over the seat and grabs a handful of Lester's hair. Greasy hair. Pulls. "Shut. Up." Gives him his own icy look, then turns back with a huff and wipes his hand off on Steve's pants. "Can't believe you put that giant sack of shit in the back of my car."
Steve's snapping at the stain on his pants. "Oh, that's real nice, Danny--"
Lester's voice rolls right over his words. "Your car? This is your car? Then why's he driving--ohhh. Oh--okay." The greasy fucker's grinning now, and it's all Danny can do not to turn around and slam his head against the window, and then Lester adds, "I get it. It's because he's the big man and you're just his little, tiny love hobbi--"
The amount of satisfaction he feels hearing the crack of Lester's head against the glass is enormous.
"He didn't mean it, you know."
Danny glances at Steve as they head back to the car. Got Lester handed over to HPD for booking which is, at the very least, something to be thankful for. "Who didn't mean what?" He's tired, he's dirty. It's been a long fuckin' day. And Steve smells so good it's been a distraction to him most of the car ride back to the office.
Danny pauses for a long moment. "Okay, what? Didn't mean what? That I'm a hobbit? Yeah, I kinda know that, but thanks for the clarification there, Steve. Deep down I really wasn't quite sure."
"Oh, okay. I get it."
"You get it? You get what--what do you get?"
Steve glances at him and all Danny is processing is how truly deep cobalt the man's eyes look when he's wearing that color shirt.
"You. That you're angry."
"No, I'm not angry. I'm tired," he explains. And okay, maybe he's feeling a bit angry because really? Hobbit? He hasn't heard that one in years.
"Tired. Tired and dirty. I just want to get home, take a shower and I can't even do that--"
"Can't take a shower?"
Danny waves a hand. "The apartment has the hot water shut off 'til tomorrow for some kinda maintenance thing. Nothing I can do about it."
"You didn't tell me that."
"Uh, I believe I just did and besides, since when is my water usage of any interest to you?"
"Well, you can shower at my place."
Which--no. Bad enough he has fantasies threading through his head during office hours when they're separated by four glass walls. He's pretty sure his head will actually explode should he be standing naked in Steve's shower. Where Steve stands naked.
He gives a little head shake, "Ah, maybe--" and then is saved by the buzzing of his phone. "Hey, Kono, what's up?"
The bar is pretty crowded, Chin and Kono are happily ensconced at a table with beers as Danny makes his way to them.
"Where's the boss?" Kono asks and Danny's pretty sure she's already one beer over the line. Fuck it. It's been an awful week for all of them and he's sure Chin will make sure she gets home safely.
"He's coming," Danny tells them. "Said he wanted to get the last of the files sent over to HPD."
Chin's grinning. "Isn't that something you usually do? What'd he do, lose a bet?"
"It's good for him. Besides, I deserve a headstart on the beer for carting around that fucker, Zippy, in my car." Never mind Steve had pretty much shoved him out the door to meet Kono and Chin at the bar to try and shake off his mood.
"How is old Lester?" Chin had apparently brought the guy in for a B & E years before. Yeah, ol' Zippy was rather infamous in his boosting other people's stuff ways.
"Greasy." Danny turns around. "I'm heading to the bar, be right back."
"I'll come with you," Chin says. "Kono, don't pick up any strange men."
"Okay--only women," she laughs.
Danny sends her a look because while he's wondered, he's not been quite sure until now. He gives her a grin that she returns twofold.
There's just enough space at the bar for him and Chin to edge their way close, and he signals the bartender for three beers.
He's about to turn to say something to Chin when the guy to Chin's left turns his way, and his words jam in his throat. Their eyes lock, and--
Holy shit, this guy is good looking. If Danny had been holding a beer in his hand it would have hit the floor.
He nods by way of greeting because the guy is looking right at him. Getting his fill in looking at him, actually. That whole up and down body-raking with the eyes thing. The guy nods, then beams a high wattage smile from right out of a toothpaste commercial and Danny smiles back because he's just been cut stupid and words of any kind are completely out of the question as his tongue is now glued to the roof of his mouth.
Next thing he knows, Chin's nudging him with a slight frown and nodding toward the beer still sitting on the bar as he turns back to the table. "Danny? You coming?"
"Yeah," he replies after a long pause. Tries to get his brain back on-line. "Yeah, I'm coming." He gives model-guy another quick smile with a longer than he intended look before he follows along after Chin because he just can't help himself. That guy is strikingly handsome; it's hard not to keep looking. Which he does. Once. Twice. Over his shoulder.
Which only makes him pause when he sees that Steve has shown up and is sporting a puzzled frown as he sits with Kono at their table. Steve's looking at the guy at the bar. Of course, everyone is looking at the guy at the bar. It's kind of hard not to--
"Hey," Danny says as he sits next to Steve, Chin sliding onto the stool next to him, looking at the both of them with some sort of weird grin that Danny can't quite figure.
Kono's also grinning ear to ear. "So, Danny. Who's your friend?"
"Who? Who do you think? How 'bout the male model you were just flirting with?"
The next swallow of beer almost comes back up. "Flirting--I was not flirting."
Steve's got that look he gets before someone gets maimed, Chin's eyebrows are raised and the look on Kono's face makes him fearful for mankind in general. Her voice is full of laughter. "C'mon, Danny--you gave good eye. I saw it."
"Good eye? What the hell is that?" but really, he can hardly rein in the smirk on his own face. "Okay--so he was a little cute."
"Cute?" Kono takes a long draw from her beer, pointing it at him a second later. "No, brah. That guy is sizzlin'. I know you noticed. I noticed. Hell, half this bar is noticing--but the thing is, he was sure as shit only noticing you."
Which, if he thinks about it, makes him feel pretty good. Been a long time since he's had anyone undress him with their eyes like he's pretty sure tall, dark and steamy just did.
Not that he's going to do anything about it, of course. At least, he doesn't think so--then again, it would be a way to get his mind off of Steve.
Steve, who, interestingly enough, has not offered up one word.
There's still no hot water at his apartment when he gets home that night.
He takes one horrendously cold shower which does a lot for tamping down thoughts of Steve on his knees in front of him, good-looking model guy behind him.
Lord help him.
Okay. Maybe not cold enough.
It is fitting, really. Danny should have guessed this would happen after he flipped the page just that morning to the day's calendar selection. Read the word and definition. Committed it to his vocabulary and waited, waited to unleash it at some point during the day. This day. To annoy Steve.
Now seemed like a perfect time given the current circumstances.
"Mephitic," he now says, wheezing it out as best he can given the circumstances.
"Danny, just stop--" Steve is asking, not even really looking at him. Not looking so much like he's listening, either--
"Shut the fuck up, hobbit," the voice at Danny's back commands sharply along with a tighter press of arm to his windpipe.
Danny wheezes, trying to shift away any fraction of an inch. Forget the knife, Lester--Zippy's--mephitic breath will kill him first.
The knife tip bites into his side again. Goddamnit.
"Let go, motherfucker," he says again--gasps again, really--for what has to be the hundredth time in the past ten minutes. Feels like hours.
Sharp pain again in his side and fuck if Zippy doesn't stick the blade in a bit harder.
"Who let you out of the zoo, anyway?" he asks on what little breath he can wheeze out.
The arm around his throat squeezes tighter.
"Danny, shut up," Steve's flat out ordering.
"Yeah, Danny," Zippy says and Danny can see how the mocking tone of his voice sets Steve's eyes hardening into stone. "Shut up."
Steve looks about three seconds away from just shooting the man's eye out. Never mind that he--Danny--is in the way because Steve's pointing his gun at Zippy's head and has a definite laser focus happening that looks a little scarily programmed, if Danny were hard pressed to say out loud. The SEAL has definitely arrived.
"Shut the fuck up, the both of you," Zippy says, or more like whines to Danny's ears.
Danny's had about enough. "Seriously, Lester. How are you not in lock-up?" It's really getting very difficult to breathe. There are bright spots dancing in front of his eyes.
"I got me a good lawyer," Lester says as he pulls him back, drags him backward, and Danny can just about feel his toes touching the ground but most of the rest of him is leaning against Lester's big bulk. The point of the knife is still piercing his skin. And the guy smells horrific.
"Lester?" Steve starts and Danny's sure this is it. Poor Zippy. "Lester, I'm going to count to three, and then you're going to put the knife down and let Detective Williams go."
Sounds like a plan to Danny. He's still not even sure how he ended up here, with Zippy the pinhead wrapped around behind him, Steve pointing a gun straight out in front of him, and a rather small but very sharp knife poised oh-so-precariously between his ribs.
This is just not a good situation. Not at all.
He can feel the tension in Zippy's arms, his whole large body rigid with stress, and just that second where he's sure Steve's going to shoot at the same time Lester's going to shove that blade all the way into his body, he's suddenly free and clear and dropping like a stone to his hands and knees to catch a breath.
It takes a moment, but he then sees Lester flat out unconscious on the ground with Chin standing behind him flashing a shit-eating grin and a very large blackjack.
He waves a hand in thanks, his other wrapping his throat and peering up a little blearily at Steve who looks like he's just been stricken with something terminal.
A hand gently wraps his shoulder and helps him to stand.
"You okay?" Steve asks.
Danny nods because if it hurts this much to swallow, it's going to be hell to talk. Mumbles out a, "Yeah," because Steve looks like he, too, is on the verge of a coronary, and he wonders about both their stress levels. He gets to his feet, bending over a bit and just breathing in and out slowly.
The ambulance comes and Danny lets the paramedics check him over for everything but sheer stupidity, which is, apparently, his biggest problem today. That he allowed Zippy the overstuffed sack of shit to get the drop on him like that makes him angry. Luckily, his pride is about the only real damage to his body. Well, that and the small hole made by the knife's point that apparently they deem stitch-worthy. They make him climb into the ambulance to go to the hospital to get checked out.
By the time he gets escorted into the emergency room, Steve is there waiting, his features drawn so tight he's going give himself a migraine.
"Jesus, will you relax? I'm good, Steven. Really." Tries to give off reassuring vibes as he and Steve sit and wait for someone to call his name. It seems like just a second later that Steve's nudging him.
"Mmm?" which may be all he can manage at the moment as fatigue is setting in and he's not exactly convinced he's truly awake and not still sleeping. He's tired. His throat hurts. His side hurts, and he's feeling about as grungy as ever with the reek of Zippy all over him. God, now he stinks.
He wants a shower. Wants to go home. Where there's still no hot water. Damnit.
He turns to look at Steve sitting next to him in the waiting area and realizes the man never finished his thought after calling his name. "What, Steve?"
Steve has that twitch going in his jaw. Clenching his teeth obviously, and that can't be good. "Danny, remember--remember that night in the bar? You, me, Chin and Kono."
"Steve. Is this about that guy?" Because that was just the other night and he just has this feeling and --
"What? What guy?"
Danny lets his eyes close and releases a long sigh. Maybe he's wrong. "Nothing. Never mind. Continue on with wherever your crazy train is traveling."
There's a long pause. Danny pops his eyes open because it actually becomes too long a pause. He stares at Steve. Who won't exactly look at him. Great. Steve's put out by his flirting with a man, he can tell. So he asks again. "Is this about that guy? Tell me this isn't about that guy."
He doesn't want to go down the road of his attraction levels, so tries to joke it off. Avoidance was always one of his specialties. "Okay. I get it. It's you--you're jealous, aren't you?"
But Danny's nodding. Smirking. Playing this off. "Oh yeah. You--you're upset because of that good-looking guy. You're not the prettiest pony any more, and that makes you angry. Am I right? I am, aren't I?"
"What are you talking about?"
Now he shifts where he sits and looks Steve right in the eye. "Oh, yeah. I am right. You're mad that that guy, that male-model-y looking guy is better looking than you! It's killing you, and you can't take it. This is all kind of a bit shallow, though, don't you think, babe?"
Steve's pinching the bridge of his nose. Never a good sign. "No, Danny. I don't even know how to answer-- Okay, look. No. That's not it."
"Oh." Steve sounds too serious, which stinks, really, as he was so hoping maybe Steve would a) let this all blow away as one big joke; and b) care that someone was interested in him. Waves a hand and closes his eyes again because clearly Steve is not in a joking around mood. "What is it then?"
Steve's voice comes out a bit hesitant, and Danny's again peering at him through tired eyes.
"Danny, I--okay. See--when you were-- I got there and Kono said you were over at the bar and then I saw-- Okay. Okay. Never mind. You know what? You're right. It is the guy."
He's staring at Steve because stammering just isn't that normal. Steve's usually much more articulate than that--and now Steve's looking like he's hoping the world will crack open and swallow him whole.
Danny clears his throat. It still hurts to talk, but not nearly as badly as before and there is no way in hell he's not going to push this through to the end. "What about him?"
Now Steve clears his throat. He's still not quite looking Danny in the eye. "Did you, uh, get his number?"
"Why? You wanna call him for a date, Steve?" He doesn't know what Steve's asking anymore so resorts to joking around again. Hell if he knows what Steve's thinking and then words just tumble out of his mouth. "You're thinking you like men all of a sudden that you want the guy's number?" Almost laughs out loud although none of this is even remotely funny.
Steve laughs, but it doesn't sound like he's thinking any of this is funny either. "No, I don't want to call him--I thought you did. And Danny, there is no all of a sudden."
Which has him a little--okay, a lot--speechless, because, "No all of a sudden--what? You're telling me you're into guys now, Steve?"
Who repeats, "Now?" and then just stares back as if he's said a 'ball's in your court' type of thing and so Danny just flat out offers up: "Catherine." Which should say a lot.
Steve counters with, "Rachel."
Which has Danny freezing for a second, then nodding, his head falling to his hands as he rubs his temples. He's about to say something--anything to break the weirdly tense quiet between them--when his name gets called.
He sends Steve a long look, then follows the nurse to the examination area.
Four internal stitches and three visible ones later, he wearily treks back to the waiting room, not at all sure if Steve will still be there or not.
He is though, head thrown back in what has to be a severely neck-stiffening position and looking sound asleep. Danny reaches out and taps him lightly on the shoulder, not at all expecting Steve's eyes to pop open and his wrist to be grabbed up and twisted.
Okay. Never tap a snoozing SEAL.
He falls into the seat next to Steve with a sharp yelp.
"Danny, I'm sorry," Steve says, recognition dawning as he lets go, and Danny can't help but want to drown himself in the deep of those eyes, pain or no pain.
"It's okay, babe. I should know better." He watches Steve for a few seconds, thoughts, words and images from the day being pulled together. "Steve? Are you--we--are we okay?" because the whole latest revelation thing is--well, it's kind of unreal. He's still not sure what Steve was saying. Asking. Implying.
Steve just looks at him, a long measured gaze and Danny's not sure if Steve's thinking 'shut up and go away,' or, 'come closer and kiss me,' and Steve's not usually this hard to read, but now there's a good chance he'll never truly find out because that moment, that discussion of men and attraction now seems too difficult a path to get back on.
"Cataglottism," Steve just blurts out.
Steve's smiling then. "I got a word-of-the-day present, too."
Which, okay, what? '"Yeah? From who?"
He laughs as they head to the car. Danny's side is burning. He feels disgustingly filthy and is pretty sure the only area on his entire body that's clean is the one they wiped off before putting in his stitches. "Kono. Okay. Okay, that explains a lot. Dirty words-of-the day, I'm guessing? So what's cata--"
"Cataglottism? It's--well. It's kissing with tongue."
Uh--this is unexpected. "Really," he states. Not exactly sure where this is going but if the crazy train is heading into kissing discussions, well, who is he to jump the tracks?
"So my calendar says."
Danny runs the seat belt across his chest and buckles in. His hands fall over his knees. "Sounds . . . intriguing."
Steve smiles. "It does, doesn't it? I kind of liking this vocabulary-building you started. It's educational . . . informative." Steve's still smiling as he gazes out the windshield. "So. Cattoglottism," he says again, then nods toward Danny's bandage covered stitches. "Got to be more fun than being poked with a sharp object."
Which has Danny thinking. Nodding and thinking, and how strangely interesting has this conversation been? "Much better, and with less pain. I imagine."
Steve smiles at him.
Danny smiles back and can only hope he's reading between the lines correctly. "Of course with you, some kind of pain is always a given."
A hand appears on his thigh: a large, strong, sure hand. It squeezes gently and oh, yeah. Definitely likes what's going on between the lines.
"What pain? I'm not a sadist, Danny."
He stares at Steve and thinks of how hard and how fast he's fallen for the guy. "Well, you did hit me with that rock."
The vision of a wet Steve flashes through his head because his brain is now damaged that way, because of that Steve-rock for sure--and honest to god the idea of a shower sounds like heaven. A shower with Steve moves into nirvana territory, just like his fantasy under the cold shower spray of the other night.
"So, no ablutophobia then?" Danny asks, that word selection on a calendar page from a few days ago.
"Fear of bathing." He waves it away, grinning, still thinking on that fantasy vision of wet, naked Steve. "Never mind. So tell me, just how big is your hot water heater?"
Yeah. Just like the other night. Only this time, it's just the two of them.