Danny closes the trunk and has to smile at Grace as she tries to gather all of her bags.
"You okay, there?" he asks. "You look like a Sherpa."
"I'd be a great Sherpa," she says, whipping her braids behind her back and smiling.
"I'm sure you would," Danny laughs, taking the bag with the towels and spare clothes, leaving her the toys and the plastic case. You'd think they're off for a week of camping, not an afternoon at Steve's house.
Any worry Danny has that they're imposing on Steve's open offer to let Grace play at the beach behind his house is rendered irrelevant when the man opens the door and literally beams at them. He bounces outside to greet them like an overeager Labrador.
"Hey Danny, hi Grace!"
"Hi!" she grins, and Danny's can only shake his head at how obvious his little girl's infatuation with Steve is. Not that he can blame her or anything, hopeless crushes on Steve McGarrett run in the family.
"Can I help you with this?" Steve inquires, ever the gentleman.
She hands him the plastic chest.
"Yes please," Grace replies just as politely.
"You plan on going fishing?" Steve teases as they enter the house.
"No, no, that's the magic chest. I'll show you later." Grace turns to Danny. "Can I go in the ocean now?"
"Let me see..." Danny makes a production out of checking his watch. "It's been more than an hour since lunch, I put a whole bottle of sunscreen on you before we left... I'd say if you go to the bathroom first, you're good to go."
With a shriek, Grace takes off at a run to the bathroom while Danny and Steve take the toys out in the lanai.
"Thanks man." Danny really is grateful that he doesn't have to suffer going to a public beach with the tourists, not to mention wet dogs running around and other nonsense that makes him want to tear his hair out. "You'd tell us if you had plans, right? I don't want to impose."
"Are you kidding? I love when you guys come over. And by the way, you could come even if I had something, I don't mind. In fact, I should get you a key." Steve is totally serious and Danny holds his hand up.
"A key? I appreciate the offer but it's not even our anniversary, you're going too fast for me," he jokes, trying to squish the warmth the offer brings. Steve says and does shit sometimes that make Danny want things he can't have and it's not good for his health.
The quip makes Steve grin.
"Ah, come on, we're practically going steady," he says, heading back in towards the kitchen. "Beer?"
Gracie's back, having shed her summer dress and now ready to go in her green polka dot bathing suit.
"All set!" She bounces as Steve returns with only one bottle. He hands it to Danny, making him feel like a tool; he'd say to put it back if it wasn't already opened.
"I'll go with her if you want," Steve offers, again with the eager puppy look, and who is Danny to refuse?
"You know the rules," Danny says and Steve nods, making a thumb up at Grace.
"We know the rules, don't we?"
"We do!" Grace exclaims and Danny gestures to the open beach and traitorous water beyond.
As soon as permission is given, Grace sprints to the beach laughing. Steve pauses to rid himself of his t-shirt, which like every time causes a sweet baby Jesus moment of distraction for Danny. Steve lets Grace win the race, of course, and they're soon splashing in the water.
Danny pulls a chair out and sets up camp in the shade of a tree that doesn't seem likely to brain him with a coconut. The view, he has to admit as he sips his beer, is spectacular. His little girl is having a blast and Steve makes sure that they don't go to far (rule number 1) and refrains from doing stupid stunts like having her climb on his shoulders (rule number 4). Even if he knows that Grace couldn't be safer, it's still impossible for Danny to close his eyes for a nap.
Anyway, times like this are the perfect opportunity to stare without it being weird, so he indulges. Steve and Grace play for over an hour, and Danny is about to call Grace back for more sunscreen when they get out of the water by themselves. She's talking with her hands, obviously on to something.
"Grace says you're quite the artist," Steve informs Danny as they get close, visibly surprised.
"What? I don't look the part? You'd be surprised at the things I do well, McGarrett," Danny says, adding like sucking cock in his head.
"No, it's just... I never thought about it," Steve shrugs, using the towel Danny just threw at him to pat down the very distracting droplets of water on his skin.
"I'm sure that your hobbies are adrenaline fueled, like free style rock climbing, but me? I draw. Ma says that I've been drawing from the moment I could hold something that made a mark."
"Danno, could I get dolphins?" Grace asks.
Oh god, dolphins again. Danny gives her his best smile.
"Of course baby, go get the chest."
"That's cool. I can't draw for shit," Steve comments with what sounds like frustration. It makes Danny laugh.
"It drives you nuts, right? No one can be good at everything, not even you."
Grace is back with the chest, and before she opens it Danny puts his hand on the lid.
"Wait wait wait. You know how this goes."
With a heavy sigh, Grace relents.
"Do we have to? Okay. Body paint is fun but tattoos are serious," she says solemnly. Her eyes dart to Steve's shoulders before coming back to Danny, who makes a go on motion. "I will not get a tattoo before I am 21. If I ever do get one, it will never be on an impulse or out of peer pressure. No names, unless it's my children. No alcohol will be involved. Danno!" She wines, embarrassed, but he makes her finish anyway while Steve chuckles. "A tattoo must have meaning and the subject and placement must be chosen with care, because it's forever. It will still be there when I'm 80 and wrinkly."
She's almost there, so Danny prompts her, "And?"
With another sigh she ends the lecture.
"The tattoo parlor must be Danno approved."
"You bet it does," he says as Steve starts laughing.
Danny knows that this little song and dance he puts Grace through might not mean anything in the end, but he has to try. He's seen too many stupid mistakes and he doesn't want his girl to live with one.
Grace is opening the box now, and instead of the fishing gear it was meant to hold it's full of little bottles of body paint, brushes, sponges and everything Danny needs to make temporary body art. He puts aside the sketchbook, since by now he can paint dolphins with his eyes closed, and starts to work. He decides on drawing two dolphins chasing themselves up and around Grace's right arm, which at least gives a tiny challenge. To be perfectly honest, once he gets going he totally forgets Steve’s even there until Steve talks.
"You did all this?"
Frowning, Danny looks up to see Steve flipping through the sketchbook. He'd normally be annoyed, but it's mostly Disney cartoons and princesses, along with a slew of cute animals, and Danny generally tears out the pages with the bad ones anyway.
"He did," Grace says with pride. "Danno is the best, he can do anything."
Ain't that an ego boost.
"Thank you sweetheart," he says, kissing her elbow as he finishes a tail.
"Have you ever thought about going to art school?" Steve asks.
"I did, in fact. But it wasn't my crowd, if you let me say it like that." He had young ears to spare, after all. Danny could rant for hours about some of the pretentious assholes he'd met. Watching Steve from the corner of his eye, he drops the bomb. "Tattoo artists were frowned upon where I was anyways. I only stayed a couple of weeks, and then applied to the Academy."
On cue, Steve's jaw literally drops open.
"Wait, what?" He looks pole axed, which is hilarious. "You? You were a tattoo artist?"
Danny grins at him.
"Since I turned sixteen. My cousin Jim has a shop in Jersey. In fact, I still did some work up until I moved here, if one of my regulars managed to convince me. In fact, Donna has been nagging me for months, offering to bring my stuff over when she takes a vacation."
Steve is still blinking the surprise away.
"Donna!" Gracie exclaims. "Donna would visit? You have to say yes, Daddy!"
"I'll see. But I don't have much free time, with my boss being a slave driver and all," he smirks at Steve. "Donna wants something quite big, I don't know if I can."
"You must have a book, right?" The intensity of Steve’s stare is cranked up to 12. "Could I see your book?"
Danny won't lie: he loves the way this talk of tattoos is making Steve look at him. He shrugs, though he hopes that Steve is not considering new ink. Not by him.
"Sure, it's online."
The word is not even completely out of his mouth that Steve is bolting for the house.
"Turn your arm a little this way," Danny tells Grace, starting on the second dolphin.
Steve is back with his laptop opened on his forearm, typing away.
"Y’know, when hits on your name came up, I never even thought it could be you," he's saying.
Danny raises his eyebrows.
"You Googled me?" he asks.
Steve throws him an amused look as he sits back down, and then returns to his investigation.
"Like you didn't Google me."
Point. Though nothing much from last 10 years had come up, which Danny had put on all that special OPs shit.
"Hey, there you are!" Steve exclaims and Danny groans as he remembers the pic. It was before the academy. Jim had taken it out at the boxing gym and he looks like a punk, with the sides of his head shaved, idiotic facial hair, shirtless and - if he remembers right - stupid fake dog tags. How embarrassing. Jim had said that it spoke to their clientele, but try to explain that now.
"Shut up, I'm working," Danny grumbles as Steve does a fish out of water impression, eyes jumping from computer to him then back to the screen. Danny thinks Steve maybe gives him a blatant once over, but he shakes that stupid idea off and concentrates on the second dolphin.
He’s reassured when he hears some clicking, the tapping of keys. A quick look confirms that Steve is now in the book. There's no commentary, anything, and Danny doesn't realize he was holding his breath until Steve hums. He does it with approval, but that's it. It's frankly a bit unnerving.
Danny would be disappointed that's all Steve has to say if he wasn't back to furiously intense, processing all of this new information.
"Thanks," Danny says. "But I only put the non-stupid ones on there. You would not believe the shit some people ask for."
"I can imagine."
"No you don't," Danny replies with a shudder
"What kind of tattoo artist doesn't have ink?" Steve says, puzzled. "Is that what you're hiding under those shirt and ties of yours?"
Danny smirks. It throws them all for a loop.
"He has a tattoo," Gracie chirps up, smiling at him.
"Yes I do," he answers with a wink. He'd broke his impulse rule with that one, driving to Jim's straight out of the hospital after her birth instead of going home to sleep. He'll never regret it, though, he's sure. Steve looks beside himself with curiosity, so Danny decides to let him stew. He's done with the dolphins now, so he gives Grace the hand held mirror. "But it's private and I don't tease the world with bits of it coming out of my t-shirt, like some other people I know. There you go sweetheart. You like them?"
She smiles at her arm, turning it this way and that trying to see it all.
"I love it, thank you Danno!"
"Will that be all, young Miss?" he asks, hoping that today is not the day their little ritual ends.
She shakes her head no, as if affronted, and it makes something in Danny relax.
"Of course not," she says.
Danny kisses her forehead and makes her turn around, reaching for the brown in the case.
"Okay, here we go."
With a couple of strokes he paints a little monkey climbing Grace's spine, almost reaching her neck. It takes less than two minutes, he's done it so often.
"All done," he announces and she's darting inside the house with the mirror, probably to inspect it in the bathroom.
Steve is smiling like a sap when Danny turns his way.
"It's a thing we do," Danny explains.
"It's cute," Steve says. "You're great."
Before Danny can ask if he's talking about his admittedly awesome parenting skills or his art, Grace is back.
"Okay, now we do Steve!" she declares.
Danny freezes; he was already putting the paint back in the case. And well. “Doing Steve” brings images that have nothing to do with what his daughter had in mind.
"Yes! I'd love that, Grace," Steve is saying, and not even waiting for Danny's approval he's sitting on the chair Grace had just vacated. He even has the guts to take the puppy dog eyes out to play once again. "Come on Danno. Just a little something."
"You heard the 'we', didn't you?" Danny says evilly. Grace, sadly, never had the patience or interest to practice her technique. But it doesn't faze Steve.
"Not a problem," he smirks. "What are you going to do, Grace?"
She's taking out many colors and a flat brush. As soon as she sets the colors in order, Danny laughs.
"A rainbow," she states, already starting on a big violet arc going from the top of Steve's left shoulder, and swooping down his chest. Thankfully Steve doesn't seem think it's a problem.
"Cool. I love rainbows. What about you, Danny?"
What Danny thinks is that it's best he doesn't paint on Steve all that much, he might love it too much. Since he's had a look at those tattoos, he's dreamt of doing a Celtic Tree of Life taking the whole of his back, or a small stylish fish near his hipbone. Or 'Property of Danny Williams' on his butt.
"I think I'll go with the obvious today," Danny says, taking out the white paint. Plus it will take two minute tops, which is for the best for his sanity. Grace is happily painting away her other colors, so Danny grabs Steve's arm, turns it face up: the skin of Steve's forearm is a way safer place to work than his chest. It makes the touch to hold it in place intimate, though, Danny's fingers feeling Steve's blood thrumming under the soft skin of his wrist. The pulse is way faster than Danny would have thought for a guy in the shape Steve's in, and it's obvious that he's resisting the urge to fidget as Danny sweeps the paintbrush.
"Ticklish, McGarrett?" Danny teases.
"Yeah. Hey, is that..."
Taking the black paint out, Danny winks at him as he adds two big beady eyes and a nose.
"Awww, a baby seal!" Grace coos. "It's so cute!"
Steve's shaking his head, but he's grinning like a loon.
The three of them turn to the side of the house towards Rachel's voice. Shit. Danny reflexively looks for his phone at his belt but remembers he had it put to charge in the car and forgot it there.
"Mom!" Grace calls, gesturing her to come over. "Come and see, I'm finishing my rainbow!"
"A rainbow?" Rachel says, coming over, then throwing an annoyed glare at Danny once Grace can't see.
"Sorry, Rachel, phone is in the car, I had no idea it was this late," Danny apologizes, going in the house to get Gracie's clothes and shoes. It's easy enough to pluck the new dress over Grace's head and she's ready to go.
"We're late darling," Rachel's telling Grace. "Supper with Stan's family," she says to Steve.
Danny thanks heaven that he was not supposed to drop her back at Rachel's and they'd agreed to switch at Steve's, or he'd be in so much shit right now.
"Did you see my dolphins?" Grace is saying, and Rachel smiles indulgently.
"They're great. Come on, we have to go. Thank you Steve for hosting Grace, and, you know, for letting them do that." She gives him an amused half-smile.
"Not a problem," Steve replies, looking absolutely ridiculous with a big rainbow across half his chest and the ball of fluff on his forearm.
"I'll take care of that," Danny says, nodding towards the paint. "Sorry again. Bye, Monkey," he says when Grace comes for his hug. He holds her hand over his heart with his own, trying to stop it from cracking a little more with another goodbye. "Danno loves you."
She taps his chest, kisses his cheek.
"I love you too." She steps back and goes to hug Steve's leg. "I had a great day, Steve, thank you."
"My pleasure. Anytime, I mean it." He looks like he does, too. He even walks them to the driveway.
Danny is putting the brushes aside to wash them when Steve is suddenly back by his side, the sneaky son of a bitch.
"I want you to tattoo me," Steve declares as if it's the most important thing in the universe.
Danny sighs. On one hand, Steve obviously really loved his shit, which is awesome. But tattooing Steve is still as bad an idea as it was earlier.
"Tattoo what?" he asks anyway.
"I don't know. Whatever," Steve shrugs and that's surprising. Guys with elaborate ink like Steve premeditate. If Steve doesn't have a design ready, it's because he hadn't planned getting anymore, or at least not right now.
"See? No. I don't do that. Forget it. A tattoo is not a joke and you know that. Think about it for a few years and come back to me," Danny says.
Steve is honest-to-god looking as if Danny dropped-kicked a whole bucket of kittens.
"No but, Steve," Danny says sternly. He will not be swayed.
"Paint one, then."
Danny points at the seal with the brush.
"I just did, buddy.”
"Another one. Come on, Danno," Steve pleads.
If it's going to shut him up so Danny doesn't hear about real tattoos anymore, he's ready to do that.
"I can do what I want?" he asks.
Bracing himself, Danny steps away, squints and decides there's no way he's going to work near the rainbow. He makes Steve turn around, and yeah, that's more like it. Acres of tanned skinned and Steve's back is gorgeous like the rest of him. Emboldened, Danny trails a finger down Steve's spine, seeing lines and swirls in his head. He smiles when a shiver hits.
"You're really ticklish. I think I'm gonna tell Kono."
"Do that and you're dead," Steve says but his voice is a little rough.
The Tree of Life Danny might or might not have thought about in detail would be too long to do. Plus he doesn't want to encourage Steve in his desire for new ink, at least not by him, and that's when a new idea hits. Danny can't help but smile. It's going to be glorious.
"You're going to have to lie down," Danny instructs and just like that, Steve shakes out a towel and drops flat down on the sand.
Danny takes the bottle of black paint and a brush and then follows more carefully, straddling Steve's thighs. He won't be able to work like this for long or his knee is going to be shot to hell, but it's worth it just for the feeling of being over Steve like this. Shit. All of his experience at fighting arousal around clients will be needed here.
"No right to bitch, you gave me carte blanche."
"Scout's honor. As long as it isn't rude." Steve pillows his head in the crook of his elbow.
Danny starts with an 'X' on Steve's L1. From then on, it's mostly improvisation as he proceeds on painting a tribal tramp stamp on his lower back. It's not long before Steve realizes what's going on, but instead of throwing Danny off like he thought he would, Steve chuckles a little and stays still.
"Really? A tramp stamp? That's what you come up with?"
"That's what I have time to do before my knee hates me. Shut up or I stop."
Steve shuts the hell up, which is interesting. Danny thought he'd keep it simple at first, but the motions soon take him in the zone. A stroke, then the mirror one on the other side; keeping his hand steady and the design symmetrical takes most of his attention. The upside is that he's less conscious that it's Steve that he's marking, but he realizes that he got carried away when the next brush stroke he envisions is stopped by Steve's bathing suit, already pretty low on his hips at it is. But hell, in for a penny...
Steve is very very still, as if all of his energy is focused on not moving a muscle. Danny would think he'd fallen asleep if his breathing was not so shallow. Danny debates with himself for a second and decides that he's never going to get an opportunity like this ever again, so he better just seize it. He hooks his index fingers on each side of Steve's trunks, which seems to jolt him. Maybe Steve was almost asleep after all.
"Lift up, princess," Danny says, lifting his own weight from Steve's legs.
Steve makes a weird choked noise and does so, allowing Danny to pull the trunks down half way down his ass; he doesn't dare more. Still, it's a very nice half ass. Danny sits back down and there's that noise again.
"Are you okay?" Danny asks, concerned.
"Yeah," Steve says, nodding his emphasis. He sounds like he gargled with sand.
"Almost finished, anyway." Danny lets the brush go where it wanted to from the start, the top of Steve's crack. He makes all the lines converge there, like a pointing arrow. Okay, so Danny's not subtle at all and he knows it, but he's way past caring.
That's just about when Danny finally surfaces from the design itself and starts noticing everything around it. Namely how every body hair on Steve is standing up, or it seems so, with goose bumps all over. How tense Steve is, and that he's breathing in aborted little pants. Danny even hears Steve's throat click while swallowing when the brush dips at the top of the crack again. The realization is like a blow to the head.
"This is turning you on, isn't it?" Danny blurts out before he thinks about it.
Steve shudders all over and groans "oh god!" into his elbow. Danny's seen it often enough, though it's generally the pain, not the marking itself.
"Tattoos do that to lots of people. Don't worry, I'm not taking it personally." Danny wills his own dick to stay put.
"Maybe you should," Steve says and he sounds totally wrecked. Steve looks over his shoulder and the heat in his eyes makes Danny's blood rush south. His heart beats faster as he realizes that maybe Steve gets off on being marked, but Steve also wants him. Badly.
"Oh yeah?" he says, trying for confident. "And what would happen if I did this?" Danny takes more paint and then yanks Steve's shorts totally off his ass. He uses his left hand to push Steve's cheeks apart and paints a stripe going down, down, barely enough to touch Steve's asshole but Steve's losing control anyway, all the air coming out of him at once as he convulses under Danny, coming his brains out. It's shocking because Danny didn't know Steve was quite there yet, but it's also the hottest thing he's ever seen in his entire life.
Danny hasn’t even recovered from his own surprise when Steve bucks and twists. The next second he’s on his back with a flushed SEAL with half-crazy eyes battling his belt and pants, yanking both his shorts and underwear down.
"I thought I was going to die, holy mother of fuck," Steve swears and that's it, he's going to town, swallowing Danny's cock down and sucking as if his life depends on it. When Danny's brain connects hot, wet, fantastic with Steve's blowing me that's it, game over, he comes embarrassingly fast down Steve's throat. It's like he's been whammied with his orgasm, his body going from aroused but in control to exploding fireworks in less than two minutes. He's tempted to quote Steve on the holy mother of fuck thing, it was that good.
Steve's right there above him, looking unsure and Danny rolls his eyes before putting a hand behind Steve’s neck and dragging him down.
"Come here, you moron," he says, pulling him into a kiss.
Steve kisses him with enthusiasm for a few minutes before pulling back and beaming at him. He looks ridiculous, but oh so gorgeous anyway.
"It's been a while since my art got me laid," Danny teases, kissing the baby seal that is a bit smudged on Steve's arm.
A kiss from Steve again, playful.
"I've wanted to do this for months, your art has nothing to do with it."
"Okay, so it made you even harder to resist. Seriously, Danny, I'd love a tattoo by you," Steve says, intent.
"We'll see," Danny says, thinking that it's a supremely bad idea. He wonders what Rachel thinks of hers, now. Surprisingly Steve accepts this as an answer but shifts on an elbow, frowning, and starts unbuttoning Danny's shirt.
"One of these days, I'm gonna build a big bonfire and burn all of your shirts and fucking ties, I swear to god," he says.
"My apartment, my shirts, my ties... I'm starting to think you have a pyro streak, babe," Danny says, but turns serious when he notices how Steve is now fixated on his chest. He traces the words inked over his heart slowly with a long finger.
I once was lost
But now am found
But now, I see
"Yeah. She's my everything."
There's not much to say after that, and thankfully Steve just lays his head on Danny's skin, curling beside him and trying to get comfortable. Danny thinks they should move this inside. To a bed, even.
"Will you take a key to my house now? Because I expect you to come over a lot from now on," Steve says as if it makes any sense.
"Won't you be here? Wouldn't that be the point, me coming over to be with you? I don't need a key!"
Steve grunts, obviously not pleased.
"Okay, then. But we're definitely going steady," he says, burrowing his head in Danny's neck and starting the mother of all hickeys, by the feel of it.
Danny decides not to argue that one and moves his head to give Steve more room. He can live with being marked, too.