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If It's Not with You

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Danny wakes up and doesn’t even feel like he slept at all. Yesterday had been the kind of day where he thought, because of his sheer level of exhaustion, he’d fall into a deep, peaceful sleep and wake up feeling better in the morning. But his body is a traitor, making him wake up groggy and unrested, with a sore knee and a headache. Shit, even his throat feels sore.

His head is pounding, and the sun is just making it worse. He rolls over, and … wait a second. This is not his bed. It can’t be his bed; it’s too comfortable to be his bed, it feels like one of those memory foam mattresses or something, and there’s … okay. It feels like there’s someone else here, but Danny can’t open his eyes without getting a searing stab of pain right to the middle of his forehead, so he reaches a hand out and comes in contact with what feels like an arm. It’s hard and muscular; it has to be an arm. He opens one eye halfway and can’t pull his hand away fast enough after what he sees.

It’s Steve’s arm. He knows right away because of the tattoo, but he takes a quick look at the body attached to that arm just to make sure. And, okay, no cause for alarm here, maybe they just fell asleep in the same bed last night. They’d both gotten pretty drunk; it was possible that instead of passing out on the couch, Danny had wandered in here, or Steve had told him to crash in his room. He can’t remember. Everything after they’d started doing shots last night was blurred around the edges, looked in his mind like a fuzzy, out of focus photograph. He hadn’t consumed alcohol like that in years, since right after his divorce when he and Matt made getting wasted an almost nightly ritual. His body wasn’t used to it anymore, didn’t remember how to handle the effects.

Danny chances opening both eyes all the way, not prepared for the full onslaught of sunlight and what he knows is in front of him. This keeps getting weirder, closer to a dream he had once, because Steve is naked, and when Danny looks down he’s naked, too. The two of them are tangled up in sheets and not much else.

This is not how Danny thought this was going to go, not that he ever expected his thoughts of a naked Steve in bed with him were ever going to be become a reality.

Steve sighs in his sleep, and there’s a little smirk on his face. His body – his ridiculously tall, ridiculously hot body; Danny is staring at all of the lean muscle and tanned skin, barely covered by a white sheet at the V of his hipbones – is spread out on the bed. He rolls over, closer to Danny, whose pulse quickens. He can piece together last night if he just focuses enough. He can remember Chin and Kono leaving, he and Steve moving from the lanai to the house. The last thing he remembers is doing shots on Steve’s coffee table, a football game on in the background. It slowly comes back to him, how he went into the kitchen, laughing, tipsy, to get some water and came back to see Steve lying down, one arm behind his head, his legs dangling over the edge of the couch, his t-shirt rucked up to expose part of his stomach and hip.

And that’s where it all started. That stupid t-shirt, stupid McGarrett, his long, stupid body spread out like it was Danny’s for the taking.


“McGarrett, what are you doing? Did you decide to fall asleep on me here?” Danny asked. “The game’s still on.” He swatted at one of Steve’s feet, trying to get him to move.

Steve cracked open one eye. He laughed, low in his throat. “’m drunk, Danno.”

“I can see that. You think I don’t have eyes, or that I don’t remember the past couple of hours?” Danny couldn’t stop staring at Steve’s stomach, couldn’t stop thinking about wanting to lick the skin there, wanting to lick farther down. These weren’t exactly new thoughts. But they were the kind he hadn’t thought about acting on until right now.

“Come ‘ere.” Steve made a motion with his hand.

Danny moved toward him a little awkwardly, a little unsure. He felt an ache in his knee, undoubtedly from having to chase after Steve and that gunrunner earlier in the day. It’d been a hard, long day, but Danny didn’t feel like reflecting on it right now. He was staring at Steve, couldn’t focus on anything else.

“Move your giant legs and sit up,” Danny said.

Steve grunted and, glaring at Danny, sat up. “Happy now?”

Danny took a seat. “Why, yes, I’m much happier now that I have a place to sit.”

Steve grinned at him, a lot drunk and a little fond. He leaned back on the couch, spreading himself out. It felt like an invitation, like he wanted Danny in his space.

“Hey,” Steve said, and god, he looked like a goof with that smile on his face. Danny was sitting with his elbows on his knees, and he turned his head toward Steve.

“Okay, I know …” Steve paused, laughing a little bit, “that our inhibitions are a little lowered right now –“

“I’d say they’re a lot lowered; do you not recall taking those shots –“

“Danny, shut up. ‘m talking.”

“No, I’m talking.”

Steve sighed, his I am so put upon sigh. “I’m trying to kiss you here.”

“You’re such a smooth operator, babe.” Danny sat back. The alcohol had eased the tension he’d been feeling after they’d left work for the day, the tightness in his shoulders, the ache behind his eyes. It’d made him looser with his words, too. He always called Steve “babe,” not for any special reason; where he was from, it was a common thing to say, nothing that meant anything, but now, now when they were unguarded and relaxed and Steve wanted to kiss him, it meant something.

“Like you are?”

“I have moves, okay, I have great moves, and granted I haven’t had a chance to show them off in a while, but they’re there. And if I wanted to kiss someone, I wouldn’t say, ‘I’m trying to kiss you here,’ I’d just –“

Steve cut him off mid-ramble, kissing him. Danny hadn’t even realized that while he’d been talking, Steve had slipped a hand around the back of his neck, or that Steve was so close. The way Steve kissed surprised Danny: he’d expected Steve to do it with the same zeal and abandon he did everything else, but Steve was slow, patient, and really fucking good at it. Danny leaned in closer, slid his hands under Steve’s shirt, and pushed it up.

“Remember what I said, lowered inhibitions …” Steve murmured against Danny’s mouth.

“Shut up, shut up, shut up, McGarrett, I don’t care –“

“I don’t, either, I’m just saying –“

“What are you saying?”

“I don’t want you to tell me tomorrow that this was a mistake.” Steve slurred his words, looking at Danny with unfocused eyes. His hand stayed on the back of Danny’s neck.

It was new, seeing Steve afraid. Sometimes, Danny thought Steve wasn’t afraid of anything. If Steve was afraid this was a mistake, it meant they had something in common. The only thing holding Danny back from doing this before was that very thing, plus worrying about Steve not even being into guys, but he definitely was, and oh god, they were so fucked, and it probably was a mistake – you didn’t kiss someone you had to work with for fourteen hours a day without thinking about the consequences first – but he didn’t care.

“No, no, why are you talking right now, do you know when I came in here and saw you on the couch, all I could think about was blowing you, you idiot –“

Steve groaned. “Danny.”

Danny abandoned his mission of getting Steve’s shirt off and slid to his knees instead, between Steve’s already opened legs. He fumbled with the button on Steve’s cargo pants – sure, he had moves, all right – and unzipped them. Steve lifted his hips, pushing his pants down his thighs. He was already hard through his boxers, and Danny mouthed at his erection through the fabric, setting off another groan.

He hadn’t done this in a while, and they were both drunk so this was probably going to be the most uncoordinated, worst blowjob ever, and afterward Steve would just kick him out and wish they’d never done this. “Being on my knees with McGarrett’s dick in my mouth” was first on the list of things Danny never thought in a million years he’d be doing that night.

Danny slid Steve’s dick out through his boxers, slowly licking up and down the length, tonguing over the slit, trying to take his time, to make this good.

“Danny, please,” Steve said, sliding a hand into Danny’s hair, and Danny looked up at him right before he lowered his mouth over Steve’s cock. He didn’t bother putting a hand on one of Steve’s hips; he wanted Steve to fuck his mouth, to let go and do whatever he felt like doing.

Steve was mostly quiet, except for little gasping noises every time Danny changed the pressure, or when Danny hummed around his cock. Once in a while, Danny would glance up at Steve, who had his head thrown back against the cushions, his mouth halfway open, the one hand that wasn’t in Danny’s hair balled up in a fist at his side.

“Steve,” Danny said, “look at me.”

Their eyes met, and something was there that hadn’t been there before, something that scared the shit out of Danny with how strong it was. It was a moment of clarity, something that told Danny everything he’d been feeling for Steve the past few months was returned, that it was more than just a drunken hookup. He wanted to tell himself he was reading too much into things, but he knew what he saw in Steve’s eyes in that moment, and it wasn’t the alcohol or his building orgasm or anything else besides actual feelings.

And that was when Steve came, tightening his hand in Danny’s hair and suddenly going very, very still. Danny waited for him to finish before he pulled away, wiping the back of his hand over his mouth. He eased off his knees, wincing a little. He put his hands on Steve’s thighs and raised himself up, watching as Steve came down. Steve was still trembling, still breathing hard, and looking at Danny like he was the most amazing thing he’d ever seen.

Steve made a noise. “What?”

“Nothing, you just look …”

“Jesus, Danny, you’re good at that,” Steve said, drawling the words out, and Danny wasn’t sure if it was an effect of the alcohol or the orgasm.

Danny grinned. “Thank you.” He tried to fix his hair, but it was a lost cause. “By the way, you look ridiculous right now.”

“Don’t care.” Steve looked at him then, pointedly at Danny’s pants. Danny was thinking he’d excuse himself, take care of that in the shower or something, because he was painfully, painfully hard, but Steve reached out a hand toward him and said, “Bedroom.”

“Well, okay, then.”


The more he manages to wake up, the more of last night comes back to Danny, suddenly in focus, in full color. Everything that happened after he’d blown Steve, the dirty kiss Steve had given him, Steve tasting himself in Danny’s mouth. Making their way to Steve’s bedroom; laughing as they discarded their clothes in the hallway; Steve’s mouth everywhere; how tight and hot and perfect Steve had been as Danny fucked into him.

What he can remember, what he can see in brief flashes in his head, had been amazing. But right now, if he’s being truthful with himself, if he’s trying to prioritize, he really needs to stop thinking about last night and try to find his clothes. So, if he’s tracing the trajectory that led him from the couch to Steve’s bedroom, they should be in the hallway. Glancing over his shoulder to make sure Steve is still asleep, Danny runs out of the room. He’s completely naked and trying to find his clothes in Steve’s hallway; this is a new low in his life.

He finds his boxers and slips them on, and those are fine for now; at least he’s covered up a little bit. He picks up his shirt and pants, which are right next to Steve’s. He carefully avoids tripping over Steve’s shoes and walks further down the hallway, finding his tie tossed over the banister leading upstairs. His socks and shoes are at the bottom of the staircase. His belt is on the stairs.

“What are you doing?” Steve is standing in the doorway to his bedroom. And he isn’t wearing any clothes.

Danny turns around to face him. He avoids looking at Steve’s body, instead staring down at the pile of fabric in his arms. The sudden movement makes his head hurt. “I’m getting my things, genius. What does it look like I’m doing?”

Steve rubs the back of his hand over his eyes. “You don’t have to leave.” His voice is rough, sleep-worn, and that plus the nakedness is turning Danny on. Again.

“I didn’t say anything about leaving; I’m just getting my clothes because I don’t spend my Saturday mornings fully nude, which you evidently do.” And Danny blatantly lets his eyes look up and down Steve’s body after he says that. Shit.

“Do you have body shame issues, Danny?” Steve cracks a grin.

“I have no issues! You’re the one with issues, Mr. I’m-a-Hot-Naked-Navy SEAL! What, are you trying to audition for the military’s hunk of the month calendar? Because I have to tell you, I forgot to bring my camera. So put some goddamn clothes on.”

Steve is still grinning. “The military doesn’t have one of those calendars.”

“The Newark Police Department did. I refused to be involved. Not that I was asked. It was unauthorized, anyway. We gave so much shit to the guys who did it.”

Danny clamps his mouth shut. He’s doing that thing he does, the thing that always drove Rachel crazy, where he starts talking and talking instead of discussing actual issues.

“Danny, do you want to come back to bed or not?” Steve says.

“What do you mean, come back to bed? I’m awake now, okay, I am fully awake and I was planning on taking a shower and getting dressed, maybe trying to find something edible in your kitchen, which god knows is going to be a task for the ages because apparently you survive on Longboards and protein shakes.”

Steve raises an eyebrow, steps toward him, and gives him a long, lingering kiss.

Danny drops his clothes in a pile on the floor.


Somehow, Danny ends up spending the rest of the morning with Steve. It turns out Steve does have cereal and coffee, so Danny doesn’t have to try to survive on a granola bar and protein shake. However, the food options are pretty slim and nothing like what Danny would ever consider eating if he had actual choices. Steve’s pantry is kind of sad.

“What is this, healthy cereal?” Danny picks up the box and grimaces at it.

“I know, it doesn’t have the high sugar content you’re used to. It’s good for you.”

“Tastes like cardboard.” Danny washes it down with some coffee. He digs his spoon into the bowl.

“I think you’d complain about anything that wasn’t Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so I’ll try not to be offended that you’re undermining my hospitality.”

Danny crunches some cereal and says, with his mouth still full, “I’m not undermining you.”

“You have no table manners.”

Danny rolls his eyes, but he’s too relaxed to argue. He’s in a remarkably good mood, tired but loose-limbed and satisfied in a way he hasn’t been in a long time. Apparently sex is an excellent hangover cure. And Steve is great at it, not that Danny ever thought he wouldn’t be.

A silence falls over the two of them, and Danny breaks it first.

“Maybe I should get going after this.”

Steve leans against the kitchen counter, a bowl of cereal cupped in one hand. “What?”

“I said I should get going after this. Don’t try to pretend you didn’t hear me; you have freakishly good hearing.”

Steve shrugs. “You can stay.”

He says it like it’s obvious, like Danny would be stupid for considering any option other than staying here. If Danny stays, though, there’s just going to be more of whatever happened in Steve’s bed twenty minutes ago, and as much as Danny enjoyed being pushed onto the bed and pinned down by his wrists while Steve fucked him, he can tell that something between them has shifted and changed, and it’s just going to make him freak out more if he stays.

“No, I’m gonna go,” Danny says. “Stuff to do at home, you know, putting on clothes that don’t smell like booze, grocery shopping, stuff like that. Finding real food to eat, not cardboard.”

Steve shakes his head at him. He’s quiet for a moment, and Danny holds his breath for one second, two, but it’s not an uneasy silence. It’s actually comfortable.

“I had a good time, Danny,” Steve says.

Danny avoids looking at Steve, wants to say, A good time? You make it sound like we were at fucking Disneyland, but he settles for the easiest option, the one that’s true, anyway. “Me, too.”

A few more minutes pass, and he stands up and straightens his tie before he crosses the kitchen to put his bowl in the sink. Steve is standing right there, eating his gross cereal, not wearing a shirt, and looking sleepy and maybe a little smug because he’s gotten laid. It’s a combination that’s going to make Danny want to jump him again in about five seconds. Danny’s arm brushes against Steve’s as he reaches for the faucet, and he can smell sex and soap and sweat on Steve’s skin. He’s so screwed. Actually, he is beyond screwed right now.

He tries to ignore the voice in his head that’s telling him this is all going to lead to disaster, that he’s not the casual sex type, that he should have made an escape this morning instead of letting Steve bring him back to bed, that Monday is going to be the most awkward day of his life.


On Monday, Danny prepares himself to walk into the office and be presented with a whole lot of awkward, but Steve is there, waiting with a bag of malasadas and a cup of coffee for Danny, acting like nothing happened.

“What’s this?” Danny opens the bag of malasadas and takes one. “Did you feel like making up for the fact that I had to eat that cereal at your house over the weekend?”

“Danny, seriously, drop it with the cereal thing.”

Danny bites into the malasada. “Thank you,” he says, and swallows. “This was very thoughtful. I wouldn’t have expected such a display from you, but thanks.”

“I just wanted to do something nice,” Steve says, and Danny knows this is as much as he’s going to get out of him. He knows by now when to push Steve and when to hold back, and this is a holding back moment if there ever was one. He’s about to wonder aloud if this is the I Slept with Steve McGarrett consolation prize, but decides that’s too mean-spirited. If this is Steve’s way of saying, “Hey, thanks for all the great sex, let’s not make this awkward,” Danny can live with that.

“You want one?” Danny picks up the bag from his desk and tries to hand it to Steve.

“No, I’m good.” Steve holds up a hand, waving the bag away, and turns to go. “In about ten minutes we need to go over leads for the case.”

And he’s gone. Kono walks by and pokes her head in. “I thought I smelled something good.” She walks right up to Danny’s desk and takes a malasada right out of the bag.

Danny doesn’t look up from the file he’s staring at. “Those are mine.”

Kono laughs. “It’s not like you bought them.”

“You’re right, the boss bought them, but he bought them for me.”

“Well, you are his favorite.” She gives him a little smile, a sign of the good-natured ribbing he’s become used to around here (and he can give as good as he gets, thank you very much), and walks out of the office.

Danny snorts. “Favorite,” he mutters. “Sure.”

Chin stops in, too. “I didn’t eat breakfast this morning,” he says. “Do you mind?”

Danny sighs. “No, I don’t mind. I think Steve brought enough for everyone to share.”

“Are you okay?” Chin leans against Danny’s desk. “You look like you didn’t sleep much this weekend.”

“I’m fine.” Danny leans back, puts his arms behind his head. “I think I’m still recovering from the massive hangover I endured on Saturday.”

Chin raises an eyebrow. “I thought you were going to leave after Kono and I did.”

Danny had stuck around, and he’d kept drinking, and look where that had gotten him. He can see Steve through the windows of his office, and Danny gets the tiniest smirk on his face, thinks to himself, yeah, I hit that, and suddenly feels like the most ridiculous person alive.

“There were shots involved, Chin. I am not responsible for my actions.” Danny manages to crack a smile, and Chin just does that raised eyebrow thing he’s so fond of doing and takes a bite of malasada.

“Wild and crazy night, huh?” Chin says.

“You could say that.”

Chin opens his mouth to say something else, but Steve is calling them out to the computer table to take a look at their suspects. They’ve been working a murder case, two college kids who were visiting Hawaii who were killed, and these are the kinds of cases Danny wishes he didn’t have to deal with. He’s always been able to separate the police work from the emotional side of things, but these were innocent kids who got killed, kids whose families had to be notified, and whenever he thinks of the parents something gnaws away inside of him, imagining if something this awful ever happened to Grace, how he’d never recover.

He never got emotionally invested in cases until he became a father, until he started to think, “That’s someone’s kid,” until he started to think about the victim’s families. He started out working narcotics, and he didn’t have to deal with too much death. But every week in Honolulu it feels like he has to talk to someone’s family, has to break some sort of bad news. He’s still less emotionally invested than Steve, who’s had to deal with tragedy of his own and feels like he has a connection to every innocent victim. He sees the way Steve looks after they come from interviewing family members. He can see the creases at the corners of his mouth, the way his eyes stay trained straight ahead on the road, how he doesn’t say much to Danny afterward.

It had been that kind of day on Friday.


They have a lead on a suspect, and Danny considers going in the same car as Chin instead of with Steve, but who is he kidding, he’s stuck. If he’d try to go with anyone but Steve, it wouldn’t look normal. Steve would start to think Danny was freaking out over the events of the weekend – which he was, just quietly, inside, in that way where he was pointedly not thinking about it – and then he’d start to ask questions. And Steve asking questions was not something Danny wanted to deal with.

The radio is playing in the car, the completely awful station that Steve loves for some reason, the one that seems to play nothing but “Careless Whisper” and “My Heart Will Go On.” Danny isn’t talking. He doesn’t even do much more than make a noise when the tires squeal as Steve pulls up to an abandoned-looking warehouse where their suspect is supposed to be.

Steve glances over at him, and Danny just takes a deep breath, pats his tac vest to make sure it’s still there, and returns the look Steve gives him, the okay, we’re ready to go, I’ve got your back sort of look that’s become so commonplace among the team that Danny sometimes forgets they even do it. He puts a hand on the gun at his hip and gets out of the car.


They get the guy – Steve leaps down from a rafter and kicks the guy in the face, which is pretty epic to watch, Danny has to admit – and Danny spends the rest of the day filling out paperwork. It’s not his favorite thing in the world, but there’s something calming about it, and it keeps him away from Steve. Who, apparently, hasn’t gotten the memo that Danny is trying to avoid him. It’s not fair to avoid him, but Danny wouldn’t say what he’s doing is avoidance – it’s more like keeping a friendly distance between them. He’ll talk to Steve, he’ll help him out; hell, this afternoon Danny had shot their suspect in the arm after he tried to shoot Steve – and this was after Steve had kicked the guy in the face.

Around six, Steve comes into Danny’s office. “After you finish up, do you want to come over?”

Danny looks up, dazedly blinking his eyes, readjusting his vision after staring at black and white for so long. “It’s – it might still be a while.” He’s trying to think of appropriate ways to describe what happened this afternoon. He considers writing, My partner is insane; he can’t help it.

“Danny,” Steve says, and he sits down in one of the chairs in front of Danny’s desk, “it’s Monday Night Football. Steelers versus Browns.”

Danny was always more of a baseball guy, cheering on the Mets year after losing year, but he kept up with football. Not to the extent Steve did, but he liked watching games. “Seventeen to zero, Pittsburgh. I’m calling it. I don’t think I even need to watch.”

“Well, it’s up to you, but I’m leaving in about fifteen minutes,” Steve says. He pushes himself up and out of the chair. Danny looks up in time to check out his ass, and then notice that he’s checking out Steve’s ass, which only makes him slap his hand against his forehead in frustration.


So Danny ends up at Steve’s house, driving over there after Steve leaves headquarters. He has the route memorized, knows how to get there from anywhere on the island now. He walks right in – for a guy whose home has been the scene of several violent crimes, Steve is far too trusting – and calls out, “It’s Danny” as he makes his way from the kitchen to the living room. He grabs a beer from the fridge, knowing he doesn’t have to ask or wait for Steve to offer him one.

Steve is on the couch, watching the game with a beer in his hand. He sits up, brightening a little bit when he sees Danny. “Hey, I didn’t think you were going to make it.”

“I finished most of the paperwork,” Danny says. He kicks off his shoes and sits down. Steve smells good and looks like he just came out of the shower. His hair is wet and curling at the nape of his neck, and Danny wants to know what it would feel like between his fingers.


“Yeah, yeah, no problem.” Danny takes a drink and checks the score, feeling a slight surge of pride because it’s almost halftime and so far, his prediction is holding up.

Steve is being quiet again, and Danny wishes he could get inside of Steve’s head and read him, figure out what he’s feeling. He used to think Steve was some kind of emotionless robot, but he’s far from it. Danny sees the sadness in the lines on his face when they’re working cases sometimes, knows when he’s reflecting on something. When he’s angry, he’s not like Danny; he doesn’t yell and gesture and stick his finger in people’s faces. Steve’s anger is scarier because it’s more restrained and focused than Danny’s, and it doesn’t happen that often. Some days, Danny feels like he’s on a slow boil, ready to burst at any second. Steve has to build up to an explosion, accumulate his frustration before he lets it loose.

Danny just wants to know if Steve has even thought about what happened over the weekend, if it meant anything to him. Not that Danny needs the sex to mean something, but he knows it did; he saw it in Steve’s eyes, felt in the way Steve had fucked him the next morning, achingly slow, quiet, looking at Danny the entire time, pushing deeper inside him as Danny had made more noise than he’d ever made in his entire life. Which was really saying something.

They’re wrapped up in the game for the next five minutes, but the whole time, Danny can’t stop fidgeting. He’s playing with the label on his beer bottle; crossing and uncrossing his legs; trying not to breathe in the soap and shampoo scent that he probably wouldn’t even notice if Steve weren’t so close.

When his phone rings, it’s like a godsend. He doesn’t care who it is; it could be fucking Stan, and he’d be happy to answer it. But it’s Grace, which means he actually wants to talk.

“Hey, sorry, it’s Gracie,” Danny says, holding up his phone, and Steve just makes a humming noise.

He answers the phone. “Hey, baby, how are you?”

“I’m good. I have to do homework, but Mommy said I could call to say hi.”

Danny steps out of the room, going into the kitchen. He listens to Grace tell him about her day at school, how her friend Annabelle told her about scuba diving and how awesome it is, and how they’re learning about dolphins in science class. He enjoys just hearing her talk, listening her stories, marveling at how quickly she’s growing up.

“I love you,” Danny says before they hang up.

“Love you, too, Danno,” Grace says.

When Danny comes back to the living room, he says, “That was Grace. I have to go.”

Steve’s eyebrows draw together and he sits up straighter. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, everything’s fine. She needs, uh, something for her homework, and I told her I’d get it for her. Stan’s out of town, and Rachel’s not feeling well, so.”

“If you want to come back once you’re done …” Steve says, leaving the rest of the sentence unfinished.

“No, you know what, I’m kind of tired, I think I might have an early night after I get this thing for Grace.” Danny doesn’t lie, ever, but fuck it, he needs to get out of here before he does something stupid.

“Okay.” Steve covers his mouth as he yawns. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Danny nods. “Thanks for letting me come over.”

Steve gives him a strange look. “You’re always here.”

“I’m thanking you for your hospitality, okay?“

Steve regards him with an odd, curious look. “Well. You’re welcome. But seriously, you’re here all the time.”

“I know,” Danny says. He runs a hand over his hair and looks over at the TV. Cleveland just scored a touchdown.


The next couple of days go by without incident, or whatever qualifies as “without incident” when you’re working with Steve. No one gets shot or kicked in the face, so Danny is counting it as a win.

He catches himself after work reaching for his phone to text something to Steve, but he thinks better of it. The next night, he leaves way too late. It’s midnight by the time he’s getting in his car to go home, and without even thinking about it he starts driving to Steve’s place. By the time he catches himself, it’s too late to turn back around so he sits in front of Steve’s house for what feels like ten minutes but is actually three, talking himself down from walking in there and asking Steve what his deal is. It’s stupid, because this was obviously a one-off thing and it’s not something Steve wants to discuss or acknowledge in any way.

Danny would like to burst into his house, yell at him, poke his finger in Steve’s chest and tell him … Danny isn’t sure what to tell him. He knows what he wants to tell him: I want to be with you. I wanted to be with you before this happened. I’m an idiot, and you’re an idiot, too. I know you’ve fucked around with other people before, but that’s not me, and I can’t do that, so make up your fucking mind.

In about thirty seconds, Steve is probably going to look out the window and see the Camaro, because he’s definitely still awake – Danny can see the light on in his bedroom – and he’s going to want to know why Danny is sitting in front of his house muttering to himself and listening to “Brilliant Disguise.” Even Springsteen is fucking with his head tonight, and Danny knows he’s reading too much into things when he starts relating the song to Steve. Damn it.

He drives away, goes home, and falls asleep.


Thursday morning, what Danny considers the inevitable finally happens: Steve gets them in a car accident. He’s driving his truck, not the Camaro, and he runs a red light. He had the lights flashing, but a car going the other way ignored them and drove right into Danny’s side of the truck. Danny doesn’t remember much after the initial impact; he remembers yelling, he remembers the truck spinning in the middle of the intersection, and afterward realizing that he wasn’t bleeding and was still alive, and so was Steve.

He’s sitting in the emergency room with his right arm in a sling. Steve has a light bruise on his cheek, and his back hurts, but he’s fine, waving off the doctors and nurses when they offer to check him out. He keeps looking at Danny, biting his lip and trying to look guilty because, Danny can tell, Steve knows he’s about to explode at any second.

“Fuck you, McGarrett. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.”

“I’m sorry, Danny. It wasn’t my fault; the other car ignored the lights –“

“I don’t care!” Danny shouts, and if the doctor didn’t have an eye on him, he’d be up with his hands in Steve’s face. “I told you, I kept saying, ‘Someday, we’re going to get in an accident,’ and look what happened! You could have gotten me killed, you asshole!”

Steve glares at him. “You need to calm down.”

“I am not going to calm down! You know what I’m going to make you do, though? I’m going to make you go fill my prescription for these painkillers, because you’re not the one with a sprained shoulder. You know what, you are very, very lucky that I have this sling on because otherwise I’d be punching you in the face right now.”

It’s the anger talking; Danny doesn’t mean most of it, but he’s furious, completely fucking furious because this could have been a lot worse than just a shoulder injury. The doctor said Danny’s injury was relativity minor, that he’d been fortunate that the other car wasn’t traveling at a higher rate of speed.

Steve gives him the silent treatment; he doesn’t say anything until Kono picks them up, looking worried as hell.

“Are you guys okay?” she says, looking at Danny’s arm in the sling, at the bruise on Steve’s face.

“We’re fine,” Danny says. “I have to have this fucking thing on my arm for the next two weeks, but we’re fine.”

“Just stop by the pharmacy so we can get Danny’s prescription filled,” Steve says.

They walk out to the parking lot, Steve walking in front of Kono and Danny, who notices the way Steve’s shoulders are hunched in a little bit, a sure sign that he’s pissed. He slides into the passenger seat of Kono’s car, leaving Danny to fume silently in the backseat. While Steve goes into the pharmacy, Kono turns around to talk to him.

“Danny, listen to me.” She shifts her body in the seat so she can look him in the eye. “It wasn’t his fault. HPD said the other driver was drunk; they’re filing charges. That driver walked away with a couple of bruises. So, just … please? Try not to give him such a hard time?”

“He’s a maniac. The man drives like a maniac. And you know, I’m from New Jersey, I know crazy drivers. Do you know how many times I almost got killed on the George Washington Bridge?”

Kono sighs. “Danny, I love you, but you need to relax. Both of you are okay. You’ll be out of that sling in two weeks. Nothing’s broken. So, yeah, what happened sucked, and you have a right to be pissed, but just cut him a break. He feels bad. I’m not making excuses for his driving, but the way you’re acting is making everything worse.”

Danny clamps his mouth shut and looks out the window. She’s right, but he’s not going to admit it. They sit there listening to the radio until Steve comes back, and Danny closes his eyes, falling asleep for a few minutes. He wakes up startled when Steve tosses a white bag to Danny in the backseat. The pills rattle around inside the bottle.

“You have to take one of those twice a day.”

“I can read the damn instructions, Steven.”

Kono turns around and looks like she’s going to beat his ass.

“Sorry, fine,” Danny says, grumbling. “Just take me home.”

“You’re coming with me,” Steve says.

“Like hell I am! I can take care of myself! I have a shoulder sprain, not a broken limb. I don’t need your help. Of the two of us, I’m not the one with head trauma.”

Steve finally looks at him. “I don’t want you to be by yourself, okay? If anything happens, you need someone there. Just stay with me tonight. And stop telling me I have head trauma.”

Danny sighs and mutters an apology; he’s being a dick, and he knows it.

Kono drives them to Steve’s house, and before Danny gets out of the car, she says, “If you keep it up, I will break that arm.” It’s enough to scare him into being nice to Steve for the rest of the day.


Once Danny has some of the painkillers in his system, he feels better, as better as he’s going to feel with his shoulder in a sling. He promptly passes out in Steve’s guest bedroom and doesn’t wake up until that evening.

When he comes downstairs to the kitchen, Steve is sitting at the table with a book. He sets it down when Danny walks in, but he doesn’t say anything right away. It’s a book on police procedure. Danny has to smile at that; he almost starts laughing. Maybe his lecturing on the topic finally paid off.

Danny fills up a glass with water and pokes around the refrigerator until he finds some leftover Chinese takeout. He microwaves it and goes to sit at the table.

“I’m sorry,” Steve says, breaking the silence.

“Kono said it was a drunk driver.”

“I’m still sorry.”

“I’m sorry, too. I’m sorry I said you had head trauma, and that you were an asshole.” Danny sits down across from him. “I was angry.”

“That’s your default setting,” Steve says, and he’s teasing, so Danny lets it go. He can’t find it in him to give Steve any more of his anger; he doled out plenty of it today. Anyway, he kind of likes this: he’s in Steve’s house right now, wearing his undershirt and a pair of boxers and eating lukewarm Chinese out of a little carton. Steve is sitting across from him at the kitchen table, wearing a worn gray t-shirt with “NAVY” printed on the front and a pair of plaid pajama pants. Something about the whole scene feels comfortable, like this is how it’s supposed to be.

“Is your shoulder feeling any better?”

“I can’t tell. I took one of those pills.” Danny smiles and digs into the food; he’s starving, and the last time he ate was right before the accident.

“Hey, just so you know, I had Rachel go to your place and get a change of clothes for you. I didn’t want to leave you here, so I called her. I hope that was okay.” Steve runs a hand over his face, looking like he’s expecting Danny to berate him again.

Danny’s expression softens instead; Steve is making him go all goofy. Or maybe it’s the medication. “No, that’s fine. Thanks. I’ll have to tell her thanks, too. Does Grace know? Did you tell Grace I was okay?”

“Rachel told her, and she was worried. But Rachel put me on the phone and I explained everything was fine.” Steve pauses. “Grace told me to take care of you.”

“Well, you don’t want to disappoint her,” Danny says, but something about that makes him feel sick to his stomach, that Grace was worried about him, and that she trusts Steve to help him.

“I got you into bed; I did my duty,” Steve says, and then his eyes go wide and he’s staring down at his book, fake-coughing and acting like he didn’t just say what he said.

“In more ways than one, my friend.” Danny chews some rice and looks right at Steve, daring him to talk about it.

“I, uh. I promised I’d call Chin to tell him how you were, so – I’ll – I’ll be right back.” Steve gets up from the table, making a lot of noise sliding the chair back in place.

Steve is gone for twenty minutes, and Danny gives up on waiting for him to return. He thinks about calling Grace, but when he glances at the clock, it's well past her bedtime. So he takes another pill and heads back to bed; his entire body is sore, and all he wants is to sleep. Steve runs into Danny upstairs in the hallway and follows him to the guest room, trailing after him, hovering over him. It’s kind of sweet, in a weird Steve way.

“Come on, fluff my pillows for me,” Danny says. “You have a nine-year-old girl counting on you.”

The funny thing is, Steve almost does go to fluff his pillows, but Danny rolls his eyes and says, “I’m kidding, genius.”

“Can I get you anything, though?”

“You’re overcompensating. I’m not an invalid. I have lost the mobility of my right arm, but I am more than capable of the following.” Danny starts to tick the items off on his fingers. “Feeding myself, getting into bed myself, getting myself a glass of water, taking my pills, taking a shower, and going to the bathroom. But if you want to tuck me in and read me a story, you can.”

Steve shakes his head. “Some Goodnight, Moon, maybe?”

Danny snorts. “Read me a chapter of that police procedure book you’ve got downstairs.”

“You’re always telling me I don’t know proper police procedure. I decided to take matters into my own hands.”

“And yet you’re still kicking suspects in the face. Do you know how I had to explain that in the report? Huh? Do you know how hard it is to explain that sort of shit? And how often I have to do it? ‘Commander McGarrett leapt off the rafters’ is not a phrase that I ever want to have to write again. Because it’s stupid, and you could kill yourself, and blah blah blah, I know you have all this Navy training, I know you were like, dropped off in a jungle somewhere and forced to survive on your own for three days – “

“Danny, Grace is worried about your blood pressure. Stop it.”

Danny huffs and gets into bed. “Why don’t you have a television in here?”

“You’re making me regret my decision to let you stay in my house.”

“It’s not like I asked. Like everything else, you just made me. You know, you kind of just waltzed into my life one day and took it over. And now you’re getting me into goddamn car accidents!” Danny raises his arm that’s not in a sling. “And yet I still love your stupid ass, god knows why.”

Steve’s mouth opens a little bit, and Danny realizes what he’s said.

“I’m on medication right now,” Danny says, like he can explain it away.

“Uh.” Steve rubs at the back of his neck. “Text me if you need anything.”

“Text you? I’m right down the hall from you, and, like I said, I can get up and move around. I am not going to text you from down the hall. That’s ridiculous.”

“I think it’s easier than you shouting my name.”

“Maybe I’ll do that in the middle of the night.”

“I’m trying to be helpful,” Steve says. He sighs and rests his head against the doorframe. He looks exhausted. “Danny, I was worried today.”

Danny leans back against the pillows, and the way Steve looks right now, tired and like he’s spent most of the day feeling like shit, hurts even more than the stupid shoulder sprain.

Steve keeps talking, apparently too tired to keep his guard up, to keep joking. “I thought, right when it happened, that you were going to be seriously hurt, and I – “ He swallows. “I don’t know. This is going to sound weird, but I’m glad your shoulder is sprained. I thought it was going to be worse.”

“Yeah.” Danny looks down at the blankets. They’re purple with pink polka dots, probably left over from when this was Mary’s teenage bedroom. Some of her books still line the shelves, old Baby-sitters Club and Goosebumps held up by bookends shaped like kittens.

“If anything happened to you …”

Danny doesn’t want to hear him finish the sentence, is too scared of what he’s going to say next.

“I was kind of a dick, I know,” Danny says.

“You had every right to be angry.”

“I took all of it out on you, though.”

“I deserved some of it.”

“A little bit,” Danny says, finally looking up.

Steve laughs. “I’m just glad it wasn’t – that you’re –“

“I know.”

“Anyway, let me know if you need anything. Good night.”

“Good night.”

Danny lies awake for a long time, not really thinking about anything.


Danny has Grace that weekend, and she spends the entire time fretting over him: over his shoulder injury, over the sling, over his blood pressure, over his cholesterol. When Danny was nine years old, he hadn’t had the faintest ideas what blood pressure and cholesterol were, and even if someone had explained it to him, he probably wouldn’t have cared. Grace has a mandatory health and nutrition class at school, and Danny gets the impression it’s freaking her out.

“You need to eat more vegetables,” Grace says, so when they go grocery shopping, she loads up the cart with carrot sticks and celery and the salad that comes pre-made in a bag.

“Monkey, trust me, Daddy is fine. He’s very healthy,” Danny says, and then wonders why parents do that, why they speak about themselves in the third person sometimes to little kids. Grace really isn’t that little anymore, though. She’s growing up more and more every day, and sometimes Danny looks at her and can’t believe just nine years ago, she was a baby they were bringing home from the hospital.

Grace rolls her eyes at him, and Danny sees a bit of himself in her. There’s some of Rachel in that eye-roll, too. “You eat too many malasadas.”

It’s like McGarrett is feeding her lines or something.

She keeps pushing the cart (“You’re injured; you can’t do it”), one of those smaller ones so she’s actually able to reach the handle and move it around. “I was really worried about you,” she says all of a sudden, and she stops the cart in the middle of the frozen foods aisle.

“I know, but I’m okay.” He crouches down so he can meet her at eye level. He points at his sling. “This thing comes off soon, and I have to go see the doctor, but I’m okay.”

Grace nods. “Steve told me. He said he took care of you.”

“He did. I probably drove him crazy, but he made sure I got my medicine and got some rest.”

“Were you scared?” She bites her lip, and Danny wraps her up in a hug with his good arm.

“A little bit,” he says into her hair, and she lets go, pulling back to look at him, fierce and serious, more so than he’s ever seen her before.

“Don’t get hurt again,” she says.

“I’ll try not to.” Danny straightens up, and Grace does, too. She starts to push the cart again.

“I like Steve,” she says.

Danny thinks he does, too. Most days.


A couple of weeks pass by, each day burning into the next, and they spend more time out of the office than in it. Danny spends the entire time steadfastly avoiding Steve outside of work. He uses his shoulder pain as a convenient excuse for not coming over for drinks or the game or whatever Steve is asking him to do. Sometimes, as he’s about to fall asleep, he’ll think of something funny to text Steve, but he’ll think better of it and set his phone back on the end table. (An end table, not a nightstand, because he doesn’t have an actual bed. He’s reminded of this fact every so often, and it never fails to make him wish for something more permanent than a studio apartment with a pull-out couch.)

It’s just another way of not staying as close he’d been before, of distancing himself from his feelings. It’s been a few weeks now, and they still haven’t talked about it. That’s how Danny thinks about the night they had sex and the morning after in his head, just as “it,” because if he starts to think about what actually happened, what all of it implies, he flashes back to memories of Steve’s mouth on his skin, and he can’t handle that.

He’s not pulling away, not totally. He still talks to Steve at work, still jokes around with him and yells at him like always. But he can’t separate the Steve he had sex with from the Steve he works with. They’re the same. Danny’s never been good at doing anything casually; he’s either all in or he’s out. He knows that Steve’s the same way. Steve never does anything half-assed except for paperwork, which is exactly why he gives all of it to Danny.

Sometimes Danny wants to grab him and yell at him and ask him what they’re doing, but maybe Steve expects Danny to figure this out on his own. That doesn’t mean Danny wants to, though.


When Steve walks into his office on a Thursday and says, “I need your help,” Danny is expecting it to be work-related.

“Hm?” Danny pushes his keyboard aside.

Steve is standing in front of his desk, a card in his hand. “This. I need you to go with me.” He tosses the card on Danny’s desk.

Danny picks it up. “What is this? Steve, is this an invitation for an engagement party?”


“Who are these people?”

“Family friends. I barely know them, okay, Laura’s mom was a cop, and she knew my dad, and now Laura is getting married to some guy I’ve never met, and I was invited. So I’m asking for you to go with me, for like a half-hour, forty-five minutes tops.”

Danny sets down the invitation. He has glitter on his fingers now, great. “Why me?”

“I –“

“Wait, don’t answer that.”

Steve just stares at him, and his eyes are looking right at Danny’s mouth.

“I don’t know why I’m going to agree to going to this thing with you, but I am, because crazy as you may be, I actually find myself enjoying the time I spend with you,” Danny says. “So I’ll say yes, I’ll go with you this to this thing for forty-five minutes at the most, and that there better be good food and good drinks there. Also, you owe me one.”

“I enjoy spending time with you, too, even though you spend most of it insulting me.”

Danny grins. “You deserve it sometimes.” He picks up the invitation to hand it back to Steve, and for whatever reason his eyes catch the date on it for the first time. “Wait a second, this party is tomorrow? And you only thought of mentioning it now?”

“We were busy, and then …” Steve gestures at Danny’s shoulder and sling. “Isn’t that supposed to come off soon?”

“I have to go to the doctor at four. And no, before you ask, you are not welcome.”

“I wasn’t going to ask.”

“Do I have to dress up for this thing?”

“I would think so. It’s at a nice restaurant.”

“Your definition of a nice restaurant is the buffet at Whole Foods,” Danny says.

Steve grabs the invitation from his hand. “That’s not true.”

“The first time you went there, you acted like you’d never seen food before.”

“You’re getting off topic,” Steve says. “Anyway, I’ll pick you up at seven. And please try to be nice.”

“I’m a nice person! I’m just not always nice to you, but that’s because you, my friend, annoy me more than most.”

“You love me,” Steve calls out as he leaves Danny’s office.

Danny is alert enough that he sees Kono’s smirk as she walks by his open door.


Why Danny does these things to himself, he’ll never know. He’s wearing a suit, and he’s letting Steve, who is also wearing a suit, drive his car to the restaurant. There’s not even a need for Steve to drive; Danny’s sling is off and he can drive again. But, generally, Danny’s ability to drive never matters because Steve always jumps in the driver’s seat.

He’d be lying if he said Steve didn’t look handsome, because he does, in that way where he hasn’t shaved in a day and his hair is a little messy. He looks like he rolled out of bed in a perfectly pressed suit. Danny wouldn’t second-guess how close that is to the truth.

Steve plays around with the radio before he gives up on finding something good – he skips right past a station playing Bon Jovi, which earns him a “Hey!” from Danny – and stabs his finger into the on/off button.

“Just so you know, I told Laura I was bringing a date. So,” he says, pausing, “she thinks we’re dating.”

What? Are you kidding? Am I in some sort of alternate universe? Is this April Fool’s Day?”

“It’s October,” Steve says.

“Yeah, I know that! You think I don’t know what month it is?” Danny glares at him.

“You don’t have to be affectionate, but, you know. Act like we’re there together. It doesn’t have to be showy, just … realistic.”

Danny can tell his nostrils are flaring, which is not a good look for him. “This wasn’t part of the deal.”

“I wasn’t aware there was a deal.”

“I agreed to forty-five minutes of following you around and being nice to people while eating appetizers. Not pretending to be your boyfriend.” Danny hates the way his tongue trips over the word “boyfriend,” how something inside him says he wouldn’t hate it if Steve called him that someday, eventually.

“Not boyfriend,” Steve corrects. “Date. There’s a difference. A date is more casual. I’m not going to introduce you as my boyfriend; I’m just going to say, ‘Hi, this is Danny.’ People can draw their own conclusions.”

“That’s really nice, Steve. For a guy who can’t even fucking acknowledge that he slept with me, who can’t even come to his own goddamn conclusions about what I am, that’s nice.”

Steve does that thing where he opens his mouth and kind of twists it to the side. Danny hates it when he does that. It feels like forever before he says, “Huh?”

Danny throws his hands in the air, and immediately there’s an ache in his shoulder, fresh out of the sling.

“That’s it. I’m done. Pull over. I’m getting out.”

“Danny, don’t be – “

“Don’t be what?”

“Impulsive?” Steve knows it’s the wrong word. Danny can tell by the way his shoulders hunch up as he says it and he looks away from Danny’s face, embarrassed.

“I think I’ve been impulsive enough already,” Danny says. He pokes at the buttons, blind to which one unlocks the door. “Let me out. And don’t call me. I’ll see you on Monday.” He knows he’s being terse, maybe even a little bit of an asshole. But this is bullshit. After everything, it feels like a slap in the face.

Steve pulls over, and Danny gets out. They’re close enough to his apartment that he can walk.


Danny walks home with his phone in his hand, half expecting to hear from Steve, to get an apology or an explanation. It doesn’t come. As soon as he walks in the door, it starts to rain, and Danny is thankful that he at least missed getting soaking wet.

He gets a beer from the fridge, grabs his laptop, and spends some time doing work and responding to the e-mails from his mom and sisters that have accumulated in his inbox over the past week. He answers the same questions he always does: How’s Grace doing? Are you okay? How’s work? And, from one of his sisters, “How’s that hot Navy guy who was in one of the pictures you sent?”, complete with one of those winking-face emoticons. He skips over that question, too afraid that he’ll start typing and say too much.

There’s a sick feeling in his stomach, a worry that things are irrevocably fucked up between him and Steve. He’d seen the look on Steve’s face right before he drove away, a mixture of bafflement and regret, like he had nothing and everything to say all at once.

A couple of hours after Danny comes home, there’s a knock at his door. That feeling in his stomach grows stronger, and he knows the answer before he yells, “Who’s there?”


Danny gets up and walks over to the door. He doesn’t do anything besides rest his forehead against it and count to ten in his head. Steve knows he’s here; he heard Danny’s voice; he can see the lights are on. It’s not like Danny can just wait this out and hope Steve goes away.

“If you don’t let me in, I’ll kick this door down,” Steve says, but there’s no malice behind the words at all. He sounds too tired for them to mean anything.

“I’m sure you would, but if you kick it down, you’re buying me a new one.”

“Danny,” Steve says, and he sounds so desperate, so weary, that Danny opens the door. Now or never, right?

Steve is standing there in his suit, completely soaked from the rain. His hair is matted across his forehead, and his clothes are stuck to him. Danny’s mouth is open; he’s staring, speechless at what’s in front of him. Steve’s breathing is hard, ragged, and he has a hand on the wall next to the door. Danny is torn between wanting to slap him and wanting to undress him.

“You know what, never mind,” Steve says, and he straightens up, turning to go.

All of a sudden, Danny finds his voice. “What did you do?” Danny steps back to let him in. Steve walks in, standing on the welcome mat just inside the entrance to Danny’s apartment, dripping water all over it and the floor.

“I had to park two blocks away and run over here. Your neighborhood is terrible.”

“I’m well aware.” Danny closes the door.

“I didn’t even go to the party; I’ve just been – I’ve been driving around, and I drove past your building like five times –“

“So you’ve been staking the place out.”

“I wasn’t staking it out; I drove past. And you can’t criticize me. I know you sat in front of my house in your car that one night.”

“That was a low moment.”

“What were you doing?”

“You don’t get to ask me questions right now. But for your information, I sat there, and I was listening to Bruce –“

Steve shakes his head.

“Are you shaking your head at Bruce? You have a lot to learn. I need to let you borrow the Born to Run box set –“

“What were you doing at my house that night?”

Danny rubs a hand over his face, trying to figure out how to put this. “Figuring out if I should go inside and tell you I wanted to be with you.” Before Steve can react to this information, Danny keeps going, even though he’s too worn out – from work, from avoiding this, from tiptoeing around what’s been there all along – to rant at Steve. “And now you think you can just come back here, and give me that – that look – “

“What look?” Steve does the look, the one where his eyes get huge. He moves the hair away from his forehead. There are droplets of water all over his face, he has a fading bruise from the accident right next to his left eye, and his clothes are heavy with water and creating a puddle next to Danny’s welcome mat. Steve has no right to look as hot as he does right now.

“You’re doing it right now! The ‘Who, me? I’m completely innocent’ look.” Before Steve can speak, Danny raises his hand. “So you think you can look at me like that and I’ll be like, sure, no problem, do whatever you want. You are so wrong, my friend. So wrong.”

“I’m here to talk to you, Danny. And I’m saying this with respect, but just please shut up and let me talk.”

“You do not tell me to shut up.” Danny pokes a finger into Steve’s chest, and Steve looks down at his finger with an amused little quirk to his lips.

Steve looks him in the eye again. “If I don’t, you’re just going to keep going on and on about how wrong I am and how I have no business being here, but just listen, okay?”

“You’re right, I was going to tell you that you have no business being here, but go on.”

“I want this. I want you,” Steve says awkwardly, and Danny knows this isn’t easy for him.

“You really want to put up with me?”

“I already do.” Steve cracks a small smile at that, then turns serious again.

(“You put up with each other,” Chin had said once, toward the beginning, when Danny asked him if he and Steve were actually good partners. Danny had said no, he put up with Steve, but really, it goes both ways. Danny knows he’s loud and has a temper, and he knows Steve evens him out, makes him better even when Steve is driving him crazy.)

Steve shifts from foot and foot, and his shoes make a squeaky noise. “I’m sorry. I said the wrong thing in the car, and I’m sorry. But you’ve been avoiding me, and you were avoiding me even before the accident. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to figure out what’s going on.”

“Let me spell this out for you, okay? I do not do one-night stands. Besides that one time in college, they don’t happen. And then you” – Danny pokes Steve’s chest again, jabbing his finger into muscle – “act like it never happened.”

“Jesus Christ, Danny, I only did that because you acted like you never wanted to talk about it again.”

“Well, you – you acted like – like – “ Danny is flailing his hands around now, so annoyed and surprised he can’t even articulate what’s going through his head.

“Like what?”

“Like it didn’t matter. Like it wasn’t anything. And I know, I know you had some kind of arrangement with Catherine, I get that, but I’m not down for the same thing. I’m not. I can’t do that. I was going to tell you that, too.”

“It did matter,” Steve says, and Danny can hear the hurt in his voice, and oh, shit.


“I thought I was pretty obvious.”

Danny snorts.

“Are you seriously going to stand there and snort at me?” Steve takes off his jacket and throws it on the floor. “Sorry, I need to – “ He pushes the jacket away from himself with his foot. “This thing weighs a ton when it’s wet.”

“Please don’t undress in my doorway.” Steve ducks his head and grins; Danny catches it before he speaks again. “And what exactly is ‘obvious’ to you?”

Steve blinks. “I bought you malasadas. I invited you over. I took care of you after the accident. I put up with you when you were yelling at me in the emergency room. Danny, I had a nurse come over to me, pat my arm, and say, ‘My husband is the same as yours.’”

And, just like that, the tension in Danny’s body eases and evaporates.

“You’re an idiot.” Danny takes a step toward him. He puts a hand around the back of Steve’s neck and forces his head a few inches down to Danny’s level, so he can press their foreheads together.

“You remind me of that all the time,” Steve says, and his mouth is so close.

“It’s a term of endearment.” Danny kisses him like Steve is the only thing he’s sure of, like he’s wanted to kiss him for the past three weeks, and Steve responds with a small gasp before he kisses Danny back. His hands rest against Danny’s chest, his long fingers splayed over the fabric of Danny’s old t-shirt. The warmth from his hands seeps through the thin material, and Danny wants it against his bare skin, wants the heat from Steve’s hands and mouth and body all over him.

Steve kisses like he means it, like he never wants to kiss anyone else. He moves his hands from Danny’s chest to his face, running his thumbs over the stubble along Danny’s jawline. He presses their bodies together like he doesn’t want to let any space between them at all.

When Steve pulls away from the kiss, his face opens up into a huge, relieved grin, and Danny smiles back at the sight of it.

"Spend the night," Danny says, and it's more than just an invitation for sex. He wants Steve to sleep here; he wants the morning with him, and everything else that comes after.

"Okay," Steve says, and he kisses the corner of Danny’s mouth. “But I really need to get out this suit. You have no idea how uncomfortable it is to wear clothes that are this wet.”

Danny’s hands go to Steve’s white button-down shirt; the first few buttons are already undone, and his fingers tremble when they get to the fourth button, the fifth, all the way down, more and more skin becoming visible the farther he goes. He pushes the shirt off Steve’s shoulders, and it falls onto the floor. Danny’s hands are on his skin immediately, and Steve shivers at the touch, kisses him again.

Danny moves away just long enough to get his own shirt off, and Steve’s hands are there, pulling it up and over his head. He reaches out for the button and zipper on Steve’s pants, fumbling to get them undone, brushing his knuckles over the outline of Steve’s cock.

“Fuck,” Steve says.

“God, why aren’t you naked yet; this is taking forever,” Danny mutters, and Steve just laughs.

They get Steve’s pants off, and Danny’s pajama pants, too, and Danny backs them up toward his bed, which is in a perpetual state of being unmade. It's just too much work to fold up the couch every morning and unfold it every night when every moment of sleep that Danny gets is precious.

"Sorry," Danny says, motioning at the bed. "I don't try to keep up appearances."

"Less work," Steve says.

The sheets are rumpled and already pushed aside, falling onto the floor. When they fall on top of the bed, the springs creak under their combined weight. Danny is used to the bed making noise; every time he rolls over or shifts during the night, he’s reminded of the pull-out bed’s rickety construction.

"Your neighbors are going to hate us," Steve says, laughing, and as he rolls on top of Danny, it sounds like the springs are groaning.

“Is it okay if I don’t give a fuck?”

“I think so.” Steve kisses Danny’s mouth, his neck. “I don’t, either.” He moves his mouth over Danny’s collarbone, his chest, his stomach, and, without any warning, onto Danny’s cock.

“Oh my god,” Danny says, bucking his hips, and Steve looks up at him through those ridiculously long eyelashes. Danny slides a hand through Steve’s damp hair where it’s curling at the nape of his neck, tangling his fingers in it. And holy shit, Danny is going to come already just from how Steve is making these noises, filthy little moans as he sucks Danny off. And oh, fuck, the next time Danny looks down, Steve has a hand around his own cock, is jerking himself off in quick strokes, the muscles in his arms flexing, and that’s enough to send Danny over the edge. He tries to give Steve some warning, tugging on his hair right before he comes. Danny is saying random strings of words, loud and out of breath, but most of them are “fuck” and “Steve.”

Steve is flushed and sweaty, on his knees, a hand still on his cock. Danny barely has the energy left to move toward him, but this is what he wants; he doesn’t just want to watch. Danny is on his knees now, too, facing Steve, their bodies pressed together, and he holds onto Steve’s shoulder to steady himself. He wraps his other hand around Steve’s where it’s sliding slick and fast on his cock, and Steve looks up at him, surprise in his eyes.

“Danny,” he says, and his voice cracks as he says it, as he comes over their hands.

Steve is quiet when he comes; Danny knows this, remembers from before. Steve goes still and his eyes close, and Danny kisses him as he comes down.


In the morning, Steve wakes up first. Danny can feel him stir, hears the “mmmph” noise he makes against the back of Danny’s neck, and that’s what makes Danny wake up.

“I’m never sleeping in this bed again,” Steve says, yawning.

“Now you understand this is what I deal with every night.”

Steve presses a kiss to Danny’s back. “Well, maybe not so much anymore.”