The alarm on his phone blares, and Danny rolls over with a groan, fumbling to grab it on the nightstand and switch it off. He lies there for a moment, face pressed into the pillow, before he sits up and runs a hand through his hair. He automatically lifts the shade of the window next to his bed—sunny, like always. At least it’s good for weddings.
As a photographer, he hates shooting weddings. (Less than he hates portraits, but still.) He much prefers the more creative work that he usually does, but every once in a while he makes an exception—as he’s doing today. Rachel called him in a tizzy two days ago, telling him about this woman she knows from her yoga class, Malia, whose photographer came down with the flu. Rachel had given this woman Danny’s number, and when she called later that day, practically in tears, Danny couldn’t say no. Plus, the money doesn’t hurt—his normal projects bring in enough to live comfortably, even in Hawaii, but it’s hard to beat making a few thousand dollars for one day’s work.
He stumbles into the shower and lets the lukewarm water do the rest of the job at waking him up. Weddings on this crazy island are never too formal, so he forgoes a suit and puts on nice slacks and a button-down instead, adding a tie at the last minute, just in case. It’s hard to be underdressed in Hawaii, but he’d rather be on the safe side.
Danny scarfs down a piece of peanut butter toast and glances at his watch—he’s due at the bridal suite for “getting ready” photos at 11am, which means he needs to get a move on. Thankfully he got all of his cameras and lenses ready last night, so all he needs to do is gather it up and go.
As he drives to the hotel, he goes over his plan in his head and contemplates some potential ways he can make this day enjoyable. Working in New Jersey and New York had at least been a creative challenge, with all the competing landscapes and varying scenery. Here, it’s just the same damn beach and the same damn ocean, every damn day. But where Grace goes, he follows, even it’s to this pineapple-infested hellhole at the end of the earth.
He scopes out the outdoor wedding area as well as the reception hall for just a few minutes, checking out lighting and angles and such, before he heads up to room 608. A beautiful woman answers the door, and by the blissed-out look on her face, Danny would have guessed that she was the bride even if her embroidered robe didn’t say so.
“You must be Malia,” he says with a charming smile, holding out his hand.
“Danny! It’s so nice to meet you,” she says, grinning. She takes his hand and holds it between both of hers for a moment instead of shaking it, and Danny likes her immediately. He also knows instantly that this is going to be easy. Malia would look gorgeous in a paper bag in the rain, so she’s going to be a vision all done-up in a beautiful dress. A terrible photographer could make her look good, and Danny is a great photographer.
“Come in, come in,” she says, ushering him inside the suite. “Thank you so much for coming, especially on such short notice.”
“Of course,” he says as he smiles and nods at the other women in the room, all in matching robes. “It sounded like you were in quite the bind.”
“Oh, gosh, yes. The photographer and her assistant got the flu, and we didn’t have a backup. So basically, you’re a lifesaver. Here, let me introduce you to everyone.”
Danny tries to keep names straight—Alani, the colleague; Kono, the groom’s cousin; Iolana, the best friend from medical school—but they’re all Hawaiian and beautiful, and he’s pretty sure he’ll screw something up.
“So Rachel tells me that you don’t do many weddings?” Malia asks, as Alani (?) starts to twist flowers into her hair and he unpacks his bags.
“That’s right,” he says absently, taking a few test shots and checking the camera settings. “It’s mostly creative, some commercial work, and even some food photography. But weddings are usually only special favors.”
“Wow, I feel so honored, then. I found your portfolio online after Rachel gave me your name, and your work is wonderful.”
“Thank you,” he says, smiling. “I appreciate that.”
“Can I get you a mimosa?” asks one of the girls, her hand on his arm—Kono, he thinks—but he shakes his head.
“Thanks babe, but I shouldn’t drink while on the job,” he says. She hands him a water bottle instead, with a wink and a smile, and he grins back. Yeah, if he were 10 years younger, maybe. Helps the ego, though.
Danny spends a very pleasant 45 minutes with the ladies, and he takes the last few shots as Malia gets dressed. The light by the window is perfect, and she looks soft and nearly ethereal as the girls help her into her dress. It’s simple enough not to overshadow her beauty, strapless with a long train, and the photos practically take themselves.
“Lovely,” Danny mutters, as he flips through the thumbnails in the display on the back of the camera. He looks up and flashes Malia a grin. “These are going to be great, I can tell.”
“Oh, I can’t wait to see them,” she says, patting him on the arm. “You’re going to take some photos of the boys, too, yes?”
“Yes, I’m heading up there now. Chin, right?” he asks as he packs up the rest of his stuff.
“Right,” she says, smiling automatically at his name. Ah, young love, Danny thinks, not entirely bitterly. “He and the boys are in room 832, they’re expecting you.”
“Great. I’ll see you downstairs for the first look, then?” She nods, and he waves at the trio of bridesmaids with a smile.
It’s a bit of déjà vu as he again knocks on a hotel door, answered by an attractive stranger. “Hey! Danny, right? I’m Chin,” he says, and they share a firm handshake.
“It’s great to meet you, man.”
“Likewise. Thank you again so much for doing this. Malia was just—well, she was freaking out. I’m sure you can imagine.”
Danny snorts—he remembers exactly how high-strung Rachel had been before their wedding, and they hadn’t even had a problem as major as a sick photographer. “Not a problem, happy to do it.”
“You’ve been with the girls, right? How’s Malia?” he asks, lowering his voice, and Danny grins.
“She’s great, looks absolutely beautiful. You are a lucky man, my friend.”
Chin chuckles and leads him farther inside. “Oh, don’t I know it. Come on in. Guys, this is Danny, the photographer. Danny, this is Steve, my best man, and…”
Danny doesn’t even catch the names of the other groomsmen because holy hell, this Steve guy is hot. He isn’t even dressed yet, he’s just wearing dumb cargo pants and a t-shirt, but the way he’s lounging there, sprawled out in the armchair, offering a lazy wave, god. Danny has to busy himself with his camera settings to stop from staring. Jeez, what the hell is wrong with him? He usually isn’t this easily affected by anyone, male or female, no matter how hot they are. His latent bisexuality woke the fuck up when he moved to Hawaii and started encountering shirtless guys all damn day, and it must think it has some catching up to do or something after being married for so long.
Danny is a professional, though, and he can handle himself just fine. He gets into the groove, snapping pictures of Chin palling around with his friends as they get ready. He stays away from Steve for the most part, except for one long look when he comes out of the bathroom after changing—but who can blame him, Steve looks positively sinful in his suit. The pants are tightly tailored, the white shirt sets off his tan, and the open neck shows just a hint of chest hair. His gaze drifts back up to Steve’s face, and he jerks at the sight of Steve staring straight back at him, a smirk planted firmly on his mouth.
Praying that he’s not blushing, Danny turns away quickly and hides behind his camera as he shifts toward Chin. Steve doesn’t seem too freaked out about having a guy check him out, at least, but hell—he’s probably used to people of all genders looking at him.
The boys are just about ready, and Danny smiles as he snaps a few shots of them taking a ceremonial shot of whiskey. He carefully avoids Steve’s gaze and his presence as he leads them downstairs and outside. Chin and Malia have decided to take all their official pictures before the wedding, so Danny carefully situates them on either side of a tall shrub so he can get a shot of them seeing each other for the first time.
“Okay,” he says, clapping his hands and standing where they both can see him. “Chin and the boys over here, Malia and the girls on this side. We’re going to take a few pictures, I’ll tell you guys where to go and when to look. Then we’ll do all the bridal party shots, so nobody go too far, okay?”
Everybody nods, and Danny grins. He’s always been good at bossing people around, and these people are obeying nicely. He gets some shots of Chin and Malia talking to each other, holding hands around the shrub even though they can’t see each other. When he gives the signal, they both step forward, and the look on Chin’s face is nothing short of remarkable. Everyone awwws when Malia starts to cry, and even Danny’s poor, bruised heart lifts a little as he hides a smile behind his camera. He wants to give them a private moment together, so he takes a minute to switch cameras.
The deep voice comes from behind him, and he nearly jumps out of his skin as he spins around. Steve is right there, god, how does someone so big sneak up on people like that?
“Hi,” he says shortly. He actually needs another lens for this camera, so he bends down to rifle through his bag.
“We didn’t get a chance to actually meet,” Steve says, holding out his hand. “I’m Steve.”
Danny stands back up and shifts the camera to his other arm as he shakes Steve’s hand. His hand is big and warm, with a strong grip, and Danny absolutely does not linger, no sir, not even for a second. “Danny, nice to meet you.”
“So I hear that you’re the one who saved the day.”
Danny chuckles. “Well, that’s probably a bit of a stretch, but I’m glad I could help. How do you know Chin?”
“We knew each other a bit when we were younger, and now we work together.”
Danny nods and checks his watch—time before the ceremony is quickly dwindling. “Okay best man, get over there for your pictures. Don’t make me yell at you.”
Steve flashes him a quick grin and strides away, leaving Danny to shake his head and sigh. Well, this could make the prospect of shooting this wedding a little more interesting. At least he can stare at Steve through the camera—much less obvious that way. Probably won’t look good if he ends up with more pictures of Steve than Chin and Malia, though, so he shifts back into his professional mindset easily.
Though he doesn’t fully understand it, Danny knows the leis are a very important part of a Hawaiian wedding, so he snaps some good shots of Chin and Malia giving the leis to each other as well as to the members of their bridal party. Thankfully the bride and groom aren’t interested in any of those ridiculous jumping pictures, or the groomsmen carrying the bride, or anything else dumb. It’s pretty straightforward, and soon Danny dismisses everyone to do whatever they need to do in the 10 minutes before the ceremony starts. The best man must be free of duties, though, because he wanders over to Danny again.
“Is that digital or film?” he asks, peering over Danny’s shoulder.
Danny can’t quite tell if he’s flirting or actually interested in his work, but truthfully, he doesn’t much care. “This is digital. I prefer film usually, but with the thousands of photos I’ll be taking today, digital is way easier.”
“Wow, that’s a lot.”
“It’s my job. I really hate shooting weddings, though,” he says quietly, not sure why he’s confiding in this guy.
“Really? Why?” Steve asks, looking genuinely interested.
Danny shrugs. “It’s just not that creative. Doesn’t require all that much talent, in my opinion.”
“Why do you do it, then?”
“Oh, I usually don’t,” he says with a laugh. “I avoid it as much as possible, actually. But my ex is friends with Malia and heard about their little predicament, so…here I am.”
“So I was right, you are the hero.”
“As I said, wouldn’t go that far, babe.”
Steve’s eyebrows rise at the babe, and Danny winces. “It’s just—it’s a Jersey thing, okay?” he says, waving his hand. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Oh, I’m not worried,” he says easily, with a little grin, and Danny’s not quite sure what to do with that.
“Go, go,” he says, shooing him away. “Do your best man thing and check on the rings or something.”
Steve smiles again and throws him a lazy salute as he backs away slowly. “I’ll see you later, then.”
The words, any words, get stuck in Danny’s throat, and he just nods, watching Steve go. Then the music starts up, signaling the start of the procession, and he snaps back to attention. The ceremony is lovely, though he’s grateful for the opportunity to distract himself from the vows. No need to hear those again, he remembers his own well enough. He tries to be as inconspicuous as possible as he darts around to get different angles, and he gets a particularly great one, up and off to the side, for the big first kiss.
He follows everyone inside the reception hall and captures the bride and groom’s big entrance. Chin and Malia are a striking couple, there’s a lot of love in the room, and he’s actually enjoying himself. The whole bridal party is attractive, actually, and he gets a great shot of Steve laughing, his cheekbones perfectly highlighted by the dim light. Yeah, maybe that one’ll be just for himself.
He loses himself in his work for the next hour or so, moving around the room and taking candids as well as some posed photos of the guests. For a wedding, this is a pretty good one, casual and relaxed instead of stilted and formal and everyone seems to be having a good time. Finally his grumbling stomach interrupts him, and he takes a quick break to assemble a plate of food from the buffet.
Danny finds an empty table, but his little break is quickly interrupted by Steve, who slides into the chair next to him. “Hi.”
“Hi, there,” Danny says. He’s getting a bit of a vibe now, and he’s fairly confident that Steve might be interested in the same thing he is. “Having fun as best man? Saw you almost drop the ring, that was real smooth.”
“You were watching me?”
“Um, hello,” Danny says, gesturing to his camera resting on the table. “Of course I was watching. I’m watching everyone.”
Steve nods and leans closer to peer at Danny’s plate, reaching in to grab a piece of broccoli.
“Excuse me, what the hell are you doing?” he says, wielding his fork to fend off Steve’s advances on his plate.
“M’hungry,” he says with a shrug. “Food’s good.”
“Hey, hey, let me have my dinner. I’m the one actually working here, you just have to sit there and look pretty in your suit.”
Steve pauses and tilts his head. “You think I’m pretty?”
Danny rolls his eyes. “No, you’re definitely the most unattractive person here, my mistake.”
Steve laughs and snitches a piece of roasted potato from his plate, popping it into his mouth. “So what’s your deal?”
“What’s my deal?”
“Yeah, that’s what I said.”
“Does this count as flirting in your world? Is that what this is, does this work for you?”
“Sometimes,” he says with a little grin, knocking his knee against Danny’s underneath the table. “So, you’re a photographer.”
“Yes, Captain Obvious, that is correct.”
“How’d you get into that? Do you like it?”
“Love it,” he says immediately, nodding. “Got my first camera when I was a kid and just never stopped. Still can’t believe that I get paid to be creative and take pictures of beautiful things.”
“That’s really cool,” Steve says, his eyes a little wistful. “You don’t seem like you’re from around here.”
Danny huffs a laugh. “No, not exactly. My ex-wife moved here with my daughter from Jersey, and I followed.”
“Oh, yikes,” Steve says with a grimace. “That sucks, I’m sorry.”
Danny frowns and tilts his head back and forth. “It could be worse. There’s a lot of work here, and I get shared custody of my baby girl. I mean, I could do without the beach, but—”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Steve says, holding his hands out. “You don’t like the beach?”
“Hmm, no, not really. All that sand, the crowds, blech,” he says with a shudder.
“Maybe you’d like a private beach better. I live right on the water, you know.”
“Oh, really? Is this more of that drive-by flirting? Just checking because if it’s—”
“Can I buy you a drink?” he interrupts, looking him straight in the eye, and Danny grins. Maybe the universe is making up for this whole Hawaii thing by giving him some good luck, and this guy wanting to buy him a drink is most definitely good luck.
“Thanks for the offer, babe—and it really is so generous, considering there’s an open bar here—but I can’t drink while I’m working.”
Steve honest to god pouts, and Danny can’t help himself, he laughs. “Not even one?”
“Nope,” he says absently, shooting a few more photos of the crowd. “What, you think Chin and Malia deserve blurry photos?”
“Wow,” he says, nodding slowly, and Danny scowls.
“I mean, you’re obviously short, but I wouldn’t have guessed that you were that much of a lightweight. One drink equals blurry photos?”
Danny inhales sharply and jabs his finger into Steve’s chest. “You are such a,” he starts, but in the face of Steve’s blinding grin, he forgets the words he was going to say. “A jerk. You’re a jerk. And if I were 15 years younger, I’d be challenging you to a drinking contest right about now.”
“Commander!” The booming voice comes from behind them, and it’s almost comical the way Steve automatically jumps to attention. The source is an older guy, bald with a short gray beard, and he rests his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Oh, just messing with you, son.”
“Hey, Joe,” he says, turning in his seat. “Having fun?”
“Yeah, it’s quite the party. There’s actually an old friend of mine here that I’d like you to meet. Can I steal you away?”
“Sure,” Steve says, standing. “I’ll see you later, Danny?”
Danny nods with a smile and returns Joe’s friendly wave.
He gets swept up with his work again for a while, checking in with Chin and Malia to make sure that he gets all the specific photos that they’ve requested. The dance floor is rocking by this point, now that the guests are adequately lubricated with alcohol, so he gets some shots that are sure to embarrass their subjects later. He catches Steve dancing with Kono, and there’s too much beauty there not to photograph, with Kono’s dress flaring out dramatically as he twirls her. Everything pauses while the bride and groom cut the cake, and Danny gets a great shot of Malia smearing Chin’s shocked face with icing.
He takes a little breather while everyone’s eating, just sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall, and Steve suddenly materializes by his side again, holding out two plates with a flourish and a little bow. “I brought you cake,” he says. “You said no alcohol, but you didn’t say anything about sugar.”
“Thanks, babe,” he says, genuinely touched. He gestures for Steve to sit down next to him and takes one of the plates. Then he’s wary. “Wait, is there pineapple in this?”
Steve frowns and peers closer. “I don’t think so. Why? Are you allergic?”
“Nah, I just don’t really like it.”
“Of course you don’t,” he says, but he’s smiling so Danny lets it go.
He takes a small, careful bite. “No pineapple, it’s safe.”
“Thank goodness,” Steve says with an exaggerated sigh, digging into his own piece.
“Commander, huh?” Danny asks through a mouthful of cake. “You in the Army?”
“Navy,” he says, clearly affronted.
“Sorry, Rambo,” he says, with absolutely no apology in his voice whatsoever. “Does Chin serve, too? I didn’t know that.”
“Oh, no, I’m in the Reserves now. I’m the head of the governor’s task force, Five-0. Chin’s on my team.”
Danny gasps and leans away from him. “Five-0? Oh my god, I’ve seen you guys on the news. You, my friend, are insane.”
Steve winces. “Was it the shark tank thing? I didn’t know that was in the news.”
“What?” he asks, trying to keep his voice down. “Did you seriously just say shark tank?”
“Never mind,” Steve says quickly, his eyes wide. “What were you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the picture I saw of you hanging a guy off a fucking building.”
“Oh, that,” he says, waving his hand dismissively. “That was nothing.”
Danny snorts and shakes his head. “Man, and Chin seems so normal. So either you’re the only crazy one, or he’s just a great actor.”
“Hey, we’re both normal,” Steve protests, his hand on his chest as if he’s completely in the right and hanging someone off a building is a characteristic of normal behavior. “Kono, too.”
“Kono?” he asks in disbelief, pointing to where she’s standing with Malia on the other side of the room. “She’s on your team? Chin’s cousin who flirted with me and who looks like she’s about 25?”
“She is 25. She’s also a fucking great shot with a sniper rifle, and she could break you in half with her roundhouse,” he says proudly.
Danny’s mouth open and closes a few times before he can speak. “That is terrifying.”
“Wait, she flirted with you?” Steve asks, scowling in her general direction.
Danny rolls his eyes. “Relax, Rambo. It didn’t mean anything. And I have no idea why I’m even justifying this to you.”
“You’re justifying it to me because you like me,” Steve says. His confident grin is bordering on smug, but Danny doesn’t even hate it—he is so far gone, Jesus.
“Excuse me?” he asks, raising his eyebrows.
“Don’t think I didn’t notice that little moment back in Chin’s room. It was at least a five-second stare. Not that I’m complaining,” Steve says quickly, lifting his hands, “especially since you were too distracted to notice that I was looking right back.”
Danny sputters—outraged is always a good defense. “Oh, for fuck’s sake, that is ridiculous. I am very subtle with my—”
“Ah-ha!” Steve interrupts, pointing in his excitement and looming closer to Danny. “You were checking me out, you admitted it.”
Danny huffs and delays the inevitable by taking a big mouthful of cake. This guy, seriously.
Steve seems confident in his victory, though, and just stretches out his long legs. “I found your website online, your work is really great.”
“That’s a little stalkerish of you, babe,” he says, grinning when Steve scowls. “But thank you for the compliment.”
“Is the girl your daughter?”
Danny smiles—he’d almost forgotten that there are a few pictures of Grace in there, sandwiched between his professional work. “Yeah, that’s Grace. Those are from a few years ago, though, she’s nine now.”
“She’s the best, actually,” he corrects. “And on that note, I gotta get back to work.”
He stands up, stretching his back, and then chuckles when Steve holds his hand up, a plaintive look on his face. Danny grabs it anyway and hauls him to his feet—man, he’s heavy. “Thanks for the cake,” he says, belatedly realizing that they’re still holding hands. Smiling, Steve squeezes briefly before letting go.
“No problem. I’m still gonna hold you to that drink, though.”
“Gladly,” he says, spreading his arms, because really—why play games. Steve grins and waves a little as he saunters off, and Danny shakes his head. He has no regrets about shooting this wedding, not at all.
He gets some great photos of Chin and Malia dancing with their family members and one of them sharing a sweet, private moment in the corner. Danny waits for the bouquet toss—Iolana catches it triumphantly and points at her date, who looks vaguely frightened—and then escapes to the bathroom. He’s almost done washing his hands when someone comes crashing loudly through the door. He spins around, ready to yell at this likely-drunk person about disrupting the peace, when he realizes it’s Steve, and he stops in his tracks.
Without breaking their gaze, Steve flips the lock on the door and stalks toward Danny, pushing him up against the sink by his hips and kissing him. Jesus fuck, his lips are warm and soft, and Danny goes with it because—well, he’s only human. His hands lift automatically to Steve’s not-unsubstantial biceps, mostly just to keep his balance. It’s fierce and deep and makes him dizzy, and he barely has enough brainpower to remember how to kiss back. Steve makes a noise, a pained grunt that rips out of the back of his throat, and that manages to break through the haze of lust currently enveloping Danny’s brain. He turns his head, away from Steve’s lips, and uses both hands on Steve’s chest to push him back an inch.
“What the fuck?” he gets out, barely. God, he’s practically breathless from six seconds of a kiss, this is terrible.
“I thought we were…you know, doing a thing,” Steve says, gesturing between them, but least he’s breathing a little hard, too.
“Yeah, but I was thinking more along the lines of like a date or a drink or something,” Danny says, smoothing his hair back with both hands. “Or hell, since I’m really into you, even a nicely-worded invitation to your bedroom. But I am way too old to hook up in a bathroom. Nor is it really necessary, unless that’s what gets you off or something.”
Steve’s eyes widen and then he frowns, stepping back and dropping his gaze to the floor. “Sorry, I just—uh, usually, you know, in the Navy, I have to…”
Danny winces as it hits him. Jeez, no wonder he seems prone to the quick and dirty—Steve must have lived most of his adult life under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. “Oh, shit, sorry. I didn’t even think of that, god.”
“No, no, it’s fine, I’m sorry,” Steve says, reaching a hand up to scratch at the back of his neck. “I’m still, uh, still getting used to being a civilian, I guess. It’s been less than a year, and I’ve been pretty, uh, busy.”
“What, with hanging people off buildings and doing things that I don’t even want to know about with a shark tank?” Danny asks, smirking, and Steve laughs, clearly relieved.
“Pretty much, yeah,” he says, straightening up from his slouch against the door. He walks back toward Danny—prowls, actually, is more accurate—and Danny forces himself to hold his ground as Steve steps toe-to-toe with him. “I actually have a room here, for the night. Would you like to join me in said hotel room? Is that worded nicely enough for you?”
“Um,” he says, tilting his head, pretending to think. “Yeah, that’ll do.”
Steve’s grin is beautiful, all wide and relaxed. “Good.”
“Then tell me something here, babe,” Danny says, knocking the back of his hand lightly against Steve’s chest. “Have you ever hooked up with a guy anywhere but in an alley or a bathroom or a closet or other places that are dark and cramped and vaguely public?”
Steve opens his mouth, then closes it again. “No,” he says finally, crossing his arms. “No, never.”
“Okay,” Danny says slowly, nodding. Yeah, he can work with that. “Okay.”
“What do you mean, what? I’m thinking.”
“Thinking about what?”
“What do you think I’m thinking?” he says with an exasperated sigh. “I’m going over in my head all the things I want to do to you.”
“Oh,” Steve says, surprised. He grins again, and this one is a little lazier, a little dirtier. He thumbs over his shoulder toward the door. “So can we…?”
“Hold your horses, Rambo,” Danny says, patting him on the chest again and leaving his hand there this time. He’s really eager to see what everything looks like under that shirt. “I can’t leave until Chin and Malia do. But as soon as I’m done, I’ll come find you, yeah?”
“Yeah,” he says, swallowing. “Yeah, definitely.”
Danny smiles and tries to move around him to the door, but Steve gets an arm around his waist, lightning-quick, and kisses him again. He leans into it for only a second before pulling back. “Do you think if I explain the situation to Chin and Malia, they’d leave faster?” Steve asks, and Danny laughs.
“Asking the bride and groom to leave their wedding sooner just so you can get laid? Yeah, please don’t do that.”
Steve sighs, pretending to be put-upon, and nods. “Fine.”
Danny slips out the door, unscathed this time, and tries valiantly to concentrate on his work for the next half hour. It’s like he has some weird honing mechanism with Steve, though, because no matter where they are in the room, he swears he can feel his heavy gaze. He mostly succeeds at pushing those thoughts away, though, and gets the final photos on his mental list. Danny prays that Steve didn’t actually talk to Chin and Malia because they certainly aren’t lingering. A crowd has assembled to show them off, and he gets some beautiful, long-exposure shots of the two of them being showered with confetti and waved off with sparklers. Their limo door slams shut, and the noise startles Danny right out of his professional mindset—his job is done now, and they need to get out of here.
He scans the crowd, but there’s no sign of Steve. So he heads back inside and double-checks his bag, making sure that he’s got all his cameras and lenses. The party is still going, and Danny picks his way through the dwindling crowd toward the door, where he’s finally spotted Steve. He’s clearly hiding something behind his leg, so Danny peeks around him—it appears to be a pilfered bottle of champagne. Steve lifts a finger to his lips with an exaggerated shhh, and Danny laughs. “And you’re an officer of the law,” he says sadly, shaking his lead. “Leading a life of crime, what a shame.”
Steve scoffs. “That just gives me more leeway.”
“That’s terrifying because I really believe you think that’s true.”
They run into Kono on their way out, and she grins delightedly as she connects the dots, looking pointedly at the bottle of champagne in Steve’s hand. “What, is it too cliché for the best man to hook up with a bridesmaid? You decided to go for the photographer instead?”
Danny cracks up at the blush spreading across Steve’s cheeks and pats him on the stomach. “Shut up, Kono,” he mutters.
“Bye, Danny,” she says, throwing him a quick wink. “It was nice to meet you, I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around.”
“Likewise, babe,” he responds with a smile, and Steve scowls, tugging him past Kono.
“Have fun, boss!” she calls out cheerily, and way too loudly, considering the crowd. “See you Monday!”
Steve groans and drags Danny toward the elevators. “I’m never going to hear the end of this. It’s like having another little sister, but one who can actually beat me up.”
There’s an elderly couple in the elevator with them, who Danny thinks he recognizes as Malia’s relatives, and he stifles a smile as Steve greets them and makes polite conversation. They all agree that it was a lovely wedding and Malia looked beautiful, but Danny’s thankfully spared more small talk when the elevator dings and Steve pulls him out by the hand.
“Having trouble there, babe?” he asks mildly, after Steve’s third try with the lock on his door just results in a beeping red light.
“No, I, uh,” he says, grunting as he shoves it in harder, “I got it.”
Danny huffs and elbows him out of the way, grabbing the key card out of his hand. “God, you Neanderthal. Brute force doesn’t work on everything, you know.”
He slides the key card in gently and grins triumphantly when the light flashes green and the handle gives way under his hand. Steve’s looking at him like he hung the moon, so he laughs and holds the door open with a flourish. “After you.”
“This feels backward somehow,” Steve calls out over his shoulder as he walks past Danny into the room. Danny just shrugs and follows, setting his bag down on the desk.
“If you cause me to lose an eye, this is so over,” he says, pointing at the bottle and then at Steve. He smirks and turns away, working the cork out of the bottle with a minimum of fuss.
“Uh, I didn’t bring glasses,” he says, and Danny rolls his eyes, snatching the bottle from his grip. He takes a long swig, then wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and hands it back to Steve.
“So is this that drink I was promised? Stolen champagne from the bottle?”
“Are you complaining?” Steve asks, after taking a drink of his own.
“Depends,” he says with a shrug, and Steve’s eyes light up. He sets the bottle down next to the bed.
“On what?” he asks, but Danny doesn’t get a chance to answer before Steve crowds him back against the wall and kisses him.
Now that they’re in private and don’t have anywhere to go, Danny relaxes into it, sliding one hand onto Steve’s low back and curling the other around his neck. Not that the kiss is relaxing, exactly, with the way Steve is groping his ass and searching for his tonsils with his tongue. His hand is already palming Danny’s dick through his pants, and he pushes against it for a long second, enjoying the friction, before pulling back and putting a little space in between them. “So I’m guessing slow isn’t really part of your vocabulary, then?”
“Slow?” he asks, clearly skeptical, and Danny laughs.
“Yeah. What’s wrong with slow, huh?”
“I dunno,” he says with a shrug. “Isn’t it kinda boring?”
Danny huffs, shaking his head, and he spins them to press Steve against the wall instead. “Boring? You think slow is boring?”
“I’m guessing that you’re going to argue with me now and tell me that it’s not.”
“Damn straight I am,” Danny says, lowering his voice. “Do you not like it when someone teases you within an inch of your life and keeps you on the knife-edge of orgasm for what feels like hours? Sucking you and fingering you until you feel like you’re gonna break, like you’re drunk on it? When you wanna come so bad, but somehow you also want to go slower so the torture will last longer? Until you can think of nothing else except how fucking good it’s gonna feel when you come, then you do and it’s even better than you had anticipated? Does that not do it for you? Does that sound boring?”
It’s quiet for a long moment, their light panting the only sound between them, and Danny is very aware of Steve’s dick pressing hard against his stomach. His eyes have dropped to half-mast, and the grip he has on Danny’s hips is nearly bruising. “Um…no, that doesn’t sound boring,” he says finally, his voice strangled.
“Correct answer,” Danny says with a nod. He tugs Steve away from the wall—he’s strangely pliant now—and pushes him down to sit on the edge of the bed.
Danny follows, placing his knees on either side of Steve’s hips and settling in his lap. He slides his hand into Steve’s surprisingly soft hair and uses the grip to tilt his head back so he can kiss him, this time a little more languidly. Steve makes a surprised noise, right into his mouth, and Danny smiles into the kiss as Steve’s arms come up tight around his waist. He lifts on his knees a little and controls the speed of the kiss, switching seamlessly between slow, deep suction and frantic aggression until he’s hard as a rock and grinding against Steve’s stomach.
Steve flips them onto the bed with a grunt, pressing Danny down flat with a hand on his chest. There’s a look of intense concentration on his face as he slowly unknots his tie and tosses it aside, and he’s equally careful with the buttons on Danny’s shirt. There are too many hands between them, with Danny fumbling at Steve’s hopelessly-wrinkled jacket until he has to stop what he’s doing to fling it off onto the floor.
Danny takes advantage of his distraction to sit up himself, pulling off his shirt before attacking Steve’s. With him working the buttons from the bottom and Steve from the top, it’s blissfully quick, and then they’re both shirtless. Steve presses him down quickly, though, covering Danny with his body before he even got a chance to ogle him. But that just won’t do—he grunts in displeasure and flips them, straddling Steve and running his hands down the planes of his torso.
“What are you doing?” he asks, his hands tight on Danny’s thighs.
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m looking, I’m enjoying the view,” he says, a little distracted because man, what a sight. “Is that not allowed, you have some kinda problem with that?”
Steve shakes his head and swallows visibly, his own gaze darting around Danny’s chest. “No. Uh, enjoy away.”
Danny takes full advantage, following the lines of his abs with the backs of his fingers and leaning down to trace the edge of his tattoos with his tongue. With a growl, Steve grips a handful of his hair to tug Danny’s lips back to his, and he lets his weight settle more fully against Steve as he kisses back enthusiastically. They’re still wearing pants, though, which is ridiculous—his dick is digging painfully into his zipper, and from what he can feel beneath his ass, Steve is probably having the same problem.
He lifts up, ignoring Steve’s whine of protest, and rolls onto his back to undo his belt and zipper. Steve shifts onto his side and bats his hands away, thumbing the button open and peeling away the top of his pants to suck bruising kisses into the thin skin near his hip. He carefully slips Danny’s dick out of the slit in his boxers, and Danny gasps. Steve’s mouth is torturously hot and wet, and it’s not the easiest thing Danny’s ever done, pushing him away after several glorious seconds. But he really needs this to last longer than three minutes.
“What happened to slow, huh?” he asks, panting.
Steve shrugs, completely shameless. “Can’t help it. You’re too hot.”
“Oh my god, you are still wearing your pants, what the hell is wrong with you,” Danny says fondly. He shimmies out of his pants—no real way to make that sexy, just gotta do it fast—and crawls forward to take care of Steve’s. His hands close on air, though, because Steve lies back down and unfastens his pants quickly, arching his back to slide them off his ass and down his legs. Danny swallows hard, his mouth suddenly dry. Well, he takes it back—apparently Steve can make anything sexy.
He starts to sit up, but Danny shakes his head and pushes him back down, settling down in between his legs. Steve’s dick is just as pretty as the rest of him, and his low groan is pretty fucking gratifying when Danny leans down and sucks hard on the head. He slows down after that, though, just teasing licks and nips until Steve is squirming and Danny’s forced to sling an arm over his hips.
“Fuck, Danny, c’mon,” he mutters, running his fingers gently through the strands of hair at the nape of his neck. Danny reaches over for the champagne on the nightstand, taking a big swig and holding it as he carefully fits his mouth back over Steve’s cock. It’s cool and bubbly on his tongue, and he knows it must feel equally amazing on his dick. Judging from the sharp gasp from the head of the bed, he’s right. He pulls up just a little to swallow, and Steve hisses and tightens his grip on Danny’s hair.
Steve’s babbling now, but Danny mostly ignores it as he sucks harder. Finally, he lifts his head and barely resists the urge to rub off against the sheets at the sight—Steve’s hair is tousled, his face flushed, his skin glistening slightly.
“Hmm?” he asks, blinking hazily.
“Do—do that again, please,” Steve says hoarsely, gesturing vaguely toward the nightstand. “With the, the champagne…fuck, that felt really good.”
Danny doesn’t think he could deny this guy anything when he says please, especially in that low, sex-raw voice, so he grins and grabs the bottle again. He takes another sip but kisses Steve first instead. His mouth opens in surprise and then he groans, lapping eagerly at Danny’s mouth. Danny kisses him as dirty as he can make it, teeth and tongue working, and Steve actually whines when he pulls away.
Danny repeats his little champagne trick on his cock a couple times, until Steve tenses and looks close to orgasm. He’s gone mostly silent and still, save for a twitch in his thigh, so Danny pulls away, breathing hard, and soothes Steve’s groan with a kiss to his hip. He sidles up against him, avoiding his dick, and nuzzles at his neck before yanking him into a fierce kiss.
“Danny,” he says, flipping immediately onto his side and palming Danny’s ass. “C’mon, please.”
Danny shoots a hand out to hold him back, pressing him down flat. “Slow, remember?”
Steve pouts, no other word for it, and scrubs both hands over his face. His attention perks up, though, when Danny settles between his legs again and thoroughly wets one finger with saliva. He slides one finger in—all he’s willing to do without lube handy—and crooks it immediately, finding Steve’s prostate.
“Jesus fuck,” he says, arching up. “Danny, shit.”
He keeps the unrelenting pressure for a couple minutes while mouthing gently at his balls. Steve’s talking again, low, hoarse words about how good it feels, and Danny grins—he could do this forever. Well, he’s not sure about forever, but he can extend it a little longer and he silently apologizes to his dick as he withdraws his finger.
“No, no, no,” he chants. “Fuck, Danny, don’t stop, no.”
Danny stays in between Steve’s legs but stops all simulation, except for his nails trailing gently up Steve’s thigh. “Do you know what I do as a photographer?” he asks, ensuring that his breath brushes over his dick.
“What?” Steve grits out.
“I notice things, little things that most people don’t. Like how your inner thigh is sensitive, right here”—he grins at Steve’s moan—“and how that little vein in your neck pops when you squirm. And your hand clenches when you’re close,” he says, pointing.
Steve immediately moves his hand to Danny’s head and grips onto his hair. “It’s clenching right now,” he says, and Danny laughs.
“Oh, I know.”
He mouths at that spot again, the one on his thigh, and Steve exhales mightily. “God, please, Danny. I’m really about to come, and I’d much rather do it with you touching me.”
“I am touching you, though,” he says, like the jerk that he is, as he slides his finger back in and presses up against Steve’s prostate.
“Fuck you,” he gasps.
“Maybe later,” he says with a shrug, but he takes pity on Steve then and lowers his mouth, sucking hard and swiping his tongue around the head of his dick until Steve is a cursing mess, thrusting up against him.
He sits up more and replaces his mouth with his hand, stripping quickly as he watches Steve fall apart underneath him, the muscles of his torso clenching delightfully. He comes with a beautiful cry, hoarsely choking out something that probably started as Danny’s name as he spills in long streaks all over his stomach. The spattered tableau against his tanned skin is glorious, and Danny’s fingers itch for his camera.
“I am going to get you back for that,” Steve warns, waving his finger lazily, but yeah, lying there like a beached whale, panting and sweaty, he’s not really so threatening.
Danny laughs and stretches out next to him, idly palming his dick since he’s been hard for what seems like a year. Suddenly his hand is being snatched away with a growl, and Steve’s on top of him, all trace of exhaustion gone. He inhales sharply—shit, that’ll teach him to underestimate this guy.
Steve grasps both of Danny’s wrists in one big hand and presses them above his head. “This okay?” he asks lowly, flicking his gaze up to Danny’s wrists and then back down to his face. Having completely lost his ability to talk with his breath caught in his throat the way it is, Danny just nods. He’s never really had a size thing before, but that might change from now on because Steve’s tall, lean body stretched out over his, holding him down—he’s not exactly hating it.
The kiss is lush, Steve’s tongue slick and insistent. Danny wants nothing more than to thrust up against Steve’s come-covered abs, but his legs are mostly pinned and he can’t get any leverage. Sensing his frustration, Steve smiles into the kiss and drags his free hand down his body to curve his palm gently around his dick. Danny hisses and squirms, completely unsatisfied with the loose grip, but Steve’s smile just morphs into a grin. “How do you feel about slow now?” he murmurs, dragging his lips down Danny’s jaw to his neck.
He laughs hoarsely. “Oh, it’s great,” he lies. “I’m glad you’re taking to this so well.”
“I’m a fast learner.”
Danny’s response to that gets lost on a moan as Steve tightens his hand suddenly, squeezing his dick harder while his lips and teeth latch on to the skin of Danny’s neck. “Oh, fuck, come on, Steve, god.”
“Magic word,” he says, seemingly unfazed by Danny’s distress as he keeps nipping down his neck.
Danny sucks his lower lip between his teeth and groans, his need to have an orgasm warring with his need to be a smartass. His dick wins, as per usual. “Please, you fucker, please make me come.”
“All you had to do was ask,” he says primly, and Danny growls, opening his mouth to yell at Steve some more. All those words just disappear in a puff, though, when Steve practically attacks his mouth and speeds up his hand. Danny’s hands are still pinned, and he’s more than happy to just lie there and take it as Steve thoroughly works him over.
There’s not enough oxygen left in his lungs, so Danny wrenches his mouth away and gasps, trying to prolong the inevitable for a few more seconds. His efforts prove to be fruitless, and he braces his forehead against Steve’s shoulder as he comes with a faint shout, shivering in relief from the spasms wracking his body. Steve inhales, surprised, and keeps stroking him until Danny’s too sensitive and has to push him away weakly.
After Danny recovers enough to sit up, they slump together against the headboard, legs tangled, chatting lazily as they pass the bottle back and forth. “Probably never gonna be able to look at champagne the same way again,” Danny says wistfully as he hands it over.
Huffing a laugh, Steve tips his head back and sticks his tongue out to get the last drops. “Yeah, probably not.”
“Have you ever thought of modeling?”
“Oh my god,” Steve says, rolling his eyes, and Danny laughs.
“I think the criminals we arrest would give me some shit about that. I would model for you, though,” he says, leering and rolling halfway on top of Danny. “Do you do that kind of photography?”
Danny laughs again. “Yeah, I really don’t think Chin and Malia would appreciate those kinds of photos on their reel.”
“That would be the best prank ever,” Steve says, right against his lips, and Danny shakes his head.
“Don’t go getting any ideas, lover boy. Ain’t happening.”
“We could delete them,” he says, kissing down Danny’s neck now, and yeah, he pretty much forgets his entire argument.