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Reason Number Two

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In the span of a single short, heart attack inducing week, Danny suddenly has a new job, new partner, new friends and new scars to show for it. He touches the bandage of his gunshot wound beneath his shirt and yeah, it still hurts like hell and no, he has not forgiven McGarrett.

That apology is indeed pending.

Danny looks up from his desk to see Steve still sitting at his own desk across the bullpen, arm sling surprisingly still attached (Danny had already threatened twice with more bodily harm if he took it off again). Steve had been pretty banged up when they arrived at the hospital, but despite his own serious injuries, he insisted that Danny get his hands looked at. Danny had rolled his eyes and refrained from smacking his partner in the back of the head, if only because he still had blood and glass in it. He likes to think of himself as a very tolerant person. Mostly.

Upon closer inspection (snooping), he notices McGarrett toying with something in his hands; two slim pieces of paper. Rubbing them back and forth across each other, his partner focuses on the paper with a strange ferocity. His partner twists suddenly in his chair, only to turn back just as sharply and mutter to himself. Great, his boss is insane, talking to himself about paper or something.

Or something turns out to be two passes to the Kohala Hotel, Steve informs him. Go swim with the dolphins he says, take your daughter and have a good time. Danny can hear what he isn't saying. I almost got you killed, I underestimated you. I should have been a better partner. I'm just so sorry, I'll be better.

And yeah, Danny is expecting him to be better; to be the kind of guy that actually listens to his partner before he goes headfirst down a path Danny can't follow. Danny images with enough time, he's going to want to follow Steve anywhere he goes.

The task force is still so new, and he misses home so badly he can hardly stand it. Gracie's face flashes through his thoughts and forcibly reminds him that home is wherever his little girl is. Home is where he lies his head at night, even if that place smells of the ocean; salty and hot, bright and untamed. The waves crashing along the shoreline still surprise him. He isn't committing to this place just yet.

*~~~**~~~*

The sand is dark with rain long since past along the beach of Steve's backyard cove. Danny doesn't want to be here sometimes. Steve waves him off whenever he asks to do something or fetch something. "Whatever you need , Danno," Steve says offhandedly. "My home is your home." And that hurts something deep inside that still sings the song of the mainland. He's comfortable here with Steve, he's happy. Is it such a terrible thing that he doesn't want to be?

Steve takes to the waves like a sea creature, having only left the sea to do what was needed and then returning to the black depths. His lean body sinks beneath the waves and reminds Danny of when he let himself sink deep enough to feel the ocean's icy grasp. The shock of cold traveling up his legs and clinging tightly to his belly. His partner's head breaks the surface and his lips part to drag in a lungful of sun warmed air. The waves lap against his broad shoulders and Danny still isn't convinced this place is home.

Steve says he's defensive and he's right. Danny is fighting this island like a disease. The heat burns into his skin and the sand inevitably finds it's way under his nails. He can't seem to wash it all off at the end of the day. Can't get Steve off of him. His partner's personality wears him down like like stone on stone; they're both creating this heat between then, wearing each other down until they're smooth and effortless when they come together again.

It shouldn't be this easy. It was never this easy with Rachel. Rachel made it seem like a challenge to deal with her, to chase her, to love her. Challenges are kind of his thing and he simply couldn't say no to her after all that chasing.

Steve seems willing to meet Danny half way and that's more leeway than Danny's ever been given. But Danny is stubborn. He'll admit it, to himself - to Steve. He wants to be somewhere else, he wants to feel like he belongs, but God, not here, not when he could lose himself in all this ocean and security and Steve. Steve will swallow him whole. Danny would sink here. Sink right down to the bottom where it's the coldest.

He only has one thing he loves holding him to this place, he doesn't want another reason.

"Danny, come in," Steve motions from the beach, water licking at his ankles. "The water's great, buddy."

Danny leaves for now, but he knows, like waves and the shore, he and Steve will crash against each other inevitably.

*~~~**~~~*
END