sirona_fics: (steve/danny smiles)
sirona's fics ([personal profile] sirona_fics) wrote2011-07-13 11:42 pm

[Fic] All my heart I will lay down precisely at your feet, Steve/Danny, 2/2

Title: All my heart I will lay down precisely at your feet
Pairing: Steve/Danny
Rating: NC-17
Word count: ~18,200 (9,216 this part)
Warnings: non-fatal gunshot wounds, pining

Summary and Notes in Part One.



"He's lost a lot of blood," a voice floats faintly nearby. "The wound in his side has a slight infection, although his arm is healing beautifully, you did a great job there, Mr Williams. We've stitched him up, and we're keeping him on antibiotics and a saline drip to rehydrate him. He doesn't actually need a blood transfusion. He's young, strong, at the peak of his physical condition. He should be all right in no time, although he'll need a bit of a recovery period until he's back at full strength."

"Can we see him?" a familiar voice asks.

"Sure. He should be coming out of sedation any--"

There's a groan. Steve only realises it came from him when his eyelids are drawn gently back and a pen light shines at his pupils. His sheets are lifted and the dressing checked, and then whoever it is -- the doctor, Steve assumes, steps back.

"All right, Mr Williams, Miss Williams. Try not to tire him out, he'll still be a little drowsy."

A door snaps shut and footsteps come closer; Steve feels a gentle dip of his bed, and manages to peel his eyes open a fraction to see Grace's worried face peering at him.

"Hey," he croaks, lifting his hand with some effort to poke her gently on the arm. "You okay?"

A straw floats in his line of sight before a hand lifts his head and fits it in his mouth. He sucks down small sips of water gratefully, catching Danny's eyes with his own. Danny looks only marginally less worried than Grace, although there's still a lot of fire in his eyes.

"I'm fine, Steve. Are you okay?" Grace asks, catching his large fingers with her small ones.

"Sure. It's just a scratch," Steve says, giving her a smile and squeezing her fingers reassuringly. "I'm just tired, is all."

Danny's lips thin again, and he gives Steve a peeved glare, but doesn't actually argue with him in front of his daughter.

"I'm so glad," Grace says, grinning sunnily at Steve. He feels his chest tighten at the affection in it.

"Grace, sweetheart, you wanna go see your mom? I want to talk to Steve for a minute," Danny says mildly, although if Steve knows anything about Danny at all, he's in for a scolding. He surprises himself with how much he doesn't mind.

Grace nods and jumps off the bed, waving at Steve from the door.

"Bye, Steve!"

"Bye, Grace," Steve says, smiling -- he can't help but smile around her.

Danny comes round the foot of the bed to stare at him.

Steve waits him out.

"I wish there was a part of you I could punch without feeling like an asshole," Danny grouches, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

"What? Why? I got you to safety, didn't I?" Steve grunts, annoyed.

"Did you miss the part where you almost got yourself killed in the process?" Danny grits out, and oh, is he angry, Steve thinks. He still doesn't understand why.

"Oh, that," he says dismissively, and immediately knows he's made a tactical error when Danny's eyes narrow and his hands come up.

"That?! What do you mean, that--you know what? No. You obviously have the self-preservation instinct of a lemming. You should have fucking said something, we could have changed the dressing, put pressure on it--"

"When, Danny? When we were running down the hill? When I was hotwiring a plane?"

"After! We should have done something after we were in the air, goddamn it!"

"You were sleeping," Steve points out.

"You should have damned well woken me!" Danny's hands are windmilling so hard that Steve feels the shift of air when they pass near his arm.

"You were tired."

Danny is quiet for a moment, staring at him. Steve doesn't see where he's gone wrong this time -- it makes perfect sense to him.

"So let me get this straight," Danny says after a moment, looking pained. "You were bleeding out, but you didn't say anything, because I was tired and needed the sleep."

"I wasn't bleeding out. This is actually my job, you know -- I do this for a living. I've had worse."

"You know, shockingly, I don't want to know."

Steve stays silent, since he doesn't know what he can say to make Danny less angry.

"Jesus Christ," Danny says at last, sitting down on the bed, whatever fight's been pushing him along going out of him. "I can't believe you."

Steve feels a touch to the back of his hand, the one with the IV plugged in. It's so faint he thinks he's imagined it at first, but when he looks down he sees Danny running a single finger over the skin to the side of the needle, careful, so careful. It makes something lurch and flip over in Steve's stomach.

"Danny. I'm okay." He never thought he'd be saying that to someone; never though he'd have someone who'd want to hear it. He doesn't even know whether Danny wants to hear it.

Danny doesn't say anything, eyes firmly nowhere near Steve's face. He exhales shakily, and Steve catalogues the dark circles under his eyes, the tired lines in his face, the way his mouth curls down unhappily at the edges.

"You need to get some more rest," Steve says gently, wanting nothing more than to thread his hand through Danny's hair, hastily slicked back with water, to run a finger over the small lines of fatigue at the corners of his eyes, to tug at his arm until Danny stretches by his side, resting his head on Steve's shoulder, and gets some proper sleep where Steve can watch over him.

"You saying I look like shit, McGarrett?" Danny says, but there's something warm and teasing in his voice, something that makes Steve want to close his eyes and bask.

"Yeah, kind of," he lobs back, just to be a pain, just because he's never enjoyed himself more when he's been horizontal in a hospital bed.

"Charming," Danny says, crinkling his eyes at him. "You don't look so hot yourself, I'll have you know."

"Liar," Steve says, and he has no idea where this is all coming from, only that he never wants it to stop.

The door snicks open and Danny takes his hand back quickly, turning away. Rachel pops her head in the room, smiling a little.

"We're ready to go, Danny. Hello, Commander. I'm so glad to see you're okay," and yeah, Steve can see where Grace gets it from.

"Thank you, Mrs Edwards."

Rachel waves a dismissive hand. "Call me Rachel," she tells him. "You've just saved our lives. You've earned it. Danny? Are you coming?"

"Yeah," Danny says, standing up and glancing back at the bed. "Goodbye, Steve," he says.

"Goodbye?" Steve parrots, and he knows he sounds ridiculous, but, what? Danny's leaving? What?

"We fly out tomorrow morning, and you'll be kept for observation for another couple days. We're not even supposed to be here, but Stan pulled some strings," Danny says. There's a heavy note of finality in his voice, and something a lot like regret when he adds, "So yeah. Goodbye. And thank you."

"You're welcome," Steve says weakly, feeling like he's losing something precious.

Danny sends him one last look before he disappears out of the door, closing it with a soft click.

For the first time since he was sixteen, Steve wants to cry.

---

"Steve, are you insane?" Cath whispers furiously in his ear. "You need rest, and you need to not be an idiot. You're on a goddamned Army base; do you know what will happen if anyone gets wind of this? Your career will be over."

"I have to see him, Cath," Steve says helplessly into the phone, struggling to pull the borrowed sweats on with shaky fingers. "It might be the last change I'll ever get."

"Jesus," Cath hisses, but he hears the clack of computer keys in the background, and he knows she's going to do it. "You owe me so much for this, McGarrett, dinner and wine will be the least of it."

"I know." Pause. "Only maybe not like before--"

"If one more word comes out of your mouth, I will punch you so hard the next time I see you," Cath warns him, fond exasperation warring with irritation in her voice. "Hotel Atlantic, about three blocks North from the hospital. You want the GPS co-ordinates?"

"Please. Listen, Cath, thanks."

"Yeah, yeah. I've never seen you this excited about anyone before, Steve. Make it count," she says, and hangs up. Not thirty seconds later, his phone beeps with the message containing the co-ordinates.

Steve discharges himself from the hospital, despite his doctor's extreme and very vocal disapproval -- she's good, and normally he'd be much more polite, but he's got somewhere important to be. He's only wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt on loan from the base, but he's managed to scrounge a pair of trainers, too, and he looks like just another tourist if you discount his unnaturally pale complexion. The three blocks take him almost half an hour to walk -- he hates, hates that he feels so weak, and his side is a constant ache in the back of his mind, but he makes it, even if it is almost dark by the time he gets inside the hotel. Cath sent him the room number, too, so he slinks his way to the lifts, as inconspicuously as he can manage, and presses the button for the 5th floor.

The corridor is narrow but clean. He makes his way down to room 508 swiftly, trying not to make any noise that might alert the other occupants. When he gets there, his stomach feels like it's going to cramp into a tiny ball of terror any moment now, and his heart is trying to beat its way out of his throat. He's taking a major risk here, not just with his career, but with Danny himself, and god, he's going to look like an absolute idiot if he's read this wrong--but he can't, he just can't walk away and not know.

His knuckles rapping on the door are loud in the hushed silence. There's a pause from the inside, and then light footsteps pad to the door.

"You forget something, Grace?" Danny says just as he opens the door, and doesn't quite close his mouth afterwards, gaping at Steve in shock. "Are you insane?!" he yells before looking around and dragging Steve inside the room. "Fuck's sake, lie down before you fall down."

He pushes Steve down on the bed, and Steve relents gratefully. His legs were having a bit of trouble holding him up, but Danny looks like he knows that.

"What are you even doing here?" Danny laments, fussing with the pillows behind Steve's head and throwing a light blanket over him, despite it being in the 90s in the room.

"I just--" Steve starts, and stops. He doesn't know quite what to say; he looks at Danny helplessly, willing him to understand.

Danny sighs, sounding defeated, rounds the bed and climbs in on the other side, opposite the door. Steve can feel his warmth even through the blanket, and it makes him shiver with need.

"I don't know what to do," Danny admits, looking lost. "This thing, there's nowhere it can go, you know? You're a SEAL, you're risking your career even now, god knows what your superiors will say about this little escapade. And if they knew you were with me... Anyway, I'm going back to the States; we're going to take a break, the four of us, decide what's next. And you're going to get sent to whatever godforsaken corner of the world needs you."

Steve nods. He knows all this, he does, but he can't help it -- Danny's here now, and there's nowhere else in the world Steve wants to be. Danny searches his face for a moment before his eyes soften and he shifts closer.

"But, I suppose, I have you here right now," he murmurs, and then his lips are slipping over Steve's, and Steve groans brokenly and opens to him, lets Danny slip his tongue inside and savours the taste of him on the roof of his mouth.

Danny leans closer, his chest sliding against Steve's, so careful of Steve's side, so gentle, and Steve buries a hand in all that soft hair, tilts his head and loses himself in the feel of Danny over him, against him, the smell of him, the warmth of his body.

He gets so distracted by the feel of Danny in his arms that he forgets all about his injury -- until he tries to flip them over, and his side screams at him in agony.

"Fuck," he gasps, settling back carefully and taking deep breaths.

"Oh my god," Danny says, and Steve rushes to explain.

"It wasn't you, it's okay, it was me, I just, I got a little overexcited."

"Is that right?" Danny says, still looking sheepish, but more confident, too. "Jesus, Steve, our timing sucks."

"Tell me about it," Steve replies, staring up at the ceiling.

"Of course," Danny goes on, and there's a tone in his voice that makes Steve sit up and pay attention even metaphorically, "it's not the only thing that sucks."

"Oh my god, that was terrible," Steve groans, laughing a little as Danny worms his hand under the blanket and past the elastic band of his pants.

"I don't see you complaining," Danny purrs, sucking a strand of kisses along his neck as his fingers find Steve's cock, hard and pressing against the fabric.

Steve groans for real this time, eyelids fluttering when Danny curls his hand around it and squeezes a little, stroking his thumb under the head.

"What was that you were saying about sucking? Or was that an empty boast?" Steve bites out, giving Danny a challenging look.

"Jesus, you're high maintenance," Danny bitches, but throws back the blankets and tugs Steve's pants down his hips. Steve tries to lift them to help, and oh, hey, that's where the pain went.

"You. Lie still and stop trying to give me a coronary," Danny grits out, checking his dressing before he gets back to the business of getting Steve naked and panting.

When Danny's lips close around the head of his cock, Steve honest to god thinks he's going to die, or that he died on his way here and is now in the only heaven he ever wants to be part of.

"Danny," he groans, heartfelt and pleading, and Danny hums his approval around him, slides lower even as he curls a hand over the base of Steve's cock, jacking him a little in time with the flicks of his tongue. Steve closes his eyes and reels from the feel of it, from the weight of Danny's body over his legs, the small jerks of Danny's hips against the mattress as he slips Steve's cock further in and hollows out his cheeks.

It's been so long since Steve has felt a man's mouth on him, and it's not just any man, it's Danny, and Steve feels like he's wanted him since the first moment he saw him through his binoculars, pacing the length and width of the room they'd been held in, looking worried. So he's not overly surprised when his orgasm builds without warning, and every muscle in his body tightens when Danny gives a particularly hard suck and Steve's vision whitens around the edges. He spills down Danny's throat with a harsh yell, and Danny swallows every drop of it, tonguing at the head until Steve's making small whimpering motions and gripping Danny's shoulder, begging him to stop. Danny lets Steve's cock slip out; there's a speck of come that he hadn't managed to get at the corner of his mouth, and Steve needs to kiss it off him like he needs to breathe. He tugs at Danny beseechingly, and Danny gets it, he climbs up on his knees and elbows over Steve, lowers his head until Steve can lick at his mouth, taste himself inside. The sharp spike of possessiveness catches him completely unprepared, makes his head spin.

"Let me," he murmurs against Danny's lips as he reaches for the button of his too-big borrowed pants, flicking it open and drawing the zip down past the large bulge behind it. Danny whimpers when the backs of Steve's fingers brush against it, pressing ever so slightly, not enough, not nearly enough.

It's awkward, with Steve's stiff left arm and the hole in his side, but he urges Danny to sit astride his thighs, ass pressing against the bare skin of his legs. The feel of it is exquisite, and Steve wants to scream and rage at the injustice that the one time he gets to have Danny, it has to be like this, with him broken and Danny so beautiful, so perfect, deserving so much more than the fumbled handjob Steve can give him.

Danny doesn't seem to mind, though; he's pushing into the tight circle of Steve's fist, hips jerking desperately. When Steve lets go and brings his hand to his mouth to lick wet stripes across his palm before he goes back, Danny literally sways over him, curves his spine down to mash his lips into Steve's and kiss him like he'll die without it. Steve drinks in every small, desperate moan, stores them somewhere in his mind where no one will ever find them, where he can reach for them on cold, lonely nights when he's stationed in the middle of nowhere.

"Steve," Danny grunts breathlessly against Steve's lips, pants into his mouth while long ropes of come completely ruin Steve's T-shirt. Steve can't find it in himself to care.

Danny slumps to the side of him, face mashed in Steve's shoulder but the bulk of his body pressed into the mattress and not over Steve's chest. It's unbearable, and even though Steve knows that it'd hurt like hell to have Danny's weight on him right now, it doesn't stop Steve wanting it desperately.

Their breathing slows eventually, and before Steve even realises he's fallen asleep there's a shuffle at his back and the weight lifts from the other side of the bed. Steve makes a sleepy whimpering noise, reaches in Danny's direction instinctively.

"I have to go," Danny says with heavy finality. "Rachel, Stan and Grace are meeting me in the lobby in fifteen minutes. Our flight's in an hour."

Steve's drowsiness disappears at that, as if it's never been. He sits up carefully; Danny makes an aborted motion towards him, but holds his position, even though his expression is pained.

Danny's leaving, and there's nothing Steve can do about it.

Danny tries to smile; it comes out crooked, sad. They don't say a word -- what can they say that they don't already know? Danny slips out of the room five minutes later, leaving behind a fresh undershirt Steve can change into, and that's it -- it's over. He's gone.

Steve grits his teeth and gets moving.

He calls his team from the hotel lobby once he's slipped down the stairs unnoticed. Moss sounds thrilled to hear from him; they've been staying on the base, so Steve hails a cab and goes to join them. He fibs something about being held back at the hospital for observation, and bears their disbelieving ribbing with as much grace as he can muster. They must see something in him, the crushing weight of his weariness, maybe, because they don't mention it afterwards.

Their own flight out of the country and back to the States is that afternoon.

---

To Steve's irritation, his superiors refuse to let him return to active duty until he's fully recovered. The medical professionals on base estimate one week of rest followed by two weeks of therapy and intensive training before he's back to full strength. Three weeks being idle is the last thing Steve needs now, not when his mind can't let Danny's absence go.

Still, he's off active missions anyway, right? He can recover just as well at home as he can here. He books a flight to Honolulu that afternoon.

It's long and gruelling, and his side aches dully when it's time to disembark. Thankfully, his arm is hardly giving him trouble anymore, so he grabs his bag and walks out, searching for a certain blonde head. When Mary spots him and runs over to barrel into him and give him a crushing hug, he can't help but think that Danny's hair is a shade darker than hers on top, and three shades darker on the bottom by the nape of his neck.

He can't hide his wince when Mary squeezes him too hard, and she lets go immediately, running a much more careful eye down his body.

"What did you do this time, Steve?" she berates while she wrenches his bag out of his hands.

"It's just a scratch," he says yet again. It goes down about as well as the last time he tried it. Mary gives him a disbelieving stare.

"Fine," he grits out. "I got grazed by a bullet, you happy now?"

"'Grazed'," Mary says, lifting an eyebrow, and goddamn it, there should be a law against siblings being able to read you this well. He stares at her stubbornly.

"Jesus," she sighs, and leads the way to the car. It's a battered red truck, patches of rust peeling in places. "Home?" she asks, and Steve nods.

The ride lasts a while, and he spends most of it staring out of the window at the scenery. He'd forgotten how unspeakably gorgeous his home state was.

Mary breaks the silence when they get closer to the house. "I moved out," she says, half-defiant and half-proud. "Got my own place down by Nuuanu Avenue. I'm sharing with Kono, Kono Kalakaua, remember her?"

"Chin's cousin? I think so. Tiny little thing, last time I saw her."

"Yeah," Mary laughs disparagingly. "It's been a while."

"Mare," he says wearily. It's an old argument, and he's not up for it right now.

Mary huffs, sounding as weary as him. "I miss you, goddamn it," she growls, turning her head away, a sure sign she's close to tears but she'll be damned if she lets him see them.

Steve feels like an asshole. "I miss you too," he mutters, voice gone raspy.

They're both feeling a bit raw by the time she pulls into the driveway. They get out of the car without a word, and Steve just stands there, staring at the house, letting the feel of being back home sink in.

"How is he?" he asks Mary, who's standing by his side, leaning against the hood of the truck.

"Getting older," Mary says bluntly before relenting. "Better since he brought down Wo Fat."

They both wince. That had been a nasty, nasty case, not least because of his apparent involvement in their mother's death.

"I still can't believe he never told us," Steve muses, leaning back next to Mary.

"Yeah, well, you know him. Paranoid bastard." There's reluctant affection in her voice; they both know he's not the only one in the family. "He's dating now," she goes on. Steve turns to stare at her. "Yeah, I know, I was as shocked as you, let me tell you. She's nice. Name's Pat Jameson. She's running for governor next election; word on the street is she'll get it."

"Wow," Steve says, stunned.

"Yeah."

The front door opens while Steve's digesting the news, revealing his dad's bulky frame. "Steve," he says, unchecked affection in his voice. Steve smiles.

"Hey, Dad."

His dad is much more careful with the hugs; he's a wily old fox, doesn't miss much, though Steve's sure he has no way of knowing about the injury. He ushers Steve inside, gets his bag out of the truck and squeezes Mary 's shoulder when she presses a kiss to his cheek. The house looks spotless, and there's fresh flowers in the blue vase on the coffee table in the living room again, like there always were when their mother was still alive. It feels different, too, less like a tomb and more like a home. Putting Wo Fat away really had done wonders for his dad.

Sitting in the deck chair on the lana'i, a cold beer in his hand, it's like he never left. He's no longer that boy, though, mad with grief, looking for something, anything to make it go away. He doesn't regret it; it took him to Annapolis, a home away from home, and it's good, his life, he likes what he does, likes the thrill of it, the satisfaction it gives him to use his skills to help people who need it.

And yet, somehow, in the past week his job has lost some of its appeal. The fact that he knows just what (who) to blame doesn't make it easier to swallow.

"Steve," Mary's voice tears him out of the light meditation he'd fallen in, watching the ocean waves flow in and out of the shore.

"Hmm?"

"You okay?" she asks, tentative, like she expects him to snap at her, or cut her off, or something. Goddamn it, he's really screwed up. It's high time he made some changes to that relationship, at least.

The thing is. The thing is that for close to a decade now Steve has abided by a certain rule that any Naval officer interested in partners of the same sex, and who wanted to actually keep his job, has stood by. It's like his tongue is superglued to the roof of his mouth, and he's having trouble forming words, let alone saying them. It's like an automatically wired response, this almost physical need for secrecy, for keeping those feelings locked inside, far away from the surface.

However. Things are just not that black-and-white anymore, not after Danny blundered into his life and unwittingly turned everything upside down. And if he can't tell Mary, who can he tell?

"Fine," he sighs at last, waves at the empty chair next to him. Mary settles in, looking wary.

Steve presses his lips together, wondering where to start.

"I met someone. Kind of."

"O-kay?" He can see she doesn't understand, but is patient enough to wait him out.

"It's complicated," he warns. She looks intrigued.

"What's her name?"

Steve takes a deep breath. He started this, he might as well finish it properly. "His name is Danny. Danny Williams."

Mary is silent for a moment. "Huh," she says at last. "You know, that explains so much. So what about it is so complicated? How did you two meet?"

Steve makes a face. "It's--"

"--Classified, right, god, what does it say about my life that I know that face," Mary laments. "Okay, just, tell me about him."

Steve does. He talks, and talks, and he'd had no idea he had that much to say about Danny, but once he starts, he can't stop.

And then he remembers why he has to, and god, it's like losing him all over again.

"Christ," Mary mutters, swiping his beer off him and taking a long pull. "That's a fucked-up situation if I ever heard one."

"Tell me about it," Steve concurs, leaning his head back on the chair. "Look, Mare, please don't tell anyone. It's not that I'm ashamed, it's just--"

"I know, stupid Army Don't Ask Don't Tell."

"It's the Navy, Mary, damn it, how many times--"

Mary laughs at him, teasing and sly, and he rolls his eyes at her but laughs along.

They pass the beer back and forth until it's gone.

---

Pat Jameson comes to dinner the next night. She's a tall, stylish woman around his father's age, a natural blonde three shades lighter than Da--two shades lighter than Mary. Steve likes her immediately. It helps that she's funny, irreverent, with strong opinions and a sharp tongue when she disapproves of something. She fits his dad so well; she's nothing like his mother, but in her way, she's just as special.

"John tells me you're with the US Navy SEALs, Steve," she says, a note of respect in her voice.

"Yes, ma'am."

"That's an incredible achievement."

"Thank you. I'm very happy with my job."

It doesn't sound half as convincing as it should have been. His father gives him a sharp look. Mary just smiles sadly.

Pat hums faintly, thoughts obviously on something else. "I wonder," she muses, then looks surprised when everyone turns to her. "Oh! I'm sorry, it's just, I've had this idea in my head, what with the election coming, and I think I just found my perfect candidate for the position."

"What do you mean?" John asks.

"Well, remember we talked about a task force?"

"With full immunity and means, right. You mean--ah."

"What?" Mary and Steve ask at the same time.

"I wonder, Commander McGarrett, if I might offer you a job?" Pat asks, grinning.

And that's how Steve learns about her plan for a governor's task force, charged with cleaning up the islands of criminals and drug/people/weapons-trafficking scumbags.

"This is all provisional on me winning the election, of course," Pat demurs, but Steve can see the excitement in his father's eyes.

"Of course," he agrees, amused. "Well, Ms Jameson, I believe I can safely say that when Ma'am Governor offers me the position, I will accept."

His father digs out the 25-year-old Balvenie to celebrate.

---

It's about a hundred times harder for Steve to leave again than to it was to come here in the first place. Hawai'i has started to feel like home again, the sounds of it, the smells of it, the kaleidoscope of colours that mark it as a slice of paradise for everyone who's ever set foot on the islands.

It's even harder to leave Mary and his father behind. But it's the job, and even if Steve's having doubts about its place in his life, it's still the one thing he excels at, takes pride in. He's sent right back in at the deep end, and it's one country after another, countless scared faces parading in a long line before him, countless others twisted in hatred that he neutralises without the slightest hesitation. Through it all, eight long months with nothing but his team for company, each and every night Steve falls asleep to the thought of a pair of piercing blue eyes, warmer than he has any right to expect. Some mornings he wakes up with the fading taste of Danny on his lips; and really, if this thing goes on much longer, he's pretty sure he's going to lose his mind completely one of these days.

The call from the governor of Hawai'i comes as such a relief, Steve almost sprints down the corridors of the base they're stationed at to get to the phone.

"Ma'am governor," he drawls, a grin splitting his face from ear to ear. "I hear congratulations are in order."

"Commander McGarrett," Pat Jameson says, sounding just as pleased. "It's old news by now, but thank you, you're very kind. I wonder if I might request your presence next month, around the 18th?"

Steve calculates; that gives him three weeks to get the paperwork through. Plenty of time, and it helps that it's the governor asking.

"Certainly. I'll put the procedure in motion immediately."

"That's great news. Your family misses you," she says, a little tentative, like she isn't sure whether she's overstepping her boundaries.

"I miss them too," Steve says, a touch wistfully.

"I'll let you get back. I hope you've given some thought to the matter we discussed the last time you were here?" she asks pointedly.

"I have," Steve confirms; the relief he feels at the possibility of that future coming about is surprising, but not unwelcome. "I'll let you know my answer in person," he adds, hoping she'll understand.

"More good news," Pat says warmly. "Well, Commander, stay safe!"

"I'll try. Goodbye, governor."

He clicks the earpiece down gently, knowing there's a smile on his face that won't be easy to hide. Still, this at least is not one of the things he has to be ever-so-careful about. It makes a nice change.

His requested leave is granted easy enough, and it's not long before Steve's back on home turf, walking out into Honolulu Airport's arrivals lounge. This time when Mary throws herself at him, he catches her with both arms, spinning her around once before popping her back on the ground.

"Hey you," he says, smiling down at her. She looks a little older, and there are the tiniest lines starting to show at the corners of her eyes. But she looks about as happy as he's ever seen her, so whatever it is she's got going, it's doing her good.

"Hey," she says, grinning up at him. "So did you remember it's Dad's birthday tomorrow?"

Steve blinks at her a couple of times, horrified. She laughs evilly.

"Ho boy, you're in for it! Best make sure you get him a present tomorrow morning."

Steve's forehead scrunches, his mouth opening and closing helplessly. He gives her a pitiful look. She rolls her eyes, patently amused.

"Relax, doofus. I've got you covered. Season tickets to the Warriors' games. You should be able to afford it easily with your risk bonus."

"Thanks, Mare, you're a lifesaver," Steve says, sagging with relief. "So is that why the governor called me home?"

"Good a time as any," Mary shrugs. There's a strange twinkle in her eye that Steve finds instantly suspicious, even though it's nothing but a hunch -- with Mary, though, those tend to be bang on the money.

The car she leads him to is much nicer than last time, a compact blue hybrid Toyota. Steve whistles appreciatively.

"It's a company car," Mary says proudly. "I've gone into real estate. It's going really well for me."

"That's great, Mary," Steve says, genuinely thrilled for her, even if it takes him two goes to fold himself into the seat.

The drive is much faster, and a lot more relaxed than last time. Mary fills him in on all the gossip he'd missed -- Kono was close to graduating from Police Academy, Chin made lieutenant, Dad got a new cop assigned to his department, some guy transferring from the mainland.

"Dad must be thrilled," Steve remarks, grinning. Their father will always have a soft spot for the outsider, the haole amidst the locals.

"He is," Mary says. "He really likes the guy. Says he's smart, got a fresh pair of eyes, doesn't take people's shit."

"Sounds nice," Steve says, trying and failing to push a certain blond head out of his thoughts. Mary's gone quiet again, a charged silence made all the more omnious by the twist of a smirk in the corner of her lips.

"What?" Steve asks bluntly. "What are you smirking at?"

"Oh, nothing," Mary says breezily. "Did you know that DADT got repealed last month?"

Steve blinks a couple of times, as always mildly thrown by her lightning-fast shifts of conversation. "I heard it was happening, didn't know it came through. Why?" he asks suspiciously. A stray thought occurs and blood drains from his face. "You didn't tell anyone, did you?"

Mary doesn't pretend not to know what he's talking about. She shifts uncomfortably under his scrutiny. Steve's stomach drops.

"I didn't mean to," she whines, looking distressed. "Dad wormed it out of me, you know what he's like!"

Steve groans and brings his hands up to cover his face.

'Hey, it's not the end of the world; he was just worried about you, Steve. And once he started asking, I couldn't avoid him forever. He's like a dog with a bone, who do you think you take after?"

Steve keeps his eyes closed, afraid to ask. Mary's silent for a while, but Steve can feel her sneaking him little glances. He winces when a particularly unpleasant thought crosses his mind. "I can still come home, right?"

"What--" Mary starts, baffled; then her face twists into an expression that's equally angry and horrified. "You idiot, Steven J McGarrett!" She smacks his arm for good measure. "Of course you can come home! How can you even think that?!"

Steve shuffles in the narrow seat, trying to stop his legs from falling asleep in the cramped space. "You never know," he says, because he knows for a fact not all families are so accepting. His ex-teammate Townsend had had to move cities once he'd been found out.

Mary doesn't say anything for a few minutes, expression pinched. "He didn't talk much for a couple of days, but like a week later I heard him discussing civil partnerships with Pat, you know, asking if she had plans to legalise them here in Hawai'i, and she said she did."

Steve digests this, feeling warmed from the inside out. "Oh," he says, a cautious smile turning up his lips.

"Yeah," Mary says; and that's that. His family knows, and not only doesn't care, but openly supports him. It's more that he could have possibly hoped for.

"So there's a party planned for tomorrow night," Mary tells him when they're nearly at the house. "The whole HPD's invited, and Pat, of course. Some of the paramedics and hospital staff, too. It's gonna be here at the house, out back. So, you know, if it's all a huge mess right now, don't worry -- it'll all be set up by tomorrow."

"Right," he says, not really caring. As long as he can go for a swim in the morning, it won't bother him.

There are voices raised in conversation coming from the living room when he and Mary slip through the open front door.

"Probably Chin and Meka, and Meka's new partner, the transfer," Mary says, and now Steve's certain something's going on, because Mary is looking awfully shifty around the eyes. "Dad!" she yells, "Steve's here!"

The voices cut off immediately, and there are several different sets of footsteps coming closer.

"Hi, son," his dad says when he rounds the corner, gathering Steve in a tight if short hug. Steve claps his back, holding on for a moment. "You remember Chin and Meka?" his father waves an arm to his side.

Steve does, and he shakes hands with the two guys, exchanging pleasantries.

"The new guy's out on the lana'i. Why don't you go introduce yourself?" John says, and okay, Steve's not actually an idiot.

"What's going on?" he demands, staring at the four of them. Chin and Meka just look blank, but his father and Mary are definitely in on whatever it is, if their smiles of anticipation are anything to go by.

"Indulge me," John says, which is a dirty move, because it's not like Steve can refuse him anything.

He gives them both a narrow-eyed glare and stomps through the house, past the kitchen and out the back door--and freezes.

He's certain he's finally gone round the twist, because what he's seeing could'nt possibly be real. The man's broad shoulders are the same, that hair slicked back in a way that only one person in the world could find appropriate, and he's wearing slacks and a shirt besides; Steve would bet his monthly salary that there's a tie winding around his neck.

That's nothing to when the man turns around, and Steve is locked into a pair of clear blue eyes he's spent every single day of the past nine months trying not to think about.

"How?" Steve croaks.

Danny smiles at him, a little uncertain, and shrugs. "Long story," he says, and the sound of his voice would actually be enough to bring Steve to his knees if he wasn't holding on to the door frame with white-knuckled desperation.

Danny takes a hesitant step closer, then a few more when Steve doesn't move away, until he's standing right in front of him. Steve can feel his warmth through two layers of clothing, can smell his scent in the air, and has to fight the urge to bury his nose in the crook of Danny's neck where it joins the collarbone, where he knows for a fact it'll be so much stronger.

"Hi," Danny says, looking up into his face, hope and trepidation chasing each other through his eyes.

Steve's arms ache with the need to draw Danny to him, fill his hands with his hair and the curve of his muscles, tilt his head back so he can press their lips together, lick his way inside, see if the taste is what he remembers. But he can't make himself move; he can only drag his eyes over Danny's every feature, catalogue the little changes nine months apart have wrought -- the lines to the side of his mouth and etched across his forehead, the little grey patches in the stubble at his jaw.

Danny's starting to look more and more uncertain the longer Steve stands there and stares at him. Something closes off behind his eyes, and Steve feels an almost physical wrench to get it back.

"Danny," he says, lets himself reach forward and run a hand down Danny's forearm, warm skin and crisp hair teasing his palm. He catches Danny's wrist, follows the line of his palm, presses his thumb in the centre of his hand and feels the muscles and sinews shift underneath, alive, there. He looks back up into Danny's widening eyes, and he can't actually help the way he sways forward and presses his nose into Danny's hairline, closes his eyes and breathes him in, feels Danny's other arm sneak around him and curve over his waist, rub soothing circles into his spine. The hand he's holding twists in his grip and strong fingers catch his, twine with them as Danny presses his face in Steve's neck and mouths gentle kisses into his skin.

Steve thinks he could stay like this forever.

Eventually they separate, a light flush tinting Danny's cheekbones, turning the tips of his ears pink. From the heat he feels in his face, Steve thinks he must look about the same. He desperately wants to kiss Danny, feel those lips against his again, but he's so worried he'd be overstepping his mark -- even though, if the way Danny was clinging to him a moment ago is any indication, it's probably a safe bet to assume he wouldn't.

And then the thought that's been trying to gain his attention all the while finally surfaces. "Grace?" he asks, and can't find it in himself to be ashamed of the hopeful note in his voice.

Danny smiles happily. "Oh, she's here. So are Rachel and Stan. We moved to Hawai'i together, the four of us."

"That's great," Steve beams. From the look on Danny's face, it's the right move.

"Yeah. She's been impossible ever since John mentioned you were coming home."

At the mention of his father, Steve's mind snaps back from whatever befuddled, happy place it was basking in. His eyes narrow.

"Right. Beer first, and then you're going to explain. And then I will decide whether to kill my father or buy him a box of cigars."

Danny grins smugly. It suits him.

The explanation goes something like this: when they'd arrived back on US soil, Stan Edwards had been given carte blanche to choose any state he wanted, working for the government in an advisory capacity until a permanent position was found for him. So they'd gone back home to New Jersey, which is the most perfect place in the whole world if Danny is to be believed, and they'd spent the first five months catching up with family and getting over their ordeal. At which point, completely out of the blue, the governor of Hawai'i had called Stan personally, and offered him a job in her new administration. Stan, as someone with plenty of experience working with different nationalities and cultures, was apparently the perfect candidate for the position.

So Rachel found a job for the Bank of Hawai'i, and Danny, who had been working with his old precinct all the while, filed for a transfer. A mere month later, they'd all packed their bags and arrived in this beach-happy, pineapple-in-everything, no-civilised-attire-in-sight, hellhole of an island.

"You don't like the beach?" Steve inserts incredulously. "Who doesn't like the beach?!"

"I like cities," Danny replies, making a face. "Skyscrapers. Tarmac. You know, not sand getting fucking everywhere. Oh, don't pout, Steven. Grace loves it, it's not like I can deny her anything."

Steve perks up. Danny shakes his head at him. "You two are going to be the death of me, I just know it."

Steve takes this as acknowledgement that their lives will not be going in different directions -- ever again, if he had anything to say about it. He knows the grin on his face is probably pretty stupid, but it's not like he can help it.

"You're such a goof, babe," Danny says fondly, watching him through half-closed eyes, head leaning back against the deck chair. Steve never wants him to move.

Except for when Danny leans closer, tugging at Steve's T-shirt, probably stretching it terribly out of shape, not like Steve cares, and presses their lips together. Upon which Steve decides that no, actually, moving is quite okay with him, all things considered.

Some time later, Danny finishes his story. About walking into work for his first day and coming face-to-face with his new boss, one John McGarrett, at which time certain things had become abundantly clear. One, the entire McGarrett clan was full of "damned sneaky bastards". And two, turned out Danny didn't mind at all.

He looks awfully shifty when he says that last, and Steve recognises that look in his eyes when he levels them at Steve again. It's not all that dissimilar to the look he himself has been wearing for the past nine months. It makes him feel giddy with joy and relief, not that he'd admit to it. Danny looks like he knows, anyway.

He's probably moving far too fast, he's well aware, but it's not like this is anything new -- he's always been like this, ever since he was a kid. As soon as he's made a decision, he throws himself head-first into making it happen.

"So," he says tentatively. "You're here for good? You're staying?"

His hopes that his voice doesn't sound too revealing die a swift if merciful death at Danny's knowing look. "Well, seeing as there's this new job I've been offered, working under some decorated Navy SEAL with the self-preservation instincts of a gnat and abandonment issues, yeah, I'd think it's pretty much a done deal that I'm sticking around for the foreseeable future."

Steve dimly recognises he must look completely besotted, sitting there beaming at Danny, because Danny's shaking his head at him. He's beaming back, though, so Steve doesn't think he's making too much of an idiot of himself.

"What am I going to do with you?" Danny asks, looking like he's not expecting an answer.

Steve does know he's grinning like a loon, though, when he says, "Kiss me again, for a start."

---

Epilogue

Steve has planned and ran hundreds of strategic ops in his time with the SEALs, some of which have been absolute landmines of potential trouble, from sulking dignitaries to freaked out hostages to, on one memorable occasion, one of their rescues giving birth in the middle of the Cambodian plains during the rainy season.

Nothing, however, could have prepared him for the test of self-control that is his father moving out.

"Dad, for god's sake, you are not moving to the other side of the world! And even if you were, you would not need your third-best HPD sweatshirt, I promise you!"

"I might need it when we go spear fishing with the guys, though," John says, mulish.

Steve throws his hands in the air in a perfect imitation of Danny at his most peeved. His dentist will be reading him the riot act again for the way his teeth creak when he grinds them together, in an effort not to strangle his father where he stands, staring thoughtfully into a box of ancient copies of National Geographic magazines.

Danny pokes his head up through the attic trap door, trying and failing to stifle a grin. "All right there, McGarretts?"

Steve glares at him, disgruntled by Danny's unreasonably good mood.

"Hey, Danny, give me a hand getting this box down?" John says, making a decision.

Steve growls in wordless frustration, rounding on his heel and storming down the stairs Danny frees up when he climbs all the way into the crowded attic space.

"You sure about this, John?" he hears Danny say, still with that unshakable good humour. "I don't know how Pat will feel about those cluttering up her space instead of Steve's."

There's a charged silence before John clears his throat. "On second thought, I can always come back and get them if I really need them," he muses with an air of making a huge concession.

Steve is going to murder both of them in their sleep. He's a trained SEAL; they'll never find the bodies.

Danny finds him later, holed up in his father's study, all his guns and blades set out in tidy rows together with a bottle of gun oil, one filthy rag, and one clean.

"Oh, good," Danny says, smirking. "I was worried you were going to snap for a moment there, what with the glaring and the snarling. I'm glad you've decided to sulk here instead. Cleaning your guns always calms you down."

"Not sulking," Steve mutters, giving the slide of his Beretta and extra-vicious wipe.

"Sure, babe," Danny says, and god, how the hell can he still be so fucking cheerful when Steve's ready to bodily kick his father out of the house, packed or not, Steve really can't fathom.

"What's the fucking deal, Danny?" he growls, snapping a new clip into the Beretta and adding it to the 'done' pile.

"Deal?" Danny says, and oh, Steve knows that tone. It's the one Danny uses when he thinks Steve is being unreasonable beyond what even he can deal with.

"Yeah, you're going around like someone baked you a big chocolate-frosted cake and handed you a fork."

Danny laughs, that amused rumble that tends to soothe Steve faster than anything he's ever known.

"Nice metaphor. In fact, you are not too far off target, soldier," Danny says, grinning like the cat whose owner still hasn't caught on that it's ordered the cat-operated tin opener on his credit card.

When Steve just glares down at his Glock, Danny's grin softens into a fondly exasperated smile. "Jesus, babe," he sighs, walks over to the low table covered in gun parts and tugs the rag from Steve's unresisting fingers. "As you have apparently noticed, I am pretty damn pleased about your father moving in with the governor. And do you know why that is?"

"Why?" Steve asks, because he's not sulking, damn it.

"Because, Steven, that means we get the house to ourselves. Just the two of us, when Grace isn't here." He punctuates the statement by pushing Steve back and sliding one muscled leg over his hips, settling himself in Steve's lap.

Steve's hands go around his waist automatically, like it's their default setting -- which, let's be honest, it kind of is.

"That is a very good point you make, Detective Williams," he tells him, pulling him closer. "What would I do without your stunning observation skills?"

Danny smirks, such a smug, self-satisfied expression on his face that Steve can't help but dip his head to run his tongue over Danny's lower lip, until Danny groans and opens for him, tilting his head just right for Steve to fit their lips together and sink into the kiss.

When they come up for air, Danny rubs his nose against Steve's and presses another small, sweet kiss to the corner of Steve's mouth. "Let's never find out."

-----

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