"You know what? I'm done," Danny announced. "How about that? If my word is not good enough for you, then I do not know what I'm doing here." And he walked out.
Steve stared after him in disbelief. He wanted to run after Danny, apologize to him, ask him to come back, but he knew that he was probably the last person Danny wanted to see right now. Knowing that made him feel sick inside, feel like he'd betrayed his partner.
The way that Chin and Kono were glaring at him right now didn't help.
Steve turned to Chin Ho. "Could you talk to him, please?" he asked, hoping he didn't sound as desperate as he felt. "I'm not his favourite person right now, and I don't know what it's like to be a cop." Unfortunately, he was afraid that he was also not Chin's favourite person, either. He'd temporarily forgotten about Chin's own experience with Internal Affairs.
"How about we just leave him alone for awhile?" Chin suggested. "Let him cool off for a bit first. Then I'll go talk to him."
Steve sighed. "Thank you," he said sincerely.
"Don't thank me yet," Chin replied. "You're his partner. You realize that you are going to have to talk to him at some point."
"I know. I know," Steve groaned. "But like you said, I'll let him cool off first."
He was dreading talking to Danny. He wanted to make things right, but he didn't know how. He couldn't just ignore his suspicions about Meka. He had to investigate the possibility that Meka had been dirty. For Danny's sake, he hoped it wasn't true. He hoped that Meka hadn't been dirty.
Part of Steve's problem with this case was that he was jealous of Meka. He was Danny's partner now, and he didn't want to even acknowledge the fact that Danny had had another partner before joining Five-0. He wanted to own the title of "partner" when it came to Danny. He didn't want to share it with anyone. He was aware that he was being childish, but he didn't care.
The next morning Chin Ho was back, but Danny wasn't. Chin said he'd talked to Danny, though, and that Danny was going to go to the prison to talk to Sang Min.
Hearing that was a relief to Steve. It meant that at least part of what he'd been trying to tell Danny had gotten through. He'd meet Danny at the prison, he decided. He wouldn't mention Danny's walking out; he'd act like it hadn't happened.
Danny, however, wasn't willing to act like it hadn't happened. He made a little joke about Steve asking him to the prom, but underneath the attempt at humour Steve could tell that his partner was still very angry with him.
So Steve tried to reason with him. "What is it you cops always say: 'don't ignore the evidence'?"
But Danny had a question for him. "Let's say that IA accused me of skimming off a drug lord, and they showed you a stack of evidence that suggested I did it. Would you believe them?"
"No, I wouldn't." Steve answered immediately.
"Why not?" Danny asked.
Because you're my partner. Because you're my friend. Because I know you. Because I love you, Steve wanted to say. He didn't say any of them. But something of his answer must have shown in his eyes, because Danny was apparently satisfied.
Later, when they were in the truck on the way to the meeting with Ochoa, Steve found himself looking at his partner — just looking. He did that a lot, actually, and sometimes had to struggle to come up with a reason for why he was doing it. This time, when Danny asked, Steve's explanation was that he liked the way Danny looked without a tie and that he was beginning to look like he belonged around here. It was his way of trying to give Danny a compliment. He knew that his partner had a hard time trying to adjust to Island life, and he wanted to encourage him.
Actually, he would like the way Danny looked wearing nothing at all, but even if he thought it was acceptable to say something like that, this was definitely not the time to do so.
Danny didn't seem happy, though, and just said, "Don't get used to it." Steve reminded himself that Danny was still trying to deal with the death of his friend. He couldn't expect him to be cheerful right now.
Steve was very glad when they finally wrapped up the case. He was pleased any time they wrapped up a case, of course, but this one being personal for Danny had made it much more difficult. Steve had hated to see what this case had done to his partner, and he'd also been worried that it would hurt their partnership and their friendship. He still wasn't certain that Danny had forgiven him for his suspicions about Meka.
When Steve arrived at Meka's family home for the memorial, he hung back just inside the door, waiting to see how Danny reacted. He'd told himself that Danny had forgiven him, but he wasn't sure he'd be welcome, knowing how he'd suspected Meka of being dirty. But Danny, after exchanging brief greetings with Kono and Chin, came to him and said, "I appreciate you coming. I know you didn't know him."
"I know you," was all Steve could say in response to that. There was so much else he wanted to say, but this wasn't the time or the place for it. He didn't know when or where the right time or place would be, though.
Danny smiled. It was the first time Steve had seen him smile since he'd first heard of Meka's death, and he was pleased that the smile was for him. "Thank you," Danny said very quietly, for Steve's ears alone, before taking him to meet Amy, Meka's widow.
The entire time that Steve was at the memorial, he couldn't take his eyes off Danny. Even when he was talking to someone else, he always had Danny in his sight. Maybe it was the uniform; he'd only ever seen Danny in uniform once before, and he liked the way the uniform looked on him.
Steve couldn't help wondering if his own uniform had a similar effect on Danny. He wondered if he were imagining that Danny kept looking at him, too.
If Steve's uniform were having an effect on Danny, he wasn't the only one. Steve soon realized that there were plenty of women who obviously liked seeing him in uniform. He tried to be polite to them, even though he was definitely not interested. Being anything other than polite would be disrespectful to his uniform and everything his uniform represented.
Unfortunately, being the centre of so much attention caused Steve to lose track of Danny. When he had finally extricated himself from the women who wanted his attention, Steve asked Amy where he could find his partner.
Amy told him that Danny had left half an hour ago, which happened to be right around the time Steve had been waylaid by the women. Steve excused himself and went in search of his friend.
It took awhile, but Steve finally found Danny at a deserted stretch of waterfront, staring out into the ocean.
"I thought you hated the beach," Steve said as he got out of his car and stood beside his partner. He didn't look at Danny, but instead gazed out at the ocean himself.
"I like the ocean," Danny replied. "Not crazy about the beach, but the ocean is different."
"What is it about the ocean that attracts you?" Steve asked in curiousity.
Danny shrugged. "I can't explain it. It's not always peaceful or calm, and it's not predictable. But it helps me think."
Steve found himself wanting to put his arm around Danny's shoulders, but he refrained. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"I don't know. What do you mean by 'okay'?"
"The last couple of days have been...." Steve searched for a word. "They've been stressful, to say the least. I wondered how you were holding up."
Danny sighed. "It's been tough," he said. "Meka was one of my only friends on the Island. He was good to me. He didn't treat me like a haole. He and Amy welcomed me into their home, made me part of their family.
"I didn't see him much after I joined Five-0. I kept intending to go visit, but you know how crazy things have been."
Steve nodded. He knew that very well.
"There's no way I can make it up to him now," Danny continued. "But at least I can try to be there for Amy."
"Danny, I think your actions over the past couple of days have more than made up for whatever you think you owe Meka," Steve said. "You were determined to prove his innocence, no matter how much I or anyone else doubted it. And you did it. You proved he wasn't a dirty cop."
Danny looked at Steve for what seemed like a long time but was probably only a couple of minutes. "Thank you," he said.
Steve had another question to ask. "Are we okay?"
Danny didn't answer right away. This made Steve very anxious. So he kept talking.
"Look, Danny," Steve continued, "I know I'm not a cop, as you keep reminding me. I don't know what it's like to be a cop. That's my disadvantage. You, Chin and Kono are cops. I'm not.
"Before I met you, I didn't even know what it was like to have a partner. Now I do know. I'm proud to have you as my partner, and I hope that Meka was too. He was lucky to have you, have someone who'd have his back even after he was gone. I think Meka was very lucky to have you for his partner."
Steve took a breath, then kept talking, trying to fill the silence. "I'm sorry I made you think that your word wasn't good enough. It is good enough. It always will be."
"Steve," Danny interrupted him. "Stop talking."
"Because you're starting to babble," Danny replied.
"I'm not babbling." Steve immediately defended himself.
"Yes, you are. Believe me, I know babbling when I hear it, and you're babbling." Then he smiled. "But I kind of like it, actually."
"What, you like babbling? What's there to like about babbling? Not that I was babbling. I don't babble." Steve had the horrible feeling that if he hadn't been before, he actually was babbling now.
Danny shut him up with a kiss.
Steve stopped babbling. Steve stopped talking completely. Steve was pretty sure he stopped thinking. All he could do was hang on tightly to Danny and wait for his world to stop spinning.
After a few minutes Steve gradually noticed that his partner was looking at him expectantly.
"You know, I'm beginning to miss the babbling," Danny said. "I don't think you've been silent for this long since I met you. I mean, sure, I wanted you to stop talking, but now that I've actually kissed you, I'd like to see some response."
Danny wanted a response? Steve would give him a response. He took his partner in his arms and kissed him thoroughly.
"How's that for a response?" Steve asked when he was through kissing Danny.
"I like that response," Danny answered with a grin. "That was a very good response."
"So how long have you wanted to kiss me?" Steve asked.
Danny thought for a moment. "Pretty much since I met you. Though sometimes when I'm with you it's more of a choice between hit you or kiss you. But when you showed up today in that uniform, then I really wanted to kiss you."
"You have a thing for uniforms, Danno?"
"Depends on who's wearing 'em," Danny answered. "So how long have you wanted to kiss me?"
"I don't know," Steve answered. "I can't remember ever not wanting to kiss you. Every time you yell at me for hanging guys off roofs and dropping them in shark cages and all that kind of thing, I just want to kiss you." Then he added, "I like the way you look in uniform, too."
"How about we go to your place and see what happens when we're out of uniform?" Danny suggested.
"I thought you'd never ask," Steve replied.