Steve woke with a smile on his face. He'd slept better than he had since the day Danny had left for New Jersey. He could hardly believe everything that had happened the night before. He hoped that more would happen in the nights to come.
He'd gotten into the habit of checking his email first thing every morning, so he did so. Sure enough, there was a message from Danny.
Would you like to go on a date with me?
A date? Did grown men go on dates? Did grown men go on dates with each other? He'd tried going on dates with Cat, but somehow they'd never actually made it to their intended destinations.
But Danny had said he wasn't ready for that yet, and as much as Steve wanted to jump his partner's bones, he'd have to restrain himself for the time being.
Hey Danno —
A date? Sure. What did you have in mind?
He liked this "love" stuff. It kind of made him feel like a teenager. He was almost giddy.
Wow, he had it bad.
I'm thinking we should go somewhere that you would have to wear a tie, assuming that such places actually exist in this state.
P.S. Think you'll be able to keep your hands off me while we're at work?
Steve groaned. He'd been worried about that. Well, he was an adult. He'd worked side by side with women he'd been sleeping with. This couldn't be too much different.
Can't talk right now. Busy taking cold shower. See you in a few.
Danny smiled to himself as he read the email from Steve. He hadn't been able to resist teasing his partner.
The two men worked together all morning, trying not to behave as if they'd spent most of the previous night making out with each other. There were knowing glances, occasional touches, but nothing outright flirtatious.
Or so they thought.
When lunchtime rolled around, Kono walked up to Danny and grabbed him by the tie. "Come with me," she ordered.
With a yelp, Danny looked to his partner for help, but saw that Steve was similarly being dragged off by Chin. Seeing no other option, he did as he was told.
Kono took him outside and around a corner of the building. Making sure they were alone, she confronted him. "All right, Williams. Spill it."
Danny played innocent. "Spill what?"
"You know what." Kono looked as if she were ready to smack the truth out of him. "You and Steve. What's going on?"
Danny tried to keep his composure, but he knew that Kono could seriously hurt him if she wanted to. "What makes you think that something is going on?"
Kono took hold of his tie again and twisted it so that it was millimetres away from choking him. "The way you look at each other. The way you touch each other when you think no one's looking. The way he leans over your shoulder when you're working. The impression I get that you're going to rip each other's clothes off any minute. That's what makes me think something is going on."
"Can I breathe, please?" Danny asked. Kono loosened her grip on his tie — slightly.
"Are you going to answer my question?" Kono asked.
Danny looked at her and at his tie. He gave up. "All right, all right. I confess. Yes, something is going on between me and Steve. We're.... I guess you could say we're together."
Relaxing her grip, Kono smiled. "There. That wasn't so hard, was it?" She patted his face. "It's about time, too."
"What do you mean, 'about time'?"
"Honestly, Danny, the way you and Steve have been looking at each other since Five-0 was formed, Chin and I have been expecting you to jump each other for months. We're both surprised it took you this long."
Danny had had no idea that he and Steve had been looking at each other in any particular way. He hadn't even realized his feelings for Steve until they'd been apart.
Maybe his subconscious had just decided that it was time to whack him over the head when it came to his partner.
Meanwhile, Steve was having a similar conversation with Chin.
"So how long have you and Danny been together?"
Steve tried deflecting the question. "What makes you think we're together?"
"Don't play dumb with me, Steve," Chin answered.
"I'm not. I really have no idea why you think that Danny and I are anything more than partners."
"Oh, I know that you're partners. It's just what kind of partners, is the question. Someone I know saw you and Danny being very affectionate to each other when you picked him up at the airport yesterday."
Steve rolled his eyes. Island gossip. He should have known. "Danno and I are friends as well as partners. He'd been gone for quite some time, and he'd just lost his mother. So I gave him a friendly hug."
"And what about the way you were compulsively checking your email all day, every day, while he was gone?"
"I was just concerned about him," Steve answered. "Because he was dealing with his mother's death."
Chin rolled his eyes. "I'd be more likely to believe that if the two of you hadn't been looking like you want to rip each other's clothes off all morning."
Steve opened his mouth to deny it, but he realized he couldn't. He had been wanting to rip off Danny's clothes all morning. He sighed.
"All right, I confess. Danny and I are a couple...as of last night."
"That explains it, then," Chin observed.
"Explains what, exactly?"
"You guys are in the honeymoon phase. It explains why you can't keep your hands off each other, why you look like one of you is going to jump the other any minute, why when you're not actually physically touching you're looking at each other all the time," Chin explained.
Steve hadn't realized that he and Danny had been so obvious. He supposed the fact that they were cops and that they worked with cops explained it at least partially — they were trained observers.
"Enjoy the honeymoon while it lasts, brah," Chin told him. "I hope the relationship lasts a long time — not the honeymoon phase part of it, though. Sometimes I think that couples in the honeymoon phase should just shut themselves in the bedroom for a couple of weeks until they get over it."
That sounded pretty darn good to Steve, but he doubted that he and Danny could get enough time off from their jobs to do that.
Meanwhile, Danny was quizzing Kono about possible places for him to take Steve on a date. She suggested a few places, and Danny looked up their menus online. Unfortunately for his wallet, they were rather expensive establishments. He supposed that was to be expected of establishments that required one to wear a tie. Good thing being in Five-0 paid well.
He finally chose a seafood restaurant close to the beach. (Danny had always thought that walks on the beach were romantic, in spite of all the sand that wound up in his shoes.) He called for a reservation, and he was in luck; they had a cancellation for that evening.
When Steve came back inside with Chin, the partners' eyes met. They didn't need to speak. The words were there: Did you tell him? Yeah. Did you tell her? Yeah. Well, at least they didn't need to hide anything. In fact, Danny decided that he was going to take advantage of the situation. He walked right up to Steve and gave him the biggest kiss imaginable, a kiss that Steve happily returned.
Chin and Kono said in unison, "Get a room."
As they wrapped up work for the day, Danny turned to Steve. "We have a date tonight, and I expect you to wear a tie. I made reservations for us at eight."
Steve didn't want to go on a date. What he wanted was to take Danny home with him, rip his clothes off, and make love to him until the sun came up. But he also wanted to make Danny happy. In fact, he wanted to make Danny happy more than he wanted anything else. And he had agreed to go on a date with his partner. If going out to dinner, and wearing a tie, would make Danny happy, then Steve would do it.
"You do own a tie, don't you?" Danny asked.
With a laugh, Steve confirmed that he did own a tie — more than one, in fact. The two men walked out to their cars together.
"I'll pick you up at 7:30," Danny said.
"You sure you don't want to come home with me?" Steve asked.
"Honestly, I'd love to. But I need to change too. Also honestly, if I'm around you while you're changing for dinner, well, I might not be responsible for my actions," Danny replied. He kissed Steve goodbye.
Steve decided that he'd need to take another cold shower when he got home. After he'd showered, he took care in picking out his clothes, including his tie.
When Danny arrived to pick up Steve, he whistled. "Wow," he said. "You look.... You look amazing. Fantastic. You are gorgeous."
For the first time in as long as he could remember, Steve felt self-conscious. He'd made an effort to dress well to impress Danny, and obviously he'd succeeded, and he didn't understand why he was suddenly so nervous about his date.
Danny walked over to Steve and made as if to straighten Steve's tie, which did not actually need straightening. "Hey," he said gently. "It's all right. You don't have anything to be nervous about. This is just you and me going out for dinner. It's not a big deal."
"It is a big deal, Danno," Steve responded. "It's our first date. It's a huge deal."
Surprised to see his normally confident, self-assured partner acting like a teenager on his first date, Danny tried to reassure him.
"You're right. It is a huge deal," he agreed. "I just don't want you to suddenly be nervous around me. I'm still me, you're still you, and we're still partners." He smiled and kissed Steve. "Also, I love you."
This was the first time Steve had heard Danny say those words. Danny had said them in an email the night before, but now he was saying them out loud. And hearing those words made Steve very happy. "I love you too," he said, and kissed Danny back.
They stayed like that for a few minutes, until Danny broke it off. "We have a reservation," he reminded his partner.
Steve remembered how many reservations he'd missed by doing things like this. He honestly would not have minded missing their reservation. But this date was important to Danny, so he'd go along with it.
When they arrived at the restaurant, Steve was impressed. He'd always figured Danny for a "burger and beer" type of guy, but this was a very nice place. "Kono recommended it," Danny told him.
An impossibly perky hostess showed them to their table, which had a sign on it saying "Malu no D. Williams." Steve translated: "It says it's reserved for you."
"That was kind of obvious," Danny commented as they sat. "But thanks. I've been thinking that I should try to learn some of the Hawaiian language, since I'm sure I'm going to be here for awhile. Grace is actually learning some of it in school. How did you learn it?"
"I don't know that much," Steve admitted. "Just little bits here and there. I guess I picked it up mainly by osmosis from the people around me. It's a really beautiful language, but not that many people speak it anymore."
As the evening wore on Steve found himself relaxing. Danny had been right: they were still the same people, and while their relationship had changed, they were still partners. He was enjoying their time together, and he wasn't quite as disappointed that he hadn't had a chance to rip Danny's clothes off — though he was still hoping for a chance to do that as well.
After dessert, Danny asked, "Shall we go for a walk?"
"A walk?" Steve was puzzled.
"On the beach." Danny smiled. "Walks on the beach are romantic — at least, I've always thought so."
Steve had never been one for making romantic gestures. Suddenly he wanted to learn how to be more romantic, just for Danny's benefit. He had it bad, all right.
So it was that the two men found themselves walking along the beach, hand in hand. They got a few looks from passersby, but Steve figured the fact that he himself was a pretty big guy, and that both of them were in good shape, meant that no one bothered them.
Danny suddenly said, "So I've been thinking about how to tell Grace about you."
Steve knew that Grace was the most important person in his partner's life. He'd met her a couple of times, but he figured that now he and Danny were a couple, he'd be seeing a lot more of her, unless....
"If you want me to make myself scarce while she's around...."
"No! Not at all," Danny hastily reassured him. "You're part of my life, and she's part of my life, and I want you to become part of each other's lives. I'm just not sure what I'm going to say you are. She already knows you're my partner, but I don't think she understands yet that there is more than one kind of partner."
"Why don't you just say that I'm your friend?" Steve suggested. "We were friends first, after all."
The suggestion was rewarded with a huge smile from Danny, a smile that went straight to Steve's heart and from there to his crotch.
"That, my friend, is a great idea," Danny said. "I don't know why I didn't think of it. You are my friend. It's the complete truth." He stopped walking and turned to face Steve. They were about to kiss when Steve thought better of it.
"Maybe we should go home," he said. "I don't want to start molesting you in public."
Danny smiled again, only this time the smile went directly to Steve's crotch. "You want to molest me in private? I guess I can handle that."
They just barely managed to refrain from running to the car.
When they arrived at Steve's house they were all over each other before they even got through the front door. Just as things were about to get interesting, Danny's cell phone rang.
"Ignore it," Steve gasped.
"Can't. It's Rachel. It might be about Grace."
Steve sighed and waited while Danny took the call, hoping to get back to what they'd been doing as soon as possible.
When the call was finished Danny sighed. "I hate to ruin the mood, but apparently Step-Stan has been called out of town and he wants to take Rachel with him. So I get to keep Grace for the next few days. I have to go pick her up — right now."
Steve fastened his shirt and pulled on his jacket. "Nice of your ex to leave things to the last minute. I'll come with you."
As Danny and Steve drove to Rachel's house, Steve commented, "You're really going to keep Grace in your apartment for the next — how long? — five days?"
"Where else am I supposed to keep her, smart man? Not like I can afford a hotel on Waikiki for five days."
"My house," Steve answered. "I have a spare room where she can sleep."
"And where am I supposed to sleep?" Danny asked.
"With me, of course," Steve replied.
"Look, Steve," Danny said, "I'd feel completely weird doing it with you when Grace is in the house."
"Oh, Danno," Steve sighed. "I think that we can share a bed without actually having sex — don't you?"
Danny laughed in embarrassment. "Yeah, I guess I can manage it if you can. I did it often enough with my ex — not that I'm comparing you to her," he added quickly.
Steve laughed too. "Let's go pick up your daughter." He found himself wanting to say "our daughter," and once again realized how totally and completely he had fallen in love with Danny and how much he wanted the three of them to be a family.
When they arrived at Rachel's house, she met them at the door. Danny politely introduced Steve. "Rachel, this is my partner, Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett. Steve, this is Rachel — my ex-wife."
Rachel didn't offer to shake Steve's hand, so he just nodded at her and said, "Nice to meet you," though he didn't mean it. He didn't like meeting anyone who had hurt his Danno as badly as Rachel had.
"Why are you all dressed up?" Rachel asked.
"Oh, Steve and I went out for dinner after work," Danny answered innocently.
"Why is he here with you?" Rachel wanted to know.
Danny shrugged. "We had just finished dinner when you called, so I brought him with. Why, is that a problem?"
Rachel seemed just about to answer that question when Grace came barreling out of her room screaming "DADDY!"
Steve was amazed to see Danny's body language and general attitude change instantly from the guarded and defensive way he'd been with Rachel to the completely open and unguarded way he was with his daughter.
Grabbing Grace in a bear hug, Danny said, "Grace, you remember my friend Steve, don't you?"
"Uh-huh," Grace replied. "Hi, Steve."
"Hi, Grace," Steve said. He realized he wasn't really used to kids, but he hoped to get used to this kid as soon as possible.
Rachel finally finished quizzing Danny about what he was going to do with Grace if and when he had to work and gave him all the emergency numbers imaginable along with a laundry list of instructions. She reluctantly kissed Grace goodbye and allowed the two men to leave with her.
On the drive to Steve's house, Grace suddenly asked, "Daddy, where are we going? This isn't the way to your house."
"We're going to Steve's house, honey," Danny answered.
"Why are we going to Steve's house?"
Danny thought fast. "For a sleepover. You go to sleepovers, don't you?"
"Grownups don't do sleepovers!" Grace protested.
"Sure we do," Steve butted in. "We just don't talk about them."
"Why not?" Grace asked.
"Because they're secrets," Steve told her. "But we decided to let you in on the secret, because you're special."
Grace liked being part of a grownup secret, and this seemed to satisfy her curiousity, at least temporarily.
When they arrived at Steve's house, Grace announced, "You have a nice house, Steve."
"Thank you, Grace. It used to be my dad's house. Now it's mine."
"It's a lot nicer than Danno's apartment," Grace continued.
Steve laughed, and Danny rolled his eyes. Steve crouched on the floor in front of Grace so that he was down on her level. "You know what? I think it's nicer than Danno's apartment, too. That's why I want Danno to come live here with me. Then, when you have your weekends with Danno, you'd come here instead of that apartment."
"I'd like that," Grace said. "Daddy, are you going to live here with Steve?"
Danny didn't like being put on the spot like that, and he also didn't like that his partner had used Grace against him. But he couldn't really be mad at either of them for more than a few minutes.
"Well, maybe," was the only answer he could come up with on such short notice. He started rummaging through the cupboards in Steve's kitchen. "What you have here that's suitable for a seven-year-old's bedtime snack?" he asked.
"How about chocolate chip cookies?" Steve asked, removing a Tupperware-style container from another cupboard.
"Yay!" was Grace's enthusiastic response.
"You're spoiling my daughter, you know that?" Danny asked good-naturedly. "Where did you get homemade chocolate chip cookies, anyway?"
Steve looked embarrassed. "From Cat," he whispered.
But Grace heard him. "Do you have a cat, Steve?" she asked in excitement.
"No, honey, I don't have a cat," Steve answered. 'Cat' is what I call my, uh, my friend. Her real name is Catherine, but I call her Cat for a nickname, like I call your dad Danno."
"Is she your girlfriend?" Grace demanded.
"No, she's not my girlfriend," Steve answered quickly.
"Do you have a girlfriend?" Grace asked.
"No, Grace, I don't have a girlfriend."
"My teacher at school said some people have boyfriends and some people have girlfriends," Grace stated matter-of-factly. "Do you have a boyfriend?"
At that moment Steve wanted to tell Grace to eat her chocolate chip cookies and stop asking questions, but he answered anyway. He didn't believe in being dishonest with children. "Yes, I have a boyfriend. Danno is my boyfriend."
Danny shot him a look then, and Steve shrugged as if to say 'What was I supposed to tell her?'
After munching her cookies for a few minutes, Grace turned to her father. "Daddy, why didn't you tell me Steve is your boyfriend?"
After thinking hurriedly through his options, Danny tried to explain. "Well, uh, Steve hasn't been my boyfriend for long. Just a few days. I'm still getting used to him being my boyfriend. Now it's time for you to finish your cookies and go to bed."
As Danny put her to bed that night, Grace said, "I'm glad Steve is your boyfriend, Daddy. He's nice."
"Yes he is, honey. He's very nice."
Eventually it was time for Danny and Steve to go to bed — together. By mutual agreement they stripped down to their shorts but didn't get completely naked. They climbed into bed, both feeling awkward, and lay there facing each other.
"Do I get a goodnight kiss?" Steve asked mischievously, trying to ease the tension.
That was all the motivation that Danny needed to move in, kiss his partner quite thoroughly, and do a few other things as well. When things got to the point where they were about to peel each other's shorts off, though, they both realized what they were doing and reluctantly called a halt.
"Soon," Steve said.
Danny kissed him chastely. "Soon," he agreed.
After they dropped off Grace at school the next morning, they had to go back to Danny's apartment to get him a few changes of clothes, because he had nothing except his formal wear from dinner last night — a dinner that seemed like a lot longer ago than 12 hours — and would need clothes for the next few days that he would be spending at Steve's house.
If Kono and Chin Ho noticed that Steve and Danny arrived at work together that day, they didn't mention it.
The next few days went by fairly easily. Grace was usually a well-behaved child, and she liked being with Steve. Steve, of course, couldn't resist spoiling her a bit. Danny drew the line at teaching her surfing, though; he said that could wait till she was older.
But he certainly didn't mind watching Steve surf. After all, how could he resist the sight of Steve in a bathing suit?
Kono dropped by a few times while Grace and Danny were staying at Steve's. She seemed to think that Grace needed some female presence in her life while her mother was out of town. Danny figured that Kono just plain liked kids.
He wouldn't let Kono teach Grace to surf, either.
One day when Kono was at the beach with them, she drew Danny to one side. "Look," she said, "if you and Steve want some time alone, I could take Grace out for ice cream or something."
While he appreciated the offer, Danny wanted to spend as much time with his daughter as possible before he took her back to Rachel and Step-Stan. He gracefully refused. Kono looked at him like he was nuts, though.
She probably realized how much Danny liked the sight of Steve in a bathing suit.
When Danny was putting Grace to bed the night before he had to return her to her mother and stepfather, Grace asked him, "Daddy, are you and Steve going to get married?"
Danny wasn't sure how to explain to her that two men couldn't legally marry each other. He thought he might like to marry Steve one day, if it ever became legal, but he and Steve had barely been together for a week. It was a bit soon to think about marriage.
"Maybe one day, sweetie, but not right now."
He suddenly realized that Grace was most likely going to tell Rachel and Stan all about him and Steve being 'boyfriends.' He'd have to tell Rachel himself. He didn't look forward to that, but he figured that Steve's having an 'in' with the Governor would help. And even though Rachel could be mean when she wanted to be, she wasn't a bigot in any way.
When Danny and Steve dropped off Grace at Rachel's house the next day, they explained to her about their relationship. Rachel was definitely surprised, but she didn't make a fuss, for which Danny was immensely relieved.
That day at work was one of the longest the two men could remember. The sexual tension between them was practically buzzing. They could barely look at each other. Danny began to think they were going to set the room on fire.
This was probably why Kono and Chin Ho confronted the two of them about halfway through the day.
"Go home," Chin told them. "We don't need you here."
"You're not getting any work done," Kono added. "Go tear off each other's clothes in private."
They didn't need to be told twice. They broke the speed limit getting to Steve's house.
Things were a bit awkward at first. It was Steve's first time with a male lover. It was Danny's first time with a man in a long time. It was their first time with each other.
"We don't have to do this," Steve said suddenly. "I know you wanted to wait."
"Steve," Danny said. "Listen to me. I have something very important to tell you." He sat down on the bed, pulling Steve down beside him.
Steve gulped, wondering if Danny had suddenly decided he didn't want him after all.
Danny quickly kissed his fear away. "Aloha au ia'oe," he said.
"Did you just say 'I love you' in Hawaiian?" Steve asked in astonishment.
"I told you that I wanted to learn the language, and I figured those were some of the most important words I could learn."
Steve kissed Danny then, and pulled him the rest of the way into bed. "Aloha no au ia 'oe," he said. "I truly love you."
After that, they didn't do any more talking.