When Danny walked into Five-0 headquarters Friday morning, he saw Steve staring gloomily at a newspaper. Danny glanced over his partner's shoulder. "What is it?" he asked.
"Drugs," Steve said succinctly. "More specifically, club drugs."
"Ugh." Danny frowned. "We had problems with those in Jersey. I guess even paradise has drugs. So what's the situation?"
Steve explained that there had been a recent spike in the number of drug-related deaths that, instead of being caused by the usual heroin or cocaine or meth, had been traced to the so-called "club drugs." It was suspected that someone was spiking these drugs with other chemicals and then selling them to club-goers.
"The latest deaths were all young gay men," Steve continued. "So it looks like these drugs are being distributed at the local gay bars." He put down the newspaper. "You and me are going clubbing. We'll be undercover as new guys in town looking for a party. Chin will go undercover as a bartender. Looks like the lesbians aren't so much into the drugs, so Kono will stay and monitor things from here."
"Uh, Steve, don't take this the wrong way, but have you looked in a mirror lately?" Danny asked.
"What are you talking about?"
"Remember the last time you and I went to a nightclub — when we were looking for that ambassador's daughter? Remember how all the women were looking at you?"
Steve thought for a moment. "I remember you saying they were," he answered. He also remembered Danny grabbing hold of his wrist, supposedly to check his pulse, but he didn't mention that. "Why?"
"If you go to a gay bar, the men will look at you just as much as the women did in that bar. Just be prepared for that. And men are a lot more assertive in approaching people."
With a shrug, Steve said, "Well, okay, but I don't know what I can do about it. Or are you suggesting I make myself ugly?"
Neither of them had noticed that their teammates had arrived and were listening to their conversation. "Danny can be your boyfriend, Boss," Kono suggested. "You can go undercover as a couple."
"That sounds like a great idea," Chin agreed.
"You are seriously suggesting that he and I go undercover as a couple? You think people would believe that?" Danny asked.
"You guys already fight like an old, married couple. Haven't you told us about people who ask you how long you've been married?" Chin pointed out.
"What do you think, Danno?" Steve asked. "Want to be my boyfriend?"
Danny threw up his hands. "Why not? It'll be the most action I've seen since I've lived here, that's for sure."
It was decided that for the purposes of the assignment, Danny would have to temporarily move in with Steve. "Too keep our cover intact," Steve explained.
"What, you think someone's going to follow us home?" Danny protested. It wasn't a strong protest, though, and he soon agreed to the arrangement.
The next night, as they were getting dressed to go to their first club, Steve suddenly panicked. "I have no idea how to act like a gay man. I don't know any gay men. How am I supposed to act like one? Am I supposed to, I don't know, swish or something?"
Danny put his hand on his partner's shoulder. "There's nothing to it, Babe. Just act like you normally do. Definitely do not swish. But since you and I are a couple, just act a little more affectionate."
Rolling his eyes, Danny said, "Act like I'm a girl, I guess."
"But you're not a girl."
"I am aware of that," Danny grumbled. "All right, tell you what. Just touch me every once in a while. Put your hand on my shoulder. Rub my back. Put your arm around my waist. Touch my hand. You don't have to kiss my mouth, if that makes you uncomfortable, but you could try kissing my cheek."
Steve seemed to be absorbing all the information, because he didn't say anything for a couple of minutes. Then he bent down and kissed Danny's cheek.
"How was that?" he asked.
Danny touched his cheek where Steve had kissed him, and he rubbed it a bit. "That was good," he said. "How was it for you?"
"Not bad," Steve admitted, "though I'm not used to kissing people with stubble."
As they walked out to the car, Steve slung his arm across Danny's shoulders. "You're too short for me to put my arm around your waist, so it'll have to stay up here."
"You don't have to do it yet," Danny pointed out. "Not till we get to the club."
"If you say so."
When they arrived at the club, Steve's arm went around Danny's shoulders again. They presented their fake I.D.s to the doorman and were ushered inside. Danny had been to gay clubs before in Newark. This one was not especially different from any other. The only difference was that though he was investigating a crime here, just as he had done in Jersey, he was also here as a patron and had to act the part.
The first thing the two men did was approach the bar to introduce themselves. Chin wasn't bartending at this club; the Five-0s had decided that it would cover more ground to have Steve and Danny at one bar and Chin at another.
Steve held out his hand to the bartender. "Hi, I'm Steve, and this is my partner, Danny. We're new here. We heard about the civil unions bill and thought Hawaii would be a good state for us to settle in." The Hawaii Senate had recently passed a bill to legalize same-sex civil unions.
"Aloha. Welcome. I'm Rick. What can I get you to drink?"
Steve ordered a Coke for himself, since he was driving, and a Longboard for Danny. They were making small talk with Rick about Honolulu, and Steve was trying to turn the conversation toward the subject of drugs without being too obvious about it, when a man approached Danny and asked him to dance.
Rising from his barstool, Steve stood over the man, emphasizing the difference in their heights. "He's my boyfriend," he announced. "Hands off."
The man quickly backed away. "Sorry, brah," he said quickly. "I didn't realize."
"I guess I didn't make it obvious enough," Steve muttered, half to himself and half to the people around him. He put his hand under Danny's chin, leaned down and kissed him.
Surprised by his partner's sudden move, Danny quickly wrapped his arms around Steve's neck and returned the kiss. Just as Steve had said earlier, Danny had also never kissed anyone with stubble before. There were other subtle differences from kissing a woman that he noticed, but he didn't think too hard about them. Instead, he enjoyed the kiss.
When they were finished, Danny asked, "Possessive, much?"
Steve grinned at him. "Definitely." Then he took Danny's hand and pulled him off his barstool. "Let's dance."
This was going to be another new experience for Danny. He'd never danced with another man before. At least Steve hadn't chosen a slow dance.
"I hope I didn't freak you out back there," Steve said as they reached the dance floor.
"Freak me out? By kissing me? No, you didn't freak me out. You surprised me, both with the kiss and with the possessive boyfriend act."
"I realized I hadn't been keeping up with the touching thing, and I thought that was why that guy asked you to dance. He didn't realize that you and I are, you know, together. So I thought I should make it clear."
Danny thought Steve sounded more than just a bit possessive. He also sounded, well, jealous.
"Anyway, I thought we could talk better while we're dancing," Steve continued. "Less chance of being overheard. So what do you think? I don't think the bartender knows anything."
"I don't think so, either. I think if anyone is dealing drugs, it has to be one of the patrons."
Steve danced closer to Danny, so close their bodies were almost touching. "So how do we find out who it is? Just start approaching people and asking, 'Hey, you got any drugs?'"
"From my experience policing clubs in Jersey, most drug deals take place in the bathroom. There's more privacy in there."
"So how do we make it look like we're open to making these deals?" Steve asked.
Danny thought for a moment, all the while trying not to get too distracted by how close Steve's body was to him. "I think we will have to do what they call mingle," he said. "Talk to people. Let them know that we want to 'party.'"
The song they were dancing to ended right about then, with Steve and Danny standing in the middle of the dance floor. Danny closed the minuscule gap between them, took Steve into his arms, and kissed him, a kiss that Steve eagerly returned.
"What was that for?" Steve asked as they reluctantly broke apart.
"I'm returning your kiss from before. To make it look like we're a couple," Danny answered.
"Oh. Okay." But to Danny, Steve sounded as if he were disappointed.
Danny saw that the man who had asked him to dance before was sitting at a table by himself. "I'm going to go talk to that guy for a minute, see if he knows anything."
"You sure?" Steve asked.
"Of course I'm sure. Why would I not be sure? You think just because he asked me to dance that he's going to jump me or something?"
"No, I just...."
It seemed to Danny that Steve was beginning to act like they really were a couple. On impulse, he kissed Steve again. "Calm down, Babe. Go the men's room and see if you can track down our drug dealers."
Amazingly, Steve did as Danny suggested. Danny began to wonder if being in a gay club was somehow upsetting Steve, because he was acting rather oddly tonight.
Danny approached the man who'd asked him to dance earlier,"Hey, I just wanted to apologize for my partner," he said. "He gets kind of possessive sometimes. We're new in town, don't know many people yet. My name's Danny."
"Hi, Danny. I'm Mark." The two shook hands. "Don't worry too much about your partner. I can tell that you guys are obviously in love. It's kind of nice to have someone be possessive of you, sometimes. Shows they care."
"Yeah, well, he didn't have to get all cave man on you. Okay, I call him a Neanderthal animal sometimes, but he doesn't have to act like that in public."
Mark laughed. "You call your boyfriend a Neanderthal animal?"
Hoping he wasn't blushing, Danny answered, "Well, yeah, we have a few...interesting nicknames for each other."
"Where is he, your boyfriend? I don't see him," Mark said, looking around.
Danny saw his opportunity and nodded toward the bathroom. "He's trying to find someone who'll provide some fun stuff for later — you know, E and things like that."
"I don't do that kind of thing myself," Mark said, "but tell your boyfriend to be careful. There've been some accidents lately. Here." Mark pulled a piece of paper and pen out of his jacket pocket and wrote down a couple of names. "These guys are reputable. Best to avoid the ones who hang out in the bathrooms."
"Thanks," Danny said, pocketing the numbers. He saw Steve coming out of the men's room and made eye contact. The look that crossed Steve's face when Steve saw him sitting there was not quite his aneurysm look, but it wasn't happy either.
Steve walked over to the table, put his arms around Danny and kissed him hard. "What, you picking up other guys already? You couldn't wait for me to get out of the bathroom?" He was joking, but Danny could tell he was upset.
"Did you have any luck?" Danny asked him.
"No, nothing for sale in there," Steve said. "What about you?"
"Mark here gave me a couple of names and numbers to check out," Danny told him, slipping his arm around Steve's waist. "You ready to get out of here?"
"More than ready," Steve answered. Danny said goodbye to Mark, and they left.
On the drive home, Steve was quiet, but it was fairly obvious to Danny that his partner was stressed. His hands clenched the steering wheel tightly.
"What's the matter? You've been acting strangely all night. Does being in a gay bar really bother you that much?"
"No!" Steve exclaimed. "Being in a gay bar doesn't bother me at all. I'm just frustrated because we're no closer to tracking down the source of those killer drugs."
Danny reached out and lay a hand on Steve's arm. "Hey, I'm not happy about it either. But it was just our first try. Tomorrow we'll go somewhere else."
Somehow, Danny's gesture calmed Steve immediately. "No, tomorrow's Sunday. Bars are closed. Do you have Grace tomorrow? Sorry, I should have asked about your weekend plans before we did this."
"No, no. I'd have told you if it was my weekend with Grace. So if we're not going to any bars, what are we going to do? Do you suppose gay men watch football?"
Steve laughed. "With all those men in tight pants? I'd be surprised if they didn't!"
When they went to bed that night, Danny took one of the spare bedrooms. He had half-expected Steve to suggest they share a bed to keep up their cover, and he was relieved that Steve didn't. Yet he was also just a little disappointed. He wondered if he was getting too deep into his cover, and hoped that they wrapped up this assignment soon.
On Sunday morning Danny was up before Steve —he was used to getting up early with Gracie on weekends — and, since he knew his way around Steve's kitchen, he made pancakes and started a pot of coffee. Steve had said something once about liking pancakes, and Danny often made pancakes for Grace.
When Steve emerged from his room about an hour later, Danny was just putting a plate full of pancakes into the oven. Steve was in the process of putting his shirt on, and Danny took a moment to admire the shirtless view. "Good morning," he said. "I made breakfast."
"I can see that," Steve yawned. "Does that make you my wife?"
"Maybe. I could be a good wife," Danny mused as he put the pancakes on the table and sat down. "I made a lousy husband."
Steve reached across the table and took Danny's hand. "Hey, don't beat yourself up," he said. "I doubt you were a lousy husband. Probably you and Rachel just weren't right for each other. I met her, remember? I don't think she was cut out to be a cop's wife."
"Maybe," Danny said. He didn't know why Steve was holding his hand, but he kind of liked it.
Before long, Steve withdrew his hand. "Eat your pancakes," he said. "We've got some work to do."
"What kind of work? I thought we had the day off."
"Not that kind of work. We're going to work on my dad's car until it's time for the football game."
"I told you I'm not much of a gearhead," Danny reminded Steve as he followed him out to the garage.
"You know your way around an engine, don't you? That's good enough. If nothing else, you can hand me the tools."
As they were tinkering with the old car, Steve commented: "Two days in a row with no tie. That must be some kind of record for you."
"What is it with you and my ties? Why is it such a big deal?"
"Like I keep telling you, nobody wears ties around here. It's one of the things that makes you stand out as a haole."
Danny shrugged. "I'm used to being a haole. I'll probably always be one. I've accepted it."
"Look, Danny, in the rest of the world people take you more seriously when you wear a tie, but here, people take you more seriously when you don't wear a tie."
"The badge is enough to make people take me seriously," Danny responded.
Steve considered that for a moment. "You have a point," he admitted.
"Whoa. Whoa. Did you just admit that I have a point? This is an historic moment. Are you sure you're feeling all right? Maybe you have a fever." Danny moved toward Steve to feel his forehead.
Steve backed away. "Your hands are dirty. Don't touch me. Hey, what time is it?"
Danny looked at his watch. "Almost time for the game. I guess we should get cleaned up." He felt a little disappointed that he hadn't been able to touch Steve, but he didn't know why he felt that way.
During the football game's half-time, Steve picked up a pizza menu.
"No pineapple," Danny said immediately.
"Pineapple is a tradition," Steve argued.
"For you, maybe. For me, it's an abomination."
"You've never tried it," Steve protested.
"I don't need to try it to know that it's an abomination." Danny was feeling more comfortable now that he and Steve were having another of their arguments. They hadn't argued at all last night, and that wasn't normal for them. Their discussion about his ties, and now about the pizza, were normal territory for them.
"You can pick the pineapple off," Steve suggested.
"Nuh-uh. Pineapple has this thing called juice. Even when the pieces are removed, the juice remains. That can't be picked off."
The debate continued for a little while until Steve finally offered a compromise: pineapple on half the pizza only. Danny accepted this.
As he sipped his beer, he thought of something. "Chin said we fight like a married couple. What did he mean by that?"
"I don't know," Steve admitted. "I don't remember my parents fighting much. If they did, it wasn't about what to put on pizza. What about you?"
"My parents always fought behind closed doors. They didn't want us kids to see them fight. Thought it would upset us too much."
"Us kids? You mean there's more than one of you?"
"I'm one of a kind, Babe," Danny answered. "But I do have a brother, and sisters."
Steve looked like he was just about to ask another question when he did a literal face-palm. "Oh shit," he said.
"What? What's wrong?"
"I forgot to call Chin. We were supposed to talk about what he discovered at the bar last night. Still, if he hasn't called me, he probably hasn't found anything." But Steve picked up the phone anyway.
"Steve, it's Sunday."
"So knowing Chin, it's probably his time with his family. We'll see him tomorrow morning. Whatever he has to share with us can wait until then, can't it?"
Steve put the phone down. "You're right," he said. "I guess, not being with my family all these years.... I kind of forgot what it was like."
"I understand," Danny said gently. "If it weren't for Grace, I'd probably be in the same boat." Seeing that the football game was over, he stood up. "Come on," he said.
"You and me are going to the arcade."
"Arcade?" Steve asked. He was obviously puzzled, but also intrigued, and he followed Danny to the car.
"I found this place that has an awesome selection of old-style video games, including," he got a big grin on his face, "Ms. Pac-Man."
"Nope. It's real. I've even taught Grace how to play."
"This I have to see."
Danny was happy to see that Steve was excited. He'd hated how sad Steve had sounded when he'd talked about his family.
They spent the rest of the afternoon and part of the evening at the arcade, and then they went for a late supper at a nearby café. As they returned to the McGarrett house, Steve turned to look at Danny. "Thank you," he said.
"What are you thanking me for?"
"For not letting me get into a funk," Steve said. "For breaking me out of a bad mood."
"You did the same thing for me this morning," Danny answered. "I'm just returning the favour." He had a sudden, strange urge to kiss Steve right at that moment, and he busied himself with shutting off the car and unfastening his seatbelt.
Once inside, Danny excused himself and spent the rest of the evening in his room with his laptop. His feelings about Steve were confusing the hell out of him. It was as if they were still at the bar and still pretending to be a couple. He kept thinking about touching Steve, about kissing Steve.
When he went to bed he was very conscious of the fact that Steve was in bed not far away from him.
The next day at Five-0 headquarters they discussed Chin's findings at the bar where he'd been working. He said he'd discovered nothing about drugs, "but I did get a lot of tips."
"Well, you're a good-looking guy, Chin," Danny told him. "I'm sure you had lots of appreciative customers."
Chin laughed. "That I did, bro." He pulled several pieces of paper out of his pocket. "I also got a lot of phone numbers."
Danny and Kono laughed too, but Steve glowered in their general direction. Danny wondered what his partner's problem was.
They checked out the names that Mark had given Danny, and decided to pass them on to the Narcotics division at HPD.
Whatever had caused Steve's mood, it was gone by the time he and Danny were getting ready to go another club that night. Steve was quite cheerful, but Danny remembered what he'd been like that morning.
"Is everything okay?" Danny asked.
"Sure. Why wouldn't it be?"
"I don't know. You just seemed a bit put out this morning when we were talking to Chin about his bartending gig."
Steve shrugged. "I don't remember. It couldn't have been anything big, or I'd remember it, right?" He started fussing over Danny's clothes, brushing off imaginary specks and folding back the lapels of his jacket. They had to wear jackets to cover the guns they each carried.
Once they were at the club, Danny was a bit afraid that Steve would go overboard with his displays of possessiveness, but while Steve touched him a lot, he didn't take it to an extreme. Danny liked the touching, and he made sure to touch Steve a lot in return. He wasn't sure exactly what was going on between the two of them, but he decided to enjoy it for as long as it lasted.
As they had done at the previous club, they first went to the bar to talk to the bartender. While they were there, a man approached Steve and asked him to dance.
Feeling it was expected of him, Danny stood up and protested. "Hey, he's taken."
The man, who was bigger than Danny, shoved him back in to his seat. "Let him speak for himself."
Steve shot up from his barstool and got in the man's face. Danny thought Steve was about to punch the man. "Listen to me. You lay another hand on my partner, and you will answer for it. I was in the Navy. I'm a SEAL. I can kill a man with my bare hands. Got that?"
Obviously getting it, the man mumbled an apology and quickly backed away.
Immediately, Steve's hands were all over Danny. "Are you all right? Did he hurt you?"
"Only my pride, Babe," Danny sighed.
The smile Steve gave him was full of affection and warmth, and something else, too — longing?
"I'm afraid I can't kiss your pride better," Steve told him. "But I can do this." And he kissed Danny's lips softly, gently.
It didn't feel like an act. It felt genuine. Danny was completely blown away. He wished they weren't in the middle of a crowded nightclub. He wanted to talk to Steve, find out how he felt.
He also wanted to jump Steve right there in the middle of said crowded nightclub.
Just then Steve's cellphone buzzed. "It's Chin." He listened for a moment. "That's great. Do you need us for anything? Okay, we'll see you tomorrow." He hung up the phone. "Chin caught the dealer. A friend of one of the victims recognized the guy his friend bought drugs from. He told Chin, and they got the dealer."
"That's great," Danny said. He was pleased and relieved to hear that their perp had been caught, but he was also a little disappointed that he no longer had an excuse to be physically affectionate with Steve. They hadn't even danced together this evening. "I guess we can go home now."
Steve paid their tab and led the way out the car. They drove back to his house in silence. Danny desperately wanted to say something, wanted to address what had just happened between them —what had been happening between them since the first night they'd gone to the club — but that wasn't a conversation he wanted to have in the car. He wanted to be able to look into Steve's eyes when they were having that discussion.
When they walked into the house, Steve said, "I guess you'll be happy to be back in your own place tonight. You're not a bad house guest, though, even if you don't like pineapple on pizza." And he turned away to go to his bedroom, presumably to change his clothes.
"Steve." Danny desperately tried to think of what to say.
"What? Is something wrong?"
"Do you really want me to go?"
Steve stopped and turned to face his partner. "No," he admitted. "I don't."
Danny walked toward him. "I haven't been completely oblivious to what's been going on between us the last couple of days, you know." He took Steve in his arms and kissed him.
Steve groaned. "After I kissed you the first time — when that guy hit on you at the first bar we went to — I knew I wasn't pretending. I wanted to do it again, and again. But I didn't know whether you were pretending or not. With women, I can tell if they're serious. Not so much with you."
"I wasn't sure myself at first," Danny admitted. "I liked kissing you. It made me curious, made me want to try it again. Then when I was dancing with you, and you were so close to me, I started to.... Well, I started to feel things. You kept touching me, even when we weren't at the bar anymore. Then tonight, when you threatened that guy who was rough with me, and you kissed me.... I wanted to jump you right there and then."
"My kissing you made you feel like that?" Steve asked. He kissed Danny as if to make sure.
Feeling Steve's mouth on his gave Danny a rush of feelings, not all of which were purely physical. "Steve.... I think I'm falling in love with you."
"I hope you are," Steve replied, "because I know I'm falling in love with you."
They kissed some more, and Danny found himself unbuttoning Steve's shirt. "Maybe we should take this to bed. What do you think?"
He was answered with a grin from his partner. "I think that sounds like a great idea."