Coming Up for Air

by The Grrrl

Title: Coming Up for Air

Author: The Grrrl

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Archive: Ask first.

Fandom: Hawaii Five-O

Pairing: Steve/Danny

Summary: Coda to episode 1.16 "E Malama"

When Steve comes downstairs after his shower, he's relieved to find Danny there, sitting on his living room couch. He'd only gotten one short, clipped voicemail message from Danny, explaining the outcome of the situation, and when he tried to contact Danny after court, the call had gone directly to voicemail.

Technically, everything had gone okay, but Danny's hunched forward on the couch, his elbows resting on his thighs as he stares into space. Everything about his posture speaks of defeat.

"Hey. You're here." Steve had figured the odds of Danny showing up were fifty-fifty.

"I didn't hit anyone," Danny says.

"That's good, Danny," Steve tells him. "Very good."

"I shoved, though." Danny looks up and Steve can see the exhaustion in the tight lines around his eyes. "I shoved, and maybe I made a point with the commissioner using my badge."

He makes a downward motion with his arm, and Steve's not sure what it means. Maybe it's a Jersey thing. "Okay," Steve nods, hoping the commissioner is all right. "And Stan?"

"I didn't hit Stan," Danny says. "I was actually very nice to Stan. Who loves his family. The family that used to be my family."

Steve nods again, because there's nothing he can say to that. He sits next to Danny, sits as close as he can without touching him.

"I really wanted to hit him, though." Danny turns to Steve. "Does that make me a bad person?"

"No," Steve says with a small laugh. "I think that makes you a normal human being." Sometimes Steve wants to hit Stan, too. Even though he doesn't even know the man, even though it would make no sense whatsoever, considering.

Danny shrugs. "Anyway, I hear you got your witness to court, to testify. And that Kono took out the cleaner all by her lonesome."

"Yeah. Chin and I got there in time to clean up the cleaner." And despite everything, Steve's chest swells a bit with pride. His team is the best.

"I'm sorry I couldn't be there."

"No problem, I understand, you know that." Steve rests a hand on Danny's shoulder. He can feel tight, tense muscles under Danny's shirt. "You had to take care of your family. I'm just glad everyone's okay."

"They are. They're fine. Back in their nice big house." Danny rubs a hand over his face. "Thanks for talking me down. I know you had your hands full out there, but I was freaking out and really needed to talk to you."

Steve squeezes Danny's shoulder, then lets his hand drop. "Glad I could help."

And he is glad, very glad that Danny didn't haul off and do something stupid, because oh god yes, Danny's tone of voice indicated he was about to do just that. He pushes up off the couch. "Want some dinner? We can order in--"

Danny yanks him back down. "You're not the consolation prize, you know that, right?"

"Danny--" Steve's face grows warm.

"You can't be thinking that, can you?" Danny pushes Steve back against the couch and twists around to face him, fingers digging into Steve's biceps. "Oh my god, look at your face. You are, aren't you?"

"You and Rachel have a long history together," Steve explains, but it's hard to talk with Danny sliding a hand up to cup his cheek and looking at him as if he's being ridiculous but hey, he's met Rachel. She's pretty amazing, and she was there first, and there's Gracie, and Steve understands the ties holding all of them together. He's just being realistic.

"Shut up, shut up, shut up," Danny says, and it would be obnoxious except that Danny kisses him in between the words, soft, swift kisses as he holds Steve's head steady with both hands.

So Steve does shut up. He lets Danny kiss him, and it eases into a slow, lingering kiss and Steve wants to tell him that it's okay, he doesn't need reassurance. He went into this thing with his eyes open.

"And stop with the noble suffering," Danny mutters against Steve's cheek.

"What?" Steve jerks his head back. "I am not--"

"I can taste it," Danny says, pulling back to squint at Steve. "Do not lie to me. Listen, in spite of everything that has gone down between me and Rachel, I do still love her. And yes, sometimes I am wistful about the life we used to have together, but I am also realistic enough to know that is over. I'm not the person I was then."

He pauses and stares intently at Steve, waiting.

Steve nods. "Okay."

"Do you want to know why I'm not the same person?" Danny curls a hand around the back of Steve's neck and gives him a little shake. "Because of you. And this place. And this weird crazy thing we have going on, this romance, which makes me feel like--like, I don't know, that I'm really and truly alive."

Steve takes a deep breath, and it's as if he's finally able to breathe, that something has loosened up inside of him and his chest isn't so tight anymore. "Yeah," he says. "Me too."

He pulls Danny close, crushing him against his chest, sliding down until they're both stretched out on the couch, throw pillows tumbling onto the floor. Danny relaxes against him.

"You got it?" Danny asks, nosing under Steve's chin. "Huh? You got it now, NinjaSuperSeal?"

"I got it," Steve assures him even though the press of Danny's warm solid body still feels like an unexpected gift. One that he just might get to keep.

"Don't make me have to tell you again," Danny says and Steve laughs, ruffling Danny's hair but Danny doesn't even complain, he just asks, "how about we hang out like this for a while?" and it sounds like pretty much the best idea ever to Steve so he holds Danny even tighter, rubs his back and kisses the top of his head. And breathes in deep.

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