Title: No Consequences (Story 3 in the No Promises universe)
Author: Fatorangekat (DC)
Disclaimer: The Hawaii Five-0 characters to not belong to me. I simply like to play on their beach.
Spoilers: None in this one
Note: this is a continuation of No Promises and No Compromise which you do need to read to understand what's going on here.
Special thanks to HCat for her awesome beta, karefor her support and azziriafor beautiful banner.
Summary: Danny needs Steve to understand there are always consequences for his actions.
Danny sat on the edge of the sofa bed, watching Grace sleep. The tiny apartment was quiet but for the roar of the rain and the grumble of thunder. The storms on this island blew in and left just as quickly Danny thought idly. Much like his temper. He stroked his fingers through his daughter’s hair before he sat back and listened to the deluge.
When he’d left headquarters that afternoon it had taken him the better part of the drive to Rachel’s to get his fury and hurt under control. There was no way he would pick up his daughter with what had just happened showing on his face. He’d call Rachel first and delay if he had to. But with the separation and eventual divorce, Danny had taught himself a few things and chief among them was being able to compartmentalize his emotions when Grace was involved.
He wasn’t always successful but he knew how to do it.
Steve McGarrett and the mess he just walked away from needed to be shoved in a box in Danny’s mind. He’d deal with it later, when he didn’t have Grace.
Of course Grace asked about Steve later that evening but Danny gently told her that it was unlikely they’d see him this weekend. She didn’t press or argue or question—Grace rarely did such things since her parents stopped living together. She took Danny’s answer at face value and didn’t bring Steve up for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
For which Danny had been more than thankful as his control was tenuous at best.
They’d stopped for shave ice at Kamekono’s before the sunset. Sitting at a picnic table, Danny gave Grace a ten dollar bill and told her to ask Kamekono for whatever flavor she wanted, and a soda for him. He watched her with a sharp eye as she skipped across the grass and sand to where Kamekono waited, his face lit up with his usual bright smile. He leaned as far as he could out the service window to talk to her.
Danny used the few minutes to square himself away. Grace was young but she was also perceptive and Danny didn’t want to give her anything to worry about.
She’d returned with her treat, Danny’s soda and the ten dollars. When Danny looked up at Kamekono, the big man just waved him off. He should have known the guy wouldn’t take his money.
He wondered at the people he now called friends here on the island. How different his life was now.
Danny had already changed into a T-shirt and light sweat pants for the night. He stretched his legs out on the thin mattress, propping himself up. He wasn’t ready to sleep yet so he grabbed one of the fat novels he had on the table and tried to settle into it. The apartment was draped in shadows but for the lamp Danny left on and the TV with the sound muted. Grace shifted restlessly and Danny reached over, resting his hand on her shoulder until she resettled. The storm died down outside, the rain a light patter as it slacked off and the thunder a distant mutter.
When he realized he was reading the same page over and over and still not really seeing the words, he marked it and set the book aside with a sigh.
In the quiet of the apartment, he couldn’t escape what had happened. Steve’s words about Rachel still rang in his ears. The bastard had hit some raw nerves today and Danny couldn’t stop thinking about it. Hell, he couldn’t stop thinking about a lot of things that had happened over the last few days, starting with the kid who died under his hands.
Had that only been yesterday?
Had what happened after that only been yesterday too?
Danny sat back, arms crossed.
What the hell was going on with him? He wasn’t sure he recognized himself anymore. If he went back to New Jersey tomorrow he wasn’t sure anyone there would either. Oh sure, he still looked like he always did, but what was on the inside was something altogether different now.
And it wasn’t just about Hawaii, Danny knew that.
So much had changed over the last year. Okay, the real changes started coming when he and Steve faced off in his father’s garage. Danny didn’t want to recognize it but now there was no running from it. It became more real after what happened with his brother—the understanding that Hawaii was now home, not just a place where he stayed to be close to his daughter.
The realization had crept in on him but there it was and how was he to run from that?
How was he supposed to run from Steve? He could tell himself over and over that the man was reckless and impulsive, always doing before thinking. That he wasn’t just Danny’s partner, but his boss as well. Danny could pile on all the excuses and reasons he wanted but it still didn’t change anything.
He wanted to be with Steve. Not just wanted, but needed to be. It pulled at Danny, making him miserable with the realization and at a loss to defend himself against it.
But the cost, the potential for it to go horribly wrong kept Danny bottled up. Besides, he’d blown it once, with Rachel. He blamed himself for the whole thing falling apart between them. As raw and broken inside as he was, he didn’t think he had enough left to rein Steve in. And Steve needed to be. He needed to be made to understand that he couldn’t just keep throwing himself into situations thinking there would be no consequences.
Because there were always consequences.
It could be a dangerous line—asking Steve to change without changing who he was. Danny didn’t want to do that to anyone, let alone Steve. But he couldn’t escape the fear that he could get caught in the wake of Steve’s self destructive streak. And he was sure that was no small part of what was driving the other man. Danny couldn’t be sure he would be enough for Steve to want to live and love more than he wanted to die.
Danny glanced down at his sleeping daughter. What price would there be paid then?
Steve walked across the bedroom, toweling his wet hair from the shower he just finished. Outside, one of Oahu’s sudden rain storms had kicked up, the rain drumming on the roof of the house. Steve enjoyed the smell of the rain, the energy that came with the rushing front, the way the lightning snapped and the answering thunder.
These storms were quick, like they were in a rush to be somewhere else but still had to crash through here first. They reminded Steve on more than one occasion of Danny—all noise and bluster and sharp tempered, only to cool down in the next moment.
Steve tossed the towel on the bed before going over to the glass doors that led out onto the second story deck that ran the length of the house, facing the ocean. He’d left them open, the damp breeze playing through the old curtains, soft against his skin as he stood at the threshold, still naked from his shower.
The storm was already winding down, chasing out over the dark ocean, the rain changing from pounding on the roof to a light patter. The lightning flashed in the distance, the thunder now a distant grumble.
Steve lifted his face to the breeze, closing his eyes as he drew in a deep breath.
And found himself thinking of Danny. How incredible it would be to share this with him, the other man wrapped in his arms, both reveling in the feel of the evening. Danny was so tactile, so tuned into touching and being touched. Steve had noticed that about the other man within days of becoming partners. He had never been around anyone like that, let alone worked with them.
When you worked with other men, often in tight quarters, you kept your hands to yourself or someone might misinterpret a simple gesture. Until very recently, the military frowned on homosexuality. Not that it stopped guys, sometimes it just couldn’t be helped and Steve was the last man to judge. There was a pair on his SEAL team, he knew it and he made sure the two men knew he was aware of it. But they were circumspect and careful and well liked by the rest of the team.
Steve never found that for himself and wasn’t sure he wanted to. It wasn’t always that simple and there were a lot of “good ol’ boys” and rednecks wearing uniforms. Steve had no use for bigots and intolerance and he wouldn’t work with men who were. He’d take an openly gay green kid watching his back every time before he’d trust some narrow minded self righteous lifer who thought gays had no right wearing a uniform.
It wasn’t simple now either, not this overwhelming attraction to a man who normally Steve would steer well clear of. There was nothing subtle about Danny Williams. He filled a room without even being aware of it, all wild gestures, snarky sarcasm and sharp looks. He held nothing back including his opinions. But instead of being put off, Steve found himself sucked into the storm front that was Danny. Sweet Christ but the man gave over everything of himself because that’s who he was. And it had, with his marriage, cost him dearly.
Was it any wonder he was so skittish around Steve when he tried to push the relationship past partners and a deep friendship?
Steve wasn’t looking for a fuck buddy and casual sex. He could have that anytime he wanted, male or female. But how to explain that to someone who had been hurt as deeply as Danny? Danny clung to what he knew, what he understood, no matter how much it hurt, because somehow, he saw that as safe.
Danny didn’t see Steve as safe.
That hurt because so long as he shut Steve out, Steve could never show him just how much he wanted him, needed him. That he could love Danny, no holds barred.
But today...Steve sighed and shook his head. What the hell had gotten into him? If he’d just backed off, let Danny get his balance and catch his breath and process everything that had happened… Instead Steve had acted like a jerk, as if boxing Danny in, literally and emotionally, would get the other man to understand.
When had he become so careless?
And yeah, let’s rub Danny’s face in the mess that was his ex-wife and daughter. Like Danny didn’t face that every time he picked up and dropped off Grace. Way to go, McGarrett, just twist the knife in the guy’s guts that much more. Chin was right, he deserved that punch from Danny.
So it was time to man up and leave Danny the fuck alone. As much as Steve wanted to go over to his partner’s apartment and apologize and come right out and say it- that he cared about Danny, that hell, he’d fallen in love with the guy, it would likely be the nail in the coffin for their partnership and friendship. Not only that, Danny had Grace and even as foolish as Steve knew he could be, he would never in a million years do that to Danny during the precious time with his daughter.
That was the number one unspoken rule, not just with Steve, but the entire team. Danny’s time with his daughter was his and they were never to intrude on that unless he invited them to.
Danny deserved to be left alone with Grace for the weekend.
But it didn’t change how much Steve ached to be with the other man. How much he wanted to touch Danny, slide his hands over all that skin. Feel the flex and jump of those muscles as Steve took his time and explored every inch of him. He wanted Danny under him, shaking, slick with sweat, incoherent and coming apart. God, Steve wanted to do that to him, for him. He could easily imagine how intense it would be with someone like Danny, who never did things by halves.
He wanted Danny to fuck him, to bury that thick cock inside him. He wanted to see the other man’s eyes when they did that for the first time. Wanted to wrap his legs around Danny’s waist and pull him into a wild kiss even as he begged Danny to move, to take Steve as hard as he wanted because Steve wanted that, needed that, sweet Christ, dreamed of it almost every night now.
Steve realized he was fisting himself even as he stood in the doorway, the evening sky clearing in the wake of the earlier storm. He tightened his grip, thrusting into the tightness of his hand as he let his mind go back to Danny, naked and wet in his shower yesterday. Fuck, the guy was built, nothing wasted from the muscled shoulders and arms to the broad chest and narrow hips.
The tingling at the base of his spine, the knot in his gut spread in a slow burn that had Steve groaning and working his cock harder. Danny was there with him, whispering something filthy in his ear, his hand over Steve’s. Steve could see Danny’s clear blue eyes, the half smile as he watched Steve jerk off. His voice was a hiss in Steve’s ears, telling him he’d bend Steve over the bed and fuck him into it but not until Steve came for him, standing there in the doorway.
Steve shook with the fantasy, his climax building but still not quite there, leaving him mouthing Danny’s name, begging him to stay there with him. Pricks of light danced at the edges of his vision as he shifted his stance and the grip on his cock. He was dripping with sweat, leaking pre-cum which added to the slick glide of his cock in his fist. He rolled his head back on his shoulders, arching and stretching, thrusting into his hand, finally finding the elusive edge. He hung there for a wild moment, his whole body on fire before he finally came, speaking Danny’s name, his voice breaking as he continued to fist himself through the orgasm.
Drained, trembling with the aftershocks, Steve leaned one hand on the door frame to keep from sinking to his knees. He was a complete mess, slick with sweat and sticky with come. And feeling more lonely than ever as he tried to catch his breath. Because it was as it always was in the end, an empty fantasy that left him miserable instead of sated. Tonight, more so with the memory of the fight in Danny’s office and the shattered look in the other man’s eyes after he’d hit Steve.
Somehow he had to fix this.
Danny and Grace shared the shade and a picnic table at the edge of the crowded beach in Waikiki. They'd gotten sandwiches and sodas at one of the local shops doing a brisk business across the street. Danny tried to decide on what they would do for the afternoon, reluctant to just go back to his small apartment.
Grace sat next to him, her hair pulled back in a simple ponytail today. Danny knew she was happy to be with him, that they didn't necessarily have to do anything. They could curl up on his lousy couch and watch movies and that was okay once in a while, but not today.
Admittedly, he was restless and the apartment made him feel confined.
Hawaii didn't lack for things to do. But Danny wasn't up to crowds today. Over the last few months he'd gotten used to trips on his downtime, seeing the island from not just Steve's perspective, but Chin and Kono's too. And Grace often got to share in that. It meant going to better places, off the tourist map places that only the locals knew of. Danny appreciated that his friends did that for them. They wanted Danny to think of Hawaii as his home now.
It would be a perfect afternoon to spend at Steve's, Danny considered. But that was completely out of the question. Considering that he punched his boss in the middle of the office sort of took that option off the table. But damn, Steve touched such a nerve with him. And Danny, so tied up in knots and miserable over everything that happened over the previous day, wanted to hit something, someone.
And there was Steve, pushing all the right buttons.
It didn't make what Danny did right. It certainly wasn't professional to slug your boss, no matter how out of line he was. Sweet Christ, what was wrong with him lately? He wanted to think it was that kid dying, that had him twisted and defensive.
This didn't start with that kid getting shot, though. That was just the tipping point. This had been coming since Rachel moved here and he followed. A slow torture he convinced himself he was dealing with when in fact, he wasn't. Rachel, Stan, the failed marriage, coming here to Hawaii, Matt… Danny had a mountain of issues he'd hadn't been dealing with very well. It took this to make him realize it.
And this thing with Steve. The spark and flash, give and take. Danny hadn't wanted to recognize it for what it was, yet he knew it was there. The more he looked at it, the harder he'd fought it
To what end?
He couldn't keep this up. Like it or not, Steve was wearing down his defenses.
Danny jerked out of his thoughts to see Grace looking up him, her eyes large and dark.
"Sorry, babe, it's okay." Christ, he needed to stop this now. He slipped his arm around her waist and slid her against him, kissing the top of her head. "I was just thinking about something but it's okay."
His damned cell phone chose that moment to ring. Swearing silently to himself, he pulled it out of his pocket. "Wait right here, Monkey, okay, so I can take this call." She nodded as he got up from the table and walked a few steps away, glancing at the screen.
"Chin Ho Kelly, please tell me we don't have a case."
"No, nothing like that. I just wanted to check in with you. Make sure you're okay. You know, with everything that's happened over the last few days."
Danny sighed and rubbed his hand over his eyes before looking back at Grace. She sipped her soda as a pack of teenagers rolled by on skateboards. "You mean after I popped the boss and stormed out of the office yesterday?"
"If it's any consolation, I told Steve he deserved it."
There was a quietness about Chin that Danny always admired. Even now, Danny could sense it in the other man's words and tone. Chin rarely passed judgment on anyone, certainly not on his teammates.
"No, he didn't." Danny sucked in a deep breath and shook his head. "He didn't deserve my hitting him and I need to apologize."
"Danny, this isn't my place. But if Steve is pushing you too hard into something you don't want or aren’t ready for, don't let him."
"I appreciate what you're saying, Chin. The truth is, I don't know what I want."
"Then give yourself the room, Danny. And let the decision be yours."
Steve was more than a little startled when he heard Grace calling his name. She shot across the yard to where he'd been sitting in one of the chairs at the beach’s edge. Setting the bottle aside, he got up and came around in time to kneel down and pull her into a hug.
Over her shoulder he saw Danny back up at the house, hands in his pockets, expression unreadable. "Hey kiddo, I wasn't expecting to see you!" The ocean breeze teased at her hair.
"Danno said it was too nice a day to stay inside."
"It is, isn't it?" Steve lifted her up, resting her on his hip before he walked back toward the house. Danny went back inside. "I'm glad you stopped by." He gave her a quick smile, relieved that whatever happened between him and Danny, his friend still felt he could bring his daughter by. They'd never spoken about it, but Steve was always grateful that Danny often shared his limited time with his daughter. Steve, who lost all his family in some form or another, didn't take lightly what Danny offered. Especially today.
"Can I tell you something?"
Steve hiked her up a little higher on his hip. "You can tell me anything, sweetheart. What's on your mind?" He stopped walking when Grace's shy smile slipped away and she ducked her head. "Gracie? What's wrong?"
She looked up at the house before meeting Steve's gaze. The light wind blew her hair across her face. "Danno's upset. He doesn't think I know."
Steve stared at her for a long moment, then pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I know, baby. Maybe I can talk to him, hmmm?" She nodded, her eyes large and dark. There was a lot of Rachel in the pretty face, but Steve saw Danny there too. "Come on, let's see what Danno's up to. Maybe he'll let me take you swimming later."
He finished crossing the yard and set her down when they reached the house. She held his hand as they came inside, the air brushing cool against his face. They found Danny in the kitchen, leaning back against the counter with his arms crossed, a beer in his hand. He wore one of his usual shirts, but no tie.
"Hey, Monkey. I see you found Steve."
"Uh huh." She let go of Steve's hand and went to her father, hugging him around his waist. Danny didn't hesitate, smoothly setting the beer aside even as he wrapped his arms around her and rubbed his cheek over her hair. They stayed that way for several long moments, Steve feeling like an intruder in his own kitchen but unable to look away.
The bond these two had went beyond words. He'd seen it so many times, but it still caught him off guard. He'd never seen or experienced the unlimited love and devotion Danny gave his daughter. It wasn't the first time Steve wondered if Danny's being a single parent brought it to this point, or if his friend had always been this in love with his daughter.
She finally looked up and Danny smiled down at her, touching the back of his hand to her cheek in a gentle gesture. "Why don't you go play on the beach for a little while? Stay out of the water for me though, okay? Uncle Steve and I will be down in a minute."
"Can I go swimming later?"
"I brought your suit, didn't I?" Danny stroked his hand over her hair then nodded in the direction of the beach. "Now scoot."
She smiled, then dashed past Steve, both men watching her. "Stay out of the water, Monkey!" Danny called after her before reaching for his beer.
An awkward silence filled in, the mood changing with Grace's departure. Steve waited for Danny to say something yet Danny remained uncharacteristically quiet as he watched Steve with dark eyes. The loving, gentle father was gone now and Steve found himself faced instead with anger and confusion.
Neither sat well with Danny.
"I didn't expect to see you." Steve shoved his hands in his pockets, not sure what to do or say. Afraid of saying something that would change Danny’s mind about coming here in the first place. "I'm not ungrateful, but why are you here? You made it clear you wanted to be left alone."
"Grace wanted to see you." Danny crossed his arms again, the fabric of his shirt stretched over wide shoulders. "She rarely asks for anything."
Danno's upset. He doesn't think I know. Steve swallowed and looked away, knowing he was the reason her father was hurting.
"Is that it? Just Grace?"
Danny looked at him, unmoving, eyes dark. Still, Steve could read the other man's tension, see it in the set of his jaw and the way he stood.
Danny finally nodded toward the lanai. "We need to talk."
He pushed by Steve, not waiting to see if the other man would follow. Walking out through the lanai into the heat of the backyard, he stood where he could easily watch his daughter and she could see him as well.
She did not need to hear this conversation, though, so Danny stayed where he was.
The afternoon sun glinted on the ocean littered with boats and wind surfers, the colors bright against a brilliant blue sky. It had taken Danny a while to get used to such vibrant colors. He'd never say that New Jersey was drab, but he was sure Hawaii held the top spot for sheer eye searing saturation.
He felt Steve's presence behind him. The other man was uncomfortable and bewildered and Danny could certainly understand given that he was experiencing that and a whole lot more.
After a minute Steve stepped up beside him, hands shoved in his pockets. "Thank you for bringing her over. I'm glad you're both here."
"Whatever is going on between us, Steven, Grace isn't part of it. She likes and trusts you. I'm not such a bastard to take that away from either of you." Steve flinched and Danny sighed. This wasn't going the way he planned. Not that he necessarily had a plan, but still.
The truth was he didn't know why he was here. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, all things considered.
“You know, ever since I came to this damned island, I’ve felt off balance.” Danny had his hands out in front of him, encompassing the scenery. “I knew I didn’t belong here and I was okay with that. The locals reminded me, often, that I didn’t belong here either and never would. You know, that whole ‘H’ word thing.” He shrugged his shoulders.
Grace waved at them from the edge of the water and both men waved back.
“I didn’t really care. I was here because of Grace and that’s all that mattered, to hell with the rest of it.” Danny shook his head. “Then you showed up and upended everything.”
Danny paused, sucking in a deep breath, needing to get his thoughts straight. He had to do this, had to make Steve understand without hurting or pushing him away.
“You’re like a force of nature, Steven and I got swept up in it for good or bad.”
Steve made as if to say something but didn’t. Instead he watched Danny with that wounded look that could, and often did, cut Danny to the soul.
“I’m sorry I hit you yesterday. It was unprofessional. But damn it, Steven, I’m out of my element here and this full court press has got to stop!” Danny raked his hand through his hair. “I don’t know what I want right now, I don’t. And I don’t like who I am right now, either. I just-” Danny faltered, his chest tight. He could feel the beginnings of a headache, just behind his eyes. “I don’t know anymore, sweet Christ I don’t.”
The breeze died down, leaving the air heavy with the afternoon heat. Grace appeared to be collecting shells, piling her treasures together in one spot at the edge where the sand met grass.
Danny sucked in a deep breath. “I made myself a promise, when it was really over between Rachel and me, that I wouldn’t let myself get hurt like that again.”
“I wouldn’t do that to you, Danny, I swear.”
“I know you believe that, Steve. I want to believe it too. I want to trust enough to let go and try again, with you. But there’s so much that could go wrong and I’m not sure what will happen if it does.”
“I don’t know what happened between you and Rachel; I don’t know what tore you two apart.” Steve held up his hand when Danny started to interrupt. “I have some theories and I suspect a couple things, but I don’t expect you to tell me.” Steve glanced in Grace’s direction before looking back at Danny. “I hadn’t planned on this getting out of control, that’s my fault. I couldn’t have picked a worst time to make my move and all I can do is apologize for that. But I want you to understand, I’m not looking for casual here—‘friends/partners with benefits.’ Not with you. I want the whole deal and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to prove that to you.”
Danny could only stare at him for several long moments, swallowing against the dryness in his mouth. “Even if we could look past the fact that you are my boss, Steven, and that’s a big if, then what? I’m not sure I can be enough for you, enough that you will stop throwing yourself at every situation regardless of the consequences! There are consequences, Steven, and one of them is that little girl down there!” Danny swept his arm in Grace’s direction. “This-” he gestured between them, “this is more than just you and me! This is about Kono and Chin, about the team! And it’s about Grace! I won’t ask you to change, but think about this, would you!”
“You don’t think I haven’t—“
“No, I don’t!” Danny cut him off, ignoring the flare of hurt and anger in the other man’s eyes. “I think you look at this like you do everything else! Charge on in, it always works out in Steve McGarrett’s world! Well, it’s not that simple for me, and I already know first hand what happens when it does implode! I’m not willing to be one of your casualties! I won’t let Grace be one either!”
“Is that what you think? That I would be so careless with you, with Grace, knowing you still haven’t gotten over Rachel yet?” Now Steve had his hands out and spread, dark eyes wide, cheeks flushed with his anger. “I’m not Rachel, Danny! You’re using all of this as excuses because you’re afraid!”
“You’re damn right I’m afraid!” Danny stabbed a finger in Steve’s chest, not caring if he was shouting. “I’ve been there, you idiot! I’ve been right on the edge of the cliff, teetering! It’s a hell of a thing when you’re there and realizing that none of the options you have seem worth it! You’re damn right I’m afraid! And I’m not ready to sign up again for that, not with you!”
Something tugged at his hand, pulling him around and he found Grace looking up at him, her eyes huge and filled with fright. Sweet fucking Christ, what the hell was wrong with him? He made every effort to never argue with Rachel in front of his daughter, so he did it with Steve instead? Danny picked her up, hugging her close, whispering it was all right as she clung to him, face buried against his neck.
The color had drained out of Steve’s face, his eyes filled with remorse. Danny knew he loved Grace dearly and could practically feel his friend’s shame. But there was nothing to be done for it now. Steve reached out, careful, and rested his hand on her back. “I’m so sorry, Gracie.” He looked close to tears.
“I think we should go.” It was all Danny had left to say.