Title: Proof Positive

Author: BuffyAngel68

Rating: FRT for mild romantic contact between S and D

Summary: Danno challenges, Steve accepts and nobody really loses...

Disclaimer: I don't own them, not making any money. Just filling in the moments the censors won't let us see...

AN: Eventually I plan to work up a longer piece full of Danno gently loving Whumped!Steve and all the requisite angst/apologia that had to come after that sign language moment on the cliff. This, however, is just a mini-fic sprung from an image that wouldn't leave me alone 'till I wrote it up. Hope you enjoy...

Steve rolled his eyes and scowled at his partner. It had been a long, tough day and all he wanted to do was go home, but Danny, in the middle of the parking lot yet, had chosen that moment to mentally and emotionally regress.

"You are a two year old. Seriously, two years old."

Danny smirked and persisted.

"You can't."

"I'm not playing."

"Can't." Danny stated once again, rocking back on his heels, hands stuffed deeply in his pockets.

"Danny, I swear I'm gonna..."

"Can't, can't, can't." Danny repeated, now pretending to study the clouds drifting past in the azure Hawaiian sky. Steve finally huffed out a quick, frustrated breath and surrendered, knowing the other man would never give him any peace otherwise.

"Can too!"

Danny gazed at his partner critically.

"Nope. Can't."

"I can too."

"Can't."

"Yeah, I can!"

"No way." Danny insisted, ticking off anti-virtues on his fingers. "Frustrating, infuriating, suicidal, homicidal... all those things you, Steve McGarrett, are capable of being. But sweet? Really and truly sweet? I don't see it an' I won't believe it. I stick by my original position. Can't."

Steve growled under his breath, threw up his hands and walked away a step or two, fighting his instincts with all he had. If he did what he desperately wanted to, it could change everything between him and his partner, probably not for the better. Still, it was up to him wasn't it? If he joked about it afterward, focusing on nothing but having proved Danny wrong, the smaller man would likely do the same and they could both go on just as they had the past few months. Friends, partners, family.

'Yeah, *if* I can find it in me to laugh it off. God give me strength...' he pleaded silently.

Smiling grimly, he grasped Danny's wrist and pulled, nearly dragging him off his feet as he strode back toward their command center, which Danny had begun calling the Bat Cave. "What the..."

"Cell phone cameras are everywhere these days. I'm not doing this outside where anybody and his brother can see. The cave'll do fine"

"Wait, wait, wait..."

"Hey, you started this battle of wills. I'm just finishing it."

"Whoa! Damn it, will you..."

"In." Steve commanded, finally halting in front of his office. Danny hesitated, but reluctantly complied and Steve followed, shutting and locking the door. Turning to face the other man, he laid down the rules. "Once we get started, you close your eyes... you lose and I'm gone. Twitch a finger, you lose and I'm gone. One snarky comment..."

"I lose, yeah, I got it. And what, exactly, am I givin' up if I do any a'that stuff, huh?"

"The right to wear a tie on the job for a month... plus I get to take you swimming *and* surfing and you don't get to bitch."

"Not even once?"

"Not once. So?"

"I ain't losin'... so hit me with your best shot."

Steve moved in until Danny was backed against the door. Drawing and expelling a slow deep breath, he dropped all the shields and masks he habitually wore around his partner and let his true feelings show. Praying one more time that he could turn the next few minutes into a huge gag if necessary, Steve bracketed Danny's ears with his hands, stared intently into his eyes and began to speak quietly.

"You... are one of the most amazing people I've ever met. You not only put Grace above your job and the place you call home, you put her above the pain and anger you were going through with Rachel. You uprooted your life so the little girl you love wouldn't have to hurt any more than she already was. When you talk about her, the smile doesn't just reach your eyes, it makes your whole face shine... and you can see she adores you just as much. I know it galls you that she can accept and love Stan, too... but she does it because *you* molded her. Your beautiful daughter's enormous, gentle heart is full of trust and compassion because of *you*. I don't know if I'll ever have kids... but if I do, you're my role model, Danny. You're the dad I wanna be."

Steve brought one hand down and cradled Danny's jaw, thumb shifting back and forth lightly, then he leaned in and dropped an ever-so-brief kiss on his partner's slack mouth. When he pulled back, relief flooded him to find a tentative, mildly confused, smile on Danny's face. Fumbling behind him, the smaller man somehow unlocked and opened the door and backed out, humming a tune that Steve knew he should've been able to name instantly. Danny was almost out of sight before the proper title came to his partner.

"Can-Can! That means I win!" he shouted gleefully, chasing after Danny, who promptly turned and ran like the wind.

END.