It was 7:00 a.m. in Hawaii which meant it was 9:00 in San Francisco. Steve had already been for a swim in the friendly ocean, taken a shower, and brought two cups of hot coffee up to settle in with Danny to make their weekly phone call to John. They were pleased at how well John was settling into being a part of the 49ers, not that they thought he'd be anything but spectacularly successful. So far his biggest challenge had been to get his entire last name to fit on the back of his jersey but the 49ers assured him it would be worked out before the first pre-season game.
"Hey," Steve said when he sat on the bed, leaning against Danny's back to peek at his face. "I know you aren't really asleep."
"I would be if a SEAL octopus wasn't all up in my personal space," Danny grumbled.
"Seals don't mate with octopi," Steve told him. "If you don't want this coffee, it's more for me."
"Coffee?" Danny said, rolling on his back to look up at Steve. "You didn't say there was coffee."
"Right. Because you couldn't smell it," Steve said, waiting until Danny was sitting up before handing him his cup.
"Hmm…" Danny snorted. "Call your son before he's too busy to talk."
"Roger that," Steve agreed, speed dialing John.
"Hello?" a breathless, decidedly feminine voice answered.
"Hi," Steve said, barely disguising his laugh. "Can I talk to John, please?"
"Who may I ask is calling?" she asked. It sounded automatic like she said it a lot when she was fully awake.
"His father," Steve said.
"Oh shit," the same voice said. They could hear muted scrambling and very quiet cursing. "Oh shit-shit-shit, John. It's your father. Oh shit."
"Calm down," John's distant voice said with a laugh. "Dad's cool."
"Oh shit-shit…." The connection was cut and Steve looked over at Danny who was laughing with him.
"Oops," Danny said with a shrug, sipping his coffee.
"Yeah," Steve said, watching the phone. It didn't take long for John's number to appear and Steve immediately connected. "Our future daughter-in-law?"
John laughed. "Not so much," he said. There was the faint sound of a door closing before John resumed his conversation. "Don't think we'll be going out again."
"Or staying in?" Danny asked.
"We could change the subject," John suggested.
"Embarrassing you is way too much fun," Danny informed him.
"Steve," John said in pleading.
"Sorry, Bud. He's right," Steve laughed at him.
"You two are unbelievable. Where is your righteous indignation?" John demanded.
"You're an adult, Bud. Your choices are yours. You were careful, right?" Danny asked.
"Please. Please change the subject," John pleaded.
"All right," Steve said, finally taking pity on him. "How was practice?"
"Really good. It's clicking like it should. It's easier than I thought it'd be," John said.
"That's an excellent sign," Steve said. "How's Millerbeck? He still busting your chops?"
"Some," John said, sighing at the thoughts of the linebacker who was making it his mission to make John miserable. Maybe it was to keep the rookie humble but John had had about enough of the razing.
"You tell Coach?" Danny asked.
"Not yet. I'm trying to handle it. It may come to blows. You got a problem with that?" John asked.
"No blood no points," Steve said.
"That is not appropriate," Danny scolded with a laugh. "This isn't SEAL school."
"Whatever," John and Steve said in unison.
"Are you still coming to the first preseason game?" John asked.
"Of course," Steve assured him. "We want to meet our future daughter-in-law."
"Stop, Dad. Just stop," John pleaded, getting no sympathy but even more laughter at his expense.
"Chin is coming with," Steve said. "That won't be a problem, right?"
"No. Of course not," John said. "I thought he stopped trailing around behind you after you left office."
"He loves San Francisco," Danny said.
"The more the merrier," John said. They chatted for a while longer about John's learning curve as the incoming quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He had been chosen second overall in the most recent draft, the 49ers' abysmal recent record giving them a high pick. Danny was thrilled that John ended up on the west coast instead of the east. Steve was happy that John was making the transition from college to pros so easily. There was still a lot for John to learn, but so far all signs were positive for his career and by extension his team.
When they finished their conversation with John, they called Emma but it went straight to voicemail. They weren't surprised since she was fully engulfed in trying to finish at Annapolis in order to be ready to start with the next BUD/s class if she was selected. She was one of three women who had applied and none of them were sure they'd be accepted. Change never came quickly in the Armed Services and accepting female SEALs was no exception. Danny had reservations about Emma being a SEAL but Steve did not bother to contain his pride at her determination. They were all waiting anxiously until the roster of the next BUD/s class was announced. Steve thought it would be right before graduation in a couple of weeks.
Steve and Danny were watching the post-game news conference. John had led the 49ers to a 24-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in his first official professional game. The 49ers had gone 2-2 in preseason, John wishing it had been more in favor of the wins. But it was pretty universally agreed that John was the future of quarterbacking on the pro level.
Steve and Danny would have liked to be there to witness his first "real game" in person except it was on the east coast. And Danny had so much animosity left over toward the Eagles from his days as a Jets fan, Steve didn't trust him in the "enemy's" stadium.
They (mostly Steve) decided they would wait to attend John's first regular season home game in San Francisco. Watching him play on TV was nearly as good, much focus from the commentators on John's talent. Steve and Danny were beaming in pride throughout the game, barely able to contain their happiness at his success.
Now that the game was successfully in the books, Danny was mostly drowsing with his feet in Steve's lap. The post-game press conference was playing on the TV although they were not paying a lot of attention. Mainly they were waiting for John's turn at the podium. His coach had been effusive in his praise of John's talent and his ability to lead the team to a resounding victory.
At last, John stepped up to the microphone, looking relaxed and profession in his suit and tie. It was actually one of Danny's ties, John stealing it as a good luck charm the last time he'd been home. Danny certainly didn't mind even when Steve had laughed at them both.
John said all those things that were expected – it was a team effort; every team member did their part; as early as it was in the season, he thought they were in for good things; they would play each game one at a time.
"He looks so grown-up," Danny said, shaking his head in wonder. "Is this really our little boy?"
"Not so little any longer," Steve said.
"Don't remind me," Danny said with a sigh. "When did we get so old?"
"Would you stop?" Steve scolded. "We're still spring chickens."
"Old roosters you mean," Danny said. "When was the last time anyone flirted with you?"
"Yesterday. At the dry cleaners. Lilly wouldn't stop talking to me. And not just about starch in your shirts either," Steve said.
"She could be your granddaughter," Danny said, shaking his head.
"Doesn't mean I'm dead," Steve reminded him. "And neither are you. As you proved this morning."
"That was mostly youproving it, you insufferable controlling bastard."
"Didn't hear any complaints this morning," Steve reminded him with a lecherous grin which should have been ridiculous yet wasn't.
"Stop talking about sex when our son is on TV," Danny finally said, turning his full attention to the screen as the news conference was opened to questions from the gathered reporters. The questions were as cliché as John's answers, all of it well-rehearsed spontaneity. "Why do they bother?" Danny finally asked. "Why don't the reporters hold up cards that say 'requisite question #3' and John can respond with 'requisite answer #5'?"
"I always wanted to during the endless news conferences," Steve confirmed.
"You never sounded bored," Danny said. "I knew you were but nobody else would know."
"That is reassuring," Steve said. "I don't miss their stupidity."
"I know, Babe," Danny said. He turned his focus back to the TV, a reporter in the middle of asking a question, an eerie silence falling over the press room.
"What is your response to the rumors?" the reporter was saying.
"I don't have a response to rumors I've never heard," John said with authority. It was a tone Danny recognized directly from Steve.
"Are you denying that you are gay?" the reporter asked, the rest of those gathered looking at him agape.
"I never said I was. I never said I wasn't," John said firmly.
"So you are admitting it?" the reporter responded, sounding like he had the scoop of all scoops.
"I not responding at all," John informed him. "If I were to respond, I'd remind you that I have two fathers. Two fathers who could not love me or my siblings more. Two fathers who could not be better role models."
Steve and Danny exchanged a look that was a mix of dismay and pride. It wasn't the first time the unusual parentage of the children had been a topic of discussion. This was certainly the most public.
"Is the NFL ready for a gay quarterback?" the persistent reporter asked.
A team official began to approach the podium but John waved him off. "Was Hawaii ready for a gay governor? Because my fathers were already married when he was elected. They already had me and my sister. If you want to hold tight to your prejudices, I'm not your conscious. Both my fathers are my real life heroes and I could not ask for better parents. My sister will be the first female SEAL because our dads told us we could be anything we wanted, could do anything we wanted. And if you have a problem with that, both of them will be in San Francisco next Sunday. You can discuss your prejudices with them but they willkick your ass." With that John nodded and left the podium to the applause of all those gathered.
The silence that had fallen over the living room was dispelled with the ringing of the phone. "Hey Bud," Danny said, smiling at the identity of his caller.
"I'm really sorry," John said quietly.
"What for? We couldn't possibly be more proud of you," Danny said, love in his voice.
"You have absolutely nothing to apologize for, Bud," Steve added. "I don't know that I've ever been more proud of you than I am right now."
"I shouldn't have used you like that," John said, sounding slightly less dismayed.
"You didn't use us, Bud," Danny assured him. "You were explaining yourself. Your up-bringing wasn't exactly conventional. If anyone has a problem with that, that's on them, not you."
"Thanks," John said with a sigh. "Can you call Emma? Just in case?"
"We will, baby. Stop worrying," Steve said. "Go celebrate. We love you."
"I love you too," John said, taking a audible breath. "I'll see you on Friday."
"You know it. And we'll kick as many asses as we need to," Danny promised.
"Thanks," John laughed. "You are the best. Both of you."
"Ditto," Danny agreed before disconnecting. He pressed the speed-dial for Emma, her phone answered right away.
"Hi ya, Danno," she said as cheerful as ever.
"Hey pumpkin," Danny responded. "Were you watching John's game?"
"Totally. He really kicked some Eagle ass," Emma laughed.
"He did," Steve agreed. "Did you see the post-game conference?"
"I figured that's why you were calling," she said more seriously. "Why are people still so stupid?"
"No idea, baby," Steve said. "He asked us to call you. He was concerned."
"I'm fine, Daddy. He was right – you are our heroes. You being a SEAL protects me from a lot of the bullshit."
"I'm glad," Steve said. "We'll be in San Francisco to kick some ass next week."
"Good," Emma said in approval. "Give John a hug for me."
"You know we will," they assured her. "You need anything?" Steve asked her.
"Daddy," she laughed. "I'm not your baby any longer."
"You will always be our baby," Danny reminded her. "We love you."
"I love you too," she said before hanging up. She still had to finish packing up her dorm before she was shipped out to Coronado for SEAL school.
"We have the best children in the entire universe," Danny said with a contented sigh.
"We most certainly do," Steve said, leaning closer to kiss Danny. "If you will call Henry to make sure he knows he's about to be flooded with phone calls, I'll make you dinner."
"It's a deal. What are you making me?" Danny asked, trailing behind him to the kitchen.
"Whatever you want," Steve said with a laugh.
"As you should," Danny agreed, leaning against the cabinet to watch him root around in the frig. "You going to char meat over open flame?"
"Probably. Go to the store for some salad, please."
"Nah," Danny said, shaking his head and dialing Henry. "We'll have fruit."
"Copy that," Steve said, taking the steaks outside to introduce them to the flame. Theirs would not be a long relationship.
"Hey, Dad," John said when Steve had the door to the suite open. John was smiling broadly at Steve before Steve waved him and his friend in. "This is Craig Millerbeck. Craig, this is my father Steve. And this is my father Danny," he said when Danny emerged from the bathroom.
"John," Danny said, wrapping him in a warm hug.
"Danno," John laughed, finally extracting himself to hug Steve. "Danno always was a hugger," John said to Craig who was watching with amusement.
"Always," Steve agreed, waving them to the loveseat. "It's good to meet you finally, Craig."
"You two as well, sir," Craig said. "John talks about you all the time."
"He told us about you," Danny said, narrowing his eyes as he said it. "Thank you for finally stopping with the harassment."
"It's my job," Craig said. "He has to pay his rookie dues."
"At least we don't have to have a talk with you," Danny said, trying for very stern but not entirely succeeding.
"Dad," John said in request. "Let it go. He's not a suspect in a crime."
"Fortunately for him," Danny said.
"How was your flight?" John asked, deciding Danny had embarrassed Craig enough for the first five minutes.
"It would have been better if someone hadn't complained about the cramped quarters the entire way," Steve said, Danny frowning at him.
"Kono wouldn't loan you the Governor's jet?" John laughed.
"Steve refused to ask," Danny complained. "'Inappropriate use of state funds.' Pffft…."
"He's right," John said. "Anyway, Steve would have been way more crowded than you were."
"Which I tried to tell him. But you know how he gets," Steve said, shaking his head.
"Loud," John said, laughing at Danny's attempts to protest. "Craig said we should go to Marcelos' for dinner."
"They have the best seafood in the city," Craig said. He was a couple of years older than John, his black hair short and tidy. He looked very much like a football player, not an ounce of fat on his 6 foot 5 inch frame. He was 101% muscles, his long sleeve button down barely able to contain his arms.
"Sounds perfect," Danny agreed.
"You'll have to pay," John said. "I was fined by the league for threatening that reporter."
"We feel for you," Craig said. "They'll take it out of your signing bonus."
"Was he fined for inappropriate questions?" Steve asked.
"No but I think he was fired," John said with a smile.
"Even better," Danny said in agreement. "Of course we'll buy you dinner. We can't have you starving. We'll even take you there. We rented a car so Steve could drive it. God forbid I'd get a chance to."
"Stop. Just stop," Steve said.
"I do owe you both an apology," Craig said sincerely.
"Whatever for?" Steve said. "You didn't hurt John. That spares you any paternal retribution."
"I am the reason the press thinks he's gay," Craig confessed.
"I told you that you have nothing to do with it," John protested.
"You have to know we aren't going to hold anything against you, son," Steve told Craig warmly. "John can handle himself. Especially with appropriate back-up which he clearly has in you."
"Yes sir," Craig said, looking down at his hands.
"I don't know why you keep saying that, Craig. You aren't gay. Why would our friendship cause anyone to think either of us was?" John asked him. His tone implied he had said it all before – several times at least.
"The press decided I was when I was still in my rookie year. I didn't have the nerve to stand up for myself then. It doesn't matter how many women I date, they still report I'm not straight. It's tiring," Craig said.
"Any speculation on who you may or may not wish to date would be annoying," Steve agreed. "We've had our share of it. We have learned to ignore it except when it hurts the children. Then we will forcefully intervene."
"That's why I wanted to apologize," Craig said. "You are being mentioned in almost every article about the 49ers."
"That would have happened no matter what," John told him. "Steve was governor of Hawaii. Having me as a son is news, apparently. But we're used to it. They were in the news all the time even before Steve ran for office."
"Not that I wanted to run for Governor," Steve said.
"Talk about old news," Danny said, making Steve frown at him.
"It's your fault I was elected Governor. I was perfectly happy at Five-0. But you decided I should run," Steve reminded him.
"You cannot tell me you regret your eight years as Governor," Danny told him. "I know better. You can lie to yourself but you cannot lie to me. You loved every minute of it."
"Not the news conferences," Steve said.
"Okay, not the news conferences. But the rest of it. Being in charge. Telling the whole state what to do. You were in your glory. If there wasn't a two term limit, you'd still be governor."
"That is so not true," Steve protested. "The only positive of being Governor was that I didn't have to spend all my time with you. I'm thinking of reenlisting in the Navy. The peace and quiet would be welcome after listening to you go on and on."
"I'll help you pack," Danny claimed. "In fact, I'll drop you off. Where's the nearest Naval installation? John, Google that for me."
"Do they really act like this all the time?" Craig asked John in amusement.
"All. The. Time," John said, shaking his head. "Why isn't Chin here? He can make you stop."
"He has better things to do," Danny said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
"How's Emma?" John asked, as anxious for news her time in Coronado as he was to distract Danny.
"It's a tough a go," Steve said. "But she's a tough woman. She'll be fine."
"Are you going to see her while you're here?" John asked.
"I wanted to but somebodysaid we can't. Are they held prisoner there? No visitors allowed? What is that about? She's my baby girl. I should be able to see her when I'm on the mainland." Danny didn't pause in his rant as he stood up to follow the other guys out of the suite. That they left so he would stop talking either didn't occur to him or he simply chose to ignore the obvious hint.
Danny was at the desk in the sunroom frowning at the computer when Steve came in from his swim. He was toweling his hair as he looked down at Danny's unhappy expression.
"What'd the computer do to you this time?" Steve asked with a laugh.
"$155 for cable, Steven. That's ridiculous. We barely watch TV but we pay $155 a month for cable. What is that about?" Danny asked still scowling at the computer.
"It's not like we can't afford it, Danno," Steve reminded him, leaning one wet hip against the desk. "It also includes the internet and the landline for the alarm."
"That's not the point. The point is that they are thieves. If somebody had done something about their outrageous rates while that somebodywas governor, we wouldn't be paying $155 every month for cable."
"Why are you even doing the bills? Henry will be here tomorrow to do them," Steve reminded him.
"Why do we still have Henry? Are we paying him? Or is the state?" Danny asked with a frown up at Steve who was looming over him and dripping on his tee shirt.
"I've been out of office for five months. It just now occurred to you to ask?" Steve said with a laugh.
"Are we paying him?" Danny asked, returning most of his attention back to the computer. The part not consumed with having Steve's warmth soaking into his skin.
"We have him because we are so accustom to him taking care of things, it's easier to pay him than deal with it ourselves. And it's not like he minds. He said he'd do it for free, for the amusement of it. Kono pays him. Something about not ever letting me back near the Governor's office again."
"What's the correlation there?" Danny asked.
"I don't know. It's apparently what's done?" Steve said with a shrug as he took firm hold of the arm of Danny's chair and swiveled it to face him.
"What? What are you doing? I'm being the responsible adult here and you're, what, planning to sit on me?"
"Something way better than sit on you," Steve promised, putting the towel on the floor before kneeling on it.
"Swimming always did make you horny," Danny said with a smile, pulling him closer to kiss him.
"Lucky for you, huh?" Steve asked, rucking up Danny's tee shirt to kiss his chest.
"Look at all that grey," Danny said with a sigh, shaking his head.
"Stop," Steve said. "I'm trying to concentrate. 'Oh yes. Please more' is all you are allowed to say."
"Bossy," Danny said into Steve hair when he bent his head to concentrate on opening Danny's jean shorts.
Steve huffed at laugh, ticking Danny's skin as he freed his forming erection. Seeing it made Steve smile before taking Danny into his mouth. Danny had to moan – it didn't matter how long they'd been married or how many times Steve had chosen this particular distraction, Danny melted every single time. Having Steve's warm, wet mouth around him was heaven, heaven right on Earth.
When Steve pulled Danny's shorts down to reach for his heavy sacks, Danny moaned again, his hips thrusting up without his conscious permission. Steve, as always, anticipated his reaction and moved with him. Danny had choked him a few times when Steve first did it for him, but since then their rhythm had become as familiar as it was delicious.
"I want to have my way with you," Danny whispered down to Steve's hair. "I want to bend you over this desk, spread you out over the cable bill and the electric bill and make you forget about everything except me."
"Mmm…" Steve hummed around him, increasing the suction.
"I want to mount you like a stallion and ride you. I want to give you everything I have and leave you begging for more," Danny whispered. "I want to prove I'm not old and neither are you. I am going to show you how much I have left. I'm going to lick your ridiculous tattoos and bite your muscles until they are…." He stopped when the phone on the desk started to ring.
"Uhn," Steve grunted, managing to shake his head.
"It's Emma," Danny said, reaching over with a quivering hand.
"Uhn," Steve repeated, shaking his head again.
Danny managed to get Steve to back off before Danny connected. "Hey pumpkin," he said, hoping against hope he sounded somewhere close to normal.
"Hey Daddy," she said, tears in her voice.
"What's wrong, baby?" Danny asked, frowning down at Steve who had wrapped one hand around Danny's erection.
"Is Daddy there?" she asked with a sniff.
"Of course, sweetie. Hold on a second," Danny said, putting her on hold. "Let go. Emma's crying. Act like an adult."
Steve frowned at him but reached for his coffee, taking a long drink before accepting the phone. "Hey baby. What's up?"
"I don't think I can do it, Daddy," she sobbed, completely loosing her composure. "It's so hard. I can't do it."
"All right, baby. Take a deep breath," Steve soothed. "Breathe in and out. In and out."
Danny stood and zipped up, frowning at the phone. "What happened, baby?"
"They don't want me here. They said I'm a girlwith no business doing this. They said SEALs are the best of the best and just because you are one doesn't mean I can be," she said, still crying.
"I know it's hard, baby," Steve said gently. "They are using your gender against you but if you were a guy they'd still be harassing you. You know that, don't you?"
"Did they do it to you? Was it this hard for you?" she asked, a little calmer.
"It's hard for everybody. It's supposed to be."
"Are they threatening you? To hurt you?" Danny demanded.
"No Daddy. They just keep insulting me. Telling me I won't make it because I'm a girl.That's so stupid. They aren't better than me because I'm not a guy."
"Of course they aren't," Steve agreed. "Are you keeping up?"
"Yeah. They say it's because I get the girltests. But I haven't failed one yet." She took a deep breath, sniffing. "I just don't think I can do it, Daddy."
"Do what, Em?" Steve asked.
"I don't think I can stand the humiliation. And I'm so tired. I can barely think straight. But I don't want you to be disappointed in me," she said with a sob.
"Baby, listen to me," Steve said firmly. "Are you listening?"
"Uh huh," she acknowledged.
"I love you. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing. If you really want to quit, then quit. That is entirely your decision. I'm not a factor in it. Do you understand?"
"Uh huh," she said, sounding calmer. "I don't want to quit, Daddy. I do want to be the first female SEAL. But…."
"I know. It's really really hard," Steve said. "Not finishing the training is not anything to be ashamed of. If it's too much, tell them you are requesting to be reassigned."
"Danno?" she said tentatively.
"Yes, baby, I'm right here."
"Will you be disappointed in me?"
"Oh baby. You don't have to ask me that. You are my hero. I couldn't be more proud of you. SEAL or not, I love you. I love who you are. And that will never change," Danny told her.
"What if I robbed a bank?" she asked. They could hear the smile in her voice. It lightened their hearts.
"Then we'd have to talk," Steve said with a smile. "But we'd know you thought it was for a really good reason or you wouldn't do it."
"Besides, you'd have to explain to Chin," Danny warned.
"Oh. More reason not to do it," she agreed with a laugh.
"Precisely," Danny said, looking at Steve with concern in his eyes. Steve sent him silent reassurances, Danny nodding.
"Have you talked to John this week?" Steve asked.
"I tried but it kept going to voicemail. Are you going to Seattle to see him?" she asked.
"Maybe," Steve said. "Danny is perseverating over the cable bill being so high. Next he'll tell me we can't afford to fly to Washington."
"I would never," Danny said firmly. "It's $155. What kind of sense does that make?"
"Maybe John will give you a loan," Emma suggested.
"We'll ask him," Steve agreed.
"Good. I know I interrupted you when I called," Emma said. "Go back to whatever you were doing that I prefer to pretend you don't ever do and have never done."
"Maybe we were washing the dishes," Danny suggested.
"Oh. Is that what you are calling it now?" Emma laughed.
"Stop," Danny pleaded.
"Are you okay now, baby?" Steve asked more seriously.
"I think so. I'm not going to quit. Not yet. It would give them too much satisfaction. And I have every right to be here. I qualified just like they did."
"Yes you did," Steve agreed. "If you decide to leave, you aren't to worry about me and Danno. You got that?"
"I do. I love you both. So much."
"We love you too," Steve said, disconnecting after their final goodbyes.
"Think she'll make it?" Danny asked up to Steve.
Steve could only shrug. "She's our daughter. Stubborn pride will probably see her through if nothing else."
"You are the stubborn one. Not me. I'm free and breezy. Swaying with the wind."
"You are also full of shit," Steve informed him, stalking him and reaching for his tee shirt.
"Stop. What are you doing? We just got off the phone with our daughter who was sobbing. And you want to finish what you started?"
"You promised," Steve informed him. "And all of our bills come electronically. So how you think you are going to spread me out over them is something I'd like you to explain."
Danny made an attempt to prevent Steve from removing his shirt and shorts but his heart wasn't in it. By the time he was naked, Steve's swim trunks had been lost as well. "I'll still bend you over the desk," Danny said pulling him down for a kiss.
"It's a deal," Steve agreed lifting him up onto it.
"Wait. How is me sitting on the desk bending you over it?"
"We'll get to that part," Steve promised, kissing the protests out of Danny's mouth. Not that Steve really minded the complaints. The sound of them were the sound of home as surely as the waves crashing on the shore outside the door.