THREE DAYS LATER:
"Danno! C'mon, move your ass, will ya? Paperwork can wait, the beach can't!"
Irritation clearly written in his expression, Danny strode through their headquarters and met Steve at the door to the outside world..
"For the millionth time, it could *not* wait. Not unless you really *wanna* run outta pens and staples and printer paper, not to mention the cartridges that go *in* the printer... oh wait, I forgot, Super-Seal can write his case reports on tree bark using a porcupine quill dipped in the blood of his enemies. To hell with requisition forms or getting 'em in on time..."
"Go ahead, keep ragging on me with that stupid nickname, you'll find out what the SEALS really taught me to do."
"Besides slap your flippers together and honk horns with your nose?"
"Ohhhh, no. Oh no, no, no. You did *not* just say that, Daniel..."
Steve using his full name clearly told the smaller man that he had, indeed, let his emotions and his infamous mouth run him head-on into trouble, so Danny started to slowly back up. Steve followed, a degenerate smile gradually developing on his lips.
"But... you never... oh crap."
"Oh crap doesn't half cover it... Daniel."
"Wait, wait... I'm sorry, okay? I honestly am..." Danny pleaded, retreating until his back impacted the wall with a slightly jarring thud.
"You want forgiveness? You really want it?" Steve demanded, crowding as close to Danny as he could get.
"To keep my life from becoming a complete nightmare, I get the feeling I better say yes."
"Go with that feeling."
"Okay, okay. Give with the sentence, already."
"Two extra months without ties."
"Right, no ties. Next?"
"You not only learn to swim, you get SCUBA certified."
Danny blanched, but eventually nodded his head.
"Mmm." Steve replied, his voice dropping into the smooth, seductive range that melted Danny down to a compliant puddle, mentally and physically. "Last time we went to the beach...you said you'd been getting distracted... fantasizing about us doing stuff you'd never imagined. After today's lesson... you tell me about one of those daydreams. Okay?"
"Thank you." Steve murmured, kissing the pulse point on the left side of Danny's throat. "Can we get outta here now?"
"Are you ticklish?"
"Cute, Steven, very cute. You almost had me there for a second..."
As Danny made his escape out to the parking lot, Steve discovered that hearing his full first name had an extremely powerful effect on him; one he couldn't easily hide from a potentially skittish Danny, at least not in shorts. Breathing deeply and slowly, Steve calmed his obvious interest as best he could then jogged out to meet Danny at the car.
FORTY MINUTES LATER:
"C'mon, you can do it. Walk out to me. It'll be the same depth as last time."
"You don't need me coaxing and hand-holding anymore, Danno."
"Not even a hint?"
Steve grinned indulgently.
"Get in above your knees, stop to find your balance, then finish the trip. I'm right here, babe. Not goin' anywhere."
With a grunt of discontent, Danny reluctantly began wading into the temperate water on his own, never taking his eyes off Steve, who waited patiently for him farther out. As suggested, he paused when his knees were just under the surface and took a moment to feel how much the current was pushing and pulling and how much he needed to compensate to stay upright. Once he felt like he had it, he continued, gaze still fixed intently on his goal. Finally, he made it and was quickly wrapped in a fierce embrace. "Atta-way, Danno. Told ya you could..."
"Wasn't so sure, myself..."
"Felt good, though, didn't it."
"Yeah... feels amazing."
Easing back, Steve pecked Danny on the forehead and held out his arms as he had before.
"Same way we did last time, babe. That's it. Slow... stay relaxed and trust me. There ya go. Okay... show me the back stroke. Right. Nice, Danny, nice. Arms at your side, now. Close your eyes for me."
"Like they were ever open..."
"Yeah, yeah." Steve laughed softly. "Breathe in an' out slow... like that, good. Let all the tension float away on the water. I'm gonna drop the arm under your legs, okay?"
"No! Not yet!"
"Trust the waves, love... trust the ocean an' trust me. Neither one of is gonna let you down. Relax. Long breaths in... long breaths out. Be still... that's right. Here we go..."
Staying quiet, rejecting the idea that he had to fight for his life or lose it, took all the strength Danny could muster, but his faith in Steve eventually won the day. Gradually, he realized that his lover's arm was gone and, contrary to what his mind had been screaming at him, he had not instantly begun to sink.
"Whoa..." he whispered. "I... I'm floatin'... God, almighty, I actually am..."
"You look incredible doing it. Ready to give up the other arm?"
"I don't know."
"You don't have to. We're takin' this at your pace, remember?"
"Right. Trust... trust... okay, you can drop it."
"Even after, I won't go anywhere. I'm only a couple inches away." Steve reminded the other man as he gently let go and left Danny with only the water to support him. "Don't forget to breathe slow. Inhale... exhale. That's it. You're doin' so good..."
"This... is freakin' amazing."
"I know. Tune in to the sounds... focus on how the water feels against your skin. Let the ocean drain all the bad stuff outta your head. Yeah... let it all go, Danny. The stress, the worry... give it up. The ocean's big enough an' strong enough to handle it."
Almost ten silent minutes later, Danny raised his head out of the water a bit. Steve took his cue and helped the other back up and onto his feet. Danny initiated the hug this time, nuzzling his lips close to Steve's ear so he could fulfill the promise he'd made earlier.
"It was just the two of us... in that big outdoor shower at your place... with nothin' on but denim cutoffs. We kissed forever... then you backed up, gave me that evil look... an' talked in that voice you use... the one that could make me jump outta planes or into a cage with a Bengal tiger. You asked... was I ready to be touched. I said yeah, anything you wanted. You popped the button on my shorts... eased the zipper down... pushed your hand inside... and brought me off slow and steady. Then I returned the favor. You washed us both off under the spray..."
"And? God's sake, don't just leave it there, Danno." Steve pleaded.
"Can't help it. Right about then, Chin walked into my office an' popped my dream bubble."
"That better be all he pops..."
Danny laughed wildly.
"Hey, no worries, McGarrett. Chin knows I'm all yours an' he's too smart to mess with you."
"All mine, hmmm?"
"Damn that voice... go on, say it. I know you want to..."
Steve smiled lightly and lifted Danny off his feet, as he had on the beach to make their second kiss easier.
"Are you ready?"
"Are you? This is movin' so damn fast... I can hardly keep up."
"The look, the voice... they're pretty much a front to hide how little I know about all this."
"Hey, I'm no expert either, bud, so we're in the same boat. I don't know... I think maybe I am ready, but if it'll just bring on another mega-guilt trip..."
"That was only because I figured I'd pushed you into something you weren't sure about."
"At some point, did I or did I not beg you to get me off any way you saw fit?"
"Yeah, but... your higher brain functions..."
"Just answer the question."
"You did. Pretty damn sexy, too..." Steve conceded, grinning shyly.
"And did I not, more than willingly, help you out after?"
"Okay, then. Let the all the worry-wart crap go. I may be as much of a newbie at this at you are... but I know I love your kisses, I loved the way you rubbed against me and I loved the look on your face when you hit your... you know, your moment. I want this, Steven. I want you."
Steve shivered lightly.
"Hell, don't do that unless you mean it, Danno."
"Huh? Do what?"
"Say my full name. Just that takes me half-way to losing control..."
"Danny, I'm warnin' you..."
"Oooh, I'm scared. So, uh... when did this discovery happen?"
"Earlier, back at the office. Does it... does it work both ways?"
"Might. First time I ever heard you do it was today and it was more about intimidation than sexin' me up. The 'I'm starving' look is what gets me... Steven." Danny repeated, doing his best imitation of Steve's sexy growl.
"I know." Danny told him, kissing the taller man briefly. "Put me down, okay?"
Steve complied instantly, eager to find out what his partner was thinking. Danny grasped Steve's hand, moved them back towards shore until they were only ankle deep then settled back into a position facing his lover. "Close your eyes for a second... an' think about the shower. Get the picture solid in your head."
"We're playin' pretend?"
"You alright with that?"
"I'm great." Steve replied, shocked to find that he actually was, never having been much of a fantasist before, in or out of romantic situations. "I start, right?"
"So... are you ready to be touched, Danno?"
"Yeah. Anything you want."
"Thank you, Danno."
Steve let his fingers play for a moment at the waistband of Danny's loose knee-length shorts, as if there really was a button he had to undo. Leaning in, he murmured in the other man's ear. "Popping."
Trailing one finger slowly down over the fabric thinly veiling Danny's swelling erection, he spoke again. "Easing."
After pausing a moment to calm his heartbeat and breathing, Steve moved on to the next step, just as Danny had described it. "Pushing. God, Danno, you're big... thick... can hardly wrap my hand around it."
"Steve... please, Steve, just..."
"Yeah. Slow and steady. You got it. That's it, Danno... so amazing... feel it gettin' closer... that's it..."
Danny's head dropped forward against Steve's chest and his hands clutched at the other's waist for support.
"It is, it's close... Steve... ahhhh...oh God... I'm gonna... I have to... Steve!" Danny howled as a light caress in an especially sensitive spot triggered his orgasm.
"I... am fantastic. My turn..."
"Only if you want... whoa! Warm hand... warm *soft* hand that's not mine. Danny..."
"Ohhhh... I can feel... you mean it this time..."
"So say it again!"
"Love you, Steven. Can't believe I'm touchin' you. *Really* can't believe you'd play like this. I got so many other daydreams to tell you about... every one wilder than the last. I wanna live 'em all... wanna hear yours, too. Every fantasy, every naughty dream you ever had about me..."
"Naughty doesn't... half cover it... ahhhh!"
His chest heaving, Steve pulled Danny fully into his arms as the other freed his hand. "Holy..."
Pulling back a little, Steve picked up double handfuls of water over and over, pouring some slowly over Danny's head and using others to rinse both of them off. Once they were clean, Steve led them both back onto the beach. Even though it sent his anxiety into overdrive, he felt it would be better to broach the delicate subject sooner rather than later, so he hesitantly spoke up as he quickly dried Danny's hair.
"Was that just... spur of the moment? Did you know you said it or..."
"You mean the L word?" Danny responded, pulling off the towel off his head so he could see and judge Steve's reaction. "I knew. Don't, uh... don't feel like you have to..."
"You finish that sentence I'll kick your ass to the mainland and back."
"So you... love me."
Steve breathed deeply and paused to gather his composure before he answered.
"Yeah, I do."
Danny shivered and drew in a fast, surprised breath. "What? What is it, Danno?"
"After Rachael an' I fell apart, I never wanted to hear those two words again. Now... now, God help me, I can picture myself sayin' 'em back."
"Lucky we're living in a place where most people won't bat an eye when we invite 'em to the wedding." Steve chuckled, brushing Danny's brow with his lips and tugging him toward the car.