/ / / \ \ \

Mary came home just after they moved down to the spare room to tell them she was now a flight attendant. Then the shit hit the fan and they were running around trying to prove her story.

The day before she left she came over to check out the work going on with the house, it was a Wednesday so Grace was able to show Mary around her old room.

"Did you paint the bed?" Mary asked running her fingers over the pictures.

"Yes," Grace started pointing things out. "Dad drew it all on first and then we painted it on, Steve was only allowed to help a little because he was still recovering."

"I bet it was hard to get him to stop doing things," Mary said pointing to a seal. "Did he do this one?"

"Yeah," Grace said. "He was good most of the time but sometimes I had to tell him off."

Mary nodded. "When we were little he'd never stay in bed when he was sick he'd try to sneak down to the beach and go swimming. Mum always caught him and forced him to go back to bed."

Grace frowned. "His doctors told him he wasn't allowed to do anything like that."

"So I didn't," Steve said appearing at the door. "Mar stop telling Grace all the bad things I used to do."

Mary laughed. "That's my job, the room looks amazing."

"I helped paint it," Grace said proudly.

"Really?" Mary asked. "I never liked painting."

"We've been doing all the painting. I helped with all the rooms as well and this weekend we are working on Dad and Steve's room and then we are going to the zoo."

"I loved the zoo, do you go a lot?"

"All the time, my favourite animal is the penguins. Danny and Steve are penguins."

"Really?" Mary asked looking at her brother.

"There are some gay penguins in Spain who raised a chick."

Mary laughed loudly. "You are a gay penguin, and to think I always thought you were a SEAL."

Steve rolled his eyes at Mary. "What should we have for dinner Gracie?"

"You have to eat more vegetables." Grace said.

Mary smiled. "Do I get to see the rest of the house?"

"I'll show you," Steve said. "Sweetheart why don't you go and see Danno and badger him about vegetables."

Grace nodded and bounced from the room.

"You're good with her," Mary said stepping out of the room.

"She's amazing," Steve said. "We haven't started on our room yet since we didn't have anywhere else to sleep until the kitchen was done and my old room stopped holding all the food."

"Hers was the first room you did?"

"Yeah," Steve said. "We wanted her settled while everything else was unorganised."

Mary laughed and hugged her brother.

"What?"

"You have a family," Mary said. "I'm happy for you."

Steve nodded and started walking. "The bathroom upstairs is almost done, just has to be painted which should happen during the week." Steve showed her the room.

"I like the colour."

"Grace suggested it," Steve admitted. "But I really think it looks good."

"When are you two getting married?"

"We haven't discussed it," Steve said closing the door and taking her to the kitchen. "We started with the plan mum made before she died and made some changes. You remember Alex Scott from high school?"

"Of course," Mary said.

"He did the kitchen and bathroom."

Mary looked at the dark wood cabinets and the green walls.

"Mum wanted dark wood cabinets but the green?"

"Danny's idea, it reminds him of his mother's kitchen at home."

Mary smiled. "A mixture of both your mother's kitchens. You are really living up to those homosexual stereotypes."

Steve shoved Mary with his shoulder and moved her into the living room. "We bought a couch and I have my TV, we didn't want to put much in the living room, we are waiting for the delivery of another couple chairs to add to the couch and the coffee table but there has been a delay."

"So you're finally putting all that hazard pay to good use?"

"Mainly, yeah." Steve pushed her out into the long room at the back of the house. "I didn't think we needed anything as big as that table mum and dad had."

Mary nodded. "That thing was a monstrosity."

"We got a smaller table obviously and," Steve turned to the other end. "Grace and I set up a little area for Danny to do his painting at the other end for his birthday."

Mary nodded. "You doing anything with the outside?"

"I had to reseal the decking earlier in the year like always so that's done but we are thinking about repainting the outside."

"White again?"

"I couldn't do anything different I don't think. It's always been white."

"It's a good colour with the salt air always coming in."

Steve nodded and led Mary out to the lanai where Danny and Grace were sitting and discussing the food pyramid.

"What do you think of the house?" Danny asked.

"It's great. You have both done a good job. I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's completely done."

"So am I, trust me," Danny said. "Feels like it's been forever."

"I really do need to get back to the hotel," Mary said.

"Stay for dinner," Danny said.

"I don't want to intrude."

"You can help us prime the walls," Grace suggested.

"I don't think so," Steve and Mary said together.

"But," Mary continued. "I'd like to stay for dinner."

"I'll cook steak and we'll have a salad," Steve said grinning at Grace who nodded at his choice.

Mary stayed for dinner and sat watching while they did a coat of primer on the bathroom walls chatting with them before she went home to get ready for her flight home the next day.

"Danny," Mary said grabbing his hand and pulling him into the spare room and privacy. "I assume you are serious since you are doing the house with him and have allowed your daughter to become so attached but Steve is the only family I have left and I just want to warn you to take care of him."

"I'm not going anywhere," Danny said. "But thank you for the reminder."

Mary smiled and hugged him. "Good, I'll see you the next time I'm back."

/ / / \ \ \

Danny handed Grace her plate of lasagne and then gave one to Steve on Saturday night after the zoo.

"Happy birthday Uncle Steve," Grace said while Danny sat down.

"Thanks sweetheart," Steve said tasting his birthday dinner and smiling at Danny. Danny might ruin eggs but he could cook lasagne and had taken Steve's off handed comment about not really celebrating his birthday in years to heart and had decided to go all out. The cake at headquarters with Mary and the team and now a family dinner with Grace. Danny had annoyed Steve for twenty minutes in the car before Steve finally ordered lasagne for his birthday dinner having not eaten it in years and wondering if Danny would end up being as good with it as he had been with most of his cooking…anything that didn't involve eggs as the main ingredient.

They ate and chatted quietly.

"What did you do for your birthday last year Uncle Steve?" Grace asked.

"I went for a swim."

Grace put her fork down and stared at him. "All alone?"

"I love swimming."

Grace's eyes turned sad. "That isn't good enough. I'm glad you have us now, birthdays should be with family and we are family aren't we daddy?"

"We certainly are Gracie."

Grace's face cleared and she went back to eating happily telling Steve about her birthdays and how Steve would have to be at her party this year and where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do. Steve managed to keep himself from promising her anything she asked for while eating and enjoying his birthday for the first time in years.

After dinner Danny pulled a cake off the counter and put it down in front of Steve while Grace got up to turn the lights off and Danny lit the candles.

They sung him happy birthday and Grace was very enthusiastic with her hoorays before Steve blew out the candles and cut into the cake.

"Presents!" Grace said running from the room.

Danny pulled the cake from in front of Steve and cut them all a piece before Grace came back and put a carefully wrapped present in front of him. "Mum helped me wrap it and I bought it with my allowance."

"Thank you Grace," Steve hugged her. "You didn't need to do that though."

Grace pulled back and frowned at him. "You're family and Daddy always said you give presents to family on their birthdays, he always helps me get Step-Stan a present so Mummy helped me with this one."

Steve smiled down at her and Danny squeezed his shoulder. "Open hers and we'll have cake and then I'll show you mine."

Steve smirked at Danny while Grace wasn't look at him but Danny just rolled his eyes at Steve.

"Okay Gracie," Steve started pulling the present towards him. He unwrapped it and pulled out a white box, inside was a metal wind chime, Steve pulled it out and discovered at the bottom a copper coloured seal. "This is brilliant."

"You like it?" Grace asked watching him closely.

"I love it," Steve said blowing on the metal hanging to listen to it chime. "We can put it out on the lanai when it's finished."

Grace beamed at him. "It has a seal."

"Because I am one," Steve answered. "It's perfect."

Grace grinned and picked up her fork to start eating her cake.

"I'm not sure my present can compete," Danny said with a smile. "It's great monkey."

"You hadn't seen it?" Steve asked.

"Nope, Grace was serious, I help with Rachel and Stan's presents and Rachel helps with mine and yours that way we can't give the game away and it's a surprise."

Steve laid the wind chime back into the box carefully and closed it before he started eating his cake.

Later, after they'd finished the cake and were sitting watching TV on the brand new couch, which had been delivered earlier in the week and had finished the lounge room finally, Danny disappeared and came back with a wrapped flat box.

"Happy birthday babe," Danny said handing it to Steve. Steve looked up at him and smiled before he noticed that Danny actually looked nervous.

Steve watched him for a moment but Grace's wriggling next to him pulled his attention away and he turned to her.

"Hurry up," Grace prompted.

Steve lifted the present and pulled the paper away revealing a painting. Steve swallowed thickly and looked up at Danny. "You painted this?"

"Yeah," Danny said attempting to smile but failing.

"It's my family," Steve looked back to the picture. "This was the last family day we spent together, down at the beach; mum made a picnic and it was excellent. She was gone later that week."

"Is it okay?" Danny asked his face set with a worried frown. "I found the picture when we were cleaning up. I asked Mary about it since it was tucked in a really odd spot. She told me what it was and I was going to have a blown up. I thought maybe somewhere in here on the wall if you wanted and then you and Grace gave me the painting area and I thought maybe this could be getting back into painting. I wasn't sure if you'd even want the reminder but Mary talked about that day as being really happy and I sent her a copy of the picture and is it okay?"

Steve nodded and looked back at the picture; his mother was there, wearing a butter yellow dress an arm thrown over his shoulder. She'd smelt of lilacs and the ocean, Mary had been kicking him in the leg just before they took the picture and it was one of the rare weekends when his father had been home both days. Steve hadn't felt like he was unimportant that day and they had all had fun. He could still hear his mother's laugh. Steve blinked a couple of times and then stood and walked over to the mantle. He carefully pushed what was there aside and propped the frame there. He took a step back and looked at it.

Strong arms wrapped around Steve's waist and Danny pressed his face into Steve's shoulder blade so he could see over his shoulder. "Are you okay?"

"It's perfect," Steve whispered. "It was the perfect day, thank you."

Steve span around in Danny's arms and held him tight. When Steve finally pulled back his face was a mixture of happy and weary.

"Are you sure."

"I'm positive," Steve turned to look at it again. "It's perfect, thank you so much. You really are very good."

Danny shrugged. "I'm alright. Come on, you get to pick the movie we watch on your birthday."

"The Incredibles," Steve answered automatically.

"Grace is a terrible influence on you."

"I'll make the popcorn," Steve said heading towards the kitchen. Danny let him go even though it was his birthday and he shouldn't be doing anything. He knew Steve needed a minute after the painting and Danny wondered if he should have waited until after Grace went to be to give it to him.

Steve came back with a large bowl of popcorn and pulled Danny tight into his side when they were sitting. Grace pressed herself into Danny's other side and they all curled up under the blanket to watch the movie. Grace was asleep by the time the father was captured on the island but they didn't move her.

"Thank you," Steve whispered against his neck during a quiet scene in the movie. "It is amazing."

"I'm just glad you like it, though I do have a backup present."

"Really?" Steve asked keeping his voice low and his arms tight around Danny.

"I was worried you'd really hate it."

Steve shook his head. "It was the perfect day, thank you for reminding me."

Danny turned his head and kissed him before they went quiet to finish the movie. When it was done Danny carried Grace to her room and curling up together in the spare room their own room striped and ready to paint as the last room that needed painting.

/ / / \ \ \

A week later Danny came into work having woken up with Steve gone to find a letter instead of the man.

Steve had gone after Shelburne leaving Danny with nothing but a note and a burning anger in his stomach because Steve still didn't understand that they were supposed to be in this together.

Later that day paperwork arrived for Danny to sign giving him half ownership of Steve's house and power of attorney in the event of Steve becoming incapacitated or lost on a mission. Danny called Steve's cell phone again.

It went through to his voicemail.

"Steven," Danny started in his most calm voice. "A letter, you run off after Shelburne and you leave me a letter. A letter, not a phone message or an intelligently encrypted multi-platform delivered message that Chin has to decode. You leave a letter on my desk you Neanderthal. A letter, something you took the time to sit down and write instead of coming and speaking to me. A letter Steven, on paper. That tells me that you thought about leaving and that you made the decision to leave without coming and speaking to me. But then again who the fuck am I right?" Danny couldn't sit any longer he was walking in a wide pendulum swing around his desk as long as the phone cord. "Well I was under the impression Steven that we were in a committed relationship what with the decision to cohabitate and the fact I have spent the last several months living in a house that is being slowly ripped apart. This all tells me Steven that maybe we were somewhat invested in one another. But all I get is a letter. So obviously you still haven't got it through all that scar tissue given to you by SEAL training surrounding your brain that we are supposed to be in this together and you don't get to just run off after leaving me a letter on my desk. Because you know what? Tonight when I call Gracie she is going to ask me to speak to you like she has been lately to see how the house is-" the call ended suddenly and Danny swore as he stabbed the numbers into the phone again.

It went through to his voicemail.

"How the house is going, because she thinks of it as her house now too and I am supposed to tell her what Steven? I'm supposed to tell her that you decided to run off to god knows where without saying goodbye because that is not good enough Steven. Not for me and sure as hell for Grace who knows, unlike your thirty-six year old stupidity that when you are going away you speak to someone you don't just leave. Am I supposed to show her the letter because I'm confused by it myself Steven. A letter to explain to your…fuck boyfriend that you are running away without a word is not a mature action Steven. Then I get some lawyer come and see me and tell me I need to sign here and here and here. So I have a look and what do I find Steven? Do you have any idea? Well I find a document giving me half ownership in the house we have been renovating. Which besides being insane and too much and something we should talk about directly flies in the face of you deciding to write me a letter to tell me you are running off after Shelburne. So now I have a letter telling me you just had to go and do this alone when you know that is completely incorrect and I have legal papers giving me the ability to pull the plug if you are comatose and sell every possession you have just because I feel like it if I can prove you have been missing for a certain amount of time." Danny took a deep breath and clenched his fists just as the call ended again. He stabbed the numbers in one last time.

It went through to his voicemail.

"If you do not come back to me in one fucking piece McGarrett I will do everything I can to make your life unbearable. Answer your fucking phone already and if you ever pull a fucking stunt like this again do not expect me to hold down the fort. And you leave the letter addressing me as partner? Jesus Steven you are so full of crap sometimes. I cannot believe you, a letter Steven is not an acceptable method of telling the person you are sharing your life with that you are running away. It isn't acceptable to run away either. You are not in the SEALs anymore; you are not alone so call me and tell me where you are so I can have Chin keep an eye on your reckless arse." Danny breathed into the phone for a moment his eyes closed. "Just call me back already," he finished his voice much quieter than it had been.

When Danny slammed the phone down Chin and Kono were watching him through the glass doors to his office. He sat down and started looking through the files ignoring them both. They came into his office anyway.

"He gave you power of attorney?" Kono asked looking at the papers. "And half the house?"

"And a letter telling me he had to go off for who knows how long to who knows where to do who knows what. In a fucking letter," Danny ended with a raised voice. "Fuck Kono, sorry. It's not your fault."

Kono shrugged. "No worries, he'll call."

"I really don't think he will," Danny said quietly. "We have a case to work and it is not the mysterious case of the self-absorbed disappearing boss so how about we all get to it?"

"Good plan," Chin said turning and walking out of the room Kono following behind.

/ / / \ \ \

Danny stared at Steve next to the helicopter and was torn between going over and punching him or going over and dragging him home so he could put him to bed.

His face was still sore and he could see the look of pain on Kono's face but all of that paled next to the fact that Steve had actually captured Wo Fat finally and made it back to them all alive.

Steve looked like he'd been beaten and shot at and Danny wasn't sure if he should be glad Steve was back alive or if he should allow the swirling pit of annoyance, anger and worry to take over so he could yell at him until he understood how stupid his actions had been. Danny allowed himself to be pulled close after he'd handed Wo Fat over to the other cops and took comfort in the feeling of Steve pressed in close. He still wanted to yell and rant but decided to wait until they were alone at their house rather than in the car or here. They still had a lot to settle before Wo Fat would be secured and Danny knew Steve needed him to be settled before he could relax.

They went back to HPD, Danny starting on the paperwork he could do, Kono throwing herself into collecting all of the different cases that Wo Fat could be legally connected to, Chin helping her but allowing her to lead so she could distract herself. Steve was giving his statement behind Danny allowing him to hear the story while he typed.

It was light out before they got home, Danny led Steve into the house.

"How angry with me are you?" Steve asked turning to Danny.

"There is some anger," Danny admitted thinking about how tired they both were. "Mainly I'm annoyed and disappointed, you ran off without a word to me, you said goodbye in a letter and then refused to answer my calls. I know for a fact that you ignored them, because it is twelve rings until your voicemail picks up and it never ever took that long for you to end my call."

Steve nodded. "I did ignore them."

"There is the anger," Danny said pacing. "How on Earth can you think that is acceptable behaviour? You told me you wanted to share your life with me and then you cut me out for no reason, who does that? Do you think that is acceptable?"

"I was protecting you," Steve said. "I was protecting all of you, we need to find Wo Fat and I had to find him and I thought Shelburne was the best lead."

"Protecting me?" Danny said turning and stepping into Steve's space. "Am I some damsel in distress that cannot protect herself or am I a cop who knows how to look after himself? I have dealt with the Jersey mob and the Russian gangs. I have had to deal with gangbangers and little old ladies who try to put the eye on you when you arrest their sons or grandsons. Wo Fat is not something you needed to protect me from Steve."

"I always want to protect you," Steve admitted reaching out for Danny's shoulder.

Danny shrugged him off. "Fine, I want to keep you safe too but I know you are capable of looking after yourself and that is no good enough. Protecting me is not running off without a word and ignoring me while you traipse around Japan looking for a ghost."

"Keeping you safe was keeping you all out of it."

"You didn't keep me out of anything all you did was leave me having to find my own way. Do you really think I would not have tracked you down?"

"No, I know what I'm doing of course I was safe."

"Do you not fucking get it?" Danny asked unable to tone his voice down. "The last time you went silent Wo Fat had you tied in a bunker and was torturing you. What was I supposed to think when it happened again? Do you know what I have been going through? You selfish arrogant arse."

Danny turned and stalked away unable to look at Steve for one more second lest he punch him.

"Danny where are you going?"

"Go and clean up Steve, I don't want to talk to you anymore right now."

"You're leaving?"

"No," Danny said. "But the fact I'm not doesn't change the fact I am so mad I want to add another bruise so go and have a shower I'll make you something to eat."

Steve grabbed Danny's elbow but the shorter man yanked it away.

"Go!"

Danny walked into the kitchen not hearing Steve follow so he must have gone upstairs to the bathroom. Danny knew Steve hadn't eaten properly since he'd been gone, he only ate when and if he could on a mission so he threw some bacon, tomatoes, onion, capsicum and some shredded spinach into a pan to fry. He cracked the eggs and whisked in some milk and cheese. Steve wouldn't normally eat something so full of high fat in one sitting but he needed the extra nutrients and he wouldn't dare fight Danny on the idea in the mood Danny was in. Danny made him toast and one of the disgustingly green shakes he liked and set it all out before he went and found the first aid kit.

He was so mad he could feel it making his hands shake and he was so relieved a huge part of him wanted to just forgive Steve, take care of him and then tuck him into bed until the washed out tired look went away. Danny knew better, if he didn't say this now, if he didn't explain why and how he was so annoyed and give Steve an explanation of the consequences if he pulled shit like that again then Steve would do it again. Danny knew he couldn't leave but he also couldn't do this waiting for him to come back thing again. Their work was different, they were on Hawaii and Danny or Chin or Kono would have had Steve's back but out there Danny hadn't been able to do anything and he hated the feeling more than any other he'd had in a long time. He wondered if this was how Rachel used to feel and thought that he might actually owe her an apology for never truly understanding.

Danny made himself some toast and ate it standing at the sink while he waited for Steve who took an extra two minutes in the shower and came down in sweats looking like he was about to collapse.

"Sit down, shut up and eat. I'll have a look at your injuries and you better tell me if anything is bad enough for the hospital."

"Cuts and bruises I swear," Steve said knowing that Danny quiet and straightforward like this was Danny at his most angry. But at least Danny was still speaking to him.

Danny looked him over, he couldn't see his legs but when Steve had finished eating he'd make the taller man show him.

"The bedroom is done," Steve said quietly.

"I had time," was all Danny said.

"Danny," Danny didn't respond just started wiping the cuts with antiseptic cream and applying band-aids or tape as needed. "If I had have answered, I would have come back. The second you asked me to come back I would have and I couldn't."

"You don't think I know that, you don't think I get that you have to understand what happened? This whole thing ripped your family away from you, every single member and left you alone. Then they actually took the only person who knew what was happening except for Joe, who actually manages an even higher level of confidentiality than you do. I understand why you went. I am pissed for two very fucking specific reasons Steven, care to hazard a guess?"

"The note?" Steve asked just as Danny started cleaning a particularly deep cut.

"Yes," Danny said running his thumb next to the cut soothingly. "The note."

"I should have spoken to you," Steve said counting out the beats between each bite knowing he'd end up throwing it all up if he didn't pace himself. "Thank you for the food."

"You're welcome. I know you didn't eat well."

"How?" Steve asked before Danny had a chance to keep going.

"You get this look when you haven't eaten, it's different from your haven't slept face but it's close. You have been wearing them both since I saw you. And damn right you should have spoken to me."

"You'd have told me not to go."

"Yeah," Danny agreed making Steve stand so he could swing the chair around and start working on his back. "I would have told you not to go and you would have argued and then I would have accepted you were going and then I would have gone with you. That is the way of our relationship Steve; you say you are going to do something completely insane then I tell you not to and list all the reasons it is a bad idea, you do it anyway and for some unknown reason I follow you into it."

Steve twisted, hissed and then moved around in his chair to look at Danny. "You would have come with me?"

Danny growled. "You are an idiot, at which point in all the time we've been partners, in all the time since we started this relationship have I ever not had your back?"

"You always have my back," Steve said with conviction.

"So you really think I wouldn't have gone with you?"

Steve stared at him and Danny pushed the desire to kiss him, hold him and reassure him down until they had finished this conversation.

"I went into North Korea on what could have been a suicide mission to bring you home, and that was before we started dating you really think I wouldn't go to the fucking Sun if I needed to to keep you safe?"

Steve pulled Danny closer and buried his head in Danny's chest, his arms locked tight around Danny's waist. "I don't want you risking your life for me."

"Too bad babe, stop getting into situations where I need to and I will stop doing it."

"What about Grace? You couldn't have left Grace for who knows how long."

"So you did know I'd go with you."

"I hoped," Steve said.

"Grace would have been disappointed. She would have lectured us both about being careful and demanded phone calls and souvenirs but once she knew it was important to you she would have been fine."

"I did buy her something," Steve said pulling back. "I mailed it home from Tokyo."

Danny grinned. "Of course you did."

"She'll love it."

"Of course she will."

"I needed to do this Danny," Steve said into his ribcage.

"I know you did," Danny kissed the top of Steve's head. "I just want you to go about it differently next time."

"Next time?" Steve asked pulling back.

"You telling me you will never again find a piece of information you need to chase down in some jungle?"

"I don't know. I didn't find Shelburne."

"Well then, next time you need to do it differently because maybe I'm going to forgive you this time but you do this to me again and I don't know what I'm going to do."

"You're going to forgive me?" Steve asked so hopefully Danny couldn't stop himself from leaning down to press a kiss to his lips.

"Eventually, but not yet."

Steve nodded his shoulders slumping.

"Grace was worried about you," Danny said. "I was worried about you, Chin and Kono and hell even Rachel asked after you every time we spoke. You cannot do it again."

"Okay, so talk to you next time?" Steve said his voice determined now that he knew he was going to be forgiven he needed it to happen yesterday.

"Yes, in person specifically."

"So calling from the plane?"

"Will get you in trouble."

"Phone message?"

"Will force me to find a way to punish you, probably I'll just put Grace on the case."

"An intelligently encrypted multi-platform delivered message that Chin has to decode?"

"Will have you sleeping in the spare room for a year, maybe outside on the beach or in the cubby house Grace put on her Christmas wish list."

"I can make one of those I think, in the tree?"

"No Steven not in a tree where she could fall out. And don't think I didn't notice the admission that you received my phone message."

"I listened to it repeatedly," Steve said quietly.

"Not in a tree Steve," Danny said running his hand through Steve's hair.

"Right, so speak to you in person, I can do that." Steve smiled. Danny pulled away and turned him back to his food so he could finish with his back.

"You do realise that this is a binding agreement and I will remind you of this if you ever forget."

"I won't forget," Steve said.

Danny nodded. "Well that is your back done, when you've finished eating I'll have a look at your front and your legs."

"My legs are fine," Steve said.

Danny rolled his eyes and sat down across from Steve watching as he ate slowly and carefully. "I don't believe you until I see it."

"Like Gracie," Steve said with a smile. "You still have her this weekend?"

"Yeah."

"Great," Steve said. "The second reason?"

"Think about it Steve."

"Radio silence."

"Give the man a fucking prize."

"I told you, if I'd answered the phone you would have asked me to come back and…I think I might have," Steve finished quietly.

"No," Danny said. "I would have yelled at you for the note, and then I would have demanded to know where you were so we could keep an eye on you and so we would know where the hell to launch the rescue mission. I wouldn't have had to get myself involved in a shady espionage movie and find out you were coming in about to be ambushed by the Yakuza and killed."

"Shady espionage movie?" Steve asked looking at him closely. "You have a bruise on your cheek."

"Result of my smart mouth, not the first one I've had and probably won't be the last."

"What happened?"

"Nah uh," Danny said getting himself a glass of water. "We finish dealing with your many bad choices over the last couple of weeks and then you can find out about my week."

"You really, honestly wouldn't have asked me to come back?" Steve asked.

"In all the time I've known you you have been trying to find out what caused your dad's death. You are closer than you ever have been and I know you need to do this," Danny said slowly keeping Steve's eye the whole time. "Would I have asked you to come back, maybe, but I know you needed to be out there what pisses me off is that you tell me that you want to share a life with me, we were almost finished remodelling your house and you pack up and leave. That leaves me wondering if you actually want me in your life or if you just want me here because it's easier."

"Our house," Steve said.

"What?" Danny demanded his voice tight and loud.

"Our house, you called it my house again but it's our house. I had the paperwork drawn up and everything."

"Is it?" Danny asked. "Because if you want to do this relationship and you don't want it to fall apart then you need to actually speak to me about things, big things, like buying my daughter a surfboard painted by someone famous…yeah didn't think I'd ever work that out did you. Like running off to Japan to hunt down a shady figure from your father's past or drawing up papers giving me half your house and power of attorney without talking to me and trust me that particular discussion is best saved for another day."

"You think I don't want this relationship to work?"

"I thought you did, I thought things were good. You and me made more sense than anything other than Grace ever has in my life but then I get a note saying you are leaving and you didn't even let me know that things were getting to be too much and that you needed to go. I thought you'd started to understand that we actually had to discuss things it wasn't just me yanking information out of you like I'm in the interrogation room."

"Before I left," Steve said quietly as he pushed his empty plate away from him and watched Danny wearily. "I contacted a lawyer about what I would need to do to put you on the deed, about changing my will, about how everything we were doing might affect you and Grace and your whole situation."

"I noticed," Danny said before Steve held up his hand asking for his to be quiet.

"Also a situation where I should have talked to you got it," Danny nodded. "I wanted to know everything before I suggested it, I didn't want to ask if you were interested if it was going to cause you and Grace any problems. The lawyer asked me if everything was finalised after my dad's murder. I was about to say yes but it isn't and suddenly I thought about Wo Fat going after my mum and Hesse going after my dad and it was okay because I didn't have anything but Mary and she is on the mainland but now I have you. I have you and I have Grace and if he came after either of you I…I can't even imagine it. It terrifies me Danny."

"You should have come and talked to me."

"I don't always know how to do this Danny," Steve said looking down at the table. "I've never been in a relationship like this before. I never wanted to and I never had the opportunity. I am trying so hard Danny and I don't know how to stop making mistakes."

"Oh Steve you gigantic idiot," Danny stood up and walked around the table. "Come with me."

Danny led Steve to the lounge room and pushed him down onto the couch. Danny sat next to him but turned so he could look at him. "I know babe. I know this is new to you and you have been doing so well I forget sometimes. So here's how this works, you talk to me about anything that's worrying you, anything at all really. Just like we have always done, we've always poked and prodded and demanded to know everything. That all still stands but now instead of just telling me when I see it, or ask, you tell me when I don't know. You tell me when you go to the lawyer because I know that fear and I have lived with that fear and I shot two men for that fear. I will help you with it but you need to talk to me."

"I am terrified that this could all come back to hurt you and Grace."

"I have your back," Danny said. "I will always have your back so you and I are going to work this together and if we need to go back to Japan we are going to go together."

Steve nodded. "I came home and looked around and Grace's stuffed dolphin was on the couch and her surfboard was sitting on the back table and there were two ties hanging from the end of the bed and I knew I needed to protect you."

Danny rubbed his face. "I can't say don't protect me because if the reverse were happening I'd be trying to protect you too but how about we try to protect each other from now on?"

"I'm sorry you were worried about me," Steve said. "Given getting you shot earned you a weekend at a hotel how do you feel about a trip to see your family at Christmas?"

Danny laughed and slumped back into the couch. "You already booked the tickets didn't you?"

"No, I checked out flights and put a reservation on some depending on when we could go and if you could sort out a way to take Grace. I know they are coming to visit next year but when I was last speaking to your mother she asked to know when you were going to take me home to meet everyone. She talks more than you do."

Danny turned his head to look at Steve. "Things aren't magically repaired you know."

"I know," Steve said turning and looking at him with sad, tired eyes. "Next time I get freaked out I talk to you, if there is a lead that will take me off the island talk to you in person and keep in contact."

"That is the general gist," Danny said watching Steve, his face no longer held the hints that he desperately needed food but he looked even more tired than he had before.

"I don't know how to make it better," Steve finally admitted.

Danny smiled and moved closer to kiss him softly. "You don't make it better, you listen to what I said, you take it on board and you let me drive my car for a while, let me watch baseball instead of football, you suck up a little bit and I forgive you because that is what is going to happen and the next time you change your behaviour and I know you were listening and I know you want this to work."

"I do want this to work."

"And I know that but you have to take that into account when you act now, you are not a lone SEAL against all the bad people in the world, you are part of a partnership and that changes things."

"I will try."

"See that is all I'm asking for," Danny said. "Now let me check out your chest and legs and then we can go to bed. I have to go and pick Grace up in," he craned around to look at the clock. "Four hours and I'd like a little sleep before I have to be energetic with her. Plus I really want to try out this bed."

Steve turned to him surprised. "You haven't slept there?"

"I was waiting for you," Danny said simply before he stood up and went to get the first aid supplies, he threw the dishes into the sink and went back in to Steve who was leaning back against the couch and watching him with half lidded eyes.

Danny worked quickly on his chest and then his legs which were covered in bruises but had no cuts or scrapes.

"Come on babe, let's get to bed. I'm going to have a quick shower."

Steve nodded and stood while Danny went up and took a quick shower, just enough to wash off the sweat and grime from his day before he went into their room. He'd come in here while Steve had been gone and he'd finished the room but he hadn't been able to sleep here. He wanted Steve next to him the first time he did and the lingering scent of Steve on the spare bed downstairs was the only thing that let him relax enough to sleep. He found Steve pulling the sheets and blanket down looking around the room.

"Is the whole house finished?" Steve asked sitting on the mattress.

"This was the only room left, just the work you want to do to the railing on the lanai to go."

"Good, I didn't miss us finishing it then," Steve said swinging into bed and watching Danny as he set his alarm and then another one a few minutes later before he crawled into bed, the moon outside illuminating the room.

Steve reached out but his hand stopped before he touched Danny who smiled softly and closed the distance so he was holding onto Steve's hand.

"What happened to you cheek?" Steve asked.

"Tomorrow," Danny said. "Tomorrow you will tell me everything you did while you were gone and I will tell you all about what I did but right now none of that matters let's just go to sleep. You need it."

Steve nodded. "Would you be opposed to cuddling?"

"Oh you big goof," Danny said wriggling closer and pressing himself into Steve's side. "This is a very good bed."

"We picked well, I'm about to fall asleep."

"Good, go to sleep and do not get up at 6am for a swim. Sleep in."

"Okay," Steve mumbled.

Steve was quiet for so long Danny thought he'd fallen asleep. Danny couldn't quiet shut his brain off; he didn't want to close his eyes just yet because he didn't want to stop looking at Steve, here and safe. Danny was mad but his anger burned fast most of the time and he knew why now and he trusted Steve to try things differently next time. He might still ignore police procedure but he had been adapting and trying since the moment they had started this so Danny would forgive. He had already mostly done so but Steve needed to see the consequences of his actions because they were different now than they ever had been before. Steve said it himself, he'd never had a relationship like theirs and Danny wanted Steve to understand that this meant he wasn't alone, never had to be alone again. He was just beginning to drift when Steve started speaking startling him a little bit.

"When you walked away from me earlier I thought you were leaving for good," Steve said his voice quiet and a little broken. "I thought I'd finally stuffed up so badly you were ending us."

Danny pulled Steve to him tightly, his arms wrapped around him. Steve immediately curled his arms around Danny's body and held on tight. Danny kissed him, hard and deep and desperately.

"You and me," Danny said when they were panting into each other's mouth replenishing their oxygen supply. "We are for the rest of my life, I'm not leaving you. There is a short list of things that will make me walk out of this house and away from you. Mostly I will just be angry at you and glare and yell and we will work on it because unless you change your mind this is it. I am all in."

Steve kissed him again, softly with less need than the last kiss but it was still there in the tight clutch of his hands and the way his leg was wrapped around one of Danny's. "I am not changing my mind."

"Good, I love you Steve and I knew things would be difficult sometimes when I signed on but I'm not going anywhere you are too important to me for that. That doesn't mean you can pull another stunt like this one though."

Steve smiled against his neck breathing him in. "I love you too."

"Good, now go to sleep because you are coming with me to get Grace or she will pout at me for a week."

Steve laughed but didn't let go just relaxed his body until he was breathing heavily against Danny's neck. Danny wriggled a little to get more comfortable and Steve's arms tightened. Danny smiled at him in the moonlight and closed his eyes to get some sleep.

/ / / Epilogue / / /

Steve put a bag down in front of Danny.

"What's going on?" Danny asked looking up from his paperwork.

"Joe said he'd take me to Shelburne, come with me."

Danny frowned. "Joe is willing to let me come?"

"You are non-negotiable," Steve said firmly.

Danny smiled at him. "Where?"

"I don't know."

"Now?"

"Yeah," Steve held up his own duffle bag.

"I hope you packed well, I'll need to call Rachel." Steve nodded and turned to leave but Danny reached out and grabbed his elbow. "Thank you."

"You were right," Steve said. "I shouldn't have left like I did; I should have taken you with me. I am all in Danny. When we get back we will sort out the Grace situation as well."

Danny pulled him down for a kiss ignoring Kono's wolf whistle and smiling into the feel of Steve's lips opening under his.

This was going to work out just fine.

The End

Author's Notes

Okay so probably no one will read these but I wanted to share some things with you all.

THIS STORY ATE MY BRAIN!

I always intended for this to end with the idea that they had redone the house together but I never intended for it to be 50K+ of home renovation. I have researched where I can and used my own experiences for other stuff but I am not an expert and if it fit I just did what I wanted to.

I don't know where the Danny as an artist came from, Grace forced my hand with her bed and the next thing I knew he was a painter who hadn't done it in years and it just rolled on from there.

If you can believe this I actually think this is the smallest version I could have written. I had to force myself to write less. I'm sure a number of you are thinking I should have just not written half of this or all of it but I just felt right and I thought about putting it in a separate story or something but I just didn't want it to be away from the rest of the story.

This is the longest story I have ever actually finished.

I tried to keep them all in character but I know Grace is a bit more devious than she is in the show. We see so little of her I wanted to give her more so she is based on any number of ten year olds I know. I also know I didn't succeed with some of them some of the time but I did try.

I know that the timeline from the show was played with until it was WAY out of belief but I never intended to include the stuff from the rest of the season but the scene in the kitchen between Danny and Steve kept bugging me until I wrote it.

Grace decided, damn characters who have a mind of their own, that she was hijacking this chapter and wanted a starring role. I really enjoyed writing her and Steve.

I really hope that you enjoyed this, thank you to anyone who commented or in any other way were encouraging. I really appreciate it.