From his desk, Danny saw Kono enter Five-0's offices. Even from a distance, he could see the broad smile and exuberant demeanor that telegraphed a rare, case-free morning spent catching a few waves. Through the office walls, he could hear Kono's animated chatter and easy laughter as she poked her nose into Chin's office. He could easily imagine her describing the nuances of the morning surf as a paramour might recount his beloved's beauty.
He'd heard more than his share of Kono's surf stories as she'd taken him from a beach-bound beginner out onto his first waves. Not only was she able to get him out on the water without looking like a complete kook, but with a little bit of gentle persuasion – not to mention a threat of blackmail with photos of some of his less than stellar efforts – she even had him carving with a semblance of style on his better outings.
She'd also managed to make it virtually impossible for Danny to avoid noticing some of Steve's better features.
Sure, Danny knew that Steve was attractive – waitresses and beach bunnies were constantly winking at him, giggling like schoolgirls in his presence, and leaving their phone numbers everywhere from the myriad pockets on his cargo pants to the hood of his car. Then again, Danny also knew that most people considered Hawaii one of the most beautiful places on the planet. But neither the island's ubiquitous rainbows and waterfalls, nor Steve's well-toned body – despite being on public display on a seemingly near-daily basis – had initially made much of an impression on him.
But just as Steve, Chin, and Kono had chipped away at his blanket dismissal of Hawaii's landscape and he'd mentally filed a few favorite spots under "breathtaking," with more than a little prodding from Kono, he had eventually found it impossible to avoid appreciating his partner's physique as well.
It all started one afternoon when Kono took him surfing. Danny was just starting to get comfortable on rougher waters, and Steve and Chin had stopped by to join them. They'd spent an afternoon enjoying the sun, waves, and beers and were looking forward to a lunch of take-out loco moco.
Chin had lost the straw-draw and been sent to retrieve their order from Rainbow. While he was gone, Steve took a few more runs, while Kono expanded her tutelage. All along, she had been reviewing Danny's technique in between runs, pointing out surfers demonstrating particularly good and bad form, and giving him pointers to try on the next run. But spying a couple of particularly hot guys walk by, she began to sprinkle her surfing tips with an ongoing color commentary on the men on the beach, delineating the posers from da kine.
Of all the things Danny had considered doing with Kono, man-watching somehow had never made it onto the list, never mind to the top of the list. But as she persisted in intermingling her surfing lesson with verbal ogling, Danny had little choice but to take note of Steve's pecs, body art, six-pack abs, and, last but definitely not least, the carved V starting above his hips and disappearing just behind the knot in his board shorts. "You see that, bro? Not another one on the beach comes close," Kono had said, whistling appreciatively.
"Can we get back to the surfing, please?" Danny had asked, as Kono laughed good-naturedly at his obvious discomfort.
"Be my guest," Kono smiled invitingly, gesturing out toward the open water. Danny hesitated briefly at the tallest waves he'd yet to face, but given a choice between listening to more of Kono's exposition on Steve's physique and hitting the waves, he decided the water would be safer.
Unbeknownst to Danny, as he paddled away from shore, Chin returned with the loco moco. "Those waves are getting pretty heavy, cuz," he said. "How'd you manage to get Danny out there?"
Kono beamed back. "I have my ways."
Steve, having just finished a run, stood on the shore watching Danny make his way back in, rewarding the distinctly pale, but still-upright neophyte with an enthusiastic high-five when he finally sloshed onto solid ground again.
It was this particular afternoon that Danny was recalling when he saw Steve leave his office to join Kono in Chin's doorway, inviting her to join them for a dinner-and Bond-night.
Even through the partially tilted slats of the blinds in his window, he could catch Steve occasionally glancing his way. And even in those brief glimpses, he recognized the same look he'd seen after Catherine's first shore leave. Steve was hiding the grin of a cat that swallowed the canary.
After watching Steve return to his office, Danny counted to 200, hoping that that was long enough to divert suspicion, and then tossed his pen on his desk before marching across the common space to follow him.
Danny pushed the door open and stood behind one of the chairs at Steve's desk, arms crossed, waiting for Steve to look up from his laptop.
Steve's first instinct was to kid Danny about not being able to stay away, but fear of a skittish Danny flying into a panic was still fresh in his mind, so he took an extra moment before replying.
"Don't you ever knock?" Steve asked in a monotone, without looking up.
"Since when do I knock?" Danny asked. "You're obviously not on the phone. So, why would I knock? You have some invisible person in here I'm interrupting?" Danny turned to the other empty chair and asked, "Hello, invisible person. Excuse me for interrupting."
"What do you want?" Steve finally asked, looking up. He tried to sound irritated, but somehow, it came out more like a seductive offer. And despite his best efforts, he still wasn't quite able to suppress a smile.
"See? You're doing it again," Danny said, throwing his arms up in the air.
"Doing what?" Steve asked.
"Smiling!" Danny replied, raising his voice. Then regaining his composure, he lowered his voice and added, "Would you please just stop smiling? You know those two." He nodded his head towards the hallway. "Kono is relentless and Chin is just too damn good at being a cop. They'll detect something out of the ordinary faster than you can take a shower. This is insane."
"Danny, would you just stop worrying?"
"Stop worrying? I am always worrying. If I stop worrying then they'll know for sure something's up," Danny replied, adding, "And just so you know, by the way, this is all your fault."
"My fault? How is this my fault?" Steve asked, anticipating the most obvious answer.
"Look around you!" Danny urgently waved at the walls of Steve's office. "This is completely your fault."
Steve frowned, as this was definitely did not appear to be the complaint he was anticipating. "Come again?"
"These walls!" Danny made a gesture universally interpretable as "duh!"
Steve replied with a bewildered look that shouted, What the hell are you talking about?
"You and your stupid, stupid, stupid walls," Danny exclaimed, parking his hands on his hips.
"My what?" Steve asked, wrinkling his nose and still not making the leap from the expected answer to the architecture of Five-0's offices.
"You were the one who insisted on glass walls." Danny made his best attempt at doing a McGarrett imitation: "'It'll be better for team-building and communications,' you said. Now we're like sitting ducks in a fishbowl."
"Danny, you're imagining things," Steve replied calmly, finally understanding Danny's concern. "We've been in these offices for more than two years, and it's never bothered you before."
"Are you really as dense as you sound right now?" Danny asked incredulously.
"Enlighten me," Steve replied, knowing full well Danny's beef, but hoping to get some insight into his current state of mind.
"In case you have forgotten – though by that smile on your face, I suspect you haven't – last night wasn't exactly a typical night," Danny began; Steve tried – with limited success – not to smile. Danny pointed an accusing finger at him and continued, "Look, I'm really glad that you were able to get a good night's rest, take your three-minute Navy shower, throw on a change of clothes and come to work under this microscope like it's business as usual."
Steve mentally calculated that he could probably count on one hand the minutes of sleep he had gotten. It was only the endorphin rush from a two-mile swim that gave him the energy to face the office in the morning.
"Can't stop thinking about me, huh?" Steve teased reflexively, smiling the cocky smile of a guy who was used to getting the girl without even trying.
Hell no. It was all Danny could do to avoid thinking about him. Danny's lips still felt the residual rawness from the evening's action, and he was glad the pink haze had faded. But he wasn't about to give Steve the satisfaction of knowing that he'd gotten close to no sleep, and had resorted to an early morning walk in Diamond Head to get himself together enough to make it into the office.
"Yes – I can't stop thinking of you…and the many different ways that I am going make you pay and suffer for making this day a living hell."
Steve couldn't resist the opening he'd been given. "Is that a promise?" he asked with a sly grin, this time making no doubt about the innuendo in his tone.
Danny replied with his best attempt at a death glare.
Oops, too soon, Steve thought.
"Can you please just stop with the smiling?" Danny asked. "I'm asking you nicely. I'm saying 'please' even?"
Sensing that Danny was serious, Steve stopped teasing. "Listen to me, Danny. We have a quiet day in the office. Let's just enjoy the fact that, for once, it's unlikely I will get you shot."
"What is this? Do I sense a conscience? Maybe even concern?"
"No, not concern. Gratitude."
"Gratitude?" Danny replied in surprise.
"Yes, gratitude," Steve confirmed. "Do you have any idea how grateful I am that I won't have to listen to you whine for the ten thousandth time about how it's my fault you almost got shot."
"That's because it always is your fault when I almost get shot."
"Not today," Steve replied.
"So great. Instead, we're stuck in this godforsaken office all day with Kono and Chin," Danny complained.
"We spend every day with Kono and Chin," Steve said. "And you'd rather be out in the field, working some crime scene with Kono right now?"
"Good point," Danny admitted. He hated when Steve was right.
"So, you want to take on some of those 'excessive use of force' write-ups?" Steve asked, trying to give Danny an excuse to change the subject.
"Hey, you're the one who finished the Manzetti case."
"You're such a jerk," Danny replied, holding his hand out. Steve placed a stack of notes into Danny's outstretched hand.
Danny turned to make his way back to his office. On his way out, he stopped in the doorway, turning just enough to make himself heard, but not enough to make eye contact. "And by the way," he said over his shoulder, "yes, that's a promise." Danny smiled smugly to himself as he let the door close behind him. He didn't need to see Steve's face to know that it bore a stunned, slightly gape-mouthed look.
Steve pointedly shifted his chair so his face was well hidden behind his laptop since this time there really was no chance he was going to be able to hide the grin that swept his face from ear to ear.