[personal profile] teabee1000
Title: The Suspension
Pairing: Steve/Danny
Genre: Pre-slash
Rating: PG-13 for swearing
Word count: 4998
This is part 1. Part 2 coming soon.




Danny shaded his eyes as he stared up at the roof of Steve's house. Where Steve was...okay, the best word his sleep deprived brain could come up with was perched. Steve, perched on his roof, which made sense - really, where else would he be on day three of The Suspension(tm)? Danny was really only surprised it had taken this long.

The Suspension(tm) was both a surprise and an inevitability. One could not run wily nilly through life, treating the world like the set of Die Hard 5 without something happening. Eventually, apparently, that something would be tackling the Ambassador to Bolivia after driving a Harley onto his yacht.

"Oops, wrong boat?" didn't work for the Ambassador or the Governor and Steve ended up with seven days suspension, Danny ended up "acting crazy person in charge" of 5-0 and then - here they were.

"Are you - hey, you're not going to jump right?" Danny called. "Because to be honest, I'm not in the mood for the paperwork that would entail."

Steve glared down at him and no amount of direct sunlight or distance could shield Danny from Face No. 17 - I'm Fucking Crazy and Don't You Dare Question It! Which of course required Danny to question it. Hard.

"You know what? I'm entitled within my rights as your partner and friend to ask you why the hell you're up on a goddamned roof. Unless we are being invaded or you are rescuing a kitten, you have no earthly reason to be up there." Danny was shouting. "Come down right now and by that I mean, in a manner that is SAFE and NOT CRAZY, get down here!"

The glare amped up to YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME for a good five minutes before Steve turned like all he needed was a fucking cape to make the Batman resemblance 100% and disappeared over the other side.

Danny counted to thirty, rolled down then rerolled his shirt sleeves and tried to remember the last time he slept more than ten minutes in a row (which was, in fact, a full twenty four hours before Steve used his kung fu grip on an Ambassador). There was a flurry of sound from behind the house, then through it and suddenly the door flung open and Steve stood in the doorway, leveling a snotty look at him.

"What do you what?" he snapped.

"Coffee. Food. For you to do some of the paperwork required of a man in your position." Danny stalked up the pathway and elbowed Steve's stomach as he stomped into the house.

And then skidded to a halt. The McGarrett house he'd seen in states of being shot up. Then repaired. Then wrecked. And then cleaned up. But he'd never seen it dismantled and being strategically scrubbed down like it used to be a meth lab. Manned by leaky zombies.

His eyes watered.

"Bleach?" he coughed.

"I'm doing a little cleaning," Steve said, sans irony. He slammed the door and elbowed past Danny - almost knocking him to the ground - and into the kitchen.

Danny put his tie over mouth and nose.

"Okay, I'm starting to put together the pieces now. You were de'comming the house, the bleach fumes infested your fragile brain and logically - Steve McGarrett logically - you decided to go sit on the roof to get some air."

Steve came out of the kitchen with a sleeve of Saltines and a bottle of water, thrusting them at Danny without ceremony. "I thought...I thought I heard something."

"Heard something." Danny looked at the "meal" in Steve's hands. "What -- am I pregnant?"

"It sounded like helicopters..." Steve's voice trailed off, like he suddenly realized he was speaking fluent crazyass. "Then you showed up. Why?" He rattled the crackers at Danny.

"I've spent three days doing your job - which, as previously mentioned, you only do half of. The part where you have to sign shit and file shit and return calls - you don't do that. So I've been doing that." Starvation won out and Danny took the crackers. "Oh right. I'm also doing MY job."

Steve crossed his arms over his chest. Glowered.

Danny's eyes and nose burned, his stomach growled and he suddenly realized that Steve probably hadn't changed out of that tee shirt and khakis since that flying tackle; he could still see the faint wine stains from the Ambassador's lunch table on his pants. Three days of crazy and sweat and Danny thought maybe the bleach wasn't what was shredding his throat.

"Go upstairs, take a shower and get dressed, we're going out." Danny opened the door and stepped outside. With the crackers.


The shower is actually an excellent suggestion. So is getting out of the house where apparently the bleach has created a cloud of poisonous vapor, no doubt contributing to Steve's Crazy. Three days of Scotch, irrationally deep cleaning and eating corn out of a can, all accompanied by the endless soundtrack of Steve beating himself up over his mistake, has taken its toll.

Steven J. McGarrett is terrible at failure. It sounds egotistical to say aloud but he doesn't have a lot of experience with it, and so when it happens, it tends to be a SPECTACULAR failure and he is absolutely unequipped to handle it. He can’t fix this mistake, he can only accept it was made and move on. Which he doesn't exactly know how to do.

Danny is sitting on the hood of his car, eating the Saltines with a blissful look on his face. He looks Steve over with a critical eye, clearly approving of the clean clothes and wet hair. And lack of stench.

"Where are we going?" Steve’s not giving up his cranky mood so easily. He's certainly not letting Danny know how happy he is to see him.

"You're buying me a huge dinner and then we're going to my apartment because yours is getting a visit from a cleaning service. I already called them." Danny brushed the crumbs off him chest and hopped off the car. "Get in. I'm driving."

Steve scowls. "I'm..."

"If you say fine, I'll laugh. You're not fine, you're nuts. More so than usual." Danny gets in and leans over to yell out the passenger side door. "Let’s go. My blood sugar level is at like def con eleven.”

“That’s not a real thing,” Steve grumbles as he climbs into the car.

They eat at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse on Kalakaua, where – after patting Steve down to make sure he had his wallet – which Steve does NOT enjoy, no, not at all – Danny orders half the menu and eats the entire bread basket before Steve has put the napkin on his lap.

“Hungry?” Steve asks drily and Danny gives him the finger.

“Your job, my job, no sleep, every Snickers bar in the vending machine, sludge masquerading as coffee, hourly calls from the Governor to make sure I’m not behaving like you…” Danny ticks off each one on his fingers. “All of it your fault hence and therefore, you’re feeding me until I need to be rolled out of here.”

“You think this is my fault?" Steve's hackles rise. Oh God, he's dying for a fight.

“No, I know it’s your fault.” Danny shrugs and goes back to drinking his beer.

“How is it you rant about everything under the sun, lecture me on every single thing I do but this – this you shrug off?” Steve is aware he’s being petulant and baiting Danny, an unholy combo but there is it. Another shrug.

“Is there anything I can tell you that you haven’t told yourself the past three days?”

Steve flicks the side of his beer. “No.”

“Do you now see why waiting five minutes to double check information is sometimes efficient?”

“Sometimes,” Steve says begrudgingly.

“Do we understand why a seven day suspension is really more of a making nice with the Ambassador, the White House and the entire country of Bolivia and not the condemnation of you as a person?”

Danny’s voice is Sahara dry and his eyes twinkle.

Steve resisted the urge to kick him under the table.

"Shut up."

"I get it man, I do. You got a B on the test and you can't get a do over. It's eating you alive. What? You want me to take you out back and whip you with a cord, tell you how awful you are?" Danny rolled his eyes.

"After the meal you just ordered I think you owe me something."

"I'm easy but I'm not cheap. I'll put out but the kinky stuff costs more."

The food is amazing and Steve just barely manages not to lick the plate. Protein and carbs and beer do a miraculous job of healing a big part of Steve’s wobble and the company – even with Danny’s alternating between cranky and charming – eases the rest of his unsettled soul.

Now he’s just freaking exhausted.

Danny waits for Steve to leave the tip then stands up with a stretching yawn. "Now, my place."

Steve squints. Three days of no banter and he felt off-kilter. They were still joking right?

"Your house is being fumigated," Danny says slowly when Steve doesn't get up. "My place. So I can sleep.

"What am I going to do?"

"You can sleep too."

"At your place?" The distasteful tone matches the wrinkle of Steve's nose.

"No, I'm going to handcuff you to the steering wheel and crack a window."


Danny had it all figured out. Rescue Steve from his Angst Cave, make him buy a huge dinner which made up for the approximate 10,000 calories Danny had burnt on his behalf over the past few days and then - sleep. Except the bleach thing messed up the multiple bed thing and now Danny realized - halfway to his apartment - that he had a pull out sofa designed by angry hateful people and a Rapunzel Barbie sleeping bag designed for a tiny girl.

Maybe Steve would find the bathtub comfortable.

"What are we doing now?" Steve asked as he parked the Camero in front of Danny's building.

Danny was pleasantly dozing and started when Steve broke their long silence with his question.

"Going inside and sleeping." Danny opened the door.

"Sleeping where?"

Danny hand waved.


Danny unlocked the door and yawned/stretched his way to the couch. Still no flash of inspiration but then the beer and the steak and the bread basket and God, cheesecake - not to mention Geneva Convention disallowed levels of sleep deprivation - and fuck it. Steve was in the Navy; he'd probably slept with more men than Danny could imagine (in a non-porn movie sort of way) and he could just deal with sharing the pull out.

"Take off your shoes and your belt and..." Danny gestured the bathroom before throwing the cushions into the kitchen and pulling the thing out with one mighty heave ho.

He backed up and plopped it down - and bumped into Steve who was still in the doorway.

"Are you stuck? Move, come IN. Shut the door." He felt the time running out on his uprightness; he had maybe five minutes before he landed face down on the floor and out for the count
Steve obeyed his basic orders but remained standing, hovering in the doorway of the apartment. There wasn’t enough oxygen in this place for Danny to deal with his glower; he stripped down to his underwear, threw his shoe at Steve’s shin in an attempt to get him to move, and rolled onto the bed with a heavy sigh. His eyes actually hurt from being open so long.

“I get the left side. I snore. I don’t care about your opinions of any of this. LAY DOWN.” And with that, Danny’s head hit the pillow and he dropped off the cliff into a big black hole of blessed sleep.


“Where Steve Has Slept” was actually a much more varied and interesting story than “Where Steve Has Had Sex And With Whom” which was vaguely depressing overall. But the fact of the matter was Steve shouldn’t have a problem with sharing the pullout with Danny (concern over the sturdiness of the thing aside) – his sleeping and his “Sleeping” habits had taken him all sorts of places over the years.

Not his first shared platonic space in his skivvies. Not even his potentially NOT platonic nap with a man. Steve was…versatile. Flexible. And apparently (surprisingly?) Danny had no problem with it. He was already snoring and drooling on his pillow.

Still, Steve undressed like a nervous virgin, taking an inordinate amount of time to fold his clothes, then Danny’s and then neatly stacking the cushions under the breakfast nook. But the lure of the bed was too strong to be avoided forever.

Danny looked peaceful and young and Steve wanted a piece of that.

Metaphorically. He was thinking about sleep. Of course.

In the end, the bed won. It felt like the back of a burned out jeep Steve had once called home for four days but only slightly less comfortable. Steve held himself gingerly towards the part of the mattress farthest away from Danny which…left a whole two inches between them anyway. He was ready to get up - because Christ, really? How inappropriate? – but somehow his spine curved a way that avoided pain and there was fading sunlight coming through the window…and Steve just closed his eyes and went with it.

When he opened his eyes, Steve realized he hadn’t moved from his original position. His mouth felt like a small woodland creature had crawled inside and died. Twice. Hunger flared, his bladder screamed and he floundered for a second.

How long was he asleep?

“Twelve and a half hours give or take,” Danny said to his unspoken question. Steve all but clutched his chest like a spooked maiden at the dulcet tones of Danny’s voice. Talking with his mouth full.

“What?” Sleep drunk and tentatively hung over, Steve sat up and shook his head. “Why didn’t you wake me up?”

“Why? You got a hot date?” Danny chewed loudly. Steve glanced over and saw him perched on a stool by the counter, shoving milk -drenched flakes into his mouth, wearing boxers and a tee shirt. Which really shouldn’t be as attractive as it was. “Your house is a fucking disaster area, you are not currently allowed to go to work and you know – you were tired.”

“I…” Steve glared out of instinct. “Fine.”

“You’re welcome,” Danny said sweetly.

Steve gingerly got out of bed and stumbled down the miniscule hall to the urinal, which passed for Danny’s bathroom. He pissed, then took great joy at using Danny’s toothbrush and deodorant.

“Don’t use up all the hair gel,” Danny yelled through the door, pounding a few times for good measure. “I’d offer you some clothes but it would probably look like the Incredible Hulk after a rage binge.”

Steve heard him chuckling at his own joke as he moved away from the door.

He used some hair gel. Too much actually. He had to wipe off a slick coating of it onto the threadbare towel neatly hanging on a nail.

On a NAIL. Danny lived like an underpaid hobbit. Steve scowled at the thought and resolved to grill Danny about his money situation later. Because that would go over spectacularly.

At this point, however, it was something to do.

“So what’s the plan for today?” Steve asked as he walked back into the common area of Danny’s apartment. The foldout was folded up and Danny was wearing – well, he was wearing what normal human beings wear for errand-running – a navy tee shirt, jeans and filthy white basketball shoes.

Steve boggled.

“We’re going to run some errands,” Danny said, sitting down to tie the shoelaces of his Chuck Taylors. “You’re going to sit politely in the passenger side and make pleasant conversation. And if you’re really, really good…” Danny flashed him a thousand watt smile. “If you don’t get into any trouble we’ll call the office and I’ll let you talk to Chin.”

“I can talk to Chin if I want to talk to him. I’m not under house arrest.”

“Right. But you can’t call him about the cases we’re working because that would be in a direct violation of the Governor’s orders and we wouldn’t want that.” Danny stood up and literally flexed, the cotton fibers of the dark blue tee shirt doing their best to stay connected. “However, if I – acting head of 5-0 – decided to call in to my second in command for an update and wisely, and according to law, used my hands free speaker device on the phone as I was driving…” His voice drifted off. “You know. It could happen.”

Steve couldn’t help himself. He smiled.


Danny had eleven and three quarters of an hour’s worth of sleep and it had done wonders in the restoration of his very soul. He ate his special breakfast blend (high fiber flakes, Frosted flakes, a banana and almonds) while watching Steve sleep, vaguely considering taping the horrendous snort/snore thing he was doing and then decided to be the bigger man.

He was also maybe possibly indulging in some checking out with the chance of being caught checking out but that was entirely beside the point.

It wasn’t like he was lying when he let people assume he was straighter than a ruler; he couldn’t help people’s hetero-normative (and God, he was going to tell Leon to stop forwarding him essays) assumptions and basically it was a subject better left untouched. Because explaining the men amid the women meant explaining that Danny didn’t actually DATE or his one one night stand was a horrifyingly catastrophic experience that had literally turned off his ability to have a sexual thought for almost two months.

He didn’t date. He fell in love. He didn’t do casual. He got married. Or a lease. Or lived out of a bag in his trunk because Leon’s apartment was in Tribeca and he hated all the money he spent on tolls but still he made that drive every night and left early to get to the station…

But. Yeah.

So there was a lot to explain to Steve and all of it was humiliation and terror and unnecessary because Super Seal had a fuck buddy that a) was hotter than the sun and b) clearly rolled that way. All ways. To which Danny was not the destination of.

All the thoughts didn’t lead to self-pity. Danny was so far along in building his wall of denial it never even stopped the motion of his spoon. Rejection was something to be learned from – you figured out in advance who would punch you in the face, who would abruptly break off your friendship, who would politely tell you they’re not interested and GOSH, you’re just a great guy…and eventually you just stop asking or wanting. You just acknowledge it and move on.

Then Steve woke up, pissy faced and stupid good looking and Danny found that well-worn slot of Don’t Touch Can’t Have and smiled sweetly.


They picked up Danny’s dry cleaning and went grocery shopping, which included a rather spectacular row in front of the syrup shelves over Lite versus Real versus Coconut (“I can’t even tell you what that looks like,” Danny said and it took Steve three aisles to realize what he was talking about and walked around going “oh that’s disgusting – thank you for ruining it for ME.”). They stopped for lunch at a Thai place and Danny made Steve pay again.

Steve made a big show of throwing down a twenty for the tip and Danny rolled his eyes.

“Oh, big spender. You know the size of one’s wallet doesn’t correspond to the size of one’s…” He made a hand gesture that smacked Steve in the arm.

“That’s two off-color references in like an hour Danny – I’m going to start feeling sexually harassed,” he joked.

Something crossed over Danny’s face. At first Steve thought it was pissed off but he was well-acquainted in every version of those facial expressions. It was more…fear and Steve almost rolled his eyes.

Like he was serious.

He was about to say something but Danny just made a gagging face over the top of his car.

“As if,” he said and it was the weakest come-back in the history of Danny Williams come-backs.

Steve frowned but got in the car without a word. Danny was gunning the engine and pressing buttons on his phone.

“Here, talk to Chin,” he said as they peeled out of the parking lot.

*****
Talking to Chin was pretty awesome.

By the time Danny circled back to his apartment complex, Chin had reported on all the open cases, sent autopsy pictures to Danny’s phone and gave Steve a detailed recounting of how he and Kono commandeered an ATV for a chase through the jungle.

Steve was jealous.

Danny sighed dramatically as he slammed the car door.

Steve glanced around, watched Danny grab the bags of groceries and head for his front door. He slunk down in the seat and hushed his voice.

“Anything Danny isn’t telling me?”

“What do you mean?”

“He’s acting weird.”

“Weird like…”

“Weird like I made a joke and he said As If.” Steve recounted it like he was revealing the location of Al Capone’s treasure.

Silence.

“He’s being weird,” Steve said again.

“You know it’s been a couple of really stressful days for him, right?”

“Right.”

“And he’s been out of his mind worried.”

“About what?”

More silence. His friend and co-worker sighed – just enough of a sound for Steve to hear.

“About you.” Chin’s patient tone didn’t fully hide his simmering sarcasm. “About how you were handling the suspension.”

“Oh.” Steve watched as Danny reappeared and headed back to the car for the dry-cleaning.

“You coming in?” he asked, sticking his head through the open car window. “Because you are not the crown prince of Denmark and you can get out and carry something.”

Danny gave him a glare and marched back into the apartment.

“He sounds fine to me.” Like the Sahara Chin was.

“I’ll talk to you later.” Steve squinted through the windshield then gathered up the dry cleaning and bags from the back seat.

Maybe he was still addled from the bleach. And maybe the toll of fucking up was making him nervous about fucking up again and since his sum total of Everything In Life was 1. His job. 2. His sister. 3. His team (and sometimes, if he admitted it to himself, 2 and 3 were dead heat tied), he didn’t want to fuck up with Danny.

Sometimes Steve wanted to call Rachel and beg her for a Danny to Emotion dictionary but there was so much damn irony in that scenario, he couldn’t force himself to do it.


Danny put away the groceries with as much slamming as he could get away with; the cabinets in his apartment were held together with prayer and Gorilla glue. When that was done – and Steve was still dicking around outside – Danny went into tidying mode, a rare affliction that struck him only once every two years or so.

Last time his living space was this neat was when his divorce papers arrived.

The door squeaked open and G.I. Steve poked his head in, a weakly constipated smile on his face.

“Sorry, me and Chin were just…” He made a gesture with the hand holding their lunch leftovers and Danny grunted as he relieved the bag out of his hand.

“Everything’s okay. We’re handling it,” he said stiffly, rooting around in the fridge as if pretending he had to move things around to fit the leftovers.

“I know. You guys are the best,” Steve said, rustling around behind him with the dry cleaning still in his hand.

“You can just…put that in the closet.”

“Okay.” Steve paused. “You have a closet?”

You have no idea, Danny thought.

Sometimes, when they were in a bar together and Catherine had gone past four beers, she would make him play a game called “Fist of God”. As in “I would hit that like the Fist of God” which Steve found vaguely sacrilegious but played because Catherine loved it and it usually got him laid in even more creative ways than usual.

Catherine’s type was generally Steve-like in appearance. Tall, dark, “DNA courtesy of Marvel comics” as she liked to say. Her female type, on the other hand, ran small, blonde and sassy.

In the back of his mind, Steve wondered what would happen if he introduced Catherine to Danny.

And if he might be allowed to watch.

He also wondered what would happen if Danny ever found out he compared him to a woman.

And if all his teeth would still be in his mouth.

Steve’s type was always the same – unexpected. It was like his psyche hated the idea of being pinned down to anything.

“More beer?” Danny asked, his voice tight as his posture.

“I’m good.” Steve felt a sort of hazy relaxation falling over him. The frantic worry of “punishment!” had given way to a tiny bit of easy breathing. The rest of the team was handling things, Danny took charge of Steve’s downtime and now here he was, having a pleasant sexual daydream while watching Rocky II…sitting next to Danny.

It said something about Steve how that wasn’t exactly weird.

He wanted to say, “Do you have a type?” but that seemed strange; he and Danny didn’t have those conversations. They could share painful memories, they could see each other at their worse and banter over the most ridiculous shit in the world but they never had normal male conversations.

Which Steve had seen in movies. And beer commercials.

He wanted to ask, he really did. Because Danny and Rachel confused him as much as it intrigued him. He wanted more details. The idea of love and marriage as an end game hadn’t ever entered into his plans for life. He liked friends with benefits because it fit nicely into his professional obsessions. Catherine was the ideal because he never ever had to explain where he was or why he hadn’t called in seventeen months and oh by the way, bring condoms.

5-0 rearranged Steve’s life slightly.

He was around people more. The same people, all the time. He had habits and routines. Expectations beyond the mission.

His eyes drifted from the television screen to Danny. He looked tense, tired all over again. Steve thought it was nice to have someone worrying over you and not because it was life-threatening or a danger to the mission.

It was nice to have someone back you up, and it was then Steve realized that the sense of peace he was currently experiencing was directly related to Danny, the human argument.

A contradiction.

Unexpected.


Danny had run out of ideas right after dinner. The place was cleaned up, the errands were done and all his well-laid plans had led them to sitting side by side on his couch watching the second Rocky movie in all it’s terrible definition glory.

He felt himself lock up, arms stiffly at his sides, leaning towards the lamp and not Steve, who sprawled next to him like the piece of crap they were sitting on was actually comfortable.

They were always together – long hours at work, maybe beers afterwards. Stake-outs. The office, the car. It seemed like they were together all the Goddamn time but now playing babysitter to Steve for this many hours in a row, no work to distract them…it was too much. The “Don’t Touch Can’t Have” mantra clearly needed alone time to recharge.

Seriously, the sidelong looks from Steve – those could go away and he would be really happy.

“What?” he asked finally because sometimes – for a Ninja – Steve could be as subtle as an elephant on roller skates.

Steve’s lips pursed as he focused intently on Rocky beating up a punching bag. “I think I should thank you for everything,” he said finally.

“You know that not an actual thank you right?”

“I know.” Steve gave him a curious stare. “I’m just saying – I know I should.”

“So…go ahead.”

Steve smiled. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Now shut up and let me enjoy this movie.” Danny unhitched his spine and relaxed about two inches.

But Steve was still staring at him, his hazel eyes hooded.

“Whaaaaaaat?”

“Chin said you were worried about me.” The words bumped into each other like an unhitched train.

“I think worried is a bit of a strong word,” Danny said with a casual shrug. He looked away from Steve and back to Sly and Talia Shire. “Vaguely concerned with my partner’s well-being. Vaguely.”

“If this is your idea of vague concern I’d hate to see what you’d do if you really cared,” Steve said slowly.

Danny shrugged again. “Don’t get excited. That’s what friends do. I’m just following the rules. Now shut up, this is the good part.”

“Okay.”

Of course Steve didn’t turn his head to watch the movie. He just kept watching Danny, like this was Mrs. Lautner’s seventh grade science class and today was bug on a slide.

“I’m going to take a shower,” Danny said suddenly, launching off the couch and turning a big circle around Steve’s legs.

He disappeared into the bathroom, slamming the door with excessive force and extreme prejudice.


A thoughtful Steve turned up the volume on the TV as soon as the water started up. His relaxed state was gone, evaporated in the face of Danny’s disappearing act and replaced with an urgent need to parse out what had just happened.

It was also the closest thing to a case he would be seeing for another couple of days and offered something to occupy his mind – most likely without gunfire.

Operation Decode Danny.
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teabee1000

February 2011

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