stellarmeadow: (stevelookdannyhospital)
[personal profile] stellarmeadow
Title: If the Morning Light Ever Calls You Backwards
Pairing: Steve/Danny
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0
Rating: NC17
Word Count: 5,469
Summary: Steve's been waiting for Danny to leave him for Rachel for months. Now he's convinced it's happening.
Notes: Third story in the Bottom of the Sea series I started a year ago and have been dying to finish. First story was Bottom of the Sea, then there was There's a Hole Up in the Sky. All the titles are from the Matt Nathanson song, Bottom of the Sea, which inspired the series.

To everyone who's been reading the first two and commenting and waiting for the next part--I hope it was worth the wait!

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kapuahi for the cheerleading, and huge, massive thanks to [livejournal.com profile] corilannam, who took the time to read the draft, tell me where I went wrong and basically lead me by the hand, question by question, until I worked out the problem. That this is finished is due to her help--I'd still be tearing my hair out otherwise.

Also, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] uxseven for the gorgeous banner for the series! Such a beautiful job!! Click on the cut to see the beautiful work he did!


if-the-morning-light-ever-calls-you-backwards

Steve's not the jealous type.

He never has been. He never laid awake at night, thinking about Catherine on a ship full of mostly men, never had that gut-wrenching "Who's she sleeping with now?" that made him want to call her just to see if she was alone. Even though that's how they got together in the first place, lonely people drawn together at sea, he's never been worried about her sleeping with someone else.

Most might think he was just that confident in himself or in their relationship--if you can call it that. He knows better now. It wasn't confidence. It was apathy.

It's not that he didn't love her. He did--does still, in that same way he loves the rest of the carefully chosen family he lets in, lets become important to him. Ohana is such a strange idea outside of the islands, the idea that there has to be blood behind it something foreign in Hawaii. Blood may be thicker than water, but all blood looks the same when it spills out of you, no matter whether it shares DNA with your attacker or not, and God knows the person who draws it is more likely to share it than not, statistically speaking.

He loves her, but he never cared who she slept with. When it came to the bedroom, she was convenient. Good, fun...but convenient. He'd never realized it until a short, loud-mouthed cop had not so much wormed into Steve's heart as shot his way straight into every fiber of Steve's life.

Blood is too mild a word for what Danny is. Danny is air and water and life, and Steve has no idea how to disconnect from that. He doesn't really want to, but he's looked for ways nonetheless, self-preservation instincts clawing at him to find a way to survive when Danny inevitably leaves.

It's been a month since Maui. A month since they saw Rachel, and she saw them. Or, more importantly, the evidence of them--the dark hickey just behind Danny's collar. Steve still isn't sure if Danny's figured it out. Danny's been different since Maui, less bitter, more relaxed, and Steve's enjoying the calm waters too much to stir anything up by mentioning it.

Which is not to say he hasn't been thinking about it. Rachel's reaction to the hickey was all the confirmation he needed that she hasn't completely given up on Danny, no matter whose baby she's carrying. Or maybe because of whose baby she's carrying.

Steve's hold on Danny is tenuous on the most optimistic of evaluations. He's pretty sure that Rachel could crook her little finger tomorrow and Danny would come back, but there is no doubt in his mind that if she told Danny she's carrying his child (again), nothing on Earth would stop him. Certainly not this thing he has going with Steve.

Not that Steve would ever stand in the way of Danny's happiness. He'd do anything that would make Danny happy, no matter what the personal consequences might be.

But the thought of Danny with Rachel, with anyone, makes Steve's stomach twist harder than the chance of the bad guy getting away does when they're on a case. It's why he lies here now, unable to sleep, despite the soothing sound of Danny's breathing soft and even beside him in the dark, faintly jealous of whatever dreams have Danny's attention instead of him.

In his more honest moments, Steve would admit that he's jealous of anyone other than Grace who gets Danny's time and attention. He tries to keep a tight lid on it, but he suspects that even his need to drive the car all the time isn't just about control. If he's driving, more of Danny's attention can be focused on Steve.

He doesn't need Freud to tell him that's not the healthiest thing, but Steve has never given himself to anything without committing one hundred percent, no holds barred, nothing left on the field. Why should giving his heart be any different?

Danny's breathing changes, and Steve turns just enough to see him stir, eyes blinking, slow smile crawling across his face, doing dangerous things to Steve's heart. "You're awake," Danny says in a barely-there voice, as if he's not quite back from dreamland yet.

"Maybe I'm not," Steve whispers, moving his hand across Danny's chest to skim down his torso. "Maybe you're dreaming."

Shaking his head slowly, Danny's hand covers Steve's, stopping it at Danny's waist. "Not dreaming," he says, his voice still little more than a whisper. "You never smell in my dreams."

Torn between the little thrill of knowing he shows up in Danny's dreams and the obvious, Steve goes for the obvious. "Is that your way of telling me I need a shower?"

Danny laughs, hand wrapping around Steve's wrist. "I didn't say it was a bad smell," he says, pulling on Steve's arm until Steve is almost covering Danny's body with his own, leg sliding across both of Danny's, pushing Steve's growing erection into Danny's thigh. Danny's nose nudges at Steve's neck. "You smell good," he whispers. "Dreams can't duplicate something that good."

That little thrill zings through Steve's body, chasing the desire that's ratcheting up as Steve's dick drags along Danny's skin, his hips moving lazily of their own accord. "Well as long as we're both up," Steve says, hand dipping down to squeeze Danny's half-hard dick, "might as well make something else good?"

"I knew there was a reason I liked you," Danny said, his lips working their way up Steve's neck.

Like wasn't love, but he'll take what he can get.

***

"Did you ever imagine what your life would be like when you grew up?"

Steve looks up from his steak, eyebrows drawing together as he tries to figure out where Danny's going with that question. "Sure."

When Steve doesn't elaborate, Danny rolls his eyes with a sigh. "I should've known I'd have to get specific--you never make it easy do you? What did you imagine your life being like when you grew up?"

"Oh." So they're back to 20,000 questions and his promise to answer every single one of them. "Sorry, it's just...it's a broad question. I know I wanted to be a soldier," he says, poking at his steak as he sifts through hazy memories of childhood.

"Did you dress up and play Navy SEALs with the other kids?" Danny asks, his tone matching the grin Steve sees when he glances up.

He'd promised total honesty. "Actually," Steve admits, ducking his head to cut his steak into much smaller pieces than it needed, "I had these camo pajamas that I'd wear, and I made my whole family call me GI Joe."

Danny laughs outright. "GI Joe, huh?" he says, and Steve realizes he's just landed himself a new nickname for the rest of his life. Or at least as long as Danny is in it. "So at what point did the Navy take over your Army dreams?"

"When I was old enough to really understand my grandfather's sacrifice." Steve lifts his eyes to meet Danny's. "I was ten," Steve says slowly, "and Dad took me out to the Arizona and explained that my grandfather was down there, and what had happened. I wanted to devote my life to the same noble cause he died for."

The words sound a little corny to Steve's ears, but they make Danny's smile soften. "What about kids?" Danny asks, his voice as soft as his smile.

"Who, me?"

"No, GI Joe," Danny teases. "Yes, you. Didn't you ever think about getting married and having kids?"

Steve puts his fork down, sitting back in his chair. "I think I assumed I would," he answers after a moment, "but after Mom died and everything kind of went to hell...I didn't think about it much." He folds his arms over his chest and looks at Danny. "I'm not sure I could do any better than my own father," he says. "How can I bring a kid into that?"

Something too close to sympathy for Steve to handle is in Danny's eyes, and Steve drops his gaze to examine a hangnail on his thumb. "You'd be a great father," Danny says, and there's no doubting the honesty in his tone. "You're awesome with Grace."

"Grace makes it easy," Steve says quickly. "You're lucky." He looks up at Danny. "But then you were born to be a dad."

"Grace is amazing," Danny agrees. "Despite everything Rachel and I have put her through, she's still amazing."

Steve ignores the fist that squeezes his heart when Danny says Rachel's name. "Do you think she'd be better if you and Rachel hadn't split up?" Steve asks, even though the question has to be forced through his throat.

Danny just shrugs. "I'd like to think she'd be amazing in any situation," he says. "Though a little part of me wants to believe that she's even better for what she's been through, selfish as it is."

"It's not selfish," Steve says. "It's human."

"See? You'd be a good father."

He wonders why Danny's pushing that so hard. Is he leading up to some grand declaration that he can't keep Steve from experiencing the joys of marriage and fatherhood by continuing to be with him? Or is he trying to convince himself that it's selfish to keep Steve from it? Maybe he's preparing Steve for a letdown in the interest of fatherhood and Rachel. "It doesn't matter anyway," Steve says. "I don't plan on having any kids of my own."

"Of your own?"

Trust Danny to pick up on that. "I mean, if I fell in love with someone who had a kid, I'd be happy being a stepdad, but I just don't see myself getting married and having babies."

Danny's eyes narrow, a look Steve's familiar with from interrogations, and he goes back over his words, trying not to wince as he realizes how much he may have given away. "I see," is all Danny says, leaning back in his own chair, his face becoming unreadable.

"I'm finished," Steve says, picking up his plate and pushing his chair back as he stands. "You done?"

"What?" Danny says. "Oh, yeah, I'm done."

Steve takes both the plates to the sink and resolutely tries to forget that conversation ever happened.

***

Steve flips through the third and final stack of forms on his desk, looking for the Guilford case, but it's nowhere to be found. The email from the Governor's aide seems extra bright as it shines out of his computer screen, as if it knows he's never going to find the answer to exactly why they needed to commandeer three jet skis from a rather pissed off group of rich tourists to chase Guilford down. If he can't find Danny's somewhat creative explanation in the report, he'll be stuck with "Because Chin was back at HQ, so we didn't need four," and he's pretty sure that's not going to fly with the Governor.

Danny. Right. Steve had given the report back to him. He jumps up and rounds his desk, getting almost to Danny's door when he hears low voices. Steve stops short, looking into the office to see Rachel sitting on the couch beside Danny, their heads almost touching as they talk.

"--tell Grace," Rachel is saying as Steve gets close enough to make out words. "She's asking questions, and she needs to know what's going on."

"When it's settled," Danny replies. "One way or another. If there's something to tell...."

Rachel's sigh is barely loud enough for Steve to hear. "Just because it didn't work out for you once--"

"Twice," Danny interjects.

"Third time's the charm then," Rachel says, her voice rich with amusement now. "Honestly, Daniel, it's a much better situation this time. Why would it fail?"

"You're kidding, right? Talk about having a deck stacked against success...."

Rachel snorts. "I've seen how that deck is stacked--"

"Rach."

"All right, I'm going. But you'll tell Grace."

"When it's settled. If it's settled."

"It will be."

He sees Rachel lean in for a kiss on Danny's cheek before she starts to stand up, and Steve hightails it back to his desk before he's seen. He can't miss Danny walking her out, though, and Steve's mind is spinning as they pass his door.

What are they settling? And what do they need to tell Grace? The obvious conclusion isn't too hard to find--their closeness, the kiss...it all adds up to one thing.

Danny and Rachel are back together.

The phrase sits in Steve's head like a rock. For all that he's known on some level it was coming eventually, now that he's faced with it, it's like he never expected it at all.

He's not sure how long he sits there before Danny walks in, knocking on the glass door as he's halfway inside the office. "Hey, you want to have dinner tonight?"

As if they didn't have dinner most nights? Steve blinks at him a few times, wondering what Danny would make of it if he said no. But...it's Danny. "Um...sure?"

"Don't sound so enthusiastic." Danny's smile looks a little forced, or maybe Steve's just projecting. He's not sure of anything right now.

"Sorry, I'm just distracted." Steve waves a hand at the computer. "The Governor's pissed about the jet skis." A convenient excuse. "Do you have the case file?"

"Yeah, it's on my desk. I'll get it."

Steve isn't sure he can handle being around Danny much more right now. He needs time to brace himself. "Can you just email me the part about the jet skis?"

Danny looks at him oddly. "Sure," he says, the word drawn out just a bit. "I'll send it in a minute."

"Thanks."

Steve watches him go before putting his head on the desk, his nose pressed into a file folder, almost hoping for a long case to come up suddenly and put off the inevitable. But then he's been putting off the inevitable for months.

No one can run forever.

***

For all that Steve's not surprised when Danny suggests dinner at Steve's house as opposed to eating out, his heart sinks just a little. At least at a restaurant, he might have a shot at avoiding the conversation he knows is coming. But at home...no chance.

Still, there's something to be said for getting it over with. Ripping the band aid off, so to speak, and hoping that the wound doesn't bleed out before something stops it.

He'd laugh at his own analogy if it didn't feel quite so accurate.

Danny even offers to cook, which Steve would normally mock and gloat over, while secretly making sure Danny didn't put half the salt container in whatever he was making. But Steve can't quite manage to hit normal, so he watches, answering Danny's questions about high school as best he can, as Danny cooks.

It does not escape his notice that Danny is perfectly at home cooking in Steve's kitchen, moving expertly around it as if he's lived there for ages. Which, Steve supposes, isn't too far off the mark. Danny's been there more often than his shithole apartment in the past year. Not that Steve can blame him--Steve would spend time anywhere else, too, if that was where he lived.

He hopes, however, that it's more than just the nicer accommodations that keeps Danny coming back.

Not that it's going to matter after tonight. Not once they have The Talk, as he'd started thinking of it sometime that afternoon. No, once they have The Talk, Danny will probably be living somewhere else. Probably New Jersey, since Rachel was so ready to go back there before. They'll probably want to get far away from Stan, and Rachel will likely want to get far away from Steve, so New Jersey makes sense, since there's no way Steve--

"So tell me about that time a dinosaur ate your whole graduating class," Danny says.

Steve blinks at him. Dinosaur? "What?"

"There you are," Danny says, his smile a little strained. "I've asked you a question three times, but you were in some kind of trance or something." Danny nudges Steve with his elbow on his way to the stove to turn off burners. "What's so much more interesting than me?"

"Nothing," Steve says, which is true, but he knows Danny's not going to get the double meaning. "Just lost in thought."
Danny snorts. "Considering how little you think sometimes, I'm not surprised you got lost."

"I think all the time, thank you very much."

"Oh, really? So last week when you threw yourself at that perp with the uzi while, may I remind you, not wearing a vest, you thought about that in advance, did you?"

Steve should've seen that coming; Danny hasn't let that one go for more than a few hours a day since it happened. "I did think about that, actually. It was either stop him or he was going to kill someone else." Danny being the only other target close by, which was why Steve hadn't actually had to think all that much before throwing himself on the guy. "It worked out, didn't it?"

"One of these days, my friend, your luck is going to run out." Danny's smile has faded, and his voice is serious. "I wonder sometimes if you get that."

He does. He just doesn't think that it means his luck when it comes to his job. His job he's good at. He knows what he's doing and how to do it without getting killed.

Relationships, however....

"I get that," Steve says, because Danny's clearly expecting an answer. "But what I don't get is why it takes so long to make pancakes."

"How would you know how long it took?" Danny asks. "You were lost in thought, remember? Time might be wonky for you."

"Wonky?"

"Shut up, it's a word."

Steve can't stop a grin. He can do this. He can keep it light. Maybe if he keeps this up Danny will change his mind and not have The Talk tonight.

They joke around during dinner, in between discussing cases and sports and everything under the sun. It's normal, familiar, and Steve can feel the tension seeping out of his neck in small increments, slowly lowering his shoulders back to somewhere near normal, compared to closing in on his neck.

It's only when they're done clearing away the plates, when Danny gets that look, the one he usually wears when Grace is dragging him towards the ocean to swim, that Steve realizes he's not getting out of The Talk tonight. He still tries to psychically will his phone to ring with a case, but it remains stubbornly silent, the criminal element of Hawaii having chosen to be as inconvenient as ever.

"Let's sit outside," Danny says, two cold beers in hand, his face resolved, but otherwise blank, as he looks at Steve.

He could refuse. He could plead a number of excuses. But no. He's a SEAL, for fuck's sake. He's been beaten, tortured and shot, and all in one day. He can deal with this. "Okay."

If Danny has any idea what that one word cost Steve, he doesn't let on. He just nods and leads the way out the door and down onto the beach, taking his usual seat. Steve drops into the chair beside him, staring at the ocean and drinking his beer. The waves seemed loud in the silence between them, failing to soothe Steve the way they normally would.

He's not quite halfway through the beer when Danny clears his throat. "So here's the thing," he says, his voice still hoarse. "I saw Rachel today."

Only today? "I thought I saw her leaving," Steve says, keeping his tone as neutral as possible. "Something wrong with Grace?"

"No, Grace is fine. Though Grace is one of the reasons she wanted to talk to me." Danny screwed his face up for a second. "Well, sorta."

So that's how she got him, by saying Grace would be better off with her parents together. Steve couldn't possibly put up an argument to that one. He just wishes Danny would get it over with. "What's this about, Danny?"
Danny rolls his beer bottle around in his hands for a few seconds before glancing up at Steve. "Rachel knows."

"Knows?" Nobody said Steve has to make this easy.

"About us."

Steve takes an even breath, then a drink, weighing that information. He knew that already, of course, he just hadn't expected her to provide Danny with that information. And it was an odd way for Danny to start the 'We're getting back together' speech. "Okay. So what does that mean?"

Steve tightens his grip on his bottle with each second that ticks by until Danny speaks. "I don't know," Danny says finally. "You tell me."

"You're the one who talked with her," Steve replies, feeling a little lost in the conversation. "Why did she tell you that?" Steve's stomach clenches at a dark thought. "Did she threaten you? Is she going to try to change the custody agreement again?"

"What? No." Danny put his bottle down, frowning at Steve. "Why would--she's not--it wasn't like that."

"So what was it like?" Steve asks, just wanting the roller coaster to end. "Did she say 'he's not right for you, come back to me?' Or did she say I wasn't right for you and Grace?"

"Wait, what?" Danny pushes up out of his chair and moves quickly, looming over Steve. "What are you talking about?"

Steve licks his lips, his bottle falling from his hands as he grips the arms of his chair to keep from grabbing Danny and never letting go. "What did she say to get you back?"

"Is that what you think?" Danny's voice is a combination of amazement tinged with a little amusement that makes Steve wonder if he's lost his mind. "Who said I was going back to her?"
"But...." Steve stares at him for a moment. "You're not going back to Rachel?"

"No, I'm not going back to Rachel. Though I'm flattered you think that A, I'm that stupid that I'd do that again and second, that I would even be entertaining the idea of relationship with her and having one with you at the same time."

"But you--" Relationship? Wait...what? "We have a relationship?"

Danny gives him a look like he pities anyone with Steve's low IQ. "Did you, or did you not just this morning say, 'We're out of toothpaste, can you pick some up on your way home?'"

Steve thinks for a second. "Yes?"

"Okay. You've never been married, so I'll cut you a little slack in your complete lack of understanding of how this works, but trust me, that is a relationship."

Steve feels like his brain is about four steps behind the conversation. "So you're not getting back together with Rachel?"

"No, I am not getting back together with the woman who's having someone else's baby."

Of course not. Because she's having someone else's baby. "And if she wasn't?"

Danny blinks at him. "Wasn't what?"

The words stick in Steve's throat the more he worries about the answer, but he manages to force them out. "Having someone else's baby."

"If she wasn't having someone else's baby...." Danny frowns at him for a moment before the IQ pity look returns. "Oh, I see," he says, shaking his head and rolling his eyes at the same time, making Steve a little dizzy. "So you think if Rachel was free I'd just go waltzing back to her, is that it? You think you're my safety school?"

"What?"

"You know, my safety school. Like when you don't get accepted to your first choice of college and then you have to go to the school that was okay, but not really the one you wanted."

"This isn't college, Danny."

"Good thing," Danny mutters, shoving one hand in his pocket, "because if it was, you'd be flunking. Badly."

Steve pushes himself out of the chair, Danny standing so close that the move has them almost touching. "So am I?" Steve asks.

"No." Danny's reply is quiet, but it's that intense kind of quiet he gets when he's confessing something important, like it's something so deep inside him that he has to be very still to dig it out. Steve knows that look, because he lives for those confessions. "You are not my safety school or my consolation prize or the red ribbon that I'm secretly wishing was blue. You..."

Danny takes a deep breath and exhales, and Steve feels it on his neck, they're so close. "You," Danny continues, voice hoarse, "are insane, and you are an adrenaline junkie, and you are probably going to shorten my life by ten years, and this probably makes me at least as insane as you, but you are still my first choice. My only choice. If Rachel came to me tomorrow and told me the baby was mine, I would do everything I could to help raise my child...except leave you. Because it wouldn't work with her, not..." another deep breath, "not when I love you."

Steve can literally feel himself blinking as he tries to process the words. "You...what?"

"Seriously, did the brain damage cause hearing loss? I love you, okay?" Danny's mouth has that slight twist to it, the one he uses when he's mocking himself. "And I want to be able to tell Grace that when she asks why I'm always with Uncle Steve--which, apparently she's been asking Rachel, hence the conversation. And I want to stop denying it every time Kono and Chin tease me about it--which, by the way, is only fifteen times a day." He takes another breath. "But I can't do that if you're not with me."

Danny's gone completely still again, eyes locked on Steve's face, waiting. He doesn't like that look, the one that feels like Danny's just waiting to be punched or something, but his brain seems to have suddenly become as damaged as Danny's accusing, because he still can't quite process. "You want to be...a couple?" Steve asks after a moment.

"I'm not saying I want to go make out in the middle of HPD," Danny replies. "But...yeah, I mean...I just want to acknowledge what we already are," he says finally. "Is that a problem?"

He takes a step back, like he's preparing to go if it's a problem, and Steve's heart stops for a second at the thought of him leaving. "No," Steve says quickly, his brain finally catching up. "No. Not a problem. I...I can do that." He can, he knows he can, especially if the alternative is losing Danny.

He can do anything to avoid that.

Danny lets out a long breath, a smile finally settling on his face. "Good," he says, nodding, his hands fluttering around for a few seconds before landing on Steve's hips. "Good."

"Just good?" Steve asks, leaning in, his lips almost touching Danny's.

"Take me upstairs and it might upgrade to great," Danny says, leaning in that extra centimeter for a kiss.

Steve pulls back just enough to grab Danny's hand and pull him into the house and up the stairs. He only stops when they're by the bed, turning around so fast that Danny runs into him, chest to chest. The proximity demands a few more kisses, as Danny's hands start pulling Steve's shirt up, and Steve breaks the kiss only long enough to get the shirt over his head.

Fingers fumbling in a hurry, Steve finally manages to get all of Danny's buttons undone, shoving the shirt off as if it offends him. Which, it does, a little--Danny should never be clothed when it's just the two of them. Steve's completely against anything covering up that golden skin, keeping his hands from roaming over it the way they're doing right now.

His hands drift down to Danny's ass, and Steve frowns into the kiss when his palms find fabric instead of skin. He applies what's left of his rapidly-deteriorating brain function to getting rid of Danny's pants, vaguely aware that Danny's returning the favor.

Pants and shoes taken care of, Steve pulls Danny close, the sudden contact of skin on skin up and down their bodies making him gasp into Danny's mouth. Steve pushes Danny backwards until he falls onto the bed, looking dazed and confused, his lips swollen and parted, making Steve's dick jump just from the sight.

Danny licks his lips, slowly sliding his way up the bed until he's resting on his pillow--it's been his pillow for months, Steve realizes, the reality of the situation starting to sink in. Danny's here and he has no plans to go anywhere else.

Steve freezes for a moment, the instinctive fear of Danny leaving warring with the knowledge that he's not going anywhere. Then Danny smiles at him, slow and sexy, and Steve shakes it off, putting one knee on the bed, then the other, one on each side of Danny's thighs. Danny's skin is hot under Steve's ass, and he moves his hips a few times just to feel that skin slide against his own.

The move turns the flame in Danny's eyes into a near nuclear explosion, and Danny's reaching for him, pulling him down with enough strength that Steve would have a tough time resisting. Not that he wants to. He goes willingly, mouth opening for Danny's before they're even touching, his tongue seeking out Danny's as soon as they meet.

Steve's hips are moving again, he can't help it, the feeling of Danny's dick sliding against his is too much, combined with all his new knowledge. He wanted Danny inside him, but he's not going to last long enough for that, and neither is Danny if Steve is reading him right.

Which he knows he is--one thing he's never had any trouble reading is Danny's body during sex. "Wanted..." Steve says, lips sliding down Danny's cheek as their hips move faster, "you...inside..." he pauses to nip at Danny's earlobe, Danny's gasp causing Steve to thrust hard against him, "me."

"Next time," Danny says, his hands moving down Steve's back to grip Steve's ass, pulling him even tighter against Danny as they're both thrusting. Danny's mouthing Steve's shoulder, and Steve leans into it even as he traces the tendon in Danny's neck down to his collar bone, biting down just enough on the bone to make Danny hiss.

"Cheater," Danny growls against Steve's shoulder at that, taking a little bite of his own, one that turns into sucking until Steve knows there'll be a mark there when he looks later.

And Danny marking him, the idea that Danny wants everyone to see who Steve belongs to, that's the last straw. Steve comes hard, Danny's name on his lips, the taste of Danny's skin in his mouth. He feels Danny's fingertips digging into his ass and Danny's whole body shuddering as he spills over between them, causing Steve's cock to twitch as if it's trying to come all over again.

He takes his time getting his breath back, not ready to give up the amazing feeling of being draped over Danny, sweaty and dirty and amazing underneath him. The part of Steve's brain that was so used to storing up everything to remember when he lost Danny is still cataloging every taste, feel and sound, no amount of reminders that he doesn't have to store it away seem to be able to stop it.

It's good, though, being so aware of every wonderful thing he has right here in his arms. When Danny starts shifting, Steve moves at last, sliding off just enough that Danny's not holding all his weight. Danny's arms tighten reflexively around Steve, as if he's worried Steve might move any further away, making Steve smile.

As if he was going anywhere.

But then, Danny might not realize that. "I love you, too, you know," Steve says, surprised at just how hoarse his voice is.

"I know. Took you long enough to figure it out."

"I had that figured out ages ago."

Danny's laugh is soft, and his arms tighten around Steve again. "No, to figure out that it was okay to say it."

"Oh." He considers defending his own stupidity for a moment before deciding it's not worth it. "I'll remember that for the future."

"You'd better." Danny's voice is sleepy, and he slurs out, "I'm planning on hearing it a lot from now on."

Steve barely has time to notice Danny's fallen asleep before he joins him.

---

END

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