save face

save face
by templemarker

Notes: For angelgazing’s delightful Hawaii 5-0 Cliche Meme, and at her request: fake boyfriends cliche! Thank you to the woman herself, angelgazing, for beta.

***

Steve was twitchy all morning for no apparent reason, and Danny had decided that it was in his best interests to just wait it the fuck out instead of interrogating him like he usually did. He was acting squirrelly like he’d done something he didn’t want Danny to know about, and to be honest Danny’d already had a couple of concerned faces from the doctor about his blood pressure already and wasn’t looking to add another.

He waited until the end of the day, grinding through paperwork as the sun got lower in the sky, until his stomach was cursing at him and he had to turn on his desk lamp to focus through the last RR-640, Reporting the discharge of a firearm in a public congregation. Finally, just as he had signed off the form in triplicate and was packing up his things to go home and watch the game and drink enough beer to get through the night without his knee screaming at him, he looked up and there was Steve hovering nervously at the door.

“Hi Danny,” Steve said, and Danny rolled his eyes.

“Spit it out,” he said. “Whatever it is, we’re not high schoolers with dramatic secrets. You’ve been dancing around telling me something all day, so just suck it up, Army Ranger, and do it.”

Steve’s eyes narrowed. “The fucking Army—okay. Okay, I don’t care about that, I’m going to let that go, but I wanted to ask you something.”

Danny waved his hand in the air. “So…?”

“Funny you should mention high school,” Steve said, sounding like he was chewing out the words, “because I just got my high school reunion notice in the mail, and I was wondering if you’d, uh. Go with me.”

Danny raised an eyebrow. “The venerable Steve McGarrett goes to his high school reunion?”

Steve looked pained. “I’m obligated,” he said. “I could always use being out of the state as an excuse, but this time Allie Han made me promise. She sicced her twin boys on me. It was bad—I didn’t have any choice but to say yes.”

“Torture by toddlers,” Danny said. “I’m familiar. But why me? Why can’t you just go by yourself, have a drink, shake a couple of hands, and exfiltrate from the roof?”

Steve hesitated, but then seemed to commit to going through with it. “There’s this…woman.” He sighed, and it sounded long-suffering. “Michelle. She, uh. Had a thing for me in high school. And she heard I was back in town, I guess someone put that link from the paper on Facebook or something, and she’s been. Well.”

“Trying to chase you up so she can tie you down,” Danny supplied, crossing his arms over his chest and raising an eyebrow.

Steve shifted uncomfortably and leaned against the doorframe. “Something like that. I just thought that—maybe if she thought I was taken, you know, unavailable—”

Really unavailable,” Danny said, with a grin.

Steve answered with a small smile of his own. “That’s the idea,” he said, blowing out a breath in one long rush. “So. What do you think?”

Danny pretended to give it a moment’s thought, but he couldn’t hold it, he just laughed and swung his bag over his shoulder, clapping Steve’s back as he left his office. “Okay, McGarrett,” he said, betting he looked just this shy of evil if Steve’s vaguely panicked look was any indication. “I’ll be your fake boyfriend for a night to save you from the Fury.”

***

The whole thing was pretty standard, if maybe a little more Hawai’ian in the themed name tags and the fake coconut cocktail glasses and the pig roasting in the back. Steve had dressed up, as much as Steve ever did, by buttoning almost his entire shirt and throwing on a slightly wrinkled blazer. Danny wore a tie, because if he was going to play dutiful boyfriend he was damn well going to be a classy one.

They’d registered at the front table, and Allie Han practically sprung from her chair into Steve’s arms. Steve was surprisingly gracious about it, smiling and asking about her kids, and Danny watched with interest—he’d never really imagined that Steve might’ve had friends, because he never seemed to do anything outside of work and extreme sports. But Allie seemed to know him well enough to ask about his sister and the work being done on the house and how 5-0 had been in the paper last Friday.

Steve finally broke into Allie’s stream of questions to curve an arm around Danny and tug him forward. “And this is my—this is Danny. He’s, uh, he’s with me.”

Danny put his charming face one and held out his hand. “Hi,” he said. “I’m Danny Williams, I’m Steve’s partner.”

“Oh!” Allie said. “You were in that picture in the paper too. But they didn’t mention you two were partners.”

“We like to keep our personal lives separate from our work, don’t we, Steven?” Danny said, letting his own arm wind around Steve’s waist. Steve’s face was hilarious for a moment, caught somewhere between “wait I forgot about PDA” and “partners, yes in that way.”

“Yeah. Uh, yeah, Allie, we’re pretty committed—” Steve stuttered out.

“—to each other,” Danny finished smoothly. “But the job takes a lot of our focus, and we try to respect the work that we do.”

“Oh,” Allie said, clearly swept up by the idea, and reaching out a hand to brush Danny’s forearm. “That’s so amazing, I can’t believe you two can make that work.”

Danny looked at Steve again, and was surprised to see Minor Constipation Face #32 in place. He cocked his head and said, “You know, it’s hard, but we try. Listen, Allie, I need to get the man a drink, so we’ll catch up with you later?”

“Okay!” Allie said a little breathlessly. “Don’t forget to try the signature cocktail!”

Danny dragged Steve to the bar and ordered a couple of beers. “What, are you okay? I thought you were all about this boyfriends shit, that’s why you brought me.”

“I just—I guess I didn’t really think about what it would mean,” Steve said, taking a long pull from his beer.

Danny snorted. “Steve McGarrett, not thinking something through. What a shock.”

And there was Gearing Towards Pissed Off face #2. Danny sighed, drank his beer, and grabbed Steve by the wrist, dragging him out to the floor. “Look, let’s just do this, make the rounds, have a couple of beers, and then go to a sports bar so you can recover your manhood.”

“Okay, partner,” Steve said, and shifted so they were holding hands. Danny looked at him, but Steve kept going straight ahead.

***

Small talk, small talk, small talk–it was all the same after the first couple of encounters.

“Oh, you’re from the mainland!”

“So you’re partners.

“Looks like you snagged Most Athletic!”

Danny’s face felt strained from fake-smiling so much, and he hadn’t let Steve out of range for more than a beer run in the last forty-five minutes, tightening his hold on Steve’s arm any time Steve started to get fight-or-flight with one of his old high school buddies.

Actually, scratch that–everyone seemed to know Steve, but Steve never really went over to anyone himself. They just got bounced like pinballs between everyone there.

Finally Danny said something nonsensical about a smoke break–he hadn’t smoked since he was seventeen, but tonight seriously made him wonder about taking it up–and dragged Steve outside. They found an unoccupied corner outside the gym, and Danny leaned against the wall. Steve looked a little shell-shocked, which was funny because a few months ago they’d actually been in a room with a couple of grenades that went off and back then Steve had pretty much been Rambo.

The sallow light of the security fluorescents made the lines of his cheekbones stand out more, and Danny wanted to rub the pad of his thumb over them. He rubbed his palm instead, looking down at his shiny dress shoes and then back at Steve.

Steve was looking at him with a cross between “Defusing a Pipe Bomb” and “Getting Scolded By the Governor” on his face, and he opened his mouth. “Look, Danny–”

“Steve McGarrett!” a shrill voice came from a short distance away, and Steve froze. Danny would have laughed at him if his own hackles weren’t raised.

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” an overfamiliar female voice said. Ah. This must be the dreaded Michelle.

Steve turned. “Michelle, right? Michelle Kahue?”

Danny snorted at his weak deflection. Michelle walked into better view, and Danny figured she was pretty, in that post-cheerleader-slump way some women got. Too much make-up, too obvious work, but a set of tits you could bounce quarters off of.

He mentally smacked himself. He’d given up that kind of thinking the day his daughter was born.

Michelle laughed, a little too forced. “Oh, you know me,” she said, reaching out a red-tipped hand to rest on the lapel of Steve’s jacket. Danny watched him try not to flinch. “Don’t you?”

Ugh. That was enough, right there. Danny straightened his jacket and stepped up next to Steve, dropping his arm around Steve’s waist and shifting so that Steve’s arm would come around his shoulder. “I don’t think we’ve been introduced,” he said, tugging Steve back half a step by the hem of his jacket so he was out of the woman’s immediate reach. “I’m Danny. Steve’s partner.”

Confusion crossed Michelle’s face for a moment, but it cleared. “Oh, yes! I read about you in the paper. You work with Steve, on his fascinating task force. How interesting.” She dismissed him with a look and turned back to Steve. “Why don’t you buy me a drink and tell me all about it?”

“It’s an open bar,” Danny said, louder than he needed to. “And Steve and I are more than just colleagues.”

Her eyes flicked back to him, annoyance present. “How nice, you’re also friends. Listen, Steve–”

Danny looked up at Steve, trying to convey, “Help me make her get the message, moron, I’m doing all the heavy lifting here.” But Steve was tense, and Danny saw “I’m going to do something even if you don’t like it” crossed with “Please, please, Danny, won’t you do my paperwork for me” and a splash of “I’m a Navy SEAL, bitch, watch me do my thing” written all over his face, and so he wasn’t really all that surprised when Steve suddenly tightened his arm, swept Danny close, and kissed him square on the mouth.

With tongue, because SEALs don’t really do shit halfway, in Danny’s experience.

“Oh!” he thought he heard from Michelle’s general direction, and then there was the ringing sound of knock-off Manolo Blahniks quickly striding away.

Danny pawed at Steve’s shoulder, a little, “Hey, buddy, the threat has passed, you can stop mauling me now,” but it didn’t really work, Steve just made a throaty little noise and tugged him even closer, licking into his mouth like Danny was a taste he couldn’t get enough of.

Come to think of it, Danny kind of felt the same way, so he threw his arm around Steve’s neck and pushed him up against the wall.

They finally parted on a panting, marathon-runner breath, and Danny found he was petting the lapel of Steve’s suit exactly where he’d just been touched before, as if he was trying to erase the feeling.

“So, fake boyfriends, huh?” Danny said, mouthing up the curve of Steve’s jaw.

Steve’s hand moved from Danny’s back down to his ass, and squeezed a little. “Uh. Maybe real boyfriends?” Steve’s smile was lop-sided, and his face said “I caught the sleeper set!” mixed with something Danny could now identify as “I want your ass.”

“Maybe,” Danny allowed, and tugged him down again.

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