Bowline

Bowline
by templemarker

Notes: A billion years, or five months ago, I started writing a handful of cliche fics for [info]angelgazing. I kind of lost the plot, but recently completed another one, still dedicated to [info]angelgazing. My grateful thanks to [info]chaoticallyclev for the fantastic graphic. Thanks also to my beta [personal profile] samjohnsson for being an editing ninja.

***

It was always raining somewhere in Hawai’i, but even Steve had to admit that today had been particularly wet. It would’ve been fine–that’s why he bought wrinkle-resistant clothes, after all–except the perp had jumped them just outside of the Makua Kea’Au Forest Reserve, which meant that they had to chase him down inside the reserve, and it really wasn’t Steve’s fault that the bottom of that hill they slid down had been so muddy. Danny should have known better than to wear Italian leather loafers in the rainy season, anyway.

The black-and-whites who met them at the ranger station took the perp away, and Steve pulled out a roll of plastic sheeting from the back of his truck. Danny made some unimpressed crack about serial killers and Steve pretended that he couldn’t hear him through the buzz of the rain. They sat on the plastic in silence except for the calm voice of the KHPR news announcer over the radio. When they got back to the station they squelched towards the locker room, and even Steve had to admit that this wasn’t the most pleasant way to bust a coke-smuggling ring.

Luckily, the water pressure in their showers made their taxpayer dollars worthwhile, and half an hour later Steve was dried off and dressed in clothes identical to the ones he had before, except his shirt was a different shade of grey. He looked over, and Danny was staring into his locker with the frown Steve usually associated with, well, with Steve carefully sticking his paperwork in between the stacks on Danny’s desk, or with something weird showing up on Danny’s pizza.

“What, did you find Narnia in there or something?” Steve asked, tying off his spare pair of hiking boots.

Danny shot him a look that meant he appreciated the reference but not the joke. “I forgot to mumble mumble,” he said, garbling the rest of his sentence.

Steve cocked his head. “Try it again, with actual words this time.”

Danny’s face pinched a bit. “I forgot to pick up my dry-cleaning,” he said, over-articulating the words.

Steve shrugged. “So?”

“So,” Danny drew out, “I don’t have my spare shirt and tie. I just have my gym clothes.”

Steve manfully kept from rolling his eyes. “I’m sure you’ll suffer through it, Danny.” He clapped Danny on the shoulder and headed back towards the bullpen. “If only I’d known it’d take a mud pit to get you out of a tie!” he called over his shoulder, and pretended he couldn’t hear Danny’s reply.

He was in his office, trying to sift through a few of the casefiles that had been forwarded on to them from HPD, when Danny walked in from the locker room. Steve could feel his mouth hang open a little bit. Whatever he’d expected, it wasn’t this: Danny, looking clean and damp from his shower, tucked into black sweatpants and an old East Orange Police Department hoodie. The faded EOPD letters stretched across Danny’s chest, and the neckline of the hoodie had been ripped apart, leaving it loose and frayed at Danny’s collar, just a hint of a white A-shirt along his shoulder.

Steve and Danny never worked out together–Danny usually came in early in the morning, before taking Grace to school, when Steve was out catching the break. It meant Steve had never seen Danny like this before, soft and unkempt, looking like he’d just tumbled out of bed.

It tugged at something deep inside of him, something he’d tried to put away since Danny had become his partner, had become his friend. It was that thing he knew he shouldn’t want but couldn’t help himself; that thing, wanting Danny in his bed and by his side.

“What’s with the face?” Danny asked, stance defensive, arms crossed over his broad chest. “I know, I’m a little dressed down, but I can still finish out the day.”

“Nothing,” Steve covered, badly, feeling his face flush and diverting his eyes. “You just, I don’t see you without a tie that often. It’s making me adjust my mental image.”

“Well, adjust already,” Danny said, exasperation coloring his voice. “I’m gonna start in on my statement, maybe order some Korean from the place down the street. You want extra kim chee this time, so you don’t steal mine?”

“Sure,” Steve said, turning and hoofing it into his office, trying to keep his gaze away from the pale column of Danny’s throat. “I’ll just, uh, do my statement too.”

“I’ll believe that when I see it filed,” Danny called behind him, and Steve risked a look at his face to see Danny raising an eyebrow at him.

There was no way Steve could concentrate on writing his statement. They were always monotonous anyway: “Perp A walked into my gun, Perp B ambulated on foot until Detective Williams apprehended him in a nearby nature feature, a quarter of a million dollars of cocaine was recovered and put into the chain of custody.” Who wanted to write about that when Steve could sneak glances at Danny, hunched over his desk with the light from his desk lamp shining around him, sleeves of his hoodie pushed up to reveal his forearms. Danny rolled up his sleeves all the time–Steve was willing to bet that they were always too long, and that he bought them off the rack–but this was the first time it had captured Steve’s attention so thoroughly. His forearms were strong, could hold a piece or his daughter with equal care.

Steve wanted to press a kiss to the fine bones of his wrist, see how they felt against his mouth.

He shook his head free of those thoughts, and pecked away at his statement. He managed to get a third of the way through it, only stopping four or five times to check out Danny through his office window. He wasn’t even looking when Danny poked his head in to tell him the food was there.

Over bibimbap and bulgogi, they reviewed the day, corroborating their accounts and talking about the weekend.

“You want I should bring Grace over, maybe do the barbecue? I’ll even let you grill ahi instead of steaks,” Danny said magnanimously, gesturing with his rice cake.

“Yeah,” Steve said, distracted yet again by the brush of hair coming out of the top of Danny’s shirt. Danny was a hairy guy; Steve wanted to see how far it went down so badly it made his mouth water.

Danny must’ve been talking, because he snapped his fingers in front of Steve’s eyes and looked expectant when Steve shook himself out of it. “Okay, seriously. Are you sure you don’t have a concussion? Because you haven’t stayed clued in to a conversation since we got back to the office.”

“I’m fine,” Steve said hurriedly, trying to cover. “I just, I’m tired. That’s all.”

Danny’s eyes narrowed. “It’s the tie thing, isn’t it?” he accused. “You give me shit about it all the time, but then you get all weirded out when I’m dressed down.”

“No!” Steve protested. “It’s not–I like it without the tie, okay? I like you!”

Danny sucked in a breath and his eyes darkened where they met Steve’s own. It felt like they were pinning him into the chair.

“You like me, huh,” Danny said slowly. “You like me, without the ties.”

Steve opened his mouth, but the words didn’t come.

Danny leaned back in his chair, putting his fork into his takeout container and sprawling his legs out. He didn’t take his eyes off Steve, just put a question and a challenge both in there. “Show me,” he said, spreading his legs wide, like an invitation or a promise. “Show me what you like.”

Steve could feel the blood beat in his ears, could feel his heart pound against his chest, and he put down the kim chee he was holding and pushed up from his chair. With caution, with precision, he reached out his hand, coming half-out of his chair to rest two fingers on the dip of Danny’s collarbone. When Danny didn’t stop him, he slid his fingers beneath the white cotton of Danny’s A shirt and pressed along the length of hot skin spread over delicate bone. He could feel Danny’s breath skip beneath the touch, feel the skin pebble. He stopped when he reached Danny’s shoulder, and then slowly made his way back to the center.

Taking one step closer, he pushed his fingers up Danny’s throat, where his tie would normally sit at his Adam’s apple, to the underside of Danny’s chin, tilting his head up towards Steve.

“I like everything about you,” Steve said, hearing the rough grain of his voice, “but I like this the best.” He bent to meet Danny’s mouth, and Danny surged up to catch him halfway.

Steve heard a hot noise escape from his Steve’s mouth and into the kiss, and he wrapped his arms around Danny’s waist, hands bunching in the well-washed cotton. Danny’s hands came up to frame his face, and they kissed for a long heart-racing moment in the middle of the bullpen, empty of people other than themselves.

Danny was panting when they parted, eyes bright and skin flushed. “I like you too,” Danny said. “Especially when you look at me with that face of yours.”

“What face?” Steve said, confused.

Danny laughed at him. “You have a whole library of faces,” Danny said, bussing a kiss against Steve’s mouth. “This one says, ‘take me home, Danny.’”

“I’m going to hide all your ties,” Steve told him, hand cupping the back of Danny’s neck.

“Not if I hide them from you first,” Danny baited, laughing when Steve made to kiss him again.

2 Responses to “Bowline”

  1. Popkin16 Says:

    Lovely! I do hope we get to see Danny more casually dressed in the show :P I don’t blame Steve at all for being captivated by Danny dressed in sweats and a hoodie. Mmm <3

  2. Lozza Says:

    Yum, dressed down Danny, very nice!

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