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10 February 2011 @ 09:06 am
Waltzing With The Open Sea  
Title: Waltzing With The Open Sea

Author: puckkit

Rating: PG13 [language]

Pairing/Character: hints of Steve/Danny

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or Hawaii 5-0 (in any of its incarnations), therefore all of this is false and made up from my charmingly eccentric imagination.

Author's Notes: No warnings for any episodes. Title is from a song called Clam Crab Cockle Cowrie by Joanna Newsom. A Steve McGarrett piece hinting at Steve/Danny but mostly focused on Steve.

It takes a while before everything settles. He comes back to Hawaii to meet with nothing but vengeance; pure, simple revenge. It’s a fire that burns short tempered and there he is, in the middle of everything, running and fighting and shooting. Burning hot, burning quick.

Slowly, though, ever so slowly life seeps back in.

He finds himself pausing in the grocery store, 2 in the morning, staring at the aisle of frozen dinners under the glaring fluorescent lights and wondering what the hell he’s doing. Standing in the doorway dressed for work with the sun beating down on his face and the newspaper laying by his feet, block letters proclaiming the date as Saturday. Standing at the kitchen counter in the early hours of morning and wondering when sleep became the Pandora’s box he could never even approach.

While some days life seeps slowly back in, some days it just slams into him, knocking him to the ground, and keeps going without an apology.


He spends nights going for walks. Before, before all of this (the SEALs, the mainland) he used to spend his contemplative moments staring out at the ocean and waiting for answers. It didn’t matter that he never found any, there was comfort in the idea of them coming towards him with leeching slowness. Like messages in bottles that might never make it to shore, at least they were on their way. At least their senders had the hope that they would reach those they were written for.

Before the SEALs and the mainland, before that police officer at his door with his sympathy and his eyes, Steve used to have that same hope. Nowadays he leaves his house when he needs peace and wanders beside the roads, along the abandoned beaches, and past the bars with their inhabitants spilling out into the streetlights.

He walks for hours and always finds his way back to his house through no effort of his own. Night after night he does this until he’s too tired to walk. He opens his door and climbs up the stairs laboriously, drags his feet to his bed and lies down on it with no intention of sleeping.

He wakes up with the sun streaming through the window, an ache behind his eyes that’s so familiar it seems natural.


It never affects him at the office, at work. Surrounded by Chin Ho and Kono and Danny it’s easier, he feeds off of their energy and feels himself fall into that familiar mode of having a team and needing a team, leading a team.

There are still quiet days though and those are the ones he dreads. He sits in his office under the guise of paperwork and finds himself making mental lists of what he’ll do next, forcing himself not to make lists of what he has left. That list would consist of work, his team, and Mary. Mary who lives on the mainland and calls once a month- bitches him out for not calling more and always says she loves him when she hangs up.

His team is important. His mission, his goal, and his way to achieve that goal which has always been through his team. Kono, who out shadows all the rookies he’s known, managing to be both brash and modest. Chin Ho, who looks at him with those haunted eyes that see more Jack than Steve but who, at least, is working towards moving on.

And Danny, Danny who is the ultimate unknown because of the way his words don’t match his eyes and the way Steve leans a little and Danny doesn’t cower away and that, that’s the ultimate unknown for Steve.

So he doesn’t make lists of anything. Instead he just fills out paperwork, who shot what gun, where each bullet went, why did they shoot, why was there no other way, why, why, why.

Why, why, why.


Then some nights he just feels crazy, locked in his own body and so fucking uncomfortable, needing a battle or sex or something to unlock it and let it slide down into his bones where it should rest instead of running like a current under his skin, sparking dangerous thoughts and dangerous feelings.

Those nights are all different but he battles them in the same way- with long runs and long swims, a simple workout circuit on the sand that he repeats again and again until he can barely breathe. Lies under the moon, sweaty and exhausted but keyed up nonetheless.

Sometimes tears find their way down his cheeks, eyes closed and feeling like the sky is a rainfall away from collapsing in on itself.

Sometimes he screams just to hear the sound of it, the echo off the ocean, a bottled message floating on the sound waves.

And sometimes he doesn’t do anything at all and the daylight comes anyway.


Nothing changes no matter what happens. Times passes and they keep working, pick up varied cases- some connected to his father and mother, some not. He tries not to let things get complacent, tries not to settle into routine. It’s easier than he would think.

Danny starts working his way into Steve’s life; forcing himself into places that Steve didn’t expect and doesn’t know how to fight against. It’s like he looks over and there Danny is, pretending that he’s been there all along and how does he know that’s where he’s supposed to be? What, your brain finally starting to take up some room in that muscle-man excuse for a human body? He’s been there all along. That’s how he knows.

Steve doesn’t know how he feels about that, so he chooses to ignore it. It works for … well, not very long.

He’s getting out of the car and heading for his front door at midnight (the end of an excessively long work day), passing Danny as Danny heads for the driver’s seat and out of nowhere Danny says, “You need groceries? Because I was thinking of hitting up that twenty four hour place for some of that cause-of-childhood-obesity cereal Grace likes so much.”

Steve blinks like he isn’t aware that it’s an unconscious process. He actually blinks and wonders for a moment if that’s a good enough response because his brain is about two paces behind and he’s not sure exactly how he’s ended up at home so he definitely doesn’t have his wits about him enough to have a conversation with his partner.

Apparently, Danny is more than two paces ahead of him. “Was that a blink? I’ll take that as an affirmative. Hop in the passenger side, babe, you need some real food and I need marshmallows masquerading as nutrients.”


It doesn’t stop there, though.

It’s Saturday and for the third Saturday in a row, Steve is standing in his front doorway with a newspaper that’s about half an hour late in reminding him what day of the week it is. He’s pondering this; well, actually, he’s staring at the paper and waiting for his vision to correct what must be a hallucination in the form of newspaper text, when a honk startles him out of his thoughts.


“That’s my name, you forget it already?” Danny’s hanging out the window of his car, idling in Steve’s driveway. Steve can make out a miniature human form in the backseat peering out the back window. “We’ve been apart for eight hours; I know your memory is better than that. It’s like you’re the human version of a goldfish with hours instead of minutes to remember that little plastic castle.”

Danny’s casual dress (a simple button down shirt, sunglasses reflecting the glare of yet another sunny day) and bright smile belie his sharp words.

“What are you doing here, Danny? It’s Saturday.” He’s only somewhat relieved that Danny hadn’t shown up a half hour earlier.

“Is it? Is it really? You don’t say. Wow, they make calendars pretty accurate these days, don’t they?” And yes, maybe that was called for since Steve hasn’t really been on his game for… well, longer than he’d like to admit to, but there’s something to be said for only talking when you have something nice to say.

“Gracie and I are heading to the beach and the monkey decided that we should bring ‘uncle Steve’ along and voila, here we are, bringing you along. Go grab what you need and let’s go.”

Steve feels like he should make some sort of protest, feeble as it would be, because it’s Saturday and just because he only just learned that fact a very short period of time ago doesn’t mean that he doesn’t already have awesome plans involving hot ladies, beer, and TV.

But, y’know, he doesn’t have any awesome plans with hot ladies, beer, or TV, so there’s that.

Shrugging, he heads back inside to gather what he needs. It’s just partner bonding, he reminds himself, nothing out of the ordinary there. And he’s maybe a little touched that Grace thought of him at all and that Danny was OK with letting someone else have some time with Grace on Danny’s weekend. If anyone knew how important Grace’s time with Danny was, it was Steve.

So they go and spend the day building sand castles, Grace splashing in the shallows with Danny as Steve uses his long strides and easy strokes to get a good swim in before lying on the sand and watching Danny and Grace play tag. He closes he eyes and lets the sounds wash over him, the hot sand a solid wall of heat below him, unrelenting and solid.

When he wakes back up, Grace is packing up her sand castle building materials and Danny is leaning over him, hand on his shoulder and a look in his eyes that Steve can’t even begin to decipher with his mind where it’s at, hazy and drifting.

“C’mon, let’s get you back to bed. I’m sure you have mind blowing evening plans with hot ladies and beer and you would never let me live it down if you slept through it because you were out watching your partner’s daughter build sand castles.”


It’s 2 in the morning. The only noise in his house is the quiet humming of his refrigerator, soft and carrying to all the little nooks that inhabit the spaces in his big, old house.

He lies in bed and thinks of lists and Mary and nothing, nothing at all, the silence and the hum and that feeling of having absolutely nothing. He thinks of his fridge and how it’s full of groceries and he thinks of his weekends and how they’re so big and quiet, like his house, full of expectations and memories but nothing of any substance.

He thinks about getting up. This sense of nostalgia isn’t of any use to him and this time when he’s awake could be used for getting useful work done, getting answers, and that glow of the embers makes it easy to see what still needs doing and who still needs killing.

He doesn’t, though. The light covers have long since ended up tangled around his ankles, his pillows pushed to the side or onto the floor, the cloudy night giving off no light but the dim glow of streetlights are close enough that he’s not completely in the dark. The ceiling is blank and all he can hear is the thrum of silence hiding under the hum of the fridge, full of expectations. Expecting that he’ll wake up and have breakfast tomorrow, lunch, supper, sit alone at his table or on the lanai and stare into nothing. Turn on the TV for the noise but gaze blindly through the images.

His phone is resting on his bed beside his hand. Thoughts of calling Danny linger in the back of his mind, fingers itching to complete the call that he only ended up four digits into last time he tried, an hour ago. It’s too late, or too early depending on your definition of each, and tomorrow is Saturday. Danny doesn’t have Grace this weekend but he’s been talking all week about his big plans that involve a sleep-in and time to recover from wounds that Steve’s pretty sure he doesn’t actually have.

If he’s honest with himself, he wants Danny to call first because then he could not answer if he wanted, but he would answer, and then he wouldn’t be imposing upon this thing that he isn’t even sure is a thing. He just wants it out of his hands. He’s so fucking tired.

His hand traces over the edge of the phone. He’s so tired and the ache behind his eyes has migrated into his skull, down his neck and into his spine where it throbs with the reminder of all the stupid things he’s done this week and the week previous and all the things Danny says that are true, day in and day out.

The numbers are dialed and the phone pressed against his ear before he can even contemplate calling. He tells himself he just wants to hear Danny’s voice and it’s true. He does. He wants it like he wants an anchor; like he wants a reason to stay that isn’t rooted in the reason that he currently has which will bring him nothing but bitter ashes of emotions he’d rather not feel.


There’s no static, just a slight hesitation and a sleepy voice. Of course Danny would check Caller ID first, make sure it wasn’t Grace or Rachel or something important in his life. Steve kicks himself because he’s already waited too long to pass it off as an accidental drunk dial.

He doesn’t say anything, just listens to his partner breath and imagines the silence at Danny’s tiny apartment as the all-consuming kind. The kind that you can breathe in and let devour you; get lost in like a deep fog, thick and all-encompassing.

“I’ll be there in ten,” Danny murmurs and there’s the quiet click of him hanging up and then nothing. Steve pulls the phone away from his ear and sets it on the nightstand, closes his eyes and waits. He imagines himself waiting for that bottled message, staring at the ocean for days on end with nothing but a stubborn hope and a desperate need, countless waves brushing up against the shore, ebbing and flowing with the moon.

He hears the car pull up and the engine cut off, Danny’s door open and close, the beep of his car alarm setting, the solid earth sound of him walking and the key in the door, the code in the alarm system- all these things Steve never had to tell him. He listens as Danny takes off his shoes and pads up the creaky stairs, the soft scuffing sound coming closer and closer until it stops in his doorway.

Listens to the rustle of clothing as Danny gets into the bed and moves Steve’s arm out of the way, untangles the sheets from Steve’s ankles and pulls them up to his waist, pushes the scattered pillows against the headboard and settles close enough that Steve can feel his body heat. Danny sighs quietly and Steve can feel himself drifting, drifting into the inhale and exhale of quiet, steady breathing.

Danny passes a hand through Steve’s hair and murmurs, quiet as a breeze,

“All you had to do was ask.”

Edited for editing purposes! Oy vey, Self, get a beta next time.
I am feeling: contentcontent
Kare: H50 Alexkare on February 10th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
What a beautifully written fic. I love the images you created and the mood.
Puckk: Kono likes this!puckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I definitely write with the mood in mind.
(no subject) - kare on February 11th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on February 10th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
The story "Waltzing With The Open sea"
I like this story very much!! Will you be posting more to the story so we can see what will happen next with Stev and Danny?
Puckk: Girliepuckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: The story "Waltzing With The Open sea"
Possibly! I have a couple more ideas but nothing as a follow-up. Thanks for the comment!
Anna: H50- Ohanawolwiegirl3 on February 10th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
oh, wow ! that's was beautiful, and haunting, and quite sad, but it seems on a good path for Steve ^^ It's a perfect place to end, but then again, I wouldn't mind at all to see what's next ^^
Puckk: Kono likes this!puckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yeah, Steve's on his way to better things (we hope). I don't currently have anything in mind to continue but we'll see!
(no subject) - gunslingaaahhh on February 10th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Puckk: Serenepuckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Raiiningraiining on February 10th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
Oh beautiful! Gorgeous writing and I LOVE this: Steve being the one whose almost always thinking of going away, and Danny the anchor, the support - beautiful. Fantastic ending, too. I love Danny's last line. Absolutely perfect.
Puckk: I climb ceilings!puckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
That last line was a lucky break (ending stories is way harder than starting them!) so thank you!
The Very Area of Brightnessbellalaine on February 10th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
The ending...oh my heart.
Puckk: Serenepuckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you so much!
She That Dances in the Rain: misc - tv - H50 - scott - blue lightraynedanser on February 10th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Oh my heart. Absolutely love love love this and how Danny knows what Steve needs without him saying so so so much!
Puckk: Kono likes this!puckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
Exactly what I was going for- he's a perceptive guy, Danny is, more than he gets credit for I think. Thank you for commenting!
galadriel34: alex just breathegaladriel34 on February 10th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, little bit sad but I just love it.
Puckk: Girliepuckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
space: H50-sleepwarm!Steveiam_space on February 10th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
Loved this! That last line is a heart-clencher! &hearts
Puckk: Kono likes this!puckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I think I got lucky with the last line, endings are hard!
jesseofthenorth: Steve and Dannojesseofthenorth on February 10th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
The loneliness in this is palpable .Very nicely done, great pacing.
Puckk: Girliepuckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
Just what I was going for, thank you!
serenity_pen: The boys water backgroundserenity_pen on February 10th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
This was just beautiful.
Puckk: Kono likes this!puckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! <3
Laura: SAD STEVE STAREelise_509 on February 10th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
I love Steve falling asleep at the beach, with Grace and Danny being the soothing thing he needs to finally turn it all off and sleep. The story is so lonely, which makes the ending all the more powerful when Danny shows Steve in another way that he's not alone.
Puckk: Serenepuckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Just what I was going for, that sense of pervasive loneliness. Actually, your icon sums it all up just about perfectly. Thanks for commenting!
Azziria: h5-0azziria on February 10th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous :)
Puckk: Kono likes this!puckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you! <3!
americandirrtyamericandirrty on February 10th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
I love this!!
Puckk: Kono likes this!puckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks! ♥ I love your comment ^^
Abbie Strehlow: Lonely Workknotted_rose on February 10th, 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
That was beautifully written. Well done. Nice mood. Thanks for this!
Puckk: Serenepuckkit on February 11th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for responding! Mood is my favourite thing, for sure.