Keeping Watch

by Kass

This story is for the one, the only, the wonderful sheafrotherdon -- one of the kindest, loveliest people I know. Happy birthday to you, my dear! The premise is lifted directly from an actual Harlequin romance, in their sub-genre of Navy SEAL stories. (You can read the back of the book here at their site.) The title of this story is borrowed from a poem by Persian poet Hafiz; if you're curious, you can find the poem at the end of the story. Deep thanks are due to Sihaya Black and Siriaeve for beta and encouragement!

Steve McGarrett slouched back into his slightly-reclined car seat, lifted the night-vision binoculars to his eyes, and reached unerringly for the bag of cheese-flavored popcorn propped at exactly the right angle on the passenger seat of his nondescript beat-up sedan. Popcorn was noisy stakeout food, but he was on this detail alone, so he wasn't bothering anybody. Chin and Kono had the day shift; he'd pulled night duty. Which was fine by him. It wasn't as though he had anyone waiting to curl up with him at home.

He scanned the apartment, which was down the block and across the street from the place where he had parked beside a fence overgrown with bougainvillea. Without the binoculars all he could see was the lit square of a window, uncurtained, and Williams periodically moving past; with them, he could see every detail, down to the titles of the books on his shelves.

Right now Williams was puttering around the kitchen, putting dishes away. His head was tilted at a weird angle: holding the phone against his shoulder, Steve guessed. Every now and then he gestured broadly, despite the fact that whoever he was talking to wasn't actually in the room. All indications were that this was a run-of-the-mill quiet Monday night.

Steve let the binocs drop. Only the discipline of long training kept him from actually sighing. This was going to be the most boring stake-out known to humankind. The thugs who busted heads for the mob might be stupid, but the mafia higher-ups who orchestrated their activities weren't. They weren't going to try to take this guy out while he was awake and visible through the window. They'd wait until three, four a.m. to make their move. Which meant Steve was going to be spending a long night -- possibly several long nights -- watching the Danny Williams show, which apparently featured such thrilling activities as eating dinner, doing dishes, and talking on the phone.

Yeah: the life of a Navy SEAL was all excitement.

Two handfuls of popcorn later, Steve lifted the binoculars again... and almost fumbled them in surprise. Holy shit: Williams had taken off his shirt and was stepping out of his pants. He bent over -- folding them and putting them away, maybe? whatever; it was one hell of a view -- and when he stood he twisted from side to side, stretching.

Steve swallowed hard. The binoculars gave him an exceptionally clear view of Williams' strong arms, his chest tapering down to his hips, his muscular legs. He shouldn't be watching this. Mob heavies were nowhere in sight; Williams wasn't in obvious danger; he should put the damn binoculars down and look again in a few minutes when the guy would be dressed again. The government wasn't paying him to enjoy his own personal peep show. It took an act of will, but he put the glasses down and took ten slow deep breaths.

So Williams was hot. He could get over that. He was a professional.

Five more breaths and he decided enough time had passed. He picked up the binoculars again.

Williams was still nude. But this time he was standing in a perfect warrior pose: left leg stretched long and lean behind him, right knee bent into a lunge, his arms outspread, gazing over his right knee into the other side of the apartment. His cock -- Steve couldn't help looking; it was right there! -- lay quiescent; apparently he didn't find yoga erotic.

Unfortunately Steve couldn't say the same thing for himself. At least, not when the yoga was being performed by Danny Williams, to whom he was rapidly developing an unhealthy attraction. What was wrong with him? He was pretty sure there was a special place in hell for officers of the law who got off on watching the people they were supposed to be protecting. He bit his lip hard, trying to will away his erection.

Williams shifted seamlessly into triangle pose, bending at the waist to place one hand alongside his ankle, the other arm reaching for the sky. Steve knew he ought to put the binoculars down. But he didn't. He was going to feel like a jerk in the morning, but he couldn't resist.

Once Williams finished his workout, he watched some X-Files reruns in a bathrobe and then the apartment went dark. It took at least an hour for Steve's erection to subside. After that, he was alone in the car with his popcorn and his thoughts. Most of which were on the theme of how he should never have watched...and how guilty he felt for enjoying the show.

The birds started calling well before dawn. Steve finished his thermos of coffee and scrubbed a hand blearily through his hair. No sign of the mob, which meant he'd be handing off the stakeout to the daytime shift. Maybe Chin and Kono would get to make the bust. It'd be good for Kono to get the experience of taking those bastards down. That was what he ought to be hoping for.

And he was. He was absolutely hoping that Chin and Kono would get to take down some real New Jersey gangsters so Williams could continue teaching safely. Nobody hoped for stakeouts to continue. They were boring. A waste of investigative time.

When Chin and Kono's car pulled up, around 6 on Tuesday morning, he nodded to them and drove away. Time to get some shut-eye.

A shower. A long nap. A little bit of paperwork. An early supper. And then it was time to go to work again.

Despite himself, Steve felt a thrum of excitement when he settled in to his flower-shaded parking space. Chin and Kono had set up a perimeter at the U all day, but there hadn't been any excitement there -- which meant he was on duty for another night. He was there to do a job. Protect and defend.

And Williams definitely needed their protection. He'd accidentally exposed a web of mob connections while doing microfiche research toward his second book. Steve had to hand it to him, he hadn't panicked. He'd taken his findings to the Feds, who'd suggested that he take his sabbatical early while they took care of business. But Williams had refused, point-blank. He was a teacher; he wanted to teach.

His only concern had been for his daughter, who lived with his ex and her new SO in one of the hideously ostentatious mansions on the far side of the island. Ex and daughter had been dispatched to visit her family in Britain along with a quiet security detail.

Now law enforcement on the Mainland was following up on his findings, and they'd already made three arrests. Steve and his team just had to keep this guy safe until Russo was in custody. That was Steve's mission. Not ogling the guy while he did his nighttime workout.

Besides, Williams had changed into casual clothes by the time Steve came on duty: board shorts and a t-shirt. He'd probably already worked out. Steve told himself he wasn't disappointed. Not even a little bit.

He watched Williams make dinner, eat in front of the tv, do his dishes. Ordinary boring stuff.

But then Williams yanked his t-shirt over his head. Steve's breathing came a little bit faster. Sure enough, Williams pushed his shorts down over his (beautiful) hips and kicked them across the floor. Steve was fucked. He was so fucked.

The guy moved with incredible grace. Sun salutations, warrior pose, backbends. Steve was so hard he ached. He didn't touch himself -- he was on the job, damn it -- but he wanted to.

No: he wanted to leave his car, to sprint over to Williams' building and up the stairs, to let himself in and kneel at this guy's feet. He wanted to suck him off, slow and dirty, to make those expressive hands curl around his head and hold him in place.

More than that. He wanted to rescue Williams from the goddamned mob and then take him out to dinner and then bring him home and bend him over the bed and fuck him into blissful incoherence.

And how pitiful was that? What kind of Navy SEAL had fantasies about the people he was guarding from harm?

He hated himself for thinking of Williams while he jerked off in the shower the next morning, but he couldn't keep the images out of his mind.

Another night, another spectacular naked workout, another chance for Steve to castigate himself for watching what he knew wasn't meant for him.

On the third morning -- he had to count days to figure out that it was Thursday; time had a way of blurring when he was working night shifts -- Steve waved hello to Chin and Kono, drove away, and then found himself pulling in to the parking lot on the other side of the building. He sat in the car for a few tense minutes, and then he got out and started walking toward the building. He felt oddly distant from his own actions, as though he were surveiling himself from afar. This was a clear breach of protocol. He could jeopardize the whole case -- not to mention, Williams was going to be furious. He knew that. And still he climbed the stairs and knocked.

Williams opened it right away. Freshly-showered, wearing khakis and a short-sleeved button-down, fastening the tie around his neck. He was taller than Steve expected. Steve was suddenly conscious that his own clothes were wrinkled and that he was unshaven and probably smelled like cheap popcorn. He stood ramrod-straight to compensate.

"Can I help you?" Williams asked.

"Commander Steve McGarrett," Steve said, offering his hand. Williams' shake was firm. Steve resisted the impulse to hold on. "I'm part of the detail assigned to keeping you safe until they get Russo behind bars."

"Right, of course, who else would you be. I'm Danny Williams, though obviously you know that -- come on in," Williams said, stepping back and making room for Steve. It was weird to be inside the apartment he'd spent three nights watching. Instinctively he stayed away from the window, out of Chin and Kono's line of sight.

"I'm just getting ready for work," Williams said, unnecessarily. "You want some coffee?"

"I shouldn't stay," Steve demurred, but Williams was already grabbing two mugs and pouring for both of them. Steve accepted one and took a grateful gulp.

"So how's the case going?" Williams asked, but before Steve could begin to answer, he kept talking. "I have to admit, it's a little weird being part of this kind of investigation -- mob history, sure, the mafia and the Triads and the Russians, I can tell you all about the labyrinthine interconnections of the weapons trade and the drug trade in the late 1800s, but this -- this is not exactly my usual m├ętier."

"It's going fine," Steve said, on autopilot. "They've nabbed three big heavies thanks to your research, and it sounds like they should be bringing Russo in any day now."

"Wow, great, that's very impressive; I commend you for your perseverance; good work." Williams sketched a broad gesture of thanks with his coffee mug.

"Yeah, listen -- about the work --" Steve felt his face heating, but he plunged on. "You might want to consider --"

"What," Williams asked, his posture shifting. Suddenly he was all business. "Is there something we didn't think of -- oh my God, is Gracie in danger?"

"What? No!" Steve felt like a heel. "No, no, your daughter's fine; she and your ex are in terrific hands, they'll be safe in London until we finish this case. I promise."

Williams slumped a little bit in relief. "Sorry," he said quietly. "I get a little overprotective sometimes."

"I get it," Steve said. Now he felt even more ridiculous, but he had to say what he'd come here to say. "I might want to consider wearing clothes."

Williams blinked, glanced down at his shirt and tie, then glanced back at Steve. The sarcasm was as obvious as if he'd used words.

"When you're working out," Steve clarified. His face had to be bright red, but he didn't look away. He owed the guy that much, at least.

He could see the comprehension dawn. "The yoga," he said, and Steve nodded. "You're -- what, you're parked--"

"Out there," Steve said, gesturing toward the street where his car had been parked. "My team's there now."

"Ah," Williams said. He didn't look angry. He looked curious. As though he were trying to puzzle something out. His regard made Steve run hot and cold all over.

There were a lot of things Steve wanted to say. You're really hot. I'd like to buy you dinner. Did you hear they rescinded Don't Ask Don't Tell?

What he said instead was, "I've gotta go. Stay safe."

"You too," Williams said to his back as he walked out the door.

Night four on stakeout and Steve's stomach was tied in knots. He'd done the right thing -- it wasn't honorable to stare at a guy who didn't know he was being watched, not like that -- and yet he couldn't shake the feeling that he'd somehow tampered with the case. Even worse was the feeling that he'd come across like some kind of sleaze. He'd waited three days to tell the guy he could see him. Ultimately his sense of honor had won out over his libido, but it had taken too damn long.

Through the familiar green-tinted lenses of the night-vision binoculars he watched as Williams ate dinner, washed his dishes, watched a little tv. As usual. And then Williams stood up, pushed the coffee table out of the way, and pulled off his shirt.

Steve froze perfectly still, holding his breath.

Williams tugged his pants down and folded them. Okay, he was wearing boxer briefs. He was still tempting as hell, but that was at least a reasonable thing for a guy to work out in, in the privacy of his own home. Steve could live with that.

But then Williams toed those off, too. Stretched his arms high and then bent into Downward Dog, his delectable ass in the air. Steve pressed down on his erection and manfully resisted the temptation to grind up against his palm. He'd stood in that very living room. Heard Williams' voice, smelled his aftershave. He'd warned the guy that he was watching, that he could see everything -- and Williams was doing naked yoga in front of the same goddamned window again.

Williams was flirting with him. This had to be flirtation. Didn't it?

Or was that just wishful thinking brought on by three nights of craving on top of a long dry spell of loneliness?

"Fuck," Steve said aloud to no one, but he kept the binoculars glued to his eyes.

Friday morning, Chin and Kono arrived with big smiles.

"They got Russo," Chin said. "Busted him in a warehouse at 10am with eight of his flunkies."

6am Hawai'i time was noon in Jersey. They'd gotten the guy two hours ago. "Any casualties?"

"Nah, it was clean," Kono told him. "Should we cancel our Williams watch today?"

Steve shook his head. "Even if Russo's down, I think we ought to give it another few days. Russo might have set something in motion before he went into lockdown."

"Fair enough," Chin agreed. "Go get some sleep."

It really was the right call, he told himself as he drove home. It wasn't just that he wanted an excuse to look at Danny Williams one more time.

Around five Steve woke up from his daytime nap, opened the curtains to enjoy the late afternoon light, and got dressed for work. His cellphone showed two calls while he'd been asleep. The first was from his superior, informing him that Russo was in custody, which he already knew.

The second was from Kono.

"We got 'em!" She sounded exultant. "Bastards tried to make a move while he was teaching a class, can you believe it? You were right about keeping us on him. Anyway, they're in custody. The brass says to take the rest of the day off -- I'm gonna hit the waves. See you Monday, brah."

Steve closed the phone and stared at his hands. He was glad for Kono and Chin that they'd gotten the bust. Glad for Williams that he was safe, that Russo and the muscle he'd sent were both behind behind bars.

And yeah, okay, it kind of sucked that he didn't have an excuse to look at Williams again, much less talk to him. But what had he really thought was going to happen, anyway? It wasn't as though Williams were going to fling himself at Steve's feet and offer to thank him with blowjobs for saving his life.

No: it was time to put Danny Williams and his washboard abs out of his mind.

Steve went for a long run during which he attempted not to think about Williams at all. When he got back to the house, he kicked off his sneakers, pulled off his shirt, and headed right into the water. The warm waves, the salt air, the sunlight all helped to push his malaise out of his mind. Lots of guys felt a little bit down when a case got closed. It didn't have to mean anything.

As he swam for shore he became aware of a man standing on the beach watching him. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. He wasn't armed, but there were rocks he could grab if he needed a projectile --

-- but when he got close enough to see who it was, silhouetted against the brightness of the setting sun, it was Danny Williams. Standing on the sand in flip-flops, wearing cargo pants and a short-sleeved white linen shirt, hands down by his sides, watching as Steve emerged from the ocean and walked dripping up the beach.

"How'd you find me?"

Danny shrugged. "Only one Steve McGarrett in the phone book."

"They caught him," Steve said unnecessarily. "Russo."

"Yeah, I know, Kalakaua told me."

Steve was conscious of the water dripping from his hair and from his running shorts, which were probably clinging to him in a way he ought to find embarrassing. "So you just dropped by --"

"Figured the least I could do is say thank you," Danny said, spreading his hands. "Any chance I could, ah, buy you dinner?"

Hot damn. Maybe his fantasies had been closer to reality than he'd realized. Anticipation zinged along Steve's spine like a wave crashing along the shore. "I ought to shower," he said, gesturing down at himself, and Danny's eyes flicked down and then back to his face again. Yeah, this was going to be good. He was going to get lucky. He could feel the smile starting to take over his face. "C'mon in, make yourself at home."

Steve padded downstairs in clean clothes, hair still wet from the shower, to find Danny lounging on his couch reading an old Tom Clancy novel he'd pulled from the shelf.

"You eat meat?" Steve asked.

Danny smirked. "I'm sorry, you did not just say what I think you--"

"Wow, you're a real smartass," Steve said, effecting wonderment.

"Yes, I am a carnivore, if that's what you were asking." Danny put the novel down.

"Omnivore, I'm guessing," Steve corrected, and was rewarded with an eyeroll. "Seriously, though, would you be okay with just having some steaks and a salad here, instead of going out?"

"I didn't mean to make you cook me dinner," Danny protested.

"After a stakeout it's kind of nice to stay home. You can buy me dinner next time," Steve offered, and Danny -- apparently recognizing when he was beat -- shrugged his shoulders affably.

"Then you've gotta let me help," Danny said, and followed him into the kitchen.

"You're not from here." They'd just sat down to dinner -- two steaks, medium rare, fresh from the ten-minute waiting period Steve insisted on giving them; green salad; cold Longboards in hand -- and Steve figured that was a reasonable place to start.

"What gave that away -- my laid-back demeanor or my pitch-perfect grasp of local lingo?" Danny grinned and helped himself to salad. "Nah, I'm from Jersey."

"Hence the mob thing."

"Hey! I'll have you know that not everyone in New Jersey gets caught up with mobsters. In fact, I never had a single interaction with anyone from the mob until I got here."

"Go figure," Steve said. "And you came here for the teaching job?"

"It was supposed to be a one-semester thing," Danny explained. "My ex-wife married a guy who has a second home here, and they decided to spend a few months enjoying the island, and I didn't want to be apart from Gracie, so I finagled a guest lecturer spot."


Danny shrugged. "And I liked it. And the university liked me. And Gracie wanted to stay. So Stan made a generous donation and suddenly they had a position to fill."


"Rachel's new husband." Danny made a face. "I can't stand the son of a bitch, so you can imagine how delighted I am to feel beholden to him. Although I have to admit, Rachel and I are more able to be cordial to one another now that I have a decent job again." They ate in silence for a moment. "Marriage: not for the weak of heart. You ever been married?"

Steve barked out a laugh. "Hell no."

"Sounds like there's a story there," Danny said.

"My dad was a cop," Steve said, not entirely sure why he was spilling this to somebody he'd honestly only just met. "I saw what it did to my mom -- the danger, the stuff he couldn't tell her, the pressure. I guess I never met anybody I disliked enough to want to put them through that."

Danny laughed. "And yet some marriages fall apart even without the law enforcement gig."

Steve nodded.

"But having a kid -- I've gotta tell you, it's worth every minute of the suffering." Danny's voice took on a wistful tone. "Gracie's like the love letter Rachel and I wrote to each other, you know? And even if what we had is gone, she's still here. It's pretty awesome."

"I guess it must be." Steve's throat felt suspiciously tight. He drank more beer to make up for it.

"Let me help you with the dishes," Danny said, standing up.

"You don't have to --"

"Do not think I haven't noticed the military precision with which this house has been cleaned," Danny warned him. "I see how you are, my friend, and I would bet good money that you won't be able to kick back and relax with me until every dish we just dirtied is sparkling clean."

Steve was carrying dishes into the kitchen; he grinned down at them helplessly. "Kick back and relax with you," he repeated, and then -- taking the plunge -- "is that what the kids are calling it nowadays?"

"Put those down," Danny directed him, voice full of amiable exasperation. Steve set the dishes in the sink and Danny tugged him around and pulled him close and kissed him. It was brash and pushy and full of promise. Danny got right in under his defenses and made himself at home there. It felt amazing.

Steve kissed him back with the intensity born of three nights of aching desire and years of lousy one-night stands. And when they broke, finally, Danny's hands cupping Steve's face, Danny gasped, "the dishes can wait, right?"

Steve briefly considered messing with him, but knew he couldn't pull it off with a straight face. "They can wait," he agreed, and pulled Danny toward his bedroom.

"Off," Danny said, tugging at Steve's shirt. Steve pulled it over his head, gratified by the hungry gleam in Danny's eyes. Danny pushed right into his space again, one hand tracing the ink on his bicep. "God, seeing you coming out of the ocean like that this afternoon, all dripping wet -- it was all I could do not to offer to do you on the beach."

"Jesus, Danny," Steve choked out as Danny sucked at his neck. "What do you think I went through, watching you do naked yoga?"

Danny pulled back and grinned. "Did you jerk off in the squad car?"

"It's not a squad car, and no!" Steve took a deep breath. "But I wanted to."

Danny flung himself back onto the bed. "Tell me what you wanted, babe. It's all yours."

"I wanted to bend you over the bed and fuck you." Steve couldn't believe the words coming out of his mouth, but Danny didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with the request.

"Yes please," Danny said fervently, and pushed down his trousers and his underwear.

Steve's mouth watered at the sight of Danny's beautiful pale cock rising out of his curls. The hips he had yearned, from the car, to touch.

"We can't," he said hoarsely. "I don't have lube."

"Fuck." Danny closed his eyes for an instant. "Raincheck. Okay, what was the next thing you thought about--"

"This," Steve said, and climbed onto the bed and took Danny's cock into his mouth. Danny gasped and thrust upwards, hands fisting the coverlet. Steve went at it for a few minutes and then slowed way down, long luscious sucks with one hand lightly palming Danny's balls, and Danny groaned.

"You're trying to kill me."

Steve pulled back and admired his handiwork, Danny's erection wet and quivering. "Payback's a bitch." He went down again.

"...payback?" Danny's voice was rough and low.

Fine, if he wanted to have a conversation, Steve would find other ways of making him come. Steve released Danny's dick. "Three nights of blue balls," Steve reminded him, beginning to work him with both hands. Danny surged up to meet his touch.

"C'mon, babe," Danny pleaded.

"Since you asked so nice," Steve conceded, as though this were magnanimity on his part, and finished him off.

After a long moment of looking blissful, Danny opened his eyes. "You're still wearing too many clothes."

"Oh?" Steve asked, but he slid off the bed and kicked off his pants and his underwear.

"Get up here," Danny told him, and Steve did. They necked for a while, slow and dirty. Rolling: Steve on top, Danny on top. Danny kissed like he wanted to take ownership, holding Steve still for the kiss. And Steve loved it. He pushed up, his erection rubbing against Danny's belly. He squirmed a little, just to feel Danny pinning him down.

"Mm," Danny murmured against his neck. "I see how it is." He shifted just enough to work one hand in between them, grasping Steve's cock, and Steve whined from the sudden pressure, almost sharp enough to be pain. "Makes sense: a guy like you would want someone else to take charge for a while."

"Guy like me?" Steve managed to grit out, thrusting up into Danny's grip helplessly. Danny kissed his neck and he tilted his head back, caught between wanting to wriggle away and wanting to splay himself even further for Danny's attentions.

"Always gotta be in control," Danny explained. "But you can let go." He worked Steve's cock with an expert grip. His breath tickled Steve's ear. "Come all over me if you want to."

Steve wouldn't have said that was something he was interested in, but his body clearly felt otherwise. Or maybe it was the way Danny stroked his balls and then twisted up along his shaft. One way or another, he lost it, shaking, and Danny kissed him with surprising tenderness until he stilled.

Steve came to alertness with the prickling sensation that he was being watched. He opened his eyes and there was Danny, propped up on one elbow, looking at him steadily. There were crinkles around Danny's eyes, as though he'd been trying to hold back a smile and not entirely succeeding. His expression was fond. It made Steve's heart do backflips.

He had to clear his throat before the words would come out. "What're you looking at?"

"You," Danny said simply, and this time the smile broke free. "I'm obviously entitled to several hours of staring if we're going to even the score."

His words were flippant, but there was something deeper beneath them. He wanted to look at Steve. No: he wanted to see Steve. The thought made Steve feel shivery. He had an odd lurch in his stomach, as though he were preparing to jump out of a helicopter.

It took an effort of will not to curl in on himself, but Steve took a deep breath and rolled onto his back, folding his arms behind his head. Danny's expression of frank appreciation warmed him like the morning sun.

"Hope you like what you see," Steve said, and neither one of them looked away.


Title borrowed from a poem by Hafiz:

Keeping Watch

In the morning
When I began to wake,
It happened again

That feeling
That You, Beloved,
Had stood over me all night
Keeping watch,

That feeling
That as soon as I began to stir

You put Your lips on my forehead
And lit a holy lamp
Inside my heart.

The End