He’s imagined dozens of ways to do it over the years. Write a note, buy a megaphone, hire a plane and banner. In the end, he just plain asks, with very little sense but a lot of hope: “Wanna get a coffee?”
And Steve looks at him and does a curious double take and says, “Oh,” and, “Yeah, okay,” and, “I didn’t think you-”
“I do,” Danny says. He takes first Steve’s hand and then all of Steve, to go get a coffee from the place they’ve been to a million times before.
It tastes all new. Like brighter days.
It makes him feel young and foolish and deliriously happy in a way he never was when he was actually a young fool. It makes him appreciate long, empty afternoons, with nothing to do except observe and be observed and touch and be touched. It makes him take Danny’s hand and kiss the back, knuckles, every individual joint. “I do, too,” he says, when he’s reached the fingertips.
“Yeah, I kind of figured as much after last night,” Danny quips, but then he turns his hand and touches Steve’s cheek, gentle, fingertips a little damp.
It makes Steve feel loved.
Later, people will be sat down and told what’s going on in words, but Junior is not so lucky. He enters the house after his morning run, head tilted back to squeeze the last drops from his water bottle, and when he’s done and looks down, he finds Steve and Danny a conspicuous six feet apart, each shifting uncomfortably and watching him in apprehension.
He badly covers his eyes, water bottle included. “I didn’t see a thing!”
“There wasn’t anything to see, anyway,” Danny says, nodding.
Junior is a single step outside the kitchen when he hears Steve mumble, “Liar.”
“We need to tell you something,” they say, and they make her tea and sit her down and internally, Grace is starting to freak out, because she’s her father’s daughter in many ways.
When Danno finally gets it out there (“Steve and I, we’re uh, dating now”, followed by some overanxious reassurances that this changes nothing), she’s so surprised nobody seems to be dying that she blurts, “That’s all?”
Steve laughs hard enough he doubles over right into Danno’s shoulder, who pushes him away and plays at disgruntlement and says, “Monkey, I forbid you to sound that much like Steve.”
“So you two-”
Steve looks up from one end of the tech table and at the other, Danny says, “Hm?”
They’re standing worlds apart, with enough room for the entire team to fit between them, but that’s never how it appears. Lincoln looks from one to the other. In hindsight, Steve trying to enter a burning car was the least of it. “Pretty close, huh?” Lincoln asks, which is a poor summary.
They share a barely there smile. “He just keeps following me around,” Steve says. Danny rolls his eyes, and somehow, it’s all the answer Lincoln could have wanted.
“Are you staying here or at a hotel?” Mary asks, a week before Steve’s flight to LA.
“Hotel,” Steve says. “Danny’s coming along.” He really tries to just sneak that in there, like it’s a minor detail he didn’t think to mention until just now. “The kids, too.”
“The kids, huh? Danny’s kids?”
“Yeah, like I said.” Now he’s attempting to fake impatience. He misses the mark by a few measures of affection. “Our kids.”
Mary makes a note on her shopping list. “And your Danny.”
“Right.” By that point, he’s given up on pretending. He just sounds genuinely happy.
He hasn’t been hers for a long time, but he’s never really been anyone else’s. She probably should have clued in at the latest when Steve started volunteering for school trips that Danny avoids like the plague, but she’s still caught by surprise the day she introduces herself to a fellow parent as Charlie’s mother, Danny’s ex-wife, and the woman gets a spark of recognition in her eyes and says, “Oh, Steve’s Danny!”
Rachel swallows the curious mixture of hurt, displacement and relief. If Danny is Steve’s-
Maybe that means she can finally learn to be someone else’s again, too.
8. Eddie Williams
His son, like his wife, is a person of many words. When someone like that goes quiet, it’s a sure sign something’s wrong, and Eddie always takes notice. He assumes it must be work or Rachel or Charlie’s poor health. He doesn’t ask, but he worries quietly.
After a longer silence than usual, Danny calls him. “Dad,” he says, sounding nervous. “What would you say if I fell in love with a man?”
Eddie doesn’t have to think that over much. “How’s Steve?”
And he can hear Danny breathe out sharply, and then in, and then Danny starts to talk.
“So you live together now,” she summarizes, because of course nobody thought to tell her before her visit. She’ll need to have long talks with Lou and her ex-husband on keeping people up to date on team gossip.
“Yes,” Danny says.
“And you share a bed.”
“Yes,” Steve says.
“And Steve goes to parent-teacher meetings and Danny pays Eddie’s vet bills.”
“Yes,” they both say.
“And this is all completely platonic?”
They look at her like she’s the weird one. “No,” they say, and Kono resolves to have that talk with them, too, right after she hugs and/or strangles them.
10. A random woman at the grocery store
She’s not sure how she manages it, but the corner of the pasta aisle is sharp and her clumsiness immeasurable, so she ends up being lowered to the floor by warm, strong hands while black spots dance in front of her eyes. There’s a twitchy store manager hovering nearby, but when her vision clears, she sees a kind, handsome, mildly stubbled face, and oh. Her knight in shining armor.
Then a second knight appears behind the first and puts his hand low on knight one’s back and says, “Everything okay here, Steve?”
She should’ve known. Gay knights, just her luck.