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Metaphorical Pancakes

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“Danny-” Steve starts, but he shuts his mouth pretty quickly, because Danny doesn’t like answering stupid questions, and he’d been pretty close to blurting one out.

“Steve,” Danny replies, turning away from the stove and raising an eyebrow at him.

“Why are you making pancakes?” Steve quickly rephrases.

“You like pancakes,” Danny replies evenly, turning back to face the griddle he must have dug out from the depths of the pantry. He flips a pancake that’s golden brown and fluffy looking, and Steve suddenly realizes that he hasn’t had pancakes in a long time. Those were probably the kind you get at a diner, at that, not these light, delicious-smelling things that Danny’s making rather expertly.

Steve doesn’t want to think about how long it’s been since pancakes have been made in his kitchen.

He watches in silence as Danny deems the pancakes ready. He slides them onto a plate, slathers them with butter, and dusts them lightly with powdered sugar before setting the plate in front of Steve with a flourish.

“Eat up, babe,” he says, leaning in to kiss Steve with sugar-sweet lips that suggest he has already sampled his creations.

Danny heads back the griddle, dropping a few ladlefuls of batter onto the cooktop with a practiced hand before stepping back and leaning against the counter. “Good?”

Steve hasn’t had pancakes this good in years. “How’d you know I didn’t want syrup?” he asks instead of flat-out admitting it.

“You don’t have any,” Danny replies mildly. “I have to say, Steve, that I’m actually pretty impressed by that. Not that I had you pegged for the Mrs. Butterworth’s type, but still.” He shrugs. “Butter and sugar, though, that’s the way to go.” He reaches out and flips the pancakes without checking them first, but they look pretty near perfect from Steve’s vantage point.

“They’re good,” Steve tells him, smiling a little at the grin on Danny’s face at his words. “Really good.”

Steve polishes off his plate and another stack while Danny eats a few pancakes straight from the griddle. When they finish, Steve gets up and washes the dirty dishes as Danny dries, and when everything’s back in its place, Steve tugs Danny in and wraps his arms around Danny’s waist. “So what’s with breakfast?” he asks again.

“You like pancakes,” Danny repeats, but then he adds, “and I like you, so.”

And the thing is – it’s not like Steve doesn’t know that, right. He’s well aware that Danny has, for whatever inexplicable reason, a certain fondness for Steve, and it’s not as if Danny keeps his feelings under wraps. Steve knows that Danny likes him, even if it mystifies him, and he appreciates that his feelings are understood and reciprocated.

“Though,” Danny continues thoughtfully, “it seems like you had some pretty heavy feelings for those pancakes. One might even be able to infer that you loved those pancakes, Steve. Am I incorrect here?”

His eyes are bright, and there are layers to that statement, things that Steve can latch onto but not quite identify. He frowns. “There’s some sort of metaphor in there,” he clarifies, and Danny’s eyes crinkle a little more, like he’s trying not to laugh.

“There might be,” he admits.

“You made me metaphor pancakes,” Steve goes on. “Not just breakfast pancakes. These pancakes represent some sort of great universal truth that I’m supposed to decipher while struggling to digest three solid pounds of flour and sugar and egg-”

“You’re such a goof,” Danny groans, pulling Steve down for a kiss. “You love pancakes, and I love you.”

Steve blinks. “Oh.”

“‘Oh’, he says,” Danny remarks, but it sounds fond, kind of amused. “I make a grand romantic declaration through a creative use of breakfast foods, and all he can say is ‘oh.’”

“Yeah, oh,” Steve repeats, but there’s a smile tugging its way across his face, and he leans in to kiss Danny again. They’re both smiling like they can’t stop by the time Steve pulls away. “I love pancakes,” he says, clearing his throat, “and I, uh, I-”

“Goof,” Danny repeats quietly, brushing a thumb along Steve’s jaw. “I didn’t say it to guilt you into saying it back. I just – I wanted you to know, so now you know.”

Steve lets out the breath he hadn’t quite known he was holding, and when he opens his mouth a second time, the words come much more easily.

“I love you,” he murmurs, watching as Danny’s face registers a split-second of surprise before nearly cracking in half with the force of his smile.

“Yeah?” Danny asks.

“Yeah,” Steve confirms, tightening his arms around Danny’s waist and resting his head in Danny’s hair as Danny hugs him.

“You sure it’s not just the pancakes talking?” Danny asks into his chest after a moment. “Because I do make some pretty awesome pancakes.”

Steve laughs and pulls back, sliding his hands up Danny’s back until he can cup Danny’s face in his palms. “Not just the pancakes,” he says, leaning in to kiss Danny in a way that’s far sweeter than the sugar had been.

“Guess it’s not, then,” Danny says softly, and his smile is one of those things that Steve wants to capture and tuck away and bring out when he’s having a bad day, something beautiful that’s just for him. “That’s good to know.”

Steve just leans in to kiss him again, because really, Danny isn’t wrong about that.