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Pineapples and Spam

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The white gravel on the pathway crunched under Danny's feet as he left Mamo's house. The sound was appropriate for a Christmas day, he supposed, even if he was more accustomed to the crunch of packed snow. He glanced behind him, at Steve following, surprised to see the glare of Aneurysm Face. "What's up?" Danny asked, concerned, but Steve's face morphed into a smile as he turned to wave good-bye to Mamo and his wife, standing in the doorway. Nonplussed, Danny waved too.

Aneurysm Face returned as soon as the door closed. "What's up?" Danny asked again. "You look like the Governor denied your requisition for grenades."

"Get in the car, Danny," Steve snapped, unlocking the Camaro.

"Get in the car, Danny? Oh, in my car? What am I now, the misbehaving little wife?"

Steve was already dropping into the driver's seat. Danny growled under his breath, but got in. Considering Steve's foul mood, it seemed possible that he'd leave Danny behind.

For all that Steve could do stony-faced military man well when necessary, he was an expressive guy, currently evidenced by his careless driving on the mostly empty roads. Whatever had happened, Steve was the angriest Danny had seen him for a long time. "So are we going to talk now? Did I kick their dog without noticing?"

"You don't know?"

"No, I don't know. If I knew, why would I be asking?"

"When we get home."

The delay made Danny impatient, but he'd been trying to improve his anger management skills, so he pulled out his phone and sent Grace an amusing text about dinner at Mamo's. She'd be sleeping now, tucked into the guest bedroom at her grandparents' house in England, but she'd see his text in the morning and know that her dad was always thinking of her.

The silent treatment continued until they were out on the lanai, with bottles of beer. Danny sprawled in one of the chairs, because he'd moved past impatience and into utter bafflement, but Steve was pacing, anger not yet expended.

"Did you have to be like that?" he finally asked in an accusing tone, stopping to loom over Danny.

"Like what? I was a guest, a polite guest. I brought a very nice bottle of wine, I made civilized conversation, I admired the host's cooking." He hadn't even shuddered when the tray of roast pig slices was carried proudly out, which should have earned him major bonus points.

"Yes, I noticed all those things, Danny. You were - " Steve waved a hand in exasperation. "Clone Danny. You didn't rant about anything."

"Seriously? This is why you're mad? I was too polite?"

"I thought you understood that these people are important to me, Danny. Mamo and his wife were like second parents to Mary and I. You treated them like - "

"Like what?" Danny asked, astonished by how badly Steve had perceived his actions.

"Like they weren't important enough to even engage with."

"Christ." Danny rubbed his hand over his eyes. "Look, that is not at all what I was aiming for, okay? Or how I was feeling."

"What were you aiming for then?"

Danny tried to figure out how to explain, and decided to start at the beginning. "You know Pop was a firefighter?" Steve gave him a blank look and a nod. "He missed a lot of Christmases. He'd be scheduled to work or he'd get called in. So we'd have these big family Christmases without Pop and everyone would be happy because it was Christmas and presents were exciting but also because we knew Pop would want us to. The way everyone was worried because Kaiulu's stationed in Afghanistan, it just felt like when I was a kid. People doing the right thing, even when it's a struggle." Kaiulu's wife had been the most determinedly cheerful, but it was obvious to Danny that she was counting down to the scheduled Skype call.

"You were missing your dad?" Steve asked, like he was beginning to understand.

"That, but also Mamo and his wife, the way they took care of everyone, and tried to feed everyone enough that we'd explode, they reminded me so much of Uncle Mike and his wife, who always hosted for Christmas. Still do. My Mom and Pop and my sisters and their families went to Mike's again this year. And Mamo's grandkids squabbling with each other, my siblings and cousins used to act like that, like hyper monkeys."

"You were missing your family?"

Feeling the sting of wetness in his eyes, Danny blinked ferociously. "When Kono said she was going to her boyfriend's and Chin said he'd be at Malia's parents and you suggested going to Mamo's, I thought what the hell, if I'm not going to be with my ohana or in New Jersey, we might as well go some place that would make you happy. I didn't expect it to feel just like home."

Smiling fondly, Steve knelt between Danny's feet, setting his bottle on the ground, his hands warm on Danny's thighs. "Families are families everywhere, Danny."

"There were pineapples and Spam on the Christmas table, Steven. Pineapples and Spam."

The lament made Steve give a small laugh. "And a turkey breast, just for you."

"That does not negate the pineapples and Spam."

Steve leaned forward, brushing his cheek against Danny's, who let himself slump forward, his head resting on Steve's broad shoulder. "Maybe it felt just like home because this is your home now."

Danny circled his arms around Steve's back, hugging his husband. Steve was only partially right. "Wherever you are, Steve. That's home now."

~ the end ~