Danny winces as Steve hits the grass once again. He's gone down at least ten times by now, but he's showing no signs of wear and it does Danny's heart good to see Gracie raise her hands in triumph every time.
"Did you see that, Danno?" she asks, running into his arms.
Danny scoops her up and holds her tight, relishing the feeling her her legs wrapping around her hips and her breath at his neck. It's always been hard to be apart from her, to sleep in separate houses and not see her every day, but the last week has been especially bad. He'd stayed in Rachel and Stan's guest room for a few days, but even though they'd told him to stay as long as he needed, he couldn't; because he knows he'd need forever, to never be separated from his little monkey again, and he can't impose on their generosity that long.
This weekend though, this weekend is theirs, his and Grace's. And they'd landed in Steve's backyard, swimming and building sandcastles and beating up Uncle Steve because he'd volunteered to be Grace's punching bag so that she can learn to defend herself and escape next time. Not that Danny ever wants there to be a next time. But, if Grace is going to learn to beat the hell out of some guy, she's going to learn it right.
Danny's still holding Grace tightly when Steve pushes himself off the grass and wraps his stupidly long arms around them both.
There is nowhere else that Danny wants to be right now. He's spent days going over everything, all those stupid what ifs. What if they hadn't found her in time? What if Rick had decided just to be vindictive and kill her flat out, or worse.
All the nightmares that didn't come true are slowly bleeding out thorough his skin, dissipating under Steve's hands and Gracie's whispered, "I love you, Danno."
One of Steve's hands comes up to stroke the side of his neck, directly opposite of where Grace has buried her nose and he kisses Danny gently on the forehead.
Danny lets out a breath and whispers loud enough for both of them to hear, "I love you."