They'd been distracted a lot that day—caught up, in the living room, in the dining room, on the staircase, with what Danny referred to, smirking, as "christening the house"—so there were still boxes stacked all over the place. Each one, labeled as they were with Danny's slanting handwriting ('Books', 'DVDs'; even, terrifyingly, 'Ties'), testified to the fact that this was really happening: that for the first time, Steve didn't have a rented apartment off-campus, or his dad's house, but a home. A home with Danny, and Steve knew that the reason his cheeks hurt was because he hadn't stopped smiling all weekend—not when Danny had been yelling at his old landlord to get his security deposit back, not when Steve'd spent hours on hold trying to get the utilities put into both their name.
He liked the feeling; liked the reassurance that came from having to navigate around Danny's solid presence in his home, just as he'd grown used to doing in every other part of his life. Steve liked being able to sit and read at his kitchen table with the knowledge that he could look up from the page at any time to see Danny puttering around the room; liked how when Danny passed by him, he'd brush a hand against Steve's arm, drop a kiss on the crown of his head.
Danny worked methodically—chopping up greens for a salad, boiled noodles for the lasagna, worked the bread dough until it was ready to go in the oven—but every now and then he'd look over at Steve and his eyes would grow soft and crinkled at the edges. He'd say c'mere, you goof, but he was the one who'd stoop to kiss a seated Steve. Steve wasn't used to having to tilt his head back to kiss someone, but he liked this—liked Danny, and the rasp of Danny's stubble against his, and the way Danny invariably smiled against Steve's mouth, like Danny was delighted by him.
"Thanks," Steve told him after one of those kisses—the kind that was steady and seeking, that left the breath rumbling low in Steve's chest. He wasn't quite sure what he was thanking Danny for—had an idea, at least, but no way yet of putting into words just how lucky he was.
"Thank you, he says, like this is such a hardship," Danny said, mock-grousing. He was leaning in across the table to Steve, arms braced against the table, his eyes half-closed. "Because, pay attention, Steven, I am going to say this only once—because it's such a hardship for me, having to put up with a hot partner who is all kinds of goofy for me, in a place where I get to do good work and see my little girl every week, you understand me?"
Steve leaned forward, kissed him again and said, "So this is going to be an everyday sort of thing, right?" He nodded at the big pot bubbling away on the stove, smelling of sweet sausage and browning beef, onion and garlic and basil; the big bowls filled with four different kinds of cheese.
Danny snorted. "Please, are you kidding me? You saw my fridge in the old place." True, Danny had seemed to use it mostly as a place to store beer and takeout menus. "This is a congratulations-on-a-major-life-event feast, this is all the stuff my nonna ever taught me rolled into one glorious dish. You don't go getting used to this, McGarrett."
Steve looked at Danny, standing there in front of him—cotton of his red t-shirt stretched tight across his shoulders, a streak of tomato sauce across the knuckles of his left hand—looking loose and easy like he belonged there, and didn't see how he could ever take this for granted. "Sure thing, Danno."
"Uh huh, yeah," Danny said, going back to assemble the lasagna, stacking layer upon layer in the baking dish, "just so you know, I'm expecting the proper level of appreciation when I dish this up. No grunting and telling me about cholesterol and carbs and adding flax seed, you hear me?"
Steve grinned back down at his book, and by the time he'd finished two more chapters, Danny was done: serving up big plates of lasagna, putting steaming bread rolls into a basket he'd unearthed from somewhere in the depths of the kitchen cupboards. They ate out on the lanai, watching the sun go down while they ate and drank a nicer kind of red wine than Steve normally let himself buy. Danny had hooked up his iPod speakers out there, so they had some Sinatra going, some Count Basie—getting, as Danny said with supreme self-satisfaction, a little Jersey up in this piece.
When they were done, Danny carried the scraped-clean dishes back into the kitchen, put the leftovers into the fridge, and flat-out refused to let Steve start washing up. "They're soaking, babe, it's fine. You want to work out some of your post-workday stress on them tomorrow evening, go ahead, be my guest, but right now, consider them off limits." Instead, he tugged Steve down to sit beside him on the overstuffed love seat they'd moved out onto the lanai. It was just the right size for the two of them, if they didn't mind crowding close, and Steve didn't—he picked his book back up, turned to the next page with Danny right there beside him, and read the same sentence at least seventeen times because he couldn't concentrate.
He couldn't concentrate, he realized, because he was happy—happy that it was the two of them, quiet here and happy, and he set the book down, slouched down in his seat so that he was curved closer around Danny. He rested his head against Danny's shoulder, bent his legs so that their feet could press together on the ottoman, and closed his eyes.
Danny turned his head to press a kiss to Steve's forehead, said dryly, "I get it, I get it, you do yoga, you're bendy, it's like I moved to live inside a porn movie only everyone still has all their body hair. Congratulations, well done on being you."
Steve laughed, belly shaking, because he actually was feeling pretty good about being himself right now—because he knew that in a few hours, they'd trail up the stairs together, Danny's hand warm and dry in his. In a little while, they'd be rumpling the bed sheets, making them theirs; because he'd wake up in the morning and Danny would be right there beside him, saying you're a goof, a Neanderthal, a pain-in-my-ass, and his eyes would be warm in the way that always meant best beloved.