"You didn't have to do that, you know." Handling the sturdy craft paper with a care that it probably didn't need, Steve smoothed out the card's curled-up corners before sticking it to the front of the fridge with a magnet. Just holding the card was enough to leave Steve's hands bright with silver and gold glitter; it made his palms itch, and he scrubbed them against his jeans.
"Pfft," Danny said. "What did I do? This one's all on Grace, babe. Her idea." Danny would have sounded convincing if not for the way he was so obviously focused on looking at the card instead of meeting Steve's gaze, if Steve hadn't known how to read all his tells.
The card was a sprawling, vibrant mass of figures running and dancing and fighting their way around its edges and into the interior. Grace had identified each one to Steve earlier—her mom and her little brother, Step-Stan and Uncle Chin and Kono, Jenna and Kamekona and Lori and Mamo. "And this is Katniss," she'd said, solemn and serious, pointing to a drawing of a girl with long, dark hair holding a bow and arrow. "And this is Katara. They help you and Daddy look after the island."
"That's great, sweetie," Steve had said, kissing her on the cheek, but he hadn't been able to look away from the centre of the card for long. Right there in the middle was a drawing of him, with two round blue buttons for eyes and a curving line of a smile, holding hands with a pig-tailed Grace. Danny was on her other side, his hair picked out with determined strokes of bright yellow crayon, and over their heads, in a child's painstaking, best handwriting was Happy Father's Day, Uncle Steve! Hau'oli la Makuakane!
Steve remembered being in elementary school and making the same kinds of cards for his dad and his mom, labouring for what felt like hours to make sure that he coloured neatly inside the lines, to doublecheck that he'd spelled everything right, anticipating his mom's hug and her beam of approval. His and Mary's cards had always been displayed proudly on the fridge, right where Grace's was now. Most of them had vanished years ago, but Steve had found a couple of them when he was clearing out some of his dad's stuff—a child's affection preserved for years in a brown envelope stuck at the back of a desk drawer.
"Maybe," Steve said now, "but that doesn't mean you have to..." He folded his arms, shifted from foot to foot, not quite able to put into words the weird mix of happiness and guilt and gratitude that felt like it was bumping around inside his rib cage. There was a card stuck to the front of his fridge, the leftovers of a Father's Day feast chilling inside it, and father was a word that had a lot of meanings for Steve, but he'd never quite hoped that one day it would be a name he could claim for himself. He also never wanted it to be a name that he would take away from anyone else, and he knew just how fiercely Danny loved his daughter.
"Hey," Danny said, moving a little closer so that they were toe-to-toe, tugging at Steve's wrists until he dropped his arms. "Hey, you goof, listen to me, you think that I'm in any way upset by this, huh? You think I'm sad that my little girl knows she's got all these people around her who love her, or that she says hey, Danno, how about I tell Steve I love him, too?"
"Danny—" Steve began, because he loved Grace, of course he loved Grace. That wasn't the issue here. "I just don't want to make you think that I—"
Danny rolled his eyes. "Since when, Steven, has anyone ever been able to make me believe anything that I did not want to believe? Since when? Not since 1981, when Mollie told me the boogeyman lived underneath mine and Matty's bunkbed and I didn't sleep for a week, that's when."
Steve huffed, but didn't resist when Danny wrapped his arms around his waist; he closed his eyes for a moment and breathed in the so-familiar smell of soap and sharp aftershave, let himself enjoy the solidity of Danny against him.
"Besides," Danny said, resting his cheek against Steve's shoulder, "I got a lot of Father's Days to myself, you know. Least I can do is share one. That's what you do with families, right?"
Steve's heart did something complicated: stuttered and clenched in a rhythm that found its echo in how his fingers, of their own accord, tangled in the soft cotton of Danny's shirt. "I... that's... okay," he said. He exhaled, slow and steady, thinking of the little girl asleep in the guest room upstairs; of the family he'd patched together around him. "Okay."
"Gee," Danny said, deadpan, "I hate it when you get all mushy on me," but when he pulled back a little to look up at Steve, the look in his eyes was soft; the smile on his face was the one Steve usually only saw when Danny thought no one was looking.
"No, you don't," Steve said, feeling confident all of a sudden, feeling as though none of this could ever be wrong. He smiled and unclenched his hands, spread them out so that the palms spanned the warm, firm line of Danny's back. Steve had had this for months now, and still each moment of renewed touch was a visceral pleasure.
"No," Danny said, mouth curving up into a true grin, "no, you got me there, hate's not the word for it at all, babe"—and then they were kissing, the two of them, Steve pressed up against the fridge in the dim and faded kitchen. Behind him, Grace's card was a bright spot of colour; in front of him, Danny was all concentrated heat, and Steve had never gone looking for any of this, but it had found him anyway, and he was glad, glad, glad.