Danny’s sitting on the balcony, looking out over the water, bundled up in more cloths and blankets than would be needed even in Jersey, let alone Hawaii. But he’s always cold these days, shivering, unable to get warm.
The heat used to bother him, especially at night, with Steve, the human furnace wrapped all around him, but nowadays, he needs a hot water bottle to be able to fall asleep.
He has no idea how Steve can stand sleeping in the same bed, the man awakens soaking in sweat every morning. But he doesn’t complain.
It’s a nice evening, the setting sun starting to color the sky in beautiful colors and the sound of the waves are a nice background noise. It’s peaceful, made more so by the solid weight of Grace on his lap, curled up carefully, resting her head on his shoulder.
It hurts to have her on his lap, like everything hurts these days, but Danny will endure that and so much more if it means he can have his little girl in his arms. Bright monkey that she is, she knows though, and he can’t remember the last time he got one of her bear hugs. It makes him want to cry, but he won’t, not here, not in front of her. Instead he gently tightens his hold around her waist as much as he can and presses a kiss to her soft, sweet-smelling hair.
Her voice is soft. Soft, but serious.
“Am I… Is it bad to be glad that it’s like this?”
“Grace, I don’t understand. What do you mean?”
He can feel the way she hides her face in his shirt and slowly a patch of wetness spreads.
“It’s… I know I can’t hug you like I used to and you don’t eat much and… and I know you always hurt. But Danno, I’m so glad it’s like this because I get to say g-g-goodbye!”
The silent tears of his little girl turn into sobs that wrack her body, sobs only a kid can cry. But then, that’s not really, true, is it? He cried the same way, as did Steve after he had finished destroying every dish they had.
He rocks as much as he can, making soothing noises and even though it takes a long time, Grace finally calms down.
“It’s not bad, Gracie. Don’t feel bad, little monkey.”
Later, when she’s not falling into an exhausted sleep, he will have another talk with her. But for now, it’s enough to sooth her while trying not to think about the many ways he’s hurting her without wanting to.
It takes a while but finally the last tears have stopped and all that’s left are soft sniffles and small fingers that twitch in one of the blankets wrapped around him.
A shadow falls over them, and looking up he sees Steve, face an emotionless mask.
His voice and hands are gentle though, when he whispers ”Let me”, gently lifting Grace into his arms, before reentering the house, leaving Danny alone for the moment.
He tries not to be resentful of the fact that he’s too weak to carry is own daughter. Instead he thinks about what she said to him.
There are days when he just wants it to be over. When it hurts so bad that no amount of painkiller really helps.
There are days when he wants to do nothing but sleep, sleep, sleep, because his body is so goddamn tired that even his mind is starting to slow down.
That are his bad days. He hasn’t had a good day in quite a while but it’s okay. Because although they mean pain, they also mean hours spent with Grace and Steve, and how could he ever think of that as something bad?
His thoughts are interrupted when Steve comes back. Now it’s Danny being lifted, oh so gently and carefully, before Steve sits down with him in his lap.
Now it’s Danny hiding his face in Steve’s shoulder and Steve pressing a kiss to his hair.
“I heard what she said.”
“I heard what she said, and I agree. It’s selfish as fuck, but goddamn it, I feel exactly the same.”
Danny knows that he does, and he’s glad that he can give this to them. Steve had way too many people leave him suddenly; Danny doesn’t want to be the one to hurt him like that again. Instead he hurts him differently, maybe even worse. But he tries his best. Tries to make as many good memories as his body will let him with Steve. It’s not enough, never will be, because they were supposed to have 30 years at least to make many, happy memories. They were supposed to bicker and love and be happy. It’s fucking unfair, it is, but Danny learned early on that life’s seldom fair. He tries not to cry too much about it, especially since his tears always hurt Steve and make the man feel helpless, but now and then, he can’t help it.
Like now. He keeps the sobs in, let’s just the tears flow, because goddamn it, he wanted to turn at least 40.
Only he won’t.