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Holiday Plans

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“Are you sure you want to do this?” Danny asked, looking at Steve the way he tended to before Steve forced his way into a suspect’s home.  Steve shot him a look as he took the turn, earning him a “Eyes on the road!”

“You’re the one distracting me.”

“I asked you a question.”

“A weird question.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Danno, do you not want me to come?”

“What?  No.  I mean, yes…of course I want you to come, but you’re a socially-stunted Neanderthal at times and-“

“-your mother loves me.”

“-Yes, but-“

“-so does your dad after I sent him those football tickets.”

“You sent my father football tickets?”

“I told you about that.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“Yes, I did.  It was during that case with the dead Russian on the beach-“

“-oh my god, shut up.  Stay focused, please,” Danny argued.  He took a deep breath and said, “You will be stuck in New Jersey with my family for two weeks.  All of us.  Rachel cried the first year she had to endure them as a group and she could escape back to her apartment the next town over.  You'll be stuck on the mainland.”

“I’m not Rachel.”

“I’m very well aware of that, babe.  That’s not the point.”

Steve pulled the car over into an empty spot and turned to look at Danny.  He asked, “Are you freaking out?”

“No.”

“Danny?”

“Not about you.  Never about you.  But this is some next level stuff in our relationship, Steve.  I’m just making sure you’re aware of what you’re signing on for.  Christmas with my family makes this more.  And, while I would die for any one of them, they can make even the sanest person think about harming someone.  It will probably make some of your Seal missions seem tame. “

Over the years Steve had learned how to read Danny and knew how to gage his responses accordingly most of the time.  There were times Danny just wanted to argue because Steve was convinced he liked the sound of his own voice and then there were times when Danny needed more.  Steve replied carefully, “I’m ready for next level, Danny.”

“You sure?  Because-“

Steve kissed him.  It was still one of his favorite ways to shut up his partner and sometimes he wondered why it had taken him so long to try it.  Danny grumbled at first, but his hands pawed at Steve, pulling him closer.  When they pulled back, Steve grinned and said, “I’m positive.  You’ve been complaining for years that you want a real Jersey Christmas again and I want to spend the holiday with you and Gracie.  I go where you go.”

“Yeah?”

“Sometimes you’re an idiot.  You know that, right?”

“Yes, well, you’re always a pain in my ass,” Danny replied.  He motioned to the road and said, “Let’s go question this scumbag so we can wrap up this case before we leave.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“And for the record, I want to spend the holiday with you too.  Which is why I invited you in the first place.”

“Okay then.”

“Did you buy any of my other relatives any gifts I should know about?  Sign my daughter up for the circus?”

Steve glanced at Danny and this was definitely his “I just want to argue” expression.  Steve patted his leg as he revved the engine and said, “I can’t help it if I’m the one who remembers things in this relationship.”

“I know you did not just say that,” Danny replied.  After a beat, he went on, “You totally just said that.”

Steve waved his hand at him and said, “This is why they keep making us go back for counseling.”

“No, we keep ending up in counseling because you’re a maniac,” Danny retorted.  He turned so that he was facing Steve and grinned as he added, “But I’m somewhat fond of you after all this time.  Highly invested in keeping you in one piece.”

“Feeling’s mutual, Danno.”

“No backing out now.  You’re spending Christmas in Jersey," Danny replied and Steve noticed the smile on his partner's face.  Steve really loved Danny more than he thought was possible and he couldn't wait to make some new traditions of their own over the holidays.