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Thousand Yard Stare

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It’s dusk when Danny finds Steve sitting crossed legged on the lanai. He is leaning forward, his arms resting on his bent knees . Danny crouches down next to him, Steve’s eyes are blank and unfocused. He follows Steve’s gaze and watches the ocean crash loudly onto the shore.

He looks back at Steve's profile, and Danny feels bad, for a moment, that he’s admiring the slope of Steve's nose and the shadow of his cheeks, dusted with three day’s worth of stubble. "Babe?" he asks, before putting a hand on Steve's forearm.

"Yeah?" Steve replies.

Relief washes through Danny, his hand tightens on Steve and he says, "You back with me now?"

Steve blinks, and his eyelashes are clumped together, wet and spiky. "I didn't go anywhere."

Danny chews his lip, changes position and sits next to Steve, knocking their knees together. He hears the shuddering breath go through Steve and raises a hand to Steve's face; Steve closes his eyes at the touch and Danny's heart cracks wide open. He gently turns Steve's head towards him. "Look at me, please, open your eyes."

Steve's eyes catch the yellow light from the house, and Danny sees himself reflected as Steve focuses on him.


"I'm okay, Danny."

"How come you're honest at the worst of times, but you'll lie to my face, huh? You are not okay, but I'm not pushing you, I'm not, I just... you shouldn't have to sit here alone while your brain does a scratched record routine on your ass."

Steve gives him a lopsided smile and Danny’s shoulders lose the tension that was bunched in them; he knows Steve is hearing him, at least partially.

"We gonna sit here on this block of wood all night?"

Steve tenses and Danny wants to kick himself. Instead he trails his hand down Steve's cheek to the side of his neck and he cups his face, his thumbs stroking Steve's dimpled chin. "Hey," he says and kisses him softly on the side of his mouth. "We don't have to go anywhere."

"Wasn't going to." Steve replies, then his big hands hold Danny's shoulders and he slants his mouth firmly against Danny's.

Their eyes are wide open.

- The End