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Go Ahead and Affirm

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Danny looks at the tv and says, "And where does that leave me?" He gestures at the screen. "This is gonna make a difference, how, exactly?"

When he glances sideways, he notices Steve has a bitter sneer on his face.

"Motherfucker," he says out loud, looking at the screen again.

Steve looks at him. "Let it go, Danny."

"Let it go? That? Where I'm supposed to be grateful?" Danny says as he stands, paces, his anger fueling him into motion that feels impotent.

“It’s better than anyone else has ever said.” Steve is on his feet, grasps Danny’s shoulder, holding him steady and close.

Danny shrugs his hand off and ignores the hurt in Steve’s eyes. “He’s dangling rights in front of us as if they were privileges, Steven! Privileges accorded to us based on how human he decides we get to be!”

“I know, Danny! You think I don’t know?”

“How can you tell me to let it go when we’re once again reduced to second class status, huh?”

Steve rubs his jaw. “We’re not second class citizens. No one said we were.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? What the hell is the matter with you?”

“Don’t. Just don’t.”

“Don’t ask and don’t tell, right?” And Danny feels sick when he says it, because he knows it’s a low blow, sees Steve flinch.

Danny breathes in a shuddering breath. “Babe–“

Steve sits down with a sigh and looks up at Danny. "I don't want to fight with you."

Danny watches him, the exhaustion visible in the slump of Steve's posture, his eyes glued to Danny's face. Danny sits next to him and sandwiches Steve's hands between his. "This shouldn't be held to the standard of someone's opinion."

Steve's fingers twitch between his, as if being caught is too much, and he replies, voice low, "I know, Danny."

Danny sighs and rubs the heels of his hands into his eyes. His anger slips away and a despair he thought he’d rid himself of encroaches. He tries to shove it down, out, keeps his hands pressed into his eyes, feels the threat of moisture building behind his palms.

Steve pulls him in, catching him sideways against his chest, as if he knows. Danny stays huddled against him for a long time, until at last Steve pulls back and gets up. He moves stiffly, holding out a hand. "Come on, Danno."

Danny grumbles, but lets himself be pulled up and led up the stairs.

In the dark, once Steve is spooning him from behind, he says, "Every time, they dangle this like it's a prize. We'll decide if you're good enough to deserve it."

Steve holds him tighter and buries his face in the back of Danny's neck.

- The End