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The Very First Time

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Kono is giving Grace a goodbye hug and Steve is giving Charlie a high five and Danny is grinning down at this little beast that he’s finally starting to actually get to know and even as angry as he is at Rachel when he bends down to give Charlie a kiss on the cheek and say “See you later, buddy, Danno loves you,” he looks up at her and feels a rush of affection because they made that.  They made that little guy.

Rachel smiles down at him and picks Charlie up to prop on her hip and give him a kiss on the nose and she says, “Did you have a good time with your father?  Tell him bye bye!”

Charlie giggles and gives Danny that patented ‘You’re So Silly’ look that he seems to always have on his face when he looks at Danny, and says “Bye Daddy, love you!”

And Danny… freezes.  Blinks and everything zeroes into one little tiny point right in front of his face, his baby boy’s eyes, and he thinks Daddy.  Daddy.   I’m Daddy.  He said Daddy.

He can feel a hand on his back from the left and one grabbing his right hand but he can’t speak, can’t breathe, and can’t move.  

“Daniel, you’ve gone white,” Rachel says, concerned and putting a hand to his forehead.  

“He’s fine, Rach,” Steve says, and the warmth on Danny’s back is gone as Steve steps forward and takes Rachel’s elbow in his hand and walks her to the car.

Kono squeezes Danny’s hand.  “Breathe.”

“Did he.”  Danny blinks and takes a breath.  “Did he say--”

It’s Chin who finally puts a hand on Danny’s chest and shoves him back inside the house, guides them back out to the lanai, and puts a beer in Danny’s hand.  He holds his own beer up and grins at Danny.  “Cheers, Daddy.”

“He did, he really did, oh fuck he fucking really did say it didn’t he,” Danny says, and he’s laughing and crying and feeling stupid and so fucking happy he can’t even care.  “Oh my god, he called me Daddy.”

“Wow you’re fucking killing me, Danny,” Kono says, and wraps her arms around him and he hugs her back so tight it’s surprising she can even breathe through it.  

“These are good tears, right,” Steve says, finally coming out, putting his hand back on Danny’s shoulder.  “Happy ones?”

“Tears, who’s crying,” Danny says, stepping out of Kono’s embrace and swiping quickly at his face, coughing.  “I’m not crying, you’re crying, there’s sand in my eye.”

“Uh huh,” Steve says, amused, squeezing Danny’s shoulder.  “That salty air too, I hear, can approximate moisture in the eyes.”

“Grace is thirteen,” Danny says, grinning and crossing his arms across his chest.  “She’s almost fourteen, but still.  Every time that girl says Daddy to me I’m right back in that hospital room when she was born, holding her in my hands, her perfect teeny tiny head and her ten toes and her nose and her hair, and saying hey little baby, it’s me, Daddy.”  He blinks and more tears fall but he ignores them.  “Every time.  And it’s not… she never says it anymore, but every once in a while, but I still… So clearly, I can picture that.”

Steve grins over at him and throws his arm around him, jostles him into a half hug.

“And I’m just…  I don’t have that with Charlie,” Danny says, but holds up his hand as Chin and Kono both look so incredibly sad at that.  “But I do have memories of the day he was born.  I was there in that room. I did get to hold him.  And I counted his ten baby toes and held his little perfect head, and he wasn’t mine but I still loved him that day.”   He takes a deep breath and can’t look at any of them but he grins up at the sky instead.  “And Stan got to hold him for the next three years, but I got to hold him first.  I got to hold him fucking first .

“Okay, that’s nine parts awesome, but one part--”

Danny grins and looks over at Steve, who has tears of his own but one big huge shit eating grin and Danny finds himself laughing.  “Petty as shit?”

“Yeah,” Steve says, and then starts cracking up laughing as well.

“I’m okay with that,” Danny says with a shrug.  “I think of myself as a good man, but maybe a good man deserves to be petty as shit every once in a while.”

Kono raises her beer bottle.  “Fuck Stan.”

Danny clinks his beer so hard against hers they slosh at the top.

“Well, Rachel too in that case,” Chin says, putting his in there against theirs.

“You are all terrible, terrible people,” Steve says, but knocks his against all of theirs, and foam explodes out the top of them and they’re dripping beer all over the place in their rush to catch it in their mouths.  

Danny grins at all three of them as pride fills him and he finally feels what he should have been allowed to feel all along.  “I got a son, you guys.”

“Yeah, you do, buddy,” Steve says, and then bear hugs him and lands a loud sloppy smacking kiss on the side of the head and pounds his back and all they’re missing are the cigars.

They spend the rest of the evening getting rip roaring drunk and laughing well into the night.