Disclaimer: I do not own h50.
Author's Note: Written for the Helpthesouth fandom auction on Lj.
Prompt: It's Steve's birthday, and Danny realizes Steve's never had a real birthday party before. So he takes it upon himself to throw one for Steve.
"You've never- Really?" Danny's staring at him from his chair, beer dangling loosely in his hand, like he was about to take a drink and forgot about it in his sheer disbelief.
"Look, Danny," and he suppresses the sigh when Danny's eyes narrow at the use of his actual name instead of the nickname Steve usually insists on using, "it isn't a big deal. I'm sure there were parties, y'know, when I was little, before Mom died. After that…" He just shrugs, taking a pull from his beer, and staring doggedly out at the waves rolling onto the shore.
It isn't that he's worried about seeing pity there, in those too-blue eyes; Steve isn't sure Danny even knows what that Iis/I, but…He knows how fucked up he is, how broken, and damaged places inside of him are, and he doesn't like to broadcast them, even to Danny, who has apparently accepted him despite all of that. Steve doesn't really know what to do with that, with someone who accepts Iall/I of him, even the fucked up crazy parts, without hesitation.
So he does what he always does, and ignores it, until a warm hand slides up his arm, and shoulder, to rest against his neck, and Danny is Iright there/I suddenly, and Steve has never been able to resist looking for long.
"You're such a goof," Danny says, all affection, and warmth, and exasperation at Steve's constant case of stupid.
Steve closes his eyes against the tenderness of Danny's fingers caressing his face like he's some kind of precious thing; like he's Iloved/I. He's never quite sure if this is something he should want; if wanting it as much as he does -and it terrifies him; it does- will automatically send it all tumbling down in ruins at his feet.
"It's just a day, Danno," he says, soft, turning his face to kiss the palm of Danny's hand.
Danny shakes his head, something unknown on his face as he looks down at Steve, studying him in that intense way he does, sometimes, like he wants to crawl inside Steve's head, and figure out all of the shit he hides in there.
"It's your day, babe," he says, fierce in the way he always is, with that usual thrum of anger running just under the surface, barely restrained. Sometimes Danny's parenting instincts seem to overwhelm whatever reasoning he uses to keep them at bay, and Steve mostly just finds it all hilarious. Right now he wishes Danny would just leave it be; he doesn't really understand what the big deal is. It is just another day; another year old, and he's never had a reason to celebrate before.
"It's your day," Danny continues, shifting until he's managed to fit himself across Steve's lap, straddling him comfortably, "and you are going to let me handle things."
"Ah! No, Steven, stop talking," Danny interrupts, his tone sharp, but the hand that runs through Steve's hair is gentle, threading through the short strands, and scratching along his scalp in that way he knows Danny knows he loves.
Steve sighs, thinks about resisting for the half-second it takes to tug Danny down for a kiss that quickly turns from chaste to desperate, and then gives in to his partner's clever tongue, and hands, and the Ifeel/I of Danny all around him.
It's only later that he realizes how thoroughly he'd been distracted.
"Dannoo," Grace calls, bouncing impatiently on her toes as he walks up to the door, all of her stuff already sitting around her feet. Rachel looks amused and exasperated at the same time, and Danny just grins, lifting one hand in a lazy wave.
"What's this? I don't even get a hug, Monkey?" He stifles the grin, attempting to look hurt for a moment, but Gracie just rolls her eyes, bounces over and squeezes him around the middle.
"C'mon, c'mon, we have to go pick up Uncle Steve's cake! And Auntie Kono," she says, looking up at him with the same pleading puppy look that has worked for years. He can't help but grin down at her.
"Yeah, alright. Let's go rally the troops," he laughs as she squeals, far too gleeful, and spares a relaxed, happy smile for Rachel, who is laughing at him.
"You're cruel, Daniel," she manages, watching their daughter wait impatiently at the car as Danny gathers all of the things she insisted she 'just had to bring'.
"Only a little," he answers, shouldering Grace's backpack. "It'll be fun." And it will, because Gracie has Steve wrapped around her finger, and she knows it, and yeah, okay maybe it's a little cruel to enlist his only daughter's help in planning a birthday party for his crazy, grown-ass partner, but there'd really been no stopping her once he'd let slip that Steve had never had a real birthday that he could remember.
"She'll keep him busy; he won't be able to say no…It's win-win," Danny adds, accepting the badly-wrapped package that was 'Uncle Steve's present' from Rachel, and making his way to the car. "Pick her up in the morning?"
Technically, it isn't his night with her, but well, it was Steve's birthday, and for some reason the giant goof loved Danny's daughter as much as he loved Danny himself. It was still surprising, sometimes, that soft look Steve would get when he was sitting in the sand with Grace, helping her build her latest masterpiece. "In the morning," Rachel agrees, smiling as she shakes her head. "Have fun, and tell Steven happy birthday."
Steve…Is honestly a little -not scared, apprehensive, maybe. He doesn't know what to expect, never does where Danny is involved, and he's never taken that with any sort of good grace. Still, he can't help the fond, indulgent feeling he gets -it's a common feeling, when Danny is involved- when Danny pulls up in the drive way, and Grace scrambles out of the car to head full-speed right at Steve.
He laughs and catches her when she leaps. "Uncle Steve!" She shouts, clinging tightly to him. "Happy birthday!"
"Hi, Gracie," he grins, twirling her around just to hear her laugh. "You're gonna help me celebrate it, right?" He asks, and she grins up at him, all delighted sweetness, and nods vigorously.
"Of course! Danno let me pick out your cake!" He can just imagine, and he raises an eyebrow at Danny as he walks up, relaxed in a t-shirt that shows off the tan he's been getting, all smug and mischievous delight.
"Did he, now?" Steve asks, grinning at his partner, who just shrugs and grins back, and Steve maybe loves that expression on Danno a little too much.
"You'll love it, babe," Danny says, and well, yeah, obviously -Danny and Gracie picked it out, of course he's going to love it. "For now, though," he adds, clapping his hands together and looking the two of them over, "you two are going to go out back, and do whatever crazy ocean-related things you two do together -Gracie, you listen to Uncle Steve when you're in the water- and we are going to get this thing set up."
He stops, bites his lip, and then gives them both a narrow-eyed look. "No peeking, either, Steven," he says, poking a finger into Steve's chest, and Steve doesn't even try to hide the smile, or the affectionate amusement that he knows is probably showing plainly all over his face.
"Yeah, okay, Danno. No peeking. We promise, right, Grace?" Steve jumps in before Danny can start again, offering up his best innocent grin, which just makes Danny look even more suspicious. Grace giggles, and Steve loves that sound.
"Right! We can go build the biggest sand castle ever, with turrets, and a moat, and towers!" Grace is already wide-eyed at their architectural prospects, tugging Steve towards the back of the house insistently. Steve laughs, shrugs helplessly at Danny -he's watching them, soft and open, and Steve can see everything his partner feels right there- and follows Danny's daughter dutifully.
The party is a huge success, of course, for a lot of reasons, chief among them though, is the look on Steven's face when Gracie drags him inside and he sees the house decorated, and the giant, shiny rainbow letters hanging across the living room that proclaim
'HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUPER-SEAL'.
Danny went all out, yes, but he kept it small, private; it's family only with Kono, and Chin. It's theirs, and Grace dances around them, -she makes Steve and Danny dance with her once the party is moved outside, and Steve does, laughing, happy, and Danny is so damned glad to see the shadows chased from his partner's eyes for a night.
Of course, it's them, so things don't stay anywhere near 'calm' and 'orderly'.
"Hey now," Danny tries, laughing as he watches an icing-coated Steve advance on Kono, "no bodily-harm! My daughter is here, remember."
"Get her Uncle Steve!" Grace shouts, entirely too gleeful, and Danny thinks she's been spending way too much time with McGarrett.
Kono ends up wading out of the surf, soaked, and laughing, and tackles Danny right there at the edge, which somehow translates to 'hey, let's go swimming!' despite all of Danny's protests, and threats, and he eventually caves when three sets of puppy-eyes are turned on him, and Chin just gives him that measuring stare that makes him feel all of three-inches tall.
"It is my birthday, Danno," Steve says, grinning, all soft and relaxed with Grace on his shoulders, and how can Danny resist that, the both of them, everything he loves in the world right here, pulling him out into the sea with them.
He goes, because he can't not, and they surround Steven, embrace his world, and celebrate his existence together; family.