“I swear, if he tries to pin this on me again, I'll kill him,” Danny muttered as he pulled the Camaro into Steve's driveway. It was Monday, and Friday they'd agreed that Danny would pick Steve up the next week; not that they needed to discuss or agree, but Danny appreciated the gesture so Steve tried his best to remember to ask.
Danny liked to call Steve when he was a few minutes away, as a warning before walking into the house. Sometimes he didn't even have to walk in, Steve was ready at the front door, locking up. The fact of the matter was, he always answered, letting Danny know if he'd be another few minutes.
On this day, Steve didn't answer. The last time that had happened, it was because Steve had had some break-through with a case, or something, and had gone off to do something himself, leaving Danny on the verge of a coronary.
It was safe to say that when Steve didn't answer the phone, Danny had cause to worry.
He mulled this over as he strode up to the front door, a rant already forming in his throat. He stopped, stopped everything, when he saw that the front door was open. It wasn't kicked in, or thrown open, just slightly ajar. Danny narrowed his eyes, drawing his firearm and clicking off the safety.
Stepping lightly into the house, he quickly scanned the living room and front entry areas, angry for Steve at the mess the intruders had left in their wake. They hadn't broken much, just overturned furniture and emptied out desk drawers; luckily nothing with glass had been broken, at least not this time.
Making his way quickly through the downstairs – and taking a quick peek to see if anyone was out back – Danny came to stand by the stairs to listen. Him not being in motion would've seemed odd to his team, maybe even funny, but despite their disbelief, Danny could be very quiet and extremely still when he needed to be. He didn't often have time to use all of the things he'd learned since being a detective, always chasing after Steve, so the rest of the team had never seen him do this quiet thing.
Crime scenes spoke; sometimes the CSIs could understand them, sometimes they couldnt. Sometimes the police department had a better grasp, sometimes not. Danny had found that when he actually stopped and listened, really cleared his mind and focused, he could hear what the scene had to say.
The mess in Steve's house was telling him that whoever had been there had been looking for something, but not in such a way as to make them seem desperate. There was no rage behind the actions of flipping furniture or over turning tables.
“It's meant to look like something else,” Danny muttered, thinking before raising his voice and calling “Steve! Steven, are you here?”
He'd expected silence and nodded when it came, keeping a firm grip on his firearm as he carefully tread up the stairs. He checked each room in turn before coming to Steve's bedroom. The other doors had been ajar when he'd checked, which was unusual – Steve's bedroom door was closed, which was extremely unusual. Trying the handle, Danny was put off by the fact that it was locked. Bending down to see if it was a lock he could pick, he startled when he noticed that this door could only be locked from the inside. More curious now, he rapped on the wood with his knuckles, calling Steve's name again. There was still no response, and Danny backed up to the banister, tensing.
After all of the grief he'd ever given Steve, there was no way he'd ever live this down.
Using his good leg, Danny kicked Steve's bedroom door in and went inside, leading with his firearm. He stopped short, taken aback. All of the other upstairs rooms had been picked over; Steve's room looked like it hadn't been touched. The bed was still made, bedside lamps and alarm clocks were in place, drawers and closet doors were closed. It was very strange indeed, and Danny scratched at his chin, puzzled.
“At least he didn't see me kick his door in--” he began, out loud to himself, when a strange squeaking caught his attention. Freezing, he whipped around until he was facing the door to Steve's en suite bathroom. It too was closed, and the squeaking seemed to be coming from behind it. It was a very strange sound, not like an animal or anything Danny had heard. Truth be told, it sounded like one of those chipmunk characters, only higher pitched.
Trying the handle and finding the door unlocked, Danny held his breath and opened the door, poking his head in alongside his firearm. Empty.
“The fuck is this!” he growled, seriously irked now. He thumbed the safety back on and reholstered his weapon, opening and closing cabinets and checking behind the shower curtain. He paused when he heard the squeaking again, slowly turning on his heel until his gaze came to rest on the toilet. The seat was down, and one of Steve's dumbbells was resting atop the lid. The squeaking came again and Danny shuddered; he'd read Dreamcatcher,, ok, he knew what sorts of things lurked in weighted down toilets.
Grabbing the plunger and gripping it close to the rubber part, he slowly reached for the dumbbell and lifted it off, waiting for the lid to fly up and for what-ever-the-fuck to come flying out at him.
There wasn't one of Stephen King's shit-weasels lurking in the bowl. No, that would've made too much sense.
What had been trapped in the bowl was a miniature, eight-inch tall Steve, soaking wet and angry as hell.
Danny didn't think anyone could begrudge him the unladylike shriek he unleashed, nor the fact that he passed out from shock.
The back of his head hurt, the surface beneath him was hard and cold, and something was tapping around on his chest. Groaning, Danny slowly opened his eyes and found himself staring up at a bathroom light fixture. Still feeling that weird tapping, he slowly lifted his head and stared down the length of his body... where mini-Steve was pacing.
Danny did the only thing he could think of.
“Danny! Stop it!” came a high-pitched squeak, but Danny was too busy scuttling backwards and trying to use his hands to fend off mini-Steve at the same time. The way his body was pitching, the tiny thing should've been bucked right off; instead, Danny watched with mounting horror as mini-Steve produced wings and leaped into the air.
“No, no-no-no, this is a dream, I'm still at home in bed, this isn't happening,” he told himself, drawing his knees up to his chest and rocking a little. Mini-Steve came to land on the edge of the laundry hamper, which put him about eye-level with Danny. He looked angry as hell, and Danny figured that if he'd been shrunken down and turned into a little insect-man with wings, he'd be pretty pissed, too.
“Will you stop with the hysterics?” mini-Steve said, hands on his hips and a foot tapping impatiently. “We've got more important problems.”
“Yeah, like the fact that you're less than a foot tall,” Danny replied, leaning away from mini-Steve without realizing it.
“They put me in the fucking toilet, Danny,” Steve growled, the sound absurdly cute coming from his tiny throat. “I've been in a fucking toilet for the last... I don't even know how long, ok, but it sucked and I'd like to do something about it.”
“Like what, tiny?” Danny asked, almost shocked at himself for a moment. He was bigger than Steve, in every way. The thought knocked him for a loop, putting a dazed expression on his face, one that Steve quickly smacked out of him with a kick to the nose.
“Can you focus?” Steve shouted. He really did look furious, but standing there, atop one of Danny's knees, wings fluttering angrily behind him, Danny couldn't take him seriously.
“Sorry, was too distracted by your teeny wings... Thumbellina..” It was a miracle he was able to say it with a straight face, it really was.
Steve glared daggers at him, the entire effect lost because of how small his eyes were. Danny reached out and delicately pinched the back of Steve's shirt between his first finger and thumb, lifting him up and bringing him close.
“I will punch you in the eye,” Steve threatened, little hands balling into fists. Danny just chuckled, not giving voice to the thought that he could squash Steve like he was so much nothing between Danny's toes.
“Don't be like that, ok, I'm just trying to get a better look at what happened to you,” Danny said calmly, dropping Steve into the palm of his other hand. The back of the other man's shirt was ripped where the wings had come through, and Danny found those the most mind boggling. They were large and undoubtedly strong, considering that they still had to lift Steve's weight, but gossamer thin, glittering in the light. The word “faerie” popped into his head, and Danny had to really fight the urge to laugh just then.
Steve was like a mini-SEAL version of the faeries Grace loved so much. Danny wondered vaguely if Steve could do magic now, and if he had a little faerie wand stashed away in his tiny cargo pants.
“I'd like to get out of these clothes, if you don't mind – I'm covered in toilet water,” Steve grumbled, sitting heavily in the palm of Danny's hand.
“It's clean until you do something to it, you know. You could even drink out of the toilet like a dog if you absolutely had to,” Danny remarked mildly, pulling himself into a kneeling position before standing, Steve still cradled in his palm. The other man didn't have anything to say to that, content to sulk now that he didn't have to struggle to leave the bathroom. Danny paused in the middle of the bedroom, though, grinning. “Babe, what are you gonna wear? None of your regular clothes will fit.”
Steve stilled for a minute before slumping his shoulders. “Grace usually leaves a few of her dolls here, doesn't she?”
Unable to respond, Danny doubled over, belly laughing. Steve had fallen from his hand with an indignant squawk, wings buzzing angrily as he came to hover near Danny's face. He was bitching, Danny knew he was, but he couldn't even with the mental image of Steve in Grace's dolls' clothes running through his mind.
Finally straightening up and wiping the tears from his eyes, he giggled apologies and waited until Steve was perched on his shoulder before moving towards the spare room Grace slept in when she and Danny spent the night.
True to form, Grace had left a few of her Barbie dolls, but none of her Kens. Danny was pretty sure both types were too tall for Steve to wear their clothes, anyway. He said as much to Steve, who only grunted and flew towards the box by the bed. It housed his GI Joes, the ones he didn't mind Grace playing with.
“Those are like a foot tall, Steve,” Danny said, grimacing slightly as his bad knee twinged when he sat down on the floor. “You aren't.”
“So we'll hem the pants or something,” Steve said, tugging at the lid of the box before turning to Danny and glaring. He scooted forward on his butt and opened the box, barely getting the lid off before Steve was diving inside. He had the standard twelve-inch Joes, but he also had some of the six-inch ones. Danny remained quiet but thought that no matter which option he chose, Steve was still going to look ridiculous.
Well, more ridiculous.
“Are you sure this stuff won't fit me?” Steve squeaked, head popping up over the edge of the box. “The big ones seem my size.”
Without answering, Danny reached in and selected one of each size, holding them so they stood up on the floor. Steve buzzed over to stand between them, a frown deepening on his face. He fit right in the middle, size wise, exactly eight inches. In addition, the twelve-inch Joes were broader across, so even if the pants and sleeves were hemmed, the clothes would be way too big.
“I got an idea, babe,” Danny said then, putting down the tall Joe and examining the short one. “This guy's clothes look like they'd fit, aside from not being long enough. Why not just cut the pants into shorts or something?”
Steve thought for a moment before nodding and sending Danny in search of the sewing kit. When he returned, he plopped onto the bed with the six-inch Joe and his clothes, Steve buzzing up to stand on Danny's thigh.
“Put 'em on first, so I can see where to cut,” Danny said, examining the doll clothes. They were either hilariously outdated, entirely camo, or both. This was going to be hilarious.
Steve made quick work of his tiny clothes – Danny put a hand over his eyes, to offer some privacy – and had Steve stand in his hand again, to get a better idea of where the pants ended.
“Might as well leave them alone,” Steve suggested, staring down at his legs. “They're only just past my knees or so as it is.”
“What about a shirt? It might not be long enough.”
Steve shrugged. “I'll go without. Wouldn't be the first time.”
Danny sighed. “No, no it wouldn't.” There was also the fact that Steve's wings would make a shirt impossible to actually wear.
“So... you're going to love the rest of the house,” Danny said, putting everything back in the box and standing once Steve was again perched on his shoulder.
“I know, I heard; is anything broken this time?”
“Not that I could see, just looking like a tornado blew through it.”
“Awesome,” Steve groaned, slouching next to Danny's ear. He could feel one of Steve's tiny hands gripping his shirt collar as means to steady himself, and something about the small weight on his shoulder was comforting, though he couldn't figure out why.
“I'm more concerned with why you're suddenly the male version of Tinkerbell,” Danny offered once they were downstairs. “I'm also concerned with the fact that aside from my earlier outburst, I am not shocked by this.”
Steve grinned. “You're getting used to the island craziness.”
“Are you saying some island hoodoo is responsible for this? Oh, for the love of--”
“No, that isn't what I said... though it wouldn't surprise me if that were the case.”
Danny rolled his eyes. If it were some island magic or something, at least then they'd have a place to start – curses to research, aunties to question for remedies, something. Which reminded him--
“Kono and Chin must think we died,” Danny thought aloud, digging out his cell phone. “I need to call them.”
“No!” Steve shrieked, the sound piercing and painful so close to Danny's ear.
“What d'you mean, 'no'? They have the right to know why neither of us showed up... although since they didn't come looking, I assume they took the day off.”
“I don't want anyone else to know about this,” Steve grumbled, gesturing to himself. “It's embarrassing.”
“I'm still calling them, ok, because what if they do come by? I'm not gonna be able to stop Kono from getting into this house, if that's what she wants to do.” Danny dialed out to Chin, waiting patiently as it rang.
“Danny, where you been, brah?”
“Had a little... incident... at Steve's. Sorry I couldn't call before – we're fine, by the way.”
“Incident? Anything we can do to help?”
“Uh,” Danny paused, glancing at Steve out of the corner of his eye. “Not right now; don't be surprised if I call one or both of you later, though.”
“Uh-huh. Well, if and when you do need us, I'm doing a few things around the house and Kono is catching waves.”
Danny ended the call, promising to check in should the need arise. He strode into the kitchen then, setting the table and chairs upright before sitting. Steve landed on the table and began to face, tiny bare feet leaving little prints on the wooden surface.
“So now what? You've been turned into a faerie and you want us to fix this ourselves?”
“I am not a faerie!” Steve shouted, stomping his foot a little. Danny grinned down at him.
“No, of course not! You're just faerie sized and you've got faerie wings and you sound like one--”
He was cut off by the sound of angry buzzing as Steve's wings began to beat furiously. He was also glowing a bit, causing Danny to lean very far back in his chair, eyes wide.
“Not. A. FAERIE!” Steve hollered, the light in and around him showering out sparks. He floated back down to the table before falling back on his ass, a dazed expression on his face. He looked at himself, looked at Danny, and blushed.
“You were saying.” Danny remarked dryly, leaning forward in his chair again.
Using a finger to trace the grain of the wood, Steve shrugged one shoulder, looking sheepish. He looked up at Danny then, and suddenly the whole thing didn't seem so funny.
Steve was genuinely nervous, maybe even scared of this whole thing, and all Danny had done thus far was crack height jokes. Some partner he was.
“Ok, ok, listen, this is going to sound ridiculous, but I think I know a good place to start in figuring this out.”
“Not a where so much as a who.”
“No, Danny, I already said--” Steve started, shaking his head.
“What, you don't think my daughter and her huge knowledge of fae creatures can help us?” Danny asked, eyebrow arched high. Steve paused, thinking. If anyone could go so far as to be unfazed by him being a faerie, it was Grace.
“It isn't that... it's just... she's eight, Danno. She's a kid, what if this freaks her out?”