The beginning of yet another AU prompt fill, this time for ecarian, who asked for faeries and absurdity. You know, the usual.
“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?”
Getting a hold of Grace was easier said than done, of course. She did have school, after all, and Danny's head was swimming with all of the possible after-school activities she could potentially have.
He didn't want to make Steve wait, though, not if Grace did have some valuable knowledge.
He would have to call Rachel. Steve sat on the table in front of him, waiting expectantly as the phone rang once, twice, three times before Rachel answered.
“Hey Rach... I need to ask a favor.”
“A favor? As in use my home for surveillance or...”
“Very funny. No, uh, I—well, that is to say, we need to borrow Grace.”
“Steve and myself.”
“Need to borrow Grace. As much as it pains me to do so, I have to ask what on earth for.”
Danny pinched at the bridge of his nose, trying to figure out the best way to lie to his ex-wife. It isn't like she'd believe him if he told her Steve was suddenly a faerie.
“There's this case—”
“I'm going to stop you right there, Daniel – I refuse to allow her to be exposed to--”
“Can you let me finish? You didn't even let me finish, ok, just hold on a second. Do you honestly think I'd ever expose her to something violent or dangerous or horrifying? What do you think this is, what sort of a father do you take me for? It isn't like I'm gonna be showing her crime scene photos or something! We just... need a child's perspective.”
“A child's perspective on what? I swear, if this is just some elaborate plan to try and get to spend an afternoon with her when all you'd had to do was ask--”
“Wait, what?” Danny interrupted, brows furrowed. “I can just have her?”
“Of course! Honestly, Daniel, all you had to do was say 'I'd like to take Grace for the afternoon if she hasn't got any activities' and I'd have made arrangements. I haven't forgotten our conversation about trying to be reasonable responsible adults.”
“Oh. Wow. Ok... does she have anything right after school?”
“No; ordinarily she'd have intramural soccer but the coach has been ill, practice was canceled. She should be in the usual place for being picked up.”
Danny grumbled to himself about his daughter having a livelier social life than he did before thanking Rachel and promising to have Grace at school by the first bell the following morning. The call ended, he slumped a bit into the chair and knuckled at his eyes. It was still only mid-morning, they had a whole afternoon to kill before collecting Grace from school. He said as much to Steve, asking him “now what?”
“We could put the house back in order,” Steve offered, scratching at the back of his neck thoughtfully.
“We? There is no we here, my friend, there is an I, a me, a myself putting the house back in order, because you are too small to do any good.”
Steve frowned. “What if I can do... y'know... faerie magic? I could magic the house back to order.”
“Magic it? What, like a faerie godmother from a Disney movie? That I would like to see.”
Steve didn't reply, just got his wings going and buzzed into the air. Danny was kind of impressed at how well-adjusted Steve was; he shouldn't have been, of course, but he doubted even a Navy SEAL was trained to deal with being shrunk down to a sixth the size. He got up from his seat and followed Steve into the disaster that was the living room, leaning against the wall to watch. Steve was hovering, wings moving so fast they were nearly invisible – like a humming bird.
He was slowly turning in a circle, surveying the mess, taking stock of the room. Danny rolled his eyes, because honestly? It would make too much sense for Steve to be magical as well as faerie sized.
Steve didn't care about good sense, bad sense, or common sense, though, he just wanted the house tidied up. Danny watched with growing fascination as Steve began to glow again, brighter this time. The light almost hurt Danny's eyes, but he couldn't move to bring a hand up to shield his face; the furniture was moving.
The couch and coffee table were righting themselves, shuffling back into position of their own accord. Knickknacks that had ended up on the floor floated into the air and landed on their appropriate shelves; Danny could hear furniture moving in other parts of the house, scraping against the floor and bumping into the walls on their way back to their usual spots. Gape-mouthed, Danny watched the living room come together, watched Steve's light flicker away into nothing, and only barely registered that Steve himself had fallen to the floor.
Shaking his head to rid himself of the cobwebs, Danny hurried over, worried. Steve had been hovering at about eye-level, and it was a long way for him to fall. Chewing his bottom lip, Danny gently reached out to roll Steve over onto his back, careful not to hurt his wings. The other man groggily opened his eyes before sitting up, blushing when Danny collected him into his hands and stood, bringing Steve closer to his face.
“Are you alright? Jesus, babe, don't do that, ok? Gravity still isn't your friend.” He eyed Steve closely, watched him check himself over to make sure he hadn't hurt anything.
“I'm fine, Danno, relax. That was pretty cool, huh? And you didn't even have to do anything.”
“Yeah yeah – why'd it make you fall?”
“Took a lot of energy; I could feel myself getting tired. Probably shouldn't have tried to do the whole house in one go,” Steve said with a shrug, rotating his shoulders and reaching back to pluck at his wings.
“Yeah, let's not do that again, ok? God, I think I need a nap now, this mess is making me feel like an old man.”
“I thought you already were?” Steve teased, sitting cross-legged in the cup of Danny's hands.
“Barely a foot tall and he still thinks he's funny,” Danny muttered, shaking his head and moving towards the couch. “I'm gonna lay down; we've got a while before we can pick up Grace, and unless you've got any bright ideas on how to fix this, I need to nap before shit gets crazy. Again.”
“Why not lie down upstairs?” Steve asked, wings buzzing as he watched Danny sit down. “You hate sleeping on the couch.”
“Upstairs where? I know you haven't dusted the spare room or Grace's since the last time, even though I told you to.”
“You can nap in my bed, it isn't like I'm gonna be using it any time soon.” Steve tried for nonchalant, but the effect was lost. Danny considered it, trying to decide if it'd be really weird or just a little weird before settling on 'slightly bizarre.'
“Fine, but don't think you're gonna use this as black-mail on me later.”
Steve just stared at him, confused, before hurriedly buzzing over to settle on Danny's shoulder as he climbed the stairs. Kicking his shoes off and loosening his tie, Danny settled onto the bed and exhaled deeply, rolling his eyes closed. He felt exhausted, figured it was from the shock, and decided he didn't care how weird or bizarre it was, he was tired and Steve's bed was so comfortable it was stupid.
“Don't roll over and squish me, now,” he heard Steve squeak, turning his head to see the other man curling up atop the neighboring pillow.
“How could I manage that if you aren't even on the mattress?” Danny asked, frowning. “I don't move that much when I sleep, anyway, so relax.”
“With that hair, I figured I should say something.”
“Squish you with my—listen, I might just squish you on purpose.”
“Oh, but then you'd miss me!” Steve laughed, wings fluttering delicately.
Not justifying that with a response, Danny folded his hands on his belly and closed his eyes. He heard Steve rustle a bit more before he too settled, asleep almost instantly. Danny grinned despite himself at Steve's little high-pitched snores. Before long, though, he too was sleeping.
He wasn't sure what it was that pulled him back into the world of the waking, but Danny found himself blinking his eyes open and stretching. He was vaguely confused at being in Steve's bed... until he looked down at his chest and was reminded.
Steve had left his pillow and had come to rest on Danny's chest, tucked between two of the buttons on Danny's shirt. His tie had been pushed into something Steve could use as a pillow, and Danny could feel the warm, small weight of him against his solar plexus. He found himself slightly glad that he'd remembered to put an undershirt on that morning, because if he hadn't, Steve would be nestled against his bare skin, and wasn't that an interesting thought?
He couldn't allow himself to have such weird thoughts right then, though, suddenly remembering that they had to pick up Grace. He eased his hand over to the bedside table to grab his phone, trying not to move very much. The time said they still had about two hours before school let out; Danny let the phone drop to the mattress before yawning, watching as Steve rose and fell with the movement of his chest.
Reaching out, he gently stroked Steve's back with a fingertip, marveling at how delicate and vulnerable the other man was. He was smaller than a kitten, twice as helpless, and almost entirely dependent on Danny to keep him safe, whether either of them wanted to admit it or not. Something about that made Danny's chest tighten.
Something in the change of his breathing must have awoken Steve, because a minute or so later, he was rolling onto his back and stretching. Danny watched him, amused, hands folded behind his head.
“Welcome back, Sleeping Beauty. Pillow too soft?”
Steve froze, sitting up and removing himself from Danny's shirt, blushing again. “Uh... I kept... rolling off it? And I was cold.” He gestured to his lack of shirt, as if Danny had somehow missed that part.
“It's fine. We've still got time before we can get Grace; I was thinking of maybe jumping on the internet to see what it had to say about all of this.”
“Yeah, if you want.” Danny scooped Steve into his hand and plopped him onto his shoulder before going back downstairs to boot up Steve's laptop. He wasn't sure where to begin once logged on, so Steve made a few suggestions while Danny typed.
There didn't seem to be much in the way of Hawaiian faerie folklore, which Danny had sort of been expecting. They already had everything else, faeries would've just been over the top. No, this seemed to be something more confined to Grimm's faerie tales and Hans Christian Anderson.
Danny had always been a fan of the Grimm's stories, and he'd spent many hours reading Grace the more child-appropriate tales. He knew that his ex-mother-in-law had bought Grace a literal compendium of faerie tales, some of them dating back hundreds of years in origin. While Danny could appreciate the material, he knew Grace wouldn't be old enough to understand half of them for another few years. Still, it was a good place to start.
“D'you know any of these stories, Steve?” Danny asked, resting his chin in his hands. “I knew them all by heart, once upon a time.”
“Because of Grace?”
“Yeah, because of Grace, but also because I just always really liked them. My Nana knew hundreds of them, had books and books... my sisters kept those, after she passed. I'd really wanted them, but figured I could always get my own.”
When Steve didn't say anything, Danny glanced away from the laptop screen and saw that Steve was sitting on the table, head down. Sighing, Danny rubbed at his temples before stroking his thumb along Steve's back.
“Just because you never got into this stuff as a kid doesn't mean you can't get into it now. Grace loves these stories, and I bet she'd love having another person read them to her.”
“It's like what Mary said, about the Sherlock Holmes stuff; I never had the patience for it. Why listen to someone else's story when you could be out making your own?” Steve said, shrugging even as he leaned back into Danny's touch.
“Like I said, you can start now. The Grimm's stories are great because they're the adult versions of all the ones you already know. Disney borrowed them and toned them down for the G-rated set. They're way cooler when you read what really happened.”
Steve turned to look over his shoulder, smiling. “I'll take your word for it... and if Grace wants me to, I'd love to read to her.”
“Babe, I'm sure she'd be thrilled to pieces. Speaking of which, let's get into the car, we're gonna need to find a parking spot where she'll see the Camaro.”
Since Steve obviously couldn't drive, he tried to sit on the dashboard. It was too slippery up there, and Danny had a good laugh at his expense, sliding back and forth along the windshield, scrabbling for purchase. He eventually settled onto Danny's shoulder, holding onto his shirt collar and grumbling to himself the whole while.
Once parked where Grace was sure to spot them, Danny reclined the seat and sat back to wait. They still had about a half hour or so, and now that they were out in the open, Danny felt awkward trying to talk to Steve.
“It isn't like you don't already talk to yourself,” Steve remarked, perched on the gear-shift. “You could always pretend you've got one of those hands-free things, or that you're on the phone.”
“Or we could just be quiet and think of how to explain this in such a way that Gracie doesn't lose her shit.”
“You're the one who said she'd love it; don't be having second thoughts now, Danno, we're in a little too deep for that.”
“I'm not having second thoughts; even if she doesn't know exactly, she'll know which book we need.”
“So what's the problem?”
Danny sighed, squeezing his eyes shut. “I'm just concerned that all of this island craziness is going to... I dunno, traumatize her or something. Like she's gonna grow up funny.”
“I grew up here and I'm fine,” Steve said, buzzing up to cling to the steering wheel. Upon seeing the look on Danny's face, he rolled his eyes. “Kono and Chin also grew up here, and they're also completely fine. Way weirder things have happened and Grace didn't bat an eye. Kids are resilient, she'll be ok.”
“Debatable,” Danny grumbled, turning the radio on and flicking through the stations. Music would be a good way to fill the silence he wasn't really in the mood to fill himself.
“Danno!” Grace shouted, rushing forward to greet him. He laughed as she threw her arms around his middle, squeezing. “I didn't know you were picking me up today!”
“It was kind of a last-minute thing, Monkey; Uncle Steve and I need your help.”
At the mention of Steve, her face lit up. “Really? With what?”
“He had a little... accident? And I told him you'd know exactly what to do.”
“Ok! Is he at his house?”
“He's in the car waiting for us,” Danny said, escorting her over. He watched her peer into the vehicle, watched her little brow furrow with confusion.
“I don't see him!”
“Trust me, he's in there.”
Danny buckled Grace into the front seat and got in beside her, leaving the car in park. Grace twisted around to look at the backseat before turning towards Danny again, an expectant look on her face. Sighing, Danny steeled himself.
“Ok, Steve, come on out.”
Steve had been hiding underneath Grace's seat, and buzzed out, narrowly avoiding being swatted into the windshield when Grace shrieked and lashed out.
“Whoa! Hold on, don't hit him!” Danny called, trying not to yell within the small confines of the car. “You'll hurt him real bad, you need to be gentle.”
Grace was staring at him like he'd grown an extra head, and he couldn't blame her; at first glance Steve looked like a very large insect. Danny was cradling a bewildered Steve to his chest, checking him over for injuries before slowly extending his cupped palms towards Grace, Steve sitting within. She was leaning back, close to the window, eyes huge in her face as she stared. Steve remained very still, his wings barely fluttering behind him. Extending a hand, he waved to her.
“Hi Gracie! See, I'm not a bug!”
Grace leaned forward, her face skeptical. Flicking her eyes up to meet her fathers, she asked “can I hold him?”
“You'll have to ask him that,” Danny replied, voice shaking a little.
“Uncle Steve,” Grace began, “may I hold you?”
Steve glanced back at Danny before turning towards Grace again. “Sure, but remember what your dad said about being gentle.”
She reached out, little fingers curled hesitantly before wrapping gently around Steve's midsection. She cupped one hand underneath his butt and used the other to support his back, like she was holding a piece of something fragile. He looked slightly bigger being held in her small hands, but not much.
“It's really you? Why are you so small?” she asked, not even registering that Danny had started the car and was heading towards Rachel and Stan's.
“Not sure; we were hoping you could help us figure it out. Danno thinks I'm a... faerie, or something, and that you know a lot about those.” Steve held onto one of her hands as he stood in the other, twisting to show her his wings. She ooh-ed and ahh-ed at them, running a fingertip over them gently.
“Can you fly? And do magic?” she asked excitedly, more comfortable now.
“I can definitely fly... the magic we're not so sure about.”
“His house got broken into again,” Danny interjected. “All of the furniture got messed up and he magicked it back into place. I didn't touch a thing.”
“Someone wrecked your house again? That's awful!” Grace exclaimed, worry painting her features. “Did they turn you into a faerie, too?”
“Dunno,” Steve said, shaking his head. “Hopefully one of your books can tell us how to fix this.”
Grace rattled off the volumes they'd need, running into the house to grab them and her overnight bag before kissing her mother and running back out to the car. The books had been stuffed into a duffel almost as big as she was, and Danny had to be impressed; the bag probably weighed about as much as she did.
“You guys are gonna have to help me read them, I don't remember which stories are where,” Grace stated matter-of-factly, holding Steve securely in her lap. “But I think I remember one about someone being turned into one of the fae folk, and that they needed to be turned back.”
“That's what we're looking for, Monkey.”
Grace chattered away the rest of the drive back to Steve's. Danny was full to bursting with pride at how she was taking charge of the situation, ridiculous though it was. Pulling into Steve's driveway, he glanced over and grinned when he saw that Steve was napping in the bend of Grace's elbow, stretched out along her forearm. He bundled them both inside, reminding Grace to be careful when she went to remove her backpack and forgot Steve was still clinging to her arm.
The three of them set up camp in the kitchen, books spread out around them. Danny brought in the laptop, in the event any of the stories were written in Olde English.
After what felt like eternity, Danny sat back from the book he'd been pouring over to stretch and rest his eyes. Grace had passed out face down in her book and was snoring lightly; Steve was curled up in the center of his, the weight of his body enough to keep the pages from folding back. Smiling and feeling a little giddy despite the headache forming, Danny stood and checked the time; it wasn't too late, and he should probably give Grace dinner before they did anything.
“Hey Monkey, wake up, are you hungry?” he asked, gently shaking her shoulders. Grace sat up and rubbed at her eyes, startling when she caught a glimpse of Steve before sitting back in her chair.
“Sorry I fell asleep; these books are tough.”
“That's ok, I took a little nap myself. We should probably have dinner, though. Let's see what Steve's got for food in this place.”
At the mention of his name, Steve unfurled from his position in the book and yawned, the sound causing Grace to laugh. He grinned back at her before buzzing his wings and flying over to stand on the counter at Danny's elbow.
“I havent had a chance to grocery shop,” he said, kicking at the counter a little. “I was gonna go this weekend but forgot.”
“We can order something; I'm sick of pizza, though.”
“There's that new Thai place around the corner?” Steve offered, buzzing over to the drawer where he kept the take-out menus. He pulled for a few seconds without results before Grace came over and slid it open for him. He directed her to the correct menu, which she presented to Danny. He shrugged; take-out was take-out, and at least this way Grace would end up with vegetables.
“Did the bad guys make you eat anything?” Grace suddenly asked, eyes wide. She rushed back over to the table, flipping through her book. “Like anything yucky?”
Steve hovered, thinking. “I don't think so? I remember one of them... splashing me with something... it wasn't chemical, it didn't burn. Then another one hit me on the head and I woke up—well, your dad can tell you about that. Anyway, no I didn't eat anything.”
“What about the stuff you got splashed with? Did it get in your mouth or eyes?” Danny pressed, having an idea of where Grace was going with this.
“Um... I think it did, yeah, I sort of remember spitting it out because it tasted awful, like dank.”
“Dank... like a mushroom?” Danny asked, frowning. He didn't feel one way or the other about mushrooms, but he knew they stank, because that was the nature of fungus.
“Maybe?” Steve shrugged a little helplessly, buzzing over to the table to watch Grace flip pages.
“In one story, a girl gets turned into a wood something... its like soda...” Grace trailed off.
“Sprite?” Danny said.
“Yeah! She gets turned into a wood sprite because a witch or a troll gives her a mushroom. It's a magical mushroom, and one bite turned the girl into a wood sprite. Then, she ate more but nothing else happened because she needed to eat a different thing to turn back again. Only, she didn't know what it was, and none of the animals would tell her.”
“Why not?” Steve asked, sitting cross-legged on the table, rapt.
“Because they didn't like her,” Grace said, frowning. “She wasn't very nice to the animals and fae folk who lived in the forest with her. She always took things that didn't belong to her, or lied about things, and never thought of anyone but herself. An owl, the wisest animal in the forest, knew what she needed to eat so she could turn back, but he wouldn't tell her unless she could prove that she knew how to be nice. Uncle Steve, have you been mean to anyone?”
Both men were taken aback by the question; there were plenty of people – perps, felons, you name it – who could easily say that Steve was 'mean,' at the very least. None of them seemed to be the let's-give-a-Navy-SEAL-a-magic-mushroom type, though.
“N-no meaner than usual, Gracie,” Steve supplied, bewildered.
“Babe, I don't think those kinds of mushrooms even grow here, anyway. Even if Steve was extra mean to someone, they wouldn't have had the right things.” Danny was trying to be reasonable, which was a joke, considering they were talking about magic mushrooms. “These stories come from Europe somewhere; the people who lived there at the time told these stories because they believed it was faeries and elves and whatever causing things to happen to them. Whatever these guys gave Steve, I don't think it was native to Hawaii, and if it was then they did a lot of research. I just don't see island hoodoo turning you into a faerie, though, Steve. A pineapple? Sure, maybe a dolphin or something, a coconut even, but a faerie? I'm not buying it.”
The three of them sat in silence, thinking this over. Danny was resigning himself to the fact that he was going to have to ask Chin and Kono to dig into the pasts of some of their latest cases, to see if any of them had a connection to the madness. In the meantime, all he could do was order dinner, make sure they all ate – watching Steve try to maneuver food that was bigger than he was was the highlight of Danny's evening – and try to get a decent nights sleep before diving back in the next morning.
The trouble with involving Chin and Kono was trying to come up with a way to explain the whole thing without sounding like a nutcase. Danny knew they'd heard and seen stranger, but it was different when it happened to one of your own.
Grace was reluctant to go to school the next day, and was only sated once Danny had promised profusely to keep her updated on anything that happened. He also had to pinky-swear to take excellent care of her books.
Once back in the car, he dialed out to Chin. Steve was sitting atop the stacked books in the front seat, a blissful expression on his face as he sat in a patch of sunlight. He startled when he heard Danny begin to speak into the phone.
“Hey Chin, remember that incident I mentioned? Well, I'm coming in with Steve – wait til you see him – and I'm really gonna need you and Kono to help with this. It's a little, uh, bigger than we'd anticipated.” Danny chuckled to himself – he was really fucking witty, ok – and tried to ignore the look of horror on Steve's face.
“You guys are ok, though, right?” Chin asked, sounding worried. Danny swallowed thickly; Chin worried was as bad a sign as Steve not answering the phone.
“No no, we're fine – well, I'm fine, anyway. Steve's ok, he's just... look, it'll take all day if I try and explain over the phone. You'll see when we get in. Just be prepared to have to sit down suddenly.”
He ended the call and listened to the silence, waiting for Steve to say something. When he didn't, Danny turned up the radio and hummed along until he pulled into his parking spot at HQ. He had barely shut the car off when suddenly Steve was buzzing right into his face.
“I thought I said I didn't want anyone to see me like this!” he hissed, wings fluttering angrily.
“The general public I can understand; it isn't like we're going to the mall, Steven, these are our friends. If anyone can help us, they can.”
Danny reached out and deftly plucked Steve from the air, settling him into his breast pocket. He'd picked that shirt specifically that morning – they'd pit-stopped before taking Grace to school – so he'd have somewhere to stash Steve on their way in. Chin and Kono seeing him was one thing; everyone else who worked in the building was an entirely different story. Steve perching on his shoulder was unacceptable.
Grumbling, Steve got himself settled into the pocket and remained quiet while Danny gathered the books and marched inside, feeling oddly like it was the first day of school. Kono whistled when he walked into the bull-pen, the corner of her mouth quirking into a smile.
“Doing a little light reading there, brah?” she called, laughing.
“Oh yeah,” Danny huffed, dumping the books on the edge of the surface table and quickly patting at his pocket to make sure Steve was ok. “If by 'light' you mean 'the heaviest books in existence'.”
Kono wandered over and examined them, eyebrows raised. “Faerie tales, huh? What, Grace got a project?”
“The books belong to her, but no, it isn't a project. It's actually—where's Chin? I only wanna have to explain this once.”
Upon hearing his name, Chin popped out of his office, and strode over. He gave the books a once over and glanced at Kono, who shrugged before both of them focused their attention on Danny.
It still weirded him out a little when they did that: twin looks that said “my attention is laser-focused on you.” He cleared his throat and pet at his pocket again, feeling Steve shift a bit before snoring. Danny rolled his eyes before turning his attention back to the task at hand.
“Yesterday morning I went to pick Steve up, as we'd agreed, and discovered that his house had been broken into – again.” He allowed the cousins a moment to express their shock – or lack thereof – before continuing. “Nothing was stolen that I could see, and nothing was broken; the furniture was all over the place, but aside from that it was fine. I check the whole house and can't find Steve, though, which is worrisome, almost as much as the fact that he didn't answer when I called him earlier that morning. Anyway, I found him in the bathroom, trapped in the commode.”
He didn't give either cousin a chance to respond, only barely letting Chin quirk an eyebrow before reaching into his breast pocket and plucking Steve from it, holding him out, clutched in a fist.
Kono shrieked, jumping back a little before pressing a hand to her throat, staring with wide eyes. Chin responded more quietly, flinching back before leaning in and staring with eyes equally as wide, so much so Danny was afraid they may fall out of the other man's head. There was silence as Steve fully woke up – what the heck was with him sleeping so much? – and glanced at them, waving a little and grinning.
“Hey guys, he says, like it's the most natural thing in the world,” Danny muttered before plunking Steve down on the surface table. “So you see, that's why he was able to even fit in the commode, and also why he couldn't answer the phone. Gracie is the reigning expert on faeries and that sort of thing, and we all decided that's what Steve is. These books are all the ones with stories and whatnot about fae folk, people being turned into one of the fae folk, and how to turn them back. We've got one theory so far...” he finished, trailing off as he ran out of steam.
“Which is?” Chin pressed, in attack mode now, fingertips hovering over the surface table.
“Grace thinks I ingested something that did this,” Steve supplied, buzzing up to hover over the center of the table. “The assailants splashed me with something and I must've swallowed some. The theory is that I need to eat something else to turn back.”
“Something else?” Kono asked, wrinkling her nose. “What'd they splash you with to begin with?”
“Evidently it smelled like mushrooms,” Danny said, sighing heavily.
“Mushrooms,” Chin repeated before typing quickly. “No chance you know what kind?”
“Danny's thinking European, because that's the kind they'd have in the story,” Steve offered, buzzing over to perch on Danny's shoulder.
“Wait, I have a question,” Kono said, holding up a hand before pointing to Steve. “Can you do magic?”
“I fixed my house earlier without touching anything,” Steve said with an air of pride.
“Yeah, and almost killed himself in the process,” Danny said with a grumble, shooting Steve a look. “The amount of energy it took him literally knocked him out of the air. And I dunno if you've noticed, babe, but you're sleeping an awful lot.”
Steve twitched a shoulder. “Cat naps.”
“Being tiny is exhausting,” Chin said, completely dead-pan. Kono giggled before picking up a few of the books. Danny grabbed two for himself and left Chin to the table, where he was already compiling information from who-knew-where.
Danny was midway to his office when he heard Steve say “can't we go to my office?”
“Why? What's wrong with mine?”
“... my office gets better sun.”
“I want to sleep in a sunbeam.”
Danny had to stop dead at that, he was so taken aback. The way Steve said it, he might as well have been commenting on the weather. “You want to—hey, no one said you had to stay stuck to me like this. You wanna nap in the sun like a fucking cat, be my guest.”
He gently brushed Steve off his shoulder, who flailed with an indignant squawk before getting his wings beneath him and hovering, watching as Danny stomped into his office and shut the door.
Frowning, he glanced towards his own office, noting that the door was closed. He'd never get it open himself. He buzzed over to Chin and landed on the edge of the table, watching the other man's hands fly across the keyboard.
“Yo, Chin, would you mind opening my office door for me?” Steve asked, hopeful. Chin startled slightly before looking down at him and smiling a little.
“Sure, but not because you actually want to sleep in a sunbeam, right?”
“Uh... well. I suppose if you wanted to turn on my computer for me I could try and navigate--” Steve began, flustered.
“Hey, relax brah, I'm kidding. You know how Danny gets when he's stressed out,” Chin said easily, waiting until Steve was on his shoulder before going towards the other man's office and opening the door. He toed down the stopper, so the door wouldn't slam shut or anything and trap Steve inside. Steve thanked him with a nod before flying over to his desk and laying down in a square of sun there, sighing happily.
It did seem weird to sleep so much, but he figured that was the cost of being so small. He must've been using more energy in a shorter time-frame. He curled onto his side and smiled to himself, loving how warm the sun felt on his bare skin, making him tingle. His wings fluttered happily behind him, and soon he was drifting off.
The more Danny read, the more the old stories came back to him. Memories of time spent sitting around his Nana's gigantic, over-stuffed arm chair, surrounded by siblings and cousins alike as she told them tales. Even as he got older and his male cousins grew out of it, he would still go and sit by her chair, him and the girls, to listen. He never grew out of it, never stopped being fascinated by tales from 'the old country,' as his Nana would say.
She'd been born and raised right there in New Jersey, so he could never be sure which old country she was talking about, of course, but he'd never tell her that.
Leaning away from his desk, he rubbed his eyes. His stomach growled feebly, reminding him that the only person who'd had breakfast that morning was Grace. Flinching, Danny suddenly realized why Steve had been so tired, at least recently: he hadn't eaten. “Oh, fuck me,” he muttered as he left his office to find Steve.
The man in question was on the arm of his couch now, sleeping in a shaft of sunlight. His wings glittered, and the sun turned his skin to gold. Danny couldn't help himself, tiny or no, he had to stop to appreciate the scenery. That was until his stomach rumbled and he was reminded of why he'd walked in there to begin with.
“Steve? Hey, babe, you awake?” he near-whispered, leaning close to Steve and peering at him. Steve didn't move, didn't so much as twitch, and Danny felt his heart-rate increase. Uh-oh. Crouching down so he was eye-level with Steve's small form, he gently poked at the other man's shoulder. He did this repeatedly until Steve finally – finally – began to grumble and shift, opening his eyes to blearily glare in Danny's direction.
“Wha' y'do tha' for?” he slurred, eyes already sliding closed again. Danny stood abruptly, scooping Steve into his hands and cuddling him to his chest.
“We're going to get you something to eat, before you go unconscious forever,” Danny said, trying to keep his voice light but failing. Stupid, stupid, stupid, he thought as he hurried over to their little break-room. In this condition, Steve was more like a pet than a person; he couldn't access a fridge or cabinet to get to food without severely exerting himself, which meant Danny had to make sure he ate.
Settling Steve onto the small table in the corner of the room, Danny opened the narrow fridge and sighed with relief when he saw a pitcher of orange juice. Kono had bought it not two days before, insisting it was better than coffee in the morning as a pick-me-up. Danny knew from experience that the best way to raise low blood-sugar was to drink OJ, so he dug around until he found something small enough for Steve to use as a cup.
The twist cap to a water bottle would have to do, so he filled it just enough with juice before setting it on the table and rousing Steve. Blinking slowly, Steve sniffed at the juice before clumsily taking the bottle cap – which looked like a soup bowl – in his small hands and sipping. The small sips turned into ravenous gulps and Danny felt himself relax a little.
“Scared me a little there, babe.”
“You were going into shock or something, I don't know. It's my fault for not giving us breakfast. Actually, until we can get you back to normal, I'm going to think of you like a hamster and just keep food on hand at all times. You're burning through the calories a lot faster than you normally would be.”
Steve scowled at the thought of being anyone's hamster. “I'm not your pet rat, Danno.”
“No, you aren't – you're my pet faerie and as such it is my responsibility to see that you are cared for. Finish your juice, now, I'll see if there's anything small enough for you to nibble.” Danny chuckled at the rude noise Steve made before looking through the fridge again.
“He probably needs something higher in calories,” Kono said from the doorway, thoughtful expression on her face. “Something that's mostly protein.”
“I don't need higher calories!” Steve called, wings buzzing angrily. “It's bad enough I've become the team pet, you guys aren't gonna make me the fat team pet.”
“Oh please, at the rate you're burning energy, it'll be a miracle you don't waste away,” Danny said with a roll of his eyes, pushing the fridge door closed. “Maybe we should get you some of that pet food Grace has for Mr Hoppy. It's fruits, veggies, carbs, and protein all in a little pellet.”
Kono stifled a giggle, a hand hiding her mouth. Steve glared as effectively as he could, little body taught with anger.
“That's not funny, Danny.”
“No? I think it's hilarious, mostly because the rabbit food is probably too big for you. And hey, think of it this way: you'll be getting a ton of fiber.”
Steve flew towards Danny like he was shot from a gun, tossing the bottle cap in his face. Catching it easily, Danny laughed as Steve buzzed from the room, presumably to whine at Chin.
“We shouldn't give him such a hard time,” Kono chuckled, shaking her head. “I'm sure it's pretty nerve-wracking to from being six feet tall to six inches.”
“He's eight inches tall... those little shorts he's wearing came off a six-inch GI Joe; the foot tall ones are way too big.”
Kono eyed him. “Ok then, that's... awesome. I'm gonna go back to the books...”
Danny sighed and scrubbed at his face. “Yup. Have fun.”
The afternoon dragged by; Chin had called up all the information he could find on fae folk and transformation spells. While some of it was mildly helpful, a lot of it was even more outlandish than the situation itself and therefore useless. Kono started making calls to a few relatives, questioning aunties to see if they knew an island remedy. Most of them didn't, but promised to look into it and get back to her.
Danny had a feeling it was something ridiculously simple, the answer to their problem, and that was why they couldn't figure it out. Many bright people often thought too hard and too long on simple problems and blew right by the solution, which was usually right in front of their nose and ridiculously easy.
Thinking so hard and reading for so long had long ago forced him to develop a headache; yawning, Danny leaned back in his chair and stretched, joints popping pleasantly. It was most definitely time to go home and sleep on this ridiculousness. Chin and Kono whole-heartedly agreed; Kono was going to take her books home with her and finish reading, intrigued as she was by some of the stories.
Steve had spent the rest of the afternoon perched on Chin's shoulder, tossing ideas back and forth and trying to narrow down their findings. Danny was greatly amused by the notion that Steve could still be mad at him, strolling over and snatching Steve off of Chin's shoulder.
“Okie doke, babe, let's head out.”
“Let me go! Stop grabbing me like I'm a toy,” Steve grit out angrily, thrashing in Danny's fist.
“Hate to break it to you, boss, but you're about toy sized,” Chin said, shutting down the surface table before following Kono out of the bull-pen. “You guys try not to kill each other, ok? Behave.”
Steve didn't reply, forearms resting against Danny's fingers, glaring up at him. “Maybe you should just drop me off tonight,” he said as Danny collected his notes and his books before heading out.
“Excuse me? And what, just leave you to your own devices in that big house? Please, how irresponsible would that be on my part? Nope, no way, not gonna happen. We're going to stop at my place to grab some things and then head back over to your house.”
In the back of his mind he knew it made more sense to just sleep at the apartment and keep Steve with him, but the prospect of sleeping in Steve's bed again, with Steve beside him? It was too sweet to resist. Not that he'd ever vocalize that to Steve, of course.
The other man didn't say anything else, quiet in Danny's breast pocket the whole way to the apartment and over to the McGarrett house. Danny began to worry that maybe Steve had passed out again, but was soothed when he caught the sound of Steve's tiny, delicate snores. Sighing with relief, Danny let himself into the house, doing the alarm thing before heading into the kitchen. There were a lot of left-overs from their Thai food the night before, and he didn't really feel like going to the store, anyway.
“Food time, Thumbellina,” Danny sing-songed, pulling Steve from his pocket and setting him on the table. Steve rubbed at his eyes, a soft smile on his face, before waking up fully and remembering that he was supposed to be upset with Danny for... some reason. The smile turned to a scowl and he crossed his arms over his chest, petulant.
“Not hungry,” he grumbled, avoiding looking at Danny.
“Lies,” Danny replied, grinning as he made a plate and put it in the microwave. “You're starving.”
“Are you seriously going with that? Your age shouldn't match your height, babe,” Danny said, leaning against the counter and waiting for the micro to beep. “I dont understand why you're so pissy.”
“You're treating me like an invalid.”
“Uh, no offense, but you kind of are one. There are so many ways for you to be maimed and or killed in the current condition you're in, it isn't even funny. It isn't funny on a normal day, and I already worry enough. Please do not ask me to further risk my sanity.”
He turned to remove the plate from the micro, grabbing a fork from the drawer and sitting down. Steve eyed the plate and tried to ignore the rumbling in his stomach, but was unsuccessful. He carefully approached the plate and watched Danny eat, staring at the food.
Danny used the edge of his fork to push some of the food towards the edge where Steve could reach and tried not to laugh when Steve all but dove into it, his whole face buried in noodles. He slurped and chewed his way through quite a bit, Danny couldn't help but be impressed. Steve eventually sat back, stretching his arms over his head and just watching Danny eat.
“You really shouldn't worry so much about me, I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself,” he began, twitching his wings. Danny gave him a look and Steve rolled his eyes. “Obviously right now, height-wise I'm not big, but you know what I mean.”
“It isn't that I don't think you can take care of yourself, I know that you can and I know you've been trained to deal with all sorts of clusterfuck type situations. I just don't think you understand the difference between 'can' and 'should.' For instance, just because you can parachute out of a helicopter, or fight sharks with your bare hands, or falcon-punch an elephant, doesn't mean that you should.”
“Falcon-punch? Really?” Steve laughed, clutching at his belly a little. “And you say I'm ridiculous—do you listen to yourself?”
“I'm the only one that does,” Danny sighed, so put-upon. “And if that's the part you picked up on... look, my point is that it's bad enough when you Rambo-out on a normal day. I can't do anything to stop you, or protect you, or anything. Here, for once in our lives, I'm the big guy; I can actually protect you.”
Danny could feel himself blushing slightly, the heat creeping up his neck. He felt he was justified, though, he'd been doing a fantastic job of keeping all of this to himself for so long and now he just couldn't. He watched Steve process the information, breath hitching when Steve stood and walked over, standing next to where Danny was resting his arms on the table, and reached out to hug Danny's bicep. Steve nuzzled against the fabric of Danny's shirt, sighing heavily and digging in with his tiny fingers. Danny reached over with his other hand and – mindful of Steve's wings – cupped his other hand around Steve's back, sort of returning the hug.
Steve wanted to say things, Danny knew, to respond to what was between the lines, but he couldn't. He wasn't good with emotions and words on a good day, and this situation definitely didn't qualify as one of those. Instead, he held onto Danny as tightly as he could, grunting with frustration that he wasn't his normal size, that he couldn't just envelope Danny in himself. Sensing this, Danny gently took Steve in hand and leaned back in the chair, allowing Steve to rest against his chest. He kept a hand cupped beneath, so Steve wouldn't slide down, and stroked lightly up and down Steve's spine as the other man rested heavily against his sternum.
They sat like that for a little while, but Danny's back was beginning to irritate him so he took the party upstairs, Steve still clinging to his chest. His little declaration, both voiced and not, had done something to Steve, and now he seemed to need to be clinging to Danny at all times. He whined slightly when Danny put him down long enough to pull on a t-shirt and sleep pants, little hands covering his eyes. As soon as he was settled on the bed, though, Steve was back and snuggling against the soft white cotton of Danny's t-shirt.
“Oh, babe, what are we gonna do with you?” he asked quietly, fingers of the hand cupped behind Steve's butt gently rubbing at the small of Steve's back. “You are such a mess.”
“Can't help it,” Steve said with a yawn, fingers digging like pin-pricks into Danny's chest. “Love you.”
Danny thought he deserved a prize for the way he didn't even flinch, didn't halt his breathing, didn't react when Steve said it. It had been very soft, very quiet and he was sure Steve probably hadn't intended for him to actually hear it; something clenched tightly in his chest, made the space behind his eyes hot.
“You too, babe,” he whispered to a chorus of Steve's wheedley snores, reaching over to flick off the light. “I love you, too.”
Morning comes too soon with a call from Kono, breathless with excitement. She'd called Jenna – who was away doing some CIA stuff and wouldn't be back for another three weeks – to ask if she'd ever heard of or seen anything like this before. After asking Kono to repeat herself six dozen times, she'd finally done some quick research on mushrooms and magical properties of foods. Danny just sat gap-mouthed as he listened, half-way between screaming with joy and weeping. Steve was underneath Danny's shirt, clinging to his chest for dear life, and for the life of him Danny couldn't be bothered to care that Steve was ripping his chest hair out by the roots.
Dressing quickly and stuffing Steve unceremoniously into the breast pocket of a clean shirt, Danny grabbed his notes and books and hurried out the door. If they could get Steve back to normal by the end of the day, it would be like a Five-0 world record or something. He didn't wanna get his hopes up, but he wasn't ready to be despondent just yet, either.
As it would turn out, the stuff Steve had been splashed with was synthetic, but held the same properties as a very special type of mushroom found in the wilds of Scotland.
“It's so rare, only a handful of people in the world know about it,” Jenna explained via video feed, her voice punctuated by snaps of her gum. “And when concentrated down, it can have the same sort of... effects... as it had on Steve.”
“I'm missing why it's a synthetic and not just... mushroom juice,” Danny said, frowning.
“Because the mushroom itself is actually poisonous. They're sort of small, but pack a whallop; a small bite could easily kill a child and make an adult very ill. Eating an entire mushroom... well, let's just say you'll never eat another one. They're even poisonous to handle; touching one develops into a rash that can get very painful. Also, once it's cut open, it expels fumes; it's almost impossible to handle, though it has been studied. That's the only way to know what it's properties are and therefore how to replicate them.”
Danny's head felt like it was spinning. “Ok wait, are you really telling me someone created fake mushroom juice and threw it on Steve so he'd shrink down into a faerie?”
“Well, when you put it like that,” Chin said, rolling his eyes.
“They weren't intending for it to turn him into anything,” Jenna said, nose wrinkling with distaste. “It was supposed to be a bit more final than all that. Obviously the properties of the synthetic didn't match the original because if they had, Steve would be dead.”
Kono, Chin, and Danny all turn to stare at Steve, who was sitting on the edge of the surface table, facing the screen where Jenna's image was. Danny had never been so glad to believe in faeries in his whole life.
“Now that we know what did it, how do we undo it?” Kono asked, tone no-nonsense.
“Right,” Jenna said, shuffling through some papers out of frame. “An antidote was created, in the event some poor farmer or something accidentally did touch or ingest the mushroom. It's potent, powerful and only requires one dose to cure whatever ailment the mushroom caused.”
“... but?” Steve said, finally speaking.
“But as the mushroom only grows in Scotland, the only place the antidote is available is Scotland.” Jenna said, shoulder slumping a little.
“But this was synthetic mushroom juice,” Kono grumbled. “That can be made anywhere.”
“Doesn't matter,” Jenna shook her head. “The synthetic compound is clearly illegal, because no way would a government sanctioned program try and replicate this thing. Steve can be fixed, but you'll have to get in touch with the Scottish version of Poison Control in order to get the antidote.”
“Unless the perps already had some, in the event one of them came into contact with the compound,” Chin murmured. “They had no way of knowing it was going to do what it did, right? So let's assume they thought the result would be death; working with something like that, they'd have to have an epi-pen or something on hand with the antidote in it.”
“Chin Ho Kelly, you are a brilliant man,” Danny stated, clapping his hands. “I see one flaw in your argument, though: we don't know who these people are.”
“I can help with that,” Jenna called, shuffling papers again. “Because of the dangers of the mushroom, certain measures have to be taken in terms of studying or transporting it, the types of things that are kept on record. I'll dig and see what the story is and call you guys back.”
The call was ended and the team stood around the table, silent. It was only a matter of time before they had names for their perps, but until then they'd have to sit tight. Luckily they'd had no other cases, and Danny was grateful for the rest of the criminal population deciding to take a holiday.
All agreed to stay at HQ for a little while to finish paperwork in the event Jenna called. Danny meandered back to his office with Steve and wrote a note to himself to call Grace; she'd been right on the money with this whole thing, and he couldn't have been more proud of her.
Jenna had been close, but hadn't found out who or where just yet; she'd promised to have something concrete for them the next day, if not later in the evening. Danny didn't even want to consider what time it was where ever she was located. In the meantime, Danny called Grace and filled her in, grinning at her excitement as she babbled a mile-a-minute.
“So you're going to fix Uncle Steve, right Danno?” she asked, hopeful.
“As soon as we get our hands on the antidote – sort of like medicine – and give it him, he should be fine.”
“I hope you find it soon.”
“Me too, Monkey.”
“Give Uncle Steve love for me, ok?” Grace asked him, rummaging in the kitchen in the background. “I have to go now, Mommy wants me to start homework.”
“Ok baby, don't work too hard, Danno loves you.”
“Love you too!”
The call ended and Danny just sat quietly, allowing the words to roll over him. For a long time, it had been Grace alone that kept him going, Grace and her unconditional love. Some days, it still was, but increasingly Danny found himself looking to additional things.
One of which was napping inside a tissue box on the corner of his desk. It had been Kono's idea, of course – she'd stuffed it with cotton balls and scraps of soft cloth, presenting it to Steve with a coo. He'd blustered at first, going on a tirade about being the team pet, but had ended up in the box all the same, rooting around and burrowing into the softness. Danny thought it was cute and very nice on Kono's part, because now at least they had a specific place to look for Steve, should he not be with any of them.
Danny could feel himself blushing slightly; it had taken something utterly ridiculous happening to Steve for him to realize what exactly his feelings meant. He felt like a goofball, but a goofball secure in the knowledge that the other party at least felt the same way. It was the most he could ask for.
Hooking a finger in the opening of the box, he dragged it over and peered inside. Steve was cocooned in cotton balls, mouth open and snoring. It wasn't an attractive look on anyone, but somehow Steve made it work. Danny frowned, because that was so typical.
“Yo, Danny, we're heading out,” Chin announced, popping his head into the office. “You guys good?”
“Yeah, go, go, we're all set,” he replied, making a shooing motion and grinning at the eye-roll he got in return. He really could not have been blessed with a better team. A wave of emotion broke over him, and suddenly he had to fight the urge to weep: he loved all of them, he really did, loved them like friends but also like siblings.
“Ok, Tiny Tim,” Danny voiced, picking up Steve's box, “let's move out.”
He drove them back to Steve's, rousing the other man long enough to get him fed before putting the box in the bedroom. Steve cat-napping was irksome, but he really wasn't much use so Danny didn't mind, at least not when they were outside the office. He puttered around the kitchen, cleaning up from dinner and straightening up the living room, humming absentmindedly to himself.
He was considering watching TV for a bit when a noise on the lanai caught his attention. Muttering to himself, Danny pulled his firearm out of it's holster and thumbed off the safety, stalking quietly towards the kitchen to listen. There was a creak: someone was definitely out there. Frowning, Danny quickly wracked his brain for a reason as to why anyone would need to be back before thumping himself on the forehead with the palm of his free hand. Of course they'd be back; if Steve had died like they'd intended, news of his death would've been all over the island. There'd have been services and all of the hullabaloo that went with it.
Things hadn't gone according to plan, and they were back for round two. Baring his teeth a little, Danny steeled himself: not going to happen. The fact that they might have brought the right compound with them didn't phase him; he'd just shoot them all, no muss and no fuss.
At least, that was his intention. He didn't get that far, as one of them had managed to get inside the house and thunk him on the head. He saw stars, crumpling to the floor, but didn't lose consciousness. He could feel them trussing him up and moving him to a chair in the living room, but his vision was still swimming and he couldn't make out their faces.
Propped onto the couch, Danny rolled his head back and squinted, glaring at them. “You guys are real shmucks, you know that?”
“Shuddup,” one of the guys muttered, a hand moving menacingly towards a sidearm.
“I'm serious! Can't a guy get a break? Hasn't this house been damaged enough? You break in here twice, have assaulted not one but two officers of the law, attempted murder on one of them – what gives?”
He was stalling time, though he didn't know what for. These guys were packing heat, they obviously intended to do some not so nice things to him. They probably wanna know what happened to Steve, he thought, rolling his eyes towards the stairs. There was a good chance Steve was awake, had heard the commotion, but there wasn't a whole heck of a lot he could do about it.
“You don't talk anymore,” a different guy said, stuffing what looked like Danny's tie into Danny's mouth. He thrashed, trying to push the material out with his tongue but failed, the man stuffing the tie in almost too far. Glaring daggers, Danny watched the two men with him check over their weapons before a third man entered the room. Danny's eyes widened and he tried not to look too panic-stricken: the third man was holding Steve's little box.
“This? This is interesting,” the man began, a slight Scottish accent tinging his words. “I read about the possible affects our compound could have and when news of McGarrett's demise didn't reach my ears, I assumed something else had occurred. This is what happens when you send boys to do the jobs of men.” He shot a look at the two thugs before continuing. “Maybe they expected him to drown, I'm not sure – silly expectation, considering their target. My question for you, detective, is where McGarrett is now.”
Danny just stared, tie wedged firmly between his jaws.
“I know he's alive, and this little nest indicates he's here somewhere, but considering his size that could be anywhere. So, detective, where is our mutual friend?”
Giving the stinkiest stink eye he could, Danny merely shrugged, affecting an air of not giving a fuck. The Scottish man frowned, tsking slightly.
“Maybe I need to draw him out; I'm sure hurting you will work well in doing just that.”
Rolling his eyes, Danny sighed through his nose. It was always like this with thugs, using him as a pawn to get to Steve. It was getting really predictable.
“Don't you fucking touch him,” came Steve's voice, absurdly loud. Danny startled, looking around, confused. It sounded like Steve was using a loudspeaker or something.
“Ah, Commander! How nice of you to join us,” the Scotsman said, turning in a slow circle and looking around the room. “Why don't you come out and play?”
Squirming against his bonds, Danny tried desperately to locate Steve and at least try and stop him from doing something so monumentally stupid as step in. He was eight inches tall, for Pete's sake! He was about as useful as tits on a bull.
“If by play you mean 'kill your stupid ass,' then absolutely, I'd love to.”
The thugs were on high alert, weapons raised. If they started shooting, both Danny and Steve were screwed. Seeing a tiny movement out of the corner of his eye, Danny stilled and watched Steve navigate the shadows, moving like a wraith.
He almost seemed to be blending into them, blackened around the edges. A nervous shiver made it's way down Danny's spine; Steve looked too much like the real faeries in the Grimm's stories, and not enough like the cute and cuddly ones he decided he liked better.
“I don't have time for games--” the Scotsman began, cut off abruptly when the lights suddenly went out. Danny wriggled on the sofa until his entire body was on it, trying to be as out of the way as the thugs as he could. He would never hear the end of it if he got shot in the dark.
There was a flash, like a camera going off, and one of the thugs shrieked; Danny had no idea grown men could sound like that. Another flash, like lightning striking, and the other thug was down. It didn't sound like either of them were moving, and Danny wriggled harder, trying to get at least one of his arms free.
“You have no right to fuck with me, or my family,” Steve's voice echoed in the dark house, sounding big and ominous. “I'll kill you if I have to.”
“Kill me? I could squash you like an insect,” the Scotsman grit out, only a few feet from Danny. One of his hands slipped free and he immediately brought it to his face, tugging out the gag and gasping slightly. Untying his legs in the dark wasn't going to happen, so instead he slunk to the floor and dragged himself behind the sofa, wanting to be as out of the way as humanly possible.
“Too arrogant for your own good,” Steve said, and suddenly the room was engulfed with light. Danny popped up behind the couch, quickly tugging his legs free. His jaw fell open at the scene before him.
Steve was glowing like a beacon, like a lighthouse on a cliff, and the Scotsman was suspended in the air, tendrils of light curling around him. Steve glowed so brightly his entire body was a shade of silver, his eyes whited out. The Scotsman was gasping for breath, and Danny tensed; if Steve killed this man, they could lose their access to the antidote.
“Steve! Don't kill him, we need him,” Danny called hurrying out from behind the couch and removing the thugs' weapons – they weren't going anywhere, but better safe than sorry. “He knows where the antidote is.”
Steve considered him before lowering the man to the ground. He gasped for air; Danny trained a firearm on him and glared down his nose.
“Where is the antidote?” Steve asked, voice even and still too-loud for his size.
“Fuck... you...” the Scotsman spat. Danny rolled his eyes and almost barked out a warning when the tendrils of light wrapped around the man's throat. He didn't have to worry, though, the Scotsman was panicking enough without Danny having to step in. “I have it! Dear Lord in Heaven, I have it.”
He fumbled in the pockets of his pants – cargoes, but with way more pockets than Steve's – and tossed a small syringe at Danny. He examined it, noting the tiny gauge of the needle.
“How much of this does he need?” Danny asked, voice flat.
“One cc,” the man said, huddling on the floor. “If nothing happens, keep administering it until something does happen.”
Nodding, Danny retrieved his phone and dialed out to Chin before calling HPD. Steve buzzed over to him – after putting the lights back on, Danny noticed – and plopped unceremoniously onto Danny's shoulder. Without thinking, Danny stuffed Steve into his shirt pocket alongside the syringe and stood sentry until HPD arrived.
“I'm amazed they came back,” Kono was saying, writing a few more things down before allowing an officer to take Thug #2 off her hands. “How stupid can they be?”
“It makes perfect sense, actually,” Chin replied, stripping off his gloves and stuffing them into a pocket. “They came back to finish the job. They thought it'd be easy with Steve being in such a... delicate... condition. Apparently they didn't do enough homework.”
“Apparently,” Kono sighed, digging out her phone. “I'll call Jenna and let her know the good news.”
Nodding, Chin went in search of Danny, who was still giving his statement to HPD. “For the last time, no, I didn't see what they hit me with, ok? Jesus.”
Trying to hide a grin, Chin stood off to the side, waiting until the officer moved away. Danny was in impatient mode; who could blame him? They had the antidote – Jenna was going to confirm it, he was sure, Kono would undoubtedly tell her all about it – and Danny was eager to administer it and get Steve back to normal.
“I wish we could just give it to him,” Danny muttered when Chin strode up and clapped him on the back.
“Gotta make sure it's the real deal and not the poison,” Chin shrugged.
“I know, I know. Doesn't make waiting any easier.”
“Well, at least now you can be secure in the knowledge that this is almost over.”
“Thank goodness for small favors,” Danny said with a smile, gently petting his shirt pocket, bulging with Steve's weight.
It wasn't until the following day that they could get the syringe to Max for testing; Jenna had faxed him the necessary information and he dutifully went through the process, the perfect image of a kid with his chemistry set. It would take a bit for the results to come in, and Danny was all but ready to pull his hair out. Kono shushed and soothed him, suggesting he call Grace later in the afternoon and give her the good news. The idea of talking to his Monkey brightened his mood.
Steve had been quiet the remainder of the night and into the following day. Chin seemed to think he'd tired himself out with all the energy he used, and Danny kept a watchful eye, making sure Steve ate every half hour or so and drank plenty of fluids. He half expected the other man to brook an argument with being treated like a pet, but he never said a word.
Late in the afternoon, Danny got a call from Max.
“I thought you would like to know that the syringe did contain the antidote.”
“That's fantastic, babe, really, I'm on my way over right--”
“I also thought you'd like to know that the concentration and therefore ratios of dose to weight are configured to meet that of an average sized man. I cannot change the concentration without disrupting the entire molecular structure, though I can – and did – separate out the appropriate dose amounts into individual vials.”
Danny squinted, suddenly feeling like his brain was too big for his skull. “Can I have that in plain English this time, Bill Nye?”
“Steve's size means that what would've been an appropriate dose – one cc – would have become lethal. I did some math to figure out how much Steve would need based on his current size and the chemical content of the antidote.”
“Was that so hard? Thanks, buddy, I'm on my way.”
Steve had been napping when the call came in, so Danny just hurried over to the ME's office on his own, thanking Max profusely for doing what must have been ridiculously tedious and measuring out the antidote in Steve-sized doses.
Upon arriving home, Danny found the kitchen light on and Steve nibbling on a piece of cheese. Standing in the doorway of the kitchen, he just stared, eyes moving back and forth from Steve's position on the kitchen table and the fridge.
“How the hell did you manage this?” he finally asked, placing the bag of antidote on the table and sitting down. Steve looked at him with confusion until Danny gestured towards the cheese.
“I figured out how to harness the energy required to open and close things, so I got the fridge open. Everything else was kind of heavy, though, so I figured I'd stick with cheese.”
“Don't eat too much of that, the fat content alone will kill you,” Danny said, wrinkling his nose as he tugged the bag over. “Max is pretty much the love of my life, by the way – he set all of this up nice and simple for us.”
Danny set out the doses one by one in front of Steve, who stared at them with increasingly widening eyes. Noting his discomfort, Danny quickly added “I don't think you'll need all of them, and even if you do, certainly not right away. We'll just... dose you until it works, like McDuck said.”
The use of the cartoon name didn't bring the smile Danny was hoping for. Sighing heavily, he uncapped one of the tiny vials and examined the almost microscopic needle. Steve's eyes were huge in his face as he took the needle and examined it himself, turning it this way and that.
“You'll have to help me, it's a little too big to handle myself.”
“No worries, babe. You wanna give it a go now?”
Steve shrugged, wings shimmering. “Might as well. Here, hold it like this and when I say, push the plunger.”
They got everything lined up, and Steve pushed until the needle punctured his skin. Danny winced, pressing the plunger when told and watched the fluid enter Steve's body.
There was no way to tell how long it would take, or when to administer the next dose; Max had recommended waiting at least two hours, if not longer. Too much of the stuff at once could do more harm than good, and Danny was in no mood to take that chance.
So he set an alarm in his phone to go off every two hours until they'd used up the antidote or Steve turned back, whichever happened first. Grace was informed of the proceedings and squealed gleefully over the phone, causing Danny to wince and Steve to cover his ears, the both of them rolling their eyes good-naturedly.
Danny was becoming concerned, though, at how withdrawn Steve was becoming as the day turned into evening and the doses progressed. Taking everything upstairs to Steve's bedroom and getting them settled – Danny had thought ahead and had brought a book with him – he set Steve aside and stared at him.
Squirming under the gaze, Steve looked away first. “What,” he whined, twitching his wings.
“Just wondering what's got you more taciturn than usual, is all. You've said barely a word all day, babe. I thought you'd be over the moon.”
Steve met Danny's eyes and as small as he was, Danny could easily see the panic there.
“What if it doesn't work?” Steve squeaked, wings buzzing, his body floating over the mattress. “What if the dosage is wrong or it isn't the right compound and I'm stuck like this forever?”
“The likelihood of that happening is--” Danny began, voice calm, but was cut off as Steve dive-bombed into his chest.
Danny was only wearing sleep pants, and he felt himself flush as Steve burrowed into the blonde fuzz on his chest. The other man was shaking against him, and Danny could feel his chest tightening. He stroked a finger along the back of Steve's neck, the other coming to cup and lift him so they could be eye-to-eye.
“Steven, listen to me: freaking out isn't going to help. I'm willing to trust Max on this one, and you should, too. He tested the stuff, it's the right mix or whatever. If it takes a weird amount of time to work... well, that can't be helped. But it is going to work.”
“But how do you know,” Steve whimpered, his bottom lip trembling a little. “If I get stuck like this, we can never--” he cut himself off, eyes widening comically before he slapped a hand over his mouth. Quirking an eyebrow, Danny regarded him thoughtfully.
“We can never what?”
“Forget I said anything, Danno, please?”
“Don't 'Danno' me, alright. Just... what're you thinking? There's obviously something heavy weighing on you, just tell me.”
Keeping his voice pitched low and soothing, Danny cupped Steve in both hands and cuddled him to his chest, his grip firm. No way was Steve flying out of this.
“I just care about you a lot, and it's hard enough for me to show that when I'm normal, let alone tiny.”
“Normal is relative, babe – and I love you, too.”
Danny let the words hang in the air, holding Steve in front of his face again. The other man gaped at him, jaw hanging open.
“I heard you the other night, ok? You said 'love you' right before you dozed off. You didn't hear me say it back then, and I've been a coward about saying it since, so I'm saying it now. I love you, too, and nothing changes that. I don't care how big or not you are, or if you have wings, or extra toes, or a tail. None of that matters.”
“B-but if I don't change back, we can't really be together,” Steve whimpered, tears rolling down his cheeks now. “I'd lose you because of this, I know I would. Just – promise you'll stay, even if I'm stuck this small, please? Just promise.”
Danny's heart felt like so many shards of busted mirror. Little, tiny, faerie-magic Steve was just as emotionally stunted and needy as six-foot, bad-ass Navy SEAL Steve. He brought his hands to his cheek and nuzzled Steve against him, feeling the way the other man's body shook with tears.
“I'm not going anywhere, ok? I'm not. You're safe, I'll keep you safe.”
Steve nodded, still crying a little. He was exhausted and fading now; Danny tucked him against his side, one hand curled protectively over the other man's body as he slept. He just watched Steve sleep, waking him every time the alarm went off to administer the antidote.
As the hours passed and the supply diminished, Danny could see Steve sinking deeper and deeper into his misery. It hurt not to be able to truly reassure him, to kiss it better, and the frustration was eating Danny up inside.
After the last injection, they say looking at each other, the soon-to-be rising sun pinking up the horizon. Steve stretched out along Danny's sternum, nuzzling at skin through a layer of blonde fuzz. Sighing deeply and trying to stifle a yawn, Danny folded his hands against his belly, just behind where Steve lay. He muttered something about cat-napping and was asleep before his eyes were all the way closed.
He'd thought it'd be difficult to sleep, the tension of the last twenty-four hours in both his and Steve's body hardly leached out. By the time he finally opened his eyes, it was late in the afternoon, and he groaned; as expected, there were a multitude of missed calls from Chin, Kono, Max, and Jenna. Running a hand through his hair, Danny froze, eyes wide.
He'd fallen asleep with Steve on his chest; Steve wasn't there now. Danny hadn't moved an inch in his sleep, but he checked the sheets anyway, feeling both horrified and glad that Steve hadn't been squished in the night. Glancing around the room now, Danny frowned; he'd shut the bedroom door when they got up there, and Steve couldn't have opened it himself, regardless of what he'd said about the fridge.
A sound in the bathroom caught Danny's attention and he quietly crept over, poking his head around the half-opened door.
It took all the will-power he had not to start screaming “hallelujah” at the top of his lungs: Steve – full-sized, beautiful, human Steve – was laying naked on the bathroom floor, curled around the toilet. Practically shaking with relief, Danny went back into the bedroom to felt a blanket before returning to the bathroom and draping it over Steve's bare form. There came that sound again – Steve groaning – and his eyes fluttered open, rolling a little before he turned onto his side and gazed blearily up at Danny.
“Why'm I on the floor?” he asked, voice hoarse.
“Must've passed out,” Danny replied, his voice shaking slightly. “Looks like you sicked up a little, too.”
Eyes sliding closed, Steve made an unhappy noise in his throat, barely allowing Danny to drag him up from the floor and back into the bedroom. Ideally he'd have had Steve brush his teeth, but he seemed unsteady on his feet and Danny wasn't sure he was skilled enough to direct that circus of a movie. Instead, he guided Steve back to bed and tucked him, taking up his phone and returning everyone's calls.
Steve wasn't up to chatting, but smiled a little when Danny put the phone on speaker so he could hear everyone's excited shouts. After ending the last call and tossing the phone back on the side-table, Danny settled beside Steve on the bed, a hand checking the other man's forehead for a temperature.
“I can't believe I puked,” Steve croaked, rubbing his hands over his face, palms rasping against the stubble.
Danny shrugged. “There had to be at least one unpleasant aspect to this whole recovery process; personally I'd rather sick up a little or something, over missing a limb or bleeding internally or--” he'd begun to ramble, the hours before rushing back and filling him with a cold nervousness.
Steve struggled to sit up, throwing out a hand and clamping it over Danny's lips, effectively stilling them.
“Danno. It's gonna be ok. I still mean everything I said, and I think you do, too—at least, I hope you do...” Steve began, slumping with relief when Danny nodded, mouth still hidden by Steve's hand. “And I'd really, really like it if you'd consider maybe... staying with me? Like, forever. Or y'know, a while. Or something. And Grace too, you know she loves it here, with the beach and everything...” he trailed off, grinning slightly at the fact that he was rambling now, too.
Danny pressed his lips against Steve's hand and took it in his own, stroking a fingertip over the knuckles. “I just want you to know the only thing keeping me from laying one on you right now is the fact that you've got puke mouth.”
He said it as straight-faced as he could manage, descending into giggles at Steve's scowl. He removed himself from the bed, stumbling towards the bathroom. Danny made to follow when his phone rang again.
“Danno, is Uncle Steve better yet?”
“Y'know what, babe? He is! It took a long night and the day after, but he's finally better. No more mini-Steve.”
“I'm glad! When I see you next, can we visit with him?”
Glancing towards the bathroom and grinning at Steve's grumbling as he brushed his teeth, Danny replied “of course we can. There's nothing I'd love more.” There would be time to discuss the formalities later.
He'd no sooner hung up with Grace when Danny felt a strong pair of hands grip his waist and spin him around. Gasping, he found himself pressed up against a still-naked Steve, this time with minty fresh breath.
“This better?” Steve murmured, leaning down to press lips to Danny's. It was the sweetest kiss Danny had ever encountered, and his heart ached from it, from just how much he loved this ridiculous man.
“Much,” he grinned against Steve's lips, kissing him back and throwing his tongue in for good measure.