Steve heard movement from the doorway and turned in his bed, meeting Grace's wide, red-rimmed eyes with his own. "C'mere sweetheart," he said softly, patting the side of the bed. Grace hurtled into it, immediately curling up against Steve's side, her stuffed monkey clutched in her arms. "Another nightmare?" She nodded, burying her face in Steve's shoulder.
Wrapping his arms around Grace, Steve held her close, kissing the top of her head. "I miss Danno," she whispered, soft voice thick with tears, and Steve blinked back tears of his own.
"I know, honey, I miss him too. We're going to get him back, soon, I promise."
Three days into Steve unexpectedly becoming Grace's sole father, it was merely pretense that Grace even started the night in her own bed, the pink canopy Danny and Steve had bought her together, knowing her bed held too many memories of her home with Rachel and Stan. Before Danny had disappeared, Grace had frequently spent the night in their room, hiding from vivid nightmares of her mother and stepfather ending their lives in an explosion, an explosion Grace had missed as she spent the weekend with her father and Steve.
Now with Danny missing, the nightmares never seemed to end. Grace would lay in her bed for seconds before making her way down the hall to Steve and Danny's room. She'd curl up in Steve's arms and they'd watch Disney movies together. Steve made sure they only watched ones like Mulan, or Tangled, where the girls saved the guys. He knew those were the ones Danny would want Grace watching. He could hear Danny's voice in his ear, whispering low and teasing, "Though lord knows I save your unfairly sweet ass plenty of times, princess. Course, that ass belongs to me now, so it's only fair."
He'd catch himself sometimes, like now, humming Disney songs into Grace's ear as she curled up against his chest, her body so much lighter than the familiar warmth of her father, and in that moment Steve missed Danny so much he could barely breathe. But he kept humming, rubbing Grace's back, until she drifted off to sleep.
He knew he wouldn't sleep. He would say he couldn't remember the last time he'd slept, but that would be a lie. It was the last time Danny was there. He'd muttered when Steve had tickled his side, but had been unable to hide his grin, turning over quickly to pin Steve under him and trail kisses down his stubbled jaw.
"Let me guess, you've already swam around the entire island, saved six puppies, and picked your own coffee beans," Danny grumbled good naturedly, using his thumb to brush sand out of Steve's hair. "Seriously, you have to bring the beach into our bed too?"
"It was actually seven kittens," Steve bantered back, grinning as he kneaded Danny's ass between his fingers. "And if you'd just let me have you on the beach, I wouldn't have to bring the beach back into our bed."
"But if you didn't bring the beach back into our bed, then what would be the need for sex in the shower?" Danny smirked, rising from the bed and grabbing Steve's grasping hand, yanking him up with him, flush against his body.
After the shower, they'd fallen back into bed again, and drifted back to sleep. Steve had slept for hours, and Danny had let him, cuddled against his chest, bringing him a fresh cup of coffee when Steve had finally woken up. They'd spent the rest of the day in bed, moving only to the couch to catch the basketball game, with a heavy make-out session at halftime.
And now Steve didn't sleep. He gently woke Grace up at six forty five to get her ready for school. He made pancakes but didn't eat a bite. He wove her hair into simple pigtails and drove her to school and walked her into her classroom and hugged her tightly before heading off to work.
But this time, when he walked into the office and settled into his desk, strewn with papers and reports and any lead they'd gotten from any cokehead or career criminal or dumb crook who'd mentioned Danny's name, there was an actual lead. A reputable source (as reputable as a convicted drug dealer could be) had spotted a man matching Danny's description being taken into a warehouse on the north side of the island.
He had taken three days to come forward with the information because he had been too high on his own product to move. Steve promised himself that if anything had happened to Danny in those three days, he'd make sure the dealer got fifty years in jail for each of the days Danny had been gone, and a lot of visits from an extremely pissed-off vengeful heartbroken Seal.
Steve didn't hesitate for a millisecond, leaping into Danny's car (he'd never stopped driving it) and tearing off, Kono and Chin knowing to follow right behind. As he broke every speed record in the book, Steve could hear Danny's voice in his head, telling him to slow down, who did he think he was, Superman, and the pain wrenching through Steve's chest at the absence of Danny actually next to him made him step on the gas even harder.
When they got there, bulletproof vests on, guns drawn, Steve running recklessly in first, it was to find a group of teenagers, passed out drunk on the warehouse floor, a pale, disheveled, and shaky, but otherwise uninjured Danny standing up from a folding chair, finishing untying himself from a long length of dirty rope.
Hearing the commotion, Danny turned, and broke into a relieved grin, gesturing with his torn-up hands at Steve's chest. "Finally got here, huh princess? Think I got myself rescued though, you big go-oof!" Danny exclaimed as Steve barreled into him, wrapping him up, pulling him into his chest hard enough to life his feet off the ground. Tilting his head, he kissed Danny, felt the warmth of his lips and the familiar taste of him, felt the way Danny instantly reciprocated, the familiar and amazing pattern of their lips together, and his eyes filled with tears.
"God, I missed you," Steve breathed out, feeling the tension finally slip from his shoulders as Danny's head nestled into the curve of his neck. "I was so scared Danno. Thought I might have lost you."
"Takes more than some drunk and high teenagers to keep Detective Danny Williams down," Danny joked, then pulled back slightly, cupping Steve's cheek in his hand. "Never gonna lose me, babe." His eyes went wide, and he pulled back, hands shaking even more. "Grace! My baby, she must be freaking out, she, I've got to go see her right now."
Steve nodded, grabbing Danny's arm and helping him to the car, easing him into the passenger seat and tossing him a bottle of water and a towel from the back. "You're going to want to clean yourself off so she doesn't get scared," Steve said softly. "Drink that bottle of water and I'll pass you another to clean up. You're dehydrated. I'm taking you to the hospital after we see Grace." Danny opened his mouth to protest, but Steve kept talking. "I thought you were dead. I really thought you were most likely dead, Danno, so please don't argue with me about taking you to the hospital."
Danny nodded, Steve keeping his hand on Danny's thigh as he continued. "You named me as Grace's guardian. If anything happened to you, you wanted me with her." Steve's voice was soft, touched and scared all at the same time, and Danny put down the bottle of water, and put his hand over Steve's.
"I did. I do." Danny said softly, squeezing Steve's hand. "I know that whatever she went through, whatever she was feeling, these last few days, you made it better for her. You made it the best situation it could be."
"She was so brave, Danno," Steve told him, turning his hand up, holding Danny's tight. "She's such an amazing little girl. And now I know all the words to every Mulan song."
Danny laughed, loud and long, and Steve grinned. They both grew silent for a moment, and then Steve had to ask "What happened?"
"It was so fucking stupid," Danny sighed, leaning his head back against the seat and closing his eyes. "I went into the liquor store to pick up some more beer for us. There were these stupid teenagers there, trying to buy beer with a fake ID, clearly hopped up on meth. The owner was getting nervous, I was getting irritated, I told the kids to get out before I arrested them. When I left the store, they clocked me. Guess they thought I was HPD, definitely didn't think they were taking a member of the Governor's personal task force. I'm not sure what they were thinking, they clearly weren't. They must have thought I was going to ID them or something, stupid paranoid bastards. They finally drunk themselves into a stupor, which is where you came in."
"A bunch of idiot teenagers," Steve repeated, shaking his head, tears building up in his eyes. "I thought Hesse had you, or someone even above him, I thought…"
"Hey, hey," Danny said, lightly tapping Steve's cheek, his palm resting against Steve's skin. "I'm ok. I'm going to let you take me to the hospital where they'll pump me full of Gatorade and pudding and maybe it'll even turn me into a Rambo like you."
This time Steve laughed, and Danny grinned, and then they pulled up to Grace's school. Danny went tearing up the stairs, even on his shaky legs, Steve right behind him, yelling out explanations to security guards and teachers they passed. Danny practically kicked open the classroom door, and Grace immediately flew into his arms, screaming "Danno! Danno!" and hugging him as tightly as she could, crying into his shoulder.
"I've got you Monkey, I'm here," Danno murmured soothingly, over and over, the force of his hug lifting her off the ground. He cradled her to him, his tears splashing on her pigtails Steve had made for her just that morning. Carrying her into the hall, Danny crouched down, keeping her wrapped safely up in his arms.
"I love you Danno, I missed you so much," Grace cried, and Danny kissed her forehead, stroked her hair.
"Danno loves you, Monkey, so so much, and I'll never ever leave you again," Danny promised urgently. After another minute, Grace turned, looking up at Steve.
"Thank you Super Steve," she whispered, and reached up, Steve bending down so she could wrap her arms around his neck, and kiss his cheek.
"Anything for you, Gracie," Steve whispered back, squeezing her tightly.
Picking her up, Danny perched her on his hip, his other hand holding Steve's as they exited the school together.
That night, they watched Mulan in Danny's hospital room, and all three of them slept through the night.