A/N: Short piece that takes place during the first weekend Danny has Grace after the Sarin incident.
There was a faint snuffling noise and Danny jerked awake. His arm tightened instinctively around the Grace-sized lump that was quivering against his side, a small hand placed over his heart. The Grace-sized lump that was supposed to be in the only bedroom his pathetic apartment had to offer.
"Monkey?" Danny rasped. "What's wrong, baby?"
Grace gasped and looked up at him with red-rimmed eyes, tears running down her face. She was curled up next to him on the creaky pull-out bed, pressed so close to his side that he was surprised he didn't feel her there before. She threw a thin arm across Danny's torso the moment he spoke and burrowed her face against his chest, her slight frame hitching with the force of her sobbing. Danny hugged her close, alarmed. He planted a kiss on her head.
"Hey monkey, what's wrong? It's okay, Danno's here."
Grace hiccoughed and tightened her grip on him.
"I-I don't want you to die, Danno," she said in a soft voice that was muffled by his t-shirt. Danny looked down, bewildered. He began rubbing soothing circles against her back.
"I'm not going to die anytime soon, baby," Danny reassured her. "You can't get rid of Danno that easily." He sat up and pulled Grace into his lap, angling her so that their eyes could meet. Grace stared at him with wide eyes, the fear in them breaking his heart.
"B-But you almost d-did," she choked out. "I-I heard Mommy and Stan t-talking about it."
Ah, so that was why Grace was so subdued the day before.
"But I didn't," Danny said soothingly. He stroked Grace's hair and cupped a hand against her cheek. "I'm right here, aren't I?"
Grace snuggled closer to him, nodding as she did so.
"My job may be dangerous but remember what I told you before? We catch bad guys and make sure they can't hurt good people anymore. Someone has to do it and it's important to me that you're safe."
"Can't someone else do it?" Grace asked in a small voice. Danny stifled a sigh.
"Someone else won't be as good as me in keeping your Uncle Steve out of trouble," Danny said, keeping his tone light. Grace gave a watery giggle. "Gracie, I can't promise you that Danno won't get hurt. But I'll promise you that I'll try my best not to, okay?"
"Pinky promise?" Grace said. She raised her right hand, her fingers curled towards her palm and her pinky finger sticking out. Danny did the same and wrapped his pinky around hers.
"Pinky promise," Danny confirmed. "Have I ever lied to you?"
Grace shook her head. She yawned and blinked blearily.
"Looks like it's time for you to go back to bed," Danny said. He stood up, intending to carry her back to her bed.
"No!" she cried and clung onto Danny. Danny looked at her, startled. "Can I sleep here tonight?" she asked softly.
Danny's expression melted into a soft smile.
"Sure, monkey. C'mon, let's get some sleep. Danno needs all the energy he can get to keep Gracie safe."
He climbed into bed and lay Grace down so that she was lying against his chest. She curled up beside him and sighed contentedly, her hand once more finding a place over his heart. It was as if she wanted to assure herself that it was still beating and that he was still there. Danny watched as her breathing evened out and she eased into slumber.
"I'm sorry, monkey," Danny whispered, caressing her hair gently. "I'm sorry I put you through all this. But don't worry, I'll be here to screen your boyfriends, watch you graduate, walk you down the aisle. Danno will be there because Danno loves you. Danno loves you more than you will ever know."
Grace snuffled in her sleep. Danny smiled. He tightened his arm around his precious daughter and watched over her as the night wore on.
Thank you for reading! (: