Originally written for a challenge that is long since over. I even forget what challenge it was, it's been so long. Finished it up tonight. First fic for HI50, but I hope it's okay. Little OOC, but hopefully not too much. Characters aren't mine (except one), and reviews are awesome.
The first time Steve ever hums what is now affectionately known as Grace's Lullaby is on one of Danny's weekends when Gracie is just shy of her ninth birthday.
Grace is curled up on Steve's sofa, buried under the old blanket that's usually tossed over the back of the nearby chair and drifting in and out of a fever-induced sleep. Danny's in all-out protective father mode and fussing about how perfect it is that Steve the Super SEAL has enough first-aid supplies on hand to perform a small-scale surgery without issue and yet somehow there is no cough syrup to be found anywhere in the house. Because, of course, what was he thinking? Like SEAL's ever get sick. He leaves Grace in Steve's anxious but entirely capable hands to run to the nearest store to pick some up.
For his part, Steve is a little worried over how quickly Grace went from having fun during their typical Saturday evening get-together to falling asleep during one of her favorite movies with an impressive fever and a bad cough.
"Daddy? Uncle Steve?" The little girl mumbles out into the relative darkness of the living room.
Steve's hovering over the back of the couch in seconds, moving away from his post by the door where he's watching Danny's taillights move farther off into the distance. "Yeah, Gracie?"
"May I," she stops to cough, "have some water, please?"
Steve disappears for a few seconds, long enough to grab a water bottle from the refrigerator, and makes a quick return. Grace has managed to sit up in that time so he sits down next to her on the couch. "You feel any better?" He slips an arm around her shoulders when she leans against his side.
"A little," she answers, slowly sipping from the water. "Where's Danno?"
"I was out of cough medicine, so Danno ran out to get some. He should be back soon."
Another coughing fit hits and by the time it ends Grace is looking pretty close to exhausted. She takes a few more sips of water and lays down again, her head resting in Steve's lap.
"It'll be okay, Gracie, you'll feel better soon, alright? And Danno's taking you to a doctor in the morning." He assures her, reaching out to adjust the blanket, settling it around her shoulders again. He remembers being curled up on the couch like this when he was little, with the same blanket, at that. Someone made it for his mother just before he was born and it has pretty much been an ever present fixture since then. Tattered and patched up on numerous occasions, but still plenty warm and comfortable, it was probably the most used blanket in the house.
He remembers his mother hovering around him, concern in her eyes and her voice and her every movement, one time when he was about Gracie's age. He'd been pretty seriously sick, but they'd stuck it out on the couch. She had watched over him all through the night and she'd sung him songs to get him to fall asleep.
Grace is still bordering on the edges of sleep so he starts absently humming one of the melodies he can still mostly remember. He can't really remember all the words anymore, and he's no singer anyway, but Danny's daughter doesn't seem to mind his version.
"S'pretty," Grace says quietly. So he keeps humming.
Even when she does manage to fall asleep, he's still doing it. For all his SEAL training, he doesn't even really register it when Danny makes his reappearance, hovering in the doorway and just kind of watching.
But, eventually, the Detective's footfalls across the wood floors break Steve out of his trance. "Hey," he says, like he's embarrassed to have been caught humming lullabies to a sick child. "I, ugh, she woke up for a few minutes, wanted water. And I thought…"
"Relax, babe," Danny says with a smile, "Nice song."
"You get the cough medicine?" Steve asks, avoiding the subject and the compliment.
Danny holds up the bag, but he has a look on his face that only typically appears when Steve has done something seriously awesome – like waiting for back-up, or letting Danny drive, or coming up with fun things for the three of them to do together on the weekends he has Grace – and Steve isn't really sure what he did to earn that look this time.
"What?" He asks, when Danny just keeps watching him.
The Detective shrugs and claims the spot on the sofa beside Steve. "Nothing. Just…" He stops, shakes his head. "It's nothing. I'll wake her up in a little while to give her this. You okay with being her pillow for now?"
"Yeah, no problem," Steve answers, absently dragging his fingers through Grace's ponytailed hair. "You can sleep if you want to, Danno, I'll wake you up if she's up. No reason for both of us to be up all night, and you and Chin were on that stakeout last night."
Danny is definitely exhausted, there's no denying that and there's no way Steve wouldn't have noticed it, either. He rubs at his tired eyes at the mention of his sleep deprivation, but doesn't make a move from the couch. "Sleepless nights come with the territory; I'd wake up every time she coughed, anyway."
They lapse into a comfortable silence for a while. Eventually, Grace hits a coughing fit that stirs her enough to justify waking her up entirely and they finally get some cough medicine into her system. She sips at her water some more and then curls up in the meager amount of space separating Danny and Steve on the couch.
"Try and get some sleep now, Gracie," Danny says, pressing a kiss to the top of her head as he spreads the blanket out again, this time over all three of them. Steve's arm slips over his shoulder now because there's nowhere else to put it with Grace leaned in against his side.
But Grace is squirmy and either too close or too far away from the edges of sleep to actually fall back into a semi-peaceful slumber.
"Maybe if Uncle Steve wants to hum his pretty song again?" He suggests to Grace, looking to Steve so he knows he's not teasing him over it. "Maybe that would help."
Inside of ten minutes, both Danny and Grace are out cold and Steve isn't all that far behind them.
He never would have guessed that he'd still be humming the lullaby fifteen years later. Danny's standing next to him, hovering more like, mumbling quiet reminders - that Steve doesn't really need - and trying not to wake the newborn baby up when Steve has just finally gotten him settled down. They've been babysitting, the only ones Grace would grant the privilege to the first time she's had to leave her son alone, but she should be home soon and she'll find a peacefully sleeping baby when she does.
"Good to know that your song so effectively works on three generations of Williams's now," Danny teases, stifling a yawn.
Steve laughs, smiling down at the blue-wrapped bundle in his arms. He still can't believe that Grace is almost twenty-four, that Grace is married, that she has a kid of her own now. He especially can't believe that she has a kid that is kind of named after him. He stares down at Garrett Daniel with proud, silent reverence and sets the month old baby down in the crib that he made himself for Gracie and her husband, and follows Danny out of the room.
They barely make it back to the living room before they hear the sounds of a car pulling up, of a door opening and closing and then the key in the front door. Grace appears, looking anxious and eager to check on Garrett, but she pauses in her quest long enough to greet them both with hugs before ducking into the baby's room.
"Thanks so much for watching him," she says, when she returns. "I'm guessing someone got the Lullaby treatment, huh?"
"However did you come to that conclusion?" Danny asks, laughing, leaning into the arm Steve has slung around his shoulders. "That kid was out before he was even halfway through the song."
"Always is," Grace replies. She's even got it recorded, uses it when Steve's not around to do it in person - which is surprisingly not a common occurrence, given the hovery and protective behavior everyone's been exhibiting since, well, forever, really, but more so lately. The tape, however, is never quite as effective as the real thing. She tried to put words to it, once, but it just wasn't the same. She wonders sometimes if there's any of it written down in the depths of Steve and Danny's house somewhere, the original lyrics that Steve's mom made up so long ago.
"We should get home," Steve says, a note of sadness that they doesn't get to stay with Grace and Garrett forever. "That case from last week is going to trial and we have to be there, much as we might not want to be." Cases are never quite as intense anymore - they have fresher agents for most of the crazy stuff nowadays - but they're still 5-0 and always will be. "We'll see you all on Friday, right? Dinner at our place?"
"Right. Looking forward to it, Steve, Danno," she says, hugging them both again, "thanks again for watching him!"
"Like we'd say no," Danny smiles. "Especially since we have Steve's secret weapon to work with."
They take their leave reluctantly, chatting all the way to the car and then through the open window for a good while before Grace finally orders them to go home and get some sleep so that they're not passing out in court. It's only a five minute drive - at least when Steve's driving - so they're home in no time at all.
Steve ducks back out of the house just a few minutes later, mumbling out, "Going for a run, babe," and offering Danny a quick kiss as he passes. He circles the neighborhood in good time, and returns to find Danny out on the beach, half-asleep in one of the deck chairs just above the tide line.
He sneaks up behind the chair, curling his arms around Danny's shoulders when he leans down. "If I let you fall asleep there, you'll kill me," Steve says, smirking slightly when the other man jumps in surprise and mumbles something about civilized people and not ninja-ing up behind them. "Coming to bed, Danno? You can have the song, too."
Danny rolls his eyes and stands, "Alright, you big oaf."