Disclaimer : All recognizable characters (as well as fairytales) I do not own.
Unbeta'ed so do forgive typos and grammatical errors when you find them.
Disguised as an old woman, the Queen then sought Snow White so she can offer her the poisoned apple. And as soon as Snow White had taken a bite, she fell down dead for the dwarves to find. Bereft and unable to put her into the ground, the dwarves then laid her on a coffin made of glass and left it in the forest so they could continue to look upon her beauty ever more. There she lay until it happened one day that a Prince came their way and chanced upon her beauty, so pale and still in her glass coffin. So overcome was he with emotions that the Prince could not help but lift the lid and then leaned down to gently kiss her.
Lo and behold, she then opened her eyes and sat up with a smile.
Okay, is she the only one who finds this a tad disturbing? Because, hello! He had basically just kissed a corpse! And no, just because it was more like a magically induced coma rather than actual death doesn't make it okay, does it? After all he, like the dwarves, believed she'd been dead as a doornail when he did what he did. And necrophilia? So not up there in her list of what qualifies as Princely qualities.
Not that she had skin as white as snow anyway. And no, neither does she have hair as black as ebony because too much sand, salt and sun kind of takes care of that.
But then again, she doesn't really believe in fairytales, does she?
Even if like the fairytale she really does get saved (by the Prince) from an apple...
Chapter 16: The apple (and the kiss).
"You do know it's three in the morning already, right?" She asks when she finds him, once again, at her doorstep.
"Is it?" He answers with a question of his own with just the right mix of innocence and mischief.
There's a part of her that wants to just let him in without question because she's gotten used to having him in her bed. But after spending most of the day fantasizing about him, she's not quite sure she still has it in her to keep their banter to a level that can conveniently be swept under the rug the next day. So she blocks his entry and asks, "Is there anything you need, Boss?"
She thinks maybe she's succeeded in making him rethink his intentions with her deliberate non-use of his name when he just stares at her without speaking for the longest time. But then he smiles at her again (and drats if her heart didn't just skip a beat at the sight) and raises a hand to show a bag that she didn't even notice he'd been carrying.
"I bought too much and figured you might want some…"
She frowns in confusion because it's the last thing she expects him to say. "What?"
"Do you mind? They're kind of heavy." He goes on as though it's perfectly normal to show up at a subordinate's house at 3AM bearing gifts of lumpy whatevers in a grocery bag.
But before she can say otherwise, he's already made his way inside her house and is walking towards her kitchen. She can only sigh before she closes the door and puts the gun she's been holding, back in the drawer next to her sofa.
"Apples?" She says dumbly when she finally sees what he brought.
He grins at her. "You know how it goes…an apple a day…"
"Seriously?" She asks. Is he for real?
"What? I know you love them."
That may be true but it still doesn't explain why he figured to bring her apples at 3AM! Of course her stomach chooses that moment to make its presence felt and she remembers she hadn't really eaten anything since lunch time.
He has the gall to laugh. "Aren't you glad I came when I did?"
"Who says I want to eat apples anyway?" She grumbles, just because he looks so darned pleased with himself.
"It's not like you have any choice." He smiles as he leans on her kitchen counter and crosses his arms across his chest. Which of course just displays his biceps to perfection and yeah...time for a distraction...
"What? I have food." She reasons out, even though they both know she really doesn't. And it should probably freak her out that he knows this because he's spent too much time in her house in the last couple of weeks.
He just laughs again and gets an apple from the fruit bowl (that she didn't even know she had, go figure) and gives it a rinse before offering it to her.
She would have refused, just so she can wipe the smirk off his face, but her stomach rumbles again so she has no choice but to take it from him. "I'm not going to fall dead from eating this, am I?"
He feigns affront at her question. "I'm hurt." But then cackles like a witch when she finally takes a bite.
She is so surprised that she chokes. She literally chokes!
She vaguely registers his look of horror and his imprecation of "Oh shit!" before she finds his arms circling her from behind and yeah, she's maybe dying from a bite of apple that went the wrong way but darned if the feel of his arms around her doesn't give her the shivers. And then he's pushing in and up and out comes the piece of fruit that she inelegantly choked on.
She thinks maybe she'd find it funny if she didn't feel so mortified. Where the heck's a sinkhole when you needed one?
"Are you okay?" He asks in concern as he lets go from behind and moves to face her.
"Yes…" she manages to answer while fighting not to blush because she's beyond embarrassed. She wants to hide but then she sees how sorry he looks for making her choke in the first place and she finds herself giggling instead.
His look of remorse quickly turns into humor when he sees her laughing and he too joins her in merriment.
"This isn't exactly what I had in mind when I came to bring some for you." He sighs dramatically.
"Really?" She teases him as she gives up on eating and throws the remaining fruit into the bin. "So what exactly did you have in mind when you came here?" She asks in humor, expecting him to answer in jest.
Of course his sudden silence makes her realize just how 'loaded' her question was. "Uhm…" She clears her throat, not quite sure she wants an honest answer to that one.
And there it is…the million-dollar question of the night.
Why exactly did he come here?
He could say he just really wanted to bring her the apples. Because that's really believable! Not!
He could say he just wanted to make sure she was okay given what had happened to Mary Ann that day…because despite his seeming reluctance to maintain close ties with his sister, he knows that she doesn't really share that same aversion and that they in fact have a standing girls' night out every Tuesday. And it would be (mostly) true too.
He could tell her a version of the truth and say that he just plain missed having her next to him as he sleeps…if you know, he didn't want to scare the sh*t out of her because that doesn't really sound as creepy as f*ck seeing as they're not even 'seeing' each other.
Or, he could man up and tell her that he found himself driving all this way, carting a bag of fruits as a sorry excuse, because ever since that kiss (that he pretended didn't really happen) the other day, all he could think about was doing it again because while it had been long enough to tease that memory of their previous kiss from years before back into the forefront of his mind (not that it had ever really been that far in the back burner anyway) it wasn't nearly long enough for him to feel even the slightest bit of satisfaction from it.
And that if he's (really) being honest, it's not really that she's Chin's cousin or that she's his rookie that prevented him from actually taking their playful banter the other night to the next level...
"So what will it take to make you a real boy?"
He knew she's only teasing him to ease the embarrassment he knows she must be feeling after basically encountering definitive proof that he's been lying his ass off. But despite his intention to be a good boy (man), he finds himself answering huskily, "Knock on wood?" before pulling her closer to him.
She gasps at his movement but doesn't pull away.
He tells himself he's only giving as good as he got, just like the other times when they'd tease each other with fairytale references (seriously, if Danny ever found out he even knew of, let alone quotes from them, he'd probably make him give up his man card). But then again, he can always blame it on Mary Ann for calling him a frog and getting him started in the first place. Not that he'd ever tell Danny anyway because him knowing is just a hop, skip and a jump away from having Chin find out and yeah…that prospect should probably scare him more than it does at the moment.
Because at the moment, Chin going all ninja on him is the furthest thing from his mind…
Because all he can really focus on is her…
So he moves even closer.
She moistens her lips with her tongue and he nearly groans aloud because the sight causes all sorts of celebration down south...
Only a hair's breadth separates them…
And he's basically given a mental FU to all the reasons why this is a bad idea and is leaning in ever closer when...
His f*cking phone rings!
And just like that the spell is broken because she scrambles away from him so suddenly that she nearly falls out of the bed in her haste to get away. It's only his quick reflexes that prevent her from hitting her head on the floor and yeah, he's so not feeling good right now because having someone choose injury over having you near just screams sexy to him.
He's not sure who's more embarrassed but he doesn't really have time to figure out because his phone is still ringing and so he has to answer it before they both turn deaf from its progressive loudness (because like a dumbass, he'd set it that way!)
He doesn't even bother checking who it is but just growls out a "McGarrett!" in annoyance.
It figures that it's Catherine because of course, the universe is keen on reminding him that he's being a dick for even thinking about starting something with Kono when he's still seeing someone else.
And yes, it's probably a good thing that Kono took advantage of his distraction to hide out in her bathroom because talking to Catherine with her in the room after they very nearly crossed that line is just plain tacky and definitely in the 'being such an asshole' territory. So he leaves like the coward/jerk he is and thanks his lucky stars that they don't have work that day so they can maybe/hopefully avoid each other.
But that was then, and this is now. And right now, she's looking at him and waiting for his answer.
So he opens his mouth and finds it being clamped shut by her hand.
She's looking at her own hand as it covers his mouth and she's frantically wondering what the hell she's doing. His eyes are wide with shock at her move and she tells herself she should really let him go. But she can't seem to make her limbs obey. Seriously, she's not ready to hear whatever he's going to say.
Because even though she's been playing it cool and acting as though his frequent sleepovers are nothing out of the ordinary and that she only sees him like a pillow or maybe an extra warm and comfy blanket while in bed, she in fact knows that what they've been doing is not only inappropriate because he's her boss but also because he's her boss who happens to be in a relationship with someone else. And even if all they've really been doing is sleeping 'sleeping' together…the fact that they've also been flirting (and yes, she does know it's flirting even if they're mostly references to fairytales) kind of makes it not quite so innocent (at least not on her part anyway).
Not to mention that they had in fact already shared spit (she thinks maybe thinking of it in such terms might make the memory less than it is) even if it had been years ago and that he doesn't even remember it.
So she's maybe hoping that he'll just take the hint and you know, let her keep her illusions because:
1. She's not the kind of girl who poaches on someone else's property (even if said property is hot and sexy and an incredible kisser - if memory serves – to boot);
2. She's so not ready to leave H50 (because isn't it always the girl who gets kicked off a team when relationship conflicts arise?). Not that they'd even end up in one (a relationship that is) anyway because that's just her being hopeful (or probably more like presumptuous); and
3. She's not looking forward to having to explain to Chin why his cousin has to suddenly look for another job if (when?) the second scenario does happ…
Her train of thought gets derailed when she feels a jolt of electricity against her hand.
Did he just…
The speed with which she takes her hand off his mouth and steps away from him would have been comical if she didn't look so spooked.
It's not quite the reaction he was hoping for when he did what he did but beggars can't be choosers he supposes.
"Did you just…" She stutters and looks at him as though not quite sure what had happened.
"Lick your hand?" He asks. "Yes, I did."
He was thinking of teasing her further because she's obviously in denial (about what makes a grown man like him drive all this way to see her at 3 f*cking AM for far more nights than what can conveniently be labeled as accidental or coincidental) and judging by her 'hand-on-his-mouth' move, would like to stay that way. And he would have continued with that light hearted route if he didn't see how she's trying to mask her reaction to the feel of his tongue on her skin.
And just like that he decides to stop pretending.
Because the truth is, he's way past the point of prolonging his agony as it were.
And he is in agony…
And has been for far longer than he cares to admit if he counts the intervening years since her kiss did such a number on him he's never really been able to recover (despite his best efforts to do so and especially after realizing that she didn't even fracking remember it).
The kiss with which he's measured all other kisses that came after and has left them all wanting (Catherine's included).
The kiss, of which he's been forcefully reminded the other morning…
The kiss which led him to do what he did before he came here…
"I'm sorry." He doesn't even bother with a hello.
"Sorry? For wha…" She starts to ask before trailing off, as though realizing what he's sorry for.
He knows he's pulling such a dick wad move in doing this without even waiting until they're face to face. But there really is no point in making her take a furlough to meet him just so he can break up with her. So he says it again, "I'm sorry."
The silence on the other end takes so long he wonders if maybe she hung up on him. He's about to ask if she's still there when she finally answers. "It's about her isn't it?"
The question surprises him. "Her?" He asks, not quite sure what she means.
"Her…the one you've never really been able to forget…" She continues.
"You know?" He thinks maybe he should have lied about there being a 'her' but he's too surprised to deflect.
She gives a humorless laugh. "I'd hoped she wasn't real…but I guess she is, huh?"
He feels like crap. "I'm sorry." He tells her again because what else is there to say?
"Crap Steve! I knew this day would come eventually…just not now…"
He doesn't know how to answer that.
"Well I won't say it's okay because you deserve to feel a little guilty for dumping me over the phone." Her words belie the way her voice comes at him without inflection.
"No…" She cuts him off. "Just … We always promised each other we wouldn't drag the goodbyes when it finally happens."
They did…years ago when they started because it had been casual. It's still casual…for him anyway. "No hard feelings?" he asks, knowing he's being even more of an asshole than he already is.
This time she laughs sincerely. "You're lucky I hadn't fallen in love with you."
"Yet." He can't help but add with a smile.
"Asshole!" She says it affectionately. At least, he thinks it sounds that way. He hopes so anyway.
"Aloha." He finally says, because that's how they agreed to part.
"Aloha, Steve." She says back softly before he hears the tone that signals the end of their affair.
"Kono." He says her name as he moves to bridge the gap between them.
She takes a step backward with a panicked look.
"You wanted to know what I'm doing here?" He asks, trying not to let her obvious reluctance to hear what he has to say bother him as he moves even closer.
"I did?" She squeaks because her back has just hit the wall and there's no room to escape.
"Yeah…you kind of did…" he whispers as he boxes her in.
He's half expecting her to push him away and he's bracing himself for a rejection. But then she licks her lips and looks up at him and asks, "So why did you come?"
He answers her the only way he can.
With a kiss.
And yes, he still doesn't really believe in fairytales…
…this comes pretty close to one.
AN: Aack! Sorry for another cliffie! But it's nearly 5AM and my muses are tired (seriously – work and that time of the month and all) but I really wanted to post something already because it's been a while since my last update. Anyway, I hope the length of this one eases your disappointment some. Og and do let me know what you think. =)
TVFanatic97 – I'm so glad you're still enjoying this story even if there's a lot of cliffies. Here's one more for you but I hope you'll still continue to look forward to the next one.
Shani8 – Yeah I kind of cheated with the Pandora's box since it's not really a fairytale but it fit the episode nicely so I'd hoped it was still okay. Glad I helped make your Friday – here's hoping I make your Friday again.
SiCrazy – So this one is not episode-centric for obvious reasons. I wish the next season might actually give us more to work on =) Of course, I'm hoping my version of the Steve-Cath talk does happen in the show (fingers crossed that is)
Bushy4 – Thanks – I really wanted to put those lines in because it ties up neatly with my own story arc =)
Robinh – Glad you liked my take on that episode – no Mary Ann in this one but she is mentioned in passing so I hope it's still okay
Detective-XO – Thanks for leaving feedback
Tiana-P – I'm glad you're all caught up and you took time to leave me feedback. I very much appreciate it.
Roxtonisssexy – Thanks. Here's a new one and I hope it doesn't disappoint.
Francis2 – Yes he is…and well, here's another visit from him =)
Sidalee – This isn't episode centric because I wanted to go into what happened following his "Knock on wood?" comment in 'The lie' and also what comes after the previous one and I couldn't do that if I went the usual route with an episode. Still, I hope this one turned out okay. I really wanted to use the frack reference as an homage to BSG (and Grace P's Cylon character). =)
And to others who are (still) reading this despite my erratic updating, thank you. Don't be strangers y'all and do let me know what you think by hitting that review button down below. Till next time.