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Into The Woods

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"C'mon Danno, I said I was sorry!" Steve called out into the nothing, the call of birds the only response. Sighing heavily, Steve continued his trek, keeping his eyes peeled for stray clothing and a certain portly grey squirrel. That was what had gotten them into this mess in the first place, of course, but it wasn't like Steve had known how sensitive Danny would be about it.

Doing a double take, he spotted what looked like a blue pin-stripey shirt hanging off a branch, with a pair of navy-blue dress pants folded nearly beneath, the tips of black loafers peaking out from under. Grinning despite himself, Steve collected the garments -- boxer-briefs still tucked inside the pants -- and put them neatly inside his backpack. Danny tended to shift into his other shapes as a means of emotional release, and when he was angry he remained in the shape.

Why he'd opted for the squirrel this time, Steve had no idea, but whatever. Chances were that Danny was close by, as he tended not to leave his clothes somewhere that wasn't within relatively easy reach. Sitting beneath the tree where he'd found the clothes, Steve took out the small lunch he'd packed and took a bite of his sandwich. Food usually worked to lure Danny out... but that was sort of part of the initial problem, wasn't it?

Danny had come in the night before, wedging himself in through the kitchen window. Steve wasn't a squirrel expert or anything, but he was pretty sure they weren't supposed to be quite so... round. When Danny was walking around as himself, he wasn't any heavier than usual, nor was he fatter as any of his other animal shapes. It was just the squirrel for whatever reason, and when Steve had called him out on it, Danny had gotten affronted. Steve had tried to soothe him, smooth his feathers or something, but Danny had just gotten more and more irritated until he'd finally just left.

Sure, Steve felt like a jerk, but it wasn't like it was his fault Danny's weight seemed more pronounced in that tiny form.

So, there he was, sitting in the middle of a small area of woods. It wasn't quite state park, but it was close. Steve had mentioned it in passing, letting Danny in on the fact that no one really went there at night and Danny could be free to roam around, if he so chose.

True to form, just as Steve was opening up the bag of pretzels he'd brought, he heard a rustling off to the side. Peeking out from under his lashes, he caught a glimpse of a rather plump grey squirrel, picking it's way across the ground. It would pause every so often, unnatural blue eyes trained on Steve. The gold-tinged tail twitched and the squirrel came closer, intent on the pretzels in Steve's hands.

"There you are," he murmured, slowly adjusting his posture so he was sitting "Indian style" facing the squirrel. Sitting back on it's haunches, it chittered angrily at him, tiny hands flailing. Steve manfully avoided bursting into a fit of giggles. "Danno, don't be like that. I'm sorry, ok? You're cute like that, I promise."

There was an indignant screech from the squirrel before it leapt into the tree Steve was sitting under, climbing well above him. Standing, Steve peered up into the branches, keeping the unusually colored squirrel in his sights.

"You're being a girl about this," Steve grumbled, feeling himself becoming irritated. "Just get down here so I can take us home. I've already got your clothes packed away, if you shift now you'll have to wander home naked. Also I've got snacks."

The squirrel cocked it's head to the side, considering, before it burst into more angry chittering. Steve rolled his eyes, silently waiting for the squirrel to finish it's tirade. Eventually, the squirrel wandered down from the high branches and leapt nimbly onto Steve's shoulders, tiny clawed fingers and toes digging deeply into Steve's skin.

"That's what I thought," he muttered, offering the squirrel a pretzel and grabbing his pack. He made his way out of the woods and back to the truck, knowing full well that Danny wouldn't shift back until he was safely out of view, in the house. Steve could be cruel and extend the ride, taking the long way around, but he knew that if he ever wanted to get laid again -- and he had a lot of making up to do -- he'd find the fastest route home possible.

-FIN-