Rapunzel: Steve's Fairy Tales
Danny couldn't help but smile at the sight. Two heads bent over the book as they sat side-by-side on Steve's ancient sofa. Gracie traced out the words as she read and his partner nodded along seriously as his razor-sharp focus latched onto Grimm's Fairy Tales. He chuckled under his breath – if Governor Denning could see the hard-boiled leader of his elite task force right now, he might not be so comfortable sending them out to face the next street version of the Big Bad Wolf.
Suddenly Steve held up a hand.
"Okay Gracie, so you're saying she's confined to a small room with one window and is dependent upon this witch-person for her food and water."
"Yep." She nods. Steve scratches at his jaw, a set to his chin that Danny recognizes immediately. It's the same look Steve gets when something was wrong with a suspect's story.
"And what about this room – any furniture?" Danny almost objects – Steve's voice is getting perilously close to his interrogation voice, but oddly enough – Gracie doesn't seem scared or intimidated. She just nods and answers the questions.
"Ummmm…maybe a bed…a table…somewhere to eat…" She shrugs.
"A chair too - she has to sit to eat - "
"Okay Gracie, you see the problem with this scenario. She's in a room, with a chair, with bedding and with furniture and this witch person is feeding her, so she's okay, she's healthy –" Steve is getting more and more emphatic and Gracie is nodding slowly, a slight frown on her face. Danny checks his watch, they still have 20 more minutes before they have to leave and he is too intrigued to cut in yet.
"Think about it. There's this witch holding you hostage…but they're feeding you, so you're strong and they have to climb up to get to you, so their hands are occupied. What does that give you?" Steve looks at her in anticipation. Grace puzzles for a moment.
"Remember, what we talked about?" Steve hinted.
"…a window …of opportunity?" Gracie bites her lip, as she looks at Steve, unsure. Steve claps his hands triumphantly.
"Exactly! A window of opportunity - " He gives her one of his bright goofy grins. Danny is now completely confused.
"So what's next, Gracie?" Steve prompts gently, a bright smile on his face. Grace looked at the book, her gaze focused, as she mulls it over.
"An…an…action…plan?" Steve looks positively gleeful as he high-fives the little girl.
Danny felt a creeping cold…Steve wasn't…he wouldn't…not with Danny's angel princess.
"Gold stars, Gracie! So you're here, in this tower – locked in a room, all you got is what's in the room with you. So what can you do?"
"Ah… the chair?" Gracie has the same look on her face as she does when she does complex math problems.
"Great choice, Grace! That's exactly right! The chair is lightweight enough that it's maneuverable," Steve starts miming gestures as he "raises" the chair above his head, "you get her from above, you got gravity on your side so that gives you more power…so one quick whack on the head and that's all she wrote for that evil witch." Instead of looking horrified, Grace smiles brightly and that was the last straw.
"OH NO you CRAZY NINJA, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Danny is so angry he feels like every hair on his head is standing on end. The insane adrenaline junkie was teaching his precious baby to….
"Oh hey, Danno! We're just reading some stories." Steve smiles back at him, oblivious. Gracie smiles too, also ignoring the fact that her father was incredibly furious.
"Are you kidding me? Fairy tales are classic stories about princesses, that teach morals – and…"
"Yeah, we know. Gracie's totally a Princess, she's just not one of those lame princesses that sits around waiting for other people to save her. She's a resourceful princess, right Gracie?"
"Right Uncle Steve!" Gracie lets out a yell that would do a marine proud and once again high-fives the madman who was smiling proudly back at her. Danny rubs his face in frustration. Clearly letting Steve around Gracie unsupervised was a bad idea.
"Can I ask you two insane people a question?" He calms himself as much as he can. He doesn't want to freak Grace out and if he's honest, she's looking pretty secure, almost as secure as she did before Peterson took her. So despite the fact that Danny wants to give Steve the swirlee of a lifetime for mentioning violence around his precious princess, Danny was willing to be reasonable.
"Go ahead Danno – " Steve nods and Grace smiles, clearly a convert.
"So after the Princess takes out the witch, how does she get out of the tower?" Steve nods and gestures towards Gracie.
"Her hair. She has a lot of hair. That's how the witch climbs up."
"Excellent answer, Grace! Human hair can be woven into a rope that has the tensile strength of steel - " Steve looks like he is about to launch into a detailed description on how to weave a bullet proof vest from human hair so Danny jumps in again.
"But it will pull it out of her head, sweetie – " At that Grace giggles, and looks at Steve who also, barely hides his smirk. She looks at her father, fondly - though slightly smugly and Danny realizes she is mimicking Steve's look when he is about to explain some SEAL-based insanity.
"She can cut it, Danno. It's hair - it'll grow back." Danny didn't appreciate Steve and Grace barely stifling their giggles. What he did appreciate was that the slightly worried frown that Gracie had perpetually worn since her ordeal with his ex-partner was gone.
"Alright Ninja Princesses, clearly you know better, so I'll leave it at that for now. Gracie, it's time to go, say goodbye to Uncle Steve." Danny also appreciated how tightly Grace hugged Steve. Despite all, she didn't distrust this partner.
"Bye Uncle Steve! See you in a couple of weeks!"
"Bye Gracie! Remember next week, we'll start basic hand to hand" Steve waves.
"I'm sorry what? Excuse me, but WHAT?" Danny looks back at Steve who'd followed them to the door. Gracie doesn't let him stop, just drags him forward.
"Don't worry Danno, it's nothing big – it's no more than Auntie Kono does."
"WHAT?" Danny shot a death glare at Steve, who gave them another fond wave. Okay, Gracie was okay which was why Danny was letting this go...FOR NOW...the Big Goof was in for the TALK of a lifetime when Danny got back.