Steve’s Fairy Tales: Sleeping Beauty
Steve was pissed. Danny could tell he even though he was making a valiant effort to hide it. He was sitting across from them in his father’s recliner, arms crossed, stubbornly refusing to look up. Grace had a small frown on her face as she tugged on Danny’s sleeve.
“Danno” Gracie “whispered” as loudly as her speaking voice. “What’s wrong with Uncle Steve?” Before Danny could answer, SuperSEAL whipped his head around to glare at Danny.
“I’m fine, Gracie!” Steve barked out, his teeth bared in a menacing attempt at a smile.
Danny had been magnanimous and let it all slide, but it was starting to get a ridiculous. Seriously, they’d argued in the car and yes, he had won so maybe he was a little more amiable, but Grace was here now. Time to act like an adult. And Danny would show him how…in a minute.
“You see Monkey, what you have here is a classic case of SEAL distemper.” Danny smiled down at his daughter. “He’s got a bee in his – “
“Yeah, and you've got a stick up your – “ Steve muttered sulkily, only to quiet as Danny turned, smiled and told him to “Shut up Steven!”
Danny grabbed the book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from Gracie’s knapsack.
“You see what I mean, Monkey? Steve’s grouchy and he’s gonna pout – “
“I’m NOT Pouting!” Steve grunted from the chair. Danny continued on as though he hadn’t spoken.
“- if we don’t read him a story.” Danny smiled down at his daughter, who looked very concerned.
“Don’t worry Uncle Steve! I’ve got a good one.” Gracie turned the pages in the book, oblivious as Danny turned back to glare at Steve.
“You’re gonna sit there and enjoy it, Steven - and then maybe we’ll go out to dinner.” Danny realized, with concern, that he sounded exactly like his mother when she would reprimand him and Matty at church.
His lunatic partner had the nerve to snort in disdain. “Are you sure I’m safe to go out to dinner with, Danno? You sure I’m not gonna show Gracie knife work at the dinner table?
Danny felt his face getting red and felt his Jersey rising, again. Steve always did that to him - with minimal effort. Here he was being all amiable and Mr. Paramilitary had to go and push it - again. “I’m sorry, but I am NOT signing her up for the kids SEAL experience. They use guns, - “
Steve shook his head, obviously not swayed by their previous argument. “It’s a fun weekend where she gets to go in the water, on zip lines and trampolines and it’s just B.B. Guns - “
“Firearms, Steven!” If Danny had his way, there would be no world in which Gracie would be near firearms again. He knew Steve meant well, which is why his knee wasn’t on his throat right now, but no, no way, not ever, no chance in hell would he allow the Ninja Terminator to train Gracie to be a baby-SEAL wannabe. If Danny had his way she would pick a nice safe future, like a doctor or a lawyer, or dammit, a Princess if she wants. Danny didn’t care. As long as she stayed away from anything that had bullets or adrenaline involved.
“Danno! Uncle Steve! Be quiet, please.” Danny quailed as Grace gave them a patrician glare that equaled Rachel at her best. She caught her breath. “Once Upon a time…”
Danny smiled as he recognized one of Gracie’s favorites. It was Sleeping Beauty, and he sat back ready to share in her enjoyment of a childhood classic.
Fifteen minutes later, his hair was standing on end and he was hoarse from yelling at Steve. “It’s not a TACTICAL SITUATION, Smooth Dog – “ Danny just wished that Steve could shut up and listen to a story like a normal person.
“Yeah, well it’s flawed. Here’s the King and Queen – they have Intel that a hostile might be targeting the Christening – so the logical step is to take out the hostile before the event. “ Steve had uncrossed his arms and was gesturing broadly.
“They weren’t sure – plus she’s a Fairy, she’s magical, they can’t just get rid of her - “ Danny tried to reason, like they were on a case, but Steve just ignored him and turned to Grace.
“This Fairy she was pretty much evil, right?”
“Yep Uncle Steve.”
“And they had six other Fairies coming to this thing, right?”
“So, they got six magicals to one – easy take down. Easy.” Steve crossed his arms, stubbornly. Danny noticed that Gracie was taking this all in, and was starting to get a stubborn look of her own. He couldn’t have that.
“You can’t solve everything by eliminating the enemy. There is a time for take downs and there is a time for diplomacy – some times you have to come to an agreement with people” Danny paced back and forth, worried that he was losing the battle here.
“Yeah, what could they offer her? She’s a Fairy. She could just magic up whatever she needs.” Steve’s voice was starting to raise again.
Grace looked up from the book. “It was okay, Uncle Steve. The other Fairies protected her. They just slept for a hundred years. Sleep isn’t a big deal. No reason to get rid of anybody.” Danny clapped, as Steve looked a little lost - clearly he hadn’t expected resistance from that quarter.
Gracie read more of the story. Steve sat still, gratifyingly quiet, and Danny knew that the slightly guilty look on his face would ensure he wouldn’t be interrupting again. Grace got to the point where the kiss woke Sleeping Beauty and she frowned.
“What’s wrong, Monkey?” Danny put an arm around her shoulders. “You need help with a word?”
“No – I just forgot.” Her frown was more pronounced. She read a little further, and shook her head. “Danno why does the Prince’s kiss save her?” She looked up at her father, waiting for his explanation. He glared across the room where McGarrett was carefully not looking at them both. Danny wasn’t sure but he thought he spotted a gleeful grin, but it was so fleeting, he wasn’t sure. Good thing. He didn’t think Gracie needed another example of violence in her life.
He cleared his throat and tried to respond calmly. “It’s an allegory, baby. The Princess was saved by True Love.”
“No, but how did the Fairies know he was her True Love? I mean, why not put her to sleep for 100 years, let her wake up by herself and find her own boyfriend?” Grace gave him an arch look.
Danny sputtered for a bit and Steve cut him off.
“Or even tell the Princess about that spindle thing, so she can do some recon and prepare herself for it.” Steve was sitting forward again, excited. “Think about it – first mistake, missing the chance to take down – not killing Gracie, just incarcerating – the Evil Fairy. Second mistake – keeping the whole thing a secret from the intended victim. An informed victim is no longer a victim.”
“Yeah, Danno – they should’ve told her about the spindle.” Grace was getting more animated.
“They were trying to protect her, that’s what parents do.” Danny looked down his daughter’s beautiful face and he felt helpless to explain, helpless like he always did when it came to Grace. His throat began to tighten.
Grace still looked stubborn. “But they were wrong.”
“Sometimes parents make mistakes, Monkey. But we’re always gonna try.” Danny could hear the rasp in his voice, and realized he was thinking of Peterson and all the mistakes he’d made that had ended up with his baby girl tied-up and in a storage locker. He couldn’t believe it, there was a hot itch in his eyes and he realized that his eyes were getting watery.
Grace didn’t seem to notice, she still looked a little mutinous, and was opening her mouth to ask another question when Steve came up grabbed his shoulder, reassuringly.
“Hey, Danno – Grace sounds thirsty. I have some juice in my fridge.” Danny muttered and complained, but took the reprieve his partner gave him and headed into the kitchen. He puttered around a bit grabbing snacks and beverages for everyone. He waited until he was sure he was composed and headed back.
Steve had moved to sit beside Grace; all of his former grumpiness had disappeared. “Danno can’t help it, Grace. He just wants to protect you – “
“I know Uncle Steve, but I’m almost ten.”
“You could be forty. He’s always gonna try and protect you. And so am I. It doesn’t mean you can’t look out for yourself, but know that you’ve always got your Danno at your back.”
“Okay, Uncle Steve.” She nodded seriously.
“So maybe this week, you’re his little Sleeping Beauty.” Steve tugged one of her ponytails.
“No way.” Grace made a face. “She’s silly. I can’t believe she was my favorite. Plus she’s blonde. I’d have to be Snow White or Red Riding Hood.”
“Blonde, huh?” Steve chuckled.
Grace nodded solemnly and quoted “gold of sunshine in her hair.”
“Blonde curls?” Steve sounded hopeful.
“Well it’s wavy, so it’s probably curly when it’s short.” Grace lifted the book and showed him the picture. Steve guffawed when he saw it.
“Did you see, Grace, she tries to brush it straight, but the ends curl up – “ There was something wicked in that chuckle – something that he would normally call sexy but not when Steve was sitting with his daughter. He strolled in quietly, trying to catch what they were up to. Steve was pointing to the picture.
“Oh.” Grace stared at the picture, and then she grinned. “Just like Danno.”
“Blue eyes, too” Steve pointed again, and this time Grace was giggling too. She spotted her father as he tried to creep over to the recliner.
“Danno! Uncle Steve thinks you look like Sleeping Beauty!”
“Pretty like a Princess” Steve said and they both collapsed in giggles. Danny could feel himself blushing as Steve eyed him from head to foot.
He shifted awkwardly under the gaze, Gracie was laughing and Steve’s smile was warm, and suddenly he lost his self-consciousness.
He realized that he could spend every afternoon like this, bickering with Steve and Gracie, as long as it always ended up with smiles like the ones he was seeing now.
“Oh Hah, hah, very funny. “ Danny tried to inject some rancor into his voice, unsuccessfully. He set their drinks in front of them. “Uncle Steve’s one to talk – he’s pretty. Wherever we go, everybody stares at him. Boys, girls, everybody.” Gracie turned towards Steve and nodded. Yep, she spotted it.
“Don’t let your Dad fool you, Gracie they stare at him too. “ Steve tried to counter the situation.
“Not like you, Commander. And then you have those big stupid eyelashes like Betty Boop.”
“Who’s Betty Boop?” Grace asked.
“A Princess who wears miniskirts, and has huge eyelashes.”
Steve tried to argue, but Grace reached up and touched his lashes and chuckled. Danny was gratified when he could see Steve flush a little pink.
Later that evening, Danny was driving an uncharacteristically silent Grace home. They pulled up in front of the Edwards house and Grace turned to face him, very serious.
Do you think Uncle Steve likes our stories?”
“Yep, Monkey, I do.”
“He’s always fixing them.”
“That’s Uncle Steve, he’s always gotta fix everything. Rescue everybody.”
‘ “Even though he thinks it’s silly to wait around to be rescued.”
“Everybody’s gotta be rescued sometime, Monkey.”
“Danno, are you waiting for your True Love to come rescue you?”
“No, my True Love came and rescued me already. The day Grace Elizabeth Williams was born.” Grace crinkled her nose in protest at the corny answer and Danny just smiled and leaned down to kiss her forehead.
“No, Danno – really. Promise me you won’t wait for your Prince?” Danny sighed. Grace seemed to have latched onto the metaphor and was running with it. But he was East Coast, he wasn’t gonna give Grace any complexes by correcting her.
“I promise Monkey. If and when I find my Prince, I won’t wait.”
“Good.” She gave him and tight hug. “Because if he’s waiting and you’re waiting, then neither one of you will wake up.”
“I promise. “ Danny smiled into her hair. She was so serious. It kinda broke his heart a little. Suddenly she seemed a little self-conscious about all the serious talk and she pulled away.
“I have to Google Betty Boop.” She gave Danny a quick kiss and left him laughing.