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Forever in Paradise - Steve's POV

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Steve checked his watch as he finished the last of his crunches. He'd need to hurry if he wanted to get breakfast and then get showered and ready for the day.

A quick shower gave him only a few minutes to plot his day. The late night of shooting meant he hadn't had time to do any looking around after hours. He needed to be more focused, more efficient, so he could maximize his time and find out who was behind the gun smuggling so he could get out of this house.

He just hadn't counted on Danny.

He'd known all the names when he'd gone downstairs last night. But Danny had been so distracting, between his encouraging smiles to Steve, and the way Danny seemed to be making friends with everyone on the crew after less than a day.

Steve absolutely had not been too distracted watching who Danny was talking to that he couldn't remember who was Cindy or Candy or Sandy. He'd just been tired, that was all.

Danny had given him back his focus just as easily as he'd taken it though, and Steve had made it through. Eventually. But the late night of shooting had been followed by some difficulties falling asleep after Danny's flirting when he'd walked Steve to his door.

Steve toweled off and threw on cargo pants and a t-shirt, feeling almost like himself for the first time in days. Faint voices came from the kitchen as he got to the end of the staircase. Danny's was instantly recognizable, but he other sounded like a child, which was the last thing anyone with any sense would allow into this house.

“Work is stupid,” the child said. Her voice was tinny, so maybe Danny was talking to his daughter.

“Yes," Danny said, "but work pays for things like food and Hello Kitty backpacks.”

“I don’t like Hello Kitty backpacks anymore.”

“Who says I was talking about you?”

Steve stopped in the doorway of the kitchen to see Danny bent enticingly over the island, his phone only just visible. The little girl on the screen had to be his daughter.

“Hey,” the girls said, “is that the guy you’re protecting?”

Protecting? That was an odd way to describe it. Danny looked over his shoulder, his lips thinning. “Yeah," he said. "Which means I have to go.”

“Don’t go on my account,” Steve said, leaning over Danny’s shoulder and absolutely not enjoying the feel or the smell of Danny in the process. He waved at the phone. “Hi there!”

"Grace,” Danny said, sounding resigned, “this is Steve.”

“Hi, Steve! Is Danno protecting you?”

“Every chance he gets,” Steve said. He had no idea what Danny had told her, but he wasn't about to contradict it.

“Okay," Danny said. "Time to go to work.” Danny managed to move Steve out of the way, and Steve absolutely did not pout about it. “Gracie, have a great day at school.”

“I will. Love you, Danno!”

“Love you, too, Monkey.”

Danny hung up the phone and stuffed it in his pocket, digging into his cereal without so much as a hello, let alone an explanation of any of that. Steve stared at him until he finally sighed and looked up. “What?”

“Protecting me?”

“Yeah, she, uh…she has this idea that I’m some sort of knight in shining armor, and that I’m protecting people every day, so….”

Which any girl might get if her father worked on a show about a prince. “Well, you did say you needed to protect me from the contestants,” Steve said.

“True.”

Danny went back to his cereal without explaining the even more important part. Steve continued to stare until finally Danny looked up again. “What?”

He didn't sound thrilled, but he also invited the question, so…. “Danno?”

“It’s her nickname for me,” Danny said.

“Ah.” Finally, ammunition for the next time Danny pulled the 'Stud' card. “Got it.”

Danny finished his cereal. “Got what?”

“Nothing.”

“Okay.” It didn't quite sound like it was okay, but clearly Danny didn't have time to waste as put his bowl in the sink.. “I’m going to go change.”

Steve grinned. “For a full day of protecting me?”

“Yeah, from yourself.”

Which Steve probably needed with the thoughts going through his head, but what he wanted and what he needed were often two different things. “Whatever you say, Danno.”

Danny's sigh was long suffering this time. “You know I could shoot you, too, right?”

“Yeah, but you only shoot with cameras.”

Steve only just caught the eye roll as Danny turned and headed for the stairs.

***