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02 November 2012 @ 07:31 pm
A Warrior’s Desire part 4  
Title: A Warrior's Desire part 4
Author: tkeylasunset
Word Count: (this part) ~5400
24,500 so far
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0 (AU)
Rating: PG (may go up)
Characters/Pairings: pre-slash Steve & Danny
Warnings None that I know of
Summary: Steve and Danny continue their journey to find and retrieve Grace, entering the Forest of Nightmares that lives up to its name.
Written for:  H50 Harlequin.

part 1
part 2

part 3 
Part 4

part 5

“Steve,” Dl’elda said as she landed on his shoulder that was curved inward as he remained hunched over.

“You need to be with Danny,” Steve whispered, unable to look at her. In truth, he was embarrassed by his reaction. He was a SEAL. He had witnessed, and done, some horrific things. But Danny’s arm was one of the few things that had ever caused him to react like this.

“I heard you,” she said simply, her tiny hand caressing the damp curls at the base of his skull. “You can’t help it.”

“I’m trained for this,” he told her, taking a deep breath. “This isn’t acceptable.”

“This is Danny,” she responded. “That’s why.”

He finally turned to look at her, her warm brown eyes filled with affection. “Yeah,” he agreed with a decisive nod. “Is he still passed out?”

“Not any longer,” Danny’s voice answered for himself. “We need to go.”

Steve slowly stood and circled the rock, Dl’elda on his shoulder. He looked down at Danny and shook his head. “You are something else,” Steve said.

“Am I?” Danny asked, squinting up at them. His voice was strained, lines of pain encircling his mouth and eyes. “See if you can close the cut with alchemy.”

Steve nodded, squatting next to him and carefully lifting the handkerchief. “At least it’s mostly stopped bleeding.”

“Yeah,” Danny said. “Pretty sure I don’t have a concussion.”

“I hope not,” Steve said, removing the make-shift bandage from Danny’s head. “You ready?”

“Been ready,” Danny agreed, shifting uncomfortably. He held his left hand out, Dl’elda landing on it. “Try it.”

Steve nodded, reaching out with two fingers and touching the dried blood matting Danny’s blond hair. Steve felt the tingling he’d come to associate with his magic and when he lifted his fingers, Danny’s scalp was no longer split open. “Well.”

“It worked?” Danny asked, tentatively reaching up to touch the healed wound. “Excellent.”

“Yay Steve,” Dl’elda cheered for him. 

“Thank you, love,” Steve said. “Can you start toward the Forest? Or do we need to wait?”

“We need to go. We can’t enter after dark,” Danny said. “Is the mor-eri in his nest?”

Steve stood and checked the nest, the mor-eri studying them. “He’s still there.”

Danny nodded, using his left hand to whistle to it. It answered the call before flying up and out of its nest, disappearing into the orange sun as Steve watched it. “He’ll wait for us.”

“Good,” Steve said. “Do I need to carry you?”

“Absolutely not. But you do need to get the rope. We need to be tied together so we don’t get separated in the Forest,” Danny said, waving over to it.

Steve didn’t even bother to question that statement, knowing it would be useless. “What about Dl’elda?” he asked as he retrieved the rope, trying not to look at the end that was coated in Danny’s blood.

“The thread,” Danny said, pointing over at his backpack.

Steve hunted through until he found the thread and needle, sending up silent thanks that he hadn’t had to use it on Danny’s scalp. “How do we do this?” he asked Dl’elda.

“Tie it around my waist,” she instructed, holding up her tiny arms. Steve did it, making sure it wasn’t too tight and that he didn’t catch her wings under the thread. “Now your shirt.”

Steve looped the thread into his button hole, tying it tightly so they were bound together. He left enough slack that she could flutter above him but not so much that the thread would snag on every branch they passed.

“Now tie us together,” Danny instructed.

“Tie us together,” Steve repeated, uncertain how to proceed.

“Loop it around your waist,” Danny said with a nod at Steve. Steve threaded it through one belt loop in the back before tying it securely on the side of his body.

“How much of it?” Steve asked, kneeling next to Danny, holding the loose end.

“Five or six feet,” Danny said, struggling to lean forward away from the boulder. He flinched at the movement, trying to hide his discomfort.

“How are you going to make it through the Forest?” Steve asked as he encircled Danny’s body in order to loop the rope around his waist. He made sure he didn’t move too quickly, Dl’elda keeping up with his movements so she wasn’t jarred by the thread.

“I don’t have any choice, do I?” Danny asked as Steve knotted the rope.

“I’m going to have to carry you,” Steve said, glancing over at Dl’elda who looked panicked. “It’s okay, love. We’re going to make it to the mines.”

“Can you carry him that far?” Dl’elda asked, frowning at them both.

“Nobody’s carrying anybody,” Danny protested. “I broke my arm, not my leg. I’m going to walk to the mines.”

“Danny,” Steve started in warning. But he stopped when Danny shook his head. That was that.

“I need you to listen carefully,” Danny said, his warm left hand on Steve’s cheek to ensure he had his undivided attention. “Once we are in the Forest, you need to stay in your happy place mentally.”

“My happy place,” Steve repeated, his eyebrows knit together in uncertainty.

“The Forest can read negative thoughts. Feeds on them in fact. You need to keep only happy thoughts in mind. Puppies and… I don’t know. For me it’s Grace and lasagna.”

“I can concentrate on the beach. Catching waves. Will that drown us?” Steve asked in all seriousness.

“No. As long as you think only positive things about the ocean, crystal clear blue skies, making sand castles, we’ll be fine. You need to keep all negative thoughts locked away. No ultra-dangerous, ultra-classified SEAL missions. Can you do that?”

“Yes,” Steve agreed. “You okay with this?” he asked Dl’elda.

“Uh huh. I’ve been in it before. It’s not so hard on faeries,” she assured him.

“Good,” Steve said. “No matter what, you can count on me to protect you.”

“I know that,” she said. “We need to go, Kir’rila. The sun’s going down.”

“Yes,” Danny agreed, holding up his left hand to Steve who very gently hoisted him to his feet. Steve shrugged on Danny’s pack, making sure Danny was at least steady on his feet.

“Are you sure you are….?”

“Don’t,” Danny said, shaking his head. “We can’t stay here overnight. We have to get to the mines.”

“Okay,” Steve said, watching Danny carefully as they started their slow way across the plains.

Danny took care of most of the charms, telling Steve that concentrating on the spells stopped him from thinking about other… issues. Steve understood that and left him to it, still watchful to make sure he wasn’t on the verge of collapse. He also used some of his own alchemy to prevent stray rocks and shrubs from impeding their progress.

“Tell us about surfing,” Danny said, squinting over the next ridge.

“Right,” Steve said, surreptitiously studying Danny. Danny was unnaturally pale except for high spots of color on his cheeks. His breathing was even although he periodically took a very deep breath as though he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. Until Danny requested his help, there was nothing Steve could do.

Steve told them about learning to surf and falling off his board so many times, he was bruised for weeks. But he didn’t mind. All his friends were learning too and they keep daring each other. They would make bets about who could stay up the longest, who could ride the tallest wave, who would be the most likely to eat sand.

Steve talked. Danny used his alchemy. Dl’elda flew between them as much as her thread would allow.

Danny slowed as the terrain began to slope up, darkly ominous shapes looming over the edge of the plain. As bleak and twisted as the trees were, the shadows cast on the plains were worse. The shadows moved even as the trees remained still. They felt no wind across the plain or from the Forest, yet the shadows were twisting and turning, reaching out toward Danny and Steve. It was heavily oppressive close by the Forest, no sounds escaping the deepness of the trees. Steve’s skin was covered with goose bumps, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up.

“All right,” Danny said, speaking in an uncharacteristically hushed tone. “Obviously this is it. We all in our happy places?”

“Roger that,” Steve said with a nod, moving just a little closer to Danny. Dl’elda landed on Steve’s shoulder, holding tightly to his collar. He could feel her nerves in that much contact. 

“Uh huh,” Dl’elda whispered with a tentative nod. “We can do it.”

“Of course we can,” Danny said. His voice was almost as loud as usual but not as strong. Steve could hear it wavering but he wasn’t sure if it was his injury, his nerves, or a combination of the two. Not that Steve could blame him. He could feel the Forest trying to influence them, an oppressive darkness trying to envelope them all.

“Happy happy places,” Danny said in reminder, glancing at Steve and then at Dl’elda.

“You in yours?” Steve asked, trying to peer into the blackness of the woods. But the dark, twisted trees did not give up their secrets.

“Grace and lasagna,” Danny said firmly, nodding. “Let’s go. It’s going to be dark soon.”

They stepped over the border between the plains and the Forest, the sun blotted out by the ominous branches reaching down toward them.

The Forest was doing everything possible to slow them down, the going difficult, the trees watching them with wary unease. While they did not attempt to touch them like the shrubs of the plains had, there was still an overwhelming feeling of distrust and of displeasure that the Forest was being disturbed.

The path Danny pointed out was barely visible to Steve but Danny assured them that they were going the right way. Steve had no choice but to rely on Danny’s navigation. All of the trees they passed were foreboding and twisted, some bending lower as they approached to glower at them in silent, grim disapproval. Steve felt an overwhelming urge to turn back the way they had come and run as fast as possible to the plains. They won’t hurt us became his personal silent mantra as they continued deeper into the gloom surrounding them on all sides.

“Tell us about one of your non-lethal, non-classified missions,” Danny whispered, staying as close to Steve as possible. His left hand was supporting his right arm even though Steve had secured it to his body with duct tape. Steve thought his actions were reflective rather than an effort to support his injury.

He started telling Danny and Dl’elda about a mission in an undisclosed but hostile location. He and his team had to locate and rescue four stupid, stranded hikers who had been warned not to venture out on their own.

Danny barely noticed when Steve’s voice trailed off. Steve was unable to concentrate on telling his stories, watching out for Danny, guarding him and Dl’elda, and keeping both eyes open for approaching threats. He understood why this was the Forest of Nightmares, the ominous atmosphere more than living up to its name.

Steve glanced over at Dl’elda where she was perched on his shoulder when she started shivering. Only then did he realize that the temperature had started to drop. “What’s going on?” he whispered to Danny.

“I don’t know,” Danny said, looking around as though to trace the source of the cold descending on them. “It’s never been this cold before.”

“Come in here,” Steve said to Dl’elda, holding his shirt collar open so she could fly into it. His diminishing body heat helped control some of her shivering but she was still very cold. “Do you know what’s going on?” he asked her.

“N-n-n-o,” she said, her teeth chattering.

“There’s something wrong,” Danny said, frowning even harder when snow began fall. “Great.”

“Where’s this from?” Steve asked, looking up at the flakes that were coming down between the limbs hanging over their heads. The wind was picking up, swirling the snow and reducing their visibility. The trees all around them were shivering in reaction to the cold. It wasn’t long before icy crystal were battering their bared skin, their faces, arms and hands turning red from the abuse.

“This hasn’t happened before,” Danny said, his voice visible in puffs of condensation. He had his left arm wrapped as tightly around his body as possible, his mmu-fum-omuu offering no protection from the snow and cold.

“It’s really coming down,” Steve said, watching it pile up at their feet an alarming rate.

“Unnaturally fast,” Danny agreed, trudging forward, each step an effort.

“Your feet,” Steve said in realization.

“Esri sandals aren’t made for snow,” Danny acknowledged, slowing to a stopping. He looked like he wanted to lean on one of the nearby trees. He did study it momentarily before shaking his head once. He took as deep a breathe as he could before looking up at Steve with an expression of desperation. “You’re going to have to go ahead. Take Dl’elda to the mine. They’ll let you in.”

“Absolutely not. No man left behind,” Steve said.

“You have to keep going, Kir’rila. We have to find Grace,” Dl’elda said from inside Steve’s shirt, only her head visible.

“The snow,” Danny said, shaking his head as it continued to pile up around them. “I… can’t….”

Steve shrugged out of his pack, setting it on the ground.

“What are you doing? You’ll need that,” Danny said breathlessly pointing down at where it was nearly covered in snow already.

We’ll need it,” Steve corrected, moving in front of Danny, turning his back and crouching down. “Climb on.”

“No,” Danny said, shaking his head. “You cannot…”

“Stop arguing. It’s getting colder and darker. The snow is getting even deeper. You can’t walk in it. Get on so we can get to the mines,” Steve said, looking at Danny over his shoulder.

“You can’t carry me that far,” Danny protested.

“I can and I will,” Steve said. “And I’m pretty sure this is my fault,” he admitted quietly.

“The snow,” Danny said, looking up at it. “The lost hikers.”

“Yes,” Steve reluctantly agreed. “They were caught in a… in bad weather high in the mountains. I should have told a different story.”

“Can you tell about what you did in a really hot place?” Dl’elda suggested.

“Would that work?” Steve asked Danny.

“I don’t know. At this point I don’t know what the best answer is,” Danny said, pain and exhaustion coloring his voice and pinching his eyes. He was shivering, his shoulders pulled toward his chest in an ineffectual effort to preserve his body heat.

“All right. This is what is happening,” Steve said, backing up to him. “You’re putting on the pack. I’m carrying you. We have to get out of this storm. You can’t walk. I’m not leaving you.”

Danny sighed but finally gave in. He looped his left arm over Steve’s shoulder as Steve put his hands under Danny’s sturdy thighs. With a jump from Danny, Steve was able to hoist him up, Danny circling his waist with his legs. “Okay?” Danny asked as he leaned into Steve’s warmer back.

“Fine,” Steve agreed, looking down at Dl’elda. “Go between us. You’ll be warmer.”

She flew out of the front of his shirt and entered the back, peeking out over his collar.

“Better?” Danny asked down to her as Steve resumed trudging through the Forest.

“Uh huh,” she said, still shivering. Danny was certain she was trying to be brave and that she was nearly as cold as before. She began to sing to them, her voice tiny in the ominous silence. But it helped to lift their spirits and she sang and sang and sang.

“The left fork,” Danny said directly into Steve’s ear. He tried to pretend he didn’t know Steve was panting from the exertion of carrying him through the foot high snow. “The entrance to the mine is less than half a mile down that path.”

Steve nodded, not trying to talk. His arms were shaking from the exertion required to carry Danny, his knees and thighs screaming. But he blocked out all of the pain and cold, setting a determined pace as he started down the path Danny had indicated. Dl’elda was still singing but her voice was nearly gone. They could hear her teeth chattering. If Steve hadn’t had his jaw clinched, his teeth would have been rattling just as hard.

“The snow,” Steve panted, looking up at the barely visible break in the trees. “It’s slowing down.”

“It’s not so cold,” Dl’elda said from deep inside the back of Steve’s shirt.

“The miners have control over their weather,” Danny said, looking over Steve’s shoulder at the path. It was still covered with snow but it was not nearly as deep as it had been. “I can walk the rest of the way.”

“No,” Steve said, not adding to it. Danny’s could hear the strain in that one word and decided not to argue any further.

“One positive with the snow, it made the woods brighter,” Danny said.

“There’s always some happy, right?” Dl’elda said, peeking up at him.

“Always,” Danny agreed. He sighed when he finally spotted the entrance to the mine. It was hard to miss with the signs that they had put on posts every few steps:


“A bear?” Steve said, looking at the signs as they passed them.

“They made it up,” Danny confirmed. “There are no bears in the Forest.”


“Hospitable, aren’t they?” Steve said, crouching down so Danny could gain his feet when they stopped in front a wooden gate covering the entire mine entrance.


Danny ignored all the warning signs and pulled the cord next to the gate. They could hear a bell ringing in the distance, the sound echoing softly. As they waited, Dl’elda left the back of Steve’s shirt to sit on his shoulder. She was still shivering but it wasn’t quite as bad as it had been.

“I’m really sorry,” Steve said to them both, Danny shaking his head.

“You aren’t to blame. It happens. Well, never snow before. But no matter. It’s better than the gigantic butterfly that tried to attack me the first time I crossed over. When we cross back over, we’ll be extra vigilant.”

Steve nodded in agreement, remaining in place although his first impulse was to take a step back when he heard shouting coming from behind the gate.

“What?” a voice demanded.

“We are here seeking your permission to cross through your mines,” Danny responded.

“No,” the voice replied.

“We are prepared to barter,” Danny said.

“No,” the voice repeated.

“I’m certain you will reconsider when you hear what we are offering,” Danny told him.

“What could you have we need?”

Danny nodded to Dl’elda who spoke to the disembodied voice. “If you let us in, I’ll help you to…” She didn’t get any further before the gate was swung open, two miners on the inside staring up at them.

Steve knew he shouldn’t be surprised but he couldn’t believe that the two men standing before them were dwarves. Surely that wasn’t possible. It was a trick the Forest was playing on his mind.

“Don’t dally. It’s freezing out there. Did you do that?” the miner on the right demanded up at Steve. He had dark brown hair and brown eyes that were studying Steve with a piercing gaze. He wore brown pants with leather suspenders, his boots darker brown and scuffed from work. His shirt was red and white plaid, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The edges of his shirt were frayed  but it appeared to be clean and fresh.

“Yes?” Steve responded.

“Well, it couldn’t have been Kir’rila. And faeries don’t change it,” the miner informed him sternly.

“Stop being so grumpy, In'kyn,” the second miner scolded, sneezing when he finished. Steve had to bite the inside of his cheek to stop from laughing out loud. That would have been unbelievably rude and could end up with them back out in the blizzard. “You’re hurt,” the second miner said up to Danny. He was wearing the same type of sturdy pants as In’kyn, his shirt deep blue. His dark hair was longer, caught at the back of his head in a ponytail.

“I broke my arm,” Danny agreed.

“Doc will look at it,” the second miner said. “Come in come in. Of course you can cross in the mines.”

“Thank you,” Danny said. In’kyn waited with a frown until Steve and Dl’elda were all the way inside before closing and locking the gate.

“I’m Et’tur,” the second miner told them as he led them deeper into the mine, the lamps on the walls casting a welcome glow.

Steve was glad to feel the warmth enveloping them the further they went. His skin prickled as it began to warm up, his fingers and toes tingling in an unpleasant way.

Dl’elda was still sitting on Steve’s shoulder, watching Danny carefully. “His arm really hurts,” Dl’elda whispered into Steve’s ear.

“I know,” he whispered back. “I’m hoping they can help.”

“I’ll ask them to,” she said.

“Why are you going to Faeryland?” Et’tur was asking Danny, looking up at him with something akin to admiration, or trepidation, or a combination of the two.

Danny explained about Grace, In'kyn grumbling about the Faery Queen and how she was so demanding, always wanting the best crystal for herself.

“She takes their crystals?” Steve whispered to Dl’elda.

“Some of them. She likes shiny things,” she said.

“Oh,” Steve responded.

“She pays them,” Dl’elda said, smiling at the new miners they saw further down the mine. There were a dozen of them sitting at a table laden with food. “You hungry?”

“Yeah,” Steve agreed, looking over at Danny. “We need to untie the rope and then you need to have your arm looked at.”

Danny wearily nodded, waiting as the miners left the table to crowd around the newcomers. They were all talking at once, Danny managing to keep up with most of their questions. Finally a miner with silver hair and kind eyes behind his glasses turned to face the others.

“Kir’rila will talk with all of us,” he told them firmly. “But now I need to see to his injury.”

The miners reluctantly nodded and went back to the table, all of their eyes still on the visitors. They had mostly ignored Steve, Dl’elda patient as some of the gently touched her.

“Come,” the miner said, going past the table and down the mine on the right. “I’m Kym'kl. I’m trained in the healing.”

“I appreciate your help,” Danny said, leaning on Steve as they continued down the mine. Steve had one arm wrapped around Danny’s waist, bearing much of his weight. He knew Danny was past exhausted. He would only admit to himself that he was feeling the effects of the weather and having carried Danny but was not about to complain.

“Have a seat,” Kym’kl said when they reached a wide chamber brightly lit with multiple lamps and a blazing fire. Steve ideally wondered about the rate of consumption of the available oxygen this deep underground but then decided that the natural laws of Earth didn’t apply in Esri.

Danny sat on the soft bed covered with a warm animal skin, Steve close by him, Dl’elda moving to Danny’s shoulder. Steve reached up to untie Dl’elda’s string to discover his fingers didn’t want to function. His fine motor skills had been temporarily frozen.

He decided to simply wait for the dwarves to deal with everything. Seemed the easiest thing to do. Plus his eyelids were suddenly way too heavy. He’d let them close for just a minute.

“Hey, hey,” Danny said, his hand cold on Steve’s cheek. “Stay awake.”

“Sleepy,” Steve said, trying to lay down. But Danny was stopping him.

“I know. But you are still too cold. You can’t go to sleep until we warm up.”

“Sleepy,” Steve repeated, shaking his head and trying to focus on Danny. He seemed to be underwater, his face coming in and out of focus. “Hold still.”

“I am holding still,” Danny said, his hand still on Steve’s cheek. “Can you get him some tea?”

“Tea?” Steve repeated with a frown. Where would he find tea? Where had they left the backpack? Did it have tea in it? Was he supposed to boil water for it? Did he have enough left? What would he put it in?

“It’s okay, babe,” Danny said, pressing a warm cup into Steve’s frozen fingers. “Kym’kl fixed us the tea. I didn’t mean I wanted you to make it.”

“Oh,” Steve said, looking down at the cup.

“Drink,” Danny instructed, carefully lifting it to Steve’s mouth. “Slow sips.”

Steve nodded, carefully sipping it. “Dl’elda?”

“I’m right here,” she told him. She was still on Danny’s shoulder sipping from a tiny cup of her own.

He nodded and took another sip. “He look at your arm?”

“Not yet,” Danny said, looking over at Kym’kl. “He aligned the bones. I think they are straight.”

Kym’kl nodded, touching the tips of Danny’s fingers. He could not disguise all of his concern as he worked to untie the knot securing them together. “What sort of knot is this?”

“A bowline,” Steve muttered into his cup.

“You couldn’t use a square knot like a regular person?” Danny asked with a barely disguised laugh.

“Uhn,” Steve grunted, reaching into his boot to take out his knife. “Here.”

“Thanks?” Kym’kl said, accepting it with some trepidation. It was nearly as long as his forearm.

“Go ahead,” Danny said. “We’ll get more rope in Faeryland.”

Kym’kl nodded, slicing cleanly through the rope around their waists, frowning at the blood dried on one end. “Yours?”

Danny nodded, holding out his left arm to show the scraps from being hauled out of the crevice.

“Oh dear,” Kym’kl said, shaking his head.

“Sorry,” Steve said.

“You had no choice,” Danny reminded him, lifting Steve’s cup back to his lips. “Drink.”

“Where’s yours?” Steve asked as he obediently sipped.

“I finished it. So did Dl’elda. Once you drink it all, you can go to sleep.”

“Okay,” Steve replied, drinking more and enjoying the feeling of warmth that spread out from his stomach. It didn’t yet reach his fingers and toes but they didn’t feel quite so icy any longer. He watched in a fog as Kym’kl cleaned and bandaged Danny’s left arm. That done, he gently cut through the duct tape Steve had used to secure the rods to Danny’s arm and his arm to his body. Danny remained completely still as Kym’kl cut away the final piece of tape. He then very carefully unwrapped the cloth until Danny’s black and blue arm was exposed. Steve held tightly to Danny’s left hand as he swayed. Danny was swallowing reflectively, Steve certain he was fighting waves of nausea.

“Can you give him something for the pain?” Steve asked quietly as Kym’kl worked to clean Danny’s damaged arm.

“As soon as you thaw out. And I have bandaged it again,” Kym’kl said. He looked up at Steve with a nod. “You did an excellent job.”

“Thank you,” Steve said, not able to look away from Danny’s discolored arm. “Did I straighten the bones?”

“You did,” Kym’kl assured him. “Once they heal, it will be like it didn’t happen.”

“Good,” Steve said, letting go of Danny’s hand to wrap a steadying arm around his waist. Danny leaned into him, hiding his face in Steve’s neck. If Steve felt some moisture from Danny’s eyes, he wasn’t going to say anything. “How far is it to Faeryland from here?” Steve asked.

Kym’kl seemed to understand that reason for the question wasn’t purely for information. He didn’t pause in bandaging Danny’s arm, using the rods to support it. “It will take a couple of hours only. Cha'ima and A'serhom will guide you. They have been wanting to go to Faeryland. I promised that the next time we had reason to go, they would be the ones. I suspect they want to buy new dresses but I’d never tell them I thought that.”

“Does Faeryland have dresses large enough?” Steve asked.

“Faeries come in all sizes,” Dl’elda answered. “Big ones. Little ones. In between ones.”

“They aren’t all your size?”

“No,” she said with a giggle.

“I had no idea,” Steve admitted.

“You’ve never been here before,” Kym’kl said. It could have been a question but Steve was pretty sure it was a statement of fact, that somehow Kym’kl knew this was his first time.

“No I haven’t. I didn’t know I was half Esri until recently. I swam over to find Danny,” Steve said.

“Danny?” Kym’kl asked, tying fresh strips to Danny’s arm to keep it from moving.

“That’s Kir’rila’s Human name,” Dl’elda explained.

“Of course,” Kym’kl said. “Your name?”

“Steve,” he said.

“Isn’t that a funny name?” Dl’elda giggled.

“I doubt it is where they’re from,” Kym’kl said with a smile. “Take off your wet clothes and you can sleep. I’ll get some arnica and some valerian. They will reduce his pain and help him sleep.”

“Thank you,” Steve agreed. “Where will we be sleeping?”

“Right here,” Kym’kl said. “Get undressed and into the bed. You’ll sleep together?”

“Yes. It’s fine,” Steve said, watching as Kym’kl went to a wooden cabinet on the other side of the cave. “Danny.”

“Yeah,” Danny whispered, his face still hidden in Steve’s shoulder, his entire weight being supported by Steve.

“Let’s get you undressed and into bed,” Steve said, shifting him away from his body.

“Yeah,” Danny said, sitting up as much as he could. He had his eyes closed as Steve untied the knots at his shoulders. Steve lowered the top of his mmu-fum-omuu before helping him to stand enough to allow it to fall to the floor. Steve used the fur to wrap Danny as much as he could as he knelt before him to untie and remove his sandals. That done, Steve turned Danny so he was laying on the bed before covering him with the two fur blankets.

Steve quickly removed his boots and his clothes before crawling in next to Danny. Dl’elda was laying on the pillow between them, petting Danny’s hair and signing softly to him.

“Oh,” Danny gasped when Steve scooted over to press their chilled bodies together.

“Sorry. We’ll warm up soon,” Steve reminded him.

“Here we are,” Kym’kl said when he stood back by the bed. He was holding a glass of what looked like milk and a spoon with crushed leaves in it. He helped Danny eat the powder before giving him the warm milk, Danny drinking all of it.

“Thank you for your help,” Danny whispered as he returned the glass.

“Sleep now. No one will disturb you,” Kym’kl said, turning down the lamps and putting an extra log on the fire. “I will check on you in the night.”

“Thank you,” Steve said.

“Try not to attack me when I return,” Kym’kl said cheerfully with a hand on Steve’s shoulder.

“I won’t,” Steve promised.

“Once a warrior, always a warrior,” Kym’kl said knowingly.

“He’s right,” Danny said, his eyes still tightly closed.

“Sleep well. We’re on the other side of that door if you require anything,” Kym’kl said as he left them alone.

“I know you’re dying to ask,” Danny said, turning his head enough to see Steve.

“Dwarves?” That was all Steve had to say.

“Where do you think Humans get their fairy tales? Their stories of the magical and the enchanted?” Danny asked with a knowing smile.

“Oh,” Steve said, considering it. “They do exist.”

“I exist,” Dl’elda pointed out.

“Was there a Snow White?” Steve asked.

“Not per se. And there are obviously more than seven miners. Some of which are women. There are witches who cast spells here. Like we can,” Danny said.

“So our folk tales come from here,” Steve said.

“Many of them do,” Danny agreed. “Some are made up. Or maybe they come from a different universe.”

“There was a time that would have surprised me,” Steve said.

“But not any longer,” Danny said with a smile. “Go to sleep, babe. We’ll discuss it more tomorrow.”

“Right,” Steve said, letting his eyes close, his head filled with magical thoughts. None of them involved dwarves or witches or glass slippers. They all centered on a short, loud mostly Human, one he felt like he’d known forever.

Current Mood: cold
antivolantivol on November 3rd, 2012 07:18 am (UTC)
Awesome chapter! This really reads like a great fantasy/fairytale story, with the added pleasure of having our favorite characters in it! It was fun meeting some of the seven dwarves ; ) ! Thanks for sharing!
Kathy: McDanno/Halloweenkitmerlot1213 on November 3rd, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
Just like their H50 counterparts, Steve's protective of Danny and I like that even though he's injured, Danny's just as determined to not be a burden.

Continued lovely work on this :)
landrewslandrews on November 3rd, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
Great chapter!! I lol'ed about the snow- Poor Steve :-)