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05 November 2012 @ 10:09 am
A Warrior’s Desire part 5  
Title: A Warrior's Desire part 5
Author: tkeylasunset
Word Count: (this part) ~5000
29,000 total 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 visit with the miners who have decided they need to rest before continuing their journey. This gives them time to chat about... the future.
A/N: I am so sorry this has gotten so long. I really thought I'd be done by now. My muses thought differently. I'd like to say the next chapter will be the last but I thought this chapter would be the last.

Also, my muses and I are having a great time writing this story (which I'm sure helps explain its length!) From the lack of response, I'm guessing reading it isn't as satisfying as writing it. I'm sorry about that too.
Written for:  H50 Harlequin.

part 1
part 2

part 3
part 4

Part 5

Steve slowly woke with no idea where he was. It was mostly dark but he was warm and felt reassuringly safe. He considered his situation for a moment, the day’s events returning to his sleep shrouded brain. Turning his head found Danny asleep next to him, lines of pain around his eyes and mouth. He reached over and lightly touched him, no change in his expression or breathing. Dl’elda slept on the pillow by Danny’s head, her wings folded and still.

They weren’t the reason he woke up. When he tried to sit, he realized it was his own pain that had disturbed his sleep. He moaned very quietly as he moved his arms and legs, the exertion of carrying Danny through the snow cramping his muscles. He wasn’t especially surprised but he was displeased to be in so much pain. He was apparently way out of shape, not that carrying the Portal Keeper through an unprecedented blizzard in an enchanted forest was part of SEAL training. But still.

He sighed, creeping out of bed and over to the door Kym’kl had indicated before he left. Steve carefully opened it, finding a room on the other side that had a small table and a large fireplace. There were two miners sitting at the table, gazing back at him. He thought they looked vaguely familiar and decided they had been in the main chamber when they had arrived.

“Hey,” one of the miners said in greeting. She was peeling what looked like a standard Earth apple, a pile of freshly peeled fruit at her elbow.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” Steve said quietly. He thought he should be reluctant to talk to them in only his briefs but he didn’t have any choice. And they were watching him with only curiosity, not dismay, or worse, disgust.

“You aren’t,” the second miner said. He looked to be about the same age as Kym’kl, the same grey hair and warm eyes. He was cutting up the fruit the first miner was peeling, putting the pieces in a large ceramic bowl. “Kym’kl said you might come to find us.”

“I’m having some trouble sleeping,” Steve said. Ordinarily he wouldn’t admit it quite so readily but these circumstances were the furthest from ordinary he had ever experienced. And he knew he needed to sleep in order to continue on to Faeryland.

The first miner nodded, going to a cabinet on the wall opposite of the fireplace. She reached up for a jar, bringing it to the table with her. “Sit,” she said, indicating one of the empty chairs.

“Thank you,” he agreed. “I’m Steve.” He figured they already knew but it felt impolite to ask for their names in their house.

“I’m A'skelkal,” she said as she measured powder from the jar to a mug. “He’s M’denon. How is Kir’rila?”

“He’s sleeping but still in a lot of pain,” Steve said. “I tried alchemy but mine isn’t strong enough.”

“It will be eventually,” M’denon said as he brought the kettle to the table. He poured the steaming water into the mug, A’skelkal stirring it briskly.

“I’m returning home as soon as we have Grace,” Steve said. Surely that fact was clear to everyone. He was here on a mission. Once it was successfully completed, he’d return to his much more ordinary life.

“But you’ll be back,” A’skelkal said, pushing the mug toward him.

“I have no reason to return to Esri,” Steve said, picking up the mug to be greeted by the inviting scent reminiscent of apples and cinnamon.

“Of course you’ll come back with Kir’rila,” M’denon said like it was a foregone conclusion. “He won’t come without you.”

Steve shook his head, wishing it didn’t feel like it had been wrapped in cotton. “He’ll return to his Human home once we swim through the portal. I won’t see him again.”

“You don’t believe that,” A’skelkal told him, laughing lightly.

“You are koijaw-vor,” M’denon agreed with a nod.

“I don’t know what that means,” Steve said wearily.

“Ask Kir’rila. He will tell you,” M’denon assured him.

Steve just nodded, sipping more of his drink. What else was there to do? “What time is it?” he finally asked. He was watching A’skelkal peel the fruit, soothed by the steadiness and effortlessness of her motions.

“It’s the middle of the night,” M’denon said as he cut up a peeled fruit and placed the pieces in front of Steve.

“Hmm…” Steve acknowledged, eating a slice. It tasted much like an apple but with an earthy flavor that was strange but pleasant. “Is cooking your regular job?”

“Sometimes,” M’denon said. “We have to eat.”

“Yeah,” Steve agreed.

“This is all a little overwhelming, isn’t it?” A’skelkal asked him kindly, her eyes reflecting sympathy and understanding.

“It shouldn’t be,” Steve said before he could stop himself.

“You’ve never left your known world before,” M’denon pointed out. “How could you be prepared for any of this?”

“I’m trained for the unknown,” Steve said.

“In your world. How can anyone be trained for a world they don’t know exists?” A’skelkal asked.

“At least most of the beings we’ve encountered aren’t intent on killing us,” Steve said, making the dwarves laugh.

“There is that,” M’denon said.

“Have you ever been through the portal?” Steve asked, eating more of the fruit.

“I haven’t,” M’denon said with a shake of his head.

“I went through once,” A’skelkal said with a shiver. “Your world is very strange. And very loud.”

“I suppose it would be to those unaccustomed to it,” Steve acknowledged. “I’m from the islands not far from the portal. We are a mix of many heritages. I guess we don’t notice when you come through.”

“We can come through mostly unnoticed. Full blood Esri are too obvious. Faeries can swim over because no one believes they exist,” A’skelkal said.

“Danny told me that the Esri who do swim over are believed to be mermaids.”

“A convenient myth behind which they can hide,” M’denon agreed.

“I never believed in mermaids until now,” Steve admitted. “If I saw one, I would have discounted it.”

“Just like the faeries,” A’skelkal said.

“Oh,” Steve said, turning toward the door. “Danny’s awake.”

A’skelkal nodded, stirring up another mug she handed to Steve. “Take this to him. It will help with the pain.”

“Thank you for your kindness,” Steve said, standing with the two mugs.

“Thank you for your assistance to Kir’rila,” M’denon said with a nod.

“Hey,” Steve said softly as he returned to the cave. Danny’s eyes were trained on the door and he visibly relaxed when Steve entered. “I’m right here.”

“Okay,” Danny sighed.

Steve sat next to him and glanced over at the empty pillow. “Where’s Dl’elda?” he asked sharply.

“She went to talk to the miners. She’ll be right back.”

“Is she okay?” Steve asked.

“She’s fine. Stand down, sailor,” Danny said scooted up in the bed with Steve’s help to lean against the wall.

“Okay,” Steve said, relaxing slightly and picking up the two mugs he had sat down. “The dwarves gave me this. It will help with the pain.”

Danny nodded and accepted the cup. “What woke you?”

“You know,” Steve said, waving it off. He placed his right hand on Danny’s forehead, frowning. “Tell me the truth.”

“I’m okay,” Danny said.

Steve shook his head, encouraging him to drink. “What does koijaw-vor mean?”

“One soul that inhabits two bodies,” Danny said, looking up at Steve. “The miners gave you that word.”

“They said we are.”

“Do you believe them?” Danny asked in a carefully even tone.

“You know I do,” Steve sighed.

“You could sound even less happy about it,” Danny said with a crooked smile.

“It’s a lot to take in,” Steve pointed out. “Three days ago I had no idea there was another world that I could swim to. I find out I’m half Esri and my mother didn’t die like I was told. I come over to find you and end up finding my soulmate in a short, loud demi-god.”

“Well, when you put it like that,” Danny laughed softly.

“Are you going to move to Hawaii? I really can’t imagine living in New Jersey,” Steve admitted.

“Yes. Living there makes more sense anyway. Closer to the portal. Then we can more easily cross over so Gracie can visit Faeryland.”

“There must be an easier route to get there,” Steve said. “At least I hope there is.”

“Your alchemy will get stronger. That will make the journey less difficult,” Danny assured him as he sipped his tea.

“Good,” Steve said. “Are same sex unions accepted here?”

“Of course,” Danny said. “We can get married here. It won’t be valid on Earth but it will make you Kir’rila’vor.”

“Does that mean wife of the Portal Keeper?” Steve asked, displeased with the idea.

“No,” Danny laughed. “It means Portal Keeper’s mate. It’s a title of honor. Like being queen by virtue of marrying the king.”

Steve studied his cup, his entire face a frown.

“What?” Danny asked, putting down his cup to reach up and touch Steve’s cheek.

“Isn’t this all very sudden?” Steve asked. “We barely know each other, really. But we’re talking about getting married. It’s… I don’t even have words for it. What if we aren’t compatible in our world? Maybe we won’t get along when we aren’t charming rocks or dodging mor-eri.”

“Is that what you really believe? In here?” Danny asked, touching Steve’s chest over his heart.

“I don’t know,” Steve said. “Maybe it’s this place. Maybe it’s making me think I’m… umm… that we’re supposed to be together.”

“I can understand your doubts,” Danny confirmed. “We don’t have to do anything until we return home. I’ll even go back to New Jersey if that’s what you want. Then we’ll wait and see.”

Steve sighed at his words, staring off into nothing. “The miners are so sure.”

“They aren’t the ones about to change their entire lives while they still have doubts,” Danny pointed out. “I’m not about to force you into anything. And I don’t want to you ever have reason to believe you feel the way you do because I charmed you into it.”

“I don’t think that,” Steve said. “I just… I hate feeling so certain yet so uncertain at the same time.”

“I’m sorry,” Danny said with a yawn.

“Me too,” Steve agreed, looking over at the door that led to the mines. “Is she coming back?”

Danny laughed and shook his head. “Go and find her. It shouldn’t be too hard.”

Steve stood at that, looking down at his mostly bare body. “They took our clothes?”

“They did,” Danny agreed. “Wrap up in this fur. It will keep you decent.”

Steve took the top fur blanket and wrapped it around him like a thick, fuzzy toga. “This doesn’t look too ridiculous.”

“Surprisingly, on you it doesn’t,” Danny said with a gleam of open admiration in his eyes. “Go find her so we can go back to sleep.”

“Roger that,” Steve agreed, leaving the chamber for the larger, brighter mine shaft. He followed the sounds of laughter until he found a group of miners sitting on comfortable chairs, drinking from stout mugs.

“Human,” one of them called in greeting, lifting his mug.

“Hi,” Steve said to them all with a smile. His smile grew even brighter when Dl’elda flew over to him and landed on his bare shoulder. “There you are.”

“Here I am,” she confirmed, smiling at the miners. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

They all wished them both pleasant dreams as Steve returned down the path he had come, the floor surprisingly warm under his bare feet. “You weren’t drinking with them, were you?”

She giggled and shook her head. “No. They would tell me no if I wanted. Is Kir’rila okay?”

“He woke up from the pain. A’skelkal and M’denon gave me some tea to help us both sleep. I’ll give you some of mine,” Steve said, opening the door to their chamber. Danny was laying back down, watching the door.

“There are my two strays,” he said with a pained smile.

“Did you finish your tea?” Steve asked, gazing into the cup as Dl’elda flew over to sit on the pillow next to Danny.

“Uh huh. It’s helping.”

“Good,” Steve said, finding a faery sized cup in the cabinet that was the only furnishing in the room other than their bed. He dipped the tiny cup into his, handing it to Dl’elda. “Here you are.”

“Thank you,” she said, accepting it to sip from it.

“What were you and the miners talking about?” Danny asked her.

“The crystals and where they were going to look for them tomorrow. And if they can hide them from the Faery Queen.”

“Rachel can be pretty determined when she gets her mind set on something,” Danny said from experience.

“Hence having to come after Grace,” Steve said as he got back into bed, the fur spread out over the bed once more.

“Exactly. We could have discussed it but she just up and left without so much as a by-your-leave,” Danny said, shaking his head.

“You would let Grace come?” Dl’elda asked.

“To visit. Not to stay. I know she needs to be with the faeries from time to time. But she was raised Human. Rachel should have considered that before she brought her here.”

“What are the faeries going to say when we take Grace?” Steve asked.

“We aren’t going to take her, Steven. We aren’t stealing her. She’s going to tell the faeries that she wants to go home and she’s leaving with us,” Danny informed him.

“Are they going to settle for that? Just let her walk away?” Steve asked, skeptical.

“Doubt it. So we have the mor-eri as back-up. My biggest concern is that Rachel is a really really powerful faery. What with being the queen and all,” Danny said.

“My mom and dad will help you,” Dl’elda told them. “They will help because you are bringing me home.”

“I can’t ask that of them, love. They have to stay here. She’ll make their lives miserable if they cross her,” Danny said.

“Mom and Dad aren’t scared of her. They said she’s try-rant-ikal,” she said, frowning as she tried to repeat the word she’d heard her parents use.

“Tyrannical?” Steve asked, suppressing his smile.

“Uh huh,” Dl’elda said. “Too big for her wings.”

“Sounds like Rachel,” Danny said, yawning.

“Great. We’re not going to walk into a civil war, are we?” Steve asked.

“Hope not. It’s possible we’ll stat one,” Danny said, his eyes drifting closed of their own accord.

“Great,” Steve repeated, taking Dl’elda’s cup and placing it next to his before sliding down in the bed, Dl’elda next to his head on his pillow.


“Rise and shine, sleeping beauty,” Steve’s voice said the next morning. His lips were pressed close to Danny’s ear. They had become spoons during the night, Steve’s body wrapped protectively around Danny’s.

Danny shifted and yawned, slowly opening his eyes. “Hey.”

“How are you feeling?” Steve asked automatically, putting his palm on Danny’s forehead.

“Like I got hit by a Mack truck that backed up and tried a second time.”

“Sounds about right,” Steve agreed.

“Mmm…” Danny responded, shifting slightly in the protective circle of Steve’s arms. “Were you dreaming about me?” he asked when he backed into Steve’s firm erection.

“Yeah,” Steve said, kissing Danny’s shoulder. “Sorry.”

“Please tell me Dl’elda isn’t in here.”

“She left half an hour ago. To go the mines.”

“Good,” Danny said, rolling onto his back to look up at Steve. “We aren’t doing this. Especially not here.”

“I know,” Steve confirmed. “I can’t really help it.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to. I think it’s pretty obvious that I do,” Danny said.

“As obvious as I am?” Steve laughed.

“Not quite that obvious. Even if we could do it in their bed, there isn’t time. We need to go.”

Steve shook his head. “We can’t.”

“We can’t. What do you mean we can’t? We need to get to Faeryland,” Danny protested.

“They won’t return our clothes. Kym’kl said we are too tired and still suffering from the effects of the blizzard. Basically they’re holding us prisoner until tomorrow.”

“Oh,” Danny said. “Well. He’s not entirely wrong.”

“That’s what I said. Otherwise I’d make good on my threats and go to Faeryland in one of their fur blankets. But none of us are in any shape to continue our journey there. So we’re waiting until tomorrow.”

“Dl’elda is okay with the delay?” Danny asked.

“She is. She said we all need it. You more than us,” Steve said.

“Yeah,” Danny had to agree, looking up at Steve, his blue eyes slightly crossed. “You could kiss me.”

“No. It won’t stop there. We aren’t doing anything until we’re sure we want to do everything.”

Danny sighed but didn’t argue. Instead he carefully sat up, taking a deep breath. “Yeah. Waiting until tomorrow is a good idea.”

“You dizzy?” Steve guessed, one hand on his left shoulder to support him.

“A little. I’m also hungry. I think.”

“All right,” Steve said, leaving the bed and wrapping up in the fur. “You wait here. I’ll be right back.”

“Okay,” Danny agreed, wanting to argue. But in truth the idea of lounging in bed was too tempting and his right arm was throbbing with each heartbeat. He managed to stay awake until Steve returned with a tray loaded with plates and a pot Danny was pretty sure contained coffee. “I have to say, I’m surprised that you aren’t more adamant about us continuing to Faeryland. You were pretty anxious to be done with this ‘mission’ up to now.”

Steve sat on the bed next to him, putting the fur back over their laps. “I was going to say the same thing to you. I thought I’d have a fight on my hands.”

“Grace is safe. Nothing is going to happen to her,” Danny said, accepting a steaming cup of coffee. “But I’m keeping you away from your normal life.”

Steve shrugged. “I don’t have a job. I don’t have any particular reason to rush home.”

“Did you retire from the Navy?”

“I’m in the reserves. I transferred when my father died. Police said it was an accident but I’m certain he was murdered.”

“I’m sorry,” Danny said.

“I plan to find the bastard that did it and end him,” Steve said.

“You know who did it?” Danny asked.

“Pretty sure. I’ll find him,” Steve said in determination.

“So you are currently unemployed,” Danny said thoughtfully.

“Yeah,” Steve said, drawing out the word as he studied Danny. “Why?”

“No particular reason,” Danny said, taking a bite of fresh spiced muffin.

“You have a conspiring look on your face,” Steve said, taking a second muffin.

“Do I?” Danny asked in supposed innocence.

“Tell me.”

“Just thinking how your abilities would complement my own,” Danny said with a conspiratorial smile.

“Uh huh,” Steve said in a totally non-committal tone. “Come,” he called when there was a knock on the door.

Kym’kl peeked around the door, smiling when he saw them both awake. “Came to check on you.”

“Stole our clothes, did you?” Danny said, trying to glare at Kym’kl who just laughed.

“Sure did. Steve mentioned a fever,” he said, reaching up to put his hand on Danny’s forehead. “Mmm….”

“Bad?” Steve asked.

“Not terrible,” Kym’kl said. “I’ll get you some xor-ylext.”

“Thanks,” Danny said as the miner left.

“Do you know what xor-ylext is?” Steve asked.

“No idea. But I’m guessing it’s something to reduce fever.”

“Would I be imposing on their hospitality if I asked if I could take a bath?” Steve asked, crinkling his nose in a way that Danny most definitely didn’t find adorable.

“They’ll be glad to oblige you,” Danny said.

“You want to take one?” Steve asked, sipping his coffee.

“Do I need to?” Danny laughed.

“Not why I was asking,” Steve assured him.

Kym’kl pushed the door open and crossed back over to them, a round tea pot in his hand. “I've heard you like your coffee, Kir’rila. But this will help with the fever and the pain,” he explained, putting the ceramic pot and a fresh mug on Danny’s tray.

“Thank you,” Danny acknowledged.

“It will make you sleep. Drink when you finish eating. No one will bother you,” Kym’kl said.

Danny nodded, eating more of the muffin.

“If it’s not too much of an imposition, might I take a bath?” Steve requested as he finished his muffin, eating another one. Apparently there wasn’t enough food to fill the empty pit his stomach had become.

“Of course. It’s not a bother at all. I’ll have the tub brought in. Take ten, fifteen minutes to fill it up,” Kym’kl said.

“I can come to where it is,” Steve offered.

“It is just as easy to bring the tub. You will experience far fewer interruptions here, Kir’rila’vor.”

Steve frowned over at Danny at the term, Danny shrugging his left shoulder. No point fighting it. It was their truth and they weren’t going to be persuaded otherwise.

“Thank you,” Steve agreed, accepting the name, or title, or… he wasn’t even sure.

Kym’kl left, Steve still frowning at Danny. “What did he mean – fewer interruptions?”

“Really, babe? You haven’t seen the way they look at you?” Danny said, his eyes crinkled at the corners in warm humor.

“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Steve protested.

“Half of them want to have your baby. The other half just want to have you,” Danny told him.

“You do have a concussion,” Steve told him, shaking his head in disbelief.

“You are so cute when you are clueless,” Danny said with a laugh.

“Stop. Just stop,” Steve requested, drinking his coffee and catching sight of his bare arm. “Can I please have my tattoos back?”

“Why?” Danny asked.

“Everyone knows I’m part Human. Why can’t I have my tattoos?” Steve asked.

“Because the only beings tattooed here are criminals and those who have been ostracized.”

“Ostracized for what?” Steve asked.

“Generally acting outside the best interest of the community. They are warned and interventions are held. If nothing else works, they are tattooed and exiled.”

“Oh,” Steve said with a frown.

“What? What’s with the face?”

“Is everyone expected to be automatons? There’s no room for individuality?” Steve asked.

“Babe,” Danny said. “They are Esri who have stolen… or worse.”

“I see,” Steve said. “Are faeries exiled ever?”

“No. Their society is more fluid. And Rachel is a stern ruler. Not many will cross her,” Danny said.

“But Dl’elda’s parents are going to help us with Grace,” Steve said.

“Not if I can avoid it. I do not want Rachel exacting revenge on them. She’s going to be unhappy enough that I’m taking Grace with us.”

“Yeah,” Steve said. “Should we expect more Humans to swim though the portal? I was sent here to bring you back to seal it.”

“It’s possible someone could swim through. No one has since you.”

“And if they do?” Steve asked.

“Not a lot I can do about it from here. The beholders will deal with them if it becomes necessary.”

“Will they be harmed?” Steve asked, thinking that SEALs were as likely as anyone to swim through.

“Of course not. The beholders will cast a freezing spell. When we get back to the house, I’ll release them and send them back through.”

“The first SEAL. Is he frozen somewhere?” Steve asked.

“I told you he hasn’t gotten here yet,” Danny reminded him. “It’s one of the first things we ever discussed. Do you even listen? Or am I just talking to hear the sound of my own voice?”

“Sure,” Steve said because he knew it would make Danny frown more.

“You are incorrigible.”

“Can be,” Steve agreed. “Did you know I was coming through the portal?”

“I knew someone was. I didn’t know it would be you specifically,” Danny said.

“But you knew I’d help you find Grace.”

“Once you got here, yeah,” Danny said. It sounded like a confession, one he was reluctant to reveal.

“Can you see the future?” Steve asked in suspicion.

“Yes. And no. Time spirals back on itself here.”

“Have I been here before?” Steve asked, his eyes narrowed in concentration.

“No. Yes. I mean you have – you will. But later.” Danny sighed, staring in seeming fascination at his coffee cup. “Do you want to hear this?”

“Depends,” Steve said, watching Danny not looking at him. “Our relationship. Is it a foregone conclusion?”

At first Steve didn’t think Danny was planning to answer. He continued to avoid meeting Steve’s gaze and it seemed as though he hadn’t actually heard his question. Finally, Danny looked up at Steve, his eyes filled with something akin to… fire was the best way Steve could think of it.

“There is a reason Kym’kl called you Kir’rila’vor,” Danny finally said in a carefully neutral voice.

“It is destined,” Steve said.

“Destiny makes it sound pre-ordained. They know because we come back later. After you’re sure about what you want.”

“Oh,” Steve said. It was the sound of the air leaving a balloon. “I don’t know what to say in response to that.”

“That’s why I didn’t particularly want to tell you. You can alter that future. Always in motion is the future. If you decide this…” Danny said, pointing at himself to Steve and back, “isn’t what you want, it won’t happen.”

“Then the miners wouldn’t be calling me Kir’rila’vor,” Steve said.

“That’s one possible future, babe. There are plenty of others. At this moment, our futures are tied together. You can break the ties. You can undo your bowline and never see me again,” Danny told him, sounding as impartial as he possibly could.

“But that’s not going to happen,” Steve said. He wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement. Or possibly a confession.

“It still can, Steve. I do not want you to believe I’m making you want this,” Danny said firmly. “You have free will to decide. It’s absolutely imperative that you understand that.”

“Once we return home, I’ll remember all this, right? No matter what?” Steve asked.

“Of course. I can’t take your memories. Even if I could, I never would.”

Steve nodded at that, considering all that had been said. “Do the miners know about our futures? Is that why he called me that?”

“They feel the future but they don’t see it. It’s intuitive. They feel our connection but can’t describe the details of what will happen next.”

“Surprisingly, that makes sense.”

“You have learned much, young one,” Danny said, Steve having no choice but to laugh.

“Let me guess. George Lucas is part Esri,” Steve laughed.

“No idea,” Danny said with a shrug followed by a grimace.

“Bad, huh?” Steve asked, taking Danny’s coffee cup and pouring him a cup of tea instead.

“Not great,” Danny said, sipping the tea. “Do you have any more questions you need to ask before I fall asleep?”

“I don’t think so,” Steve said. “Once I take my bath, I’m going to visit with the miners. But I’m sure I’ll know if you need me.”

“I’ll be fine. I’m warm and safe. No mor-eri and no crevices waiting for the chance to swallow me,” Danny said. “If they ask you any questions, tell them the truth. You don’t have to hide anything from them.”

“All right,” Steve said with a slight frown. That didn’t make a lot of sense to him but he trusted there was a reason Danny said it.

It wasn’t long before Kym’kl returned, pushing a huge oval tub, two other dwarves helping him. They put it right next to the fire blazing in the hearth, one of the dwarves coming over to the bed to hand Steve several towels and a folded garment.

“Thank you,” Steve said sincerely.

“Let us know when you are finished. We’ll return and remove it,” Kym’kl said, standing next to Danny.

“I will,” Steve agreed.

Kym’kl lay his hand on Danny’s forehead one last time before shooing out the miners, following them and closing the door when they were all on the other side.

Steve left the warm bed, unfolding the garment to find that it looked like a standard human bathrobe, large enough to fit him. “Where’d this come from?” he asked, holding it up,  surprised that the hem reached below his knees. It was dark red and made of a thick, warm material that was soft to the touch.

“Must be Esri,” Danny said. “I guess someone left it here.”

Steve nodded, putting it on the end of the bed before stepping out of his briefs. He climbed into the tub, sinking chin deep into the steaming water. “Oh yeah.”

“Help with some of your stiffness,” Danny said.

“Going for a run would help even more,” Steve said.

“You can run tomorrow. You’ll walk the mines when you’re done and that will help,” Danny said.

“Yeah,” Steve agreed, closing his eyes to enjoy the warmth soaking into his bones. “You should take a bath when you wake up.”

“I will,” Danny said, moving down in the bed until his head was on his pillows.

“Did you finish your tea?” Steve asked.

“One cup. I’m too sleepy to drink any more right now.”

“All right. I’ll ask Kym’kl to bring you more for when you wake up,” Steve said.

“’kay,” Danny agreed with a yawn, his eyes closing on their own until he was fast asleep.

Steve watched the even rise and fall of his breathing, considering all that they had discussed. He did believe, with his heart if not yet his head, that they belonged together. That it was destiny or fate or… maybe even the Force. That didn’t explain why his head was still hesitant to acknowledge it and act on it. Well, they couldn’t exactly act on it in the miners’ bed. But he could admit how he felt. He didn’t think it was Esri magic that was causing his depth of feeling. Still, it was a lot to take in. His entire life was on the verge of changing. That took some getting used to no matter how much he was certain it was the right decision to make.

antivolantivol on November 5th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
I'll be in line with the dwarf women, trying to watch Steve take a bath! I'm loving the story and the universe you're creating here : )! Thanks for the update!
Are 6 dogs too many?: beautifultkeylasunset on November 7th, 2012 01:46 am (UTC)
I'd watch Steve do almost anything!! I'd even scrub his back for him because I'm good like that!


Thank you for the lovely comment.