Danny is something else now.
He used to be Davos's brother; even as he spilt Davos's blood and Davos returned the favor. They were always in this together.
(In those deep dark nights when the sun seemed like it would never rise again and the wind howled around their mountain- when he would lie still and feel even then his heart beating in sync with Danny's, Davos would dream. Wide awake and staring unseeing into the cold black, he would be given glorious visions of the two of them, side by side, guarding the Pass. It was silly, and impossible and such a terrible dream to perpetuate, and yet. He kept dreaming. He never told Danny. He never told anyone.)
Danny is different. He was Davos's brother, his closest friend. Davos would have done anything for him. Davos would have killed and died for him.
Danny is the Iron Fist now.
He can never again be anything else.
He sees something in Danny's eyes that day in the Sun Chamber. Even with his blood pumping so loudly he can't hear anything, even with cuts and bruises and broken ribs screaming at him, Davos sees the change in Danny's eyes.
At first, he thinks it's resolve, or determination. A kind of hardening, an armor sliding into place.
(Danny has always been too soft-hearted; Davos had been half-worried he'd kill Danny in this room. He just had to hope he would yield before that happened.)
Now, Davos is not sure. Lying on the floor with Danny looming over him, his blood no longer rushing but sluggishly dripping from his face, his vision going black, the man above him is a stranger to Davos. This isn't his brother. This isn't his Danny.
This man with the hard, cold eyes is someone Davos has never seen before.
Where did Danny go?
He goes with Danny, to watch over his final trial. He wonders if he'll ever see his brother again.
Some small shadow in the back of his head hopes Danny won't come back out. The rest of Davos recoils violently and feels like retching when the thought 'it was my birthright' floats, unbidden, behind his eyes.
He waits, alone and shivering- with cold or hope, he is truthfully unsure- until Danny bursts back into view.
If Davos thought Rand had changed in the Sun Chamber, it is nothing compared to Danny now.
There is a dragon burned into Rand's chest.
Davos remembers when they were boys, when they were teenagers and when they were young men breaking their hands on rocks. They would go shirtless some days, when the sun burned their skin (Danny's redder than Davos's and he would always laugh but he would also always help soothe the ache later that night) and sweat made everything uncomfortably sticky. Danny's skin was always smooth and the only things marring him then were the scars from the crash.
Now his chest is black and foreboding and Davos can't look directly at it. Danny went in looking for the Iron Fist. Davos thinks the dragon gave him a heart of stone instead.
Maybe that is what the Weapon of K'un-Lun needs.
He just wishes the Iron Fist could have stayed Danny as well.
The Pass is frozen; it bites at the skin, stings the eyes, worms its icy fingers underneath clothing to touch cold fingers to the heart and lungs.
It's not a place he can imagine Danny staying in for a long period of time. Danny is light and warm and comforting. Danny is too kind of the Pass. (He is too soft, a voice as sharp and burning as a knife between the ribs whispers in Davos's mind. He shuts it up quickly.)
But here Rand stands, as aloof as the mountain he guards. He has been here for days, weeks, maybe months. He is unmovable as granite, unfazed as marble.
K'un-Lun is safe in his steady hands.
But, Davos wonders for the first time, looking down on Danny, never stepping forward to meet those stranger's eyes in the face of a friend, is Rand safe in K'un-Lun's hands?
Danny used to be a rambler. Even when taught patience and silence were virtues, even when he meditated every day for twelve hours straight when they were thirteen. He never shut up when they were alone at the end of the day.
One day, Davos remembers asking him if he loved the sound of his own voice.
"Not at all," Danny had replied, and the bright light in his face seemed to dim for a minute. "Why do you think I want to get out of my own head so much?"
Davos never asked again. He let Danny talk instead; he didn't mind being quiet, especially if it meant Danny learned someone liked his voice.
He stands with Danny only once. It is enough. It is more than enough.
"Why are you here?" Danny asks. His voice is so hoarse it's as if his vocal cords are rusted. Davos supposes he doesn't have much of anyone to talk to out here. He doesn't have to wonder if he's the first to visit Danny.
(It's been too long. He watches over Rand every day- he doesn't quite know what else to do. The others want him to return to the temple, to teach and work with them, to rejoin the life he is leaving behind for a cold boulder looking over a remote mountain pass and the walking body of a brother who might as well be dead to him. Priya looks at him strangely sometimes but never speaks her questions into being, and Lei Kung cannot seem to meet his own son's eyes on the best day. He wonders if they've even thought about going to see Danny after he won the Iron Fist. He wonders if they would set eyes on him and feel the bewildering urge to apologize, as Davos does. He wonders if they think the both of them mad. He feels mad some days. Most days. He's never been this long without Danny before.)
"Danny." Davos says. He can't seem to think of anything else to say.
"Why are you here?" Danny repeats. His tone holds no inflection, his eyes no feeling. He looks like paper one moment, too thin and fragile, but hard as stone the next second, still and indestructible.
Maybe, Davos realizes, I waver between who he is: Danny or the Iron Fist.
"I needed to see you." Davos has never been dumbfound, and especially not by something Danny Rand has said. But- Danny has never been so taciturn, not with Davos. They were always brothers, thick as blood and affection running twice as hot.
"K'un-Lun is safe," Danny tells him emotionlessly. He doesn't move a muscle, not even when Davos steps into his space. The wind whips around the two of them sharp as a slap in the face, robes and hair ruffling viciously against skin. He doesn't blink, his expression remains impassive.
"I wanted to see you." He chances a hand on Danny's bicep. It is like clutching diamond. Danny doesn't feel warm at all.
It's like he isn't human anymore.
"K'un-Lun is safe," the Iron Fist drones. Davos searches for something- anything- behind those flat eyes and finds nothing. Not even a flicker of Danny Rand remains.
The Iron Fist consumes all.
Davos leaves his only friend at the gate he was ready to protect with his life and wonders who really won that fight in the Sun Chamber; Danny Rand became the Iron Fist but at the expense of himself and Davos is free of all responsibility save that of watching his brother wither under iron chains Davos's own family slapped on his wrists and called a gift.
Davos has wanted to be the Iron Fist for so very long. It is the highest honor of his people. Seeing it on Danny Rand makes the dull realization that to be a weapon is not a kindness sickening.
The Iron Fist guards the Pass. Always.
Davos will keep watch over Danny Rand. It is all that he can do now- for his brother, for himself.
He takes up vigil, forever silent, ever watchful. Davos may not have won the right to be K'un-Lun's ultimate weapon, but he has proven himself worthy to be Danny Rand's protector. He was there to watch Danny grow, to help him learn and for Danny to lean on when overwhelmed by his immense duty after he received the Iron Fist. He was the last one to look into the Iron Fist's eyes and call him Danny.
No longer does Davos dream of standing shoulder to shoulder with his brother at the gate. He dreams not of comradery and glorious battles and protecting his homeland. He no longer wishes he could share the burden of his birthright with his chosen family.
Now Davos dreams of snow and white and rebirth. He wakes in the night and no longer dreads the rise of day but longs for the first rays of sun. As a child, he used to have Danny's breathing to reassure him that the world was still turning. He has lost that now. Only daylight will reveal the Iron Fist to him, night after night.
He dreams- only sparingly and only ever moments before waking, sweating in the subfreezing temperatures- of the day when he will once more look into those blue eyes and see Danny looking back at him.
Davos might not be the Iron Fist, but he has become a guardian all the same.