melissas_corner: (Danny and Grace)
[personal profile] melissas_corner
Author's Notes: Inspired by these pictures of Scott Caan and Teilor Grubbs. If you've read any of my other fics, you know I usually write first person present. I thought this time I'd try something different: third person present limited. Hold mouse over highlighted text for translation.

It's a beautiful day. But then again, this is Hawai'i and every day is beautiful. It's almost like it's required or something. That doesn't mean it doesn't rain, because it does, Hawai'i is in the tropics after all. But each day does usually have some part of it that's beautiful beyond belief.

It's one of the things Grace loves most about her new home. Sure she misses getting days off from school due to snow but it's overridden by the fact that she can wear shorts year round.

And is an excellent excuse to get her father outside.

She has perfected the art of getting him to take her somewhere whenever he has some downtime from his job with the state task force. While she prefers the beach, she is a Jersey Shore girl at heart; if she's with her Danno, and outside, she's happy.

Since her father doesn't like the beach, or so he says, he usually takes her to a park or the zoo and when she can talk him into inviting his partner, and boss, Steve along it's always much more fun.

And today is one of those days.

Danno's knee has been bothering him so he's put his foot down about a trip to the beach and instead is taking her to a local park where she can ride her bike and he can throw a ball with Steve.

Grace is standing in the middle of Danny's apartment, staring at the door and bouncing on her toes.

"C'mon. C'mon," she mutters, willing Steve to knock on the door despite there being almost five minutes until he's supposed to arrive. Danny and Steve don't get much time off so when they do, she likes to get the day started early so she can at least spend some time with them in case they get called into work.

If they weren't going to the park, she'd be rushing Danny because when they go to the beach they pick Steve up at his place. But going to the park means she gets to ride her bike and since it doesn't fit in the trunk of Danny's Camero they take Steve's truck. But they still have to stop at Grace's house to get it.

Not that Grace even likes her bike. For one thing it's purple, when she clearly told Santa she wanted a pink one, and for another it's not the one she's been eyeing at Wal-Mart. When she wrote Santa with what she wanted for Christmas, she even went so far as to give him the product number off the Wal-Mart website. The bike she got was the one right below it so she figures Santa just didn't double check.

"Danno!" she yells, spinning to glare at the closed bathroom door. "He's gonna be here any minute!"

"And I'll be ready when he gets here, Monkey. Try a little patience, please." She makes a sound in the back of her throat that if her father had heard would have him wishing she'll never become a teenager.

Just when she's decided that Steve's going to be late, for the first time ever, there's a knock on the door. She squeals, jumping up and down, clapping her hands. "Danno, he's here!"

"So answer the door. I'll be right out." That's all the permission Grace needs.

She throws open the door and launches herself at the man on the other side. "Steve!"

Scooping her up into his arms the former SEAL tosses her over his shoulder so that she's hanging half down his back. "Glad to see me, are you?"

"Always!" Grace laughs when Steve tickles the small strip of skin that becomes visible at the small of her back when her shirt comes untucked from her shorts.

"Where's your dad?" Steve sets Grace back on her feet, escorting her inside with one hand to her shoulder.

"Right here." Danny exits the bathroom, buckling his belt.

"Really, Danny?" Steve chuckles. "A white tee and khakis?"

"What? It's comfortable."

Steve sighs. "We're going to the park."

Danny looks down at what he's wearing. "And that's why I'm wearing shorts."

"Khaki shorts, Danny?" Steve sounds like he can't believe what he's hearing and seeing. "I happen to know you own a pair of jeans."

Danny rolls his eyes and limps into the kitchen. "And it's over 100 degrees out there."

Grace has been watching the by-play between her father and his partner avidly, her head twisting back and forth like she's watching a tennis match. "Dad can't get his jeans over his brace," she says, touching Steve's hand and point at her father's right knee where a black neoprene brace can be seen peeking out from under the bottom hem of his shorts.

Steve's brow furrows in concern. "You're wearing your brace."

"We'll make a detective outta you yet, Commander McGarrett," Danny mutters, adding the finishing touches to the cooler sitting in the middle of the kitchen.

"How long, Danny?"

"Couple days." It's obvious they're in each other's company enough to not have to speak in complete sentences. "Remember that perp you made me chase down?"

Steve sputters and Grace puts her hand to her mouth to stifle her giggle at how Danno teases Steve. "I made you chase him?"

Grace realizes that most adults would see Danny and Steve bickering and think they don't like each other, but Grace knows better. She knows that they're just teasing and they actually like each other. Hearing them banter actually makes her feel safe.

Grace may only be eight years old but she knows the difference between arguing and bantering. Danny and her mother used to argue all the time. Now, though, they try to get along and are successful, for the most part. Grace would like to think it's because they now live in such a beautiful place as Hawai'i but has a feeling it's more due to Steve's influence. He gives Danny someone to rant at so that when Rachel does something that angers Danny, he can work it off before he has to face her.

But right now, Steve and Danny are bickering over why Danny was chasing a suspect earlier in the week which is why he's currently limping and wearing his knee brace.

"Yes, you," Danny points at Steve. "You spooked him and then just had to go running off which meant I had to chase him down."

"He threw the detonator, Danny. If I didn't press the trigger within ten seconds, the bomb would have blown." From the way Steve says this, Grace knows it's something he's repeated several times.

"Because you spooked him." Danny thumps the lid of the cooler closed. "Take this out to your truck, Army man."

Even from where Grace is standing she can hear Steve grind his teeth, it's obvious that even though he knows that Danny doesn't mean anything by it, that it's the way he shows he cares, it still rubs him the wrong way. "Navy, Daniel. I'm in the Navy."

Danny just lifts one eyebrow and Steve snorts with amusement and enters the kitchen, backing Danny against the counter.

Grace can't hear what's being said but that's okay because after about a minute Danny laughs out loud and Grace giggles at how happy he sounds.

And he does deserve to be happy after the past couple of years he's had. Grace is aware that there are things she doesn't know about what happened between her parents both before and after their marriage ended, but she's also aware that both her parents weren't happy for a long time. Her mother got her happiness back when she met Stan a year after Danny moved out, but Danny didn't get his back until he met Steve. And that makes her happy, too.

Grace isn't sure what she wants to be when she grows up but she is her father's daughter and that means she notices everything. When she's with Danny and Steve she notices that they touch. A lot. And stand well within each other's space. If she didn't know that both men have personal space issues she'd think it was normal. Of course the casual observer wouldn't notice but Grace spends a lot of time with the two men and so has plenty of opportunity to observe them.

Another thing Grace has learned from her father is how to make people forget she's in the room. Danny told her once that you can learn the most interesting things about most people by observing them when they think they're alone. Or when you let silence fill the room so that they feel the need to talk. He said that he learned that particular interrogation tactic from his training officer, not that he practices it outside of the interrogation room. Most people don't like silence, especially if they're feeling uncomfortable or guilty about something, and so will talk just to fill the empty spaces.

And Steve and Danny are so used to Grace being around that they tend to let their guard down around her and act like they would if they were alone. She's learned some interesting new words, words that got her mouth washed out with soap the one time she slipped in front of her mother, in the times they've actually forgotten she was around and stopped watching their language. But that's okay, too. Danny is so relaxed when he's with Steve that Grace doesn't mind the times his attention lags. Plus she loves Steve. In her head she calls him 'Step-Steve', just like she calls Stan, 'Step-Stan'. To her, Steve is as much her step-father as Stan. Oh, she knows that Danny and Steve aren't married, and probably won't ever be, and that's okay; Steve's still ohana.

Danny pushes against Steve's chest and says something that has the taller man shaking his head. This is obviously not the response Danny was expecting because he shoves against Steve's shoulder hard enough that Steve has to take a step back. The first time Grace saw her father and Steve like this she was worried that Steve had angered Danny and that Danny wouldn't let Steve come around anymore. But now she knows that as long as neither is actually yelling at the other, then it's okay because it's just the way they are with each other.

Steve picks up the cooler and winks at her, like they've just shared a secret, when he passes her on his way out of the apartment. Danny mumbles something about Neanderthals and thick skulls and follows Steve, shooing Grace before him with one hand to her back.

"We still have to stop by Rachel's and get Grace's bike," Danny reminds Steve, locking the door behind him.

"No, we don't." Steve shuts the tailgate with a bang.

"What do you mean we don't have to stop to get Grace's bike? I told her she could ride it at the park. Don't make me a liar, McGarrett."

Grace stands between her father and Steve, her eyes trained on Steve because he gives less away with his voice and more with his face, than Danny, and so she notices the way his lips thin and his eyes narrow. Uh-oh. Both are a clear sign that he's starting to get angry.

"Not making you a liar, Daniel." He points at the bed of the truck. "I just so happen to have bought her one that she can keep at my place."

"You bought my daughter a bike!?" Grace winces at the volume with which her father asks that question.

Steve's chin tips up, reminding her of the boys in her class right before they get into a fight with each other over something stupid, like which is cooler: Xbox Live or Wii. "And what if I did?"

"You do not get to spoil my kid." Danny steps closer and lowers his voice, but since Grace is still standing between them she can still hear what he's saying. "Step-Stan does enough of that already."

The fight goes out of Steve's stance and he visibly relaxes. "Not trying to spoil her, Danny. I just thought it'd be for the best if she also had a bike at my place so that we don't always have to stop at Rachel's to get the one she got for Christmas."

Some of the fight goes out of Danny at Steve's response, but not much. He's a proud man who doesn't like it when others buy things for Grace that he feels he should be the one to buy. "Ask next time."

Steve nods. "Sorry." Steve is confident that Danny forgives him, that's just the way it is with best friends, but he still waits until Danny nods before smiling again.

"Wait." Danny raises one hand. "Please tell me you didn't buy her a Hannah Montana bike."

Steve actually looks insulted at that. "What kind of guy do you think I am?" He looks down at where Grace is standing and puts one hand on her head. "Want to see which one I got?"

"Yeah!" Grace doesn't even wait for Steve to reach down to pick her up; she just climbs him like a tree. "It’s the one I wanted!" she squeals when Steve props her on one hip so she can see into the bed of his truck. Throwing her arms around his neck, she hugs him as tight as she can. "Thank you, Steve!"

Steve squeaks, pretending she's squeezing too tight. "You're welcome, Makana."

"That's my daughter, my eight-year-old daughter, Steven. There is no need for the whole 'Smooth Dog' act so if you could kindly knock it off and focus on my face telling you to stop spoiling her? Thank you."

Steve just blinks at Danny but before he can make any kind of reply, Grace plants a noisy kiss to Steve's cheek and says, "I love you, Steve."

"Oh, God," Danny mutters. "Not even my daughter is immune."

The grin on Grace's face widens when she turns in Steve's arms to look at Danny. "I love you, too, Danno."

Never one to resist that look, or even that phrase, from his daughter, Danny's heart melts and he sighs deeply. "Fine." He throws his hands up in the air. "We'll consider this payback for all the times I've paid for your beer because you 'left' your wallet at home. And really, why would you do that? Hm? You know you're supposed to have your license on you when you're driving. You are never driving my car again until I see your wallet with your license in it."

In order to stop the rant before Danny really gets off track, Steve and Grace press their cheeks together and grin widely at Danny who rolls his eyes. Luckily it works. "Don't think I don't know what you two are up to." He wags his finger in their faces. "And it's not gonna work." Grace turns her head and locks eyes with Steve, both letting their lower lip stick out in a mock pout. "Oh, stop with the innocent act. I know you both, remember?"

"You know you love us, Danno," Steve says in a near perfect imitation of a child.

Danny makes a sound of frustration in the back of his throat. "You, my friend,-" he points one finger in Steve's face. "-are a bad influence on my daughter. Give her back, please." He makes a 'gimme' motions with his hands.

Grace all but throws herself at Danny, knowing he'll catch her. The instant she's safe in his arms, she wraps hers around his neck and plants a wet noisy kiss to his cheek and says, "I love you, Danno" in her sweetest voice.

"You said that already." Grace bats her eyelashes and thrusts her lower lip out even further. "Oh, for the love of-" Danny tips his head back and stares up at the sky. "How is this my life?" Blowing out a breath through his nose, he raises his head and brushes a kiss to Grace's hair. "Love you, too, Monkey."

"So I can keep the bike?"

"As if I'd make you give it back." He looks at her with mock horror on his face. "What kind of father do you think I am?" Grace hugs his neck tighter and squeals. "Alright, alright," Danny mutters. "Let's get going." He opens the door to the backseat of Steve's truck and sets Grace inside. "Buckle up, Sweetie."

"Yes, Daddy," Grace says sweetly, doing as she's told.

Before they climb into the cab, Danny puts a hand on Steve's arm and makes him show his wallet first. Steve looks hurt but Danny doesn't back down, so Steve pulls out his wallet and shows his driver's license. Danny nods like he's satisfied, and he and Steve climb into the front of the cab and Steve puts it in gear, backing out of the spot and smoothly merging with traffic.

Once they're under way, Grace zones out to the beloved sounds of her father's Jersey thickened voice tempered with Steve's more laid back island tones. It's almost a compulsion for Danny to rant about something when in the car with Steve, especially when Steve's driving.

From the corner of her eye, Grace can see Danny flapping his hands as he rants at Steve about whatever it is that has him wound up today. When she sees Steve's hand move toward Danny's, she turns her head and watches as Steve laces his fingers with Danny's. Danny halts mid-word at the touch of Steve's hand, giving a soft, "Oh" before taking a deep breath and switching topics to something not quite so rant worthy.

Steve clears his throat softly enough that Danny doesn't hear it over his rambling but Grace hears it, it's a sound she always listens for when they're all together, and she looks up and meets Steve's eyes in the rearview mirror. Steve smiles at her and winks, then slowly extracts his fingers from Danny's so he can have both hands on the steering wheel.

Deep down where it counts, Grace knows her father and Steve are a couple. Not that they'd ever admit it, to her or anyone else. And it's not because they're men, or even that Steve's military and Danny's a cop. Well, not just those reasons. No, they won't say anything to anyone because it's really no one's business. The people who have a right to know, know without having to be told.

In Grace's eight year-old world view, what makes Steve and Danny a couple are things others would over look. Things like how they bicker (which Grace knows is just loving banter) and, of course, insult each other (terms of endearment).

If someone was to ask Grace what makes two people a couple, she'd say it's when they hold hands, spend time together, get in each other's space and can finish each other's sentences. She sees all that in Danny and Steve. And it makes her happy to know that Danny has someone who cares for him like Stan cares for her mother.

Grace swings her feet slightly, thumping her heels against the edge of her seat, and watches the passing scenery with a smile on her face because at this moment in time all is right in her world. Steve and Danno are taking her to the park where she'll ride her bike and Steve will grill hamburgers and hotdogs and toss a ball with Danny.

They arrive at the park and Danny doesn't even stop talking, just climbs from the truck and turns to assist Grace to the ground before grabbing the bag Steve packed with several baseballs, three gloves (one Gracie sized), one soccer ball and one football. Steve lowers the tailgate and reaches in to grab Grace's bike. "You got it, Makana?" he asks, not letting it go until she nods. "Hey, Danno," he calls and Grace bites her lip to stop from laughing at the frustrated look on her father's face at Steve using her nickname for him. "There should be some safety equipment in that bag."

Danny sets the bag on the seat and pulls out a helmet and pads, all pink with flowers that match the bike, and helps Grace put them on. "Okay, Monkey?"

"Yes, Daddy." Danny tips Grace's face up and kisses her nose.

The three of them head off to the picnic area, picking a table and grill set away from the main area where other families were enjoying the day.

"I'm fairly certain I said no to the beach, Steven," Danny grumbles when he spies the water in the distance.

"And we're not at the beach, Daniel."

Danny drops the bag on the table and spins to face Steve, flinging one arm out behind him in the direction of the water. "Then why can I see water?"

"Um, because we live on an island? Very few places don't have a view of the ocean." Danny just lifts one brow. Steve rolls his head on his neck. "That's not the ocean. It's a pond."

"A pond." Danny doesn't seem convinced.

"Yes, Danny. Similar to a lake but smaller? Is it a problem?"

"Danno?" Grace pipes up, trying to remind Danny why they're at the park.

He smiles at her. "Sorry, Gracie." He runs his hand over her helmeted head. "Why don't you go ride for a bit? We'll call when lunch is ready."

"Okay." She turns to pedal off.

"Just stay where we can see you," Danny calls. She stops and turns back to wave and smile to show she heard and agrees before pumping her legs to build up speed away from the two men. She spends some time racing her shadow before joining in a race with some of the other children. She comes in second and feels rather proud for having beaten several boys. She thinks she could be friends with some, if not all, of the children she meets. Until a couple of the girls start making gagging noises and what they're saying registers.

"Ew, look at that. How disgusting! They shouldn't be allowed to be out in public." Grace turns and follows their line of sight, confused as to what could possibly have them so upset.

When her gaze lands on where Steve and Danny are standing near their table she understands. Danny is leaning back against the table edge with his arms and ankles crossed and Steve is standing really close, his hands on Danny's shoulders. Their heads are bent close and it appears they either just kissed or are about to.

Grace feels the flush of anger bloom up her neck and into her face but she can't think of a single thing to say other than, "They're my parents. What's so wrong?"

All her new friends turn to stare at her in disbelief and shock. Suddenly every single one of them remembers they have somewhere else to be. And for the first time in her life, Grace finds herself on the outside as all the other children hurry off back to their own parents' side.

Feeling dejected, Grace dismounts her bike and walks it slowly back to where Steve and Danny are still standing, totally oblivious to what's happening on the other side of the park.

"Hey, Baby," Danny greets when he spies her. "What happened to your new friends?"

She shakes her head and puts on her best smile. "They had to go eat. Is lunch ready? I'm hungry."

"Almost," Steve answers, turning toward the grill and pressing on the hamburgers with his spatula.

Removing her safety gear, Grace flops down on the bench and props her chin on her folded arms, swinging her feet so that the toes of her shoes brush the grass.

Danny slides onto the bench next to her. "Hey, Monkey," he says, his voice soft and soothing as only a father's can be. "What's wrong? You know you can tell Danno anything, right?"

She nods. Danny is just as much her friend as he is her father and while she can tell him anything, she just doesn't know how to tell him what the kids said about him and Steve.

Danny runs one hand down her hair in a caress that conveys just how much he loves her and Grace throws herself into his arms, wrapping her arms around his torso as tight as she can.

"Hey," he whispers. "What's all this, then?" Grace knows she's probably scaring him with this uncharacteristic display of affection; not that she doesn't ever hug him for no reason, she just doesn't usually pout while doing it. "Gracie, please tell me what's wrong."

"You do realize that she's a girl and girls get in these moods where they're emotional, right?" Steve asks from his spot by the grill.

"I have sisters, was married for several years and am her father, so yes, I am aware that 'girls get in moods'." Danny rolls his eyes at his partner. "But my daughter has yet to be in one of those moods and not tell me how she's feeling."

"Everything's fine, Danno," Grace says, pulling back to smile up at her father. "Some of the kids were talking about this other kid who just lost her father and-" she breaks off with a shrug, knowing that both men will follow the thought to its conclusion.

"Oh, Monkey," Danny breathes, grabbing Grace to his side in a fierce embrace while blinking back tears at the thought of some child he doesn't even know growing up without a father.

"Grace…" Even Steve's voice is thick with unshed tears. Grace doesn't like lying to them but she also knows that they think they're being discreet when they're actually anything but.

Steve joins Danny and Grace on the bench, straddling it on Grace's other side so he can wrap his arms around both her and Danny. Both men kiss Grace's head before pulling back, Steve jumping up to rescue their lunch from the fire and Danny rubbing Grace's back gently. "You okay?" She nods. "Okay." With one last kiss to her temple, Danny stands up and gets the plates ready.

"Hamburger or hotdog, Makana?" Steve asks, turning just enough to catch her eye.

"Hotdog," she replies, slowly getting back to her usual cheerful self. This day is supposed to be about having fun with her father and Step-Steve.

"One hotdog, coming right up." Steve flips the tongs in the air which makes Grace giggle. "What would you like on your hotdog, madam?" He places a well cooked dog in a bun as gently as if it was made of glass.

Grace grins up at Steve. "Ketchup and mustard, please!"

"As you wish." Steve hands the dog over to Danny who squeezes some of the requested condiments down each side of the dog in its bun. Adding some carrot sticks to her plate, he sets it in front of her along with a cup of fruit punch.

Steve and Danny fix their burgers and join her at the table, Danny next to her and Steve sitting across from them. They munch happily on their lunch for several minutes before Steve pulls a camera out of the duffle bag sitting on the table at his right elbow.

"And just what are you planning on doing with that?" Danny asks, pointing at the very expensive camera in Steve's hand.

"Um, I thought I'd take some pictures since that's what it's for."

"You are not taking my picture while I'm eating."

"No, Daniel, I'm not. No one wants to see pictures of you eating." Steve just barely refrains from laughing out loud.

"F-" Danny begins then seems to remember not only where he is but who he's with. He glances down at where Grace is chomping on a carrot stick, looking out over the water and looking for all intents and purposes like she's not paying any attention to the two men sitting at the table with her. "Bite me," he says instead. Steve chuckles and the corners of Grace's mouth tilt up slightly at the way the two men tease each other. The rest of lunch is spent the way most meals are when Steve and Danny are together: they trade insults, keeping them as clean as they can in difference of Grace's presence and steal food off each other's plates.

Once lunch is finished and clean-up completed, Steve pulls out the baseballs and gloves and the three of them begin throwing a ball around. Steve and Danny have to chase it a bit when Grace throws it to them, and she's not so good at catching it, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that they're having fun and enjoying each other's company.

After about twenty minutes of tossing the ball with Danny and Grace, Steve breaks away to pull out his camera and take some pictures of Grace playing with her father. Danny is so involved with teaching Grace how to catch and throw that it's nearly a full twenty minutes before he notices that Steve has been taking their picture. The frown Danny gives Steve over Grace's head doesn't bother Steve at all; he just shrugs and continues to snap pictures of father and daughter enjoying the afternoon together.

About ten minutes later Grace grows tired of tossing the ball and Steve starts posing them. At first it's typical tourist type poses but he quickly abandons those when he can't get Danny to do more than grimace. Grace is the one who comes up the idea of her and Danny just being themselves. Steve gets some great photos of Danny tickling Grace and holding her upside down, the joy at spending the day with her father clear on her pretty little face.

When Grace begins trying to climb Danny like she did Steve, Danny does a bicep curl with Grace hanging on, the toes of her shoes just barely brushing the grass. Steve can't help but laugh out loud and Grace turns her head to beam at the man who is quickly becoming like a father to her just as he snaps a picture.

Steve fills up the memory card with more photos of Danny and Grace even getting a picture of Grace perched on her father's shoulders, the matching smiles on their faces proving that not only are the two of them having the time of their lives but that they're enjoying the company of the person taking the pictures.

"Okay, guys, there's no more room on the memory card. What say we call it a day, hm?" Steve calls out, replacing the lens cap before putting the camera back in the bag and picking up the discarded balls and gloves and Grace's bike helmet and pads.

"Can we go see Kamekona and get a shave ice?" Grace asks, skipping along beside her father.

Both men share a look over her head similar to that of parents the world over. "Sure, Monkey," Danny says fondly.

They head back to the truck with Steve carrying the cooler, Danny carrying the duffle and Grace pushing her bike. Danny assists Grace into the truck while Steve loads the cooler and bike into the bed. When Danny begins to step back to close the door, Grace grabs his arm.

"What is it, Grace?" His brows lower over his nose in a frown of confusion.

"I-" Grace falters, not really sure how to tell him that she's glad he's happy with Steve. "I had fun today. With you and Steve."

Danny smiles. "Yeah, I had fun too." He reaches out to smooth one hand down her hair. "We should do this more often, huh?" Graces nods and Danny chuckles, stepping back to shut the door. "C'mon, Army man, my daughter is craving some shave ice!" he calls out, climbing into the front seat.

"Navy, Daniel! I'm in the freaking Navy!" Grace can hear Steve's shout over her father's laughter. "Okay, I'll make you a deal-" Steve says, climbing behind the wheel and slamming his door shut, pointing his finger at Danny's face. "-I'll stop saying 'book 'em, Danno' if you'll stop insulting me by saying I'm in the Army." He grimaces at the hated word like it leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.

Danny pretends to think about it. "Hm." He taps one finger against his lips. "Nope." He shakes his head. "I told you, I like it."

"Danno," Steve says in a tone that Grace is sure is supposed to make her father back down.

And of course Danny doesn't back down one inch. He just laughs in Steve's face. "Come off it, Steven. You know you like it."

Steve laughs in return. "I like you," he whispers like most people say 'I love you' and Grace is sure if she wasn't present they'd be kissing. Of course if she wasn't present, they wouldn't have spent the afternoon at the park.

Danny punches Steve in the arm. "I like you, too, ya big goof."

Grace bites her lip and wishes people didn't think that what her Danno and Step-Steve share is wrong. How can love be wrong? She may only be eight years-old but she knows that Steve and Danny have deeper feelings for each other than 'like'. And it doesn't bother her if they refuse to admit it. She knows it deep in her heart and she knows they know how the other feels.

It's times like this that she wishes she was brave enough to let them know she knows and doesn't care. May be some day they'll come to that conclusion on their own but she doubts it. Not only are they adults but they're men and everyone knows men refuse to even admit they have feelings, much less that they have feelings for another man.

Danny sighs and sits back. "Can we go get some shave ice, now?"

"Gracie?" Steve tilts his head so he can see where Grace is sitting in the backseat in the rearview mirror. "What do you say?"

"Kamekona's shave ice stand, please, Steve!" She bounces in her seat.

Both men laugh at her antics. "Shave ice it is, then!" Steve puts the car in gear and merges smoothly with traffic, headed for the beach and Kamekona's shave ice stand.

The drive to the beach is far from silent as Grace chatters about the kids she met at the park. If she falters a few times when she almost slips and mentions their reaction to the way Steve and Danny were acting at the park, neither man notices.

At the beach, Steve pulls neatly into a parking spot and they tumble from the truck with Grace still nattering on about nothing really. Both men make the appropriate noises to let her know they're still listening although they're not really.

"Aloha, Keiki," Kamekona greets when he spies Grace approaching his stand between Steve and Danny.

"Aloha, Kamekona!" She calls back, dropping Steve and Danny's hands and running ahead.

"I have a new flavor. Would you like to be the first to try it?"

Grace looks up at Danny who just stares back. "Uh, not this time. Thanks for the offer, though."

Kamekona shrugs. "It's all good. What can I get you fine peoples today?"

Steve decides on the piña colada flavor, Danny goes with cherry, and gets teased by Steve for going with such a boring flavor, and Grace chooses rainbow. They take their shave ice over to a picnic table off to the side and sit down with Danny and Grace on one side and Steve on the other.

While eating their snack, Grace proves that she is indeed her father's daughter by continuing to chatter about nothing of any importance. To passers-by it appears that the two men are totally engrossed by her elaborate description of something that happened the previous week at school, complete with arm waving and hand flailing.

Steve and Danny share another fond parental type look and Danny again runs his hand lovingly down his daughter's hair. Grace turns and smiles up at him sticking out her rainbow colored tongue, giggling when he shows her his red tinged one in return.

"What color is your tongue, Steve?" She resumes eating her shave ice, her eyes glued on the mouth of the man sitting across from her. He obliges her and sticks out his tongue. She hides her laugh behind her hand. "It hasn't changed color!"

"And that's why you should never get piña colada flavor, Monkey," Danny teases.

Steve pouts in his direction. "But I like that flavor, Danno," he replies in a petulant tone.

Danny just rolls his eyes and opens his mouth but whatever he was going to say is interrupted by a yawn from Grace so big that Steve can see that she still has her tonsils. "And that's our cue that it's time to head home." Danny stands and urges Grace to follow.

"I had fun today, Steve," Grace says around another yawn, holding her arms up in a plea for him to pick her up.

Steve gives in and swings her up to rest on his hip. "I had fun too, Makana."

Grace tucks her head under Steve's chin and with a content sigh, closes her eyes and allows him to carry her to the truck and buckle her into her seat.

Danny and Steve climb into the front seat and Steve points the truck toward Danny's apartment. Grace does her best to keep her eyes open but they're so heavy she can only keep them at half mast.

"Think she's asleep?" Steve asks quietly, linking his fingers with Danny's.

"Nope. She's fighting it tooth and nail." Danny's voice is full of the love he feels for his daughter.

"Times like this I wish she was ours," Steve confesses.

"Me too," Danny agrees.

In the backseat Grace smiles slightly at the words because even this eight year-old knows that they just said 'I love you' to each other. While they'll most likely never say those exact words, Grace knows they say it in a hundred different ways every single day because she is one of a handful of people who knows how to read between the lines and can decipher their language of love.

Or read it on my website.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-31 12:27 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Simply beautiful. I love how perceptive Grace is, she's a truly remarkable girl.

bi-nocturnal-g (livejournal)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-31 12:39 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I enjoyed reading about the guys realtionship from Grace's POV.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-31 01:58 am (UTC)
huntress69: Danny (DannoLovesYou)
From: [personal profile] huntress69
This was a lovely fic, and I so adore Grace. And kids aren't the only ones to act like that. A few people at work have become distant to me after they heard me refer to my "son's boyfriend" (of 3 years). And they are supposed to be adults, as opposed to some of my teenage daughter's friends who couldn't care less.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-31 08:12 am (UTC)
somehowunbroken: (Steve/Danno grab)
From: [personal profile] somehowunbroken
This is really lovely :) I like how Grace is one of the people who can understand their language.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-05 06:41 am (UTC)
ext_480592: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I should be sound asleep by now, but I just needed to tell you that this was absolutely gorgeous. Grace's insight is refreshing and perfect.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-05 12:50 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
My goodness what a beautiful fic. Grace is so sweet and you have portrayed the guys so well. Thank you for posting

Annabel84 on LJ xx

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-19 01:10 am (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
I love this! I enjoy stories about happy times and like how you slipped in a little RL darkness. You've got them down for sure! And Grace is a doll. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-28 08:58 pm (UTC)
vamysteryfan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vamysteryfan
This was just wonderful. I love how you've sketched out all three of them so well. A really enjoyable story - thanks for sharing it

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-29 08:00 pm (UTC)
azhureheart: (garcia)
From: [personal profile] azhureheart
Lovely fic. I really enjoyed it


melissas_corner: (Default)

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