melissas_corner: (Danny and Grace)
[personal profile] melissas_corner
Author's Notes: Written for ciaimpala who bought me in the help_the_south fandom auction on LiveJournal. The prompt was 'Post 1.24, where Grace hears about Steve being in jail and insists on coming back to Hawaii. She figures out how to order a plane ticket and gets herself there, along with a crayon drawing of an escape plan for Steve that she makes Danny bring to Steve when he visits him in jail. When Steve gets out, Grace plans an epic welcome home party. I definitely want Steve/Danny slash please, whether it's an established relationship already, or they get together throughout the story.' She also mentioned loving A Beautiful Day so I decided to make this a sequel to that which makes this my second third person POV fic. For the record, it is not this easy for a child to fly solo across the country. Grace is a smart girl and I can see her doing exactly what I wrote but I still don't think she'd get all the way to Hawai'i without someone alerting Rachel, and possibly Danny. Also, I'm a huge fan of Steve/Danny but I decided to keep this as true to canon as possible. Please hold mouse over highlighted text for translation.
Sequel/Series: A Beautiful Day
Summary: Grace has had enough of the adults in her life leaving, whether or not they want to, and decides to take matters into her own hands when Steve gets arrested.
Warnings: partner betrayal, canon character deaths
Spoilers: Every episode aired but mostly Loa Aloha, Ua Hiki Mai Kapalena Pau and Oia'i'o with a brief mention of Malama Ka Aina, E Malama, Hana 'a'a Makehewa and the pilot.

Grace Williams is a very grown up little girl. As is the case with children of divorced parents she's had to grow up fast. But Grace is lucky. See, her parents go out of their way to make sure she keeps as much of her childhood as she can. Her Danno, especially, prefers to think she's still his baby girl. And for the most part she is. But there are things that a child of divorce knows that other children don't.

Grace remembers the day when she was four and Danno told her that he was moving out. She wrapped her arms around his neck tightly, refusing to let go until he pried her arms off and handed her to her mother. She will forever remember his tearstained cheeks, his eyes welling with tears he refused to shed in front of her and how her mother held her while she screamed for her Danno to come back, to not leave her. He walked out without a single look back and at that moment Grace wished she could fly so she could go after him.

She didn't get to see Danno for a solid six months after that, he said it was because he didn't have a decent place to live yet, but he called her every night before her bedtime. Some nights he was only able to say a quick 'I love you, Monkey. Be good for your mom. Sleep well. Good-night'. The rest of the time they were able to talk until her eyes got too heavy for her to keep open. On those nights Danno would read her a book. She came to cherish those calls. Of course nothing was as good as having Danno sitting on the bed beside her where she could lean against him and hear his heart thumping under her ear but she at least still got to talk to him every night.

Once he got his own apartment, she was able to see him every weekend. She only slept at his place every other week but he still came and spent at least a couple of hours with her every Saturday. Just like with the phone calls, which continued after he got visitation rights, Grace came to treasure her weekends with Danno.

Grace doesn't remember much about life before her parents' divorce; just lots of arguing. Rachel didn't like not knowing if Danny would be coming home at the end of his shift and the fact that he had a gun in the house. Sure he kept it in a gun safe but that didn't matter to Rachel. A gun was in the same house as her small daughter and that made it a security issue.

Grace also remembers the day a year after Danno moved out that her mother began talking about this man she'd met named Stan. Rachel smiled almost all the time, something Grace doesn't remember her mother ever doing before. And when she met Stan for the first time she understood: her mother was in love. And so it wasn't surprising when her mother married Stan six months later. What did surprise her was that they packed up the house and moved to another state. One so far away as to practically be another country.

The day she told Danno was as heartbreaking as the day he told her he was moving out. This time it was Danny holding on to her like he'd never let go, Rachel who pried her from his arms. Grace, once again, wished she could fly but this time it was so she could return to New Jersey and her Danno. She cried the whole way to Hawai'i, convinced she would never see him again.

The nightly calls from Danno continued, even after she discovered it meant he had to get up in the middle of the night because of the time difference between Jersey and Hawai'i, not that she knew what a time difference was. Being able to spend those few minutes on the phone with Danny, where she could tell him all her secrets, transformed their father/daughter relationship into something more, made it stronger and is why she now considers him her best friend.

And is why, when he showed up on her doorstep nearly two years after Rachel moved her five thousand miles away, she was very pleasantly surprised and scolded him for not mentioning it during their nightly calls.

He just grinned and kissed her cheek and told her that he couldn't stand to be away from her one more minute but didn't tell her because he wanted to surprise her.

Rachel surprised them both by letting Danny take Grace for the day and even allowing her sleep over that very first weekend. Grace giggled at the fact that Danno was living out of a suitcase because his stuff hadn't been delivered yet. It was the best weekend of her life.

Until the weekend with the dolphins six months later. A weekend that Danno told her was paid for by his new boss.

Danny spent the weekend talking about Steve and his new team. Grace got the feeling that Danno didn't like the fact that his boss is a former Navy SEAL who doesn't know proper police procedure, something that Danny has always prided himself on: closing a case by the book. But the other two members of the team, Kono and Chin Ho, Danny couldn't seem to stop saying good things about. It made Grace ache to meet them. In her seven year-old mind anyone who can get Danno to rant like Steve could was someone who could one day become family.

From the moment Grace met Steve at the football game she discovered something she never thought she'd see, even if it took her a while to actually figure it out: her Danno in love.

Like most children of divorce, Grace fantasizes about her parents getting back together. Even though she likes both Steve and Stan and loves them for making her parents happy again, there's this tiny part of her heart that wishes they could be a family again, just the three of them like they were back in Jersey.

She wasn't surprised when the very next time she was to spend the weekend with Danno, he picked her up with Steve in the car. They spent the weekend at Steve's house. She even got to decorate the room she would be sleeping in. They don't spend every weekend at Steve's but they do spend enough time with him that she calls him 'Uncle Steve' in public.

Steve quickly becomes such a fixture in her life that she has trouble remembering life before him. There are times when Danno can't pick her up from school and he'll send Steve. Grace looks forward to those times because it's during those moments when they're alone that she learns how to read his body language, learns just how much she and Danny mean to him and trades secrets with him. It is with Steve, and Kono and Chin Ho and, to some extent, Kamekona, that she learns that family is what you make it; that the true meaning of ohana isn't written in the blood that flows through your veins but in the trials you face with those closest to you.

It takes Steve and Danny several months to figure out that they have feelings for each other. Once they do, they don't act all that different. Except that Grace knows them well enough to know that something's different in their relationship.

Occasionally they would let their feelings show, such as the day the three of them spent together at the park several months ago. That was a good day. And one of the last because a month after that Grace's Uncle Matt came for a visit.

Everything changes after Uncle Matty's visit. Grace wakes up one morning several days after Uncle Matt's arrival in Honolulu to find Danno sitting at the kitchen table nursing a cup of coffee and looking wrecked in a way he hasn't since being told that Stan was taking Rachel and Grace to live in Hawai'i.

"Danno?" she questions, her voice hesitant. Danny doesn't visit her in the mornings unless he's taking her to school and he hasn't done that all week because of Uncle Matty.

"Hey, Monkey," he greets, his smile not quite reaching his eyes.

She slowly approaches where he's sitting, knowing instinctively that something's wrong. He picks her up and sets her on his lap, kissing her temple. "Why're you here?"

Danny looks surprised because she doesn't usually question any time they get to spend together. "Why, to see you, of course!"

She doesn't believe him but decides to not press the issue. "Where's Uncle Matty?"

Danny takes a deep breath and looks at Rachel over Grace's head. "He, uh,-" He clears his throat. "He had to go."


"He had some business to attend to."

"Will he be back?" She smiles up at Rachel when she places a plate with eggs and toast on the table in front of her.

"Not for a while," Danny answers and Grace hears the unspoken 'if at all'.

Her heart breaks for her Danno. He's very close to his brother and knowing he'll probably never see him again is making him sad which makes her sad.

"Eat your breakfast, Grace," Rachel says, setting a glass of orange juice next to Grace's plate.

"I am, Mommy," Grace replies, taking a huge bite of her eggs.

"You need to be sitting in your own chair."

"She's fine, Rachel," Danny argues, tightening his hold on Grace's waist.

"Daniel, she really should be sitting in her own chair."

"Really? This is what you choose to argue about? Where she sits while eating?"

Rachel's lips thin and she blows a breath out through her nose, her nostrils flaring as she fights the rising anger at Danny defying her wishes. "Fine," she huffs and flounces back over to the stove. "Would you care for some eggs, Daniel?"

"I'm fine, thanks." He leans down and buries his nose in Grace's hair. Grace is used to Danny getting a bit emotional at times but the way he's acting this morning is beginning to scare her a little and she decides to ask him about it later when they're alone. "All finished?" Danny asks when she gulps down tha last of her orange juice. She nods and wipes the back of her hand across her mouth. "Then go brush your teeth and finish getting dressed." He sets her on her feet and sends her on her way with a gentle pat to her butt.

Grace stops just outside the door to the kitchen when she hears Rachel hiss Danny's name, "Daniel, seriously?"

"Are we really gonna do this, Rachel? After last night?"

Grace's face falls at the sound of her parents arguing like they haven't since before Danno met Steve.

"Last night has nothing to do with you undermining me in front of her. Just like when she was little."

Danny sighs loudly. "You really need to learn how to pick your battles, Rachel. I had just told her that her uncle had to leave and might not ever be back. She was feeling a bit vulnerable and wanted to sit on my lap while she ate. It was no big deal."

"No big deal!? How could coddling her be no big deal?"

"I wasn't coddling her. I was comforting my daughter and seeking comfort from her in return. You've always been jealous of my relationship with her."

"I have not!"
Rachel denies. "I actually-" Grace doesn't stay to hear the rest because the big grandfather clock in the living room is chiming the hour and she knows if she doesn't hurry she'll be late for school.

She runs up the stairs, whips her night gown off and quickly pulls on her school uniform before heading into the bathroom to brush her teeth.

Danny enters just a minute after she does and smiles at her in the mirror. "You want me to do your hair while you brush your teeth?" She nods. "Ponytails or braids?"

Pulling the toothbrush from her mouth she says, "Braids" around a mouthful of toothpaste.

"Braids it is, then." Danno picks up her hair brush and begins brushing her hair, parting it down the middle and quickly braiding the right side of her head.

"Need to 'pit," she says just before he can secure the braid with a ribbon. Holding onto the end of the braid so it doesn't come undone, he motions for her to go ahead.

Grace spits a mouthful of toothpaste into the sink then continues to brush her teeth while Danny secures the first braid and starts on the left.

Once finished, they walk down the stairs to the foyer where Rachel is waiting with Grace's backpack. "Have a good day at school, Honey," she says, leaning down to kiss the top of Grace's head.

"I will." Grace stretches up on tip-toe to kiss her mother's cheek and steps through the door and over to Danny's Camero.

The ride to school is quieter than usual. When Danny pulls up in front of her school, she turns to face him. "Uncle Matty's not ever coming back is he?"

"Probably not."

"Did he do something bad?"

Danny nods. "Yeah, he did."

"Why didn't you arrest him?"

Danny rubs one hand down his face. "I found out too late to arrest him."

"Oh." She doesn't know what else to say and so leans over the middle console to press a kiss to his cheek. "Love you, Danno," she whispers.

"Love you too, Monkey," he says just as quietly.

She climbs from the car and turns to wave at him before jogging up the steps and into the building. Her day is fairly unremarkable considering she feels like her world is about to implode. She finds it difficult to concentrate on her school work and sits by herself during lunch and recess and is almost positive she failed the math test the teacher gave in the afternoon.

Despite the fact that everything has changed, her life returns to its usual routine with one glaring difference: she hardly sees Steve anymore. Her weekends with Danny are spent at his crappy apartment and whenever she mentions 'Uncle Steve', Danno changes the topic, usually with a sharp tone.

She doesn't understand what's going on with the adults around her and it makes her angry. She knows she's too young to understand some things but her parents used to tell her what was going on, even if it was only a partial truth. But after Uncle Matty's visit it's as if they've forgotten that what they do and how they feel affects her too.

Gracie is nothing if not resilient and she soon adapts to the way her life is now. And then it changes, again.

And this time Grace'll be darned before she lets the adults in her life to keep everything from her.

After school several months later, she stands on the stairs, looking around for one of the adults that usually pick her up. She's hoping it's Danno or Steve, although she seriously doubts it'll be Steve since it appears him and Danno are no longer such good friends.

"Hey, Gracie!" a voice calls, turning her attention to where Steve's standing next to Danno's car. She instantly knows something's not right but she doesn't care because it's Step-Steve! And she gets to spend time alone with him!

"Uncle Steve!" She jogs down the steps to where he's kneeling and hugs him.

"Hey, Kiddo."

"Where's Daddy?" she asks when Steve pulls back from the hug.

"Listen, Gracie, Danno's, uh, Danno's not feeling the best, okay? So I'm going to take you to the hospital. We're gonna go see him."

"Is he going to be okay?" This is the first time that Grace can recall of Danny being seriously hurt while on the job and it scares her a little. Daddies are supposed to be invulnerable; they're not supposed to get hurt.

"Is he going to be okay? Let me tell you something about your father. He might not talk like it, but he is one tough guy, and he's brave, as well. Can you be brave like Danno?" She nods, trying to keep the fear inside. "Are you sure?" She nods again. "Then we should go see him. What're you waiting for? C'mon." With a hand to her shoulder, he leads her to the car and helps her buckle up.

Grace stares at Steve's profile for several long minutes before finally giving in to the need to know. "Will Daddy really be okay?"

She watches as one corner of Steve's mouth quirks in a small smile. "Sure will, Makana." Oh, how she's missed hearing him call her that.

"What happened?"

"To Danno? He got exposed to a chemical that hurt his lungs and made it difficult for him to breathe for a while but the doctors fixed him right up."

"No. I meant between you and Daddy. You stopped coming around and whenever I mention your name he changes the subject with a sharper tone than he's ever used with me before."

Steve looks over at her for a quick second before returning his gaze to the road. "Oh, uh, hm." He stops to clear his throat. "That's-that's a difficult question to answer, Makana. See, sometimes things happen and people drift apart. Doesn't mean they don't still care, just that they can't continue on as before."

"So you broke up?" It's the first time anyone has acknowledged out loud that Steve and Danny were a couple.

He takes a deep breath and blows it out through his nose. "I wouldn't say 'broke up', exactly. But after the mess with Matt, Danno decided we needed to take a break. He thought I was too distracting because otherwise he would have been able to stop Matt sooner."

"I didn't know you could 'take a break' from a relationship."

"There are a lot of things that you'll learn about as you get older. One of them is that sometimes two people need to step back from each other and just think about things for a bit."

"Did he tell you that the morning he had breakfast with Mommy and me?"

"What?" Steve glances sharply at her.

"Yeah, several days after Uncle Matty's arrival, I went down for breakfast to find him sitting at the kitchen table."

"So he came over early to get you for school, huh?"

She shakes her head. "No. He spent the night."

"He what!? How do you know?"

"He was wearing the same clothes as when he picked me up from school."

Steve swallows loudly. "Well, that certainly explains that," he mutters under his breath.

"Step-Steve?" Grace has only ever called him that when they're alone and it's been far too long since that's happened that the words feel awkward on her tongue.

Steve smiles at her. "It's been too long since you've called me that, Makana."

"I know." She sighs wistfully. "Once Daddy's feeling better, will you get back together?"

"I can't answer that one, Sweetheart. I want to say yes, but I can't. It's up to Danno."

She was afraid that would be his answer. Thumping her head back against the seat, she turns to stare blindly out the window.

When they get to the hospital, the nurses say that Danny's not quite ready for visitors so Steve sets Grace in a chair and helps her pull out some paper and her crayons to keep her busy while he paces the hallway and talks on his phone. She tries to ignore what he's saying but it's not totally possible given the tone of his voice. It's obvious that whatever he's being told isn't good news.

When a doctor approaches she keeps her head down to finish the picture of her and Danno at the beach that she's been working on.

Steve walks up from where he's stepped away to make his call and asks the doctor, "Hey, Doc. How's he doing?" his tone full of hope.

The doctor replies, "Ready for some visitors" and Grace's heart starts beating faster.

Steve must be feeling thrilled too because his voice is tinged with excitement when he says, "All right. Gracie, let's go see Danno." She smiles up at him and quickly puts her crayons away before jumping off the chair and skipping after Steve down the hall to Danno's room.

When they get there, she takes Steve's hand in a sudden onset of nerves. Parents aren't supposed to ever get hurt or be sick. They're supposed to be strong and take of their children and she's just a little bit worried that despite what all the adults are saying that Danno's really not okay.

They enter Danno's room and Steve bends down so he can whisper, "Looks like he's sleeping" so that if Danno is sleeping his words won't wake him.

"Danno!" Grace says hesitantly when she sees that he's not sleeping. She's never seen him look so pale.

"Monkey," he replies his voice slightly rough. Grace overheard someone say they had to put a tube down his throat to help him breathe.

Grace slowly approaches the bed and gently hugs Danny. He makes his usual noises like she's hugging him tighter than she is. When she pulls back she hands him the picture she drew and says, "I made this for you."

"You did?" He takes the picture and looks at it. "Look at this. This is me." He points at the figure wearing a tie and with yellow hair. "See, this is a masterpiece. Look at that." He turns the picture for Steve to see. "I mean, she's an artist, no?" Steve just smiles fondly at the father/daughter interaction. "It is-it's beautiful. So I'm gonna make a nice space for it on the refrigerator. I gotta move some stuff around but this is going dead center. Thank you."

Steve asks, "How are you feeling?"

Danno stretches back a bit and adjusts his pillow. "Uh, I don't know, I feel like everything hurts. Head feels like it's gonna explode. Like the worst hangover I ever had."

"What's a hangover?" Grace asks. Judging from the expressions on both men's faces, they, once again, forgot that Grace was right there.

"It's, uh, you'll figure it out. You'll learn about it one day when you're about, what, thirty-five?" He looks at Steve for some assistance.

"Thirty-five, thirty, sixteen…" Steve trails off.

Danny picks up with, "Forty years old." It's obvious they don't want to think of her ever getting a hangover, whatever that is. "Thank you," Danny says in the tone he used to use whenever speaking to or about Steve.

From the soft expression on Steve's face it's clear to Grace that this 'break' from Danno has been difficult for him but he's trying to remain strong and honor Danny's wishes. "Don't mention it," he replies his voice just as soft as Danny's. The way they're interacting gives Grace a small hope that they'll get back together soon. "Listen, since you're, uh, since you're looking so-so good now,-" He leans over and places his hands on the foot rail of the bed. "-I'm gonna head back to the office. I'll swing by and pick her up later. She can stay with me until, uh, until Rachel gets back."

"How's that sound?" Danny turns to her to ask and she nods.

"What d'ya say?" One thing Grace truly loves about Steve is that even though he was extremely awkward around her when they first met, he quickly learned that there was nothing to be nervous about and now will often go out of his way to make her feel included in decisions about her. "Okay," he says when she nods her head some more. "You okay?" He turns back to Danny to ask.

"Yeah, I got everything I need right here." Danny runs one hand lovingly down Grace's hair. "I'm good. Pound it out." He begins poking her in the side, making her giggle. "Huh? Huh?"

Steve places one hand on Grace's head when he passes behind her on his way out the door. Just then her cellphone begins to ring.

"Hey! Did you kidnap Miley Cyrus and put her in your backpack or is that a cellphone?" Danny doesn't look happy at either prospect.

"Stan got it for me," Grace says and tries to ignore the hurt look on her father's face. It's really tough for him knowing that Step-Stan can give her things he can't.

"He did? Fabulous. Go answer it. First boy who calls, I'm gonna whip that thing into the Pacific Ocean, okay?" Grace smiles, knowing that for the most part he's actually joking. She knows he's not looking forward to her dating, nor is Step-Steve, Step-Stan or Uncle Chin but dating's a part of growing up and they'll just have to get used to it.

"Hi, Mommy," Grace answers the phone.

"Hi, Honey. Are you with Daddy?"

"Yeah, I'm with Daddy." Danny begins making a cutting motion across his throat. Grace isn't sure what that means. "He's in the hospital."

"He's what!? Let me talk to him."

"Mommy wants to talk to you." She holds out her phone to Danny and figures out from his expression that he was trying to tell her not to tell Rachel that he's in the hospital.

"Hi, Rachel." He clears his throat. "No, I'm fine. Would you please stop?" Whatever she's saying must be funny because he chuckles. "I said I'm fine. I like hospital food, you know that. I checked in for the weekend; I like it here, it's nice." Grace tunes out the rest of their conversation, it appears that whatever was going on that morning after Uncle Matt's visit, her parents have resolved it and are being nice to one another again and while she likes it when the adults in her world get along, she really wants Step-Steve and Danno to get back together.

Doctors and nurses come in and out every few minutes, or so it seems. Auntie Kono and Uncle Chin also stop by, just to see how Danny's doing. Whenever he asks about the investigation, they change the topic with a pointed look in Grace's direction.

When Grace pulls out her phone to play Angry Birds, she pulls a chair close to Danny's bed so he can watch.

"Can I ask you a question?" She nods. "So, what do you need a slingshot for? Doesn't make any sense to me, I mean, they're birds. Can't they fly?"

Grace just barely refrains from rolling her eyes. "These birds don't have wings."

"Oh, that explains it. Now I know why they're so angry. Thank you for clarifying." She may not know much, but she does know her father's sarcastic tone and this is it in full force. It's obvious he thinks this game is beyond stupid.

"Howzit, Jersey?" Kamekona enters carrying a large bucket of fried chicken.

"Hey, Big Dog, what's going on? Grace, you remember Kamekona?" Danny turns his head to look at where Grace is sitting.

"Hi," she says, raising one hand in a wave.

"What up, Shorty?" Kamekona sets the bucket down on the tray. "Figured you guys would need some grub about now. Hospital foods are the worst. And the portions… very small." He sounds so sad about that.

"That's very sweet of you," Danny replies, sarcasm still present in his tone. "Fried chicken?"

"Filipino-style. Best on the island, brah," Kamekona says like he personally made the chicken. "You know, Gracie, when I was a little keiki like you, my mama used to bring me this chicken every time I was sick."

"Fried chicken isn't good for you. It has cholesterol and causes heart disease," Grace informs him, biting her lip to hide a smile at the proud look Danny throws Kamekona.

"Nah, a little bit of grease is good for you. Helps the insides stay lubricated." Does he really believe that? Kamekona picks up the bucket and holds it out to Danny. "Drumstick or thigh?"

"Um, I'm gonna go – I like white meat. Is there a breast?" Danny shifts on the bed so that he's sitting up a bit more.

"Sorry, all gone. That was a long drive, brah."

Danny sighs. "I know, I know. Well, I didn't call you here for the chicken. Gracie, put your headphones on, please."

She does as she told and she knows the adults are going to be talking about how Danny got sick and who is responsible for it. And she wishes, not for the first time, that they'd stop treating her like a little kid. She understands more than they think she does.

Kamekona leaves and Danny takes a small nap, not really sleeping, more like resting his eyes and Grace sits in the corner, drawing and reading, doing her best to let him rest.

When he wakes, they watch an old episode of SpongeBob SquarePants and it's obvious that Danny just doesn't get it.

"Are we ready for that extra credit?" the teacher asks the class.

"Extra credit," SpongeBob replies in a robot voice.

"Are you telling me this guy isn't from around here?" Danny asks.

"No, Dad. SpongeBob lives in a pineapple under the sea." She wonders how her father can be so… so adult about some things.

"Well, what else could be more Hawaiian than that?" Now she knows he's just teasing and is trying hard to not giggle at him.

Grace spies Rachel entering the room and calls, "Mommy!" Jumping up from her chair, she runs around the end of Danny's bed, hugging her mother. "Daddy's not sick anymore."

"I am so happy to see that," Rachel replies and Grace knows she is. No matter what happened between them in their marriage, they do still care for one another.

"Hey," Danny greets. "You didn't have to come," he scolds. She was on Maui for a romantic get-away with Stan.

"Yes, I did," she responds, leaning down to kiss his forehead.

"Can I have another?" Danny asks and she obliges. "Thank you," he whispers and they share a fond smile.

Seeing her parents like this almost makes Grace wish they'd get back together. Until she remembers that Danny's happier with Steve. Rachel used to be happier with Stan but after her and Grace were carjacked at gunpoint, things between them have been a bit strained.

The rest of the afternoon is pleasant and it feels like they're a real family again. Which Grace knows is not quite right because even though Rachel and Danny are no longer married, they will always be family because they have a child together. But seeing them talking and getting along, even laughing, allows that part of Grace that wishes they'd never divorced, forget for a while that they aren't married to each other anymore.

When Grace starts yawning, Rachel asks a nurse for some sheets and a blanket and pillow and makes up the little couch in the corner for her to sleep on. As soon as her head touches the pillow she's out like a light and sleeps straight on till morning.

When she wakes, it's to find the doctor has come to examine Danny and pronounces him fit to go home.

Since Danny arrived at the hospital in an ambulance, Rachel offers to drive him home.

"I, uh, need to go to Five-O headquarters."

"Daniel, you just spent the night in hospital. Surely Steven will allow you to take the day off."

"Whether he does or not, I'm positive he has my car and he'll be at headquarters."

"But it's Saturday!" Grace pipes up. She knows that Danny works some Saturdays, mostly the ones where he doesn't have her, but surely that doesn't mean he has to go to work today, does it, especially since he was supposed to have her this weekend?

"I know, Monkey. But I need to at least make an appearance and get my car."

Rachel agrees to take him there and all three of them get into Rachel's car.

The drive across the city is similar to the previous afternoon in the hospital.

When they arrive at Five-O headquarters, Danny gets out of the car and leans into the open back window to talk to Grace. "Could you go to the beach with us?" she asks, knowing that Rachel will say yes even before she's been asked.

"I'd love nothing more than to go to the beach with you, but I'm low on sick days so I got to get to work." She knows he doesn't like the beach but she's been enjoying this time with both her parents and doesn't want it to end. "We'll hang out later, okay?" Grace can't quite keep the disappointment off her face as she nods in agreement. "All right. C'mere." He leans further into the window so he can hug her. Pulling back he looks over his shoulder to make sure Rachel can't hear, then whispers, "Hey, thanks for taking care of me in the hospital yesterday, okay?" She nods again. "I love you."

"Love you, too."

"All right." He steps back and makes a big show of bowing, like he used to when she'd make him play 'Princess' with her. "M'lady."

Still giggling, she rolls the window back up and waits for her parents to say their good-byes.

Rachel gets back in the car and they drive off home to change into their swimsuits and grab stuff for an afternoon at the beach.

"When's Stan coming back?" Grace asks that night when Rachel's tucking her into bed and it's obvious that he didn't return to O'ahu with Rachel.

"He's got some business he needs to take care of on the mainland so it'll be several days before he comes home." While Rachel says it calmly, Grace hears the underlying hurt in her mother's voice. That's twice now that her mother has loved and lost and even though Grace is only eight, she can tell her mother is beginning to think there might be something wrong with her.

"Are you and Daddy getting back together?" She can't keep the question in any longer.

Rachel shakes her head. "I don't know. Stan and I have some things to discuss and decide on before I can think about that." She leans down and kisses Grace's forehead. "Do you want Daddy and me to get back together?"

Grace shrugs. She knows she should want that but she doesn't. She liked her life the way it was before Uncle Matty came to visit. Every night when she's saying her prayers, she wishes that things will go back to the way they were.

Rachel runs one hand down her hair, a sad look on her face. "Sleep tight, Sweetie," she says, standing and exiting the room, turning the light off but leaving the door open a bit so that the hall light can shine in enough that if Grace should need to get up she can see where she's going.

Over the next several days things remain as strained as before and it makes Grace irritable in a way she doesn't ever remember being. She sneaks into Danny's phone and gets Steve's number and just about gives him a heart attack the first time she calls. She gets him to promise to talk to her everyday just like Danno and somehow they manage to sneak a few minutes a day to talk without any of the other adults aware of it.

Steve is the one adult she can trust to talk plainly to her but there's something big going on and whatever it is, he's not telling. It makes her angry that he's turning out to be just like the other adults who don't think she can handle whatever it is.

She wants to stomp her foot and demand they tell her what's going on, that she can handle it, whatever it is, that she's old enough to know. But something holds her back. There's something in everyone's expressions that tells her that if she was to put her foot down, she wouldn't get the answers she wants; that she'd just get a spanking and sent to her room without her phone. And so it is with some anxiety about her future that she decides to trust that whatever happens, the adults who love her the most will do what they feel is best for all concerned.

Then comes the day that Rachel leaves her with a babysitter to go off and see someone. When Grace presses for a name her mother snaps, "Just a friend. Not anyone you know." And that's something that Grace will never get used to, her parents snapping at her. That's not to say they've never yelled at her before, just that they've never snapped like she was an annoyance.

The next morning when Rachel wakes Grace, she tells her to pack her backpack with her favorite clothes and some toys; saying they're leaving Hawai'i and going to live in New Jersey with Danny. Gracie's shocked. She had no idea that her parents were so serious about putting their family back together and she's positive that's not something she wants. Not anymore.

Her conversations with Steve have proved that he is still very much in love with her Danno and is just waiting for Danny to remember that he loves Steve too. And that means that if they leave the islands Steve's heart will get broken and that's just not okay in her book.

But Grace is a good girl, and still mostly asleep, and so does as she's told. With one exception: she calls Steve. Only his phone goes straight to voice mail. She doesn't leave a message, doesn't know what she would say in any case, and so it is with a heavy heart that she turns her phone off and begins packing.

Rachel tells her that they're taking a late flight to Newark and so she should try and nap during the afternoon. She tries, but she's not sleepy and so just lies there on her bed staring at the ceiling, occasionally trying to call Steve, but just like that morning, his phone goes straight to voice mail.

She eventually drifts off with silent tears rolling down her cheeks as it becomes clear that that feeling she had several months ago is finally coming true: her world is imploding.

It's dark outside when Rachel buckles her into the car and instructs the driver to take them to Honolulu International Airport.

When they arrive, Grace holds Rachel's hand, instinctively knowing her mother needs her comfort while she calls Danny to let him know it's time to leave.

"Danny, it's Rachel. I just wanted to let you know we're here. At the airport. Is everything alright? Danny, if you're having second thoughts… Okay." She hangs up the phone and they walk into the terminal.

"Is Daddy coming?" Grace asks once they've gone through security and are sitting at the gate waiting for their flight.

"Yes, Sweetheart. He just has to take care of some business then he'll be right here." Rachel runs a hand down her hair. "Are you hungry?" Grace shakes her head. "Want to color?" Grace nods. "Okay, here you go." Rachel pulls out Grace's paper and crayons and gets her settled.

"Will we ever come back to Hawai'i?" Grace asks after several minutes have passed.

"I'm sure your father will be willing to bring you back to visit your friends. Do you remember New Jersey?" Grace shrugs. The truth is that she does remember, sort of. What she remembers the most is how cold it is; cold and dingy and dim when compared to Hawai'i.

Eventually they begin boarding the flight for Newark but Danno has yet to arrive. Rachel waits until they give the final boarding call.

"Your attention please. Final boarding call for Hawaiian Airlines flight 762 to Newark. Final boarding call for gate 34-B." Each word from the PA is like a punch to Grace's heart. She doesn't want to leave Hawai'i and she definitely doesn't want to go without her Danno.

Rachel finally decides that Danny's not going with them and turns to Gracie. "Let's go, Sweetheart," she says, her voice sad, and turns to board the plane.

Grace looks back one last time, willing Danno to come running up to the gate at the last minute, before sighing and walking slowly down the gangway after her mother.

They have a lay-over in Los Angles for an hour before they continue on their way to the east coast. Back to the state where both Danny and Gracie were born and a state Grace thought she'd never see again, at least not for a while because Danny hasn't been able to afford the tickets.

They leave Hawai'i late on Saturday and arrive in New Jersey late on Sunday. Grace is tired and irritable and Rachel is even more short tempered than usual but she's doing her best to not let Grace's bad mood get to her, gritting her teeth when Grace whines and refuses to just c'mon already!

Rachel was in such a hurry to leave Hawai'i she didn't call anyone that they were coming so she has to hire a car for the drive to Danny's parents' place in a suburb of Newark.

Once safely on their way on the highway, Rachel pulls out her phone and calls Grace's grandparents.

"Hello?" the familiar gruffy voice of Grace's Grandpa Williams comes over the speaker and judging from the hint of annoyance they must have interrupted a ballgame.

"Andrew, it's Rachel."

"Rachel? What're you doing calling? Is there something wrong with Gracie Ann?" His voice now holds a hint of apprehension.

"No, nothing like that." His sigh of relief can be heard plainly over the line. "I've left Stan and plan on returning to Newark."


"Um, now?"

Andrew sputters for a moment and he sounds so much like Danno that Grace's heart aches. "What do you mean, now?"

"I mean, Grace and I landed twenty minutes ago and will be at your door in about thirty."

"Where's Danny?"

"Still in Honolulu."

"He know you've brought his daughter back?"

"Yes. He was supposed to be joining us but something came up."

"This have anything to do with the fact that his boss was arrested for murder?" That's news to Grace. And Rachel, too, if her expression is anything to go by.

"I was unaware of anything like that but most likely. If Steve is in jail then Danny's in charge of Five-O and he'll feel it's his duty to stay until he clears Steve's name."

"You sound sure the man's innocent."

"If you knew him, Grandpa, you'd know he didn't do whatever they say he did," Grace quickly defends her Step-Steve. 'Well, that certainly explains why Daddy didn't join us at the airport,' she thinks. Not that she's not still disappointed but he could have at least called.

Andrew chuckles. "Sounds like you really like this man your father works for."

"Steve is a good man," Rachel replies. "He's been good for and to Danny. And I think Grace has a bit of a crush on him." Rachel flashes Grace a teasing grin in the rearview mirror, but Grace doesn't return it. Grace has never, will never, have a crush on Steve. He belongs to Danno.

"Well, all I really know is what Danny's said about him and of course what they're saying on the news."

Rachel really wants to ask what they've been saying and who Steve's accused of murdering but she holds the questions in because of Grace's presence. "Is it alright if we stay with you and Margret until I find us a place?"

"Of course. You're family. You know you're welcome anytime."

"Thank you, Andrew. Please tell Margret to not go to any trouble if you've already had dinner. We can stop and get something."

"Have you ever met her? You know she's not going to let you feed that baby fast food, not even something slightly healthy like Subway."

"All right. But please tell her to not cook anything. We can make do with sandwiches."

"As you wish," he gives in. "See you in a few." And with that he hangs up.

When they pull up to the house, Margret Williams is waiting out front. She opens the backdoor to the car and helps Gracie out of her seatbelt. "Oh, my darling. You must be exhausted!"

"I slept on the plane, Grandma," Grace responds, throwing her arms around her grandmother's neck. She doesn't have any extended family in Hawai'i and she's really missed having someone other than her parents, and Step-Steve and Step-Stan, to spoil her. There is nothing like being spoiled by your grandparents to make you feel special and loved.

"Oh, it is so good to have you home where you belong." Margret hugs her tighter and Grace doesn't have the heart to tell her that New Jersey isn't her home anymore, that Hawai'i is now, and will forever be, her home.

"Hello, Margret," Rachel says, stepping out of the car and opening the trunk.

"Rachel, dear!" Margret hugs her too. She always did like this British woman her son brought home, even if she did break his heart by deciding that being a cop's wife wasn't for her. Plus, she gave them Grace and that makes it difficult to dislike her. "Are these the only bags you have?"

"Yes. We were in a hurry to leave. I have someone packing the rest of the house to send it to us."

"Danny will be joining you here soon, right?" Rachel nods. "What happened with Stan?"

Rachel flicks her eyes over to where Grace is standing. "It's more what happened between Danny and me."

"Oh?" Margret questions, then, when Rachel just raises one eyebrow, looks her up and down. "Oh!" she exclaims, then hugs her again. "Come inside. I have everything you could want on a sandwich ready and waiting." Margret turns to Grace. "Grandpa's watching the Yankees in his study. I'm sure he'd be tickled pink if you were to join him."

Grace grabs her backpack and runs into the house, hollering, "Grandpa!" when she enters the study and sees Andrew sitting in his recliner.

"Gracie Ann!" He leans forward, open arms ready and waiting to catch her when she flings herself at him. "Oh, how I've missed you!" While Gracie isn't the only grandchild, she is the only girl.

Grace presses a kiss to Andrew's cheek, then turns in his lap and leans back against his chest to watch the game with him. "Who's winning?"

"The Yankees, of course." Andrew always answers the same, even if they're losing, when Grace asks, knowing she doesn't really care.

"Grace," Rachel calls, pausing in the door to the study. "Come eat something."

"I'm not hungry, Mommy."

"Grace." There's that sharp tone again and Grace is getting tired of it. Until Uncle Matty's visit her parents were never this on edge about anything. And while they have always been strict, as parents are supposed to be, they've never insisted she do things she doesn't really want to as much as they do now.

"Rachel, does it really matter if she eats now or not? It's still fairly early, by Hawai'i standards."

Rachel takes a deep breath and seems to remember that, despite being family, they're guests in this house. "She'll crash before long and I really don't want her going to bed hungry."

"I'll make sure she eats in a little while, okay?" Rachel nods and continues on to the kitchen. "So, you're really not hungry." Grace shakes her head. "Fine with me." He cuddles Grace closer. He's missed having a little girl to snuggle with. His grandsons are all boy and hardly ever still and after nearly thirty years as a firefighter he just wants to sit and enjoy his grandchildren while introducing them to the joys of the Yankees. "My, you sure are tan," he says, picking up one of Grace's arms, turning it this way and that, trying to find a tan line.

Grace giggles. "I was learning how to surf!"

"Were you now?" Grace's hair bobs around her face as she nods her head. "I bet you father just loved that, didn't he?"

She hides her smile in her hand, hitching her shoulders up around her ears. "He hated it."

"Still doesn't like the beach?" She shakes her head, suddenly saddened by thoughts of Hawai'i and Danny and Steve and her ohana. Turning a bit to the side, she rests her head on Andrew's shoulder and sighs. "Miss it, don't you?"

"I do. Very much."

Andrew kisses the top of her head. "I'm sure your daddy will make sure you get back there someday." She wraps her arms around his waist and holds tight, pretending he's her Danno. "Think you could eat something now?" She nods, even though she's still not hungry. She hasn't been hungry since being told she was moving back to Jersey. "Yeah? Okay come on." He sets her on her feet and struggles out of his chair.

In the kitchen, Rachel quickly fixes Grace her favorite sandwich and Grace forces herself to eat every bite, gulping a glass of milk to help her swallow it down. Just as she takes the last drink of her milk, the clock on the mantel in the formal living room strikes the hour. "Time to take a bath and get ready for bed," Rachel says, standing from the table and putting the dishes in the sink. "I'll wash those after I get her settled in the tub, Margret."

"Rachel," Margret begins but Rachel cuts her off with a shake of her head. "Okay."

Upstairs, Rachel draws Grace's bath water and adds some bubble bath. When the water is to the right level, she shuts the water off. "Call if you need me," she says, turning and exiting the room, leaving the door open so she can hear if Grace calls.

Normally Grace would take her time, playing with Dolphin Trainer Annie but not this night. Tonight she's anxious to call Danny and find out if it's true that Steve's been arrested. Making quick work of washing her body, she lets the water out and steps from the tub, drying off and pulling on a clean pair of panties and her night gown. She then tip-toes down the stairs, hoping the adults will be talking and she can find out what they're refusing to tell her.

When Grace gets three steps from the bottom, she can hear her mother and grandparents talking and sits down to listen.

"Steve's a good man, Andrew. There must be some mistake." Rachel is defending Steve and that makes Grace feel better.

"The news said he killed the Governor. Shot her point blank in the chest," Andrew counters.

"There has to be some mistake," Rachel repeats. "Danny's a great judge of character and he'd never let anyone near Grace who he thought might be a bad guy."

"The police found him holding the smoking gun,
literally, Rachel. They say he killed her aide first. Planted a bomb in her car."

"I still don't believe it. I can't believe it. I've met Steve McGarrett and he is one hundred percent honorable. He is all about patriotism and fighting for the people of this country. He's in the
Navy, Andrew. He was a SEAL. You know they don't let just anyone join the SEALs."

"True. But that doesn't mean he can't be an asshole. Just ask Danny how many military men he's arrested over the years. Just because a man risks his life for this country doesn't mean he can't commit murder."

"The only time Steve's ever killed was when he had no choice and Danny said it tears him up each and every time, even though the people he's killed have been the worst of the worst."

Andrew concedes. "I'll reserve judgment. But if he's convicted of murdering those two women…"

"I'm sure if that happens, that even Danny will admit he was wrong. But the reason Danny isn't here with us now is because he's trying to prove they're wrong and Steve is being set up."

"You really believe that?"
Margret asks.

"I do. Like I said, Danny is a great judge of character and if he believes in Steve then I see no reason not to as well."

Grace has heard enough. She stands up and returns to the top of the stairs and then, making as much noise as possible, starts walking down them again. "Mommy?" she calls.

"In here, Gracie!" Rachel calls back. Grace steps around the corner into the study where her mother and Grandparents are sitting and talking with the TV on mute. "All done with your bath?"

'Why do adults insist on asking questions they know the answer to?' Grace wonders. She nods her head. "Yes, Mommy," she says, remembering her manners.

"Tell Grandma and Grandpa good-night." Grace walks over to give first Margret and then Andrew a hug and kiss, murmuring "good-night" before turning and heading back up the stairs and into what was once Danny's room but is hers wherever she stays the night.

Rachel enters the room right behind her. "I'm not really sleepy, Mommy."

"That's okay. You can read or color until you are." It would appear that talking with some adults has mellowed Rachel out a bit because normally she wouldn't let Grace stay up after telling her it was bedtime. "Is this the book you want to read?" she asks when Grace pulls her worn copy of Charlotte's Web from her backpack. When she nods, Rachel helps her get under the covers and then hands her the book. "I remember when Daddy read this to you." Grace remembers too and that's why it's her favorite. He started reading it just before he moved out and so had to go buy himself a copy so he could finish reading it over the phone every night. "Oh, almost forgot." Rachel hands Grace her phone. "Don't forget to call Daddy and wish him a good-night." Somehow Rachel manages to say that without letting the bitterness she's feeling leak into her tone.

"Thanks, Mommy." She reaches up and hugs her mother before taking the phone from her hand and settling back against the pillows.

"Sleep tight, Sweetheart." Rachel exits the room, leaving the door slightly ajar so Grace can have some light when she turns her light out for the night.

Grace waits until she's positive her mother has returned to the downstairs study before getting out of bed and closing the door. She doesn’t want to risk being overheard.

The first number she dials is Steve's, but just like the day before, it goes straight to voice mail. This time she leaves a tear-filled message. "Step-Steve? It's Makana. The news is saying that you killed two people but that can't be right, right? You'd never hurt those women. Especially not the Governor. Right? I mean, she's the one who introduced you to Daddy. Well, sort of. Please tell me it's all a big misunderstanding! Please!?" She has to stop to catch her breath, she's crying so hard. "I'm so scared! Mommy had me pack a bag and moved us back to Jersey. I want to come home! Please, Step-Steve!" Before she can say more, Steve's voice mail cuts her off with a 'beep'.

She buries her face in her hands and sobs for several minutes before calming down so she can call Danno and find out exactly what's going on.

Drying her face with the hem of her nightgown, she hits the speed dial for Danny's phone.

"Williams." His voice is brisk, telling her she's interrupting something but she doesn't care. She's tired of being left in the dark.

"Daddy." Her voice warbles and she clears her throat.

"Gracie? Why're you calling? Is something wrong?" The distraction is instantly replaced with anxiety.

'Something is most definitely wrong,' she thinks, but doesn't say. "I was just calling to say good-night."

"Good-night? Grace, it's 2 in the afternoon."

"No it's not, Daddy. It's nearly 9 o'clock at night."

She actually hears his hand smack his forehead. "Fuck!"

"Danno!" she gigglingly scolds.

"Sorry, Monkey." She can hear whispering and just grits her teeth, hoping he's not going to continue to keep secrets. "I forgot that your mother and you returned to Jersey. How was the flight?"

"Boring. When can I come home?"

"Oh, Gracie Baby." Danny pauses to clear his throat and Grace wonders if he's fighting tears just like she is. "I don't think you will be. You live in Jersey now."

"But you're not here. You said you'd be here." Panic is rising inside her and she just can't fight it anymore as tears start to roll down her face.

"And I will be soon, promise."

"When? Is it true that Uncle Steve has been arrested for murder?"

Danny's sharp intake of breath is all the answer Grace really needs but she's still hopeful that he'll tell her what's going on. "Oh, Monkey. How'd you find out about that?"

"When Mommy called Grandpa to tell him we were here he mentioned it."

"Yes, he's been arrested. No, he didn't do it."

"I know that," she snaps, not liking the fact that her father seems to have forgotten she knows Steve just as well as, if not more than, since she does share a secret with him, he does.

"Watch your tone, young lady," Danny scolds and Grace sighs.

"Sorry, Daddy."

"Just as soon as I catch the real killer and get Uncle Steve out of jail," he answers her question about when he'll be joining them on the mainland.

"What if I said I don't want you and Mommy getting back together?"

"What? I thought that's what all children want, their parents together forever."

"Not when you don't love Mommy like you love Uncle Steve."

"You don't know what you're talking about, Grace Ann." Grace can tell just from his tone that she's in serious danger of overstepping her boundaries.

"Yes, I do! I see how you look at him and you've never looked at Mommy like that."

"You're just a little girl. What do you know about love?"

"Enough to know that you've never been happier than when you were dating Uncle Steve! Please come get me? I don't want to stay here. I want to be with you. I want to visit Uncle Steve. Please, Danno?" She's started crying again and soon she won't be able to talk for sobbing.

Danny sighs deeply. "Oh, Monkey. I'd love nothing more than to have you here with me but you need to stay where you are; where it's safe. Besides, you're not old enough to visit Steve. Not to mention he wouldn't want you to see him like that."

"How can I be safe if you're five thousand miles away?"

"Because I'm five thousand miles away. Baby, listen, I know you don't understand and I can't explain it to you. Not now at any rate. Please, just trust me, okay? Agent Kaye and I are working really hard to get Steve out of jail and find the man responsible but I need you to be a good girl for Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy so I can concentrate on this, okay? Can you do that for me?"

It's not the first time he's asked her to be good so he can concentrate on his job and she knows he means he doesn't want to have to worry about getting a call saying she's done something bad or gotten hurt which would split his focus and could allow a bad guy to get away or, worse, have him get hurt. She nods, even though he can't see it. "Yes, Daddy."

"That's my good girl. Danno loves you."

"Love you, too."

"Oh, and Monkey?" He pauses until she hums a response. "Did you take your laptop with you?"

"I did. Why?"

"Because I thought we'd set up a video chat for later in the week. Wouldn't that be cool? Being able to see each other?"

"Yeah, Daddy, that'd be real cool." The prospect holds no real excitement for her because she knows it'll just reinforce the fact that he's thousands of miles away.

"You've had a long day. It's time for you to go to sleep."

"Mommy said I could read or color until I feel sleepy."

"Okay, but don't do it for too much longer."

"Okay, Daddy. I miss you."

"I miss you, too. Be good."

"I will. Night, Danno."

"Night, Baby."

She turns her phone off and curls up in a little ball and cries her eyes out, positive she'll never sleep again. But as often happens when your heart is breaking, she cries herself to sleep and wakes in the morning feeling fuzzy headed and drained.

She lies on the bed, staring at nothing for several minutes before she decides to check her phone. She knows Steve won't call her back, he's in jail, but she's hoping that someone has his phone and will get her message. When she turns her phone on, she's not surprised to find only messages from her friends in Hawai'i. With a dejected sigh, she turns her phone off again and rolls from the bed.

She dresses slowly, not really paying attention to what she's putting on, other than to make sure it matches, then shuffles into the bathroom to wash the tear stains off her cheeks and brush her hair before heading downstairs to the kitchen.

She knows that she should probably put on a 'brave face' but she just can't manage it and hopes that the adults will think she's just upset about being in Jersey instead of Hawai'i. The fact that it's true doesn't really matter when there's more than one reason.

"Morning, Grandma," she says, entering the kitchen and taking a seat at the table.

"Morning, Darling." Margret places a plate piled with blueberry pancakes in front of her along with a glass of orange juice. "How'd you sleep?" Grace shrugs. "Aw. It must be difficult, trying to get used to a different time zone." Grace pokes at her pancakes with her fork. "I thought blueberry was your favorite."

"It is," Grace sighs. "Daddy used to make them for me. On his weekends."

"Oh, Baby." Instantly Margret is in Grandmother Mode and she drops to her knees next to Grace's chair to wrap her arms around the small body that has begun to shake with the effort to hold back her sobs. When Grace pulls back, Margret wipes her cheeks with her thumbs. "I'm sure Daddy will join you and Mommy just as soon as he finishes this case."

Grace nods and doesn't say that she doesn't want her parents to get back together. She's not sure just who all knows that Danno likes men like he likes women. And even if everyone in the world knew, it's not her place to tell people about him and Steve.

"So, I figure today, we'll just sit around the house being lazy. How's that sound?" Grace nods. "Okay. Eat up. Best way to feel better is to eat healthy."

When Rachel enters the kitchen several minutes later it's to find Grace has eaten most of her pancakes and finished two glasses of juice. "Morning, Grace, Margret."

"Morning, Mommy." Grace turns in her chair so she can watch Rachel fix herself some breakfast.

"I made pancakes," Margret says.

Rachel puts one hand to her stomach like she's fighting the urge to puke. "I'm not feeling up to snuff so I think I'll just have some toast and maybe a banana."

"Why're you dressed?" Grace asks when she finally realizes that Rachel is wearing a pencil skirt with matching jacket and silk shirt.

"I thought I'd get a start on finding a job and a place for us to live."

"Do you think that's something you should be doing right now, Rachel?" Margret questions, getting up to refill her coffee cup.

Rachel leans back against the counter, munching on her banana. "Who knows how long it'll take Danny to close this case. The man they think did this has alluded them for almost a year, now. As much as we love you, Grace and I cannot stay here forever. Nor can I expect Stan to support us indefinitely."

"I understand all that. But, Rachel, think about this. I mean, in-" When Rachel clears her throat loudly, Margret stops talking and they both look at Grace as if waiting to see if she'll question what Margret was about to say.

But Grace is lost in her own world of misery and isn't even paying them any attention. Until they stop talking, that is.

She frowns up at them. "What?"

"Nothing, Sweetheart. Finish your breakfast." Rachel snags the piece of toast out of the toaster. "Be good for your grandparents today, please." And with a kiss to the top of Grace's head, she exits the room.

"Feel like lazing on the couch while watching some TV?" When Grace nods her head, Margret leads her into the TV room and gets her settled on the comfy couch. "Here's the remote. Just call if you need anything, okay?"

"Okay, Grandma. Thanks."

"You're so very welcome, Darling." Margret kisses Grace's forehead and heads back into the kitchen to clean up from breakfast and start planning dinner.

The next couple of days are a blur of boredom for Grace. She gets up and has breakfast, then spends the morning either watching TV or helping Margret with the house work or watching Andrew putter around his workshop in the backyard. She'll then have lunch, usually out somewhere with Margret and Rachel. And then the afternoon is usually spent with Margret shopping for new clothes for her. She's no longer a Hawaiian girl and so is going to need some warmer clothes before too much longer. Dinner is always at the house and then Rachel has her take a bath and tucks her into bed. She makes sure to always make two phones calls before falling asleep: Steve's phone, just to hear his voice, and Danny to wish him good-night and good luck on the investigation. After that first night, he hasn't talked to her about it other than to say what she already knows: Steve is still behind bars.

She's been in Jersey for four days when Margret has her put on the new jeans and shirt she'd bought just the other day. "The couple down the street's granddaughter is about your age and she's visiting for the summer. We thought it'd be nice if the two of you met."

Grace doesn't want any more friends. She has all she needs: in Hawai'i. Sure some of them are adults but that's okay. Adults can be fun, too.

But Danny raised her right, and so she obeys and puts on her new clothes and walks down the block, and around a curve in the road, to the neighbors' house.

When she looks back she notices that she can't see their house and a small nugget of a plan to get back to Hawai'i and Danny forms in the back of her mind.

Amy McNamara is two months, three weeks and six days older than Grace, and she makes sure Grace knows it, but that doesn't keep them from becoming fast friends in the way of young children who have only older people for company.

Amy spends that first night at Grace's and Grace spends the next night at Amy's. They're inseparable after that, at least during the day. And since the neighborhood is so safe, and Andrew and Margret have lived there since before Danny was born, none of the adults find it necessary to walk Grace the few yards to Amy's house.

Grace has never had such freedom and she does her best to not have it taken away because she just might someday need this trust the adults have placed in her.

It's been just over a week since Rachel took Grace from Hawai'i when Grace is watching some kid friendly comedy with Andrew that inspiration strikes.

The movie features one member of the family being wrongly accused of a crime, just like Steve, and the kids planning an escape. Grace watches the prison break scene with interest. It's just the kind of plan that Steve can get behind, she's sure of it.

When the movie's over she goes to her room and draws her version of the plan and then realizes she can't implement it on her own so she hacks Danny's email, serves him right for using her name as his password, and scrolls through his contacts looking for the one name she knows she can trust to assist her with this plan.

Only she was unaware that Danny wouldn't ever email him. With a sigh of frustration, she starts to log out when she notices that she can access Danny's iPhone through his email. Kono or Chin must have set it up so that when he's charging it, he can still access any info that he might need.

A quick search of his phone contacts finds the name in no time and she saves the number into her phone. She then forces herself to wait until the afternoon so that she can be assured of not disturbing the people she needs to call and setting off alarm bells that will put a stop to her plan.

At 2 that afternoon, when it's 8 in the morning in Hawai'i, she decides to call Danny first, to make one last effort to get him to come get her.

"Williams," Danny answers, just as distracted as he was the first time she called.


Danny's sigh is loud and aggrieved. "Gracie, I don't have time to talk now. I'll call when it's your bedtime, just like always."

'Only I won't be available to talk then, if everything goes well,' she thinks. "But, Danno!" she whines.

"I said I don't have time to talk now, Grace Ann." She hears him say something to someone then the sound of a door opening and closing. "I'm in the middle of an important meeting with the new Governor. This will have to wait."

Danny has never not had time for her and it hurts her heart. "But, Danno, I know how to rescue Uncle Steve!"

"There is nothing you can do. Now, please, hang up the phone and go play with Amy. I'll call you later." For the first time ever he hangs up the phone without saying he loves her.

Sniffling back tears, Grace dials the number she stole from his phone that morning.

It's easier than it should be, to convince Kamekona to assist her. A few well placed sniffles, not entirely faked, and a couple 'Please, Uncle!'s and he's wrapped tight around her little finger and telling her when she needs to be at the airport.

Now all she has to do is get there. Easier said than done, even for her.

She calls up a taxi and, using her best adult voice, orders one to meet her in front of one of the houses just beyond the curve in the street but not too close to Amy's house. She steals Rachel's American Express card to pay for the trip in advance.

When she gets off the phone, she goes to ask if she can spend the night with Amy, knowing it'll be approved because the adults like that she's not moping around the house and think she's finally coming to accept the fact that she's back in Jersey for good.

Grace makes some excuse for her to not go to Amy's until dusk, can't have people able to actually see her get into the taxi, right?

When the taxi arrives, Grace opens the backdoor and climbs inside.

"Hey, now!" the driver calls, turning to face her over the back of his seat.

"I'm Grace Williams. My mother hired you to take me to the airport."

"She never said you'd be alone." He doesn't look convinced.

"Why do you think she gave my name?"

He looks her up and down. "Just how old are you?"

"Eight. How old are you?" That gets her a raised eyebrow.

"Why isn't your mother going with you to the airport?"

"She can't get out of bed. Broke both legs. Why do you think I'm being sent to stay with my father for the summer? And before you ask, he works for the Governor of Hawai'i and couldn't get the time off to come get me himself."

"Okay. Which terminal?" Grace smiles when the driver gives in and tells him she's flying out on Hawaiian Airlines. He seems impressed that she's flying all the way to Hawai'i by herself but turns around and puts the car in gear.

As they pass the house Grace feels bad about all the lies and how scared her mother is going to be once she finds out what she's done but she just shoves it all deep down because they left her with no other choice. If they'd've just listened maybe she wouldn't have had to resort to such extremes.

When they pull up to the curb at the terminal, the driver turns to look at her. "There's going to be a flight attendant to assist you, right?"

"I believe so." She scoots forward and hands him the ten dollar bill she stole from Margret's purse. She really hates all the bad things she's had to do but they never listen to her. Well, she's sure they'll listen now.

"I can't take that."

"My mom said you're supposed to tip a taxi driver."

"Seriously, kid, I can't take that from you."

Grace shrugs and tucks the money into her pocket, she'll return it next time she sees Margret. "Okay. Thanks."

"Sure. Have a good flight."

She slides out of the car and steps up to a woman wearing a Hawaiian Airlines uniform. The woman smiles down at her. "Are you Grace Williams?" Grace nods. The woman frowns. "Just the backpack?"

"It is an emergency that has me flying out, so yes."

Grace has this elaborate story worked out to explain why she's flying solo and with just her backpack but it appears that only the taxi driver was concerned about her being without adult supervision. "Okay." She holds out one hand. "My name's Tammy and I'll be your assistant for this leg of your journey."

Grace smiles up at her and takes her hand, following her into the terminal and through security. They have several minutes before the flight starts boarding so Grace sits quietly where Tammy can keep an eye on her while doing her job.

Once on the plane, Grace is settled into a seat in the front row, facing the jump seat that Tammy uses during take-off and landing. The flight itself is routine and Grace spends most of it napping. When she's awakened for dinner, she thinks about turning on her phone but decides against it because she doesn't want to know if Rachel has discovered she's missing yet or not.

The sky is still mostly black when they land in Los Angles and Grace remains seated until the other passengers have exited the plane, then takes Tammy's hand and allows her to escort her off the plane.

The instant her and Tammy exit the gangway, a familiar voice calls out, "Grace Ann Williams!"

'Uh-oh,' she thinks. 'This is not going to be pretty.' She decides to pretend she hasn't heard him call her name but he approaches where she's standing with Tammy and flashes his ID. "I'm her father, Detective Danny Williams."

"Oh!" Tammy looks down at where Grace is clutching her hand. "Grace, is this man your father?" She nods solemnly. "Well! I guess it's a good thing you were able to come get her for this last leg of the trip."

"Yes, it is." He holds out his hand, fully expecting Grace to take it. She does, knowing she's about to get the scolding of her life.

Danny, for all that he's bursting with anger and worry over what she's done, waits until they're relatively alone before speaking. Plus the extra time allows him to calm down some and remind himself that she's safe.

Danny sits down in a chair and spins Grace to stand between his knees. "Just what were you thinking!?" Not exactly what he wants to say first but he's not thinking clearly yet.

"You wouldn't listen to me!"

"You're eight years old, Grace. I don't have to listen to you." And, oh, how that hurts her heart. Danny scrubs one hand down his face. "There are things we just can't tell you, Grace. You have to trust that we, as the adults entrusted with your care and well-being, know what we're about."

She doesn't understand most of those words but that's not completely unusual coming from Danny. "But, Daddy!"

"No buts, young lady. Your mother's on her way here as we speak." Fear spikes deep in her gut. "You'll be returning to Jersey with her and you'll be lucky if you can sit for the flight."

"No, Daddy! Please don't make me go back!"

Danny shakes his head. "You have no choice. Your mother has custody and you'll stay where you belong!"

"But I belong with you! And Uncle Steve! Please, Danno, please don't send me away." Tears have begun to drip down her face.

"You're putting me in a tight spot here." He rubs against his temple with two fingers. "How'd you get here anyway?"

Grace ducks her head and scuffs one shoe against the floor. "Kamekona."

"How-how-how-?" Danny seems to be out of words.

"I found his number and called him. He bought me the ticket. He'll be out a lot of money if I don't get to Hawai'i."

"I really should make you return to Jersey," Danny mutters and Grace knows he's about to give in. With a grumble, he pulls his phone from his pocket. "Rachel? Yeah, I got her. She called an associate of mine and talked him into buying her a ticket. I'm guessing she charmed everyone else into not asking too many questions. Yes, I put the fear of Danno in her." He pauses to take a deep breath. "Look, I think it'd be best for all concerned if I took her back with me." He pulls the phone from his ear and Grace can hear her mother screeching in outrage. "Rachel… Rachel… Rachel! You know she'll just try again. Yes, I know you'd be keeping a closer eye on her but the fact remains that she'll try again. At least if she's with me we know she's not trying to fly across the country. I understand but I really think this is for the best. No, I am not rewarding her for scaring us. Would you please think about this from her perspective? Thank you. I'll make sure she calls you every day. Get some rest. Bye."

He puts his phone back in his pocket. "You do realise this isn't a reward, right?" She nods. She knows that Danno's going to be very tough with this particular punishment. He takes her hands in his. "Listen, I understand you think we do things just to make your life difficult but that's not true. Sometimes we have to do what's best and ignore what you want in favor of what you need at that particular time. Do you understand?" She shakes her head. "Yeah, me neither." He slumps back in the chair. "Look, I know you want to be near me and I want you near me but it's not always what's best. Especially if your mother and I feel you might be in danger. This isn't going to be a vacation or even any fun. Am I clear?"

She nods. "Yes, Danno."

"And you can stop with the trying to guilt me thing. It's not gonna work. Not this time."

"Sorry, Daddy." She knows Danny loves her and loves being a father but she also knows he hates having to lay down the law with her. He's always said she was one of those children that didn't require a lot of parenting but now that's most likely to change. From now on, they'll all be watching her extremely close. She won't be able to get away with anything for a long time to come.

"All right. Let's go see if I can get a seat on this flight." He stands up and walks over to the ticket counter.

They're in luck in that the flight is mostly empty and soon they're sitting outside their gate waiting for the flight to board.

"Daddy?" Grace says quietly, not sure if he'll answer any of her questions.

"Hm?" he hums absentmindedly, flipping through a magazine.

"I really do have a plan. A good one, too."

"That's nice." It's obvious he's not paying her the least bit of attention.

"Daddy!" She tugs on his sleeve until he looks at her, his brows lowered in a frown.


"I know how to rescue Steve!"

Danny sighs. "Grace, please."

"You never listen," she grumbles, flopping back in her seat.

"Okay. Where'd you come up with this idea?" It's obvious he's just asking to get her to hopefully give up on her plan.

"In a movie! It's perfect and it'll work, I just know it will."

Danny runs one hand down her hair, the first sign of affection he's shown all day, and fights a laugh at her naivety. "Oh, Grace. Nothing happens like it does in a movie, unless it's based on a true story. Was this a true story?"

"No." Her voice holds more than a touch of frustration that he's not going to listen to her idea, again.

"Okay, then. Leave this to the professionals, please?" She nods, knowing it's going to be like this for a long time to come because of what she did.

They have most of an hour left to wait and about twenty minutes before boarding's set to begin, a flight attendant approaches. "Hi, I'm Mark. Are you Grace Williams?"

Grace nods but Danny speaks for her. "She is and I'm her father so we won't need you today. Thanks, though."

Mark doesn't even blink, just smiles. "Oh, that's okay. I already knew you were here. Just wanted to know if you were continuing on to Hawai'i."

"We are. Thanks again."

"No problem. Enjoy your flight." He turns and walks away.

Eventually they get settled in their seats and the flight attendants do their preflight spiel. Once in the air Grace tries one more time to get Danny to talk to her about the case against Steve.

"Dad, can I please tell you my idea?"

"I am not having this conversation with you, Grace." He rubs at one eye with his knuckle. "Okay, look, Jenna and I are not the only ones working to free Steve. The new Governor has given me leave to keep Five-O going and we have Chin on the inside."

"Why didn't you tell me this before?"

"Because it's really none of your concern, Grace. How many different ways can I ask you to trust us? You've never had this problem before, so why now?"

"Because it's Uncle Steve! I'd be doing the same if it was you."

Danny's expression softens. "Thank you for your loyalty but you really need to stop now." She wraps her arms around her body and slumps in her seat. "Grace? Can I trust you to let me handle this?"

She thinks about it long enough that Danny starts to think she's ignoring him. Just before the storm clouds in his eyes can break over his face, she answers, "Yes, Daddy."

"Good." He runs one hand down her hair. "You look exhausted. Why don't you try and catch a nap for the rest of the flight?"

"Okay." She leans back in her seat and closes her eyes, not actually expecting to fall asleep but not surprised when she wakes twenty minutes before landing.

They're walking across the terminal when Grace realizes that Danny doesn't have a bag with him. "You don't have a bag?"

"No bag. When your mother called and said you'd disappeared, I immediately called to get a ticket on the next available flight out which didn't leave me any time to stop and pack a bag."

What he says makes sense and Grace nods her understanding, taking Danny's hand as they exit to the parking garage.

When they get to the Camero, Danny buckles her into the passenger seat before going around to the driver's side. Sliding behind the wheel, he starts the engine and puts the car in gear, pointing it in the direction of the exit. The interior of the car is completely silent, a most unusual experience for the father and daughter but both too tired to keep up any kind of chatter.

When Danny passes the turn off for his apartment, Grace frowns but figures he might need to stop at the store before heading home, or even stop by her house for some clothes. Her frown deepens when he pulls into Steve's driveway.

"Why're we here?"

"With Steve in jail, the house was going to be sitting empty, my lease was up and most of our stuff was already here anyway so I saw no reason not to just move in for the time being."

Which, of course, makes complete sense and makes Grace happy because she'll have her own room, which she decorated herself, and will have Danny surrounded by memories of Steve that will hopefully have him wanting to get back together.

They enter the house and Danny immediately ushers Grace up the stairs to her room. "Get ready for bed. I'll be back to tuck you in." And so her punishment begins. It's early morning and Danny's telling her it's time for bed. But then again, he could just want her to get some sleep since she hasn't really slept in over twenty-four hours.

She takes a quick bath and puts on her nightgown, returning to her room where she sits quietly on her bed and waits for Danny.

Danny enters fresh from his own shower, and looking more tired than Grace has ever seen him. "Now, we're going to have a serious talk and this will be the last time we'll discuss this. Ever. Am I understood?"

Grace nods. "Yes, Daddy."

"Good." He sits down on the bed next to her but not touching and it reinforces just how angry he is. "I don't care if you think you can help; you're eight years old. There is nothing you can do except get in the way and possibly get yourself injured. Steve has to stay in jail until I can find the proof that he's innocent because otherwise he just looks guilty." Grace has her head bowed, biting her lip to keep her sobs inside. "I've told your mother, and the Governor, that if I haven't proved Steve's innocence by summer's end, I'll be returning to Jersey. Your mother and I are planning to remarry."

Her head snaps up at that. "No, Danno! You can't do that!"

His brows lower and anger flashes in his eyes. "Again, you don't get a say. There are things you know nothing about between your mother and me."

"Such as?" She knows her tone is too sharp but she doesn't care. She knows Danny and Rachel don't love each other and that remarrying would be a huge mistake.

"I suppose it won't hurt anything to go ahead and tell you, since you'll know about it soon enough." He takes a deep breath and a smug expression crosses his face. "Your mother's pregnant and it's mine."

Grace shakes her head, hard. That can't possibly be true. Rachel would never break her marriage vows, not even for Danny. Plus Grace recalls hearing Stan bragging about how he and Rachel finally conceived. "It can't be." Her voice is almost too quiet for Danny to hear.

"Why can't it be?"

"Just a few days before I found you in our kitchen, Stan was talking about how Mommy was finally pregnant."

"Again, you don't know what you're talking about."

"I may only be eight but I know you don't love Mommy; not like you love Step-Steve!" she yells, jumping up to stand facing Danny, her hands clenched in fists at her side.

"Step-Steve?" When Grace just narrows her eyes at him for picking up on that instead of the claim as a whole, he shakes his head. "What do you know about love?"

"Enough to know that Mommy never made you as happy as Step-Steve does." She stomps her foot. "Why won't you listen to me!?"

"Because I'm your father. I get the final say in what happens in my life." He points at his chest.

"So my opinion doesn't matter?"

"No, it doesn't. I love your mother, we're going to get remarried, have a baby and live happily in Jersey. Hopefully this pineapple-infested hellhole will be nothing but a painful memory before too long."

A fist clenches around her heart at his words and she realizes he never liked it here; that he was only grudgingly accepting it as 'home' because she lived here and he's always felt that it's his duty as her father to keep her 'home' safe. "No, Daddy, please," she whispers, tears rolling down her cheeks to drip off her chin and land on her bare toes.

"I'm done having this conversation with you, Grace." He gets up and turns to the door but spins back just before he reaches the threshold. "Give me your phone and your laptop."

She has no problems handing over her laptop but clutches her phone to her chest, resisting Danny's attempts to pry it from her hand. "Please, Daddy! I have to call Step-Steve!"

"He's in jail."

"But I can at least listen to his voice!" Something in her tone must get through to him because he stops fighting her and sinks down heavily on the bed with a groan that sounds painful.

"Oh, Gracie," he breathes. "I'm so sorry. I had no idea you felt that way about him."

Grace realizes that Danny thinks she has a crush on Steve and lets him think that. "It makes me feel better to hear his voice. Please?"

He nods. "Okay. But you're not to call anyone else. Am I clear?" She nods, wiping at the tears still streaming down her face. He leans forward to kiss her forehead. "Okay. Try and get some sleep." Standing, he pulls back the covers and waits for her to get settled before pulling them back up and tucking them around her shoulders. "Sleep well, Monkey." She was beginning to think he wasn't ever going to call her that again.

"Danno?" she calls, grabbing his arm before he could get too far away. "Did I make you miss a visit with Step-Steve?"

"No. Jenna and I share his two visits a week. I go one day; she goes the next, or vice-versa." Grace nods, glad that she doesn't have that to feel guilty about, and lets Danny leave the room.

He closes the door all the way, it's light enough outside that she doesn't need the hall light, and as soon as she's alone, she dials Steve's phone, her breath hitching in her throat at the clipped, "McGarrett. Speak" that callers get when he's unavailable to take their call.

When Grace wakes up, it's obvious that only a few hours have passed and a look at the clock confirms that, but either way, she feels refreshed.

After dressing in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, she heads downstairs in search of Danny and some food.

She finds Danny in the kitchen making blueberry pancakes. "Feel better?" he asks when he sees her hovering in the doorway.

She nods and takes a seat at the kitchen table. "I have some drawings for you to take to Step-Steve on your next visit."

Danny carries two loaded plates over to the table and sits opposite her. "Why are you calling him Step-Steve?"

"Because he's my Step-Steve just like Stan's my Step-Stan."

The expression on Danny's face says he doesn't like what that means about how she feels about those two men. "I can understand Stan; hell, I've called him Step-Stan. But Steve?" He shakes his head. "We were never married, can never marry."

"I don't care. I told you: he makes you happy in a way Mommy never could. You were more relaxed with him." Danny pokes at his pancakes. "Please don't deny it. I'm not stupid. I have eyes. I can see just how much you love him." Danny raises his eyes to hers. "Remember that day at the park?" Danny nods. "The reason I was upset after my bike ride is because some kids saw you two kissing and thought it was disgusting. I told them that you two are my parents. I know you can't make it legal, doesn't make it any less real or true."

Danny just blinks at her. "Wow. When did you get so mature?"

She ducks her head and shrugs. "All it really takes is watching you two together."

Danny seems to give in to that argument with a nod. "Fine. I'll admit I have feelings for Steve but that doesn't change the fact that your mother and I are getting remarried because she's pregnant."

"Even if it's not yours?" She knows she's pressing her luck here, but she knows it's not Danny's baby.

Danny sighs. "Rachel says it is and that's good enough for me."

Grace lowers her eyes to her plate. "So you're just going to break Steve's heart?"

"Gracie?" Danny reaches out to take her hand. "Steve knows this is for the best."

"So you've told him." She makes it a statement, not a question.

"Yes. I told him on my first visit. I didn't see any reason not to. My decision affects him too."

"It affects me, as well and yet you didn't tell me shit!"

Danny's palm strikes the tabletop with enough force to make her jump. "Grace Ann Williams! Watch your language!"

The fight goes out of her sails at the sharp note in his voice, and yet the fact remains that her parents hadn't told her what was happening while Danny told Steve that he was leaving to remarry Rachel because she's pregnant. "Sorry, Daddy."

"Eat your pancakes then get me your drawings. I have to be at the jail in a couple of hours to see Steve."

With a nod, she attacks her pancakes and gulps down her orange juice. "Are you sure I can't come with?"

"Sorry, Monkey. There are rules for a reason. Plus, like I said before, Steve wouldn't want you to see him in jail."

Grace is disappointed she won't be able to see Steve until he's released from jail, but understands. When she thinks about it she knows she probably wouldn't want to see him like that, either.

As soon as she's finished with her breakfast, she heads back up stairs to get the pictures she's drawn for Steve, putting the drawing of her escape plan in the middle. No point in risking making Danny any angrier than he already is.

When she gets back down stairs, it's to find a pretty twenty-something woman sitting at the island in the kitchen sipping a cup of coffee. "I don't mind. I actually like kids."

"Danno?" Grace calls, stepping into the room and over to where Danny's standing at the sink rinsing off the breakfast dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

"Gracie, this is Jenna Kaye. She's gonna watch you while I go visit Steve." Grace turns toward where Jenna's sitting, hiding slightly behind Danny fighting a sudden bout of shyness.

"Hi, Grace. I bet we're gonna have great fun today. We can do whatever you want."

Grace looks up at Danny. "Where's Auntie Kono?"

Danny shares a look with Jenna. "Kono is under investigation for something that we all did."

Grace's brows lower in confusion. "If you all did it, why's she the only one under investigation?"

"Because she's the one who got caught. Don't worry. We're working to get her off along with Steve."

"So because of this she can't watch me?"

"She's busy staying out of trouble. We agreed that it'd be better for all concerned if she keeps her distance until the investigation is done."

"And Uncle Chin?"

Danny sighs. "Grace, I know you don't understand what's going on and it's difficult to explain. Because of everything Chin's been through, he needs to keep up appearances and not give his superiors any reason to doubt him again."

Tears well in Grace's eyes. "When will I get to see them all again?"

"Just as soon as all this is over." He runs one hand down her hair. "Can I trust you to be good for Miss Jenna?" She nods and throws her arms around his waist. Dropping a kiss to the top of her head, he squeezes her tight. "Are those the pictures for Steve?" Stepping back, she nods and hands him the stack of crayon covered construction paper showing different scenes of the people who mean the most to Grace doing things she enjoys. "He's gonna love these, Monkey." One more tight hug and Danny's out the door with yet another reminder to behave.

"So,-" Jenna turns to her and claps her hands. "-our whole day is open. What would you like to do?"

Grace shrugs. "I dunno."

Jenna sighs. "Well, how about we go shopping?" Grace wrinkles her nose at that. "Okay. I guess we can just sit here and stare at each other," she mutters. When Grace just keeps staring at her she blows out a frustrated breathe. "What do you want from me? Kono's off trying to clear her name and Steve's in jail. I'm it as far as your father's options for a babysitter are concerned." Grace just blinks at her. "Please stop looking at me like I'm the root of all the evil in the world."

Grace drops her gaze. "Sorry, Miss. Jenna."

"It's okay. You don't have to call me 'Miss'. Jenna is fine." Grace can hear her desire to be called 'Auntie' in the Hawaiian tradition but she hasn't earned that title, yet. "So, are we going shopping or sitting around here?"

"How long will Daddy be gone?"

"Several hours at least. It takes time to go through security at the jail and then they get about an hour to talk, then back through security."

Grace thinks about what she wants to do. "I'm still pretty tired so I'd like to just stay here, if you don't mind."

Jenna nods. "That's fine. Do you want to watch a video or go swimming?"

"I don't have a swimsuit here, I don't think."

Jenna smiles. "It's a private beach. You could always swim in just your panties, if you want."

Grace looks horrified at that thought. "I'll go see if I have a suit here, still. If not we can watch a video or something."

"Sounds like a plan." Jenna looks around the kitchen. "I'll see about putting together a picnic."

Upstairs in her room, Grace dials Steve's phone and wonders if it's possible to wear out a voice mail message. She closes her eyes and imagines that Steve's in the room with her and a single tear rolls silently down her cheek.

Swiping roughly at the moisture, she opens the drawers in her dresser and finds the pretty pink and white two piece she left here the last time she and Danny stayed the weekend.

A quick stop in the bathroom for a towel and the sunscreen and she's clomping back down the stairs to find Jenna staring at Steve's mostly empty fridge.

Jenna shuts the door to the fridge and turns to face her, a frown firmly in place. "I guess without you and Steve to monitor his eating habits your father's eating whatever he can whenever he can which means lots of fast food and eating out."

Grace tilts her head, trying not to laugh at how resigned Jenna sounds. "He tends to do that. And Uncle Steve really doesn't like grocery shopping so it's no surprise there's hardly anything to eat." She steps up to the counter and opens the bread box. "There's bread and I know there's butter and cheese in the fridge. We can make grill cheese later."

"You like grilled cheese sandwiches?"

Grace nods. "I do. Uncle Steve can make the perfect grill cheese: brown just so on each side." She sighs wistfully. Then spies the bowl of fruit pushed off into a corner of the counter. "But we have fruit and cheese for a snack on the beach, if you're hungry."

Jenna's eyebrows go up. "You're not?" Grace shakes her head. "Okay." She grabs a bunch of grapes, a couple of apples and cuts the block of cheese in half and carries it all outside along with two large containers of water.

Grace leads the way to the shoreline where she carefully spreads her towel in front of the two beach chairs set there, resolutely not thinking about the men who should be occupying them. "Uncle Steve has some beach toys for me in the laundry room. I'm gonna go get them, okay?" When Jenna nods, she runs back up the beach and returns carrying a pail shaped like a castle tower and a shovel. "We usually have a contest to see who can build the biggest sandcastle."

Jenna smiles, hopeful that Grace sharing that tidbit means she accepts her in her life. "Before you get too settled building your castle, let me put some sunscreen on you." Grace knows that wearing sunscreen is a part of her life, she may not have Danny's fair skin but that doesn't mean she shouldn't protect it, and so she stands still while Jenna sprays every inch of bare skin. "You know how far out you're allowed to go, right?" Jenna eyes the little cove warily.

Grace nods. "I'm not allowed to go past my knees without Uncle Steve." Jenna nods, thankful that Danny has raised her to be so polite and respectful.

For the next couple of hours, Grace frolics in the shallow water and builds castle after castle, all well away from the tide line so that, hopefully, they'll still be standing when Steve returns.

"Jenna, I'm hungry." Grace plops down on her towel, slightly out of breath from being chased by Jenna in an impromptu game of tag.

"Then I guess we should head back inside." They pick up everything, taking one last look around to make sure they're not leaving anything. "Are you leaving the castles?" Jenna indicates the line of sandcastles holding watch over the little cove.

Grace nods her head. "Yes, I built them above the tide line. Maybe they'll still be here when Uncle Steve comes home."

"I don't know, Grace." Jenna tilts her head and chews her lip. "One downpour and they'll be wiped out."

Grace shrugs. "Then I'll just keep rebuilding them."

Jenna smiles and follows Grace up the beach to the lanai. When she starts to enter the house, Grace stops her. "You have to wash off first." She points at the outdoor fresh water showers.

"But I didn't even go swimming," Jenna protests and Grace rolls her eyes at how like a haole she sounds.

"Your feet are still covered in sand and you did wade in the surf."

Jenna looks down at her feet, wiggling her toes and watching flakes of sand fall off. "Ah, yes. I suppose it wouldn't be good for the hardwood floor."

"Yeah, especially since it's native to Hawai'i and Uncle Steve's dad handpicked it when he remodeled the house for Uncle Steve's mom for one of their anniversaries."

"Right, then." Jenna steps over to the shower and looks at it like it might bite her.

"You step into that box." Grace points at a two by two by four box sitting to the side of the actual shower. "There's a pressure plate inside that when it's stepped on turns on the faucet and the box fills with water."

"What happens when you're done?"

"Stepping out of the box has the water draining out."

"Very cool." Jenna steps into the box and tries to not shriek in surprise at how cold the water is.

Grace giggles. "Uncle Steve's dad invented it."

"He must have been a very smart man."

"Uncle Steve says he was."

"Right. So, finish washing up and we'll see about making some lunch."

Grace steps under the shower head and rinses off, then towels herself off and enters the house, Jenna right behind her.

Grace fights the urge to turn her nose up at the almost burnt grill cheese Jenna sets before her and forces herself to eat it while drinking several glasses of milk to cover the taste.

They then spend the rest of the afternoon sitting in front of the TV sharing a bowl of popcorn. Grace is one of those children who become totally absorbed in a movie and will shush anyone who speaks. Jenna happens to be one of those people who make comments all throughout a movie. If Grace had been close to accepting Jenna as part of her ohana, she began rethinking that about half-way through the first movie.

Danny enters the house to the sounds of his daughter trying to get Jenna to stop talking so she can watch Enchanted. He can see the DVD has been paused and judging by the fact that Amy Adams' character is still a cartoon, it's still early in the movie. And from the way Grace is ranting, Jenna has talked through each movie they've watched.

"…care if I've seen them lots of times. It's rude to talk while someone's trying to enjoy a movie."

Judging by the look on Jenna's face she never expected Grace to have her father's knack for ranting and he decides to take pity on her. "Hey, Monkey." He shuts the door and steps over to stand next to the couch.

Grace frowns up at him. "Danno, tell her it's rude to keep talking during a movie, especially after being asked to stop."

Danny raises one brow at Jenna. "You like to talk, huh?"

"It's not like I'm talking about random things. I make comments on what's going on, on the screen."

"It's still rude!"

Danny starts to chuckle but swallows it when Grace whips her head around to glare up at him. Okay, when did she learn to glare like that? "She's right, Kaye. It's rude to talk during a movie, especially once you've been asked to stop."

"No one's ever complained before," Jenna protests and Grace realizes she doesn't think she's doing anything wrong.

"Seriously, Kaye? You're being asked by another person to please be quiet and you don't honor their wishes? Do you think my daughter's wants don't matter? Is that what you're saying, that because she's a child she doesn't matter?"

"No, of course not!" Jenna is shocked at what Danny's implying.

"Then why would you keep talking after being asked repeatedly to stop?" Grace demands, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring at Jenna.

Jenna opens her mouth, then closes it and shakes her head. "I-I…don't know."

Grace turns back to face her father. "I don't want her watching me again. Find someone else." She hops up off the couch and stomps from the room.

Danny tracks her down in her bedroom several minutes later. "That was incredibly rude, Grace Ann." Grace raises her chin and sniffs, keeping her gaze on the doll whose hair she's brushing. "I expect you to go downstairs right this minute and apologize."

"Not until she apologizes to me! She treated me like I was a kid all day. And the talking despite my asking multiple times for her to be quiet…" She blinks back tears.

Danny steps into the room and shuts the door before walking over to sit on the bed near where Grace is sitting cross-legged on the floor. "I'm thinking I've done you a bit of a disservice over the years, Monkey." Grace frowns in confusion at Danny. "I've treated you like a little adult. That was how I was raised and most adults treated me the same way my parents did. The disservice is in the fact that I surrounded you with adults who took their cue in how to treat you from me. I should have exposed you to adults who treat kids as kids. But the fact remains that you disrespected an adult and you will be punished for that."


"Don't you 'Danno' me, young lady. You've been on extremely thin ice since you ran away from Jersey. If I could arrest Kamekona for assisting you, I would, but since he didn't physically take you across state lines I can't." Danny takes a deep breath, what he's about to do will break her but as her father it is his job to teach her how to behave and to respect others. "Hand over your phone."

"No, Daddy!" Grace jumps up and grabs her phone off the bedside table, clutching it tight to her chest and backing across the room.

He holds out one hand. "I said give it to me." He clenches his teeth so hard a muscle jumps in his jaw. "Every minute you keep it from me is a day added to the five I originally planned."

Grace chews her bottom lip, contemplating life without being able to hear Steve's voice. She can barely go ten minutes without wanting to call his phone, much less five or more days. "Please, Daddy?" she begs, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Grace," is all he says and she can see that he's hardened his heart against her pleas this time and so it is with a heartbreaking sob that she slowly extends her arm and places her phone in his outstretched palm.

"I hate you!" she screams, running from the room and locking herself in the bathroom.

She slumps on the floor against the door and sobs out her grief and anger. "How dare he be so cruel!? I thought he loved me." She slaps one foot against the floor. The sound is satisfying in a way she never expected so she does it again and again, and this time she pounds the floor with her fists and loves how great it feels to expel some energy in this physical way and before long she's flailing about and looks just like she did as a toddler throwing a temper tantrum.

"Grace?" Danny pounds on the door. "Is everything alright?" Grace stops thrashing around, breathing hard and sits up, pushing the hair out of her face and bites back the urge to laugh hysterically. "Grace? Open up or I'll break the door down." She stands and finds her legs slightly wobbly and unlocks the door, pulling it open to find both Danny and Jenna standing in the hall looking extremely concerned. She forces her face to go blank. "Grace?" Danny reaches out one hand but she dodges it, causing him to frown at her. She's never refused his touch before. "I think you have something you want to say to Miss Jenna."

Grace looks past Danny to where Jenna's hovering, chewing on one thumb nail. "Sorry for what I said, even if I did mean it."

"Grace Ann!" Danny gasps and grabs her arm, his grip just shy of painful, and gives her a shake. "Do I seriously have to put you over my knee for the first time in your life?"

Grace blushes slightly and lowers her gaze to the ground. "No, Daddy."

"Then…?" he prompts.

She looks up through her lashes. "Sorry, Jenna."

"It's okay, Grace. I know it's been a stressful few months for you."

Grace turns her head to look at Danny. "Can I have my phone back, now, Daddy?"

"Not today."


"Ten days." Grace's jaw drops.

'Ten days!? Is he serious?' She immediately begins plotting ways to get time off for good behavior.

But Danny is resolute in keeping to the full ten days of her punishment and doesn't make a big production of giving the phone back when the time is up, just has it sitting next to her breakfast plate the morning of the tenth day.

Grace ignores the scrambled eggs and toast on her plate in favor of calling Steve's phone, her eyes closing as a tear slips from each eye at the beloved sound of Steve's voice.

"Thank you, Daddy," she whispers, calling Steve's phone again while eating her breakfast.

Danny doesn't answer but he does frown in concern over his daughter's actions and what they just might mean about her emotional state.

But, as is the way of life, he has to put those concerns on hold while he tries to find people to watch her the few times he has to leave her at home and when he needs to go chase down bad guys. He definitely makes sure she's never left alone with Jenna for more than a few minutes at a time. Usually it's one of Kono's cousins and occasionally the older lady from up the road who seems to have adopted the father and daughter as her own ohana.

Danny also starts working from home more, mostly just so he doesn't have to leave Grace with someone else all day.

With Steve in jail, Chin working the inside angle with HPD and Kono still under investigation, Five-O is just Danny and Jenna. The only time they go to the office is when they need the super computer there. Danny takes Grace along with him when that happens and sets her up at his desk with some books, paper and crayons and an extremely limited access to the internet.

Grace begins to forget what life was like before, when she lived with Rachel and Steve was around teasing Danny and making him rant. She also starts to think there are no more changes in store for her ohana, except for the four she wishes for every night: Steve to be released from jail, Chin to come back to Five-O (even though she knows he's passing Danny and Jenna information on HPD's investigation of both Steve and Kono), Kono to be found innocent of the crime she's accused of (all four members of Five-O were involved, even if Chin wasn't directly involved, Danny said it was a bad thing done for a good reason) and for Danny and Steve to admit they're in love with each other.

Until the day Rachel calls two months after she ran away. And Grace gets an answer to an unspoken prayer.

Grace is out on the beach playing in the sand, rebuilding the sandcastles that were washed away the day before, with Danny sitting on the lanai where he can see her while doing paperwork. She doesn't hear the phone ring but when she looks up at the lanai she can see Danno talking on the phone so she walks closer to find out what's going on.

Not that Danno getting a call is unheard of, he gets calls all the time, it's just that she keeps hoping it's someone calling to say that Steve's being released.

When she gets close enough to see Danno's face clearly, but not so close as to hear what's being said, she knows he's hearing something that's making him angry. He does more listening than talking and finally ends the call without even saying 'bye'.

When he spies her hovering at the edge of the grass, he jerks his head toward the house meaning it's time for her to go inside.

She runs up onto the lanai and rinses off quickly and follows him into the house, biting her tongue to not ask what the call was about.

Luckily he doesn't keep her wondering for long because as soon as she's inside the kitchen, he slaps one palm down on the island in the center of the room and growls, "She lied to me!" Grace doesn't need to ask who he's talking about. It's clear that Rachel finally called and confessed. "She was in a car accident and lost the baby. Said it must be her punishment for lying to me about the baby being mine." He slaps the countertop again and bites back a sob. "She's going to be moving back soon. Not sure when, probably before school starts."

"Are you still going to marry her?"

Danny shakes his head. "No. She said she's thinking she'd like to be single for a while. She's never really been single before. Our divorce wasn't final when she met Stan and she'd just broken up with someone when she met me." Grace didn't know any of that. Not that it makes any difference. Her parents are happier just being friends so them not getting remarried is a good thing.

"I'm sorry, Daddy." And she is. "I know you were really looking forward to being a father again. But this is for the good, right? I mean, now you and Step-Steve and me can be the family we're meant to be. Right?"

Danny doesn't answer right away. After almost a full minute, he sighs deeply. "I don't know, Gracie. I said some things to Steve when I broke things off that can't be taken back."

"But he loves you! And you love him! Love conquers all. Doesn't it?"

He turns to face her, tears coursing down his cheeks and his eyes sadder than she's ever seen them. "How do you know he loves me?"

"He told me."

"Did he?" Grace wonders if they ever said those words to each other or if they were trying to ignore the fact that they have feelings.

"Not in those words, but he doesn't have to! You only have to look to see."

"Oh, Grace," Danny breaths. "Sometimes love just isn't enough. And I'm afraid this may be one of those times." He turns and begins walking from the room.

"Are you saying you don't love him?" She chases after him. She just has to get the answer to that question because she knows deep in her heart that if Danny admits it out loud his love for Steve will triumph over everything that's happened in the past six months.

He stops at the entrance to the master bedroom, which used to be Steve's, and turns to face her. "I can neither confirm nor deny that."

"Don't play Cop with me, Danno! Answer me. You owe me this much at least."

Danny sags against the doorframe, resigned that his daughter is smarter than him. At least in this. "I'm sorry, Grace but if, and that's a huge 'if', I have feelings for Steve, don't you think he should be the first person to hear me say it?"

She shakes her head. "No. What if the gods are just waiting for you to admit to being stupid and need you to say it before they'll help?"

Danny raises one eyebrow. "The gods? Are you saying there's more than one?" A small smile is twitching at the corners of Danny's mouth so Grace knows he's teasing her.

"We're Hawaiian now, Daddy, and the Hawaiians worship many gods."

He reaches out to run one hand down her hair, cupping it behind her head so he can tug her closer to kiss her forehead. "I know, Monkey, I know. But the fact remains that I'm not ready to have that particular conversation with you. Do you understand?"

She doesn't but she nods anyway and turns to go to her room and color by herself for a while. It's been a few weeks since she sent new artwork for Steve's cell so she concentrates on drawing him a picture of how life will be once he comes home.

A couple of days later a massive summer storm has Grace cooped up in the house with Danny and Jenna. Just as she's starting to get irritated by the adults' refusal to stop working and pay attention to her, there's a knock on the door. Grace races from the kitchen and throws it open, expecting to see Rachel but squeals in delighted surprise when she finds Kono standing there instead.

"Auntie Kono!" she exclaims, throwing herself into the open arms of the slender Hawaiian woman.

"Gracie!" Kono picks her up and hugs her tight. "Howzit, Cousin?"

"Better now that you're here!"

Kono laughs. "That bad, huh?"

Grace rolls her eyes almost exactly the same as Danny, causing Kono to giggle. "You have no idea."

"Grace? Who's at the door?" Jenna calls from the kitchen.

Kono nods her head to show she does, in fact, know where Grace is coming from. "I think I do have at least a tiny idea." Setting Grace down, Kono steps inside and slips off her wet shoes. "It's just me!" she calls out, following Grace back into the kitchen.

Danny's on the phone, which explains why Jenna was the one to question who the visitor was, with his back to the door and one finger plugging the ear the phone's not pressed up against. "Kono!" Jenna greets, holding out one hand for Kono to shake. Kono just laughs, slaps her hand away and pulls her into a hug.

"I may not know you very well, but you are a friend. And friends hug."

"Oh, okay." Jenna returns the hug.

"Who's he talking to?" Kono jerks a thumb in Danny's direction.

"Oh, uh," Jenna hedges, glancing at Grace.

Grace swallows a sigh of frustration, says, "I think I'll go color in my room" and leaves so that the adults can talk about things they think she shouldn't know anything about. Sometimes it sucks being a child.

Turns out that IA decided to drag their feet on the investigation into Kono's involvement with the stolen money but eventually ran out of reasons to delay it and just that morning came to the conclusion that the only evidence against her was her presence at the sewer entrance to the tunnels. And since they couldn't prove that she was in any way involved in the actually theft, they had no choice but to drop all charges and find her innocent. They did, however, put a note in her personnel file stating she had been investigated in conjunction with the theft of ten million dollars from the asset forfeiture locker.

Not that the members of Five-O care one way or the other. The new Governor decided to honor Governor Jameson's arrangement with Steve and everyone on the team has full immunity. In fact the new Governor made sure the note on Kono's file was so small it might as well not even be there.

Grace's life was improving every day. Now if Chin would just come back from HPD. She knows that the team's not complete until Steve and Chin return, and that Chin's still needed on the inside, but that doesn't stop her from wishing for it more every day.

Kono becomes her de facto babysitter and she resumes Grace's surfing lessons, much to Danny's objection.

School's set to start in two weeks when Rachel calls Danny to let him know she's arrived in Hawai'i and needs a lift from the airport. Grace goes along because she hasn't seen her mother since late May. They've only spoken about once a week since Grace ran away and Grace wonders if that was her mother's way of trying to punish her for preferring to be with Danny rather than her.

When they arrive at the airport, Rachel is waiting at the curb. Danny puts the car in park and gets out to assist her with her one suitcase. After a brief awkward hug, he puts the bag in the trunk and she climbs into the front seat of the Camero.

Grace isn't sure how she should be acting, which just feels odd when it's her mother, and so just stares out through the windshield from her place in the middle of the backseat.

"Hello, Sweetheart," Rachel says, turning in her seat so she can see Grace.

"Hi, Mommy."

"You're looking fit. Been surfing with Kono?"

"Yes, Mommy."

Danny slides behind the wheel and slams his door shut. "I think she's angry with me," Rachel says.

"Gee, Rach, I wonder why?"

"Don't start, Danny."

"Fine." He puts the car in gear and pulls smoothly away from the curb. "You look tired."

"It's an extremely long flight from New Jersey to Hawai'i, Danny."

"I know that. I didn't mean you look tired from the flight."

"It's been a rough couple of months."

"I know."

"Danny…" Rachel's voice breaks on his name and Grace watches her father pick up her mother's hand and brush a kiss across her knuckles. While she's seen Steve do the same thing to Danny, this time it has a different meaning. Even though it is still a loving gesture, it's also meant to comfort.

In that moment Grace realizes that her parents would have fought for their marriage, had they remarried, and not because they love each other deeply but because they want to love and be loved and since they know each other they figured they could make it work. Too bad Danny's deeply in love with someone else, otherwise Grace would have cheered them on and supported them completely.

"I can't tell you how sorry I am," Rachel says her voice thick with tears.

"I know, Rach, I know."

"I only did it because I was trying to protect my family."

"Protect your family by lying to me about being pregnant with my child?"

"I had to get Grace away from here and I knew you wouldn't follow this time without a damn good reason."

"So you started an affair with me? Broke your vows with me?"

"You're the one who came to me that night after the whole business with Matt. Why did you do that anyway? I was beyond surprised when you showed up on my doorstep. I expected you to go to Steve."

Danny sighs. "You know Matt, whereas Steve doesn't. I needed to talk to someone who could do more than just listen. And someone who wouldn't try and track him down and hurt him for hurting me."

Rachel laughs. "And he so would, wouldn't he?"

"He thought about it when I told him later that morning."

"I didn't want to use you like that, Danny, but when you came seeking comfort in my arms,-" She shrugs. "-I saw an opportunity and took it."

"Was the baby Stan's?"

"Does it matter?"

"I'll take that as my answer." Grace is confused because Rachel answered Danny's question with one of her own. Oh, how she can't wait until she's an adult so she can understand all this double talk.

"What happened to you, Rachel? You used to not be like this. You took our vows pretty seriously."

"Until I realized that one day you might not come home."

"Yeah, until then. So?"

Rachel sighs. "I don't know. Stan and I haven't been good for a long time. The whole business with the carjacking was just the last straw."

"And yet not that long ago you were off on another island trying to make it work."

Rachel turns to smile at Grace over her shoulder. "For Grace. And the baby."

"So, where are you staying?" Danny changes the subject.

"Not sure. Stan and I are still legally married and he's been nice enough to let me keep using the American Express card and I have some money saved from the part time work I did." Grace can hear her desire to stay with them, but she thinks they still live in Danny's crappy apartment and she doesn't want to stay there.

Danny catches Grace's eye in the rearview mirror. "Grace?" She just shrugs. "We're staying at Steve's. There's plenty of room. For a little while."

"Why are you at Steve's?"

"It was just going to sit empty and the lease was up on my place. Plus, I'd rather work from home, away from any prying eyes, and there's more room for the whole team at Steve's."

"You think the people who framed Steve have Five-O bugged?"

Danny shrugs. "Anything's possible. Wait, you believe that Steve's being framed?"

"Yes, I do. I may not know the man like you, and Grace, but I have met him, remember? The man I allowed in my house to spy on my neighbors, and shared my tea with, could never do what they say he did."

Danny nods his head. "Good to know." He looks at Grace in the rearview mirror again. "So what do you say, Monkey? Want to stop somewhere for dinner?"

"Oh, no, Danny. I'm really tired and look like I just spent most of the day in an airplane."

"I was thinking take-out."

"Oh, well, okay, then." Rachel turns in her seat to look at Grace. "What do you say?" Grace just shrugs again. Rachel turns back to look out the front. "Wish I knew how to make her stop being angry with me."

"Good luck with that."

Rachel's head whips around to stare at Danny's profile. "What do you mean by that?"

"She's still pissed at me for taking her phone back when she first arrived."

"Well, you have never really had to punish her before."

"Only because she's never really given me a reason to."

Grace tunes them out after that, calling Steve's phone a couple of times. She wonders briefly if she should be worried about the fact that she seems to be using his voice mail message as some kind of security blanket, which she doesn't need because she's a big girl and not a baby, then decides that since Danny doesn't seem concerned she shouldn't be either.

After stopping at a local restaurant to pick up their to-go order, they head on home and Danny gets Rachel set up in Mary's old room.

For the most part, Rachel stays out of Grace's daily routine. She seems to understand that after all the upheaval in Grace's life over the past several months, she needs to have as many things stay the same as possible. And so she defers to Danny in just about everything.

Just before school starts, Rachel gets a job and begins looking for an apartment. If the adults don't mention who Grace will live with, well, that's just fine by Grace. She'd much rather live with Danny, and Steve (once he gets out, of course), right now anyway.

Grace has always enjoyed going to school and with the tension in the house she's really been looking forward the start of the new school year. Somehow she manages to put all her concerns aside for the eight hours a day she's in school and keep her grades right where her parents expect them to be.

Halloween has always been a time for her to become the princess her father says she is but this year she decides to go in a different direction. This year she goes as a member of Five-O with Danny as her prisoner. Every house she stops at exclaims over the originality of her costume and laughs at Danny shuffling along behind her in cuffs.

Then it's time for her birthday. She usually looks forward to that one day a year when it's all about her but not this year. She's quickly come to realize that without Steve it's just another day on the calendar.

Danny and Rachel are surprised when she says she doesn't want a party and talk her into at least letting Kono, Jenna and Kamekona, who has yet to be completely forgiven by Danny, over for a cook-out.

The day's almost over when the phone rings and Grace's heart sinks because she knows that means that Danny has to go to work now.

"Grace," Danny calls, walking out onto the lanai where she's nibbling on a piece of cake. "Phone's for you."

With quite a bit of confusion, because Andrew and Margret called her earlier, she takes the phone. "Hello?"

"Happy birthday, Makana!"

"Uncle Steve!" Grace jumps up and squeals.

"You didn't think I'd forget your birthday, did you?"

"Of course not. I miss you." She walks a bit away from the other adults. She doesn't want to have to censor this first conversation with her Step-Steve since he was arrested.

"I miss you too."

"I was beginning to think I'd have to wait until Daddy finds the man framing you to talk to you again."

Steve chuckles. Leave it to his makana to believe in him so completely. "I only get so much time on the phone so I've been saving up so that we're not rushed today."

"That's very smart."

"I've been told I have good ideas from time to time." Steve clears his throat. "I found the picture of your escape plan. Thank you for trying."

"I couldn't not do something!"

"I understand. But the way you went about it... Do you know what could have happened to you?"

"You're angry, too." Grace's heart breaks at the thought that he's angry with her along with all the other adults.

"Angry, no. Scared of what could have happened, yes." He takes a deep breath. "Do you have any idea how special you are to me?"

It's obvious that Grace needs to finally let Steve in on her secret and tell him exactly how she feels about him. "Makuakane, I think I might have some idea."

She hears his sharply in-drawn breath and knows he understands. And now they've both bared their soul to the other and their bond is even stronger for knowing each other's biggest secret. "Oh, Baby Girl, I had no idea."

"That was kinda the point." Grace chews her bottom lip while trying to decide if she should ask Steve the same question she asked Danny several months ago. Finally deciding to just go for it, she takes a deep breath and jumps in with both feet. "Steve?" She waits for him to hum his response. "Do you love Daddy?"

Steve is silent for so long she's afraid the connection has been broken but then she hears him sniff. "Yeah, Grace, I do. I should have told him a long time ago, I know that. But now he's moved on."

"But he hasn't! Mommy lost the baby and admitted it wasn't even his. You can still be together, right?"

"Grace…" Steve's voice falters and he clears his throat but when he speaks again it's still thick with tears. "It doesn't work like it does in the movies, Honey. Love doesn't always conquer all. Sometimes there's just no going back. You know that saying, 'you can never go home again'?" He waits for her to say yes. "That's what it means. It means that nothing can ever be the same."

"But that's not fair! He was going to marry Mommy so the baby would have his name and now that's not necessary so why can't you be together?"

"You have no idea how I wish I could make you understand, Gracie. Too much time has passed. Too many things said that can't be unsaid. Trust me when I say it's better this way and you'll understand when you're older."

"No! I'll never understand why you can't be with the man you love; especially when he loves you back!" She starts to cry.

"He said he loves me?" How can these smart adults be so stupid?

"He doesn't have to! Anyone with eyes can see he's in love. And when your name is mentioned the look in his eyes says it's you he loves. How can you two be so stupid!?"

"It's not always that simple, Grace. The world isn't black and white. There are a million shades of grey and part of becoming an adult is learning how to find your way through them." Grace can hear another man's voice but can't make out his words. "Listen, Makana, as much as I'd love to continue talking to you, my time's up. Remember I love you."

"I love you too, Makuakane." She sits on the ground with her head buried in her upraised knees long after she ends the call and cries for what could have been. If only Matt hadn't come to Hawai'i to do that bad thing he did. If only Danny had gone to Steve the night he found out instead of Rachel. If only Danny and Steve had spoken their feelings aloud to each other. If only… If only…

A few days later, Danny tells her that they finally got all the evidence needed to prove Steve was being framed and the real murderer, Wo Fat, will be taking Steve's place in jail while awaiting his trial.

Grace is ecstatic and in such a good mood she forgets she's supposed to be angry with her parents for everything that's happened in the past nine months.

"When's he getting out?"

"Thanksgiving Day."

"Then we must have a huge celebration. Here. With everyone. Uncle Chin, Auntie Kono, Jenna, Kamekona. And we have to see if Uncle Steve's sister can come, too."

Danny laughs at her enthusiasm. "Slow down, Monkey."

"No! Thanksgiving's in three weeks. There's a lot to do and not much time." She starts to walk away but when she realizes that he's not following, she stomps back, grabs his hand and actually growls, "C'mon, Danno!" and tugs him from the house and out to the Camero. "We have to get to the grocery store and start buying the food."

"Whoa, if we're going to buying lots of food, we should take Steve's truck so we have the extra room in back."

"Good idea." She skips back inside to grab Steve's keys and back out to where Danny's still standing by his car. "C'mon, Danno! Don't make me say it again!"

"Yes, ma'am." He gives her a mock salute and she rolls her eyes, giggling at how good it feels to be teased by him again.

Once on their way, Danny looks over at her. "So, what kind of menu do you have planned, 'cause ya know, we just might need a list?"

She huffs a frustrated breath and rummages in the glove box, looking for paper and pen. Since Steve was not only a SEAL but also a Boy Scout, he has a pad of paper and several mechanical pencils. Pulling out the pad of paper and a pencil, she begins making her list. "Let's see… We need… For appetizers: Tropical Fruit Salad, Pineapple Salsa with Tortilla Chips and Pretzels and Salmon Party Spread with Toasted Pita Wedges. For the main course: Grilled Pineapple-Mustard Glazed Turkey, Macadamia Nut Stuffing, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Poi, Gingered Carrots and Pineapple Upside Down Biscuits. For desert: Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie, Chocolate Coconut pie, Grilled Pineapple and Pineapple Sorbet. And to drink: Tropical Thanksgiving Punch." She stops to look at her list. "I'm sure the store will have recipes available for all the haoles. If not we can look them up on your phone."

Danny sighs in resignation. "More pineapple," he mutters. "What is it with this place and pineapple?"

"It is naturally grown here."

"So, it's not like it's the official state fruit or anything, right?"

"No, Danno, it's not the official state fruit."

"Good to know." He pulls into the parking lot. "We can make some non-pineapple foods, right? For those of us who don't really like pineapple?"

"You don't like pineapple, period? I thought that was just on your pizza."

"I like pineapple just fine, on ham, pineapple upside down cake, in fruit salad and by itself. Just… not on everything."

"But it's not on everything!"

Danny coughs to cover a chuckle. "Grace."

Something in his tone has her looking closely at his face. What she sees there has her eyes narrowing in annoyance. "Danno, it's not nice to tease like that."

This time he laughs out loud. "C'mon, Monkey. Let's go get the food for Steve's welcome home party."

They're in luck and the store, which caters to haoles who vacation on the islands, has several menus, along with recipes, to choose from. Danny's slightly surprised to find one with exactly what Grace picked for their dinner. "Where'd you come up with that menu?"

"It's what Stan's Hawaiian cook fixed for us every Thanksgiving."

"I see. So is it a traditional thing?"

Grace eyes the other menus. "I don't think so. If it was then there wouldn't be different menus to choose from, would there?"

"You have a point." Danny taps her on the tip of her nose causing her to giggle. "I'll push the cart, you grab what we need."

Several hours later, and much later than Danny wanted, they check out and load the bags in the back of the truck and head back to the house.

When they pull into the drive, Grace can see Kono's car parked off to the side. "Auntie Kono's here!" She jumps from the cab and goes running into the house. "Auntie Kono! Auntie Kono!" she yells and throws herself into Kono's outstretched arms.

"Howzit, Cousin? It's not like I haven't seen you recently."

"I know but Uncle Steve's coming home!"

"I know."

"We're having a huge Thanksgiving Day dinner here in his honor."

"Is that right?" Kono looks over Grace's head at where Danny's bringing in the bags.

Grace nods her head. "We are. Danno and I just went and bought all the food. You should see the turkey he bought! It's huge!" She squirms until Kono sets her down and goes over to where Danny has put the bags on the island and begins putting the food away. Kono helps her. "Will you help me plan this big surprise for Uncle Steve?"

"Sure, Cousin." Kono runs her hand down Grace's hair. "You want leis and everything?"

"Yes! I want it to feel like a luau, without the roasted pig."

"Okay." They put the food away in silence for a few minutes. "Hey, how about I teach you a simple hula?"

"You can do that?" Grace asks her voice filled with awe.

"Sure can. But when I say simple, I mean extremely simple. Something that they teach the tourists."

"That's okay!" Grace bounces over to where Kono's standing at the island going through the last bag and throws her arms tight around her waist. "Thanks Auntie Kono! You're the best!"

"You here that, Williams? Your daughter says I'm the best!"

Danny steps back into the kitchen from the living room. "Aw, she says that to everyone at some point." He ruffles Grace's hair. "So why is Kono the best?"

"She's gonna help me plan Uncle Steve's party and teach me to hula!"

"That right," he murmurs, locking eyes with Kono.

She just shrugs. "What can I say? I have a difficult time saying no to her."

"Yeah, that seems to be going around." Danny's voice is so dry it's a fire hazard.

One of Kono's eyebrows climbs her forehead. "Is there a problem with me helping her plan a party and learn a simple dance?"

"I've seen some of those hulas."

"You do know that hula is a Hawaiian form of communication using dance, right? And the ones you've seen were probably overly sexual because they were meant to entice the tourists?"

"So what kind will you be teaching her?"

"The kind they teach at true hula lessons, even if they are just for the tourists."

"Oh. Sorry, Kono. It's just…" He doesn't finish his sentence, just shrugs one shoulder.

Kono places one hand on his arm. "I totally understand, brah."

The next three weeks are a whirlwind of activity with everyone preparing for Steve's homecoming and the big Thanksgiving party. They end up inviting everyone from HPD who didn't believe that Steve had killed Governor Jameson as well as some of his neighbors. Mary even managed to fly in a couple of days before.

Grace wakes early on Thanksgiving morning, anxious to see her Step-Steve for the first time in six months. She dresses with extra care, making sure she's wearing something she knows makes her look pretty, before skipping down the stairs. She heads straight for the kitchen where she can hear voices.

"Morning!" she calls to the three women standing at the stove and counters cooking their feast.

"Morning!" they all call back.

"Is Daddy up yet?" She snags a muffin and climbs up on a stool at the island. Kono, Rachel and Jenna all share a look and Grace knows what they're about to say. "He left without me!?"

"Grace, Sweetheart," Rachel says, wiping her hands on the apron tied around her waist before stepping over to where Grace is sitting and wrapping her arms around her shoulders. "Steve asked him to come alone. He feels he'll need the time it'll take to drive back here to compose himself before he sees you."

"What does that even mean?" Grace frowns up at her mother.

"It means that he doesn't want you to see him before he's had a chance to get used to being out." Jenna tries to explain. After that first disastrous afternoon, Grace and Jenna have come to an understanding: Grace accepts her as one of the adults in her life just so long as Jenna doesn't talk during any movies they may watch together.

"I still don't understand."

"I know you don't, Keiki," Kono interjects. "Let me see if I can explain it." She clears her throat. "The reason he hasn't wanted you to visit is because jail makes a person become someone they're not. Steve has had to harden himself in order to survive on the inside. And he's going to need time to lose that hardness, or at least hide it."

"I still don't understand! He said he couldn't wait to see me. He knew I was looking forward to being at the jail when he walked out! That I want to be the first person he sees and hugs. He'd never do this! Never!" She jumps off her stool and runs back upstairs to her room.

Grace fully expects one of them, her mother most likely, to follow her and so is very surprised when no one comes knocking. She decides to show them, and stays in her room, even when her stomach demands food.

She drifts off and is jerked awake by a sharp rap on the door. She rolls from the bed, whipping drool off her chin and shuffles over to the door. "What?" she snaps, throwing it open.

"Well, that's a fine 'how d'ya do' after six months apart," Steve drawls, sarcasm dripping off every word.

"Uncle Steve!" Grace throws her arms around his waist, hugging him tight.

"Mm, how I've missed your hugs." He walks her backward until he can close the door. "Your mother says you're upset that I asked Danno to come alone to get me." He removes her arms from his waist and strides over to the bed and sits down, patting the spot next to him.

Grace sighs. She knows he's going to have one of those 'adult' conversations with her about how she can't always have her way and whatnot and she's so totally not in the mood. He just came home! Surely this can wait?

"Do we have to talk about this now, Makuakane? You just got home."

"Grace, please don't make me be an adult here." Judging from his face he means it the way Danno means when he asks her to not make him be her father at times.

She sighs again and sits on the bed next to him. He wraps an arm around her shoulder and kisses the top of her head. "I know you wanted to be there and even though I wanted it too, I knew it wouldn't be a good idea for you to see me right then."

"Why?" She tilts her head back to look at his face and that's when she realizes his hair's gone. "What happened to your hair?"

He chuckles. "I shaved my head. Easier to take care of inside." What he doesn't say, but she hears, because she has learned the fine art of eavesdropping over the past nine months, is that it also makes it more difficult for an attacker to grab his head. With no hair it can't be used against him in a fight.

"Not sure I like it." She wrinkles her nose.

"Not the point here, but Danno said the same thing the first time he saw it." The laughter in Steve's eyes fades and Grace knows she's not going to like what he's about to say.

"Now, about why I didn't think you should be at the jail when I got out." He takes a deep breath, squeezes her and rests his cheek on the top of her head. "I had to become one of them, Grace. It was the only way I could survive and it's not something you can turn off like a switch. I knew the look in my eyes and on my face would have scared you and I don't want you to ever be scared of me. I needed the time on the drive home to let that part go, to figure out how to become me again." He turns his head and buries his nose in her hair, breathing deeply of her floral scented shampoo, a smell he will forever associate with freedom and innocence. "Do you understand?"

She swallows thickly, tears running down her face. "Yes, Makuakane. I understand. Doesn't mean I'm not still disappointed that you didn't say something sooner."

He laughs. "That seems to be a weakness with me. Not saying something at the right time." He kisses her hair and squeezes tight one more time. "I think it's time we joined everyone for this wonderful party you planned for me, don't you?"

Grace swipes her hands across her cheeks. "Yes, Sir!" She jumps off the bed and holds out one hand. "C'mon, let's go."

They walk hand in hand down the stairs to the sounds of their ohana celebrating freedom and giving thanks for that freedom in the backyard.

This day becomes one of Grace's favorites. Being surrounded by people who love her, and love each other, makes it one to remember for all time. She knows that someday she'll be telling stories of this day to her children and grandchildren.

After the main course, Kono and Grace get up and perform their hula to much applause and whistling. The grin on Steve's face couldn't have been any bigger or more proud as he watches her take part in an ancient ritual.

The party goes well into the evening hours and eventually Grace feels too sleepy to stay up. With a kiss good-night to all the adults, she shuffles off upstairs and her bed, somehow managing to fall asleep despite all the noise they're still making.

Sometime later, something wakes her and she lies there for a few minutes trying to figure out what it was. She eventually gives up and rolls from her bed to shuffle from her room, heading for Danny's, when she hears Steve and Danny talking. She sits down on the top step of the stairs, curious about what they're discussing.

"Steve!" Danny's tone is sharp and Grace's brows lower in concern.

'Surely they're not arguing after the wonderful day we had,' she thinks.

Steve's words put Grace's fears to rest. "I haven't been able to touch you in nine fucking months, Daniel! Six in jail and three when you were with her."

"Hey, watch it.
She is the mother of my child."

"She still tried to take you from me, Danny."

"She was pregnant, Steven!"

"With another man's child!"

"She said it was mine and that's all I needed."
Danny sighs. "You'll never understand."


"Because you've never been married. I still love her, Steve. I will
always love her because of Grace."

She hears a faint growl that she knows isn't Danny's and then Danny's voice softly saying, "Steve" and then silence.

She creeps further down the stairs until she reaches the turn in them and peeks around the corner, concerned about how quiet it's gotten. What she sees is not really a surprise; she has seen them kiss before. She is extremely glad that they've finally figured out they're meant for each other and no one else.

Steve has Danny backed against the wall between the front door and the couch and has his head tilted in such a way that Grace knows means he's sucking on Danny's tongue. With a moan, he begins moving down Danny's neck and Grace can see the bliss on Danny's face.

She knows just enough to know that Steve's probably sucking on Danny's neck. But when Danny gasps Steve's name, causing Steve to laugh deep in his throat and whisper something Grace can't hear, but makes Danny's whole body shudder, she has no idea what's going on. Not that she needs to know more than that her Danno and Step-Steve are finally back where they belong: in each other's arms.

"Grace is around here somewhere," Danny manages to say, pushing at Steve's shoulders.

"Aw, she crashed about an hour ago."

"What if she gets up?"

"It's about time we admitted it to her, don't you think? Besides, she's at the right age to have
The Talk."

"And that is something I'll be leaving to her mother."
Danny sounds horrified at the prospect of talking to his Monkey about sex.

Steve chuckles evilly. "How about we just tell her about it from the man's point of view?"

"You really are crazy,"
Danny mutters, pulling Steve down to kiss him again.

"Totally crazy," Steve agrees. "About you and Grace."

She slowly slips back up the stairs and into her room, a smug and extremely happy smile firmly in place on her face because finally, after nine extremely stressful months, all is right in Grace Williams' world.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-14 06:30 pm (UTC)
saddle_tramp: character snipped from a Dork Tower comic (all my base)
From: [personal profile] saddle_tramp
This is made of so much win and awesome, I have no words.

You win all the internets.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-16 02:27 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

I think you did a great job here of how messed up things are going to be for poor Grace. The way the season ended, it does seem like her parents weren't really thinking through how she was going to be affected by such a huge change in her life. And for the second time, at that!

Wonderful story.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-27 10:33 pm (UTC)
ived: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ived
Such a great story ! I love to see how Grace thinks about everything. Maybe sometimes kids are just smarter than adults....


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