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Finally, the final bell rings and Grace makes her way to her math room for her fifteen minutes of detention which is spent solving equations on the board (showing all her work, of course). She manages to solve two correctly and four so totally wrong she's afraid they're going to have to invent a new term for just how wrong she is before the time is up. Mr. Drake releases her with a resigned sigh and an extra ten pages of homework.

She makes her way outside, cautiously scanning the remaining crowd for a familiar adult, hoping for Danny or even Steve. But she only sees Kono. Exactly what this means has her shoulders slumping in defeat. She knows she screwed up but how can she make amends if they shun her so completely?

"Hey, Cuz," Kono greets when Grace stops next to where Kono's standing next to her car. "I don't know what you did, but it must have been a doosey. They're both on a tear right now. Never seen 'em like this. Not gonna lie: I'm kinda scared."

Grace glances up at Kono from under her lashes. "How bad is it?"

"Bad." Kono nods, her eyes sad.

Grace closes her eyes against threatening tears and releases a shaky breath. "I'm guessing you're my jailer until they get home?"

"Oh, no, Cousin. You-" Kono points her finger at Grace. "-are going to be a guest of The Five-oh Task Force for the foreseeable future."

Grace's gaze slides from Kono's to the left and back down to the ground. "Completely justified." Her head snaps up as a thought occurs to her. "Did either one of them speak to my mom?"

Kono shrugs. "Don't know. Why?"

Grace chews her lower lip. "Huh?" she asks when Kono pokes her. "Oh, uh, no reason." But an idea is forming. If she can get to Rachel before Steve and Danny, maybe, just maybe, she stands a chance of seeing daylight again before she's thirty.

Grace goes to step around Kono and get in the car when Kono stops her with a hand to her arm. "I'm supposed to take your phone." Kono holds out her free hand. "Since you're under arrest and all."

Grace knows she should have seen that coming, and wonders why Steve didn't take it earlier, and so she surrenders her phone with only a frustrated sigh. "Can I make one phone call, first?" She asks before placing the phone in Kono's hand. "I am allowed one call, right?"

"If you're calling Rachel, I've been told to say not until your dads are present."

'Well, fuck!' Grace grits her teeth and slaps her phone into Kono's outstretched palm. They've thought of everything, it seems. "I hate them!" she growls and flops down into the passenger seat, slamming the door behind her.

"Hey, you mind not taking your aggression out on my car?" Kono slides behind the wheel and frowns in Grace's direction.

"Sorry." Grace crosses her arms over her chest and settles in for a good old pouting.

"Care to enlighten me as to why I'm acting as your prisoner transport?" Kono starts the engine, puts it in drive and eases out of the congestion of the carpool area and into the congestion of Honolulu traffic.

"I screwed up. Bad."

"Yeah, got that, thanks. Now tell me something I don't know."

"Not allowed to."

"Oh?" Now Kono's really intrigued. And once her curiosity has been pricked, there's nothing she won't do to get the truth. "I'm taking that to mean you overheard something you shouldn't have? And maybe used that knowledge in a way you shouldn't have?"

"Really, Auntie, I can't tell you. You'll have to ask them."

"Oooo. Whenever you call your dads 'him' or 'them' I know you're really pissed. But it seems to me that you don't have a right to be angry right now. You obviously know you did wrong so why not just accept your punishment quietly?"

"Because they're going overboard with it! I get a phone call! And they're not giving it to me!"

"But they are. Just not without one of them present for it. I've booked many perps and they are never allowed to make that phone call without the booking officer present."

"But you're here!" Grace twists in her seat to turn beseeching eyes on Kono. "Please, Auntie! Just let me call my mom." She laces her fingers together and tucks them under her chin and whispers, "Please, please, please!"

"Oh, no, you don't!" Kono chuckles, glancing in the driver's side mirror before merging with traffic waiting to turn left onto the street in front of Five-oh headquarters. "I am not risking my job by helping you get one up on your dads. You're just gonna have to accept their punishment."

Grace flops back against the seat, thumping her head against the headrest a few times and growls softly low in her throat. "Figures you'd take their side. All adults are alike and I hate you all!"

Kono swallows a chuckle at how much Grace is acting like a typical teenager, something that doesn't happen often since she is usually such a sweet natured girl that the adults in her life don't have to come down hard on her much, if at all. In fact, in the six years that Kono's known her this is the first time she's seen Danny ever have to truly punish her. Time outs don't really count in Kono's book because most kids get that punishment a time or two since testing the limits of the rules is part of being a kid. But going so far as to have Danny order a complete and utter lock-down of his daughter's freedom? Well, that has never happened as far as Kono knows.

"Relax, Cuz. You know your dads. They just might give you time off for good behavior." Kono glances over to find Grace sitting stiffly in her seat with her arms crossed tightly over her chest and glaring out the window. Pulling into a parking space and putting the car in park, Kono sighs. She's been where Grace is now, only when she was much younger because when she was Grace's age she was already a champion surfer. "You know they only punish you because they love you, right?"

"Yeah, right. They love me so effing much they're taking away my freedoms for however long they feel is justified."

Kono scratches her chin. "Back at the school you said they were justified in punishing you. What changed?"

"They have me on lock-down! They took my phone and won't let me call my mom! How is that even remotely fair?"

Kono turns in her seat and leans back against her door. "Since I don't know what you did I can't really answer that one. I can only say that they're punishing you in a way they feel fits the crime. But really, Grace, whatever you did has them really angry. I think you're getting off lightly with just having your phone taken away and having to come here right after school every day."

"Why do you say that?" Grace unbends enough to begin picking at the skin around her right thumb nail.

"Because Steve wanted to send you to live with Rachel."

"What!?" Grace turns horrified eyes on Kono who just shrugs.

"They were yelling and everyone could hear. Steve suggested making you finish the school year in Vegas and maybe not even coming back for next year. Danny talked him down to putting you under lock and key with no phone. And no call to Rachel without one of them present."

Her Papa wanted to send her away? Just the very thought makes her heart hurt. She knew she had disappointed him by eavesdropping but for him to even think about sending her away? She can't wrap her brain around it. Surely he just spoke in anger and didn't really mean it? Her eyes slide closed as two tears slowly roll down her cheeks. "Please tell me you didn't hear him right. He'd never so much as think about sending me away."

"Which I could, Cuz. But the fact remains that he said those words. Danny got right in his face for it, if that makes you feel better." And it does, a little bit. "Told him he was crazy if he thought Danny would even entertain the notion of sending you to Rachel after the fight he went through to get primary custody last year."

As more tears roll down her face, Grace just whispers, "He wouldn't. Not my Papa."

"Grace?" Kono leans over to put one hand on her knee. "You know they both love you to bits. You've just disappointed them, is all. Steve is really taking this hard. You've never really given him any trouble. Be patient with him. He's still learning how to be a dad." Grace nods. "We should get this part over with, then. C'mon." Kono gets out of the car and Grace follows, walking as if going to her execution.

Grace's luck holds and the bullpen is crowded when she and Kono enter the Five-oh offices. Steve and Danny are busy coordinating a search for a missing suspect and don't even seem to notice her entrance. Chin does, however, and has a silent conversation with Kono over her head as Kono leads her to Danny's office where she's to stay until such time as her dads are ready to leave for the day.

The instant the door closes, and locks, behind Kono, Grace goes to Danny's desk and picks up the handset of his phone. She quickly dials Rachel's number and gets a tone in her ear telling her that that number has been blocked unless a passcode is entered. She slams the receiver back into its cradle while muttering Hawaiian curses under her breath. Next she tries Danny's computer, thinking she can email her mother just as easily, but encounters a similar issue: Danny has changed the password on his computer and after three tries she's locked herself, and Danny, out of it. She knows he's going to be even angrier that he has to call IT to come reset his password when he gets ready to use his computer later but decides to think of it as divine retribution.

With no way of getting assistance, she settles herself into a corner of the couch and builds up a defensive wall of books. She actually manages to concentrate on her homework and is about half way through the extra assignment from her math teacher when Danny unlocks the door and enters his office.

"Grace?" Danny says her name in that soft voice that tells her that she's disappointed him in a big way. It's a tone she hates. She'd much rather he yell at her than speak in this soft low voice.

"I'm doing my homework." Her throat is tight with the need to cry. She hates disappointing him.

"Grace." He sits on the coffee table in front of where she's sitting cross-legged on the couch.

"What?" She snaps, throwing her pencil into her math book and slamming it closed.

"I beg your pardon?" His voice is still low but it has now taken on a hint of steel; a hint she'd be wise to heed, except she wants the hard edged tone.

Keeping her head turned where he can't see, she rolls her eyes, then turns to face him. "Yes, Sir?" Her voice is still clipped. She'll make him yell if it's the last thing she does.

"You need to check your attitude, young lady." Danny's frowning at her but it's not his 'angry Dad' frown, it's his 'disappointed Dad' frown and that makes the lump in her throat grow even bigger.

"Sorry," she mumbles, dropping her gaze to where she's picking at a toenail.

"You have to know that what you did-" He begins and she finishes for him, "Was so very wrong" hoping it'll make him less disappointed and maybe lighten up on the punishment.

He nods. "Good. You know you were wrong."

"But I'm not sorry."

His eyebrows climb his forehead and she knows she may have just crossed a line that should never have been crossed. "Oh? And why not?"

"Because." She puts her nose in the air. "You wouldn't have told me."

"Only because Shelly doesn't want anyone to know." He stands from the coffee table and paces the office. "We weren't purposely keeping it from just you, Grace. No one knew. Yet. You would have been the first."

"For the first time ever!"

"Not true."

"I was last to know Papa was 'dead' and last to know he wasn't."

"Oh, no, you weren't. Cath and Denning were."

She rolls her eyes again. "Whatever."

"But regardless, there will be times when Steve and I keep things from you. Just like my parents keep things from me and I'm an adult."

As much as Grace hates not knowing everything, she does have to concede the point. There's no way she can, or even should, know everything that happens between Steve and Danny. "Alright!" She huffs a breath and leans back in her corner of the couch. "I get it. I need to learn to not be so nosey." Danny smiles at her and her heart mends a little. "Did Papa really mean it?" she asks, her voice small in a way it hasn't been since Steve first came home four years ago.

"Did he mean what, Monkey?" Danny retakes his seat on the coffee table.

"That I should go live with Mom."

Danny sighs and lowers his head. "I'm gonna kill Kono for telling you that."

"So he didn't mean it? He doesn't want to send me away?"

"No, Monkey, he doesn't want to send you away. He spoke in anger and instantly regretted it. You know he loves you as if you were his own."

"Would you ever send me away like Grandpa John did Papa and Auntie Mary?"

"Absolutely not." Danny reaches out and runs one hand down her hair. "In fact, I'm thinking of insisting you attend one of the universities here in Honolulu."

"Not just Hawai'i, but actually here on O'ahu?" Grace's eyes sparkle with amusement, something that seemed impossible just a few minutes ago.

"Exactly. And you know Steve will probably insist, too."

"Yeah." Despite Danny's assurances that Steve doesn't want to get rid of her, it still stings; that he'd say it even in anger. "Is it time to go?" Grace asks when she finally notices how dark the outer office area is.

"Not quite. Came to get you for dinner. We ordered in because Steve and I need to stay a bit longer."

"Can I call Mom?" Grace unfolds herself from the couch and stretches out all the kinks.

"Not tonight."

Anger sparks deep inside her. How dare he not let her call her mom!? "Why not?"

"Time difference."

Her anger deflates like a popped balloon. "Of course. How sill of me to forget that." She skips ahead of Danny a little bit. "First thing tomorrow, though, right?"

"You bet."

The instant Grace turns the corner to the hall leading to the break room, the smell of pizza hits her nose. Her mood immediately darkens when she sees Steve standing at the counter and serving slices of pizza onto the plates. She decides to not speak to him unless he speaks to her first and makes her way to the table.

Steve sends Danny a questioning look at her behavior and gets a shrug in return. "Hey, Baby Girl."

"Papa." She keeps her tone neutral but polite.

"How'd you do on that test?" Steve asks, carrying the plates to the table and setting one in front of Grace.

"Danno didn't tell you?" She picks up a slice with her favorite toppings: ham and pineapple and takes a big bite.

"You never told me." Danny grimaces at her choice of toppings. Ever since coming to Hawai'i, she's forgotten just exactly what should be on pizza. And what should never be anywhere near a slice.

"I texted you."

"I never got a text." Danny pulls his phone out of his pocket and scrolls through his texts.

"I sent it around 11. Right after class."

"Let's see…" Danny rubs his chin. "At 11 I was… nowhere near my phone. I had left it on the smart table." He turns to look at Steve. "Only person near it was you." Steve's face is blank which means he's feeling guilty. "Why'd you delete a text from my daughter, Steve?"

"I, uh, I thought she might be texting about what I did."

"Is that why you told me about her confession?" Steve drops his gaze to where he's picking at his pizza. "What did you do that you don't want me to know about, Steven?"

"I…" Steve flicks his eyes to Grace but she's studiously keeping her face averted. "I dragged her from the truck, almost shook her and then when I released her I gave her a slight push."

"Uh-huh." Danny nods. "Grace?"

She looks up at him and shrugs. "What?" She turns to Steve for a second. "He was angry but he didn't hurt me. Physically at any rate."

"Okay." All three of them start eating in silence for a few minutes. "So, you thought I'd get angry that you laid hands on our daughter?"

Steve shrugs. "I'm never really sure how much I'm allowed to do since she's not actually mine."

Grace can't quite keep the gasp of shock from escaping. "Grace?" Danny frowns at the top of her head. She just shakes her head while blinking back tears. "Monkey?" Danny reaches out to put his hand over hers. She jerks her hand back and jumps up from the table, running back to Danny's office.

But she changes her mind at the last minute and enters Steve's office instead. She doesn't care that it's after midnight in Vegas. She needs her mother. She steps up behind Steve's desk, picks up the receiver and quickly dials her mother's number. Steve enters just as she presses the last button.

"Hang up the phone, Grace." His voice is devoid of all emotion.

She turns her back and counts the rings, tapping her foot while muttering, "Pick up. Pick up. Pick up!"

"Grace." Steve is a warm presence at her back. "Hang up."

"Do you have any idea what time it is, Commander?" Rachel was obviously asleep and Grace feels bad about waking her but she needs her.

"Mommy?" Grace's voice cracks.

"Grace, Honey? What's wrong?" Rachel is instantly more awake. "And why are you calling me from Steve's office?"

"Steve…" A sob escapes and Grace has to pause to regain her composure. "He said he wants to send me to live with you."

"What? Grace you're not making any sense."

"Hang up." Steve leans over Grace's shoulder and speaks directly into her ear. She continues to ignore his order and swats at his head.

"Is that him? Put him on." Rachel is in 'Mother Bear Mode' now and Grace knows he's in for it. Rachel still doesn't like his influence over Grace and seems to relish any opportunity to give him what for.

With a self satisfied smirk, Grace hands him the handset. "She wants a word." She plops down in Steve's chair and crosses one knee over the other.

"Now, Rachel, before you say anything, here's what happened." Steve begins speaking before he even has the phone anywhere near his ear. "She broke a rule and when she confessed, I overreacted. I grab her arm to drag her from the truck and when I released her, I gave her a slight push. And then I was feeling guilty about it so I thought of something that would punish both her and me and that was sending her to you. Not that Danny would ever allow it. He'd divorce me first. Then just now when I was telling Danny, I said that I'm not real sure just how far I should go since she'd not really mine. Biologically speaking."

Once he's done talking he listens for a long moment. He tips his head back so that he's more or less looking at the ceiling and the corners of his mouth are tipped down in a frown. Every so often he goes, "Mmhm" as if he's agreeing with whatever Rachel's saying. Steve has such a good poker face that Grace isn't feeling so smug anymore. Then he says, "Okay. Night, Rachel" and returns the receiver to its cradle.

"Hey! I wasn't done talking to her!"

"Well, now you are." He takes her by the upper arm, being careful to keep his grip light and pulls her up from the chair and over to the couch where he pushes her into a sitting position. "And now you and I are going to have a talk."

"Steve," Grace tries to cut him off at the pass.

"Uh-uh." He shakes his head and sits next to her on the couch. "I talk, you listen. And my name's not Steve." She gives him a haughty look that he knows she got from her mother because he's been the receiving end of it many times. "Don't look at me in that tone of voice." She snorts and rolls her eyes, the corners of her mouth twitching with the effort to hold back a smile.

Steve takes a deep breath and releases it slowly. "You should know that before you my experience with kids was absolute zero. After the disaster that was my childhood, I had decided to not have kids. But then I met your dad and you and…" He stops and rubs his face with both hands. When he lowers them, Grace is surprised at how old he looks. "I love you more than I can ever express." He stops talking again and Grace knows he's trying to find the words to tell her what's in his heart. Steve isn't so good with words, that's Danny, but Steve's been learning how to express himself in the tried and true Williams Family way. "You both were a surprise to me; how quickly you fit into my life."

"Uncle Steve…" Grace can't bring herself to say 'Papa' right now because if she did, she knows they'd both break down in tears.

Steve leans forward and rests his arms on his knees. "I truly am sorry for putting my hands on you. I overreacted and wasn't thinking. It doesn't excuse what I did, but-" He shrugs. "You're such a good kid I never know how Danny would react in a situation like that. I don't want to overstep my bounds. You don't share my DNA so I'm constantly afraid that I'll get in trouble with CPS. Do you understand?" She nods. "Good. Now about the other thing."

Grace jumps up from the couch and paces away from him. "You can't tell me you didn't mean it."

"But I didn't. You heard what I told your mother. I said it to punish myself more than you."

Grace turns her back and settles her weight on one foot. "Maybe you should be the one to go away. Danno and I were just fine without you." She sniffs, puts her nose in the air and crosses her arms over her chest.

"What a hurtful thing to say." Steve's voice is devoid of emotion.

"See!?" She spins to face him and finds his face wet with tears and the saddest look on his face. "Oh." Now she feels guilty.

"I didn't mean it, Grace. I don't ever want you to leave. I don't remember my life before you but I do know it wasn't a happy place. I need you and Danny like I need oxygen."

Grace wants to still be angry with him for even thinking about it but she finds she can't; not when he's looking at her like he'll never see her again. "Oh, Papa!" She rushes where he's sitting and he crushes her to him, burying his face in her hair.

"Hush now. Hush," Steve murmurs against her hair and she's not sure if he's talking to her or himself because he's crying just as hard as she is.

"I am so sorry for disappointing you." She knows it's a bit passive aggressive but who cares? She is sorry for disappointing her dads, even if she's not sorry for eavesdropping.

"Is all forgiven?" His breath hitches and she knows he's trying to stop crying and that makes her cry all the more which in turn makes him cry more too. It just becomes a vicious cycle.

"Yes." She shifts her grip to his waist and tucks her face in the side of his neck like she used to when she was little.

"Hey," Danny says softly from the door. "Are we good?"

Grace nods against Steve's shoulder and Steve says, "Not really, but we are better."

"Good." Danny rocks back on his heels. This is the most emotional the three of them have been in a while and he knows they're going to discuss it in therapy next week. "So, Grace. You done with your homework?"

"Not quite."

"Then don't you think you should get back to it?"

She pouts even though he can't see it and snuggles closer to Steve. "Do I hafta?"

Steve kisses her head. "Have to keep those grades up." Grace sighs dramatically but obediently slips from Steve's lap.

She presses a kiss to his cheek. "Love you."

Steve pats her backside. "Love you, too, Baby Girl."

She pauses next to where Danny's standing in the door to Steve's office. "I'm sorry for disappointing you."

Danny nods; his eyes sad. "I know." He jerks his head in the direction of his office. "Go on, now."

"Love you, Danno." She kisses his cheek.

"Danno loves you, too." He grabs her in a tight hug. When he releases her, he pushes her toward his office. "If it gets too much later, someone will take you home."

"Okay." She walks slowly across the hall, not wanting to finish her homework.

Danny turns to face Steve, leaning against the doorframe. "So, why was our daughter crying in your arms, Steven?"

"I told her."

"Told her, what?"

"Just how much you two mean to me." Steve gets up and goes to stand in front of Danny. "How I need you like oxygen."

"Steve…" Danny cups Steve's right cheek in his left hand; at a complete loss for words.

"I love you so much." Steve wraps his fingers around Danny's wrist. "Thank you for saving me."

Danny slides his hand around the back of Steve's head and pulls him down into a chaste, yet still passionate, kiss. When they break the kiss they both point at where Grace is standing in the door to Danny's office without looking at her and say in unison, "Stop eavesdropping."

"Not eavesdropping when the conversation happens in front of me." She sticks her tongue out at them.

Danny sighs. "Homework. Now."

With a humph and a flounce, Grace spins on her heel and stomps over to the couch where she curls back up in her corner and resumes her homework while muttering under her breath about how mean her dads are.

She's not sure when she falls asleep but suddenly, or so it seems, Kono's shaking her awake. "Hey, Gracie. Wake up."

"Auntie Kono?" Grace sits up, wipes drool off her chin and blinks at Kono.

"I'm here to take you home."

"Where are Papa and Danno?"

"In interrogation."

With a moan, she stretches the kinks out of her back. "What time's it?"

"Nearly 11. C'mon." Kono makes a 'come here' motion with her hand. Grace still isn't fully awake but she throws her books and papers into her backpack and slowly follows Kono from the office and out to her car.

The ride home is a study in staying awake for Grace. She wants to call her dads but if they're with a suspect, she doesn't want to disturb them. "Will you stay until they get home?"

"That was the instruction, yes." And so it begins. Grace shakes her head and blinks back sleep some more.

Once home she blearily makes her way upstairs where she takes a quick shower before collapsing face first on her bed.

The next morning she makes her way downstairs and encounters Steve and Danny heading up, still wearing yesterday's clothes. "Did you just now get home?"

"Yeah. This one's a tough nut to crack. Chin and Kono are going to give it a whirl later today," Danny says, reaching out to run his hand down Grace's hair.

"So who's taking me to school since you both look like you're about to fall over?"

"Kono's still here. She slept in the guest room last night."

"Okay." Grace kisses both their cheeks. "Sleep good." She continues on down the stairs but spins back when she's about half way across the living room. "About my punishment-" She begins but Danny talks over her. "Still stands."

"But-" She tries again. "No buts!" Danny talks over her again. Grace growls, "But I don't know what it is!"

"Oh." Danny blinks at a spot on the wall over her head. "Sorry. You're grounded for a week. No phone, internet, going out, TV and you'll come to Five-oh every day after school."

"No phone!?"

"Want to make it two?"

"What if there's an emergency?"

"Other people have phones you can use."

A week with no contact with the outside world? She's not sure she can do that but she respects her dads and no contact with her friends outside of school hours is much preferable to being sent to Vegas. With a sigh she gives in. "Okay."

Danny sighs at her retreating back. "It'll be okay, D," Steve says softly. "You know she'll get over this."

"Yeah but it's still hard knowing she's not happy with me. I just hate punishing her so much."

"She brought this on herself. C'mon. Let's get some sleep."

Neither man sees Grace pause just outside their line of sight, waiting until they continue up the stairs, and they also don't see her tip-toe back around the corner to watch them walk up the stairs hand in hand.

Part four

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-12 12:46 am (UTC)
simplyn2deep: (NWABT::Scott::brood)
From: [personal profile] simplyn2deep
Oh man! What a roller coaster of a chapter!

When one gets in a hole like Grace is in, its hard to get out so you keep going down.

Glad they're on the way to improving.


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