Susan stayed for Thanksgiving, which wound up being moved to a local park because of the size of the gathering. She kept in touch with her family through Skype, though, and yelled happily when she found out that Sean's girlfriend, Tonya, had given birth to a healthy baby girl they were calling Susanna, and that Tonya had agreed to marry Sean. Apparently Dwayne, Tonya's son from another relationship, had started insisting that Sean was his daddy, and that Tonya had to marry Sean, 'cause that's what Mommys and Daddys do.
As for Sam, Susan declared him one of hers.
"And the fact that my mother is a Class A bitch and I have a brother who's this close to being charged with sexual harassment by his own boss?" Sam asked during the Thanksgiving gathering.
"Breeding isn't everything," Susan shot back. "Some of the best leaders of our world had absolute bastards for parents. And hello, you handsome beast!" she said, crouching down to let Sam's beloved feline companion sniff her fingers. Gandalf was on his customary harness and sniffing the air curiously; he could smell the turkey.
"This is Gandalf. He pretty much goes with me on all my job sites," Sam admitted. He grinned conspiringly and lowered his voice. "I'm hoping he'll help me propose to Ashley. I've talked to her about it, and she's open to the idea. I even have a ring on order that I know she's been eyeing."
"Smart boy," Susan said, patting his face.
As for Steve and Millie's wedding, after a long talk between them, they decided to move the wedding date to March, to give them more time to plan a wedding that was more than likely going to have at least half the HPD there. And babies? Once Millie's cycle showed up again, she would be going back on the Pill, and remain so for the next six months. After that, they would see what happened.
Time passed. Adam was charged with the deaths of two men who worked for Yakuza leader Goro Shioma, who had his debt, which he later discovered had been paid by none other than Gabriel Waincroft. He worked out a deal and was sentenced to Halawa prison for eighteen months, leaving Kono devastated. A short time later, Goro was killed by Gabriel, himself.
Christmas, understandably, was quiet, but not without its surprises. Sam proposed to Ashley, who accepted, and on Christmas Day, they quietly got married in front of a nondenominational minister, who had come in as a favour to Steve. Gandalf was there, looking spiffy with his tie and white harness-vest, along with the rest of the Five-0 family. Predictably, there was a huge dinner, and an uproar of laughter as Lunkhead managed to steal a hunk of turkey. Again.
January came, and along with it , a visit from Steve's beloved aunt, Debora McGarrett. Deb's husband, Leonard Cassano, had finally succumbed to cancer, and she was there to release his ashes to the ocean, as he had once asked her to.
Steve laughed as he hugged his aunt, Debora McGarrett. Beside him was his sister, Mary, and her daughter, Joan.
"Oh, look at you. A few more scars, a few more grey hairs, but still handsome as always," Deb said. He grinned at her. "Have you finally gotten smart and found someone again?"
Steve ducked his head. "I have, and I've mentioned her a few times, and you'll get a chance to meet her, I promise. Are any of you allergic to cats?"
Mary and Deb looked at each other. "No, not as far as I know," Mary said. "Why?"
"Because, thanks to Millie, we have four cats, and one of them has kind of decided I'm her human," Steve admitted.
"Now I'm really curious about this girl," Deb said.
"We're also getting married in March," Steve admitted.
"You're kidding me," Mary said. The look in her brother's eyes said he was.
"Just do me a favour?" Steve asked.
"Sure," Deb said.
"Don't ask about us having kids. It's a bit of a touchy subject right now, for both of us," Steve said.
"Did something happen?" Deb asked gently, seeing the sadness in her nephew's eyes.
"Millie had a miscarriage just before Thanksgiving. She was about six weeks along," Steve admitted.
"Oh no," Deb moaned. She gave Steve a hug. "Come on. Let's go take care of Leonard, and then we'll meet this girl of yours."
Afterwards (after dropping Steve off at the lab after a wild ride in his truck), Deb and Mary headed to do the next item on Deb's bucket list; an epic shopping spree.
Later that day, Deb watched as Steve and Millie, who turned out to be a pretty brunette woman with a tattoo on one wrist, made dinner together.
Millie had welcomed the other two women and Joan without question, and Lunkhead had made his presence known. A short time later, giggling could be heard as Joan played with the three younger cats, with Lunkhead watching closely.
After listening to the stories Steve and Millie told them about various adventures, Deb decided she liked Millie. The younger woman had spunk, guts, and a heart. She also clearly cared about Steve, and Steve clearly cared about her, as evident by the way they behaved around each other, and played with each other, even while making dinner.
"Abby and Chin got frisky, huh?" Steve asked, stealing a sweet pepper and narrowly missing getting his hands slapped by Millie.
"With the way those two were acting when they thought no one was watching, I'm betting yes," Millie said, slicing a few more sweet peppers for the salad.
"Wow," Steve said. "Well, Valentine's Day is coming up, so we'll see what he says, or does."
"That it is," Millie said, grinning.
"By the way, what's your take on Valentine's Day?"
"Considering this'll be the first time in a long time I've actually had a date, it was a case of take it or leave it," she said, shrugging. "Last time, I spent the day spreading a little love down at the SPCA."
"And this year?"
"I'll still spread a little love, but I want a little loving at home too."
"That can be arranged."
"Just do me a favour? No sushi. I hate sushi," Millie admitted. "The thought of raw fish makes my skin crawl, and I don't care how good the cook is, I'm not touching it."
"Fair enough. I'll just ask him for raw octopus or oysters," he teased. "Yeouch!" Millie had just snapped a kitchen towel at his buttocks.
"You keep that up, buster, and the only loving you're gonna get is with your own hand," Millie threatened.
Steve left the kitchen laughing.
Deb smiled. Yeah, she was a good one.
Later, after dinner, Deb overheard them talking quietly on the porch. She didn't mean to eavesdrop, but with the look on Millie's face, she figured it was something important.
"Do you remember when I took some medication to treat my sinus infection?" Millie asked. She had been hit with a nasty sinus infection in December, one that had left her feeling like she'd been punched in the face again, and had been prescribed antibiotics to treat it.
"I remember, yeah. Why?" Steve said.
"Because I didn't read the information thing completely, and I didn't hear Dr. Goode too well, but it turns out that the medication I was taking is one of the few medicines that can reduce the effectiveness of the birth control pill, especially the ones I was taking," Millie said sheepishly.
Steve's eyes went wide as he realized what Millie was saying. "Are you?"
"I'm waiting on blood test results, but Dr. Goode had me do a home pregnancy test and it came back positive. The second line was faint, but it was there, which is why she sent me in for the blood work. We should know within the next twenty-four hours."
"I think it was that shower we had one time, remember? Because that was about a week before I was actually supposed to start my cycle," Millie admitted. "Or it could have been anytime after that, but I think it was that because I remember that was the first time in a couple of days I even remotely felt like having sex."
Steve swallowed hard. "What did Dr. Goode say about this? Is it safe?"
"She said if it happens, it happens, and she realizes goof-ups happen, and if I am, we'll deal with it accordingly, and monitor things closely, but she assured me the pill won't harm the baby, if I am," Millie said.
"What do you think?"
"I don't know what to think. I don't want to get my hopes up, but if I am, I don't want to say anything to anyone until the first ultrasound at twenty weeks," Millie said. "After that, it'll get a little harder to hide."
Steve grinned as an idea occurred to him. "And then we can put the picture on the computer table and let everyone wonder until we tell them."
Millie stared at him, then grinned. "That's mean. I love it."
Deb watched as Steve cupped Millie's face and kissed her soundly. "I love you, Nani."
Millie smiled at him. "Love you too, Koa."
Later that night, while Steve was helping Mary put Joan to bed, Deb used the moment to talk to Millie privately.
"I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I know," she said.
"About?" Millie asked.
"About the maybe baby," Deb said. Millie's eyes went wide. "He also let it slip about the miscarriage, so I know how much this baby means to both of you." She reached out and rubbed Millie's shoulders. "I want you to promise me something."
"Okay," Millie said suspiciously.
"If you are, wonderful. If you aren't, that's okay, but promise me you'll look after Steve for me," Deb said.
Millie studied the older woman, tilting her head. "Aunt Deb, is something wrong?"
Deb smiled sadly. "I don't have a lot of time, sweetie, so promise me."
Millie put her hands over Deb's. "I promise, but what do you mean you don't have a lot of time? Is it the cancer?"
Deb nodded. "Don't say anything to either of them, please. It hurt them so much last time, and I don't want to do that to them again."
Millie stared at her, feeling her eyes smart as she realized what she was saying. Part of her felt like begging Deb not to ask that of her, but a larger part of her understood. It was better this way, better to remember things as they were in a positive light, not worrying about when Death would come visiting. Finally, she nodded. "Okay. Okay, I won't, for Steve's sake."
Deb nodded, satisfied. "He does love you, you know? I can see it in his eyes and the way he looks at you."
"I love him too," Millie said. "He chose me over Catherine when she showed up a while ago, and he held on to me when I was blaming myself for the miscarriage. I love him, Aunt Deb, and I promise you, I promise you, I will be by his side for as long as he and time let me."
Deb smiled and gave Millie a tight hug. "Thank you. Now I know I can rest easy."
The next morning, after teasing Mary about her pancakes, Steve went upstairs to check on Deb, leaving Millie and Mary and Joan in the kitchen.
"Drew used to rag me the few times I actually tried making pancakes at home," Millie said. "But this is the same guy who caused an egg to explode after trying to microwave it, even after being warned repeatedly, so I never paid him much attention."
Mary laughed. Then Steve came into the kitchen, looking a bit shell shocked.
"Steve?" Millie asked gently.
"Umm, Millie, Mary, can I talk to you for a moment?" Steve asked.
Both women nodded and Mary turned down the heat on the oven. "What's wrong? Where's Aunt Deb?" Mary asked when they were out of earshot of Joan.
"She's umm, she's gone. She passed on a few minutes ago," Steve said.
Mary gasped, and her eyes flew to the stairs that led to the bedrooms, her hands flying to her mouth.
Millie swallowed hard, old memories surfacing. "I'll call Max," she said. "He can make the proper, whatever it is he has to do, and I'll keep an eye on Joan, if you want." Steve nodded, his arm going around Mary, who had started crying. He reached out and squeezed her hand before she headed for the kitchen.
Several hours later, Millie had her answer. She was pregnant again. Rather than tell him in public, she waited until later that night, when they were alone. After she told him, he held her tightly for a long time, tears rolling down his face to mingle with the ones on hers.
"If it's a girl, I want to call her Debora," Steve said.
Millie smiled. "Gram's name was Debbie, so she gets named for two women; Aunt Deb and Gram, because if it weren't for Gram, I would have never come here."
"That was the best damn decision you ever made," he said.
"That, and agreeing to marry you," she said, grinning.