Okay friends, we have come to the end of this journey. I'm sorry it took so long to get this uploaded but I wrote and rewrote it a bunch of times. I'm still not sure this is the PERFECT ending to this fic, but it is the one I am most satisfied with. The runner up was a scene in Five-0 Headquarters with the Fab 4 + Harper and Jack thrown into the mix. But then I thought that this scene showcased a side of Steve and his Jimmy that was so different and so very endearing. It makes sense to me that the kick ass S.E.A.L. can also be a kick ass father and husband...with kids who challenge him as much as his beloved Jimmy does! In case you can't remember or don't want to read back, the McGarrett children in this chapter are all named after lost loved ones...Vincent (Harper's brother), Anna (Steve's mom - I named her bc I couldn't find a name in my research), Sam (Harper's partner), and Sophia (Harper's mom).
Thanks so much for coming along with me on this little literary adventure of mine! You have been fabulous cheerleaders and supporters every step of the way and that has been very important to me during times of writer's block or lack of ambition! Thanks again!
Epilogue - A Life More Ordinary
The family. We are a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.
The McGarrett Home in Hawaii, Ten Years Later…
"That's not how mommy does it."
Commander Steve McGarrett let out a dramatic sigh as he glanced over at his 5-year-old daughter, Anna, as she sat perched on a stool in the welcoming kitchen of the McGarrett family home and watched him break eggs into a mixing bowl. Eyeing her suspiciously, Steve answered, "How does mommy do it?"
"Well, for starters," Anna's older brother, Vincent, chimed in sarcastically, looking into the mixing bowl and grinning at his father, "she doesn't put the egg shells into the cake mix. She usually leaves them on the outside of the bowl."
Steve smirked at his mini-me and threw a nearby dish towel at him playfully as he asked, "Don't you have homework or something to do?"
"Nope," Vinnie answered, watching his father pick the egg shells out of the mixing bowl with his fingers, "I did it already."
"Before," The 8-year-old answered nonchalantly, opening the refrigerator door and scanning the contents for a snack. The Leader of Five-0 was about to question his son further when a small naked boy ran past him and into the family room.
"Sam?" Steve asked, confused and surprised at the same time. Looking over at his oldest son, he asked, "Am I wrong or was he wearing clothes just a few minutes ago?"
But he didn't give Vinnie a chance to answer because he was already following his younger son into the family room. Coming to stand in front of the 3-year-old, Steve looked down at his bare backside and asked cautiously, "Sammy?"
"Hi daddy," Sam answered, never taking his eyes off the television.
"Where are your clothes?"
"Uh-stairs," Sam told him matter of factly.
"Why aren't they on your body?" Steve asked, trying to keep his tone even.
"I no like clofes."
"Why don't you like your clothes?" His father asked him, but Sam was too engrossed in the t.v. to answer. After a minute, he tried again, "Sam?"
Steve pursed his lips and said, "You can't eat dinner without clothes on."
"I not eatin'."
"I not wanna."
"You not wanna?" Steve repeated, becoming more and more frustrated. "It's not really a choice, Sam. You have to eat dinner. And you have to wear clothes."
Sam stubbornly shook his head and insisted, "No clofes."
"I can chase down drug dealers and get murderers to confess to heinous things, but I can't get my own kid to put on some shorts," Steve muttered as he leaned down and picked up his son, causing the small boy to paste a pout onto his adorable little face. "Don't give me that look, Samuel John McGarrett. Now go upstairs and put on your clothes."
He set the little boy on the stairs and crossed his muscular arms over his chest. The toddler mimicked his father's actions and the two engaged in a standoff for a few moments before the younger McGarrett finally gave up and took his little naked self upstairs to put on his clothes. He returned a few minutes later in a colorful outfit that didn't match, but as long as he was covered Steve wasn't going to push it.
"I watch TV now?"
"Sure," Steve replied nonchalantly as he headed back into the kitchen with Sam hot on his heels. "No one changed the channel while you were gone."
"I not wanna watch that one." Sam whined, following his father back into the kitchen. "Wanna watch in the playroom."
"Fine, Vinnie will go up with you." Steve suggested, watching Anna take over his job of picking broken egg shells out of the cake mix. He dropped a thank you kiss on top of her red head and began to pour the portion of batter that had already been de-shelled into sections of a muffin tin.
"I'm not going up there with him." his oldest son answered, taking a big bite of the apple he had chosen for a snack. "I don't watch TV afterschool."
"Since when?" Steve asked, continuing to focus on the sections of the muffin tin as he filled them with cake batter.
"I don't know," Vinnie shrugged and watched his father closely before informing him, "Mom usually puts those little paper things in the tin before she puts the batter in."
"And she doesn't fill them that full," Anna added, licking batter off of her fingers. "Mom only fills them up half way."
"Well mom isn't here. So, we're doing it my way," Steve answered testily. He was tired of getting cooking advice from his children.
Two hours ago, Steve and Harper had gotten a message at Five-0 from his sister, the family babysitter, informing them that she had an appointment to get to so one of the other McGarrett's was going to have to come home to take care of the kids. Since Harper was out in the field with Kono and Jack was in the middle of an interrogation, it was up to Steve to pick Vinnie, Anna, and Sam up from school and take them home.
And oh, by the way, could he make some cupcakes for Anna's class party tomorrow?
So Steven John McGarrett…highly trained former Navy S.E.A.L. and current leader of Hawaii Five-0 …was spending the afternoon taking care of his children and making cupcakes. He shook his head at the absurdity of it all. Danny was going to have a field day with this when he got back to work in the morning.
"I not wanna watch TV in the playroom!" Sam suddenly shouted, stomping his foot on the kitchen floor and shaking Steve back into reality.
"Don't start that nonsense, little man," Steve warned his son sternly, scooting him out of the way as he moved over to open the oven door. He placed two tins of cupcakes into the oven, shut the door, and checked the box of cake mix to see how long to set the timer.
"Come uh-stairs wif me!" Sam cried, pulling on Vinnie's arm. But the elder McGarrett boy was having none of it.
"Get off me," the elder of the two brothers scowled, shaking the little one off his arm.
"Come wif me!" Sam demanded, pulling harder on Vinnie. Fed up, the eight year old gave his brother a shove and sent him sprawling backwards onto his rear end on the kitchen floor. Sam looked surprised for a moment before opening his mouth and beginning to wail.
"Boys!" Steve snapped, squatting down next to Sam.
"Vinnie pushed me!" Sam cried, as if his father hadn't witnessed the entire event.
"He was pulling on me!" Vinnie protested, watching his father gather Sam into his arms and sit him on the kitchen counter.
Once Steve was sure that Sammy wasn't hurt, he looked sternly at his younger son and said, "He shouldn't have pushed you, but you were pulling on him."
"And acting like a brat." Anna muttered, stirring the batter that remained in the mixing bowl.
"I not a brat," Sam informed her.
"You," Steve warned Anna, "stay out of it. I can be the dad all by myself. And you," he looked over at Vinnie, who was thinking he was going to escape this situation without getting into trouble, "stop shoving your brother. And you," Steve turned back to look at Sam, "need to settle down."
"I wanna watch TV," Sam told him.
"We've heard. Ten times now," Vinnie answered, rolling his eyes.
Steve threw Vincent another warning look and the eight year old wisely kept any further comments to himself. Turning back to Sam, he said diplomatically, "We've already been over this. You have three choices...you can go watch in the living room or you can watch upstairs in the playroom. Or," Steve's voice turned stern as he gave out the third option, "you can go sit in the corner until you can remember how to behave. Which is it going to be?"
"Will you make Vin come wif me?"
"Your brother doesn't want to go upstairs with you. He wants to stay here and annoy me," Steve answered. "So, if you go upstairs it will be by yourself."
Sam was quiet for a minute and Steve could see that he was weighing his choices in his head. He got that same reflective look on his face that Jimmy got on hers when she was thinking about things. Finally, Sam said, "I go watch in the livin' room."
"Good choice," The Commander agreed, lifting him down off the counter and swatting him on the rump as he left the kitchen. Steve was just about to go back to the cupcakes when the shrill ringing of the telephone ripped through the kitchen.
"I'll get it!" Vinnie and Anna yelled at the same time. But it was Vinnie who reached the phone first and stuck out his tongue at his sister as he held the receiver up to his ear. "Hello?"
Anna returned to her perch on one of the kitchen barstools as Vinnie said, "Hi, Grandpa Jack." He paused and then said, "I'm helping dad make cupcakes." The boy paused again and then grinned as he said, "Not too good. He left the egg shells in the batter."
"Traitor," Steve muttered, just imagining the laugh that his father was having at his expense. Both for making cupcakes and for leaving the eggshells in the batter.
Vinnie continued talking to the patriarch of the McGarrett clan, saying, "Sam is being a brat. He made me..."
"I NOT a brat!" Sammy yelled from the living room as Steve finally decided to take the phone from his sons' clutches.
"Hey dad," he said into the phone, cradling the receiver between his ear and his shoulder as he wiped his hands on the dishtowel he had thrown at Vinnie earlier. "Did you get a confession?"
As he listened to his father detail the latest developments in the case that Five-0 was currently working on, Steve's dark eyes scanned the messy kitchen and the various children milling around, bored to tears. They were on the phone for a good twenty minutes when he noticed that Anna was peering curiously into the oven.
"Dad!" she called from her spot in front of the oven. "I think you might need to..."
"Hold on, Anna," Steve hushed her as he tried to keep up with what Jack was saying.
"But dad…" Anna said again, this time with more urgency. "I think you need to come here."
"Give me one second, Anna Beth..."
But before he could finish his sentence, the smoke detector above the refrigerator began going off. Steve looked over at the smoke wafting out of the oven where the cupcakes were baking. It was what Anna had been trying to tell him.
The sound of the smoke detector set off a chain of misfortunate events. The sound scared Anna and sent the family dog, Captain, into protective mode and he began barking. Anna covered her ears and began to cry so Sam, in turn, turned the volume up on the television so that he could hear over all of the noise.
"Dad!" Steve yelled into the phone. "I'm going to have to call you back!"
The former S.E.A.L. hung up the phone and sprang into action. Grabbing a nearby broom, he hit the reset button on the smoke detector and stopped the awful screeching sound.
"Go open the back door and let some of this smoke out into the yard," he commanded his oldest son and then added, "And then go see if you can settle your sister down."
And then without thinking, Steve yanked open the door to the oven and grabbed the closest muffin tin.
"Damn!" He yelped, burning his fingertips on the hot pan. He grabbed a nearby pot holder and pulled the uncooked cakes out of the oven. They had spilled over the tins and made a huge, burnt mess on the bottom of the oven.
"Daddy said a swear word!" Vinnie informed everyone with a big grin.
"I told you that you filled them too full," Anna remarked, suddenly recovered from her fear of the smoke detector.
Steve bit back his sharp comeback just as Sam came skipping back into the kitchen with his mother following close behind.
"What is going on in here?" Harper demanded, surveying her dirty kitchen as Anna came running over and threw herself into her mother's arms. Swinging her youngest son up onto her hip and planting a big kiss on her daughter's forehead, she turned to her husband and smirked while he scowled as she asked, "Did we have a good afternoon?"
"Remind me to thank my sister for bailing on us on an afternoon when you were out in the field, dad was in interrogation, and I had just pawned my paperwork off on Danny and Chin," Steve muttered, sucking on his burned finger.
"You can't blame this one on your sister, darling," Harper laughed breezily, moving over to drop a kiss on Vinnie's nose and tousling his already messy hair, "This little situation seems to be all you." Putting Sammy down and moving over to her husband, she tenderly took his burnt finger in her hands and asked, "Can I help?"
Steve's dark eyes suddenly sparkled as his wife raised his finger to her lips and kissed it gently.
"Better?" she asked, smiling seductively up at her husband. He was still wearing his work clothes, his hair was messy and tousled from running his hands through it, and Harper thought he looked just as sexy now as he had the day she first laid eyes on him.
"I think I burned my lip, too," he whispered, pulling her into his arms for her welcome home kiss. She ran her hand up his arm, and they both closed their eyes simultaneously as he began trailing sweet kisses down her neck. God, he could never get enough of this woman.
"Aw, my poor baby," she teased, leaning her head back and enjoying the feel of his warm mouth on her sensitive skin. Pulling his mouth back up to hers, their lips met in a sexy kiss.
But just as things were getting interesting, a not so subtle groan was heard from behind them and then a sarcastic voice said, "Um, hello! Kids in the room! Could you stop please?"
Steve and Harper smirked as they pulled apart and looked over at Vinnie, as Steve remarked, "Consider yourself lucky, kid. Some people's parents can't even stand to be in the same room together. One day you'll understand how good you've got it."
Vinnie's smart aleck reply was cut off by the sound of crying coming over the baby monitor on the counter. Smiling sweetly up at her husband, Harper said, "Your daughter is calling for you."
"So, this time she is my daughter?" Steve asked, raising his eyebrow at his wife.
Harper nodded and replied, "Yes. Because at 2 o'clock this morning she was my daughter…when you didn't want to get out of bed for her feeding."
"Okay, but if she's stinky..." Steve's voice trailed off as he headed down the hall and up the stairs to collect the fourth McGarrett child, four month old Sophia Rose.
Harper chuckled and shook her head as she started moving expertly around the kitchen in preparation for the evening meal.
"What we eatin'?" Sammy asked, wandering into the kitchen with his mother.
"Chicken, you dope. Didn't you see it sitting on the counter to defrost all afternoon?" Vinnie asked, pointing to the chicken that was indeed thawing out in front of them.
"I not a dope," Sam retorted, smacking his brother on the leg.
"No, you're not," Harper interjected, giving Vinnie a stern look. "Watch your mouth. And you," she warned, pointing at Sam, "don't hit your brother."
"Sorry." Both boys said at the same time.
"I don't want chicken." Vinnie complained, climbing up onto a stool to watch his mother begin cooking, "I want pizza."
"Well, we're having chicken." Harper answered, placing the chicken in a roasting pan and pulling out a knife to begin chopping vegetables, "Close your eyes and pretend that it's pizza."
"Why can't we have pizza?" Vinnie grumbled, grabbing a carrot that his mother had placed on the counter and chomping down on it.
"Because your mother is making chicken," Steve answered, returning to the kitchen with baby Sophia in his arms, "So, you're eating chicken."
Harper smiled at her partner in crime and in life as she began chopping the vegetables that would accompany the chicken in the roasting pan. Shaking her head as Steve took their brood into the other room so that she could have some peace and quiet, Harper couldn't believe that this was her life. If anyone had ever asked to describe what her life would be like fifteen years ago, she certainly wouldn't have described the scene before her. But her world had been turned upside down one fateful night in Hawaii ten years ago and Harper had never been the same. So here she was…living in paradise with the man of her dreams who turned out to be an amazing father to their four children and working side by side with him, her father-in-law, and her friends at Five-0.
And Harper Elizabeth James McGarrett loved every single moment of it.