A/N: Inspired by the song 'Kangaroo Cry' by Blue October. Was writing a NCIS fic at the time, but this plunny jumped out when I was taking a shower and begged to be written. Unbeta'd.
First H50 fic, so please be gentle! Comments and feedbacks are LOVE :)
Warning: Major character death.
Grace kissed Danny goodbye at the airport. Danny bit his lips as she pecked his cheeks and linked her hands around Danny's neck, so he wouldn't start sobbing in the middle of fucking Newark International.
It was almost Grace's eighth birthday, he remembered as Grace let go of his neck, and he slowly stood up. She held on to his hand and then laid her head on his stomach, her arms around his waist.
"Take care of yourself, Danny," Rachel said, laying a hand on his cheek and gave him a quick pat. "Come on Gracie," she said as she turned to walk towards the security checkpoint.
"Bye Daddy," Grace looked up, her high girly voice rang in Danny's ears, and he heard his heart breaking into a million pieces.
"Bye Monkey, take good care of yourself, okay?" Danny knelt back down to her height, his arms around her, holding on tightly. He pressed his lips to his baby's face.
"Be good for your mom, okay? Make lots of friends. Daddy will come see you as often as I can," by the end, he could feel his breath catch, the tears that he had been holding back rolling down his cheeks. He barely choke out the last words, "I love you so much, Monkey. So much. Don't forget that."
"I won't, Daddy," Grace was in tears, sobbing a wet spot on Danny's shoulder. "I love you too, Daddy."
"Now go," Danny spun her around, not letting her see his tear-streaked face. After pushing Grace in Rachel's direction, he turned and walked out the airport without stopping, refusing to watch his baby girl leave with the woman he still loved.
He managed to make it to his car before he broke down and sobbed into his hands, crying and hitting his arms against the windshield.
Afterwards, he drove, to a spot where he knew he could see planes take off, a place he used to bring Grace on his days off and he silently made a decision.
Pulling out his cell phone, he dialed a number from memory. "Captain, it's Williams. I need to talk to you about something."
Grace kissed Danny goodbye as Rachel got out of her car. Grace was there to spend the weekend with Danny before she and her mother would go to England and visit Rachel's family.
Grace looked hesitantly at her father. He was looking much better, his colours had returned, and he no longer looked like he hadn't slept in days. Actually, in all likelihood, he probably hadn't slept much in days before the weekend.
When Danny picked her up Friday afternoon, Grace knew immediately that something was wrong. Her Danno was awfully quiet.
Oh, he asked about her day, had something to say about the boy who got punched by Grace in the nose when he tried to kiss her, and asked her what she wanted for dinner and what she wanted to do for the weekend. But it was mostly Grace who did the talking. Danny mostly just smiled, but the smile looked so sad. It looked like the one she'd seen when him when her mother told her they were moving to Hawaii.
Grace didn't like it that her Danno wasn't taking good care of himself. Not at all.
A truck was parked outside Danny's apartment when they got back. Steve was leaning against the side of the truck, waiting for them. Grace liked her Uncle Steve. He was funny and smart, and made the best blueberry pancakes in the world. And he took good care of her Danno.
Steve took one look at Danny and said, "that's it, you and Gracie are coming over to my place." And Danny didn't protest.
Steve made Danny pack a few days' worth of clothes, took both his and Grace's bags and tossed them into the back of his truck. He had Grace sitting in the middle between he and Danny, and drove silently back to his place.
For the whole weekend, Steve cooked, took the two of them places, and, against Danny's continuing protest, taught Grace how to surf. Danny had ranted non-stop to Steve – while Grace was told to earmuff herself – but he'd done it with a smile. It was as if it was a running joke between Danny and Steve that they must disagree on everything. By the end of the weekend Danny was himself again, and Grace looked at him with a big grin on her face.
So, before Rachel reached Steve's front steps, Grace pulled at Steve's cargo pants and made him knelt down so she could give him a hug and a peck on the cheek as well.
"Uncle Steve," she whispered as she wrapped herself around Steve. "Please take good care of Danno for me."
Steve turned to look at her in surprise, but she smiled at him and said, "because you're the only one who can."
Grace kissed Danny goodbye at the airport, again, and she's still the one leaving. But not for the same reasons this time. She looked at her father, who was looking back at her with pride and adoration.
She's a bit taller than him now and all long arms and long legs like Rachel was, and Danny would be lying if he said he wasn't miffed at all by that.
Danny was so proud of her. Grace had always been a smart kid, so when she came running into the house with her acceptance letter to study Marine Biology at UCSD, he was not surprised at all. She'd always had a fondness for creatures from the sea – dolphins, fishes, you name it.
Grace stepped closer to Danny and put her arms around his shoulder, pulling him in for a big hug. Her flight wouldn't leave for another hour, but Danny was already missing her.
"Promise me you'll take good care of yourself, Danno," Grace glared at him. "I mean it. I want to come home to my old man who is alive and well and still talks a blue streak about every little thing."
"I don't talk a blue streak about anything!" Danny complained indignantly. "Steve, I don't, do I?"
Steve was standing behind Danny, smiling brightly as ever. The dusting of grey at his temple years ago had spread to the rest of his thick dark hair. "I'm not getting into this."
"Good man, Step-Steve!" Grace laughed with the gusto that only someone who grew up on the island would possess.
Danny had to smile at how well Grace had taken to the idea of 'Uncle Steve' becoming 'Step-Steve'. He and Steve had gotten together after eight months working side-by-side as partners. If anyone were to ask him, he'd say he didn't know how it all started. They just… fit. They annoy each other to no end, but they also understood each other completely. They fit like the Missing Piece and Big O. Their relationship took a step forward one night after a big case, both of them drinking too much and neither of them wanted to be alone. Steve had touched him, kissed him then finally entered him with such care and gentleness that made him want to cry.
The rest, as they said, was history.
Grace let go of Danny, and walked up to Steve, kissing him on the cheek as well, and wrapped her arms around Steve's torso like she always did. Resting her head on his shoulder, she whispered into his ear.
"Please take good care of Danno for me. You're the only one who can," she paused briefly before continuing. "If you don't, or if you hurt him, I have some neat tricks I picked up from Kono and Max that will make bad ass mother fucker Navy SEALs squeal like pigs."
Grace gave Steve a grin that she clearly learned from Steve, and schooled her features back to Danno's baby girl before turning to face Danny again. Steve rolled his eyes in disbelieve.
"Take good care of youself too, Monkey," Danny smiled at his daughter, calling her by her nickname since she was a baby, and kissed her on her temple and cheek while hugging her tightly. "I'll see you when you come home for Christmas."
Grace kissed Danny goodbye at the foot of the stairs, her bouquet long since tossed down the church steps to a horde of future brides-to-be. Her newly-wed husband and fellow marine biologist Ryan was waiting in the limo that would take the couple to the airport, where they would then fly to Greece to start their honeymoon.
Danny's eyes were bright with emotions and for once he was utterly speechless. This had been the moment. The moment when it all came together. All of the heartaches and joys of parenthood, it all came down to this singular moment; a moment in which they handed their daughter's hands to another man who promised to be true to her, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. A man who would take her hand to hold, to love her and cherish her, 'til death do them part.
He turned around to look at Steve, and a smile blossomed at the corners of his lips when he saw the same bright-eyed look on Steve's face. Grace had asked them both to walk her down the aisle, one on each side, so that everyone would know how proud she was to be their daughter.
And as Danny sat in the front row with Steve, he quietly slipped his hand into Steve's, their fingers entwined, and scooched closer so he could whisper the same vows into Steve's ear. The deer-in-the-headlights look flashed quickly over Steve's face but he recovered quickly, and leaned closer so he could repeat the second part of the vows in Danny's ear as the young couple exchanged rings and kissed.
Danny looked back to their daughter now, who was grinning widely with tears streaking down her face, and pulled her back into his arms, hugging her tightly. All of the things that words failed him to say sounded loudly in the tight embrace.
"I know, Danno," Grace said, her voice caught as she tried not to cry. "I know."
Steve moved forward, placing his arm around Danny's waist, and pulled the man away from their daughter and into his arms instead, so Danny could sob freely into his shirt.
"You two, take good care of each other," Grace said through a half sob, her voice cracking with an almost laugh. "No more stupid stunts. Okay?"
"Okay, Monkey," Steve and Danny said at the same time.
And as the limo drive away with their daughter, Steve cupped Danny's cheek, pulling the shorter man into a chaste kiss.
"Let's go home."
Grace kissed Danny goodbye, and this, would probably be the last time. She tiptoed to the side of his bed, and ran a hand through his long hair. Ryan was standing right behind her, an arm around her waist, supporting her.
She should thank the man for his good genes – Danny had managed to keep his full head of hair, even if the blonde had turned completely white. Danny was asleep, like he usually was most of the time these days, and even though the lines on his forehead and around his eyes were permanent now, he appeared younger than his age.
His condition had deteriorated quickly ever since the new Five-0 had caught the bastard who murdered Steve two months ago.
They had always known that Steve would likely die in the line of duty instead of at home from old age. They just never expected it to happen so suddenly and so early.
The bundle in Grace's hand moved slightly, and let out a small whimper. Grace smiled at her son Tyler, and carefully lulled him back to sleep.
Steve had made Police Chief two years ago, with the full support of the new Governor – he had been a fan of Steve since Steve's early career in the old Five-0. Danny had taken over Five-0, but retired a year after when Grace found out she was pregnant.
For the life of her, Grace never thought she'd see one of her fathers turn into a complete mother hen. Danny had fussed over and over about everything until Grace finally had enough and threatened him. "Stop, or I'll sic Auntie Kono on you."
Steve laughed so hard at the dumbstruck look on Danny's face when Grace yelled at him.
But good things never seemed to last too long. Two months after Tyler was born, someone tried to assassinate the Governor. Steve had been there with the Governor, meeting with some Congressmen over lunch, and when he saw the red dot on the Governor's chest, he jumped over on instinct and blocked the bullet.
The bullet pierced Steve's heart and he bled out before the paramedics could get to him.
The call came when Danny was over visiting Grace, Ryan and Tyler. Grace was in the nursery when she heard Danny collapse on the ground.
Stroke, the doctors told them, induced by stress. Grace almost wanted to punch the guy – of course it was stress-induced! Steve had been Danny's husband for almost twenty years!
They went in and removed the blockage, but Danny never recovered from it. He had his bad days and his okay days, but the bad days out numbered the okay days and it didn't look promising.
"Monkey?" a weak voice called out to Grace, and she looked up to find her father looking at her, eyes focused for once.
"Hey, Danno," Grace smiled, tears in her eyes. "Look who came to visit?"
"Hey Tyler," Danny's voice, still weak, was full of joy.
Grace bit her lips, and tried her best to smile for Danny – she knew how much Danny loved to see her smile. But she also knew that his will to live had all but gone completely, now that Steve's killer had been caught and gun down. If he could understand, he would've been so proud of the new Five-0 he and Steve had trained.
"Goodbye, Danno. I love you," Grace leaned forward to kiss Danny on the cheek, and whispered in his ear slowly with half a choked chuckle. "Tell Step-Steve to take good care of you. Don't make me come up there."
Danny let out a bright smile like the Hawaiian sun, and slowly closed his eyes.