Summary: Hello to all you lovely people out there. I know you're probably wondering what I'm doing, seeing as how I already posted a new fic for this evening in honor of the new season of HF0 but I've been working on this for a while and I decided, what the hell, why not do both tonight. So, here I am, bring you another McDanno fic filled with all the fluff you're poor heart probably can't handle as well as a little smut but not until later chapters. The only difference is that this story is AU and will lack several main characters who will be mentioned in name only. Oh, and did I mention there is no Five-0, just a story about how boy meets boy with daughter and the tale of how they fall in love. Really hope you like it. Well that's all. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Please, you've seen my writing. You know exactly how this show would broadcast if I had anything to do with it. That's how you know it's not mine.

Author's note: Finally got it beta'd and it was done so by the wonderful jerseybelle who did such an amazing job on my Torchwood fic I just had to have her read through this one. You better be glad she did. Thanks once again for the help jersey.

Life Is What You Make It

Chapter One

The day started out normally for Steve McGarrett. He woke around six thirty and went for a swim in the ocean off his private beach. Afterwards he prepared a healthy breakfast consisting of an egg white omelet and turkey bacon before he settled down on his couch to do nothing. He had been on leave for almost a week now and had somehow fallen into a mundane routine.

Sighing, he ran his fingers through his hair and thought back to what his Commanding Officer told him just days before, after completing his last mission.

He'd walked into the office of his C.O only minutes after his debriefing, and was immediately directed to take a seat. Steve only had to wait a few more seconds before the man across from him slipped off his glasses and gave him a small smile. "It's good to see you again, Commander McGarrett."

"I can say the same, Admiral Lewis," replied Steve. "It's been a long time."

"I would first like to give you my condolences. Your last mission was a rough one. You lost a lotof good men out there and even though you've been trained as a SEAL that can be a lot for any man to handle."

Steve instantly noticed that there was a deeper meaning in the Admiral's words. "What are you saying, sir?"

"As of this moment you are on leave."

"Um, for how long, sir?"

"Three months," Lewis answered. "That should give you enough time to recuperate and decide what you want to do with your future."

"I'm not sure I'm following what you're saying, sir."

"I'm saying that you're great at what you do, the Navy couldn't ask for better, but isn't there something more you want out of life?"


Admiral Lewis let out a deep sigh and leaned forward slightly. "Look,"I've seen men who do whatever it takes to complete a mission, risking their lives because they believe they have nothing back home to live for. They walk around with a dead look in their eyes and sometimes I see that look in you. It worries me."

Pausing for a moment, he took a deep breath and continued. "So, I've decided that you are going to take this leave of absence and go back home, where ever home is now, and rest. Maybe find something you hadn't known you were missing."

"I don't think I'm missing anything, sir, but I respect your decision."

"Maybe you're right," shrugged Lewis, leaning back. "Maybe this is everything your life is supposed to be but you owe it to yourself to find out. You're dismissed."

Steve stood up and gave the Admiral a salute before walking out of the office. Once the door was closed, he ran his fingers through his hair and let out a sigh. This isn't what he expected. Sure, he knew he would be given some time off, a few weeks, a month tops, but four. He had no idea what he was going to do with that much leave but he had to figure it out. It didn't take long for him to decide that it was time to go home.

And that's where Steve found himself a week later; back in his parent's home in Hawaii, for the first time in a long time. But now he was alone. The house was just like he remembered it, except older. The lush plants around the house were taller and fuller, the colors just as vibrant. The view from the lanai was still amazing. The sandy beach and clear blue water still welcoming. The only thing different was that the home was now filled with unbearable silence. He could no longer hear his father's deep, authoritative voice or his mother's softer, gentler one. He even missed his sister's incessant chatter that he would have paid someone to stop when he was a teen.

Finally he couldn't take it anymore and quickly decided it was time to go out and explore the changes in the island he had once known so well.

He drove around for almost an hour before ending up along the coast debating on what he should do with his time. Steve thought about going to the beach for a little surfing but decided against it. He could go surfing on his own beach and at least there he didn't have to deal with other people, especially tourist. No, Steve shook his head firmly at the thought of surfing at the public beach. The driving seemed to be getting him nowhere and leaving him with an empty feeling. That was until he passed by a shave ice stand parked in the shade of a large Banyan tree at a nearby park.. His mind was thrown into a memory of his parents taking him and his sister to a similar one when they were younger, before his life was shot straight to hell.

After a few moments of weighing the pros and cons of ingesting such a sugary confection Steve's nostalgia won out and he found himself parking his car. Receiving his order, rainbow surprise, he began thinking about exactly where he wanted to sit. He could go back to his car or sit down at one of the tables offered to him when suddenly he felt a solid mass collide into him. He felt the cold, wet spot on his shirt as his colorful shave ice was pushed into his chest, staining his shirt.

"I'm sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going."

Steve's face immediately softened when he noticed that it was a little girl that had run into him. She was holding a spoon in one hand and her shave ice in the other and hanging her head low.

"Hey, it's alright," he replied with a smile. "Accidents happen."

Her big brown eyes peered up at him. "Are you sure?" she asked nervously.

"Yeah," responded Steve as he continued to smile reassuringly. "Besides, it's nothing a little Tide won't get out," he reassured her, pointing to his now multicolor stained white t-shirt. He continued smiling for a few moments before walking away and sitting at an empty table. Steve barely had a chance to sit down when the little girl sat down across from him. He looked up at her confused. "Is everything alright?" he asked.

A smile graced her face as she gave Steve a nod. "My name's Grace," she stated, pushing her headband back further across her brown hair. "Grace Williams."

"Steve McGarrett," replied Steve sternly, unsure if he should be telling the little girl his name. But she seemed to be alone with no one watching her so Steve figured he would keep an eye on her until her guardian returned.

"Nice to meet you, Steve," she replied back, eating a spoonful of her shave ice. "My dad says I shouldn't talk to strangers but if I know you're name then you're not a stranger anymore. It's what my dad calls a loophole."

He stared at her with a raised eyebrow. "You know what a loophole is? Exactly how old are you?"

"Ten going on twenty," she stated, grinning widely. "I don't know what that means but my dad says it about me all the time."

"And where is your dad? Is he here by any chance?" Steve found himself asking.

"Yeah. We're on a family vacation and I wanted to stop for a shave ice because they're the best."

"Okay, but where is he?"

She turned around, pointing to the restrooms a little ways away. "Oh, he just went to the bathroom," Grace replied. "He told me to sit down and not move."

Steve gave her a smirk. "But you did move."

"Because my spoon broke and I needed another one. That led to me running into you."

He didn't have a lot of experience with children but Grace's speech and demeanor didn't seem like that of a normal ten year old. Maybe that of a teenager but not someone in grade school. "Are you sure you're ten?" he asked her, the smirk still on his face.

"Yep, but I'm going on twenty," she grinned back.

"Grace Catlin Williams," a voice boomed out of nowhere. Steve looked up to see a short but extremely built blond make his way over, bend down, and pull Grace into a fierce embrace. "What part of don't move don't you understand?"

"I'm sorry, Danno," Grace immediately apologized once her father let her go. "I didn't mean to disobey you; I just needed a new spoon."

"I looked after her while you were in the bathroom," replied Steve making his presence known.

The guy stood up, eyes blazing and a firm stance in front of his daughter. "And who the heck are you?" he growled.

"Steven McGarrett," answered Steve, standing up and holding out his hand. "Your daughter ran into me."

Instead of shaking hands with the unknown man, Danny crossed his arms over his chest and continued to glare. "Did she now? So what, you just decided to lure her back to your table. How do I know you're not some kind of creep?"

Steve fought hard to keep from rolling his eyes. He didn't want to come across as insensitive but he thought the guy was being over the top. Besides, he was doing the guy a favor. Better him than an actual creep talking and trying to lure his daughter away. "I'm not a creep," Steve finally answered with a sigh. "And I didn't lure her anywhere. She followed me."

"I really did follow him, Danno," Grace replied as she ate another spoonful of the grape flavored ice. "I even introduced myself to him after I made him spill his on his shirt. It was an accident."

"And why did you follow him, Monkey?"

"I don't know," she shrugged nonchalantly. "He seemed lonely and in need of a friend."

"So you wanted to be his friend."

"I just wanted him not to look so sad."

A part of him wanted to grab his daughter's hand and drag her back to their original table, to hell with Steve McGarrett but he knew that that would make Grace unhappy. The last thing he wanted to do was carry an unhappy Grace around for the rest of the day. Besides, he couldn't fault her for wanting to be nice to someone who was in need of a friend even if it was a complete stranger. It was a trait he wasn't ashamed came from him. Sighing, he ran his fingers through his hair and gave Steve one more look, immediately seeing the sadness that his daughter had minutes before. "Well alright then," he finally replied smiling.

Steve sat up shocked. "What? That's it?" he asked completely perplexed. "That's all you have to say."

He shrugged. "What else is there? My daughter has great instincts and I trust them. If she says you're okay then you're okay."

It took a while for it to sink in before Steve nodded. "Oh, alright then," he said, mimicking Danny's earlier response.

"Thanks for keeping an eye on her for me. I really appreciate it."

"You're welcome."

Reaching out a hand to Grace he gave her a smile. "Come on, monkey, let's go."

"Aw, Danno, can we sit with Steve? He's lonely."

"You two are on a first name basis already?"

"Yeah, Daddy." nodded Grace. "When you know someone's first name then you're no longer strangers. It's a loophole."

"Of course it is," he sighed, running his fingers through his hair again and cursing his daughter's intelligence. When they got back home he was going to make her play more video games instead of reading Nancy Drew.

"So can we stay?"

"Grace, we can't just bother Steve because he looks lonely. Maybe he wants to be alone or maybe he's waiting for someone." Turning around, he looked to see that Steve was staring at the two of them and shaking his head. "Got something to say?"

"I don't mind," Steve quickly said as he continued shaking his head. "I mean, I don't mind if you stay. I'm not meeting anyone and I am a bit lonely." As he said this, he looked at Grace and smiled.

"Are you sure?" asked Grace shyly.

"I'm sure."

Waving his hands in defeat Danny let out a sigh. "I guess that means we're sitting here then."

Grace let out a squeal of delight as she gave her father another hug. "You're the best, Danno," She smiled as she sat back down and her father took a seat beside her.

"You know, you never did introduce yourself."

"Oh, Danny Williams."

"Nice to meet you, Danny," Steve replied, holding out his hand again and this time getting the response he wanted.

"Likewise," smiled Danny as he let go of Steve's hand. He looked down at his daughter who was enjoying her shave ice and turned back to Steve who was doing the same. "So," spoke Danny finally breaking the silence. "It seems that in the span of five minutes my child has grown quite fond of you, so fond that she feels that if left to your own devices you will start crying buckets because of your loneliness. Under normal circumstances I would have walked away and never looked back but Grace knows there's nothing, within reason, that I won't deny her. Ergo, I have been forced to sit with you until you no longer feel the need to jump over the edge."

A smirk spread across Steve's face. "Ergo?" he repeated teasingly. "Nice vocabulary."

Danny rolled his eyes. "Shut-up."

"Do they all talk like that where you're from?"

"I'm from Jersey, if you must know, and no, not all Jersians are this eloquent when it comes to speech."

"Yeah I know, I've seen clips of Jersey Shore."

Grace let out a small giggle as she looked up at her father whose face was now distorted with disgust. "Oh no," she smirked. "Danno hates that show."

"Those kids are idiots. If they had even a quarter of a brain they would know that are a disgrace to the Italian community and the world would be better if we didn't have people acting like them on our television screens. As if the world needs more Snookie's," he replied with a frown. "Real people, good people, from Jersey do not act like that."

The rant brought a smile to Steve's face as he watched Danny's animated response, hands flailing everywhere. For some odd reason it gave him a sense of comfort. "So, Danno, care to tell me more about your beloved Jersey."

"One, don't call me Danno. Only Grace gets to call me that and two, of course I'll tell you why New Jersey is the best place on Earth."

The three of them continued eating their shave ice, Danny talking the most in between stealing bites of Grace's ice and Grace trying desperately to stop him. It wasn't long before all of Grace's frozen treat was gone and she excused herself to the bathroom.

"So," Danny began after Grace left to go to the bathroom. "What branch of the military you from?"

Steve felt his entire body tense up at Danny's question as his heart and mind began to race. "What makes you think I'm in the military?" his expression firm and stoic.

Danny smirked as he leaned forward in his chair. "I could say lucky guess but we both know that'd be a lie. First tip off, your posture. I mean seriously, normal, untrained people don't sit like that. Also, normal people don't survey their surroundings as if they're waiting for enemy soldiers to fall from the sky." He paused for a moment to shrug. "You look like a guy who has seen his share of battles."

Steve shrugged back. "Maybe I have."

"See, I was right, you are in the military," grinned Danny. "As for what branch I'm gonna go with the Marines."

Steve shook his head. "Wrong," he said. "I'm in the Navy and I'm a Navy SEAL to be exact."

"So, what, you're like Rambo?"

"Rambo was in the Army and no, I'm nothing like Rambo."

"I would take that as a compliment," Danny continued to grin. "Rambo was badass."

"Rambo has nothing on the SEALs."

"Whatever you say," smirked Danny as he leaned back in his chair and folded his arms.

He waited a few moments, eating a few more bites of his ice before speaking again. "So, how did you know I was in the military?"

It was if the grin never left his face. If anything it was growing. "You just so happen to be looking at one of New Jersey's finest men in blue and I do mean that in more ways than one," Danny stated cockily.

Steve raised a brow suspiciously. "You're a cop?"

"Detective, actually," answered Danny. "Newark PD, eleven years and counting."

"Hmm," Steve gave Danny an impressed nod and ate another spoonful of his quickly melting ice. He had to admit that Danny was one of the best looking men he'd ever laid eyes. Though short, the blond hair and blue eyes definitely made up for the lack of height. Plus it didn't hurt that Danny had incredible muscle definition, even if he did hide it underneath his button down shirt. The two men continued staring at each other until Grace came back to the table, face clean and anxious to leave.

"Okay, monkey, time to go," Danny replied standing up. "Say goodbye to Steve."

"It was nice meeting you, Steve," Grace stated as she walked over to Steve and gave him a hug.

Steve was unsure of what to do at first but finally found himself wrapping his arms around the little girl. "It was nice meeting you too, Gracie." He let go of Grace and looked up to find Danny watching him, a look in his eyes that Steve couldn't identify. "Nice meeting you too, Danny."

"Likewise," replied Danny in a shaky breath. "Um, maybe I'll see you around."

"Maybe," Steve smiled.

Danny grabbed Grace's hand and led her away from table. He paused briefly, looking over his shoulder to find Steve watching them leave, a sad smile on his face. Danny didn't know why but he had a strange feeling that it wouldn't be the last time he laid eyes on Steven McGarrett.

So have I gained your interest. Just want to let you know that his is the first time I've ventured out in a AU as big as this one in this fandom. I've done it before, just not for this show. If you like it don't be afraid to drop me a line or two. I love hearing what you wonderful readers think of my fics. Until next time,

The greatest shame in life is not giving up but never loving at all,