This gift story is for bluedelft, in appreciation for her kindness, her patience, and her contributions to the Hawaii Five-0 fandom! Thanks for your friendship! And Merry Christmas!
"Hey Boss," Kono said from where she was standing in Steve's doorway.
He looked up from the paperwork he was pretending to do, relieved she was giving him an excuse to give up the pretense. "Yeah?"
"It's 2:30 and Danny's still in court," Kono said.
"Oh. Okay. I'll go get Grace," Steve said with a nod. He stood, making sure he had his keys before going out to the main office.
I'm picking up Gracehe texted to Danny. He didn't receive an immediate response which meant that Danny wouldn't read it until court was in recess.
"Are you bringing her back here?" Chin asked with the smile that thoughts of Grace always put on their faces.
"Probably not. It's really quiet here, even for a Friday. You guys take off as well."
Even though they wanted to see Grace they didn't have to be told twice that they were free to go early. With Christmas on Tuesday, they could use the extra time. Kono disappeared before Steve could change his mind, grabbing her surfboard and running out with a quick Mele Kalikimaka.
"I'll see you Tuesday at my house. Noon," Steve said to Chin as they laughed at Kono's escape. "Because we will notbe catching a case this weekend."
"Let's hope you are right. A free weekend would be a nice change of pace. Anything I need to bring for Christmas lunch?" Chin asked as he shut down the table.
"Can you bring some of your fried rice? It's the best, and will be perfect with the ham Mom is making."
"You got it," Chin agreed.
"Great. Thanks. Have a good weekend," Steve said as he left the offices for what he really hoped would be the last time until after Christmas. "Hey Grace," Steve said when she answered her phone.
"What's wrong?" Grace asked immediately.
"Nothing's wrong, Grace-face. Danno's still in court. So I'm going to come get you. I'll be there in 10 minutes."
"It takes 15 minutes to get here, Uncle Steve," she said. He could hear her barely suppressed giggle.
"Not when you use your lights," Steve told her, making her giggles loud and happy.
"It's not an emergency," Grace told him.
"Of course it is. I get to see Grace-face. That is a perfect reason to use my lights," Steve told her.
"Okay. Bye," Grace giggled.
"I'll see you very soon." He got into his truck and made it to Grace's school in nine and half minutes.
"Uncle Steve," Grace said, coming down the steps to meet him.
"Hey Baby. You're done with school, huh?" Steve asked, unnecessarily taking her hand to cross the street. Of course she was old enough to cross next to him but he liked holding her hand.
"I am. We have almost two weeks off," she said in excitement. "Thank you for coming to get me."
"You are very welcome. What do you want to do this afternoon?" he asked as he made sure she was buckled in the backseat.
"Can we go Christmas shopping? I mean, Danno says you hate the mall but I haven't gotten him a present yet. And with Mom in England, I don't know how I'll go."
"Of course we can go Christmas shopping," Steve assured her with a smile. He had to admit to himself that he had a few presents he still needed to buy and going with Grace would be so much more fun than going by himself. "I have some shopping left."
"Okay," she said with a happy nod.
"Do you know what you want to get for Danno?" Steve asked as he carefully pulled away from the school.
"New Jersey," she said.
"The entire state won't fit under your tree," he told her with a laugh.
"I know that," she said, giggling. "But I can get him a map and a Jets shirt and maybe a Bruce CD."
"Those are excellent ideas," Steve acknowledged, impressed with her planning.
"You want to give him Jersey too?" she asked, all excitement.
"It's your idea, Grace-face. I don't want to steal it."
"We'll share. I'll get him some and you can get him some more."
"Deal," Steve agreed. "You hungry?"
"Uh huh," she said, looking out the window. "Can we get him snow, do you think?"
"We can get him a snow globe. I think that's the closest we'll get."
"Can't you think of something? 'Cause you can do anything," she said with the certainty and faith of a child who truly believed it.
"Not everything," he said, catching her frown in the rearview mirror. "But I'll try to figure it out. Okay?"
"'Kay," she agreed, already happier, her faith unshaken. She waited as Steve pulled the truck into the diner parking place then followed him inside. "Can I have milkshake?"
"Can you have a milkshake?" Steve laughed. "Why would we be here if we weren't having milkshakes?"
"Yay," she cheered, climbing up on one of the tall stools at the counter as Steve sat on the one next to her. The young man wearing a crisp white apron smiled at them, asking what they'd like. Grace ordered a pineapple milkshake after getting Steve's promise he wouldn't tell Danno the flavor. Steve requested a smoothie instead, one with only fruit and ice.
"Anything else?" the young man asked them.
"Grace-face?" Steve asked her.
"No thank you. Just the milkshake, please," she requested.
"Your daughter is very polite," the young man remarked as he turned to make their treats. Steve just winked at Grace. There was no reason to tell him that Grace wasn't reallySteve's daughter.
After they had finished their after-school treats, they drove to Ala Moana Center, discussing where their first stop should be. "Tell me again what your awesome ideas are," Steve requested as they made their way to the center of the shops.
"A Bruce album, a Jets jersey, a map of New Jersey," Grace said, ticking them off on her fingers.
"Doesn't he have all the Springsteen albums?" Steve asked, looking around at the various stores with their festively decorated windows. Everywhere he looked practically screamed Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas.
"He broke two when we moved," Grace said quietly, fascinated by the tile that made up the floor beneath her feet.
"Oh dear. Was he being clumsy again?" Steve asked. He could tell by Grace's expression that it wasn't actually Danny who had done the damage but he certainly wasn't going to call her out on it.
"Uh huh," she said softly.
"Do you know which ones they were?" Steve asked.
"Tunnel of Love and Born to Run in the USA," Grace said.
"Well," Steve said thoughtfully. "There was one called Born to Run and a different one called Born in the USA."
"Oh," Grace said. "It had a picture of a hinny on it."
"That's Born in the USA," Steve said with a smile. "We can find both of those at the CD store."
"'Kay," Grace agreed cheerfully. She took Steve's hand without any prompting and together they went to the CD store that sold music and videos and things Steve wasn't sure he could identify. He had to wonder how much longer stores like the one they were in would last. If he was the one getting music for Danny, he'd be inclined to download them. But Danny loved his CDs and Steve didn't begrudge his preference.
"Rock's this way," Steve told Grace, making a right turn toward the correct section.
"Who's your favorite?" Grace asked him as they looked through the S section for the albums.
"I don't really know," Steve admitted. "I like lots of different kinds of music. How about you?"
She told him her favorites, most of which sounded more like breakfast cereal than music groups. But he was a fan of a group named after an insect and another whose name was an oxymoron about a metal blimp, so what right did he have to judge?
"Here they are," she announced, holding up both albums in triumph.
"Excellent," he said. "He has the rest of them?"
"I don't recognize this one," she said, pointing at We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions Album.
"Then we should get him this one too," Steve said. "Any more you want?"
"Mom said she would like an album from the opera singer with the funny name. Andrea Budachelly?"
"Andrea Bocelli?" Steve asked.
"That's it. Do they have her albums?" Grace asked.
"Andrea Bocelli is a guy, Grace, not a girl," Steve said, selecting one of his albums to show her the picture.
"Andrea's a girl's name," Grace said with a confused frown.
"I know. It's also a guy's name some places," Steve explained. "Here's a Christmas album. You think your mom would like it?"
"Uh huh," Grace said with a happy nod.
"Anything else?" Steve asked, crouching down so they could chat eye-to-eye.
"I think that's all I need here. Do you need any CDs?" she asked him.
"Nope. I'm all set," he assured her, going with her to the check-out. Without any fuss, Steve paid for the CDs, refusing the boxes with his thanks. "Where to next, Grace-face?"
"There's a sports store right down there," she said, pointing down the way.
"Excellent. We'll get him a jersey there," Steve agreed, going with her down the walk. He paused, steering her closer to the storefronts when her phone rang. He had no patience for people who stopped in the middle of the walkway and he certainly didn't want to be guilty of it himself. When he looked down at her, he could tell by her expression that it was Danny calling.
"Hey Danno," she said with the smile she always reserved for him. "We're shopping… I got a CD for Mom….Not yet…. Uh huh. He's right here." She handed her phone to Steve who accepted it with a smile.
"Danno," Steve said. "How was court?"
"Fabulous. As you can imagine. So Grace talked you into the dreaded Christmas shopping experience?"
"Yeah. It's not so crowded here," Steve said. "I thought it'd be much busier."
"They see you coming and run scared," Danny claimed.
"Uh huh," Steve said, making a face at Grace who had no choice but to laugh.
"I was thinking about coming to meet you there. Where are you?" Danny asked. Steve could hear him walking, no doubt to his car.
"Hold on a sec," Steve said, putting the phone on mute. "Danno wants to come join us. You okay with that?"
"Uhmmm…" Grace said, biting her lip. "Can we get the jersey and hide it?"
"I think so. We'll put them in my truck before he gets here."
Grace nodded at that, watching as Steve resumed his conversation.
"Okay. We'll meet you at the northwest entrance. That's where I'm parked."
"Am I ruining Grace's plans?" Danny asked quietly.
"It's fine. Drive slow," Steve added under his breath, hoping Grace didn't necessarily hear him.
"Roger that," Danny confirmed. "See you soon. But not too soon."
"Perfect," Steve said, disconnecting and giving Grace back her phone. "Let's go pretend to be Jets fans."
"Okay," she agreed cheerfully, going with him to the sports store. It took a little doing but they finally found a Jets jersey in the right size. "It won't be too big, right?" she asked as Steve held it up.
"I think it will be fine," he said. "He has broad shoulders. A small would be too tight."
"Okay," she said, looking up at the baseball hats. "How about a Yankees cap?"
"Good idea," he agreed, picking up a wool one and checking the size. He was pretty sure the one he had chosen would fit. It would muss Danny's hair but Grace's happiness was even more important than his immaculate hair-do. So Steve knew beyond a doubt that Danny would wear the cap. "Anything else?"
"Nope," she said, waiting as he paid. "We'll put these in your truck now?"
"We will," he said, taking her hand to make their way back through the shopping mall. It didn't take especially long to arrive back at Steve's truck where he carefully placed their packages in the backseat. He had to wave off a car that had slowed, hoping to get Steve's space.
"Aren't you supposed to move your car so thieves won't take your gifts?" Grace asked as Steve locked the door.
"My truck is alarmed, baby. HPD will be here before any potential thieves get the doors open."
"Oh," she said with a nod. "Danno says there are a few perks to being a policeman."
"He does, does he?" Steve asked with a laugh.
"Uh huh," she agreed. "Where are we meeting Danno?"
"Right by this entrance," he said, returning with her to it. On one side was a newsstand, on the other side a store that sold video games. "Did you want to look at the video games?" he asked when he saw her gazing into the window.
"No," she said with a shake of her head. "Danno's says most of them are too violent for me."
"Oh," Steve said, looking at the titles that all seemed to have war or combator other military-type words in them. "I never thought about that."
"Do you play them?" she asked turning her attention from the window to Steve.
"No. I've seen enough real action. I don't need to pretend," he said before he could consider his words. Maybe that was more information than she needed but he knew she knew what he used to do for a living before he headed up Five-0.
"Danno says you are a hero," Grace said with the certainty of a ten year old.
"Danno says a lot of things," Steve laughed.
"Uh huh," Grace naturally agreed, her face breaking into a smile when Danno himself walked into the mall. "Danno."
"Hey Monkey. Hey Steve," Danny said in greeting to them both, bending down to hug Grace. He had put on a tie for court and it was pulled down away from his collar. He looked a lot like he had when he had first joined Five-0. Steve preferred the more relaxed Danny that didn't wear a tie every day. He also preferred Danny in the blue shirt he was wearing. But that was an opinion of absolutely no consequence what-so-ever.
"How was court?" Grace asked him.
"Boring. I'm convinced the lawyers love to hear themselves talk," Danny said.
"We don't anyone like that, do we, Grace?" Steve teased.
"Steve," Danny said in mock anger. "That's rude."
"Truth hurts," Steve said with a shrug, winking at Grace who was laughing at them. "Where should we go now that Danno's here?"
"We need something for Chin and Kono," Danny reminded him. "I don't think extra bullets and more hand grenades count."
"But they'll like those," Steve said as though it were a universal truth. Which to him it was. He supposed he could see why it wasn't to the rest of the world. Sad for them though.
"Not arguing that point," Danny agreed. "You have any ideas about normal people gifts for them?"
"Kono wants a new coffee maker," Grace said. "The kind with the little cups."
"A Keurig?" Steve asked.
"I guess. The kind where you push a button and it gives you one cup," Grace explained.
"How do you know that?" Danny asked her as they started walking back through the mall.
"When I stayed over at hers last week. She said she likes that coffee but her maker still works," Grace said.
"There's a Williams-Sonoma here," Steve said. "I'm sure they must sell them."
"And they'll cost twice a much. We should get it somewhere cheaper," Danny said.
"We're running out of time, in case you haven't noticed," Steve countered. "And we're here. I don't want to run all over town to save $5. The gas will cost more than that."
"We're going to spend more than five extra dollars at that overpriced hoity-toity store," Danny said.
"That's not a nice thing to say, Daddy," Grace told him. "I like Williams-Sonoma. It's bright and cheerful."
"All right," Danny conceded. "We'll get her coffee maker there. But only because it was youridea."
"I like it too, Grace-face," Steve said. "And I've heard they have ice cube trays that look like Han Solo frozen in carbonate."
"Cool," Grace said.
"If you'd buy a refrigerator from this century, you'd have an automatic ice maker. We wouldn't be stuck filling up your trays every time we need ice for your head," Danny complained.
"My refrigerator works just fine. Why should I buy a new one? I don't mind filling up ice cube trays. And there's still plenty of room for the Peppermint Patties you claim you never eat."
"Doesn't Doris want a new one?" Danny asked, glancing at Steve over Grace's head.
"She's never mentioned it," Steve said with a shrug. "If she wants a new one, she can go buy one."
"What about Chin?" Grace asked, ever the peace-maker.
"He doesn't need a new refrigerator," Danny said.
"No, silly. For Christmas," Grace said.
"Oh. Well, you had the good idea for Kono. What do you think we should get Chin?" Danny asked her.
"The same thing," Grace said with an affirming nod. "He likes coffee too."
"You are right about that," Danny agreed. "Is it considered bad form to buy two people the same present?"
"Not when it's something they really want," Grace informed them.
"Would you mind if they gave us the same thing?" Steve asked.
"No," Danny decided. "It would simplify things. Except I don't want extra ammo or more hand grenades which I'm sure is what they'd give you. And you'd be thrilled."
"Excellent idea, Grace-face," Steve said, completely ignoring Danny's mini-rant and going with into the Williams-Sonoma. The overly friendly, overly helpful clerk was able to show them the machines straight-away.
"They are so popular, we pre-wrap them," she told them far too happily.
"That's nice," Steve said, stiffening from the assault of holiday cheer. "We'll take two of them."
"Certainly," she agreed, lifting the display model so that Steve and Danny could each take a wrapped one.
"We need to get coffee. Or they won't have any," Grace said, pointing at the boxes of pre-measured dispenser cups.
"You pick out two boxes, Monkey. And they can be from you," Danny said, Steve agreeing silently with that idea. Not that Steve had plans to ever disagree with Grace. Who in their right mind could?
"Do you want to get them Christmas mugs?" Steve asked Grace, pointing at the Santa mugs on display. "So they'll have special mugs for the first time they use them?"
"Yeah," Grace said, selecting two Santas that were almost identical. "Can these be from me too?"
"Of course," Danny agreed, accepting them and the coffees.
"I'll get one of them," Steve said nodding to the boxes of coffee.
"It's fine. They're from Grace. No need for you to pay," Danny told him.
"You know I don't mind," Steve told him. "Hey, Grace-face. Can you see if you can find me the Han Solo ice cube trays?"
"Okay," she agreed, going toward the tiny section of the store reserved for Star Wars related items.
"And it's a lot of money when you add it up," Steve said quietly to Danny, nodding at the coffee boxes.
Danny shrugged, taking out his credit card to give to the cashier. "I'm fine. I've bought most of my other gifts and I have some Christmas money left over."
"Christmas money?" Steve repeated.
"Yes, Steven. I have a Christmas club at the credit union. It's what normal people do to save for Christmas."
"I know what a Christmas club is," Steve told him. "I just didn't know you had one."
"Because you have a compulsive need to know about every single detail of every single aspect of my life," Danny said.
Steve could only shrug at that, refusing to deny it or look embarrassed about it. It was totally true.
"You, my friend, need to get a hobby that's not me," Danny suggested, signing the credit card receipt and smiling in response to the cashier's. "See what I have to put up with? Do you have any openings? I may be interested in a change of careers."
Grace returned before Danny was finished, showing Steve the Han Solo ice cube tray, making Danny laugh. "You are such a geek. I swear you sometimes out-geek Max.. You two could have a geek-a-thon."
"Have I ever denied it?" Steve asked, adding the tray to his purchase.
The cashier had no choice but to laugh at their conversation, ringing up Steve's items. He paid in cash because he wasn't normal and didn't use credit cards. At least that was Danny's version. Steve thought cash was easier and made more sense. And it's not like he ever had to worry about being robbed. Because – really?
After finishing at Williams-Sonoma, they discussed what was next. Grace said she was really hungry and could they please go somewhere to eat? Danny preferred taking her home to feed her but between her puppy dog eyes and Steve's pleading face, he gave in. Steve volunteered to take the presents to his truck so they didn't have to worry about carrying them around. Danny and Grace agreed that was for the best and went upstairs to one of the restaurants. It wasn't fancy but it had good food and wasn't overly loud.
It didn't take very long for Steve to join them, checking out the menu. "What are you having, Grace-face?" he asked Grace. He couldn't see her behind the menu but could hear her giggle.
"Can I have breakfast?" she asked.
"Of course," Danny said. "We love breakfast for dinner, don't we?"
"Uh huh," she agreed. "An Hawaiian omelet with ham and pineapple."
"Oh no. She's been turned," Danny said in an overly dramatic fashion.
Steve winked at her when she put down her menu, laughing at her father. "Ham and pineapple is really good," she informed him.
"No no no," Danny said, shaking his head.
"Deal with it, Danno," Steve admonished, looking up at the waitress when she came to their table. They placed their orders, all of them deciding breakfast would be perfect.
"What do you want us to bring for Christmas lunch?" Danny asked as they waited for their orders.
"Can you bring some meatballs? They are the best," Steve said.
"Do meatballs go with ham?" Grace asked seriously.
"Meatballs go with everything, Monkey," Danny reminded her.
"Of course they do," Steve agreed. "If you guys don't mind making them."
"We can do that," Danny said. "Maybe we'll bring some of our very special cannolis too. What do you think of that, Grace?"
"I love making cannolis," she agreed. "Are we going to midnight mass?"
"I hadn't necessarily planned to but if you want to go, we certainly can," Danny said.
"I want to go," Grace said, looking across at Steve. "Do you want to come with us? We get candles and sing and hear the story of the birth of Jesus."
"I think I'll take a pass this year," Steve said. "But thank you for inviting me."
"Let us know if you change your mind. We'll stop by and pick you up," Danny told him.
"I'll keep it in mind," Steve said.
They chatted about other topics of no real importance as they ate, enjoying the food and their own company. When they were finished eating, Steve said he had a few more stores to visit and he'd take care of wrapping the presents. Since Chin and Kono would be opening them at his house after Christmas dinner, it made sense for him to wrap them all. That he winked at Grace did not go unnoticed by Danny but he didn't comment. Christmas was a time of secrets and he was one to respect that tradition.
"Hey Danno," Steve said when he called Sunday afternoon.
"Steve," Danny said as he and Grace were watching the Jets having their lunch handed to them. Again.
"I would like to borrow Grace for three hours tomorrow," Steve said.
"Borrow Grace," Danny repeated, looking over at her. She was coloring and watching TV and not paying much attention to Danny. "For what?"
"That I can't tell you," Steve said, a conspiratorial tone in his voice. "Santa asked me to ask you."
"Uh huh," Danny said. "What time?"
"At 2:00. I'll have her home by 5:00," Steve said. "That will give you guys plenty of time to go to church."
"All right," Danny decided. "Hold on a sec." He handed the phone to Grace, telling her Steve wanted to ask her something.
"Hey Uncle Steve," she said with a smile in her voice.
"Hey Grace-face. Can you be Santa's helper tomorrow?"
"Help with what?" Grace asked.
"I'll tell you when I come get you, if you want to come with me. I'll pick you up at 2:00 and get you home by 5:00," he promised.
"Okay," she agreed.
"Wear jeans. And bring a sweatshirt," Steve instructed.
"Okay," she said. He could hear the frown in her voice but he also knew she was willing to follow him on whatever adventure he might have planned.
"Great. I'll be there at 2:00."
"Okay. I'll see you at 2:00," she said, hanging up and giving Danny his phone back.
"Did he say where you were going?" Danny asked.
"No. He said I should wear jeans and bring a sweatshirt."
"Huh," Danny said. "Well. He knows he has to keep you safe or I will have him killed."
"Danno," Grace said. "That's not nice."
"Sorry, baby," he said, kissing her on the head and squeezing her tight. "I wouldn't hurt him. You know that."
"I know," she giggled, scooting closer to him as he wrapped his arms around her.
They had just finished eating Christmas dinner, a mix of Italian and Hawaiian and what they mostly decided to call "American" food. Steve was silently grateful that Danny and his mother hadn't spent the entire time quarreling. He knew it was a possibility but he thought Grace's presence helped keep things on a more even keel.
Chin and Kono had loved the coffee makers, giving Grace all the credit for the great idea. Steve and Danny hadn't opened their presents before lunch, Steve explaining that they needed to wait.
"Wait?" Danny had said, frowning at Grace then at Steve. "Wait for what?"
"It's a surprise, Danno," Grace had giggled, fist bumping Steve. Steve had winked at her, ignoring Danny's grumbling.
"Danny, help Mom with the dishes, okay?" Steve requested with a wink as they were leaving the table, stuffed to the gills.
"Sure. Fine," Danny agreed reluctantly. Chin took pity on him and helped take the dishes to the kitchen. Steve, Grace, and Kono snuck out the front door, quickly getting Danny's final present ready.
"Okay, Grace-face," Steve said. "Go get Danno."
She laughed and ran back inside, not stopping until she got to the kitchen. "Danno. Danno," she said, her cheeks pink with excitement. "Come on. It's time for your present."
"It is?" Danny asked, looking down at her. Chin winked and even Doris smiled at him. They followed when Grace pulled him through the house and to the closed front door.
"Open it," Grace instructed, bouncing in excitement.
Danny did as she said, opening the front door to be hit in the chest with a snowball, the snow scattering everywhere. "What?" He wiped his eyes just in time for another snowball to hit him square in the stomach. "What is this?"
"We got you snow," Grace said, pulling him down into the front yard. Right in the middle sat a fat snowman, Grace's height, complete with hat, scarf and sticks for arms. "You wanted snow for Christmas, so we got you some."
Danny could only stand and stare at the somewhat pitiful snowman melting in Steve's front yard. It was one of the saddest, funniest, happiest things he'd seen in a very long time. "Where did you get it?" he finally asked, grinning ear-to-ear at Steve and Grace. Kono was laughing with Chin and Doris, Kono trying to put some of the grimy snow down the back of Chin's shirt.
"Grace and I flew Kamekona's helicopter to the top of Mauna Kea. There's snow there most of the winter. We filled ice chests with it and kept it in Kamekona's freezer until this morning," Steve explained.
"You got me snow," Danny said, still not quite believing it.
"I wanted to get you New Jersey," Grace explained. "But Steve said it wouldn't fit under the tree. Steve said snow had to be part of it."
"Thank you," Danny said, only able to shake his head. "You two are unbelievable."
"Merry Christmas, Danno," Steve said, the rest of the gang joining him in a gigantic group hug. They weren't wearing mittens and didn't need hot cocoa to warm up but Steve could tell by the look on Danny's face that not having a truly white Christmas wasn't such a horrible thing after all. Not when you were surrounded by the love of your ohana. Because that was what Christmas was really about.