Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters.

A/N: Just a one-shot inspired by the New Year. I meant to have this put out right before 2012 ended, but real life got quite hectic here during the holidays. This story will include Max, Kamekona, Malia, Grace, and Mary Ann. Please let me know what you think. I hope you all enjoyed your holidays! :-)

December 31 – 11:00 PM

Loud, festive sounds of celebration echo into the night as hundreds of people crowd onto the beach, eagerly awaiting the fireworks to ring in the New Year. Torches had been lit along the sand, assisting people in finding their parties. A local band performs on a small stage, with the nearby crowds singing along and hula dancers sway nearby. Near the water, children could be seen running around, blowing into their paper trumpets. Flashes from cameras all around the beach go off intermittently, capturing memorable moments in the last hour of the year.

Amongst the crowd, Kamekona could be spotted at a picnic table, waving his arms enthusiastically to bring the group over as they navigated through the crowds towards him.

"Ho brahs! You got here just in time... saved us a prime spot to watch the fireworks!" He nods with a wide smile.

"Perks of owning a shrimp truck on the beach, right?" Chin grins at him knowingly. "Not letting the people sit here unless they are paying customers." He slaps Kamekona good-naturedly on the back as he and Malia deposit the beers on the table. Mary pulls Kono next to her on a bench facing the ocean to continue their girl talk, as Danny, Grace, and Max slide in across them.

However, one significant person from their group was glaringly absent. Six months ago, Steve had received the call from the Navy, pulling him back into active service overseas. This time, it was hard for him to go and leave his family and friends behind. It was a stark contrast to his days in the service many years earlier, when his Navy comrades were the only people that he had. Kono, in particular, had a hard time dealing with his absence but eventually had learned to adjust. Steve's calls and letters in between, promising he would come back to her helped tremendously, even if he wasn't able to say when he would be back. A return was originally set to be at the middle of December, but as far as these assignments go, everyone knew that dates are rarely set in stone.

Despite the sorely missed presence of their leader, the group knew that it wouldn't do any good to dwell on the matter, especially not for Kono, so they chose to keep their spirits up as the new year approached.

As the group settles in, Max tilts his head while making an observation. "Danny, I noticed that you are wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and opted to make a more local statement by wearing 'slippers'. Quite and interesting change, I must say. If I recall correctly this would be the first time you've chosen casual attire for the beach." He continues, nodding matter-of-factly. "You resemble the local population much more now."

Danny narrows his eyes at Max's comment as everyone bursts out laughing. "For your information, Grace has been begging me to wear something more 'casual' and I complied."

"Must really a brand new year then, brah. You should wear it more, it makes you look less uptight." Kamekona chuckles.

As Danny goes on another one of his rants about the never ending mainland vs. Hawaiian attire debate, Mary nudges Kono gently to get her attention. "Hey, how are you holding up? You know, with my brother not being here and all..."

Kono looks down at the table, a hint of a smile appearing on her face as she recollects parts of the bittersweet phone conversation with Steve just days earlier.

... He chuckles as his voice drops. "Yeah, because running around with a bunch of dirty, sweaty guys instead of doing other dirty, sweaty activities with my girlfriend is exactly how I wanted to ring in the new year."

"It's just as well, I guess." She teases. "You get to light up flare guns and throw grenades, meanwhile all we get are some lame fireworks."

"You jealous?"

"Maybe a little." She smiles, shifting in her chair. "You know that in the six months you've been gone, our paperwork has been significantly lighter, since we don't have to explain your crazy stunts out on the field."

"Isn't that a good thing, babe? I bet you haven't had to hear Danny complain about it in a while."

"Yeah, but I'm so incredibly bored without seeing or hearing about you throwing knives, tossing grenades, dangling suspects off buildings here..."

He laughs, ready to respond, but then she hears the shouts from men in the background, clearly indicating that his time was up. He acknowledges the men as she listens to the bustling noise around him.

She can feel the mood change instantly as he sighs, not wanting to hang up the phone. "I have to go." She nods, despite him not being able to see it. There was a brief silence on the line. "I miss you so much. I'll be home soon, okay?" He says softly into the speaker.

Despite the ache she feels in her chest at having to let him to go, she smiles slightly at his reassurance. "Okay... take care out there. I love you." Then she adds as an afterthought, "Hau'oli Makahiki Hou."

"I love you too, babe. Hau'oli Makahiki Hou." He tells her, just before she hears the static on the other end.

Kono snaps out of her thoughts and smiles at Mary warmly, touched by her concern. She shifts her seat as she picks at the label on her beer bottle. "I'm good."

Mary gives her a pointed look, clearly not buying her answer.

"No, really... I am. Obviously I would love to have him here with me, with us, but I know that he has to do what's necessary. He's doing what he promised his country... serving with honor, and I love him for that." Then she smiles wider. "I mean, it's not like he's pulling another disappearing act, flying across the world to track down a criminal without telling us again." She jokes, opting to keep the mood light. There's no point in putting a damper on the celebrations; she's accepted that it is what it is. There's always next year, and even more down the road. Tonight, she's happy to celebrate the new year with the Ohana that she loves dearly.

"This is true!" Mary laughs, recalling the story of how Steve ran off to play superhero, and the severe tongue-lashing he received from his girlfriend when he got back. "I'll drink to that." She raises her bottle and clinks it with Kono's. Studying the other woman for a moment, Mary's happy to see that she's choosing to look on the bright side of the matter. One of the things that she truly appreciates about Kono is her glass half-full way of looking at the world; it's brought balance and happiness to Steve, and that's all that Mary ever wants for her brother.

A loud roar of laughter from Kamekona catches their attention, breaking them out of their musings and back into the general chatter around the table.

"Hey Monkey, you busy or something?" Danny teases his daughter, who was tapping away speedily on her phone, her attention evidently monopolized by the device for the past ten minutes.

Grace looks up sheepishly at the comment. "Sorry, my friend's just been asking me where I am for the countdown... they asked if it's okay if they stop by."

Danny smiles and tucks a lock of Grace's hair behind her ear. "Sure, Monkey. Just make sure they'll be here soon. Fireworks start in ten minutes." She nods, resuming her typing.

"Pretty impressive phone she's got there." Kono remarks, noticing Grace's first official cell phone. "When I was her age, all I got were books and board games..."

Danny shakes his head. "That was, uh, her Christmas present from Stan. Can you believe it?" He waves his arms around as he starts ranting again. "Who gives an eleven year old kid an iPhone? What could they possible need such a fancy phone for? Give her one of those unbreakable Nokia ones and it would be just fine. I swear, it's making me look inadequate in front my own daughter again..."

"I'll say." Chin interjects. "She's already grasped some of the more advanced functions, and you're still trying to figure out how to use shortcuts on your keyboard."

Danny wags his finger at him. "You, my friend, are not funny at all." Chin only shakes his head, eyes crinkling as he chuckles in amusement.

Kono laughs and reaches across the table to put a hand on his arm. "Chill, brah. You're her dad. That phone won't give her the love and attention she needs. It's just something for her to have fun with. Money can't buy everything and I guarantee you, spending New Years with you is what she'll remember in the long run, not who bought her the electronics."

Danny smiles at her reassurance and lets her words sink in, relaxing back into his seat. "Yeah... yeah you're right. Thanks."

There's a brief silence as they listen to the crowds get louder and rowdier as midnight approaches. Kono smiles at the people's cheerful spirit all around the beach. Danny glances at his watch, noting that there was only five minutes left until the countdown. From his left, Grace nudges him and discreetly tilts her head in Kono's direction. He sits up straighter in his seat, his mood quickly uplifted as something behind Kono catches his eye. "Although, much as I don't agree with this as a gift for Grace, I have to admit it's been put to good use tonight."

"Oh yeah, why's that?"

Danny just shakes his head and smiles, his eyes silently indicating for her to turn around.

Kono furrows her brow, confused at what he (and, come to think of it, everyone else at the table) was looking at. She turns around in her seat, and what she sees makes her heart feel like bursting out of her chest.

Walking down the beach was the very man that Kono has been aching to see for the past six months; Steve McGarrett, still dressed in his green fatigues and boots, his eyes locked onto hers the moment she turns around. The torches along the beach illuminate his tall and proud figure, casting him in soft orange glow as he makes his way towards her.

She stares at him as if in a trance, as if disbelieving that he was really there, in Hawaii, on this beach, finding his way back to her.

Briefly breaking the eye contact she looks to the table, pure shock written on her face, expecting the same reaction from the others. What she gets instead are wide, knowing smiles from everyone at the table; Danny winks at her, Mary hides her laugh behind her clasped hands, Grace practically bounces with glee... and that's when it hit her.

They knew.

Her mouth drops open as she turns her gaze back to her boyfriend, breaths becoming shallow and heart skipping a few beats. She rises from the bench onto her feet as Steve quickly closes the distance between them.

Shouts of "two minutes!" rise from the crowds and echoes throughout the beach. But in that moment, for Steve and Kono, it was as if all the sounds had faded into the background, and the only thing they could hear was their hearts pounding in their ears.

He was so close now, so much so that she could see the huge grin spread across his handsome face. Before anyone knew it, Kono had moved forward and launched herself into Steve's arms, wrapping her arms and legs around him, whispering 'Steve, oh my god...' over and over again. He pulls her in tightly, burrowing his face into her neck and inhales her scent deeply, conjuring memories and reminding him that he is finally home. Her heart pounds against her chest rapidly, and she can feel his doing the same.

"Did you miss me?" He asks, smirking against her neck at the success of his 'mission', overseas and otherwise.

"Not even a little bit." She jokes, voice muffled by her lips on his skin. He can feel her body shake slightly with her laugh. "You're an asshole, you know that? Made me think you weren't coming home for a while..."

He laughs along with her, running a hand across her back. "Sorry, babe. I wanted to surprise you and everything." She lifts her head from his neck, her heart swelling at his words. "They promised they wouldn't say anything, especially Danny." He nods at the group's direction and she looks back, catching their amused faces grinning up at them. His hand wipes away the few tears that had stubbornly escaped her eyes, despite her best efforts to keep them in.

She shakes her head, biting back a smile. "You sure like to cut it close though, don't you."

"Actually, my original flight got cancelled, but I managed to convince the airline to let me on an earlier one..."

"You mean you threatened someone enough until they caved."

"I can neither confirm nor deny that." He shrugs, the familiar smirk appearing on his face.

"One minute! One minute!"

She rolls her eyes at him and cups his face in her hands, still awestruck that he was there in the flesh. "So, I'm guessing you were the "friend" a certain eleven year old kept texting and updating..." She tilts her head in Grace's direction.

"That's stunning work, detective. I knew I hired you for a reason." He jokes, keeping his arms wrapped tightly around her, his eyes dropping her to her lips.

Kono slaps his chest lightly, unable to contain her fond smile. "Shut up." Her voice drops as she ducks to capture his gaze again. "Thank you, baby... for coming back, now." She trails her fingers along his jaw, grazing the familiar stubble and warm skin.

"Ten seconds!" ...

Steve smiles back at her, resting his forehead on hers as his voice deepens. "Hey, I wouldn't miss this for anything. I love you."

Kono tilts her head up, lips hovering over his. "I love you too, so much..."

She barely has time to get the last word out before Steve closes the distance to capture her lips passionately... it was the moment he had been waiting for for the past six months.

Kono wraps her arms tightly around his neck again, pulling him even closer as she deepens the kiss. She sighs happily into it, relishing the feel of Steve here in her arms, safe and sound.

... "Three!"

... "Two!"

... "One!"

"Happy New Year!"


A/N 2: Oh, you didn't really think that I would keep our favorite couple apart on New Year's, did you? ;-)