“Danno? When will Uncle Steve be back?”
“Not till Monday afternoon, Monkey.”
“Oh, okay.” Grace sounded upset.
Danny looked down at his daughter. She was sitting at the kitchen table, drawing. He had been cooking dinner for the two of them, but stopped as soon as she asked him about Steve.
“What’s wrong, baby?”
“When he goes on his weekend drills, he usually comes back on Sunday. I didn’t get to see him on Valentine’s Day and now I won’t get to see him this weekend either.”
It dawned on Danny that it had been nearly a month since the last time Grace had seen Steve. They’d had to reschedule their last weekend because Rachel and Stan had taken her to the big island. She missed Steve.
“He wanted to be back on Sunday, but because of where his drill is this time, it’s going to take him longer to get back. I know you miss him.”
“Yeah…” She looked back down at the papers on the table and started drawing again.
Danny contemplated telling her that Rachel was letting him pick her up from school on Monday so she could see Steve, but he was interrupted by a phone call.
He quickly left the room.
“I… may not have been as okay as I said I was.”
Danny wanted to kill him. He wanted to jump through the phone and strangle him.
“Steven, what did you do? I told you that you weren’t ready.”
“I didn’t make it to the Enterprise.”
Danny sighed heavily. “Where are you?”
“I’m in the base infirmary. They wanted to move me to Tripler, but I asked to be sent to Queens. They agreed, since the initial injuries were acquired during my civilian job.”
“Initial injuries? No, you know what, I don’t want to know. You can tell me when we get to the hospital.”
“We? Oh… you’ve got Grace. I’m sorry…”
“It’s okay. She misses you. Guess she’ll get to see you this weekend after all. When will they move you?”
“As soon as I get off the phone.”
“Okay. We’ll see you there.”
After he hung up the phone, he walked back into the kitchen.
“Who was that, Daddy?”
“That was your Uncle Steve. His weekend was cancelled.”
“You remember me telling you that he got hurt?”
“He still isn’t feeling very good, so they’re sending him back to the hospital.”
“Is he going to be okay?” Grace’s voice wavered.
“Of course he is. He just needs more time to rest. We’re going to go see him.”
“In a few minutes. Go get your shoes and socks on and we’ll head out.”
She ran up the stairs and was back within five minutes. She had her backpack with her.
“What do you have there, Monkey?”
“It’s something for Uncle Steve.”
Danny smiled down at her as he led her to the car.
They got to the hospital at almost the same time as Steve. His gurney was being wheeled into the ER as they walked into the waiting room. Steve spotted them first.
“Danny. Gracie.” It wasn’t very strong, and he was worried they wouldn’t hear him.
Danny turned when he heard his name, but when he tried to walk back to where Steve was, he was stopped by one of the ER nurses.
“Sorry, sir, but you can’t come back here.”
“That’s my partner.”
“We’ll come get you once he’s been looked at and placed in a room.”
He would have argued more, but he had Grace with him, so he just nodded and walked back into the waiting room. They sat down next to each other and waited. He thought about calling Chin and Kono, but decided to wait till he knew something. He also decided against calling Rachel right away. He wanted Grace to see Steve first.
About half an hour later, a nurse came looking for them.
“You’re Commander McGarrett’s partner?”
“Yes, how is he?”
“He’s going to be fine. He was asking for you. I’ll lead you up to his room. The doctor is there and will fill you in on the Commander’s condition.”
They followed the nurse up to Steve’s room. She opened the door and followed them inside. The head of the bed was elevated so Steve was in a seated position. He had a nasal cannula and an IV. The doctor was writing something on Steve’s chart. They both looked over as Danny and Grace walked in.
Steve smiled when he saw Grace. “Hey, Gracie.”
“Uncle Steve! Are you okay?” She slowly walked toward him.
“Yeah, sweetie, I’m okay. Come here.”
She looked back at Danny. “Go on, Monkey, it’s okay.”
Grace handed Danny her backpack and ran the rest of the way to the bed; Danny right behind her. He lifted her up onto the bed next to Steve. She carefully hugged him, and he put his left arm around her.
Danny watched the scene with the hint of a smile on his face.
“So Doc how is he?”
“He has a concussion and a couple of broken ribs. The base doctor informed me that he passed out and fell as he was boarding a plane.”
Danny glared at Steve. “Steven.”
“I was feeling fine until I got out on the airstrip to board the plane. I got dizzy and passed out. I woke up in the infirmary a few hours later.”
“Your definition of fine is my definition of excruciating pain. So, seriously, how do you really feel?”
Steve sighed. “I’ve got a headache, but really, it’s not that bad. I’m fine as long as I don’t move around too much.”
“That’s better. I wish you’d just come right out and say how you feel instead of beating around the bush. It would make things so much simpler.”
Danny turned to the doctor. “How long’s he in for?”
“I want to keep him here for the next twenty-four hours. If there are no complications, we’ll release him.” He looked at Steve. “I want you to stay home next week. Nothing too strenuous. I’m serious about that.”
The doctor smiled and then left them alone in the room. Once he was gone, Grace finally spoke.
“Daddy, can you hand me my bag?”
“Sure, here you go.”
He handed her the bag. Before she opened it, she looked up at Steve.
“Uncle Steve… I wanted to give you something for Valentine’s Day. I hope it’s okay that it’s a few days late.”
As she was unzipping the backpack, Steve ran his hand through her hair and said, “Of course it’s okay, Gracie.”
“Okay,” she said as she lifted the large homemade card out of the backpack.
The card was covered with sequins and glitter. There was a large pink heart on the front with Happy Valentine’s Day written on it. Steve opened the card and on the inside it said,
You are the best uncle in the world. I love you Uncle Steve.
Steve pulled her closer so he could place a kiss on the top of her head. He didn’t care if it hurt.
“Thank you so much, Grace. It’s beautiful. You really think I’m the best uncle in the world?”
“Uh huh… you are. You’re my daddy’s best friend and you keep each other safe, and you keep me safe.”
Steve had no words. He just held her a little bit closer. He’d later deny the wetness in his eyes.
“Steve, will you be okay here alone with her for a few minutes? I need to make some phone calls. I’ll be just outside.”
Steve nodded. He couldn’t get any words past the lump in his throat. He watched as Danny left the room and then he swallowed a few times. As soon as he felt he was able, he finally spoke.
“I love you too.”