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Forever in Paradise

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“Hey, Danno,” Grace asked in the middle of chewing her French fries, “can I have ice cream?”

“Can you have ice cream? Of course you can have ice cream.” Danny was so happy to see her that he’d buy her an ice cream store if he could. “What kind of dinner would it be if we didn’t have ice cream?”

He looked around the hotel restaurant, trying to find their waiter. Everything looked expensive—then again, this was Hawaii, everything was expensive. But the Kahala Resort wasn’t the kind of place his department would ever put someone up.

Then again, they’d never flown someone five thousand miles to do quite what he’d had to do.

“Danno?”

Grace’s tone meant it wasn’t the first time she’d said his name. “Sorry, Monkey. What was that?”

“I said is Steve safe now?”

“He is,” Danny said, even though he’d heard nothing from Steve himself since he’d said, ‘I’ll see you,’ that afternoon. For all he knew Steve was already on a plane to his next mission. Duty always called, and Steve McGarrett didn’t seem the type to let it go to voicemail.

“Am I gonna get to meet him?”

I hope so stuck in Danny’s throat. “I don’t know. He travels a lot.”

“He seems nice,” Grace said. “I hope I get to meet him.”

“Me, too, honey. Me, too.”

***

Danny stood in the doorway of the room Grace had chosen, watching her sleep. She’d dragged him out to see the dolphins as soon as they’d gotten there—and whatever Chin had done to get Rachel to hand Grace over for the weekend on no notice, Danny would be forever grateful. She’d fallen asleep talking about their plans to go swim with the dolphins the next afternoon.

Danny had carried her to bed, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to leave the room. The ability to be there, to watch her sleep, to know with his own eyes that she was safe and he could protect her was something he’d missed so much sitting in New Jersey.

He wasn’t giving it up. If HPD couldn’t find a place for him, he’d find something to do. But he wasn’t leaving Hawaii, not now.

He might have had to give up Steve, but this was something he was never, ever giving up.

***

Danny’s cell phone woke him early the next morning. He checked the number before answering. “Manny’s Pizza.”

“You know you don’t have to use code anymore, right?” Chin said.

“Yeah, but it amuses me.”

Chin laughed. “How’s the hotel?”

“Fantastic,” Danny said. “I’m thinking about moving in.” He sat up, running a hand through his hair and looking at the clock. Just after seven—Grace would be up soon, no doubt, and he’d be lucky to get her to eat before she dragged him down to the beach. “You sure HPD wouldn’t want to pay for a few weeks?”

“You’ll have to be the one to ask for an extension,” Chin said. “I don’t think I could get a yes, but you might.”

Danny shoved the covers back. “Oh good,” he said, as he got up, “does that mean they like me so much they’re going to offer me a job?”

“I think there may be a job for you, but I don’t know the details just yet, sorry. You should know something soon, though.”

He wanted something settled, but he trusted Chin. He could wait. “I guess there are worse ways to spend a weekend than in a luxury hotel with the best daughter in the world.”

“I’ll let you get to it then, but I’ll be in touch soon, I promise.”

“Thanks.”

Danny hung up the phone, dropping it on the nightstand and looking around. He should take a shower and get dressed, but first he should order food if he wanted to make sure Grace ate before they hit the beach.

He placed the room service order, then jumped in the shower, soaking for a few minutes, letting the heat take away some of his exhaustion. He’d slept well, but it hadn’t stopped dreams of Steve from making it a little restless.

If only the shower could soak away those memories, it might be a little easier to put it behind him.

***

He’d just finished drying his hair when room service knocked. Danny threw on sweats and hurried out to the door. “Sorry,” he said, as he pulled the door open, “I was—“ He stopped as he saw Steve standing on the other side of the door, looking mouthwatering in a white t-shirt and black cargo pants. “You’re not room service.”

“No, I’m not.” After a moment, Steve jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “I can go get you some food, though, if that’s what I need to get through the door.”

“Oh, sorry!” Danny pulled the door open. “I’m, um…sorry, I was just surprised.”

Steve stepped inside. “I said I’d see you,” he said, turning to face Danny as the door closed.

“Yeah, I know, I just…I hadn’t heard anything from you and I didn’t know…I mean, the Navy could’ve sent you anywhere.”

“I had some things to take care of before I could do what I wanted.”

Danny nodded. “Right. Duty first, as always.”

“Something like that.” Steve glanced around the living room of the suite. “Nice place.”

“Yeah, I guess HPD was really happy about the bust for them to have put us up here,” Danny said. “How’s your dad doing?”

“Good,” Steve said. “He should be out of the hospital Monday.”

“I’m glad to hear it.” Danny took a deep breath. “So, I guess you’re shipping off soon, then?”

Steve pressed his lips together for a second. “Not exactly.”

Hope warred with the pain of knowing the loss would be harder if Steve stuck around first. “They give you leave?”

“I, uh…I’m officially in the Reserves.”

His tone sounded like he wasn’t exactly sure. “You don’t sound convinced of that.”

“No, it’s not that,” Steve said quickly. “It’s just…a lot’s happened really fast, and I’m still…processing.”

“Okay.” So Steve wasn’t going to be sent off by the Navy at a moment’s notice—well, unless he got called up. That was something. “So you’re in the Reserves…what does that mean?”

“Did I ever mention Dad and the Governor are old friends?”

Danny frowned. “Yeah, I think there were a couple of stories that day in the hospital. Why?”

“She’s starting a task force,” Steve said. “High profile cases, no red tape.” He took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. “She asked me to run it. And I accepted.”

Danny realized his mouth was hanging open and closed it sharply. “So you’re not leaving Hawaii?”

Steve shook his head. “Here’s the thing,” he said. “I’m gonna need a team. And I can’t think of anyone better to help me start it than you.”

“Are you offering me a job?” Danny said.

“Yeah.” Steve bit his lower lip. “Technically I might have already hired you…assuming you didn’t have your heart set on HPD?”

Danny had his heart set on a lot of things, and he was starting to think maybe he might even get a shot at them. Unless…. “Well, that depends.”

Uncertainty flashed across Steve’s face. “On?”

“What’s this task force’s policy on fraternization? Because if it’s against the rules, I might have to take my chances with HPD.”

Nice to know that slow smile of Steve’s still had that same warm effect on Danny’s stomach. “I get to make the rules,” Steve said. “And there are no rules against that.”

“Why do I have the feeling that the governor is going to regret giving you that much leeway?”

Steve shrugged. “So are you in?”

“Yeah,” Danny said, moving forward, “I’m in.”

He pulled Steve into a kiss, only then starting to believe this was real. A few kisses later, Danny pulled away. “Come on,” he said, leading Steve into the living room. “Have a seat. You look like you’re about to fall over. Have you slept at all?”

Danny dropped onto the couch, Steve following suit close beside him. “Not really,” Steve said. “I’ve been arranging everything. There’s a lot of—“

“Danno!” Grace came running into the room, “We need to go to the—“ She stopped, staring. “Steve!”

“Hey, Grace! Good to meet you in person.”

Her smile was huge. “You, too.” She turned to Danny. “I thought you didn’t know if I’d get to meet him.”

“I didn’t. But here he is.”

Her smile faded. “Does Danno have to go protect you again?”

“Not this time,” Steve said. “I think we’ll just protect each other from now on.”

“Can you do it from the beach?” she asked.

They both laughed. “Yes, we’ll go to the beach,” Danny said. “Go get your suit on, and when breakfast gets here and we’ve eaten, we’ll go to the beach.”

She turned and ran to her room. Danny watched her go before turning back to Steve. “So are you going to the beach with us?”

“That depends, do I get to swim with the dolphins with you, too?”

“How did you know we were—wait.” Chin’s words about Danny having a better chance of getting an extension at the hotel suddenly made much more sense, as did this kind of expense. “Did you set this up?”

“Set what up?”

Danny waved a hand around. “The suite, the dolphins, all of it.”

He’d seen Steve do a lot of things, but he’d never seen him blush. “I, um…might’ve done something. Maybe.”

Something. Yeah. Danny didn’t even know what to say. “I, uh…thank you.”

Steve nodded, a soft smile on his face. “You’re welcome.”

Danny leaned in, giving him a kiss, but pulling back before Grace could come out and see them. He wanted to explain before she walked in on something like that. It hit him then that he would have the need to explain, because Steve wasn’t going anywhere, and neither was Danny.

“What’s that look?” Steve asked.

“What look?”

He nodded towards Danny. “That one?”

“Nothing.” It would sound too corny saying it out loud. “Just trying to figure out how I’m going to explain all this to Grace.”

“You’re not,” Steve said. “We are. Together.”

Danny smiled. “I like the sound of that.”

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END