Hi, ok this is random nonsense that popped into my head as I was driving along one day (I think you will agree I spend much to long in the car!)
Not mine and I make no money *sigh*
Sorry in advance...
Steve choked. The fine spray of beer caught the light as it arced towards the sand.
On the loungers behind he could hear Catherine's intake of breath and Kono's hastily stifled giggle.
"Are you ok, Uncle Steve?" the tears in his eyes cleared and he held his hand up in the affirmative as his coughing fit eased. He looked into the earnest concerned face of Grace.
"Yeah," he coughed again, "Yea, I...I'm good. Sorry, Gracie."
"Do you want some water?"
"No, Sweetie. Thanks I guess something went down the wrong way."
The coughing finally subsided and he shifted in the sand to face his 'niece' properly. "I guess I didn't hear you because I was chocking. Do you want to ask me that again?" He smiled gently, quietly praying that he had misheard the first time. No, no he hadn't.
The small voice repeated a little less certainly this time, "Do you think Danno wants to have sex with Gabby?"
This time he shot a dirty look to the loungers where another giggle was hastily stifled. Catherine had sat up as he choked and he locked eyes with her in silent appeal but she simply shrugged slightly and motioned her head to indicate he should speak.
Grace was tracing a line in the sand with a small stick, not looking at him as she had spoken, clearly a little embarrassed. They were both sitting their feet knee deep in a hole they were in the middle of digging. At this moment, Steve would quite like to have climbed into it and hidden. Instead he took a deep breath, his imminent death at the irate hands of his partner flashing through his mind.
"Woah, uh, Gracie. That's, uh, well, um that's a pretty complicated question." He flailed around in his mind for a way to handle the situation that had blind sided him on a sunny Saturday. Danny and the lady in question had gone for a walk along the beach, hand in hand while Grace and Steve built sandcastles. If Steve was any good at reading people, which he was, especially his unusually chipper partner, Grace's question should definitely have been in the past tense.
He had known something was coming, she had been casting little half glances at him and going to speak then stopping all afternoon. Usually it was because she wanted to ask him a favour, or about his military career. This, this he had not seen coming.
"Does that uh, worry you, Grace? If he does?" he floundered around.
"I don't know." she looked up at him shyly, "I guess it would be alright. I think he really really likes her..."
He managed trying to keep his voice normal and almost succeeding. She looked up at him and his heart flipped a little at her serious expression. "Um, what's brought this on, Gracie?"
"Well, I didn't think you would mind because you and Danno always say I can talk to you both about anything. And mummy, but I didn't think she would want to because she gets all funny when I mention Gabby and the last time I asked her something a little like this, she got all strange and had to go and check Charlie, even though I couldn't hear him crying."
"Ok," Steve again looked over his shoulder, Kono had a fist in her mouth but Catherine smiled encouragingly. Taking that useless moral support, Steve plunged on, an image of his very loved up partner in his mind.
"Well, I think they both like each other a lot."
"I do too. Danno was singing in the shower this morning. He only does that when he is in a super special extra good mood."
"Oh?" Steve filled that piece of information away for use at a later date.
"Yes," she looked up at him grinning. "Sometimes he even does the girlie up high voices."
Steve tried not to let his delight at this little morsel show too clearly. But Grace's face fell so quickly he didn't have to try hard. Something was clearly bothering the little girl. "Ok, baby, you better tell me what this is all about from the beginning." He didn't know where this had come from, and he was more than a little worried about where it was going.
Grace didn't speak but continued tracing the same line in the sand, clearly unsure if she should continue.
"Hey, hey!" Steve tucked a finger under her chin and raising her face till she was looking him in the eyes. "You were right, you can ask me anything. Let me see if we can sort out..." he paused, searching for the right words, "whatever it is..." He smiled what he hoped was a reassuring, not terrified smile at her.
She smiled back and moved to sit beside him at the edge of the hole, feet dangling. "Well, it's just Danno is so happy and he hasn't done the high voices, not in a long time. Not since he and mummy got sad and we moved all the way here."
Steve nodded, hoping this was moving towards slightly safer territory. Nope. Here it all came.
Now the little girl had decided to talk it came out in a garbled rush. "Well you are a sailor so I knew that you would know it," Steve's mouth dropped open slightly at this, "and when you love someone you can have sex with them and Jenny's big sister says, she's eighteen, she says it doesn't make a boy love you and to never think that but that it..." her small nose scrunched slightly as she attempted to remember the exact wording of this titbit of adult advice, 'makes a good relationship great.' And Catherine and you have been together for a long, long time and she hasn't had a baby so maybe you don't do it but you are a sailor so you must and you'll know how to not make a baby properly. And Catherine always comes here and you look at her the way Danno is looking at Gabby and Tommy says sailors always have lots of sex because they are on boats so much." she paused at this point and looked up at Steve again, he was listening his mouth opening and closing a little like a landed fish. "I am not sure what the boats have to do with it, Uncle Steve?"
"Huh, um," Again, Steve almost choked, this time just on air! Oh for a drug cartel to take down or a covert black ops mission behind enemy lines. Grace was off again before his reeling brain had even BEGUN a response. Her hands were moving and the part of Steve's mind that wasn't in complete shock and hiding, noted how many of Danny's hand gestures she had in her repertoire. A lot.
"Is it because sailors wear a uniform? Jenny's big sister saw your picture, the one I had for my show and tell, of you in your dress whites and she said it was dead sexy...and Tommy said that is why he wants to be a sailor, but I think that is silly because he isn't as tall as you, Uncle Steve. And I don't think sexy isn't the same as sex is it? Jenny's big sister said that you should never dump someone because they are no good in bed. You should learn things together like the Camera Sultana, I don't know what that is but Tommy says its a cookery class adults go to."
"I, uh, Jenny's sister said all that to you?" Steve felt he needed some clarification, ok, a LOT of clarification but he would start with this. He was beginning to wonder what type of person this Jenny's sister was and if she had any outstanding parking tickets. As for Tommy, the reasonable part of his brain argued that highly decorated Navy SEALs probably shouldn't have nine year old boys on their personal hit lists.
"Oh no, but Jenny overheard her talking to her friends. But I was thinking about Danno and Gabby," Steve drew a breath to start addressing some of the issues in that sentence he felt warranted further discussion, but like her father, now Grace had started this train of thought was not going to stop until it had reached it's final destination.
He cast a desperate glance behind him but no help was forthcoming as Catherine was frog marching Kono back towards the house, the rookie's shoulders heaving with almost hysterical laughter.
"And so I was thinking about it and I reckoned especially since Catherine is a sailor too, you both must know lots, I know you would be the best person to sort it out for me. So Uncle Steve would you?"
Pleading brown eyes bored into Steve's soul. His slightly sick feeling was not helped by the fact that he still had no idea what he had just been asked to sort.
"I think I am a little confused Gracie, sweetheart. What exactly do you want me to do?"
Grace bit her lip. "I want you to talk to Danno about sex so that he and Gabby will have a great relationship and he will keep singing in the shower. Because mummy and Step Stan got Charlie so they must have done it but Danno hasn't had a girlfriend since..." her voice dropped to a heart wrenching whisper at this point, "Since they didn't want to be married anymore."
"Oh." Steve didn't really have anything else to say to that. "Wow, Gracie." He ran a hand across his eyes as he tried to decide how best to proceed. "Ok, firstly..uh, I mean...wow..." He stood up and looked at the sea, "I mean, uh, I really am honoured you feel you can talk to me about all this stuff." He was surprised to find he was, she trusted him enough to ask him to help Danno. He felt a sudden surge of affection for the little girl. He wasn't convinced his partner would feel the same way about this though, and he really really was out of his depth...
Still stalling for time as he tried to decide which of the many wonderful mine fields she had laid to walk through first. He held out his hand, he always thought better on the move, "Let's go for a walk."
He lifted her up, spinning her around so the worried frown was replaced with the wide smile he had grown to love. Together they walked along the edge of the tide, the water washing over their toes.
They made a cute picture, the six foot man stooping as they walked clearly locked in deep conversation with the child at his side.
"What's all that about?" Danny, bottle of water in hand moved beside Kono to watch the cute couple, who had stopped walking as Steve knelt in the water in front of Grace, his face level with hers, obviously speaking in earnest. Gabby had stopped to speak to Chin and Danny was keen to find his monkey.
Kono shot him a mischievous smile, "Oh nothing, Brah. They are just discussing sex in general, your sex life especially."
"What!" The fine spray of water caught the light as it arced towards the sand.
"That's pretty much what Steve said at first too," Kono was laughing again, very much enjoying Danny's expression.
"What?" Danny was almost speechless with incongruity. "They are talking about WHAT?"
Kono was still grinning from ear to ear, she put a calming hand on his arm. "Relax, Brah. Gracie had some questions for her Uncle Steve. I am not sure where it was going, Catherine made me leave just as we got to why sailors have so much sex."
"WHAT?" Danny's face was changing colour a little now and he wheeled on Catherine who had come to join them. "You always struck me as a sensible responsible sort of person, but then i guess I should have known that your judgement is off as you are dating that neanderthal. Why, why, why pray tell me, why would you let him talk to my daughter about sex, of all things, she is nine! Only nine! Who does that? What is wrong with you?" he was already charging down the beach towards his partner and daughter, not giving her a chance to reply.
"I love how level headed and rational Other Boss is," Kono grinned.
"Especially when you wind him up." Catherine raised her eyebrows at Kono, who simply giggled more. "When she asked about boats, I swear."
Catherine broke into a grin too, "I know, his face!"
Both moved further across the deck to get a better view of the fireworks to follow.
"Does that sound like a plan, sweetie?"
"Yes, Uncle Steve you are the best!" Steve found himself on the receiving end of a huge hug and kiss. Her smile widened as she saw her father approaching, "Danno!"
Steve looked up in time to see his partner heading across the beach at with a determined set to his jaw. Looking further up the beach he saw his soon to be ex-not-girlfriend and meter-maid rookie watching; Kono even had the cheek to wave.
"Danno, Danno! Uncle Steve thinks we can go and get shave ice after dinner!" She ran into her father's arms and he swung her round as she laughed in delight.
"Oh did he? Uncle Steve is very happy to sort us out today isn't he?" the pointed comment flew over the little girl's head but Steve winced slightly at the deadly tone. He picked the little girl up, swinging her around before he set her down, "Monkey, Danno is really thirsty. Do you think you could get me some water?"
"Of course, Danno," eager to please she scampered up the beach.
There was a moment of deadly silence.
"Look Danny..." Steve began, hands out in an attempt to shield himself from the rant he knew was coming.
"Don't you 'look Danny' me, you Navy Nutcase! What is wrong with you? Really? She is nine, Steven, nine! And I know that you are not around kids that much, but there are some things that really are not subjects to be discussed without prior consideration and, you know, uh, parental consent. Neither of which I am aware of you sorting before Gabby and I went for our walk! You can imagine my surprise on discovering that in the short time I was gone you decided to talk sex to my baby girl!"
"With you, Steven? I could only wish!"
"Do I get a chance to explain?"
"Please do, Dr Ruth."
He opened his mouth but closed it again as Grace once more hurtled into her father's arms clutching a bottle of water for him.
"Are you cross with Uncle Steve?" the astute little girl looked between her two favourite men in the world. She could feel the tension between the two and had a sudden panic that she was the cause. She knew her father could be overprotective sometimes. Her face suddenly grew serious.
"No, baby," his eyes made his mouth a liar.
She was going to wait until later to talk to her father as Steve had suggested but she didn't want him flying off the handle at her uncle and chosen confidant, "Danno, I don't mind if you and Gabby want to have sex. Don't be mad at Uncle Steve."
Danny blanched visibly. His mouth opened a little, then closed again, "I...uh..I, right..."
"I was worried that if you did and Gabby didn't like it that you wouldn't sing in the shower any more. But Uncle Steve said you have to take chances to be happy and that is what you are doing and that you probably wouldn't want him to talk to you about it."
Danny shot a shell shocked look across her head at Steve who actually found this conversation more amusing from this side. He shrugged at Danny who looked as if he was witnessing a really really bad traffic accident. He dragged is eyes back to his daughter who was still talking.
"And Uncle Steve does know lots about it but he says it isn't because he is a sailor. I knew Tommy was wrong about the boats." she paused her and looked at her very quiet father, "Danno, are you ok?"
"I, uh, I...yes I..."
"You look kinda funny...you should drink some of the water. Uncle Steve says it's important to stay hydrated even if you don't think you are thirsty."
Danny blindly opened the bottle and took a huge gulp, almost chocking again as Grace continued. He glanced again at his partner who was standing with his arms folded across his chest and a huge grin on his face.
"Uncle Steve says that Tommy and Fiona's big sister are a little wrong and I shouldn't listen to them about these things but talk to you or mummy or him and Aunty Kono or Catherine. And that you wouldn't be cross with me for asking you about it. I don't want you to be sad like you were...when..." she looked at her father again feeling suddenly worried. "Did I do wrong, Daddy?"
Danny's face softened and he leant down to her height, "No, sweetie I think you are very wise to ask someone, even Uncle Steve," the last part was whispered too low for her to hear. "I don't want you worrying about Gabby and me, though Monkey."
"I know, that's why Uncle Steve thought we should get shave ice after we eat because he said I needed to tell you that I want you to be happy..but that I am scared that you and Gabby will fall out and then she will leave and you will be sad..." Danny pulled her into a hug, and this time Steve wasn't grinning when he met his gaze. "Shave ice sounds great, Sweetie, and we can talk properly." Man he hated what the divorce had done to his little girl. "Monkey, I think Chin and Gabby are ready to put the meat on the grill, do you want to go help?"
"Oh yes! Chin said I can help him make his secret sauce!" with that, the excited little girl was gone, ponytail flying. All her concerns or her father's relationship vanishing.
Danny stood again and passed a hand across his face. "Wow." he stood watching the excited little girl speeding towards her adopted family, ponytail flying.
"Yep," Steve stood beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"I mean, how does everything get so jumbled in her head?"
"I don't know. Tommy doesn't help," Steve breathed the name of his new arch nemesis.
"Tommy." Danny repeated with feeling, "Little punk!" he paused for a moment as they watched Grace laughing with Chin and Catherine. "Boats and sailors?"
"Trust me, you don't want to know."
"Ok...well, thanks...uh, you know, thanks for talking to her and...well, getting her to talk to me...shave ice sounds good."
Steve just shrugged. He had set the little girl straight on a few minor points, but reckoned Danny and Rachel could handle the rest.
Kono could be seen waving and shouting that the food was ready and they began to walk back up together.
"No, really man. I mean, uh, it means a lot that she trusts you."
"Don't worry about it." He stopped and turned to face his partner, his grin spreading across his face. "Though Danno," he put his hand on the other man's arm, his tone mockingly serious. "Gracie has a point, it's been a while for you, so you know, uh, if you need any pointers...Ouch! Ge'off!"
Ok, I know Grace probably seems a little naive and her age is maybe a little off...but I am playing here! Please review, it really was just a bit of fun. My plan would be to use this title as a place to put random oneshots about the gang, mostly Grace focused. Let me know if anyone would be interested in reading these. Again I apologise for the poor proof reading and that I ticked 'humour' as a genre as 'wry smile' isn't an option!