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Title: Have You Ever Been in Love?

Pairing: Steve/Danno (pre-slash), ft. Gracie

Rating: K

Warnings: Those allergic to fluff should beware.

Summary:  Steve gets blindsided by an eight-year old.

Steve likes to think he’s prepared for pretty much anything.  Part of this can be attributed to his days as a SEAL, but mostly it is due to the past seven months he’s spent running the Five-0 task force and the time he’s spent with one Daniel “Danno” Williams.

What he’s not prepared to handle, is Grace’s innocent question while he’s watching her one afternoon.

“Uncle Steve, do you have to be married to be in love?”

The question is completely out of left field, and for once Steve’s surprise shows on his face.   “Um…”Steve stammers, trying to process. “Why do you ask?”  Discussions about feelings are not his forte.  Discussion is not his forte.

Gracie meets his gaze with her own big brown eyes and an adorable pout (not that Steve will admit that). “Jamie said her mommies are in love even though they’re not married,” she explained earnestly. “But then Tommy told her that they couldn’t be in love because only married people can be in love.”

Steve wants to groan, but he curbs the impulse and asks, “Why don’t you ask Danno when he gets back with the groceries?”

Grace looks at him with a small frown. “Because Danno loves mommy, but they still stopped being married. And I don’t want to make him sad.”

His heart breaks a little for the girl he’s grown to adore, and he can’t help thinking about how close Grace came to only seeing her beloved father only once or twice a year. His gaze softens as he leaves his seat on the couch to kneel beside Grace and her dolls on the floor.

“You don’t have to be married to be in love, Gracie,” Steve answers gently. “Usually people are in love before they get married.”

“But how do you know when you’re in love, Uncle Steve?”

A small part of Steve warns that they are approaching sensitive territory. But looking at her open expression, so like her father’s, he can’t find it in himself to refuse to answer. He’d just have to keep his answer as general and non-incriminating as possible.

“When you’re in love with someone, it’s…” He has to pause for a minute. What does it feel like? He and Catherine have spent nights together but it’s about lust and fondness for one another. Steve isn’t in the habit of lying to himself, so the quick jumps his mind makes to laughing eyes and golden hair aren’t too much of a surprise. Huh.

Grace is still watching him with patient eyes.

“Being in love with someone is like being complete,” he continues. “When you’re with that person you feel content, like there’s no one else you could ever be with. You’d do anything for them, and you know they’d do the same for you. They’re practically the center of your world.”

Steve can’t stop the flush that creeps up his neck as he finishes. At least none of the team heard me wax poetic.

Steve looks up at Grace when she doesn’t say anything. He’s both confused and suspicious when he sees her grinning. “What?”

“Have you ever been in love, Uncle Steve?”

The warnings in his head are blaring loudly now, shouting for him not to answer that. Steve sighs as he hears his inner Danny mocking him for being wrapped around Grace’s little finger. Damn it.

“I, uh, just once,” Steve replies vaguely. He congratulates himself on not giving anything incriminating away in those words, but Grace’s grin transforms into a full-fledged smile of delight.

“You’re in love with Danno aren’t you?” she guesses and Steve gapes at her for a moment. No way. How did she-?

“Grace I’m not–”

“Danno says it’s bad to lie,” she chides him (An eight year old knows better than you inner Danny laughs). This time, Steve doesn’t hold back the groan of dismay.

“How did you…?”

Grace brightens further and explains, “You look at Danno like mommy looks at Step-Stan, and I know you would do anything for him. You always make sure he’s safe. ”

“Grace, you can’t–”

“And I know Danno feels the same way, too,” she finishes with a nod.

“–tell Da…wait, what?” Steve stops. “What do you mean?”

“Danno looks at you the same way silly,” Grace tells him, in a tone that says it’s obvious to anyone with eyes. “And he talks about you all time, and gets really worried when you’re hurt.”

Steve lets that sink in for a minute as a small hope tries to spark in his chest. Did he really have a chance? He looks at Grace fondly and smiles. “Thank you, Gracie.” A radiant smile is her reply.

“Who’s ready to make some lasagna?” they hear Danny ask as he walks through the front door moments later. “Hey there, Monkey!”

Steve smiles as Grace squeals and runs to her father, throwing herself into his arms once he puts the bags in the kitchen. He gets to his feet and makes his own way to the kitchen, leaning with arms crossed against the counter.

Danny looks up. “Thank you, Rambo, for taking a few hours off of being a trouble magnet.”

Steve rolls his eyes.

“Everything went alright then?” Danny asks without sarcasm, smiling as Grace nods emphatically. He looks to Steve for confirmation, a brow arched in that don’t lie to me way.

“Yeah, Danno,” Steve answers, allowing the affection to seep into his voice and eyes. “Everything went great.”

The Jersey detective’s answering smile is dazzling.
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November 2012

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