Title: Graceful Denial
Feedback address: tarnishandtears @ gmail . com
Date in Calendar: 22 June 2011
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0
Pairing: Grace Williams/Kono Kalakaua
Word Count: 2495
Summary: Grace knows what she wants for her eighteenth birthday. Now she’s just got to convince everyone else.
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Disclaimer: "Hawaii Five-0", the characters and situations depicted are the property of Kurtzman Orci Paper Products, 101st Street Productions, and CBS Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Hawaii Five-0", CBS, or any representatives of the actors.
Author's Notes: This is the first of a series of fics all taking place in the same universe. I’m calling it the State of Grace series, with thanks to Stephanie for the beta.
The first time Grace does it, she's sixteen and a half. She's seen Steve do it enough times to know the drill. Wait until Dad's sitting down, and then take him a Longboard. He, in turn, recognizes it for what it is, and visibly braces himself when she sits across from him. She waits for him to twist the cap, but he waits for her before he goes any further.
"I want Uncle Chin to teach me to drive a motorcycle."
He nods thoughtfully, takes a drink and then sets the beer down. "Why?"
Grace hopes a version of the truth will be good enough, since she doesn’t have any really persuasive reasons. "Same reason why I asked Pop to teach me to drive a stick shift. Because I don't want to be one of those girls who can't save herself. "
It's so hard not to fidget when he looks at her like that. She knows her father well enough to worry when he gets quiet.
"You haven't told your mother." It's not a question, but she shakes her head anyway.
"No, I wanted to talk to you first. I figure there's no need to worry her if you say no."
He nods. "Just because I'm saying yes does NOT mean you have permission to buy one," he warns, and she all but wilts in relief as his ensuing rant washes over her.
The second time she does it, she’s two days shy of her eighteenth birthday. This is hard, and she’s nervous, but it has to be done.
She hands her dad his beer as she sits down at the table across from him. Her mouth is dry and her palms are damp, and Danny’s mouth twitches as he obediently opens the beer and takes a drink.
After a beat, he prompts, “What’s up, Monkey?”
The familiar childhood nickname makes her mouth twitch up in a half smile. Grace takes a deep breath, reminds herself of all of her arguments, and starts. “I’ll be eighteen soon.”
He smiles, love shining through blue eyes. “Don’t remind me.”
“Daddy, hush. Eighteen. That’s over the age of consent in all fifty states.”
Danny sobers and toys with the label on his bottle. “And you want to make a pass at Kono.”
Grace straightens up. “How did you know that?” she demands, then holds up a hand to forestall Danny’s growing grin. “And don’t tell me that you’re a detective and you detect things. That was old when I was ten.”
“But he is a detective, and he does detect things.” Steve says as he comes into the kitchen and drops down beside Danno, swiping his Longboard and taking a drink. “What are we talking about?”
“Gracie wants to make a pass at Kono, when, on your birthday?”
Grace glances between the two of them and nods, slowly.
Danny sighs. “Well, I can’t say I’m completely happy with this, but I’ve had a few years to get used to the idea, so I’m not completely flipping out.”
“Pawpaw and Meemaw are fourteen years apart,” Grace says weakly.
“And trust me when I tell you that’s the only reason I’m not more upset about this.” Danno says, “Mom and Pop are the ultimate example of how and why a May-December relationship works.”
Steve leans back in his chair and nods, “Yeah, but Gracie, you have to consider that they were also adults when they met.”
Grace bristles a bit. “I’ll be eighteen.”
Danno and Steve exchange another look. “Monkey, Steve’s talking more about life experiences than he is chronological age. And you need to be prepared, because that’s something Kono might object to.”
Grace forces herself to take a stay still and not fidget. “I know that, and I’ve considered that. She may not like brunettes or be seeing someone right now - although I’m pretty sure I would know that one - or she may not ever be able to get past me being twelve years old, or I could get hit by a meteor tomorrow. I get that this is a long shot. But I have to try, because what happens if I don’t, and ten years from now I find out she would have said yes?”
“That’s true,” Steve acknowledges, “And you know we’re the last people to tell you not to take risks -”
“Steve’s the last person. I’m the first person who doesn’t want you getting hurt.”
Grace smiles a little as Steve flicks Danno’s ear casually. “All I meant was that you should be prepared for an answer you don’t want to hear. I know that it’s your birthday and princess, if we could give you everything you ever wanted, you know we would, but some things you just can’t have.”
The sincerity in his voice and his gaze keeps it from hurting as much as it could, or even being as insulting as she could take it. It’s a good thing she loves these guys.
“Look,” she says at last, “Of all the reasons there are for Kono to turn me down - and yes, I have actually thought of most of them - I just don’t want your objection or disapproval to be the reason she says no.”
Danny nods. “Like I said, I’ve had some time to get used to the idea, and I know Kono, and I’ve always liked and respected her. I am not giving you permission, this is not permission to go out and have sex on your eighteenth birthday, oh god, but I am telling you that of all the people you could have possibly picked, you could pick someone worse than Kono Kalakaua.”
Grace smiles. “I’ll take it,” she says, standing up and going around the table to hug her fathers. “I still want to know how the hell you saw this coming, though.”
Danny grins. “Come on, Monkey, you’ve had a crush on her for years. Give me some credit for being able to read my only daughter, huh? I’m old, but I’m not senile!”
The morning of her birthday, Grace wakes up nauseated and terrified. It would be fine if she could panic in private, but just like the last seventeen birthdays she’s ever had, Rachel is lying in bed with her as she wakes.
Grace calms at the light touches to her hair and sleepily pulls her mom into a hug when Rachel’s eyes well up with tears. “How did you grow up so fast?”
“Mom,” Grace sighs, too tired to be properly exasperated, but playing the game anyway.
“Oh, hush. I’m allowed to get soppy once in a while, aren’t I? Don’t I do a good job in only being sentimental one day a year?”
Grace smiles again. “Yes, you make great sacrifices.”
Rachel frowns. “You’re not too old for me to ground you, young lady.”
“But it’s my birthday!”
“Quite.” She tries for stern and obviously fails. “Well, you could try to show some respect for your mother.”
“Where would be the fun in that?” Grace wonders, then instinctively dodges the swat to her head, miscalculating the space and rolling right onto the floor.
She sits there and chuckles to herself at the sounds of Rachel’s gales of laughter as she leaves the room, looking around from the floor of her bedroom. Her nervousness returns in full force, and it’s not too late to back out; the only people who know of her plan are Danno and Steve and if she chickens out, she knows they’ll never say a word.
But then, she’s been taught by the best to suck it up and not let nerves rule her, and today is a pretty bad day to start.
Tomorrow there will be balloons and flowers and cameras and party hats and well wishers to her heart’s content. Tomorrow there will be friends and frienemies and boys whose hearts she’s broken and girls who tried to break hers, and teachers and rabbis and kahunas in the big ballroom of the country club Rachel and her husband are members at. There will be a DJ and strobe lights and catered food and no official alcohol, by virtue of who her dads are, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them, right?
Tomorrow will be an event, an affair to remember and be spoken about by all her classmates at school; but today?
Today there’s a cookout on a private beach, with the ohana of her heart gathered around an outdoor table. Today there are tiki torches and pineapple chicken skewers and surfing as the sun goes down. The air will be filled with joking and laughter, with insults and Uncle Chin keeping unofficial score on the zingers between Daddy and Steve and a bucket filled with ice and bottles of beer and soda. There’s homemade mango sorbet chilling in the freezer and she’s already had her hand slapped away from the grill twice as Grace goes to hang out on the hammock and enjoy the company of Five-0 and their best, closest friends and family.
She’s been chilling on the hammock, out of the way of most of the action for almost an hour before Kono comes and sits down next to her. She’s all wet from surfing, Grace still can’t help the little shiver that runs through her at the sight of that bright smile and the little nudge she gets for room.
The long-familiar nickname makes Grace smile, bringing to mind memories of Halloween when she was 10, and her princess fairy costume: a frothy, frilly, sparkly pink confection of satin and tulle, complete with tiara and wand. She’d been escorted by Danno, then handed off to Uncle Kamekona in the middle of a neighborhood when a kidnapped boy had taken him away. After trick-or-treating, she’d gone back to Five-0 headquarters to eat shaved ice and bounce off the walls.
“Why are you sitting here all by yourself? Aren’t you enjoying the party?”
Grace nods and looks around the beach with a smile. “No, I am. I’m just taking a breather. How was the surf?”
“It was good! The waves are nice today.” Kono sets them to rocking idly. “So, your dad has been talking about your college applications. Have you decided where you’re going yet?”
This is it. Grace will never get a better opening than this. “Well, that depends.”
“Really?” Curiosity colors Kono’s voice. “On what?”
Later Grace will think it’s a lot like jumping out of an airplane. “On you.” Grace’s hands start shaking, and she raises her creme soda for a sip to cover the sudden attack of nerves.
“Me?” Kono turns to look at her, confused. “What?”
Grace licks her lips and turns to face Kono more fully, drawing one leg up underneath her carefully. Last thing she needs while she’s confessing her love is to tip the hammock and end up on the ground for the second time today.
“I don’t know if you know, but I’ve kind of had this mad crush on you for, like, ever. And I was wondering, if you’re not busy later --”
“Oh. Oh, Gracie, no.” Kono looks horrified and reaches out to touch Gracie’s arm briefly. “I’m flattered, I’m sorry, but no.”
The pain is sharp and hot, but Grace nods anyway. “Okay. Can I ask why? I’m eighteen.”
“Exactly. Eighteen. You might as well be twelve! I remember you when you were twelve! I taught you how to surf! I took you shopping for your first date!”
Grace winces. “Okay, but aside from that. We get along well, and we like the same music and the same foods and--”
“It’s Grace, Kono. Not Gracie.”
Kono shakes her head emphatically and scoots back a little. “Baby! You’re just a baby! I’m thirty-one, I’m way too old for you! And you don’t know what you like, you haven’t had time to figure it out yet!”
“Gracie, really! Really. When I was eighteen, I was just coming off of surfing and recovering from major surgeries and trying to figure out who I was! I couldn’t imagine another life for myself and spinach! I hated spinach.” Kono looks at Grace, dark eyes beseeching. “You know I eat it all the time now. Tastes change, people grow and change, especially at the end of their teenage years. And college!” Kono stops and stares at Grace, “You absolutely cannot base that decision on me. No, Grace. Just, no. You have to go off and date people and learn things and figure out who you are and what you want out of life.”
Kono finally seems to be winding down and Grace just lets her until she quiets.
“Alright, well assuming I go off to college, and I date people and learn things and figure out who I am and what I want; if I still want you, will you give me a shot?”
“Kono. Could you ever be attracted to me? If I still want you, will you give me a shot?”
Kono presses her lips together and casts her gaze over to where Danny and Steve pointedly have their backs turned. “Yeah. Yeah, Grace, if you still want me in a couple of years - after you’ve gone to school and grown up a little - we’ll sit and talk about it, okay?”
Grace sighs and tries for a grin. “Okay. Then that’s all I need.”
Kono gets off of the hammock and starts to back away when Grace reaches out and catches her wrist.
“It is still my birthday,” Grace reminds, “Can I maybe get a kiss? Since it’s a special day and all?”
The unamused, faintly incredulous stare she gets makes Grace grin even as she’s tugging on Kono’s wrist. “C’mon, just a little one.”
“Your dad is gonna kill me,” Kono says, not moving.
“He won’t,” Grace promises, smile growing into a laugh and tugging getting more insistent. “I promise.”
Finally, Kono smiles, and shakes her head. Her free hand comes up to cup Grace’s jaw and tilt her head up, even as she leans forward for a brief, chaste kiss.
“Thank you, Detective,” Grace teases gently as Kono draws back. “Better not forget me in five years.”
Kono grins and shakes her head again, backing away. “Grace Elaine, you are unforgettable. I’m going back in the water.”
“Dinner’s almost ready,” Grace calls, watching Kono walk away.
Tonight, in the comfort and safety of her bed at Steve’s house, Grace might let herself sulk and cry and pout. But for now, now Grace is being recruited to go grab the plates from the kitchen.
It’s not perfect, but it’s what Grace has got, and she’ll take it.