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[personal profile] sara_wolf
Title: Sweet Child O' Mine
Fandom: Hawaii 5-0
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: none
Prompt: secret child

A letter, Steve thought, would have been helpful. Considerate, even. A phone call even more so. Instead, the first indication that his life would never be the same came at five-thirty on a Sunday morning, heralded by the sound of impatient knocking.

He jolted awake as the sound ripped through his house like a gunshot. Before he'd even opened his eyes, he'd yanked open the top drawer of his nightstand, pulling his gun out and rolling out of bed and onto the balls of his feet.

In the back of his mind, he dimly registered that the rest of the room was empty. The rest of the house went the same way, and then he found himself standing in front of the front door with his gun pointed down at the carpet. He looked through the peephole to see a blonde woman in a somber gray suit standing on the front porch.

He consciously forced himself to relax as he looked at the woman, taking in her calm, non-threatening demeanor. She didn't seem to be concealing any kind of weapon, and she wasn't giving off any kind of dangerous vibes. So, he felt justified in squashing down the little voice in the back of his head (that sounded far too much like Danny for his liking) that called him an idiot for moving to open his front door.

He clicked the safety on his gun, reaching back to tuck his gun into the waistband of his pants before he realized that he was only wearing boxers. Sheepishly, he placed the gun on the small table beside the door, opening it to see the woman blinking up at him from the porch.

"You're short," he blurted out, without thinking, and then he winced, because that was the absolute last thing he wanted to say.

"Good morning to you, too, Commander McGarrett," the woman said, coolly. "My name is Stacey Kramer. I'm with the Illinois Department of Child Services."

"What does the Illinois Department of Child Services want with me?" Steve asked, cautiously.

"May we come in?" Kramer asked, rather than responding, only serving to make him more suspicious.

"We?" he echoed, in confusion.

In reply, the woman craned her head around as though she was looking for someone.

"Where is that girl?" she muttered under her breath, an exasperated tone in her voice. "Kaitlin! Kaitlin, where are you?"

To Steve's surprise, a young girl about nine or ten popped around the corner of the house. She had long black hair, and gray eyes, and Steve got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach when he saw her.

"May we come in?" Kramer repeated, dropping a gentle but restraining arm around the girl's thin shoulders. Steve nodded, numbly, moving aside so that the pair could precede him into the house.

"Commander McGarrett-" Kramer started, but Steve cut her off, swiftly.

"I – um – I'm going to go put on some pants," he stammered, suddenly, acutely aware of standing half-naked in the middle of his house. "Living room is that way," he added, gesturing down the hallway. "Make yourself at home."

Then, he fled before Kramer could say anything else.

In the relative safety of his bedroom, he shut the door behind him, leaning against the wood on shaky legs. His mind was whirling in a million different directions, and everything kept coming back to the gray-eyed girl sitting on his couch. She looked –

His mind shuddered to an abrupt halt before he could complete that thought. He couldn't go there, even in the privacy of his own mind. Not until he had everything completely confirmed.

Instead, he moved slowly across his bedroom to where his phone was sitting on his nightstand. He hit one on his speed dial, listening to the phone on the other end ring several times before he was greeted by his partner's sleepy but unmistakably irritated voice.

"Steven, I hope you're aware of what time it is."

"Yeah," he said, quietly, and he heard a rustling sound as Danny moved, presumably sitting up in bed.

"Steve, what's wrong?" he demanded, brusquely. "Are you all right?"

"I don't know," Steve admitted, hoarsely. "Danny, I-"

"Where are you?" Danny interrupted him. "Are you at home?"

"Yeah," Steve said, still unable to form any real coherent thoughts.

"Stay there," Danny told him. "I'm coming to you. Stay there. Don't move."

"Where am I going to go?" Steve managed to force out, but the phone had gone dead in his ear as Danny abruptly hung up on him.

Moving almost mechanically, Steve went to his closet and pushed the door open, pulling out the first clothes he touched. He pulled the shirt over his head and pulled on his pants. Then, he stood in the middle of the room and just breathed, trying to soothe his suddenly-frayed nerves.

When he went back out into the living room, Kramer and the girl were still out there. The girl was sitting on the opposite end of the couch from the older woman, curled up as tightly as she could get against the cushions.

"Ms. Kramer," Steve said, in as neutral a tone as he could manage. He settled himself gingerly in the armchair, waiting for her response.

"Commander McGarrett," Kramer began, giving him a sharp look, "do you remember a woman named Jennifer Carlton?"

Did he remember Jennifer Carlton? He remembered long, dark hair, and laughing gray eyes. He remembered a glorious six months together when he was stationed in Quantico. And he remembered her quiet tears when she realized that his life was with the SEALs, that she would never be enough to pull him away from that life.

"I haven't thought about Jenny in nearly ten years," Steve admitted, after a long moment.

"Commander," Kramer said, after he'd fallen silent, "I'm very sorry to inform you that Jennifer Carlton is dead."

Even though he'd been half expecting it, the words were still like a punch to the gut. He stared at Kramer in stunned shock for several long seconds, jolting in surprise when she gently cleared her throat.

"She's dead?" he echoed, numbly, and on the couch, the girl flinched at the sound of his voice.

"Six months ago," Kramer told him. "I'm sorry to have to tell you like this."

Steve let out a shaky breath, looking anywhere in the room but at Kramer. His gaze landed on the girl, who was still trying to hide in the couch cushions. She shot him a vulnerable look, and the sinking feeling in his gut intensified.

"Ms. Kramer," he managed to force out, his voice coming out in a hoarse whisper, "why are you here?"

"Commander," Kramer said, just as softly, "Kaitlin is Jenny's daughter. Your daughter."

Naturally, that was when Danny burst into the room with his gun drawn.
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