The first time it happened, it was unintentional. It was a few days after the accident that destroyed her professional surfing career. Kono was angry and depressed, and she still hadn’t come to grips with the fact that she wouldn’t be able to surf like she used to. Her knee hurt, and the painkillers weren’t doing enough to take the edge off.
That night, her mother had brought her dinner to the sofa where she had set up camp. She refused to leave the comfort of its cushions. She was cutting her chicken with a knife when it slipped, cutting her across the back of the hand. Suddenly, the pain in her knee didn’t seem to bother her as much. She was frustrated, but something about looking at the blood on the back of her hand, and feeling the pain the cut caused, distracted her from the turmoil she was feeling. It wasn’t until her mother came back into the room and started making a fuss, that Kono realized she was dripping blood onto her plate.
It didn’t take her long to realize that not only did cutting distract her from the pain in her knee; it distracted her from the pain in her soul. That day in the hospital, when she found out she’d never surf competitively again, a little part of her died. The sting from the small cuts was like a spark; not quite enough to bring life back to that little part of herself, but enough to get her by.
It got her through physical therapy and her first failed attempts at getting back on her board. It got her through all the stresses of school, and her entry into the police academy. The small cuts on her hands were easily mistaken for paper cuts, or defensive wounds from fight training.
As time went on, and she started surfing regularly again, the cutting tapered off. She was finally getting that piece of her soul back, and she felt that spark without having to create it with pain.
Being recruited into Five-0 was both a blessing and a curse. It kept her busy with work that she loved, with people that she loved, but it was also extremely stressful. She hardly had time to herself, and there were times that they worked such long hours, she’d go without surfing for weeks at a time. When she went undercover to protect her team, her ohana, her world was turned on its head. Cutting, again, became a coping mechanism.
Kono had a small black bag that she kept hidden in her bathroom. It never left her bathroom. It was one of the few places she could be alone, where she wouldn’t get caught… or so she thought.
Kono had been in a few relationships through the years, but she never considered any of them serious, and none had lasted very long. She never expected to fall in love with a loud-mouthed cop from New Jersey.
They’d known each other for nearly three years, and neither of them saw it coming. Danny had been reluctant, because they were co-workers, and he had already been burned more than once. Kono, on the other hand, had fallen hard, and for the first time in a long time, she let her guard down. Six months after they started seeing each other, Danny was moving in to Kono’s small two-bedroom house. She hadn’t cut herself at all in those six months.
Kono put the last bit of Grace’s stuff into the small second bedroom. She had surprised Danny by decorating it in Grace’s favorite colors.
“She’s going to love this.” Danny walked into the room behind her.
“I hope so. Took me a couple of weekends to get everything done. I wanted it to be a surprise for both of you.” Kono smiled.
“It’s perfect,” Danny said as he wrapped his arms around her waist.
She turned around and put her arms around him as well. He pulled her into a kiss. After a few moments, she pulled back.
“Come on, it’s been a long day and I’m exhausted.” She grabbed Danny’s hand and started pulling him toward their bedroom.
“It’s only nine o’clock.”
“I know,” she grinned.
Two weeks later, Five-0 landed one of the worst cases they’d ever had to handle. An entire family had been found brutally murdered in their home; Andrew and Kailani Carter and their three children. It was hitting the whole team very hard. One of the children was the same age as Grace.
“Why would someone do this? They were just kids…” Kono was close to tears. She was wringing her hands as she stood there looking down at the smart table.
Steve was standing across from her. He was the first to speak. “I don’t know, but we’re gonna find this bastard before he can do it again.”
Kono could tell that Danny was having a hard time keeping his composure. The scene had been almost more than he could handle. He was standing next to Kono, but he hadn’t made any attempt to comfort her or accept comfort from her. Kono kept looking over at him. She could tell he was struggling, and it hurt that he hadn’t come to her for the comfort he so greatly needed.
She turned toward Danny and reached out to him. He stared at her hand for a moment and then pulled away.
“I need some air,” he said, and then walked out of the office.
“Danny!” Kono turned to follow, but Chin stopped her.
“Give him some time.”
Steve sighed. “Let’s call it a night. Go on home, I’ll check on him. I’ll make sure he gets home, okay?”
“Come on, cuz. I’ll drive.”
The drive to the house was silent. Chin pulled up in front of the house. Danny’s car was missing from the driveway.
“You want me to stay?”
“No, I’ll be okay. You go on home to Malia.”
“Okay… He’ll be fine. You know how he gets when the cases involve kids.”
“Yeah, and now, more than ever, I know exactly how he feels.”
“I can stay for a little while.”
“Cuz, come on, I can take care of myself.”
Chin grinned. “Okay, okay. I’ll see ya tomorrow.”
She smiled back at him, and then got out of the car. “See ya tomorrow.”
She held it together long enough to get inside and close the door. The first tears started falling while she locked the door. By the time she made it to the bedroom, she was sobbing uncontrollably.
She hated feeling weak and out of control, but she couldn’t help it. She had never seen anything as horrible as what had been done to those children. She needed Danny; she needed his warmth and compassion; she needed to be there for him as much as she needed him to be there for her.
The next thing she knew, she was in the bathroom digging around in her makeup drawer. She pulled the small black bag out and sat it on the counter next to the sink. She unzipped the bag and pulled out one of the small razor blades. She held her hand over the sink.
“Kono! Babe, are you here?”
She was startled when she heard Danny yell her name and the razor blade sliced across the back of her hand, in almost the exact place as the cut that had started it all. She pulled the hand holding the blade away, and knocked the bag to the floor, spilling razor blades everywhere.
All she could do was look down at the floor and stare.
“Kono, what’s wrong? Are you okay?”
She moved quickly to the floor and started trying to put the blades back into the bag.
“I… I’m fine. I’ll be out in a minute.”
She was so focused on cleaning up the mess that she was totally oblivious to the fact that Danny had already opened the bathroom door.
She felt hands on her arms, but she couldn’t stop. She had to hide the evidence.
“Kono! Stop! Look at me!”
“I have to…”
“Look at me!” Danny was practically screaming at her.
She shuddered and looked into his eyes. She could see the hurt and confusion in his eyes, and she broke down, leaning into him as he enveloped her in his arms.
After a few minutes, she realized what was going on, and what he had seen.
“Oh God, Danny… I’m so sorry… I…”
“Shh…” He pulled back and took a good look at her. “Where did you cut yourself?”
She didn’t say anything, just held her hand up. There was blood dripping from the wound.
Danny opened one of the drawers and pulled out the first aid kit. He didn’t say a word as he cleaned and dressed the cut. Then he quietly replaced the kit in the drawer and cleaned up the mess on the floor. Once all the blades were back in the bag, he zipped it, stood, and sat it on the counter. He then held his hand out and helped Kono to her feet.
Kono was wobbly on her feet, so Danny led her back into the bedroom. She sat down on the bed and watched as Danny paced at the foot of the bed. It startled her again when he stopped suddenly and looked down at her.
“How long have you been cutting yourself?”
Kono ducked her head, and then put her hand on her knee. “After… the accident…”
After a few moments of him not saying anything, she lifted her head and looked at him. For the first time since she’d met him, she couldn’t read the expression on his face. He surprised her by moving to the bed and sitting down next to her.
“Why? Help me understand.”
“I lost something that day, something that I felt I could never get back. I don’t know… it helped.”
“What about now? Has this been going on the whole time..?”
She shook her head, knowing that what she was about to say was probably going to hurt Danny.
“This is the first time since we’ve been together.”
He was quiet again. The seconds stretched to minutes, and Kono thought she would go crazy if he didn’t say anything.
“It was because I took off, wasn’t it?”
“I was in there before I realized it. I didn’t know where you were, and I didn’t know when you’d be back, and I just couldn’t handle what I was feeling. I don’t like feeling weak and out of control… I needed you, and you weren’t here.” She took a shuddering breath.
“I’m sorry… I just… I wasn’t dealing either, and I didn’t want… Steve knocked a little sense into me.”
She couldn’t help the slight chuckle that escaped. “He’s good at that.”
“I really am sorry. I just didn’t realize how hard this was hitting you.” He looked away, ashamed.
“Aren’t we a pair?”
“Yeah… makes us perfect for each other, huh?”
“Kono… is this going to be a problem?”
“I don’t want it to be, but sometimes… I can’t help it.”
“I’ll do whatever I can to help you get past this, but you have to come to me. I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s going on.”
Kono leaned against him and he put his arms around her. They sat there for quite some time, before Danny realized she was asleep.
“Babe? Wake up… just for a minute.”
She opened her eyes and smiled up at him.
“Come on, time for bed. We’ll talk some more tomorrow.”
She nodded and then got up and changed out of her clothes. She crawled under the covers and was asleep almost before her head hit the pillow.
Danny looked down at her; his heart breaking, thinking about everything she had been through, and the things she’d done to cope. He turned and looked into the bathroom, seeing the bag on the counter. He decided to wait and deal with everything in the morning. It was going to be a long day.