Kono shoots out of the water with a laughing shriek, kicking her leg to knock Steve's hand off her foot. He and Chin have been entertaining Grace for hours by pretending to be sharks and propelling her through the water while she sits on top of her board. Kono, of course, becomes the unsuspecting victim of the 'attack'. She looks over her shoulder at them as she stalks up the beach to where Danny is reading and shakes her fist at them in mock indignation. Their laughter and Grace's giggles grow fainter as she gets closer to Danny. She stops in front of him, and with a wide grin, Kono shakes her head, bombarding him with water droplets. He jumps in surprise and glares up at her.
"If I wanted to get wet, I'd be in the water right now," Danny says. "Stop with the wet puppy dog routine already."
"You're no fun," she replies. She drops down onto the towel next to him and props herself up on her elbows. There are clusters of families all around them, and some college kids have set up a volleyball net a few yards away. Kono looks back at Danny and jerks her head at the slim book he's holding. "What are you reading? Anything good?"
"Some kids' book Rachel wanted me to check out before she let Grace get her hands on it."
He shrugs and turns the page. "I'm not exactly an English major here, but it's okay, I guess. Definitely meant for little girls, not 35-year-old men, but I got a whole speech about 'knowing what the media is telling our daughter' and 'being involved', so I'm, you know. Doing my thing."
Kono smiles at him and turns away to watch the volleyball game. Grace, Steve, and Chin have been taken in by the players, and Kono's smile grows wider as she watches Steve lift Grace up onto his shoulders and hand her the ball to serve the other team. Their side starts chanting her name as she slams the ball over the net with surprising force. Kono glances back to Danny, who's seems to be watching the spectacle from over the book.
"Now taking bets on how many of the girls hand Steve their numbers after the game's done," she says. One girl in particular seems to bump against Steve more than the others, and Kono's mouth goes dry as her eyes map their way up her legs, her back, the curve of her neck -
"No bet," Danny replies. "It'll be all of them, and some of the guys, too. I know I would." Kono stares at him. He meets her gaze stubbornly. "What? McGarrett's hot. You've seen him in action, right?"
Kono recalls the chase Five-0 had been involved with the other day, and the stretch of tan skin and bulge of muscles in Steve's arm as he'd held the suspect down on the hood of the squad car at the end. Her mouth goes dry. "Good point," she says.
"I always have good points, but does anyone around here listen? No, of course not. I'm telling you, it's not healthy to be overexposed to the sun like this - makes you think it's okay to leap from a moving vehicle onto another one."
Danny continues to ramble. Kono listens with half an ear, mildly stunned. It's not that she thinks he's a jerk or anything, she just never thought - "Wait," she interrupts, "so you -" She stops. Danny sighs and marks the page he's on in the book before setting it down on the towel next to him.
"Is this gonna be a thing?" he asks. "Because I gotta say, I'd rather we didn't."
"No, no," Kono rushes to say, "I am, too, I just -" Crap, wait. "I mean, I'm -"
Danny reaches out and squeezes her shoulder. "You don't have to explain. I mean, if you want to, but it's not like I'm gonna force you to spill your secrets or anything."
Kono considers her options. She's never actually said anything to anyone but Chin - not even her mother knows - and she's not sure why the words slipped out at all. But Danny is, well, Danny. Kono trusts him, and Steve, with her life on a regular basis.
"What if I want to?" she asks.
He shrugs and gestures at the ongoing volleyball game. "You think I'm going anywhere with Grace having that much fun?"
Kono grins and scoots herself closer to Danny's chair. "Good."
Leah is sixteen to Kono's fourteen, all tanned skin and new curves and toned muscle from surfing every day for the last ten years. She has long bleached hair, a smile that blinds Kono every time it's turned on her, and all the talent a surfer could ever dream of having. Every morning as the team warms up and heads down to the shoreline for practice, she throws an arm over Kono's shoulder and murmurs into her ear, "Ready to beat the suckers down, Kalakaua?"
Kono nods and tries to pretend that Leah's voice, raspy from a late night and an early wake-up call, doesn't ignite a fire all throughout her body.
There's a boy a year or so later, after Leah's left the team to travel with her family, who makes Kono laugh so hard her sides hurt. Months after that, another boy charms her into sneaking out of the house late at night to go skinny-dipping, and then a girl who looks like Leah and tells Kono she loves her but splits right after Chin catches them out on a date one afternoon. She tries to tell her mother once, about Leah, about the girl who broke her heart, but an aunt cuts into Kono's stuttering admission before she can get the whole story out. The academy accepts her a few days later, and there she has to fight to get recognition, because she's a woman and because of who she's related to.
It's easier not to bother through all of that. Chin knows, that's all that matters, and eventually she gets so used to keeping it to herself that she barely notices she's doing it anymore.
The bar they tend to favor is unusually packed. Malia and Chin are on the dance floor somewhere, bodies swallowed whole by the throng of people dancing along to the DJ's mixes. Steve is grabbing drinks for them, and Kono tries not to begrudge him the time it's taking when she catches sight of the bartender he's flirting with.
"Call me shallow," she says, "but oh my god, that lady is hot."
Danny looks behind him and snorts. "I don't know, Kono. The guy at the tap has a lot more going for him, I'd say."
"You got a thing for people covered in tattoos?" she asks after she figures out who he's referring to. Danny grins at her and waggles his eyebrows, making her laugh. "Okay, okay, I can see the appeal. I wouldn't kick him out of bed, that's for sure."
"You wouldn't kick him out of bed, how gracious of you. You sit there and tell me you're not into the idea of tracing every design on that man's skin with your tongue."
Kono waves a hand at him dismissively. "Some of us like 'em a little less illustrated, Williams," she says. Kono gives the dancing crowd a once over and jerks her chin in the direction of a woman knocking back a shot of something colorful. "Now her I think we can agree on."
"Only two visible tattoos and a lip ring?" Danny's mouth curls into a wicked smile. "Yeah, you got yourself some middle ground there, Kalakaua."
Kono likes him like this, relaxed and laughing despite the griping and complaining he'd subjected them all to as they left the beach. His posture is light and loose like it hasn't been for weeks and weeks, and she thinks it must be infectious as she melts into her chair even more as Danny launches into a story about a guy he'd dated in high school who had tattooed portraits of his deceased pets all over his arms. A group of people pass their table just as Danny's finished telling her the punchline of the story, and Kono pokes his arm and nods to one of the girls. He gives her a look as if to say Are you freaking kidding me? That one?
Eventually Steve will return with drinks for them and break the moment, and he and Danny will go back to playfully ribbing each other, but Kono pushes that out of her mind and lets Danny rile her into another argument.