I promised the lovelykare a fic outside my comfort zone and well, here it is.
Spoilers: Episodes 2.01-2.06.
Warnings: My usual boatload of angst.
Disclaimer: The Hawaii Five-0 characters do not belong to me. I simply like to play on their beach.
Summary: Kono has returned to the team, but at what cost?
A belated birthday present forkare.
He never hated his situation and apartment more than right after he dropped off Grace from a weekend of visitation. Like tonight. The small efficiency closed in around him, a painful reminder of what his life was now. He decided to go to the office and work on a few things, glance over a couple of cold cases. No one would be there at this hour so he didn't have to explain himself. Especially to Lori who hadn't exactly endeared herself to Danny with her fumbling attempt at profiling him in the car shortly after joining their taskforce.
Still, he hated being alone. Back in New Jersey, that rarely happened what with being part of a large family, his friends he grew up with and co-workers on the force. Even after he and Rachel separated and later divorced, he was hardly by himself. Matty saw to that. Of course, that wasn't the case here in Hawaii and even though he had his friends and co-workers from Five-0, he had large swathes of time where he was by himself.
The loneliness had been almost unbearable when he first came to this island, before Steve. It had started to change and for a time, he actually considered Hawaii being home. Then came the mess of the affair gone wrong with Rachel and Danny found himself feeling alone all over again.
Even more so over the last several weeks in the wake of Governor Jamison's murder.
Steve was more distant, more preoccupied, more determined.
Chin had been focusing on Kono.
And Kono, well… Danny felt both angry and guilty over that situation. Thankfully, the nightmare she'd been forced into was over and she was back where she belonged- with them. With people who cared about her.
But it left a bad taste in Danny's mouth. And he wasn't exactly proud of himself either.
Danny came around the corner to the glass doors that led into Five-0's headquarters and paused. The lights were on. The offices should be dark, it being just after nine pm. He seriously considered turning around and leaving, simply not in the mood if it was Weston and her flat stares. Someone moved inside, Danny catching the fall of dark hair and that made up his mind right then and there.
He pushed the door open, glancing around to see if anyone else was there with Kono, but Steve and Chin's offices were as dark as his own. Kono had her back to him, arms crossed as she stood at the computer table, head down. She looked thinner, he couldn't help thinking, her time undercover having made its mark on her in more ways than one.
"Hey, babe, I wasn't expecting—"
Kono spun around, head up, eyes wide, her hands fisting and Danny froze right where he was.
The look in her eyes twisted something inside him. He'd been a cop too long not to recognize trauma.
"Hey, easy, it's just me, Kono." He stayed where he was, deliberately keeping his voice soft and his hands still, waiting for her panic to give way to recognition. He counted her breaths, watching the play of emotions in her dark eyes. One, two, three, four—
She blinked, color rushing to her cheeks. "Jesus, Danny! What the hell?!"
Danny didn't say anything, just watched her, seeing her in a different light that he should have recognized before but maybe hadn't wanted to. Because the Kono he knew was no one's victim.
She looked away, wrapping her arms around herself, her dark hair falling over her face. Danny knew what she was doing, trying to pull herself back together so she could pretend everything was just fine. And a part of him wanted to give her that because it would be easier for both of them.
But that wasn't who he was. More importantly, she mattered to him. A lot.
Hiding from this wouldn't help her.
"I wanted to check on something." She turned back to the table, switched it off. "I didn't know you were coming in and—"
"Kono." Being careful, he moved closer to her.
"I should get going. My place is a mess, I've got to get a few things done—"
"I really need to get out of here, Danny." Wiping the back of her hand over her face, she turned away, refusing to look at him.
"Kono, don't, not with me." He caught her arm, gentle. She flinched wildly under his touch. This from a girl who could knock him on his ass any time she wanted. "Easy…"
"Please, Danny, not right now," her breath hitched. "I can't do this."
He moved in front of her. "You shut us out before thinking you had to do it alone. I understand that, but I'm not letting you shut me out again. Not now." He slipped his fingers under her chin and nudged her to look up at him. "I won't let that happen again."
Her eyes were brilliant with misery and tears. She trembled under his touch, wanting to pull away and flee. It ripped him apart to see her this way, so fragile. Once she'd been fearless, proud and confident with her bright smile and quick sarcasm. Fryer, the bastard, had stripped that away from her. He broke her, or damn near did. All for his personal agenda.
She'd have gone on, hiding the emotional trauma he heaped on her, hiding it from the people who loved her if Danny hadn't decided to come in instead of go home, catching her with her guard down.
He, more than most, knew the cost of burying something like this, hiding it behind a façade of quick smiles and snarky remarks. How it ate at you. How you died a little more inside every day. Yeah, Danny knew all about that.
Careful, he reached up and framed her face in both hands. Christ, she was beautiful, even with her face streaked in tears. "This shouldn't have happened and I'm sorry," he whispered, watching as a tear spilled over his thumb where it rested against her cheek.
"I can't sleep." Her voice broke. "I can't go back to my place. I see Fryer there, going through my things, confident he owns me. I see Delano and Mapes in my living room and I can't escape them!"
"Hey, hey, no more!" Danny caught her gaze. "It's over, no more. Fryer doesn't own you, he never did. I swear, Kono, it's over. Fryer won't get near you again, not if I have anything to say about it." He brushed his thumb over her wet cheek, gentle. "I promise."
He held her gaze, could see her exhaustion, fear and shame. She was barely holding on, so fragile she could easily shatter. He saw something else too. He leaned in, ghosted a kiss across her cheek, tasting the salt of her tears before brushing his lips over hers.
But this wasn't the right time and it would be way too easy for him to pursue this with her so vulnerable. He cared too much about her to do that.
He brushed one thumb over her lips, meeting her gaze. "It's okay," he whispered. "We both know now. And when you're feeling better and we've gotten through this—" He shushed her when she started to interrupt. "We'll see if you feel the same way then."
"I've always felt this way, Danny."
He brushed another kiss against her cheek. "I'm not going anywhere." He took her hand, leading her to his office. "Come on."
She came with him, unresisting. He nodded toward his couch before opening the bottom drawer of his file cabinet, pulling out a blanket he kept there and then flipped on his desk lamp.
"I don't understand," she shook her head.
"Don't tell McGarrett but there are a lot of nights I can't sleep at that damned apartment of mine." Danny shook out the blanket. "So I crash here instead." He motioned to the couch. "You're exhausted and you aren't sleeping at your place. I understand how that is, believe me."
She stepped up to him, still shaky but he could see the relief in her eyes. "You'll stay?"
"Always, babe." He brushed his fingers over her cheek and she leaned into the caress. "Come on." He brought her back to the couch, waited for her to lie down before spreading the blanket over her.
He sat beside her, hand resting on her hip, waiting for her breathing to even out, the tight muscles to relax. Kono was so exhausted it didn't take her long to fall asleep as Danny watched her. He'd done this with Grace, keeping the nightmares at bay when they threatened her. Now he would do that for Kono until she was ready to face them on her own terms.