Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize…
A/N: As always my warmest thank you for all the reviews, alerts and favs. I have no words, really.
Oh, and after you're finished with this chapter I recommend to read (or re-read) After Dark and In Daylight the two companion pieces I wrote for this chapter/episode, they deal with the aftermath of the events that happened in here.
Also my many thanks goes to quisinart4 for being my awesome beta.
Tell me what you think!
Kono finds Steve down by the ocean at their backyard beach, playing with Koa. She can't help but smile affectionately at them because it'd been a while since they looked this carefree. Steve throws the rubber grenade into the shallow water and Koa dashes after it eagerly, finding it without difficulty and bringing it back to his master proudly. Steve kneels down beside the dog, taking the toy from him, patting his side, and scratching him behind the ears while muttering praises.
"It's a good thing that I'm not the jealous type." Kono grins down at the pair and holds out a mug for Steve. "I made coffee."
"Hey," Steve stands, taking the mug and giving her a peck on the lips. "You had fun with Lani?"
"Oh, yeah," she drawls with sarcasm, rolling her eyes. "The next time I agree to go shopping with her please make a pre-emptive strike and shoot me in the leg."
"I think you are the only woman who sees clothes shopping as a military operation." Steve flashes a wide smile. "And that's why I love you. Among many other things of course."
"You think you are smooth as hell, right?" Kono swats him on the chest lightly before sitting down on the sand, taking a sip from her coffee.
Steve doesn't answer just sits down right behind her so she's now placed between his legs and she leans back, resting against his chest with a sigh of content. He wraps an arm around her, idly caressing whatever patch of naked skin he comes across as their breathings synchronize and he can feel her heartbeat double as his own.
"We should get another dog." Kono says softly, watching Koa play in the shallow water. "He needs a mate."
"What?" Steve furrows his brows. "Isn't he a little too young for that? He's not even a year old."
"I know, but if we wait the age gap will be too much and he'll think of her as his pup not as his mate." Kono argues.
"Okay," he sighs resigned. "But for next Christmas I choose what we'll get, deal?"
"Oh, come on." Kono huffs, turning her head so she can look him in the eye. "You can't be serious. That's blackmail. This is really what you want to tell our kids later? Oh, yeah, sweetheart, Mommy wanted a dog and Daddy asked for a baby in exchange and since we have two dogs you can do the math, right?"
"Sounds good to me." Steve says with a smug grin, like he knows perfectly that he won. "What do you say?"
"Fine." Kono grumbles. "You can have a baby for next Christmas."
Steve laughs at that, rich and warm, thick with happiness and kisses her pouting lips before he pulls her backwards, flipping them over with one swift move.
"We should start practicing then." He murmurs against her neck, his fingers disappearing under her thin top.
"Um, yeah, totally." Kono agrees, already a little out of breath.
What has she gotten herself into, she wonders inwardly but her mind gradually shuts down as Steve starts to trail kisses down her stomach. He's tracing the lines of her tattoo with the tip of his tongue when his phone starts to vibrate next to them and he halts, pressing his forehead against her hipbone with an annoyed grunt.
At the moment he's very tempted to just throw the offending device into the ocean and maybe Kono senses his inner struggle because she reaches for the phone and answers it when she sees Danny's name on the display.
"McGarrett Asylum, how can I help you today?" She says cheerfully.
"Asylum?" Steve can hear Danny's voice getting high and irritated. "You meant brothel, right? Because I've called you two times already. Get out of bed, you frolic lunatics, it's the middle of the day and we have a new case."
"We are on our way." Kono rolls her eyes, nudging Steve in the side to get him off her. "Don't get your hula skirt in a bunch."
She ends the call before Danny could yell, rant or say anything in return.
And people say she has bad impulse control.
"Hey," Steve stops Kono before she and Chin can go to Maui and pulls her into the armory, closing the door behind him. "I, uh, I need to talk to you."
"What's wrong?" Kono searches his face worriedly; he looks too serious for it to be anything remotely good.
"I need to go to North Korea." Steve rushes out the words with a tense expression.
"You, what?" Kono's eyes go wide. "Alone?"
"I'm going with Jenna. She found her fiancé and needs me at the money exchange." Steve explains, reaching out to touch her but she moves away.
"No," she shakes her head firmly, crossing her arms over her chest. "You're not going anywhere without back-up, you hear me?"
"The Ranger unit has been redeployed." Steve argues, running a hand through his hair in frustration. "And I'm not taking any of you with me."
"Have you lost your mind?" Kono snaps with angry tears shimmering in her eyes. "I thought those days when I have to sit at home and worry about you being on another suicide mission are over."
"What do you want me to do, huh?" Steve raises his voice, making a wild hand motion. "Want me to tell Jenna, our friend, that I let her fiancé die because my wife doesn't want me to go? Kono, think about it, what would you do if you were in her place? If I was the one held captive?"
"I'd do anything to get you back," she mutters quietly, hanging her head. "You are right, I'm sorry. I just don't want anything to happen to you."
"Come here," he reaches out again and she lets him pull her close to his body, hugging her tightly to his chest, pressing his cheek against hers. "I'll be fine, I know what I'm doing. I promise."
"Please," Kono huffs out a broken little laugh into his ear, tightening her grip on his back. "Be careful, mano, because I swear if you come home in a body-bag, I'll forward you straight to Arlington."
"No, you won't." Steve pulls back and looks her in the eye with a sad half-smile. "You're gonna burry me in the ocean like you promised the day we got married, so I can be with you forever."
"Smooth," Kono rolls her eyes, trying to look annoyed but her tears ruin the whole pretense. "Hurry back because we have a standing date for baby-making practice."
"How could I ever forget that?" He grins, pulling her in for one last hug. "And I owe you a dog too."
"Love you." Kono murmurs against his lips and kisses him with everything she has.
"Love you, too." Steve says seriously after they break apart and walks out of the armory.
Kono stays there, leaning against a metal shelf with a heavy sigh and a bad feeling at the pit of her stomach.
"Could you excuse us for one minute?" Chin asks the owner and heads outside.
"Okay, what the hell?" Kono whispers angrily.
"Wasn't Jenna supposed to be in D.C. these last three months?" Chin looks as confused as Kono feels.
"Yeah, Steve said that she was trying to find her fiancé." Kono says with tight knots of worry forming in her stomach. "Apparently, she's not trying very hard."
"Well, if she lied to Steve about that, what else is she lying about?"
"Chin…" Kono trails off, blinking rapidly to keep the tears at bay, pressing a hand over her mouth.
"Hey," Chin hugs her quickly, rubbing comforting circles on her lower back. "Calm down, I'm sure nothing has happened to him."
"I knew it." Kono says in a strained voice, wiping away the moisture in her eyes with a frustrated motion. "I had a bad feeling about this all along."
"Let's get back to the HQ." Chin nudges her into motion. "And call Danny on the way."
"I just tried Steve's satellite phone," Danny walks out of his office, looking tense and worried. "Twenty times in the last hour. No answer."
"The area they're in is all deep forest." Kono says calmly pointing at the screen. "It may have blocked the signal."
"No, something is wrong." Danny fidgets anxiously. "Something is wrong. Otherwise why Jenna would lie to us?"
"My question is, did Jenna have anything to do with Bethany Morris's murder?" Kono lets out a tired sigh.
"How can you be so cool about this?" Danny finally snaps, glaring at her above the computer surface. "Your husband is missing, are you aware of that?"
"What?" Kono raises her voice too, her grip tightening painfully on the edge of the table. "You are kidding me, right? I've spent the last two hours worrying myself sick but it didn't get me closer to find him, not even a bit. Would it make you feel better if I were crying and screaming hysterically? Would it make me look like to you as if I actually give a damn, huh? If not, please shut the fuck up."
"Guys," Chin interrupts the argument sharply, gripping Kono's elbow to prevent her from going around the table and punch Danny in the face. "This doesn't get us closer to solve the case or finding Steve. We all worry about him. Let's focus on the things we know, okay?"
"Hey, any words from Steve?" Lori enters the briefing room, successfully snapping Kono and Danny out of their murderous glaring match.
"No, nothing." Danny drawls sullenly, avoiding Kono's eyes for the rest of the conversation.
Maybe he acted like an insensitive jerk. Just a little bit.
Now at least no one can say Steve hasn't rubbed off on him.
"Hey," Danny walks into Steve's office, where Kono retreated into, on his way out to see Joe. "I, uh, I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry about earlier. I shouldn't have said those things."
"It's okay." Kono says quietly, patting the empty space beside her on the couch. "I know that you said that because you are just as worried as I am."
She doesn't like to admit but she and Danny are more alike than anyone could imagine. They are the angriest when they feel the most vulnerable. They have to shout and kick and make biting remarks in order not to fall into million pieces. Neither of them can say out loud how scared they are for Steve, they learned the hard way not to show they care.
But right now with Danny's gentle touch on her shoulder and his soft voice in her ear she reaches a breaking point where everything boils over and she leans against his side, her breath hitching and her hands shaking like crazy and Danny is cradling her close, rocking her in a calming fashion, muttering under his breath.
"We are gonna get him back, okay. Listen to me, babe. We get him back and you're gonna have babies together, I'm gonna sprout gray hairs over all the reckless shit you're gonna do while pregnant and I'm gonna stop him from locking you up in your room, okay?"
"Find out who did this, Danny and make sure they're locked up before I find them and kill them all," Kono mutters hoarsely into his shirt, clinging to him desperately. "That's what you need to do because I have to tell you that I'm pretty damn close to losing it. At this point, I could probably make Steve look like the most civilized person in our family."
"Yeah, uh, sure." Danny squeezes her shoulder reassuringly. "I'm going to see Joe now, okay? Want me to send Chin in?"
"Nah," Kono shakes her head, wiping away a few tears. "I'm gonna be fine."
Joe stops Kono before she can board the plane.
"I'm sorry but I need that too," he points at the ball-chain around her neck. "We can't have any ID with us."
Kono freezes, her hand automatically reaches up to wrap around Steve's dog tags. While she knows perfectly well that Joe is right, she's still reluctant to take the chain off, it became her lifeline for all the times Steve's been away and now she needs it more than ever.
"Kono?" Joe looks at her expectantly, holding his hand out for the tags.
She takes a few short, calming breaths and undoes the chain, placing it into Joe's palm with shaking hands. He notices their rings and glances up at her with an unreadable expression before taking the tags off and giving the rest of them back.
"Keep them." He smiles at her and she doesn't say anything just quickly puts chain back on, wrapping her fingers around the rings, feeling the rapidly warming metal against her palm and she feels much better.
"Thank you." Kono nods.
"We'll get him back." Joe reassures.
"I'm not coming back without him." Kono says firmly and walks towards the plane to catch up with the others.
Joe looks at her receding back and finally fully understands why Steve holds onto her that tightly.
"Why?" Steve asks quietly, looking at Jenna with disappointment.
"I had no choice." Jenna answers brokenly.
"We let you in." Steve continues. "We treated you as one of our own. I trusted you. I came down here, I didn't ask one question. I even had a fight with Kono over this."
"Wo Fat told me Josh was alive." Jenna tries to justify her actions with tears in her eyes. "Don't tell me you wouldn't have done the same for Kono."
"No, I wouldn't have." Steve shakes his head fiercely. "Not like this. And you what? You just took him for his word?"
"He showed me his ring. He had pictures. But more than anything I needed to believe it. I would have done anything to save him." She says and starts to cry.
"So you decided to trade him for me." Steve states darkly.
"Yes." She nods, looking him in the eye.
Steve doesn't say anything for a few moments. He tries to be angry with her but he can't find the spark within him to do it. He's thinking about Kono, her tears at the armory, begging him not to go and he can't help but wonder what he'd have done if he was in Jenna's place. He knows that he'd go through hell and a dozen feet deeper to get Kono back anytime but he's not sure if he could betray anyone in the process.
Still he can't judge Jenna because he'd never been in a situation before. Right now all he can think about is that if there's a chance of him getting home to tell Kono she was right.
He needs to get home to her.
He owes her a dog after all.
Kono loves Danny.
There's a lot of reason why. Mostly because Danny loves Steve enough to prevent him to get himself killed on a day-to-day basis. She knows that apart from her, Danny is the one who knows Steve the best, who cares about him the most and the thought that he'd do anything to protect him gets her through the day when they are on a dangerous case.
She loves Danny because he cares about things she and Steve usually don't, he always make sure that at the end of the day, Kono won't be pissed enough to make Steve sleep on the couch or prevent some poor guy getting murdered by Steve because he glanced at Kono a heartbeat too long.
And she loves him because he's sitting next to her in this plane, taking her hand and rubbing soothing little circles with his thumb on her palm, saying "it's okay' without actual words.
"You know," Kono speaks up, leaning closer to Danny so he can hear her. "Just this morning I agreed to have a baby with him next Christmas and we're agreed on getting another dog. A mate for Koa."
"Oh, really?" Danny says wryly but there's no real bit in it. "Please tell me that you're also plan on naming her something normal for once. Like Spike or Spot."
"The baby or the dog?" Kono glances at him, squeezing his hand.
"You think you are funny, right?" Danny glares at her disapprovingly. "Just because it's about you two, I meant the dog. Don't want your kid to resent me for her whole life because you actually named her Spot."
Kono lets out a laugh, the first one since Steve left and places a quick kiss on Danny's cheek.
"Thank you, Danno." She murmurs warmly.
"Kono, go set up for SAT NAV." Chin says.
"What?" Kono catches up to him. "You are out of your mind if you think that I'm gonna stay here and sit before a screen while you are out there, searching for him."
"Listen to me," Chin says firmly, pushing her down onto the nearest chair and kneeling before her, taking her hands in his. "You are not in the right mindset to come with us."
"You think?" Kono snaps, glaring daggers at her cousin. "He's my husband, I'm going with you, Lori can…"
"No," Chin interrupts, his tone leaves no room for argument. "Look, if anything goes haywire, you'll be the only thing that can saves us from being killed. I don't trust anyone but you with this."
"Okay," Kono takes a shuddering breath, blinking away fresh tears. "I'll stay."
"Good." Chin nods, getting up from the floor.
"Bring him back to me." Kono fists his shirt into her hand, looking at him pleadingly.
"I will." Chin promises.
"It wasn't for nothing." Jenna whispers and throws the pin towards him. "Tell Kono, I'm sorry."
The next moment Wo Fat shoots her in the chest and Steve gasps in surprise.
"I'm gonna kill you!" Steve shouts at the other man, pulling at his chains wildly. "You are a dead man! You are a dead man!"
"We're getting on a plane in an hour and you're taking me to Shelburne." Wo Fat demands. "Or your lovely wife will be the next one who gets a bullet."
Steve goes completely still at that, watching the man leave the room while dread slowly climbs up along his spine like ice-cold fingertips.
He needs to get out of here fast, so he gathers all his remaining strength and picks up the pin.
Steve's vision is blurry and every part of his body throbs with blinding pain when he hears the chopper and suddenly he's enveloped in a hug by a soft female body.
At first he thinks it's Kono, but the height doesn't match and the scent is all wrong, too sweet and strong, no trace of surfboard wax or ozone.
He rears back a little at that, his eyes searching for his wife and he tenses up again, fear twisting a few knots into his stomach when he doesn't see her anywhere and he remembers Wo Fat's threat.
"Kono," he grits out, spitting blood on the ground. "Where's Kono?"
Lori takes a step back as if she'd been slapped in the face, suddenly looking really uncomfortable.
"She's in South Korea," Danny hurries to reassure him after noticing the worried look on his friend's face. "She's safe, handling the NAV SAT."
Steve's shoulders sag forward, his knees suddenly watery with relief.
"I hate to break up this little family reunion but we got to go know." Wade shouts. "Come on."
Steve pushes Lori further away, eager to get on the chopper and finally see his wife.
Kono stands beside the house, waiting for them to get out of the chopper, her eyes anxiously searching for Steve. When he finally appears, blooded and bruised, the sound that comes out of her mouth is so harsh and sharp it hurts her throat.
Then he moves and she moves and they're crashing into one another, kissing wildly, desperate in their need to touch, for proof. Kono is babbling in between kisses, saying oh, God and please don't, not ever again, and Steve's pretty sure they're embarrassing themselves but he doesn't even care. He just keeps holding her, kissing her, tracking his thumb over the place on her hip where her tattoo is, his mark on her.
Someone clears his throat behind them and it's hell to pull away from her, but he finally manages to, somehow, keeping her at arm's length but no further.
"Let's get you cleaned up." Kono smiles at him and takes his hand to lead him away from the chopper and into the house.
"I wanna go home," Steve mutters, wrapping an arm around her shoulders for support as he wobbles slightly. "I promised you a dog. And some baby-making practice."
Kono just laughs, giddy with sweet relief.
Danny walks into their house a couple of days later with a big box in his hands. He finds Steve lying on the couch, still black and blue from the thorough beating while Kono sits on the armchair next to him, holding his hand and Koa sleeps on the floor at her feet.
"Hey," Danny greets them. "I know we have some time off and you two wanted to be left alone but I wanted to give you this."
"What's in the box?" Steve eyes it suspiciously.
"It's, uh, it's actually for Kono." Danny scratches the back of his head, looking slightly uncomfortable. "But you can see it as a 'yay, we are not dead' present."
Kono gets up from the armchair and carefully opens the box, looking into it curiously.
"Aaaw," she coos, lifting a black puppy out. "Thank you."
"You bought her a dog?" Steve stares at Danny disbelievingly.
"Well, I'm not taking responsibility for how she's gonna turn out." Danny starts to rant, the box falling to the ground as he starts to flail his hands around. "I actually asked a favor from Kamekona so there's a possibility that she's from a military research lab or straight out of a Resident Evil movie."
"Danny, shut up." Kono says chidingly. "She's gorgeous."
"How are you gonna name her?" Danny looks at Kono expectantly.
"Kiko," she grins.
"What?" Danny's eyes go wide. "Come on, babe, you can't be serious. She needs a normal name. What does it even mean?"
"Hey," Steve chimes in, staring at Kono seriously. "I'm still getting a kid for next Christmas, right?"
Kono doesn't answer just smiles at him mysteriously.
Kiko /kee' koh/ - Spot