Title: it started with a whisper (and that was when i kissed her)

Summary: Kono meets Doris McGarrett, befriends Mary Ann, and falls for Steve along the way.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Author's Note: This begins in the middle of 3x04 and goes AU. Mostly, I was ticked Kono was never properly introduced to Doris in that episode. We saw Catherine, Danny, Kamekona, and Chin all meet her, but we never saw Kono and Doris' first meeting. So, I wrote the introduction myself and of course, it turned into a Steve/Kono story from there.

The title is from the song "Everybody Talks" by Neon Trees. Many thanks to Tiana-P and teenycee for proofreading, encouraging, and handling my freak-outs while I finished this piece. There will be a total of five parts. Comments are very appreciated. Enjoy!

The first time Kono meets Doris, she's caught off guard by how normal the woman seems. It's hard to see her as some spy mastermind who's kept herself hidden for decades, and not a nice lady who bakes and knits and goes to book club meetings on Sundays like Kono's mom does.

Kono comes out of her office to see the guys gathered around the smart table with Doris as she marvels at the fancy tech toy.

"Wow. We never would have dreamed of something like this in my time," the woman comments, looking up to see Kono approaching. "And you must be Kono, is that correct?"

"Uh, yes, hi," Kono says. "Welcome... back." Welcome back from the dead sounds a little off so she stops her greeting there.

"You look a little young to be on the Governor's task force," Doris comments and Kono prickles at the observation. "You only graduated from the academy a few years ago, is that correct?"

Seriously? Is Steve's mom in charge of running personnel evaluations now?

But before she can say anything, Steve answers for her.

"Kono helped us out with our first ever Five-0 case, Doris. She may be the rookie but she's one of us," Steve answers proudly, giving her a nod of approval and she thanks him with a quick smile.

"Plus, someone has to wear the skimpy clothing when we go undercover," Danny teases as he bumps shoulders with her playfully, letting her know that he doesn't give a damn what Doris thinks.

"Yeah, Danny doesn't have the legs for it," she teases back as the blond detective scoffs at her.

"I see. Well, you must be good if my son's kept you around this long," Doris says with a smile and Kono accepts the peace offering.

"Thanks," she replies with ease then turns back to business mode as she relays her findings to the team.

They're over at Danny's to watch a football game when Kono gives Steve her piece of advice. She didn't mean to but she can't help but feel nervous about Doris being around and how quickly Steve seems to have accepted her back into his life. It's clearly worrying Danny and Chin, and it worries her too.

She's in the kitchen emptying another bag of chips into the bowl (at least Danny had finally bought bowls for his new apartment) when Steve slides next to her to grab a soda out of the fridge.

"Hey," he says with a smile as he comes to stand by her at the microwave while she waits for the popcorn to finish.

"Hey, Boss. How's it going?"

"Good. You?" he asks as he leans against the counter and looks down at her.

"Okay. No Catherine today?" she asks. She likes the other woman and since she's been deployed to Hawaii indefinitely, she's been hanging out with the team more.

"She had to go to base," Steve answers with a shrug.

"What's your mom up to today?" Kono asks curiously.

"She said something about buying new curtains and grocery shopping."

Kono chuckles. "So I guess we can officially say you live with your mother, Boss."

Steve groans. "Shut up, Kono."

"And that she buys your groceries and makes you breakfast and-"

"Not cute," Steve says sternly but even he's smiling at her teasing. "Although I admit, it's nice having someone there when I get home, you know?"

"Yeah," she answers quietly. "It must be weird though," she says before she can help herself.

"What?" Steve asks, his eyes crinkling at her comment.

"Just... having her back."

Steve doesn't answer for so long that she thinks she's overstepped her bounds. They don't talk about this stuff, that's what he has Danny for. She didn't mean to cross a line and she opens her mouth to apologize but he speaks first.

"It is. I... I never expected it, not in a million years. I still can't believe it sometimes," Steve admits. His expression contains a mix of wariness and joy and even though Kono knows she's definitely crossing the line with this comment, she can't help but blurt it out.

"Just be careful, okay?" Steve looks at her, his blue eyes trying to decipher her meaning as he looks into her chocolate ones. "I know you want to trust her, I mean, of course, she's your mother but-"

"Have you been talking to Danny?" Steve questions a little forcefully and Kono falters.

"No, okay, yes, a little. It's just... we're worried about you, Boss. I don't wanna see you lose her all over again," Kono says and her hand reaches out to cover his on the counter before she even realizes she made the move. But there it is, the feel of his warm skin against her own, the cool metal of his watch grazing her inner wrist.

"I... thanks, Kono," he says as he continues to look at her.

They stay like that until the ding of the microwave makes Kono jump and she quickly pulls her hand back and clears her throat awkwardly, making herself seem more busy than she actually is with opening the popcorn bag.

"Um, I'll see you in there," Steve says as he points toward the living room.

"Yup. Be right there," Kono says quickly, not meeting his eyes.

They're the last ones left at HQ and Kono's just finished her paperwork and grabbing her keys when Steve sticks his head into her office.

"Hey, Danny's tonight, you're in charge of chips and ice cream for Grace," Steve orders.

"Oh, I can't. I'm not going," Kono says hesitantly. "I have a date."

Steve pauses for a minute as if unsure of what to say. "Oh. Okay."

"Sorry," Kono says, then grimaces to herself. Why is she apologizing? She doesn't need to apologize. She and Adam planned this before Danny's impromptu invitation to come over for dinner and hear Grace recite lines for her school play.

"Well, have fun," Steve says just as awkwardly as she feels.

"Thanks. Night," Kono says as she brushes by him in the doorway, telling herself she doesn't notice the hardness of his chest or the way he seems to always radiate body heat.

But she does.

The meal at the five-star restaurant with Adam is superb but she finds herself missing Danny's Williams' Family Spaghetti Special and the light-hearted smiles Steve uses whenever Grace is around.

It takes her five months and a lot of coaching herself to finally get back into the water at nighttime. She was fine during the day, but hadn't managed to get that night out of her head when she'd try to go for a midnight swim. It was as if the water was taunting her, the waves seeming much more cruel under the moonlight than they would by the rays of the morning sun.

After forcing herself to get a few steps closer every night, she laughs with relief as she's waist deep in the water, feeling like she's finally home again. She swims for an hour until she's exhausted then forces herself out of the water when she realizes she has work the next morning.

This job has taken a lot from her but she's not going to let it take this.

She can't stop smiling the next morning and Danny keeps giving her funny looks across the smart table.

"Did you get laid or something? You're all bouncy today," Danny comments as he looks at her with raised eyebrows.

"No, I did not get laid, thank you very much," Kono answers. "I just had a good swim last night. You've never had that feeling?"

"Uh, no. Never. That would only be you and Aqua Man over there who get all adrenaline and chlorine high from the ocean," Danny says as he points toward Steve who's on the phone with HPD.

"Me, personally? I'd rather get laid," Danny says. Kono rolls her eyes at him, even as she continues to grin.

"Where's your date?" Catherine asks.

"He's out of town on some business," Kono says, trying to keep her expression neutral.

It is the truth. Adam flew to the mainland two days ago and tonight's the Governor's Ball. But despite his travel plans, Kono can't help but feel a little relieved that she doesn't have to drag her Yakuza mob boss boyfriend to an event where eighty percent of the attendees work in law enforcement. Not to mention Chin and Danny and Steve. That's a hurdle Kono tries not to think too much about, going public, but truth is, it's already bugging her. Then again, she can only take him places if he's ever actually around.

But right now is not the place to think about this, and certainly not in the middle of a conversation with Catherine.

"They don't have those little crab cakes this year," Kono says with a pout as she looks around the table.

"Oh, those were good," Catherine agrees, her hair swinging around her face as she nods.

"Maybe next year."

Catherine releases a scoff as she echoes Kono's statement. "Yeah, next year."

Kono looks at her in confusion. "Did I say something wrong?"

"No, no," Catherine says quickly then shrugs, her discomfort clear as day as she avoids Kono's eyes. "Nothing, it's dumb."

"What's up?" Kono asks gently. She glances up to see Steve and Danny still in conversation with the governor across the room. They have a good three minutes before the boys make their way over; plenty of time for girl talk.

"It's just... how many years do I keep doing this?" Catherine says, her voice low to be avoid being heard despite the chatter and music echoing in the ballroom around them. "Arranging leave on the right days, hoping we're docked at Pearl Harbor, then back to my real life a million miles away. I can't keep getting dressed up for the Governor's Ball every year until I'm sixty cause he invites me that weekend."

"I..." But Kono has no idea what to say because considering what her relationship is like right now, she's the last one to be dispensing advice. "Not to mention his mother coming back from the dead," she adds lamely.

Catherine laughs. Kono might suck at the actual advice giving, but she can always make you laugh.

"Ah, yes, there's that too," Catherine says wryly.

Kono hears Danny and Steve's bickering as they approach the table before she actually sees them. Catherine gives her a panicked look and says, "Don't say anything, okay?"

"Of course I won't," she promises. "You'll figure it out."

Kono hopes she figures it out herself too.

Kono comes into her office to finish up paperwork when she sees Mary Ann sprawled in a chair. Kono heard she came down a few days ago for the McGarrett family reunion but the last thing she expected was to see her at Five-0 headquarters, much less her office.

"Um, hi?" Kono says, taking a seat across from her.

"Hey. Sorry, I just didn't wanna run into my brother out there," Mary Ann exclaims as she gestures toward the room beyond the glass.

"No problem," Kono says. It's been a long day, case files can wait. "How's it going?"

"Well, my mom's back from the dead," Mary Ann says sarcastically.

"I heard."

"Yeah." Mary Ann pauses for a moment and Kono can see her trying to hold back her next words but they escape anyway. "What a bitch."

Kono snorts but doesn't disagree.

"Is there anywhere to get drunk around here?" Mary Ann asks.

She got punched in the stomach by a suspect who was flying high as a kite, her paperwork from the last two cases isn't done yet, Adam's out of town again, and her fridge is empty cause she hasn't had time to go grocery shopping in weeks.

"Follow me," Kono says with a grin, grabbing her keys and leading Mary Ann out of the office.