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[personal profile] failegaidin
Title: Gasping, Breaking, Gaping, Bleeding
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0
Pairing: Steve and Kono (more friendshippy than anything else)
Genre: Angst/Hurt/Comfort
Summary: Kono thinks that since the boys don't break, neither should she. But she's seen more than most rookies ever would, and it's starting to weigh on her. Luckily, Steve's always got her back.
A/N: First 5-0 fic. Be kind.
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me.

She was tired. It wasn’t just that feeling she got when she’d been running on too little sleep and relying on adrenaline highs to get her through. This ran deeper, settling into her bones, weighing her down. It made her skin tingle like little currents of electricity were coursing down her arms and she realized that her hands were shaking and she couldn’t make them stop.

Some part of her knew that this was normal. It wasn’t just what had happened today - really, it had been pretty low key for 5-0 - but it was one more thing piled on top of a heap that was threatening to drown her. She had seen things in the past year that most rookies couldn’t even dream of, and there never seemed to be a break. The hits just kept coming and she never let herself recover. She just plastered on another smile, waved it off, and went home to a troubled night of tossing on her bed.

She told herself that she could have five minutes. Any longer than that and the others would begin to worry, wondering what was taking her so long. Five minutes. To compose herself, to pull it together, to gather the strength it took these days to get that smile back on her face and make sure that her eyes matched it. Just five minutes.

But her hands wouldn’t stop shaking.

She didn’t hear the door open. She didn’t hear his boots as they moved across the tiled floor of the locker room. She didn’t hear anything except the echoes of gunshots in her head until he sat down beside her, straddling the bench so that he was perpendicular to her.

“Don’t bury it, Kono,” he said, his voice low and soothing in her ear. “You’ve gotta let it out.”

She shook her head, forcing her hands into her lap, wringing them together to make it look like they were steady. “Boss, I’m fine -”

He reached out slowly, laying one large hand over both of hers. “No, you’re not. And you shouldn’t be -”

“You are,” she shot back, finally looking up at him.

He was much closer than he ever had been before. Neither flinched or moved away. His eyes were soft as they searched her own and Kono found that the shaking had spread from her hands to her shoulders and all the way up to her mouth.

“You know that’s not true,” he said softly. “I might be better at hiding it. But this job? It gets to all of us. Chin, Danny,’s normal, Kono. It’s what makes us human.” He paused. “It’s not weak to break once in awhile.”

She couldn’t stop it at that point. He was too close, too understanding, too...everything. The tears fell out of her because they had no place left to go and the sobs shook her entire body. Steve didn’t say a word. He pulled her against his chest and held her tightly, his face pressed against her hair. Every muscle she had ever eyed appreciatively was now protecting her and it just made her cry harder because she knew she was safe. Steve wouldn’t let anything hurt her - not even herself.

Her body ran out of energy fairly quickly and then she was just sucking in stuttering breaths, letting the smell and feel of him seep into her. It comforted her, yes, but that wasn’t all. His strength wrapped itself around her bones, soared through her veins and settled atop her shoulders. It was enough.

Kono pulled away slightly, fingers still clutching the front of his t-shirt. Steve leaned in and pressed a lingering kiss right next to her eye and she shuddered.

“How did you know?” she whispered, knowing she didn’t need to explain with him.

He had pulled back, a more respectable distance between them again. “I’ve done it myself enough times to know what falling apart looks like.”

She gave him a rueful smile. “Then how come I never find you in here crying?”

His own lips turned upward. “I tend to take my pain out on the bad guys. It’s pretty therapeutic.”

“Sounds like putting a band-aid on a gaping chest wound.”

There was something in her eyes that told her she was right, but she didn’t press it and he didn’t offer.

“We do what we can.” He stood up and offered her his hand. “Ready for dinner? The guys are meeting us there.”

She didn’t say anything. She just slid her hand into his and let him pull her up.
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