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26 June 2012 @ 08:00 pm
Fic- Protégé  
Title: Protégé
Author: kristen999
Word Count: 5k~
Rating: T
Genre: Gen
Spoilers: Set early Season One.
Summary: Octane fuels Kono’s blood, the same untamed rocket fuel in McGarrett's. That's why Kono asked her boss if he’d train her as a sniper.

Based on a prompt by gwalchmai345.

Author's Notes: This fought me tooth and nail for more weeks than I care to admit.
I did a lot of research regarding firearms, but I'm not an expert, so please forgive any mistakes.

Thank you to everyone who helped me during the various stages of this story. Mad props to my betas em_kellesvig, perspi, and ga_unicorn. Tip of the hat to verasteine for her advice early on.





***

Kono ducks under branches, batting away vines of flowers slapping her face. After hiking for over half an hour, she reaches the clearing in good time, pulls out her GPS, and frowns. These are the correct coordinates and traffic kept her from arriving early. So, why is she alone? Puzzled, she quickly scrutinizes the undergrowth and turns around, scanning the trail behind her.

Sick of the humidity, she debates taking cover from the heat when a red dot suddenly appears in the center of her tank top. Kono freezes. Sweat beads at her brow and drips down her nose. Keeping perfectly still, she searches the tree line, the back of her mind screaming, look lower!

Swallowing, she traces glimpses of the red laser beam to a clump of grass a few meters away.

Her phone vibrates and Kono's heart jumps into her throat as she digs it out of a pocket with a shaky hand. "Hello?"

"One of the first lessons of being a sniper is how to stalk your prey," Steve says.

Kono watches, stunned, as a large grassy heap rises out of the ground and becomes a familiar lanky figure. Her brain screams fuck me and oh my god in embarrassment and anger.

Kono isn't sure who she's more pissed at – McGarrett for such a dick move or herself for falling into the trap. Then the pile of foliage walks over and some of her anger melts away at the sight of him.

"Brah, that's, um...impressive."

He's covered head to toe in vegetation and dirt, blades of grass sticking out from all over the place like a giant chia-pet. His eyes peer out from under a vine-tangled bush hat, his face streaked with green, brown, and black paint. It sends a shiver down her spine at seeing his solider side, the predator always lurking beneath those t-shirts and cargo pants.

But it's that side that fascinates her, hitting all her thrill-seeking buttons. McGarrett is danger personified and she soaks up all the energy he radiates like a sponge.

She waves a hand over the get-up. "That's not something you get from the local navy supply store."

A beetle skitters over his shoulder and McGarrett snags it with mud-caked fingers, flicking it to the ground. "No, it's a Ghillie suit I made out of an old uniform and some netting. Sewed in the grass to blend in with the surroundings. Always be indistinguishable from any environment so your target never knows you're there."

"Like what you did with me?"

"No. I wouldn't have used a laser-sight." He removes his hat, wipes the sweat from his face, smearing the paint with his forearm. "You would've dropped dead without hearing the crack of the bullet. In the field, a sniper might have to remain hidden for ten to seventy-two hours at a time, observing the target without moving or talking."

He gets this faraway look in his eyes and Kono reminds herself that, just a few months ago, the man was an active SEAL, trained to disarm a bomb or assemble one out of cleaning supplies and a lighter.

"Do I have to make the same kind of outfit?"

"No," McGarrett grins, his teeth bright against the camo grease-streaks. "All you need is a good set of boots and a pair of jeans. And this," he says, handing her a notebook.


***

Kono climbs up a large Spanish cedar. It reminds her of summers at her uncle's, racing her cousins to the top of a coconut tree. Today, she scales twenty feet, using her balancing skills to crawl over two branches forming a sturdy V. They hold her weight as she lies on her stomach, dozens of large leaves concealing her body from view.

The tree stretches high into the sky, standing across the parking lot of Aio Technologies. It's dawn and she waits on the early birds to arrive, looking through her binoculars. Using a small spiral notebook, she records plate numbers and people's physical descriptions. Height, weight, age. Type and color of their clothes.

A knobby piece of the branch digs into her hip, but that doesn't stop her from watching the security guard leave his booth with a golf club to practice his swing. She remains motionless as a woman with six-inch heels and bleached blond hair takes eight smoke breaks. Doesn't cough when her throat tickles or shift her shoulders when they knot up.

By lunchtime, a couple from the third floor finds their way under the tree, huddling together in each other's arms beneath the canopy. They whisper and giggle, kissing and touching as Kono lies there unseen.


***

In the early evening, Kono climbs down, her joints screaming in protest as she jogs toward her car.

She's surprised to find McGarrett waiting for her by his truck, in a sweat-soaked black t-shirt and BDUs. He hands her a thermos and Kono takes a gulp of a carrot, ginger, and wheat grass concoction. It's amazing.

"Snipers aren't assassins who just hide and wait to kill someone," Steve tells her, leaning against the metal door. "It happens, but mostly it's all about recon, sharpening your observational skills to a razor focus. No matter where I am – in the car, at the beach, or out walking around – I'm completely attuned to my surroundings."

Kono sips her drink, nodding. "Because you have to travel everywhere undetected."

"Not only that, but it's what you learn about a target – their habits, their behavior – everything becomes invaluable intelligence." He fishes a pad of paper filled with abbreviations out of his cargo pants. "Why don't we grab dinner somewhere? My treat. Then we'll compare notes."

Kono holds the front of her sweat-glued t-shirt away from her skin, wanting nothing more than to go home to take a shower. Frowning, confused, she asks, "Compare notes?"

Steve gets that smile, the one that always needles and riles up Danny. "I was on the rooftop of the next building, tucked between the air conditioning units."

Kono thinks of every detail, every single scrap of data she'd observed and wrote down, realizing the most important piece had been right under her nose.

"That dinner better include beer," Kono says, because, God, she needs one.


***

Filling out the paperwork on their latest case is a tedious affair and Kono searches for a caffeine pick-up in the break room, running into Danny in the hallway. "Oh, hey. Sorry."

"Slow it down there, tiger, or do I need to put in a crosswalk?"

Kono rolls her eyes, but a yawn stifles her snappy comeback, causing Danny to wag his finger at her.
"See what happens when you work twelve hours a day chasing bad guys and spend all your free time playing Rambo with McGarrett?"

"What can I say, brah? The man knows talent when he sees it," she says with a smirk.

"Or perhaps he misses ordering around an army of SEALs, and when he bumped into you at the firing lane, he discovered a way to channel his need to play drill sergeant," he says, crossing both arms over his chest.

"Actually, after watching me practice, he said I had a natural affinity for handling a rifle, and I asked him if he could give me some additional training."

It's not often that Danny is at a loss for words and Kono counts that as a win as she slides by him.

"You need to find a better hobby," he calls over his shoulder, much to Kono's amusement.


***

The HPD indoor shooting range isn't crowded this late at night and Kono finds McGarrett sitting at a table with bottles of solvent and gun oil, meticulously wiping the end of a barrel with a cloth. The weapon is made of sleek black fiberglass with stainless steel twists and fitted with a large, telescopic lens. It's a thing of beauty.

Kono loves firing a weapon, loves the adrenaline rush, like the type she gets from conquering a thirty-foot wave.

"My kupunakane was a Ruger guy," she says with a fond smile, remembering long summer days boar hunting with him.

McGarrett polishes the rail, his gaze flicking up at her. "Was your grandfather the one who taught you how to shoot?"

"Yeah. I picked up my first rifle when I was ten."

"Doesn't surprise me; you're a natural."

Kono holds up her head in pride. She's always worked her ass off, done everything better, faster than her competitors. Octane fuels her blood, the same untamed rocket fuel in McGarrett's. Neither of them tries to push the envelope – they have to shatter it.

"That SR-25 is sexy," she whistles.

His eyes light up, lips curving into a deadly smile. Kono wonders if his girlfriend's idea of foreplay is whispering automatic weapons' stats in his ears.

"It's a modified version. I got it match graded by a gunsmith with custom ammo for accuracy," he says, calloused fingers holding the weapon for inspection. "See this? The barrel's free-floating; it barely touches anything else, reducing the vibration from the recoil."

"Sound's expensive."

"Fifteen thousand."

Kono feels her jaw hit the floor. "Dude, I want your paycheck."

"Bought it two years ago. Between hazard pay and no bills to speak of at the time, I had the money."

He shrugs as if it's no big deal, but there's darkness in his eyes. Like the missions he's not allowed to share, the weapon represents an extension of himself. A life partially hidden in redacted reports and locked behind years of working outside the rules of society.

McGarrett's smile fades and he stands up with the rifle. "You need to get used to this in a controlled setting. Adjust to the increased range. Memorize the weight and how she handles. Once you learn her behavior, we'll go into the field."


***

McGarrett has mad access to things like reserving an outdoor shooting range for an entire afternoon at a navy base. He sprawls out in the grass with his legs splayed slightly apart, a fine layer of dirt covering his forearms. Kono watches him assemble the sight, wondering how many boys played G.I. Joe when they were young and then grew up to become one?

"I pulled your firing scores from the Academy," he says. "Impressive stuff."

"Thanks. The Remington's a sweet rifle."

She held the top score in her training class, maintaining consistent accuracy at a hundred and thirty yards. It's a number she's proud of; the average distance down range for the HPD is seventy.

McGarrett adjusts the height of the rifle mount. "The SR-25's normal range is four to six hundred yards, but it can reach up to a thousand."

Football fields are a little over hundred yards long and he's talking about the length of six or seven put together in a row. The thought of obtaining accuracy at such distances blows her mind.

"In law enforcement, the goal is to get as close as possible to take the shot. In the military, it's the farthest to avoid enemy detection," McGarrett explains, handing her a pair of earplugs. "But for Five-0, it's whatever is required to complete the task. Ten yards or six hundred. Don't think about averages."

"Okay," she says, but her competitor side can't help asking, "What's the farthest shot you've made?"

"It's classified," he says, breaking eye contact to check the sight.

"Was it during a mission?" But he still won't say anything. Kono won't rattle McGarrett's cage like Danny, but she won't back all the way down either. "What about on a range?"

"Six hundred and ten yards," he says, voice gruff, a finger tightening around one of the ring mounts. "Moving targets are more challenging."

Kono opens her mouth to say something, but thinks better of it. McGarrett frowns, the skin around his eye crinkled in thought. It's the same kind of distant stare her retired uncle would get talking about cases that haunted him.

He pushes up onto his knees and glances at her, all business. "I had you practice with the SR-25 to get used to how she handles, but training in the field begins with acting as a spotter."

Kono feels a pang of disappointment about her role, but she pastes on a fake smile.

McGarrett must sense her insincerity because he pins her with the same serious expression he gives grieving families clamoring for information about a case. "I know you wanted to come out and prove yourself, but this isn't about either of us. There's no you or me here."

Kono pays close attention. Despite being a fierce contender, she loves being part of a team. It means more than belonging to a group; it's a state of awareness, an emotion, the personification of trust.

"You're my eyes and ears," he says. "I can't make the shot without your guidance."

It's a bald-faced lie. McGarrett could do this without her, take out someone in worse conditions and from farther away. But he won't, because this isn't about improving his skills.

This isn't a video game where you simply point and shoot. This is about possibly taking a life to save one. Kono kneels beside him, sets up her tripod, and lies on her belly, peering through the scope. The minute of angle calculations are the most important aspect of this exercise of sighting and determining the distance of a target. One inch for every hundred yards.

The lens magnifies things to ten times their size and it takes a few seconds for her eyes to focus on the amplified image of the paper figure. "Target detected."

"Copy that, I have the target in sight," McGarrett says, aiming.

Kono has a decent head for math, but fractions and ratios never excited her. Only millimeters separate each dot of the cross hair, each tiny dot representing tens to hundreds of yards, leaving zero room for error. It's all about geometry; the path of the bullet and the angle required to hit the objective.

"Distance to target is," she licks her lips, goes over the minute of angle formula in her head, "two hundred and twenty-two yards."

McGarrett fine-tunes his focal lens. "Weapon ranged at two hundred and twenty-two yards."

Kono checks her compass. "Wind's from the southwest at approximately eight miles per hour." She peers through the lens, squinting against the glare around the edges of the paper target. "Drop your minute of angle to 3.8."

"Dropping to 3.8," McGarrett repeats, turning a knob three clicks.

She checks the scope again, ensures everything is aligned between her dot reticules. "Speed of target is stationary. Fire on my mark."

"Waiting for mark."

"Take the shot."

Kono watches the vapor trail – McGarrett's bullet misses wide.

Damn it.

She bites her bottom lip in frustration trying not to let her anger cloud her judgment. What did she screw up? Kono holds up her face against the breeze, visualizing the air circulation, realizing her error. Instead of focusing on the wind's effect by the target, she should focus on the wind closer to the sniper – where it could blow the bullet off course.

Peering through her scope, she rethinks her measurements. "Drop the minute of angle to 3.7."

"Dropping to 3.7," he repeats.

"Take the shot."

At the crack of the bullet, she studies its trajectory as it goes wide again. Kono rubs her eyes, tries to keep calm and correct the error.

McGarrett props up on one elbow and glances over at her. "Look around you, it's like surfing. Everything out here affects your goal. What do you feel and see?"

A strand of hair from her ponytail falls across her face, tickling her with the breeze. It's her job to compensate for the environment. She knows how the wind effects the ocean and looks at the trees off to the side. "The branches are swaying."

"Swaying or blowing?"

"Definitely a gentle sway."

"Okay, that's about ten miles per hour."

That's a few miles faster than her original estimate. She rests her eyes against the scope again, squints against the black dots. "Dial the MOA to 3.65."

He follows her order and misses.

Then misses again.

On the tenth miss, McGarrett rolls his neck. "Have you considered the angle of the sun?"

He gives suggestions, offers advice, but won't hold her hand. Kono prefers figuring out puzzles on her own, but isn't naïve when it comes to needing help. This is more than double the distance of her best shot ever. She looks up, blinking at the bright sky, realizing how the glare obscures the lens's readings.

Peering through the scope, she tweaks her measurements, compensating for the light reflecting off the paper target. "Dial the MOA to 3.55."

Crack.

It's another miss.

McGarrett doesn't curse, doesn't sigh. He just hunkers further down in the dirt and grass. "Practice makes perfect, Kono."


***

She carries a smooth leather case out into her backyard. Carefully pulling out the scope McGarrett let her borrow, Kono spends time outside practicing taking mil dot measurements, honing her skills. The difference between 1.5 mils and 1.6 could be sixty yards out in the field. In a hostage situation, it could mean life or death.

She shinnies up one of the trees in her yard, concealing herself around layers of palm leaves. The highway is three hundred yards away and identifying make and models of cars is great practice. She climbs a different tree at dawn, in the middle the day, at dusk, studying the various ambient light conditions, keeping her ID and badge on her just in case a nosy neighbor notices her. But they never do and Kono smiles at that in pride.

On her off days, she goes hiking, seeking higher elevation levels overlooking the ocean, studying the passing sailing ships. She measures distance, notes how the sunlight obscures the edges of the masts and hulls, understanding how to compensate for light. She pays attention to wind directions and copies everything down in her notebook.


***

Kono trudges alongside McGarrett through the muddy ground toward their spot on the firing range. It's been three weeks since their last outing and her fingers itch to prove herself.

He kneels in the muck to set up the rifle mount. "It's misty," he says, setting up.

McGarrett guards words like state secrets and Kono searches for the tactical value in them. The air is thick with humidity and Kono contemplates how the recent rain will affect visibility. "I should add .1 mil dots to my readings?"

He arches his eyebrows in a pleasantly surprised expression and Kono snorts. "Dude, I'm a quick study. Figured that when I noticed a trend in my logbook."

"Good." He takes the SR-25, training it across the field, modifying the sight. "You should lower the scope's power to under 10 for anything less than three hundred yards in these light conditions."

Getting onto her elbows and knees, Kono dials down the amplification to the lens; the fuzzy heat wave dissipates, making the paper outline easier to read with the reduced magnification.

"Target detected," she says.

"Copy that, I have the target in sight," McGarrett repeats the familiar mantra.

Kono relays the distance, adjusting her focal lens. The trees are still and the grass barely ruffles from a left to right.

"Wind heading is from southeast, speed approximately five miles per hour. Drop your minute of angle to 2.99."

"Dropping to 2.99."

"Take the shot."

He misses, but the vapor trail skims only a few yards shy of the target this time.

"We need to make follow-through shots," McGarrett says. "In most situations, a target won't move because the ambient noise will mask the gunfire. In a hostage situation, we could get another two or three rounds off."

"Got it."

"If there's a miss, make quick adjustments and give me alternate aiming points. Use the mil dots as windage holds."

"Copy that."

Kono recalculates, feeding McGarrett new instructions.

The bullet goes low.

"Adjust your MOA high by two thirds and fire," she orders.

He misses by six yards.

"Go an eighth lower."

Crack.

Kono blinks into the lens. The bullet struck the left shoulder of the target.

"Good job," Steve says, clearing the chamber. "Let's go for a kill shot now."

Her pulse pounds with an all-too-familiar rush and Kono shifts her legs into a more comfortable position. "I'm ready."

***


On the North Shore, the waves are usually wicked, scaring away most of the tourists, but today, it's calm, and there are too many people hogging the surf. Kono digs her toes into the warm sand, somewhat distracted by the volleyball game a few meters away.

"I didn't expect to find you on dry land," McGarrett says, walking over.

"It's amateur hour and I don't want to teach all the haoles about proper etiquette."

McGarrett makes a non-committal noise, shoving his board into the sand. "I'll be sure to hold this calm weather against Danny for ducking out at the last minute."

He's all smiles, shoulders relaxed, inked arms hanging loosely by his sides, his eyes assessing the environment. It's something Kono wouldn't have noticed three months ago.

"Let me guess. You've already planned how to storm the beach in case of an attack, while deciding which wave to catch?"

He takes a seat next to her, long legs stretched out in front of him. "Can you judge the height of those waves?"

"Of course," Kono says like it's a no-brainer. She doesn't even take off her sunglasses. "Blonde chick with the blue shorts is riding an eight-footer. Dude with the fro is about to wipe out on a six."

"And you know this because you've been living like a fish for most of your life. Planning exit strategies, determining who's a possible threat, figuring out the most advantageous position in case of trouble is hard-wired into me. Developing instincts take time."

Kono nods, but she's impatient. Always has been.

"See that guy on the green short board with the dual fins?" McGarrett quizzes.

"Yeah."

"How far out is he?"

"About three hundred yards," she answers without hesitation.

McGarrett narrows his eyes. "That's about right. Using the waves as a signpost is a good tactic. The environment provides clues. Distance between buildings or any known point. If not, there are easier methods." He leans forward, resting his arms on his knees. "At two hundred yards, facial skin tone and color are clear. Details like beards and eyeglasses are easy to spot. At three hundred, you only notice the outline of the body; skin color is good but the face is blurred. At five –" He stops himself and clears his throat. "As I said, there are tricks you'll learn."

He turns his head, looks at her with the utmost sincerity. "You're going to get it, Kono. It takes time to hone your skills. You can conquer anything you put your mind to."

It's a good thing she had stopped crushing on her coaches, because McGarrett is a good mentor, filling Kono with even more desire to reaffirm all the faith he's placed in her.

And blow his socks off.


***


McGarrett lent her a few books and journals on the study of ballistics, but the true classroom is the firing range.

She practices with an MK-11, the model that's part of Five-0's personal arsenal. It's a thing of beauty, not as exquisite as McGarrett's modified rifle, but it's the one she'll use in the field.

At the end of the day, Kono has less time to devote to theory. Coming out here alone, getting a feel for the weapon, spending time down range helps her see all those abstract principles in action. It all coalesces into familiarity and confidence.

***

A humid afternoon leads to a torrential storm, the downpour soaking her and McGarrett to the bone. They huddle under a large roof, the rain pelting loudly on the aluminum. Kono squeezes water out of her hair and pulls it back into a ponytail.

"Dude, it's zero visibility out here."

McGarrett's hair is plastered to his forehead, his t-shirt dripping with water, but he's grinning like a kid at an amusement park. "I love shooting in the rain."

Kono ignores the virtual waterfall cascading in front of her. "Yeah?"

His smile widens devilishly. "Look at it."

She watches sheets of water splatter the ground, creating instant rivers as the rain bends horizontally. Kono laughs. "I can tell the direction of the wind."

"Direction. Speed." McGarrett starts unzipping the rifle bag to inspect the contents. "I've never allowed anyone on my SEAL team to blame the rain for missing a shot.”

Kono isn't sure if she would have felt sorry for his men or envied them.

"The weather's just another variable to adapt to," he tells her, slipping into his commander tone of voice. "But you do have to consider how it'll affect your gear. Always keep your rifle and ammo dry. If that's not possible then it's better to allow the weapon to get totally wet and compensate by lowering the elevation setting."

"And what about the scope? We should do something to keep the rain from the lens."

"Always use what you've got."

Right. Improvise.

Pulling out her pocketknife, she cuts out a section from her nylon duffel and holds up the roll of duct tape. "I'll make a rain shield for the front and rear of the scope."

McGarrett claps her on the shoulder. "Thinking on your feet is the key to survival."

Kono isn't above accepting praise – it's a nice feeling, especially from the boss – but her goal is about successfully completing the lesson. "If the rain's not a big deal, what do I have to worry about?"

He hefts his rifle bag over his shoulder. "Pay attention to the humidity. The moisture in the air will increase the drag on the bullet as it passes through it. The more moisture, the greater the resistance and the round will impact low on the target."

Rain tears the leaves off the trees, so the wind speed is at twenty-five or twenty-eight miles per hour. Based on the angle of the drops splashing against her face, calculating wind direction is actually easier.

"You ready?" he asks.

Kono thinks she's going to enjoy shooting in the rain, too.

"Oh, yeah."

***

Kono sees the world in yards and inches. She takes corners faster while driving, weaves in and out of traffic with more confidence. It's not putting her foot to the metal to beat the yellow light, not guessing. It's about judging the distance and speed it takes to cross the intersection before it turns red.

During a mid-day pursuit, she guns the engine, outrunning a GTO, and yanks hard on the steering wheel to cut the suspect off. With back-up seconds away, she and Chin secure the suspect for HPD.

"That was some move, cuz," Chin says with a bemused grin.

"It's all about horsepower; dude didn't stand a chance when he lost speed to avoid hitting that BMW caught the intersection. By the time he regained control, I accelerated ahead of him."

Chin snorts as he climbs inside the seat. "You've been hanging out with McGarrett too long."

Kono pulls the seat belt across her chest with a sly smile. "Maybe."


***


Tree branches twist in the wind, bending toward the ground from additional gusts flapping them back in place. Hawai'i may be a tropical paradise but polar jet streams can wreak havoc on the weather and Kono anticipates a killer storm approaching based how much her knee aches. It makes for challenging shooting conditions.

Kono rests her right eye on the scope, correcting her field of range. "Target detected."

"Copy that," McGarrett says, lining up the barrel.

"Distance to target two-hundred and sixty-five yards."

He repeats the distance to her, rotating his elevation knob.

She can make out the shape of the shoulders and the outline of the head, the ovals that make up the torso and skull, the reflection of the white paint. Strands of hair blow across her forehead from right to left, the treetops bouncing.

"Wind heading is from the northeast, speed approximately thirty-five miles per hour. Adjust your minute of angle to 3.11."

"Adjusting to 3.11."

Kono draws a deep breath. "Send it."

His bullet hits center mass.

"Adjust up by 1/6th."

"Adjusting," he says, squeezing the trigger.

Crack.

It's a headshot.

Kono's cheeks grow warm, her chest tightens up, and she breathes through her nose to calm her excitement. Salt-tinged wind whips across her face and she pulls strands of hair away from her ponytail, watching them whip around.

"Wind heading is still the northeast, gusting at forty. Come up to 3.15," she says adjusting for the increased speed. She watches McGarrett re-aim. "Send it."

After three more shots, McGarrett pushes up to his knees, studying the target through his scope, his lips curving into a pleased grin. "Nice grouping."

Kono beams, grin wide as the Grand Canyon, and it takes everything not to whoop out loud. She settles for a calm, professional, "Nice shooting, boss."


***

She bounces on the balls of her feet, waiting for McGarrett to appear in the locker room of the firing lane. After several weeks of varying weather and consistent accuracy down range, they're upping the ante. Not by a hundred yards; no, that's too easy.

Today's distance is five hundred yards, the same range that Special Forces begin practicing their sniper skills. Nothing like setting the bar impossibly high, but Kono wouldn't have it any other way.

McGarrett doesn't so much walk but march inside with his rifle bag slung over his shoulders, a serious expression chiseled into his features, each footstep studious and purposeful. There's an intense air of professionalism about him as he unloads the equipment, carefully scrutinizing each piece before assembling the rifle with precision. Kono halfway expects some admiral to walk in and demand an inspection.

"Everything okay, boss?"

"Everything's good."

Kono licks her lips, eyeing him suspiciously. She's reaching for the scope when McGarrett's hand rests on her wrist, stopping her.

"Wrong one," he says.

Totally confused, Kono looks over at him with a furrowed brow.

McGarrett straightens, picks up the SR-25, and formally presents it. "For today's exercise, I'll be your spotter."

For a second, Kono can't hear anything beyond the blood pumping in her ears, and she swallows past a lump in her throat. Her fingers tingle, an electrical sensation spreading across her palms and up her arms as she accepts the weapon.

Holding the rifle with reverence, goose bumps spread all over her skin. "Thank you."

"You've earned it," he says, holding his head high.

Kono swallows to keep voice steady, realizing the scope of a shared sacrifice of time and dedication, of mutual faith in the other. "I have a good teacher." McGarrett grins, the smile spreading across his face and Kono wants to frame it. "Just you wait. I'm going to give you a run for your money one day."

His eyes swirl with dark greens, his grin contagious. "I can't wait for you to try."

Cradling the rifle, Kono slides her hand under the stock and down the barrel, fueling a familiar, addicting rush. But most of all, she savors the hard-earned trust, knowing one day lives will depend on her skills.

"The weather's kind of nice out. Who knows? Maybe we'll go for six hundred yards today," she challenges.

McGarrett packs up the spotter's scope, his mouth twitching as they walk outside together. "If we hit six, I'll teach you how to disarm a bomb next."

"You're on," she says excitedly, imagining Danny's horrified expression when they tell him.



***

fini-

***

Additional Info


Target Knobs


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Mil-Dot Range Reticle


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(Deleted comment)
kristen999kristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you hon! Not sure about more, this was tough, but I'm glad you enjoyed it :D
Kare: H50 Kono shadeskare on June 27th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
You are a fic-writing fool, girlfriend! Love this glimpse into Kono. You do details so very well!
kristen999: Alex Shoulder Tatkristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:36 pm (UTC)
Hee! Thanks, hon!
Waniwani2011 on June 27th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
Wow!
This is exactly my kind of Steve fic. I've been craving that military technical stuff and you nailed it! It's a side of Steve I wish we would see more on the show. And snipers have always intrigued me. The interaction with Kono as the rookie/next McG was well written: I can totally see them interacting like that on the show.

Again amazing work. I can't believe the amount of research you must do for these fics. Congrats on your dedication :)
kristen999: H Steve Backkristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow!
Season one had a lot of Steve the science guy type things and I wish we'd see more of that and his military side. Not chasing bad guys per-say but showing off his skills. Thank you so much, it means a lot :D
alwaysateenalwaysateen on June 27th, 2012 03:49 am (UTC)
Wow awesome! So much details, it's amazing!

I'm like Kono, I adore seeing this side of Steve, so mysterious and so rare we get a glimpse!
kristen999: H Chin Kono Hugskristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It was fun writing this side of Kono and Steve :D
Danidani_77 on June 27th, 2012 10:29 am (UTC)
What an absolutely amazing fic!

This is exactly the Steve I love and wish to see more of on the show. It's so wonderful that you have Kono asking him to be her teacher, someone who appreciates this side of him despite not being military herself.

And as always, I'm blown away by the amount of research you do before a fic. It's one of the things that sets you apart from others, because you keep things realistic and don't put in stuff just to have more drama.

And it's always a treat to see Steve through Kono's eyes!

Thank you so much for persisting, even though the story kept fighting you, and present us with this treat. :-D
kristen999: H Steve Hikingkristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I always try to do research so I have an understanding of a subject that I'm unfamiliar with. I think Kono and Steve have a great relationship and I wish we could see him teach her more things on the show, because there is no doubt in my mind that there isn't some mentoring going on.
springwoofspringwoof on June 27th, 2012 11:50 am (UTC)

Yay, Kono! I like how it wasn't just about picking up new skills, but about teamwork and trust and commitment--always with the awareness that lives may one day depend on how well she's learned. I also liked Steve's dedication to his mentoring, applying the same intense dedication and focus to teaching Kono that he does to everything else.

kristen999: H Stevekristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! Trust and commitment are the building blocks to mentoring and I wanted to show both Steve and Kono growing a stronger bond as a result.
Vera S.: H50 Steve combatverasteine on June 27th, 2012 12:55 pm (UTC)
This is just perfect. You've really connected to Steve as he is when he's in military mindset, and you use Kono beautifully to show that! I loved the glimpses of Danny, because without spending a long time on it, you highlighted the special place Danny occupies in Steve's life. But you also brought out the aspects of Steve I love; the way he teaches, his unerring focus, his demand for the best... Adore this.
kristen999: H Chin Kono Hugskristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you hon! I love military!Steve and it was refreshing to write his mentoring side as Kono caught glimpses of some of the puzzle pieces that make up her boss. The man is a wealth of skills :D
ms_artisan: Kono Hawaii 5-0ms_artisan on June 27th, 2012 02:10 pm (UTC)
Oh my! Love this so much! We don't often get to see Kono in her own right, with all her smarts and steely determination, but you have it perfectly here. And there's not much I like more than competent Steve with all his skills on display. Fabulous, hon. Love it! :)
kristen999: H Konokristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
It was fun to write the smart, badass Kono from the show. I have no doubts after several years she'll be able to give Steve a ride for his money down range:-P
--♫ Anna--: SEAL Steverocsfan on June 27th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
This is so excellent! I love seeing the military side of McGarrett. He's spent his entire adult life there, and this is a great in-depth exploration. This line is a perfect example:
McGarrett guards words like state secrets and Kono searches for the tactical value in them

The portrayal of Kono is really intriguing! We haven't seen that much of this side of her, but she's totally believable in this story. I enjoyed this so much!
kristen999: H Steve Big Gunkristen999 on June 28th, 2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I always like writing Steve's military side, it's a skill set he applies to every facet of his life. That line is one of my favorites in the story and I'm glad you liked it :D It'd be cool to see the whole team doing one of those giant obstacle courses together :D
giusytrisogiusytriso on June 27th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
WOW! I'm quite impressed and I start wondering if you are a marksman too. LOL j/k ;P

Very nice story.
kristen999: H Steve Lr Gunkristen999 on June 28th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)
Awww. Thanks babe! After writing this I felt like I could teach pople how to be a sniper, too :-P
sealiejimandblair on June 27th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
this just oozes reality. Excellent characterisations of Kono and Steve, they rang so true. I love the mentoring side of Steve.

The amount of research you've obviously conducted is worthwhile and has led to a great story. I guess you'll be researching bombs next -- *g*. I'm aware of the places where I've been on via google recently and between the eurotoxons, USAMRID, air force deployments, pave hawks, trippler and casing the governor of hawaii's residence. I'm glad that I have fic to show the MIB that I'm not a threat.
kristen999: H Steve Uniformkristen999 on June 28th, 2012 11:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you, hon! I've already researched how to make a bomb from teh my SGA days! Hee. I half expected to get a knock at the door when I was researching bobby traps when I wrote "Trust People" :-p Both our Internet research probably has on some watch list somewhere :-p
gwalchmai345: Steve Snipergwalchmai345 on June 27th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
This story is amazing. It's all I could have hoped for and much more. Thank you so much for writing it and persevering even though it gave you so much grief! *hugs*

I love that Kono really gets Steve - who and what he is and why - and truly values what he's giving/offering her and that Steve in turn always takes her seriously, always trusts that she can do it and let's her decide how far she wants to go.

I like that you've given Kono some background here in form of her grandfather. It's perfect and it strengthens the affinity between her and Steve.

I can't even begin to imagine how much research you must have done for this fic! O.o It sounds to me as if you've gone through a sniper course yourself. ;-) I loved all the details in this story.

Some sentences that made me laugh/squee/awwwwww:

It sends a shiver down her spine at seeing his solider side, the predator always lurking beneath those t-shirts and cargo pants.
*thud* Talk about Steve in a nutshell!

Octane fuels her blood, the same untamed rocket fuel in McGarrett's. Neither of them tries to push the envelope – they have to shatter it.
You know, Steve teaching Kono about bombs is a scary thought! :D

Kono wonders if his girlfriend's idea of foreplay is whispering automatic weapons' stats in his ears.
Haha! Priceless!

It's a good thing she had stopped crushing on her coaches, because McGarrett is a good mentor, filling Kono with even more desire to reaffirm all the faith he's placed in her.

And blow his socks off.

*snickers* Still, Kono deserves a medal for not getting a crush on that specific couch. ;-)

McGarrett grins, the smile spreading across his face and Kono wants to frame it.
LOVED that sentence so much!

I also enjoyed how often you managed to sneak Danny in there, and I loved the ending! Poor Danny! :D Now I want to read a sequel where Kono learns how to disarm and build bombs. *g*

On thing's for sure - every time I see Kono with a sniper rifle in the show from now on I will think of this story. :)
kristen999: H Steve Sniper Scopekristen999 on June 28th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I really loved your prompt and it gave me a fun reason to explore how Kono became such an expert sniper :D I always thought she had to be a good shot, but perhaps got some extra training. There is so much more to sniping, the math alone is insane and while I personally don't like weapons, I have mad respect for those who know how to master a shot. and it is a kink of mine

You picked out some of my fav lines. Kono and Steve are both alpha badasses in their own right so I wanted to remain true to their personalities while balancing that peer/mentor ship.

I am so thrilled you enjoyed it hon!! Thank you.

ga_unicorn: h50 mcgarrett crossed armsga_unicorn on June 27th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
\o/ for Kono. I do so love that she likes to be a badass.

I really enjoy the amount of research you obviously put into your stories, and then disperse it without bogging down or sounding preachy.

Very enjoyable read.
kristen999: H Steve Armskristen999 on June 28th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you and thank you for your help!!
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kristen999: H Steve tatskristen999 on June 28th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much sweets! Kono and Steve are such amazing, strong characters and I bet they are very friendly and competitive. It's recipe for a beautiful mentor ship. And I love me some military!Steve.
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kristen999: H S&D Gunskristen999 on June 28th, 2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!!