blue flamingos

Alchemy Hour

Fandom: Hawaii Five-O

Category/Rated: Gen/PG

Year/Length: 2011/2597words

Pairing: Kono Kalakaua (Kono/OFC, pre-Kono/Jenna)

Spoilers:

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Warning:

Summary: alchemy hour: the period of time when a surfer enjoys the best a swell has to offer; or extracts from an interview between Diva magazine and Kono Kalakaua.

Series:

Author's Notes: Written for queer_fest's prompt: Kono's knee injury doesn't end her surfing career; instead, she starts dating women and becomes a lesbian icon on the surfing circuit

Beta:

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

hr

... I've heard, Kono, that your career might have taken a very different turn a couple of years ago. I wondered if you'd mind telling us a little bit about that?

I was lucky...

Kono's riding the best wave of the day, the one that's going to take her skimming into shore and a place on the winners' podium – second, maybe even first. Sun in her eyes, salt water in her hair and on her lips, the crowd a distant roar over the waves and the sea birds, and it's perfect. It's the only place she's ever wanted to be.

She feels the wave fall apart beneath her board in a sick burst of horror, the treacherous catch that she dreads, her board going one way, her body going the other. She makes herself go limp, feels the leash around her ankle snap taut and lets herself be dragged, doesn't fight it even though every instinct is screaming at her to do that.

For a moment, she doesn't know which way is up, her lungs burning with the need to breathe until she blinks, sees sunlight above her and pushes towards it. Her board is floating close enough for her to grab it, pull herself up and drape herself over it, salt water on her tongue, the ring of breathlessness in her ears. From far away she can hear shouting edged with panic, and when she blinks, she can see a lifeguard swimming out to get her.

I came out of it with a sprained knee, lost the whole season, but it could have been a lot worse. I'm lucky I didn't lose my whole career.

Any thoughts on what you would have done instead?

[Kono smiles when I ask that question, and it's not hard to see why legions of lesbian and bisexual women are developing a newfound interest in surfing]

Law enforcement's my family business. I'd probably have ended up a cop.

[Bring on the uniform fantasies, ladies. That's certainly stimulating my imagination.] It doesn't seem like that season off did anything to harm your surfing career?

Coral Prince promotes the hell out of Kono's first season back – her comeback season, they call it, even though she was hardly gone long enough for the name – and Kono makes it worth their while, placing more often than not, even winning a couple of big name competitions. She's living at the house, getting better and more well-known all the time, surrounded by friends who love the water and the waves as much as she does, and it's exactly the life she wanted for herself since she was a kid.

Then Ben leaves, and Kalea comes in to take his place.

Kalea was a rising star the same time as you, wasn't she? By all accounts, there were rumors about the two of you from the start

Kalea was a good friend – she was new to the team and I guess we just hit it off right away. The Coral Prince house is like I always imagined college would be, you know? Lots of young people living together, it wasn't all that weird for people to hook up.

It's Kono's birthday, and the team take her out to a tourist bar, full of people who don't know that they're drinking right next to a bunch of hot-shot up-and-coming surfers. Kono snags the corner of the booth, hooks Kalea's waist and pulls her in next to Kono. "You'll sit with me, right?"

Kalea laughs, throws her arm around Kono's shoulders. She smells of the sea and sun-screen and the coconut shampoo she likes, and Kono doesn't want to let her go. "You're the birthday girl, how can I say no?"

Kono waits for Kalea to take her arm back, but she doesn't, just reaches for the cocktail menu with her free hand. Kono's arm is still around her waist, Kalea warm against her through her tank top. "What are you drinking?" Kalea asks.

Kono already feels drunk with proximity. It's not like she's never fooled around with another girl before, but it's always been exactly that: fooling around. Kalea is different, and not just because they've been friends – best friends – for months and not even kissed. Kalea's not going to be someone Kono fools around with, though whether it's because she's going to stay a friend or because she's going to be something more serious, Kono can't tell. "You choose," she says.

The evening passes in a blur of colourful drinks, loud voices, and a lot of laughing at jokes that Kono's pretty sure no-one outside of the team would find funny.

She's not ashamed to admit that she's pretty drunk by the time Akamu is taking last orders, though not so drunk that she doesn't know what's she's doing. She's still tucked up against Kalea, can smell the fruity cocktails on her breath every time Kalea turns to her, which is all the time, really.

"Kono, what're you drinking?"

Kono waves a heavy hand. "Something pink. I like pink."

"Pink Panties for the birthday girl," Akamu says, and everyone laughs like it's the funniest thing they've heard all night. So maybe Kono's not the only one who's pretty drunk.

"Am I wearing pink panties?" she asks Kalea, her mouth close to Kalea's ear.

"Do you want me to check?" Kalea asks, her smile wicked and bright.

"Maybe later?"

Kalea grins at her for a long moment – so long that Kono's sure she's about to get kissed – but Kalea looks away, calls after Akamu, "I want a Lover's Kiss."

"Kono'll give you one," Akamu shouts back, and Kono's not going to turn down that offer, so she does.

You and Kalea came out together, making you the first openly lesbian surfers on the circuit. What was that like for you?

[Kono's smile dims at the question, and she frowns a little]

It wasn't such a tough decision for us as for some women surfing. We knew Coral Prince would support us, they'd known about us since the beginning and didn't care, but it was still a big decision. I don't know about Kalea, but what decided it for me was one of my cousins, who came out in her senior year at high school. I thought, if she can do it, what kind of message am I sending her by not doing the same thing?

"Are you sure about this?" Kalea asks, her hand warm and tight in Kono's. They're both in their Coral Prince T-shirts and board shorts, bare foot in the North Shore sand, waiting for the journalist to show.

"Yes," Kono says. She's more sure about it than she's been about anything other than surfing in her life – this is who she is, this is who they are, and she's not hiding, not when she's lucky enough that she doesn't have to. "Are you?"

"Yes," Kalea echoes, her dark eyes wide with sincerity. "I love you."

That's the kiss that makes it on the front page of the magazine running the article: Kalea with her head tipped back a little to accommodate their height differences, Kono's hand in Kalea's hair, Kalea's hands on Kono's waist; a kiss that says, "I love you, I'm with you."

I'm not going to lie and say it was always easy. I never regretted it, neither of us did I don't think, but sometimes it was hard.

They take second and third, the first time they compete after coming out, and they're booed. Only by a few people, who are hushed pretty damn quickly, but it happens. Kono feels her smile go frozen and plastic; she keeps her head still as her eyes flicker around the crowd, trying to figure out where the shouts came from.

It's the first time she's felt anything less than safe as a surfer, and when they're alone, Kalea wraps her arms around Kono, both of them shaking. Kono wonders if she should apologize – this was her idea.

"Don't," Kalea says firmly.

There's some hate mail, a blog post trying to rile up people to boycott Coral Prince, but that's the worst of it.

Kono learns to laugh at the blog articles saying they're too hot to be dykes, the people who catcall for them to kiss when they hug after a competition, the letters with the lurid threesome fantasies that somehow sneak through.

They get better letters: from young women who want to compete and say they always thought they'd have to hide; from lesbian parents who've been looking for role models for their daughters; from lesbian women who want to tell them they're hot, and bisexual women who came to competitions with their girlfriends, just to see Kono and Kalea; from queer women who think they're brave, and women who haven't got it figured out yet but like to read about two women who have.

Kono's cousin tells everyone that she's related to Kono, so damn proud it makes Kono's heart ache, and that would make up for almost anything.

That was the season Kalea left surfing? Is that what led to the two of you breaking up?

I don't really talk about the details of our relationship – we always kept it as private as we could, for being so much in the public eye – but yes, that was the season Kalea left surfing, and yes, it was the season she and I broke up. We're still great friends, though – I've just left Hawai'i, and we had a day together at North Shore. Pretty sure she could still beat me.

"I want to go back to school," Kalea says, sitting cross-legged on their bed while Kono searches for her favourite CP vest, and it's not exactly a surprise, she's been talking about it for a while. "I'm not going to surf for the rest of my life, I need something else."

"Your career's hardly over," Kono points out. "You can go to school after."

Kalea reaches for her, tugs her down until her head is resting in Kalea's lap and she's looking at Kalea upside down. God, she's hot. "I don't want to go when I've washed out of competitions, or been forced out with a serious injury."

"You realize I'm going to lord it over you forever about how I'm the big lesbian surf star now, don't you?" Kono says, instead of saying, don't go, stay with me.

"As long as I get to tell everyone I'm banging the hot lesbian surf star," Kalea says, but there's something in her eyes.

"Will you be?" Kono reaches for Kalea's hand and it's cold in her own. "Banging me?"

"I love you," Kalea says, and it's an answer, but it's not the one Kono wants.

If you don't mind me saying, I always thought the two of you made a lovely couple. You're certainly what got me really interested in surfing.

Thanks! Are you learning?

Mostly to fall in at the moment, nothing like you. You got an invitation to Maverick this year – that's got to have been an honor.

[Kono's face lights up when we mention the invitation-only-thirty-people-max competition, one of the toughest there is]

I can't even describe how it felt to get that phone call. I was half-convinced they were kidding, that I'd get out there and they'd be, like, sorry Kalakaua, hope you got a return flight.

It was – my cousin Chin would do a great job of describing it, he's pretty zen and it was this – almost a transcendental experience, even though I seriously thought I might die out there. But the water and me and my board. I can't describe it. [Her face does a pretty good job of filling in where her words can't – Kono looks a mix of peaceful and thrilled, practically bouncing in her chair as she speaks]

So you'd go again next year?

In a heart-beat. I want to hit the top fifteen next year, but that's going to take some work – I placed twenty-second.

It sounds like you could do with getting back on the water instead of sitting here talking to me, so let me ask you just one final question that I'm sure the ladies reading Diva would love to hear an answer to: it's been a year and a half since you broke up with Kalea, are you still single?

[Kono's eyes twinkle and her expression is secretive – there has to be a story here, and I'm just hoping that she'll tell it. Well, and a little disappointed. I'll admit it, I was hoping she might offer to give me a private lesson or two.]

Kono's sure she must be in the wrong place when she walks into the Palace, because neither of the raised voices she can hear is her cousin's. Okay, he said he was working with a haole now, but he also said he was working with Steve McGarrett, and Kono remembers him, just about, as a quiet, controlled person, not someone who'd yell like that.

Then she steps into the office, and okay, not so much arguing as just – like Akamu and Makani, who never agree on anything but are best friends anyway. Chin's leaning on the computer table he's always going on about, watching them with an amused expression matched by the man standing next to him, who she doesn't recognize. There are a couple of women in one of the offices, who look like they might be the only people actually working around there, and a third woman, hovering close to Chin, looking like she's not sure if she should break up McGarrett and his partner or just enjoy the show.

Kono's pretty sure the woman is all the show Kono needs.

"Cousin!" Chin calls, catching sight of her. He hugs her, introduces her to Detectives Williams and Hanamoa, Officer Lani and Lieutenant Rollins. "And this is Agent Kaye, from the CIA," he finishes with, gesturing to the third woman.

She's maybe Kono's age, short hair, glasses, and the nervous smile and wave she gives Kono are the cutest thing Kono's seen in ages. "You must be the surfer cousin Chin's always talking about."

"That'd be me," Kono agrees. "You surf?"

"No, I live in DC." Kaye's eyes flicker to McGarrett. "I mean, I lived in DC, at the moment I sort of live out of a hotel room. It's complicated. I'm not really – my fiancée was a big surfing fan."

Kono doesn't miss the shadow of sadness in her eyes, or the 'was.' "Never really got into it?"

Kaye shakes her head. "She tried her best, but it never took I'm afraid."

She. Now that's interesting. "Maybe I can take another pass," she offers.

"She's a pro – big name on the circuit," Rollins puts in. "Don't suppose she makes that offer to many people."

"Really just the hot ones," Kono says, and Kaye's blushing smile is like the best reward ever.

There's someone. It's new, I don't know where it's going but, yeah – I kind of like her.

I'm sure some of our readers will be sorry to hear that, but I know they'll all wish you the very best for your love life and your surfing. Thanks again, Kono, for taking the time to talk to us, and we'll all be looking out for our favourite lesbian icon at the next surfing competition.

Check out: www.coralprince.com/kono-kalakaua or find Kono on facebook at www.facebook.com/Kono-Kalakaua


Read Comments | Post Comments |

| Home | Email bluflamingo |

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional