Pittsburgh seemed its loveliest at night; the darkness hiding its flaws and the skyline beautifully outlined by all the shining lights. Staring at the view, Andy sipped at the beer in his hand, fiddling with his cell phone in the other. When he'd moved out of the house he'd shared with his wife and into the hotel, he'd asked for a room on the side farthest from the hospital, wanting some reminder that there was more to his life than work. He couldn't remember the last time he'd actually looked at this view, usually crashing into bed immediately, exhausted from the long hours he spent at the hospital.
Resolutely taking a breath, he touched his brother's name on the phone. He wasn't sure if Steve was the wisest person to consult, but he needed advice. He didn't want to talk to Rena, in case that placed her in a difficult situation, and Steve was the next best option, someone who knew the police, someone he could trust.
"Hey, Andy," Steve answered happily.
"Steve. Do you have time to talk?" The tone of his voice was more serious than he'd intended and Steve's voice deepened in response.
"Of course. I'm just moving into my office. What's up?"
"It's about Uncle Mike. He's under suspicion for murder. And I'm afraid I may be in trouble with the cops."
"Hang on, let me get Danny." Andy heard the faint sound of Steve calling for his partner, the sound of a door shutting, and then his repeating what Andy had said. "We're on speaker now, Andy."
Danny had chosen to be a cop, not fallen into it like Steve, which made Andy hesitate.
Steve would probably tell Danny anyway. The two didn't seem to keep any secrets from each other. "You know Uncle Mike has a criminal background."
"Yes, we've both read his record," Steve said calmly, like having an uncle who regularly served jail time was a common occurrence.
Of course they knew all about Uncle Mike. With Five-O's access to databases, they probably knew more about his life than he'd ever think to even ask about Steve's. Andy was grateful that he'd managed to avoid being arrested when he'd worked for Mike. He didn't want his new brother breaking into the juvenile record he deserved to have.
"He loaned me $130,000 for medical school." Someone gave a low whistle, Danny probably. "I paid him back every cent, as soon as I could."
"You didn't want to be beholden to him. I can understand that."
Had Steve always known he'd go to college? Always assumed there would be support from his parents, low-interest loans and a military scholarship? Even though Andy had been the twin who stayed with their biological parents, he thought Steve might have gotten the better end of the deal, being raised in a middle-class lifestyle with a cop for a dad. Andy hadn't even considered college until his teens, when too many close calls scared him into the realization he didn't want to go to jail. It was ironic that Mike had been the one who had made Andy's dream come true, by being a bad role model and also giving him the financial support he'd needed.
"The hospital had a fundraising drive for one of my patients who needed a heart transplant, an Ethiopian kid named Kuol. Mike anonymously donated $130,000."
"Not, of course, that he'd expect you to realize it was him, what with it being the exact same amount as you'd returned to him," Danny noted, his tone decidedly wry.
Andy gave a shaky laugh. Danny put the pieces together easily. He had likely dealt with hundreds of men like his uncle, men who believed manipulation was a valid tactic, to be used with family and friends as well as enemies. "Yeah, he meant for me to realize it. He showed up later on with a knife wound and tried to get me to patch him up without reporting it to the police."
"And did you?" Steve asked, with no hint in his voice that he would judge Andy if he had.
"Rena showed up so it became a moot point." He'd been grateful that his wife's arrival had taken the decision out of his hands. Rena barely knew Mike and wouldn't break her own vows as a police officer to lie for him.
"Hey, I think we should back up for a second," Danny interjected. "Because Uncle Mike's suspected of money laundering, isn't he? Through that car wash he runs? No, don't, just… here's a thing. There's an act called the Patriot Act, which increased the powers of law enforcement officials. It's almost as good as our having full immunity and means. And money laundering has its very own provision in the Patriot Act, because they're trying to crack down on financing of terrorists."
"Mike would never be involved with terrorism." Crime was good and fine, a man had to earn a living any way he could, but Mike was a staunch supporter of America, home of the free, land of the brave and all that jazz. Supporting terrorism would be anathema to him. And maybe those opinions were contradictory, but Andy was sure the combination made sense to Mike.
"Yeah, but you see, what you may absolutely know about Mike versus what a police officer may think, are two vastly different things. Or even what a cop may think he can justify in order to get things like… say wire taps on a convicted criminal's closest relatives."
Andy jerked the phone away from his ear, staring at it for a long moment before realizing his reaction was stupid. They probably didn't have to put a bug into a phone these days, just tap into the phone lines. He had no idea what today's technology allowed. "Okay. Yeah. I needed to talk about my run-in with a detective on the Pittsburgh police." He wasn't revealing any secrets here. The cop already knew what he'd done and was pissed. "This detective came by the hospital and wanted me to rat on my uncle. He threatened to confiscate the donation for Kuol. A heart became available, so I did the surgery, and when the detective returned, I refused to give him any information about Mike."
There was a silence, and Andy could almost Steve and Danny making faces at each other, non-verbally consulting on their response. With the funds for Kuol in question, maybe he should have skipped on the heart, but the young man had struggled too much to be denied his chance to live. Anyone who walked out of Ethiopia shouldn't have to die because Mike was a jerk and some detective was a putz. Andy was a little surprised when Danny spoke first.
"I have to admit, that kind of attitude drove me crazy when I was a cop in Jersey, the way families and communities would close up, protect their own people against the cops, even if their own people had committed some really nasty and vile acts. It made our jobs so much harder. Sometimes it made getting justice for innocent people almost impossible."
Andy flinched, his fist clenching tighter on the beer bottle. What else had he expected? Of course a cop wouldn't approve of his not cooperating with another cop.
"You need to come out here, Andy," Danny continued, and his voice was level, sympathetic, not condemning. "Because I need a beer, maybe a couple of beers, for the conversation where I tell you about my brother, who works as a money launderer for a drug cartel. And you should probably know about Chin and the thing with his uncle too. They're both long stories."
"Mike is family, Andy," Steve added. "He's ohana, no matter what he's done."
And that was all they were going to say, Andy realized. That was all they would risk saying. They understood why he'd protected Mike. The release of tension was like finishing a surgery, when the need to concentrate intensely was gone and his body and mind could relax, all energy gone.
"But before you come out here for a good, long visit, you need to talk to the hospital's attorneys about the detective's threat. Just because you've spent the money doesn't mean he still can't try to prove it was dirty money and get it returned. But since it's too late to stop the surgery, the hospital will be on the hook. They should be warned."
"Okay, I'll talk to the legal department. I've mentioned it to my boss." She'd probably already talked to the attorneys too. She was excellent with administration and covering all the bases.
"Also, considering your poor relationship with your uncle and limited contact in recent years, it sounds like that detective is being a douche. The kind of information he'd be looking for, personal contacts, places he might hide, you wouldn't know these things anyway. Or if you did, the information would be old and nothing a competent detective shouldn't be able to get from his own criminal informants. But – " and Andy could picture Danny waving his finger at the phone – "that doesn't mean he won't try to press an obstruction of justice charge. Anyone who threatens to let a poor kid die to force your cooperation has to be considered potentially unreliable and illogical."
For the first time, Andy grinned, almost hoping Detective Sandefur was listening. He heard a faint noise that might be Steve repressing a snicker.
"So you should probably talk to a personal attorney too, someone who handles criminal matters. It's better to be prepared."
"I'll see if the hospital's attorneys can give me a recommendation," he promised.
"Keep us informed," Steve said. "Let us know if we can help."
"I will." He'd bet that they'd be doing their own research too, though their official powers would be useless in Pittsburgh.
"And get your vacation scheduled," Steve ordered, sounding now like the Lieutenant Commander in the Navy that he was. "Chin and Kono and Mary want to meet you."
"And Gracie," Danny added.
"I will. I want to meet them too."
They said their goodbyes and hung up, Andy feeling a rush of gratitude. He would always wish that he hadn't been separated from Steve, that they had known what growing up as twins was like, but he had to be grateful that they'd finally found each other.
And that Steve would always support his family.
Steve grinned as he clicked off the phone, which earned him a 'you're crazy, how is this amusing?' look from Danny.
"I love to hear you suggest Andy come to Hawaii," Steve said. "I never thought I'd ever hear you say that to anyone." He stood up as he talked, prowling over to Danny, who was sitting in one of the chairs in front of Steve's desk.
"Hawaii is where I live now. As long as you're here, it always will be."
Straddling Danny's lap, Steve clasped both hands on the back of his skull, giving him a rough kiss. "You came here for Gracie."
Danny smiled gently, like Steve was being a silly fool. "Gracie's my daughter. You're going to be my husband."
"And if she leaves?" Steve asked, though he knew he should be beyond the need for such reassurance.
"Hey, I'm not saying that if Stan's company sends him to Timbuktu, I won't be trying to convince you that the Timbuktu government needs a new task force on crime. But it'll be our decision, together. I believe in the vows of marriage."
Steve knew that he did; if it had been up to Danny, he and Rachel would never have divorced. Rachel's lousy priorities, to give up this man out of fear, had been Steve's good luck. "If it came down to that, I bet I could find some contacts in Timbuktu. But even if Stan and Rachel stay here, Gracie'll ultimately leave for college," he added casually.
"So what? No college kid wants their parents hanging around. When that happens, I'll start the guilt trips about how she needs to come visit her old man and her step-Steve regularly, just like my parents pester me to come home to New Jersey. It's the next phase in good parenting. Let the little birds leave the nest and then nag at them to return."
That could only be answered with another kiss, until Danny gave a low moan, his hands sliding down to Steve's ass for a quick grope. "You know what I've said about making me hard in the office. No, no, and no, because we are professionals and not going to be caught having a quickie in the john, no matter how lethally tempting you are." His hands slid to Steve's hips, pushing him away. "I'll get Chin to start researching this murder Uncle Mike is accused of. You call your contacts with the feds and see if they can tell you anything."
With a mock salute, Steve straightened, abandoning Danny's lap. He returned to his desk and picked up the phone, watching Danny's backside with an appreciative eye as he left his office.
All those years, Steve had been isolated from his father and sister, feeling like the Navy was his only family, and now he had a partner and a fiancé, soon to be his husband, a newly discovered brother, as well as Chin, Kono, Gracie, even Kamekona. The feeling of gratitude for his new family was almost overwhelming. He had people that he knew he could always count on, who would support him no matter what.
He swore to himself that he would never let them down.
~ the end ~