There's a tight, restless knot in Danny's chest as he walks toward his car. He doesn't have time to linger, can't let himself get stupid with the unholy fury that's humming beneath his skin. His gun's a conspicuous weight at his hip, his badge pressed snug against his belt, and the registration documents in the glove compartment of his car say the vehicle belongs to the state. There is no Five-0 anymore – he hears the words on a continuous loop – and he needs to get away from the Governor's mansion before someone can act on that information, demand he turn everything over, name him a suspect, bring him in for questioning on Kono's case.
He pulls out his phone – has to call Rachel, try and explain, leave a voice message that distills this mess into something forgivable. But the screen tells him he has email; he glances at the date stamp, the sender, blinks in confusion, looks again. His thumbs, fucking thumbs – he fumbles his first try at opening the message, swears as he gets into the car, jabs at the screen.
It's an audio file, sent from Steve's phone, which makes no sense at all, but okay, all right, he'll listen, things can't get any crazier than they already are.
Kono doesn't expect to see Jenna waiting on the other side of the HPD intake desk, bright-eyed and inquisitive, like the whole experience is vaguely fascinating. The sight of her brings Kono up short, and she grips the plastic bag she's holding in her hand far harder than she needs to.
"Hey," Jenna says, waving an awkward hand before letting it drop, shifting her weight to one hip.
Kono stares – she doesn't know what to focus on; that Jenna's here, or that she's terrifyingly bad at nonchalance. "Hey."
"So, I have my car?" Jenna says, hooking a thumb over her shoulder. "I can give you a ride. Figured you'd need a ride, since they – I mean they probably took your car – did they let you get personal stuff?" She gestures to the bag. "You know, water bottle, CDs, stash of twenties. Not that you'd – why would you – " She laughs nervously. "So, we should go."
Kono wishes her brain would clear, her thoughts quicken, but she's sluggish and bewildered, too aware of the absence of her gun and her badge to think on her feet. There's a livewire part of her brain that wants her to crumple, just for a second – take a moment or two to gather her wits and find her resolve again, but there isn't time, and this isn't the place, and Jenna's here to take her -- "Where are we going?"
Jenna flashes a quick, awkward smile and turns toward the door, holds it open for her. Kono follows.
Jenna has a new car – different, at least, from the rental that Kono knows she's been driving the last few days. Kono climbs into the passenger seat, glances at the parking permit that's peeling on the inside of the windshield, notes the faint smell of old, burned coffee, checks the back seat as if there might be answers there.
"We're going to Sang Min's safe house," Jenna says, easing into traffic, all business. "Danny called – Steve's . . . "
"In custody, I know," Kono says and turns her head, looks out of the window, tries not to remember the bitter, resolute expression on his face when he was booked. "I saw him. They told me why." Enjoyed it, she thinks, childish payback for the hundred times Steve went over HPD's head.
"He didn't do it – "
Kono looks at her sharply. "Of course not."
"Okay, but that's not the point," Jenna offers, heading for the highway. "Check your phone – it's your phone, right? Not HPD issue?"
Kono nods, tries to focus. "It's mine. It's – "
"Steve sent an audio file from the governor's mansion – or rather, someone did, from what I can tell Steve was out before –"
"Tasered, it sounds like. The end of the file – the Governor's talking, there's a buzz –" Jenna rubs her fingers together, as if she can pull the sound out of thin air, " – electrical, we can hear Steve go down. Wo Fat was there."
Kono struggles to parse Jenna's words, to make them add up into anything that makes sense. "Wo Fat was – " She presses the heels of her hands against her forehead. "Wait, wait. Steve was – why was he – "
"Just listen to the call, okay?" Jenna says a little sharply, and Kono appreciates the sting of it for the focus it provides. She roots around in her bag for her phone, ably navigates to the email and the file, closes her eyes and listens.
"Nice of you to stop by," Sang Min drawls, pacing the length of the kitchen as Danny stows groceries. "I was wondering how long you expected me to live on crackers."
"Hey, you don't like it, you can head on out any time," Danny says easily, throwing chocolate in the freezer, stowing milk in the fridge. "You fancy your chances navigating through the rainforest, be my guest. Follow the dirt tracks we drove in on, maybe, and then – oh, that's right, they fork a couple dozen times, circle back. My bad." He smiles blithely. "Course, you probably have the sense of direction it would take to just head out, walk back to the city, but then – " He snaps his fingers. "Wo Fat wants to kill you, and already offed a witness this week. You're just full of great ideas."
Sang Min huffs, and Danny can feel the force of the sulk that's directed at the back of his head. "This isn't what I expected when I came to you for help."
"Yeah?" Danny tosses a bag of coffee beans on the counter. "That's sad, really, truly, a terrible thing. You should take your chances with the DOJ. Get yourself a nice tracking anklet. That'd work out great."
"You're supposed to be using what I know, Detective, not leaving me here to rot."
Danny turns and leans back against the counter, folds his arms across his chest. "I can't do both? I think I can do both."
"Yeah?" Sang Min eyes him carefully, purses his lips and raises one eyebrow. "'Cause things are going so great for you?"
Danny refuses to react. "Meaning?"
"You're here close to midnight, enough food for an army, and I don't see your boyfriend," Sang Min says, smirking a little. "I think you have some trouble yourself."
Danny would tell him where to shove his thoughts, but there's the sound of a car pulling up beside the house, and he draws his gun, releases the safety. "Trouble for me's trouble for you," he offers conversationally. "And I wouldn't start counting on karma." He heads to the front door, glances out into the darkness, pulls back, glances again.
"Danny?" Jenna yells.
"Sweet Jesus," Danny mutters, and unlocks the front door, throws it open. "You wanna just announce a couple more things to the neighborhood?"
Jenna climbs the stairs to the lanai. "What neighborhood?"
She has a point – nothing but rainforest to the horizon in every direction – and Danny puts on the safety, stows his gun, steps aside as she comes in the house. "Hey, babe," he says, as Kono follows her. "You okay?"
Kono throws him a look that would make lesser men burst into flames. "Just peachy," she says, words clipped. "Best day of my life."
Danny sighs, closes the door, locks it for form's sake. "Did they follow procedure? No heavy stuff, no interview, right?"
"Right." Kono folds her arms across her body, taps her foot. "Just took my gun, my badge, my car – "
"We'll get all of that back . . ."
"And what happened with the Governor? What's this?" she asks, pulling her phone from her pocket and gesturing with it. "You wanna explain how I get pulled downtown and this happens?"
Danny pulls in a breath, smoothes his hands through his hair. He knows how to do this; he knows how to be patient. "You think I'm some kind of expert here?" he asks. "That I know what the hell went through Steve's head, or how this all adds up, or what we do now?"
"Well, someone sure as hell has to figure that out," Kono snaps.
"Yeah, all of us," Danny says through gritted teeth. "We're a team, remember that?"
Kono mutters something that's probably profane, although Danny doesn't catch it, or maybe just doesn't know the Hawaiian. She heads to the bathroom, throws Sang Min a filthy look as she passes, and okay, Danny can get behind that.
"Okay," Jenna says, and she's already cross-legged on the floor, laptop on the coffee table, glasses pushed high on her nose. "I can transcribe the recording – it'll take a little time, but a text version of what was said will help."
"Yeah, yeah," Danny agrees, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "And save it someplace – places, plural. Code it, scramble it, whatever it is you do, text and audio, just make sure we have copies in case we lose the originals."
"On it." Jenna chews on her lip while she opens windows, types in rapid-fire commands. "I'll trace the message, get time-stamps on server activity. Maybe there's evidence, time of death that – "
Sang Min pushes away from the wall. "Time of death?"
"The Governor was shot," Danny says. There's no point in being coy. "Killed. By Wo Fat, not that anyone's figured that out but us." An unwelcome memory of Steve in the back of the squad car floats up, and he squashes it down.
Sang Min rolls his jaw side to side. "They take McGarrett in for it?"
"Yeah." Danny presses his lips together, feels around in the pocket of his pants in case there's a stray toothpick lingering, something he can work with his teeth. "He was there. His gun had been discharged."
"His gun?" asks Jenna.
Danny waits for her to say more, but she doesn't. "Metal thing, launches bullets," he clarifies, and wonders if he shouldn't invest in flashcards. Stress does strange things to people.
"The gun registered to him for the task force was entered into evidence at HQ," Jenna points out, fingers poised above the keyboard. "He surrendered it before he ran."
"I wish I could've seen that," Sang Min croons. "McGarrett on the wrong side of the law. Make some popcorn, settle back . . ."
Danny ignores him. "We know he got another gun."
"Of course, but my question is, what evidence suggests the gun is his? He would have worn gloves – standard operating procedure for that kind of op. Was he holding the weapon? Is it actually the gun he got from . . . our source?" Jenna glances at Sang Min and away, and Danny loves her for knowing better than to mention Kamekona's name.
"You tell me," he says, and pulls his phone from his pocket, checks for messages. There's nothing, no one's trying to reach him, and that's wrong in about a hundred different ways.
The bathroom door opens and closes, and Kono heads into the kitchen. "There's no beer in here," she yells a second later, and Danny sighs, stows his phone, heads on over.
"I am not subsidizing spring break for our friend the trafficker out there," he says, hovering in the doorway while Kono roots around in the cupboards. "And all of this is on my dime right now – who exactly do you think I'm turning receipts in to after today?"
Kono blows out a breath, picks up a glass from the drainer by the sink, pulls juice out of the refrigerator. "Sorry." The word sounds mangled, like she's forcing it out.
Danny shakes his head, looks around the room for something to hook this whole surreal experience on, gives up and gestures, arms spread wide. "Okay. Fair enough. Let me have it."
"Have what?" Kono asks.
"Whatever you got backed up, whatever's got you so cranked."
Kono snorts. "Brah, don't even – "
"No, really, get it out. Yell, curse, say what you gotta say, because we have a case to solve, and a buck fifty in favors to solve it with, and the sooner we can get past this," he waves a hand, "the sooner we can actually get to work."
Kono narrows her eyes. "So now I'm holding you up, is that it?" She sets down her glass, shifts her weight as if she's considering what how best to deal a body blow. "Rookie's the problem here, that what you figure?"
Danny holds her gaze. "Not even for a second," he says gently – potentially the wrong move, he thinks, when her expression twists and she looks away, blinking hard. "Hey – "
"You don't get it," she says. "You don't. Do you know what it took to convince my family I should go to the Academy?" It takes Danny a second to realize it's not a non sequitur. "Do you know how many generations – Kalakauas, Kellys, Kyungs, Itos – tried to talk me out of it? Told me I would turn out like my cousin, or that I'd bring shame on my family?"
"I don't – "
"They'll have heard already," she says, looking at him. "News like this travels fast. And what do I tell them? Can't jeopardize Steve, can't begin to tell them the truth, and who even knows what the truth is right now?"
Danny scratches at his jaw with a thumb, takes a second to gather his thoughts. "I wish I knew what to tell you," he says at last, and his whole chest is just a mess, pressure and twisting, restless aches. "I do – I wish I knew about a hundred times more than I do, and had evidence, and a roadmap, and that someone could explain to me why the fuck McGarrett was driving that piece of shit Marquis around town, because that's inconspicuous, am I right? Saw that thing parked a block from the mansion, wanted to punch myself in the face."
Kono laughs weakly, and rubs a hand beneath her nose. "We'll figure it out."
"Steve?" Danny pulls a face for her benefit. "I think – just a hunch – that's asking too much of the universe, figuring out McGarrett."
Someone clears their throat behind him, and Danny turns, sees Chin standing in the doorway, papers in his hand. "Can't speak to that, but I can help out with the rest," he says, and Danny's so glad to see him he actually feels weak at the knees.
"You did it," he manages, hazy with relief.
Chin nods. "Nice job at the crime scene, brah. If I didn't know you better I'd think you hated me, too." He nods toward the living room. "We need to talk."
Danny lets Kono go first, follows, eyes Sang Min warily before he crosses to the window, peers out into the darkness. "No tail?"
"I was careful."
Danny turns back around. "Course. Sorry – I just – "
"He misses his boyfriend," Sang Min drawls, and everyone looks at him for a second or two, then turns their attention away with a force that's a sweet, fuck-you salve to everyplace Danny's feeling raw.
"So – they're holding him in solitary," Chin offers. "He still hasn't been charged, but he's invoked his right to counsel, isn't saying a thing."
Kono frowns, looks confused. "No charges?"
"Not yet," Chin says. "There's stuff that doesn't add up. I'm guessing there's a hell of a fight going on in the prosecutor's office. No one wants to be the guy who lets a killer walk, you know? And no one wants to get this wrong."
"No shit," Danny says, pacing, scrubbing a hand across his face. "You got specifics?"
"His prints were on the handle of the gun, but he was wearing gloves," Chin offers. "The prints were crisp. With the gloves, holstering, pulling out his gun, the fall – we should have seen smudges, partial prints, not crisp prints with full integrity."
"Huh," Danny says. "Okay, what else?"
"SIS report will take time, but word of mouth is the angle of the bullets is wrong for Steve's height."
"How so?" Kono asks.
Chin sets his jaw for a second – a familiar tell, Danny thinks, a glimpse of everything he wishes he didn't have to say. "Two gunshot wounds to the chest, through and through. Bullets went into the wall, but the Governor was found in her chair – she had to have been standing." He wets his lips. "Angle they hit the wall – Steve would have to have been shooting with his gun lowered, his elbow pulled back against his body, it's –"
"He wouldn't," Jenna interrupts. "The way he handles weapons, it's ingrained. You don't alter your position, not in a volatile situation."
"Besides, we heard him fall," Kono puts in. "There are no shots on the audio file, just that buzzing . . ."
"Right." Chin rubs his forehead. "He has taser marks."
"Shit," Danny sighs. "And the dumb fuck probably hasn't even asked for Tylenol."
Jenna quirks a rueful little smile, turns her attention back to Chin. "Tasered where?"
"Left side of his neck. And he was disoriented when I entered the room."
Jenna shakes her head. "The neck isn't the prime spot for stunning," she says, expression thoughtful. "It means he didn't want him out for too long. More than five seconds, below the rib cage, at the hip, the shoulder would have been optimal for lengthy disorientation."
"How did HPD even know to show up?" Kono asks, shifting to her knees, leaning on the coffee table.
Sang Min laughs softly. "You heard of the phone?" He makes a 'call me' motion with his hand. Kono flips him off.
"If there's a tip – " Jenna begins.
"Old school, taken down with paper and pencil," Chin says. "They called the main desk, and HPD doesn't record every incoming call."
"But there was a tip," Danny says.
"Gunshots fired," Chin nods. "Her security was still out cold when we got there, and no alarms had been tripped."
"So Wo Fat made the call just in time for you guys to get there as Steve was coming round," Kono says. "Might not have even shot her when he placed the call."
"Was there gunshot residue on Steve's hands, his sleeves?" Jenna asks.
Chin shakes his head. "Too soon to know. Why?"
Jenna chews on her lip for a second. "This was all about timing. Get in before Steve could act on anything that was said, get out just as HPD was coming in. The tasering, the fact that we heard Steve drop, the tip – I'm guessing Steve never fired his weapon, and unless Wo Fat was in Steve's house, doctoring laundry – "
"His sleeve'll be clean," Kono finishes. "Which will tie the prosecutors in knots."
"You said Wo Fat isn't sloppy," Chin says to Jenna. "Vindictive, yeah? But he always walks away clean. This isn't clean. The taser marks – he had to know we'd see them, raise suspicions."
"But no one saw it happen," Danny says. "No one has to figure it happened right then and there."
"And disorientation could be explained as any number of mental states," Jenna puts in. "No – I think it's more . . . " Her smile is apologetic, wry. "I think he thought he'd taken care of all eventualities, and that in the rush to convict, no one would ask what we're asking."
Chin shakes his head, eyes narrowed. "Eventualities?"
"I changed the manifest on two flights – anyone looking at passenger logs would assume I'm now somewhere in New Mexico," Jenna says, flushing a little. "It was a generalized precaution, but he has no reason to presume I'm on the island. That's one down." She gestures at Kono. "Internal Affairs gets a tip today that you were involved in raiding the asset forfeiture locker, pull you in for questioning just as Steve goes underground." She nods at Chin. "You get offered your old position at HPD, and have to prove yourself when you're called out on a job that turns out . . . "
"He was breaking up the team," Danny says quietly, two steps ahead of where Jenna's going. "Shit."
"You dumb fucks," Sang Min says forcefully. "I said Wo Fat is coming, didn't I tell you?" He looks almost disgusted. "And you didn't think –"
"Shut up," Danny says, stomach twisting.
"I told you," Sang Min says again.
Danny shakes his head, paces, agitated. "I should've been there," he says. "I should've pulled Steve back in, that's my job," he mutters, and his pulse hammers wildly, his thoughts skittering to the plane he didn't get on, shying away at the last possible second. "Shit," he says weakly; a cold sweat breaks out over his skin.
"Okay, but this doesn't add up," Kono says, brow furrowed. "If he wanted the team broken up, he would've hit Danny, too."
Danny barely hears her, pulls out his phone and checks the screen. It's too soon for Rachel and Grace to have landed, but he hopes against hope anyway for a voicemail, a text message, something. Grace's face looks back at him, and anger joins the slick mess of grief that's begun to pool in his gut.
"Brah?" Chin asks gently.
Danny blows out a breath, then another. He has to tell them; he should have told them before, but – "I've, uh – me and Rachel we've . . ." God, he's so fucking stupid to have ever thought he could have this again, to think life ever works out this neatly. He should have stopped himself, he should have thought this through, but he can still feel the bitter sting of it, the loneliness, the want, the basic greed for affection, touch, only now it's a sick joke, a fucking betrayal, an Achilles heel for Wo Fat to exploit. He swallows and forces himself to focus. "She was going to leave Stan. We were trying again. We'd started . . ."
"Danny?" Jenna murmurs.
"She called me, yesterday, asked me to meet her at Sand Island. She – " The baby. There isn't likely to be a baby. He grits his teeth and covers his eyes with one hand, tries to get everything under control. "Told me she was pregnant. Wanted to tell Stan and leave right away." He shakes his head and opens his eyes so he can check his phone again, still silent, still empty. "They left tonight. I was supposed to go with them – but then Steve . . . "
"You were going with them?" Kono asks, and her eyes are wide.
"I was going to get them settled, I was going to come back and – " He walks to the window just for somewhere to be, rubs the heel of his hand across his stomach as if that can soothe what hurts behind his ribs. "She said she had to leave right away. Today. Tonight. I didn't – it seemed strange, but I figured, okay, what do I know, she – "
"Oh, Danny," Kono whispers.
"We don't know anything, yet," Chin offers quietly. "Maybe it isn't – "
"And see, the thing is, the only thing that makes this make sense," Danny says, the words just tumbling out of him now, he has to get this out, "is if he threatened Grace. Rachel's not that cruel, she's not . . . he couldn't have paid her to do this, she had to . . ." He pushes his hands through his hair, feels himself an inch from losing it. "He threatened my daughter, he threatened Grace, that's the only – "
"So gullible – " Sang Min says, sounding pleased, sounding like this is the best story he's ever heard.
Danny doesn't process lunging for him, only grasps that Chin's in his way, bodily stopping him from sinking his fist into Sang Min's gut, and that's bullshit – if anyone, ever, deserved to get hit, it's this guy, this guy who would laugh at him, laugh at this when he's a goddamn father, this guy who thinks this is funny. "Easy," Chin says, and Kono's whisking Sang Min away, probably locking him in some bedroom like Danny should have done in the first place. "Easy, brah, come on."
And just that quickly the fight goes out of him and he's ashamed, sickened, and it's all too fucking much, all his hopes, his stupidity, Steve locked up, locked down inside himself, and he pulls out of Chin's hold, turns to the front door, throws the lock back and heads outside.
"Everything okay?" Jenna asks when Kono makes it back.
"Chair and a broom. He's staying put," she says, sitting down on the floor and pushing her hair back from her face. She can hear Chin's voice, low and steady outside. "Them?"
Jenna purses her lips, shakes her head. "I don't know. Chin went after him. He's still here, that's something, right?"
"He wouldn't leave." The ache that's been in her gut all day is worse now. She wants to be angry, to tell Danny this is what you get for running around behind someone's back, but she can't. His stupid heart's been spilling feelings right and left since she met him; she can only imagine how badly he wanted a little of that returned, how easy it would have been to give into the hope that someone he'd loved could come back to him. "He just needs – "
"Yeah." Jenna pushes her glasses up her nose a little, wets her lips. "I know." She catches Kono's eye. "It's probably – I don't want to presume to . . . it feels a little wrong. But I think we should keep going. Rather than just wait until – "
"No, you're right." Kono rubs the palms of her hands against her jeans, focuses on the laptop. "We need – I don't know."
"A place to start."
"A timeline or something."
"For today?" Jenna pulls up a blank document, changes the default font. Kono doesn't even ask why.
"This whole thing. Steve's mom, his dad, the Yakuza, the governor. The confession Steve recorded won't stand, we need – "
"Evidence." Jenna nods earnestly. "And we won't know where to look unless we can figure out how everything connects. Okay, this is good, this is good." She types, and Kono can see her get steadier.
"For instance," Kono says, shifting to get more comfortable. "Back to the beginning, right? If the car bomb that killed Steve's mom was meant for Steve's dad, if the Yakuza wanted him out of the way, why was he never taken out? Eighteen years between the car bomb and his murder – that doesn't make sense."
Jenna's fingers fly. 1992, 2010: notes take shape on the screen. "And what was the Governor doing then," she asks. "I mean – eighteen years ago, she wasn't the Governor. How did she get mixed up with the Yakuza to begin with?"
"She said she knew Steve's dad," Kono offers, and Jenna adds that, pulls up an arrow from some clip-art file or another, links things together. "Told Steve his dad's death was personal for her, too."
"But if she knew him back then, how did he not know she was tied up with the Yakuza?" Jenna asks. "How did she stay tied up in that if Steve's dad knew all along?"
Kono looks up as Danny's voice grows louder outside, as Chin says something firm, voice raised, right back. "I – "
"I mean, there are the kids. Jack sent them away, right?" More arrows.
"Boarding school," Kono offers, forcing herself to pay attention, to do what she can right here – the rest is out of her control. "Both of them. Steve had two years before Annapolis."
"For which he would have needed a nominating letter – we should check on that. Hawaiian delegation, VP . . ." Jenna pulls up a sticky note, types in a reminder to herself.
"You think there's something there?"
Jenna shrugs. "Can't hurt to find out. Could be some connection, to his dad, to the Governor."
Kono watches Jenna's hands, the swift motion of her fingertips, the glint of the watchface at her wrist. "It feels like something's missing, something about what went down back then." Jenna pauses, watches her. "It makes no sense for the Yakuza to leave him alone if he knew what they were up to. Even if they didn't know he had hard evidence, he could drop a tip, whisper something to the right people."
Jenna nods slowly, chews on her bottom lip. "Okay, two possibilities," she says at last.
Kono tilts her head, waits.
"Either Jack McGarrett was dirty, sold out to the Yakuza to keep his kids safe, or someone else negotiated for his safety."
"Jameson?" Kono asks. She balls her hands into fists, relaxes them to still the restlessness she feels.
Jenna bolds an item on her list of observations. "That's the number one thing we have to figure out."
Once Chin's talked him down a little, pointed out there's another six, seven hours before he can hope to talk to Rachel, reminded him he has friends in Newark, cop friends who can look out for his little girl, Danny manages to pull some air back into his lungs.
"We can go back inside," Chin says, and he sounds so fucking reasonable Danny wants to yell again, to shout obscenities, but the quiet force of Chin's understanding isn't something he can duck out from beneath, and he nods, forces himself to clear out a little headspace. He lets Chin steer him back into the house, listens while Kono tells them what they've got. They're good questions, all of them, a place to start even if they don't have a single answer yet.
"We gotta – " Danny shakes his head, closes his eyes for just a moment, finds that cool, calm, collected space inside him that he goes to when the vic wants answers, or the parents need to talk, or some scumsucking asshole is just so morally deranged that he can't wrap his head around it. "First things first. I gotta talk to him."
Jenna squints at him. "Who?"
Chin answers, standing to follow him without Danny asking. "Sang Min," he says.
The chair and the broom wouldn't do much in a real emergency, but Danny appreciates that Kono wanted to make a point. He moves them patiently, opens the door, lifts his chin at Sang Min like this is their high school reunion, like Sang Min's Mickey Donaldson and they're still sore about some girl. "So here's what I'm gonna need," Danny says, and he smoothes his tie against his shirt. "Some answers. That's all. Nothing fancy. A little straight talk, you think you can do that?"
Sang Min sneers at him from the other side of the room, leaning against the window like a teenager hiding a smoke. "I told you everything already. I'm thinking you just want an excuse, huh? Another shot?"
Danny sits in the stupid wicker chair that's angled in the corner of the room, cultivates the quiet, dangerous rhythm of his breathing.
"Last summer. What changed with Wo Fat?" asks Chin.
Sang Min huffs, looks off into the darkness outside. "I don't know. His hair? He get his eyebrows waxed? You tell me."
"No, no, see – " Danny leans forward, elbows on his knees, points a finger in case Sang Min thinks he's talking just to hear his own voice. "Something had the Governor decide to create Five-0. Something had her keep McGarrett here when he could have headed back out into the great unknown, hunting down guys with grenades in their shorts up mountains in Nepal, whatever it was he did. Believe me, knowing what we do now? That would have made sense, but she didn't do it – she kept him close. Something changed."
Sang Min watches him, expression wary. "And what does this have to do with me?"
Danny spreads his hands. "Only that she was up to her neck in Yakuza connections by her own admission. Only that she was Wo Fat's ally this whole time."
"What? You're crazy." Sang Min glances at Chin, back at Danny. "You think the Governor was in his pocket." He laughs, the sound dry, mocking.
"We don't think," Chin says, stepping closer. "We know. So answer our question." He smiles, and there's no warmth in it. "Or I can put you in a car right now if you like, drive you down to HPD. There are all kinds of people who'd like to hear from you. Some of them are even cops."
Sang Min grimaces, clenches his jaw. "I don't know anything about the Governor," he says bitterly.
"Last summer," Danny repeats. "What changed."
Sang Min looks back outside, shakes his head. "I don't know. Best I can remember – there were vibrations."
"Vibrations?" Chin repeats.
"When he's angry, you hear about it," Sang Min offers, moving his head, a cocksure little gesture. "You notice – people go missing. More guns come in. Favors asked, you know? But when he's gonna strike it gets quiet, tense. Someone pisses him off real bad, you can feel the pause, you wait for the hit." He shrugs. "It got quiet last July. It got real, real quiet."
Danny glances at Chin. Still too many possibilities. Maybe Jack McGarrett was getting close – if he was investigating, if the recording Danny can recite in his sleep was new, not old, like there's anyone, anywhere who can figure out the difference between a new message on old tape and an old message collecting dust for years. Maybe the Governor did something, maybe something went bad, some agreement went wrong. He rubs his forehead as if it can make the pieces fit.
"After that I get Hesse into the country, just like I'm asked, head down, seeing nothing, saying nothing. Next thing I know, some ex-cop gets killed," Sang Min says, "but I got better to things to worry about, you know? I got a shipping container to unload, a business to run, and I don't know shit until McGarrett shows up – "
"Yeah, yeah, I was there," Danny says. None of this helps them.
"And you're telling us you had no idea, none at all, about the Governor," Chin asks.
"Unless she got a grandma in China who wants to come here without papers, I got nothing," Sang Min says.
Danny sighs. "We probably shouldn't rule it out."
When Kono wakes it's still early, morning sky gray with the first hint of dawn. She eases herself up until she's sitting, raises her arms to stretch out her back, tilts her head one way, then the other, feels her muscles protest, then ease. In the corner, Danny's sprawled awkwardly in an easy chair; on the coffee table Jenna's laptop blinks; at least one of them had sense enough to sleep in a bed. Kono stands, moves away from the couch as quietly as she's able – there's a light on in the kitchen, Chin patiently spreading peanut butter on bread.
"You sleep at all?" she asks him, combing through her hair with her fingers, smoothing out tangles.
"Some," he says softly. "Sandwich?"
"We got jelly?"
"Strawberry," he smiles. "Only the best."
She grins at him, and goes to the refrigerator for juice.
They eat at the table beneath the window, and the silence is comfortable, familiar. There's history here, solid and certain between them – other slow mornings, the surf just right, peanut butter enough to hold them until after they caught their first waves.
"We should take out the boards after all of this is over," she says, pulling the crusts from her bread.
"Been a while," Chin offers ruefully. "I'm not so steady as I was."
She laughs softly. "Cuz, c'mon. Like there was ever a time I didn't surf circles around you."
"Hey now," he says, and raises an eyebrow. "You were in diapers once."
She laughs at his words the way she's meant to, the way that speaks of family and things that sustain. "You'll be okay today?"
"I'll be okay," he nods. When she waits him out his mouth quirks, amused. "You think HPD can be any rougher than family?"
"Okay," she concedes, and that pains her, to think of him swapping one trial by fire for another. "Point."
"You planning on talking to your mom?"
Kono stares at the half-sandwich in her hands, mind blank for a second. "I don't . . . " She looks up at him. "What would I even say?"
Chin's expression is sympathetic. "Just let her know you're okay."
Kono sighs, leans her head on one hand. "She won't let it go."
"I know. But – "
"She'll have her own questions, and questions from Auntie Mehi, and questions from Uncle Akela, and – "
"Hey," Chin says gently. "You think there'll be fewer questions if you don't call her?"
Kono takes a bite of her sandwich, chews methodically. "No."
"Exactly." Chin waits a second before he picks up his plate, sets everything quietly in the sink. "I'll be back tonight. Don't know what time. Depends on – " he smiles ruefully. "Everything."
"Be good, cuz."
Chin quirks an eyebrow, and his smile is more genuine now. "Now there's a challenge," he offers, squeezes her shoulder as he passes, and heads on out.
Danny thinks it's faintly embarrassing that it isn't the roar of Chin's bike that wakes him – Chin's long gone before he surfaces, sluggish and cramped from where he passed out in the chair – but the soft lilt of Kono's and Jenna's voices as they murmur to one another in the kitchen. Danny stays right where he is for a long moment, letting himself adjust to the fact that no, it's not a dream, and yes, today is going to suck, and no, Steve isn't about to walk through the door with his name cleared unless they do something about it. When he leans forward it feels like his whole body creaks; when he stands his bad knee protests the movement and he shakes his head at it because that's just the kind of day this is going to be.
He stretches his leg, heads out to the lanai, lets the kinks in his spine and his shoulders unhitch. His phone's in his pocket, and when he checks the screen there are still no messages, though the time display says Rachel should have landed at Newark by now. "Fuck," he whispers, guts twisting again – he's exhausted with anger, a hint of fear. He scrolls to his contacts, hits Rachel's name, waits for the call to connect.
She picks up on the second ring. "Daniel."
And he doesn't know what to say, doesn't know how to get past the dozen questions sitting at the back of his throat, can't imagine how to say hello. He clears his throat, backs up so that he's leaning against the house, slides so that he's sitting on the decking. Only then can he offer a rough, awkward, "Rachel."
He can hear her sharp exhale, and there's a pause before she says anything else. "Is everything all right?"
And that, right there, is all the evidence he needs – the worry in her voice, the sharp lift at the end of the sentence, the fact that she's not yelling at him for leaving them stranded, forced to fly back to New Jersey alone. He grits his teeth, because this thing hurts like it's razor wire, unraveling inside him, and it's a minute before he can say, "No. No, but then you probably had an idea."
Her breathing is unsteady, and he knows that soft, unhappy precursor to tears. "Danny, I – I don't know how to explain . . ."
Danny screws his face up tight. "Did Wo Fat threaten Grace?" he asks.
There's a long, fraught pause before Rachel says, "Yes." She sounds defiant.
"And what would you have had me do, Daniel? Don't even think of telling me I should have told you, you were in just as much danger as I was, as she was, do you imagine I'd have acquiesced if there was the slightest chance that . . ."
"Hey, hey." He gets it, he does, and he can't stand to think of what she's been carrying, even as he's so angry he's shaking with it. He'll vent his spleen at someone else, preferably Wo Fat, preferably with a gun in his hand.
"I'm so sorry," she says. "I wish – " She seems to run out of words.
Danny scrubs a hand over his face, like it might wake him up, like it might give him focus. "It was all just – it was because of him, then? Everything." Now the questions come; now he has so many it's a wonder he can wait long enough to let her answer.
"You mean our – the two of us . . ."
A pause. "I would never have . . . I didn't want . . . ." A small noise of frustration. "I had to consider what would hurt you least, and I thought, perhaps, in the end this would be forgivable, rather than the alternative, which – "
"It's not even a question."
"I didn't have to pretend to care, Daniel." She's crying now – quiet, tense, and he remembers this, too, how much she hated crying when she had things to say, how much she battled against it, standing in their tiny kitchen back in Jersey, a spit cloth on her shoulder, Grace finally quieting in Danny's arms. "I didn't – I don't want my life with Stan to end, but the choice was impossible, and I never had to pretend to care, do you understand? It was – it wasn't real, but it was, and I . . ."
It almost hurts worse than before, to hear her try and reassure him, to do what she can to get between him and the vicious revision he has to do of everything that's happened in the past few weeks. Unbidden, the memory of waking with her in his arms rises up, the warm, familiar ease of it, the relief that he'd felt to be steady again, centered through her, and Danny grits his teeth, closes his eyes, forces the feeling away. He clears his throat. "You're, uh . . . you're not pregnant, I take it."
"No." A too-tight silence. "He called; he . . . I don't know what happened, exactly, only that he wanted you gone, and he asked me to make it happen. I couldn't imagine anything else that would make you leave."
Danny laughs softly, mirthlessly – that's the gods' honest truth, and how did that happen? When did that happen? "Look. I, uh – I called Jeff and Ryan at the precinct," he manages, forcing himself to think of logistics, of things that don't hurt. "There's probably a car outside already, and they're setting up shifts – only people I knew, people we trust, okay? They're going everywhere with you, and I mean everywhere, Rachel. Until we get this figured out, until this is over, you don't go to the front stoop without one of them, you understand?"
"I looked online," Rachel says carefully. "I saw the news reports about the Governor." She pauses. "Can this be fixed?"
"I don't know," Danny says, and elbow on his knee, rests his forehead against his hand, stays on the line.
They reach the Kapolei branch library just before 9am, and Jenna cross-references the time on the car's dash, her iPhone, and her watch before she turns off the engine. "So, I've uploaded our schedule to your phone," she says, gesturing vaguely toward Kono's lap.
"Schedule?" Kono asks. "We have a schedule?"
"We don't want to alert anyone to our interest in the Governor's past," Jenna replies. "I've spread our searches across fifteen libraries, organized by reference to the resources they have – microfilm; hard copies of documents; genealogy collections; public records – and provided specifics about our search objectives at each point. Your phone will vibrate when our time's up – it's better if we don't always arrive and leave together, so I've suggested alternate rendezvous points if one or the other of us is scheduled to leave first."
Kono stares at her. "And this is all on my phone?"
"Yes. I had to download a couple of apps, but I can promise there are no security issues."
Kono would laugh if this weren't exactly the sort of thinking they need, someone who can organize and sort and predict the most useful points of entry into a mass of information. "Sure you don't want us to go to Kauai too?" she asks lightly.
"I did consider it," and of course Jenna's as earnest about this as the rest. "But the time lost in traveling between islands is too great, plus there's greater visibility when our modes of transportation are limited. Depending on what we find today we may need to go to the university archives, but I'm hoping we can avoid that – too obvious; too easy a place to look."
Kono smiles and nods. "Okay, okay." She pulls her phone out of her pocket, turns it on, finds her schedule. "I see we're going in here together," she says, turning her head to grin at Jenna.
Jenna flushes, looks startled, then smoothes out her expression and nods with a little smile. "Yes. I'll use the public computers while you check the microfilm." She reaches for the car door handle. "Do you happen to have Dramamine with you?"
Kono tries to figure out the connection to anything they've been talking about. "Dramamine?"
"Motion sickness. The roll of the – " Jenna shakes her head. "Never mind. Just look away from the machine when you're scrolling through several days at a time."
"Look away," Kono repeats, and opens her own door. "Got it." It's a little unsettling to consider it's the least outlandish thing she's had to grasp of late.
HPD is not where Danny wants to be – not now, not tomorrow, not ever, all things considered – but he doesn't have much of a choice. It's Wednesday, and visitation to Halawa is only on weekends, and maximum security prisoners don't get a whole lot of perks. His badge is useless – he can't say, outright, that he's working a case, even if it's true – so it's down to this, to walking in through the front door like he still works here, nodding a greeting at Detective Sato over in the pen, ambling up to the front desk. He doesn't know the officer working there, but he can read his nametag – Philip Yun. "Morning."
"Detective Williams," Yun says, and he seems a little bored for all that he knows Danny by name. "Here to turn yourself in?"
Danny tilts his head, and for a second entertains the wild notion of running for the door. He shoves his hands in his pockets instead. "I don't follow."
"You're a person of interest in the murder of Governor Jameson," Yun says, picking up the phone, dialing an extension. "Yeah, I got Williams at the front desk," he says to whomever picks up. "Yep. No." He nods his head. "Okay." He sets the receiver down. "They'll be right down."
"Who?" Danny asks.
"Kelly and Douglas," Yun says. "You want to give me your gun now, or once they get here?"
"There is a thing called procedure, my friend," Danny says evenly. "Nowhere in that procedure do I give up my gun to some rookie cop sitting at the front desk, playing solitaire so that he looks like he's busy, am I right?"
Yun's nostrils flare. "Sir," he says, the word dripping with contempt.
Danny laughs, the whole situation is so absurd. "You get back to that game now. Remember the aces go at the top."
Yun visibly clenches his jaw, but Danny's going to glory in this a little, the fact that he's still officially a detective, that he still outranks this guy, that his badge isn't yet completely worthless.
"Williams," says a voice from the stairs above the front desk.
Danny looks up, sees Chin, narrows his eyes as if this whole charade is real, as if they're estranged. "Kelly," he says, like the word tastes bad.
"That's Lieutenant Kelly to you," Chin says, expression flat and cold as he walks the last flight of stairs, and Danny makes a show of rolling his eyes, muttering something uncomplimentary under his breath.
"Whatever. I hear you got questions."
"With me," Kelly says, and opens up the swing-gate to the bullpen, waits as if it's straining his patience for Danny to follow, and when Danny does Chin lets the gate snap back behind them, brushes past Danny with a little too much force, leads the way back to the interrogation rooms.
The process is different on this side of things, for all that the steps are the same. Danny checks his gun, signs a different box than the one he usually would, follows Chin and sits at the table facing the two-way mirror – he's not going to let himself be cowed. "So," he says, keeping his posture open, deliberately provocative. "How's it going, the whole dumping on your friends, sucking up to authority thing?"
Chin throws the folder he's holding down on the desk, crosses the room to lean against the far wall. He folds his arms, says nothing, stares Danny down.
"Ahh, the silent treatment. 'Cause that's brand new to me, me having not been a cop for a dozen years . . ."
The door opens and in stalks Douglas, 200lbs of attitude in a lemon-yellow polo shirt. "Williams," he says, smiling pleasantly.
"Save it," Danny huffs, gesturing as if to say to whomever's behind the glass, can you believe this guy?
Douglas shrugs, flips open the folder Chin threw down, spreads out the crime scene photos inside.
Danny doesn't have to fake his reaction – whomever Jameson turned out to be, whatever her connection to this whole fucked up mess, she had their backs more times than he cares to count, and there are few people he wants to see sitting in a pool of their own blood. He reaches out, glances up at Douglas, who nods, and only then spins the photos around with his fingertips. "Shit," he breathes.
"Where were you last night?" Douglas asks.
The question's actually painful, it's so amateur. "You have ten, twelve uniforms who saw me show up as McGarrett got pulled out of the mansion," he says. "Lieutenant Kelly over there can no doubt describe me trotting across the lawn while he was dragging our colleague around like a bargain sack of dog chow."
"And before that?" Douglas asks.
Danny squints at him, because seriously, what the fuck angle is this guy playing. "Stop fucking around," he says. "You got GPS on my car like every other vehicle in the fleet – if you don't know by now that I was circling the island, checking every place I could think McGarrett might have gone to ground, then you're an even worse cop than Kelly."
Chin pushes away from the wall at that, stalks over. "Nothing says you were in that car the whole time."
Danny looks over at him with a show of impatience. "Have I ever shown a preference for walking places when I could be letting McGarrett drive my car?" he asks, enunciating his words as if Chin's a little slow. "Is there anything about me that makes you think I'd just let him loose, especially when the greater Oahu population was . . ." He blows out a breath, settles back in his chair, crosses his arms, calculates Douglas will take it as defensiveness, that he'll finish the sentence with 'at risk.'
"How would you describe Steve McGarrett's frame of mind yesterday morning?" Douglas asks.
Danny chews on his lip for a moment, stares at a spot on the wall where the light reflects off the paint. "I tell you what," he says, at last. "You let me see my partner, and I won't bat an eyelid at the fact that you'll be taping every word we say. Keep my gun," he says, looking up. "Keep my gun and my badge, do what you need to, but let me see McGarrett and I won't insist on a lawyer before I answer more questions, get you tied up in so much fucking red tape you can't see straight."
Chin catches on, pulls back, sneering. "Nice show of loyalty, brah. The state of Hawaii is so glad you chose to join its forces."
"Loyalty?" Danny says, standing up, pushing back his chair – it's gratifying to watch Douglas twitch, glance nervously at the two-way. "You want to talk to me about loyalty, Kelly? McGarrett's in trouble and – "
"McGarrett is trouble," Chin snaps. "Gun in his hand – and don't tell me you don't think he had it in him. Went off half-cocked, evaded arrest . . . "
"For charges that are so much horseshit I can barely stand the stink!" Danny yells. "McGarrett has integrity, which is more than I can say for you, you little fuck, swear to god I . . . "
"Kelly. Get outta here," Douglas says, and Chin throws him a look of disgust that Danny's willing to bet isn't play-acting. "I mean it. Now."
"Fine," Chin says, and heads out the door without looking back. Douglas waits for the lock to snick before he turns back to Danny.
"I can get you twenty minutes. But we're taping everything. And if you so much as try to – "
"Blow me," Danny says evenly, and sits back in his chair, stretches out his legs and crosses them at the ankles, flips the bird at whomever's watching behind the two-way glass.
"Anything?" Kono asks when Jenna sits down on the bench beside her. Kapiolani Park is busy with the usual bikers, kids, and tourists, but it's too early for the picnic tables to be in full use.
"Some interesting information on Jameson," Jenna says, and she pulls up a page of notes on her phone. "1971 she's the head of the Wastewater branch of the Site Development Division of the Oahu Department of Planning and Permitting." She looks up and must see the blankness on Kono's face. "She's in charge of compliance with city codes for sewers, basically."
"Huh," Kono says, and briefly imagines all the jokes Danny could work up from that. "Sewers."
"October 1978, she moves over to the Policy Planning Branch of the Planning Division – big promotion. Zoning changes have to go through her office."
"All development?" Kono asks.
"All of it. By 1982 she's in charge of that whole division. Community planning, long-term zoning policy, demographic research and population prediction – it's all coming out of that office."
"Okay," Kono says. "And I'm guessing there's a whole lot of schmoozing with that job. Community relations, talks with developers . . . "
"Yep." Jenna nods her confirmation. "She's a regular at the American Association of Planners conferences – she's on a roundtable in 1984 on coastal transit infrastructure. Seems she's something of an expert on traffic planning for multi-use harbors – balancing the needs of military, industrial, and public needs for access. And then in 1989 she gives a paper on international business investment, with special focus on Japan."
"Interesting. Wonder if her friend Hiro Noshimuri had input on that."
"Something to find out," Jenna agrees. "December 1990, she takes over the entire Planning and Permitting department. And this is significant – there are two people, two other divisional heads, more senior than she is, not to mention candidates from outside the planning department. This sort of thing would have been a national search. I need to dig deeper – see what community boards she was on, what business relationships she had. My hunch is this is where we find Noshimuri."
"But we have to be sure," Kono adds.
"Yeah." Jenna nods. "Nothing in particular around the time Steve's mom dies, but within two years Jameson's a state representative. State senator in 2000. I need to dig up her campaign finances, see where the money's coming from, if there are outside groups running ads in her favor. I think we're onto something – there's just so much more to find out."
Kono smiles. "Wanna see what I found?"
"Oh, sure," Jenna says, putting down her phone in a hurry, like she thinks she's been hogging time.
"Kukui High School Yearbook, 1960," Kono offers, showing Jenna an image on her phone. "Senior prom – look who's dating."
Jenna squints at the screen, flicks her fingers across it to make the image bigger. "Wow. Jameson. And Steve's dad."
"I can't find any information about Steve's mom in the yearbooks. Maybe she wasn't local," Kono offers. "But she went to the U – wrote columns in Ka Leo, '71 to '73. Kept questioning the war, which," she shakes her head, thinking it over, "that's gotta have been hard. The military presence . . ."
"Financial ties between the bases and the university too, I'd expect," Jenna says.
Kono flips to another image. "March 1973, she writes about attending a community conversation about the war, meeting guys who'd served, who were still serving. Including a Naval officer who – "
"Bingo." Kono scrolls to one last image. "Wedding announcement, 1974. Nothing after that."
Jenna chews on her lip. "So we've got high school . . . what? Sweethearts?"
"And then they move on, he marries a girl he meets from . . . where?"
Kono thinks about it. "Steve's never said. Maybe there's something in her columns, or school records, or – " She blows out a breath, gestures at her own lack of forethought. "Her obituary. It'll list who survives her, that should help."
"Right, good." Jenna nods, a precise little movement. "Jameson goes into public service – we could check her college records, do we know where she went to get – that'll be in her campaign materials, I'm sure, we can – okay, so, Jameson and McGarrett knew each other, we just have to figure out when and where they reconnect."
Kono feels faintly, ridiculously proud that she can follow all Jenna's half-sentences and fragmented thoughts. "I'll keep looking. And you'll look for what, the planning permits? You think that's the Yakuza connection?"
"It's the most likely place of overlap I can think of right now," Jenna offers. "Anything more overt, criminal . . . I can't imagine someone wouldn't have turned that up during her campaigns. It has to be subtle, something that looks above board unless you're looking for – " she winces and falters. "Some link to a murder that was covered up."
Kono blows out a breath. "Okay." She tucks her phone back in her pocket. "We have a plan. But first, we gotta eat."
Jenna blinks and looks outright confused. "We – what?"
"Food," Kono says again. "Brain fuel. Body fuel. We are not going back into those libraries until I've had a plate lunch. You can watch if that's your thing, but –"
Jenna shakes her head quickly. "I could eat," she says.
"Good," Kono says. "Best place on the island's walking distance from here." She takes Jenna's hand, tugs her to her feet, doesn't let go.
Halawa's never been a fun place to visit, but everything sits wrong this time around. Danny glances at the guards, the guys who used to be on his side, and their faces don't betray any judgment, but the fact that he's looking for it is difference enough. The place smells impersonal, vaguely antiseptic, just as it always has, but this time Danny wonders if the smell's the same in the cells, or worse. His thoughts stray to how Steve's been occupying himself, locked down in an eight by ten room without much information, forced to trust he'll get out of there because of his team. Danny's glad, so fucking glad, for all of Steve's training, for the fact that he's probably seen worse and come through okay, but he hates that he has to be glad for it, hates the thought of it, hates the scrape of the metal chair against the linoleum floor, hates the plate glass between him and Steve.
They don't take the cuffs off when Steve sits down – he has to twist a little to reach for the phone, and Danny pities whomever thinks cuffs would stop Steve if he wanted to cause trouble. "Hey," Steve offers.
"Orange," Danny says back, nodding at Steve's jumpsuit. "Not a good look for you, babe. We need you back in khaki, pronto."
Steve manages a smirk, wry and closed off, and Danny feels his heart pick up pace a little, live with anxiety.
"So, you okay?" he asks, and that's the dumbest shit he's ever spoken aloud.
Steve nods, wets his lips. "It was Wo Fat."
"Jesus, would you – " Danny lifts a hand to plead for divine intervention. "Of course it was. Don't tell me you've been sitting back there, maniacally doing sit-ups, thinking, god, I hope my team understands I didn't shoot the Governor." He clamps his jaw shut, breathing hard.
Steve rolls his shoulders, looks away and back. "I just want you to understand."
"Hey, hey. I get it. We get it." Danny runs his tongue over his teeth, wonders if he gave anything away there – does 'we' run to confession, encompass 'fuck you, Douglas, we're working this case better than you could ever hope'? "You got a lawyer?"
Danny nods. "She's good."
Steve tries to look innocent. "She took you down a peg."
"Hey, let's not revisit that particular case," Danny says, pointing a finger. "Don't do it. Don't make me talk about the time she almost made you cry."
Steve huffs and frowns. "She did not."
"Oh, I beg to differ, my friend. The Hennessey case, where she tied you up for thirty minutes over the meaning of the word – "
Steve's face clears and he shakes his head, almost laughs. "Have you been holding on to that since November? Seriously, just waiting for – "
"You better believe it," Danny says, grinning smugly. "I'd have taken a picture, but I don't know, didn't want to throw you off your game. The flash going off might've been pushy"
"Oh, 'cause pushy's definitely not your style."
"Deliberate, rational, calm," Danny says, waving his hand around as if to sketch out the breadth of his better qualities. "You know me."
Steve sobers, but he looks more relaxed, almost wistful. "I do." He says, nodding once. "I do."
It's enough to make Danny's throat tighten, and Jesus, he's a mess, everything pressing right up under his skin. "I gave up my badge," he says, hoping Steve's paying more attention to the look on his face than the words he's saying.
Steve chews that over. "They investigating you, too?"
Danny makes a show of shrugging. "I don't know. A few questions this morning, down at HPD, but it was run of the mill, you know the sort – where were you when . . ."
"Makes no sense," Steve says, and his frown's back, the crease between his eyebrows deepening.
"Which is what I told them," Danny says. "They're pulling me back in this afternoon, so . . . "
Steve lifts his chin. "I heard Kono got pulled in on an IA investigation."
Danny nods. "Chin's working your case." He makes a face, smoothes his expression back out again as he loosens his tie. "Jenna's untraceable."
"Okay," Steve says, noncommittally . He narrows his eyes. "How's Rachel?"
There's no way for Danny to keep his reaction off his face this time, and he isn't sure he wants to – Steve should know as much as he can tell him; Douglas'll ask him about it, but let the little fuck do with it what he wants. "She, uh – she went back to New Jersey."
Steve watches him.
"It wasn't a good idea," Danny says, and holds his gaze right back. "I thought we were . . . " He tries to find exactly the right words. "We weren't. I was – " He laughs, mirthlessly. "Deluded, I guess."
"Misled?" Steve asks, and Danny can all but hear the cogs and gears turning.
"I guess it seemed right at the time," he offers, and looks down at the scratched, pitted counter beneath his elbows. When he looks back up, Steve nods at him, the barest shift, and Danny grits his teeth at the injustice of it all, for all of them, about everything. "Look, I'll be fine, I've done stupid shit before, I ever tell you about the Poconos, the time that seemed like a good idea?"
"I'll get you drunk sometime, force it out of you," Steve says, and he's almost smiling. Danny wants to grab him by the back of the neck, shake him a little, tell him he's a good fucking guy.
"So we got that to look forward to, soon as you're out of here," Danny says, sitting back. "Matsuda coming to see you today?"
"This afternoon. Look – " Steve presses his lips together, pauses for a second. "Don't worry about me, okay? I'll be fine."
"Oh, fuck that," Danny says without thought. "I mean, really, fuck that. Fuck that for breakfast, fuck that for lunch, fuck that for dinner . . ."
Steve's face is a picture. "I don't think it's that good a lay."
"Yeah, well, fuck it anyway," he says. "You'll be fine – course you'll be fine. You've probably already made a schedule for yourself, this many pull-ups, this many sit-ups, this many laps of the yard. And you'll be fine because you didn't do it, all right? I know that, Matsuda knows that, hey, HPD has two brain cells to rub together, they probably know that – " He quirks an eyebrow, tries to get the message across. "Of course the geniuses they got on this case, they wouldn't admit they knew that if a court order came down in gold leaf, embossed, fancy writing, maybe some glitter, saying hey, he didn't do it, look at that."
"That's a little worrying," Steve says. "I mean – I'm hoping for a regular court order, not the glitter kind."
"Yeah, well . . ." Danny rubs at a smudge on the glass with his thumb, making it worse. "You wanna talk about what happened?"
Steve shakes his head. "Not unless you've been holding out on me, went to law school."
"That I did not," Danny says, shifting in his chair. "I did, however, once go to the Poconos. Wanna hear? 'Cause let me tell you, babe, there are things about me you can't even imagine – neon green body paint and a wool sock between me and exposure, huh? Who can turn that down?"
Steve rolls his eyes, but he's smiling a little. "Is this better or worse than Niagara Falls?"
"Worse," says Danny, and he's so fucking fond of this guy he can't even quantify it. "So much, epically worse."
It's almost five when Kono gets the call, and the Pearl City library's about to close. "Danny needs a ride," she tells Jenna. "They took his car." And that's all the explanation she has to offer for Jenna to reset their schedule, to suggest Kono drop her downtown and pick Danny up alone.
"Gives us flexibility," Jenna offers. "In case someone needs to do something somewhere and another person . . . wait." She looks at Kono, a faintly baffled expression on her face. "My brain is really tired," she offers apologetically, and Kono knows exactly how she feels. For his part, Danny looks exhausted when she pulls up at HPD half an hour later – he gets into the car and lets his head thump back against the passenger headrest without saying a word.
"Okay?" Kono asks, and she realizes she's tensed for more bad news.
Danny sighs, and shakes his head. "I'm fine. Where's Jenna?"
"Buying pre-paid cell phones with most of my money," Kono says. "Thought they might be useful."
Danny turns in his seat to look at her. "Just promise me you'll give me warning before you take over the world?"
Kono grins at him, glad to see he's not completely broken. "Nah, brah – can't implicate you in the revolution, you know that." She pulls away from the curb, smiling as Danny snorts.
"You find stuff?" he asks. He rubs one eye, and Kono stifles a reflexive yawn.
"Plenty," she manages after a moment. She blinks and settles more comfortably in her seat, eyes on the road. "Did you know the Governor was a member of the Society of International Affairs when she was an undergrad at Stanford? Voted secretary her junior year."
"I, on the other hand, majored in the society of What The Hell Does That Have To Do With Anything?" Danny offers.
"The president of the organization that year was Hiro Noshimuri, a senior with straight A's." She glances at Danny; is gratified to see his mouth is hanging open.
"Our Hiro Noshimuri?" Danny asks.
"One and the same. Transferred in from Japan his sophomore year. Joined two separate entrepreneurship clubs, and volunteered with half a dozen charitable golf tournaments in the Bay area that we could find." Kono turns off Beretania, slows to a halt at a red light. "Networking, I'd bet – we'll chase that down tomorrow."
"So, wait, Jameson's known Noshimuri since – "
"1962, at least. To get elected – even if they weren't friends, they'd have moved in the same circles the year before."
"Right." Danny rubs a hand across his mouth. "After that, what? We got anything on the island?"
"It's not pulling together yet." Kono eases into the flow of traffic again, looks in her mirrors, watching for a tail. "We know Jameson and Jack McGarrett dated in high school – "
"I'm sorry, what?" Danny asks, brow creased, fingers spread in mid-air. "How do we . . . you know, no, it's okay, just keep going."
"She went to Stanford, he went – we're not sure the route. Steve ever mention Annapolis for his dad?"
"Just Navy. Never talked about the details much."
"We're figuring Annapolis," Kono offers. "He's an officer when he meets Steve's mom – '73; she's a mainlander; San Diego. Goes to UH-Manoa, majors in botany, does an honors project on the non-endemic genera of Oahu, and joins the anti-war movement. Writes for the student paper, meets McGarrett at a community discussion about Vietnam, hosted at the U. They get married in '74, have Steve in '76."
Danny rubs a hand across his mouth. "And this connects to Jameson . . ."
"We don't know yet. We know Jameson's back on the island by 1974 – she shows up on Inouye's donor list that year with an Oahu address." The traffic slows, and Kono turns right, heads toward the Botanic Gardens. "We haven't found the trail from there to '78 when she gets her first position in the Planning department. Rises steadily – Jenna's been working on tracing who applied for zoning permissions, construction permits '82 to '92, but it'll take a while." She glances at Danny when he doesn't say anything; he's looking out the window, fingers tapping restlessly against his thigh. "You wanna tell me about your day?"
He jerks to attention. "Sorry. Sorry. I just – I don't want him in there for weeks, you know?" Danny shakes his head. "I know we gotta expect it, we're running this thing at the margins, chasing down leads in," he waves a hand, "student newspapers, but it's got me tied up, the thought of him chewing away at the bits of news he has, working out like a freak, reciting the collected works of Sun Tzu backwards, or whatever it is he's trained to do."
"Did he seem okay today?" Kono asks, pulling into the parking lot at the Botanical Gardens. "I mean, all things considered."
"All things considered, yeah," Danny says, winding down his window as she puts the car in park. "He's suited up – Matsuda's taken his case, which has to have the powers that be weeping into their beer. I should get Matsuda."
Kono winds down her window, too, unfastens her seat belt, shifts so she can face him. "Why? What happened?"
"Nothing yet." Danny releases his seat belt, rests his elbow on the door. "But they're chasing me for an accessory, I know it. Douglas kept circling back this afternoon, what did you know, when did you know it."
"But – " Kono waves off a bug that flies in the window. "If you knew, we all had to know – to charge you, they'd have to charge me, charge Chin."
"Yeah, well, they might," Danny says, looking at her apologetically. "They might, or Chin might have convinced them that Steve and I worked things so close to the chest that you and he wouldn't have had a clue. Hey, hey," he says, and Kono figures her face must have spoken volumes. "I'm not saying that's the truth, just that that's the angle he's playing, right? If that's how he's playing it. Who knows?"
Kono lets things quiet between them. "This sucks," she says at last.
"Truth," Danny offers, hand over his eyes.
She looks at out the gift shop, at the trees providing shade, then reaches out and tugs once on Danny's sleeve. "I'm sorry about Rachel," she says quietly.
Danny lets out a breath and looks over at her, stretches out a hand and squeezes her wrist. "Thanks," he says simply, and they settle in to wait for Jenna.
By the time Danny's heard everything Jenna and Kono have so far, he's ready to concede that should public libraries ever be threatened by the budget machinations of sundry public officials, he will be forced to fight to the death in their defense. He also wants a beer. "So, tomorrow," he says. "More of the same?"
"I may be able to narrow our inquiries tonight, if I can get to the right servers, the right information," Jenna says. She's taken shotgun; he's crammed into the back seat of the junker she decided was cover, leaning between the seats to hear everything the two of them have to say.
"The planning stuff?" he asks.
"Exactly. It'll be faster electronically – I can target my search terms, cross-reference the ownership of companies to find their parent organizations. Noshimuri's not going to come right out and declare all his interests in the open – I'm expecting sixty, seventy percent to be through shell corporations." She pushes her glasses up her nose. "And we'll need to look at the photos of the evidence again, look at the postcards for clues about . . ."
"We dumped the photos," Kono says, glancing at Jenna. "Cleared everything before HPD arrived."
"Oh. Right. Except," Jenna chews on her lip, and Danny cannot fathom this woman, he just cannot, as though any of them are anything but impressed by the way her mind works, as though she needs to be chagrined about anything. "I may have made copies and exported them to a private server behind two levels of encryption and a firewall that I built myself."
"Kick ass," Kono says, gleefully smacking the steering wheel of the car, and Jenna pinks up.
"So, uh," she clears her throat. "Maybe you could help with that?" she asks Danny. "It's likely Jameson had connections in Japan – we certainly know she traveled there on behalf of the state government. We may find some link to Noshimuri, maybe to Wo Fat, but it could be a competitor as much as someone within the organization."
Danny's head is spinning. "Yeah, I can – " He nods, still processing everything he's heard. "Although I gotta . . ." He sinks back in his seat, watches the lush green of the forest roll past the window.
"Hey, boss, stay with us," Kono says; he can see her looking at him in the rear view.
"Eyes on the road, Kalakaua," he says, pointing.
"Know my way," she answers. "What's up?"
Danny blows out a breath, folds his hands across his stomach. "Wo Fat."
"Oh, well, if that's all," Jenna offers, teasing. These two, he thinks, what is with them, all this energy, like they've got some feedback loop going, it's baffling, truly.
"Not the concept," he clarifies, and lifts a hand, pinwheels it in emphasis. People watch his hands, it makes them pay attention to what he's saying even when they don't want to. "The guy, the real honest-to-goodness douchebag who's on this island, trying to get away, and no one's looking for him – how do we know he's even here, huh? And what happens when he hears – as I'm sure he has by now – that our little team isn't quite so broken up as he'd planned?"
Jenna's smile fades and she bites her bottom lip, eyes alert – he can practically see the force of her thinking. "So you're saying we have to find him, too?"
"At the very least we gotta watch our backs," he says. "There's some cover in Chin working the HPD angle, the IA case, in you seeming like you're out of the way, but someone talks and he figures out you're here – the little shit probably already knows I never left. None of us have guns, and . . ."
"Those we can get, brah," Kono says, and she quirks an eyebrow at him meaningfully.
"Of all the ways I want this to go down, me being booked on illegal weapon possession is, like . . . fourth or fifth my least favorite."
Jenna looks curious. "Do we want to know one through three?"
Danny thinks about it. "No. Just – don't get shot, okay?"
She nods. "Okay."
"Sang Min," Kono says, and she's slowing the car, easing up the dirt driveway in front of the safe house. "He knew where Wo Fat was hiding out, he might know where else he'd go, who'd help him. Let's ask him, get some more intel."
Danny looks blankly through the windshield. "All right. Guess none of us are sipping margaritas by the pool this evening."
"Chin'll bring beer," Kono says with a certainty Danny doesn't feel equipped to question.
"Then Chin will be my favorite," Danny says, and slowly, tiredly gets out of the car.
They share their take-out with Sang Min, talk about nothing consequential, and Kono feels the relief of it clean down to her bones. She can see the effect in Jenna, in Danny – the slow wind down, their gratitude at having something but the case define them for a moment. It doesn't last – can't, not with Steve in jail – but for a couple of hours they sit a little easier, swap quips and stories, laugh a little, tell terrible jokes. And then Danny claps his hands, says, "All right, as good as this has been . . ." and he tells Sang Min what they need, why they need it, has Jenna pull up a map they can use, starts building a schematic of risk.
Kono takes the chance to walk out to the lanai, follows the path to the rear of the house, dials her mom because she knows she has to, no matter what gets said. "Hi, mom," she says when her mom picks up.
"Kono," her mom says reproachfully. Word's clearly got around. "Where are you?"
"Working," she offers, since it's not a lie.
"Mmhmmm." Her mom clucks her tongue. "I heard about the investigation."
"Oh, mom . . ."
"I saw about your boss, too. Arrested."
Kono watches an 'apapane fly overhead. "He didn't do it."
"I trust you to pick your friends well enough to know that, keiki." A pause. "I just worry about you."
"Mom – "
"Your Auntie Mehi has been calling. She's hearing all kinds of things at the hospital. I tell her you're smart, you know what you're doing, and she says you take after your cousin too much." Her mom laughs, sounds delighted. "As if that's some kind of problem."
Kono smiles, slips her free hand into her pocket. "I'm safe, I promise. Just . . . working."
"I understand. We all learned something from what happened with Chin, hope loa. So let's change the subject before there's too much we can't say, huh?" The sound of rustling paper comes across the line, and her mom clears her throat. "So, your cousin Travis, he shows up in the community section today, something about lawn care. I'll read it to you."
"Okay." Kono grins, scuffs her feet through the grass, listens to her mother spin connection, accept every ill-fitting part of who she is.
When she gets back inside, Sang Min's arguing forcefully with Danny about the likelihood that Wo Fat's on the island. "He has unfinished business," he says, "with you. With me."
Danny watches carefully. "And you think that's more important to him, right this second, than getting the hell away from this mess?"
"You tell me, Detective. You got anything he should be scared of? You're off the case; your sweetheart's in jail; Kalakaua here, she don't have a badge. So he didn't keep you off the island – so what? You couldn't save McGarrett. The odds are not in your favor."
Danny licks his lips, scrubs a hand over his face. "I still think –"
"You put the watch on the airports, the docks, before this went down. The police know enough, even without the Governor's death, not to cancel that order." Sang Min's mouth twitches in distaste. "And Wo Fat does not travel in shipping containers. He'll wait."
"Great," Danny murmurs, and stands up, wincing as he straightens his legs. "Your turn," he says to Kono. "I need five."
"No worries," she offers, squeezing his shoulder as he passes. She settles beside Jenna on the floor, knees touching, glances over the locations on the computer screen. "So you're guessing somewhere comfortable, somewhere he can live without too much disruption to his . . ." She searches for a word that won't taste bad. "Lifestyle." Sing Min doesn't answer, and when she glances up, he's smirking.
"The two of you," he says, gesturing to her, then to Jenna. "I like it. Agree with you both."
Kono eyes him with pity. "Don't think I won't punch you in the balls, then the head," she says evenly. She lifts her chin, gestures toward the laptop screen. "Eyes front, asshole."
He scowls at her, but complies.
The single beautiful thing about Stan buying Grace her own cell phone is that Danny can call her directly, circumvent Rachel just this once. He should check in with her, too, he knows he should, he wants to, but that's part of why he can't – needs to get it through to every stubborn part of himself that it's over, that if he's honest about what happened, it never actually began. His heart pinches hard at the thought, and he dials Grace all the quicker for it. The time different blows, but maybe jetlag's in his favor, or Grace's hard-wired habit of waking at the most godawful hours.
"Danno!" she says when she picks up, and she sounds a little sleepy, but happy all the same. "I miss you!"
"Aw, I miss you too, monkey, so much." He feels it like a punch to the gut, and puts out a hand to steady himself against the post by the steps. "You okay? How's Jersey?"
"It's weird. Everything's grey, and it's sunny, but it smells different. I like Hawaii better."
Danny nods, smiling a little. Can't argue with 'grey'. "You seen Grandma and Grandpa?"
"Yeah, they took me for breakfast yesterday, we had pancakes and bacon and Grandpa let me try some of his coffee, but I didn't like it. I had juice," she adds, as if she's worried Danny will think someone's neglecting her. "And then after that we went to see Auntie Betsy, and Auntie Molly came over, and everyone was really loud, I liked it."
Danny grins. "I'm so, so glad. Did you give everyone hugs from me?"
"Lots of hugs. And they sent lots of hugs back." A pause. "When are we coming back, Danno? I need to give you hugs."
Danny would kill for one of her hugs right now; he leans against the lanai rail and tries not to let the feeling crush him. "Oh, baby, I don't know. Your Mom needs to do some stuff in New Jersey, and I gotta help your Uncle Steve out, he got in some trouble."
"Did he say sorry?"
Danny laughs softly. "You know, I don't think he did. It's a big mix-up, monkey. It'll be okay."
"But we're coming back, right?"
Danny pauses. "I don't know." He shakes his head, covers his mouth with his free hand for a second. "I don't know, baby. I gotta talk to your Mom. The mix-up Uncle Steve's involved in – it's pretty big, and Mom needs to sort some things out at her end, and . . . I'm sorry, monkey, I gotta talk to some people before we know what's happening. We kinda screwed things up here, the grown ups."
Grace hums at her end of the line, like she's considering everything he's said. "It's okay, Danno. You'll fix it."
"Well, yeah, course I will, that's what I do, right?" He bites his lip against all the stuff he can't say to her, the horrible, nagging possibility that he can't.
"Yeah! So, you wanna hear about my new treehouse?"
"You have a treehouse?"
"It was your treehouse, Grandma says, but it needs some updating. It's very early 1980s."
Danny laughs and shakes his head to hear his mother's words in his daughter's voice. "That it is, monkey. That it is."
They talk for another half an hour, Danny listening happily to anything she wants to say, listening to stories about the beetles she found in Grandma's back garden, right beside the garage, and how they were shiny and pretty cool, even with all those legs, and the place they're going for dinner, where she's going to have ice cream and brownies if she eats all her mac and cheese, and how the trees look different than she remembers, but maybe it's because it's summer, and how there was a boy on the plane who was really little, but who knew his ABCs, because he sang them over and over, and she asked her Mom if she could teach him something new, because he was really annoying, but her Mom said she should put in her headphones and listen to some music, so she did, and Danno, I have a joke, knock knock.
By the time they hang up – "remember, always, Danno loves you" – Danny's heart's full up with how great a kid she is, how much he loves her, and he sits on the steps to the lanai, elbows on his knees, head hanging loose as he lets himself just feel it – missing her, loving her, knowing he's got to make things safe before she can come back. It's peaceful, humid; the kind of dark beyond the spill of light from the house that shows itself as a dozen colors, a hundred sounds – and if he sits here long enough, he can probably go back inside, do a little more work before he crashes, before he falls asleep on one of the stupid twin beds in the second bedroom, remembering, if he's lucky, to take off his tie. He falls into a stupor, sits there quietly for god knows how long before Chin drives up, before Chin gets out of the car, pulling two six-packs of Longboards with him, and Jesus, it's the best thing Danny's ever seen.
"Chin Ho Kelly, I love you," Danny says. He thinks about getting up to meet him, decides better of it when he moves and his knee protests.
"Yeah?" Chin asks, sitting down beside him, and he opens up a bottle against the tread of the steps, passes it over.
"I do, I do," Danny says, taking a drink. "God," he says, eyes closing after he swallows. "That tastes like everything good and right in this world." He looks across at Chin, who's pulling at his own beer. "Hey – I'm sorry, by the way. For all that shit I said this afternoon."
Chin elbows him, smiles tiredly. "All part of the game."
"Yeah, but I didn't pull punches, and –"
"You think they'd believe you if you went easy on me?" Chin asks, eyebrow raised. "'Cause I'm pretty sure they've met you before. Know how you run."
Danny huffs, smiles just a little despite himself. "Okay, point taken, but I just want you to know, I do not think any of those things about you, and I do not wish you would . . . do any of the things I suggested."
Chin swallows another mouthful of beer. "Noted." He looks across. "And I don't actually think your mother is –"
"Okay, all right," Danny nods. "Understood."
He fills Chin in on what Jenna and Kono found out that day, listens to the lack of progress being made in HPD. "You were it, brah," Chin says, gesturing with his bottle. "The totality of the leads pursued."
Danny shakes his head, looks out into the forest. "They're not even looking at Wo Fat, are they?"
"Not how we want." Chin leans an elbow on one knee, rests his head in his hand. "They want to know why Steve would blame him, but the case files will tell them that. They're not pursuing anything new."
"I officially hate this," Danny says. "It was unofficial until right now, but I'm ready, I'm authorizing the whole thing – I'm upgrading, official hate, I'll sign a form, I'm there."
Chin hums his agreement, and they sit in silence for a while, the soft slip of beer against glass drowned out by the insects around them.
"We need to get a look at the Yakuza files," Danny says eventually. "Need to know more about what happened in '92. If anyone knew anything last year."
"I already requested them," Chin says, nodding. "Argued that if McGarrett was dirty, maybe his cases deserve a look. Douglas is happy enough to have me do the grunt work, and no one else dares ask anything. Half of them think it's due diligence, half are waiting, I'd guess, for someone higher up to take back my badge."
Danny nudges him with his shoulder. "I'm sorry, man."
"For all of us."
"Yeah, but I can call these two," Danny says, jerking his head toward the house. "We've even got burner phones. You're in there on your own, that's hard, don't tell me different."
Chin nudges him back. "Worth it," he says simply.
Danny shakes his head, finishes his beer. "You're a good man."
"You're foul-mouthed, but decent yourself," Chin says back, and Danny laughs like he's supposed to, smacks him in the arm.
"Pass me another," he says, and he can see Chin's grin as he reaches for the bottle, as he jams the cap against the wooden step, as the bottle top spins off into the night.
There's a grim monotony to the next few days, to the pattern of research, debriefing, and questions, Danny orbiting between the library and the jail. For every puzzle piece they snap into place, there are hours spent combing brittle, bound newspapers, sorting through boxes of arcane files, sifting through microfilm. More than once Kono's forcefully reminded of Jenna's comment about the Dramamine – has to go outside, take deep, steady breaths of warm, salted air, suck on the peppermints she keeps in her pockets. When the dizzying pull of nausea passes, she turns her attention back to fundraisers, donor lists, photographs of meet-and-greets, the press-reported guest lists for private events. Jenna's relentless, driven, quietly determined, and Kono has to drag her up and away from the reading room more than once, has to order lunch for her, has to make her stop for dinner. The Jenna who shows up when she shakes the grip of everything they're trying to find out, everything they need to stop, is grateful, bewildered – funny, with a wit that makes Kono laugh out loud; unsure of herself in a way that makes Kono almost angry.
There's something building between the two of them. It's not just proximity, although Kono wonders how this would have played out under different circumstances, without Steve – charged now – a ticking time bomb at the back of their minds. But the how and why aside, she likes Jenna – likes her tics, her stubborn smarts, the neat and economical way she walks, she sits, she directs her energy. It's not long before Kono realizes she wants to spill that energy recklessly, to see what kind of mess she can make of Jenna's heartbeat, the bedsheets, her hair. And she isn't blind – she's seen how Jenna looks at her, how her compliments make Jenna brighten, how Jenna smiles when Kono finds something they didn't know, dissects the information they have with her own sharp intelligence, matching her clue for clue.
"You and me," Kono says over lunch, a week into all their research. "We're headed for something."
Jenna shrugs. "Headed, or there already?" she asks, and reaches across the table to thumb mayo from Kono's chin, lingering with her fingers curled beneath Kono's jaw, pulling back slowly with a small, pleased smile.
"You are such a flirt," Kono tells her, setting her sandwich on her plate, staring, fascinated, at the way Jenna blushes again.
"I've been told," Jenna offers, and eats a potato chip.
They kiss in the alley before they head back to the library, and Kono feels lit up and shaky as she slots the microfilm back into the reader, acknowledges a hint of guilt at discovering this bright, new thing amid the wreckage of so much else. But it's not as though Steve would begrudge them the pleasure – not as if Danny will be anything but indulgent, Chin pleased and amused. She knows them as well as she knows herself, and she winds the reel forward, bends to her task, lets the kisses become as usual as discussion of corporate finance over dinner, sweet and restless in the breaks they take, playful before they make the drive home.
Chin supplies the crime stats they're missing – the noticeable drop-off of Yakuza-related violent crime after 1992; the absence of known Yakuza heavyweights on the islands; the low-level property crimes at Noshimuri's development sites – police investigations that paint Noshimuri as a victim, not a perpetrator of crime. It takes days for Jenna to chase down the financials, to build a spreadsheet of such complexity it stings Kono's eyes, charting the ownership and stock offerings of two dozen companies under Noshimuri's control, besides those he admits. In every case there's investment in Honolulu development, in hotels and office buildings and two separate banks. In every case there's a swift route to planning approval – intervention, after 1994, from the statehouse on behalf of companies that appear Norwegian, Hawaiian, Australian, British, mainland corporations based in Georgia and Maine.
It's Kono – two weeks to the day that that Steve was arrested – who finds the photo of Jack McGarrett and Jameson at lunch with Noshimuri, his brother, and two other men they can't identify. "November 1990," she says, spreading out the photocopy on the kitchen table at the safe house. "Right as he began his investigation in to the Yakuza, going by what Chin saw in the files." Her heart is beating fast; she's buzzing with all the things this could mean.
"So he knew," Danny says, running a fingertip over the caption beneath the photo – New hotel complex? Director of Planning Patricia Jameson lunches with investors at 'Ono Loa, Tuesday. "Right? We think he knew?"
Jenna shakes her head. "The postcards with the tips came after this –1992. He may have suspected that the Yakuza had ties to prominent businessmen on the islands, but its unlikely he knew that Noshimuri headed the organization. Not this early."
"So, what?" Danny asks. "He's just randomly having lunch with these guys?"
"It's not the guys who are important, it's Jameson," Kono says, tapping at Jameson's face with a fingertip. "He has a relationship with her again – professional, personal, I don't know that we can tell, but it's the first proof we have of them in each other's circles since high school."
Danny groans, and scrubs his hands over his face. "No wonder no one ever took these bastards down. It's like chasing that last rotini around a bowl with a fork."
Jenna squints, then blinks and collects herself – Kono bites back a grin. "There's more," Jenna offers. "1990, McGarrett's elected to the Ala Moana/Kakaako Neighborhood Board, which means systematic contact with the Neighborhood Commission, and likely the Department of Planning and Permitting, too."
"It's possible he was using this as a way to get closer to potential Yakuza fronts," Kono says. "Or closer to Jameson for . . . god knows how many reasons." She looks at Danny. "Steve ever mentioned any trouble between his folks?"
Danny chews on his lip, frowns a little. "I know his dad was working a lot before his mom died. Point of contention." He stuffs his hands in his pockets. "So maybe this was why – maybe the neighborhood board on top of the police work . . . I mean, I only had the police work, and that didn't work out so great for me and Rach."
"Plus an old flame," Kono says. "Not that we know anything was happening."
"Not that we know Steve's mom knew Jameson was an old flame," Jenna points out.
"Yearbooks. Ritual dating trauma since, like, 1911," Danny puts in. "At least in my family."
"But then Steve would have known," Jenna says. "No, we need proof. We can find the points of connection between Noshimuri and Jameson. We know McGarrett was investigating, that by 1992 he had a lead suggesting Noshimuri was Yakuza. We know through his work and his position on the board he had the means to pursue an investigation."
"And then the car bomb. " Danny says.
They fall silent for a moment, and Kono can see the photographs in her mind's eye, the pictures of Helen McGarrett's burned vehicle. She shivers, wraps her arms around herself. There are parts of this work that will never sit right, things she knows about the horrors people can visit on each other that will always chill her to her core. "We're so close," she says as she hears Chin's car approach the house, the engine cutting as he parks. "We're so, so close." She looks at Jenna, at Danny. "This is hopeful, right?"
No one says a word – because they disagree or because they're scared to jinx themselves, she can't tell. Chin's key scrapes in the lock, and she watches Danny pull himself back from somewhere, pull in a breath and nod as if making a pact with himself. "All hail," he calls out with generous cheer as Chin comes inside. "What news, Chin Ho Kelly?"
Chin rounds the corner into the kitchen, looking weary and sick, completely beaten down. "Not good," he says.
"Steve?" Kono asks. Her heart skips and thumps with fear.
Chin shakes his head. "Me. They're moving me off the case."
"What?" Danny asks. "Where to? Why?"
"Official word is 'reallocation of resources'," Chin says, pulling out a chair. "Unofficial? They're close to arresting all of us, and they're tidying up the loose ends."
Kono leans back against the wall. That's it, she's exhausted, lets dull, bitter anger rush over her like a wave.
"But that makes no sense," says Jenna. "What can they have – "
"Tomorrow, 8 a.m., I'm supervising a re-inventory of the asset forfeiture locker for an IA case," Chin says bitterly.
Kono pulls out a chair for herself, sits down hard. It's been easy not to think about her own predicament with Steve's so much worse, but now . . . She presses the heels of her hands into her eyes, feels Jenna place a hand between her shoulders.
"Okay, hold on, back up." Danny says. "They're pulling you off Steve's case, but they're telling you to investigate your cousin?"
"Covering their asses, brah." Chin shrugs. "If I'm clean, they've kept me in the department. If I'm not, they've humiliated me as well as taken me down. There'll be a half-dozen uniforms watching my every move. It's not as if I could straight-up forge an inventory count."
Danny makes a strangled sound of frustration. "I cannot believe this shit," he manages.
"What do we do?" Jenna asks.
"We keep looking," Danny says forcefully. "We do not stop until they have us in cuffs, we do not quit a moment before that. We need rosters for the cops in '90, '91 – we know Noshimuri's brother was on the force by '92, planted the bomb, but when did he get the job? Already there? Planted to go after McGarrett? Anyone help him get the position?" Kono drops her hands to watch him pace, to borrow his resolve, his determination. "We need to know – and okay, I'll be blunt – if McGarrett was having an affair. If that has anything to do with how this went down."
"And how," Chin asks, "are you going to find that out?"
Danny rests his hands on the back of a chair and sighs. "I'm gonna go through whatever HPD left behind at Steve's."
They're all subdued the next morning – and for all that Danny knows he works with an attractive group of people, every one of them looks like shit. He does his best, brews coffee, chivvies everyone to eat, accepts every bit of mocking for his t-shirt and cut-offs, tries to keep them buoyed. But there's a good chance they'll be seeing each other before the day's end at the booking station; a good chance they'll be in general pop, unable to talk to each other, unable to help Steve. He can't let himself think about it, smacks the roof of the car when Jenna drops him off a good mile from Steve's place, sends her off laughing, and he almost feels balanced himself.
But it doesn't last long. He watches the house for an hour before he makes a move, notes the patrol car that passes every twenty, give or take. The doors and the lanai are roped off with police tape, but he ducks beneath it without a second thought, uses his key to get inside.
It's a mess – drawers emptied, papers scattered. The boxes Steve had shown him, the files his dad had kept, are gone; there are photos missing, a paperweight, a car. He figures it for fingerprint analysis, which makes no sense, but it's the best he can do. The kitchen's a disaster; in the living room, the TV's on the floor, because of course, what's he thinking, who doesn't keep bullets behind the TV? Upstairs is no better, clothes thrown around, the mattress overturned. "You really fucking enjoyed this, didn't you?" he asks the cops who aren't there any more. "Hand picked a team who had a beef with McGarrett? Huh?" He shakes his head, resists the urge to pick things up. He feels uncomfortable – worse, he feels dirty, like he's doing something awful, something Steve won't forgive. "It'll get you out," he mutters, fishing gloves out of his pocket as he wanders back downstairs. "It'll get you out and then you can yell at me." He snaps the gloves on, bends to his work.
There's nothing particularly helpful – dust voids where file boxes used to be; an overturned wooden box of photographs, and Steve's no older than eight in any of them. Danny finds a birthday card among the push-pins and rubber bands, notepads and business cards thrown on the floor – March, 1992; 'Happy Fiftieth, my love.' He shakes his head, feels even more of a sleaze. At least they know Helen McGarrett cared for Jack; maybe that's a consolation, or what does he know, perhaps that makes it worse, perhaps she was faithful and he ran around, and ugh – he swallows against the acid taste in his mouth. It's all too close to home.
"Focus, Williams, focus," he murmurs, sifting through the take-out menus that Steve doesn't use, ("best in Diamond Head, 1995!"). He finds a nurse's letter on the top of the fridge, ("Your son Steven was seen at the nurse's office for a head injury, today: April 17 1989. Details: Steven crashed into a wall while playing touch football at recess. No stitches were required; ibuprofen administered. Please watch for signs of concussion (listed below), and seek medical attention if any occur). The note is sticky with grease and dust, and Danny doesn't remember seeing it before, wonders if it came from someplace else; wonders where a parent would keep this sort of thing for years on end until a cop digs it up and flings it aside again when he figures it's nothing. He sets it back in place, picks a path to the living room, notices that Jack's photo's gone from the wall; knows Steve put it back after the break-in in January, wonders what the hell anyone wants with it now.
He sits on the bottom step of the stairs to the upper floor, looks at the mess that's become of Steve's home. "This is shit," he murmurs, and flinches when his phone vibrates in his pocket. "This is shit," he says again louder, seeing Chin's face on the display, readying himself for the news he knows has to come. "Williams," he says.
"Brah, you are not going to believe what happened."
Danny feels pretty sure of that, considering the fact that Chin sounds elated, breathless, on his game. "Uh – nope. You got me."
"The locker. The asset forfeiture locker. We started inventory. South-west corner there was a box, a file box, that shouldn't have been there."
Danny waits for the punchline. "Okay?"
"Jameson's files, Danny. Everything. Paper trail. Records going back to 1994."
Danny lets his hand drop, looks blankly at the wall across the room, at the enormous, ugly, piece-of-shit painting of mountains or volcanoes or whatever that Steve has not replaced with anything better, despite all the times Danny has pointed out it's an abomination. He blinks, looks at the phone in his hand, presses it back to his ear.
"I'm here," he says cautiously. "You found her records?"
"Everything. Including tape recordings from when Jack McGarrett died. She created Five-0 to take Wo Fat down. She was playing him. That was her plan."
Danny thinks about that for a second. "That didn't work out so well."
A pause. "Brah, are you okay?"
"I am . . . in a state of disbelief, I'll be honest. I am . . . convinced that I'm going to wake up any minute now and find that Sang Min stuck my hand in a bucket of water and I took a leak on the bed."
Chin snorts. "Well snap out of it. It's real. You need to get down here, right away. We're moving the evidence – I've already sent the recording from the night of Jameson's murder up the chain of command."
"Okay, all right." He stands up, and he's not all that steady, and there are things going on in his body that he doesn't entirely understand. "I am – going to call for a ride."
"Do it. I'm downtown." And Chin ends the call, leaving Danny to stare at his phone and wonder, for just a second, how cell towers and radio signals even work at all. He dials Kono's phone because his ride, he's calling for a ride, and he needs better clothes than these, he should have known to wear real pants, he should.
"Boss," she says, sounding exactly as tense and fearful as he bets he sounded five minutes before.
"I have some news," he says evenly. "The Governor – the former Governor, the Governor who is dead – she apparently left her records in the asset forfeiture locker for us to find."
There's dead silence on the other end of the line.
"I can hear that you are somewhat stunned, and I understand that. But here's what we're going to do. You'll get Jenna, you'll come get me, we'll stop by my place – it's on the way – because I need a shirt, some pants, a better pair of shoes, and then we're going downtown because . . ." It hits him all at once and he sits down hard. "Five-0's back in business."
"Un-fucking-believable," Kono crows, and then she hangs up on him, and okay, he has a job to do, and he leaves by the front door.
It's like some kind of alchemy Kono doesn't understand, the way that Danny changes into a button-down and gets his wits back, but she appreciates the way he blows into HPD headquarters like a tornado, scattering cops and bystanders in his wake, so she holds off on giving him shit for a while.
"Detective," says Duke, who's waiting by the front desk like he knew they'd need direction. "I have your badges, your guns, your other possessions waiting. If you'll follow me?"
Danny looks over his shoulder at Kono before he does so, flashes her a smile so blinding she can't help but laughing a little in response, giddily unmoored by the turn of events. They head into the bullpen, over to the intake desk, and there's everything lined up and waiting – the papers they need to sign, their badges, their guns, their car keys. Danny scans his paperwork for a second, scrawls his name illegibly at the bottom, clips his badge to his belt. Kono can see his shoulders drop, like he's been tensed to carry something heavy all this time.
"Lukela, can you do me a favor?" he asks. "Talk to someone in the Governor's office – I wouldn't impose, but we gotta get on the rest of this mess, and I can't do it myself."
"Sure. What d'you need?" Duke asks.
"I need to requisition another Five-0 badge," he says, checking his gun before he slips it into his holster.
"Another badge?" Kono asks, looking up after signing her own release forms.
Danny looks right at Jenna. "It's yours if you want it. We can talk about it later." He stuffs his car keys in his pocket, nods at Duke. "Parked in the lot?"
"Yep. Bay five. And they're waiting upstairs – conference room, second floor."
Danny claps Duke on the arm, looks at Jenna, who's gaping like a fish; at Kono, who knows she can't wipe the smile off her face. "You ready?" he asks.
"Born –" Kono begins.
But, "Absolutely," Jenna says, butting in, and Danny nods while Kono laughs, and then they're pushing back out of bullpen, taking the stairs two at a time, and Kono's too busy looking at the steps to see what's ahead, runs clean into Danny when he pulls up short on the landing.
"Your honor," he says, then waves a hand. "I mean, Lieutenant – Mr. Governor, I didn't – Hi."
Governor Denning eyes them all with cool amusement. She feels scattered, ragged, flustered, but he's every bit as put together as she's ever seen him – at a fundraiser for the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers; at a press conference on community policing six months before. His suit is crisp, his tie perfectly knotted – Danny must be pleased – and he shows none of the strain that he has to be feeling, thrust into the job on a tragedy's whim. "Detective," he says. "Officer Kalakaua. And . . ."
"Kaye. Agent Jenna Kaye," Jenna says, stretching out her hand, shaking his. "I'm, uh . . ."
"CIA analyst," Danny puts in. "If we could maybe –" He gestures to the conference room where Chin's already standing, sorting papers into piles, directing a half-dozen uniforms to stack boxes in various spots around the room. Kono's fingers itch with wanting to know what's in them.
"You have a CIA analyst working with you?" Denning asks, eyebrow raised.
"Sir, I can bring you up to speed on an unimaginable amount of stuff in like, thirty seconds, I promise, but if we could just – " Danny nods toward the conference room again. Denning relents, leads the way at a pace that Danny clearly finds frustrating, if his gestures are anything to go by, holds the door for the rest of them to follow, and doesn't say anything when Danny grabs Chin and hugs him, slaps his back and mutters something that Kono can't hear.
"So," Denning says, as the door closes behind them. "That update."
"Officer Kalakaua and Agent Kaye can tell you everything you need to know," Danny says as he turns around, hands pressed together, gesturing like he's offering up an intercessor's prayer. "They ran this investigation – what we know we know because of them. I don't mean to duck out from under what you're asking, I just think they can tell you more than I can, and Lieutenant Kelly knows about today's find, I got nothing there. Excuse me for being, I'll admit, a little all over the place, but I really need to . . . " He ducks his head, blows out a breath, and Kono knows he's calculating the speed of a request from the prosecutor's office to the judge, an order from the judge to Halawa, a car traveling just over the speed limit from downtown to the jail.
"Everything's set up," Chin adds. "Audio, video, scans of documents – I can show you what we found in the asset forfeiture locker . . ."
"And I have information here," Jenna offers, stepping forward, a flash drive between her fingers.
Denning looks at each one of them in turn; Kono meets his gaze without flinching. They need Steve; need him to help finish up the case; need him because there's been a hole in their team for too long and they can't bleed out forever; need him because Danny's about to explode with frustration if he doesn't get his way.
"You can go," Denning says.
"Just one more thing?" Danny asks.
"All right," the Governor replies, calm, detached, and Kono's fascinated by the poise he's wearing like a mask.
Danny turns to two of the uniforms, gestures between them. "I want a clean-up team at McGarrett's house, yesterday," he says. "I'm guessing the place is trashed – I want the police tape down, I want everything put back in its place, I want the goddamn dust wiped up before he gets home, you understand? Good. Convey that. Go, go." He pulls his car keys from his pocket as the uniforms hurry away, looks over at Chin, then Jenna, then Kono. "I'll be back just as soon as – "
He's ridiculous. "Dude, get the hell out of here," Kono offers, and grins when Danny smiles, nods, says, "Sir," to the Governor and peels out of the room. She can hear his feet clattering down the stairs, hears him yell at someone to get out of his way.
"Where would you like to start?" Chin asks the Governor, smiling with a calm that Kono knows is vindication.
"The beginning?" Denning says.
"1960," Jenna says, tossing the flash drive to Chin. "Kukui High School."
The Governor pulls out a chair, sits down and smoothes his tie. "I can see this will take a while," he offers.
Kono presses her lips together so that she doesn't say, brah, you have no idea.
The Camaro moves a lot faster than local bureaucracy, and Steve's paperwork's still in transit to Halawa when Danny arrives. His badge gets him that much – god, it feels great to flash it, get his questions answered – and it would probably get him more if he wanted it. But Kono's texting him updates every minute or so, and he figures Steve could use the space, the ritual of passing through door after door, picking up his belongings, changing into his own clothes, and stepping out into sunlight – the chance to ease his way back into himself. Danny calls Matsuda, who confirms the charges are dropped, that everything's been done properly, the i's dotted, the t's crossed, and then he parks himself on the hood of his car, takes a breath and calls Rachel.
"Are you all right?" she asks.
"Hey, I'm fine, I'm good – Steve's getting out," he says, and he feels a burst of straight up joy when he hears the words, a buoyant sense of possibility.
"Thank god," Rachel says fervently. "You have evidence, then – evidence about Wo Fat?"
"I don't know exactly what we have, yet," he offers. "Chin found a box of evidence in the asset forfeiture locker and –"
"Chin found what, where?"
Danny works his jaw, wondering how to even begin. "Files that prove Jameson was dirty. Chin got moved to doing inventory. Last night we thought – " he's not making any sense, he knows he isn't " – last night it looked like we were getting arrested, and –"
"But it didn't happen, right? I'm fine, we're all fine, we got the box, they're sorting through it at the – "
She clears her throat and he quiets obediently. "You didn't think we might want to know that you might be in jail today?"
"Well, I would have called, if it had happened," he replies.
Rachel breathes out slowly. "I am glad," she says slowly, "that things are resolving." He can hear all the hundreds of words she's editing out. "Does this mean Grace and I can return?"
The question takes his breath away, makes his eyes sting. "You'll come back?" He holds up his hand, as if she's right in front of him, as if she can see him gesturing for her to stop. "I mean, you can't come back yet, we don't have Wo Fat in custody, we're still working on that, we gotta . . . but, what, you'll come back?"
"Much as I'm sure things are irreparable between Stanley and myself, I can do my job anywhere. And Grace has come to love Hawaii." She pauses. "I'd rather not disrupt her life again. Grace needs her father."
Danny's stunned. "Look, you know I'll go wherever –"
"Daniel, you've proven that, and I'm grateful, but you need your friends. No matter what you think about the matter, you have a life on the island, and there's more to it than Grace. The job is not mere convenience, the job is part of who you are, and your colleagues, your partner, Danny . . ."
The hood of the car is just not cutting it; Danny eases himself to sit on the asphalt, his back against the license plate. There's more here than he knows what to do with, the way she knows him, the complicated way he loves her, the way she's zeroed in on something he can't begin to quantify. "Look, okay, you're right, that's all true – " And he's going to have to work a little on dusting off that truth part, figuring out what it looks like exactly, what he knows and what he doesn't. "But this can't just be about me, or Grace. Rachel you – " He shakes his head. "Everything you've done, everything you were trying to prevent . . ."
"I have the name of a very good therapist," Rachel says, her words just a little unsteady. "And I have friends, Daniel. I was not a social pariah."
"That's so not what I meant," he offers. "Look – is there something I can do? Can you – what's the place you used to go to, where they'd, you know, paint your toes."
Rachel laughs softly. "You want to pay for me to get a pedicure?"
"Hell, I don't know, it's something," he says, smiling wistfully, feeling a little foolish. "I owe you, you know. Everything. Grace."
"And I hurt you quite terribly," she says softly. "So –"
He lets his head thunk back against the hood of the car. "We'll figure it out. We will."
"We always have," Rachel agrees.
From across the parking lot there's the squeal of sticking gears, and the gate in front of the doors begins to shudder and retract. "Look, I gotta go, Steve's about to come out. But thank you. Thank you."
"Go," Rachel says warmly. "Go."
He hangs up, pushes up from the ground and swipes at the dust on the seat of his pants, slips his phone back into his pocket. The second gate retracts, and the doors to the processing unit open – Steve steps outside, squints into sunlight, shades his eyes and looks across the parking lot, focuses on Danny, and, finally, there it is, he smiles. He looks lean, tired; his jaw's dark with stubble, and he's wearing the clothes he wore the night he was arrested. He's at least fourteen kinds of disreputable, and yet Danny's chest is tight with relief, with lousy amounts of gratitude. "You were working on mountain man?" he calls across the yard, scrabbling for something to say. "Lumberjack chic, that the new look in your wing?"
"Yeah," Steve says, still smiling, ambling toward him like this is nothing, like this is a pick up from a bar when he's had too many, like he hasn't been in solitary for way too long.
Danny gives up on witticisms, grabs him when he gets close enough, says "Fucking tough guy, c'mere," and curls his hand around the back of his neck. He can feel the breath that shudders out of Steve's lungs, wants to laugh when he feels Steve's stupid arms – ridiculous, who needs arms that long? – loop around him, squeeze him hard. "You tell anyone I said this, I will shoot you, but I missed you, you lug."
"Missed you too," Steve says, right against Danny's ear, and Danny thinks they might, possibly, be clinging to one another, might possibly be a whole lot more messed up than they care to admit, but so what if they are, fuck anyone who's watching, fuck what they think, the last couple weeks have been fucking shit.
"Soon as we finish this case we're suing," Danny offers. "The police, Wo Fat, Jameson's estate, the goddamn parks and recreation department, I don't care, we're suing 'em all."
Steve laughs and pulls back, ducks his head and looks away for a second. "Thank you," he says, looking back.
Danny spreads his hands. "What the – no, don't even, I do not want to know, just get in the car, get in – passenger side, McGarrett. We have places to go, do not give me attitude about my car, my car that I just got back today."
Steve rounds the hood, pulls open the passenger door. "I need to know everything."
"Oh, everything, he says," Danny mumbles as he slides into his seat. "Hate to break it to you, babe, but it's only fifteen miles to HPD. I got way more information than a twenty minute drive can hold, and like every other second – " His phone beeps and he holds it up to prove his point. " – Kono texts me more."
Steve shrugs, smiles at him, and it's genuine for all that he looks exhausted, strung tight. "What, you stopped talking fast while I was gone?"
Danny turns his key in the ignition, and pulls out of the parking lot with a rev of the engine, just because he can. "That seem likely to you?" he asks. "No, I didn't, so all right, you want everything, let's see what I can do."
Denning is conscientious – methodical in his questioning, in his queries about where they found a certain piece of information, why they traced from A to D and skipped B and C on a hunch. Kono's pretty sure it's all news to him, but he isn't given to cursing or outbursts, just thoughtful questions, long pauses as he digests. There was no love lost between him and Jameson – she remembers the party bickering that preceded his nomination, the speculation that he was chosen to balance the ticket, a Lieutenant Governor with closer ties to the University than to business or the military – and right now, that's a blessing. He's outside the loop of Yakuza influence, of Jameson's deals, and if she's interpreting the tension in his jaw correctly, the way he rubs his thumb against the curl of his balled up hand, he's mad as hell and spoiling for a fight.
"At the same time that Jack McGarrett was expanding his investigation into the Yakuza on the island, Jameson was being approached to fast-track a number of land deals – rezoning applications, property buy-outs of Hawaiian companies by foreign corporations," Chin explains. "Nothing that would raise too many suspicions – a favor, here and there, a wink at the right moment. But her personal papers show that she was being courted for much more."
"An active Yakuza ally," Denning says.
"Exactly. By her own recollection she demurred four times."
"So what changed?"
"April 19, 1992," Chin offers, and projects an image of Helen McGarrett's burned out car onto the screen at the far end of the room. "A car bomb's planted on Jack McGarrett's vehicle – it's his wife who dies."
"Why bomb McGarrett if –"
"The bomb was intended to stop McGarrett's investigation. He had names from a contact in Japan. He was following the paper trail between corporations and public works records. He was dangerously close to proving Noshimuri was using his legal companies as a front for criminal activity."
Kono shifts from foot to foot, texts Danny. Car bomb to stop McGarrett's investigation, like we thought. She hasn't had a text back since this whole thing started, but she figures he's got his hands full with Steve asking questions, hasn't time to do anything but absorb what she can send.
"This is key," Chin says, and types something into his computer. "The audio is scratchy, the tape old, but I think it's clear that . . . " He hits play, and Jameson's voice fills the room.
"You killed his wife," Jameson says, and she sounds angry, voice shaking with the effort of reigning herself in.
"Yes." Noshimuri. "It was a necessary step."
"He has children," Jameson snaps. "Two of them, you just – "
"They are not my concern."
"Well they're mine. He's mine," Jameson says, and her voice is steady now, cold and defiant. "You want my help with the resort, with the port access project, with the bid your company placed to construct the new highway? Then you leave him alone."
There's a long pause, marred only by the click and hiss of the recording. "You're offering to green-light our projects in return for his safety?"
"Their safety. All of them."
Noshimuri laughs dismissively. "You have a soft heart."
"Oh, please. Don't lecture me." Someone shifts – there's the sound of a chair creaking. "I'll work with you. But you leave Jack McGarrett alone, you understand?"
Another long pause. "In time, simple planning permission will not be sufficient. We need someone who's willing – "
"As though my ambitions aren't known to you?" she says derisively. "You have what you want. Do I have my deal?"
"And if I don't agree?"
The rustle of papers. "I turn this over to the police and the press. And no, these are not the only copies. I understand the value of insurance, Mr. Noshimuri."
Chin taps his keyboard, and the playback stops. "So."
Denning lets out a long breath, leans his forearms on the table, links his fingers. "Did Jack McGarrett know about this?"
"We don't have evidence one way or another," Jenna offers. "But it seems likely that the terms of the deal were revealed to him. He sent his children away but didn't arrange police protection – that they were on the mainland was no guarantee of their safety. He didn't pursue the investigation into his wife's death, and he halted efforts to uncover Yakuza activity on the island for at least the next sixteen years."
"And then?" Denning asks.
"And then she was elected Governor," Steve says from the doorway behind them.
Kono freezes. "Steve," she says, and she stands stock still, stares at him, the unfamiliar stubble at his jaw, the unkempt mess of his hair, but then something snaps, frees her to move, and she pushes a chair out of the way, leaps neatly over a box, and throws her arms around him, squeezes him because god, she's missed his stupid face.
"Hey," he says, and he's laughing softly as he hugs her, too, warm and solid, and then it's bedlam for a while, Chin wading into the fray, welcoming him back, Jenna hovering on the fringes of their group until Steve moves to her, drags her into a hug, says, "Thank you, for everything," and Jenna grins ear to ear. Danny beams at all of them from the sidelines.
"Commander McGarrett," Denning says eventually, rising, buttoning his suit coat. "My apologies for your incarceration. Under the circumstances, I'm sure you understand that everyone was doing their job."
Steve's jaw tightens for a second, but he nods once, sharply. "Yes, sir." It's better than Kono would have done – she has a list of things she'd like to yell.
Denning inclines his head toward the screen where the audio software's still visible. "Perhaps you'd care to elaborate on your comment. About the Governor."
Steve glances at Danny, who raises an eyebrow, pulls the face that Kono knows as, babe, I got nothing, go ahead. "Detective Williams briefed me in the car – I heard the recording. I don't know for sure, but I'd bet that once Jameson was elected to the most powerful position on the island, it caused my father some concern."
"For himself, or for the state?" Denning asks, and Steve firms his lips, says nothing.
"We don't know," Kono says, and she curls a hand around Steve's elbow, lifts her chin in the Governor's direction. "Not yet."
Denning watches them both for a long moment, then turns his attention to Chin, sits back down. "Lieutenant Kelly?"
Chin walks back around the conference table, projects an image of hand-written notes onto the screen. "Jameson started keeping a journal after Jack McGarrett's death. He'd been investigating the Yakuza again – outside the force; he'd taken retirement, but he still knew too much. Too much for Noshimuri, for his boss."
"Wo Fat?" Denning asks.
"Agent Kaye's analysis shows Wo Fat taking effective control over the Yakuza no later than 2003, possibly earlier. It was something like a corporate takeover." He offers a wry smile. "Yakuza operations didn't change, but they became part of something much bigger, broader. Ties to paramilitary organizations throughout South-East Asia, the Balkans . . ."
"To Anton and Victor Hesse," Steve says, folding his arms.
"According to Jameson's records, it was Wo Fat's decision to negate the terms of her agreement with Noshimuri. He had your father killed – had Anton move into your sightlines so that you'd know exactly what happened, when it happened, with your dad," Chin explains. "A twist of the knife."
Kono watches Steve's face, the flicker of pain and anger that shows there before he locks it down. "And this is all in Jameson's journal?" he asks.
"Journal," Chin says, "and more recordings – she meets Noshimuri, yells like . . . " He wets his lips. "Someone who's spent a fair amount of time around the Naval yards."
Kono nods slowly, begins to put the pieces together. "And when Steve came back for his father's funeral – "
"She made her own play," Chin confirms. More documents show up on the screen. "She creates Five-0 to go after Wo Fat, to bring down the Yakuza on the island." He looks across at Steve. "Given what I've seen in these files, she knew she'd go down for this at some point. She was prepared. Kept meticulous records."
"So she created Five-0, gave us immunity and means so that we'd find Wo Fat," Steve says, and rubs his lips with his thumb, deep in thought. "She's the one who made sure the evidence was returned when the Yakuza stole it; Laura was acting on her behalf?"
"Looks like it," Chin says.
"But she told me – you heard the recording, I asked her if she had Laura Hills killed and she said yes," Steve says.
"And then you're tasered," Jenna points out. "Wo Fat must have entered the room as you were asking that question – the answer was irrelevant. And the tone of her voice changes, the quality of her speech, everything is different. I think that was a lie. She was covering for herself since the guy who actually did it was standing right behind you with a gun."
Steve rubs the side of his neck, lets out a breath. "I can't believe he got the jump on me."
"You were upset," Jenna says calmly. "And he was MSS. This wasn't a random civilian."
Kono might love this woman, she really might.
"Most importantly," Chin says, "Jameson sent us the recording. She wanted us to look into her role in this, to bring him down."
"So wait, hello, back up," Danny interjects, hands spread. "Let me get this straight – Noshimuri, he's working for Wo Fat; he's the one who arranges for the toolbox to be stolen –" He glances over at Denning. "I assume they brought you up to speed on that whole thing."
Denning nods. "The break-in, the stolen evidence."
"So," Danny continues, "Jameson persuades Wo Fat she has the safest place on the island to keep it?"
"And brought Laura in on it, made it clear it was an imperative for Steve to get these items," Jenna adds. "Maybe she knew more, we'll never know."
"But Wo Fat figures it out," Kono offers, thinking of the photographs, wondering who took them, for what purpose – to be sure of delivery? As a bargaining chip? "Kills Laura – it's a message to Jameson, as well as the first step in framing Steve."
"Because we were getting too close," Danny says, gesturing between them. "And Jameson – god, that woman, you gotta give her her due, she is smart. She puts the files in the locker where they'll be undisturbed unless someone's looking for them. It's her – she has to be the one who activated the IA investigation into Kono, made sure someone was going to get back in there at some point. She maybe even suggested your promotion," he says to Chin.
Chin nods thoughtfully. "It's possible. That would put me inside HPD before everything went down."
"That's what I'm thinking," Danny nods. "And to Wo Fat, it looks like she's doing what he wants, getting each of us out of the way. Double duty."
Kono scratches her fingers across her scalp, uses the sensation to give her focus. "So then the only missing piece of the puzzle is why Chin was transferred off the murder investigation," Kono says. "Why the locker? Why yesterday?"
Denning clears his throat. "That would be me."
They turn to look at him. There's perfect silence.
"A Sergeant Cage from Internal Affairs made an appointment to see me yesterday afternoon. Made the case that it was gross negligence to have a former member of the Five-0 task force working the investigation into the Governor's murder." Denning spreads his hands. "It seemed reasonable. He offered to have the matter taken care of, and I had better things to do with my time."
"Cage?" Steve says, forehead furrowed. "Cage told you to transfer Chin?"
"He must have seen the files," Kono says, stunned. "He must have seen the files and . . . "
"But he could have simply offered to give them to Douglas," Jenna says.
"Yeah, but if he took a look what was in there," Danny points out, "who would he trust to do it right?"
"Cage," Steve says again. "Of all the people to . . ."
Danny laughs, punches him in the arm. "I'm gonna have to apologize to that little fucker. Buy him a beer."
Kono raises her eyebrows, nods toward the Governor.
Danny swallows. "Uh. Right. Apologies for the . . . language."
Denning shakes his head. "If cursing is the most aggressive action I see from your team in the next few days, Detective Williams, I will be deeply surprised." He stands up. "There's a clean-up and tech team already restoring your headquarters to functionality – it'll be ready by morning. You have an armed, dangerous fugitive to catch. I suggest you get on that." He nods at Steve as he leaves the room, and all of them are quiet and hesitant in his wake.
"So," Kono ventures.
"Gimme a file," Danny says.
"Gimme two," Steve says, beckoning.
"Is this where I ask for three, or is that just a guy thing?" Jenna asks, and Danny laughs, Steve looks confused, Chin grins and stacks the contents of Jameson's file box on the table. Kono takes a breath, and then another, lets the hubbub well up around her, watches her team.
It's close to eleven before Danny can persuade Steve that staying up all night is not an option, nor is sleeping on the conference room floor.
"I've slept in worse places," Steve says, looking offended.
"Exactly my point, genius. We just got you sprung today – you wanna act like a human being, acknowledge that a large, spacious mattress and clean sheets are a very good thing?"
Steve clenches his jaw, and Danny sees him glance around the room, at the way Kono's blinking to keep her eyes focused on what she's reading, on Jenna's yawn, on the way Chin's scrubbing a hand over his face. The satisfaction that buoyed them through the first few hours of this is spent – they need food, they need sleep, it's clear as day. "Okay," Steve says. "Okay, look, we'll meet back at headquarters tomorrow morning. Have someone transfer this stuff over there and – "
"I'm on it," Chin says. "I'll hand pick who pitches in."
"And we should head to the safe house," Kono says, standing up from her chair with a wince, Jenna following suit. "Sang Min's gonna think we got booked, start making god knows what plans."
Steve studies her for a second. "We?" he asks.
"Babe," Danny says, deciding this is incontrovertibly the moment he intervenes, "there's so much more you gotta catch up on, but now? Now is not the moment. Come on, I'm driving, let's go, chop, chop."
Steve follows without a word, which is some kind of miracle, a miracle that ends the moment they hit the stairs. "Are they –" Steve begins.
"Romancing? Entangled? Happy as clams?" Danny suggests. "Although, myself, I've never really understood why clams are so happy. They burrow in sand – that's gotta irritate . . ."
"So they're dating?" Steve asks.
Danny considers this. "I don't know that actual dates have been involved, but yes, they are."
Steve blinks as they head back through the bull pen toward the parking structure. "I go away for two weeks, everything changes," he observes.
"Not so much," Danny says, pulling his car keys from his pocket, jingling them happily. "I, for example, still root for the Yankees. I have not abandoned my habits of dress – "
"You ditched your tie," Steve points out, opening the passenger door and getting in the car.
"Expediency, my friend, nothing more," Danny clarifies, settling in the driver's seat and turning the ignition. "The call came, I had places to be, sorting out which tie to wear was not on my list of priorities this morning."
"But it is every other morning," Steve says, and geez, what is with him, he's gotta be so relentless about everything, even this? "We get urgent calls all the time, you show up in your tie."
"Maybe I remembered that you think I look better without one, you ever think of that, huh?" Danny asks, pulling out onto the street.
Steve goes so quiet that Danny glances over, checking for sudden unconsciousness, blowdart attack, drooling, something.
"What?" he asks. "What?"
"You didn't wear a tie because you thought I'd like it?" Steve asks.
Danny rolls his shoulders – to get comfortable, nothing more – and clears his throat. He needs a drink. "Maybe."
Steve grins so widely that Danny can't help but see it. "You ditched the tie."
"Okay, all right, let's just – not, okay? It is late, we are both tired, let's not read into my motivations more than we already have, how about that? How about we just . . . talk about the weather."
Steve snorts and looks out the window. "It's clear."
"Yes it is."
"Probably be sunny tomorrow."
They pass the rest of the drive in familiar bickering, and Danny refuses to take inventory of all the ways it makes him feel good, feel grounded, to have Steve at his elbow, bitching about the color of his socks, questioning his taste in shoes, offering to take him shopping for cargo pants. They're still arguing when they reach Steve's house, and although Danny notices the frisson of tension that runs through Steve's body when he cuts the engine, he doesn't say anything, just keeps up the chatter and walks toward the house, unlocks the door.
"Danny," Steve says, still standing by the car. "Wait – "
Danny turns around, gestures toward the house. "It's okay. I had it taken care of."
Steve narrows his eyes. "You did?"
"You think I'd let you come back to the mess SIS and a dozen uniforms can make of a place?" Danny asks, and heads inside, switches on a light. Everything's in order, clean, the TV back in place.
Steve pauses at the threshold, glances around the room – the tension in his shoulders releases and he closes his eyes, looks sheepish. "I just – I had these images of . . ."
"You're innocent," Danny points out. "For innocent people, we put things back."
Steve nods and closes the front door behind him, glances awkwardly at the mail stacked on the table beside the door.
"Now, if you want? I can clear out – you need some space, I can – "
Steve arches an eyebrow. "I've been in solitary for two weeks."
Danny nods. "You have."
"I can stand a little company."
Danny nods again. "All right. Beer it is." And he heads to the kitchen, fishes two Longboards from the fridge, pops the caps and heads back toward the doors to the lanai. "Outside," he yells, since Steve's gone quiet – stealth, or maybe to the john, whichever; he opens the doors up, heads down to the chairs waiting faithfully at the beach.
His shoes are off, his socks, too, by the time Steve wanders down to the shoreline. "Took a look around," Steve says, as if Danny might not notice his bare feet, his board shorts, the t-shirt that definitely isn't the shirt he was wearing ten minutes ago, as if Danny might judge him for wanting to shed his skin. Danny hums something agreeable – he's pleasantly tired, enjoying his beer, and Steve can do the conga in his birthday suit if that makes him happy. Steve fishes his beer out of the divot Danny made for it in the sand. "So, Rachel," he says, and Danny sighs, rolls his head to the side.
"Rachel," he repeats. The word's like a bruise. "We're going to do this right now?"
"You were going to leave."
"But I didn't." Danny looks back out to the ocean, to the light reflected on the tip of each wave. "She told me she was pregnant, all right, that she was telling Stan and wanted to leave right away."
Steve says nothing for a moment. "And it wasn't true."
"It wasn't true." Danny scratches at the label on his bottle. "Wo Fat threatened Grace, and –"
Steve sits forward. "He did what?"
"Like it's a surprise that he's an amoral bastard?" Danny asks tiredly, out of energy, out of outrage that he can readily express. "Really?"
"No, okay, but –"
"So, he threatened my daughter, and my ex-wife was willing to do anything to keep her safe, a decision for which I can only commend her."
Steve sighs and stretches out his legs, sits back in his chair and digs his heels into the sand. "So the whole thing was just a ploy?"
"Maybe. No. Not all of it – just the important parts." Danny throws up his hands because explaining this is pretty much beyond him. "She did it to keep Grace safe, to keep me safe, so there's something there, you know? But she never meant it to be . . . for us to be together. Not really."
"I'm sorry, man." Steve shifts as if he's going to touch him, but he doesn't, just watches, and Danny grimaces against the hundred things he wants.
"There's a part of me – there's a part of me that's just dying, right? I thought I had this great girl, my family back, a new baby, god . . . " He stares at the place where the sand meets the ocean. "And then there's a part of me that can't blame her, just can't, because she did this thing out of love, no question."
"How many parts are there?" Steve asks, and he sounds uncertain, and Danny can't help but laugh just a little.
"About a hundred." He pulls at his beer. "'Cause there's this other part, this big part of me, that thinks, well, at least I can't let her down this time, right? At least I don't get to screw it up again. And another part that wonders, was that even what I wanted, was it her, was it that, or was it just . . . someone? And doesn't that make me the most selfish asshole in the world."
"But you love her," Steve says simply.
"Yeah, but I loved her when I was screaming at her across a lawyer's office, and I loved her when I didn't want to see her face before 2024, and I'm gonna love her 'til we're eighty and still bitching about Jersey," he offers. "It's all in there. Blurry and stupid, and I just wanted – I just want . . ." He shakes his head. "Never mind."
Steve tilts his head; Danny's feels his face heat under the attention. "You could make it work, if you wanted."
"I don't." Danny glances over. "I don't. I know that much. I know that this, this breaks everything. And we didn't do the breaking, but . . . we can't."
Steve nods and drinks, looks out at the ocean. "So what is it you do want, then?"
Danny pulls in a breath, lets it out slow. "I don't know yet." But that's not completely true, and he'd told himself, not six hours before, that the truth needed some attention. He drags up his courage. "But I missed you." He risks meeting Steve's gaze, and it's warm, even fond.
"I missed you too," Steve says.
"So, there's that," Danny offers.
Steve sprawls, more relaxed, in his chair. "There's that."
They sit in silence for a good long while, and Danny would give it up, doze right here if it weren't for knowing exactly how bad an idea that would be, how much Steve's ill-equipped to act like a normal person. "So what did you think about?" he asks. "Inside?"
Steve takes so long to answer Danny thinks he maybe didn't hear him, but then, "My mom. Who to blame for that. What to blame."
Danny waits, breathing quietly.
"I tried to figure out what Jameson meant, what angle she was playing. Why replace the money? Why give us free rein to do everything we did if she was in the thick of it?" He takes a swig from his beer. "Now I know."
"It help any?"
Steve laughs softly, bitterly, catches his bottom lip between his teeth. "A little. Maybe."
Danny nods, shifts his feet against the sand, listens to the nighthawk peeping close to where they sit.
"I'd replay your visits, try and figure out what you were trying to tell me that you couldn't just say."
"Made me nuts, if it's any consolation – never did take a class in eyebrow semaphore." Danny raises his eyebrows, lowers them, alternates. "Only so much a guy can do, you know?"
"I got some stuff." Steve wets his lips, hitches one leg over the arm of his chair. "HPD knew I didn't do it – I got that the first day."
Danny tips his bottle in a toast. "Well, thank god for that."
"Couldn't figure how, mind you, or why I was still there, why Matsuda was hearing nothing." Steve drinks the rest of his beer, sets the bottle in the sand. "Decided that I needed to pay better attention. Maybe that would help?"
Steve shrugs, quirks his lips. "You wore four blue shirts – one of them two times – and two white. The gray looks bad on you. A tie every time – blue striped, navy, plain black, gray. You had a loose thread on the inside seam of your right sleeve on your third visit. You forgot to shave that day, or didn't have time, and the next time you'd nicked yourself right by your ear."
Danny feels something clench in his chest, something panicked, urging him to fight or flee. He stays put, stays quiet.
"You looked happy every time I walked into the room, and a second after, you'd see the cuffs and you'd clench your jaw. Every time, man."
"Oh, well, I'm sorry, I realize I should have hated to visit, turned cartwheels when I saw the chains," Danny protests.
Steve shakes his head. "I had nothing else to think about," he reminds him, and Danny flushes, waves a hand.
"Yeah, okay, I get it." He sighs. "I thought they trained you to marshal your thoughts."
"I did." Steve shrugs, smiles a little. "You were the marshal."
Danny's pretty sure his mouth is hanging open a little, that he's blinking like an idiot. He rallies himself, deflects. "Tell me you worked out at least a little. Or else everything I learned about lock-up from the movies is junk."
"Sit ups, push ups, triceps presses. I'd run in the yard the hour I got, did yoga most afternoons."
Danny squints at him, because really, what? "Yoga?"
"Good for flexibility, clears your head."
"When the hell did you learn yoga?" Danny asks, setting his bottle in the sand.
Steve grins at him. "Classified," he says.
"You," Danny says, pointing at him, "are a menace. You are a man who uses his security clearance for nefarious purposes, to wit, driving me out of my mind." He's smiling before the sentence is finished, helpless when Steve throws back his head and laughs, pressing a hand to his belly as if the laughing hurts. "Menace," Danny repeats, and Steve hoots softly, wipes his face on the back of his hand. "Go get more beer. Go on, you could use the exercise." And he slumps down in his chair some more, but he can't get rid of the smile.
Kono sleeps hard, wakes up confused, drowsy with hollowed-out fatigue. It's the after-effect of adrenaline – she can tell a story for every day she's felt this way, every near-miss gun fight, every punishing wave she's risked. Finding Jameson's files, Steve's release – each brought a high, and now comes the crash. Sleep won't return, for all that she's exhausted, so she swings her feet out of bed, rolls her head to the side and flexes her ankles, stands up and pads to the kitchen – empty – to the living room – likewise – and out the front door.
Jenna's sitting on the top step, cowlicks askew, a cup of coffee between her hands. "Hey," she says sleepily, smiling as Kono sits beside her. "There's more if you want some."
"In a bit," Kono replies.
It's still, the air thick, no breeze to speak of, and the silence is welcome, fertile, rich. Kono rests her head against Jenna's shoulder, matches their breathing. She can slow time like this, she thinks lazily, comfortably – stretch this moment, just exist. It's a long while before the floorboards in the house creak behind them, before a door closes, and they hear the shower.
"He's up," Kono murmurs.
Jenna sips her coffee. "I suppose we should get on with things." But she doesn't move.
There's a lot to do – leads to chase down, loose ends to tie, but Kono's willing to postpone it for the moment. "In a bit," she offers, and Jenna hums, hooks an arm around her, tucks her closer against her side.
"When this is done – " Jenna offers softly.
"When we catch Wo Fat."
"Right." Jenna nods and Kono feels the sway of it through her body. "After that, we should go on a date."
Kono smiles. "A date sounds good."
"A real one. With . . . date stuff." Jenna turns her head, presses her nose into Kono's hair.
"Food?" Kono asks, closing her eyes, lulled by the steady warmth of Jenna's body.
"We've done food," Jenna suggests. "We've eaten together a lot."
"Hmmm." Kono nods against her shoulder. "So . . ."
"I was thinking sex," Jenna says, and Kono begins to laugh, straightens up so she can see her face. Jenna's grinning mischievously, the tip of her tongue poking between her teeth.
"Subtle," Kono says, smiling. "What kind of date is that?"
Jenna shrugs, keeps grinning. "The fun kind?"
Kono laughs again, leans in to kiss her, to lick the bitter taste of coffee from her lips. "Okay," she agrees. "After this is done."
"And before the next thing . . ."
"Definitely before the next thing – "
"Then – " says Jenna, and kisses her back.
They're good at kissing, Kono muses happily – quick tongues and full, lush lips, eager bodies and clever hands. They could date right here on the lanai if they wanted – she wants to, badly, feels the hum of it in her blood – but there's Sang Min in the house, and a car engine working slowly closer. She pulls away regretfully, wipes her mouth. "Engine," she says by way of explanation.
"Truck," Jenna nods, and tidies her hair, stands up and tugs down her t-shirt, picks up her cup. Kono stands beside her, stretches and yawns, waves a hand when Steve's truck rounds the corner.
"Boss man," she calls. "Up early today." He looks better – calmer, clean-shaven, and when he gets out of the truck, she smiles at his cargo pants, his battered leather boots.
"We've got a job to do," he says by way of explanation, but there's no chastisement in his voice. "Figured I'd come get our guest."
"Where're we taking him?" Kono asks.
"Downtown," Steve says, and he grins just a little. "Bait," he clarifies, and bounds up the stairs.
Danny hears them coming long before they arrive. He has to admit, he's heard some cursing in his time, but this – this is impressive, the range, the mix of languages, the tone, the pitch.
"You drive me through downtown Honolulu, and walk me through the front door of your building," Sang Min spits as Steve guides him into the HQ, Kono and Jenna following behind. "Are you trying to get me killed, Commander?"
Steve shakes his head. "Quite the opposite." He releases one of Sang Min's cuffs, re-cuffs him to a chair at the tech table. "Chin, hey, you have that schematic?"
"Morning. And yes," Chin says. With a sweep of his hand the map of the island Sang Min had worked on appears on the screens, safe houses marked in red.
"All right," Steve says, leaning his hands on the table, addressing Sang Min. "The only way that this ends well for either of us is if we find Wo Fat, agreed?"
Sang Min narrows his eyes. "Our definitions of 'ends well' may differ."
"Okay," Steve agrees. "Alive, how's that? Can we work with that as a shared definition?"
"Fine." Sang Min glowers, throws Danny a dirty look, probably for want of any other way to express his disgust. "What, no smile, Detective? Your boyfriend is home, I thought you'd be cheering."
Danny pointedly does not look in Steve's direction. "Yeah, well, you missed the ticker tape yesterday. Today," he spreads his hands apologetically, "today we're the same jerks we always were. But hey, you're looking sharp. Glad to see you dressed up for the occasion."
"I was told," Sang Min says bitterly, "it was required."
"Ah, right. Bait," Danny says, nodding, grinning, 'cause he's not above being an asshole. "Course."
Sang Min tugs on his cuffs again.
"Look." Steve folds his arms, stares him down. "I am not looking to get you killed. What you know is important, the testimony you can offer in a dozen cases is critical. I may not like what you do for a living, but that's no reason to get you shot."
Sang Min looks at him incredulously. "Now you have standards?"
Danny winces. "He has a point."
Steve rolls his eyes. "Let me walk you through it, okay?" He gestures across the table. "Chin – anything that helps us pin down any one of these sites as Wo Fat's location?"
Chin shakes his head. "Activity at all the sites – uniforms report lights, cars, occupants clearly observable. It's possible he's changed his pattern, that he's hiding in plain site, using accomplices as a front."
Kono whistles low. "You had HPD busy."
Chin smiles a little dangerously. "They had a lot to make up for."
Danny tries, and fails, not to feel smug.
"Problem is," Jenna says, picking up the thread, "we damaged his network pretty badly." She steps closer to the screens. "We booked the low-ranking Yakuza – they're still in jail, awaiting trial. We removed Hesse; you've disappeared; word is out that Wo Fat is the focus of a high-profile investigation. There was no change to the alert level at the airports, with the coastguard. Getting people in or out will be difficult, so accomplices are going to be hard to find. His best bet is to go to ground, but his usual networks of support are gone. It takes time to build trust with alternate organizations – money, supplies – and that's if he hasn't already crossed them. He probably has bodyguards, but not much else."
"Exactly," says Steve.
"So for a safe house – he could go to the interior, but that has its own risks. Less traffic can mean easier identification. Hikers, wardens, tourists – there's a web of people to avoid, and he's not local. He's only been here a few months; he won't have the prior knowledge of the back roads and land use patterns that we had." He could go agricultural, but that means being seen – or running the risk of squatting in a location already claimed by other organizations for drug operations, handoff of goods."
Sang Min looks sullen. "Is this going somewhere?" he asks.
"I think he's lying low in a populous area," she replies, because she's smart and insightful and Danny really hopes she'll take that badge. "Something that's low rent, but livable. He was MSS – he's been trained to endure far worse conditions than a bad apartment building."
"That leaves us with, you know, half the island," Danny points out.
"Families," Sang Min says begrudgingly. "He'll use children as a shield if he has to. He's done it before."
Danny feels his guts twist, thinks of Grace – but he forces the knowledge away, can't afford the luxury of unfocused, messy fury, not when their job is to take the guy down.
"Hotels are out," Kono adds.
"Too much video surveillance, even in the dives," Chin offers. "Especially in the dives, given what tends to go down."
"So you see," Steve says, turning back to Sang Min, "that as great as this information you shared might be, as much as it helps us build a financial profile, trace the illegal transfer of funds, perhaps even turn up weapons, papers, drugs, who knows – it's not gonna help us find him."
"And so I'm bait," Sang Min says.
Danny smiles – there's an idea he can hang onto. "I like it when he catches on."
Sang Min slouches in his chair. "You think he's just gonna walk on in here. Duel you?" he asks Steve.
Steve shakes his head. "I wanted him to know you're with us. I wanted you to be seen. This afternoon? We're going to the docks – you're showing us your operation. At least that's the story we're putting out there."
"Out." Sang Min repeats. "Publishing a story in the newspaper, McGarrett?"
Steve laughs. "Funny. No." He rests a hand on the table, leans in close. "You think you're the only one with a network? With contacts?" He stares Sang Min down; Sang Min doesn't give an inch.
"What makes you think he'll show up, huh? You're armed, you're newly released from jail, you have an axe to grind. Those are advantages, Commander."
Steve smiles. "He's angry. He's cornered. We just busted his connection to Jameson wide open, and his plan to destroy this task force? It failed. He wants to tie up loose ends as much as we do, and he wants off this island." He leans back slowly. "Besides, you're not the only bait. He's also coming for me."
This is the part of the plan Danny hates – hates with something approaching his own personal definition of DEFCON one – but he gets it; Sang Min's the appetizer, they're the main course, Steve's the special. He looks at Kono, her mouth set, determined; at Chin, who's eyeing Sang Min with a cool, level gaze. Jenna's chewing gum, but she's wound tight, flinty, and he has no doubt that between them all, they can take Wo Fat down. He wouldn't do this with anyone else, but he still wishes that Wo Fat could make it go easier, stand on a rusty nail, come down with blood poisoning, trip over his own feet, greet the sidewalk with his head. A nice little take-down at his hospital bedside, that would be peaceful; that would be good, but that's not the way his life has ever worked.
They split up to set the plan in motion. Everyone has contacts to activate – save for Jenna, who's working on something complex and tech-heavy Danny's not even going to try to understand. He settles in his office chair, hits speed dial #9.
"Best Shave Ice on the island!" says a voice on the other end. "How can I help you this fine morning?"
"Need a favor, big guy," says Danny. "Gotta get the word out."
"Saw the paper, brah. Congratulations on McGarrett."
"Yeah, uh – thanks." He glances at his phone, uncertain how to take that. "Can you talk to some people?"
A huff at the other end. "C'mon brah, who you talking to? Anything to clean this up."
"Great. We're headed to the docks this afternoon. A little research."
"With the guy you hauled in this morning?"
"Word travels, huh?" Danny straightens the picture of Grace on his desk, the awful, clay police car she painted for him at some pottery class.
"Hey, you should stop by after. I got a new flavor for you to try."
"Nu-uh. Last time I did that you gave me hot dog flavored shave ice. Hot dog, my friend. That is unforgivable. "
Kamekona laughs, clearly enjoying the memory. "Ah, c'mon, brah. Trust me, huh?"
"Yeah, okay, oh, look at that, I gotta go," Danny lies and cuts off the call. He pulls a piece of paper from his pocket, smoothes it out on his desk, punches a new sequence of numbers into his phone. "Yo. Toast," he says, and waits for the guy to remember what day it is before he can tell him the rest.
By lunchtime they're ready – Kono shrugs into her vest as Steve goes over the plan. "I want HPD stationed here, here, and here," he says, pointing out locations on an old-school, paper map. "Out of the way – they do not think of coming in without the go-ahead from us; establish the code-word, make sure they understand."
"On it," Chin nods.
"EMTs," Jenna suggests. "We should have at least two on standby. We want him alive, right?" She looks around the group, and Kono's glad to see nods of confirmation. "But he might be injured and – "
"Any of us might be injured," Chin says. "Good thinking."
"All right, I'll take point with Sang Min – we'll park here, walk to here. Danny, you're with me."
"Yeah, genius." Danny pulls a face and spreads his hands. "Where else would I be?"
Steve ignores him. "Kono, I want you on the six. He'll have bodyguards; you gotta come in from behind."
"Sure, boss." She looks at the satellite imagery of the dock's configuration again – at the shipping containers and loading cranes as they looked an hour before. There's risk going in like this – a lot of cover for anyone with a gun – but there's little chance of catching civilians in the middle, almost no risk of collateral damage if things go wrong.
"Chin, come in from the west side. Cover our position if you can – you're our eyes for trouble."
Chin nods, doesn't look up, keeps studying the map.
"And Jenna – "
She shakes her head. "I'll stay behind the lines." She quirks an eyebrow at Steve when he covers a smile with his hand. "I'll coordinate the HPD and EMT units, monitor your transmissions, scan for unusual activity on other radio frequencies. I can trace cell phone use to some degree, but that's slower, less precise – I assume he'll have a burner, if anything at all."
Steve nods, he's pleased. "Okay, good." He rests a hand on his side arm. "I want everyone to check their vests twice over – no dents, no nicks. Extra ammo, a second gun at your ankle."
"A knife," Kono says archly, and smiles at the look of surprise, then quiet pride, on Steve's face.
"Great," Danny offers. "Now you two are going head to head in concealed weaponry. No way this ends badly, huh?" He's shaking his head, and she can see the genuine worry he's masking with a rueful smile.
"We good?" Steve asks, gets nods of assent from around the table. "Okay. Jenna, get going. ETD for the rest of us, 20 minutes."
They ride in two cars, Sang Min in the back seat of the Camaro – Kono can see his head bobbing the whole way to the docks, can hear the tone, if not the quality, of the monologue he's running through her earpiece, wonders how much Danny wants to punch him in the neck.
"Pull up here," Steve says across the comm link as he turns onto the dock itself, and Chin puts his truck in park, turns off the engine.
"Ready?" he asks her.
She has no idea, but she says yes regardless, gets out of the car.
There's a good quarter mile between the place they park and the area Sang Min identified as one of his operation zones. There's no end of equipment – a crane, dollies, small forklifts, crates – and an empty port authority hut, the crossing barrier raised. Chin peels off – she doesn't worry, keeps her eyes on the points of risk, the shadowed spaces between boxes, picks her way down the dock to the first container, takes a moment to check her six.
"Okay, so explain everything," Steve says across the comm, and Sang Min swears a little – for show or for real, who knows at this point – finally starts talking when Danny encourages him with the threat of a bullet in his leg. She tunes out details – Jenna's recording everything; if there's anything useful in what he says, they'll parse it out later – listens only to cadence, to the nuances of pitch that could tell her something's wrong.
"Noise burst, north-west side," Jenna says, low, and Kono alters course, picks between the shipping containers stacked along the dock, glances around the edge to see someone climbing up from beneath the dock supports, slipping between two shipping containers.
"One confirmed," she murmurs. "Male; 5'9", 5'10"; black shirt, black pants."
"Two," says Chin softly. "Same make. Straight west, Danny, watch your back."
Kono calculates risk, eyes the container right in front of her, sticks her gun in its holster, and uses the ridged contours of the door, the vertical struts from the locking system to climb its face. She glances over the top – no one visible – pulls up and crouches to 360 her position before she runs as lightly as she can along the container's length. A figure eases between containers below her – dock level; no clear shot – and she jumps to keep up with him, gets in front with ease, shimmies down the container's far face and pauses with her back pressed against the metal. She pulls out her gun, risks a glance to see where the guy is.
The punch comes quickly – she should have expected it. Her gun skitters and then it's nothing but training, instinct, defense. Disarm, immobilize – throat, eyes, and groin; he has muscle mass and weight she can't match, but she's agile, flexible, comes in from beneath, knocks his gun aside. The heel of his hand smacks into her forehead – she falls back against the shipping container, feels the blow as a ringing through her skull, but she blocks his next blow, and his next, and his next. His fist meets her jaw; she swivels, ducks, aims a punch to his dick and misses, but he's off balance, swung too fast, and she uses his momentum, puts out a foot – he pinwheels, but falls. She's on him; sits on his hips, smacks his head into the concrete – once, twice and the bastard's out cold.
"One down," she manages breathlessly, reaches in her pocket for a pair of zip ties. She hears shooting – on the comm link; from the dock itself – and curses as she immobilizes the crumb, pats him down for other weapons, finds a second gun and an impressive-looking knife. Stowing them, she shifts, repositions, ignores the sluggishness in her brain and ducks her head around a container, sees Steve – 100, 120 feet away – in hand-to-hand combat with a bleeding Wo Fat.
"Chin – status," she asks, but gets no reply – there are grunts and curses on the comm link, but she has no idea whose sounds they are, or who's shooting at what. Carefully, controlling her anger – her team is on the line – she pulls back, finds a route along the dock's other edge, checks her six, weaves between containers as if she's working a maze, gets closer, gets a visual on Danny – on Sang Min down, Danny crouched and shooting upward. She climbs quickly, makes a hasty recon with a second's glance, ducks down, checks her weapon, pushes up and takes aim, brings the guy down.
"Two," says Danny. "Keep moving. Go, go."
She zip ties the bodyguard, hears a single shot and a curse from Steve, a pained, angry growl. From her right there are two shots more. "Three," says Chin over the comm. link.
The scrape and scuffle of feet goes quiet.
"Four," says Steve, out of breath. "Stand down – target neutralized."
"Rip tide," says Chin. "I repeat, rip tide." And there's a moment's pause before Kono hears sirens screaming their way toward the dock.
Kono climbs down from the container, more slowly now, hands unsteady – pulls out her earpiece and runs to Danny's side. He's standing, his color high. "Watch him," he says, gesturing to Sang Min before he starts to jog toward Steve.
She rolls Sang Min over, feels strangely relieved when he coughs and swears at her – she can see the damage from the bullet that hit his vest. "That's gonna hurt," she says, helping him sit up a little. "Easy. Steady breaths." She blinks to stay focused; her head is swimming.
Chin walks up to where they're sitting. "Good job," he says, and gestures at her forehead with a finger. "Nice cut."
Kono presses a hand to her temple – her fingers come away bloody. "Gonna have a headache," she acknowledges, nods, winces when the back of her head throbs in response. Adrenaline fading, her body starts to hurt, but her attention's soon pulled away.
"Don't give me that!" Danny yells, and Kono turns her head to look down the dock, at Danny gesturing wildly, at Steve sitting on Wo Fat's back; the latter's still struggling, although feebly. "I spend two fucking weeks of my life getting you out of jail and the minute you're sprung you get yourself shot?"
Steve says something low and probably reasonable, about this being the plan, about Danny knowing the risks ahead of time, or maybe something about it only being a scratch. It doesn't make a dent in Danny's fury. "No, no, you know what, I'm changing the rule," Danny yells. "When you get yourself shot, you apologize. Jesus, McGarrett." And he throws up his hands, walks back toward them. "Flesh wound, like I care."
Chin throws Kono a look; he's biting back a smile. "You okay, brah? Got some blood on your shirt there."
"Yeah, whatever, shrapnel I guess, just a graze." He raises both eyebrows at the EMTs who are first on the scene, gestures down the dock. "One down. And one who'll try to tell you he doesn't need medical attention, because he's an idiot, a first-rate, dumb fucking imbecile, so don't listen to him, okay, take him in."
Kono watches him fondly – his bluster's comforting, tells her his heart's in good working order, if a little beat up – wipes her face. The blood that's trickling down her cheek is warm and sticky. "We get him?" she asks.
"A little the worse for wear, but yeah." Danny scrubs his hands over his face, crouches down as if he needs to be that much closer to stable gravity. "We're done." He lets his head hang.
Kono closes her eyes for a second, opens them to an EMT beside her. "Officer Kalakaua, I need you to look at me, can you do that?" She obliges drowsily. "Good, we need to clean you up. Hold steady, okay?"
And she nods, mumbles an ow when they eventually help her up, get her standing, gives the thumbs up to Chin, lets the paramedics get her on a stretcher, take her away.
They're a motley crew, Danny thinks, eyeing Chin and Jenna over the rim of his terrible cup of coffee. Chin's got an ice pack strapped to his shoulder, over his t-shirt, and there are long, red-raw grazes along the insides of both his arms. Jenna's unharmed, although she's pale and jumpy. Danny wonders if he should have told her to lay off the Mountain Dew, but he's drinking coffee, he can't really talk. His eyebrow itches beneath a butterfly band-aid, and his arm's bandaged tight beneath his ruined shirt.
"This is awful," says Jenna, sitting down beside Chin. He turns his head and offers her a smile.
"Always," he offers.
Danny glances at his watch, does not – does not – calculate how long they've been waiting and what injuries that could mean. Except he does.
"Brah," Chin says sympathetically. Danny grimaces, caught in the act.
"You know I'm bad at this," he offers.
A gentle laugh. "Let me go ask the nurses," he says. "You've scared them enough for one day."
"Thanks, man." Danny watches him leave, wonders if he'll get anywhere, or if the staff are so sick of the unit that they'll just spin him a line.
"I'm glad," Jenna says, and Danny turns back to look at her – he can't remember where the conversation's been.
He shakes his head. "Glad?"
"We got him," she clarifies. "I mean – you know. Wo Fat." She clenches her jaw, then releases it, presses her lips together.
Danny swears softly – he's an idiot, a first-class numbskull. "Your fiancée," he murmurs. "God, I'm sorry, I totally forgot –"
"It's okay," she smiles tightly, nods at him as if to emphasize she's absolutely fine. "No, really, I mean it, it's okay, because we got him."
Danny sighs and sets down his coffee, shifts across the aisle to sit beside her, wraps his good arm around her and pulls her in. "Don't be ridiculous," he says quietly, and he's glad when she rests against him heavily, even if he can't see her face. " All those memories, the things he did, those don't go away."
Jenna sniffs, and he swears she's trying to do it discreetly, like he might not notice if she's quiet enough, like there's any shame in missing someone. "She was really good at her job. And kind." She laughs brokenly. "She loved rice pudding. Isn't that stupid? That's what comes to mind – that she really loved rice pudding."
"It's not stupid," Danny replies.
"And I don't even really understand. I mean, it was a while ago, and I've – I'm with . . ."
Danny nods. "Yeah, but it doesn't work like that."
Jenna doesn't say anything for a moment. "It should," she offers, and her voice is unsteady.
"You are talking to the reigning champion of wishing it was less complicated," he confesses, rubbing her arm. "Me? Look at me. I get back with my ex-wife, right? I get back with her and I do a pretty good job of not thinking about how it's fucked up between us, that she's married to Stan, because it's good, it feels good, right, to have my family back." He pulls in a breath, lets it out as slow as he can. "Only then – it's a lie, it's Wo Fat, and Rachel doing what she can, unbelievable circumstances, and I'm gutted, I'm just floundering, what the hell did we do to each other? Only that's not all it is."
"It isn't?" Jenna asks, wiping her nose on her hand.
"No, 'cause Steve – " He tries to gesture with his free hand, but it hurts, and he winces, lets it drop. "I don't even know. Him in jail – that . . . that was so fucking wrong I can't even . . . And there's him, and there's her, and there's what was, and there's – I don't even know if he . . ." He pulls a face, listening to himself, tips back his head. "Look, all I'm saying is, I get it. You can – love two people at the same time." And now he's sweating, because he's actually said it.
"Design flaw," Jenna says. "I don't understand how – evolution should do a better job of just . . ."
"Yeah," Danny agrees. "Except no, 'cause then we're doomed."
Jenna laughs a little, wipes at her face. "Okay."
"Okay." He looks at his coffee cup. "And no more caffeine."
"Okay," she says. "That's smart."
Chin comes back in from the hallway, arches an eyebrow but doesn't say a word, just fishes a handkerchief out of his pocket, and good god, who has handkerchiefs these days? Jenna accepts it, sits up to blow her nose, and Danny nods his head toward the door. "Anything?"
"They're keeping them both in for observation. Kono for concussion – CT's clear, but they're being careful; Steve because the wound wasn't clean. He'll be in a sling for a while."
Danny closes his eyes, petitions every deity he's ever heard of for a little more patience, a little more to give. "Can we see them?"
"Ten minutes. They're getting them settled." Chin looks at Jenna. "That's code for arguing with them about why they have to stay."
Jenna laughs, and wipes her nose again, shoves her hands under her thighs and makes an effort at a smile. "Thanks, guys," she offers.
"Hey," Chin shrugs. "No problem. We're team."
When Kono comes around – and she doesn't remember falling asleep, which is enough to make her worry a little – there are familiar voices at either side of her bed, idle conversation that makes her feel warm. She blinks and hums, tries to lift her hand to scrub at an eye, but the IV site stings, and she doesn't remember anyone putting in a line.
"Shhh, it's okay," her mom soothes, pushing her hair back from her face. "Nice to see you, keiki. You okay?"
Kono thinks it over. "Sore."
"I bet." Her mom smiles, inclines her head. "Jenna and I have been visiting."
For a second Kono thinks nothing, makes no movement, but then she turns her head, sees Jenna's smile. "Hey," Jenna says. "Okay?"
"I don't know," Kono says truthfully. "Am I?" It's a question about a lot more than the state of her head, or the aches in her body – it's about Jenna, about the case being done, about her mom, about the conversation they've been having while she sleeps.
"Yeah," Jenna says, nodding, and she leans in and kisses Kono on the lips – sweet, fleeting, but enough for Kono to tear up with the weight of what it means, of what her mom knows.
"She's a good one," her mom stage whispers, and Jenna laughs as she pulls away.
"I know," Kono says, feeling happily confused, gladly out of her depth, and she reaches for her mother's hand on one side and Jenna's on the other. "Both are," she murmurs as she closes her eyes.
Some things do not change, Danny muses. Steve is a predictable pain in the ass, agitating to be released before his twenty-four hours are up, insisting he can handle his shirt, his pants, his shoes without anyone's help, frustrated when he's wrong.
"Would you quit it?" Danny says, tying his boots. "I can feel you sulking. I don't even need to see your face." He stands up, and gestures at Steve's frown. "See? That I could have drawn – told a sketch artist, hey, 6'1", short hair, a little silver around the ears, looks like someone stole his puppy."
"I don't have a puppy," Steve points out.
Danny sighs and shakes his head. "Your Glock, what do I know, come on," and he gestures toward the door.
Steve's mood gets lighter the further they get from the hospital, and Danny gives him his due, figures the shit inside his head requires a little respect. "You okay?" he asks once, as they head out on Beretania, and Steve flashes him a smile, says, "yeah, I'm good," so Danny figures he can leave him be, attend to all the thoughts swirling inside his own brain. And they're a doozy – regret that he said anything to Jenna; quiet satisfaction that he did, that she understood. There's a little panic growing, he admits, and a stupid, fluttering hope that seems intent on choking him before long.
They pass the drive in silence, and he lets Steve get out the car on his own, grab his own bag, handle his own keys. Instead of following, he just hovers by the Camaro, not sure exactly what his play is now.
"You coming in?" Steve asks.
Danny hitches a shoulder. "You tell me."
Steve sighs as if Danny's the one being an asshole, as if Danny's the trial. "What is wrong with you today?"
"What is wrong with you?" Danny counters. "Huh? I mean, really." It's not his strongest comeback, but truth be told, he has no idea what to say.
Steve squints at him. "You hit your head?" he asks, gesturing to his eyebrow, meaning Danny's eyebrow, meaning Danny's head.
"No, no, I did not, Steven." Danny shuts the car door, leans against it. "My head is fine."
Steve unlocks the door, drops his bag inside his house, comes back up the driveway wearing his cryptography face. "Danny –"
"Look, I gotta be at the airport in, like – " Danny looks at his watch. "Three hours, so – "
"The airport's fifteen minutes away."
"Right." Danny accepts this, nods to show his agreement. "And I have to . . ." It's like his brain has taken a vacation, like he's trying to articulate concepts to himself in his shaky high school French. "Uh."
Steve's nods. "That's a lot of stuff."
"Are you mocking me?"
Steve waggles his head. "Maybe."
"Because – "
"Shut up," Steve murmurs, leaning in to kiss him, and Danny's heart just ups and turns clean over in his chest. He has no idea what he's doing, but his body's on board – so what if his brain has questions; he's got a hand against Steve's jaw, thumb grazing against stubble, and he's shivering like it's thirty degrees. "Yeah," Steve murmurs, and Danny's thought about that, the way he'd sound, turned on and breathless, and now he's heard it, he's fucked, licking at Steve's lips, making helpless, stupid noises because god, he can kiss, his tongue, his mouth.
When they pull apart, Danny's panting, and he leans his forehead against Steve's shoulder, wishes he'd worn looser pants. "Well," he offers, and he sounds fucking wrecked. "This is complicated."
Steve curls a hand around the back of Danny's neck. "It's really not."
"How is it not complicated?" Danny asks, pulling back to look at him, incredulous, confused.
"You are out of your mind."
Steve appears to consider that. "Not really."
"Look, you and me – I just got done with this thing, right, with my ex-wife, you remember that? So this – " Steve watches him patiently, fondly, and Danny will punch that look right off his face if he has to, he swears to god. "Would you stop? I am not your – your – I don't even know, I feel like I ought to be ordnance to get that kind of look."
"Can I come with you?" Steve asks. "To meet Gracie?"
Danny wets his lips, because maybe that'll help words keep slipping out, the ones that will keep Steve at bay. "Are you sure?" he says, and he closes his eyes for a second, because that's not what he meant to say, not at all. His brain's a little scrambled – he reminds it that he's not this lucky; he doesn't deserve luck; that whatever grace was his share he used up with Rachel, and look what that did to them, look at all the people they hurt. "No, really, are you sure?"
Steve runs his thumb over Danny's bottom lip, and Danny wants to press into it, he does, he does. "I had two weeks to think about how sure I am," Steve tells him.
"Oh," Danny says. "Right."
"So?" Steve asks.
"Yeah. Come with me," Danny says, and he huffs a breath when Steve kisses his temple, finds himself winding his arms around Steve's back. Keep going, he instructs his heart. You cannot up and stop on me right now, I got a daughter, an ex-wife, and this guy who might be the death of me, one way or another.
His heart keeps beating. When Steve kisses him again, it gladly picks up the pace.