It was beyond belief. The elderly mainlander couple still stood helplessly, gripping each other's hand, staring from person to person in bewilderment as the investigators grilled them time and again about what they had seen.
"Look at them," Steve McGarrett growled quietly to Dan Williams. "They don't know anything, they won't remember anything and they are all we have."
Danny did not reply right away, just continued to stare at the yellow tarp covered form on the hot asphalt. It had been so unexpected, so quick. He dared to lift his eyes long enough to spot Duke Lukela's blue suit jacket amongst the throng. He will find a way. Duke has a way with people. He puts them at ease. He will just need to get them away from the other police and away from the --- body. Chin, my God. Chin.
Steve was flexing his jaw, clenching and relaxing his right hand at his side. "I will avenge Chin - that's a promise," he muttered. "Pahoa and his slimy bums won't get away with this."
Danny winced. Would Pahoa risk something like this? Only if he was nuts.
"I want you to
get out there a lean on every snitch we have," Steve ordered. "I
don't care how much it costs. Get us something, Danno." He attempted
to soften his tone. Chin was family to Danno, I need to keep that in mind.
Doing something will help him right now. He intentionally squeezed Danny's
shoulder hoping it would be received as an understanding gesture. "I
want something to say before the news teams get this to press."
Danny stopped the car at the corner instead of in the driveway as he usually would have done. He turned it off and sat in the driver's seat as the heat rapidly rose without air conditioning to combat it. I need to open the door. I don't want to. Sweat began to collect on his face. It doesn't seem right that the sun is still shining, that kids are playing street ball across the way. The air within the cabin of the car was hot as he slowly breathed it in. I should open the door, but maybe I can just cook myself and take away this pain. I have to open the door.
Another car pulled onto the street and parked at the curb by the Kelley home.
Danny's attention was grabbed as he saw the police chaplain and Chin's pastor get out. He opened the car door and the trade winds rushed over him, drying the perspiration to his face. He approached them, glancing at his watch. 3:23PM. School is out, but Lara's car is not here. She probably stopped to get Tilda from school. It's been just under two hours. It feels like a lifetime.
The police chaplain slowly exhaled, glancing from the pastor, Rev. Yat-Sen. "Anyone home?" the chaplain asked quietly.
"Girls should be home from school any minute," Danny replied quietly.
"The Misses?" the chaplain asked.
"She died a year ago," Yat-Sen offered gently.
The chaplain blushed, realizing he had not done his "homework." To cover his embarrassment he growled: "Williams, you guys placed a single parent in harm's way on an undercover like the Kumu?"
Danny swallowed once, the brief argument with Steve echoing in his mind.
"Chin wanted it," Danny muttered. "The merchants Steve and Chin said it was the only way."
The chaplain shook his head and looked at the ground. "Was it, Williams? Somehow I think McGarrett will find another way now."
A copper-colored Toyota Celica turned onto the street, then up the drive. Lara Kelley had already spotted the knot of men on the sidewalk and was out of the driver's side almost before the engine was silent.
"Danny, why are you here?" she demanded, her voice tight as she recognized the clergy.
"Lora ." He whispered before his voice failed.
"Let's go inside," Yat-Sen suggested.
"What's happened to Daddy?" she asked more loudly.
By this time three other Kelley children had joined them. Eleven-year-old Tilda squeezed her sister's hand, eyes wide with fear. "Where's Daddy? Lara? Danny?"
The chaplain motioned them towards the door of the house, Faith, a high school freshman already breaking out in tears as the bewildered Tilda repeated her question. "Where's Daddy?"
Danny exchanged glances with Thomas, but could see no emotion registering behind the sixteen year old's dark Asian eyes. He knows, Danny thought, he already knows what is coming. He still mourns his mother and now this.
They barely made it through the doorway before Lora in motherly fashion, collected her siblings close about her like little chicks and turned to confront the messengers. "Tell us. What has happened. Is Daddy all right?"
Yat-Sen spoke: "Your father was shot this afternoon." He paused for just a moment. "Everyone did all they could, but he died. I am so sorry, children."
Lara looked from man to man, her mouth slightly open. "O my God," she whispered, bringing a hand to her lips.
Faith began to weep quietly, hugging Tilda close. "What will we do?" she sobbed. "Tim is in Hong Kong."
"I have already called Tim," Danny said quietly. "He'll be calling with his flight reservation."
"What of Alia and Harry?" Lara whispered, attempting to demonstrate her maturity.
"I'm going out to the university," he said quietly. "We can call Alia in just a few minutes."
"And Susie?" Thomas asked.
Lara gave him an angry stare. "Why should Susie care? She left all of us five years ago and never looked back."
"Don't talk that way about her," Thomas shot back.
"I don't want her here."
"We need to tell her." The color was rising in Thomas' face.
Danny placed a hand on his shoulder. "We will tell her, Thomas. Of course we'll tell her."
Lara turned angrily away as her own tears began to creep out. "Why did Daddy let this happen?" she cried.
There was motion outside as three women came up the steps - wives of police officers. They came in without knocking and nodded to the chaplain.
Danny walked to the back of the house, to Chin's bedroom and picked up the small phone book that lay next to the phone. He paused and stared at the framed photo of Chin and his wife, Lilly.
Danny looked up Alia's number in Hilo and called. She was not at home. When he turned from the phone Thomas was there. "Do you know where she works?" Danny asked.
Thomas shook his head no.
"I'll have to try again later."
"I can call her," Thomas muttered.
"I couldn't make you do that," Danny replied.
"She's my sister," Thomas answered. "I want to know how my father died."
"How did he die?"
"We told you, Thomas. He was shot."
"Who shot him? Where? Why?" Thomas insisted.
Danny sighed. "Thomas, I don't think "
" that I can handle it?" He guessed hotly.
"No, not that. This is still an open police matter," Danny said quietly, wishing it sounded like something other than an excuse. "I will tell you in time."
His lower lip jutted out in fury, Thomas blinked back a moment of emotion. "You have always acted like you owned my father. He was my father, not yours. You have never had the right to be here."
"Thomas," Danny tried to answer, new pain flooding over the sorrow that already threatened to drown him.
Thomas glared at him. "Why don't you just go away and let us real Kelleys deal with this." He stormed from the room.
The afternoon was nearly spent by the time Danny returned to his car. By that time he had endured breaking the news to Alia and had dropped into a welcome numbing of his own emotion.
"McGarrett to Williams," announced the radio.
"I have reporters swarming all over the place. What do you have for me?" came Steve's cryptic question.
Danny did not answer for a moment. "I haven't gotten out yet."
There was a moment of static filled silence.
"I went to tell Chin's family," he explained quietly.
Steve felt a sudden rush of regret. Of course, how could I have expected less? I didn't even think of them! "How are they, Danno?" he asked gently.
"They have just lost their sole parent to an act of violence. They aren't doing well. I still need to get Harry and call Susie."
"I'll call Susie. Come on in after you speak to Harry."
Danny ran a quick hand over his face before starting the car. He would
have to go through the events a fourth time and break one more heart.
Tim was on his way from China and would be here by midnight; Alia would
be on the seven o'clock flight from Hilo. Both had asked the same question
with the same emotion - the question for which there was no correct response.
Darkness had fallen at last. Most of the staff had gone to their homes, but none of them would feel peace and few sleep tonight. All would mourn the loss of their fellow officer and friend -- and all of them would wonder if the next time it would be them.
Duke listened to the phone ringing at the other end of the line. He had been attempting to reach Kono for hours. Tahiti communications were not always the best on these overseas lines. Reaching Ben Kokua had been painfully easy.
The line to Tahiti was now answered and Duke gave it his attention.
"Yo," came Kono's disinterested voice.
"Kono, this is Duke Lukela."
Unlike Ben who had chatted, Kono did not reply for a moment. "Who's dead?" he then asked bluntly.
Duke blinked taken aback.
"For you to be callin' me, I figure somebody bought it."
Duke recalled that Kono's departure from Five-0 had not been pleasant. He and McGarrett had not seen eye to eye for years and finally Kono had, in a fit of rage, quit. Unwilling to move back into the uniform units, he had left his beloved Islands and accepted a mediocre security position in a hotel in Tahiti. Steve had tried to get him to reconsider to no avail. No one had missed Kono more than Steve McGarrett, but Kono had refused to even talk about his decision. "Kono, Chin Ho was shot and killed today," Duke said, once again trying to sound gentle.
"Damn," Kono muttered. "It's always the good ones." He gave an audible sigh. "The kids doing okay?"
"Danny has been with them."
"Yeah." Kono's tough attitude seemed to have melted away. Duke could hear him clear his throat. "Sorry, Duke. I am really sorry." He cleared his throat again. "Hard to believe."
"Yes, it is," Duke agreed.
"Hum," Kono was struggling with emotion. "Look, I want to do something - let me know what kind of help I can send for the kids, okay? I got some money. I want to do something."
"Okay, Kono." Duke allowed the conversation to end, knowing that the tough Kono was breaking down into tears and would have been embarrassed for Duke to be part of that. Placing the receiver back into the phone cradle, Duke sighed and wished once again he was at home hugging his wife and children. If this had happened to me, what would happen to them? I need to increase my life insurance. He glanced back at the witnesses' report then pushed aside the meaningless testimony of the people who had seen everything and remembered nothing. There was the click of the doorknob and Duke looked up as Danny entered.
Every motion seemed to be labored as Danny slowly crossed the outer office to Duke's cubicle. Duke wondered what was keeping the younger man on his feet; grief had sapped the very energy of life from him.
"You get the kids taken care of?" Duke asked gently.
"How is Steve?" Danny replied quietly, not answering Duke's question.
"In his office," Duke motioned towards the closed door. They exchanged looks, neither asking how the other was doing. Duke rose from his chair. It seemed the minute had come where the three of them needed to confront this loss together. It might be the only chance they would have as the whirlwind of the crime would soon engulf them.
The door to Steve's office was ajar, but there was only one desk light on in the room. The gloom of nightfall had equally filled the corners with shadows. Danny pushed the door wider and they entered.
Steve did not move away from the window. For a moment, silence and uncertainty separated the three men.
"You all right?" Danny asked quietly. If this is to be our moment to share the pain, let it come. On the other hand - maybe we can deny the agony and work through it.
Steve turned to face his younger partner, the mask of the professional partially covering his sorrow. And he was aware that he was not the only one behind a mask. "I just phoned Chin's daughter in San Francisco. She will be here for the funeral," he offered, avoiding the obvious -- the emotional trauma of his colleague.
"How did Susie take it?" Danny asked, mildly surprised Steve had not called her by name. Of all the Kelley children, Susie had always been Steve's favorite. Danny was not sure why. She had a lot of spunk, a courageous spirit -- maybe a little like Steve himself. And like Steve, she had left her family to pursue her own life and nearly completely severed the ties. If she comes back now, I am not so certain her siblings will want those ties reattached. If I can focus on the Kelleys I won't be tempted to focus on myself.
"How would any daughter take it when you tell her that her old man has just been murdered? It broke her heart," Steve said a bit bluntly.
Does he forget I just passed the same message to seven other Kelley children? Lara's shock, Thomas' rage, Tilda's fear, Faith's confusion and Harry's pain were fresh before Danny. Unable to handle any more himself, he sought the support of the chair by the desk, struggling to bury the pain. This will not be a time to examine our grief, but submerge it. Maybe it is just as well. It is better to ignore it, hide it -- be strong. Be useful. Be the hero.
Duke, with a renewed sense of sadness watched the metamorphosis of Williams as, in a matter of moments, Danny mentally dug the pit, deposited his pain and filled in the dirt, burying the grief and loss. McGarrett, you have just made a huge error.
Steve turned his back to them and glared at the floor, ignorant of the new trauma that had just transpired. "I shouldn't have let him go under cover. He was too well known."
Duke glanced from Danny to Steve, seeking to provide some kind of comfort. "Chin wanted the job," he reminded, although it seemed like a useless thing to say.
"He was the only one who could get cooperation from the Chinese community," Danny echoed numbly, his voice lacking emotion. Yes, it is time to move on. Get back on track. Deal with the issues and find Chin's killer.
Bolstered by Danny's comments Duke added. "The tip on the protection rap came from one of Chin's snitches."
Steve shook his head. I need to do something. Maybe I should have done something differently. Danny warned us -- at least he isn't reminding me of that. "I should have had a back up on him at all times." Surely Danny will know that I recognize I should have listened to him. Right? Chin, I can't believe it. I can't believe the Kumu did this. They must think we are stupid, powerless -- or maybe they are making some kind of statement that they think they can beat us.
Danny recalled the consternation from the chaplain earlier. "It wouldn't have worked. You know how suspicious those Chinese merchants are. Alone one man had a chance." I told Chin it was dangerous. I told Steve it was dangerous - they wouldn't listen and now I am trying to tell Steve it's not his fault. Of course it's his fault!
"Did he, Danno?"
Steve glanced over at Danny. I know he is hurting, but there isn't
time for this right now. Every minute the trail will grow colder back
to Pahoa's cohorts. I need Danno and I need him functioning. I need to
kick him into gear. Handing him a tissue to cry into isn't going to do
that. "So help me God, I will not rest until I get the man that
killed him." And you won't rest either.
end Part 1
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