Friends in High Places
by Peg Keeley
Mano sat in silence in the interrogation room as Steve paced before him. "You are pushing at the high school right now, Stipe." Steve informed him. "I know what you're up to -- we have the evidence. I could get you locked up right now."
Mano glanced at him, then away.
"I am after something bigger and I think you can help me. It might keep you out of Juvie Hall."
"Bigger?" Mano showed only the slightest interest.
"You knew Jimmy Rego." He showed the picture of dead Jimmy Rego. He died outside of your house. You know anything about that?"
"Know cops were all over the place," Mano replied.
"Did you see anything?"
"Why was he at your house then?"
"Maybe he was meeting somebody."
"Maybe?" Steve got face to face with him. "Maybe who?"
"Don't know. Not me."
"You were dealing for him. Why not you? Did you hold back, John -- or is it Mano -- the shark. Did you skim a bit off and get caught?"
"No, man, I wasn't there," he replied nervously.
"Did he threaten you? Maybe you had to defend yourself?"
"I told you -- I wasn't there. I was at the dentist's office. My mom made me go. You can check it out."
McGarrett paused. "The dentist, huh?"
"Swear to God."
"Okay, say it checks out -- say I believe you. You know anyone else who'd be meeting Rego behind your house? Did you arrange for someone to meet him there?"
"Look, I'm a business man, you know?"
"You're a two bit punk and a drug pusher," Steve corrected.
Mano squirmed on the seat. "I didn't do nothing to Rego."
"Was he supplying you?"
"So he was bringing you goods? Did he have drugs for you yesterday?"
Mano crossed his arms. "I don't know why he was there."
"Come on, kid," he emphasized the last word. "You'd better find something to buy your way out of juvie or you'll be there before suppertime. Promise."
"Maybe the kid had a message for him."
"Really? What kid? What message?"
"Cops were gonna hit one of his places."
Steve scowled and straightened. "You knew where the police were going to strike?"
Realizing he might have made a mistake, Mano gulped.
"How did you know that?"
He did not reply.
"How did you know!"
"Look, I didn't know, okay."
"No, not okay," Steve said pacing the room. "Someone told you about police activity. Who did that?" Do we have a dirty cop? Maybe this explains a lot.
"Look, China boy knew, okay. He just told me."
Steve began to get the picture in the back of his mind. Thomas was with this creep in the photos. It cannot be.
"He was trading information goods. Has a brother with a habit."
"He knew where Rego would be?"
Mano grimaced. "Yeah. Rego wanted to meet He had some good shit on the cops. So I told him."
Steve could feel the energy shaking in his arms and legs. Can it be the whole tangled mess will be solved by this simple pusher? Do I want to hear what he will say? "What is this kid's name."
Mano looked up at him. "Thomas Kelley."
Steve thought for an instant he might collapse. He glanced from the recorder quietly taping the interrogation to the one-way glass. What was Duke's reaction?
On the other side of the window, Duke's mouth still hung open. O my God! And it fits. Motive, opportunity, ability -- it is all there. Can I see young Thomas ripping a man's throat out? No. What do we do now?
Steve turned off the recording of Mano's interrogation and waited for Danny's reaction. Williams had been out of recovery little more than two hours, but time would not allow this to wait. "Danno?"
He lay staring up at the ceiling. "Can't be that way," he murmured.
"If we got this, Reuter will, too. Maybe we can get John to go light. Duress, emotional trauma -- maybe manslaughter two."
"He's a sixteen year old kid," Danny replied, trying to put in emphasis, but unable to put another air behind the emotion. "He could not have done it. You don't know Thomas like I do."
"Tilda told me that Thomas did not come home with them that day."
"Tilda! What are you doing, Steve? You've been interrogating a fourth grader? She's a child. Don't mess her up in this!" Sweat was breaking out on his brow from anxiety.
"Easy, Danno," Steve cautioned, with calmness in his voice. "I am just trying to learn the truth. She told me that Harry and Thomas came in together -- Lara was upset because they were all wet. They said they were in the fountain at the park."
"Checking the vendors. Not likely anyone will remember."
"Circumstantial," Danny whispered. "Steve, Thomas and Harry -- don't let Reuter do this."
Hating himself for what he was about to say, Steve flexed his jaw muscles, then asked: "Then where were you?"
Blinking in surprise. "At your place."
"How did you tear the surgery site open?" he asked.
"So is it me or Thomas?" Danny asked hotly. "I need to confess to something I didn't do to protect him?"
"Of course not. There is no evidence that you fell on the steps."
He closed his eyes, then slowly reopened them. "I don't have an answer, Steve."
McGarrett studied the scene. He certainly knows he can trust me with anything. Maybe Thomas did kill Jimmy -- maybe not. "Did you kill Jimmy Rego, Danno?"
The expression of Danny's face was alarmingly calm for the question that had just been posed. He looked Steve in the eye from where he lay. "No, Steve. I did not. -- Did you?"
Brought up short, Steve stared at him for a moment. It is a fair question, however unexpected. My time is not well accounted for, my motives were less than ideal, I possess the ability. Except I did not know where to find Jimmy. Did Danno know to find him? "No, Danny."
He gave a slight nod. "Then we still don't know who did, but I know it wasn't Thomas. He isn't capable of killing someone."
Steve was the third officer to arrive at the Kelley home in two hours. He was not met with enthusiasm either.
Susie answered the door. "Steve, what brings you here?"
"Hi, Susie. It's good to see you here with your family," he offered kindly. "Is Thomas home?"
"Sure." She stepped back from the door and called him.
He appeared and gave a timid grin. "Hi, Mr. McGarrett."
"Evening, Thomas, I would like to visit with you for a bit. How about a walk around the block."
As they stepped away from the house Thomas offered. "I know why you came here."
He nodded without looking up from the cement. "Ben came earlier -- then this guy from the FBI. They wanted to know about where we were and stuff."
"Did you tell them?"
He nodded. "But -- well, I guess I'm afraid they won't believe me."
"Why wouldn't they, Thomas?"
He sighed. "I wanted to do something about Dad. After Susie got the gun and all, Harry and I wanted to find the guy."
Steve walked with him for a moment before asking: "Did you find him?"
He now looked up. "Yeah, we did." There was a slight smile.
Steve thought his heart might stop. If I don't let him tell me, I won't have to do anything. But if Reuter learns this -- Thomas' life is over.
"I started hanging around with Mano. I got in with him by telling him stuff about where the police were going to set up stakeouts. Guess it wasn't right," he sighed, "but I needed to get them to trust me." He paused again. "Harry was planning to kill Rego, but he was late. I met Rego and told him the information -- but I just couldn't do it." His eyes were filled with shame and remorse. "I had the chance to make it right -- to honor Dad, and I was too weak to do it. I just walked away."
"Thomas are you telling me that you saw Rego today? You never touched him?"
He nodded. "I really wanted to, but I was too scared. Harry was supposed to -- but he was too late."
Steve stopped walking and faced Thomas. "Is there a chance that Harry came after you left?"
"I met Harry a few minutes later. We went back. Harry was hoping he might still be there. He was really mad because now I'd have to get Rego to come back again." He swallowed once. "We saw him there -- on the ground. I don't know what -- or who -- we just ran. I was so scared. I thought I would throw up." He was quiet for a moment. "Harry said that we needed to wash in the fountain just in case there was anything on us. After that, we just came home."
Steve recalled Danny's firm statement that Thomas would have been incapable of taking a life. Looks like he knew Thomas pretty well.
"I haven't told anyone else this." Thomas was quiet, staring down at the sidewalk as they walked. "I really wished we had killed him -- I guess I'm glad we didn't. Will the FBI come back?"
"I don't know, Thomas. If they do, I want you to call me, okay?"
Tim slipped into the hospital before sunrise, knowing that time was against him. The flight out to Beijing would be boarding in just five hours. He needed to say goodbye. The hospital hallways were still and semi-lit. Unlike Danny's first surgery, there was no officer guarding the room door. Tim slipped inside and stopped for a moment. He had never seen Danny asleep in all their lives. He looks so peaceful that way. I wonder when we shall meet again. It is time to leave behind the brotherhood and the fight. Our paths now part and I am just now beginning to understand that you are only human, too. He stepped close to the bed, not looking at the medical apparatus around. "Danny?"
He awoke easily. "Tim? Why are you here? You shouldn't-"
"I have come to say goodbye," Tim said softly.
"Goodbye?" Danny wondered if he was dreaming.
"The family came to a decision. I am returning to Hong Kong today -- and taking them with me."
"Harry, Lara, Thomas, Faith and Tilda are going with me."
"Tim? What are you talking about?"
"This is the best for all of us," Tim said quietly. "We cannot run the risk that they will try to arrest Thomas or Harry. And it would only be a short time before someone finds out that you and I were together. What then?"
"Tim, everything is okay -- I promise," Danny whispered. "It is under control. We are okay."
"We are okay this way, too. And we are a family, a real family -- us -- and you will not be obligated-"
"Obli -- Tim, you are talking crazy," Danny responded, trying to rally himself for the conversation. "You don't know what you're doing."
"Your grandfather began a legacy that we can end here. My father's murder is paid for. Justice is served -- even if some people won't understand that."
"Reuter can be handled --"
"No, Danny, he can't. You and I both know that. Susie has left -- hopefully for Steve's sake -- for good."
"Tim, there were three sets of photos -- the last set not her. She really has tried to do right." Realizing that Tim was determined and within minutes would be out of his life, taking the rest of the Kelley family with him, Danny struggled to recall all the things he wanted to say. When will I see them again? I did not even say good-bye to Tilda.
"I hope so," Tim replied. "I hope so. Alia is going to wrap up her job in Hilo and plans to join us. We are going to be all right, Danny." He paused, "You take care of yourself, okay?" He gave a sad smile. "You'd like Hong Kong."
"Tim." Danny took hold of the younger man's wrist with his bruised right hand. "Your father was so proud of you. No one could have asked for a more honorable son -- or brother."
Tim gave a slight nod, not certain where to go from here. "You will always be my brother." He turned away.
Jonathon Kaye stood before Kevin Reuter, the latter a stiff attention. "You have made a screwed up mess of this," Kaye declared. "Dammit, the Bureau was supposed to be helping Five-0 clean up the Kumu. Who do you think you are? Elliot Ness? This isn't Old Chicago, Reuter."
He scowled. "We've had multiple homicides here that are all related, starting with Kelley. It's been one retribution after the next. Yes, it really is like Old Chicago."
"Rego killed Kelley," Kay declared. "And then Rego killed Pahoa."
"We think," he interjected. "Not completely sure of that."
"I read in one of your early reports you suspected Five-0 might have arranged for Pahoa's assassination. You are way off on that one, Reuter. It seems pretty obvious that Rego had plans to take over the syndicate here. He killed Pahoa. You let him back on the street giving him the opportunity. Then one of Pahoa's loyalists took him out. You've been so busy trying to make this case sound like Five-0 is dirty you have missed the obvious."
"Sir, if you'd just listen to me," Reuter started.
Kay waved a hand. "I don't want to hear it, Reuter. I am classifying this as contained -- for now anyway. I'll give you a commendation for assisting in the breakup of the Kumu. Looks like it'll be a little time before they reform. I'm sure Steve will stay on top of that just fine." He slapped a hand on Reuter's shoulder. "You're going back to Washington, son. Give J Edgar my regards."
Wordless, Reuter allowed Kaye to have the last say, wondering if someone somewhere had just pulled the rug out because he knew too much. He sadly resolved he would never know for sure.
Steve had taken the office to Danny. It only seemed appropriate. Ben had returned to Maui the day before. Steve had seen Kono off at the airport that morning, their relationship much warmer than it had been in years.
"It isn't often that a case goes unsolved because of too much evidence," Steve commented from the foot of Danny's hospital bed. "The state department has called off Reuter and the rest of the FBI. The Kumu seems to be, at least for the moment in shambles. From Reuter's report, there was no way to narrow down who killed Rego. For the time being it will get added to our unsolved mysteries file."
"For the time being?" Danny replied. "Do you think that will ever change?"
"Prehaps," Steve nodded. "Maybe, as Kono said -- to pin a medal on the person, huh?" He gave a quiet sigh. "It isn't the same with Chin gone, Danno. I won't even pretend it can be."
"I keep wishing it had been me," Danny offered. "Chin did so much good, he had so much to live for. He taught me what honor was about, love, respect -- all those things that have become a part of me. I find myself wondering if those parts will die with him. The things that were most important are gone. There are days I wonder how I am going to make it. Just knowing he was there -- it just made life more meaningful. I can hardly get up in the morning now without wondering what the reason is." He blinked back emotion. "I know, if Chin were here, he'd be puffing on that pipe and he would give me that serious wise look and say: Make something good out of this. Somehow -- I am not there." He cleared his throat. "I am not sure how to go on from here."
Steve allowed silence and thought to reign for a moment. "When my nephew, Tommy died, I thought I could never live again. The drive had gone out of my life. And it wasn't just that he died, but that evil was so involved by the deception of that woman. I was in such sorrow and such rage -- it was consuming me. Chin gave me a word then." He paused. "He said: 'When someone you loves dies, you can't help them taking the past with them. Don't let them take the future, too.'"
Billy Swan completed setting up his new residence in less than an hour and walked downstairs to his new boss.
"Was everything to your liking, Swan?"
"Very much so," he answered.
"Good. I have a meeting with the Dragons for later today. I want to let Lai Sing know the Kumu is still strong -- no, stronger than before."
"I'll take care of it," Billy acknowledged.
"Good. Billy." As Swan turned to go, his new boss called him back. "I want to tell you that everything has gone so excellently, I could not offer higher praise. I was a little concerned about Derrick's shooting of Williams -- but it did provide excellent story, didn't it? Using Rego's phone to call and hire him was genius. And you saved the life of a lawman -- you'll even be receiving some kind of recognition from the Governor for it. McGarrett will have to stand on that platform and watch the event close up." He paused to consider the moment like one would a fine wine. "McGarrett will be remembering that for a little while anyway. In the end -- everyone hated Rego. He was such a liability, wasn't he? There are enough red herrings in this case to keep McGarrett and his people looking for years -- if they dare. You will see to it that Miss Pahoa is compensated for -- yes?"
"Good. We must do everything we can to keep our fences well mended. One more thing, Billy."
"I will never give you reason to believe I may be weak and undecided. I expect to have total allegiance for many years to come."
"Yes, of course, for many years to come, Mr. Alika."
Tony Alika watched Billy Swan leave and turned to light his cigar.
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