Friends in High Places
by Peg Keeley

Part 3

Steve wasn't sure when Danny left the office. He had closed his door and tried to think through the events. He was desperate to develop something -- anything to begin to deal with the crime of Chin's death since he knew it might be ages before he could handle the emotional pain of it. By the time the sun was throwing it's first orange rays into the office, his usually neat habitat was littered with files, notes and open books.

The first light of sun startled him as it struck the far wall. What time is it? He walked to the far side of the room and picked up the coffee pot of old burned coffee. No one had shut it off yesterday. The water had eventually boiled away and left a crusty black-brown residue in the bottom that gave off an acrid charred smell. He opened the door, pot in hand just as May was entering.

She noticed the pot. "I'll get that," she said in a voice that was begging to an opportunity to do anything to help.

He let her take it from his hand. "It's pretty bad."

She gave a soft smile. "It will just be a minute." The phone rang and she turned back to get it by the end of the first tone. "Five-0, good morning." She was already emotionally prepared to encounter the press this morning. They'd been sensitive yesterday -- today would be a different matter. It was not the press. "Steve, line one for you. A special agent Reuter?"

He stepped back into the office trying to place the name. "McGarrett," he said into the phone.

"My condolences," the man said briskly, although it was clear that Chin's death was the least of his issues. "Special Agent Kevin Reuter, FBI. I need to discuss how Five-0 is handling the crime wave in the Islands. Do you have some time this morning?"

Steve gripped the receiver tightly. "Yes, of course." How can I deal with this right now? Pahoa. I will take that scum of the earth down and make it very public. "Ten o'clock. I'll have my people here." He hung up. "May, get Duke and Danno. Tell them they need to be here at ten with whatever they have collected on the mob issue. And get -" he stopped. I don't have the third man to collect the info from HPD last night. "Tell one of them to get the stats from HPD."

"Sure, Steve," she replied and moments later was bringing the spotless coffee pot ready for the morning's brew.

It was no surprise that the phone was ringing at the Kelley home. It seemed to have been ringing all night, usually answered by one of the volunteers from the church or HPD. People seemed to come and go as though the home was a public place. Lara longed for solitude. She wanted to just hug Faith and Tilda close and cry forever. But there was no time for that. I must be strong for them. There is no place for crying - we are of braver stuff than that.
Harry got to the phone first. He'd slept about two hours and had been routing around the kitchen in shorts and a T-shirt hoping to find something to eat. Food was no problem. It had been arriving all night. "'Ello?" he said around a mouthful of donut.

"Is Dan Williams there?" came the crisp female voice.

He glanced around the kitchen. "Lara, Danny here?"

She gestured towards the front of the house.

"Danny! Phone!" Harry bellowed.

"Who is it?" Lara said in a protective manner.

Harry shrugged.

"Well, find out!"

By this time Danny had entered the kitchen and took the phone. "Williams."

"Sorry to call you, Danny," May said quietly. "Meeting at 10."

"I won't be there."

She paused. "The FBI will be here. Steve really needs you."

He scowled, feeling the torment of being torn between two duties. He glanced at Harry and Lara. "May -- I need to be here," he said quietly.

"I know, I'm sorry."

Everyone is sorry. "I'll try." He hung up, the weight of responsibility crushing him.

Harry handed him a hot, fresh cup of coffee. "Gotta go?"

He shook his head. "I need to be here."

Harry gave a single chuckle that sounded just like his father's. "Five-0 intruding into our lives is the norm, Danny. Just go with it. But be sure to talk to Tim before you leave."

He raised an eyebrow.

As if on cue Tim came through the doorway. "Aha! Here's Harry now. Trying to convince Danny to your side?" he accused his brother.

Danny gave a bewildered look. "His side?"

"Haven't even mentioned it -- but now that you did --" Harry started.

"Side about what?"

Alia rose from the table. She'd been putting the finishing touches on the obituary for the paper. "No sides. Keep Danny out of this. It isn't his decision to make."

Harry laughed. "Of course it is. Right, Tim? Tim says: 'Ask Danno' everytime there's a decision to make."

"Harry, what's going on?"

"Tell him, Harry, Tim. Just hurry up before that bitch Susie gets here," snapped Alia.

"She's your sister," Danny retorted. "Don't talk about her that way."

"Don't change the subject," she fired back. "Did you tell Tim you'd back him on this decision about the funeral?"

"What?" Danny looked around for the coffee. "What decision? Tim?"

Tim, trying to be the calming voice in the face of the storm said quietly. "I told you I think we should have the funeral right here -- the traditional Chinese way. I don't want some big old church affair. This is our family, our business."

"Can you see hundreds of people parading through this little cardboard excuse for a house?" Harry challenged. "We can't even fit the family in the front room, let alone a big old coffin."

The silence was stunning. Harry blushed. "I - I didn't mean it that way."

Lara had come to stand in the doorway, arms crossed. "You know a little louder and you can wake up Tilda and Faith. It took most of the night to get them to get some rest."

They all looked at Danny. Am I supposed to do something here? "Um, Tim, the place is pretty small for all the people who loved your father. They will want to pay their respects to him -- and to you. Police, their families, the governor -- it might be good to consider something a little larger."

"How about the front yard, Tim?" Harry offered. "We can run a yard sale at the same time."

Tim swung at his brother and for a brief moment the punches flew before Danny got between them.

"Stop it!" he pleaded. "What would your dad say?"

They both hung their heads.

Danny glanced from one to the other. "I know this feels awful. We need to stay together for just a little while, okay? We need to do this for Chin. It's not about us."

They both glanced up, then back down with nods of acknowledgment.

"The family honor," Danny whispered. I sound like Chin! How often I disagreed with him about his beliefs that family honor came before the interests of the individual! Now here I am doing the same thing. "Tim, I know what you want to do and that is honorable." He placed a hand on the younger man's shoulder. "We can find a way to honor tradition, but in the context so that those that care will be able to see your dedication to your father's memory as well."

Tim did not reply right away. "I don't want a bunch of strangers here."

"There are many people who loved your dad, who worked with him -- they will need the closure, too." He glanced at Harry who made neither a comment nor any expression of emotion. We've all been taught well, Chin. "Let's meet with Rev. Yat-Sen this morning. See what he has to recommend."

Harry cracked a brief smile. "He's supposed to be here at 10 o'clock."

Crap. Danny sighed and shook his head.

"Impressive," Reuter remarked from where the cluster of men sat at the conference table in Steve's office.

May had made sure the coffee was fresh and had the bakery deliver a dozen donuts, correctly assuming that most of those at this meeting had neither slept or eaten in nearly a day.

Reuter opened the conversation with a comment. "Your crackdown on the small operators has netted quite a take across the six major islands, but I'm not seeing the relevance to routing out the major king pins."

"Cappy Pahoa has been hiding behind his façade of philanthropist for nearly ten years, Reuter. He claims to have come up through refugee camps and poverty and wants to help the poor children of Hawaii to a better future," Steve explained quietly. "He is involved in at least four major social work programs and two environmental ones. The most recent -- and the headline grabber -- is the Hawaiian Claims Movement. Lots of money comes through those organizations -- most of it squeaky clean. Sifting out the dirt isn't easy. He has also spread the seeds of hatred towards non-Islanders, particularly whites and we are now beginning to reap the harvest of revolution and violence."

Reuter sat forward on his chair. "Are you telling me that Hawaii is on the verge of race riots?"

Steve shook his head with a quiet smile. "Not like you are thinking. This is a revolution of culture against law and order. Under Pahoa's careful tutelage, a whole generation of poor city children are coming hating those in uniform -- and his hate campaign is being funded by the very people he is revolting against."

Reuter smirked. "He's not the first."

"I'd like him to be the last," Steve remarked.

"Okay, so what is Five-0's plan?" Reuter asked. "You've been running this ship for almost 18 years McGarrett. According to your records here, Pahoa's been around just 10. You should have gotten this guy before he got to this point. And so far your present efforts don't seem to have accomplished anything except get a man killed."

Duke pursed his lips. No one but a fed could just have gotten away with that kind of remark.

McGarrett took a moment to keep his rage in check. "Five-0 knows the way this culture and these islands work. No fledgling FBI agent can come in here and tell us how to run our business."

Reuter seemed unaffected. "We sure can -- and we are. You are already on warning that we will clean this up if you don't. The justice department so far is not very impressed."

"And do you think you will just walk in, make a few arrests and paradise will go on?" Steve asked. "We aren't Miami or Chicago. Our crime figures can't flee across state or national boundaries with ease. They are right here -- and it is only a matter of time until we can ensnare them -- but we will do it right and by the book. Throw our weight around and they will just go underground for another ten years. The only reason we are beginning to get a lead on them now is that they are finally under the false assumption they have the strength to take on the law. And they don't."

Reuter glanced over the records of arrests and shakeups that had taken place in the last two months. "McGarrett, the department wants results. You can sing and dance to any tune you'd like -- but get the results. They will be watching. Understood? And we don't have the luxury of waiting for ten years. Two weeks, McGarrett and I'll be looking over your shoulder."

Steve held his peace until Reuter had departed then leveled a grim expression on Duke and Danny. "There we have it gentlemen."

"Chin's murder has sent most of the small operators underground already," Danny offered quietly. "Nobody's talking."

"Are they more afraid of Pahoa or us?" Duke asked.

Danny shrugged. "To them it doesn't matter: Pahoa abuses them or we do."

"Maybe we can make them think there is greater security in trusting us than him," Duke suggested.

Really? McGarrett gave a small nod. "We couldn't stop them from killing one of our own -- haven't arrested the guy who committed the act -- how are we to get them to think they're better off siding with us?" He made a fist of his right hand and punched it into his left. "I want Chin's killer, gentlemen. And I am not going to wait for two weeks."

Rev. Yet-San had been completely adept at combining Chinese tradition with the Lutheran beliefs of his deceased parishioner, much to Danny's relief and had also been capable of quelling the family tension -- at least for now.

The morning of the funeral, according to custom, Chin's body was brought to the home for family to say their farewells. As Harry had commented in argument the day before, the coffin did dominate the small living room -- seeming to be overly imposing.

Tim was undaunted. He looked from sibling to sibling, each one dressed in white, the color of Chinese mourning, as though examining them for emotional weakness. Only Tilda whimpered.

"We say good-bye to father now," Tim said quietly. As he opened the casket, the tension amongst the children seemed electric. Tim looked sadly on his father's face. "I am sorry I was not there for you these last two years. You know I loved you," he murmured softly.

He glanced at Alia. She stepped close, licked her lips and glanced at Tim. "I don't know what to say," she whispered. "I caused you dishonor and pain -- I accused you of not caring when it was I who did not care." One tear of sadness slipped out of the corner of her eye. "I love you, Daddy." She stepped back, brushing the tear away without looking at Susie, the next in line.

Susie gazed upon her father for the last time in silence for a moment before whispering. "I loved you, Daddy. I wish you could have known that. I always loved you. I always will."

Harry cleared his throat as his turn came. "I wish it wasn't this way, Pop. You were the best example a guy could want. You worked so hard for us. You gave up some much for us. I wish I could be telling this to you alive -- thank you."

Lara was shaking even before she stepped close. "Daddy…" she murmured, "…Daddy." Unable to speak, she took off her senior class ring and placed it in the casket, then stepped back.

Thomas flexed his jaw, stealing a glance towards Tim and wanting to look strong. "Dad, I want them to pay for this. You know that. I want to be like you -- to keep people safe. You gave your life for what you believed. I want to be worthy of that." He reached out and touched his father's arm. "I love you, Dad."

Faith hesitated until Tim motioned her forward. Her lower lip quivering, she just barely glanced at the body. "Daddy, I want to remember you alive -- not like this…" her voice broke. "…I know you're happy, you're with mom." She escaped away from the spot.

Little Tilda stood clutching the orange hibiscus flower she had picked from the garden that morning. Tim took her hand, but she drew back. Tim scowled.

Danny had held to the shadows. Specifically invited by Tim to attend this personal moment, he had not worn the white of the grieving family, but the light blue of a grieving relative. He could see Tim was determined to make Tilda follow this rite and stepped forward. "It's all right, Tim." He scooped Tilda up into his arms and the eleven year old threw her arms around his neck sobbing openly. "Tilda, would you like to give your Daddy the flower?"

Weeping she nodded.

He stepped to the casket and she, without looking, reached backward with her hand allowing the flower to fall into the coffin.

Danny remained in place, looking upon Chin's quiet lifeless face for the last time. "I did this to you," he whispered in sorrow. "I did this to them. I can never make it up -- but I will make it right. I promised you to be a man of peace -- but sometimes…" he lost the words as emotion squeezed shut his throat. He tightened his grip on the crying girl. "Thank you, Chin."

Rev. Yet-San quietly handed Tim a white cloth with a white cross embossed on it. Tim solemnly draped the white fabric across Chin's body and with the pastor lowered the lid. As it clicked shut, Faith collapsed in tears.

The weather was its usual picture-perfect island best. Birds sang amongst the trees and the fLaral scent from the numerous bouquets spread across the casket and ground hung on the air. The secluded park area had been selected as the place where Chin had often taken Lilly. According to the sole living elderly relative, a sister to Lilly, it was where he had proposed to her.

A seven tiered platform was placed amongst a grove of trees, white cloth spread over it and the casket placed there, Chin's photo displayed on top of the deep brown, highly polished mahogany wood. A small urn of incense burned to one side.

Following Chinese custom, there was a chair placed near Chin's head from which the eldest child was to receive the visitors throughout the service.

As mourners began to arrive Tim turned to Danny. "I feel like the position is not rightfully mine," he murmured.

Danny gave him a kind look. "Of course it is yours. You are Chin's firstborn son, his blood and flesh. You've mentioned wanting to be in the family tradition. That includes this rite."

"I suppose so," he said quietly, "yet there is a part of me that knows it should be you there. That was how he thought."

"No, Tim. You and your siblings were the world to him," Danny encouraged quietly. "Maybe he didn't always show it, but it was true."

"Then stand with me?" Tim asked.

"Tim, I'm not sure-"

Tim's sober eyes never wavered. "Because he thought the world of you -- and it always showed. You told me that this isn't about us; it's for my father. Let's give him what he would have wanted."

Inwardly cringing, knowing that this would not be as well received by all the Kelley children, Danny obeyed.

Mourners began the long process of paying homage. A small collection of flowers began to collect around the photo. Some of the mourners bowed in respect as they passed. And they came from all walks of life -- police officers, the governor, statesmen, family friends, street snitches. They all came. And a police photographer moved stealthily through the congregants.

"Does he have to do that?" Thomas muttered quietly to Danny at one point.

He nodded. "Steve wants a record of every person here. Killers often return to the scene and may come to their victims' funerals. Anyone here you don't know?"

Thomas smirked. "Most of the people here I don't know." But his dark eyes began to view with suspicion many of the attendees.

Danny was relieved that many of the children's friends came, providing them moments of relief from the stress of the events. Thomas' entire cross country team came in their team nylon traveling suits and drew him away briefly. It was good to see him smile. A church member brought her young daughter and took Tilda to play in a park a short distance away. Even Susie had some old classmates who attended. Danny found himself doing as Thomas had, looking skeptically from face to face amongst those he knew, those he did not. Is someone here involved? All haoles could be dismissed. His gaze lingered on the cross country coach: half black half Hawaiian. There was an Asian homeless man from the street who came in an old threadbare suit. I don't know him. I hope the photographer got his picture. Critically examining the guests provided Danny an escape at least temporarily from the pain of grief and a sensation that he was accomplishing something.

"How is it going?" asked Steve stepping close to him.

He nodded pulling his attention away from Susie's friend and her male companion. "Chin knew a lot of people."

Steve nodded. "Agent Reuter is here, too." He motioned towards the shade of the tree about fifty yards away.

Danny gritted his teeth. "Am I supposed to be at work?"

Steve gave a gentle half-smile. "You already are." He gave a nod to Tim and blended back into the crowd.

Danny wished Steve had not pointed out Reuter and it took discipline to force his attention back to the crowd. He looked for Susie's friend and her companion, but did not see them again. Just a moment later, Rev. Yet-San stepped forward and began the memorial service. "'I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…"

Danny wanted to pay attention to Yet-San as he eulogized Chin Ho, but his determination to be attentive to those around won out. He spotted Reuter a distance away from the large group, leaning against a red oak, arms crossed. Maybe we won't talk about it. I can't imagine Reuter acknowledging the past. I don't think of Tom Banks very often anymore.

"How are we going to get out of here?" Kevin whispered. "We're lost."
Danny glanced through the foliage towards the moonless sky. "Not lost…just misplaced. We find north and we go home."
"That family -- did we kill them, Danny?" Reuter whispered intently.
Danny tried to keep his mind from replaying the moment when they had broken through the door; the shots, the screaming -- firing into the darkness with no idea what lie in there. Did we kill those people? Did we kill our partner?
"Did we, Danny?"

So on this day when I bury the Asian man who filled the role of my father I am forced to recall the African American man who served as my mentor and died teaching me how to survive.

The office was quiet. Although May was in, she had found a way to be scarce. Always one of her best traits, Danny thought in relief. She knows when not to intrude. He stared at the partially filled cardboard box on the desk in front of him. A man's life reduced to a twenty minute sermon and a cardboard box of junk. Is that all we leave? A few of Chin's pens, a half-finished spy novel and a small black leather address book were in the box. Most of the items in Chin's desk related to work. There was very little of his personal life here. Danny took the framed citation for bravery off the wall and carefully added it to the box. In reverence, he picked up the framed wallet-size photo of Chin and his departed Lilly. Danny recalled Faith's sobbing comment that they were together now.

How do I find someone like Lilly?" Danny asked Chin once. "She's beautiful, loving, a great mother. How did you do it?"
"How did I do it?" Chin chuckled. "I just had to not be too dumb to see her qualities when she showed up. Had to see that she was more important than I was."
"I don't think I'll ever find someone like her," he admitted.
"Not where you hang out," Chin agreed. "I didn't find Lilly in a bar you know."
"Where did you find her?"
He chuckled and puffed his pipe. "Church - sang in the choir, first seat on the left." The twinkle in his eye revealed his reliving the moment. "Love at first sight."

Danny put the photo in the box. He slowly picked up Chin's mug; the outside chipped and yellowed from the years; the inside stained light brown from the tannic acid of thousands of cups of tea. He could remember Chin's hands on the cup in many crises; his quiet composure in the face of horror and disaster; his quiet, dry humor and pranks on the good days. Danny rubbed his thumb inside of the handle of the cup. It is so hard to believe this has really happened. I expect Chin to come walking through that door any moment. But he won't. He isn't ever coming back. He carefully put the cup into the box. Opening the drawer, he took out the only other piece of Chin that remained in the office -- the small bag of pipe tobacco. Unable to resist, Danny opened the bag and breathed in the rich aromatic scent. In his mind, Chin could stand before him, pipe in hand chiding him to stop smoking with no personal remorse at all for the smoke that lingered in the air from his own pipe. And I did stop smoking thanks to you, Chin.


He jumped, opening his eyes, stuffing the tobacco into the box. "Steve." He felt strangely embarrassed.

McGarrett's expression was soft, compassionate. "You doing okay?"

Danny nodded, blushing. "I'm fine, Steve. I just wanted to…um…put these up…you know."

"Sure, Danny," he said quietly. "This has been a hard day for you."

He managed a single nod.

"We're going to get his killer," Steve promised. "You'll see."

"I know, Steve. I know we will," he replied, but his heart lacked the will to put conviction behind it.

"And I know it won't bring Chin back," Steve added. "He was like a brother to me. You know, tonight I was consoling the Kelley children and Susie ended up consoling me." He gave a soft smile. "Quite a family."

"Susie?" Danny asked, unable to contain his sudden suspicion.

"I think they're going to be okay," Steve added. "Why don't you go home and get some rest. This will keep until tomorrow."

"You too?"

"I'm going to pay Cappy Pahoa a visit tonight - alone."

"I asked Che to give an impression on this was well," Doc commented to Danny in the lab. "It isn't every day I get paid to examine pictures of posing nude girls."

Danny did not smile at Doc's implied joke.

Doc shrugged and let the humor die. "We gave it our best, but I don't think we can conclusively tell you anything -- not that will make it in court."

"Doesn't have to make it in court," Danny said through stiff lips. Just please tell me they are not the same girl.

Che spoke first. "I can tell you that from the age of the developing they were taken several years apart. The first two sets were taken from the same camera, a Polaroid Land. The third set were from a different camera, still an instant camera, but probably with a different photographer."

"The same photographer shot the first two?" Danny asked. I had never stopped to think about who took the pictures!

"Likely that she set it on a timer and took the first two sets herself. There's an amateur quality -- the poses are mostly full body," Che stated. "The third set - well, her positions and the close-ups of -- well her -- " Che was obviously uncomfortable discussing the close-ups of a woman's body parts. "Well, it would be nearly impossible to achieve the camera work alone."

"I can say that the aging of the woman may be consistent the same person over five years," Doc added, "but not with any degree of certainty. There is a small butterfly tattoo on the left heel, right here-" he pointed to the spot, "-but it is only seen in one photo in the third set."

Danny stared at the tattoo trying to recall if Susie had such a marking.

Che and Bergman waited a moment for Danny to respond. "Danny," Doc finally said, aware that there had to be something more personal in this. "Why don't you show these to the department psychologist? Maybe she can -- you know tell you more."

He looked up at Doc. Is he trying to say I need the shrink? He fought back the sudden surge of anger. "I'll think about it," he answered tightly.

"For what it's worth -" Che sighed. "My opinion is that the first two sets are the same person. The third -- a bit tougher to say. Body build is close, but I just wouldn't be able to make a determination with any certainty."

"Doc?" Danny answered for the forensic specialist's conclusion.

Bergman scratched his head and twisted his features in thought. "I don't know, Danny. I agree with Che on the first two -- that third set -- anatomically it is likely. Too bad the tattoo isn't seen in the earlier ones."

Danny carried the photos back to his office wanting more than anything to just put the files back into Steve's drawer, lock it and walk away forever. Why did Chin think the first set were Susie? What did he see? He placed the first ones on the desk before him, trying to disassociate himself from the content. Taking out a magnifying glass, he began to go over the photos. There was nothing conclusive in the background, just a walnut-paneled wall that could have come from anywhere. Where did it come from? It can't be the background. The second group was not taken in the same place, yet Che says they are the same woman. Fighting back exhaustion and revulsion, he focused on the naked body. Dear God, this is making me sick. I have to figure this out.

Steve left Cappy Pahoa's in fury. Cappy's comment about having friends in high places was still burning in his mind. Does he expect to frighten me? Intimidate? He's got another thing coming. Just who in what high place is dumb enough to align with him anyway? I will find out. I will see it that they get what's coming, too. First thing I need to do is get a list of all the donors to that Hawaiian Claims Foundation. That's his latest endeavor; that and the Children's Cultural Arts Coalition. The Arts Coalition has too much politics to look at first. Even the governor has contributed to it. He paused in thought. Certainly Jameson isn't in Pahoa's pocket.

He parked the car in front of the Palace and noticed that Danny's Mercury was still there. It's nearly midnight - I told him to go home hours ago. It's good to see he has the dedication, but I need to make him get some rest. Steve ran up the outside steps, then up the mahogany flight to the second floor. The small workout revitalized his energy as it usually did on late nights. He would be able to think more clearly for at least another hour. He opened the door to the suite, not surprised Danny's cubicle light was on.

Danny was slumped over his desk, face resting on his hands. He jumped alert as the outer door opened. He rose as Steve closed the door behind him. "How did your meeting with Pahoa go?"

Steve noticed the crease on the side of Danny's face from the edge of the magnifying glass that had been under him in his light dozing. He also noticed the edge of one of the photos. Anger directed just moments ago towards Pahoa shifted towards the one who would accuse young Susie of such ghastly behavior. Trying to swallow the sudden wave of rage he asked in a voice of extreme calm as though he'd not heard Danny's question. "What have you discovered?"

Danny glanced down at his desk. My desk looks like a porn studio. "Che and Doc agree that the first two sets are the same woman - the third is likely but not for sure."

Steve, still trying to behave calmly nodded. "And that means what to you?"

"What?" Danny also struggled with the rising frustration of the moment.

"So you believe it is Susie?" Steve demanded.

"I don't want it to be," he replied honestly. "I am afraid for her, Steve -- and for you."

"Me?" Steve gave a small tolerant grin. "I can take care of myself. Susie had a difficult adolescence -- Chin and Lilly were having difficulties with Alia -- she was confused. Dammit, Danny, you're the big psychology man around here -- you tell me about projected feelings. She was looking for a male father figure. She was just fourteen when she wrote those notes. Are you going to hold that over her forever?"

"The first two sets of photos were the same woman," Danny responded, gaining a degree of courage. "And she wasn't fourteen then. Chin knew the first ones were her -- he knew it enough to take action."

"And look what he did, Danno. Did he do the right thing?"

"That isn't the point," Danny snapped, not willing to allow anyone, even McGarrett, to challenge Chin's actions.

"I think it is," Steve said more quietly. "Perhaps if he had listened to Lilly they could have helped Susie get over this thing."

"This thing?" Danny muttered. "Since when is schizophrenia simply 'this thing'?"

"She's fine now, Danny. She had counseling while she was in college in California."

"She told you that?"

"Yes -- she did. She apologized for the pain and embarrassment. She made a new start, Danno, she spoke with Chin at Lilly's funeral."

"So you knew the first two sets of photos were of her?" Danny asked, sudden betrayal rushing upon him.

He nodded quietly. "I promised Chin I would keep you out of it."

"You lied to me," Danny replied bluntly.

Steve sighed, internally wrestling between exhaustion and fury. I am too tired to fight with him right now. We need to stay on track and make Chin's killer pay -- not take issues with a situation about Susie that is long past. "No, I did not lie. I omitted what was told to me in confidence. Chin did not want you to be hurt, Danny. He was trying to protect you. I was trying to spare you as well. Now, just let this go."

"The third set of photos came to you last year -- after Lilly's death, after Susie was supposed to be straightened out. What about them?" Danny persisted.

"They are not Susie," Steve replied.

"You are sure?"

"I am sure that the young woman I spoke with last night -- who is grieving the death of her father and is trying to find a bond with the remnants of her family - is not the young woman in those photos," Steve answered with conviction.

Danny glanced from Steve, to the collection on his desk, then back, profound sadness washing over the earlier betrayal and frustrations. "Then why were those pictures in the same file with the others?"

Steve turned his back. "Danno, this conversation is over. It will not happen again. I want those photos back into the file and locked up. Understand? The evidence is inconclusive -- which is why the file was locked up. I don't know why or how you ever got going on this right now anyway. Our focus is Chin's killer -- not his daughter. Go home and get some rest. I'll debrief you on Pahoa at our seven o'clock meeting."

Danny turned the key in the lock of the apartment door, turned the knob and the door slowly swung open before him. He managed to get over the threshold and close the world out before allowing the keychain to drop to the floor from his exhausted hand. His suit jacket followed along with his tie. It took the last bit of his energy to make it to the couch where he slumped down, allowing the protective mask that guarded his emotions to fall away as well.

Everything, even this room, seems so alien, so disconnected, so empty. He stared at the blank eye of the television in the corner. I cannot imagine life going on like it did before. It won't be like before. Images of Chin bombarded him -- childhood hugs, words of wisdom, comfort, admonition -- smiles, tears, a lifetime. No longer able to contain the pain, he slowly sank across the couch, burying his face in a soft throw cushion which muffled the wail of agonizing grief.

Steve closed the door of the beach house behind him and placed his keys carefully on the credenza. He was alert to any shadow or sound that might be out of place, then, satisfied all was secure, slowly relaxed. Removing his jacket, he hung it over the back of a chair and placed his shoulder holster on the table. He crossed to the back patio and slid open the door to permit the smell and sound of the surf to wash over his pain.

Chin. I still can't believe it. This should not have happened. The blame is mine, no matter what anyone else may think. It is my responsibility to make it as right as I can. Cappy Pahoa is the only direct link I have and I will squeeze him till he gives. He did a good job tonight -- appearing as though he had nothing to hide -- that slow way of talking to make himself appear regal and in command. He likes to pass it off to the islanders that he is of royal blood, but he isn't. His mother is Samoan, his father was an unnamed sailor. So I guess he's right to take pride in making his own way - except that it was at the expense of the very people he is claiming to want to help. "I feel your pain, McGarrett, I know what it is like to lose a friend." No, he doesn't feel my pain, but I will find a way to make it come close.

He took a bottle of mixed juice drink from the fridge and poured a glass. Is Pahoa protecting the shooter? What is in this for Pahoa? What could he possibly gain from killing a Five-O cop? From killing Chin? Chin was a hero to the Chinese community, to many of the same people who pay off the Kumu. Was Pahoa telling them a message? What if Pahoa really did not sanction this? "I cannot give you what is not mine to give." Not his -- another crime family? Then why not tell me who. Could it be that he really does not know who killed Chin? What then? I will make it so miserable for him that he will work as hard to find that bastard as we are.

Finishing the drink, he placed the glass carefully into the sink and began to compile a plan to push Pahoa to his limit.

end Part 3

Part 4

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