Jimmy Rego yawned and stretched. The islands were good to come back to -- not that he had ever spent much time here before. His father had taken him from Hilo to California when he was just ten and they had spent most of his childhood running scams. Some of them were pretty good. Jimmy had moved up quickly once his old man was out of the picture and before long was running protection rackets for a mob in San Francisco. He would have happily remained there except for two things -- Mike Stone and Kini Pahoa. Of course the two had never met. Lieutenant Mike Stone seemed hell bent on making captain in SFPD at Jimmy's expense. Kini Pahoa wanted to become Mrs. Jimmy Rego -- at his expense as well. Selecting the lesser of two evils, he'd come back to Hawaii with her just two months ago. It had been a pleasant surprise to discover that the future father-in-law ran the local crime scene here and that had raised the value of Kini substantially.
Jimmy, still in his underwear, crossed to the sunny kitchen of his ninth floor apartment, picking up a banana on his way. He turned on the television to get the news just as there was a knock at his door. Mild caution crossing his face, he carefully stepped to the door and glanced through the fisheye peep hole. The scene on the other side was that of Brian Liu's unwashed hair -- what there was of it -- plastered to his balding head. Jimmy opened the door. "I told you guys to stay away from here."
Kimo Napali and Brian Liu nonchalantly came into the room. "We not good enough for you now that you're screwing the big man's daughter?" Brian asked.
"Why are you here?"
"Word on the street says trouble's brewing about that Chinese cop."
Jimmy grinned and peeled the banana. "Things always go wacko when a pig gets hit, Brian. Just be cool and it'll be fine. The heat goes up to get you to make mistakes -- so don't make one."
"The Dragons are pulling away from Kumu," Kimo commented. "Pahoa's not gonna be happy."
"Pahoa?" Jimmy nearly chuckled. "Pahoa is weak -- and so is the old Chinese fart -- whatzzhisname?"
"Lai Sing," Brian interjected.
"Yeah -- him."
"Dragons are afraid that Five-0 is gonna do something."
"What, Brian? Huh? What are some weak-kneed fuzz gonna do?"
Kimo rubbed his neck. "Word is this cop, McGarrett, isn't just a cop."
"The word?" Jimmy scoffed. "Please give me a break. We are just fine unless one of you goof-balls loses your balls. Cops don't know nothing."
"They say Pahoa will kill the guy who done thing without his say-so. People afraid in the family, the Dragons are backing away, the street folk are more scared of McGarrett's people than us -- dangerous times, Jimmy," Brian muttered.
"Is there anything you boys aren't afraid of?" Jimmy snapped. "No, Brian, in a week those whiney cops will go back to work -- and all the peons that are biting their nails now will be back to paying us -- and on time. Who knows, in a year or two maybe they'll respect me more than Pahoa. Then -- who knows, huh? Just a little time and a little guts."
Brian and Kimo exchanged looks. "We want to sit this out back in California."
"What?" Jimmy snapped.
"I want my money now," Brian said with a little more courage. "I wanna split."
Jimmy slowly circled the table, keeping one eye on his men at all tines. He gave a quiet nod. "Okay. Split -- cowards. But, you know, I won't be able to stop the talk."
"Talk? What talk?" Kimo muttered.
He shrugged. "Well, if it gets around you boys spooked and ran -- might lead a smart cop like McGarrett to -- you know -- assume that you were involved - maybe that you pulled the trigger." Jimmy shrugged. "Still wanna go?"
Harry met Danny at the door of the Kelley home. "Harry, there isn't anything to be concerned about, you know that," Danny said quietly.
He nodded. "I just don't know what to do. I need Tim's help right now. Alia is upset with Susie, they had words last night and Susie took off with some friend of hers. Susie just called and is on her way over here this morning. She wants to talk about setting up some kind of benefit fund with Dad's name on it to keep kids out of gangs. I know they will argue again. Alia just thinks Susie is trying to sooth her conscience for not being here. She'd like to see Susie suffer a bit. The younger kids " he stopped talking. "Thanks for coming."
Danny nodded. Does Harry really think I have any kind of influence here? He is right about one thing -- they need Tim's presence. Slipping his shoes off at the door, he crossed to the bedroom that had been Chin's. The door was shut, the mild musky aroma of incense seeped through. He carefully opened the door, stepped inside and closed it.
The blinds were drawn across the windows, the room lit by candles before the framed pictures of Chin and Lilly. Several sticks of incense were in a holder before them along with flower petals. Tim sat on his knees, dressed in white linen, unmoving.
Danny quietly knelt next to him remaining silent for several minutes. He began to wonder if Tim would speak to him at all.
"Why are you here?" Tim finally asked.
"Your family needs you," Danny said quietly.
"It is the time I should bring honor to my father and mourn his death. They will wait."
"Tim, they cannot wait for seven days. Harry needs your help now."
Tim turned his dark eyes towards Danny. "Not now."
The vacant stare sent a shiver up Danny's spine. Tim and Danny had always had a competitive relationship and Tim was always quick in humor or anger. The total devoid of any emotion was disturbing. "Tim," Danny said quietly. "You need to do your father the honor of caring for your siblings."
Tim returned his gaze to straight ahead. "To my father, you were the firstborn son - nothing I ever did could change that. Now it never will. Your grandfather raised my orphaned father. My father raised you when you were orphaned." Tim shifted his gaze back to Danny again. "The balance of all things - Yin and yang - it is now your turn to raise my father's orphaned children."
Danny swallowed hard. "Tim, you are wrong. Your father adored you -- he was so proud of you " Tim gave no response and Danny allowed silence to return for a few minutes. "I remember your dad taking us to the circus once - you remember that?"
Tim did not reply.
"You weren't more than six. There was a clown there and Alia was crying. You went over and hit the guy. Remember that? Right in the nuts." Danny tried to smile. "You weren't gonna let anybody mess with your sister. Chin told everyone he knew how brave you were."
Tim did not answer.
Danny knelt with him in silence wanting to say something, fearing it would be the wrong thing. "What can I do, Tim?"
He lowered his head for a moment. "I need to come to terms, Danny. I need to do this right now. Carry them for me -- please."
Rising, Danny felt the burden of responsibility that had lingered around him from the moment of Chin's death. Maybe it had been there before that -- maybe from the moment when Steve had Chin go undercover -- maybe earlier.
I broke my damned arm and coach was pissed. Chin may have been sure, but he wasn't always right. He wasn't right about this sting operation on the Kumu either. I knew that. If I had just insisted one more time maybe Chin would have gotten extra security. Maybe he'd be alive now. Maybe his son would not be sitting lotus position before me working through his grief and regret.
There were rising female voices in another part of the house. Danny could not make out the words, but he knew right away it was Alia and Susie. "Tim, your family needs you," he urged softly.
Tim looked up at him slowly, then back down at the floor.
With a heavy sigh, Danny turned from the room, the angry voices rising to a crescendo as he opened the door. He followed the sound to the kitchen.
Alia stood, hands on hips a dish towel in one hand, squared off against Susie, who also stood hands on hips near the back door. "Who do you think you are anyway?" Alia was challenging. "You go away for years, you come back like you should have some right to make decisions -- you didn't even stay after Mama died. You have no idea who we are anymore, Susie. Just take your fancy mainland life and go away."
"I'm just trying to help," Susie insisted, less anger and more pain on her expression. "I want to help, Alia."
"You don't even know anything about helping us!" Alia countered.
"Alia? Susie?" Danny said quietly, hoping to quell the fury. He glanced at little Tilda sitting at the kitchen table, her arithmetic homework before her. "You think you could take this somewhere else?"
Alia glared at him. "And I suppose you think you have some right to be coming in here like the great family policeman?"
He swallowed once and glanced at Susie who said nothing. "I just don't think either of you is thinking clearly right now. Tilda-"
"Tilda knows that Susie has never had any time for any of us, Danny. She lives here. Right, Tilda?" Alia snapped.
Tilda stared from Alia up to Damny, stark terror on her expression that she might be called to give an opinion.
"That's enough," he snapped. "Tilda, come on. Let's go get an ice cream. You can do your homework later. Your sisters would rather discuss this without us present."
The child jumped at the opportunity, perhaps more to be away from the scene than the treat. Danny headed out the front door with her. "There's a new place on the boardwalk. Let's try it out."
"Danny!" called Susie as they crossed the front yard. "Wait a minute!" She ran over to the car.
He turned as she came to him, a tolerant look on his face.
"I don't know what to do," she said, rubbing her hands together. "They hate me. My family hates me."
He bit the inside of his cheek. "They are confused, Susie. They know you left home five years ago. Now your folks are both gone -- they just don't have much of an attachment to you."
"Maybe I should go back to California," she said with a sigh.
Maybe you should. "I'm sorry, Susie," he replied, forcing his own opinion aside. "I wish it was different for you." He escaped into the car with Tilda.
The day had been another from hell. Danny had attempted to console Tilda, but was not sure what kind of comfort there could be for a fifth grader whose parents were dead and whose older sisters were at each others' throats. He now hunched over a beer alone in the back of Andy's hoping for his own moment of comfort and to escape the growing concern for the future of Tilda, Faith and Thomas.
Thomas and Harry arrived and spotted him right away. "I though we'd find you here," Thomas remarked with sarcasm in his tone.
Danny did not take the bait. "Is something happening?" he asked as they slid into the booth.
Harry glanced towards the bar. "Think I can get a drink?"
"A coke maybe," Danny replied. As Harry opened his mouth to protest Danny added. "You are twenty years old, Harry, not twenty-one."
"I'm old enough to be the one that has to make some sense of this family," he remarked.
"What does that mean?" Danny answered.
"Tim's turning into some kind of monk, Alia and Susie are fighting like cats, you're over here getting drunk," Thomas snapped.
Danny glared at him. "I am having a beer, Thomas. I think I'm entitled to a single beer."
Thomas rolled his eyes towards the ceiling.
"I want to know who killed my father," Harry declared, changing the subject.
Danny shook his head. "We don't know who killed him -- yet. But we'll find him."
"I want to help," Harry stated.
"There isn't anything you can do."
"If Susie can be in, why can't I?"
"Susie -- what do you mean?"
Thomas gave a smirk. "Susie packed her bag to leave town today. She went sobbing over to Five-0 and Steve McGarrett took her out to dinner."
"What?" Danny felt fury and color rising in his face.
"She didn't leave town, Danny. Where do you think she is?" Thomas added.
Harry could read the anger on Danny's face. "Why did she go to McGarrett, Danny? What's this with a candle-lit dinner?"
He rose from the booth. My God, what is Steve thinking? I cannot believe this. Just when I was hoping Susie would go back to San Francisco. "I'll talk to Steve," he promised, "but that doesn't change anything. Let us handle your dad's killer."
Thomas and Harry watched as Danny headed for his car. "We gonna just wait?" Thomas asked.
Harry gave a small snort. "It is our duty to protect our family honor."
"There's a guy in my school. We could probably get some information out of him for enough money," Thomas suggested. "He delivers drugs to the high school for Kumu."
Steve paced the office turning the name over and over in his mind. Jimmy Rego. Not an island name. Who is this guy? What could his angle be?
Danny burst through the door. "I got your message. Actually, I was about to call you-"
"Jimmy Rego," Steve said, anger burning in his eyes, but a victorious grin on his face.
"Jimmy Rego. Ever heard of him?"
"Who?' Danny's mind leapt to make the transition to Steve's pace.
"Kini Pahua's boyfriend.-- new to the islands. He was with her at the funeral yesterday. Do you remember someone being with her?"
Danny remembered his attention being drawn for just a moment to the young man amongst Susie's few friends, but it was hard to remember anything about him. "Not sure," he replied.
"Susie says that Kini's new boyfriend is from San Francisco. What would bring him here except he smells daddy's mob money?"
"Steve, we don't have anything on this guy," Danny muttered.
"We will. I want you to call Mike Stone in San Francisco and find out."
"It's almost 1 AM there," Danny replied, glancing past Steve's shoulder to the clock on the desk.
"I'm sure Stone won't mind."
That's for sure. Mike Stone never seemed to mind work interfering with his life. Danny paused. "When did you talk to Susie?" he asked recalling the Kelley boys' comments.
Steve turned back towards him. "What?"
"You said you were going to stay away from Susie," Danny said with a bit more courage.
Steve let the paper he had been holding fall to his desk. "I never said anything of the kind. I said the topic was closed and I meant it. How dare you question me or my intentions." Righteous anger burned on his countenance.
"I'm not questioning, Steve, it's just -- a candlelight dinner? Isn't she going to misunderstand?"
"Misunderstand what? Her father is dead. She needs someone to comfort her; it sure isn't coming from her siblings. Did you know she almost returned to California tonight?"
He managed a nod. "I knew."
Steve paused. "Okay, Danno," he said quietly. "I understand that to mean you wish she had. You aren't going to give her a chance anymore than they are."
"None of them except Tim even know why she left. Do you suggest we tell them?" Danny asked.
Steve tried to reign in his anger. "Of course not. But I don't think it's right to just push her away. She needs to be welcomed back into her family. Chin was her father, too. She is friends with Kini Pahoa. Maybe the information she provided will help her mend those bridges with the other Kelley children."
"You are letting her become part of the investigation?" Danny asked, aghast. This is so uncharacteristic of Steve. I can't believe he is doing this! It's not enough Chin died, we're going to endanger his daughter as well?
"I am not including her. In fact, I told her to stay out. She just mentioned Kini's boy friend. I want to check him out."
"But she cancelled her plans to leave?"
"She said she would be around for a few days, Danno. She promised she would stay out of this. She provided a lead in the death of her father. Perhaps that can provide some healing for her that her family won't. Now make the call to Stone. I am going to run him through the FBI." He picked up the phone receiver, indicating the conversation ended.
Frustrated and again confronted with the mystery of Susie Kelly, Danny walked into his office and stood at the window for a moment trying to calm his feelings. If she had left it would be better, but what about this Rego? Maybe she really has got something here. Maybe she is just desperate to do anything to get her siblings to give her a hearing. Does she deserve one?
Unable to conclude the dilemma any better than earlier, he picked up the phone. He did not need an address book to call Mike Stone's home. It had been fourteen years -- but felt like yesterday.
The phone was answered on the second ring. "Mike Stone."
"Mike, sorry to trouble you. It's Dan Williams."
"Yes, Danny," Mike replied as though they had spoken just yesterday. "Are you ready to leave Hawaii and get some real police work under your belt here? You know I've always saved a position here, just waiting for you to come home."
He gave a small grin. "Hawaii is my home. Mike. Keller's been gone two years -- you still haven't replaced him?"
"Replaced him?" Stone laughed. "He hasn't gone far, just traded in his badge for a teacher's pension. Jeannie and he still see each other all the time."
Danny paused. Two years before Steve Keller had been critically wounded, nearly dying in Stone's arms. Neither of the two California cops had ever been the same. What would it have been like if Chin had survived? "I need you to check into someone."
Stone gave a chuckle. "Well, I should have figured it wasn't casual at 1:00AM."
"Sorry," he muttered.
"So what can I get you?" Mike asked, his voice filled with a lot more energy and enthusiasm than Williams'.
"Guy named Jimmy Rego."
"Did you say Rego?"
"Yeah, know him?"
"Used to be a pretty popular guy out here. You mean to tell me he's shown up in paradise?"
"He may have killed Chin Ho Kelly," Danny replied quietly.
Mike's voice sobered. "Danny, I am so sorry. I didn't know. Anything I can do?"
"Yeah, get me the goods on Jimmy Rego."
"Aren't we supposed to be staying low?" Kimo asked, pausing to scratch under his sweaty arm.
"You can stay low later," Jimmy remarked.
"But Cappy said -"
"You working for Cappy or me?"
"I'm working for nobody if Cappy ices you."
Jimmy gave a smirk. "I wouldn't need to make this statement if Pahoa had been a real man. We gonna bring these merchants back into line and quick -- we can't have those chinks turning on us just cause they think a dead pig was some kind of brother to 'em. Cops came out Yung Sen's today, so we torch the place. I want it real clear that nobody talks to the cops."
Brian glanced at Kimo. "I don't see you on the line here, Jimmy, just us. We get spotted and they'll throw the book at us."
"I have a plan," Jimmy answered giving a confident pat on Brian's arm. "If we stop the tongues of those to tell; then we'll stop the ears of the listeners."
Brian's eyes narrowed. "Now you talkin' in riddles, Jimmy. I don't like them riddles."
With a broad smile Jimmy stepped away from the van. "Doesn't matter as long as we're the ones laughing in the end." He headed away from the parking lot towards the apartment complex. Kini and Susie were at the pool waiting for him. Susie made him a bit nervous, but maybe it was a test of courage to entertain the girl whose father you killed. Jimmy whistled to himself as he eyed his appearance in the reflection of the window. Too bad I need Kini more than Susie. It would be cool the screw that girl after taking out her cop dad. That would be a real show of power. And she would never know. Jimmy smiled more broadly allowed the fantasies of his mind grow with his grin.
"Steve," May's voice came over the intercom. "I have a Special Agent Reuter out here."
Steve's expression darkened. "Send him in." He arranged his expression to one of power as the FBI man came through the door. "Good morning, Reuter."
"Morning, McGarrett." They shook hands. "My office wants to know what's going on here." He seated himself in the chair across from the desk.
"I think it's pretty clear what's going on, is it not?" Steve replied.
"Looks like your investigation of the syndicate has been side-railed by a local event," Reuter replied with no emotion.
"A local -- In case you missed it, Mister, Chin Ho Kelly was a cop -- a Five-0 cop. And his murder was part of that investigation into mob crime. Anything we do to locate his killer is contributing to the syndicate investigation," McGarrett answered, attempting to be calm, but feeling his blood begin to boil.
Without acknowledging the rage he could detect in the Five-0 chief's eyes, Reuter went on. "My superiors want to bring agents in here to clean up what Five-0 seems unable to do. Your office is a man low -- you are all feeling the effects of his death. It isn't some kind of weakness to admit when you need help."
"We don't need help," Steve snapped. "This investigation is proceeding with care and deliberation. We don't need FBI interference."
"We are all on the same team, McGarrett. Five-0 is first rate, but right now your team is short a player and your heads aren't in the game," Reuter commented. "Even in the Superbowl the second string sometimes takes the field to rest the MVPs."
The phone rang and Steve pounced on it.
Duke's anxious voice spoke. "There's been a bombing at Yung Sen's at least three fatalities ."
Cappy Pahoa slammed the phone receiver down with all his might and spun towards Billy Swan. "We cannot allow this to go on," he announced, attempting to contain his anger. He considered himself a reasonable man -- capable of containing his emotions especially in tense times. Things had never been this tense before. "That was Lai Sing. The Chinese family is about to declare war on us. War, Billy! After all my attempts to unite our peoples against invaders. We had no connection with Yung Sen. None!"
Billy Swam remained silent as Pahoa paced back and forth in rage.
"Do you know anything, Billy?"
He lifted an eyebrow. "This trouble all began with Jimmy Rego killing Chin Ho Kelley."
Pahoa rubbed his hands together. "I told Jimmy to stay low. He is out of control."
Billy Swan gave no reply. Years of service had taught him to be a patient listener, sympathetic when necessary, but never an advisor. Well aware that Jimmy's men had blown up the restaurant, he decided this was valuable information for another time.
"Kini loves him, you know," Kappy murmured. "This makes it so difficult. Find out anything you can about his two men. I can start there. If I allow Rego to get away with this, there will be no control and no respect. I can remove his two helpers; that will mean something to him."
Billy Swan gave a single nod.
Danny got out of the car in the Palace parking lot. He had already spotted Kevin Reuter standing under the shade of the large tree that graced the lawn and knew that his former special service partner wasn't going to let him get away. He did not try.
He made a monosyllabic response.
"Tough day. Gonna be hard to get commoners to spill on the mob if they keep getting rubbed out," Kevin remarked walking over to him.
"Can you do better than to state the obvious?" Danny asked.
"I wanted to let you know that your boss isn't looking very good in Washington. I wouldn't have held back this long except for you. I figure I can owe it to the good old days."
"Good old days?" Danny repeated.
"Well," Kevin gave a soft smile. "Most of them really were good. Remember those two blondes in Germany?"
"Is the Bureau going to take over the mob investigation?" Danny asked.
Kevin gave a semi-chuckle. "You didn't used to be so serious. I'm trying to keep them out, Danny. I think McGarrett thinks I want 'em in here. I don't. I'd have to run the stinking operation. I'd just as soon let you guys do it. But he's gonna have to show us something -- that is besides dead cops and blown up civilians. No arrests, no shakedowns, just nipping at the edges of the little guys and now not even that. This guy -- Cappy Pahoa -- have you got anything to move on?"
"He hides amongst legitimate businesses, most of them non-profits that are oriented towards serving the people. If he was greedy it would be easier. The people like him. They don't see the connection with prostitution, drugs and gambling. We're collecting a list of his contributors, but it's pretty massive. Some of those charities don't even know he's on their board. Jameson's name showed up on one."
Reuter grinned. "No shit. Pahoa's a slippery little eel."
"So you see why we need to move carefully then. It won't help to catch the little fish and let the big one get away," Danny remarked.
"You think Pahoa is behind Kelley's death?"
Danny sighed and gazed across the parking lot, watching the women selling their leis on the street and the old men peddling hotdogs. "He's not that stupid."
"So McGarrett running around after Kelley's killer isn't going to flush out Pahoa," Reuter concluded.
Danny gave him a sharp look. "Steve knows these islands better than anyone. He can make it so hot for Pahoa he'll turn over whoever did. Then that guy will roll over on Pahoa. We get them both."
Reuter sighed and crossed his arms. "We'll see."
"Yeah, I guess we will." Danny took a step towards the office.
You're all right then," Reuter suddenly said.
"What?" He turned back.
"Well, I mean except for losing Kelley -- your life has turned out pretty good. Maybe not like we used to talk about -- but okay."
He frowned. Reuter always was about getting positive strokes from everyone. Guess he's still the same. "This is my home, Kevin. Yes, it is normally pretty good."
"No wife or kids?"
He shook his head. "Simpler this way."
Reuter gave a wistful look. "That's for sure. My wife has a lover on the side. I put up with it. She's mine when I'm at home. It sucks."
Danny did not reply.
"Ever wonder about -- you know -- about Tom Banks?"
"No. What should I have to wonder about?"
"Yeah, right," Kevin smirked. "You had Marten Camp standing behind you. I wasn't that lucky. If you were the one who shot Banks, Camp would look bad. Camp never looks bad."
In spite of the afternoon heat, Danny felt ice gripping his heart. "Everyone saw the results of the data. Unfortunate mistake, Reuter, no one blamed you. Everything was crazy."
"Yeah, but haven't you ever wondered if Camp messed with the evidence?"
"No," Danny lied through tight lips.
"Hum," Kevin responded. "I have. A lot. It keeps me sane knowing that just maybe it was all made up. They needed someone to be the patsy and it sure as hell wasn't gonna be you. So -- I took the fall."
Danny did not respond. He turned away and started for the Palace.
Kevin grabbed his elbow. "Look, no hard feelings, Danny. You didn't make the call. Those guys up the ladder did. We were just the pawns."
He gritted his teeth.
"What do you want, Kevin? Do you want me to tell you I think I killed
Tom? The truth is I don't. I don't think there is any way in hell I could
have because he wasn't in my line of fire -- and I aimed at the ceiling
going in. Did you? Huh? I remember Tom's sacrifice every day. Every day.
And I wish there was something I could do to go back in time a change
it, but there isn't. Being angry at you won't change anything. And I wish
I could change Chin's murder, too, but I can't." He stopped before
the next sentence could leak out. Being angry at McGarrett won't change
anything either. He pulled his elbow free and walked away.
Back to List