Friends in High Places

by Peg Keeley

Part 7

Duke glanced around at Kono and Ben. "The feds are planning to take this away from us. We have to work hard and fast - even though we don't have the best resources," Duke remarked.

Ben cracked a small smile. "No problem -- we're still Hawaii's finest, Duke. It is just not Steve's show."

Duke nodded, but wished he was that confident. He showed them the pages, now sealed in plastic, Reuter had retrieved at the restaurant. "These were apparently what Cappy and Danny were discussing."

"Clara Williams set up an endowment for Diamond Head Preservation Society?" Kono wrinkled his brow. "I thought that was a legit thing?"

"We're going to find out," Duke replied. "I'd like you to get everything you can on the group - especially who donates, why and how much. See if you can get into the bank records. There was this letter in Danny's apartment…" he held out the other page, also plastic sealed. "..inviting him to call and set up a time. That at least explains why he called. He probably didn't even know Pahoa was on the board."

"So why did Pahoa want to meet with him?" Ben asked. "Blackmail?"

"Probably tryin' to smell sweet," Kono replied. "After all, he did all this cultural stuff and looked like a good guy on the surface. Probably just one more bit of insurance."

"Let's be sure," Duke replied. "The DA's office and the FBI are looking at Danny as a possible suspect in the hire of the hit man. Ben, find out whatever you can on this Len Derrick. The feds are on this as well and probably one step ahead of us, but see if you can turn up anything there. And find out what the word on the street is about Jimmy Rego. I'm going out to talk to Steve."

McGarrett had just glanced at the clock a third time when the heavy wooden doors to surgery parted and a scrubs-clad woman stepped out. "Mr. McGarrett," she called to him, recognizing him.

He rose. "How is he, doc?"

She gave a small smile of success. "He'll be just fine. Sore for a few days. There was some muscle damage. One wound very close to the left subclavian artery, but no seepage. He'll need some physical therapy, but recovery should be total."

He gave an audible sigh. "Thank you, doc."

"Would you like to see him for a minute?"

"Of course."

She led him back into the noisy recovery area where machines hisses and bells and buzzers seemed to chime constantly. She motioned him towards the proper gurney, then departed.

Steve stepped close. "Danny?"

He opened his eyes slightly. His throat was sore and he felt cold. Even the heated blankets did not abate the chill. "Steve," he whispered.

"You're going to be all right," McGarrett said gently. "Take it easy."

He swallowed against the aching throat. "What happened?"

"An assassin decided it was open season on Cappy at Regels. Pahoa is dead, so is the gunman."

"Don't remember," Danny murmured, frowning. "Nothing after sitting down -- it was Pahoa. I didn't know it was him."

Steve nodded quietly. "Why did you go there?"

"Aunt Clara's donation. She always gives money to the dumbest things." He was tired and talking was taxing.

"Danny did you know about Rego?"

"What about him?"

"He was released this morning."

In spite of his exhaustion, Danny looked alarmed. "He do this?"

"We don't know. I've got a guard on you till we get this solved."

Williams was starting to fade out, a combination of drugs and exhaustion. "Why…released?"

Steve bit the inside of his cheek. "The grand jury says I violated his rights. The gun was obtained illegally and it was all we had to make the case."

"Liu and Napoli?"

"We are squeezing them, Danno. Don't worry - we'll get Rego back."


Billy Swan answered the phone with his good right hand.

"Are you all right, Billy?" the voice at the other end asked.

"Yes." He glanced around his room at Pahoa's he was in the process of packing to leave. "Why you call me here?"

The other man chuckled. "Why not? It isn't like your boss can get you, is it?"

Billy did not respond. He had been able to understand that Cappy was not the future, but he had appreciated the gentleman the Pahoa had been.

"I see you have become a bit the local hero, Billy Swan. I am very proud and satisfied with you. There is another small task."

Billy Swan flexed the muscle of his sore arm. There is always another task.


"I want you to practice harder," Harry ordered of Thomas. "You aren't focusing. Discipline," he snapped as he circled his younger brother on the mat.

"Harry -- we aren't going to…." Thomas hesitated, "….kill somebody here, are we?"

"Why so surprised? How did you think we were going to end this?"

Thomas bit his lip. "I just -- it seems so wrong. Can't we just make a citizen's arrest or something?"

Harry looked disgusted. "So they can let him go again? Thomas, you getting cold feet? Wrong is that Dad's killer is out walking around just because of some stupid law -- why does the law to protect him get first choice over murder? That can't be right. And now that Rego guy may have shot Danny. You tell me what's right."

Thomas nodded. Of course Harry is right. We have come this far. And Mano has gotten me on the inside. "What will I do? Mano is taking me to his boss. It is going to be that Rego guy," he replied.

Harry patted his arm. "Good luck -- be careful, Bruddah. You will know what to do. I won't be far away, I promise."

Thomas waited quietly near a grove of bayonet plants on the edge of Kapolani Park. The sun was sinking towards the horizon and on the beach there were children laughing, people calling to one another like everyone was normal. He shivered. It is not normal. What will I do?

An old rusty blue pickup pulled up and stopped in front of him. "Get in," ordered Mano.

Mildly alarmed, Thomas obeyed. Can Harry still follow if we're on wheels? He wasn't sure.

Mano did not say a word, just turned up the volume on the radio which was playing rock music. His driving was haphazard and Thomas found himself clinging to the door handle as Mano spun through traffic and side streets. At last he came to a screeching halt before a small, unsuspecting clapboard house. "Get out."

Thomas obeyed, glancing around the poor neighborhood, hoping to catch a glimpse of his brother. He did not.

Mano led him around the back of the house to the small alley. "You scared?" he asked Thomas with a grin.

Thomas tried to share his head no.

"Then you're a fool," Mano remarked. "You only getting this chance cause he's curious about you. He may look at you, then kill you. Nothing stopping that you know."

Thomas bit his lip, and attempted to hide his emotion. Do I have to kill Rego? Mano is right here. Where is Harry? Can I do this?

Moments later, a small red sports car swung down the alley. Thomas recognized Rego behind the wheel instantly and tried not to stare. What if he saw me at the station house?

Jimmy slid the small car to a halt before the two teens. "So, Mano, this is him huh?" He gazed at Thomas, a bored look on his face. "I hear you got ears in HPD."

Thomas nodded, gripping his hands tightly together.

"You've kept the fuzz offa Mano for two days."

He nodded again.

"Don't talk much, do you?" Jimmy grinned. "Okay, so what do you want for this -- service."

"I want my brother's fix every day till he goes back to China," Thomas replied, his voice sounding very thin and far away in his own ears.

Jimmy chuckled. "What would your old man have said to that?" To Thomas' astonished look he added. "Yeah, I know who you are…Chin Ho was your old man. Your bitch sister got me arrested. Why should I trust you?"

"I just care about my brother," he whispered, still squeezing his hands together. Should I strike now? I don't see any weapon. What about Mano. He has that knife. What would he do? Can I do this? His heart racing, he was starting to feel dizzy.

Jimmy gave a half smile. "Okay, kid. We got a deal. I have a feeling every cop on this island is gonna be trying to take my head. It would be good to get some advance notice. You report to Mano here, he'll bring it to me."

Thomas nodded.

"Mano, give him what he wants for his bro."

"Sure thing, Jimmy."

Rego paused. "Hey, kid. Try to cross me and I will have you gutted like a fish and your body strung up on the high school flag pole -- understand?"

Thomas managed another quick nod.

Jimmy backed the car up in a cloud of dust and shot off down the alley.

Thomas watched him go. I didn't do anything! I didn't have a chance! What was I supposed to do? What will Harry say? Maybe I can get Rego back here again somehow.

Brian Liu sat on the hard chair at the table watching Duke Lukela cautiously. "I don't know nothing," he commented.

"You attempted to kill two officers with a shot gun on the fourteenth, Liu," Duke commented. "You were caught cold in the act. That's life with no hope of parole. Now why would you have done something like that?"

He shrugged.

"I also have witnesses that say you picked up the fortune cookies that killed Yung Sen and two kitchen workers the day before that."

"So, lots of people pick up fortune cookies, Lukela. Probably twenty other guys got them that day, too."

"But you delivered them to Yung's place," Duke replied. "That's three more charges of cold-blooded murder."

Brian shrugged. "What's one or three, Lukela? There's really only one life sentence. I like prison food."

"You don't mind going to prison for life?"

Liu shrugged.

"Did your boss tell you he'd get you out? He won't you know. He managed to get out on a technicality -- he doesn't have the same plans for you. You could put him back inside."

Liu crossed his arms.

"Liu, you know who killed Kelley, don't you? You were there." Duke got close eye to eye with him. "Maybe you held on to him. Maybe you pulled the trigger. Hell, what's one more killing to you, Liu? Did you kill Kelley?"

"No," he replied.

"But you know who did it, don't you?"

"Wasn't there, cop."

"Who told you to blow up the restaurant?"

He chuckled.

Duke slowly walked around the table, then came back to Liu. "Brian, my guess is you both know and were present at Kelley's killing. And Napoli was there, too. And so was Jimmy Rego. Rego is out, you know that. But did you know that Napoli is dead?"

The man's jaw dropped in surprise.

"Home made shank -- quick stab while he was being transferred to come down here earlier today. Somebody decided he might talk." Duke paused. "What do you think he might have had to say?"

Brian sat frozen to his spot.

"You made it down here, Brian. This may be your only chance. I can't say what will happen if you return to prison. You may not make it to dinner time. Or maybe it will come when you are in the shower -- or in the impound yard. Hard to say when, but it will come."

"You can protect me."

"Yes, I can," Duke said with a nod. "I can get you transferred to a prison out of Hawaii where you'll be safe -- at least safer -- but it all comes at a price."

Liu hesitated, looking skeptical. "Where would you send me?"

Duke gave a quiet smile of support. "Where do you want it to be?"

Steve McGarrett believed he could learn a lot about someone just by visiting a person's office. The books on the shelves, neatness of the desk, emptying of the trash all told a lot about character. Kevin Reuter's office was completely barren. No book shelf, let alone books on it; no photos, citations, diplomas -- no trash can. This is a man who is secret. What does he have to hide?

"Nice of you to drop by," Kevin commented. McGarrett's quick assessment of his office had not gone unnoticed. McGarrett is a keen observer and probably just as creative. "I know you think we can't do as good a job on this as Five-0. I hope you are wrong. Due to the circumstances, I don't think we have much choice here."

Steve eyed Kevin coolly without supplying his own remarks.

"I need your men working with me on this thing."

"Tell them," he replied simply. "I'm not in charge here right now."

Reuter issued a single chuckle. "Look, McGarrett, I need to know what you've got. Who stood next in line to Pahoa that would have wanted him dead? I've got lots of motives here, just a bit short on evidence. I don't think Williams is going to hire a hit man who shoots him as well as the mark."


"My superior's lead suspect -- unless you can give me another name. Who's Pahoa's most likely heir to his kingdom?"

Steve shook his head. "Pahoa didn't work that way. It was all very stealth and cloaked amongst ten or eleven legitimate enterprises. Each of them has a board of directors. Few of them have overlap -- but we're looking at every person and every contributor. Pahoa bragged of having friends in high places -- let's find out how high."

Kevin leaned against his desk. "I need to advise you that you are under house arrest, McGarrett. No trips in to the office, no information secrets. But I've seen your kind before. You inspired loyalty. Your men will still come to you and I'd be stupid to waste my time trying to stop that. You tell me what your boys discover, is that clear?"

"Perfectly," Steve replied. In a pig's eye. The real mystery is who killed Cappy and why? Reuter's suggestion of a power move is logical -- it certainly is more valid than retribution -- and the likely candidate on that goes right back to Jimmy Rego. But how did Rego know where to find Cappy and get a hit man hired just hours after his release? I need more on the hit man.

Danny pressed the remote control on the hospital room television and the picture blinked out. It was a terrible thing to be so bored at a time when every officer in the department was so badly needed. Kono had come by on his way to check in with Steve.

"I never thought I'd be back here," the large Hawaiian admitted. "Guess I shouldn't have burned that bridge, huh?"

"Well, you are here. I doubt there was that much bridge burning. I know Steve is grateful."

"Doesn't change anything, Danno. Maybe this whole thing with Rego getting so messed up proves I was right. Steve gets too involved, he pushes too hard -- people get hurt -- or worse."

Danny knew there was some truth to Kono's accusations, but did not see how Five-0 could operate any differently. I've been here over ten years, no one else could get the results Steve does. Kono had left, headed for a meeting with Duke. Danny found himself missing the old days -- the early days -- when Kono, Chin and he had made up the team. Chin. The ache began a new slow burn in his soul.

His thoughts were interrupted by a new visitor in the doorway. Susie Kelley hesitated before entering. "How are you feeling, Danny?"

He froze just a moment. "I'll be fine. Just a little sore."

"Scared everybody pretty badly," she said in a mildly scolding fashion.

"I didn't exactly choose this," he commented.

"Tilda cried all night -- it was like Daddy all over again."

Danny recalled the lingering fear he had noticed in Steve's eyes back in recovery. Like Chin all over again. Yes, I guess it was. And if it had been Steve shot I would have gone nuts too. "Tell them I'll be fine."

She sat down. "That lawyer, Manicote, came to see me. He says that I broke the law -- that Rego has been released because there wasn't a warrant to get his gun. I don't understand that."

"The law says we can't just steal his property, then arrest him," Danny explained. "You broke in to his place to get the gun. Rego's attorney would claim we put you up to it."

"But you didn't!"

"That doesn't matter. Maybe when Steve told you to stay out of it you should have," he remarked. And now that Steve is in hot water up to his neck, he doesn't need you around complicating matters.

"What can I do now?" she asked, sympathy plain on her features.

Go back to California. "Just stay away from all this, okay?" he responded, a little more forceful that he meant. "I know you thought you were helping -- and that you and Alia mended fences over this -- so I guess you've improved family stuff -- but the price was pretty high -- it cost us your father's killer." His shoulder was starting to throb. He wondered how long it would be until he could get some pain killers.

Susie had a genuine pout on her face. "I really thought it was going to be all over, Danny. I thought I could help catch Rego -- now it's just worse than before."

"We never make things better by bending the rules, Susie," he answered with more compassion in his tone. "We'll just have to hope that the FBI finds a way to take down Jimmy Rego instead. There are lots of things possible."

She sat up straighter. "Well, I did not come here to just talk about Rego. How are you doing, Danny? Do you hurt much? This must just be awful for you."

Recalling Steve's words about Susie being a comfort to him, Danny hesitated to respond, not wanting her compassion. "I'll feel better when Rego's back behind bars."

"I said I did not just want to talk about the case," she commented.

He gave a small smile. "I guess my state of mind and the case are pretty close together."

She nodded. "Me, too."

There was a gap of strained silence.

Why is he so aloof? The sudden revelation that he wasn't going to accept her as family or friend made Susie uncomfortable. "I'm sorry," she said suddenly.

He looked up. "About what?" I need to try to sound like I care.

"You hoped I'd go back to the mainland. I didn't."

He did not respond right away, wrestling with how much he should confide in her. The muscles of his left chest and shoulder were really throbbing. "Susie, I am very concerned about your safety," Danny said gently. "Rego is going to consider you a threat, too. He will find out who turned his gun in. You managed to get along on with that old friendship with Kini thing, but not any more. This isn't the old times, you can't forget that."

"And I suppose you're going to tell me again that I should go back to the mainland," she said with more resistance. I can tell that look. It's the same look I remember in my father.

"If I thought you'd listen -- yes, I'd tell you to leave. You did what you came to do. You and Alia are apparently doing okay," he answered trying to avoid the direction this was taking.

"This isn't only about Alia," she snapped. "You don't understand." Tears suddenly sprang to her eyes. "I was kept away from my family for five years! My mother died and I never said good-bye. I really tried to make things better with Daddy, but ---" she threw up her hands. "-it was hopeless. I could never get Daddy to listen."

Uncertain of a response, Danny remained silent.

"Did Tim talk to you?" she asked suddenly, anger flaring in her eyes.

Confused and alarmed he asked. "About what?" Dear God, she isn't going to bring this awful mess up right now, is she?

"The will."

Relieved, he replied. "The reading is next week."

"Don't you think I need to stay around until then?" She was watching him closely. There is more to this. He is really nervous and Danny has never been one to be nervous around family or women. He knows. I'm not sure how, but he knows.

"You can, but you don't have to. Everything will be handled by the lawyer." Is she going to say why her father sent her away? What if she does? What if she doesn't? Maybe it is a long overdue discussion.

"Unless Daddy wrote me out of the will."

Shocked, he blinked. "He wouldn't do that."

"Sure he would," she replied coldly. "He wrote me out of his life; it isn't much more to write me out of the will, too."

I have to do this. I am sorry, Susie. I am sorry, Steve. Oh my God, I am so sorry, Chin. "This isn't about wills or kids or money, Susie," he said quietly. "Is it?"

She looked him in the eye. Dear God, he isn't going to bring up this awful mess, is he?

"You want to just talk straight or dance around the issue?" She knows I know. We have to talk, it might as well be now. He waited for a response. Susie stared at the floor. "Why did you go to San Francisco, Susie?"

She shrugged, her gaze still on the tile. "School. Mama had relatives there. It gave me a chance to get away."

"Get away from what?"

She looked up at him. "Are you fishing, Danny? Why don't you just say what you mean."

He took a deep breath. "All right, Susie. I know about the letters you wrote to Steve in middle school. I know about the photos five years ago and three years and last year."

She registered neither shock nor surprise. "I was a foolish child looking for attention. I guess negative attention was better than none."

She did not deny the photos from last year. "What's happening now, Susie?"

She cracked a small smile. "Now? Get real Danny. My brothers and sisters don't even know why I was sent away, but they hate me. They think I abandoned the family -- they don't know I was exiled. What happens if I tell them that?" She tossed her head. "Danny, I loved my father -- we all did, but no one knows better than you that he was never there for us. He was all about his job. He loved Steve McGarrett more than me."

He did not answer.

"We did not all have the same opportunity you did to join him in his love. You made sure you got yours -- the rest of us…." She shrugged and blinked back tears. "The only one Alia hates more than me is you." She wrapped her arms around herself. "No one can save this family now. Not me, not you. We each have to do the best we can."

"And what about Steve?" he asked quietly.

She rose from the chair and walked to the window staring out across the rooftop below. "Does it matter?"

"I would think so, Susie. You claim your father sent you away because of Steve -- now you're back, he's here -- he wants to ignore the past and so do you. What happens now?"

She turned to face him, her expression cold. "Nothing happens now, Danny -- nothing. It doesn't matter what I'd like to see, or what Steve would like. I'm not a child any more. I am an adult. And if we have good chemistry -- what business is it of yours?"

"Chemistry!" he shouted in spite of his injuries that instantly reminded him of their presence. He paused, trying to subdue the pain.

"I came here to try to clear things up," Susie muttered. "Doesn't look like that will happen."

"Oh, no, Susie. Things are very clear -- crystal clear. Steve doesn't see you as a lover. He looks at you as a vulnerable child. His attraction to you isn't the same as yours towards him."

She gave a cocky smile. "What makes you so sure of that, Dan Williams?" She tossed her head rebelliously. "Some things are just meant to be. I don't need another father. I obviously did not have the benefit of the one I did have. You and my blood family can go to hell."

Knowing that the conversation was going very badly, he attempted to slow down just a bit. "Susie, I do care about you. I don't want you to be hurt."

"Hurt?? By whom?? Steve McGarrett?" She gave a scoffing grunt.

"Susie," he said trying to be calm when he felt like jumping up and slapping her into reality. "This has been very painful for you. I know you must have felt abandoned by your family -- rejected by your father -- even though he thought he was doing the right thing."

She crossed her arms again and looked away from him.

"You risked your life to find a way to reach your family. I know they are important to you." He watched closely, hopeful or any indication of response.

She continued to stare away from him towards the wall, blinking several times. "Alia ran off with that Rollo guy. They got secretly married. Daddy didn't send her away. He accepted her back -- why was I rejected?" she said, her voice breaking during the question at the end -- tears beginning to creep out of her eyes. "He hated me."

"No, Susie," Danny said gently. "He was afraid, too. Maybe he didn't make the right choice either. But I know he loved you."

She pressed a hand to her face to wipe the tears away. "I feel so empty. I just wanted to come home."

And I am trying to push her away again. Am I making the same mistake, too? "Do you want to stay in Hawaii?"

She shook her head. "I can't if I wanted to. Too much has happened. That FBI agent is arranging temporary protection for me until they find a way to catch Rego. So I guess you are getting your wish. I'll be leaving."

"He paused. "I want to help you. I care about you."

She sighed. "I know you think you mean that. I guess we'll never know. Goodbye, Danny. I probably won't be back." She turned towards the door and walked away.

As she exited, Danny noticed she was wearing open-backed sandals and strained to get a look at her left heel. His breath caught as the truth was revealed by what he saw -- or didn't see. Her ankle was clean.

Part 8

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