Ties That Bind
By Peg Keeley


Part 5


The cubicle was quiet, warm, sleep inducing. Lonnie lay half unconscious, half asleep wrapped like a papoose in three insulated blankets. There was an electronic skin probe attached to him somewhere under the linens that gave a readout on the small monitor of 96 degrees. He still shivered continuously. Danny sat on the chair beside him, his head resting on the gurney, dressed in surgical scrubs, also wrapped in blankets. Every muscle and joint ached. His right hand had lost all the skin off the palm. There was a loose gauze around it. He wanted to sleep forever. Beneath the stretcher was a plastic bag containing their wet clothes. It was leaking and there was a puddle of water around it. Beside it, in a gray hospital basin lay the green and pink backpack.

Danny gazed at the evidence, wondering if it was Audrey's. Soon enough the police would be here and they would know for sure. He remembered the night Mali had died. I failed then, too. Of course there was no more I could do then than now. They are really gone, Juliet and Audrey. Lonnie is the last of my father's line. He touched a black curl of Lonnie's hair. I almost lost you. Dear God, what would I do if I lost you? Unbidden tears gathered in his eyes.

"Hi," came a quiet, familiar voice.

Danny started, turned, blinking the moisture away. He recognized Dr. Martin from the night before.

The young doctor set a dressing set on the counter. "Not every day I get the same patients twice in the same twenty-four hours." He walked over and checked Lonnie. "He's going to be fine. He's lucky. You both are."

Lucky? Yes, lucky while Juliet died, Audrey died, and Ian ... "How is Officer O'Keefe?"

Martin gave a nod. "He'd doing pretty good. The cold kind of shut everything down and bought him extra time. Fire detail says you saved his life."

Danny recalled the smiling face of Ian's wife the night before. Maybe she's the lucky one, too.

"Your son is warming up nicely. Don't worry about the shivering, it's the body's natural way to reheat itself. He should be able to go home in about two hours at this rate."

Danny glanced at his watch. 3:45. It's breakfast time in Honolulu.

Martin gestured to the gauze on Danny's hand. "I hear you froze your hand to an aluminum ladder. Let me get that fixed up right." He removed the pads, applied some salve to the damaged skin, then gently wrapped up the injury weaving the dressing around and through until only the tips of Danny's fingers extended from the white layers. "There. Got you fixed up." He gave a brief smile. Martin seemed to notice that Danny had only made one sentence since his arrival. "Can I do anything for you?"

He shook his head. "We're tired," he declared.

Martin picked up the remains of his dressing set. "I'm sorry about Mrs. Harven. It's never easy to lose a loved one, especially during the holidays."

"Thank you." It was all Danny could think of to say.

There was a knock on the door and a man stuck his head inside. "Oh." He stopped the doctor.

"Come on in," Martin invited. "I was just finishing up."

"Senior Detective Jerome Ginotanio," he introduced himself. His dark eyes, eyebrows and bushy black mustache betrayed his Italian heritage. "I think you met Kent Trevor of the FBI." He pointed with his thumb over his shoulder to the extremely young officer behind.

Danny recalled the young man from Juliet's home. "Yes, you were at Juliet's."

Kent extended a hand shake, then noticed the bandaging and stopped with a shrug.

Danny wondered if Kent shaved yet.

"I wanted to say thanks for what you did for O'Keefe," Jerome commented.

"What do you mean?" Danny asked.

"Thanks for not letting go. He's a good friend. We were partners for three years once. He's got a bad ticker, but he'd never -- you know -- had an attack before."

Martin put away his tape. "The cold overstressed his heart." He collected his gear and left the three lawmen to talk.

Danny gestured to the backpack in the pink basin. "This is what Lonnie went after."

Tent picked up the basin containing the pack heavy with the block of ice inside. Ginotanio placed it on the counter, unzipped the backpack and slid the block of ice out onto the counter.

Trent flashed a picture with an instant camera.

Embedded in the backpack shaped chunk of ice were school papers, a small paperback children's book, and a pen. The water had made the writing on the papers unreadable.

Kent peeked inside the backpack itself. "Right here." He gestured to the name on the inside: Audrey Harven. The three men exchanged remorseful expressions.

"Well," Jerome finally said. "I guess that's it then. I'll get a body patrol organized. Damned shame. I had really hoped this would turn out better."

Turn out better? Could it be any worse? Two people are dead -- two of my family members -- one just eight years old. This isn't just a bad ending, it is a tragedy. Why did I ever get into this? Would it have been different if we had not come? Juliet might still be alive. Did Juliet kill Audrey? Are they just going to take the easy route?

Kent carefully placed the backpack in a plastic bag, the icy contents in another. "I'll get this to the FBI lab and check for anything. I just want to be sure."

Jerome looked mildly amused, but Danny was grateful. Ginotanio headed for the door then turned back. "Oh, Williams, if you're up to it, would you do me a favor? Would you tell Adair the outcome of this since you all are, you know, close and all?"

Danny turned his attention back towards the detective. He wanted to argue that he and Lincoln were anything but close, but he was too tired. "Yeah, sure."


It was after six o'clock when Lonnie was released on Danny's promise that he would be kept warm and quiet. Kenneth had arrived much earlier bearing dry clothing and he now bundled the pair into the limo for the ride back to the estate. As the car passed through the iron gates leading up to Lincoln's home Danny again felt the entrapped prison-like sensation as the gateway clicked closed behind them in the twilight.. The feeling was more than he could shake off.

Lonnie was drowsy and permitted Danny to tuck him in on the couch in the parlor where the picture gallery was.

Gideon appeared just as Danny finished poking the blanket around the boy. "Mr. Dan," he said, relief on his face. "Are you both quite all right?"

"We're fine," Danny answered.

Lonnie gave a quiet smile. "It was the worst thing. But it's okay now." He glanced at Danny as if needing the reaffirmation of his statement.

"I have a stew and fresh bread ready. May I bring it out here to you?" Gideon asked.

"Lonnie, you want something to eat?" Danny asked.

"Yeah." He perked up. "I'm really hungry."

Gideon turned. "Very well. And you, Mister Dan?"

"I need to talk to Lincoln first," Danny replied.

"I shall ask him if will see you," Gideon said with a nod.

"Gideon, I'll do that myself," Danny interrupted.

Gideon blinked in surprise. "But--"

He raised a finger. "You watch over Lonnie, all right?"

He nodded, appearing relieved at being given some kind of responsibility, but worried over the breech of Lincoln's protocol.

Danny walked down the long, dark corridor to Lincoln's room. The door was shut. He cursed himself at the fear that struggled to rise to the surface of his mind. It was this fear Lincoln held over all of them. The time had come to grow up. He knocked on the door.

"What is it, Gideon?" came Lincoln's sharp voice.

Danny took a breath. He opened the door. "It's me, Adair."

He had been sitting in the soft chair reading a book. He looked up in mild surprise. "What do you want?"

"You asked me to come here to find Audrey," he said bluntly, gripping his hands together in hopes Lincoln would not see them shake.

"Tell me something I don't already know," Adair remarked flatly.

He paused. "Audrey is dead." He knew he could have been more gentle, but in a way took small pleasure at inflicting the blow.

The book fell from Lincoln's knees, otherwise he remained unmoved. "And what reasoning brings you to this -- this wise conclusion?"

"Juliet had a serious mental condition. Michelle Ford, her doctor, believes her to have had schizophrenia with a split personality and severe paranoia. She picked up her little girl from daycare last week, took her to the river and threw her in. She later returned to the daycare to pick up Audrey -- completely unaware of what she had done. This is your fault, Adair. You took advantage of Juliet in every way, you stripped her of any self-respect, you even tried to poison her child against her! Do you ever give up having to control the lives of everyone around here!" Danny hadn't realized he was shouting until he stopped.

Lincoln sat still for a moment. "Well, you have worked very hard, dug up a significant amount of scum. I can assume you have already informed the police of your little theory and they've bought it hook, line, and sinker." He made a face. "Couldn't you do any better than that? Poor Juliet's due to be buried tomorrow and all you can do is throw false accusations at her."

"Her! She was the victim here every bit as much as Audrey!"

Lincoln shook his head slowly. "I gave her everything. Protection, love, attention."

"You smothered her and sexually used her," Danny corrected.

"And you are content with this -- this fantasy you have created?" Lincoln asked.

"The police have a team dragging the river for Audrey now."

"Dragging -- then you don't have a body?" he cackled. He chuckled to himself. "You disappoint me, Daniel. Your Aunt Clara thought so much more of you than this."

"Don't bring her into this!" Danny snapped.

"Fine. Go tell Gideon I want my supper. And don't you come back until you have something you can prove!"

Danny stomped out, fury on his face. Gideon was just bringing a tray out into the parlor.

"You stew, sir," he said meekly to Danny, noting the anger.

He tried to calm down and reply civilly. "Thank you, Gideon, but I'm not hungry right now."

"Is there any more that I can do?" Gideon asked.

Frustration was threatening to consume him. Danny tried to speak, but failed. What do I tell Gideon? He's been with Lincoln forever -- longer than I have been alive. How has he managed to survive something as evil as Adair? He accompanied Gideon back towards the kitchen out of Lonnie's earshot. "Gideon, how long have you known Lincoln?"

He gave a sad smile. "Since he made his first Broadway hit in 1926. I was just a young man then -barely 17. Mr. Lincoln was a starry-eyed romantic." He sat down at the large wooden table that was thick enough to also serve as a chopping block. He cut two thick slices of homemade bread, gave Danny one, and took a nibble off the other. "When Lincoln fell in love with Clara, it was a story book love. And that was how the press played it, what the audiences wanted. A match made in heaven. He loved her so. When she left him, it was like she cut out his heart. He has never been the same."

"He drove her away, Gideon. He was insanely jealous; he smothered her. She couldn't even have her own career," Danny debated. "She said he couldn't stand for her to be in a love scene with someone else."

Gideon smiled quietly, still reliving the past. "Yes, but they were beautiful together in those days. He was never so happy. She seemed so happy -- for a while." He sighed. "Mr. Lincoln's soul died the day he lost Clara. What is left now is very small and very bitter; perhaps even frightened. He still goes looking for her everywhere he can -- in Juliet and Audrey, in you, in Lonnie."

That made Danny uncomfortable. I don't want Adair to even come near Lonnie. "Well, Adair hates my guts."

Gideon's sad smile never wavered. "Aren't you the one who got all that head shrinking schooling? He's afraid he'll be hurt again. So, he sits in that bitter shell and suffers."

"No, Gideon. He administers that suffering on the rest of us. How much did you know about his relationship for Juliet?"

Now it was Gideon's turn to look uncomfortable. "I knew. I did not know from either of them -- but I knew. Juliet was once like a princess. I remember how she could laugh and the sun would come out. Audrey is very much like her."

Danny touched Gideon's hand in gentleness. "Gideon, Audrey's dead," he said softly.

His mouth dropped open, he swallowed back his feelings. "It was what we all feared," he whispered.

"I told Lincoln. He denied the whole things -- Juliet, Audrey, everything. He insists Audrey isn't dead unless I can produce a body."

"He will come to accept it in time, Mr. Dan. He has never been one to accept what he could not change without a fight."

An understatement. Danny walked back out to the parlor and stood gazing at the large portrait of Clara. Aunt Clara, what would you say right now? How would you have dealt with Lincoln? You always made the right choices, even when they were hard. But you permitted me to make my mistakes and learn from them.

"Dad," came a whispery voice.

"Hey," he said enthusiastically, relishing the change of thought, "how are you feeling, Sport?"

"Achy." He stretched. "All I remember is that water." There was a haunted look in the boy's dark eyes. "It was all around me and I couldn't feel anything but the cold. I thought I was going to die."

He tried to smile. "It's all right now, Lonnie. Next time obey me, okay? You never should have gone out there on that ice."

He nodded accepting the soft correction. "I didn't know. The ice seemed pretty strong. Is Mr. O'Keefe mad at me? He got all wet, too."

"No, he's not angry. I'm sure he'll be happy to know that you are fine."

Lonnie looked at Danny for a moment with one of those glances that Danny had come to know meant the boy knew he was hiding something. "Did Mr. O'Keefe die?"

"What? No!" Danny hastened to assure him. "He's fine -- well, he will be. His heart is a little weak is all. So they are watching him in the hospital."

"He almost died cause of me, didn't he?" Lonnie whispered. "Am I a bad person that other people get hurt cause of me?" Tears clouded his eyes.

"Lonnie, it isn't because of you. Things just turn out certain ways sometimes. Things just happen, you know."

Lonnie picked at the edge of the thick quilt, and did not look convinced. Nevertheless, he changed the subject. "I saw that backpack. I thought it might be Audrey's."

"It was. Her name was inside."

"Then it will help us find her, right?"

Danny looked at the boy's hopeful face. "Maybe."

He scowled at Danny's reluctance. "I can go start looking outside in the morning. Maybe she's been hiding in the woods lost, right?"

Danny did not reply. How long can I keep from telling him the truth? Hours? A day maybe? And then what will he think of me for lying to him now? "Lonnie." He stopped, looking for the right words. "Audrey probably died in the river."

Lonnie was stunned. "But -- but did they find her?"

"No, not yet."

"Then how do you know she's in the river? Maybe she's lost somewhere and the backpack fell in," he stammered, grasping at straws.

Danny wrestled with whether to allow the boy false hope. "Lonnie, it is so cold that if she wasn't in the river, she would have frozen to death outside. We would have found her. It's been five days since she vanished."

Lonnie struggled to contain his emotions and failed. "But why?" His lower lips quivered. "Dad, we were trying so hard."

Danny's heart went out to his son. He wished he could find better, more meaningful answers himself. "I don't know," he whispered.

"I wish we had never come," Lonnie muttered. "I wish Uncle Steve was here. He'd know what to do. He always knows the right thing."

And I don't? Danny knew he was tired, too. He had lived a long time with Lonnie comparing him to Steve -- and often come up on the short end. This was not the time to work on his own jealousy of Steve McGarrett.

"We never even met her," Lonnie mourned. "I don't know what she looked like."

Danny rose and walked over to the photo gallery and picked a recent picture of Audrey off the wall. "Here." He offered Lonnie the picture of the smiling little girl, blue eyes filled with mischief, blonde curls glowing in sunlight.

Lonnie gazed at the photo for a minute. "She looks like you," he judged, grudgingly. "More than I do."

Danny bit off a wounded reply. He's a child, he's angry about Audrey, I'm angry about Audrey. I guess I'm going to be his punching bag for a day or two. I'd better get used to keeping my cool right now.


Gideon knocked softly on Lincoln's door, a tray of stew and bread in his hands.

"Come," Lincoln called.

He stepped inside and stopped.

Adair stood before the window that faced the river, drapes pulled back, gazing out at the deepening shadows as evening fell. Red and blue lights blinked down along the river where the police were dragging it for Audrey's body. "What is it, Gideon?" He did not take his eyes away from the window.

"Your supper, Sir," Gideon said, setting the tray down. He'd never seen the drapes drawn back in this room in sixty years. When Lincoln did not respond, he added, "Sir?"

"I heard you," he said gruffly.

"Is there anything I can do?" Gideon asked gently.

Lincoln took a slow breath. "Gideon..." He paused, unable to go on. He cleared his throat. "Am I such a monster?"

Gideon came close. "What?"

He turned from the window and Gideon could see his face was wet. "Everything I have ever loved has gone to ruin. It must be me. Audrey...." He stopped again.

"Mr. Dan told me," Gideon said, to save Lincoln from repeating the story.

He blinked and tried to control himself. "My child of light," he whispered. "How could this happen? Gideon, did I really cause Juliet to do this?"

Gideon was not sure what to say. "I don't know. You always treated her so tenderly, lovingly. No one could have done more for her." But he could not look Lincoln in the eye.

"But it wasn't enough. It was never enough. I was not enough. I was an old man foolishly trying to please a vibrant young women. I was a fool." He looked back out of the window again. "Leave me."

"Sir, you are only a man. As a man you did what you thought was best at the time," Gideon tried to sooth.

"Gideon, go."


Lonnie and Danny sat in the parlor in complete silence for several minutes each with his own thoughts, but both wondering if the other was angry.

"Dad, are you mad at me?" the boy finally had courage to ask.

"Mad? No, we're just tired," Danny replied.

"I'm sorry I said what I did about Audrey and Uncle Steve."

"I know."

He fingered the picture, then handed it back. "I saw that Uncle Lincoln has lots of pictures. You know all those people?"

"Some of them."

Lonnie got off the couch, wrapping the quilt around himself indian style and walked to the picture wall. "I remember you showing me that one." He pointed to the one of the parents and child Danny had stopped at two nights ago. "That's you and your mom and dad."

Danny came to stand beside him. "That picture was two days before Pearl Harbor."

"When Granddad died on the Arizona."

"Yeah. Aunt Clara had come to visit -- she took that picture. Everyone knew we would go to war soon, so she had come to see her brother before he sailed. After the bombing, she stayed to help grandmom get through the next days."

"Was Uncle Lincoln there too?"

"No, but he kept writing to Aunt Clara, wanting her to come home."

"I bet he missed her," Lonnie commented.


"You remember that bombing and stuff?" Lonnie asked.

"Well, I was just a little guy, four years old," he said sidestepping the question. "With the war on, it wasn't safe for Aunt Clara to take a ship home and my mother wasn't well. Then mom died of the flu just a few months later. So, it wasn't until after the war that Aunt Clara came back here. By that time, she and Lincoln had been apart four years." He stopped talking for a moment, remembering the past. "I was not quite eight. Adair was terrifying. He was already becoming a vindictive old man. He treated me like everything was all my fault, especially his failing relationship with Clara. He wanted her to stay. We stood in this very room as he began begging her, then yelling and screaming. Clara was crying. Then I began yelling and screaming."

"You did?" Lonnie's eyes widened.

He grinned, embarrassed. Somewhere in this narrative I forgot I was talking to a child. "Yeah, at the age of seven, I was probably the only person who ever stood up to Lincoln Adair, told him I wanted to go back home, and told him exactly where I thought he ought to go, too."

"Cool," Lonnie whispered in awe.

"Well, the sad part is that until a few days ago, I'd never seen him again. And I never got to know my father's sisters or my cousins. I let him deny me my own relatives." He stopped talking, ashamed at having spilled the whole painful past.

There was the sound of soft footsteps on the wooden floor of the hallway. Danny turned as Lincoln entered the parlor. "I wish to see young Lonnie," Lincoln announced. "We have barely spoken." He planted himself on the couch and motioned Lonnie to sit beside him.

Lonnie looked towards Danny hoping for direction. Based on what Danny had just said, shouldn't he be frightened of this man? Still wrapped in his blanket, he timidly sat down next to Lincoln.

Lincoln looked intently at Lonnie as though Danny was not in the room. "Are you doing better from your accident last night?"

"I fell in the river today," he offered meekly. "I'm okay."

"You fell--" Lincoln fired a disapproving glare at Danny. "Can't you take better care of your child than that?"

Danny felt his anger begin to swell again.

Lonnie spoke up. "I was trying to look for Audrey."

"Audrey?" Lincoln whispered. "You were looking for Audrey."

"I really wanted to find her and for her to be okay," Lonnie offered sincerely.

"Yes, well," Adair cleared his throat. "We all did, Lonnie." He patted the boy's shoulder.

"Her picture makes her look nice."

Lincoln's eyes glazed over. "She was like sunshine. She radiated innocence and joy. A breath of fresh air in this old man's existence. She would come running to me, her golden curls bobbing, giggling. And she gave me the greatest gift. She permitted me the pleasure of sharing her life." He was talking to Lonnie, but he seemed far away.

"Other have done that as well, Lincoln," Danny remarked, trying to still his feelings.

Lincoln's eye narrowed. "No, they simply toyed with my love, stole it and ran away. I would have given life itself for Clara and look how she cursed me till her death."

"She never did that. She always spoke kindly about you -- she pitied you because you were such a selfish, bitter old man. She attempted the sharing you speak of and you wanted it all," Danny declared hotly. "No one else could even enter her mind, not a career, not her own life, not me. And that's what's stuck in your craw all these years. She was too great a person for you and she managed to break free before you destroyed her as you have everyone else." He stopped, feeling like he'd talked too much.

Lonnie sat next to Adair, eyes wide with astonishment.

Danny shook his head. "Look, I'm tired. We've been through hell today. Have your little visit." He left the room. He walked through the foyer and out towards the darkened dining room that was dominated by the huge leafed banquet table. He wondered if Lincoln had served a banquet on it in years. Beyond the dining room, the french doors opened onto a balcony that faced the river. He went outside. It was bitter cold and the snow was falling. He leaned against the railing, watching the dark river beyond the palisade. Why do I feel so uncomfortable about the conclusion that Audrey died in the river? If she fell through the ice, her body would be trapped beneath it. And the river keeps flowing. She might have been carried along for miles. What if they never find her? And what if she was never in the river? He pushed the last thought back. A cruel false hope that ignores the facts. He was homesick for Hawaii, the warmth, the companionship of friends. He gazed out at the black river, the slick ice reflected back the lights of the towns on the far side of the river over a mile away.

End part 5

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