Missing Scenes, Mana'o
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. If they were, we'd know so much more about Kono than we do.
SUMMARY: Danny ponders the effect of this case on the teammate he knows the least. Danny-Chin Ho friendship.
After watching "Mana'o" for the first time, I thought, "We do not get enough of Chin Ho and Danny." After all, they are our two resident cops; for a "cop show", we see much more of Steve and Kono whupping people than we see work from our two actual cops.
In addition, did Danny ever hear about Chin Ho's case, even in passing? Did Chin Ho know Meka, who'd been working there for 16 years? Did Meka know John McGarrett or Chin Ho? So many unexplored possibilities.
It wasn't until afterwards that Danny considered how much this all affected Chin Ho.
He'd been pleasantly surprised when the man joined him at the bar, and he had to admit to a little eyebrow-raising when Chin Ho had told him just to say whatever he might need. He knew the guy had resources, but apparently he had RESOURCES.
He had never thought of how Meka's case would be so personal for Chin, and despite the fact that Meka was HIS friend, Danny was beginning to feel this case was just as hard for the quiet Hawaiian native as it had been on him. Yet one would never have noticed: Chin Ho pushed through everything with a calm stoicism.
When Danny had first met them, he considered Steve the more stoic of the two men, but he was beginning to change that opinion. It wasn't hard to know when Steve was upset; that aneurysm face came on, and while there were no outbursts, the depth of McGarrett's anger could be measured by the depth of the wrinkle in his forehead when he furrowed his brow.
By stark contrast, Chin Ho Kelly was the friendly, welcoming but proper face. Danny had to admit to some surprise when Chin had snapped at Steve that day in the gift shop, the first day the New Jersey cop had met the native Hawaiian one; he hadn't quite expected it after the warm greeting. He was learning, however, that the man felt things just as deeply as Steve, but Chin Ho's ability to keep his anger and his personal emotions at bay under a genuine, welcoming aloha spirit had fooled a great many people.
In fact, Danny mused, it was Chin Ho Kelly, more than Steve McGarrett, who was the mystery. There was much more to the older man than anybody could see.
He had noticed it almost immediately when his teammates came in to Amy and Meka's home. Chin's suit, when both Danny himself and Kono were in HPD uniforms, spoke volumes; yet it was Chin Ho who was the first through the door to greet him. It didn't stop there: even Danny noticed the sidelong looks at Kelly, the silent treatment from the others.
It was infuriating to him that Chin could still be treated that way, considering all that Meka himself had gone through with suspected corruption. Meka's wife Amy had welcomed them all, Chin included, and Chin had borne the others' scorn with a long-suffering smile, but Danny was fit to be tied. He had thought more than once that afternoon that he was glad that he wasn't working near Cage any more, because if that man came anywhere near him, he'd pound the guy's smug face into the dirt - once for Meka, and once for Chin Ho.
Danny had left his ex-partner's home late, making sure that Amy and her son were doing all right. It was late night, and he wanted some time alone to calm down and to think about all this now that it was over, but he had one more debt to clear.
He didn't even know where Chin lived. He had to look it up, then punch it into his GPS, which then took him on a joyride along alleged roads which, in Jersey, wouldn't have even counted as sidewalks. Stupid GPS. Stupid Hawaii.
He finally pulled up in front of Chin Ho's house, looking it over. Small but clean; utilitarian. Danny took a long look at the house, then got out. He pulled the takeout bag from the car, picking up his other bag with the other hand, and then headed up and rang the buzzer. When Chin finally appeared, he looked surprised. "Hey," he said, opening the door. "Everything OK?"
Danny held up the take-out bag.
Chin just grinned, opening the door. "Ah, he comes bearing gifts. Come on in." He noticed the two bags. "Need some help?"
"No, I'm all right. It's just some of Meka's old stuff that Amy wanted me to have. I just didn't want to leave it in the car. I was hoping just to leave it in your living room or something while I'm here."
"'A'ole pilikia, brah."
"I'm assuming that's a yes."
Chin just laughed as he shut and locked the front door. "So what've we got?"
"I don't know, disturbingly enough. I was told that I hadn't lived until I'd tried this." Danny looked dubiously at the bag. "I'm not sure I'll live after I try this."
Chin grinned, pulling out plates and utensils. "Thanks for coming by. I was just about to order in. You read my mind."
"Scary place to be."
"That's for sure."
"But not as scary a place as McGarrett's mind."
Chin just laughed again as he pulled out some drinks from his refrigerator before waving Danny out to the small back patio. "Smells good, whatever it is," he commented as he opened the sliding door to let his partner through.
"Still, they're scary things I can't pronounce," Danny replied as he set the bag down on the small table between the two patio loungers. "I think this may fall under the category of not wanting to know what I'm eating."
"Ah." The older cop pulled out a large container, popping open the lid. "Poke. Good choice."
"Please tell me it's something normal."
"It's fish." Chin studied the pieces. "I think you got ahi tuna. Just be glad you seem to have gotten it without tobiko."
"Tobiko? I'm afraid to ask."
"Flying fish roe."
"Don't ask, just be grateful." Chin chuckled as they settled down to eat, pulling out more containers of food. "Ah, manapua," he grinned as he pulled out the last container.
"It looked like something I'd eaten before in Jersey. Just smaller."
"Very likely. A lot of the Asian countries have a different version of it. You might have seen one in an Asian grocery." Chin paused in his eating to break open one of the buns to show Danny.
"Hallelujah. Something I can identify."
"Don't be too sure of that." Chin grinned.
They chatted amiably about this, that, and the other, and Danny had to admit (privately, to himself, of course) that the Hawaiian sunset was just beautiful. It wasn't quite something one could get in the city. The two men fell into a comfortable silence, just enjoying the quiet.
Danny finally spoke. "Listen. I wanted to thank you for - well." He waved a hand vaguely. "Pushing Kamekona to help, tapping into your resources." He paused. "Coming to Meka's memorial service," Danny added quietly. "I know it must have cost you a great deal."
Chin just shrugged, gesturing lightly. "Just part of the job, brah."
"No. No. What you did wasn't just part of the job." Danny paused. "And I appreciate it." He gave him a half-smile and held out his bottle at a tilt; Chin studied him a moment, then clinked his bottle to his with a grin.
There was a moment, and then Chin said quietly, "You two seemed close."
"Close enough. We hung out. He used to invite me over to his home. Amy would cook, and she'd stuff me like some turkey and then have food for me to take home. I think she and Meka always thought I didn't eat properly since I lived alone." Danny smiled as Chin just chuckled. "They were good friends when I first came."
"I'm sorry it ended this way."
"So am I." Danny sighed. After a moment, he commented with a frown, back in cop mode, "We'd gotten reassigned, for some reason - some reason I don't get. We'd gotten split up. He was helping me out occasionally with details about John McGarrett's death, but he'd gotten cases I knew nothing about, and I'd been assigned Steve's dad's case without him."
Chin frowned. "That's odd. Something inside HPD?"
"I have no idea." Danny shook his head. "I'm hoping some of the stuff Amy left me involves notes Meka was making." Chin nodded thoughtfully, not commenting. Danny looked at him. "Did you guys know each other? He'd been at HPD pretty long."
"By name only. Not well," Chin replied. "Not the way you would have known him. We were in different departments, for one." He paused. "I'd heard his name tossed around as a decent cop."
"Yeah, he was." Danny slouched in the lounger, stretching out his legs. "He was a great partner. Good cop instincts, and solid back-up."
"Good partners are worth their weight in gold."
"Amen to that," Danny replied, lounging in Chin's porch chair, tilting his head to the other side.
They were sitting in companionable silence, when Danny suddenly said, "Thank you for backing me up in front of Steve and Kono." When Chin looked at him, an eyebrow raised, Danny shrugged. "Like you said, it's a lonely place when nobody believes you."
"McGarrett came around," Chin pointed out.
"Yeah." Danny nodded; Chin had been right. Steve had come around. But in the interim, when he hadn't, Danny had Chin - and for that, the Jersey cop was grateful to his Hawaiian counterpart. "But you - you were always there." He was looking down, his lips pursed; he looked up at Chin, then. "Thank you."
Chin just nodded, giving him a small, bittersweet smile in acknowledgment.
Danny was grateful. Yes, Steve was his close friend, and he knew Steve didn't doubt his character, even if he had doubted Meka's. Still, to have back-up from somebody else, when he felt all of HPD against him, had been comforting; he had a safety net if he needed one. When Steve and Kono had both speculated about Meka - as innocent as it had been - it had felt isolating. He shook his head unconsciously, then blurted, "I pity the fools who get in front of them."
"McGarrett and Kono?" Chin smiled in amusement, then tilted his head in agreement. "They'd plow right through anybody in front of them."
"While throwing the police rulebook out the window," Danny groused. At that, Chin laughed, long, and the two clinked bottles in agreement. "Sorry. Didn't mean to insult your cousin."
"She's my cousin. She's not a saint." Chin shrugged. "It's a little hard trying to teach proper police procedure when the head of the unit is Steve McGarrett." He paused and suddenly added, as if not wanting to sound ungrateful, "Don't get me wrong - I'm thankful for him giving me a second chance."
"But he's insane?" Danny replied bluntly, then held up a hand, pointing vaguely. "You know - " He sat up. "Next time, you and me. We're going to go do these cases like the cops we are."
"We'll go and question somebody like we were trained," Chin agreed with a chuckle.
"Sans bombs, shark cages, insane driving."
"No destruction of federal property."
"By the book."
"By the book - amen," Danny echoed. "The way real detectives do it." The blond stuck out a hand, a grin of amusement on his face, and the other man laughed and shook his hand to seal the agreement.
There was a long pause as the two veteran cops individually contemplated the beauty of a case which would actually be run according to normal police procedure. Then Chin suddenly spoke up. "It's a pipe dream. You know if we leave the two of them to their own devices, they're going to do something which gets them arrested."
It was quite late when Danny made it home. After leaving Chin's, he'd driven home slowly (something for which his car thanked him profusely), watching the passing lights.
He locked up his car, carrying in the leftover manapua from dinner (Chin insisted) in one hand and the bag of Meka's stuff in the other. He was tired, but curiosity got the better of him: after he locked up, he sat down on his bed, the bag of files next to him. He propped up the pillow behind him and leaned back against the headboard before pulling out the files, scanning the labels.
He paused at one of them, frowning, and leaned forward as he studied the label.
Quickly tossing the other files back into the bag, he flipped this one open.
$200K missing, secondary asset forfeiture locker. Cage/IA - CHK.
The ink was old; those notes were dated three years ago. A little further down, notes from six months later, in a tinier script, with a different pen.
Hard time believing JMcG duped by CHK for so long. IA stepping up the investigation.
On the other side were a list of dates and numbers, which looked like bank account numbers, but they were being bounced around different countries. Kaleo, again? How had he been able to avoid detection for three years, with somebody as tenacious as Chin trying to clear his name?
KP. With a star after it, and then a question mark. This was dated a year and a half after Meka had opened the file.
KP, repeated again, this time with just the star. Dated for only one year ago.
Danny frowned, staring at the two letters. It wasn't hard to figure out who JMcG and CHK were. Chin Ho had mentioned working with Steve's father. But who...?
Danny rubbed his hands over his face as he leaned back against the headboard. He was never going to get to bed now.