A/N: So I couldn't let things rest. Here's a new fic for your review. Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1: October 22, 2013
Danny and Steve surveyed the carnage in the abandoned warehouse. Six dead. Of those six, one made no sense. There were four dead Kakunazi and two dead Moshoto. That they understood. Gang related violence was nothing new in this part of town. It was the young blonde woman, dead in the corner that didn't fit. There were ligature marks around her wrists and ankles. She wore a sparkly cocktail dress and heavy makeup; mascara ran down her cheeks in tracts. "Cause of death?"
"From the placement of the entry wound, I'm going to guess the bullet tore through the heart. Death would have been instant. Commander McGarrett?"
"Preliminary exam revealed extensive bruising, everywhere but on her face. Ligature marks here and here."
"I saw those. This girl was tortured."
"So it would seem. My boss was very interested in the details of this woman's death when I called in my preliminary findings".
"What do you mean?" Steve asked, frowning.
"He asked me very specific questions including..."
"Hey, Boss!" Kono called from the back of the warehouse. "You need to see this."
"Let me know," Steve ordered as he turned and headed toward Kono.
"Will do, Commander."
Danny pocketed his notepad and fell in step with Steve. "What are you thinking?"
Steve scowled. "I don't know yet."
Steve and Danny followed Kono through a black swinging door into a small, square room with a concrete floor and blood stained walls. There was a drain in the center of the room over which hung a large metal hook on a thick, swinging chain. At the back of the small room, two iron clasps lay hauntingly empty on the floor.
"What the hell?" Danny asked as he surveyed the room.
"This must be where they kept her," Steve said, mostly to himself.
"There's more," Kono communicated in a voice thick with disgust.
The three men followed her into a small storage room. There they found ominous, stainless steal instruments lying on shelves and hanging from peg board along the wall. The metal tools were immaculate as if the owner took great pride in their care. Chin suppressed a shiver. "How is this connected to that out there?" he asked.
"I don't know," Steve answered, wondering the same thing himself.
"Hey, look at this," Danny said from inside the storage room where he had been inspecting the surgical type instruments. With a gloved hand, he picked up a small branding tool. He held it out for Steve to see. "It's been used... repeatedly."
"Is that a cactus?" Steve questioned as he inspected the iron design.
"Weird, huh?" Danny said and placed the branding iron back on the shelf.
"Chin, see if you can get a hit on any crimes involving a cactus brand. I know it's a long shot, but see what you come up with."
Chin nodded and excused himself from the concrete room.
Further inspection of the warehouse yielded no more clues as to what connected the five gang-bangers to the pretty blond in the corner.
"Kono, take the photos of the six dead bodies back to FiveO and run them through facial rec. Let me know what you find. Oh and see if you can figure out what's happening between the Kakunazi and the Moshoto these days."
On her way out, Kono met two men in suits as they traversed the warehouse. "Feds," she thought and headed to her car.
Steve and Danny noticed them too. One stopped to gather information from the HPD officer stationed near the entrance to the warehouse, the other made himself at home in Steve's crime scene.
Steve stiffened at the intrusion and headed past Danny to greet the intruder. "Steve... Steve," Danny called wearily, recognizing the warning on Steve's face. He sighed and rolled his eyes as his friend politely ignored him.
"Can I help you with something?" Steve asked, legs spread in a wide, defensive stance, arms crossed over his chest.
"I doubt it," suit number one mumbled as he pushed past Steve, further into the warehouse.
"Hey," Steve snapped and spun the guy sharply around on his heels. A shoving match ensued complete with yelling, posturing, and pointing. Danny and suit number two pulled the men apart before fists were thrown. Suit number two sent suit number one flying with a hard push and a forceful reprimand.
Suit number two then introduced himself. "I'm Special Agent Faruke Amari, Federal Bureau of Investigations. I apologize for my partner's behavior". The senior partner extended his hand to Steve. "You're Commander McGarrett?"
Steve eyed the agent in front of him before shaking his hand. He was older than Steve, maybe fifty. He wore a simple gold wedding band on his left ring finger and a pleasant enough smile on his face. He was of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern descent, "maybe Lebanese", Steve thought. Although not common, he remembered the striking blue and amber eyes of a minority of Lebanese people from his SEAL missions in the Middle East.
"Yes and this is my partner, Danny Williams. We're with FiveO".
"Nice to meet you. I've heard great things about FiveO and the work you do. That idiot over there is my partner, Special Agent Michael Jenkins. He's a good guy, just a bit hot tempered. I apologize."
Steve ignored the snort he heard from behind him where Danny stood. "Agent Amari, why is the Federal Bureau of Investigations interested in our case?"
"We're only interested in one aspect of your case. The woman. We believe she's a part of something bigger."
"Who is she?"
"Don't know, but the MO tracks with a serial we've been hunting for two years now. He's just recently been active on the islands."
"Young blond, mid to late twenties, evening wear, heavy makeup, bruising from the neck down."
"How did you find out so quickly?"
"We got a call from the ME's office. Four months ago, we sent out an alert to the ME's on the islands. Anything resembling our criteria, they call."
"How many bodies... here in Hawaii?"
"If this is one of his, she makes three. One on Kauai, one on Maui, now her. We find them on the first Saturday of each month. He kills over a six month period, six women, then he disappears, that's how he works."
"But this is the third Tuesday of this month," Danny pointed out.
"I know. All the previous victims were reported missing one to two weeks before they were found. He takes his time with them. After they're killed, they're placed in a conspicuous area to be found on the third Saturday of the month. Either she isn't one of his or maybe, if we're lucky, whatever happened here screwed up his plans and we'll find some new evidence. If you don't mind Commander, I'd like to take a look at the body."
Max was finishing with the last victim, one of the Moshoto boys. The other five lay bagged and tagged where they fell.
"She's over there". Steve pointed to the corner where a black cadaver bag lay, evidence number seven displayed next to it. The agents followed Steve to the body. The younger agent, Special Agent Jenkins knelt down next to the bag and unzipped it, exposing the woman's face and neck. He turned her head to the left and pushed her hair back revealing a fresh burn in the shape of a small cactus.
Agent Jenkins turned to the men standing behind him. "She's one of his."
Steve frowned and squatted down next to him. The agent leaned back allowing Steve a clear view of the brand. "We found his branding iron back there. We found that and a storage room full of tools."
The two agents cut their eyes at each other, obviously intrigued by the find. "Would you mind showing us?" Agent Amari asked.
Steve's phone rang before he could answer, but he nodded to Danny giving him the okay to proceed. "Chin, what ya' got?"
"That cactus brand is significant. I'm afraid we may be dealing with a serial."
"Yeah, I know. FBI showed up after you left. Max's boss called them right after he called in the report."
"There's more. Here's Kono."
"Hey, Boss. The five dead guys each have rap sheets as long as my arm. Known associates are consistent with their tattoos. Three are Kakunazi and two are Moshoto. Not sure what's happening between those two yet. The woman is twenty-eight year old Melissa Leigh Heathrow. No known connection to either gang. She was reported missing nine days ago by her roommate and coworker. She was a waitress at The Mojito Club. No criminal record. I have an address for work and home."
"Good, you and Chin talk to the roommate. See what you can come up with."
Steve joined the others in the back room. "Anything?"
"If it's alright with you Commander, I'd like to send all of this to our lab for prints and DNA. We've never been able to locate his play room before. Maybe we'll get lucky."
"I don't know, it looks pretty clean," Danny commented.
"Worth a shot," Agent Amari countered.
"What exactly are we dealing with here," Steve demanded.
Agent Amari pointed past him. "Special Agent Weston can fill you in on that."
Steve and Danny turned to find Lori Weston headed in their direction. She walked confidently toward them wearing a blue, curve hugging skirt and a yellow and blue sleeveless silk shirt. Her hair hung down past her shoulders in long, loose waves and bounced invitingly as she walked. Steve licked his lips unconsciously. It had been a year and a half since Lori and Steve had said their awkward goodbye at FiveO, and just as long since they had last spoken. Steve had found himself thinking about her more often than not since that goodbye. Danny stepped forward and greeted her with a hug. "Agent Weston, huh?"
"So it would seem," she chuckled.
"You look good, Babe."
"Thank you". Turning toward Steve, she met his eyes and smiled. "Hello, Steve," she said rather shyly and crossed her arms loosely in front of her.
Steve touched her elbow. "It's good to see you," he said as he leaned down and placed a quick kiss on her cheek. He was pleased to see the pink flush her cheeks. Danny observed the exchange wordlessly, his curiosity aroused.
"I assume Agent Amari has filled you in."
"Not really," Danny answered. "He said that you were the person to talk to so... talk," he teased with a very sweet Danny grin on his face.
"Why don't you get Chin and Kono and meet me at my office. I'll show you everything we have."
"How long have you been working on this," Steve asked.
"The files arrived four months ago. They had a hunch he was heading this way."
"So you've been..."
"Agent Weston!" Amari called from just inside the concrete room door.
"I'll meet you in an hour or so? My office? It's in the Federal Building." Lori asked.
"We'll be there," Danny confirmed.
Lori excused herself to join her fellow agents in the investigation. Steve watched her walk away. He just didn't recall her looking so... so...
"She is a fine looking woman," Danny offered.
"Fine... so damn fine. That's the word," Steve thought.
Danny slapped Steve on the chest with the back of his hand. "You should ask her out."
"What? Where did that come from?"
"Where did that come from? Really? You've got a little something there on your chin."
Steve slapped his hand away as Danny reached for his face.
"Its drool my friend because you like her."
"I do not". The two men headed toward the entrance of the warehouse.
"Whatever... You know, you never told me what happened between you two."
"That's because nothing happened."
"Uhuh. Then why did you act so weird when you told us she resigned and was heading back east?"
"I didn't act weird."
"Yes you did. You told us and then you left. Even Kono said, 'That was weird,' because you were acting weird."
"Okay, can we just drop this, please?"
"Sure, we can drop it... after you tell me what it is that you're not telling me."
Steve pulled up short in the parking lot. He spun to face Danny. "You're not gonna' let this go are you?"
"No, I am not," Danny said with a triumphant grin on his face.
Steve rolled his eyes. "When she handed me her resignation, she said that she had let a lot of things slide because of her feelings for me."
Danny clapped his hands in front of him. "I knew it. I knew she had a thing for you."
"Yeah, well, I didn't. And I didn't handle things well when she told me."
"What did you say," Danny asked accusingly.
"I didn't say anything except that I was going to miss her. Then I hugged her and that was that."
"You're an idiot," Danny said and threw his hands in the air. He turned sharply and headed for the passenger side of the Camaro."
It was Steve's turn to roll his eyes. He joined Danny in the car. "What should I have said?"
"I don't know, maybe you could have asked her to stay on the island. I mean now that you weren't working together anymore, maybe you could have gone out, given things a try."
"I was seeing Catherine at the time, remember? She was actually here on leave when Lori resigned, and I had already made plans to train on Cath's ship for a couple of days."
"Yeah, that worked out well, now didn't it? Isn't that when you found out about what's his face...?"
"Marty," Steve said dryly.
"Right, Marty from Alabama."
"Yeah, don't remind me."
"What? It all worked out. You got to punch somebody, no consequences, and you found out the truth. Things weren't really going anywhere with Catherine anyway. You said that yourself."
"Yeah, I know. But now, Lori's back... maybe you feel her out... see if she's still carrying a little torch for you? Huh? Could be fun... that's all I'm gonna' say about it."
"That's all you're gonna' say about it," he said, doubting the validity of that statement.
"Yeah, that's all... My lips are sealed," he said as he pretended to lock his lips and throw away the key.
"Yeah, I'll believe that when I see it."
Their discussion had carried them back to FiveO where they caught Chin and Kono on their way out the door to go and speak with the roommate. "The missing person's report wasn't much help," Kono informed them. Danny filled them in on what all had transpired at the crime scene.
"We'll head to Lori's, see what she has, then, the two of you go ahead and talk to the roommate." The four of them took two cars to FBI headquarters, not four blocks from FiveO.
"I wonder how long she's been back." Steve pondered on the way.
"You know, that's a great question. Why don't you ask her?"
"See, there you go again."
"What? I didn't say one word about you asking her out."
"And there it is," Steve droned sardonically.
"You're impossible. If you want to ask her out, then do it. Ask her out. Just leave me out of it."
"It was you're idea," Steve argued.
"What are you, thirteen?" Danny countered as he hopped out of the car, a carefully hidden grin across his face. Flustered, Steve shook his head to clear it before stepping out of the car.
"What?" Kono asked, smiling in response to Danny's triumphant fist pump. Chin stepped onto the curb behind her.
"Score one for Danno," was Danny's quick and only explanation. Steve exited the car and joined them in their walk to the front door of the Federal Building.
By the time they reached Lori's office, Steve had his swagger back. He stood to his full height, chest out, intensity off the scale. He intended on getting the full story from Lori right down to the last detail. Whatever else he got from her was bonus. Lori waited for them in the war room where photos, profiles, stacks of files, and tons of speculation had been gathered and somewhat organized. She welcomed a fresh perspective. It would be nice to see Chin and Kono again, too. "You can do this," she reminded herself. "It'll be fun working with the team again."
A/N: There you have it... a fresh start! Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think. Good start?