A/N: Written for LJ comm H50_gen's prompt fest, prompt by RahNee13. Basically, she wanted Kono and Danny working together, Danny injured but not incapacitated complete, and Kono being a BAMF.
We've Got Fun and Games
Kono hadn't had the energy or spare time to wrap her brain around how it had gone from zero to shitstorm in less than a minute, but it had and that left her with little to work with. Right, so if she took another mental stock just to make sure she had it all down, she was in the middle of nowhere with an injured partner and criminals of indefinite quantity and armament who wanted to shoot, stab, blow up or otherwise kill them both dead, dead, make die dead. Another day in paradise, she thought, and while the adrenaline junkie in her ate this up with a spoon, the vulnerable softie she thought she hid well was worried as hell. She could do this. She had to do this because, despite Danny's bravado and admirable almost nonstop string of hushed complaints, she didn't really know how long he could go without medical care. This was not the place for a wound like that to be left untreated.
She circled quietly at the edges of the clearing and headed upslope, tried not to be distracted by how completely stupid this plan of theirs was. Deep down, Kono knew they had no choice. Deep down, she knew the plan was hers, not theirs. No help was coming for them in time; they were completely cut off and outnumbered. Danny taking out the keiki manuahi that had injured him hadn't done much to give them any leverage. Injured, hell. Call a gunshot wound a gunshot wound. She winced. The bloody hole in Danny's side messy and ugly wouldn't be something she'd forget anytime soon. Or ever, because the bullet had been intended for her. But it was this stupid plan or die, and Kono had no thought of dying herself or letting Danny die today. If she did either of those things, both Steve and Chin would resurrect her and then kill her again anyway. She wanted no part of that.
Truthfully, she was far more worried for Danny than herself. Kono was nothing if not confident in her abilities. She could and did kick ass and take names, on the job, on the waves. It was who she was. That wasn't the problem with this stupid plan. If this went right, she'd be mostly out of the line of fire. Danny was going to be smack in the middle of it, and he had limited mobility. Once he got into his own position, he wouldn't be able to retreat. He was totally dependent on this working and that was a heavy load to bear. She refused to let it crush her.
She picked her way carefully to the position she'd earmarked before, both to avoid attracting attention and to avoid setting any of her own traps. There hadn't been time to do a dry run for any of this. Kono knew she was falling behind schedule getting where she needed to be; she hadn't come this far unscathed herself, mostly just bruises, some of them deep, and the terrain was unkind. She thought she had calculated for a certain margin of error, having known both of those issues before the fool plan was set in motion.
She was no Steve McGarrett, but for the next however-long-it-took Kono was going to make like she played him on TV.
Six hours earlier
"You need to relax, yeah?" Kono said as she eyed Danny's white-knuckled grasp on the armrests. "It's just a little turbulence."
Danny shot her a look she could only describe as half incredulous and half hehena, the expression in his eyes wild. He actually gaped at her for several moments, mouth worked open and shut and open like a blue-eyed guppy. It was kind of cute.
"Relax? We're in a damned rattling tin can that could come apart at any second, flying over rough topography and open water, and you want me to relax," Danny said. His hands released the armrests so that they could wave around. Emphatically. "Have I mentioned that I have deep resentment in my soul for being drafted for this assignment just because my maniac partner put himself on the injured list and your partner has a convenient court appearance?"
"Only a thousand times, brah."
"Well, I wanted to make sure it was known."
"Oh, I can assure you, I know. The baggage handler knows. The pilot knows. Everyone in the cabin knows."
Danny never did anything by halves, so he wouldn't skimp with the complaints and only give her five hundred of them. Honestly, Kono sometimes had no idea how Steve managed to make it through a day without shoving a sock in Danny's mouth. She loved Danny and knew he had a wealth of experience she could learn from, but his personality was a lot to take. He could be exhausting as often as he was amusing. The trick was knowing when to tune out and when to pay attention, because sometimes in the midst of those very many words Danny liked to use to say the simplest of things was where to find useful information. The whole flight over had been tune out-able.
"Jeez, that was overkill," Danny said after a moment, smiling broadly at her. "Did anyone ever tell you that you exaggerate things sometimes?"
"Shut up, you."
Kono laughed and slugged Danny in the arm. Another thing about Danny was that he knew his own quirks and usually embraced poking at them himself when he was in a comfortable environment. Her own reaction to his self-deprecating accusation might go a long way in explaining how Steve walked around with a perpetually fond look on his face instead of a perpetually annoyed one.
"We'll be touching down at Hilo International Airport in approximately twenty minutes," the pilot announced from the cabin. "Flight attendant, prepare for landing."
The plane was less than half full, as midweek flights often were. She and Danny sat quietly while the solo attendant strolled down the narrow aisle as she collected refuse and made sure everyone was buckled. Kono smiled at her, then smiled wider as the small plane took another jolting dip and Danny's hands clamped onto the armrests again. For someone with so much outward braggadocio, Danny seemed to be very … trepidatious. She wondered which of the two extremes was closest to the truth, then considered all the ways Danny kicked ass in his own right. She supposed a person could be capable and still cautious and maybe that was a lesson she could take from his book instead of the Steve McGarrett Manual on Why Blowing Shit up Is Fun.
Eh, fun was mo' bettah.
"Here you go, sir," the flight attendant said, suddenly back at their row. "I'll trade you."
Earlier in the flight, when Danny was especially vociferous about the tin can quality of the plane, the attendant had supplied him with one of those lavender aromatherapy neck pillows usually reserved for first class passengers. Kono had thought it fairly absurd, but amazingly the volume if not the quantity of Danny's grumbling did lessen under the lavender's soothing influence. This fresh pillow was apparently so Danny and therefore all passengers could survive the landing. She watched silently as Danny turned on the charm with the flight attendant, who looked approximately the age of her mother or one of her aunties and carried enough extra weight for Kono to know the woman probably gave fantastically squishy hugs.
"Thank you, Leilani," Danny said, and batted his eyelashes.
Hand to heart, he'd batted them. Kono rolled her eyes and tried not to snicker when Leilani blushed and gave Danny a smile that took years off of her face. Kono elbowed Danny in the ribs the second Leilani shifted away from them.
"Dog," she said and waggled her eyebrows.
"Hey, I'm partnered with McGQ. I have to take it where I can get it."
That was a point. Danny was a handsome man in his own right. The increasingly tailored shirts and trousers accentuated Danny's considerable attributes, but Steve was, well, Steve. Kono had to side with Danny on that one; Steve was ridiculous on multiple levels. Just because both of them were iohana/i didn't mean she didn't notice these things. She refrained from adding either salt or balm to Danny's comment, chose instead to think about why they were on the Big Island in the first place as they rolled to the gate and deplaned.
In the last few years the islands had come a long way in fixing the ice problem that plagued them, but there was also still a long way to go. Kono couldn't remember a time when it wasn't a problem, not so far out of high school to have forgotten the parties she'd gone to with kids methed out of their minds. Even being shielded by her safe, close circle of Coral Prince friends hadn't prevented some exposure, and some things weren't easy to forget. She never understood why anyone would want to make themselves act like someone on meth did, but then she didn't have firsthand experience with addiction.
A week ago, Five-0 had stumbled on several scattered conversion labs on O'ahu, and by several she meant ten. If it had been fewer, she didn't know if Five-0 would have been brought in. Even then, if there hadn't been obvious connections between all of the labs, she and Danny wouldn't be here looking for the person behind the seemingly massive operation. Busting the persons in charge and shutting down the major lab could allay a relapse of all the hard work the police had done in clean up already.
Once they knew to look, it was only a matter of finding commonalities threading through and linking to each of the conversion labs. All evidence pointed to a major production lab off of O'ahu and an entrepreneur, for lack of a better word, known to the lower end distributors as Luna. None of their slimeballs had ever seen the boss, but two hinted at the Big Island as the place to look. It made sense; there were much broader swaths of unoccupied land here on Hilo, less population density.
Though they had no luggage, a security guard and a more casually dressed man met her and Danny at the carousels. Despite the casual look, a badge poked out from under the loud, loose shirt at the waistband of the second man's jeans. Kono knew immediately that it had been vital for a native to be part of this trip. The looks Danny was getting made her uncomfortable and a little angry on his behalf, though he seemed to not notice that the word ihaole/i was being transmitted loudly via body language. Then he proved her wrong about not noticing it by elbowing her arm and giving her a scant headshake, used his own body language to tell her mentioning it wasn't worth it.
The thing of it was, though, it was worth it. Danny was worth it, and her anger only increased at the thought he didn't believe that. Oh, Kono would keep her mouth shut unless it went beyond derisive glances, but she wanted words with Danny at some point. It made her cringe inside to think that a year ago, the first thought in her head upon meeting Danny Williams was the very same thing these two men were thinking right now.
"Detective Williams, Officer Kalakaua?" the man in casual clothes asked. When they nodded, he said, "I'm Detective Bob Nahale, narcotics. iAloha/i."
Danny noticed Nahale looked only at Kono when greeting them and he very carefully, specifically did not acknowledge that he did.
"Thanks," Danny said as they joined the other detective and began walking for the exit. "We appreciate the assistance. I understand there are a number of locations to check out."
Whatever had Danny backing off of his usual habit of exaggerating his more aggressive tendencies just because he knew it annoyed many laidback islanders, Kono was almost as grateful for it as she was angry that he even had grounds to go on the offensive so often. She and Danny were an odd pair for this assignment – a mainlander and a woman in what was still in many ways a man's world might not have been the best approach to take. Danny throwing his attitude around would only make it more uncomfortable, so Kono abided Danny's unspoken wishes and didn't comment on the obvious slight Nahale had just given. She wondered if they could have waited a day or two to have Chin handle the interisland liaising with her. Probably not.
"Going with the assumption this Luna of yours is the one basing the operation we think is near Hilo, there are three possible locations we've been eyeing. When we heard of Five-0's interest, we modified our investigation assuming you'd take jurisdiction." Nahale gave them both once overs. "I'm surprised to see just the two of you."
"Well, you know what they say." Danny shot Kono a look, again with the silent acknowledgement of the inferred insult. "It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it out of sight."
Kono had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. She … had not anticipated that from him. As far as she'd ever been able to tell, he was all business with everyone but Five-0. Well, everyone but Steve; he was pretty professional with her and Chin. Now she had this image of him listening to old school hip hop (before her time, but she wasn't out of touch with the classics) and trying to dance. It made her feel a little giddy.
"Huh?" Nahale said, puzzled.
"Nothing. Never mind. Three locations, you said?"
"Ae, 'ekolu." Nahale smiled at Danny's confused frown.
Kono flashed Danny three fingers and thought it was jerky, if not unexpected, for Nahale to give that kind of smartass reply to Danny's really very mild snark.
"We don't have the same manpower here as you do in Honolulu, but we've got small teams of uniforms checking out two of the possibilities. I thought we'd handle the third ourselves, if you're up to it, yeah? In fact, it'll probably be easier with just the two of you."
Nahale guided them to an old Jeep Wagoneer and opened the passenger door for Kono.
"What are the chances of catching Luna at one of these places?" Kono asked as she ignored the open door and went for the back seat instead. She also ignored Danny's smirk as he climbed into the front seat.
Five-0 had obtained pertinent case information from Hilo already, so she and Danny weren't going into this dark. Still, she had to ask. The case had been filled with gaps; potential leads suddenly vanishing or turning into nothing more than wild goose chases, perps that said one thing one minute and another the next. She'd thought they were grasping straws, but had gone with Chin's gut that Hilo was where the trail for Luna led. They all had. Her cousin was good at his job.
"I mean, you guys have been working on this for some time, but you don't have any idea on who's running things?"
Nahale pursed his lips before trotting to the driver's seat. He slid in, started the Jeep and pulled away from the curb. He frowned at the stretch of street ahead of him for a moment.
"We've known for some time an operation of substantial size was going to need a brain behind it," Nahale said. "So far, we haven't been able to find anyone who has anything but vague understanding about how they fit into the machine. Whoever's in charge seems to be running things completely in the shadows, and doling out workload in a way that the left hand has no idea where the right hand is."
Danny twisted in the seat to give Kono a glance she couldn't readily interpret. It seemed suspect to her that Hilo PD knew enough to make those suppositions, but couldn't find even a hint of the head of the beast. From the sound of it, they weren't one hundred percent that any of the three locations were actual production labs. Kono was starting to think maybe she and Danny were wasting their time. She wasn't going to admit that to Danny, for fear of another rant about tin can airplanes or something.
"You really want to check this place out with only three of us?" Danny asked. "If it's legit, we're going to need back up."
"Already thought of that. I've got gear for you, and we'll rendezvous with back up a mile or so before we hit the locale so we can approach quietly. They left before your flight touched down. We might not be big city folk, but we know how to do the job, Detective Williams. We're not hūpō."
"I never implied anything of the sort." Danny gave Kono another look, this one clearly unhappy and frustrated. "I simply thought it would be a good idea to go into this with a plan. You see, I have a partner that loves to go off half-cocked, and no, I don't mean the lovely and talented Officer Kalakaua. Sometimes she, unfortunately, seems to have similar tendencies, but my partner's larger than life crazy, okay? I like to make sure everyone's on the same page in the same book. Sometimes I even like to be in the same paragraph."
Danny Williams: making friends and influencing people everywhere. Still, he wasn't wrong, and the uneasy ball Kono had in the pit of her stomach grew larger and more solid. What was it Danny always said? Trust the gut. She had no idea what it was trying to tell her, though.
To her surprise, Nahale burst into laughter and said, "So it's not just rumors. Commander McGarrett's a lōlō buggah, eh?"
"Ae," Danny said, then snorted at Nahale's surprise. "What, I'm not hūpō, either. I understand the importance of context and use my finely honed detective skills to figure things out from time to time."
"You might be maikaʻi, Detective Williams."
"I like to think so, and if we're going to work together here, please call me Danny and as a courtesy maybe refrain from using any language that isn't strictly English."
"Bob, and I can do that. Look, it's an hour and a half drive at a minimum," Bob said. "We should have plenty of time to discuss the details, Danny. I'm the lead on this case, so I can assure you, my information is good."
Okay, now Danny actually was making friends and influencing people. The underlying tension in the vehicle diminished and so did the unease in Kono's gut. She found herself instead in complete, dazed amazement, again with what she figured was a close approximation of Steve's fond face on her own.