"McGarrett," Steve said when he finally managed to untangle himself enough from Danny to reach for the ringing phone. Danny shifted unhappily beside him but didn't wake.
"Steve. It's Adam Noshimuri."
"Adam?" Steve said, trying to get his eyes to focus on the clock next to the bed. "What time is it?"
"It's a few minutes after 1:00. I wouldn't be calling but I can't find Kono," Adam said, his concern coming through the phone loud and clear.
"What do you mean? You can't find Kono?" Steve asked, the hardness of his tone waking Danny who blinked at him in confusion.
"I flew back from the mainland tonight. We planned to meet at her house. But when I arrived, she wasn't here. She isn't answering her phone."
Steve could hear Adam pacing as he talked, his tone tight. "Maybe she changed her mind," Steve suggested, thinking she shouldchange her mind about being involved with the local head of the Yakuza.
"I talked to her at 10 tonight. From the plane. She said she'd see me at 12:30. Why would she change her mind in those two and a half hours, then not answer her phone?" Adam asked.
"Did you leave her a voice mail message?"
"Her phone just rings. As though it has been turned off," Adam said quietly.
"Or destroyed," Steve realized. "You're at her house?"
"Yes. There are no signs of a struggle," Adam said. "Should I wait here for you?"
"Yeah. Be there in 10."
"I'll be here," Adam agreed, disconnecting.
Steve left the bed to pull on his cargo pants and polo, Danny already dressed and in the bathroom.
"Adam doesn't know where Kono is?" Danny asked to make sure when he returned to the bedroom.
"They were going to meet at her house but she wasn't home when he got there. Her phone is off or gone," Steve said, making sure he had his gun and his badge as Danny also made sure he had his.
"Are we going to call Chin?" Danny asked as they went downstairs.
"Once we have more of the facts. Nothing he can do in the middle of the night when he and Malia are on Molokai."
"He still needs to know," Danny said, entering the passenger seat of the Camaro.
"And we'll tell him as soon as we have something to relate," Steve said, turning on the flashing lights and pulling out of his driveway.
"We need to call him now," Danny insisted.
Steve sighed but nodded, watching as Danny took out his phone. It rang more times than usual before Danny got an answer.
"I know it is," Danny was saying. "We're headed to Kono's house. Adam is there and can't find Kono…he has no idea. They had a date but she wasn't home when he got there…no answer. No voice mail…Yes, we'll keep you up to the second…all right." Danny hung up, glancing over at Steve. "They'll be on the first flight back. He thinks it's at 5:30."
Steve nodded, not otherwise responding.
"What's with that look?" Danny asked, studying the near murderous expression on Steve's face.
"If someone took her because of Adam, I'm going to kill him," Steve announced, Danny not especially surprised. Steve had been displeased by Kono's continued relationship with Adam but until they had irrefutable proof that he was personally involved in activities outside the bounds of law, there was nothing Steve could do about Kono's relationship.
"I know, babe. But she's a grown-up. And her choices are hers."
"Not when he's Yakuza," Steve said, the old argument resurfacing.
"I know," Danny sighed. "There are people who think I'm nuts for being involved with you."
"I'm not a crime lord," Steve reminded him.
"And we can't prove Adam is. Supposition and hearsay are not admissible evidence."
"Where there's smoke there's fire," Steve retorted.
"You should know. You've set most of them yourself," Danny said, earning the scowl-of-death from Steve as he pulled into Kono's driveway. They parked behind the black BMW, going up to the door to be greeted by a very worried Adam.
"Where is her car?" Danny asked, looking back at the driveway.
"I don't know. It wasn't here when I arrived," Adam said, backing into the house so Steve and Danny could enter. "Nothing's disturbed," he said, waving at the very tidy living room.
"And the other rooms?" Danny asked, going back toward the bedroom, the lights already on in the hall. He stood in the doorway, Steve standing behind him to look into Kono's bedroom. It appeared that nothing had been touched. "We need to have the techs come and dust for prints."
"Is it going to be a problem when they find yours?" Steve asked Adam, his tone even but stern.
"No. We aren't keeping it a secret," Adam told Steve.
"If she was kidnapped because of you, Adam," Steve said, not finishing his thought. From the look on Adam's face, it wasn't necessary.
"If I were the reason, I'd have been contacted by now," Adam pointed out. "My enemies aren't that brave or that stupid. And my friends are my friends for a reason."
"You can't possibly know all your enemies," Steve informed him.
"I am familiar with enough of them to know they aren't stupid enough to try this. They know I'd have them killed once I found out who did this," Adam said.
"Please don't say that," Danny requested. "We cannot know the kind of retribution you would exact."
Adam nodded, glancing down at Danny before returning to his staring contest with Steve. "Did you inform Chin? I thought he'd be here."
"He's on Molokai with Malia," Danny explained, elbowing Steve aside. The tension radiating off of him was only serving to ratchet up the stress level in the room. Danny thought it was increasing the testosterone level as well but stuffed that thought back down before he could accidentally say it out loud. "He's taking the first flight back."
"I can have him flown home," Adam offered. Danny traded a questioning glance with Steve who shrugged.
"You have his cell number?" Danny asked.
"No. She wouldn't give it to me," Adam said. "To protect him. Not me."
Danny nodded, giving Adam his phone before pulling Steve bodily into the kitchen. Adam was talking to Chin and assuring him that his pilot would be there to pick them up in 45 minutes.
"Stop with the SEAL death glare already," Danny hissed at Steve. "I know you hate him. I get that. I really do. But Kono is in love with him. And he's not to blame for this."
"How can you know?" Steve demanded, arms crossed firmly over his chest.
"He's right. He'd know if someone had done this to get to him. Mobsters are not subtle. They want what they want immediately. And what would be the point of them kidnapping Kono?"
"Then where is she?" Steve asked.
"We'll find her, babe. Trying to kill Adam with your thoughts is neither helpful nor likely to succeed."
"Fine," Steve said through gritted teeth. They turned to Adam when he returned, nodding at Danny in thanks and giving him back his phone.
"They'll be here by 2:45," Adam said, mostly ignoring Steve. Better all around that their tension not break into open warfare.
"Thank you," Danny said, elbowing Steve. "Please call the techs to come."
Steve nodded, walking outside into the dark night.
"He can hate me all he wants. It doesn't change anything," Adam told Danny.
"He doesn't hate youas much as what you stand for," Danny told him. "He also hates that he can't find the proof to put you away."
"Do you?" Adam asked.
"It's more complicated than that," Danny admitted. "I know you are Yakuza. I also know you love Kono. And she said you are trying to go legit. That helps redeem you."
"I don't need redemption," Adam claimed.
"Yes you do. From your past if nothing else."
Adam had no response to that, waiting as Steve re-entered the house.
"They'll be here in 10 minutes. We need to go to headquarters and see if we can get a trace on her car," Steve said.
"We will as soon as they arrive," Danny agreed, watching him bounce on his toes. That was never a good sign. Destruction usually followed. "Why don't you go ahead? Adam can drop me off at headquarters after they get here."
Steve nodded at that, leaving the house and roaring out of the driveway. Danny looked up at Adam who was frowning in reaction.
"You don't mind giving me a lift, do you?" Danny asked. Adam gave a small start before looking down at Danny.
"Of course not," Adam said, leaning against the doorway. "I just can't imagine what has happened."
"We'll figure it out, Adam. We aren't about to let anything happen to Kono."
"I do know that," Adam agreed, taking out his phone when it rang. He silenced it, putting it back in the breast pocket of his custom suit.
"Do you know who that was?" Danny asked, staring at the pocket where he had stored his phone.
"Yes?" Adam said, confusion on his face.
"If it was an unknown number, it could be whoever took Kono."
"It was a business associate. On the mainland. He can never remember what time it is in Hawaii," Adam told him.
"Not somebody who would kidnap a cop?"
"He's hardly smart enough to spell police much less kidnap one," Adam said.
"All right," Danny agreed with a nod.
"Do you know that I called your phone?" Adam asked in a quiet voice.
"Tonight?" Danny said.
"Yes. But McGarrett answered. So you and he…?"
"Yes," Danny confirmed. "It's not much of a secret."
"I didn't know. Kono never mentioned it."
"The Governor knows. Chin and Kono know. It's not relevant who else does or doesn't know," Danny said.
"I suppose I was surprised," Adam said, no judgment in the tone.
Danny shrugged at that, checking the time on his phone. "Surprised because he's with me?"
"No. Surprised you are with him. You were married."
"Yeah," Danny agreed. "But I wasn't when I met him. And what we have works."
"That's all that matters," Adam had to agree. "Was the Governor surprised?"
"I don't think so. He may have said something about keeping the crazy in the family," Danny said, going out the front door when the police van arrived. Danny explained the situation, the techs going to work immediately. If they knew who Adam was, they made no indication of what they thought of him being in Kono's house in the middle of the night.
"I'm going to headquarters," Danny told the Sergeant in charge, laying his hand on the other man's shoulder. "Call me if you find anything."
The officer agreed, returning to examine the doorframe that led into Kono's house.
Adam drove Danny to headquarters, mostly in silence. When he pulled into the parking lot, he looked over at Danny, waiting.
"You probably shouldn't come up," Danny said in a neutral tone.
"I understand. Will you keep me informed?" Adam requested, no expectations in the question. He was so clearly concerned, Danny could not possibly refuse him.
"Of course. As soon as we know anything, I'll call you," Danny promised. "And if anyone should contact you, alert us right away."
"I will. I really do not believe this is about me," Adam said.
"I wish I knew what it was about," Danny said. "She was taken for a reason."
"I must agree," Adam said, watching as Danny got out of the car. "Thank you, Detective."
Danny nodded before turning to go into the quiet headquarters, worry for Kono weighing heavily on him.
"What did he say to you?" Steve demanded as soon as Danny was inside the glass walls.
"Whoa, Super SEAL. Stand down," Danny said, his hands up. Steve frowned at him, leaning more heavily with his knuckles on the tech table. "Did you find anything?"
"No. Her car's GPS has been disabled," Steve said, staring at the map on display as though it was responsible for Kono's disappearance.
"We'll put a BOLO out for it. It won't be too hard to find," Danny said. "Any luck with her phone?"
"No. It's been destroyed as far as I can tell. The last call was from Adam at 10:05 local time."
"Just like he said," Danny said, studying the phone records. "Any numbers you don't recognize? Incoming or outgoing?"
"No. You. Me. Chin. You. Adam," Steve said, pointing at the list. "Are you sharing secrets? Deciding what to wear to work tomorrow?"
"Sure. Let's go with that," Danny said, studying the record of Kono's phone calls. "Do you have her text messages?"
"I don't know how," Steve mumbled.
"Sorry. Didn't quite catch that," Danny said, leaning closer.
"I don't know how," Steve said, enunciating each word clearly.
"Wait. There's something you don't know how to do?"
"This is no time for sarcasm," Steve told him sternly. Maybe he was even pouting but he would never admit to that.
"Right, right," Danny agreed, patting Steve on the arm. "I'm sorry you aren't infallible after all."
"Kono downloads the texts. I never needed to before this."
"I know that," Danny assured him. "Chin can retrieve them when he gets here."
"Yeah. I still think this is Adam's fault."
"It doesn't matter that you think that, babe," Danny said. "He said it's not about him. We don't have any proof that it is or it isn't."
"Why else would she have been taken? She doesn't have enemies."
"We all have enemies. Comes with the territory," Danny said. "We need to let the Governor know what has happened."
"I sent him a priority email. And a text message. I'm sure he'll call when he wakes up," Steve said.
"Good. And you contacted TSA to alert them?"
"TSA?" Steve repeated with a frown.
"In case someone tries to take her off the islands," Danny said patiently.
"No," Steve admitted. "Kono usually does that too."
"Yes she does. You need to give her a raise," Danny said, taking out his phone and calling the appropriate authorities to place Kono on the watchlists. The agents Kono generally contacted were very concerned that her whereabouts were unknown and assured Danny that they would alert all of their officers to be extra vigilant. As the possibility existed that she had already been taken off the island, they would circulate her photo to those who had worked the gates and exits to see if anyone recognized her. There were about two and a half hours unaccounted for and she could have left during the missing time period.
That done, Danny returned his focus on Steve. "I'm going to make some coffee. You want some?" Danny waited but didn't get an answer. Laying a hand on Steve's arm got his attention. "We're going to find her."
Steve took a deep breath and nodded. "I know."
"You want some coffee?"
"I'll come with," Steve decided, following Danny into the break room. All the high-tech equipment in the world wasn't helping them get any closer to finding Kono. "We're all getting chipped."
"No. We are not. We've talked about this. It's the grossest violation of our privacy. And the technology hasn't been perfected. We could get cancer from the implants."
"That's troglodyte-speak," Steve said. "They do it to dogs. They can do it to us."
"You can't track your dog. The chip tells the scanner who it belongs to. You have to find the dog and have it scanned."
"Oh," Steve said, watching Danny make the coffee. "You tried to get Grace chipped, didn't you?"
"I most certainly did not," Danny claimed, his entire focus presumably on the all-important level of coffee in the filter.
"You can't lie to me. You do know that, don't you, Danno?"
"Once they have the technology, she will be," Danny said, filling the carafe with water.
"What if she's in college?"
"Even better," Danny said. "Then we'll know if she isn't sleeping in her room and we can go get her."
"Don't drag me into this," Steve said, his hands up to ward off Danny's crazy.
"Thanks so much. And you are neck deep in this already. Grace is nearly as much yours as she is mine," Danny reminded him, turning the maker on to brew. "We're going to find Kono," Danny told him, seeing the lost and miserable expression on Steve's face. It broke his heart a little more to see him feeling so helpless.
"I know," Steve said. He pulled Danny against his body for a warm, reassuring hug, wishing there was something more they could do other than helplessly wait around as the coffee brewed.
"How much longer until Chin gets here?" Danny asked when there was some distance between them.
Steve checked his watch at the question. "Another 15 minutes before they land."
Danny nodded before pouring two cups of steaming coffee and settling at the table. Steve sat next to him, their bodies nearly touching. "Adam was surprised that we are together."
"How does he know?" Steve asked, scowling at his coffee cup. Danny didn't know if his displeasure was caused by the coffee, Adam's observation, or life in general.
"He called my phone. You answered it," Danny said.
"Oh. It's not really his business," Steve said.
"He wasn't judging us. He simply said he didn't know. And wondered about it since I had been married."
Steve shrugged at that. What was there to say? "Not his business."
"I know that," Danny sighed. "Stop with the hating."
"He's a crime lord."
"He's not a comic book character. He's the son of a Yakuza. He's trying to extract himself. Give him credit for that at least."
"His father killed my mother," Steve reminded him.
"The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself," Danny said.
"What?" Steve asked, astonishment written all over his face.
"Ezekiel 18:20," Danny told him. "Nine years of Catholic school."
"And you still remember that entire passage?" Steve asked.
"It may be that I had to write it 500 times for something stupid I did," Danny suggested. "You tend to remember those passages."
"Five hundred times, huh?" Steve said. "You must have done something especially bone-headed."
"Maybe," Danny said with a shrug. "I'm sure you never got in trouble in school."
"Not as a rule," Steve said.
"Mine were mostly on dares," Danny admitted. "I was genetically incapable of turning down a double-dog-dare."
"They are the worst," Steve said absently, looking at his watch. "You still accept them?"
"Not after Ezekiel 18:20. Unless it involves you and being naked in private," Danny said.
"Good to know," Steve said, watching as Danny took out his cell phone to answer it.
"Duke. I have you on speaker."
"Danny," Duke said. "We have eyes on Kono's car."
"Good," Danny said with a nod. "Send me the coordinates."
"On their way. Two squad cars are there to make sure it isn't touched."
"Right," Danny said. "You dispatched the evidence van?"
"On its way," Duke confirmed. "Please find her."
"We'll do everything we can. And we'll keep you posted."
"Thank you," Duke said before disconnecting.
The coordinates Duke had sent them indicated that Kono's car was at Makapu'u Lookout, a fairly popular stop for tourists but they couldn't think of any reason Kono would have left her car there. There were no suspects in that area and she hadn't been retrieving any evidence. The last time Danny had spoken to her, at 7:45, she'd been at home watching crappy TV they swore they'd never tell Steve about.
"What kind of crappy TV?" Steve asked as he drove too fast, wanting to focus on something other than the wrenching fear trying to take up residence in his head, a fear to which he would never admit nor surrender.
"You know," Danny said vaguely, waving it away with a hand.
"That's what you do when I run? Watch TV with Kono?"
"Sometimes," Danny said. "But you usually do your crazed cross-country marathons in the mornings."
"You should come with me. Make apprehending runners that much easier."
"I run on the beach. Much less damaging to my knee," Danny reminded him as Steve sped toward the lookout. As it was still the middle of the night, the Kalanianaole Highway was mostly deserted. Steve glanced over as Danny took out his phone, waiting to find out who was calling him. "Chin."
"Any news?" Chin asked. He and Malia had just landed, one of Adam's black SUVs waiting for them. They climbed into the car, the silent driver closing the door behind them.
"HPD found her car. At the Makapu'u Lookout. We're on our way now," Danny said.
"All right," Chin acknowledged. "I'll meet you there once we've dropped off Malia."
"No," Malia said firmly. "I'm coming with."
"Malia," Chin said.
"Don't argue with her, Chin Ho. Come to the lookout," Danny said, getting Chin's hesitant agreement.
"Who was Chin arguing with?" Steve asked.
"Malia. He wanted to drop her home but she wants to stay with us," Danny explained.
"That's understandable," Steve agreed. Steve frowned when Danny yawned, Danny scowling at him in response.
"What? SEALs aren't allowed to yawn? It's almost 3 in the morning. We've had twelve hours of sleep in three days. You aren't even a little tired?"
"Of course. Stop yelling at me," Steve said, looking out his window at the pitch black of the night.
"I'm not yelling. I'm expressing myself. Loudly."
"Stop doing that then," Steve said, turning off the highway to begin the climb up to the lookout.
"I cannot fathom why I thought being involved with you was a good idea," Danny muttered.
"Because you love me," Steve said, far too pleased with himself.
"Nope. Tolerate you. Enjoy your blow jobs. That's about it."
"You keep telling yourself that, Danno," Steve said, negotiating the hairpin curves like a professional, the headlights barely illuminating the pitch black of the night. Of course they would need to go up to the lookout on a night with only a tiny sliver of a new moon.
"I do. Every single day. And most of the nights since I'm awake for those too."
"God you complain a lot," Steve said.
"Not before I met you. You give me more than ample reason. You are at the base of 99% of it."
"Oh that is so not true," Steve retorted. "At least 60% is Rachel."
"How do you come up with that figure? 60%?"
"Absolutely. I may be 20% but that's at the most."
"No. No you are wrong about that. Between trying to get me killed, trying to wreck my car, waking me up all hours to have sex, making me eat only healthy food. That is way more than 20%, my friend. Way more."
Steve waved him off as he pulled up to the first police car, their spotting lights in full force. "Have you found anything?" he asked the officer who came up to them as soon as they were out of the Camaro.
"No, sir. Except for the GPS being disabled, it looks as though she could have simply left it here," Officer Mo'kpin said, walking with them over to the red Cruze. "The evidence van should be here in the next five minutes."
Steve nodded at that, going with Danny over to the Cruze, their flashlights shining on it. The two front doors were open, nothing disturbed inside. Steve circled to the back, looking into the trunk. It also appeared to be in order. When he went back toward the front, he found Danny sitting in the driver's seat wearing his black evidence gloves. "What?"
"This isn't where Kono puts her seat," Danny said. "Someone much taller drove it last." His arms were stretched out fully in front of him and still not touching the wheel, his feet unable to get anywhere near the peddles. "It's even too far back for you."
"So was she in it when they ditched it?" Steve asked.
"Anything disturbed in the trunk?" Danny asked, climbing out of the car.
"No. It doesn't look like it's been touched."
Danny followed him to the trunk peering inside. It looked like it always did, nothing out of the ordinary. "I think it's a decoy."
"It looks that way," Steve agreed. "Here's Chin."
They went over to the black SUV when it stopped right behind the Camaro, waiting as Chin and Malia left. Their distress was transmitting loud and clear through the dark surrounding them all.
"Anything?" Chin asked.
"No. We're pretty sure she didn't drive it up here," Steve said, leading them over to the driver's side. When he pointed his flashlight at the placement of the seat, Chin agreed it was much too far back for Kono to have driven it. "We think it's a decoy."
"She was never up here?" Chin asked.
"We don't know," Danny said as he rejoined the conversation. "We just arrived ourselves." He paused, looking over at Officer Mo'kpin. "Has the lookout been searched?"
"We have four officers doing that now, sir," the Officer said, pointing at the lights sweeping the lookout area. "Nothing has turned up so far."
"The evidence van should be here any minute," Steve was telling Chin.
"Adam said he's not responsible for her disappearance," Chin said, his tone hard.
"Danny believes him. I think it's still the most likely explanation," Steve said.
"Adam would not do this," Malia said.
"We don't think he did it," Steve said. "We think it's to get to him."
"But we don't have any evidence of that," Danny pointed out. "He said he'd have been contacted by now if they were using her to get to him."
"So we don't have any idea why she's disappeared," Chin said.
"No," Steve had to agree. "There was no sign of forced entry. Nothing in her house was disturbed."
"No blood," Danny added, hoping to calm some of Chin's fears.
"That's good, right?" Malia asked.
"It is good," Danny agreed.
"Were her gun and badge there?" Chin asked.
"We didn't see them," Danny said. "She probably had them locked up."
"The techs are probably still there. We can ask them to check," Steve said, dialing his phone. After a brief conversation with Duke, he hung up, letting them know the techs would check.
"Duke shouldn't be there," Chin said absently.
"I think he came in when we reported Kono missing," Steve said.
"We alerted the TSA so she won't be taken off the island," Danny said.
"Unless it's on a private boat," Chin said.
"There is that possibility. But we have to stay positive," Danny said. "She had to have been taken for a reason. Whoever has her will tell us what the reason is."
"I wish they would hurry up," Chin said in a hard tone.
"So do we," Steve agreed, watching the arrival of the tech van. He briefed the officers, getting their assurances that they would be even more vigilant in examining her car for evidence. That done, there was a brief discussion about their next course of action, everyone deciding to leave the evidence gathering to the technicians. As there was nothing Five-0 could do to help, they decided to return to headquarters and hope to be contacted, either by the kidnappers or by Adam.
"What do you want us to do with her car, sir?" Officer Mo'kpin asked when Steve told him they were returning to their office.
"Have it towed to impound," Steve said. "The techs can examine it even more closely there."
"Understood, sir," the officer agreed, turning to relay the information.
"Did you notify Kono's mother?" Chin was asking Danny when Steve walked over to where they were standing.
"No. I thought maybe you would want to do that," Danny said.
"All right," Chin agreed, climbing into the backseat of the Camaro with Malia. Steve entered the driver's side as Danny got in the passenger seat. "I should go to her house. I don't want to tell her over the phone."
"We'll go HQ then you can take my car," Danny said, looking over the back of his seat to talk to Chin.
"All right," Chin agreed, glancing over at Malia who was staring out her window. Chin reached over and took her hand, holding to it tightly. "We'll find her."
"I know," Malia said quietly, trying to smile at Chin. It was a shadow of her regular smile.
When they arrived, Malia said she would go with Chin and stay if Kono's mother needed her. Chin confirmed he would come back as soon as it was feasible.
Steve and Danny stood by the tech table, watching it like it would give them its secrets if they stared at it long enough.
"This is useless," Danny admitted, looking up at Steve instead. "We can't download her texts. Her phone records don't do us any good. Her GPS was disabled at her house."
"I know," Steve snapped. "I know," he repeated in a milder tone. "There's got to be something we're missing."
Danny shook his head. "I don't see how. Unless the guys at her house found anything."
Steve scowled at that, contacting Duke to ask if they had discovered anything at Kono's house.
"No," Duke said in barely hidden frustration. "Nothing was out of place. No strange fingerprints. They were apparently professionals."
"How did they gain entry?" Steve asked.
"As far as they can determine, she opened the door for them. There are no signs of forced entry."
"She must have known them," Danny said, frowning.
"Maybe. Or thought she did," Duke said.
"No blood, right?" Danny asked just to make sure.
"None. There are no signs that she was harmed," Duke assured them.
"All right. Her car is being towed to impound. The techs at Makapu'u Lookout hadn't found anything," Steve said.
"I'll check in with impound," Duke said.
"Did they find her gun and her badge?" Steve asked.
"They were both in her safe," Duke confirmed. "You'll let us know if you hear anything?"
"We will," Danny promised before disconnecting the call. He grabbed Steve by the forearm, tugging on it. "Come on."
"What?" Steve said, frowning at Danny like he'd suddenly started speaking a foreign language, one Steve did not understand.
"We are going to sit down on the couch in your office. There is no reason we should be standing here glaring at the tech table. It's not going to magically produce Kono's location."
Steve looked like he wanted to argue but then changed his mind, sullenly following Danny into his office. He slumped down on his couch, accepting a bottle of water when Danny had it out of his small fridge. Danny sat at the opposite end of the couch, reaching over and pulling Steve down until his head rested on Danny's thighs. "We should be doingsomething."
"If there was anything constructive we could do to help find her, we would be doing it," Danny said, burying his fingers in Steve's short dark curls. "Right now all we can do is take a chill. I know you are genetically programmed to never stand down, but this may be our last chance."
"Yeah," Steve sighed, turning on his back, his ridiculously long legs over the arm of the couch. He was looking up at Danny, a lost expression in his eyes. "If it was you…"
"Don't," Danny said, shaking his head. "Nothing good will come from it."
"I know," Steve said, closing his eyes. "I just wish we knew."
"Whoever took her has to want something in exchange. And they will tell us what that is in their own time. We'll find her once we have any information."
"Yeah," Steve said again.
They stayed wrapped in their own thoughts, remaining mostly silent until Chin quietly entered Steve's office.
"How's her mom?" Danny asked quietly.
"Like you'd expect. Malia's staying," Chin said.
Danny nodded, glancing down at Steve who still had his eyes closed. But Danny knew he was wide awake despite appearances to the contrary. "We'll find her."
"I know," Chin said, turning to leave. "I'm going to check in with the techs."
Danny watched him go to the bullpen, a firm hand on Steve's shoulder to prevent him from getting up. "Let him."
"Yeah," Steve agreed quietly. "He sounds….."
"Like you'd expect," Danny replied.
Steve nodded, closing his eyes again. "We have to be missing something."
"I think the same. But I cannot figure out what it is."
"Why would she have opened the door? Unless Adam was on the other side of it," Steve said, tensing against Danny's thighs.
"It could have been pizza. She told me she was going to order in."
Steve shot up at that, staring at Danny. "Why didn't you tell me that?"
"It's not relevant. The Jiffy Kwik guy didn't take her," Danny said.
"You don't know that. He could be a suspect."
"You've met Albert, Steve. He's no more capable of kidnapping Kono than he is of making the pizzas. He's an idiot."
"Someone could have paid him to do it," Steve said.
"All right. Do you want to find Albert's home address and interrogate him?" Danny asked, looking up at him when Steve was standing in front of him. "You know you're going to wake his mama. I've met her. She's not someone you want to mess with."
"No," Steve conceded. "I know Albert didn't do it."
"Good," Danny said with a nod. He stood, looking up at Steve. "I'm going to see if Chin got her text messages."
Steve nodded, following Danny over to the tech table where Chin was typing into it. He had to try several times before he could get his shaking fingers to cooperate and hit the keys he needed.
"Did you get her text messages?" Danny asked.
"Yeah," Chin said, displaying them on one of the screens. "Just the usual."
"You are dating her aren't you?" Steve asked Danny sharply when he saw how many texts they had sent each other.
"Sure. Me and Kono and Adam go out on the town all the time," Danny said, looking at the list. He smiled a tiny bit when he saw the text from Grace asking Kono if they were still surfing on Saturday. Kono had promised they were.
"Jealousy is not a good look on you, brah," Chin told Steve.
"I'm not jealous," Steve retorted a little too loudly.
"Could have fooled me," Chin mumbled, studying the texts.
"You need to show me how to access the text messages," Danny requested, ignoring Steve as he stewed silently to himself.
"Of course," Chin agreed, explaining the process. It wasn't so different from getting the phone records, just a different set of codes required. "That's it."
"Thanks," Danny said with a nod.
"Don't use it to dump Grace's texts," Steve said, standing right next to Danny.
"No plans to," Danny assured him. "I might dump yours though."
"They are all to you," Steve said, bumping Danny's shoulder in apology.
"I should hope so," Danny said, smiling fondly up at Steve. He glanced over at Chin who looked as close to losing it as Danny had ever seen. He lay a hand on Chin's shoulder, squeezing gently. "We're going to find her."
"I know," Chin said wearily. "It's just that…"
"I know. But she's tough. Almost as tough as Super SEAL. And he's taught her everything he knows," Danny said.
"Only the things that aren't classified," Steve amended.
"That goes without saying," Danny said. "Let's catch 40 winks while we can. We'll know when someone contacts us."
Chin reluctantly agreed, following Steve and Danny into Steve's office, Chin sitting in one of the chairs, his feet in the other. Danny and Steve resumed their place on the couch, Steve closing his eyes but Danny didn't think he would actually sleep.
They all jolted awake when the tech table alerted them to an incoming call to the main Five-0 line. They nearly tripped over their own feet in their rush to the bullpen. Chin pressed the correct buttons to connect to the call, the transmission telling them there was video attached to the call. He brought it up on one of the screens, Steve's body stiffening and face going blank when he realized the identity of the caller.
"Good morning, Five-0," the attractive man said in English with a heavy Spanish accent. His short black hair curled on his head, his black eyes cold, his smile humorless.
"What do you want?" Steve demanded, anger radiating off of him in waves.
"That's no way to speak to me, Commander," the man said, shaking his head. "Especially when I have something you have been looking for."
"You bastard," Steve said through gritted teeth. "If you've hurt Kono, I will kill you."
"Tsk-tsk-tsk," the man said. "I have no wish to harm her. I propose a trade."
"A trade," Steve said in a steely voice.
"Your officer for my brother," the man said calmly. "There is no point in tracing this phone call. You'll find it originates from Columbia as the Commander can attest. You will not get within two miles of this compound before you are apprehended and killed in a most unpleasant fashion."
"How do we know Officer Kalakaua is unharmed?" Danny asked in a calm but tight voice, quelling the overwhelming need to jump through the monitor and strangle this bastard. Who the hell was he?
The man on the screen nodded at someone out of camera range and his face faded away. It was replaced by their first look at Kono being held hostage. She was secured in a chair at the bottom of a deep square container, a shadow over the area. She sat facing a wall that had secured to it a full length mirror. Neither the camera nor the mirror showed what was covering Kono. They could clearly see the terror on Kono's face in the mirror's reflection. Her mouth was closed with duct tape, her jeans ruined, her shirt torn. She had put up a fight, not giving into her abductors easily. At the top the mirror was a timer with huge yellow numbers. As they stared numbly at the video feed, the timer started counting down, 5:59:59 glaring at them in accusation.
"As you can see, you have 6 hours in which to release my brother. Should you fail to do so, your officer will drown," the man informed them. As they studied the screen, the bottom of the tank slowly began filling with water.
"I don't know where your brother is," Steve told the man in a hard voice.
"You know people who do know, Commander. I suggest you begin contacting them immediately. You have 5 hours and 58 minutes."
"How do we contact you?" Steve asked, staring at the timer counting down. He could see the horrified expression on Kono's face when she realized what the yellow numbers meant. The water was covering her shoes already.
"I will contact you in two hours. I suggest you have news of my brother." With that, the connection closed, the video of Kono fading away.
"Who is that?" Chin demanded, staring at the blank screen.
"Alvaro Rendon Naranjo," Steve said.
"Head of the Columbia drug cartel?" Chin asked, turning his study to Steve.
"Yes," Steve said, not moving, not blinking, barely breathing.
"What did you do to piss him off?" Danny asked, knowing from Steve's body language that this was about him. No one else.
"That's classified," Steve said through gritted teeth.
"Then you better get it unclassified," Danny told him. "We have 5 hours and 55 minutes to find Kono before she drowns. And you need to contact whatever top secret military intel…" Danny was waving his hands in his inability to sufficiently express his outrage. Not at Steve. At what the country had required of him. "Whoever you have to call."
Steve looked down at Danny, silently fuming, the muscle in his jaw working overtime. "It's not that easy."
"I understand that. I do. But you have to talk to whomever ordered you to…what? Capture his brother? We have to at least looklike we are doing what they demand," Danny reminded him.
"The United States does not negotiate with terrorists," Steve recited.
"I get that," Danny said. "But we will not allow him to kill Kono. Please, Steve, for Kono's sake, call the Pentagon. Or the Secretary of the Navy. Somebody."
Steve blinked and nodded once before going into his office and carefully closing the door. Danny turned his attention back to Chin who was frantically trying to coordinate his fingers to type into the virtual keyboard.
"Chin," Danny said gently.
"I need to get a trace on her," Chin said, staring down at the tech table which was betraying him.
"We will," Danny agreed. "I'm going to call Toast. He's not emotionally invested."
Chin looked up sharply at Danny, his expression looking like he wanted to argue. He thought better of it and nodded.
Danny went into his office to find Toast's phone number, praying he was not already high. But it was only 8 a.m. Surely he was still as coherent as he ever got.
"Jersey," Toast answered on the third ring.
"I need your help," Danny said, no time to waste with pleasantries.
"Could have guessed. What's up?"
"Can you come here? It will be easier to explain. I'll have a dozen malasadas waiting."
"10-4, Jersey," Toast said. "I should be there in 20 if the car cranks."
"Call me if it doesn't. I'll come get you."
"Right," Toast agreed, hanging up.
Danny left his office to let Chin know that Toast was on his way. Toast's abilities with the technology was quite a bit more advanced than Chin's, mainly because Toast spent all of his time perfecting his expertise, high and not, legal and not. And Toast wasn't about to come out of his skin with worry.
"Thanks, brah," Chin said, taking a deep breath. He nodded toward the still closed door to Steve's office. "Think he'll get anywhere?"
"I don't know. If Naranjo's brother is somewhere he can't find him, he must be deep in the system."
"So Steve captured him as a SEAL?" Chin asked.
"I guess. He never discusses it with me," Danny said. "All those missions are locked up tight."
"Must be hard," Chin said, trying to get the tech table to read his minds since his fingers wouldn't cooperate.
"On him or me?" Danny asked as he watched Chin.
"Both," Chin suggested.
"I knew what I was getting into. My eyes weren't covered," Danny assured him.
"Yeah," Chin agreed with a nod.
"I'm going to get Toast's malasadas. You going to call Kono's mom?" Danny said, a look of warm sympathy on his face.
"I guess I should," Chin agreed reluctantly. "What about Adam?"
"We'll call when we know something for sure. Not yet," Danny decided.
"He might be able to help," Chin suggested. But it was clear he was reluctant to involve Adam any more than he already was.
"I don't know. Do mob bosses have secret club meetings?"
"Maybe it would make it worse," Chin said, still considering it. "Rendon could use Kono as leverage against Adam too."
"Yeah," Danny said. "If Steve emerges from his bat-cave before I get back, let him know where I went."
"Will do," Chin said, going into his office to call his aunt.
Danny hurried down to the closest stand that sold malasadas, purchasing a dozen plus four of the biggest cups of the strongest coffee they sold He had just returned to the bullpen when Steve charged out of his office.
"What the hell, Danny?" Steve said when he saw Danny carrying the malasadas. "Kono's been abducted by one of the biggest drug lords in the world and you decide you need malasadas?"
"Whoa. Slow down," Danny said, shifting the tray to hold up one hand.
"Slow down? Slow down," Steve repeated as though he was tasting the words and not finding them to his liking.
"These aren't for me," Danny told him, taking a step closer so Steve couldn't miss his intent. He kept his voice calm but made sure it was firm. His free hand lay on Steve's hard chest, trying to convey his message through touch where words were ineffective.
"Then why get them?" Steve asked firmly, staring down at him.
"That would be for me," Toast said as he allowed the glass doors to close behind him.
"Toast?" Steve said, frowning over at him.
"Commander McSEAL," Toast returned. "Jersey. Chin Ho," Toast said, fist bumping Chin when he came out of his office.
"The malasadas are for Toast," Danny said evenly. "I asked him to come to trace the phone call and the video feed."
Steve looked to Danny and then to Toast, then to Chin who nodded once. "I see."
"So if you are finished snarling all over me, I'll take Toast into my office and let him get to work," Danny said, moving his free hand to wrap around Steve's forearm. The warmth of the touch finally got through to Steve in a way Danny's words did not.
Steve nodded, looking over Danny's head at Toast. "Thank you."
"Jersey called. Here I am. Figured it was important."
"Alvaro Rendon Naranjo has abducted Kono. He wants his brother released in exchange," Danny explained, turning to face Toast, his hand still on Steve's arm.
"Why would Five-0 know anything about a Columbian drug lord's brother?" Toast asked.
"Super SEAL," Danny said, indicating Steve with a nod of his head.
"Ah. Roger that," Toast said. "I can set up in your office?"
"Yeah," Danny agreed, releasing his grip Steve's arm to go with Toast to his office, giving him the coffee and the malasadas.
"Steve going to hold it together?" Toast asked quietly around a malasada.
"We all will," Danny assured him, clearing the few items off his desk so Toast could have the entire space. "What do you need?"
"The recording of the call and the video. Chin Ho if he's available."
"He can help. He's not focused enough to do it himself," Danny explained to Toast's nods.
"Gotcha," Toast said, setting up his computer while eating another malasada and sipping the coffee. "No smoking rule still in effect?"
"Yes. But if you absolutely have to, open the window and lock the door," Danny instructed.
"Right," Toast agreed absently as he began typing into his computer. Danny knew he was no longer in Toast's focus and left.
"I'm waiting for a call back from Rear Admiral Ponds," Steve was saying to Chin.
"He's over Joint Pearl Harbor-Hickam?" Danny asked when he was back in the bullpen.
"He is," Steve agreed.
"But he doesn't have the authority to release his brother," Danny said.
"No he does not. But I can't go directly to the Secretary of the Navy. I have to follow the chain of command," Steve said, his voice and posture that of the Lieutenant Commander. Danny was not especially fond of that version of Steve. It was rarely on display with Five-0 when it was just them. He liked hisversion of Steve much better.
"That guy on the TV show calls the Sec-Nav all the time," Danny said.
"First, this isn't a TV show. And second, that guyworks for Sec-Nav. We do not," Steve pointed out.
"Don't you kinda work for him?" Danny asked.
"Just stop," Steve requested.
"Ask the Governor to call him," Chin suggested, a tiny note of pleading in his tone.
"If I don't hear from the Rear Admiral in the next half an hour, I will," Steve assured him. "I did talk to the Governor after I finished with the base commander. Denning said he'll be on stand-by if we need him for anything."
"That's good to know," Chin said with a nod.
"Toast have everything he needs?" Steve asked.
"Yeah. He asked me if you can help," Danny said to Chin.
"Of course," Chin agreed, retreating into Danny's office.
Steve was staring down at Danny with a displeased expression etched on his face.
"What? What's with the pre-aneurysm-face?" Danny asked, waving his hand at the length of Steve.
"You don't have any idea how the military operates," Steve said in a steely voice.
"Why in God's name would I? I didn't grow up in the Navy. Why do you think I would have the first clue about that protocol or whatever?"
"Protocol or whatever?" Steve repeated, his mask of anger starting to crack.
"Drink some coffee, please. You need to chill. Dial it back several notches," Danny said, handing Steve the coffee.
"Coffee won't make me chill. It will heat me up," Steve said as he sipped it.
"Not as much as I do," Danny reminded him, looking at the video feed in case they'd missed anything.
"Can't argue with that," Steve agreed, shoulder bumping him, all forgiven. Which Danny took for granted because Steve might want to stay angry but he really was incapable. At least with his ohana."Where are they holding her?"
"It looks to me like some kind of pool," Danny said, pointing at the smooth joints of the walls that were visible. "But there's no way to tell how big it is."
"Look at the shadow over the entire floor," Steve said. "It must be completely covered."
"But none of that is helpful," Danny said. "There must be thousands of pools on Oahu alone."
"If she's still on Oahu," Steve said.
"Toast will hopefully be able to figure that out," Danny reminded him. "We need to see if Rendon recently purchased any real estate."
"Find allof his real estate holdings," Steve said, typing into the computer.
"Problem is any of the properties could be held by shell corporations," Danny said, looking at the feed of Rendon as he made his demands. "How did they get her out of her house? She didn't make a call to Jiffy Kwik or any other take-out place."
"It had to be someone she knew, someone she trusted," Steve said, looking up at the screen that held the image of Kono. "One of her friends under duress?"
"I don't know," Danny said, shaking his head. "We need HPD to canvas her street. Go door to door to see if anyone saw anything."
"Yeah, we can do that," Steve agreed, dialing Duke on the computer. He explained what he needed, Duke agreeing to send out four officers to knock on every door in her neighborhood. "Thanks," Steve said when the arrangements were made.
"Why did they take her car? Why not just leave it at her house?" Danny asked the screen, not looking over at Steve.
"It was obviously a decoy."
"But for what purpose? She was already gone. We couldn't have tracked her," Danny said, shaking his head. "Why can't the criminals ever make it easy on us?"
"Because then we wouldn't have a job," Steve pointed out. "Did Chin call her mom?"
"He took care of it," Danny agreed. "We didn't inform Adam. What if he decides to take his own revenge?"
"We need to tell him," Steve said. "Youpromised him we would."
Danny nodded, taking out his cell phone and calling Adam.
"Any news?" Adam asked immediately.
"We heard from the people who have her," Danny said.
"Who is it?" Adam asked in a deadly quiet voice.
"We're taking care of it. It doesn't have anything to do with you or your connections. And you can't exact your brand of justice."
"I can help put pressure on them even if it's not about me," Adam said.
"That won't do us any good," Danny said in what he hoped was a soothing tone. "We are trying to see if there is a way we can fulfill the terms of her release. Until then, there's nothing we can do but investigate. And wait."
"If it's money, I can get it for you," Adam told him.
"It's not," Danny said. "We can't discuss the terms of their demands with you. I'm sorry. But there's nothing you can do."
"There's got to be something," Adam said.
"There's nothing right now. If there is anything you can do that will help us recover her, I'll call you. Until then, you have to be as patient as you can and let us do our jobs."
There was a lengthy pause on the other end of the phone until Adam released the breath he'd been holding. "I understand."
"All right. We'll call when we know anything else," Danny promised.
"Thank you, Detective," Adam said, hanging up.
"You don't think he'll do anything stupid, do you?" Steve asked, frowning over at Danny.
"How could he? He doesn't know who has her or where she is. He offered to put up the ransom if that was an issue."
"I wish it was that easy," Steve said, frowning at the image of Kono.
"Hey, Super SEAL. This isn't your fault. You know that, right?" Danny said, a warm hand on Steve's chest, right over his heart.
"It is my fault. My past was bound to catch up with me. I never expected it to hurt any of you."
"You were doing your job. Rendon is scum of the earth. Why isn't he in jail with his brother?" Danny asked.
"He wasn't involved in the drug trade. At least not as far as we could tell. He took it over when we took out Diego. Rendon was a lawyer. Supposedly straight arrow. I always doubted it," Steve said.
"Hard to believe he wasn't involved," Danny agreed. "At least you didn't kill Diego."
"I would have preferred it. But Ops wanted to see if he would give up the rest of the organization."
"Didn't work, did it?" Danny asked, already knowing the answer.
"No," Steve agreed, taking out his ringing phone. "Admiral. Thank you for returning my call."
"I was told it was of the utmost urgency, Commander," the Admiral replied.
Steve explained what had happened, listening to the silence on the other end of his phone.
"The United States does not negotiate with terrorists," the Admiral predictably told him after the nearly endless pause.
"I understand that, sir. I had hoped that perhaps we could make it look as though Diego was being released but not actually let him out of custody."
"Alvaro is extremely smart, Commander," Admiral Ponds said in a considering tone. "I am certain he would not be fooled by a bait and switch."
"Sir, I cannot stand by and allow my officer to die because of something I did," Steve said, his heart in his voice. "I know official policy is not to negotiate. But Officer Kalakaua cannot be yet another victim of their cartel. They have taken enough innocent lives."
The Admiral did not answer right away and Steve did everything he could to wait patiently. "You have proof he has her?"
"Yes sir. He sent us a video of her being held hostage. In some sort of pool it looks like. He gave us six hours or he'll drown her."
"I see," Admiral Ponds said. "Let me call the higher-ups, Commander. What time did he contact you?"
"At 8 a.m. sir."
"I'll call you back as soon as I have news," the Admiral said, disconnecting.
"Well?" Danny asked as soon as Steve had hung up.
"I don't know," Steve said. "He didn't say no. He said he'd call up the chain."
"That's got to be good, right?" Danny asked.
"Better than a no," Steve agreed. They looked over at Toast as he and Chin left Danny's office.
"Any news?" Danny asked, trying not to be hopeful.
"Yes and no," Toast said, standing over the tech table. He typed in a few commands until a screen of script appeared. "I traced the IP address from the video feed. It's here," he said, pointing to the numbers and symbols on the screen. "It's registered to a company called DRN Empresas."
"Diego Rendon Naranjo Enterprises," Steve said.
"That's what we figure," Chin agreed.
"It's the same IP that the phone call originated from," Toast said, pointing to a second screen of code.
"That can't be right," Danny said. "Rendon is in Columbia."
"Not so much," Toast said. "According to this, he is in approximately the same locale as SurferGirl."
"Do you know where they are?" Steve asked, tension in every line of his body.
"No. They bounced their signal a dozen times. I'm pretty sure they are in Hawaii but I can't narrow it down any more than that," Toast said, an apologetic tone in his voice Danny had never heard before.
"We're working on a court order to find the address behind the IP," Chin said. "I already called the Governor's office. They are putting it in motion."
"Good," Steve said with a nod.
"That won't necessarily lead us to Kono," Danny pointed out.
"But it will give us a place to start. If we can find their offices, we may find where she's being held," Steve said.
"All right," Danny said, looking at the countdown clock they had put on one of the screens. It said they had 79 more minutes before Rendon called in. "You don't know where Diego is, do you?"
"No idea," Steve said. "None of us were allowed to know. For our safety."
"Fat lot of good it did," Danny said.
"There are approximately 56 maximum security prisons on the mainland," Chin said. "He could be in any one of them."
"I can find him," Toast offered.
"No," Steve, Danny, and Chin said all at the same time.
Toast held up both hands in surrender. "Fine. Just offering."
"It wouldn't matter anyway," Danny pointed out. "It's not like we can go break him out even if he knew where he was." He glanced over at Steve and frowned. "Oh no. No. No. NO. We are not going to a maximum security prison and breaking anyone out. No."
"I wasn't even thinking that," Steve claimed, fooling no one.
"Don't lie to me," Danny said, shaking his head. "I can always tell."
"Thanks, brah," Chin broke in before Danny's rant could go full steam. "But there's not time."
"I know," Steve said with a shrug. "We could do it though."
"No doubt," Danny said, shaking his head.
"Where does that leave us?" Chin asked, studying the screens. Some of his anxiety was showing through, a state they almost never saw him in.
"Duke is having Kono's street canvassed. I'm waiting for a call back from Admiral Ponds. He's calling up the chain. Denning is on stand-by," Steve said, ticking off the information for Chin and Toast.
"I told Adam that we'd been contacted," Danny said.
"I'm right here," Toast said, turning from his scrutiny of the screen to remind Danny.
"Not you," Danny said, waving a hand at Toast.
"Oh," Toast said, returning to his study.
"What did he say?" Chin asked.
"He wanted to help. I declined his offer," Danny said. "How's Kono's mom?"
"Holding on. Malia is making sure she doesn't get overwhelmed. As much as she can," Chin said.
"What now?" Danny said, wishing there was something concrete they could do. Maybe breaking Rendon's brother out of prison wasn't such a bad idea. At least then they would be doing something besides worrying themselves sick over Kono.
"We wait," Steve admitted.
"How long before we can find the IP address?" Danny asked Chin.
"It shouldn't be much longer. Denning's office said they would contact the judge right away. I would think they'd be calling back any minute."
"Might not help," Toast said.
"But it might tell us where the call originated from," Danny replied.
"We'll find out where the computer is. That doesn't tell us where SurferGirl is," Toast said. "Computer is probably in one of his legitimate businesses."
"It could just be a relay station," Chin said.
"Yeah," Toast agreed. "You could theoretically trace it back from that computer but you'd have to have access to it."
"Can you hack into it?" Danny asked.
"Sure if I know its IP address. Which is different from the phone call."
"Can't you use that IP address to backtrace it to the originating computer?" Chin asked.
"In theory. But they bounced it so many times, I can't find the first relay. Once you find the physical location of the computer, I can narrow down the search."
"And we have to wait for the judge to okay that search," Danny said.
"Then we're going to go wherever that computer is and force them to talk," Steve said.
"No we aren't," Danny said. "Rendon hears what we are doing, he kills Kono. We have to be subtle about this. A word not in your vocabulary."
"I can do subtle," Steve claimed, frowning down at Danny.
"Subtle and stealth are not the same," Danny informed him.
"He's right, brah,"Chin said.
"All right," Steve conceded, relaxing a fraction. He was still on high alert, all of his muscles bunched and coiled for action. Danny thought he was going to wear himself out at this rate but maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.
"Dudes," Toast said over his shoulder. He was standing right in front of the monitor that was playing the video of Rendon on a continual loop.
"Yeah," Danny said, rounding the tech table to stand next to him.
"You see something?" Chin asked, standing on the other side of Toast.
"Look at this," he said, pointing to the left of Rendon. "What does that look like?"
The guys studied the video, seeing a sliver of the office where Rendon was sitting. He was behind a wooden desk, not as huge or imposing as they might have expected. The area where Toast was pointing seemed to be a window with an ocean view.
"A window overlooking the ocean," Danny finally said, frowning. They were on an island. Of course the office where he made the phone call had an ocean view.
"No, Jersey," Toast said, shaking his head. "Can you enlarge his section, Chin Ho?"
Chin did it, returning to stand next to Toast.
"See. Right here. The horizon's off," Toast said.
"You're right," Steve said, leaning forward. "They are on a boat."
"That's my guess," Toast said. "SurferGirl may be in a holding tank."
"Wait. Wait," Danny said, looking again at the video. "What do you mean – the horizon's off?"
"It's too high," Steve said, pointing at the image of the window. "It should be further down."
"How does that not mean he's right next to the beach? Isn't that how the horizon looks from our kitchen window?" Danny said, staring at the screen.
"Our window?" Toast mouthed to Chin.
"Yeah. They are shacking up," Chin said quietly.
"Oh," Toast said, nothing else that he could add.
"They are both a lot less tense. Now," Chin whispered.
"I bet," Toast agreed.
"There's no distance between the window and the ocean," Steve was saying. "He's on the ocean."
"Or at a dock," Chin said.
"Most likely he'd be out to sea. Harder to get a lock on him," Steve said. "It's…" His explanation was interrupted by a call that said it was coming from the Governor's office. Chin brought it up on the video, Gov. Denning looking concerned.
"Governor," Steve said.
"Commander," Denning replied, nodding to the others. "I have the judge's approval to determine the owners of the IP address. You can handle that from there?"
"We can," Chin agreed.
"Very good," Denning said with a nod. "I'll forward you the approval and you can trace the address."
"Good," Chin said with a nod.
"I also heard from Admiral Ponds," the Governor said. "He is still trying to reach the Secretary of the Navy. Secretary Mabus is in a top-level meeting. If we don't hear back within the next hour, I'll contact Secretary Panetta. That's as high as I can go right now. I don't have direct access to the President. But if it comes to it, I will find a way."
"Thank you, Governor," Steve said. "We're hoping it won't come to that. We think Kono is being held on a boat."
"Then I'll leave it to you to contact the Coast Guard," the Governor said.
"Of course, sir," Steve agreed. With that, they said their good-byes and disconnected. Chin and Toast retreated to Danny's office to put to use the permission they had just received. "At least Denning's doing everything he can."
"You knew he would," Danny said. "He doesn't want Kono to die."
"I know," Steve sighed, looking down at Danny, his heart practically in his eyes. "I'm sorry."
"Babe. I told you already. You aren't to blame. The scum of the earth is scum."
"Yeah," Steve said, pulling Danny in for a quick hug, reassured by his solid warmth and certain presence.
"Contact the Coast Guard," Danny said, patting Steve on the chest. "Put them on stand-by."
"Right," Steve agreed, going into his office to make that call.
Danny was still studying the screen when it indicated an incoming call from the crime lab. He activated the video, Charlie Fong on the other end. "Charlie."
"Danny," Charlie said. "We finished processing Kono's car. We didn't find any evidence in her car itself. But we did find a 5 second feed on her in-dash video. We think they accidentally activated it and then didn't know how to erase it. They tried smashing it and put it back in the dash. But the video card wasn't damaged."
"Did you find anything of use on it?"
"It caught a few seconds of one of the guys that took her. Here," Charlie said, activating the video on his end.
"This is the guy?" Danny said, watching the very dark, very blurry shape move in and out of the headlights.
"Yeah. You can't see his face. But this frame right here," Charlie said, stopping the feed. "You can see his tattoo."
"Tongan," Danny said, studying the shape of the symbols.
"Looks that way to me," Charlie agreed.
"Thanks. We'll have a chat with Saloni," Danny assured him.
"Right," Charlie said.
"Alert us if you find anything else," Danny reminded him.
"You know we will," Charlie agreed before terminating the connection.
Danny went over to Steve's door, opening it just as Steve was hanging up.
"Coast Guard is on stand-by," Steve said. "They will provide whatever resources we need."
"Good. I think Charlie may have found something," Danny said, leading Steve over to the video. "This was recorded by Kono's in-dash video."
"Tongan," Steve said when he saw the distinctive tattoos.
"That's what Charlie and I thought," Danny said with a nod. "You want to pay Saloni a visit?"
"I think we should," Steve agreed. He glanced over at the timer, nodding to it. "We need to wait until he calls at 10."
"Yeah," Danny agreed. "Maybe I'll give Saloni a call. See if he'll come or tell me what he knows."
"He may not talk to you," Steve said hesitantly.
"Oh Lord. Not the haolething again," Danny said. "I thought we'd moved past that."
"Well," Steve said.
"All right. After we talk to the blood-sucking scumbag, we'll call on Saloni."
"Right," Steve said. "Are Toast and Chin ready to trace the call?"
"As ready as they ever will be," Danny said. "You'll talk to him as long as possible."
"He knows what we're doing," Steve said.
"Yeah," Danny had to agree. "We can't tell him we know he's in Hawaii."
"Maybe I'll threaten to come down to Columbia to have a face-to-face," Steve suggested.
"Not a bad idea all around," Danny said. "I'll go get Chin." The clock said 9:58 and they all needed to be there so Rendon would not suspect anything out of the ordinary was going on.
Chin, Steve, and Danny were standing by the tech table when the call came. Rendon's awful smiling face appeared on the screen when Chin connected. "Gentlemen."
"We're working on having your brother released," Steve said. "I am waiting for a call back from the Secretary of the Navy."
"Good progress," Rendon said with a nod.
"We need to see Kono," Chin demanded. He was okay if it sounded like an order.
Rendon nodded, the screen fading and reappearing with Kono still handcuffed to the chair. The water was lapping at her thighs, her face tired more than scared. They might have seen some resignation reflected there but they were refusing to acknowledge it even to themselves. She disappeared and Rendon was back.
"As you see, she is still alive. Quite secure," Rendon said.
"Kono doesn't have anything to do with us," Steve said in a hard tone, his body stiff. "Release her and take me instead."
Rendon gave a humorless laugh. "Nice try, Commander."
"She isn't involved in our concerns," Steve said. "It's between the two of us."
"She will be collateral damage if my brother is not on a secure transport in the next three hours and fifty five minutes."
"I'm doing everything that I can to fulfill your demands," Steve told him. "I expect to hear from Sec-Nav any time."
"I hope you do. For the sake of your officer," Rendon said. "I will contact you again at noon your time."
"Maybe I'll come down
to Columbia and 'contact' you directly," Steve said.
Rendon shook his head. "Threats are pointless. As you know. You will not reach me. And your officer will still be dead."
Steve stared at him silently, Rendon smiling a tight, ugly smile before disconnecting.
"I hope that was enough time," Chin said.
"So do I," Steve agreed with a nod. He and Danny filled in Chin on what they had learned from Charlie about the Tongans. "We're going to go see Saloni."
"I should go with," Chin said, some of his frustration showing in his tense expression. He looked ready to hit something. Or someone.
Steve shook his head, a light hand on Chin's shoulder. "I know you want to talk to him. But Danny and I can do that. We can't trace the IP address. That's more important."
"Toast can handle it," Chin argued, his body coiled to fight. His instinct to do everything possible to protect Kono was urging him to put all of those emotions into action. Kono was missing. He had to do something.
"Chin," Danny said quietly. "We can't trace the call. You can. We'll talk to Saloni about his pirates. You don't need to go. Finding where the call originated from is even more important than finding the guys who took her."
Chin took a deep breath and stared into Danny's blue, worried eyes. He could see the truth in them. He just didn't want to. "Okay," he finally said in a hushed voice. "You'll let me know?"
"The second we know anything," Danny promised. "Once we find them, we'll bring them back here so you can talkto them."
"Good," Chin agreed, reluctantly turning to go back to Danny's office.
"Thanks," Steve said in a low voice as they went down the steps to the Camaro. "I didn't think he was going to listen."
"You fuel his testosterone. Nobody would accuse me of that," Danny said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
"What? You're talking nonsense."
"Nonsense, he says. Like he's not some sort of superhero," Danny said.
"I'm not a superhero," Steve said as they entered the car. "Stop being stupid."
"You and Chin are the he-men of this outfit. I'm the Jimmy Olsen," Danny told him.
"Stop. Just stop. You aren't Jimmy Olsen. And if you were a comic book character, it'd be Lois Lane since we're dating," Steve said, trying not to look smug.
"Yeah, that helps. Thanks," Danny grumped, looking out his window.
"Where does that leave Kono in your comic book scenario? Because she will kick your ass six ways to Sunday if you say she's the damsel in distress."
"I would never. She's Wonder Woman. Everybody knows that," Danny said.
"I think you're way more like Batman. Unassuming on the outside. Fearless crime-fighter on the inside."
"Oh great. First I was Lois Lane. Now I'm unassuming," Danny said, frowning over at Steve.
"Oops. I'm never getting laid again."
"Not by me," Danny confirmed frowning out his window.
"You'll give into my super-powers of persuasion," Steve told him. Danny just shook his head and concentrated on thinking about nothing so his fear for Kono could not overwhelm him.
They had very little else to say as they went to Saloni's house which served as the Tongan hang-out. It wasn't in the best part of town but everyone knew better than to tangle with the Tongans. There were five motorcycles in the driveway and on the yard, three muscle cars, and a gigantic blue pick-up.
"Is that Kawika's truck?" Danny asked, looking up at it.
"They aren't friends," Steve said, going up to the front porch and knocking. A teen-aged girl of about 17 opened it, sweeping Steve and Danny with her brown eyes.
"Saloni. Cops here to see you," she yelled to the inside the house. As her footsteps retreated, they heard another coming closer.
"Commander. Detective," Saloni said when he was on the front steps with them. "I was just about to give you a call."
"That so?" Steve asked in a steely tone, his arms crossed over his chest.
"So you know two of your guys took Kono?" Danny asked in a milder tone.
"Kawika told me."
"We didn't know Tongans and Kapu were aligned," Danny said.
"Not usually. But we both know not to get on the bad side of Five-0," Saloni said. "We got respects for you. You done right by us. And Kono is one of our own."
"Who took her?" Steve demanded as he practically loomed over Saloni.
"Kiau'u and Meilo. Hot heads. Surfers. Bragging about getting $25,000. Kawika's guys heard. He called me," Saloni said.
"Do you know where we might find them so that we can have a friendly little chat?" Danny asked.
"Meilo works out of a surf shop on Sunset Beach. Kiau'u lives up by the edge of the rainforest."
"We need more than that to go on," Steve told him.
"My best guess is that they are probably looking to buy a boat with the money. Been thinking of breaking out on their own," Saloni said, a look of disapproval apparent.
"Okay, okay," Danny said impatiently. "If pirates wanted to purchase a boat, where would they go?"
"Alleged pirates," Saloni corrected.
"Right," Danny said.
"There's a place in Waipahu. A marina owned by an old guy - Owomeme. There may be a history of boats being purchased there for less than legitimate purposes," Saloni said.
"All right," Steve said with a nod. "I know where that is. If we find out you warned them, it will not go well for you."
"I got no plans to tell nobody nothing. You tell me when you have them and I'll make sure they tell you the truth."
Steve nodded at that, still not happy. But at least they had a place to look. "What do these knuckleheads look like?"
"Kiau'u is taller than you," Saloni said, looking up at Steve. "More tats. Meilo's only a little taller than the haole, his skin all inked. Kiau'u wears his hair long, braided. Meilo's is short, nearly as short at yours."
"If you hear from either of them, or from Owomeme, call us," Steve said as they left Saloni's front stoop.
"You call me when you have them," Saloni returned.
"Right," Steve agreed. He glanced over at Danny as they went the short distance across the grass to the Camaro. "What?"
"You believe him?" Danny asked as they got into the car.
"I have no reason not to. Why would he lie?" Steve asked.
"Seems awfully easy," Danny said.
"Easy is if we find the Tongans at the Marina."
"Call HPD to cover it," Danny said.
"No. We're going to find them. Make them tell us the truth."
"Naturally," Danny said. "Once we find Kono's location, I don't know how we're going to get close to their boat without them harming her at the first sign of our approach."
"I may have to swim over to it," Steve said.
"How far can you realistically swim? True facts?"
"Four or five miles," Steve said in a semi-considering tone as though he wasn't entirely sure.
"And how long would that take?" Danny asked, pinning him with his gaze, one Steve could not escape.
"I can swim a mile in about 25 minutes, depending variables," Steve said, glancing over at him.
"Okay," Danny said, making some calculations in his head. "Let's say you swam a mile and half. Would you be able to defend yourself and protect Kono once you boarded the boat?"
"Depends on the number of hostiles," Steve said as he drove well over the speed limit toward Waipahu, lights warning the traffic to yield the right-away.
"Yeah. I don't think you swimming over is a good scenario. I don't want to risk losing you both."
"If it comes down to it, we may not have any other option," Steve said. "She's in harm's way because of me."
"Again. You did not cause this. The scum caused it. You are as much a victim as Kono."
"I don't like that word," Steve announced.
"I know that. But in this case it's true," Danny said, watching the scenery whiz by. "What if they aren't at the marina?"
"We call Saloni and he finds them," Steve said.
"We may need his help to search for Kono. We know for sure they have boats," Danny said.
"There is that. I'm betting Kawika will help too. The Kapu have eyes and ears everywhere."
"Yeah," Danny agreed, calling Chin to update him. "We are going after the Tongans who we think took Kono. Saloni told us where we might find them."
"Good work," Chin said.
"Luck. Kawika heard them bragging and told Saloni," Danny said.
"Breaks should come our way," Chin said.
"I take that to mean you haven't found her," Danny said. His concern for Kono was weighing down his words, making him wish he could say other ones.
"Not yet. Toast said it's definitely the North Shore. That's still a whole lot of water. Still no good news from the Governor about the Secretary of the Navy. He's giving Sec-Nav another fifteen minutes then he's calling Secretary Panetta."
"All right. We'll keep you posted on what we find at the water," Danny said before hanging up. "I'm going to call Kamekona. He may be able to find us out something."
"Can't hurt," Steve agreed, glancing over at Danny as he dialed his phone.
"Shamu," Danny said in greeting, putting him on speaker.
"Haole," Kamekona replied. "In what way may I assist you today?"
Danny explained about Kono being taken and what they knew so far. "If you hear anything that might help," Danny was saying.
"You know I'll be on the horn," Kamekona assured him. "I can call some of my less than savory associates if you think that would be advantageous to your proceedings."
"It wouldn't hurt," Danny said. "He had to have gotten his boat from somewhere. Even if they are at sea now, they needed fuel, supplies. He could have brought a boat from Columbia but it makes more sense to acquire one here."
"True dat," Kamekona said. "I'll reach out to some of my North Shore associates."
"Keep us informed," Danny said before hanging up. "How much further?"
"Five minutes," Steve said, taking a sharp left, tires squealing in protest. Ordinarily Danny would be complaining about his suspension and tire pressure and Steve's general recklessness but none of that was of any importance compared to finding Kono.
Steve slowed as the street became narrower, lined on both sides with buildings tall and wide enough to house boats, the smaller structures for dealing with the business of the boats. The boat housings were old, many rusted under the fading paint, the offices rundown with weeds sprouting at the edges of the buildings.
"It should be the next one," Steve said, nodding his head at the next dock with several more boat buildings. They parked the Camaro, a few curious glances coming from the handful of men working on or near the boats. No one spoke, their Five-0 badges making it clear they were not in the market for a boat at this time.
"Here," Danny said, pointing to a sign that barely read Owomeme – Boats Traded, sold, bought. Steve nodded at the sign, going toward the huge boat housing that was open on both ends, one lone boat drifting in the gloom next to the worn dock, the rope barely holding it to the planks. On the opposite side of the boat housing was a small metallic building, big enough only to contain one room. There were two filthy windows on the end facing the boat housing, the door in-between standing part-way open.
Steve and Danny approached the office cautiously, guns at the ready. They crouched beneath the windows, Steve stretching up just enough to see inside. "Nothing," he whispered.
"Why's the door open?" Danny asked quietly.
"No idea," Steve said. "Cover me."
Danny nodded, standing half way up as Steve slipped inside, Danny following immediately. The tiny building held a desk with papers that ruffled in the artificial breeze barely created by an ancient oscillating fan that was working hard to provide relief from the stifling air. The chair behind the desk was overturned, the papers in disarray. But from the state of the office in general, it was hard to tell if the papers had been disturbed or if they always looked like that.
"This is pointless," Danny finally said, holstering his gun. "They aren't here any longer."
"Apparently not," Steve said, pulling on his gloves as he approached the desk.
"What are you doing?" Danny said, staring at him. "You can't go through his desk."
"I can if I think there is evidence here," Steve countered, stilling and tilting his head.
"You hear that?" Danny said, approaching the desk. "What is that?"
The thumping was a little louder where he was standing, coming from his right. Only then did they notice a door obscured by an antique file cabinet. They traded a look before Steve tried the doorknob, not surprised it was locked.
"Are you hurt?" Steve called through the door. There was no response except for louder thumping. "Okay. I'm going to force open the door. Move away from it if you can." He waited, hearing a quiet shuffling sound. When it stopped, he kicked the door open to reveal a miniscule bathroom, an older man sitting jammed between the surprisingly clean toilet and the wall.
"Hey," Danny said down to the man with wide eyes, a handkerchief tied around his mouth. His hands were tied together with rigging line secured to his feet also tied with rigging. Danny removed the handkerchief, the man dry swallowing. "You're okay. We're Five-0." The man nodded in confirmation, looking up at Steve.
"Let's get you out of here," Steve said, pulling out his huge knife and cutting through the ropes. With Danny's assistance, the man limped out of the bathroom. Steve righted his chair so Danny could help him sit in it.
"You Owomeme?" Danny asked as Steve got a coffee cup from the top of the file cabinet and after making sure it was empty of insects or leaves from the dead plant next to it, filled it with water. The man accepted with shaking hands, nodding to Danny's question.
"What happened?" Steve asked in a softer-than-usual voice. Owomeme was at least 70 years old, maybe even older. He had grey hair, wrinkles from a life of hard work in the hot sun, his jeans and shirt tattered but mostly clean. From Steve's cursory look, Owomeme didn't appear to be harmed.
"Two punks," Owomeme finally said, the words thick. "Wanted to buy a boat."
Steve nodded, squatting in front of the older man. "Did they hurt you?"
"Only my pride," Owomeme assured him.
"Where are they now? Do you know?" Danny asked gently.
"Took one of my boats," Owomeme said. "They left this. Said it was a down payment." He reached under the desk and brought out a gleaming black briefcase. When he slid the locking mechanisms aside, the lid popped open to reveal tidy stacks of $20, looking like a cliché from every gangster movie ever.
"How much is this?" Danny asked although he was pretty sure he knew.
"They said $25,000. I didn't count it. I told them I couldn't accept that much cash. What would I do with it? FBI be here before you could sneeze if I tried to deposit it," Owomeme said.
"You're right about that," Steve agreed. "That when they tied you up?"
"Yeah. Punks," Owomeme said in disgust.
"What did these two guys look like?"
"Tongans," Owomeme said almost in confirmation. "Names are Kiau'u and Meilo. Saloni says they are bad blood."
"All right," Steve said, standing up and glancing over at Danny. "Do you need an ambulance?"
"No, Commander. Thank you."
"How long ago did they leave?" Danny asked, helping Owomeme to stand.
"Ten minutes. Maybe 20. Time stands still when you're tied up," Owomeme said.
"Do you have a boat we can borrow?" Steve asked.
"Of course. And I can give you the coordinates of the one they took," Owomeme said, pulling a tablet out of the drawer of the desk.
"The coordinates," Danny said with a half-smile.
"I tag all the boats until they're sold. Too easy for them to be taken, Detective," Owomeme said. "We look out of step. But we know the score."
"I see that you do," Danny agreed. "You can send us that information?"
"Give me your phone number," Owomeme said, transmitting the coordinates once he had it. That done, he put the tablet on top of his desk, pulling open the second drawer of the file cabinet with an unholy sound of the drawer complaining about being disturbed. "Here you are," he said, giving Steve a key on a floater chain. "Go down to the second dock on the right. Third slip. Blue and white. Name's Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua."
"Seems appropriate," Steve said with a smile. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, Commander, Detective," Owomeme said with a nod.
"Can you hold onto this money until we get back?" Danny asked
"No worries," Owomeme said with a nod.
"You can put it in our car, if you want," Steve said, giving him the keys.
"I'll do that. And I'll pull the car closer," Owomeme decided, Steve and Danny nodding in approval.
"I'll try to get him to return your boat without too much damage," Danny said as they headed for the door.
"I know you'll make good if anything happens," Owomeme said, watching them leave his tiny office. He went the opposite direction toward the Camaro, certain that he'd find the car all the residents knew they drove.
"What's Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua?"Danny asked as they went down the dock the way Owomeme had directed them. He didn't trip over the word like he would have not so long ago. One of the many changes that had snuck up on him when he wasn't paying a lot of attention.
"Hawaiian monk seal," Steve said with a grim smile.
"Of course," Danny said. "Makes perfect sense."
"Yep," Steve said, stopping short when they arrived at the boat Owomeme indicated. It was a sleek power boat, low to the water and meant to go at high speeds for the adrenaline rush alone. There was a tow bar for those hardy or foolish enough to try skiing behind it. "Wow," Steve said.
"Yeah," Danny had to agree. "I guess semi-reputable boat deals pay better than I thought."
"Looks that way," Steve said, climbing into the boat as Danny untied it. "You want a life preserver?"
"You planning to capsize us?"
Steve laughed, starting the engine and easing the boat out of the slip. It didn't take long to have it in the bay, nudging it a little faster. Steve kept an eye on the other marine traffic, not attracting any unnecessary attention as he steered out toward the open sea. "Handles great," Steve said as though they had been discussing it.
"I bet," Danny said. He was standing next to Steve, the wind messing his hair. He glanced between his phone and the water, tracking their progress. "They are further to our right."
"Starboard," Steve said.
"Not right. Starboard."
"Whatever," Danny said. "I don't care what you call it. Just go that way," he said as he pointed the direction they needed to take.
Steve guided the boat more toward the open water, following Danny's directions until they spotted the other boat. The red dot on Danny's phone grew larger and larger as they drew closer. There was no one visible and the boat seemed to be anchored, riding the swells but remaining in the same location.
"You think this looks odd?" Danny asked.
"You don't think they'd steal a boat then anchor it out here for us to find?" Steve said, his words dripping with sarcasm.
"What do you think?" Danny asked as Steve eased their boat closer to the stolen one.
"We're going to have to board it," Steve said, pulling right along side the white fishing boat. Danny caught the other boat's cleat and looped their rope around it. When Steve had cut the engine, he went to the stern to secure their rope to that cleat.
"You ready?" Danny asked, Steve nodding. They vaulted onto the second boat, the transfer easier for Steve as he was that much closer to it already. Danny hauled himself up and over as quickly as he could, straightening and pulling his gun. Steve was keeping low as he circled the tiny pilothouse nearer the center than the bow. "Anything?" Danny whispered when Steve chanced a peek through the window to the wheelhouse.
"No," Steve whispered back. He glanced down at the deck, pointing at the deep red drops with his gun. "Blood?"
"Sure looks that way to me," Danny had to agree. "What is going on?"
"Excellent question," Steve said, emerging into the open area of the deck, looking around for the Tongans. There didn't seem to be anyone aboard.
"Is there a below-deck?" Danny asked, looking around the tidy boat like he surely had missed something.
"Not on a boat this size," Steve said, shaking his head. "Let's check the pilothouse."
"Covering you," Danny said as he stood to the right of the doorway. Steve carefully reached for the door, allowing it to swing open toward his body, staying out of range just in case. When no shouts or gun shoots came from inside the tiny structure, Steve cautiously peered around and into the door.
"No-no-no-no," he said when he was standing in the open door. "NO." Danny joined him, nearly sick at the sight greeting them. The two Tongans were dead, practically cut in half by a high caliber weapon. The tall one's head was at an odd angle, speaking of the violence that preceded his death. The shorter one looked shocked. He had never seen it coming until it was way too late.
"Somebody had a lot of hate for them," Danny said quietly, stepping back and examining the deck under their feet. "They didn't die here."
Steve turned and looked at the wooden deck that was nearly spotless, freshly washed. "Or the person who did this cleaned up after themselves."
"It's only been half an hour, maximum," Danny said. "They have to be close by."
"Half an hour is a lot of water," Steve said, looking out over the endless blue everywhere.
"Is this Rendon's MO?" Danny asked, taking out his phone to call the Coast Guard.
"No. He'd have put them overboard. This is a warning," Steve said.
Danny had to nod, telling the Coast Guard where they were and what had happened. The dispatcher said a boat would be at their locale in 15 minutes.
"Why wouldn't you throw the bodies overboard?" Danny asked, moving away from the door to look out over the crystal blue ocean.
"I told you. It's a warning," Steve said, a warm hand on Danny's shoulder. "You okay, babe?"
"Yeah. That's just… that's a lot of hate. And we're back to square one."
"Maybe not. Owememe's tracker works on a satellite signal. If Toast can trace it, he can find out what other boats were near this one."
"Yeah," Danny agreed with a nod. He dialed Chin and explained what had happened, not describing the conditions of the bodies, only that they were dead. "I'm going to send you the trace Owememe gave us. Then you can find any other boats out here."
"Roger that," Chin agreed. "You want me to call Saloni?"
"Not yet," Steve said. "We don't want him to find out who did this before we do."
"Right," Chin agreed.
"Any word from the Governor?" Danny asked.
"He called a few minutes ago. He's calling Secretary Panetta. He may get his head handed to him but at this point he doesn't care. If that gets him nowhere, he's calling in favors to contact the President," Chin said.
"Keep us posted," Danny said, hanging up and turning to study Steve, his hand on Steve's arm. He could feel the tight muscles coiled beneath his palm. "Again, Steve. This isn't your fault."
"I know," Steve said through gritted teeth. "Nobody deserves to die like that."
"I agree. We need to alert Owememe. Whoever did this could try to get the money back," Danny said.
"You call him. I'll call HPD for protection," Steve said.
Danny called the number Owememe had given them, relieved when he answered right away. "We found your boat. The Tongans are dead."
"Oh," Owememe said in what Danny thought was an apt response.
"We're concerned whoever did this might come back for the money. Take my car to the police station. Steve is alerting them now," Danny instructed.
"Yes, sir," Owememe agreed. Danny could hear him walking, Danny breathing again when he heard the familiar sounds of the Camaro's door closing.
"Go straight there. If anyone tries to stop you, run them down. The car won't mind," Danny said, listening as Owememe pulled the car into the road. "I'm going to stay with you until you get to the station or you are intercepted by the police."
"Yes, sir," Owememe said. Danny could hear him breathing hard and hoped the stress didn't take him out. "Here are the police."
"All right. Keep driving," Danny instructed, gesturing to Steve. "The uniforms you have. Do they have eyes on Owememe?"
"Yeah," Steve confirmed. "They are legit. Tell Owememe to turn right at the next intersection."
Danny relayed the instructions, Owememe doing as told.
"There is an old garage at the end of the road. Drive the Camaro into it," Danny said when Steve had given him those directions. "All right. Once you're inside, you can get into the squad car."
"They are right behind me," Owememe confirmed, getting out of the Camaro as the police car stopped just behind it. "Thank you, Detective."
"Tell them to take the money to the precinct," Danny said.
"Yes, sir," Owememe said, going to the police car. He entered the backseat, watching as the two uniforms got back in the front. "Am I under arrest?"
"No. They are going to put you in protective custody until we know who killed the Tongans," Danny assured him. "You won't be safe until we know who did it."
"All right," Owememe said.
"The Coast Guard will tow the boat back to their station. It's a crime scene now."
"I understand," Owememe said.
"We'll bring yours back to the dock where it was moored," Danny said.
"How will you get to your car?" Owememe asked, sounding very tired which Danny could understand.
"We'll get a ride from HPD or the Coast Guard. Don't worry about that," Danny said. "And the police will get you home once it's safe."
"I understand. Can I call my wife? She'll worry when I don't come home."
"We'll tell the police to bring her to you. She may be a target now too."
"Thank you," Owememe said quietly. "I didn't think about that
"I know. We'll keep her safe too," Danny said. "I'll call later to check on you."
"Thank you, son," Owememe said before disconnecting.
Danny relayed the information to Steve, asking the police to go to Owememe's house for his wife. Steve hung up after making the request, his phone ringing right away. "Chin. What have you got?"
"We found your second boat," Chin said. "It's a 120 foot Hatteras Yacht."
"That's pricey," Steve said. "Even for Hawaii."
"We're running all the registrations for them. There aren't that many, as you might guess."
"Yeah. Can you track it now?" Steve asked.
"I'm not sure," Chin said, his voice fading as he turned away from the phone. "Yeah. Toast has a lock on it."
"Good. The Coast Guard is here. Send me the coordinates and we'll find it."
"Be careful," Chin said.
"Not to worry. I have Danny as back-up," Steve said as he hung up. The tracking of the second boat was received as soon as he had disconnected. He moved closer to the seven Coast Guard guys as Danny was explaining the situation.
"We don't know who is responsible," Danny was saying. "But they were definitely sending a message."
"Chin has a lock on the second boat. That's our priority right now," Steve told Danny.
"We'll take you, Commander," Lieutenant Dunlap said. "Blackwell, Sterns, Peterson. You stay here. The rest are with us."
Three of the seamen returned to the Coast Guard boat along with the Lieutenant, Steve and Danny. "Secure the crime scene. Take the two boats back to the dock," Lt. Dunlap ordered. Certain that was dealt with, the Lieutenant went back to the controls of Coast Guard boat, waiting as it was untied from the Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua. "You have the coordinates, sir?" Dunlap asked Steve who showed him his phone with a blinking dot about 30 miles out and apparently anchored.
"Good thing they are stopped," Danny said, looking at the stationary dot.
"Wouldn't be much of a problem for us to catch her even if she was under sail. Those boats are built for luxury, not speed."
Danny nodded, accepting the life jacket from one of the sailors. Their boat. Their rules. Steve also put his on, fastening it securely. He followed Danny toward the stern when Danny's phone rang.
"Chin," Danny said.
"The Governor reached out to Secretary Panetta. If we don't find Kono in the next hour, he has agreed to release Diego Naranjo. He's not happy about it. But he said you are right. Enough innocents have died at their hands."
"This is excellent news," Danny said in relief.
"Here's some not so great news," Chin said grimly. "Turns out Adam Noshimuri owns a 120 foot Hatteras Yacht."
"No," Danny said, looking up at Steve.
"We don't know that it's his. But seems like a huge coincidence," Chin said, his teeth clinched.
"To say the least," Danny said.
"Go talk to him," Steve said to Chin. "Take a uniform."
"Roger that," Chin said in grim satisfaction. "Toast thinks he's close to finding the boat she's on."
"That is great news," Danny said.
"Sure hope it's not the same boat," Steve said.
"Adam better hope not too," Chin said.
Steve and Danny traded a look after the call ended. If Chin did more than talkto Adam, well, it would be hard to hold that against him.
"Okay, okay," Steve said, bouncing on his toes. "Toast may have found Kono. We may have found Adam's boat. What am I missing?"
"Who killed the Tongans," Danny said, looking out over the water.
"Whoever is on Adam's boat," Steve said. "But why?"
"I guess we'll find out in about 10 minutes," Danny said, leaning against the railing to watch the water rush by.
"Sirs," Lt Dunlap said as he approached Danny and Steve.
"Yes, Lieutenant," Steve said in full military voice.
"We have eyes on your boat, sir. A helicopter spotted it. It's anchored close to one of the private islands not far from the international shipping lanes. We're less than 5 minutes out."
"Excellent," Steve said with a nod. "Can they determine if there are passengers? How many crew?"
"Not with any degree of precision. They believe there are 2 heat signatures. But the power of the engine and the size of the boat make the readings unreliable."
"Understood," Steve said. "You and your men are armed?"
"Yes sir. We all have on bulletproof vests. Not SOP unless we receive a call from Five-0."
"That's for the best," Danny agreed with a nod. Lt Dunlap gave him a tight smile before going back to the bow. "Does that size yacht have a holding tank like the one Kono's in?"
"I don't think so. It looked more like a fishing boat to me."
"Yeah. Maybe Kamekona can find out who sold it to him," Danny said, going with Steve to the bow when the gigantic yacht came into view. "Oh my God."
"Yakuza money," Steve responded.
"Allegedly," Danny said.
"Right." Steve watched as Lt Dunlap announced their presence with a megaphone, informing those on the yacht that Five-0 and the Coast Guard needed to have a word. Predictably there was no response. Fortunately there were no shots fired.
"We are boarding your vessels. Do not fire. We will shoot to kill," Dunlap warned as two of his men secured the boats together. A third produced a rope ladder that hooked over the side of the yacht, enabling Steve and Danny to climb using one hand, their guns in their other.
"Five-0," Steve yelled, facing the stern as Danny faced the bow. The Coast Guard guys climbed over after them, their weapons also drawn. Steve nodded his head toward the wheelhouse, Danny silently agreeing to follow him. Steve cautiously approached the bridge of the yacht, pointing his gun at the man sitting in a chair close by the control panel. When the man made no indication that anyone was behind him, Steve tapped him on the shoulder with the barrel of his gun, the man standing to turn and stare at Steve. He immediately raised both hands, using his right index finger to remove the earphones from his ears.
"What is your name?" Steve demanded of the man who was in his mid to late 40s, only a little taller than Danny with brown hair and brown eyes. He had the complexion of a haoleand was utterly forgettable in his starched white pants and shirt.
"Phil…Phil Bishop," the man stuttered, clearly terrified of all the guns now trained on him.
"Who is in charge here?" Steve asked.
"In charge?" Phil Bishop repeated.
"Yeah. You know – tells you where to go. When to stop next to a fishing boat so the guys on it can be slaughtered," Danny said, gesturing with his gun instead of his hands.
"I had nothin' to do with that. I go where I'm told. That's all I know," Phil Bishop said, the words tumbling out over each other.
"Told by who?" Steve demanded, taking a menacing step closer to Phil to loom over him.
"Joey. Joey Womersley," Phil said.
"And where will we find Joey Womersley?" Steve asked.
Phil pointed to the deck, Steve nodding.
"Cuff him," Steve ordered one the sailors, the others following as he went to the steps that would take them down to the lower deck. Music greeted them before they could find the source of it, rock loud enough to drown out most any other noises. The living area of the downstairs was empty, two doors beyond closed.
"Right or left?" Danny yelled, pointing at each. "Err – port or starboard?"
"Right," Steve shouted, staying against the hull of the ship as they approached the closed door. He tried the handle, not surprised to find it locked. One hard kick and it flew open, Danny charging in followed by Steve, Lt Dunlap and two Coast Guard sailors. They all pulled up in a sudden halt at the sight before them. The man and woman on the bed were in the middle of… well. There were plenty of words to describe their involvementbut labeling it was hardly on the top of any of their minds.
"What the ever-loving-fuck?" Danny finally said, staring open mouthed at the couple as they froze in mid-motion.
"Someone please turn off the damn music," Steve said loud enough to be heard. One of the sailors disappeared and soon blessed silence fell over them all.
The man in the bed looked over the woman's blond head, his eyes growing wide and terrified. He raised his hands straight up into the air, far away from the possibility of reaching for any sort of armament.
"God you are such a wuss," the woman practically spit at the man beneath her. She made to reach under the pillow but Steve stopped her.
"Do not try it," Steve ordered in his most threatening voice, taking a long step closer to the bed. Even Danny wanted to obey it – that's how scary it was.
She looked over her shoulder at the five men staring at her before throwing herself off the man to sit up, her sculpted legs stretched out in front of her, her breasts and every other asset with which God had endowed her on full display. It also provided unwelcome proof that her hair was not naturally blond. Not even close. "You'll have to wait your turn," she said up to Steve with a supposedly seductive smile. Steve just stared down the barrel of her gun at her.
"What is your name?" Steve demanded, watching as Danny picked up a shirt and threw it at the woman. She casually pulled it on, buttoning the one in the very center which somehow looked more risqué than when she had been completely naked.
"Joey Womersley," the naked man said as he moved to sit up, his hands still in the air. He had slowly pulled the sheet up so he wasn't completely exposed which all the others preferred.
"Not you. Her," Danny said, gesturing between them with his gun.
"She is Joey Womersley," the man said. "I'm Leon Tyler."
"Did you kill those Tongans?" Steve asked Leon, daring him to lie.
"No," Leon said, shaking his head far too many times.
"Shut up," Joey hissed at him.
"We're done," Leon told her, apparently deciding to grow a set. "She killed them. Always turns her on."
"Eww," Danny said, shaking his head. "I did notneed to hear that."
"Do you work for Adam Noshimuri?" Steve asked them.
"She does," Leon said with a tilt of his head. "I'm just along for the ride."
"And going to prison," Danny added. "Both of you."
"You have nothing on us," Joey said much too confidently. "We're just out enjoying the beautiful Hawaiian afternoon."
"Then why was your boat tied up to the fishing boat with two dead Tongans?" Steve asked. "Satellites don't lie. I suggest you don't either."
"I don't know anything about any Tongans," Joey claimed, examining her nails as though her manicure ought to be the focus of the entire universe.
"Does Adam know you killed them?" Steve asked her.
"I have no idea what Adam does or does not know," Joey said breezily.
"Let's find out what he knows," Steve decided, selecting Adam's speed dial.
"You are bluffing," Joey said calmly.
"You think?" Steve asked, putting his phone on speaker. Joey visibly flinched when Adam answered.
"For the love of all the gods, tell Chin I didn't do it," Adam requested, anger in every syllable.
"Stand down, Chin," Steve said. "We have bigger fish."
"Do tell," Chin replied sounding angry in his own very controlled way.
"I'm on what I can only assume is your yacht, Adam. With Joey Womersley and Leon Tyler."
"Joey?" Adam said, surprise evident in his voice. "You said you were going to New York. What are you doing on the yacht?"
"Murdering Tongans," Steve told Adam when Joey declined to answer.
"Those two Tongans Chin Ho told me about? You killed them?" Adam demanded.
"She killed them," Leon confirmed.
"Why? For what reason?" Adam asked.
"Something about $25,000?" Leon said.
"Shut the hell up," Joey said, raising a hand to punch Leon. Steve grabbed her hand before she could land a blow, hauling her off the bed and pulling her hands behind her back to cuff her.
"What about $25,000?" Adam asked, his words frozen. "Tell me you did not sell out Kono."
"She's standing in your way," Joey said. "I was doing you a favor."
"You," Steve said, turning Joey to face him. "You turned her over to Rendon."
"I did," Joey said, straightening as much as her five foot frame could. "She was bad for Adam. Bad for business."
"I will have you killed," Adam said calmly from Steve's phone. Joey's face turned ashen at those words. "Where is Kono?"
"How would I know?" Joey said. "I paid those Tongan losers to take her. That was all I had to do with it."
"So killing them was cleaning up after yourself," Danny said in contempt.
"I should have killed that old man too," Joey said with a one shoulder shrug.
"Where are your pants? You are going to jail for the rest of your life," Steve said, shoving her none-too-gently toward Lt. Dunlap. "Get her out of my sight. And take him with you."
Lt Dunlap nodded, walking her and Leon out and to the other stateroom where they could put on some clothes.
"Where does that leave us?" Chin asked sounding nearly desperate.
"Did Toast find her?" Danny asked.
"Not the last time I called him. That was 15 minutes ago," Chin said.
"All right," Danny said. "We'll give him a call. If he found her, the Coast Guard can take us to her location."
"Keep me posted," Chin said. Requested. Demanded.
"Roger that," Danny said before hanging up and dialing Toast.
"Jersey," Toast said. "I was just going to call you. But I guess now it's a moot point."
"What?" Danny said.
"You have eyes on her, right?" Toast asked with a tone of satisfaction.
"Eyes on who? Danny asked.
"You found her, didn't you?" Toast asked.
"Found who? Are you high? Again?"
"No. No I'm not. But your signal is coming less than a half mile from where the boat is located."
"What boat? Adam's boat? I'm on Adam's boat," Danny said.
"No. The boat with SurferGirl. It's less than half a mile from where you are," Toast said, sounding uncharacteristically agitated. "I figured you knew that and that's why you are there."
"No we're on Adam's boat," Danny said in exasperation.
"And it's near one of the private islands," Toast said. "You are on the opposite side of the island from where SurferGirl is."
What Toast was saying finally sunk into and Danny looked up at Steve. "She's at this island."
"No shit," Steve said, shaking his head. "We can't be that lucky."
"Maybe Joey has unfinished business with Rendon," Danny said. "She came back to… well, who knows what."
"Yeah," Steve said, looking over at Lt. Dunlap who had turned over the suspects to two of his men to guard on the Coast Guard boat. "Okay. We need to figure out the best approach to circle the island."
"Oh no, no, no," Toast was saying from Danny's phone. "It's noon."
"Oh great," Danny said, looking up at Steve.
"You're going to have to talk to Rendon," Steve told Toast. "Tell him… I don't know. We're meeting with the Governor about Diego's release."
"All of you?" Toast said.
"Think of something," Danny said urgently. "He's going to be calling any second. You are going to have to handle it."
"All right, all right. But this is going to cost more than malasadas."
"Fine. Talk to him. Keep him on the line as long as you can. And call us back."
"Right. Right," Toast said, disconnecting without saying good-bye.
"Think he can handle it?" Steve asked, frowning down at Danny.
"I sure hope so. He's smart enough to bluff his way through," Danny said, trying not to sound overly hopeful. "How are we going to get to Kono without Rendon putting a bullet in her head?"
"How big is this island? Do you know?" Steve asked Dunlap.
"It should be on the topographical maps of this area," Dunlap said.
"Good," Steve said with a nod. "Maybe we can use the island to our advantage."
"What about this boat? What are we going to do with it?" Danny asked.
"If Joey has business with Rendon, we can use it to get close," Steve realized. "He has no reason to suspect she's no longer aboard."
"There is that. We'll need that short guy's help," Danny said waving vaguely above his head.
"'The short guy?' Really Danno?" Steve asked, barely able to contain his smirk.
"Sure. Laugh it up. See where it gets you," Danny said, turning to go up top. Steve and Lt Dunlap automatically followed, the Lieutenant far enough back that they couldn't see his amused expression. "Listen, Phil Bishop," Danny was saying when they arrived on the bridge. "You are in trouble already. Even if you claim you didn't know anything about the Tongans before she murdered them, you are still an accessory."
"I didn't…didn't have anything to do…do with that," Phil said from where he sat handcuffed to the chair they had found him in.
"That's neither here nor there," Danny said, waving away his protests. "We need to get to the boat on the other side of this island. You are going to take us there."
"Sure. Sure," Phil agreed.
"And if you try anything, if you try to warn them or do anything that is not strictly in your responsibilities as captain of this boat, I will shoot you myself. Do I make myself clear?" Danny demanded.
"Sure. Sure," Phil repeated with a great many nods. "I can get you real close. His pilot knows me. We aren't what you'd call friends but we've hung out here and there, from time to time. Bars for drinks. Good to have a friendly face when you're away from home all the time. You know how it is. Can be lonely even if the pay is good. The best of any I've ever…."
"Phil," Steve said sharply, cutting him off. "Are you from New Jersey?"
"Jersey?" Phil said with a frown. "No. Arizona. Always wanted to have a life on the sea. Like in the pirate movies. You know the ones. Not that I'm a pirate. And I had nothing to do with those men she killed. I do as I'm told and that's all. You got to believe me. I didn't do…"
"Okay," Steve said, once again stopping him. "Okay. Just get us to that boat without them suspecting anything and it will go better for you."
"Sure, sure," Phil agreed, waiting as Lt Dunlap unlocked the handcuffs so he could start the engine. "Should only take a few minutes to warm her up. Then we'll be underway."
"Good," Steve said, rolling his eyes as he moved away from Phil and closer to Danny. They watched as two of the Coast Guard sailors untied the boats.
"Remain here," Lt Dunlap ordered two of the sailors, the third remaining on the yacht. "Once we have secured the other ship, we'll contact you."
"Aye sir," the sailor acknowledged, handcuffing the two suspects to a convenient handle on the hull of the boat.
Steve stopped trying to stare holes into Joey to edge closer to Danny when his phone rang.
"Toast. How'd it go?" Danny asked.
"Not good, Jersey. Not good at all. Rendon wasn't happy that none of Five-0 were here to take his call. He said if he doesn't see your faces in the next 15 minutes, he's going to drown SurferGirl," Toast said, agitation in his voice.
"No," Steve said too loudly. "Did you tell him we'd talked to Secretary Panetta? And they are going to release Diego?"
"I tried. But he said unless he hears it from your mouth, he isn't believing it. And if you were meeting with the Governor like I said you were, you'd be back in less than 15 minutes after I called you."
"All right," Steve said to Toast, bouncing on his toes, the only sign on his agitation and concern. "All right. We'll get to her in time."
"I hope so. He's plenty unhappy," Toast told Steve.
"Understood," Steve acknowledged. "We'll contact you as soon as we have her. Can you call Chin and update him?"
"Consider it done," Toast said, hanging up.
"Dunlap," Steve called, the Lieutenant coming over to them. "We have less than 15 minutes to get to our officer. And we need medivac on stand-by. She may be injured and we'll need to fly her out."
"Aye, sir," Dunlap acknowledged. He went back over to Phil, encouraging him to set the boat into motion. "Does it really matter if it damages the engines?"
"I suppose it doesn't," Phil decided, making the boat roar to life. Danny was thrown against Steve at the sudden movement, Steve steadying him.
"Sea-legs, Danno. You need 'em," Steve said, still holding onto him.
"I'm not part fish, big guy," Danny reminded him. "I didn't grow up on a boat."
"Fish don't travel by boat," Steve said unnecessarily.
"Shut up," Danny said with no fire behind the words. If the two members of the Coast Guard were trying to hide their smiles, Steve and Danny weren't going to comment. Danny moved a respectable distance away from Steve, leaning his back against the railing as the boat churned around the island. "We'll need to be out of sight," Danny said. "We don't want to alert them that we're here."
"True," Steve agreed, turning to survey the boat. "We'll go under the patio. They won't see us but we'll be able to hear everything going on."
"Good," Danny agreed. Lt Dunlap agreed to remain with Phil until the last minute possible then he would follow Steve, Danny, and the remaining sailor under the shelter on the stern of the boat when the time was right. "What's your plan when we get close?"
"We're going to need to take out as many hostiles as possible. Saving Kono is our only objective. Collateral damage is acceptable," Steve said, giving them permission to kill anyone who stood in their way.
"Roger that, sir," Seaman Ledford said with a nod.
Danny gave Ledford and Dunlap a clear and concise description of Kono, pulling up a picture of her on his phone so there could be no possible mistake of her identity.
"That her daughter, sir?" Ledford asked Danny, looking at the photo of Kono and the little girl, twin smiles on their faces.
"That's my daughter," Danny said with a smile. "Grace. Kono is teaching her to surf."
"Her and her old man," Steve added.
"Watch who you're calling old," Danny said, otherwise ignoring Steve.
"We'll make sure no harm comes to your officer, sirs," Ledford promised.
"How long before it's in sight?" Danny asked Steve who was studying his watch.
"Dunlap?" Steve asked.
"Four minutes, sir. If you want to go down, I'll join you shortly," Lt Dunlap said.
"Roger that," Steve said, Danny, Steve, and Ledford disappearing into the patio below the bridge. Steve automatically checked his weapon, nodding in satisfaction. Danny and Ledford followed his lead, all of them certain that they were ready to face the enemy.
"She'll be in view any second," Lt Dunlap said as he joined them in the sheltered area. "Bishop will pull right along side. He'll tell the pilot that Joey needs to talk to Rendon. They've met a couple of times already. Even if it raises any suspicions, we'll be over onto their ship before they can take defensive action."
"Good," Steve said with a nod.
"The medivac is 10 minutes out. I said they should go ahead and come this way. If she's injured, we won't have the time to wait. I also alerted my guys to bring our boat around in five minutes."
"Good thinking," Danny said. They all held very still as Bishop cut the engines back, the noise going down as the power did. They could hear him talking to Rendon's pilot, their conversation casual and not at all strained.
Steve carefully peered around the partition of the patio, surveying the parts of the fishing boat visible to him. "Looks like three armed hostiles. I don't see Rendon. The tank where Kono is being held is in the center on the starboard side."
"Let's go," Danny said, anxious to get eyes on Kono.
"All right. I'll take out the hostiles. You go for Kono. Dunlap, you and Ledford see if you can find Rendon. Take him if you can. Eliminate him if you can't," Steve said.
They all acknowledged their orders, Steve moving out enough to lay down cover fire. He got two of the guards dead center before the third started shouting and returning fire. By the time the hostile had a lock on Steve, Danny, Ledford, and Dunlap were already aboard the fishing boat. Danny went directly to the holding tank, protected from the guard's gunshots by Steve's cover fire and the wheelhouse in the center of the deck.
Danny unhooked the bungee cord that was holding one corner of the blue tarp over the sunken area. Kono was sitting in water up to her chin as more water rushed in from a pipe at the bottom. Danny carefully rose up enough to find Steve, relieved to see him vaulting onto the fishing boat. All the hostiles were down, Ledford going below deck as Dunlap secured the pilot who surrendered at Bishop's advice.
"Come on, come on," Danny shouted to Steve who rushed around the pilot house. By the time he was next to Danny, the water had reached Kono's nose and she was straining her head to keep breathing. "You breathe for her. I'll uncuff her," Danny directed.
Steve nodded, jumping into the water that came up to mid-chest. "I'm going to take off the tape," Steve said, reaching for it and pulling it free quickly. Kono's eyes went wide with the removal but she couldn't speak with her mouth below the water line. Steve took a lungful of air and submerged himself, covering Kono's mouth with his own. He carefully opened his lips and coaxed hers open with his tongue. He exhaled into her mouth, Kono closing her lips around the air. Bubbles left her nose as the water rose over her eyes. Steve stood straight for another deep breath before giving the air to Kono. While under water, he watched Danny grapple with the handcuffs, the key not wanting to fit. Danny looked over at Steve and shook his head.
Once Steve had given Kono her third breath, he motioned to Danny to surface, both of them standing up in the water. It was almost to Danny's chin but he didn't seem to notice.
"I can't get them open," Danny said in dismay.
"I'll do it. Breathe for her," Steve said, swim-walking to trade places with Danny. Danny maneuvered in front of Kono, breathing deeply before submerging to give Kono the air. She accepted it easily, the bubbles leaving her nose as Danny stood up. He had to tread water to keep his head out, breathing as deeply as he could before going back down to give the air to Kono. He could see that Steve was having more luck with the handcuffs, the one on Kono's right hand loose. Kono shook her right hand, looking over her shoulder as Steve worked on her left. She faced front again when Danny was back with more air, the life-giving kiss interrupted when Kono was able to stand up. As soon as her head cleared the surface, she gulped in the air, trying hard not to hyperventilate. Steve surfaced long enough to check with her before going back down to work on her feet.
Danny surfaced, studying her. "You okay, babe?"
"That's kind of stupid question," Kono told him in a quiet, rough voice. But there was a smile on her face and that's all that mattered.
"Yeah. Those are my favorite kind," Danny admitted.
"Stand on the chair. You'll drown otherwise," Kono said, pointing behind her. Her voice was quiet, her tongue thick and dry from disuse.
Danny managed to get to it, standing on it and towering over Kono. She leaned back against him, Danny gladly supporting her weight. He kissed the top of her head while wrapping his arms around her shoulders. "How's Super SEAL doing?"
"He's almost done," Kono said, closing her eyes. "Is he dead?"
Danny looked up over the edge of the tank to Dunlap who nodded. "Yeah, kid. He is."
"I want to be sorry."
"No reason for you to be," Danny said, kissing the top of her head again. "He was the lowest form of the low."
"He hates… hated Steve," Kono said, her body sagging against Danny.
"Yeah," Danny said. He watched Steve surface the last time, smiling at Kono.
"Let's get you out of here," Steve said, his huge hands encircling her waist. As easily as if she were Grace, he lifted her onto the edge of the tank, Ledford and Dunlap reaching down to gently help her back away from it. Steve and Danny left the tank, squatting in front of her. She was shaking, her arms wrapped tight around her body.
"Are you hurt?" Danny asked, putting his two fingers on her neck to check her pulse. It was strong and reassuring. "We need a blanket," Danny said up to Ledford. It was only a moment later that the sailor returned with one, draping it around Kono and Danny who held her close.
"No I'm not hurt," Kono said, shaking her head, her eyes filling with tears. "I just want to go home."
"We have a helicopter on the way," Steve said. "They'll fly us back."
Kono nodded, sniffing quietly. She smiled, small and sad, when Steve accepted his phone from Dunlap.
"Somebody's anxious to talk to you," Steve said, handing it to her.
"Hey," Kono said.
"Thank the Lord," Chin responded, his relief coming through as clearly as his voice. "Are you hurt?"
"No. I'm okay," Kono said, tears falling faster as she tried to dash them away with her free hand. "Steve said a helicopter's coming."
"All right. I'll see you as soon as you land," Chin said.
"Tell mom," Kono requested, giving the phone to Danny and pulling the blanket closer around herself.
Danny accepted the phone with a tiny frown.
"She okay?" Chin was asking when he realized he was no longer talking to Kono.
"Yeah. I think there's some shock setting in," Danny said. "It's a medivac so we'll have her taken care of."
"Good," Chin said. "I'll call Adam and Toast. And I'll have Malia bring her mom to the hospital."
"Good," Danny agreed. "Here's the chopper," he said, his hand shielding the phone. "We'll have them radio you when we're almost there. Call the Governor."
"Roger that," Chin agreed.
"We don't need a stretcher," Steve was saying to Dunlap who relayed the info up to the chopper.
"You're coming, right?" Kono asked Danny who was sitting pressed next to her, one arm over her quacking shoulders.
"Sure," Danny agreed, looking up at Steve who nodded. "We both are."
She gave a nod to that, leaning more into Danny as the chopper stirred up a brisker wind.
"I'm going to take you up," Steve told Kono, squatting close to her so she could hear him. "Then Danny will come."
She nodded at that, watching as the harness blew in the rotor's wind. Steve was able to catch it, climbing in like it was an everyday occurrence. Danny assisted Kono in getting to her feet before helping her place rubbery legs through the harness to rest on Steve's sturdy thighs.
"I'll do all the work," Steve assured her. "Just hold on."
She nodded, leaning forward against Steve who accepted the blanket from Danny to wrap it around her as well as he could. He gave the thumbs up to Dunlap who radioed the helicopter to activate the hoist. They rose up over the ship, Steve's arms wrapped securely around Kono's trembling body.
When Kono was secure on the helicopter, the crew lowered the harness back down to Danny who entered it with Lt Dunlap's assistance. "Thank you," Danny said loud enough for the Coast Guard guys to hear him.
They saluted Danny as he was hoisted up. He would have saluted back but he was too busy holding tight to the ropes as though that would prevent the harness from swaying in the breeze created by the rotors.
Hands reached out to lift him the rest of the way inside, those same hands helping him out of the harness. When he was on solid metal, he settled on the seat next to Kono, Steve on the other side. She was shivering as she stared at the medic squatting in front of her. Danny wasn't sure Kono was listening to anything the young man was saying, Kono's eyes unfocused. She was leaning heavily against Steve, his arm wrapped tightly around her shoulders beneath the blanket.
"It would be for the best if I started the IV," the medic was saying to Kono. Her expression didn't change. It did not look as though she was registering the words.
"Babe," Danny said, putting a gentle hand on Kono's arm. "Will you let him start an IV?"
She turned to look at Danny, her eyes wide and unblinking.
"Can it wait?" Steve asked him.
"Yes, sir," the medic said. "We're only a few minutes out of Honolulu."
"All right," Steve said with a nod. "We'll see she receives treatment at the hospital."
"Yes, sir," the medic agreed, carefully moving across the vibrating deck to sit on the other side of the helicopter.
"Did you tell mom?" Kono asked so quietly Danny barely heard her.
"Chin did," Danny assured her. "She'll meet us at the hospital."
"Hospital," Kono repeated like she wasn't sure of the meaning of the word.
"It's standard procedure," Steve said, his words harder than he intended. He was trying to keep the concern from showing but only succeeded in scaring Kono.
"I'm sorry," Kono whispered, reflectively leaning closer to Danny.
"No. I'm sorry," Steve said, reaching over to kiss her head.
"He's worried sick and it pisses him off," Danny told her, getting a tiny smile in response.
"I'm okay," she whispered, closing her eyes, slow tears rolling down her face, tears she ignored.
"This is my fault," Steve said. Danny caught Steve's eye and shook his head. Steve raised his eyebrows at that and Danny shook his head again.
"I'm okay," Kono repeated as though trying to convince herself as well as them.
"Of course you are. You are second only to Super SEAL in toughness," Danny said.
"That's you," Kono said, dashing away the tears.
"Nah. I'm a marshmallow compared to the two of you."
"I like marshmallows," Kono said with a tiny smile. Her eyes seemed more focused as she glanced over at Danny.
"We'll have a barbeque and make s'mores," Steve promised.
Kono nodded, closing her eyes and leaning more heavily on Danny. "What'd you do to him?"
"Arrested his brother," Steve told her in regret. "He wanted to trade you for him."
Kono didn't respond to that as though she hadn't heard. It was possible she hadn't, that she was blocking out everything going on around her. Her body was shrunk in on itself, nearly disappearing beneath the blanket and Danny's protective arm.
Although it felt like ages, less than ten minutes elapsed before the helicopter landed on the roof of the hospital. Steve shook his head firmly at the medics, informing them that he and Danny would take care of Kono. The men nodded, remaining seated as one of the crew opened the door. Danny helped Kono out of the helicopter, supporting most of her weight, not that it constituted any sort of burden. They were half way across the roof when Chin appeared from the door, crossing over to them. He gathered Kono and the blanket into his arms, Danny surrendering her. Chin helped her through the heavy door and on into the elevator. They waited as Steve and Danny joined them, Danny pressing the button to take them to the emergency room.
Chin escorted Kono to the exam room, Steve and Danny going on to the waiting room to start their requisite vigil.
They sat mostly in silence in two of the hard plastic chairs, Danny periodically reminding Steve that none of this was his fault. He doubted his word made an impression from Steve's frozen expression. He did seem to warm slightly when Malia entered with Kono's mother. Steve and Danny both shared quiet words with them before they went to check in on Kono. As the closed behind them, Adam arrived, his handsome face marred with worry. Danny kept a strong hold on Steve's forearm as they stood, afraid of what Steve might do in reaction to Adam's presence.
"How is she?" Adam asked, no demand in his tone. Only genuine concern could be heard.
"She's with the doctors still," Danny said, nodding toward the back. "Chin, her mom and Malia are with her."
"Do you know how much longer they'll be?" Adam asked, glancing toward the doors and back to Danny.
"We haven't had word. Except for the trauma, she wasn't injured," Danny told him.
"What was your yacht doing there?" Steve demanded, glaring at Adam.
"I have no idea," Adam said, holding his hands up to ward off the acquisitions he could see coming. "If you allow me to talk to Joey, I'll find out."
"She's in the custody of the Coast Guard," Danny said. "They'll turn her over to HPD. She killed two Tongans. For no reason that we can discern."
Adam paced away before coming back to them, his face a mask of anger. "I should have gotten rid of her long ago. I knew it. But she had been loyal to my father."
"She paid them to kidnap Kono before she killed them. She was working for Rendon," Steve said in a tone which conveyed his belief that Adam had first-hand knowledge of all of her activities.
"Rendon?" Adam asked with a shake of his head.
"Alvaro Rendon Naranjo. He's the one who abducted Kono. Or had Joey pay the Tongans to take her," Danny said.
"Head of the cartel?" Adam said, still confused by the news.
"Steve was involved in arresting his brother. Rendon took Kono so we'd release his brother," Danny said.
"How did Joey know Rendon?" Steve demanded. If Danny hadn't still had an iron grip on his arm, he'd have tried to beat the truth out of Adam. Not that Danny's hold was enough to physically keep him in place. The touch translated to 'this isn't the time or the place,' and 'it won't help Kono' and 'you can't take this outside right now.' The touch grounded him and allowed him to see past the fury that was threatening to over take his higher brain functions.
"I have no idea. I've never met him. Never dealt with him."
"He's the biggest dealer of illegal drugs in the world, and the Yakuza has never done business with him?" Steve said, disbelief nearly dripping from the words.
"No," Adam said.
"We don't think you are to blame," Danny said reasonably. "But Joey is in the thick of this and she works for you. You can see how this looks."
"I do," Adam said reluctantly. "But I give you my word of honor that I had nothing to do with this."
Danny and Steve exchanged a glance, Steve's eyebrows raised. When they broke eye contact, Danny looked up at Adam. "We believe you because Kono does."
"Thank you," Adam said, some tension ebbing away. "If you will allow me to talk to Joey, I will get your answers."
"We'll arrange it," Danny agreed, tugging Steve back down into their abandoned chairs. He watched as Adam restlessly paced, glancing over at the doors as though he could will them to open and bring him news on Kono's condition.
"He knows," Steve whispered to Danny through clinched teeth.
"What? What does he know, babe? And why would he lie to us?"
"He's a criminal. It's what they do."
Danny shook his head, his finger lightly tracing the frown lines outlining Steve's mouth. "He loves Kono. You don't think that's a lie too, do you?"
Steve turned enough to lock eyes with Danny, Steve's hurt and angry, Danny's calm and soothing. "No. I think he loves her," Steve reluctantly admitted.
"Good. He'll get the truth from Joey. I don't believe he knew she was involved."
"You are so trusting," Steve said with a mix of warmth and derision.
"I can be," Danny agreed with a shrug. "I trust you."
"Yeah," Steve said with a tight smile. "Good thing."
"I think so," Danny said, standing with Steve when Chin and Malia left the examination area. They looked relieved but tired. "How is she?"
"She's fine. Except for the trauma," Malia said, smiling up at Adam. "She'd like to see you."
Adam nodded and went through the doors which swung shut behind him.
"You can't kill him with your thoughts," Chin told Steve warmly.
"I can try," Steve said, shaking his head once. "Is she being released?"
"She is," Malia confirmed. "Her mom is going to take her home. She'll be able to return to work in a couple of days. I've encouraged her to see a psychologist. The turmoil of what she's been through could manifest itself today or next week."
"Even though she is stronger than she appears," Chin said in agreement.
"I'll tell her she can't come back to work until she does," Steve said somewhat reluctantly.
"You don't need to threaten her, big guy," Danny said, shaking his head.
"Okay," Danny said, patting Steve's arm. "Let's go get something to eat."
"How can you think of food at a time like this?" Steve asked.
"Because we haven't had anything to eat all day. Kono is going to be fine. The people who dared to take her are either dead or in custody. And I'm hungry," Danny said, looking up at Steve, challenging him to deny the truth of the words.
"He's right," Chin said with a nod.
"All right. We'll pick up some Chinese and take it back to HQ. Toast proba
ly needs to eat too," Steve decided.
"Good idea," Danny agreed. "You staying until Kono leaves?"
"Yeah. We'll be at the office in half an hour," Chin said.
"We'll see you then," Danny said, leaving the hospital. It didn't take long for him to return back inside. "We don't have a car."
Chin laughed softly. "Take mine. Adam can bring us to headquarters."
"Thanks," Danny said, accepting the keys. "I hope the Coast Guard or the police have returned the Camaro by now."
"If not, they will soon," Chin said.
"Yeah. I need to call and check on Owomeme," Danny said as much to himself as to Chin. "At least we know he's safe now."
"Are you going to call Saloni?" Chin asked.
"I will," Danny agreed. "Sadly, I don't think he'll be too surprised."
"Probably not," Chin said, turning toward the entrance when Steve came back inside, stalking toward Danny.
"What? What are you doing?" Danny demanded, looking up at him.
"Let's go already," Steve said, holding out his hand for the keys to Chin's crossover.
"You are such a freaking control freak. Why I ever decided to get involved with you I'll never know. What the hell was I thinking? I was talking to Chin. I wasn't inside longer than five minutes. God you are impatient and…." His rant continued until the doors closed, cutting off the sound of his indignation.
"Are we going to be like that one day?" Malia asked Chin with a fond smile.
"I sure hope so," Chin said, kissing her lightly, smiling at her in promise.
Friday night they had the barbeque on the beach behind Steve and Danny's house. Kono came with Adam, Chin brought Malia, and Toast arrived a hour later than they had expected although no one was surprised. Kono had agreed she needed to see a professional and had talked to a psychologist in the two days since her abduction. She reported that she was having nightmares but Adam said they weren't as bad as they could have been. Steve looked like he didn't really want to know that but held his tongue.
Adam had talked to Joey with the permission of the police department. She had been trying to become a cog in the machine of the cartel and had gotten vague promises from Rendon about her acceptance once she helped with Kono's abduction. It turned out that the money she had paid the Tongans was counterfeit and she was trying to get it back before they spent it. She had neglected to find out from them where the money was before she killed them. As far as Adam and the police could determine, Joey had arranged for the printing of the counterfeit money and was planning to use it as extra incentive for Rendon to accept her into his organization.
Adam's visible fury at Joey's actions helped to convince Steve that he hadn't known what she was doing. Adam was equally embarrassed that someone who worked for him had been making her own illegal deals behind his back. "All the more reason to go legit," Adam said, everyone agreeing with that.
Kono wandered up to the house after they had eaten their fill, finding Steve washing up some of the serving dishes that wouldn't fit in the dishwasher. "Hey," she said with a sunny smile dimpling her cheeks.
"Hi," Steve returned, rinsing the dish and placing it careful in the drain board.
"Hey hey," Kono said, a hand on his arm. She pulled on him until he finally turned enough to face her. "This guilt is pointless."
"I know," he sighed, looking down at the floor. "I can't seem to help it."
"You served your country proudly. And we're all grateful for that," she told him, love and respect in equal measures in her voice. "You stopped some of the bastards from winning. And one of those decided to even the score. That is not on your head."
"I could have lost you. Thatis on my head," Steve said in a voice softer than she had ever heard him use before.
"It's on him. Not you," Kono said, bending down to catch his eye. "I am okay, Boss. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Yeah, I'm going to have nightmares for a while but it's nothing I can't handle. They aren't anywhere near as bad as the ones Danny says you have. I'm going to be fine. But I can't take you bearing the guilt of this."
"I…" He shook his head, unsure how to continue.
"I don't blame you. Isn't that enough?" she asked gently.
"It's a start," he finally said, lifting his head to look her in the eye. "It is definitely a start."
"Good," she said. "Because if you don't stop kicking yourself, I will kick your ass. And you know that I can."
"Oh I know," he said with a laugh. "I know."
"Good," Kono said, stepping forward to wrap him in a hug. "Nothing will ever make me love or respect you less. That's all you need to remember."
"I will," Steve promised, kissing her head. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. And while you are in a place where you are making me promises, please stop trying to kill Adam with your scary Ninja-Jedi powers."
"That I can't promise," he said, making her laugh. He smiled at the sound, knowing it was a gift, one he had nearly lost. It reminded him to cherish her all the more.
"All right," she had to agreed with a smile. "At least you're honest about it."
"Always," Steve said, hugging her again. "Always."
"Hey," Danny said, barging into the kitchen. "Are you stealing my boyfriend?"
"Maybe," Kono said with a smile for Danny.
"Fine. Take him. You'll return him when you realize what a nut-job he is," Danny said, getting more beer out of the refrigerator and leaving, their laughter following.
"Adam doesn't love me like that," Kono said wistfully.
"I think you are wrong about that," Steve said. "He's just not as loud about it."
"No one is as loud about anything as Danny."
"I can't argue with that," Steve said, laughing and kissing her head one last time before releasing her so she could follow the beer. He knew that they would all be okay. Maybe they weren't quite there yet, but they would be.