The numbers were dancing across his field of vision. Figures darted from one column to another as totals recalculated and combined. He was so close, he could feel it. The numbers didn’t lie, they couldn’t. They could be twisted and distorted but the truth was buried in there somewhere. He just had to dig it out. Evan closed his eyes and breathed out slowly, watching the columns dance across the inside of his eyelids. This wasn’t the most complicated financial mess he’d ever seen, but there were several interesting little wrinkles that were making it difficult to unravel...
Evan startled at the unexpected noise, the carefully constructed columns of figures collapsing in his mind's eye. God, he’d told them all a thousand times not to disturb him when he’s in the zone. If it was Mark again he was going to… He looked up, oh, not Mark then.
The man standing in front of him was older, Asian, and had cheekbones you could cut yourself with. He was wearing a—fairly restrained—Hawaiian print shirt and looking down at Evan with a hint of amusement in his eyes. He was also carrying a jacket that was soaking from the heavy New York sleet falling outside.
“Yes? Can I help you?” Evan asked tersely.
“I hope so brah, I’m looking for your boss. Reception said I should find him up here.”
“Chief’s not here. He always starts late on Thursdays.”
The man continued to stare at him, clearly waiting for more. Right, what was Nancy always saying? Something about humans and social interaction? Ah, he had it now. “He should get here around 10, um, I guess you can wait over there if you want.” He waved towards the little kitchen area in the corner of the offices. “You can help yourself to coffee if you like, but be warned, Gina seems to think caffeine should be ingested in weaponized form.”
The man smiled, “thanks for the warning.” He wandered over to the kitchenette and looked at the coffee machine contemplatively for a moment before sitting down. He pulled out his phone and started tapping away, clearly working on something. Evan watched him for a few minutes before standing and making his way over to Nancy’s office.
“Hey Nance, we got a visitor. He’s looking for the Chief.”
Nancy sighed dramatically and stared at him over the top of her glasses. “I thought we’d finally got this figured out Evan, people stop by every day looking for him, it should not be this shocking.”
“Yeah, but this one’s different. I think he’s from Hawaii.” Nancy’s perfectly sculpted eyebrows rose.
“And what makes you think that?” She twisted to the side to get a clear view towards the kitchen.
“Well look at him, there’s no way he’s from New York. He’s way too zen to be local, and well... that shirt. He doesn’t look like the sort of hipster that would wear that ironically.”
Nancy nods contemplatively, then her eyes widen. “Do you think…?”
“Of course I do, that’s why I came in here. Do you think we should text him, maybe warn him before he gets here?”
But at that moment they hear the Chief’s voice out in the hallway. “Nancy! I need you to look over Richardson’s travel records again, I think there’s a connection there that we’re just not seeing.” He pushes through the doorway to the offices, coffee in one hand, file folder tucked under his arm, and stops dead when he sees their visitor. A host of expressions cross his face too quickly to catalogue, then suddenly he breaks out in the biggest smile Evan has ever seen. “Chin Ho Kelly!” He strides forward and envelopes the man in a crushing hug. Pulling back he grips Kelly by the shoulder “It’s great to see you babe, what tragedy brings you to my neck of the woods?”
“Hey Danny,” the other man replies. “It’s good to see you too.”
“So if it’s not a case, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?” Danny asks a few minutes later when they’re comfortably seated in his office. It’s large and open, with glass walls looking out onto the main work area where the rest of the team is clustered around the coffee maker having a heated discussion. Nancy and Evan seem to be on one side against two others that Chin hasn’t been introduced to yet. Evan’s hands are waving around frantically as he tries to make his point.
He turns back to face Danny. “I’m actually in town for the law enforcement tech conference this weekend. The table back at headquarters is due for replacement soon so I figured I’d scope out what new upgrades are available.”
Danny nods. “Right, Evan was bugging me about going to that. Unfortunately the budget won’t stretch to any more toys this year.” He grins at Chin. “Kid’s a brilliant analyst, but his enthusiasm runs away with him sometimes.” He stares over Chin’s shoulder at the fracas over by the coffee machine. “Then we’ve got Nancy, twenty years on the force here in the city. She can tell you exactly how you feel about your mother just by asking you about your socks. Absolutely brilliant at reading people, if I didn’t know better I’d swear she was psychic. Mark’s there is ex-NSA. He quit when he realized they were more interested in spying on their own people than the terrorists. He can be a bit hotheaded, but he’s got good instincts. Finally there’s Gina, encyclopedic knowledge of the law, frighteningly accurate with any type of gun, but can’t make drinkable coffee if her life depended on it. Seriously, you could use her brew to strip paint.” He gives a dramatic shudder, and strides from behind his desk towards the door. Opening it he yells out “Knock it off you animals! You want my friend here to get the impression we work in a zoo?! Jeez, just brew a new pot already.”
There’s a plaintive chorus of “Yes, boss,” as the others make their way back to their offices, leaving Evan triumphant by the coffee maker.
Danny makes his way back to his chair, shaking his head in mock despair. “I must have kicked kittens in a previous life. You’d think in my own office I could enforce some kind of professionalism…”
Chin smiles wistfully. “Sounds like you’ve got yourself a pretty good team here.” He takes a moment to look Danny over properly. The tightly shellacked hair is the same as ever, as are the slacks and button down shirt, but he’s taken to wearing ties again, and his tan is almost completely gone. Yet he seems more relaxed than Chin can remember seeing him in a long time, despite the shadow lurking in the depths of his eyes when he looks at his former coworker.
Danny sighs, “Yeah, they’re pretty great, really, they’re the best at what they do, and the taskforce here is getting great clearance rates. But it’s not the same, ya know?” He takes a quick sip of his coffee then asks with forced brightness; “So, how are things back home?”
Chin grins widely, “What? Eric not keeping you in the loop?”
“What can I say, the kid’s a putz.” Danny shrugs, “I know all the gruesome details of the cases he’s helped with, and more than I care to about his love life, or lack thereof, but he’s surprisingly reticent with details about all of you.”
Chin smiles lightly, “We’re all good brah. Adam got out a few months ago. He’s been working on re-establishing his businesses, but he managed to convince Kono to take a vacation. Of course she chose Fiji so they could go surfing, but they’ve had a rough couple of years, they deserved the break. Jerry’s still enjoying his basement office, but he finally got his badge...”
“Yeah I heard about that one,” Danny interrupts. “I have no idea how he got my email address here, but he sends me regular updates on all the local conspiracy theories.”
Chin laughs and shakes his head, “Same old Jerry. Kamekona continues to expand his empire. He’s looking at opening a hotel now, can you imagine?”
Danny grimaces in mock horror, “I can not think of anything more terrifying than trying to sleep with an image of that man’s face staring down at me.”
“You and me both.” Chin replies laughing. “And of course, the biggest news... Abby and I are getting married.”
Danny’s face splits into a wide grin. “I knew that woman needed her head examined. Congrats my friend.” He reaches across the desk and bumps fists with Chin. “Finally going to make an honest woman out of her?”
“Actually, she’s going to make an honest man out of me,” Chin responds, grinning at the memory. “That’s part of why I stopped by actually. It would mean a lot to us if you’d agree to come to the wedding.”
Danny shifts uncomfortably, “I don’t know if I can, I mean, things the way they are…”
“Danny,” Chin says firmly. “You’re one of my closest friends. I want you to be there with me.” He stares at his friend, knowing what’s running through Danny’s mind. “If it helps we’re having the wedding in San Francisco. Abby wanted it to be near her family, and I’ve already had the whole Hawaiian wedding experience…”
Danny looks at him with sympathetic eyes, “I’ll think about it, seriously. That’s… that’s all I can promise right now. But really man, I’m happy for you, and it means a lot you want me there.”
They stare at each other for a moment in silent understanding before Danny blinks and looks away. “And what about Sara, how’s fatherhood treating you? A wife and child in the same year,” he shakes his head, “although most people do it the other way round.”
Chin looks down at the floor trying to marshal his thoughts. “It’s a lot… different… than I thought it would be.” He pauses, trying to decide what to say. But this is Danny, if anyone is going to understand what’s going on it’ll be him. “She seemed to be doing really well. I mean as well as a child can do when she’s lost both her parents. But since the engagement she’s been really quiet. She hasn’t been acting out, that would have been easier to deal with, but she’s been withdrawn, and she’s started clinging to Kono a lot.” He sighs. “We talked about it and she said she likes Abby, but her behavior is telling me the opposite. I’m just not sure what to do.”
“He looks up to see Danny regarding him with fond affection. “Oh my friend, welcome to being a parent. You’ll get used to the worrying eventually. Or you’ll end up a neurotic mess like yours truly. But I think I can help with this particular problem.” He leans back in his chair. “Now listen closely and I will bestow upon you the wisdom of my vast parenting experience. Grace went through something similar when Rach and I divorced. All of a sudden she wanted to hang out with Uncle Matty all the time. She didn’t take well to change and Matty was a constant in her life when everything else was such a mess. Once we’d figured everything out and were managing to be civil to one another again she slowly went back to normal, but she just needed that stability to help her deal with everything. And Matty was so good with her. He never complained about spending all his free time with a six year old, he just did everything he could to make her feel safe while her parents were busy being jerks.”
“I think that’s why his death hit me so hard” he continues staring off into the distance. “I mean I was mad at him for myself, but more so cause he let Gracie down. And I never got a chance deal with that before he was gone for good.”
He pauses a moment, then shakes his head and looks over at Chin again. “But I’d be prepared to bet once everything settles down again after the wedding she’ll come round. Kids are amazingly resilient.”
There’s a moment when only the noise of the phone ringing in the main office disturbs the quiet. “So,” Danny begins with forced casualness. “I notice you left our fearless leader our of your little roundup there. How’s Steve doing?”
Chin freezes. He knew the question was coming, but now it’s here he’s not sure what to say. Luckily he’s saved by Gina bursting into the office. “Boss! We got a hit on Moyles. His car was spotted down by the docks. I think that’s where he’s making the deal.”
“All right, tell the team to gear up.” He turns to Chin all business again. “Sorry babe, work calls, you know how it is.”
Chin nods, “Could you use another hand?” he asks, hopefully.
“I think we got this covered.” Danny states. “Besides, don’t you have better things to do than work on your vacation?”
“Not really.” Chin says mildly. “I figured surfing wouldn’t be on the cards here so I brought some paperwork to keep me busy until the conference, going out with you and your team sounds like a much better option. It’ll be just like old times.”
Danny stares at him contemplatively for a moment before turning back to Gina. “Grab a shotgun and a vest for Lieutenant Kelly here, he’ll be joining our little party.” Gina nods sharply at Chin and beckons him to follow as she bustles out again.
“Just like old times,” Danny mutters under his breath.