Crash and Burn - Chapter 4: Ka ho'iho'i

Catherine looked at the woman in front of her. Besides being dressed head-to-toe in leather, she didn’t look like much. She was slender, more on the short side—probably no more than 5’6’’—with red-brown hair, cut in a becoming layered bob, that just barely brushed her shoulders, and large gray eyes. But at closer inspection, one could see the core of steel under the unpretentious, feminine frame. She could not have weighted more than 120 pounds, but it was all muscle. It must have been for her to be able to control the mean-looking bike behind her.

And if that wasn’t convincing, all one had to do was look into her eyes. Those eyes told the true story. Old-soul, her grandma would say. They were serious, with a veil of sadness, as if she’s seen all there was to be seen and humankind could not be redeemed no matter what. Sometimes Steve’s eyes held that same look.

Then Cath noticed the woman looking at her, nodding slightly, as if she’s been inspecting her and liked what she saw. Like she’d been put to the test and passed.

“Can I put my hands down, now?” Reena asked. “This helmet is getting really heavy.”

Steve holstered his gun, but one nod was enough to convey the message to Danny, Kono and Chin to keep the woman in their sights. “Sure.”

Reena smirked at him. “You won’t order them to stand down, Steve? Really? What can I do with the entire HPD pointing their guns at me?”

He was in her face in a blink. “Plenty, that’s why I won’t give you the opportunity. What are you doing here?”

“She’s with me!”

Reena’s smirk turned into a smile as she leaned to the side to see around Steve. “Hey, Marc. Perfect timing.”

“It’s the least I can do,” Marc Hawthorne replied, stepping closer. “McGarrett, order your team to stand down. Now.”

Steve slowly straightened, his back ramrod stiff. “You heard the governor, stand down,” he growled.

“Thank you,” Reena murmured, and placed her helmet on the bike. “Now, why don’t we take this inside?”

“We’re not taking this anywhere,” Steve hissed. “You didn’t answer my question. What the hell are you doing here?”

“I answered it for her, McGarrett,” Marcus Hawthorne replied. “She’s with me.”

Steve whirled on the governor. He didn’t care who the guy was, or thought he was, he just wanted to hit something, and if Hawthorne wanted to give him a target, so be it. “She’s been spotted around our crime scenes.”

“Yes. She’s been keeping an eye on your team.” Hawthorne lifted a hand to prevent further objections. “Per my orders. I wanted to know what you were made of, and I wanted it from an independent observant. What’s put in reports can get lost in translation.”

“She’s been spying?”

“Following orders,” Reena interjected. “And she is standing right here, so stop talking like I’m not around. By the way, etiquette demands you look people in the eye when you talk to them.”

Blue eyes clashed with gray. “I was talking to the governor, not you.”

“That’s obvious.”

“Okay, Steven.” Danny moved closer, looking left and right. “Why don’t we heed the lady’s advice and take this inside. It’s turning into a show.”

Hawthorne took matters into his own hands. “McGarrett, inside. You and your team. That’s an order. Miss,” he said to Catherine, “I’ll get someone to take you wherever you need.”

“No,” Steve said. “She’s with me.”

“Steve—” Catherine started.

“We still have to talk,” he interrupted. “You’re coming in with us. This shouldn’t take long.” And he took off, his long strides eating up the ground toward the HQ front door.

“That went well,” Reena murmured as she and Marc took the rear of the small procession. She chuckled, when he looked at her with an expression that asked whether she was on glue. “Trust me, with him that went really well.”

Inside, everyone was assembled around the conference table when they got in. Everyone but Steve, who was in his office, staring out the window, clenching the windowsill as if his life depended on it.

Marc decided not to wait for him for the preliminary introductions. “Reen, these are the Five-0s. Detective Danny Williams, Lieutenant Chin Ho Kelly, Officer Kono Kalakaua, and you already know Steve McGarrett.”

“The Great Broody One, yes.”

Marc looked at the woman who’s arrived with McGarrett. “I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are.”

Before Catherine could answer, Sabrina pitched in. “Lieutenant Catherine Rollins, US Navy, Intelligence, currently stationed on the USS Enterprise.”

“I’m impressed,” Catherine said.

Steve yanked his office door open. “Don’t be. That’s what she does.”

Reena looked at him, arched an eyebrow. “Oh, look who decided to join us.” She looked at Marc. “She’s also his girlfriend. Three years and counting if I’m not mistaken.”

Steve ignored the veiled question. “You probably know what each and every one of us had for breakfast this morning.”

“And every morning for the last two months,” she shot back.

“How about our dreams? Do you know about them, too?”

“No, but if you care to disclose, Lieutenant Commander, I’m sure we could get to the bottom of whatever is troubling you.”

He flashed an insincere smile. “Right now, you are.”

Reena placed her hand over her heart. “I’m crushed. Really.”

Danny has had enough. “And how long have you two been married?”

Both shot him an instant-death-inducing glare.

“Shut up, Danno!”

He lifted his hands in surrender. “Okay, just wanted to end the pointless debate there.” He looked at Sabrina. “Ma’am, you obviously know everything about us, having tailed us for so long, and probably having done your homework thoroughly before finally deciding to meet us officially. But would you, please, be so kind as to tell us, who the hell you are.”

“Where are my manners?” Reena shot a sideway glance at Steve. “You really do bring out the worst in me.” She ignored Marc’s snort, and unzipped her side pocket, pulled out her ID. “Special Agent Sabrina Logan, Homeland Security.”

“What happened to NSA?” Steve asked.

“I decided to broaden my horizons.”

“As the governor’s personal lapdog.”

“McGarrett, you’re crossing the line,” Hawthorne growled.

“Don’t let him push you, Marc. That’s what he does best.”

“Marc, huh?” Steve crossed his arms. “You’re on a first-name basis with the governor?”

“Got a problem with that?”

“Yeah, I got a problem with that. You’ve been spying on us, you’re tight with him. God only knows what you’ve been telling him.”

“Kids, kids!” Danny yelled, but they paid him no heed, completely forgetting they had an audience.

“Are you really accusing me of not being objective?” she asked in a low voice. “If you do, you don’t know me at all.”

“I obviously don’t. You’ve proven it to me, haven’t you?”

She narrowed her eyes, lowering her voice. “You really want to bring that one up? Here? Now?”

“No, I don’t. Water under the bridge, I’m just making a point.”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Why don’t you enlighten me, then?” He laughed. “Right, I forgot. You don’t do that.”

“Hey!” Danny stepped between them. “Knock it off!”

After a few more seconds of glaring at each other, the pair finally stepped back and turned toward the conference table and their rather rapt audience.

Chin and Kono were staring at them open-mouthed, Catherine met Steve’s eyes, her lips curving into a small, sad and knowing smile, while Marcus Hawthorne just grinned like a fool.

“Okay, then.” Hawthorne clapped his hands together. “Introductions have been made, so we’ll be going.” He moved around the table, clasped Sabrina’s arm. “Reen, shall we?”

She nodded and without a backward glance let herself be led out.

“Yeah, that went really well,” they could hear the governor say to her, which was followed by her snapped, “Shut up!”

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