Crash and Burn - Chapter 20: Hele lohi

Five-0 Headquarters

The next afternoon, Reena was busy tracking down anything she could about the former governor—Marc had had no luck in discovering anything in her files, so she had to rely, again, on her contacts, when there was a commotion in the main office. She looked up from her computer to find a purple-in-the-face Vincent Fryer, gesturing animatedly to a rather amused Kono, while Chin planted himself firmly between the IA Captain and his cousin. Danny and Steve were out, questioning a suspect in the child-kidnapping case that had dropped into their laps that morning.

As in most custody battles, the one currently receiving the brunt of Steve’s scowls and Danny’s sarcasm was the child’s father.

Fryer was getting louder by the second and Reena decided to go see what all the ruckus was all about. Maybe she might even be of help. By throwing him out or give him CPR if he got even more purple.

The moment she emerged from Steve’s office, Fryer pounced. “There you are? Are you happy now that you’ve ruined an investigation it took me months to set up?”

She blinked. “Excuse me? I didn’t ruin anything.”

“Hah, now you play coy. The Delano investigation is shot because of you.”

“Captain Fryer, we simply went after two murderers. Witness-supported.” She smiled coldly. “Don’t blame others for your own messes. The Delano investigation is shot because you don’t have squat on him.”

She could swear steam was puffing out of his ears. “Come on, Vince. Do you think I’m stupid. You used to work together. First in Chicago, then here. He knows how you think.”

Fryer suddenly calmed down. “You had me checked? Well, I asked around about you as well.” He turned as Steve and Danny entered the main office, Steve looking warily at him and his proximity to Sabrina. “Do your new friends here know you actually don’t work for the Homeland Security? That you don’t work for any government agency at all? Do they know you’re a fake?”

“What are you talking about?” Danny asked.

Sabrina simply smiled. “Who have you been talking to, Vince? Who do you know at DHS?”

“Richard Wilkes.”

She laughed. “Rick the Dick? I wouldn’t brag about such acquaintances if I were you.”

Fryer frowned. “Stop trying to change the subject. You’re an imposter—”

“No, I’m not,” she interrupted. “You see, Vince, before you start checking up on someone, you should make sure you’re getting your intel from a reliable source, not some disgruntled ex co-worker who still holds a grudge because I told him to take a hike when he suggested I let him show me all the ways the gods meant for a woman to know a man.” She mock-shuddered at the memory. “Blech.”

Fryer chuckled. “Nice story, missy. But I’d rather believe someone I actually know works for the DHS. Where is your proof.”

Reena rolled her eyes, pulled her phone out of a pocket in her cargo pants, and scrolled down her contacts. “Hi, Paul, it’s Reena. Is he available?...Great. Could you put him on?...Hello, sir...I’m fine, sir, how about you?...So, I heard. I’m sorry to bother you, but there’s someone who wants to speak to you. He needs proof that I still work for DHS...Yes...Thank you, sir. Here he is.”

She offered her phone to Fryer, who scoffed, but pressed it to his ear anyway. “Hello?...What?...Vincent Fryer, HPD IA. And who is this?...” A chuckle. “The president? Yeah, right.” He looked at Reena. “Nice trick.” Spoke back into the phone. “Listen, buddy, if you’re president, I’m Cleopatra...Fuck you, man.”

Reena took back her phone, her eyes wide. “Did you just tell the president of the United States to fuck himself?”

“It wasn’t the president,” he growled. “You don’t have the president among your phone contacts.”

“True. I have his aide.”

“Bullshit. You’re trying to—” His phone rang, interrupting him. He answered, spoke softly—there were a lot of ‘sirs’, went pale as a ghost, a little more ‘siring’, and hung up.

“Who was that?” Reena asked sweetly.

“The commissioner,” Fryer answered softly. “He just received a phone call from...” He cleared his throat, swallowed convulsively. “...the White House.”

“So you did say FU to the US president, Cleo,” Reena reminded him.

Fryer sputtered, shot her one last poisonous glare, and rushed to placate the commissioner.

“You really have the president’s number in your phone contacts?” Danny asked.

She rolled her eyes. “As if.” She turned, but before she closed the office door behind her, she looked back over her shoulder, and added, “Just his aide’s.”

Steve left the others to throw theories around—they were still drawing a blank on the kidnapping, and the father had a solid alibi—and knocked softly on his office door.

“Have a minute?”

She didn’t respond, but continued tapping on her laptop, her head down.

“Sabrina.” It was a sigh. He closed the door behind him, stuck his hands in his pockets, and looked at her. “I don’t know what I’ve done, but you can’t keep avoiding me. Not after claiming that you wanted us to be friends.” Another sigh. “I want to make this work, but I can’t do that while trying not to misstep. You have to help me out, here, Reen. Talk to me.”

Her head was still down.

“Jesus, Sabrina. What did I do?” He ran a hand over the scruff on his chin. “What do you want me to do? Tell me, and I’ll do it. I’ll do anything, just...” God, he was so pathetic with that little break in his voice. “Don’t shut me out.” Not again.

Still nothing.

With a soft curse, he stepped to the desk, slammed his palms down onto its surface, and leaned over it. She finally lifted her head, her eyes wide pools of gray surprise, and something else, lurking in the back of her gaze, gone too suddenly for him to identify.

Leaning over the desk, their faces were close, too close. So close, it would’ve taken only a couple of inches for him to kiss her. Steve couldn’t resist a glance at her lips. Then he quickly met her eyes again, once more glimpsing that elusive something else in her gaze.

Reena resisted licking her lips. It wouldn’t do. That quick glance down must’ve been the requisite look a man gave any woman’s lips in his proximity. She pulled her earphones out, wincing at how loud the music actually was. She pressed the stop button on her phone, placed it on the desk.

“What is it, Steve?”

No wonder she hadn’t heard him with music blaring in her ears. Steve straightened, crossed his arms over his chest. Thankfully she hadn’t heard him. Thank God others hadn’t heard him, he’d never live it down.

“What happened to the always-be-aware-of-your-surroundings?” he asked.

She shrugged. “I figured I have three cops and a highly-trained Navy SEAL in that room. If anyone was to barge in, guns blazing, you four would shoot him before he could take another step. But that’s not why you’re here, is it?”

“I just wanted to know more about this program you plan to use as bait.”


“Because no one knows anything about it. I checked.”

She peered up at him, feeling a fist tighten around her heart. “You mean you had your girlfriend check. Shit, Steve, do you want to get her court-martialed?” She smiled cynically. “Of course, she’d be land-bound more often then.”

He could’ve sworn she muttered “Hound-dog” under her breath.

“I’m just saying that no one in the DoD had heard of any global-positioning based missile-related program.”

“It was classified.”

He scowled. This was sounding like a start of an argument. “Meaning.”

“Meaning it’s beyond your pay grade. And Catherine’s.”

“You knew about it.”

“I’m a very well-paid woman.”

He rolled his eyes.

She jumped to her feet. “What the hell do you want from me, Steve?” she asked, unknowingly repeating his initial question.

“Why don’t you tell me the truth for once?”

“I don’t want to sound like a cliché, but you couldn’t handle the truth, Steven.”

“Why don’t you try me, Sabrina?”

They were oblivious to the three pairs of eyes looking at them from outside.

She threw her hands up in the air. “I’m trying to track down governor’s Jameson dealings, keeping my ear to the ground for Wo Fat...I can’t do this right now.”

“You never could. We always ended up fighting.”

She smiled, remembering. “But the making up was great.”

A mirroring grin. “Yeah.”

And the uncomfortable silence fell.

“I have to get back to work,” she said, motioning to the computer.

“Yeah, me too. Uhm, let me know when your friend is ready to start with your plan.”

She nodded, looking at his retreating back, keeping silent that the trap has already been set.

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