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the island of conclusions

Kuini Hou ( H50, gen)

the island of conclusions

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Kuini Hou ( H50, gen)

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Kono
Here's my fic for purimgifts. No opportunity to write a Jewish character this year, but I thought, well, Kono and Chin are cousins just like Esther and Mordecai, so why not!

Title: Kuini Hou (The New Queen)
Rating: PG, gen
Word Count: ~3K
Disclaimer: not mine, no profit.

a/n: loosely based on The Book of Esther.
a/n: the terms of the exchanges were three ficlets, each not to exceed 1,000 words. I've kept to the word limits in reposting, even though, obviously, the story could be much longer.

Summary: Kono goes undercover to protect the things she believes in.

originally posted as three ficlets on AO3



“Where’s Kono?” Danny asked, sliding in next to Steve at the fairy-light festooned bar.

“She had plans after work.” Chin took a long pull of his beer without looking up.

“Again? That’s the second time this week. She got some disreputable new boyfriend she’s too embarrassed to introduce us to?”

“Hey, don’t go projecting your own issues onto Kono, brah,” Steve said with a pleased little smirk.

Chin just signaled to the bartender. “Something like that. My round—what’re you having, Danny?”

+++

It wasn’t until a week or so later that Danny got to see what “something like that” really meant. He was in one Honolulu’s fanciest restaurant with Steve—the heavy wood furniture and heavy damask tablecloths contrasting with the almost creepily light tread of the waiters. Not their usual kind of place, but then he’d been the one to bet Steve the best steak in the city he couldn’t take out the perp at fifty yards with a twenty-mile tail wind.

Stupid. He was clearly never going to learn about betting against Steve’s ninja skills. And now he was stuck watching Steve gleefully search the wine list for the most expensive bottle when he knew for a fact Steve didn’t even really like red wine.

Most everyone else in the place was as staid as they come—lots of pastel twin-sets and seersucker suits—so when something white and sparkly, maybe even fringed, crossed his line of vision, it brought Danny’s head up like a hunting dog.

He knew those slim shoulders, those endless legs, though he could count on one hand the times he’d seen them in a dress and shoes like that.

“Hey.” He flicked a piece of bread at Steve to get him to look up from the list of exorbitant beverages. “What’s Kono doing here?”

Steve frowned and craned his head to follow Danny’s gaze. Then his mouth flopped open in an almost comical way. “And what’s she doing with him?”

Danny peered at Kono’s companion, who he hadn’t really taken in before. The man was a good head shorter than Kono, full-faced and full-bellied, and, not to put too fine a point on it, old. Well, not ancient, but sixty-five at least, maybe a well-preserved seventy.

“You know that guy?”

Steve stared at him incredulously. “What? You live under a rock? Of course I know him. That’s Xavier Ackerman, the real estate developer. He owns about half the North Shore. He’s always in the news for some barely legal land deal or other.”

“And that’s who she’s been ditching us for?” Danny felt a bit slow on the uptake. But he looked again, and, sure enough, Ackerman’s hand was resting lightly but possessively on the small of Kono’s back as they made their way to their table. “She’s dating him?”

“It’s, uh, unexpected.” Steve had the air of someone trying to be fair. “His politics are kind of to the right of Attila the Hun. Not her usual taste in guys.”

Danny raised his eyebrows. “Understatement, Steven. C’mon, let’s get introduced.”

But as soon as he’d started to push his chair back from the table, Kono looked at them over her shoulder, as if she’d known they were there all along. She shook her head once, decisively, and turned away.

As soon as she and Ackerman had been seated, Danny’s phone chimed the arrival of a text.

I don’t know you. Not tonight.

+++

“Here you go, boss,” Chin said, coming into Steve’s office. “Here’re the files you asked for.”

He startled slightly as Danny shut the door behind him.

“See, what we really want to know, my friend,” said Danny, moving in front of him to lean on Steve’s desk, arms crossed. “Is what the fuck?”

“Excuse me?”

“Kono?” Steve tilted his chair back and raised his eyebrows. “Xavier Ackerman. This ringing any bells?”

Chin visible slumped. “Okay. She said I could tell you if you asked.”

“We’re asking. This is us asking,” Danny told him.

Chin dragged over a chair, like the story was going to take some telling. “So. You probably read that Ackerman got divorced recently?”

Danny hadn’t, but Steve nodded, so Chin went on. “He’s been dating up a storm—looking for the next Mrs. Ackerman, I guess. And he’s been making nice to local religious groups, too, since his latest project involves tearing up a sacred Hawaiian burial cave. He’s gotten permission from the landowners, but there’re still a lot of people who aren’t thrilled.”

“Kono among them, I would’ve thought,” Steve put in.

Chin pursed his lips, but went on with the story. “Anyway. That explains why Ackerman was at this benefit for preserving native artifacts. Kono was there too—she supports the group. He saw her, he was smitten, he asked her out.”

“And even though he’s what? twenty-five, thirty years older than her, and working against all the things she believes in, she was swept off her feet by his wrinkly-faced, pot-bellied charm?” Danny asked.

“Not exactly. She was going to say no. Of course she was. But then some people—never mind who—contacted her. They had—well, not entirely legal plans for getting Ackerman to change his mind about the development—and they wanted her, as someone who sympathized with their views—to get inside his defenses, help them bring him down.”

“That’s what she’s doing?” Steve was leaning forward now, elbows on the desk. The air in the room seemed to have gotten colder. Danny had been ready to unloose some serious ribbing about Kono’s taste in men. Not for this discussion of religious rights and guerrilla protests. This was too serious by half.

“Not exactly,” Chin said again. Danny wished he’d give up on the phrase already. “She told them she’d go out with him, try to get to know him—but only if they held off on their plans until she’d had the chance to try and convince him to change his mind herself.”

+++

Kono surveyed the palatial living room of Xavier Ackerman’s mansion, packed now with people laughing, drinking, and enjoying the elaborate hors d’oeuvres. She adjusted a strap on her dress, though it didn’t really need adjusting. Damn thing fit perfectly, light and comfortable as a dream. But it cost more than a month’s salary and she hadn’t paid for it. Accepting the gift from Xav had grated, but it was part of the role she’d elected to play.

Not that playing the role had been too bad so far. Xav, it turned out, was far more interested in companionship, in the prestige of having a pretty young woman on his arm, than he was in the rough-and-tumble of dating—they’d barely done more than kiss good night.

And spending time with him hadn’t been as loathsome as she’d feared. He was a good conversationalist, she’d grant him that: funny in a sharp, crude way; an acute observer of island society and politics, even if she almost always disagreed with the conclusions he drew.

No, the thing that rankled, the thing that made the dress feel like fifty pounds of lead instead of eight ounces of silk, was the knowledge that he partly—even mostly—wanted her around because she, unlike the ex-Mrs. Ackerman, was a native Hawaiian. Her presence at his side gave him a kind of credibility at events like the benefit tonight that was literally money in the bank.

She tugged at the strap again. She was going to have to call it quits soon. Her efforts to talk Xav out of the Sunset Acres project were going nowhere. She’d have to put her efforts into convincing the people who’d put her here to give up their violent plans.

A familiar profile emerged out of the press at the bar: Chin—here to support one of his favorite charities, and probably to check on her too. Kono moved closer—she wouldn’t be able to give him more than a passing greeting, they’d agreed that at the start, but she thought the sheer proximity might be comforting.

But what she found at the bar wasn’t comforting at all. Chin had somehow ended up in the midst of the worst of Xav’s professional entourage—a group of heavies he sent out to “convince” recalcitrant locals to sell their land, headed up by a man named Hauser. The men were bad—Kono was looking forward to arresting every last one of them next time they put a foot out of line—but Hauser was worse, one of those guys whose lumbering build only disguised a catlike agility, a malevolent intelligence lurking in his small black eyes. He leered at her every time he saw her, but in a calculating way, as if daring her to take offense, daring her to complain to Xav. He knew it wouldn’t do any good if she did: he’d been with Xav for years, indispensable to his rise to wealth, and Xav wouldn’t hear a word against him.

Right now, Hauser had his attention focused on Chin, a mean little quirk in his lips as he watched the other men baiting him. Kono frowned at the sight. What were they up to? Did they know he was a police officer? Did they just not care?

“C’mon,” said one, the fabric of his suit jacket straining across his back, “You don’t really believe on all that mumbo-jumbo about the burial caves, do you? A modern guy like you?”

Chin stared at his drink, clearly trying to keep his face impassive.

It only provoked the men further. “The bones go all magic when they’re dead, huh?” said a wiry guy with a scar across his mouth. He swung an arm around in an exaggerated wand-pointing motion, then jerked his hips rudely and cackled.

When Chin still didn’t react, another man actually moved into his personal space, and Kono watched aghast as he flicked at the hair at Chin’s temples. “I hear you people cut your ears off at funerals—you still got yours?”

That was too much, even for a man of Chin’s patience. In the blink of an eye, the man found himself turned around, the arm he had raised to touch Chin twisted neatly and painfully behind his back. The man yelped.

The other guests, who had hitherto paid no attention, turned to look at the fracas at the bar.

“I respect your religious beliefs,” said Chin into the silence. “All I ask is that you respect mine.” He jerked the man’s arm again for emphasis, and got a grunt of pain in response.

Kono felt sure that Hauser had orchestrated the whole thing, but she had no idea what he hoped to gain. There were probably twice as many people sympathetic to Chin in the sea of faces surrounding them than there were to his thugs.

“Mr. Ackerman,” Hauser called over the crowd. “Permission to escort this man off the premises.”

At the other end of the room, Xav took in the situation. “Sir,” he said, calm, but commanding all the same, “You are a guest in my house, and I need you to take your hands off my employee.”

“Not until he apologizes,” Chin returned.

Xav shrugged, made a signal to Hauser that clearly meant do what you gotta do, and turned away.

The other men moved in around Chin. There was a brief struggle, but eventually they pried the man out of his hold and started moving him toward the door.

It made Kono sick not to help, but she knew Chin would be furious if she did.

“Come on now,” Hauser said loudly. “We can’t have this kind of violence at a benefit.” And then, so low Kono only heard because she was standing so close, he added, “You’re all still grass-skirt-wearing savages underneath, aren’t you?”

Chin wrested himself free of the four men holding him and floored Hauser with a hard right hook to the jaw.

+++

“I feel like I’m in a Scooby Doo episode,” Danny said, shifting irritably in the front seat of the Camaro.

“Shut up, Danny—this is serious.” Steve thought about giving him a smack for emphasis, but decided against it—they had distinguished company after all.

“I know that. Doesn’t mean it’s still not like Scooby Doo. You’re just sad because you’re Velma.”

“I am not Velma.” Steve hated it when he got dragged into Danny’s little riffs. “I’m Fred.”

“You are so Velma. Velma’s the Science Guy, and you’re our Science Guy. You’re Velma.”

Steve was about to inform Danny that anybody who ate like he did was Shaggy, when Xavier Ackerman made an irritated noise in the back seat.

“Steve’s right,” Kono said from her place beside Ackerman. “These are some first-class assholes we’re dealing with, not two-bit villains in rubber monster masks.”

Chastened, Danny held his tongue, and they all resumed their silent watch.

+++

When Kono had called him at 2am three nights ago, Steve’s first sleep-dazed thought had been that things had gotten out of hand with Ackerman.

“Where are you?” he’d said without waiting for her greeting. “Don’t move—I’m coming to get you.”

She’d laughed. “Boss, how many times I have to tell you I don’t need rescuing? I’m fine.”

He’d laughed too, and slumped back on the pillows, willing his heart to stop pounding.

“Xav said no one’s pressing charges with Chin—that true?” she’d asked.

“Yeah, I think someone was just trying to make a point—though what point it was, I don’t know.”

“I don’t know either,” Kono had said. “But I think I might be starting to have an idea. Look, Steve, there’s something else I need your help with. Something maybe not totally official.”

“Yeah, of course, anything,” he’d assured her, hoping he wasn’t lying.

“Okay,” she said, “Here’s the thing.”

As she’d left Ackerman’s house after the benefit (Steve was embarrassingly relieved to hear she hadn’t spent the night), she’d heard voices in the shadows along the side of the mansion: Hauser and his thugs. They’d come back from dragging Chin down to the local HPD station, but rather than simply gloating in their victory, they’d been plotting something new.

Kono had crouched in the shadow of an azalea bush and listened.

They’d been planning a further attack on Chin—retaliation for standing up to them in Ackerman’s presence. Joking about it too, making up some kind of lottery for which day the confrontation would take place. And Hauser had been egging them on.

The whole thing had seemed stranger and stranger to Kono. Having that kind of conflict break out in his house, at a benefit for preservation groups, no less, hadn’t reflected well on Ackerman—being associated with any further violence would make him look even worse in the eyes of the religious and cultural groups he needed to appease to make the Sunset Acres development work.

Either Hauser had a deep, violent streak of prejudice he was unable to control—or he was playing some kind of game against his employer.

“Tomorrow’s Saturday,” Kono had concluded, “and I promised Xav I’d go sailing with him. But I was wondering if you guys would check into Hauser for me? I know Danny doesn’t think much of Hawaiian religion, but—“

“You leave Danny to me,” Steve had interrupted.

She’d let out a relieved breath. “The thing is—if Hauser is working against him, and I can get Xav to see that, then maybe, just maybe, he’ll reconcile with the groups trying to protect the burial cave just to save face.”

"And we avert further violence by parties unnamed," Steve had said.

"And we avert further violence by parties unnamed," she'd agreed.

+++

And thus Steve had occasion once again to admire Kono’s good instincts. The smallest amount of digging revealed significant chunks of money passing into Hauser’s bank account from Warner Wescott, one of Ackerman’s closest competitors.

Kono had shown Ackerman the figures, and he was halfway to firing Hauser and compromising with the preservation groups already. He didn’t have many moral scruples, but he was too good a business man to let his reputation be tarnished to that extent. But he wanted more visual proof before he made the final decision.

“Right on time,” Danny said, as a heavy black town car pulled into Chin’s street, out of place among the motorcycles and vans of the residents.

They watched it slow to a halt in front of Chin’s house. A thickset man got out, went up the walk to Chin’s door, and pounded.

“Simonofsky,” Ackerman hissed.

Chin opened the door. He’d known what to expect, of course, but you’d never have guessed it from the innocently outraged expression on his face.

Simonofsky, who thought he had the advantage of surprise, put a beefy hand on the back of Chin’s neck and half-pushed, half-dragged him onto his lawn, where the rest of his posse waited.

Steve’s hands itched with the desire to even things up, but he let Hauser’s crew try to get a few good ones in before he turned on the Camaro’s lights and flung open the door.

“HPD,” he yelled, “Nobody move.”

“Down on the ground, fellas, hands behind your heads.” That was Danny, advancing with his gun raised.

One of them, stupider than the rest, made a run for it, but it took Kono all of ten seconds to bring him down with a well-aimed kick.

When the dust settled, Ackerman surveyed the five cuffed men. He stared at Hauser for a long moment—something sad battling something murderous in his face. When he saw the next man in line, though, he almost spat with anger. “Markov—one of Wescott’s personal security detail.”

A moment later, Kono had drawn him aside with a firm hand on his elbow—to let him cool off, presumably, and to drive home the necessity of making amends on the Sunset Acres site.

“Hope she lets him down gently,” said Danny.

“She’ll leave him feeling lucky to have spent even one evening with her,” Steve told him, while Chin laughed his agreement.

  • Knowing the story of Esther I was curious to see how this would play out. This is really gripping and I like your take on the need for respect for cultural and religious beliefs.
    • Thank you! I love that aspect of Esther's story, and it actually fits canonically with the H50 character, so it was fun to write :)

      thanks for reading and commenting!
  • Awesome! I love the teamwork here.
    • Glad you enjoyed it! I love writing the team so much I can't seem to keep any of them out ;)

      thanks for reading!
  • oooh! Not watching H5O anymore, but this was gripping! I like how you tied in religion even if you didn't get to write Judaism :)
    • Yeah, I'm not sure I'd be watching H50 this season if my son didn't enjoy watching it together--but glad you enjoyed this!

      There was one little bit in one S2 episode of Kono interacting with a Hawaiian priest, and I've always wanted more about that, so it was fun to explore.
  • I enjoyed this.
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