When most people thought of Hawaii they thought of sun, sea, palm trees and volcanoes. They saw picture postcards of the beautiful stretches of fine white sand beaches, of azure blue skies melting into clear blue waters. They saw the rollers crashing onto the shores, young people on surfboards enjoying the wild ride until wipe out. The whole image was reinforced as the tourists stepped off the boat or plane, with beautiful girls hanging leis around their necks, welcoming them to paradise.
For many, the illusion continued through their stay, filled with lazy days on the beaches or around the pools, helicopter trips over the active lava flows and boat trips around the smaller islands to find private beaches for fun and play. They enjoyed traditional luaus, drinking Pina Coladas while grass-skirted girls danced to entertain them. Those tourists left with wonderful memories and an eagerness to spread word of their experiences, drawing more people to the hospitality of the islands.
Tourism was good business.
Sean knew the seedier side of the islands; the gangs that ran the casinos, the human sharks that preyed on the unwary tourists with offers of glimpses into the underbelly of the islands, into the passions that ran as hot as the volcanoes.
He nodded and let the coroner start the process of placing what had been a beautiful girl into a body bag. The forensics crew had already taken plenty of pictures of a teenage girl tossed like so much garbage onto the side of the road. She wasn't an island girl, her skin still retaining the paleness that was common to most haole tourists during those early days of their vacation. She had no ID on her and very little in the way of clothing. The ligature marks around her throat and petechiae around the eyes told Sean she had been strangled though the coroner would confirm the cause of death after her examination back in the morgue.
He glanced around the desolate lava field, one that had turned hard and cold over the years. This girl would be the third victim this month in a series of killings with too similar an MO to be the work of more than one killer.
He turned and offered a half-hearted welcome as Chris and Danny came up behind him.
"Another one," Sean stated softly, but he knew the net had closed tighter around the killer with this latest victim. She had struggled hard, desperate to live, and had clawed at her attacker, ripping an earring from her killer that the coroner had found enclosed in her tight fist. They already had a name, Lakopa Koleka, and if his DNA was under her fingernails and on the earring then they had a strong case against him.
Back in headquarters, Sean looked up from his desk as Chris fielded a call from the coroner, waiting with barely restrained patience for the call to end and demanding an update the moment the phone was put down.
"Well?" Sean asked, gaze focused on Chris, and gained a tight nod.
"It's his DNA."
There wasn't much more to say and no point in recriminations because even scum like Koleka had rights in the eyes of the law. Sean hated it but had accepted long ago that his job was to uphold the law rather than take it into his own hands. Still, at times like this he hated knowing another young life had been snuffed out; a life that might have been saved if they could have found just cause to keep Koleka locked up.
He watched as Chris drew in a deep breath before standing up, Danny by his side instantly. Seeing them together made Sean miss his own partner but John had taken some vacation time, heading back to Chicago to see his mother.
"What do you want us to do?" Chris asked Sean.
"Bring him in."
He didn't need to name Koleka because Chris and Danny were the ones who had interrogated Koleka last week over the previous two victims. Unfortunately, the lack of any evidence beyond circumstantial had forced them to let him go. If they'd had the manpower then they might have been able to stop Koleka before he struck again by placing a watch on him, but there had been two weeks between the first two victims and with nothing more than Sean's hunch to go on, Harada couldn't spare the resources.
It didn't make Sean feel any better.
Standing behind the one-way mirror, Sean listened to Koleka's confession and sighed. He knocked on the glass and saw Chris acknowledge his request to draw the interrogation to a close. They had everything they needed and to force any more out of Koleka without his lawyer present could jeopardize the case on a technicality. He watched as Sergeant Kaleo led Koleka out to the booking room.
Lost in thought, he startled when the observation room door opened.
"Hey." Chris gave a tight-lipped smile. "We got him this time. Dead to rights."
The smile eased a fraction even though Sean knew Chris would be blaming himself for having not caught Koleka in time to stop him from killing his third victim, Tricia Thompson.
"Bar?" Sean asked, aware that their shift had ended hours ago, but Chris shook his head.
"Nah. Home. Danny's already headed out. I think he has a date with the new coroner. She's certainly his type." He started towards the door and Sean followed.
"He has a type?" Sean smirked because Danny would make a pass at anyone as long as they were female.
They grabbed their light jackets and wandered out of the station, each of them moving to their own cars with just a, "See you later," floating behind them.
Later turned out to be at the end of a twenty minute drive to Sean's beach house, both cars pulling into the driveway, one behind the other. They moved through the house swiftly, heading for the veranda at the back that led down onto the beach, kicking off shoes and socks as they went. Within moments they were walking on the beach side-by-side and Sean reveled in the feel of the hot, fine sand between his toes and the cooling breeze coming off the ocean. It lifted some of the weight of the day from his mind, reminding him that there was beauty among all the ugliness that he saw from day to day.
By the time they headed back, Sean's spirits had lifted and they were talking softly, sharing in-jokes from the office, and talking of Danny's latest seduction routines that had varying levels of success. While Chris grabbed a blanket to spread over the sand at the foot of the veranda steps, Sean grabbed two cold beers, snapping off the tops before joining Chris. He paused at the top of the steps, watching as Chris pulled off his shirt to reveal toned, sun-kissed skin. The pants followed before Chris stretched out on the blanket, the outline of his half-hard cock visible against the soft cotton of his boxers.
Sean sat down beside him and pressed the cold glass against Chris's side, grinning at the reaction.
"Bastard," Chris stated but the word was soft and full of affection, drawing an equally soft huff of a laugh from Sean as Chris leaned up and took the bottle. Chris watched him take that first long swallow, admiring the line of neck and throat before turning away with a smile.
Drawing up his knees and balancing his forearms loosely on them, Sean played with the bottle's label, picking at the edges as he stared out across the ocean.
"Wasn't your fault," he stated softly, and heard Chris sigh.
"I know. I just keep thinking maybe we could have done something more but..." He trailed off with a frustrated sigh and looked across at Sean, squinting against the bright sunlight. "I know." His smile curved upwards. "Come here."
Sean pushed his bottle deep into the sand so it would stay upright and dropped down flat beside Chris, welcoming the warm hand that drifted under his loose shirt to smooth over his heated skin. Soft lips pressed against his and he lost himself in the gentle reassurance of wanting and being wanted. Their lips slid apart, soft nibbles of kisses pressing along Sean's jaw to his ear.
"I know you have that haole skin to protect but let's get rid of the clothes, hmm?"
Sean chuckled as Chris's fingers worked the shirt buttons and then his pants, willingly cooperating as Chris stripped him naked beneath the hot sun. He felt rather than saw Chris kick off his own boxers, and then moaned in pleasure as Chris draped himself over Sean, skin to skin. He felt Chris's cock hard against his thigh, his own exposed until a hand wrapped around it, stroking him firmly, with just the right amount of pressure, just the right twist.
The pleasure was slow in building, sweat adding just the right amount of lubrication to ease the friction as they moved together, exchanging kisses that deepened in intensity as they drew closer to the edge. Sean's gasp was muffled in their kiss as he came hard, barely aware as Chris's thrusts against him became harder and faster, only stuttering when Chris found his own release, the heat slicking between them.
Chris collapsed against Sean for a moment, head resting on Sean's chest. He pulled back after a while, flopping onto his side beside Sean, breath still coming in pants.
"That was good. I needed that," Chris stated between hard breaths, turning his head and grinning. The grin became manic, eyes lighting up in teasing pleasure. "Last one to the waves makes dinner!"
He was up on his feet and racing across the sand, naked, before Sean had time to blink. Sean threw back his head and laughed as he watched him go, knowing he hadn't a hope of catching him. Instead he stood up leisurely and stretched, body still thrumming in the afterglow of good sex.
Although it was a private beach, Sean picked up his boxers, intending to pull them on for modesty's sake but he froze as he watched Chris dive into the waves, enjoying the clean lines of his lover's body. He looked so free and easy, swimming only ten feet from the beach. Sean wanted to feel that freedom too. Dropping the boxers before he could change his mind, he raced across the hot sand and joined his lover.
He'd seen enough death for one day, and now it was time to enjoy some life.