Malama Pono

Malama Pono
by templemarker

Notes: Written for entwashian in Yuletide 2010, who wanted Chin gen.

***

Chin stood on the porch of his cabin and watched the rain fall.

He was not a maudlin man; he carried his scars without shame, and even with all that he’d lost he had never once bowed his head.

At least, not where others could see. But here, in the place he and his father had built with their two hands, there was space for him and his thoughts.

Being a part of 5-0 changed everything. Chin had kept his head down for years, doing what he could when he didn’t think anyone would see him, and ducking behind the scenes the rest of the time. Nothing quite like a dirty cop to bring out all kinds of grievances–people who didn’t even know him had his face memorized, and crossed the street when they saw him.

But now–now he had some of his respect back. He had people he trusted watching his six, and hell, just having Kono in his life again would have been enough.

He hadn’t been a dirty cop. He hadn’t done the things that floated around about him; at least, not most of them, and the rest were always with the shield clear in his head. But it got hard to look himself in the eyes some mornings, and that scared him more than being isolated ever could. If he had ever believed, for one minute, that he deserved this…

He would have lost something more precious than respect.

Chin’s father would say, “Life is what you make of it,” which is something Chin’s grandmother would say, and perhaps his great-grandmother before. It had sounded like nothing more than a meaningless proverb to Chin for most of his life; but now he understood it.

He had lost everything, things he’d never ever realized that he held in the palm of his hand, or in his heart; but he took what was left after all else had been stripped away and built something new. It was smaller, this new life of his. It had meaning.

Two years ago he’d called the EMTs in calmly, assuredly, when he heard his neighbor scream as she broke her hip on a fall. Mrs. Rosenberg stopped in once a week, with a casserole of some kind, and they talked for hours about Hawaii after the war and her Navy husband and her family back in New York.

Eight months after they took away his career, he pulled a kid out from the path of an oncoming car, some stupid haole surfer talking on his cell phone and not watching the road. The kid’s name was Sami, and his mother was Julia. They played catch in the park once or twice a month. Chin was teaching Sami about soccer.

Sometime after Chin started spending more time out in this cabin and less time ducking former friends in the city, he was hiking along the river line and came across Maneke, a guy trekking by himself. Maneke had gotten himself pretty damn lost, and sprained his ankle with fifty pounds of weight in his pack. Chin took the pack, and helped him through the rest of the forested land back to the ranger station. The ranger was his cousin’s best friend, would barely look at Chin to help Maneke inside, but Maneke swore up and down that Chin would always have a place to stay in New Zealand, and sent him a card every Christmas.

Even old McGarrett had him over once, maybe twice, for cards and beer; bullshitting with Chin so that he almost felt normal again. Chin tried not to feel pitied, but he was grateful for that simple connection.

No one, not one of the men and women he had served with for more than a decade, stood up for him when IA came for his ass. Chin had never felt smaller than when he was looking at the blank faces of the people who were supposed to have his back for the weeks and months before it finally, almost a relief, ended.

Now Chin woke up in the morning and went to work with his head held high. Working 5-0 wasn’t the easiest job, not when his teammates were as high-strung and temperamental as Williams and McGarrett. But it was worthwhile.

The rain was soft this evening, and the wind felt cool on Chin’s toes. He stared out into the forest, listening to the birds call and the rustle of leaves. When he first started to come out here, he’d had to rebuild a lot of the structure, patch some holes, plug some leaks. His father, a cop himself as was his brother and father before him, hadn’t known what to do about his son, and settled somewhere in between. He never cut Chin out of his life, but it was awkward in a way it had never been before. Still, his dad had come out here to help him rebuild the place they’d built when Chin had been a younger man.

Chin could get lost in the activity, spend weeks out here without seeing someone else. His father came and reminded him there was a world out there, even if it wasn’t his in the same way as before.

Chin’s hands were steady on the railing of his porch and watched the rain fall, and knew it to be good. He wasn’t the same man he was before he worked undercover, before IA made him a walking target, before his family and friends and professional pride had been sloughed away like so much driftwood. If he was a different man now, he was one who know the deepest reaches of himself and had come out the other side. He was a man who knew from loss and how to return from loss.

Well. Perhaps that was something he was still learning. But he had help, and good work to do, and a reason to wake up in the morning and not feel helpless.

Chin was a man who would reclaim what he had lost, and build something new.

Leave a Reply