INTERLUDE by G M


There was a great deal of difference between Singapore and Hong Kong, also a great many similarities. Both held the exotic mysteries of the Eastern cultures, both held the oriental magic unique to that part of the world.

For McGarrett, Singapore and Hong Kong were linked in spirit. He and Williams had flown to Singapore to find the beginnings of a drug connection which ended in Honolulu. [episode -- YEAR OF THE HORSE]

 

Mission accomplished, the two detectives were on their way home. It was not a moment too soon for McGarrett. Once, Singapore brought back some harrowing, some pleasant memories of his flight from danger shared with Nicole Wylie many years before when he escorted the protected witness back to Honolulu. The East no longer held the breath of fascinating mystery, but the memory of agony in the shadow of Wo Fat. It had been over two years and still his experience in Hong Kong was fresh in his mind.

 

He glanced over at Dan in the aisle seat. Typically, Williams was conversing with one of the stewardesses. It took the younger detective and stunning young woman an inordinately long time to cover a menu of the drinks and snacks available to passengers. Then they went on to review the in-flight movie. Next would be the inevitable question of what the stew was doing tomorrow or the next day. Steve would lay odds she would be spending her time with a Five-0 detective.

 

McGarrett looked at his watch. They were still an hour out of Hawaii. The meal and the movie were over and he found himself at loose ends. He was edgy. Too keyed up to sleep and not as dedicated as his assistant in flirting with the stews, he closed his eyes and vainly sought to relax. He wondered how long it would be before Wo Fat would stop haunting him.

 

Dozing unfitfully, surreal images of Wo Fat, Jin Wu and tilting perspectives swirled through his mind. Chinese commands echoed past his screams.

 

"Steve. Steve!" He woke up to find Dan shaking his shoulder. "We're about to touch down in Honolulu."

 

McGarrett rubbed his face, brushing away the last, vague remnants of agitation.

 

"You okay?" Williams wondered. McGarrett nodded. "Don't eat the Mandarin Chicken next time you fly, Steve," Williams advised with a smirk.

 

Steve was wary. "Why?"

 

"Did you know you talk when you're sleeping?"

 

McGarrett scowled. "What did I say?"

 

Williams was cryptic. "Some pretty strange stuff." With a grin he said, "It is nice to think that next time we run into Wo Fat we'll have lasers."

 

Amusement caused his lips to twitch into a near smile. "That would be something." He felt the tension ease away. The wheels had just touched the runway on Oahu. They were home.

 

They had just successfully completed a tough assignment. He was with a friend who always tried to lighten the load whenever it seemed too heavy for one. There was a lot to smile about. He wondered why he let himself get carried away with gloom and doom. And why did a sense of foreboding cling to his thoughts?

 

Seated toward the front of coach class, they would be some of the first passengers to debark. Once the plane stopped, they gathered their carry-ons and stepped to the aisle. The curtain separating them from first class was opened. From the corner of his eye McGarrett glanced the face of a dark haired Oriental woman just leaving the plane. Suddenly, every nerve in his body was keyed to crisis level.

 

"Steve, you look like you've just seen a ghost."

 

McGarrett knew the blood had drained from his face, reflecting all the tension and apprehension abruptly seizing his thoughts. So disconcerted, he had no response or cover up to offer Williams. Now alerted, Dan followed his gaze, but saw nothing alarming

 

"Let's go," McGarrett urged.

 

Pushing through the passengers, Steve briskly broke a path as quickly as he could. Dan was right behind him. During the rush, Steve kept repeating to himself that it could not possibly be Jin Wu. She was gone, her diplomatic papers revoked. Of course, that had never stopped Wo Fat. Why should it stop her? But there was no sign of her anywhere in the airport.

 

"Who did you think you saw, Steve?"

 

Only a split second of inner debate took place. Then McGarrett answered, "No one. Just a fragment left over from the dreams."

 

No sense in worrying Danno over ghosts. When he returned to the office he would check with Goldman, McCall or Solo to see if they knew the current whereabouts of Jin Wu.

*****

It was a clear dismissal. Dan took the cue and didn't question. However, he kept a careful eye on his boss as they coursed through the airport. At arrival gate Eleven's double escalators, Williams stopped, captivated by the vivid memories evoked at the place where his life took a horrific turn not so long ago. The location where Jin Wu nearly convinced him to kill McGarrett. A thin, dark-haired Oriental lady stepped onto the escalator, coming down toward him. Gasping, he felt his body go cold. A touch on his shoulder brought him back to the present.

 

"When I saw her on the plane I made the same mistake," Steve quietly spoke into his ear. "But it's not Jin Wu, Danno. This is not last year. We're past that now."

 

In silence, Williams stared as the Asian woman walked past, oblivious to the reactions of the detectives.

 

"Easier said than done," Dan breathed. "We're past Jin Wu and Hong Kong. But the memories are still pretty devastating, aren't they?" Warily, McGarrett asked about the reference to Hong Kong. "You talk in your sleep, remember?" Dan reminded.

 

"We ARE past it, Danno. Sure, we'll never forget, but they're just memories, now. Ghosts of our nightmares."

 

With a nod, Williams accepted the encouragement.

 

Relieved, Steve moved them along, not wishing to delve further into a debate about torments of the past. Jin Wu and Wo Fat were behind them now. One day they might come back to haunt them, but they couldn't limit themselves worrying about possible encounters with enemies. They had to keep stepping forward, not looking back.

 

PAU