JUST ANOTHER DAY IN
Pouring only a fraction of a
cup of coffee, Steve McGarrett stared into the mug, realizing his actions were
on automatic pilot. He didn't need this nth cup of java any more than he needed
the sugar donut he was about to grab. Two of which sat on the plate next to the
coffee machine. Snagged by an obscure question, Steve wondered who in the
office had a weakness for sugar donuts. Jenny Sherman, the secretary, and the
detectives, except for the boss, took turns bringing in morning treats. Rarely
indulging in the junk food, he speculated on the AM trivialities of the staff.
After nearly twelve years on the job as top cop of
Glancing around the office,
he realized only one clerk in the main area. Quiet for a Thursday morning, he
knew his staff was about their business. He had no concerns they might be
slacking off on this perfect day in paradise. Nearly everyday in
In his cubicle, Dan Williams' intent study of a newspaper precluded notice of his boss standing in the doorway. Amused, McGarrett waited, perusing the upside-down paper. Restaurant section. Steve smiled. Sometimes his friend seemed so transparent it was funny.
"Huhmmm." The throat clearing startled the younger man and Steve forced away a grin. "Hard at work, I see, Danno. Finished with the rundown on Pahoa's bank records?"
Williams hastily folded the papers. "Hi, Steve. Yeah, I finished. I'm going to run out to Kahala and talk to the manager -- Sanders, Mr. Sanders. I'm going to do that right after lunch."
McGarrett tapped the restaurant ads. "Looking for a new place for Japanese food?"
"Yeah, I heard that new
place out at the Kahala mall is great.
Knitting the clues together, McGarrett thought he knew the direction of his friend's machinations. Feeling mischievous, he decided to throw a monkey wrench into the romantic aspirations of his colleague. "Yeah, I heard it was great. You know, I think I'll join you. Shall we go to lunch before or after the bank?" Williams' faced screwed into a fleetingly sour expression, then one of confusion. Obviously Danno wanted someone else as a companion and McGarrett was getting in the way. But how could he possibly tell that to his boss? "I heard Tokyo Grill is expensive, Danno. You sure you can afford it? It's nearly the end of the month."
"Uh -- I -- uh -- well, lunch -- maybe it won't be so bad."
"Great, we'll go Dutch." McGarrett continued to take charge with steamroller action. "I'll get my jacket."
All the way into his office he grinned. Why did he get such evil pleasure at ruining his friend's romantic plottings? Perhaps because Williams had more than his share of passionate liaisons. Maybe, deep down, McGarrett was a little jealous of his friend's flirtations, but honestly considered it just plain fun to tease his friend.
The Hawaiian spring day delivered everything expected of a tropical island: Warm sun, a soft, gentle, wind breezing in from the nearby ocean, white wisps of clouds drifting across an azure sky. Just another day in paradise.
Walking through the mall parking lot, Steve considered life to be nearly perfect. Living in his island heaven, commanding his elite police unit, teasing his friend. What could be better?
"You seemed distracted during lunch, Danno. The tempura not to your liking?"
"More like the prices." Williams sighed in misery. "And that was just for lunch! I didn't have the heart to ask to look at the dinner menu."
McGarrett couldn't resist baiting. "You know what they say. If you have to ask it's too expensive. Too bad. It'd be a nice place to take a date."
They walked past McGarrett's
sedan and on toward the bank. Situated in a corner of the mall lot, the
uniquely designed, circular Bank of Hawaii resided in a scenic, exclusive
neighborhood. Kahala's area touted some of the most
expensive beachfront and inland property in
"So what's her name?"
Williams stuttered the beginnings of a denial, then ruefully grinned. "Am I that obvious?"
"You are. I've seen the signs often enough before, Danno. She a bank employee?"
"Yeah. Her name is Leila Opaka. She's Mr. Sander's assistant. She's been helping me on these paper trails."
"The girl with the long, dark hair and huge soft eyes?"
"Hey, I saw her first."
Steve shook his head in denial. "She's not my type. Too -- I don't know -- too studied in her beauty, in her moves. Like she knows she's being appraised."
"With good reason."
"She's not your type, either, Danno. Too sophisticated."
"I think I should be insulted."
Before entering the bank, McGarrett stopped. Through the large, curved windows they could easily see the people inside. Leila Opaka sat at her desk; postured like a model -- poised and doll-like. Steve warmed to his theme, pointing out her beauty seemed impressive, but with each motion staged and carefully orchestrated. Dan's dates were usually stunners in the looks department, but always had brains and character. Neither of the detectives fell for vapid appearance over empty minds. So certain of his assessment, McGarrett offered to back his claims with a rare bet. Ten dollars said she would not date a cop. Williams, already financially pinched from the expensive lunch, could not resist the dare. The wager was on.
"It's robbery," McGarrett warned fairly.
Nonetheless, Williams stuck with the agreement to the bet.
In the modern styled metal and glass office of the manager, Mr. Sanders, Steve waited for the man to return with records he had requested. Gazing around at the quiet activity of the bank, he felt a ripple of displacement. Last time Five-0 had reason to investigate here it was embezzlement of funds several months before. Frank Pierson, the president, killed and framed his bank manager for the crime. [fanfic -- STORM FRONT]. Chasing down the truth nearly cost Danno his life -- the frightening memories still vivid to McGarrett.
Clearing his thoughts, he looked out to the main bank area, relieved at the uniquely calm day. Williams seemed deep in conversation with Miss Opaka. Her rehearsed moves, from the tapping of a pen to brushing her long, dark, silken hair from her face, seemed too perfect. Danno was smitten. Steve felt guilty -- almost -- that this would be the easiest ten bucks he'd made in a long time. Yes, almost guilty.
Mr. Sanders returned, carrying three large ledger books. Steve opened the door to the private office. As he turned to help with the books, he paused, eyes catching the customers in line at the teller counter. A tall, lanky man in a baggy Aloha shirt seemed familiar. Mr. Sanders asked if he was ready, and Steve turned his attention to the records on the desk.
"This is a hold-up! No one move!"
Steve started at the announcement, automatically reaching for his gun, then stopped. The tall, lean man, Briggs, he just remember, held a sawed-off shotgun on one of the tellers. The shorter man with a blond, scruffy beard wielded an automatic pistol on a customer in line. Through the glass McGarrett looked to Williams, who was reaching for his gun as he glanced at McGarrett. With a curt, negative shake of his head, Steve silently ordered his officer to not provoke any rash action.
"Hey you! Get out here!"
Spotted, McGarrett calmly told Mr. Sanders to do as ordered. He allowed him to go ahead of him as they stepped out of the glass office. Briggs, a paper sack in his hand, waved his shotgun at the tellers as he walked along the counter ordering money dumped in the bag. The shorter blond man started at McGarrett.
"McGarrett!" To his accomplice he shouted. "Lennie, it's McGarrett!"
Steve held his hands away from his sides. "Calm down. Briggs, you can stop this."
In opposition to the mellow advice, Lennie swung his pistol toward the detective. "He's gonna kill us!"
As soon as the robber turned toward McGarrett, Williams drew his .38. Lennie fired an instant before Dan loosed two shots, already moving toward McGarrett as the robber hit the floor. Closing his mind to what had happened to his friend, Dan turned the revolver toward Briggs, who already had a bead on the Five-0 officer. Dan crouched behind the nearest desk as Briggs rained the area with shotgun pellets. In that flash of an instant he'd reasoned the line of fire was too crowded -- Briggs too close to civilians for him to risk a shot.
In the seconds it took to get to shelter, Williams had spotted Steve. Horrified, the quick glance confirmed his worst fears. McGarrett was hit, thrown onto the floor, blood spreading across his tan suit jacket.
"Steve!" Dan hardly breathed as he waited for a reply. Heart pounding hard, he listened carefully for an answer, more anxious with each silent moment. "Steve!"
"Danno." The voice was weak, but at least Steve was alive. "Watch it."
"Shut up, cop!"
Three bullets ploughed into the desk sheltering him. Dan crawled to the other end of the barrier. From this angle he could see the feet of the robber he had downed. He had to know what happened to McGarrett. Quickly, he risked a glance above the desk.
Briggs had changed position and weapons, now holding an automatic pistol in his hand. Briggs moved closer to the bank manager's office, presumably to check on McGarrett. Dan aimed, just as Briggs spotted him. Williams ducked below the desk as more rounds flew into the metal. Then the click of reloading. Dan jumped up; aiming where he thought Briggs should be standing. Unfortunately, the robber had leaped behind the counter and was slightly behind a petrified teller. No clear target. The only progress possible was to relocate, preferably to McGarrett's location. Dan took advantage of the few seconds' respite and dashed to the next desk just as Briggs fired on him. Skidding on top of the angled metal barricade, Williams could now see Mr. Sanders, to his right, huddled behind a long table just outside of the private office.
On his left, two desks over, Leila curled up behind her desk. Dan motioned to her, trying to get her attention. Head down, weeping, Leila was lost to the world. Dan reached around him for a pen pushed off the desk in his flight to safety. He tossed it at Leila. Two pens later she looked up. He gulped down the sympathy he felt at her beautiful tear-streaked face. There was no time to comfort the gorgeous young woman.
Mutely he gave her a signal to pick up and dial the phone. She shook her head and went back to cowering in her hands. Disgusted at the fear, at the denial to help, Williams fumed when he noted this corner desk did not have a phone! Without risking a look at Briggs, Dan scrambled back one desk to grab the phone. Apparently Briggs was too busy shoveling money in his bag, because there was no reaction from the criminal.
Dan rotateded the zero. "Emerengcy. Officer down. Bank robbery in progress.
Pinned down, Dan had no where else to go. Out the glass of the spacious, curved windows, life continued in a surrealistic flow of normalcy. People drove up to the mall, walked in the sun -- just another typical day in paradise. Inside the bank life and death ticked by in a tragic example of harsh reality. His friend's well being still his greatest concern, Dan thought quickly over his options. Help would be arriving soon. Would Five-0 and SWAT forces make Briggs more nervous? Would he start killing hostages? Would he crack, leaving himself open to be taken down? Dan had to be prepared for any eventuality. Never far from his thoughts -- the urgency of getting to McGarrett.
"I'm going to clean out the money and get out. If you cops try to stop me again, I'll kill one of these people here. Ya hear me, McGarrett?"
The voice was tired, weak. Dan judged his friend to be only a dozen or so feet away. At this level he had no way of seeing Steve or reaching him. Frustrated, Dan peaked up, irritated to see Briggs now kept a teller in front of him at all times, dividing his attention between taking money and watching out for McGarrett and Williams.
"Come on, Briggs, give it up! This is an island. Where can you go?"
Bullets answered Dan's demand and he huddled lower. Great warped holes perforated the desk, offering him little protection.
"Shut up, cop. Your buddy is already down! You don't want to join him, do you? Give it up."
More bullets screamed at his location. Again the click of reloading. Dan scrambled around to his right to a wooden table displaying pamphlets and catalogs. He tipped it over a split-second before more bullets came his way, splintering the thick wood. Mr. Sanders was just to his right, a few feet away.
Beyond him, behind another desk, was Steve McGarrett. Blood soaking his shirt and jacket, the head of Five-0 held his left hand under his jacket, probably pressing against a wound. Face haggard and pale, eyes closed, McGarrett slumped in a corner made by a desk and a table. Only the slight movement of his arm across his chest as he breathed proved he still lived.
The quiet call brought McGarrett's eyes opened. He focused, then gave a slight grin to his friend. With a nod he indicated he acknowledged Williams concern. 'Okay,' he mouthed. 'Careful.'
To Mr. Sanders, Dan whispered for him to help Steve. Too frightened, the manager shook his head. So Dan's next goal would have to be to get to McGarrett and make sure he lived long enough until the cavalry arrived.
Now Dan concentrated on taking care of Briggs. Shifting to the left end of the table he could see Leila, still huddled in fear. He could also see out the curved windows. HPD vehicles were pulling up. Duke Lukela directed traffic. He heard the screech of tires from the green LTD rocking to a halt, Chin and Ben jumping out. The forces of law and order arrived, but what effect would they have on Briggs?
Dan leaned over to get a better view of the bank. His heart froze. The blond man's feet were gone! Leaning farther, he saw Briggs still collecting money. Who moved the dead man? Unless the second robber was not dead, and was now moving under his own power and still armed. If so, he was not on the left, so he had to be over to the right -- by McGarrett!
Cursing himself, he knew now he had made a classic mistake. He should have made a dash to recover the gun instead of fleeing in the opposite direction -- toward McGarrett -- when he had the chance. His heroics had been useless. Unable to reach Steve, he now knew Lennie was alive and still a danger, probably to McGarrett. Panic had ruled his thoughts and actions and Steve might pay with his life for the mistake.
"This is Five-0!" Chin, outside, calling with a bullhorn. "Come out with your hands up!"
Dan should have been cheered by the reinforcements. Instead, he worried what Briggs and Lennie would do with this added pressure. From his view, he could see his colleagues lined up outside, armed, ready to storm the bank. So close, but still useless, with McGarrett's life trickling away with each moment.
Scrambling to the right edge of the table, Dan checked for Lennie, then to McGarrett. Still breathing, still in pain, still bleeding. Noting his friend was watching him he read Steve's lips again. 'Stall.' Cheered Steve might have a plan, Dan did as requested.
"It's not too late to negotiate, Briggs. Give up before things get worse."
More shots splintered his shelter. Shifting to the right, Dan briefly crouched above the table to jump to new cover -- McGarrett's location. In an instant he had a good view of the bank, the people down on the floor, Briggs now on this side of the counter, still behind a hostage. To the right, he saw a slow moving blur reflected in the metal of Sanders fancy glass and steel office. Lennie.
Tilted, covered in blood, the man with the pistol was almost on top of McGarrett's position. Hardly a second passed before Williams popped up from his position, fired at the wounded assailant, and dove down, rolling toward the Five-0 leader. As expected, the blond man with the gun fired as well, sending a deadly blast in his direction. The wounded Lennie dropped as Williams skidded behind the table, sliding close to Steve.
Almost immediately, glass crashed, followed by more gunshots. From this new defensive position, Dan couldn't see much, but it sounded like the front doors to the bank might have been shattered. By Five-0 or by Briggs? The shots were definitely from Briggs.
"You cops stay out or I'll start killing hostages!"
"Come out and drop your weapons!"
"I've got two of your cop friends in here, Five-0! You do anything else stupid and I'll kill them first."
Dan sat up against the wall next to his injured boss. Williams caught his breath in sympathetic anguish. His voice grated hoarsely. "How bad you hit?"
McGarrett flinched. "Not bad." His voice low and tight. "Caught a bullet on the top of my shoulder, I think."
Wincing, Dan visually checked the torn jacket, the blood soaking the front of Steve's clothes. Dan touched his friend's cool, clammy hand. Along with the bleeding wound, shock was setting in. Carefully moving the tan jacket aside, Dan cringed at the hole in McGarrett's soaked shirt.
"How can I help?"
"I've got a handkerchief on it, I'll last for a while.
"Any ideas, Steve?"
McGarrett shook his head. "I was hoping you'd have one."
Dan dared a peak around the table, then quickly back to rest his back against the glass wall of Sanders' office. He couldn't see Briggs. Revealing this to McGarrett, he admitted he was out of ideas. Ruefully, he thought with Five-0's top officers stuck in the same corner, they should be able to solve the problem of one nutty bank robber.
"He came in armed for bear," McGarrett whispered. "Cornered. Won't give up. Did you kill the accomplice?"
"I hope so."
"Danno, he got you." On Dan's questioning look, Steve nodded toward Williams' left side. "You're bleeding."
Amazed, Dan touched the moist material and abstractly felt detached at the blood smearing his hand. The pain of the wound hardly registered. Perhaps insulated by shock, more likely preoccupied by the crisis, his mind couldn't focus on the injury at the moment.
"No more risks, Danno. He'll kill you."
Giving a promise to stay safe, Dan reviewed his hostage training. It seemed abstract now that Steve's life hung in the balance. This was no textbook training session. The gun-toting madman was deadly, the damage personal. The dangers were real, the threat to his friend drastic. Exercises meant little in this aching reality. Sweating from tension and excursion, Dan realized his hand touching Steve's was trembling. The smell of blood and powder filled the air. For the first time he noticed the sounds of weeping, moaning. The life of his friend, the lives of innocent people, rested on his shoulders. He was the one here on the scene, on the inside; it was his responsibility to salvage the situation.
Just another day in paradise.
Once again, Chin Ho called for Briggs to surrender. Briggs refused, firing several rounds through the glass windows. Shouting warnings to the police outside, he ordered them to back away while he came out of the bank with hostages.
"Okay, McGarrett, Williams. I'm ready to leave with my money. I'm taking you with me! Get over here or I'll shoot this teller."
McGarrett seemed ready to respond, but Dan put a trembling finger to Steve's hand and shook his head to warn his friend against speaking. The pain of the wound now registering, he shivered in the grip of a chill. "Don't."
With a bloody hand, McGarrett pushed his friend's arm away, and put his fingers on Dan's lips. "I have a plan. You need to play dead. Just follow along. Whatever happens, Danno, follow my lead." He removed his hand and shifted, prepared to stand, tucking his revolver in the small of his back.
"Williams is dead. That psycho killed him!"
Williams' voice tightened. "I don't like this."
"Good. He deserved it for killing my pal Lennie. Now come on, McGarrett! I'm waiting!"
McGarrett ordered Briggs to surrender again and the criminal repeated his ultimatum for the head of Five-0 to come out. Asked for guarantees for his safety, Briggs simply stated the boss cop was the best insurance he had to get off the rock. He wasn't about to blast away his leverage.
"Let the teller go first, Briggs."
"McGarrett, get out here now or I start shooting!"
Dan's plea was an urgent whisper. "Don't, Steve, he'll kill you. You don't have to take the risk."
"You flying between the furniture to get to me wasn't a risk? This is the only way, Danno. Trust me." To Briggs, he calmed the criminal. "I'm coming." Struggling to his knees, he leaned close to Williams' ear, gripping his shoulder. "I don't know if Chin's had time to set up sharpshooters. Even if they're out there, they might hesitate with me in the line of fire. When you have the chance, take him out, Danno. Don't let him get me out to his car."
Momentary panic seized the younger officer. He held out a shaky hand to grip McGarrett's arm. "I'm hit, Steve! How good of a shot can I get like this? With a pistol?"
Steve squeezed the shoulder under his fingers. "I trust you with my life, Danno. You can do it."
"Get out here, McGarrett!" Briggs punctuated the barked order with a gunshot to the ceiling. "I count to ten, and you're not here, this teller lady is dead."
Patting Williams, McGarrett slowly came to his feet. In a show of surrender, he carefully opened the side of his jacket to show Briggs he carried now weapon. Ordered to join the gunman, Steve made a slow, careful trek across the room. Williams crouched at the edge of the table, waiting. He couldn't risk coming up too soon, then the ruse would be over. If he hesitated too long, Briggs might get McGarrett out the door and his chance would be over. Muttering comments about stubborn Irishmen, Dan shifted, noticing the image in the polished metal trimming around Sander's office. Briggs and McGarrett were reflected on the polished surface. They were nearly at the door.
Girding his courage, Dan gradually raised above the table, resting his elbows on the edge. Most of the people in the bank still hovered down on the floor; the teller whom McGarrett replaced sat down against the counter crying. Out the windows, Dan saw numerous police, a few sharpshooters, but none seemed in a good position to take out Briggs.
Pain now numbed his left arm, his body shaky from the injury. With a deep breath he calmed his nerves and focused on his target. McGarrett was gripped on the criminal's left side, giving no good, clear shot. Forced to go for the hardest shot, he tracked the back of Briggs' head in his sights. Almost at the threshold of the front door, Dan hesitated, poised on the breath of eternity -- shoot and possibly hit his friend -- shoot and possibly save his friend.
Stepping across the threshold, McGarrett stumbled. Without analyzing, Williams squeezed the trigger. Briggs and McGarrett went down even as the shot cracked.
Stumbling up and around the barricade, Williams called to his friend as he rushed across the bank. Chin and a few patrolmen crowded around McGarrett. Ben pulled the criminal away. Dan pushed his way through the blue uniforms and sank to the ground next to the downed Five-0 leader. For a moment Dan didn't breath, his heart stilled in terror. Blood was everywhere and it was impossible to immediately tell if it belonged to Briggs or McGarrett. Issuing orders to check Steve, Dan's voice seemed raw and distant to his own ears.
Chin beside him, talking, Dan lethargically grasped. Shivering, a wave of vertigo seemed to spiral the room and he leaned against the Oriental detective. Unable to completely understand the garbled voices around him, Williams watched McGarrett's still, prone form. When McGarrett's head turned, his eyes opened, Williams jumped.
McGarrett gave a curt nod of his head. He smiled. "Good job, Danno. Mahalo."
With a deep breath, Williams regained some equilibrium and found his voice. "Steve -- you're okay?"
"Yeah. But you don't look so good, bruddah."
Williams snorted. "I don't feel very good, either. Don't ever come up with another plan like that, Steve. Ever."
Still smiling, McGarrett patted his friend. "You've got to have faith, Danno. My plans, your skill, how can we lose?"
Williams shook his head. A reply was precluded by the arrival of the ambulance attendants. They wheeled McGarrett out and into an ambulance that quickly sped away. Williams struggled to his feet, insisting he did not need the gurney coming for him. Chin released is hold on the younger man and Williams' knees gave out.
"We'll see you at the hospital," Chin told him. "You need a long rest, bruddah."
Shoulder numb from painkillers, McGarrett felt remarkably well as he surveyed his hospital room. Weak from blood loss, he was disappointed that he was ordered to stay the night in the hospital, but medicated enough to take the disappointment philosophically. By tomorrow he would be sore, but strong enough to do battle with any physicians so incautious as to oppose his release.
A tap at the door preceded Dan Williams. The appearance cheered the boss. Left arm in a sling, the second-in-command looked pale, but apparently well enough to be walking around in street clothes. Just now it occurred to McGarrett that his friend was being released.
"Good to see you're doing all right, Danno. How's the arm?"
"Just a minor wound, the bullet clipped the bone, but nothing serious."
"Maybe they'll release me, too."
Williams' expression of exasperation seemed impatient. "You lost a lot of blood, Steve. Here you can rest and the nurses can keep an eye on you."
McGarrett grimaced. "Trade you places. Maybe you can get a date."
"No thanks. Which reminds me." He fished in his jacket pocket, fumbling with one hand to extricate money from a wallet. He placed a ten-dollar bill on the bed. "You won." On Steve's questioning look. "The bet. About the bank clerk."
"Oh, Miss -- "
McGarrett failed to generate much sympathy. "How did the Williams' charm fail?"
Dan made himself comfortable in a nearby chair. "Things were going fine until Briggs showed up." He shrugged, philosophical. "After today she thinks dating a cop is too dangerous. In fact, she's going to quit her job. She thinks banking is too dangerous. I hear Sanders has asked to be transferred to another island."
"You see, I was right. She wasn't your type at all, Danno."
"I guess I'll never know."
McGarrett was certain. "You know already. You deserve a lot better than her."
"Thanks." The jolted man seemed unconvinced.
Unable to find something bright to cheer his friend, Steve opted for blunt honesty. "She's right about one thing. You make this job more dangerous than it should be."
Incredulous, for a moment Dan was speechless. "What? This from the guy who's spending the night in the hospital from bullet wounds?"
Ignoring the sarcasm, Steve reasonably countered with sincere gratitude. "You were pretty crazy to cross the battlezone just to get to me. Especially with Lennie in the way."
Dan shrugged modestly. "I had to stop him. You were a sitting duck."
"Well, I appreciate your heroics, Danno, but just don't let it happen again. Please."
"No problem, I love living in paradise. As long as you promise not to get caught in any more bank robberies."
"You can bet on it."
Smirking, Dan refused that bet. He had a feeling he would only end up losing money to his boss again.