Epilog to:

Gun for McGarrett

 

 

 

NEVER OFF DUTY

 

by

GM

 

November 1974

 

The odor of fresh paint was still fresh, making the air cloying in the stifling, musty offices.  As Dan Williams crossed to McGarrett's private sanctuary, he opened the door and the aroma increased to a nearly overwhelming magnitude.  How could Steve stand to work in this?  Especially recovering from serious injuries, Dan wondered as he walked straight to the lanai doors and opened them wide.  The clean morning air brushed in like a wave and he stood on the lanai for a moment appreciating the pleasant view of their little corner of Eden.

 

A few days ago, their island utopia had tilted into destruction and tragedy when a bomb had exploded in this office, almost killing McGarrett.  A new mobster in town had wanted to prove how tough he was, that he was the fastest gun in the west.  What better way, he thought, than killing the top cop of the Islands?  It had almost worked, Dan shivered, despite the warmth of the sun on his skin.   Steve could have been killed in the blast.  Then the thug, Savage appropriately enough, sent an assassin to finish the job.  Two assassins, he corrected.  One obvious, one a cunning snake in the grass of paradise.

 

With an involuntary snarl escaping his throat, Dan winced at the memory at how close the hit-woman had come to killing McGarrett.  Marni Howard had been a third lethal weapon --  a very attractive Trojan horse -- in the diabolical scenario to gun down the boss cop of Five-0.  She had slipped under their defenses completely.  Dan had even been amused at her flirtations with Steve -- and had encouraged Steve to pick up on her obvious advances!  Not only had Williams proven his habitual weakness for a pretty face could be dangerous, he had pushed his friend right into her deadly path.  Good thing McGarrett's usual sixth-sense was on full alert despite his injuries.  Steve had figured her out and she had literally and figuratively come to kill him with an empty gun.

 

Entirely too close, Dan sighed as he turned back into the office.  He came to an instant halt when he saw McGarrett standing there by the desk.

 

"Deep meditation for a Thursday morning, Danno," McGarrett assessed pleasantly, scrutinizing with a hint of speculation and amusement.  "What's up?"

 

"Just airing the place out," he responded with a shrug.  On his friend's skeptical expression he ruefully continued, "Just thinking that security has been a little lax lately."

 

Still stiff and sore from the explosion, McGarrett moved over to his chair behind the desk and eased into it.  "Yeah, the bomb should have been screened."

 

"Marni, too."

 

"Yeah, she was good, wasn't she?" he ruefully admitted.

 

"Almost good enough," he snapped back angrily.  “I should have been more alert for a back-up threat.”

 

McGarrett's eyes narrowed.  "A back-up from the back-up?  That hit man they sent in and then killed -- that was moxy,” he shook his head, almost admiringly.  “But Marni -- yeah --I nearly missed her, too.  Don't blame yourself for being fooled.  We all were."  He studied his colleague for a moment.    Wryly, he observed, “Falling so easily for a blond.  You’re rubbing off on me, Danno. Guess my excuse is the blow to the head from the bomb.”

 

Sitting on the edge of the desk, Williams smiled at the easy joking from his boss, but he saw it as just that, an attempt to lighten the mood.  He knew Steve had never been that taken in by the -- blond bombshell -- he automatically categorized and refrained from verbalizing the bad pun.

 

“You never really were fooled, though.”  His tone was complete admiration.  “You didn’t let down your guard.  Do you ever?”

 

McGarrett’s laugh resonated with regret.  “I don’t know.  Tough when you’re a cop who never goes off duty.  She told me that and she was right.  I never do.”

 

“Good cops shouldn’t,” Dan countered, but acknowledged the pang of regret rippling in his heart; even sympathy for his friend’s regiment for work. 

 

“Maybe the best cops can do both,” Steve quietly sighed.  “Balance normal life and work.  I can’t.  Or won’t.”

 

The rest of the staff could close this all off when they left this building, but Steve rarely did.  Didn’t leave the building enough -- or rarely left behind the work completely.  Dan wondered if his boss would ever be able to really close out this part of his life.  At some future time, Steve expected him to take over this big office some day.  It was a day that Dan did not relish.  He wouldn’t mind carrying on the vision of Five-0, and calling the shots, but it was never something that was integral to his being like it was to Steve’s.  As much as he tried, that part of the McGarrett principle he could not emulate.  Five-0 belonged to Steve and always would.  Maybe that was why no pretty blond could really get under his skin -- because nothing could.

 

Would there ever be a retirement from all this?  Could Steve ever really leave even for a day off and keep from thinking about the work?  Sometimes they took time off together for sailing or tennis or jogging.  Business was never far from their conversations.  Steve could never seem to just drop it.

 

Fortunately, McGarrett was alive to show that they had a lot of years ahead to keep working on McGarrett and getting him to ease up from the job.  And maybe with consistent pressure, Dan could ease Steve into enjoying life a little more.

 

“Well now’s your chance,” Dan pointed out.  “Take a holiday.  Go do something fun.  I promise the office will be in one piece when you come back.”

 

“Tempting,” McGarrett countered, but without enthusiasm for the idea.

 

So, McGarrett was smarter than Savage and all his convoluted ploys.  And more clever than the crafty Marni.  With more nine lives than a cat.  But it was Marni who was right after all.  Steve could not disconnect himself from the job.  He was never off duty.  This time it saved his life.   As he stared out at the lovely lawns and trees, felt the ocean breeze and the warm sun, absorbed the glorious sights, textures, sounds and smells of paradise, Dan wondered if it was too high a price to pay.

 

 

PAU