epilogue to PIG IN A BLANKET








If the past few days didn't include some of the worst experiences of his life, then they were pretty close to the top of the list. Resting hands against the railing of the Palace lanai, Steve McGarrett leaned down, breathing in deeply of the cool October breeze blowing off the sea. Surviving the ordeal through sheer force of will and stubborn tenacity, he found a termination of his energy tonight. The fight over, the good guys victorious, the opportunity of rest finally at hand.


Weary from the spent nerves and emotional roller-coaster, he felt muscles aching from the strain, limbs fatigued, yet the mind still raced in frustrating circles. Beginning a few days before when Officer Olena died, Dan Williams -- Five-0 -- McGarrett -- tumbled into a disorienting spiral toward irreversible ruin. Any officers' death became personal to other cops. When a good policeman went down at the hand of a druggie who couldn't even remember the crime, it became doubly hurtful. Since Olena saved Dan's life earlier in the year, they had become fast friends -- best friends according to the media. Steve would dispute that, but had too much respect for the deceased cop to even mentally quibble over semantics. At any rate, Olena's death became a personal tragedy for every member of the Five-0 team.


The situation escalated from bad to worse when Danny, off-duty, chased a felony suspect and shot, what seemed to be, the perpetrator. Instead, he shot an unarmed teenager. A horrible situation for any policeman, made worse by Dan's natural inclination toward guilt and self-doubt.


Years ago, when Dan killed his first suspect, Steve witnessed his friend's sensitive inner conscience. So young and susceptible that first year, Williams toughened up with time, but the doubts never really left. Danno had tried to resign then and Steve wouldn't allow the young detective to give up. [1] This week the faltering came back full force to haunt Dan and ultimately Steve.


'How do cops handle grief?' McGarrett asked rhetorically, as he stared out at the traffic lighting King Street.


They're not allowed to be anything but controlled and responsible. All too well he knew the curse of serving in public office -- no personal life allowed to interfere with the twenty-four-hour obligation to the public, to the job. Duty never surrendered to personal demands.


So cops grieved in control. In public. Hounded by the press at a cop s funeral. Making public statements to defend his men when they suffered inside. Having his second-in-command, his friend, surrender his badge and gun in front of the media sharks -- one of Steve's most humiliating experiences. Yes, they suffered in public. While it came with the job, Steve didn't appreciate living in a glass house.


From their first meeting Williams struck him as extraordinary, someone exceptional to join the elite Five-0 team. Steve never anticipated the friendship, the big-brother protectiveness he developed for his young colleague. Mutually, Dan fought like a tiger against any threats to Steve, worked like an obsessed overachiever to be the best at his job. And loyalty -- well, devotion and loyalty were just synonyms for Dan Williams. Only in the personal faith department did he become flawed and fall short of the mark.


'Don t give up on me, Danno.'


Setting his Irish tenacity against any threat to his department, his men -- himself -- McGarrett pushed until he found the truth. As suspected all along, his justified instincts about Williams' innocence came to light in the end. When it came to his guys -- his friend -- he would never surrender.


'I'm just glad one of us didn't give up on me.'


Diamond Head would tumble into the sea before he would ever give up faith in his men -- in Danno. Hopefully Danno took this painful lesson to heart to remember in any future crises.


The office door opened. "Steve?"


"Out here."


After running the bluff and bringing the true criminal into the open, McGarrett and Williams followed through with the difficult details. Explaining to the teen victim's mother, booking the felon, returning to the Palace to finish the paperwork. Since Williams' first on-the-job shooting Steve taught Dan to follow through, use duty as a way to work through the emotions of a shooting, a killing, a death of a friend. All of them had lost friends on the force -- part of some cop's lives. Obligations helped get them through the pain.


"I finished the report." Dan dropped some papers on the desk and joined his friend at the railing. "I'm glad it's over."


"Yeah," Steve agreed with a heartfelt sigh. "It's been tough."


"It could have been a lot tougher," he quietly countered. "If you hadn't believed in me, Steve. I can't thank -- "


"You don t have to," McGarrett assured, turning to face his colleague. "Part of the job, Danno."


"More than that, like a big brother, always watching out for me," Williams smirked, shaking his head. "You really saved my life, Steve," he explained quietly, his voice thick. "Not like Chinough did, saving me from an armed suspect. You've done that too," he added as a grateful aside, "but you saved my -- my life. This," he gestured around the office. "My career, being part of Five-0, your friendship -- is my life. My world. If I didn't have this -- you," he shook his head, his voice hoarse, "my life would be meaningless."


The desperate fight to save Dan's career had been born of the frantic need to save a good cop. To keep his good friend on the force -- with Five-0 -- with him. That Danno recognized the motivations and appreciated them -- mirrored them -- became the triumph of the disturbing ordeal.


Strong emotions tightened his throat and McGarrett silently patted his friend on the shoulder and retreated to the office. Unable to respond in words, he opted for a show of more tangible communication. Reaching into his desk, he pulled out some items and returned to the lanai. Holding out his hand, Dan reached out.


Steve placed Dan's Five-0 gold shield and .38 revolver in his hands. With both hands Steve held his friend s grip.


"Welcome home, Danno."