Sequel to:TO THE WALL






August 1968



"I thought I was in charge of Five-0."

"I'm not questioning your authority, Steve --"

"It sounds like it to me. Sir."

"Oh, don't get your Irish up now."

Steve McGarrett exhaled deeply, biting back another scathing remark to his boss, the Governor of Hawaii. These impromptu breakfast meetings never boded well, and walking into the Capitol offices this morning Steve knew there were storm clouds on the horizon. He was girded for opposition the minute he stepped into the room. Coffee and danishes aside, this was a confrontation and one on the most basic level. The battle for control.

"When I signed on to head Five-0 you gave me complete autonomy over my unit."

Governor Jameson sat back, sipping his coffee, staring at his police chief over the rim of the cup. Placing the china cup back on the saucer, he shook his head. "I am not trying to intrude on your authority, Steve. Just hear me out." His glare indicated he had had enough sparring and was ready to be heard whether the cop liked it or not.

Cooling off and mentally taking a step back from the battle line, McGarrett gave a nod of approval.

"First of all, I like to be informed of these policy changes before I read about it on the front page." The tone was long-suffering asperity. He was not blaming McGarrett for the failings of the press. "You know I hate to be surprised by the reporters.

Snorting in sympathy, McGarrett could relate to that. "Yes, sir."

The morning paper's front page still made McGarrett livid. Along with news on Vietnam, the latest Apollo flight, college protesters on the mainland, the Star-Bulletin had decided McGarrett's naming of a new second-in-command for Five-0 was front page copy! Page three had some side articles about the controversial McGarrett, Five-0 and Danny Williams -- who was the newly promoted officer.

Controversy seemed to be an integral part of life at Five-0. McGarrett's appointment as the head of the police unit had been met with debate and contention. Nine years later Steve was still battling prejudice against his Navy Intelligence background. Some still thought he was not qualified to lead the state's police force.

When Danny Williams was hired onto the squad there were more protests. Older, more experienced officers were bypassed in favor of the young, enthusiastic, but untried HPD detective Steve had chosen.

It came as no surprise, therefore, that naming Danno as his right-hand man would be met with opposition. Within the ranks of the unit, there was no problem. When Steve had announced it to Danny, then told Chin and Kono, there had been little surprise -- except from the astonished Williams. Steve hid a little smile at the thought of that moment when he told Danno he was taking over the second seat. Almost as shocked as when Steve had invited him to join Five-0 {fanfic -- ALOHA AIKANE}

"I am not questioning your judgment, Steve," the Governor continued. The detective braced himself. When the boss qualified a statement like that it meant he was not going to like the rest of what the big man had to say. "But are you sure Williams is ready for this?"

McGarrett's voice was dry, firm and resolute. "No question. He's the right man for the job."

"I hate to quote the papers in matters of policy, Steve, but he is inexperienced --"

"Which doesn't mean he isn't qualified," Steve cut in sharply. "Look, Governor, it doesn't matter what the reporters, or even the rest of Hawaii thinks. I've worked with Danno, I've seen what he can do under pressure." He sobered when he thought of the recent metamorphosis of Williams into a mature, tough, exceptional cop. Honed by an event that had instantly galvanized him under pressure. "He can handle the job."

"Not just because he saved your life?"

McGarrett didn't touch the still healing wound on his head, but he could still feel the soreness as he thought back to the last week. Pinned down by a dangerous felon, McGarrett, Chin, and innocent tourists could have all been killed. Williams had been the one to turn the tide and save them. {fanfic - TO THE WALL} He had handled a life and death crisis with deft skill, while also juggling the political ramifications of danger to civilians. Yes, he had saved McGarrett's life. At the same time he had proved to Steve, beyond a doubt, that he could handle anything under pressure. Most importantly, he knew the young officer could handle Five-0 -- the most important part of Steve's life -- with responsibility.

"Not just because I owe him, no." It was going to be an uphill battle, he foresaw. A lot of people weren't ready for Danno to hold such an important position. What mattered was that Steve trusted him absolutely. "He's the one I trust to back me up."

"You'll be leaving soon for that conference in Switzerland --"

"And that's why I don't have a problem leaving Five-0 in Danno's hands."

They shared the same vision of the future for Five-0, and Williams was an over-achiever when it came to obeying McGarrett. Steve could leave the islands and not worry about things back at the office because he knew Danno would handle policy or enforcement with equal talent. In continuity with Steve's philosophies.

"This won't be easy," the Governor sighed. "According to Joe Boyd there are some in HPD --"

"Governor, please don't quote me from that yellow journalist!"

Jameson smiled. "All right, Steve, Five-0 is your department. I'm not second-guessing you, I'm just warning you, this is going to be a hard decision to live with. You have opposition from nearly all sides and it's going to make your job tougher." All humor vanished. "You know when you leave the heat will be on Williams. They're going to test your new boy every time he makes a decision, in everything he does."

"Five-0 can handle it," McGarrett assured.

Jameson stood, indicating the meeting was at an end. They shook hands and Steve left, walking across the upper hall of Iolani Palace to the Five-0 wing across from the Governor's side of the old building. Behind the Palace construction was underway for a big new capitol building. It couldn't be soon enough. Being under the same roof as the Governor invited too close of scrutiny. McGarrett looked forward to the freedom of the Palace being exclusively Five-0's.

It was early yet and McGarrett didn't expect anyone else in the office, so he was surprised when he smelled coffee on the hot plate and saw Williams in the cubicle next to his office. Engrossed in the morning paper, Williams didn't hear him come in. From the frown on Danno's face, he must be reading the commentary about his appointment.

"Don't believe everything they say, Danno," was McGarrett's quiet advice.

Williams jumped, quickly folding the paper. "Steve! Hi." He grimaced and pushed the paper aside. "Guess you read what everybody thinks --"

"What a few malcontents think about my decision?" McGarrett stepped in and grabbed the papers, crumpling them up and throwing the wad into the trash can. "That's what I think of their opinion." He sat on the corner of the desk. "One of the first things you should have learned when I recruited you for Five-0, was that no matter what we do we are going alienate some people."

"Yeah," the young man agreed, a sour expression on his face. "There were plenty who didn't like me coming aboard."

"That's because they wanted something for themselves. They were looking at a narrow, selfish picture. They were not thinking of what was best for this unit. That's my job."

The door to the outer office opened and McGarrett stretched to see that it was May. He nodded for Williams to join him in his office. They each grabbed a mug of coffee and Steve closed the door behind them. Taking a seat in one of the matching chairs in front of the desk, he indicated this was going to be an informal discussion, and Dan sat beside him in the other white leather chair.

There were a lot of fantastic qualities about Williams, Steve ruminated as he sipped the hot, black liquid. Why couldn't everyone see what he saw when he looked at the young man? Because looks could be deceiving? Because most people who were uninformed or jealous or ignorant of the facts criticized and attacked rather than waited to see what would happen.

What Steve saw in the new detective was an amazing mixture of enthusiasm, talent and optimism. He saw incredible loyalty and courage. And after their experience with the criminal, who tried to take out a lot of people last week, he saw a quality that was a little frightening in Williams -- fearless allegiance. Williams would do anything for Steve. Anything. Even lay down his own life. That was why McGarrett knew he was the right man to be his back up, to take on the mantle of authority around here when Steve was out of the picture. Devotion, not just to McGarrett, but to what Steve believed in -- in what Five-0 was all about.

Wounded, unable to save himself, Chin, or the other people in danger, Steve had to rely on his newest officer to juggle a criminal, threat, and the public and come out saving lives. In that crisis, Steve had seen the danger Williams would face to save him. That was not a gift to be taken lightly, and Steve knew he would have to be careful that Danno's bravery did not turn into reckless self-sacrifice.

"There's a great poem," Steve began quietly, intent, assured he had the complete attention of his officer. "It talks about being the 'master of my fate, the captain of my soul.' You've probably heard it." Dan indicated that he had. "We shape our own destinies, Danno. Not from bad reviews, I hope," he wryly suggested. "But from how we react to the things that life throws at us. Like you reacted last week. Your decisions in a crisis came from natural leadership ability, from innate bravery."

Dan offered a faltering smile at that, but the faith did not reach his expression or his serious eyes. Steve reminded himself that one of Danno's faults was his lack of self-confidence. A trait McGarrett had in abundance, so hopefully he could instill a little of that in his right-hand man.

"I know you don't let reporters bother you, Steve, but I'm not used to these attacks," Williams soberly admitted. "I have to work with these people in the DA's office. In HPD. Did you see that some guy --"

"Yeah, an anonymous source?" McGarrett snarled. "He certainly had the integrity of his convictions when he blasted you and so courageously withheld his name!" His bark echoed in the still room. "We're going to give that opinion all the merit it deserves!" He calmed down a bit, returning to a reasonable tone. "We can't let these detractors get to us, Danno. We know we're right on this and they're not." He grew serious. "You proved that to me out in Waimanalo last week. You're the right man for the job, no question. Don't let anyone shake you from that certainty." He offered a smile. "You are shaping your destiny here. And I'm happy it includes Five-0."

A little embarrassed at the praise, Williams smiled. "Thanks, Steve. I hope I can live up to your confidence."

"You will. And you'll get your opportunity next week."

"Next week? I thought you weren't leaving --"

"Remember you said I needed a vacation? A little extra holiday on the ski slopes while Iím in Switzerland?" McGarrett smiled, gaining entirely too much pleasure out of tormenting his new second-in-command. "I'm taking an extra week off."

Williams seemed a little pale. "So I take over --"

"Yeah, next week Five-0 is all yours, Danno." Sincerely, he patted the younger man on the shoulder. "And the destiny of my unit couldn't be in better hands."