Suicide By Cop

by gm and Karen S

 

SEQUEL TO

TOO PERSONAL -- fanfiction epilog to: A VERY PERSONAL MATTER

 

A VERY PERSONAL MATTER -- episode

-- An old Navy friend of Steve’s asks for help when his son dies of an overdose.  Tom Riordan, the friend, thinks the doctor negligent, even responsible for the death of his son.  McGarrett goes after the doctor with serious consequences all around then finally finds the doctor is innocent.

 

April 1979

 

Fate didn’t often conspire to make things perfect in his life, but Dan Williams appreciated the conflux of elements that brought him here at this moment in time.  Living in paradise and working as one of the top cops in the state was a dream come true anyway, so life was pretty good to begin with.  No complaints.  But today was beyond the usual top-notch kind of day in paradise.

 

For a while, it looked like he would miss the opportunity to arrive before the race, just like Steve, since he was obliged to stay in Honolulu for a trial today.  However, the trial had been postponed for the whole weekend and that was perfect.  Tomorrow, Saturday, was the start of the Maui/Oahu Invitational sailing race; a three day weekend at the KAANAPALI BAY RESORT – set-up (party) on Friday, actual race on Saturday, follow up ceremony (party) on Sunday.  As Steve’s crew he would be here for all the race festivities -- that almost came out like kismet!

 

Walking into the lavish resort, Williams was amazed and impressed with the total luxury and opulence -- in a uniquely tropical setting -- of the brand new mega-hotel.  He had come over from Lahaina by taxi, and was treated like royalty when he checked in at the lobby.  For a moment, he had to stand still and revel in the utter elegance of the setting: The lobby was three stories, open air at the top of a huge skylight.  Three sides open to the mildly warm Maui weather.  In the center of the lobby/complex, a three-story waterfall cascaded down a lava formation into a pool/seating area.  The bottom of the pond was a mosaic tile scene depicting demi-god Maui subduing the sun to slow the days and make them longer.  Colorful Koi swam lazily in the spacious waterway.

 

Kahoolawe and Lanai are visible from the makai lobby.  West Maui hills to the far right.  In the bay, in the winter, there would be whales visible cavorting in the ocean.  Lots of pristine white sand beach, palm trees and lava rock points edged a lagoon.  Outrigger canoes and surf skis threaded the water.  This little corner of paradise was far enough out of Lahaina to give it an isolated island feel.  Hovering, plentiful staff members made sure it was not a rustic or primitive paradise, but one of decadent splendor. 

 

This resort was something of a new concept for the relatively undeveloped Maui, and generally for Hawaii.  There was THE KUKAILIMOKU HALE on the Big Island, but that was more focused for the jet-setting single swinger with active sports and luxury pampering in mind.  KAANAPALI BAY RESORT featured spas and two nightclubs and dance instructors, but there was so much more.  A golf course designed by a Masters pro, tennis coached by a Wimbledon player.  Yachting run by an America’s Cup finalist.  On a more leisurely scale there was lei making in the garden, classes on yoga or tai chi on the makai lawns, a fully equipped gym, swimming instructions by a former Olympian.  With the family in mind, there were tours for whale watching, a whole plan of kid’s activities and for the wealthy -- or serious window shoppers -- a van to take them in to Lahaina for up-scale shopping.

 

His bag had already been taken and he was assured his check in was also already handled. Nice to live like royalty once in a while, he sighed in satisfaction.  Dressed in a casual aloha shirt and slacks, he felt he probably blended in with the rest of the clientele.  That was a nice idea.  His only goal for this weekend was to be just another player in the yacht race.  He expected Steve and he would mingle and for three days forget they were cops -- having all the other participants around them forget they were Five-0 -- and just have good time.  To this end, he was not wearing his extra piece -- the .22 he usually strapped to his ankle.  That was in his duffle bag he would take on the yachting trip.  Not that he expected trouble on the water, but because he felt too vulnerable without a weapon within easy reach. 

 

Having been given directions from the valet who opened his cab door (something he was not used to at all!) he reluctantly ambled away from the amazing lobby, to a wing on the makai side where a nautical sign proclaimed YACHT CLUB.  He hoped to get time later in the afternoon to explore the incredible resort.  The race started early in the morning, though, and there would be no time then to enjoy the plush environment.  Maybe he would treat himself to a spa experience this afternoon?

 

Stepping down to an open-air bar decorated in white and blue sea-oriented motif, he was instantly impressed by the long, huge teak wood bar.  The real stunner was the tasteful and large lanai deck crowded with tables overlooking the docks.  Many of the slips were already filled, he saw, in anticipation for the 1st ANNUAL MAUI/OAHU KAANAPALI BAY RESORT INVITATIONAL RACE.  It was a clever ploy for the new resort to sponsor a race with local sailors who were, almost to the man, prominent citizens of the state.  This would gain the KAANAPALI BAY RESORT huge publicity and lots of good will.  The Governor himself was scheduled to be here to kick off the big event. 

 

Fortunately, with the court appearance cancelled, he could attend the pre-race festivities today.  Duke was manning the office in Honolulu and now Dan could help Steve with preparations on the boat then crew with him back to Oahu.  Through the bar, exiting one of the many open, non-wall sides facing the marina, Dan ambled out to the lanai and scanned the slips, but did not see any sign of McGarrett’s sleek sailing boat SEA CHALLENGER.  He strolled back inside, swerving around nice, nautical-themed wooden tables and approached the bar hoping to get a cold beer.  The bartender, friendly and smiling, introduced himself as Mamoa, and waited patiently as Dan looked over the list of impressive and available drafts.

 

Mamoa, don’t let this man pay for anything, it’s on my tab.”

 

Dan looked up and smiled at the sight of his generous host who had arranged for his free room and VIP treatment.  “Nick!”

 

He enthusiastically shook hands with the Hawaiian about his height and build with a little more bulk.  Nick Kamekona had worked with Five-0 on and off in his HPD career.  When he found a cushy and well-paying job as the assistant security chief of this hotel’s sister resort in Lahaina, he took early retirement from HPD.  Just this year he had been promoted to be the security chief of this new resort.  Worst of all, he took along the Five-0 prized secretary Jenny Sherman as his wife and transplanted her over here to Maui.  The office had never been the same -- the lead secretary job filled since by pleasant, competent, but not-the-same girls.  No one could mother and pamper the Five-0 guys like Jenny, and he still missed her.

 

“Great to see you, Danny!”

 

“Hey, mahalo for the nice indulgence, Nick.”

 

“My pleasure.  Besides, I’d have nothing but trouble at home if I didn’t treat you right.  Which I would anyway.”

 

A voice from behind agreed.  “You have that right, Nick.”

 

Dan spun around and was immediately enveloped in a crushing hug by the short dynamo, Jenny Sherman Kamekona.  She muttered comments of affection into his shirt.  Her reaction was more than he expected, but it surfaced a deep level of both pleasure and regret.  Intense delight at seeing one of his favorite people -- a woman he considered ohana -- and regret that this was the first time he’d seen this great couple since they married three years before -- disappointment that he no longer saw this special lady every day anymore.

 

Pulling back, Jenny just beamed at him, then looked like she was going to get overly and overtly emotional.  Then gave him another hug.

 

To cover his own thick emotions, Dan commented, “Hey, we only live an island apart.”

 

“It’s just so good to see you.  I’ve missed you so much.”  Then her voice took on a familiar reprimand tone.  “And this is your first visit!  Maui no ka oi,” she reminded.

 

Noting Nick was smiling in amusement, Dan accepted this as his long-accrued mothering for the time and reluctantly disengaged.  “I’m here now.”

 

“About time.”  She kept one arm around him and looked to her husband.  “When was Steve scheduled to come in?”

 

“Within a half hour probably, according to his last radio message.  I’ve been keeping tabs on some of the more high profile entrants due in this afternoon.” 

 

Nick gave orders to Mamoa and Jenny led Dan to a table just inside the bar, but with a perfect view of the harbor.  The sea breeze wafted around them, the boat docks only a few feet away separated by a walkway.  Within the bar, the shelter kept them cool, protected from the tropical sun.  When Nick came back with cold drinks, he explained where Steve’s boat would be docked, and they could act as a little welcoming committee.  The race was not due to start until tomorrow, but most sailors took advantage of this day of sailing over to get settled and then prepare for a gala reception tonight with the Governor and several local luminaries.

 

“So, did Steve invite anyone as his escort?” Jenny wanted to know, all too casually.  “He was here last year with Constance Kinkaid.”

 

“No,” Dan smiled.  “He didn’t bring anyone this time.  And how could you forget I don’t gossip?”

 

“It’s not gossip.”

 

Nick laughed.  “It’s gossip,” he sided with his old colleague.  “Not very interesting either.  What I want to know, Danny, is how you guys nailed that spy --“

 

“Oh, no,” Jenny halted him.  “No talking shop.”

 

The walkie-talkie at his belt beeped and he stood, excusing himself for a moment to answer the summons.  Both Dan and Jenny waited, paused on the edge of instinctive concern.  It was just like any other cop duty even if this was at a plush resort.  You never knew when you would be called away to something dangerous or life-threatening. 

 

Nick returned with a sour expression.  “Got some photographers causing trouble for some movie star who just arrived.  I’ll catch up with you two later.”  He gave his wife a kiss on the cheek and threw a wave at Dan, then briskly walked away.

 

“Some things never change, huh?” Dan asked quietly, noting the exasperated look on her face.

 

When she turned, she flashed a quick, but regretful smile.  “They have, actually.  When Nick is called away now I don’t worry about a man with a gun, or an officer down.  I don’t have to worry about who won’t be coming back, or who is in the hospital again.”

 

Her voice was grim and subdued, and she hadn’t even noticed she had shifted from talking about her husband, to talking about the old days at Five-0.  Dan knew she had suffered when there was violence or danger -- some of it directly touching her when it shouldn’t have.  As a secretary, she should have been safe from hostage-taking gunmen and shootings in the office, but she hadn’t.  He was glad she had not been there when Chin had been murdered.

 

“Hey it’s almost time for Steve to come, isn’t it?” Dan asked to shift their reunion into a brighter mood.  “Shall we go down and check?”

 

Maneuvering around the furniture at the edge of the bar, they walked out to the long, wide lanai filled with tables, chairs and bright umbrellas, and down a walkway to the docks.  As they strolled past yachts and sailboats they read the interesting names and commented on some of the famous owners who docked their boats at the exclusive resort.

 

Angry voices carried on the breeze and Dan noticed on the next walkway two men were in a pitched verbal exchange.  No, only one was yelling.  Stopping in his tracks, he was shocked to see the man yelling was Tom Riordan, Steve’s old Navy buddy.  And he was shouting at and pushing Dr. Danworth -- the medical man he accused of killing his son a few months ago. 

 

“Jenny, why don’t you scope out Steve? I’m going to check this out.”

 

Without waiting for an answer, Williams dashed to the nearest main walkway and broke into a jog as he went down the dock to Danworth’s boat.  Tom Riordan was a tall, bulky man who looked like he had lived his life just as he had -- a career Navy man who worked more by the sweat of his brow than his intellect.  And his bulk was more to heavy drinking than workouts.  Danworth was a bit taller than his accuser was, but was trim and fit, like a man who did a lot of exercise.  When Tom started physically pushing the doctor around, Danworth pushed back, indignant and angry.  But his resistance was in an attempt to get away from Tom and leave his boat.  Tom blocked the gangway and his vicious, nasty allegations rang and echoed in the quiet marina.  In loud shouts, Tom still blamed the doctor for Tom Junior’s drug overdose.

 

Hoping to quell the situation, Dan came up from behind Tom and firmly gripped the bigger man’s arms.  “Tom, hey, this isn’t the place,” he firmly, but quietly ordered.  Pushing the man slightly aside, he looked to Danworth.  “Go ahead and leave, Doctor. I can handle this.”

 

Relieved, Danworth gave him a nod, sincerely relieved. “Thank you, Officer Williams.  I appreciate your help.”

 

The acrimony between Danworth and Five-0 -- rather with McGarrett -- was over, he hoped, but Dan didn’t worry about that now.  The most important thing was to get Tom out of here before Steve arrived.  Steve didn’t deserve to be put in the middle again between his old Navy buddy and a helpless and innocent victim.  Tom had caused so much trouble months ago when he bullied Steve into helping prosecute Danworth.  It had all been a mistake and Steve didn’t like making those so publicly and openly.  He had apologized to Danworth and Tom had eventually simmered down, but it had been an ugly experience for all connected with the nasty case.

 

Danworth barely got off the boat before Tom was shoving Williams, fighting to follow his target.  Liquor was strong and heavy on Tom’s breath and by his belligerent attitude, brutal language and malicious accusations, the younger detective confirmed the man was drunk.  How had he found out about Danworth being here?  The doctor was probably mentioned in the papers as being part of the race today.  Was he following Danworth?  There was no chance to ask meaningless questions.  Right now, he had to get Tom away from here.

 

“Come on, I’ll take you to your hotel, Tom.  Where are you staying?”

 

Riordan tried to wrestle free of the strong grip, but couldn’t.  His coordination and motor skills impaired by drink, he did little more than push the Five-0 officer around.

 

“Get your hands off me!”

 

“Come on, Tom, quiet down --“

 

“You can’t give me orders!  Who are you to talk to me like that?  Nobody!”

 

Never having more than a passing acquaintance with most of McGarrett’s old Navy buddies, Tom was one of the ones he had the least contact with.  There was little in common between Tom and Steve after the Navy, but Tom had been an occasional visitor to Five-0. 

 

Blundering, Tom wriggled free one arm and tried a clumsily punch to Dan.  The fist landed on Dan’s shoulder and he flipped his grip around to put Tom’s left arm in a lock behind his back.  “Straighten up, Tom.  I don’t want to call security.  I just want you to leave --“

 

“On who’s authority?  Yours, Danny boy?  Well, you can push Steve around, but you can’t push me!”

 

The insult meant nothing to him, but he puzzled over it.  NO ONE pushed Steve McGarrett around!  Tom had influenced him unduly last year -- playing on sympathies and Steve’s willingness to help an old friend.  During that time, Dan had tried his best to give Steve advice and his counsel had been ignored.  Too bad, because he had been right, but that was all past them now.  Until today.

 

“Tom --“

 

“Steve might pay attention to you all the time, Danny boy, but I won’t!  You can’t push me around!  Mind your own business!”

 

That was the limit, he decided, and Dan shoved Tom to stumble and plod his way off the boat, then he walked him up the dock.  There were a number of spectators, but not too excessive.  With any luck, he could get Tom out of a side exit of the resort and get him in a cab to wherever he was staying.  Tom lived -- last time he knew -- in Oahu, not here.  Maybe he had moved.  At any rate, he wanted to get him out of here with a minimum of fuss considering the VIP level of this event and this resort.  It would reflect badly on Steve and Nick if he took Tom out of here amid a fight.  Managing to make it to a side street, Dan wrestled Tom against a wall and held him there while hailing a cab.  No one stopped, and finally Jenny arrived, just ahead of a cab that swung around in a u-turn.  Manhandling Tom into the back seat, he paid the driver and ordered him to take Tom to his hotel.

 

Stepping away from the cab, he was relieved that was over.  Jenny eyed him with a mixture of relief and appreciation.  “That was smooth, Danny.  I was worried for a minute.”

 

They strolled back into the resort.  “Me, too.  How did you --“

 

“I was keeping an eye on things,” she smiled in her pixie-like way.  “I didn’t want to call Nick in unless I had to.  He’s still at the front dealing with the photographers.”

 

On the walk back to the Yacht Club bar, Dan filled her in on who Tom was and his history with McGarrett.  Tom’s notoriety peaked last month when his son Tommy died of a drug overdose and he blamed Tommy’s physician, Danworth.  Riordan had asked Steve to take action against Danworth, whom he wanted charged with murder.  Steve had been loyalty-blind to his old friend and had just about persecuted Danworth.  When the dust settled, it was found that Danworth had tried to save Tommy from his addiction because Danworth had lost a daughter to drug abuse.  McGarrett barely stopped Tom from killing Danworth. 

 

The personal anxiety for Williams had been McGarrett’s extreme attitude.  Loyalty to friends was like a code of honor to Steve.  Uncharacteristically impulsive, Steve had rampaged around Honolulu fighting on Tom’s side without realizing the truth about his old friend’s family situation.  Apparently, Tommy had turned to drugs after his mother died and after finding no solace from his tough, non-understanding father.  There were deep problems with Steve’s old friend -- too much alcohol being one of them -- and his rough, inflexible nature another.  There were still ruffled feathers from the medical community toward Steve thanks to the situation.  Overall, it had been an ugly episode and Williams thought it was all behind them. 

 

Jenny advised he just forget about it, and he tried to take the words of wisdom to heart.  Changing the subject, she told him she had checked with the radio room and McGarrett was delayed in his arrival.  It would be another twenty minutes, so she suggested returning to the bar to wait.  Once back at the resort’s YACHT CLUB, he noted more race entrants had arrived and were mingling for the pre-reception festivities.  Danworth was there along with a few other recognizable celebrities.

 

“Have you heard from Doc Bergman?” he wondered as they moved toward the corner near the bar to find an empty table.

 

“He said he would be here,” she responded, giving Mamoa a sign that they would like two drinks.

 

“I hope so.  I haven’t seen him since he retired.”

 

Jenny went over and retrieved their drinks and they sat down.  She eyed him carefully.  “How are things going at Five-0, Danny?  Really?”

 

Unable to lie to her, he shrugged, still wanting to minimize the truth.  Things had been rough since she left.  Experiences he didn’t want to remember surfaced -- events he didn’t want to share with her: Steve kidnapped and tortured by Wo Fat.  Steve framed for murdering his girlfriend.  Dan wouldn’t even talk about his own brainwashing and torture at the hands of a Chinese agent.  And Chin’s death almost a year ago -- it was still an open wound for all of them.  They had not recovered from that.  Since then, Steve had seemed like he had lost some of his fight, some of his spark.  And he had done nothing to hire much-needed replacement detectives to the diminished staff.  How were things at Five-0? 

 

“Not as good as they could be,” he responded honestly.  “It would be a lot better if you were still there.”

 

She shook her head a little sadly.  “Sometimes I wish I was.  But we hear things even over here in Maui, and I don’t think I could handle it anymore, Danny.  I care for you all so much.”

 

She had come back to Honolulu for Chin’s funeral.  They had not talked much then, but he had seen that the death of their long-time friend broke her heart.  Was it better to remove yourself from the pain?  Did that make it easier to take?  He could never do that.  Never leave Steve alone.  And that’s what Steve would be if Dan -- for whatever reason (not willingly certainly) -- left Five-0.

 

“It’s not easy sometimes,” he sighed.

 

She took his hands in hers.  “I’m glad you’re there for Steve.  And he’s there for you.  Whatever happens, you can get through it if you stick together.”

 

“I think so,” he agreed.”

 

Her attention seemed snagged by something behind him, and he turned, expecting to see Steve.  Dan followed Jenny’s line of sight and was startled to see Tom Riordan marching up the walkway from the marina, toward the makai open-wall of the bar and heading as straight as a bullet toward Dr. Danworth.

 

“Uh-oh,” he warily sighed, reading trouble in every stride of the stocky ex-CPO.  “Jenny, why don’t you ask Dr. Danworth to take his friends out to the boat docks,” Williams suggested in a clipped tone as he came to his feet. 

 

The doorway to the bar would be an intercept course for Riordan, and Dan wanted the doctor to be completely out of range.  So far, no one else in the room had a clue about the onslaught of the oncoming hurricane, and he wanted to keep it as low key as possible.  This could get nasty.  He wanted to avoid more public notice of this regrettable situation.  The last thing Steve needed was to walk in on a fight between his old friend and a competitor in the race.  Just inside the bar, a few tables away from Danworth, Williams came to an anchored stop in front of Riordan.  The former Chief Petty Officer was taller and stockier than the officer, and bumped into him with a jar.  So focused was he on his target of the doctor, he did not even notice Dan.

 

“Tom, this isn’t the place,” he firmly told the man.

 

Riordan finally focused on him and blinked with surprise.  “Danny?  You again?”

 

The waves of whiskey fumes made him flinch, but the detective did not budge.  “Tom, this is not the time for trouble --“

 

“He killed my son!” Riordan shouted, not even talking to Williams.  He was shouting at the doctor, who was talking with his friends.  “You’re going to pay, Danworth!” Tom tried to sidestep the blockade, but Dan grabbed onto his shirt and held him in place.  Tom shifted clumsily, unsteady from alcohol, pushing Dan, but Williams held his ground.  With a vicious glare, Tom directed his attention to the shorter man.  “Let go, Danny!”

 

Williams ignored the order, mentally shifting gears.  He better not look on this as Steve’s old friend, but as a suddenly dangerous situation.  In the few times he had gone out to dinner with Steve and Tom, or been in a social situation with the ex-Navy man, Dan had noted and not been surprised at the high level of alcohol consumption.  McGarrett was one of a few ex-servicemen who did not drink.  Tom, however, when tipsy, could be loud and crass, sometimes wobbly, but nothing unusual.  Now, as Dan quickly assessed his opponent’s attitude; glassy eyes and angry attitude, he realized Tom was probably a nasty, belligerent drunk.  And strong, he added as he wrestled to keep Tom in place.

 

Glancing over his shoulder, he was relieved that Danworth wasted no time in leaving the bar.  He and his friends had disappeared down the walkway to the boat docks.  Jenny was on the phone behind the bar -- probably calling Nick -- and most of the other patrons were leaving, too, edging toward the doors to avoid the ugly scene.  Mamoa, a strong, young, sturdy bartender, looked like he could handle himself well and came around the bar to assist.  Dan ordered him, in a clipped, brisk tone, to clear the bar.  Looking like he’d rather take on Tom, Mamoa reluctantly complied.

 

Time to get this over with, he decided.  Thinking to take Tom in an arm lock and escort him outside toward the pool area until Nick and his security squad could come, Dan turned to subdue Riordan.  The punch hit him before he saw it coming.  Taken completely off guard, Dan reeled off-balance, staggering into a table and collapsing into a chair. That broke his fall as he slid to the floor, saving his head from smacking onto the tiled floor.  Dazed, he blinked his eyes into focus, tenderly wiping blood from his split lip.  Jenny materialized at his side and tried to help him up.  A little dizzy from the hard slug, he sat up but did not get to his feet yet.  Jenny muttered some encouragement to him, but mostly glowered at Tom.

 

Angry now, Williams glared at the attacker.  “You didn’t have to go that far, Tom.  You’re drunk.  And you’re not getting to Danworth, so just forget that.”

 

Riordan’s laugh was harshly grating and vile.  “You’re not gonna tell me what to do, Danny.  I’ve had enough of your interference.  You know, now that I think about it, this is your fault, too.”

 

No telling what that meant in his muddled, alcohol-soaked mind, but Dan wasn’t going to waste time pondering the ramblings of a drunk.  He came to his knees and stopped, shocked that Tom had pulled a pistol from behind his back. 

 

Danworth!  I want you back here!  You deserve to die!”

 

“Riordan!  Put down that gun!” Danworth shouted from somewhere behind Dan.

 

The pistol came down to point toward at the doctor and Dan jumped over to throw off the aim as Jenny moved to get out of the way.  The shot filled the room with cordite and a numbing sound.  Jenny screamed and hit the nearest table, then fell to the floor.  Appalled, Dan wrestled for control, but was slammed into the wall.  Instinct worked through the dazed senses and he tried to protect Jenny by pushing her far out of the way.  The second report of the weapon echoed in his ears as he was thrown to the ground, his shoulder throbbing with pain.

 

“You fool!” Tom screamed at him.  He aimed the pistol right at his face.  “I wish you were dead!  You should be dead instead of my son!  Why are you alive?”  Tom’s attention drifted to Danworth.  “Get back here!”

 

From the corner of his eye, he noted Danworth had Jenny and was carrying her from the bar.  He kicked at Tom’s knee, which brought him off balance.  The pistol barked out another shot as he fought to subdue Tom long enough to make sure he could not fire again.  Groaning, he held onto his aching left shoulder and turned to his side to leverage himself up.  Before he could, Tom grabbed him from behind and used him as a shield.  He saw a crowd of terrified people scattering away, away from the bar.  Mamoa was scooting people out to safety onto the marina dock. 

 

Williams’ head buzzed from the pain and he knew the minutes were passing slowly as his confusion gradually sorted out through the haze of anguish.  He scrambled to wrestle from the grip, but Tom angrily kicked him behind the knee, shoving him to the floor.  Moaning in pain, Dan fought the instinct to curl up into a protective ball.  Instead, he needed to be ready to move, to bet the better of the deranged, drunk, and that would not be easy.

 

“I wish you were dead instead of my Tommy!” he cried.  The pistol aimed toward him and Dan rolled away until he hit a table leg.  Another shot rang out and he felt the pain of the hot bullet slice through his side.

 

Groaning, Dan tried to shuffle away, but Tom knelt down beside him and gripped his collar, nearly choking him.

 

“Why did you have to interfere!  Like you always do?”  A strange expression shifted across his face and he shook his head, as if asking and answering himself inside his head.  The smell of cheap booze assaulted Dan’s senses.  “You DO get in the way! You always have!  If Steve didn’t spend so much time with you, he would have been there for my Tommy.  He could have helped me save Tommy!  You trapped Steve -- kept him from helping me!  Since you came to Five-0 you stole away his time!  You didn’t let him live anymore!  And Tommy suffered for it!” 

 

 

*****

 

 

After tying up his boat, SEA CHALLENGER, McGarrett made his way toward the clubhouse.  Since he had arrived late, his berth was toward the end of one of the far docks.  Not really under any kind of schedule -- this WAS supposed to be a relaxing holiday -- he ambled toward the KAANAPALI BAY RESORT with measured stride.  The slow tacking against an unexpected wind shift in the channel delayed his arrival.  He would have to watch that in the race -- the unusual winds in the Maui Channel might be tricky.  It had cost him some time today, but could not tomorrow.  He might be later than expected with registering for the race now, but tomorrow he could not afford this.  He pondered, his mind filled with scenarios about how this would affect his placing in the race and strategies for a win.  He had no expectations of coming in first.  There were a lot faster boats with much more experienced and able seamen, and the yachts would be running fast.  But he had entered for charity and his sponsors would fork out more money the better his time in the competition.  And, true to his nature, he never entered into anything without the expectations of winning, so he didn’t discount his determination over amateur status.

 

Surprised there was no one in the quay area, he strolled up toward the clubhouse, hoping to run into Jenny or Nick soon.  Too bad Danno wouldn’t be here till later.  That inconvenient court appearance was going to tie him up for most of the day probably, but he had promised to come as soon as he could.  At least he would be here in time to crew for the race.  Then he noted a knot of excited people.  Drawing closer, he recognized Nick Kamekona, and heard the distant wail of a siren.  Heart beat increasing, sensing an emergency, he filtered through the crowd, hearing snatches of conversation about a shooting, bleeding, and a gunman. 

 

Nick was crouched on the grass holding someone.  People were chattering, upset, talking, crying -- blood -- he saw blood on the sidewalk -- Jenny!

 

Steve burst through the onlookers, gasping, not comprehending the sight of Jenny on the ground, Nick holding her.  Dr. Danworth --? -- was pressing a red-tinged towel to her arm.

 

“Jenny!”

 

Nick turned to look at him.  The former HPD officer was pale with astonishment and fear.  Jenny’s eyes were closed and she was shaking, in shock.

 

“What happened?” he knelt down beside them.

 

“Steve?” Jenny opened her eyes.  “I’m so -- so -- sorry,” she stuttered, tears coursing down her face.

 

Nick’s face tightened in anger or pain, or both.  “We have a hostage situation at the clubhouse.  Dr. Danworth saved her.  Gunman --“

 

“In the clubhouse?”

 

The surprise of his usual kind of business intruding on this weekend yachting event, on this plush resort, was unexpected and disconcerting.  It threw him off balance for a moment, forcing him to shift mental gears.  Here he was on a rare holiday, about to start an enjoyable event with friends, prepared to sail and compete and have fun.  All too familiar; violent reality crashed in and he had to sort it all out in his mind.

 

“Are you all right?” he asked Jenny, but saw for himself she wasn’t. 

 

The wound itself looked minor, but emotionally -- he had never seen her so distraught.  She was weeping uncontrollably now and she was trying to speak, but the words just wouldn’t come out.  Well, it was a horrible and painful experience to be shot.  And like him, she must be experiencing her own level of disbelief and incredulity.  How could this happen in Maui?  At an exclusive resort?

 

“She will be fine,” Danworth told him. 

 

Nick said the doctor had pulled her out of the line of fire.  After thanking the doctor, Danworth shook his head.

 

“Don’t thank me.  I was just doing my job.”

 

“Have you got someone over there?” Steve wondered automatically, not even thinking that he was assessing the hostage situation.  Technically, it was his jurisdiction -- major crime on one of his islands -- the thought that he was on holiday and someone else should be in charge was no longer present.  Too bad Danno wasn’t here yet.  Without wasting time, he had snapped instinctively back into his professional mode.  He had not brought a weapon with him -- why would he sailing over here from Oahu as part of a race?   “Who’s watching the gunman?  Is there only one?  What do we know about him?  How’s the hostage?”

 

“One of my men is keeping an eye on things,” Nick grated, clearing his voice, looking at his wife, not McGarrett.  “I’ve got more security coming.  Maui PD is on the way.”  He shook his head.  “Steve --” his face contorted in anguish.  He looked McGarrett in the eyes.  “How do I tell you?  Steve.  The gunman is some kind of crazy.  He’s got Danny.”

 

He heard the words, but could not, or would not, comprehend them.  “Danno?”

 

Yes, his friend was supposed to meet him here after his court appearance today.  He wasn’t scheduled for hours.  Danno.

 

“The gunman --“

 

“Tom Riordan,” Danworth accused harshly.  “He’s mad!  He’s finally cracked.”

 

Clutched with a new fear, Steve came to his feet and started pushing through the crowd.  Danno.  Tom.  Danno.  He hadn’t asked how Danno was or what were the demands or how this could happen in a ritzy resort. 

 

“I would be dead if not for your officer,” Danworth told him with a trembling sincerity of one who had narrowly escaped death or terrible harm. Following along, he insisted on being heard.  “Williams saved my life.  He was injured and came to my aid to save me.  I hope he is -- is still alive.”

 

“Hurt?  How bad?  Is he alive?”

 

Danworth nodded slowly, regretfully.  “He was alive when I left.  It was hard to tell where he was hit.  There was no time.  I just acted and got the woman out. I -- uh -- I heard more shots after I left the bar.”

 

At least two shots.  Was Danno alive now?

 

“I don’t think the initial wound was serious, but I didn’t have time to be stop – I – uh – I got this woman out . . . .”

 

The professional diagnosis seemed to calm the man and he stopped, Steve pausing with him, bouncing with agitation.  He wanted to get going, to confront the crisis head on, but he needed to know this first.  Before he went in there, he had to know if Danno was alright.

 

 “You -- you did the right thing,” Steve assured even as he screamed inside that it was wrong.  Why didn’t he save Danno, too? 

 

Steve’s mind filled with the anguish that his detective was in the middle of a terrible crisis.  One friend was already shot. Shot by an older and dear friend!  What had happened to Danno? 

 

 

*****

 

 

Gasping for air, Dan tried to pry the fingers loose from his throat, but Tom held him tight.  The rantings were confused, desperate and insane.  Dan recognized, in his ever-decreasing grip on reality, that Tom was not just drunk, but mad and beyond reason.  Still aware enough to comprehend his situation without understanding the irrational behavior, Dan knew consciousness was slowly slipping away.  Helpless, he distractedly considered he might not awaken again as he felt the blackness crowd into his vision.

 

“This is your fault!” 

 

Tom viciously shook the detective who momentarily blacked out. The merciless violence jarred Dan back to painful awareness as injuries screamed in agony from the brutality.

 

“Your fault!” 

 

He paused, again gripped in some kind of inner struggle.  His eyes seemed to lose focus, then sharpen again as he stared at Dan, who fought to ignore the torment, wishing he could go back to the blackness that offered a respite from the suffering.  “You came along and he treated you like a son,” Riordan whispered.  “You took Steve away.  Well, I’ll make sure you pay for it, Danny.  And Steve is going to pay, too.  He could have helped Tommy, but he was too busy with you!”  He shook Dan again.  “He will do anything to save you,” he nearly whispered in a maniacal rage.  “He will understand the pain I felt when I lost Tommy.  Because this is his fault -- your fault -- because he deserves to know what I lost!”  

 

Voices outside were blurred in his mind, but Williams thought he heard Nick -- wasn’t sure.  Steve?  Where was Steve?  Tom wasn’t even supposed to be in Maui.  He was fading to black -- couldn’t hold on -- Tom was going to kill him.  Steve . . . .

 

 

*****

 

Rushing to the YACHT CLUB, McGarrett pushed aside a security guard who tried to stop him.  The sight inside the room strangled him with terror and confusion.  Tom Riordan was wedged into a corner next to the bar. His back to the wall, he had Dan Williams huddled to the side.  Slumped against the wall and slightly behind his captive, it was as if Tom was parading his capture of a hostage and making a stand.  Tactically, though, Tom was unreachable from outside because he was backed by one of the few solid walls in the room.

 

Taking a step inside, Steve could only shake his head in numb and mute astonishment.  Danno had a split-lip, red dripping from his mouth.  As Steve took another step he saw the front of Dan’s Aloha shirt was soaked red, but he couldn’t tell where the wounds were or how bad they might be, or how many.  Too much blood on the blue and green Aloha shirt indicated it was serious.  Not a shot to the arm like Jenny.  This looked bad.  When Tom laughed -- a cruel, grating, and hoarse shrill devoid of humor and full of malice -- Steve’s skin crawled.

 

“Danno?”

 

The answers to all questions could wait.  All except one.  He had to know if his friend was all right. 

 

“Danno?”  Shaking his head in stunned incredulity, he stared at his injured friend, unable to articulate anything else through his shock.  Then, he glared at Tom for a moment.  “Tom?”  He couldn’t even voice the horror and confusion he was suffering.

 

“He’s still alive, Steve.  I didn’t hurt him much.”

 

Williams’ eyes opened and he made a slight effort, though wincing in pain, to sit up a little straighter.  “Steve.”  Blood was pooling on the blue and white tile.

 

Alive.  Marginally relieved, Steve went to the next level.  As long as Danno was alive, everything was okay, he reassured himself, but had trouble moving his eyes away from the puddle of scarlet marring the floor -- the thick red oozing from between Dan’s fingers.  “Danno, how bad are you hurt?”

 

Angry, Tom shook Williams.  Groaning, the victim slid along the wall until he was hunched against the floor, moaning.  A wide swath of red smear trailed after the wounded victim, and Steve’s lip curled in disgust, revulsion, and anguish that his friend was obviously, seriously wounded.

 

“You talk to me, Steve!  This is your fault -- you talk to me!  You wouldn’t help me when Tommy was alive, so now I’ve got your attention!  Now, you’re going to help me get his killer!”

 

Not knowing who this monster was, Steve tried to frame him in the light of the old CPO he once knew.  The stalwart Navy man the loving husband, the grieving father.  It made no sense in his mind, but a glance at the bleeding victim on the floor jolted him back to the stunning reality.

 

“Talk to you?” Steve shot back, anger starting to penetrate through the haze of incredulity.  Rage turning the shock livid at the treatment of Williams, at the insane demands.  “After you shot Danno?”  He was stunned at the attitude.  “You come in here shooting innocent people --“

 

“You think Danny is innocent?”

 

The nonsensical question was as twisted as the scenario he still couldn’t believe.  “What?  Of course!  Yes!”

 

“Well you’re wrong!”

 

“Tom,” he cried out, still shocked and frustrated that this could be his old friend -- his old buddy holding Danno hostage!  “Chief, what are you doing?”  He stepped into the bar.

 

“Get out!” Riordan screamed and pointed the gun at McGarrett.  “Get out!”

 

Steve could hardly take his eyes off Williams, but the weapon aimed in his direction realigned his focus momentarily away from his wounded officer.  He came to a stop, raising his hands in a non-threatening gesture.

 

“You don’t take another step, Steve!  You stay away.  The only reason for you to come in here is with Danworth!  You bring him here and you can come back.”

 

Hostage exchange.  Five-0 would not do that and Steve could never trade one life for another.  Could he?  Not even if the life he was trying to save was Dan’s?  Glancing at his friend, he saw Williams was dazed and hurting, but aware enough to give him a tired shake of the head.  Offering the answer Steve himself could not formulate.  Williams made it easy for him and would not give his approval to such a trade-off and neither could Steve.

 

“Tom, let’s talk this over --“

 

“Talk!  I tried to talk to you -- to prosecute Danworth when he killed Tommy!  All you did was waste time and let him off!”

 

“The Coroner’s court acquitted him --“

 

“Not me!  I did not acquit him of murder!  He killed my son!”

 

“He did not,” Dan objected weakly. 

 

Riordan wheeled a fist at Dan, landing a glancing blow on the side of Dan’s cheek.  It was enough to send the wounded officer farther down to the floor, gasping in pain.  McGarrett ground his teeth at the treatment.

 

“Tom!  You’ve got to stop this!  Let Danno go!  He has nothing to do with Danworth or Tommy --“

 

“He has everything to do with it, Steve, and so do you!  Danworth killed my son!  Now get him here right now!”

 

“Tommy was an addict,” Steve countered with the forceful truth, livid at the abuse and the insane standoff.  Too seething to withhold damaging clarity, he poured out the harsh veracity that Tom was blinded by bitterness and pain to see.  “He died of a self-inflicted overdose. Now stop this nonsense and give me that gun, Tom.  It’s not too late.”  Steve made a step forward and Riordan shot at his feet.  “Tom!  What would your Mary think, Chief?”

 

“She’s dead, just like Tommy!” he cried, a few tears slipping from he corners of his eyes.

 

“Please -- “

 

The pistol was moved to touch Dan’s head.  “If you make another move in here, Steve, I will blow him away, so help me I will.  Now you go get Danworth.  I know he’s here.  You come back with him and I’ll let Danny go.”

 

Steve clenched his teeth in anguish and fear.  He no longer knew this madman.  The old friend he thought he understood -- and counted as a friend -- was no more.  The stranger in his place was unbalanced with grief.  All he could try was reasoning.  He could not lose Danno, but neither did he want to lose Tom.

 

“I can’t do that, Chief, you know that.  You know me.  I can never --“

 

“You want Danny to live, don’t you?”  He gouged the pistol into Dan’s cheek and the detective on the floor winced, but did not utter a sound.  “Then you do what I say.  He means so much to you -- you ignored Tommy so you could spend more time with your detective and Tommy is dead!  So now you are going to lose your son -- your family --right now if you don’t do what I say!”

 

The reasoning was deranged, and the application of Danno as his son off-base – Danno was his kid brother – but still, absolutely, his ohana – a fact obviously not lost on Tom. Steve could see some accuracy there.  Saw that he could lose his ohana if he was not careful.  How could Tom be so twisted to think attention to Danno had interfered with Tommy?  When Danno joined the unit, he entered into a mentor/protégé relationship with the young detective who soon became his closest friend.  It had not excluded anything or anyone outside Five-0.  Had it?  Duke, Dan and he -- all still had many friends who were not connected to work.  But none were as meaningful as the detectives within the unit Steve admitted, and he wondered if he had closed out the old part of his life when Danno came into the picture.  It had never felt that way.  And how could such a strong bond be harmful to anyone else?  He knew Tom was crazy, and that his talk wild and motivated by rage and hurt, still, the accusations stung, even though he knew Tom was wrong.

 

“You were his father,” Dan quietly refuted, shifting slightly to turn to look up at the gunman.  “It was your responsibility to take care of him, not Steve’s.”

 

With guilt and illness collecting in his thoughts, Steve knew Danno was right.  As he had been right about so much when Tom had gone berserk over Danworth, about Tommy’s death.  Danno had been right not to judge the doctor.  He had felt Steve was pushing the legal and moral bounds of his job by siding blindly with Tom.  If he had never given in to Riordan’s fantasies about blame and negligence toward Danworth, maybe he could have straightened Tom out with firm resolution.  If Steve had stayed with his own creed and not let personal feelings get in the way -- if he had listened to Danno’s wise, objective and calm council -- maybe this could have been avoided.   But Steve was too narrow-minded, proud and, yes, guilt-ridden, to listen to his closest friend last month.  Tom had been crazed by grief and Steve had been over-anxious to help because he had not been there for Tom or Tommy for many years.  Now, Danno was right again. 

 

Steve flinched when Tom cracked the pistol across Dan’s face and ordered him to be quiet.

 

“Tom!  Stop!  Don’t hurt him again!  He’s right.  Danno’s been right all along!  You were his father. I’m not blaming you about the drugs.  A lot of good kids choose drugs and it’s not the fault of the parents -- it’s the kids -- it’s the kid’s responsibility, too, Tom.  Don’t take this out on Danno!”

 

The pistol went back to Dan, but this time the barrel jammed into his shoulder.  “We’re done talking, Steve.  I don’t want to hear about any of this!  Danworth killed Tommy.  You get Danworth here or I shoot Danny.  Period.”

 

“There won’t be a trade,” Dan defiantly rejected.

 

From the other side of the bar, by the docks, Steve could see armed police officers collecting, trying to find a spot to get a good angle.  Tom was hidden by the wall he was up against, and there was no clear shot from any side accept where Steve was standing -- in the doorway.  The access to the hotel had been blocked by closing the bar doors, he noted.  So the open lanai from the marina was the only way in or out.  And as long as Tom stayed by the bar he could not be targeted by any police.  Well planned and shrewd.  Something he would expect from a combat veteran like Tom.

 

Steve thought he spotted Danworth and knew if the doctor impulsively entered into this mix, there would be more bloodshed, if not a killing or two.  He might be able to defuse Tom on the grounds of the long friendship.  But not if the focus of Tom’s rage showed up.  With Danno’s life in the balance, he would not risk another uncontrollable element.

 

“I’ll go get Danworth,” he told Tom placating him.  He looked at Danno.  “I’ll be back.  Just stay cool.”

 

Dan nodded. 

 

With a reluctant last glance, Steve backed away.  When he was out of sight of the gunman, he jogged around the outside of the bar to grab Danworth and drag him into the shelter of the back of the hotel, to join the police chief.

 

“Don’t even think about going in there!” he railed at the doctor.

 

“Williams saved my life.  He’s in danger because of me --“

 

“He’s in danger because Tom has flown off the handle and we don’t need anymore of that kind of impulse thinking, doctor.”  Recognizing his own advice was counter to what he himself wanted to do, he flatly refused the offer to interfere.

 

“Williams is injured.  I can help --“

 

“I know he’s hurt!” Steve snapped, all too aware of the blood he had seen staining Dan’s shirt, dripping onto the tile and, of course, the gruesome smear on the wall.  “Believe me, I will get him out here to you as soon as possible.  But anything we do to excite Tom is dangerous for Danno!”

 

He placed the doctor firmly in the custody of an officer and cornered Chief Liahona, the Maui head of police.

 

Liahona,” he nodded, “we have a volatile situation.”

 

“Yeah,” the stocky Hawaiian officer agreed.  His wavy hair was tinted with grey and lent to his affable face a calm quality that was now strained.  “The Governor was due to arrive soon.  I’ve diverted his chopper for now.  The hotel is evacuating rooms and areas near the bar.  Also the marina.”  He gave the Five-0 boss a narrowed glance.  “Heard Danny is in there shot up.  That right?”

 

Steve tightly nodded.

 

“What kind of armament does this guy have?”

 

Regretting he had failed to bring his .38, Steve wondered why he thought that -- he could not use it against Tom -- he just couldn’t.  They had been friends for too long, through too much together.  He could never shoot Tom.  Not even to save Danno?  He couldn’t answer that.  “He’s got a nine millimeter Colt.  I’m not sure, but he’s probably fired four rounds already.”

 

“Hmm,” Liahona pressed his lips together.  “About five left then, six if he had a round tucked in the chamber.  More if he has a reload clip.”  He ruminated on that for a moment.  “We going in to get him?”

 

Desperately, Steve wanted to say yes, but knew that would be the wrong, if impulsively emotional, decision. There had been too much emotional impulse already.  “No, the gunman is too unstable now.”  And he wanted a chance to save Tom.  Having police raid the bar would mean death for Tom and maybe for Danno.  He couldn’t risk it.  “I’m going to try and talk him out.  You have your men standing by at strategic locations.  If I need you, you come in a hurry.”

 

“There’s no easy line of sight angles here, Steve.  If you get into trouble it will take us a little time to get to you or even cover you.”

 

“It’s the way we have to play it.  I’m not going to endanger Danno any more than necessary.”

 

Liahona seemed hesitant.  “You sure you want to go in there under the gun?”  Only a momentary pause and he gave a nod, knowing the answer.  “Yeah, thought you would.”  He handed him a .38 long barrel revolver.  “Take this just in case.”

 

Refusing, returning to the bar, McGarrett took a deep breath and eased his way into the doorway.  Dan was slumped on the floor, his head came up and he watched McGarrett with tired, drooping eyes.  The blood loss was getting to him, no doubt.  “Is Jenny okay?” Williams wondered, his voice dry and slow.

 

“I think so, Danno.  She’s tough.”

 

“Yeah,” Dan agreed in a whisper.

 

“Where’s Danworth?”

 

“He took Jenny to the hospital,” McGarrett lied.  Deflecting the attention from the doctor, a new anger surfaced, and this one he could not contain.  “You shot a woman, Tom!” he lashed out.  “My former secretary!  A friend of mine!  You shot her!”

 

“I was trying to get Danworth!”

 

“And that’s an excuse?”

 

Still sizzling, Steve redirected his wrath at the shooter.  “Tom, this has to stop.”

 

“Too late, Steve,” Tom drawled.  Leaning against the wall, he was negligently pointing the pistol toward Dan.

 

“It’s never too late, Tom --“

 

“It was too late when Tommy died!” he shouted, straightening, waving the gun to emphasize his point.  “Too late for you to help!  Where were you, Steve, when we needed you?  Off playing cop!  Out there running around with Danny,” he kicked Williams, who gave a grunt and shifted his bloody hand to cover the ribs where the blow had landed.

 

“Stop it!”

 

“You weren’t with Tommy and me when we needed you!”

 

“Leave him alone, Tom!” McGarrett warned, threateningly edging closer.

 

Tom clicked back the hammer on the gun and Steve backed off, gritting his teeth to restrain any sizzling comments that could make the situation even worse.

 

Maybe it did look like he had moved on.  Steve’s old Navy buddies were part of his past.  Five-0 was his all consuming present and future.  He didn’t have time for much of anything or anyone outside work.  Danno was included within that structure  -- he was part of life in and out of the office -- but Steve knew if they had met under other circumstances, there was a good chance they still would have been friends.  In any event, Danno WAS part of Five-0, just as much as Steve.

 

“I know you were hurting after Mary died, and then Tommy’s drug habit changed him.  Why didn’t you say something, Tom?  I would have helped.”

 

“Help?  You were busy!  Your cop life was too important!”

 

Worried at Danno’s condition, Steve wanted to get closer -- to be near -- to see how serious the wounds were.  There was a cut oozing blood from Dan’s cheek -- how much more damage?  He took another slow step inside, his hands raised.  “Chief, let me come in and talk this over.  Please.”

 

The pistol came up to aim at him. 

 

“You don’t want to shoot me, Tom, you want me to help.  Let me do that.  The only way I can is to talk this through.”

 

After a moment, the weary and old looking ex-CPO gave a nod.  “Okay.  Just to that table, Steve.”

 

McGarrett walked over to stand at the farthest table.  Here, he could get a better angle on Dan and his concern escalated to intense dread.  Danno was bleeding from at least two wounds.  How many bullets had he stopped?  Anger rising at the monstrous treatment from an old friend to a newer one, Steve ground his teeth in an effort to control his raging wrath.  He could not win here if he lost his temper, but it was tough to stay calm when he faced his old pal -- the one with the gun he had used to shoot Danno!  He could not let this go on, nor could he go for one more minute not knowing exactly about his friend’s condition.

 

“Danno, how are you doing?”

 

Williams nodded slowly.  “Okay.”

 

“He’ll be worse, Steve, if Danworth doesn’t get here soon.”

 

McGarrett was tired of the games.  Danno was not going to last out a long negotiation session. He boldly put out the truth. “He’s not coming, Tom.  I don’t want him here.  We’re going to settle this, just the two of us.”

 

Tom stared at him and a level of malevolence filmed across his features like a mask of intent.  “Oh yeah, I know.  You’re the cop, the law.  It always comes back to you and Five-0, doesn’t it, Steve?  You got Danworth off and spit on Tommy’s grave because you’ve turned against your old friend and can only think like a cop.”

 

Danworth was innocent --“

 

“He killed my son!  You bring him in here right now, Steve or we’re going to have another death!”  He pointed the pistol at Williams.  “I mean it!”

 

“Danno has nothing to do with this, Tom!  Let him go!  Talk to me instead!  Let me get him to some medical help!”

 

Without warning, Tom pulled the trigger and Dan’s body jerked.  Groaning, he held his arm as he buried his face in the floor, moaning in pain.  The echo was loud in the room, the odor of gunpowder drifting toward Steve on the gentle breeze coming in from the open doors.  McGarrett took it all in, shock absorbing most of the incredulity, the horror of the deed slowly registering in his terror-numbed brain.

 

“Danno!” 

 

Steve moved forward, but Tom put the pistol at Dan’s huddled figure.  “One more step and he’ll get another bullet.  I think he can still live, Steve, but not if you keep pushing me!”

 

Horrified at the threat, McGarrett backed off, fists balled in rage.  “Danno?  Danno!”

 

Williams groaned, but did not open his eyes.

 

Livid, Steve took a step forward, centered on the pistol in Tom’s grip and thought better of it.  With immense control, he overcame the impulsive and reckless passion to charge forward and wrestle the pistol from Tom.  He was too afraid of what the crazed man would do -- like killing Danno -- if he tried anything so rash.  His anger, however, could not be contained.

 

“What is wrong with you?” he yelled.  “I don’t even know who you are -- what you’ve become!” he condemned.  “You’re some kind of heartless monster!”

 

“Shut up, Steve.  Whatever I am, you helped put me here!  Bring me Danworth!  Now!  Or I kill Danny, Steve!  The next bullet, I kill him!”

 

The anger could no longer swallow up the cringing grief he felt.  A sob knotting his throat, he felt the tears spill from his eyes as he looked at his wounded officer.  “Let him go, Tom.  How could you do this?”

 

“Because life means nothing to me now!  Mine! Yours!  Danny’s!  I only want to live long enough to kill Danworth.  If you don’t get him in here, then you will see Danny die.”  He laughed in a grotesque and malicious tone.  He ground a foot into Dan’s wounded shoulder and the detective cried out in pain.

 

“Stop!” McGarrett anguished.  “Tom!  That’s enough!  You’ve done enough damage!  You’ve got to stop this insanity!”

 

“No! You’ll lose someone you love just like I lost Tommy.  Fitting, isn’t it, Steve?  Since this is your fault, I guess you deserve it.”

 

The hammer on the pistol was cocked back and Steve backed out, stumbling into the doorframe and sliding around the corner to the outside of the bar.  Tears were wiped off his face with shaking hands and he drew in a deep breath, not yet in control of his shattered emotions.  What was he going to do now?  Tom did not want to live.  Suicidal.  Suicide by cop -- McGarrett drew in a sharp, icy breath that chilled him all the way to his soul.  Tom wanted to die!  Wanted to kill himself, but couldn’t pull the trigger.  Not ready to put the gun to his own head to end the pain, he wanted others to kill him -- do the job for him.  But he was going to take Danworth with him.  And Danno if Steve didn’t stop him.  Suicide by cop.  

 

The desire to save Tom had been a factor up to now.  Not as strong as the motivation to save Danno, but still important.  Keeping Tom alive now was only a small factor in his overwhelming need to save Dan.  Secondary -- just as Tom accused him -- he had put aside the past, the old friends -- and his more recent friend WAS his focus now.  The possibility that he would have to shoot Tom himself -- that he might be the only one able to get a bead on the gunman made him feel sick.  But through the revulsion came a determination.  He knew he would do it -- could and would -- to save Danno.

 

 

*****

 

 

“You’re a fool,” Dan whispered, fighting to stay conscious, wedged by the wall and the floor. 

 

It was important to him to be ready.  Steve was going to have to make some tough decisions and he wanted to take that horror away from his friend.  If he could talk Tom out of this -- or even overpower him and get the gun -- he could save Steve from having to kill his old friend.  No easy task.  He was so weak and hurting he could hardly sit up. 

Struggling, he inched his way up on his elbow, then up a little more to lean his back against the wall.  His arm, side and shoulder were numbing now, the pain just a reminder.  What felt strange was the blood that was sticky, odorous and cloying, dampening most of his body.  The tacky blood made his clothes cling to his skin and he wanted a shower even more than a pain killer.

 

“Shut up,” Tom growled and kicked his leg.

 

Gritting his teeth not to show how much that hurt, Dan closed his eyes and tried to edge a little bit away from his captor.  Covertly, with his left hand, he reached out and hung onto a chair leg for support.  Tom didn’t say anything, so he edged a little closer to the chair.

 

“You’re nuts!  Steve is the best friend anyone could ever have,” he quietly moaned/muttered.  “How can you do this to him?”

 

That earned him a blow from the pistol, slicing across the top of his shoulder. He fell into the chair and stayed there for a few moments as he worked on staying conscious.   After the echo of his cry faded from his head and he felt he could think again, he crawled back to a more upright lean against the chair.

 

“Don’t talk to me about what a good friend Steve is,” Riordan snarled.  “He wasn’t a friend to me and Tommy.  He ignored us so he could run Five-0 and you became his friend.”  His voice was malicious.  “You killed Tommy as much as Steve did.  You deserve to die.  And Steve deserves to lose you.”

 

“I didn’t see you around much.  Seems like a friendship works both ways.  Where were you when his nephew died?  When his girlfriend was killed?”

 

This time the pistol flew into his face and sent him sprawling back, colliding with the chair, then table and tumbling the furniture on top of him.  Knowing he had blacked out, he came back to semi-consciousness, aware of Tom grabbing his arm to pull him up.  Dan remained limp until both of Tom’s hands were on his arm, unsteady and not well balanced, then he launched out and used his body as a boulder to roll into Tom’s legs.  Riordan went down on top of him on the floor, rolling.  The pistol discharged loudly, sliding away to knock into the bar.  Dan smacked into the wall with a jarring thud and faded to oblivion. 

 

 

*****

 

 

Tucking the revolver Chief Liahona had given him behind his back, McGarrett decided to go in armed this time.  Tom was volatile and on edge enough to kill Danno, he feared, and he agreed having a weapon could save Danno’s life or his.  When he heard the gunshot from outside, by the dock, where he was consulting with Liahona, Steve ran, without thinking, into the bar, fearing Riordan had flipped out completely in a deadly direction.  Terrified for Danno’s life, he pulled the revolver out and was already aiming for Riordan when he entered the bar.

 

Williams seemed to be just coming to consciousness.  The former Navy man was reaching for a fallen weapon, but Tom’s focus altered at the arrival of McGarrett.  Dan lunged for the gun.  The two men wrested, Dan stretching, trying to grab the fallen pistol, Tom savagely pushing him back and reaching the weapon before Steve could intervene.  Tom sat up immediately and aimed at Dan.  McGarrett held his line of fire steady at his old Navy buddy.

 

Clear shot.  Tom had left himself open.  Stalemate.

 

“This is the end,” Riordan almost sighed, fatigued, weary, spent.  The hammer pulled back.

 

Steve fired.  Once.  Twice.

 

Tom slumped over, groaning, clutching at his chest where blood started to spread.  Dashing into the bar, Steve didn’t stop his run to move furniture, but leaped over fallen chairs to get to Williams.  Pulling Dan away, he kept his officer protectively behind him as he slowly approached Riordan.

 

His visual focus on the shooter, but his mental attention to the downed officer.  “Okay, Danno?” he asked, still pointing his revolver at the gunman.  “Okay?”  No response.  Assessing that Tom was no longer a threat, he dropped back beside Williams and touched the side of Dan’s neck, assured his friend was still alive, but unconscious.

 

Riordan turned to look at him, his eyes glazed from pain or a nearness to death.  Steve’s heart twisted at the sight of his old friend so close to death by his own hand.  He shifted over, shaking his head, utterly devastated at the crisis that had ended in such tragedy.  Tom’s chest was covered with blood, his breathing labored.  Removing the gun from Tom’s weak grasp, he checked for a pulse.  Weak, almost nonexistent.  Tucking the gun behind his back, he shook his head.

 

“Why, Tom?” he croaked out, tears in his eyes.  “Why did you push this so far?”

 

"I knew I could finally get you to kill me.”

 

Shaking his head, confused and heartsick, McGarrett could only stammer, “What?”

 

“No reason to live anymore.  Not with Tommy and Mary both gone,” he gasped.  “Suicide.  Couldn’t do it.  Suicide by cop.  Finally got the plan to work.”  He coughed, blood bubbling out of his mouth.  “Needed to be you, Steve.  You didn’t stop Danworth.  You didn’t make him pay.”

 

Steve shook his head, distraught with the thought that Tom had plotted this all along.  It had been a huge, deceptive ploy and Steve had bought into it completely.

 

“Thanks, Steve.”

 

Tom closed his eyes, his head limply rolling to the side.  Steve checked again for a pulse -- weak.  Too stunned to offer more words, he slipped around and checked on Dan.  There had been no response from Williams and the fear that had been at the forefront of his mind while running in here, was now pushing back the alarm and adrenalin-rush horror at the almost instantaneous events.  Twisting around, he had Dan in front of him, Tom still in sight.

 

Williams was covered in blood but still breathing.  His eyes were closed.  Steve checked for a pulse, not sure where he should try to put his other hand to stop the bleeding. 

 

“Danno?  You okay?”  No answer. He noted some bleeding from the scalp at the side of Dan’s head.  How much damage had Tom done?   “Danno!  Come on, come on!”

 

Dan’s eyes blinked, then closed again. 

 

Steve placed his left hand on Dan’s swollen, bleeding face, just keeping it there as a reminder that he was close, that Danno was not alone.  That his friend was alive.

 

Feet shuffled in around them and Steve did not look up as the Maui police took care of Tom and the aftermath of the situation.  Knowing he was shaking, Steve kept his hand on Dan, focusing on that as the center of his universe right now.  Danno was alive.  He did not want to think about shooting an old friend.  Or about that old friend’s mania that had brought them to this desperate point of suicide by cop.  He just wanted to hold onto Danno and know that part of his life was okay now.

 

Danworth came over and elbowed him aside, checking on Williams, applying some pressure to the worst of the bleeding wounds.  Steve held onto Dan’s wrist, trying to stay out of the way, but needing to hold on to make sure his friend was still alive.

 

“How is he?” he could barely whisper.

 

“Serious,” Danworth gravely diagnosed.  “The sooner we get him to the hospital the better.”

 

McGarrett spared a glance at Riordan.  “Tom?”

 

Liahona was crouched near the gunman.  “Still alive,” the PD chief reported grimly.  It didn’t look good if his expression was anything to judge by.

 

Steve didn’t know how to deal with that right now.  He had just shot Tom.  But the CPO had shot Danno.  Turning his attention to Williams, he felt able to manage only one crisis at a time.  He was far more worried about Danno than the wild shooter who had pulled the trigger. 

 

 

*****

 

 

The hospital in Lahaina was small in comparison to the ones in Honolulu.  It gave a more intimate and less stressful atmosphere; a little homey and warm, and Steve appreciated that.  It made him a bit more relaxed than he would have been in these circumstances normally.  His white pants and shoes, his multi-colored Aloha shirt, were all splashed with blood.  It mesmerized him in the strange patterns that clashed with the pastels of his shirt.

 

Sitting in Dan’s small room, holding onto the patient’s still arm, Steve occasionally glanced out the window at the nearby beach framed by tall palms, but mostly he studied his friend’s sleeping face, at rest finally, pervading a calm and peace that had not been there much today.

 

Riding in the ambulance, with Danworth helping to save Dan, Steve had felt numb.  Williams was in bad shape, Tom even worse.  How could he be disturbed about Tom’s fate after shooting -- repeatedly -- Danno?  Yet, there was a measure of guilt shadowing his every emotion.  He had been forced to shoot Riordan.  Kill.  DOA at the hospital.  Steve’s aim had been true and Tom had not lived long with two bullets in the chest.

 

Earlier, the Governor and even Danworth had dropped by briefly to check on Williams and McGarrett.  Steve had shooed them away speedily, not wanting to talk about this now.  How could he?

 

Impatiently lightly tapping the hospital bed rail with his fingers, Steve long ago gave up trying to think it all through -- how had it all come down to this.  Tom’s grief driving him mad, pushing him to violence and revenge.  Fate or bad luck had placed them all together in a web of inescapable death.  He was relieved Tom had been the one killed.  Certainly better than what he had expected of Danno after his officer was wounded several times.  A better outcome than what he feared for those agonizing moments in the bar.

 

Often, his thoughts strayed to the cause of all this.  Did Tom have good reason to blame him?  To be angry with his abandonment?  They had just moved apart, hadn’t they?  Old friends didn’t always fit in with his pressing duties at Five-0.  No friends did, it seemed.  Only room for Danno and Duke.  Was that his fault?  Maybe.  Certainly not Danno’s.

 

Was all this preventable a few months ago when Tommy had died?  Steve took no culpability for Tommy’s drug addiction, or that he had not seen the young man in years.  He had never been close to the youth.  Nor, it seemed, to the father.  How could Tom do this?  Steve thought he had helped by prosecuting (persecuting?) Danworth last year.  Danno had advised him caution and objectivity at every turn and he had ignored it.  Now Danno paid the price of his stubborn blindness.  He had misjudged Tom then, and now.  Danworth could be dead now thanks to his indulgence in protecting an old friend.  Loyalty had always been a noble asset to him. 

 

Where had that protection been today for Danno?  If Steve felt appreciative to an old friend -- to Danno he felt a familial obligation that ran as deep as his own blood.  Kaikaina.  Little brother.  Yes, with Danno he felt on a different level than with other associations.  And he had come so close to losing him from the hands of an older friend -- a long-time friend whom he no longer really knew or understood.

 

The patient stirred and Steve tensed, both hands gently moving to rub Dan’s arm – a release of his own tension – a reassurance to Dan that he was here and everything was going to be all right.

 

“Danno, it’s okay.  You’re going to be all right.”

 

The eyes blinked open and tiredly studied his friend.  He gave a slight nod.

 

Steve smiled.  “The doctor’s promised your pain killers would do the trick.”  Shot three times, Steve knew it would be slow recovery time for Danno to come out of this.  No serious or permanent damage, but plenty of blood loss and pain.  Danno was not going to get over this soon, anyway.  Too old for this kind of trauma.  HE was too old for this kind of heartache!  “Just sleep.  I’m here.  Everything’s okay.”

 

“Tom?” came the whisper.

 

“Dead.”

 

The pale face scrunched in sympathy.  “Sorry.”

 

Nodding, Steve couldn’t talk about it now.  He was too confused and laden with guilt.  “Don’t be,” he decided was the right response.  “You did more than you should have.”

 

The door opened and, Jenny, in a wheelchair, rolled in with Nick pushing her.  Already, Jenny had tears in her eyes and seemed about to burst into weeping when she looked at McGarrett, then Williams.  Her arm in a sling, the former secretary was pale and worn, but strangely both poignantly brightened and saddened at the patient in the bed.

                                     

“Thank you,” she cried, holding onto Dan’s hand.  “You saved my life.”

 

Nick patted Williams’ arm.  “Can’t find the words to say enough, bruddah,” he told Williams

 

Dan smiled and nodded, seemed a bit detached thanks to the medication.

 

“Okay,” he quietly accepted.  “Just wanted Jenny safe.”

 

“You’re some hero,” Jenny told him, patting his hand as tears streamed down her face.  Then she moved her hand to hold onto Steve’s.  “You’re a hero, too, Steve, the way you went in there to save Danny.  Two wonderful heroes.”

 

“I’m no hero,” Dan sighed with a mild shake of his head.  “I only wanted to get you out.”

 

Nick nodded his agreement with his wife and gently joked, “And don’t try to argue with her, you’ll never win.”

 

McGarrett shook his head, agreeing with them that Danno had shown incredible bravery. Knowing his actions had nothing to do with bravery, but everything to do with fear, desperation and guilt. 

 

After the Kamekonas left, Dan seemed like he was fighting to stay awake.  He stared at his boss for a few minutes.  “I didn’t want you to have to take out Tom” he spoke slowly, trying to get the whole message out between breaths.  “Did you?”

 

With difficulty, Steve admitted that he had indeed killed his old friend.

 

“Sorry.”

 

“Not your fault, Danno.  Tom went over the edge.  He pulled the trigger and shot you.  He was going to kill you.  I wouldn’t let that happen.”

 

“Tom was twisted,” he sighed, trying to stay conscious.  “Blamed you.  Told him he was crazy.”

 

“That didn’t help,” Steve almost smiled, ruefully regretting his friend’s penchant for blunt accusations in the face of danger.  “But thanks.”

 

“Told him you were the best.”  He fought to keep his attention focused and his eyes open. 

 

That achingly loyal statement nearly brought him to tears.  “I think that should be reserved for you,” he almost whispered.  “You are too much.” 

 

He turned, afraid the strong emotions and moist eyes would give him away.  Knowing it shouldn’t matter, Dan was the one person who would not think less of him for revealing emotions.  This was one person he HAD surrendered his grief and pain to all too often, and it never diminished him in his friend’s eyes. 

 

“I just want to ask --“ he started, felt his resolve crack, heard the hurt in his voice.  “Danno, just please forgive me,” he whispered shakily.  “I was so blind.  I should have listened to you and not encouraged Tom.  Look what my indulgence brought us.”

 

“Not your fault,” Dan dismissed wearily.  “You were just trying to be a good friend.”

 

A good friend.  Did he even understand that term?  A good friend to Tom while encouraging anger and hatred towards a person who had not been proven guilty?  Good friend to Danno, whose quiet reason he had ignored and stifled in favor of Tom’s loud anger?  Sometimes, in the shadow of Danno’s continued loyalty and eternal example of steadfast selflessness, he wondered if he could ever grasp the definition of friendship anywhere close to what this ally lived up to all the time.

 

“I’m going to try harder,” he promised. 

 

Dan glanced out the window, at the sunset laced sky, the layered pastel clouds and swaying palms.  “We missed the race.  Too bad.  I thought we had a good chance of winning.”  Dan nodded and closed his eyes, settling into a peace that was enviable.

 

Steve patted both hands on his friend’s arm.  “We won a lot more than a race,” he assured quietly.  His friend was alive.

 

 

Pau