Epilog to:










To conceal his trembling, McGarrett curled his fist into a tight ball and rested it on the window edge of the car door. It was a delayed reaction, he categorized instinctively, irritated at the backlash of his recent experience as a prison hostage. It was natural for the nerves to react to the stress now that he was safely away from the danger. Knowing the clinical jargon didn't make him feel any better. Sure there were some scary moments -- like when his brilliant plan of escape had failed. And for a while it seemed as if he would be executed. But he had come out of it okay, hardly suffering much besides some scrapes and bruises. Running fingers through his hair he made an effort not to release the sigh pushing in his lungs.

"You'll want to go home, right?"

"Yeah, I'd like to clean up."

Straightening, McGarrett glanced over at the driver. Dan Williams appeared to be his usual outwardly calm professional self, but the firm grip on the steering wheel with both hands; the biting of the lower lip, the eyes that darted his way frequently, all attested that the cool detective was struggling with his own post-stress counteraction.

Danno also had his own variety of scrapes and scuffs from his rescue effort. The Five-0 second-in-command didn't have to be the first man into the cell with the swat team, but he was. Typical Danno.

The reminder of the climactic actions in the last few minutes of his captivity sent a thrill of adrenaline through his system. Followed almost instantly with a rueful pride. Yes, there had been some sharp moments of fear while he was captured and threatened by Honore Vashon. But those frights had been fleeting. Underlying the arguments, the life-and-death drama, had been a blanket of confidence and certainty. He had absolute faith in his guys, in Danno, and as usual, he was not disappointed.

This time he did sigh, and was satisfied that it was a release of satisfaction, not stress. He glanced over at his friend, assessing the younger man who so characteristically threw himself into the path of danger to save him.

"Guess you'd like to do the same?"

Williams brushed at his tightly curled hair; his hands still dusted with grime. "Yeah. Crawling through the vents was a pretty dirty job."

What an understatement! Clambering through the vents, jumping into a room with armed cons, going in where no Five-0 officer needed to be. And Danno acted like it was no big deal at all. Just a heroic act that saved McGarrett's life.

Flooded by the affection and pride he felt for his selfless friend, McGarrett reached over and patted him on the shoulder.

"Mahalo, again, Danno. You know, you didn't have to be on that SWAT team."

Typically, Williams brushed off the compliment with a joke. "Had to make sure they were going to do things right."

The rebuttal was a nondescript grunt.

"Seemed like the right thing to do," the younger man added self-consciously.

"Just because my neck is on the line doesn't mean you have to add yours, Danno."

Shrugging, Dan glanced over briefly, then slid his eyes back on the freeway. "I wasn't going to let you stay stuck there with Vashon."

McGarrett shook his head, his throat a little tight. "I know." And he did. He had never given up on a rescue because he knew Danno was on the outside of that prison, and nothing was going to keep Williams from coming after him. That single-minded devotion worried him sometimes. But today, he was heartily grateful for it. "Yeah, I know, Danno. Mahalo."