In wry acknowledgement of all the get-em’s from the show and the multitude from fandom!

 

 

 

THE COMPETITION

Story idea by Penny Humm

Written by gm

 

 

April 1976

 

-----------------------------------

 

 

Holding onto the dashboard with one hand, Dan Williams tenaciously gripped the radio mic with the other, trying to keep up with the rapidly changing locations as the Mercury whipped through the narrow back roads of Waipahu.  Coordinating HPD squad cars, Five-0 sedans and an HPD helicopter, was not easy.  It took up all of his concentration, however, and he gratefully did not have time to think about how close they came to several accidents in the last few minutes.

 

“Can you see him, Danno?”

 

“Only the dust,” Dan responded dryly.

 

Behind the wheel, Steve McGarrett squinted his eyes against the billowing red dust clouding their vision as the black sedan plowed through the dirt cane roads in pursuit of the robbery suspects somewhere ahead.  The narrowing eyes were instinctive only.  With the windows rolled up, in air-conditioned comfort, the officers were spared from the nasty plumes of dirt obscuring the air and everything even close to their location.

 

The stakeout gone-awry had escalated almost instantly from a routine apprehension to a full-blown, risky chase.  Suspecting the bank robbers they were after would head to a family house in the cane fields, Five-0 had awaited Jeff and Josh Tanaka.  The brothers, tipped off somehow, grabbed a farm worker as a hostage and sped off in a jeep, leading McGarrett and Williams, then a slew of other law enforcement units, in hot pursuit.

 

“What makes these guys think they can get away with bank robbery on an island?” McGarrett snapped rhetorically, beyond irritation at the snowball effect of Murphy’s Law that everything that could go wrong did in this case.

 

“They’re nuts,” Dan replied simply, wincing as they took a corner too sharp and his shoulder slammed into the door.  “You know they’ve got cousins and nephews and calabash relatives all over the State.  They have no end of people happy to give them refuge.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that hostage is really a nephew or a brother or -- whoa --“ he sucked in air as they bottomed out,  rocketing through an intersection of two cane roads.  “-- or something.”

 

“They don’t have enough relatives to outrun us.”

 

“I think they’re heading for a road up ahead.  If you take it left for a few miles, you’ll end up on the main highway.”

 

Swerving around a corner, McGarrett and Dan both gasped, the driver slamming on the brakes as the pursued jeep loomed suddenly out of the dust.  There was only a fractional second to avoid the vehicle that had been parked across the road in a deadly and effective barricade. Turning the wheel, continuing the veer to the left, Steve cut sharp, but his reactions were too late to cease the mighty momentum from the heavy, speeding car.

 

The Mercury’s right side slammed hard into the jeep, sliding both cars forward and plunging them into a cane run-off ditch.  McGarrett’s head hit the steering wheel, then flung back against the seat rest, then back to the wheel.  He was halted from rocketing through the windshield only because the Five-0 chief had demonstrated the foresight of using his seatbelt during the chase.  Groaning, dazed, Steve sat still. 

 

Williams, slammed against the side window and dash, was spared from serious head injury because of the rare use of his seat belt.  The impact with the jeep, however, pierced metal inward, crushing in the wall of the Mercury and crunched into his right side.  As he coughed out fine volcanic clay from his lungs, he blinked eyes gritty with dust.  Attempting to wipe his face, he cried out when he tried to move his right arm.  Then the stinging pain registered and he knew he was significantly hurt.

 

“Danno?”

 

“Yeah.  You okay, Steve?”

 

“Not really.  Head --“

 

“Don’t move.”  With his left hand, he cleared the dust from his watering eyes and carefully turned to survey damage to his colleague.  “You’re bleeding from a head wound, Steve,” he reported gravely, cautiously reaching out to gently touch his companion’s shoulder.  “Don’t move.  Looks pretty bad.”

 

“Okay.”  McGarrett’s eyes blinked open.  “Visions a little blurry.”   He tentatively wiped at the blood on his face, and then sucked in a sharp inhale.  “Tender.”

 

“Steering wheel’s a pretty effective weapon.”

 

“Yeah.  What about you?”

 

Trying not to move much while checking out his own injuries, Dan grimaced when he saw his right leg and arm were snarled in with the torn metal of the car.  He could feel the tingle of painful injuries, but seemed too dazed to really sense what was obviously more than minor scrapes.  Blood covered his suit, so he knew he was in trouble. 

 

“Tangled with the car.  I think I’ll be all right, but someone will have to help get me out.”

 

Turning quicker than he should have, Steve sucked in a breath of pain, but kept his head steady as he surveyed his detective. 

 

“Don’t move,” Dan reminded.  “Help should be here any minute.  They were right behind us.”

 

Grim, McGarrett released his seat belt, still assessing his friend’s condition.  “You better stay still, too.”

 

“Yeah.  At least there’s no sign of the Tanaka brothers.”

 

“Hmm.  Small favor.  Good thing they were more interested in running.  We would be sitting ducks here.”

 

Screeching tires ground in the dirt nearby and sirens faded out.  Car doors slammed.  Rescue was imminent.  McGarrett patted Dan’s shoulder.  With a minimum of movement, the chief still managed to convey extreme authority as he yelled for the officers to hurry up and get an ambulance.  And to watch out for Williams, who had to be moved carefully.

 

Two patrolmen and Duke Lukela slowly helped McGarrett out, while Dan reminded them to keep his head protected.  Williams’ leg and arm starting to throb now, the younger detective wished for his own deliverance, but wasn’t sure that was a good idea until they had a medical team on site.  Extracting his limbs from the metal might tear open veins or arteries and out here in the wilds of the cane fields that could be a fatal mistake.

 

The dilemma became moot when he felt the car slide.  Someone yelled a warning as the vehicle shifted, crashing front-first down a sharp incline, then falling onto the right side.  The jolt shot agonizing pain through his body.  Coughing and blinking, instinctively striving for sight and orientation, he knew he no longer had a choice about leaving the car.  The Mercury was now down in the mud and sludgy water was seeping through the cracked window.

 

The joggle had painfully torn his limbs free.  Unable to tell how much he was bleeding, he focused on scrambling up to the driver’s door and escaping the oncoming muddy water from the stream.  Helping hands grabbed through the window and pulled him up, dragging him farther up the gully.  Knowing he was safe -- Steve was safe -- he closed his eyes, letting the responsibility for his care pass on to someone who could think clearly.

 

 

*****

 

Sitting up in the hospital bed, McGarrett ground his teeth in aggravation.  Bergman was supposed to be here early that morning, but had yet to show.  Impatiently tapping his fingers on the side of the bed, he fumed, mentally giving the medical man a time limit ultimatum.  If Bergman did not come through that door in five minutes, McGarrett was leaving.

 

That was certainly no threat to the crusty Medical Examiner who was the unofficial physician for the Five-0 staff.  Either of those duties would be a full time occupation, but Bergman, without ever being officially asked, without a formal contract, was simply adopted as McGarrett’s personal choice for a physician for Five-0 detectives.  It seemed an odd thing for a Coroner’s second job, but McGarrett liked and trusted the ME and both headstrong men understood each other well.  McGarrett was the boss; Bergman was the State employee.  The doctor’s talents were always respected and taken into consideration, but the bottom line was that McGarrett was the bottom line.

 

Danno liked to make jokes about the absurdity of having a doctor who was the ME.  The reminder turned his thoughts to graver matters, the concern for his second-in-command never far from his mind.  While McGarrett’s chronically bad knee (never the same since the plane crash on the Big Island last fall) {episode -- McGarrett IS MISSING} was giving him grief with strained ligaments, and his concussion was a constantly painful throb, Danno’s injuries were worse.  Williams suffered blood loss, strained ligaments, severe lacerations to his right leg and arm, and a cracked wrist.  Everything was repaired, but this would put Williams out on recovery leave for a while.  At least he would live, Steve sighed with relief. 

 

The five minutes were up and McGarrett laboriously eased out of bed and started the gradual process of dressing.  Chin Ho Kelly -- under protest -- had brought  clothes by last night, as per Steve’s orders.  The travel case kept at the office was packed with essentials for spur-of-the-moment journeys, or hospital stays.

 

Limping badly, Steve held onto the bed, then the walls, for support as he hobbled to the door.  The jolting, short distance was rough on his sore head, but he was encouraged that he could put a little bit of weight on the leg. 

 

Opening the door, he limped down to the nurse’s station and asked for Williams’ room number.  The nurse, taken aback by his sudden appearance -- dressed and demanding -- stuttered out that he should be in bed resting.  Expecting the interference, he tersely repeated his command.

 

“I don’t think I should --“

 

“I could just canvas this whole floor, nurse, and find my detective.  Or, I can minimize my efforts and go directly to his room with your cooperation.”

 

Cross at the trap, she gave him the room number -- just down the hall.  Then she threatened to notify Bergman of his unauthorized roaming.  He just stabbed her with a frosty smile, knowing it would further confuse her.  He didn’t like being intentionally tough with the medical profession, but they had to learn their place.  Patch up the injuries and get out of his way!  He had important things to do and would not let them restrain him.

 

When he entered the private room, he became instantly subdued.  The blinds were closed, blocking out the intense afternoon Hawaiian sunlight.  Danno looked like he was sleeping, so McGarrett quietly approached the bed. He saw Dan’s eyes blink open and he smiled.

 

“Hey.  How are you?”

 

“Okay,” Dan nodded, gradually sitting up.  “You?”

 

“Just some bumps and bruises.  Word is you’re going to be all right.”

 

“Yeah, that’s what Doc said.”  His voice and expression were wry.  “That’s not what he said, exactly, about you.  Sorry for all this.”

 

Scoffing, Steve assured it was not at all Dan’s fault things had turned out like this. 

 

“It was my case,” Dan reminded.  “You came along to be in on the arrest --“

 

“I was driving, Danno.  And you didn’t force me to go along.”  He smirked.  “I don’t think you even invited me. I invited myself - my privilege as the boss.”

 

Dan nodded, but his expression related he was not convinced of the argument.  He gestured at his colleague.  “You’re releasing yourself?”

 

“Nothing they can do for me here that I can’t do at home.”

 

Williams scoffed.  “You’re going to stay at home and recover. Is that what you’re saying?”

 

McGarrett was slightly annoyed at the flippant sarcasm, but conceded there was historic basis for skepticism.  “At least for a few days.”

 

Williams shook his head.  “Steve, the office can run just fine without you for a week --“

 

“Want to bet?”

 

“Yeah,” Dan countered quickly, challenging the casual comment.

 

McGarrett did not rise to the dare.  “Not with both of us out, Danno.”  Feeling a little weak, he leaned against the bed. 

 

Danno’s narrowed eyes indicated he had caught that action.  Clearly unhappy with the decision, Williams glumly sighed.  “You can let Chin and Duke take care of everything.  That’s what they’re paid for.  Just for a week, Steve.”

 

“I’ll just do light stuff to keep things running smoothly.  Some business I can accomplish from my apartment, with phone calls.”  He tapped the bed.  “You have enough to worry about.  Just get well.”  His head was really swimming now and his whole leg ached.  “I’ll be by later to check in on you.”

 

“Why don’t you take the time to rest, Steve?  For once, let somebody else take care of things.”

 

“I’ll be fine,” he waved as he shuffled to the door.

 

The journey back to his own room was taken with slow steps and gritted teeth.  The nurses tried to get him to use a wheelchair, which he proudly refused.  In his room, he called Chin and asked him to send over a driver.  He would need to be chauffeured for a few days.  Then he packed up his few personal items and went to the nurse’s station to leave a message for Bergman.  The Doc was to call him at home with an update on Williams’ condition.

 

This time the nurses were ready for him and insisted he leave in a wheelchair.  Knowing he had tried and failed to fight against this strict rule; knowing he had the upper hand and willing to concede this small victory to the staff, he obliged.

 

 

*****

 

Chin had dropped off paperwork, and a cane from Bergman, and doctor’s orders to limit his activity.  Only Steve would admit the walking stick helped balance him and keep him steady in his rambling around the apartment.  

 

It was nearly noon and he wondered what leftovers he still had in the fridge.  He rarely ate at home and knew his supplies were limited.  When he was here, he was usually too tired to cook anything good.  Most nights he wasn’t home early enough to dine.  Most breakfasts were snatched snacks on the way to the office, or munchies that Jenny or Mrs. Kelly or Mrs. Lukela provided on occasion.

 

His closest neighbor, Mrs. Kenau, had sent over supper last night, but indicated she would be gone for the day.  A good-hearted soul, she spoiled him when he was home on injuries, but he didn’t want to be pampered by her. 

 

Always in the back of his mind -- and from Danno’s teasing -- he worried that she might take this domestic help a little too seriously.   Not that she had romantic intentions toward him -- she was at least a decade older than he was.  But he did not want to be coddled by his staff, or even a friend.  He was much too independent.

 

When the doorbell rang, he ambled over, wondering who could be visiting him in the middle of the day.  One of his men, he guessed.  Opening the door, he stood there for a moment in complete shock.  The visitor was so unexpected it left him speechless.

 

“Well, aren’t you going to ask me in?” Dan wondered sardonically as he carefully pushed his way in past McGarrett, who was still standing in the doorway.

 

A handled-shopping bag held in his cast, slinged, right hand, and using a cane in the other hand, Dan limped inside.  Turning around, he tapped McGarrett’s cane with his, joking they looked like accident bookends.  Amused at his own wit, Dan smiled and moved along to the kitchen.  On the way he explained he had picked up food from their favorite Oriental restaurant in Waikiki and hoped Ellen Kenau hadn’t overloaded his fridge with goodies.

 

McGarrett was not so amused.  “What are you doing out of the hospital?”

 

“Recuperating at home.  Nothing they can do for me there that I can’t do at my apartment.”  The near quote was delivered in a McGarrett-esque tone that was meant to be both gently teasing and significant, and accomplished both ends neatly.  “With a nice ocean view at my place, why would I stay in the hospital?”

 

The message came in loud and clear.  “All right, Danno, just because I release myself from the hospital doesn’t mean you can.  I talked to Bergman last night --“

 

“And this morning he agreed with me.  Laying around recovering can be accomplished just fine at home.” 

 

He unloaded the food and went to retrieve some plates.  Not to be outmaneuvered in his own home, McGarrett fetched glasses and juice.  Colliding several times in the small kitchen, canes and awkward movement making it a challenge, they both reached the table and laughed at the absurd situation.

 

“Okay, Danno, you’ve proven your point.”

 

Dan was completely innocent.  “What point is that, Steve?”

 

Shaking his head as they clumsily settled at the table, he replied, “That only one of us needs to be hardheaded.  I am fine.”

 

“So am I.”

 

McGarrett would not be thwarted.  “I have obligations to do my job for this State.  I can get things accomplished just fine here at home.”

 

“So can I.  I’m having Chin bring the Tanaka brothers’ files over later.”

 

“This is not a competition.”

 

“I know.”

 

Scowling, both amused and annoyed, McGarrett sighed.  “I’ve never seen such an adamant stubborn streak in you like this, Officer Williams.”

 

“Oh, it’s there,” the younger man promised with a smile.  “Just not always obvious.”

 

“You’re very competitive,” McGarrett grinned.

 

“So are you.”

 

“Yeah,” the head of Five-0 laughed.  “Yeah, I am.”

 

The doorbell rang and McGarrett ambled over, admitting Bergman.  The doctor immediately plunged into a lecture about McGarrett’s continual obstinacy.  In the middle of the conversation, Williams appeared from the kitchen -- with his own cane -- and received a blast of the doctor’s wrath.

 

“You’ve learned nothing but bad habits from your boss, Danny,” he accused sharply.

 

That amused both the detectives.

 

“Bad habits get worse and worse unless they are checked,” the older man continued unheeded.  “Steve, you’ve gotten away with ignoring medical advice for too long and you’ve got everyone cowed and used to it.  Now Danny!  You know he always tries to live up to you, but now it’s endangering his health!  Not that it does a bit of good to talk to you two hard heads!”

 

Both men were now older so their injuries were slower to mend, he reminded without mercy.  Neither would realize nor accept that, of course.  They were not twenty-one anymore he assured.  Therefore they could not just go back to work as if nothing had happened and expect to be 100% fit in a couple of days.

 

“I wish you two would put as much dedication into physical therapy as you do in work!”

 

“With that dragon at PT?  Are you kidding?” Dan quipped.  McGarrett smiled at the none-too-kind joke.

 

“I’ll tell her you said that, Danny.  And I expect you two to drop in there tomorrow.”

 

Williams sputtered, then pressed his lips together, probably to keep from saying anything else that would get him in trouble.  Patients learned quickly they were at the mercy of the physical therapist.  Steve would probably just skip the torture and suffer Bergman’s lectures rather than PT torment.

 

As a workaholic, Steve felt he could not take more time off.  It had been a busy period for Five-0.  All the time off previously due to past injuries -- his damaged knee, the gunshot wound to the shoulder {episode -- TWO FACED CORPSE}, he didn't want to overload the others on staff with the heavy burden of added responsibility.

 

He did feel guilty about Danno emulating his bad habits, but he could not back down about that without giving in to Bergman himself. 

 

Finally pushing Bergman out the door, the detectives shared a disquieting moment, contemplating and complaining about the effective weapon at Doc’s disposal.  Physical Therapy.  Steve concluded that he just wouldn’t go.  Dan agreed.  Smiling that they had just proved Bergman’s complaints all too accurate, McGarrett suggested they sit out on the lanai and watch the outrigger canoe practice while they went over case notes.

 

After several hours, McGarrett was feeling weak and sore and wanted to get some rest.  Using Williams’ depleted and ragged appearance as an excuse, he called a close to the work and called Lukela to come give Williams a ride home.

 

“How did you get here, anyway?” he asked, after learning Lukela was surprised Williams was out of the hospital.

 

The younger detective looked sheepish.  “I had to break my date with Molly last night and, well, she felt sorry for me and helped spring me this morning.”

 

“Molly.  Taggert?  The pretty, young hang glider girl?  You’re dating her? {episode -- TURKEY SHOOT AT MAKAPUU POINT}  Why does that not surprise me?”

 

Dan’s expression soured.  “Well, not anymore.  I’ve had to break three dates in a row.  And then this morning I wanted to work on this case.  Not very good for her ego, I’m afraid.  So she dumped me.”

 

The boss failed to work up any sympathy for his colleague.  “Your social life is like a revolving door.”

 

“Hey, it’s the job,” he defended weakly.

 

McGarrett shrugged, seeing a chance to drive home a point in his favor with their current competition.  “Your choice, Danno.  If Molly was really important to you, you’d call her up, take her out on an elaborate date tomorrow, work your charm, and take some sick leave.”

 

Eyes narrowed, Williams stared at him for a moment.  “So you can handle this case while YOU are supposed to be on sick leave?  What kind of a friend would I be if I did that?”

 

“One who’s a lot less stubborn.

 

 

*****

 

 

Stir crazy after only two days at home, McGarrett arrived at Iolani Place, headquarters of Hawaii Five-0, a little after TenAM.  The staff of secretaries were there, headed by Jenny Sherman.  She scowled at him with stern disapproval when he limped in, minus the cane.  He told himself the walking stick gave the appearance of more serious injury than he had, so he refused to bring it to the office.

 

Chin Ho and Lukela hovered by the telex machine and their censorious gazes also told of their disappointment at his return to work.  They knew better than to say anything, but Jenny, always with a mind of her own, had a wealth of opinions.

 

“Boss, you shouldn’t be back so soon,” she scolded.

 

The firestorm commenced, he limped past her desk, waving in his detectives.  “What’s new on the Tanaka case?” Ignoring her comment, he shuffled into his office.

 

“Danny found out the older brother, Jeff, had a record in San Diego.  We’re just getting something from their PD now on the telex.  Might get us on another track.  We’re sure they didn’t leave the islands, and we’ve got a lot of known associates staked-out in case they try to run for help again.”

 

“Sounds like there’s still gaps.”  McGarrett eased into his chair.  “What else?”

 

“You should be at home resting, Steve,” Jenny reprimanded.

 

He ignored the reminder and pinned Duke with a stare.  “What about that tourist murder in Makaha?”

 

The killing had taken place only last night, but McGarrett was already anxious to get results and annoyed he learned of the nasty crime by reading the morning paper.  His detectives were not doing a very good job of keeping him apprised of important matters.  Whenever there was violence against tourists, the Governor and every politician on down the food chain added pressure to Five-0.  Being a sharp cop, Lukela had the case in hand, he knew, without hearing any details, but Steve wondered if he should take a more active role in the investigation.

 

“I’ve got HPD helping, Steve.  We can handle it.”

 

The assurance, the indirect hint that the boss could back off was not acknowledged.  He checked his desk calendar.  “Jenny, did you cancel the Chamber breakfast for Thursday --“

 

“I canceled all your meetings for this week, Steve,” she pointedly told him.  “Including the Children’s Hospital orienteering meeting this afternoon.”  That was delivered with notable regret.

 

McGarrett scowled.  “I have to attend. I’m one of the organizers.”  He glanced at the others.  “You know that’s my most important charity.”

 

“I just thought since you can’t make the orienteering meet, you wouldn’t want to go to the meeting.”  Her eyes narrowed.  “And you are supposed to be resting.”

 

“I need to show my support for the kids.”

 

“As long as they don’t talk you into going on the hike Saturday,” she warned.

 

Obviously, it would be unpopular and brook more dissent if he reminded that Five-0 had a team scheduled to compete in the charity event.  More a goal-setting hike and orienteering-for-amateurs than a serious competitive sport, the event involved small teams of participants to hike a rugged region outside of Honolulu.  During the trek they would collect flags from checkpoints and, using a compass and map, try to find all the flags and return to the starting point.  The first one back with all flags won.

 

Leaving Saturdays alternately free for the family men -- Kelly and Lukela -- Steve had volunteered Dan and him as the Five-0 representatives.  That was before the accident.  Danno certainly couldn’t make the hike.  He couldn’t either, he truthfully -- regrettably -- admitted, but maybe he could find some HPD men to fill in for them.  It wouldn’t be the same, of course, but Kelly and Lukela were now needed to cover for them at work.  There would be no days off until both the top officers were recovered.

 

“Tell them I’m coming,” he flatly ordered.

 

 

*****

 

 

Contacting Jenny over the intercom, he ordered some lunch and decided to work through until the meeting at the hospital.  When a knock came sometime later and the scent of sweet and sour pineapple chicken filled the office, he realized how hungry he was.

 

“Mahalo, Jenny.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

Startled, Steve looked up, surprised to see Williams hobbling in, awkwardly holding a bag of food in his heavily bandaged right arm.  The arm, no longer in a sling, looked like it still hurt the officer and Steve was about to inquire what happened to the sling, then stopped.  That would only start a debate about not-heeding-medical-advice, and he had heard enough of that dispute already.

 

“You’re making this a habit,” he smiled and joined his friend at the big table on the side of the office.  “Couldn’t stand the view anymore?”

 

“I needed to drop some papers by anyway.  How’s the Tanaka search?”

 

“Still unsuccessful.”

 

Pulling over the white chairs usually in front of the desk, they settled in with the food and discussed several cases besides the fugitive robbers.  McGarrett couldn’t resist mentioning Williams was supposed to be at home resting.  As expected, the younger detective flung it back with the same observation.

 

Noting the continued obstinacy, Steve wondered at the unusual attitude, and guessed it was his colleague’s way of trying to get McGarrett to conform to doctor’s wishes.  Bergman had given up harassing him, but the staff watched him carefully, never ceasing their concerned advice.  It was nice to have caring friends, but he didn’t like it when they pushed.  While Danno was not exceeding his bounds as an officer or a friend, Steve did not tolerate much insubordination even from him.

 

After lunch, they cleared away the trash and McGarrett counseled his friend to go home and take it easy.  Countering, Williams suggested the same.  As Jenny was coming in to deliver papers and to remove the trash, McGarrett reminded he had to go to the hospital charity meeting.

 

“You’re not still going on the hike, are you?”

 

“He better not,” Sherman warned.

 

“I have to represent Five-0,” Steve defied instantly, defensive that they would question his abilities.  He had no intention of competing on Saturday, but he was tired of being hemmed in by his well-meaning, but interfering staff.   “We have made a commitment.”

 

“You can’t hike, Steve.”

 

“I’m not letting those kids down,” he retorted firmly, still trying to think of an alternative, but failing to find an acceptable option yet. 

 

“Steve, be reasonable,” Jenny pleaded.

 

“I am,” he insisted.  “I’m going on Saturday.”

 

It was an impulse born of stubborn Irish pride and the inability to back down.  They had pushed him into a corner and he could not relinquish without setting an unhappy precedence in the office.  They had to give him room when he demanded it.  He was not going to appear weak.

 

“Then I’m going, too,” Williams told him.

 

“No you’re not,” Steve snapped out quickly.

 

“You can go get yourself hurt climbing around the hills, but I can’t?” Dan rebelliously flung back.

 

“Yes.  I’m not as badly injured as you.”

 

“I’m going.”

 

There was no hint of amusement or weakness in the bold blue eyes staring back at him.  It made Steve feel a little proud, he recognized again that he had chosen so well in his second-in-command.  A man who would not kow-tow to him or give in because of weakness or office politics.  It was, though, annoying, when Danno was stubborn enough not to know his own limitations.

 

“You’re not.  As of now, you are not on my team.”

 

“Then I’ll be on my own team.”

 

Jenny let out a hrmph of irritation.  “You’re acting like two scrapping boys!” she dismissed with total exasperation.  “Neither one of you are fit for walking around the office!  If you go on that hike, you’ll be the last two contestants.”

 

Williams looked at her with a speculative gleam in his eyes.  “You want to bet?”

 

Smiling, McGarrett couldn’t resist.  “I will.”  Their friendly office bets were legendary.  Always for low money, but a game the top two detectives could not resist.  Steve blamed his Irish heritage as an ethnic weakness for gambling.  And frequently, Steve did not win.  This time he would.  “I’ll bet we do not place last.”

 

“I’ll bet I win,” Williams replied, upping the ante.

 

“Done,” Steve responded immediately.

 

 

*****

 

Knowing he was straining himself beyond reason and temperance, Dan Williams went to the HPD gym that night to do some low-key training.  Feeling like he was a hundred years old, and going slowly through a mild treadmill routine, Dan hit the showers before he really damaged his mending nerves and ligaments. 

 

 

*****

 

 

“What was I thinking,” Dan sighed to himself.

 

As he trudged up the many steps of koa wood stairs on the interior of the Palace, he stopped on the landing to catch his breath.  This whole situation irked him.  The injuries -- his and McGarrett’s.  The convalescence.  The inability to drive his stick shift Mustang!  The low level of physical acuity -- he was winded just climbing these familiar stairs! he huffed indignantly.

 

Not really feeling up to working at the office, he had come mostly to apologize to Steve.  Since the accident, Dan had been almost belligerent in his attitude to his friend.  Well, to Steve’s attitude about convalescing.  Steve just would not admit he needed to rest and recover.  So when pushed, Dan pushed back in his own fashion, blowing the confrontation all out of proportion.  Culminating in the ridiculous competition over the hike tomorrow.

 

They were both idiots!  Continuing up the stairs, he opened the Five-0 doors, surprised to find the main office empty.  Well, it was after SixPM on a Friday night.  The staff had left and if Chin and Duke had any sense they had gone home, too.

 

Surprised McGarrett was gone, Williams grabbed the file folders he came for and wondered if he should stay here or take the work home.  Noting one file was missing, he went to Jenny’s desk and rummaged through her stacks.  A steno pad fell open on the chair and he retrieved it, stopping when he read his name, Steve’s name, and monetary amounts in columns corresponding with the names of Lukela, Kelly, several of the secretaries and a few HPD men.

 

A betting pool!  On the hike tomorrow!  He could hardly believe it!  Affronted, his mood then altered to delight.  Well, he and Steve were habitual betters.  He knew there had been office pools before on unsavory items such as how long a jury might be out deliberating, or how long Steve would date the same girl. 

 

His enthusiasm and amusement sank when he saw that every one of them had bet that he would lose!  Included were notes on someone’s observance of his visit to the gym last night!  Man, there were spies everywhere! 

 

The eyewitness reporting on Williams was from Chin’s son who was training to be a cop!  Teenagers naturally saw anyone over twenty-five as ancient, he muttered to himself.  Chin's son, it was noted, thought Dan had no chance in the race. 

 

Despite Steve being even older than Williams, he was noted as being totally competitive and obsessive, which would counter the difference in ages, and give Steve the edge.  That was honest, but depressing!  It lifted his spirits only slightly to see that Bergman had placed the heaviest bets against both of them!

 

Well, who WOULD bet on him?  He certainly did not have the stamina or agility he usually enjoyed.  Then, annoyed, he reasoned that McGarrett was in rough shape, too.  Neither one of them had any business doing this, but they were committed.  Or ought to be committed in an asylum!

 

The front door opened and slammed shut and Williams, completely red-handed, was caught cold with the evidence.  As Steve hobbled up to the desk, Dan remained frozen.

 

 

*****

 

The view from the beach near the Kuilima hotel was spectacular.  For a moment, McGarrett took time to survey the breathtaking ocean vista.  The waves on the windward coast were blue mists of rolling power as they crashed into the black lava rocks below.  Errant white wisps of clouds sailed on the Trade Winds brushing the beach.  The morning air was warm and fresh, the sun toasty and penetrating through the thin material of his Aloha shirt.

 

The brilliant scenery could only penetrate as a backdrop, however, while he mentally geared up for the day’s ordeal.  Committed to following through with the hike, he knew he would have to watch his knee.  The concussion was fading, but the knee still hurt and he had to be careful of putting too much weight on it.

 

Turning to look up the nearby mountain, he appreciated the lush green of the verdant trees and foliage they would trek through.  As his eye scanned the beauty, his mind worked on trails and strategy and the best way to tackle the rugged terrain that was going to be punishing to his injured body.

 

A familiar form caught his eye and he had to smile at the clever, stylish bravado of his friend.  Williams, in a muted green and blue surfboard designed aloha shirt, walked toward him -- with almost no visible limp -- because of the aid of a long, sturdy staff.  His arm no longer in a sling, Dan, from this distance, seemed uninjured.  The baggy shirt and sunglasses helped with altering his look and diminishing the effect of the abrasions.  It was only on closer inspection as he approached that the bruising and cuts on his arms and face were visible.  Obviously, Dan had put some thought into appearance today.

 

Shaking his head and laughing, he appreciated the foresight.  “Well done, Danno,” he greeted.  “Akamai.”

 

“Mahalo.”  Dan stamped the earth with the walking staff.  “Lots of hikers use these.”

 

McGarrett had seen, without significantly noting, that others were indeed using walking sticks for the hike.  Why didn’t he think of such a wily way to disguise the accident injury?  Worried about Williams’ wounds, he forgot that Danno was an experienced hiker and was probably going to fare very well on the trek as long as he watched his step and didn’t take a tumble.

 

‘Not the first time you’ve been underestimated, my friend,’ McGarrett ruefully observed with complete admiration.  ‘And this time it will be to your advantage.’

 

“Did you talk to Chin this morning?”

 

Suspiciously, McGarrett said he had not.  Apparently, Williams did, though.  And what was the detective doing worrying about work?

 

“Still bugged about the Tanaka brothers,” Dan admitted quickly, then continued, “They are supposed to have a cousin up here --“

 

“And you’re going to watch out for them while we’re on this hike?”

 

“It wouldn’t hurt.”

 

A little put out at this extreme example of Williams’ dedication, Steve reminded they were off-duty.  There was an entire police force out searching the island for the criminals.  Dan should not take the case so personally.  Even as he spoke the words, he recognized his own guilt at habitual over-work and excessive tenacity until a case was solved.

 

“It’s not your fault we lost them,” Steve advised, getting down to the bottom line.  He knew it was Williams’ case and McGarrett had simply been along for the ride the other day when they chased the brothers up into the hills.  “It was not your fault we got banged up, either,” he reminded, sure Dan’s conscientious nature was lending added culpability to the predicament.

 

Glum, the younger man admitted it would make him feel better if they had the notorious criminals in jail.  Moving on, he sighed, “You ready for this?”  Dan eyed him critically, skepticism clear in his tone.

 

Steve slid the sunglasses down his nose and made eye contact.  “Yeah.  No way out.”

 

Grimacing, Dan shook his head.  “Just be careful.  This is supposed to be a friendly competition.  I’d feel --”

 

“I’ll watch my step, Danno.  You too.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

The organizer of the event announced the rules and wished everyone good luck.  Then the group was released.  Some jogged; others ran into the nearby hills just across the street.  With a sigh, McGarrett shook hands with his friend and wished him luck.  Still obviously concerned, Dan wished him the same and issued one more warning to be careful.  Then they crossed the street and separated into the dense brush.  Limping along on a narrow, vine-encrusted path, McGarrett walked as fast as he could, searching for the coveted flags, and for a good, sturdy tree branch he could make into a walking stick.

 

 

*****

 

The first five flags were captured with surprising ease, Dan thought as he limped along a rocky trail near the summit of the hill.  High above the thick brush of the jungle, he stood at the summit of a rocky pinnacle.  Wiping seat from his brow, he again wondered when he was going to learn to curb his impulsive nature.  This bet was about the most lolo thing he and Steve had ever done.  Okay, they had acquired almost a dozen sponsors who were going to pay for every flag captured.  They were, between the two top Five-0 officers, earning big-kahuna bunches of money for the children’s hospital.  He just hoped it didn’t further injure him or Steve.  And next time he felt like competing with the hardheaded McGarrett, he would certainly think twice.  He hoped.

 

 

*****

 

 

Spotting a red flag on a bush up on the face of the rocky cliff, McGarrett wondered how -- short of a hang glider or a bird -- someone managed to plant the flag up that high.  Well, if there was a way up there was a way down.  That would make his fourth red flag.  The red ones were double points.  That would rack up enough points to not only win big money from their sponsors, but give added points.  Anyone in the top five would earn more points and thus more money.  He needed that red flag.

 

Climbing as far as he could up the craggy lava boulders, he used his walking stick as a bat to chop at the bush.  On the third solid whack, he lost his balance and slid down the precarious perch, landing with a jolt on the hard rocks.

 

Groaning in pain, he could hardly move his leg and noted blood spotting his torn trouser near the knee.  If he re-injured his already hurt knee, then he was in trouble.  Laying his head back to stop the spinning and get a grip on the throbbing pain, he wondered how he was going to get down the mountain and finish what he had started.  It seemed ridiculous and lacking sanity, but he still needed to complete this task.

 

Gazing around for a way to lever himself up on his feet, he noted the red flag had fallen free and was on the ground.  Groaning at the absurdity of the moment, he stuffed the flag in his pocket and laboriously climbed to his feet.  Before he could muster the energy or stamina to move, he heard scraping footsteps along the path.  He laughed with amazed relief when Dan came around the corner of the trail.

 

In a glance, Dan took in the predicament and shook his head, his expression as troubled as his tone.  “Steve, damn, I was afraid this would happen.  How bad is it?”

 

Wincing when he moved, McGarrett gritted his teeth.  “Not good.  But I can make it down.”

 

Unable to crouch because of his own leg wounds, Williams awkwardly leaned on the rocky ledge and gently ripped away Steve’s torn pant leg.  Shaking his head, he pronounced reopened abrasions and who-knew what kind of damage --again -- to the knee.  Always the prepared hiker, he struggled his backpack off and completed some rudimentary first aid.

 

“That will hold you till we get down the hill.  Do you want me to go for help?”

 

“No, I’ll be fine.  It’s not that bad,” Steve lied, working to control the agony every time he moved.  “You better get going and get this finished.”

 

With effort, Williams anchored himself against the rocks and placed McGarrett’s arm atop his shoulder.  “I’ll help you down.”

 

“You go ahead.  I’ll get down on my own.”

 

“I can’t let you do that.  The contest isn’t very important --“

 

“It is.”

 

“This was not part of the deal, Steve --“

 

“But we have to go through with it,” McGarrett adamantly snapped.

 

Sighing with exasperation, Williams muttered, “You are SO stubborn!” 

 

“You’ve got to finish the race.”

 

“Okay, but we finish together.”  Then without permission, Dan levered the injured man up while leaning heavily on his sturdy staff, thus supporting McGarrett’s weight.  “Let’s go, we’re wasting time.”

 

“You are so stubborn,” McGarrett declared with exasperation and a hint of pride.

 

Jaw set in an all-too-familiar copy of Steve’s habit, Williams now was compliant with some of the boss’ demands.  “Okay, I agree, we’ve gone to all this trouble, we should give it a shot at raising all the money we can.  The sooner we finish the course the more points we’ll get.”  He tugged at the red flag in Steve’s pocket.  “And red flags are double points, remember?”

 

“The better the time, the more money we raise.  You should go on your own.  I can get down by myself.”

 

“We’ve done enough.  We’ll earn a lot of money for the hospital.  I’m not going down without you.”

 

“And you want to talk about stubborn?” Steve retorted, hiding the smile that played at his lips.

 

“No,” Dan smiled.  “Listen, Steve, I do know a short-cut down the mountain though, if you’re game.  It’s kind of steep, but working together, I think we can make it down.  It would bring us up behind that grove of banana trees and through that little neighborhood down there,” he pointed, sketching out the path below.  “It’s impossible for either of us to still make a competitive showing. So any bonus earnings for time are gone.  The best we can do is just finish.  That’s something.”

 

The steep decline didn’t encourage Steve, just made his bones ache with the thought of more harm crunching his battered body.  The idea of finishing up quickly -- even still wining (despite Dan’s negative mutterings) --  convinced him.  And Danno was right.  Together, they could accomplish almost anything.

 

“Aurobindo said, ‘The impossible takes a little longer.’

 

“Whoever he is sounds like he knew about Five-0,” Dan quipped.

 

“Yeah,” Steve grinned, encouraged at his friend’s optimism.  ”Yeah.  Let’s go, Danno.”

 

 

*****

 

Two tumbles, more scrapes and a reopening of Steve’s leg laceration later, they emerged from the thick trees and into the banana grove.  Dogs trotted along beside them as they entered the small area with three little cottages nestled next to the grove.  Near the end of the road, two men worked under the hood of an old jeep.  A lady at the closest house sat on her lanai and seemed to be stringing a lei.

 

The sound of cars was muted, but indicated they were close to Kamehameha Highway and should emerge just to the north of the Kuilima.  They were almost pau.  They estimated Dan’s reckoning saved them close to a half-hour.  It would still be close, but Steve was confident they were going to finish -- even come in competitively close to the front -- after all.

 

Dan suddenly stopped, then shoved McGarrett toward the nearest house to stand behind a truck.  “Do you see those guys working on the jeep?” he whispered.

 

McGarrett narrowed his gaze on the men in question.  “They look like the Tanaka brothers,” he confirmed with a sharp intake.

 

“Yeah.  And right now we couldn’t take down a dog, let alone two criminals.  I didn’t even bring a gun.”

 

“You weren’t supposed to, you were on a hike!”  Snapping his fingers, McGarrett thought fast, scanning the area.  “Let’s cut through between these yards and get back to the Kuilima.  There’s plenty of security there.”

 

Dan seemed reluctant to leave, but McGarrett reminded him of the accurate observation that the two of them were useless against these hardened criminals.  These crafty foes had engineered the accident by leaving that jeep in the middle of the road.  They had eluded law enforcement on the whole island for days.  For once, he unwillingly admitted they could just not handle this!  Never one to like or accept limitations, he was not insanely foolhardy.

 

Limping behind the truck and along a small path between houses, they emerged on Kam Highway almost across the street from the Kuilima entrance.  Hobbling quickly now, they rushed over and waved to an HPD officer handling traffic control.  Steve ordered him to call Five-0 and have the officers get here immediately.

 

 

*****

 

Struggling to maneuver into the chair as he relinquished his crutches, McGarrett pushed away the offer of help from Williams.  To accommodate the aching chief of Five-0, Dan suggested they take a booth in the back of the restaurant instead of this table with an ocean view, Steve adamantly declined.  This was a celebratory dinner and they were going to have the best table in the place for the night.

 

The injuries from yesterday’s hike had set them both back on the recovery timetable.  Dan fared a little better than his boss, who’s torn knee ligament was going to prove a painful and slow recuperation.

 

The Maile Restaurant at the exclusive Kahala Hilton was a favorite spot of McGarrett’s, and the better paid civil servants in their circle, but Dan rarely came here.  The multi-layered pastel sunset view was spectacular, the food exceptional, and the service beyond compare.  Situated far from Waikiki, beyond Diamond Head, past the rich environs of Kahala’s millionaires, it was a quiet and elegant setting for a victory celebration.

 

Steve lifted his glass and offered a toast.  “To you, Officer Williams.  Congratulations on catching the Tanaka brothers.  And earning the most red flags and winning that huge pot of money from your foolish colleagues.”

 

With a wink, Dan acknowledged the humor behind his friend’s sparkling eyes.  “That will teach them never to bet against us again.” 

 

“You,” Steve corrected generously. 

 

Shaking his head, modest at the truth of the win, Dan knew he had not met the challenge of the trial as well as he hoped.  His injuries prevented him from taking the risks he normally would have taken.  If Steve hadn’t donated most of the red flags and a lot of the other flags, Dan would not have come up with all the points -- third in the whole competition!  Well, the short cut through the banana grove had helped, too.

 

The sweeter earnings were the money he had raked in from his colleagues who bet against him.  While winning the money for charity was good, winning against his friends who had such little faith in him -- that was the best possible revenge.  Steve’s conspiracy to get back at the friends -- to rig the bet so Steve and Dan worked together to run the competition -- that was what turned the tables.  Dan almost felt sorry for their associates.  When he and Steve worked together, they were unbeatable.

 

“I’m just sorry you got hurt again.  Especially going after the last red flag.  And the short-cut didn’t help either.”

 

“You won,” McGarrett forcefully returned, as if that was the single most important lesson to be learned from the crazy event.

 

“We won,” he corrected forcefully.

 

Steve assured it was worth it for Dan to triumph. Then McGarrett suggested they raise their glasses to Bergman's "generosity", since he was the biggest contributor to the donations to the hospital.

 

Williams looked around, completely pleased with the turn of events.  “Boy, I don’t think we’ll be able to spend all the winnings tonight!  Even here.  We’ll have to take a trip to Maui or something and burn up the rest of that cash.  We have the rest of the week off.  I can’t believe how much money those guys bet!”

 

“Too many underestimate you, Danno.  To their downfall.  Whether it is the Tanakas or Jenny.  Or Doc Bergman.”  Seriously, he inclined his head.  “Well done, Danno.”

 

A little embarrassed, but basking in the praise, Dan grinned.  “Mahalo.  I wouldn’t have had a chance if we didn’t rig the whole game,” Williams countered.

 

Laughing, McGarrett couldn’t help but again congratulate them on a sport so well and cunningly played.   “Maybe.  Maybe not.  It didn’t turn out quite the way we planned, but it worked out very well.”

 

The conversation stopped when dinner arrived.  Savoring the delicious grilled mahimahi, discussing more possible, even outrageous uses for the ill-gotten gains, they were still deep in conversation when someone appeared at the table.

 

“I’d like more wine, please, waiter,” Dan said as he placed his glass over to the side.

 

“Don’t you think you’ve had quite enough celebrating?” a gruff voice accused.

 

Both were startled to look up and see Bergman glaring at them.

 

“Next time you two conspirators are hatching secret plots, you better not do it near an open window - - where one of your victims is having a sunset cocktail on the lanai.”

 

Dan groaned, thoroughly embarrassed. 

 

Not giving any ground, Steve narrowed his eyes at the physician.  “I call it justice.  Serves you right for betting against us.  Gamblers always get what they deserve eventually, Doc.”

 

Bergman thanked the guys for all the funds raised for the hospital, but then grumbled about the money he lost.  Then he sternly shook his head.  “Since I’m paying for a substantial portion of this extravagant meal,” he huffed, “I think I’m due something in return.”

 

Dan was instantly suspicious.  “What?”

 

“Tomorrow, you’re both going to report to Physical Therapy.”

 

“What?” Dan nearly squeaked.  “Oh, no!  Not to that dragon!”

 

“Either that, or I spill the whole rotten conspiracy, gentlemen,” he gloated with an evil smile slowly spreading on his face.

 

“That’s blackmail,” Dan accused.

 

“I call it justice,” was his smug retort.

 

Williams helplessly looked across the table at his friend in misery.  McGarrett’s expression gave away nothing, but his narrowed, hard eyes revealed his extreme displeasure.  Bergman noted the look and nearly rocked on his heels with pleasure.

 

“See you two in the morning.”  He gave a little bow and exited.

 

Still aghast, Williams looked to his friend for commiseration.  “What are we going to do?

 

“I’m thinking about Maui.”

 

“And skip therapy?  Bergman will spill everything.”

 

A slow smile promising wicked tidings spread across McGarrett’s strong features.  “We report, as ordered tomorrow, to therapy.”

 

Dan gulped down a knot of rising fear.

 

“Then tomorrow afternoon, we take the remaining bet-money and we fly to Maui.  We will have fulfilled our commitment to go to therapy.  Bergman will have no argument.”

 

“Yes he will.”

 

McGarrett shrugged.  “Maybe.  But he’s not going to win with us on another island.  By the time we get back, we’ll be ready to go to work.  End of therapy.”

 

“That is wicked.”

 

“I call it justice,” he quipped in an imitation of Bergman. 

 

Giggling, Dan beamed with appreciation.  “You would have made a brilliant criminal, Steve.  Fortunately, for society, you’re one of the good guys.”

 

Confident, secure, Steve suggested they order some of the Maile’s legendary dessert.  Then they lingered the night away out on the lanai.

 

“The condemned have a hearty meal,” Dan sighed, dreading therapy.

 

“Only one day and we’re pau, bruddah.  It’s not going to be so bad, Danno,” Steve encouraged.

 

“Wanna bet?”  The words were out of his mouth automatically.  Meeting Steve’s eyes, they both laughed.  Then sobered.

 

“A ten spot I finish the routines before you do,” Steve offered speculatively.

 

“You’re on.”

 

 

PAU