THE

MATCHMAKERS:

Cupid's Little Helpers
 
  by

G M

_______________________________

FEATURING APPEARANCES BY:

Agnes DuBois, Clara Williams, Thomas Magnum, Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin.

RATED L for Five-0 Lite!

________________________________

 

December 1982
 
 


When Agnes DuBois entered the Hawaiian Heritage Tours travel agency she was surprised to find a new worker behind the counter. At the large desk near the door, talking on the phone was Kelly Hatsuyuki. She was an old friend of Dan Williams and the travel coordinator for Williams and Steve McGarrett in their new enterprise -- AIKANE SECURITIES, conveniently located upstairs from the travel business. On the other side of the office, in front of a smaller desk, was a thirty-ish Polynesian/Oriental woman in a bright aloha shirt and plumeria blossoms behind her right ear.

Hatsuyuki waved at DuBois and motioned for the new girl to come to the counter and take care of her. Warmly introducing herself as Leilani Kulani, she gestured for Agnes to have a seat by the desk.

"How long have you been here, Leilani?" Agnes inquired.

Since McGarrett turned his travel plans exclusively to Hatsuyuki's business, DuBois had done the same. The personal and friendly connection, the convenient location (Agnes ended up in this area of Hawaii Kai frequently) made it an easy choice for her incessant excursions.

Since her near fatal experience {ASPECTS OF FALLING STARS} her gifts in astrology had mutated to a unique talent in psychic ability. She had become much too famous for her own liking and had turned to writing books as a way to stem the requests for her presence all over the world. But the books turned into a phenomenal success and she became more famous than she ever wanted to be.

"I just started last week," the Island woman responded. "I went to school with Kelly. And I'm part of the Kulani dynasty." At DuBois’ odd look she clarified. "Dan's calabash family. When Shelly, Kelly's old partner wanted out, I bought into the business. Now, how can I help you?"

"First, you can start by calling me Agnes. Secondly, I'd like to plan a little trip. For two."

Off the phone now, Kelly came over and sat in a nearby chair. "Oh, going on a little Christmas holiday with Steve?"

"I'm going to try. My surprise present to him so keep it a secret."

Kelly pressed her lips together. Leilani crossed her heart. "Promise." Sighting something over Agnes' shoulder she yelped, "Uh-oh, here comes a spy! You want to handle him, Kelly?"

Hatsuyuki was on her feet in an instant, quick enough to be standing at the counter when Dan Williams swept in the door.

'Hi, ladies!" He spotted DuBois and came to a stop. "Hi, Agnes."

"Hi, Dan. How are you?"

"Good. I thought you were having lunch with Steve today."

"I am, but I'm also making arrangements for a trip next month."

Williams nodded sagely. "Traveling again? Steve won't be happy to hear that."

"Can't be helped I'm afraid," she offered with a weak smile.

"So you met my calabash cousin?" he gestured to Kulani. "Part of the vast Kulani clan."

DuBois had heard of the Kulani family who, during the war, had helped raise Danny as a child. Hawaii was a pretty small island socially and it didn't surprise her that old friends of Dan's were so close by.

He turned his attention to Hatsuyuki. "My Aunt Clara wants to change her flight. She wants to bump it up to early next week."

Leaning close, Kelly and Dan's faces were near enough to almost impact noses. Observing the body language gave Dubois some immediate theories on their relationship. Without thinking her psychic powers switched on and in her mind's eye read their auras, felt their emotions on a supernatural plane.

"Come sit down and we'll check the schedules."

Dan sat next to Kelly, watching the computer screen, but also, frequently, watching the travel agent. Agnes studied them in mesmerized wonder. She had met Kelly two years before when Williams rented the office above for the security agency. Williams had known the Polynesian girl for years. Until today she had thought they were just friends. She had no idea there was more going on than just old ties.

"They make quite a pair, don't they?" Leilani whispered conspiratorially. Smiling, she shook her head. "Too bad they can't figure that out."

Agnes turned and in a low voice asked, "What do you mean?"

"Everyone who knows them can see they're in love. Except them. Ask either one of them and they'll say they're just friends." She grinned at the two oblivious people on the other side of the room. "They are in love big time."

Agnes surrendered a smile. "You don't have to be a psychic to figure that out." She studied the beautiful woman beside her. "But you're over him now?"

Leilani blushed and momentarily closed her almond eyes. "Yeah, I'm over him. But it was a terrible crush for a lot of years. We're calabash cousins, remember? I grew up around Danny."

DuBois studied the former detective who had once saved her life. The best friend of the man she loved. It was easy to see what most women would like about Dan Williams. While he wasn't her type by any means, she was sure a lot of women fell madly in love with the grey/sandy-haired, blue eyed surfer/detective/

security consultant.

Williams soon left and Hatsuyuki joined DuBois and Kulani in arranging a very nice birthday excursion for McGarrett at a Maui resort. Next Agnes had to conspire with someone else to free Steve's schedule.

Going upstairs she stopped at the reception desk of AIKANE SECURITIES. Steve was barely visible behind a screen that divided his area of the office from the rest of the large room. He gave her a wave, pointed to the phone, indicating he was tied up on a call. She smiled, waved, and motioned that she would have a seat at the reception area. Williams' desk was empty and she recalled his Mustang was not in the parking lot when she had walked up.

Leaning close to Ellen Kenau, the middle-aged and very capable receptionist/secretary, DuBois explained her plan to kidnap McGarrett for a week at the end of the month. Ellen circumspectly showed her the calendar and admitted appointments were unusually light for that week. Mrs. Clara Williams, Danny's aunt, would be arriving before Christmas and was planning on staying for at least a week. Not much was going on with the business until the second of January.

"Perfect," Agnes declared with a wink. "And can I count on you to keep it that way?"

"Absolutely." Kenau dared a glance at the boss, who was still concentrating on the call. "He needs a vacation. And Maui is perfect."

The sound of feet running up the stairs alerted the women and Kenau replaced the calendar on the desk. Seconds later Williams barreled into the office.

"I forgot my specs on that Harley estate job," he explained quickly.

"You must have been thinking about other things," Agnes offered innocently.

"Yeah." Dan gave a wave to McGarrett, grabbed some rolled blueprints from his desk, and started out again.

Smoothly, DuBois snagged him by the arm. "Did you get everything straightened out with Kelly?"

Williams stopped, his expressive face wrinkling in puzzlement. "What?"

Not reacting to the surge of passionate energy coloring his aura at the mention of the travel agent's name, Agnes remained neutral in expression and tone. "Kelly." Yes, connected to the younger man she felt the incredible, overpowering surge of love -- pure -- real -- love -- for Kelly Hatsuyuki. How could she have missed this glaring and tender love from the detective? She saw him frequently -- ah -- but never with Kelly.

"Kelly?" he gulped.

"And her arrangements for your Aunt Clara."

"Oh. Oh, yeah. Aunt Clara. Yeah, she's coming in next week."

"I've never met her," DuBois smiled innocently. "I look forward to it."

The aura energy changed to a subdued form of anticipation. "Yeah, you'll like her. Have a nice lunch." With a wave he was gone.

Deciding her tasks were done and there was no reason to wait for Steve, DuBois walked over to his desk and sat on the edge. McGarrett made a grimace and pointed to the phone, making a valiant effort to conclude the conversation.

DuBois leaned over and whispered in his free ear, "I'm starved! If you don't hurry up I'll find someone else to take me to lunch."

Narrowing his eyes, McGarrett hastily finished the call and hung up. He studied her with mock irritation. "Is that a threat, lady?"

"You may take it in whatever spirit you wish, sir."

Laughing he stood up and put an arm around her waist. "I have ways of handling threats, you know."

The phone rang and he automatically reached for it. Agnes beat him to it and kept her hand on the receiver. "Don't you dare."

"Oh," he smirked, "so now you're daring me."

The call was answered by Ellen who informed she would see if she could catch Mr. McGarrett before he left for lunch, then put the person on hold. It was Mr. Harley, she explained, with a problem that only McGarrett could solve.

McGarrett vacillated. DuBois reminded him that Williams was on his way up to the estate on the North Shore. Surely the crisis would not require both of them.

"I won't go up there," he promised. "But I should find out what's going on."

She glared at him and punched his chest with her finger. "This better be a very good lunch, Mr. McGarrett."

"It will."

Irritated, Agnes decided she better not hang around the office, it would only flare her temper at being abandoned. Retiring from Five-0 and entering a private business had done little to curb McGarrett's workaholic nature. While Steve DID spend more time away from the office, and more time with her, he still needed some serious lessons in relaxation. He kept promising to spend more time at his beach house in Kauai, but getting him there was a real trial. Walking back downstairs she popped in at the travel agency. The man at the counter looked up, his broad smile rippling his thick mustache.

"Hey, Agnes, how are you?"

"Fine, Thomas," she greeted the PI. "Planning a trip?"

"Nah, just checking up on someone I'm investigating. Boring stuff." Hatsuyuki handed him some papers and he took her hand. "And trying to get a date. Leilani already refused me. But Kelly's going to say yes."

With a laugh Kelly smoothly disengaged her hand. "No thanks, Thomas. I'm working late tonight."

Shaking his head, Magnum looked at DuBois, then frowned and shook his head again. "I hope you won't mind if I don't ask you."

"Thank you for the thought, Thomas, but it's very prudent of you to not ask."

From her desk, Leilani stated, "He had to ask, he can't help himself."

The PI turned back to the owner of the agency. "Well, you'll let me use your phone at least, won't you, please?"

Handing him the instrument, Hatsuyuki went back to work. Magnum was just setting up a business appointment for the next day when the door crashed open. Stumbling through the front door, a little old lady with white hair and three pieces of luggage entered. Magnum quickly moved to take the suitcases from her overburdened hands and Agnes helped her to a nearby chair.

"Oh my. Oh my, excuse me. I hope you don't mind. I just arrived by taxi and can't possibly take all these bags upstairs. I'm to meet my nephew you see."

She flashed everyone in the office the most incredibly charming, impish grin possible. Agnes felt in the presence of a practicing Menehune -- the legendary "little people" of Hawaii who mastered the art of trickery and mischief.

"Who is your nephew? We'll have him come down and get you," Kelly asked.

Leilani knelt nearby and offered a cold cup of water. "Are you sure you're all right? You look like a malihini in that hot dress." She made a sour face. "That's not a very bright observation, is it? With the luggage and all."

The delightful senior laughed with enjoyment. "Oh my word, well, it was December in Connecticut this morning. And it's summer in Hawaii."

Kelly gasped. "Connecticut. Are you Mrs. Williams? Mrs. Clara Williams?"

"Yes I am, dear."

"Oh, we were just rearranging your flight. But that was for next week!"

With calm amusement the little old lady with white hair easily dominated the attention of all in the little shop. With some dramatic flair she told the tale of how her theatre performance of A Christmas Carol had been scrapped because the actor playing Scrooge had come down with pneumonia. She was free a week early and impulsively decided to spend the extra time with her nephew.

Correctly surmising the agent as Kelly ("It's the voice, young lady. You sound very lyrical. No wonder my Danny enjoys doing business here. What a nice little place. And such friendly people." ), she assured there had been no mix-up or problem on the Hawaiian end. And she was happily reserved in a room at the Halekulani in Waikiki. The room, unfortunately, was not ready yet. So she came -- bag and baggage -- to visit Dan until later in the afternoon.

Magnum volunteered to carry the bags up to the AIKANE offices. Agnes said she would escort Mrs. Williams up to see McGarrett and wait for Dan. With a wry smile Clara thanked Kelly and Leilani for their help with all the travel arrangements. Then she asked if she could return the kindness by taking them to dinner. Leilani couldn’t make it, but Kelly agreed.

"Hey, I thought you were busy tonight?"

Wrinkling her nose in amusement, Kelly admitted that she was. "Working. But that doesn't mean I can't take time out and meet Dan's aunt."

Clara gave a little bow, shooting a sideways glance at the PI. "I'm honored to have won out over such competition."

Leilani fetched another glass of water for the senior. "Jealous, Magnum?"

"No. Just trying to assert my rights."

From an outsider’s point-of-view, Agnes could have picked up all the subliminal messages without trouble. Being a psychic, it came so easy she almost laughed. Clara was dramatic and not very subtle. It must have been obvious to Kelly that the elderly woman was trying to match-make. Perhaps DuBois should say something? No, that would be too presumptuous. Still, Dan and Kelly seemed to be dragging their feet when everyone else in the land knew what they should do! What a coincidence Clara picked up on that instantly.

Agnes and her good friend McGarrett didn't agree on a lot of things -- they were studies in opposites. But she agreed with him in the famous McGarrett maxim that coincidences were suspicious. This was a cosmic coincidence on a major scale -- or a cosmic karma gathering of incredible serendipity. She believed in the latter. Cosmic Karma -- but whose Karma was about to run into whose?
 
 

*****

 

Dinner couldn't have gone worse if she had scripted for a bad play to close in one night, Clara decided as she glared across the table at her nephew. The restaurant he had chosen was excellent. At the beach in Waikiki, Trader Sam's was a local favorite with lots of color and very good Hawaiian dishes.

With a table set near the sand, little tiki lamps lighting the open room, it was idyllic. Conversation was easy and pleasant, often touching on Kelly's vast knowledge of Hawaiian history. Between Dan and Kelly they knew some wonderful spots for recreation and Clara was setting up a full itinerary for herself and her nephew. Perhaps a few guided tours from Kelly?

Everything was wonderful until one of the waitresses -- who turned out to be an old flame of Dan's -- stopped at the table. Her nephew and Kelly were both acutely uncomfortable at the girl's flirting when she took over serving at their table. Annoyingly she frequently checked on them for refills of drinks. Then a business acquaintance stopped at the table and chatted about security systems for several moments. The romantic, friendly mood Clara had hoped for was shattered.

Suggesting they take a nice moonlight drive after dinner, Clara quickly scooted into the back of the Mustang. It was the best moments of the night as they watched the moon and drifting clouds from the topless car, driving along the coast feeling the fresh sea-breeze.

When Hatsuyuki commented her house was nearby, Clara insisted they stop. "I'd love to see where the locals live. Nothing like a home gives you a feel for a new place. And believe me, I know after all my travels."

"I don't know what kind of mess you'll find, Clara," Kelly admitted with chagrin. "My roommate, Lani, isn't the neatest."

"I thought you like sharing with her?"

"I do. She has much better hours than Suzy. She's just as messy as Akamai." To Clara she explained, "The dog."

To his aunt he explained, "Lani is one of the Kulani family. We've known her forever."

"Oh, yes, wonderful family. I met her at the travel agency this afternoon." She had met Dan's adopted calabash family last time she was in the Islands. "I'll have to visit them again while I'm here."

"They'd love to see you again."

Exiting the Mustang they were nearly bowled over by a big friendly Lab. "Akamai," Kelly explained. The dog bounced around everyone so they would have the opportunity to pet him. "I hope you don't mind dogs. He loves everybody."

"That's a good sign. Friendly dog, friendly owner. Sherlock Holmes said that, I can't remember which play, and he was right."

The house was a small two bedroom set off the beach in Malama Bay, not far from McGarrett's house. The news intrigued Clara and she set that aside for future reference. Insisting they take a stroll on the beach Clara adopted the dog as her new friend and quickly made sure they outdistanced the two younger people.

A walk on a perfect beach under a tropical moon. If that didn't t do the trick nothing would. Just as she had suspected from the way Dan talked about her, there were sparks between the two no doubt. In the way Dan watched her when she wasn't looking. The way she watched him almost constantly. They were obviously in love and too shy or too proud to admit it.

Finding a fallen tree trunk up the beach, Clara sat down and covertly watched her nephew. No hand holding, no stolen kisses. When they finally approached her and she overheard a bit of their conversation -- about golfing in Maui! -- she all but cried in despair.

All the way back to Waikiki she petted Akamai, who came along for the ride back to her hotel, and she plotted. These two wonderful people deserved each other. If they couldn't understand that on their own, it was her business to help them along.
   

*****

The December sun beat down in warm rays that felt good through the light-weight dress Clara Williams wore. Walking along Kalakaua Avenue earlier she had picked up a lovely broad-brimmed Hawaiian straw hat. Learning from her other two visits to the Islands, she packed lots of summer dresses and slacks and felt remarkably good in the noon-day sun.

Checking her watch, she found a seat on a bench at the entrance to King's Alley, a popular, up-scale tourist open-air mall on Kalakaua. Basking in the tropical warmth she marveled that she had stayed away from this paradise for so long. A world traveler, she had toured most of the world in the west -- Europe, British Isles, Canada, America, South America. The east had been missed in her long and varied career, and now she regretted that oversight.

In the early days of her marriage to Jonathan Williams, a diplomat for the State Department, it had not been possible to continue acting. She met her future husband when she was performing in London and she and Jonathan were inseparable after that. Dan's parents, Daniel and Sarah Williams, came often to visit in Washington DC and in England. After Hitler came to power the Williams brothers convinced her to join them in their covert profession, lending her talent on the stage of the world for their country. Minor espionage work for the Allies had been exciting and more thrilling than any stage performance.

As they always did, thoughts of the old days left bittersweet memories for Clara. Such glamour and exciting danger. Then terrible heartbreak when they learned Daniel and Sarah had been killed in the attack at Pearl. Such sadness to know her only nephew, a little boy she never met, was orphaned. There was no opportunity to meet little Danny during the war. Travel to Britain was too dangerous, and Clara and Jonathan had no time to care for a little boy. Jim, her young brother-in-law, took charge of Danny and made it clear his older relatives were welcome when they were done playing spies. Espionage had killed Daniel and Sarah, and James wanted none of that violence to touch little Danny.

So the oldest Williams brother stayed away, with his wife, for years. A long-distance correspondence existed between the absentee aunt and uncle, but nothing more. When Danny was old enough Clara sent a plane ticket for the young man to come back east for a holiday and it had been an on-again-off again tradition for years.

Standing, she strolled past a dress shop window and appreciated the beautiful Island fashions filled with color. She had cheated herself by not coming here years ago. Mostly, she regretfully admitted, she had cheated Dan. They could have had such happy times -- but James and Jonathan were stubborn and unrelenting and it kept Danny away from his only relatives for too long.

Well now she was going to make up for it. There had been too much tragedy in Dan's young life. It was time for some real happiness. It was obvious from the way he spoke, from the way he looked at Kelly, that he loved her. And Kelly was so hopelessly enamored of her nephew that a blind man could see it. Why didn't Danny? Sometimes men could be so frustrating. Well, she wasn't going to let his pride or shyness or whatever it was stand in the way of his happiness. She was going to act.

Easy to spot, she caught sight of Thomas Magnum as the tall, handsome man came out of a nearby pub. Hitting her mark like the veteran thespian she was, she let her shopping bag fall seconds before he reached her spot. Just in case he was not a total gentleman, or in case his extremely high six-foot-four height allowed him to miss the bag, she made sure it landed just ahead of his feet. Graceful for a big man, he sidestepped the bag barely in time, then stopped, picking it up.

"Here, ma'am, I believe you dropped this."

Folding back the brim of her hat she smiled. "Oh, my, Mr. Magnum. Why thank you."

"Mrs. Williams. Hello again. What a coincidence," he laughed in a pleasant way.

Smiling, Clara thought this was going to be too easy to be much fun. "Please, call me Clara."

"Then you call me Thomas. Can I walk you back to your hotel? Or would you like a pedicab?"

"A what?"

"The little contraptions that look like a bike collided with a rickshaw." His green eyes twinkled with merriment. "Oh, you've GOT to ride a pedicab while you're in Honolulu."

Escorting her to the nearest curb he hailed a two-seater cab with the driver in front on a bike. Gallantly paying, Magnum gave her a quick tour as they made their way all the way down to the Hilton Hawaiian Village -- which is where she stayed on her first trip to Hawaii -- all the way back to the Halekulani.

Again being the gentleman he insisted on carrying her bag to her room, but she offered to treat for drinks in the hotel's Charlie Chan bar. Famous for being mentioned in the first Charlie Chan book the hotel had its own charms. They took their beer (she thought she'd try what he was drinking) onto the lanai where they could look out over the blue water of Waikiki.

After some initial small talk about Hawaii and the hotel and the weather, Clara got down to business. She told him she had an unusual job for him and would pay his usual fee for however many days it took to complete the task. His eyes lit up with excitement at the thought of work, then tempered when her crisp, no-nonsense tone filtered into his mind.

"What is it you want, Clara?"

"I want you to help me with a project. And it will be a very pleasant experience, I'm sure. Just be careful that it's not TOO pleasant!"
 

*****

Leaning against the hood of the Ferrari parked at the end of the dive shop, Magnum had a clear view of the road turning off of Kalani Highway. As he watched for a white Mustang convertible he pondered his role in this conspiratorial little ruse. This "case" ranked somewhere below divorce tails and bodyguard jobs - which he didn't ever hire on for unless he was desperate for cash.

Self-consciously he glanced at the passenger side Ferrari bumper. Two days earlier, his last case -- a divorce tail -- had resulted in an angry ex-wife scraping the front of his car with her big fat Mercedes. Through clever dodging and arriving home late at night he had kept the injury from the usually vigilant Higgins. The masquerade couldn't go on forever and how else was he going to get money to repair the little ding, except taking on this unusual case?

Not one of his proudest moments -- because of the accident he could still rationalize taking money from little old ladies. If he really stretched he could justify this insanity by reminding himself that Dan was really not a real close friend. And that this was probably all for his own good anyway. After all, everyone who knew Williams and Hatsuyuki knew they were hopelessly in love. They obviously just needed a little push to figure it out themselves.

Magnum spotted the white Mustang turning toward the business center and with a deep breath Thomas went into action. Casually he strolled into the travel agency and offered a pleasant smile to Kelly. Leilani was gone -- good -- all the better. He'd rather not have witnesses to his embarrassment.

"Hey, Kelly, I need you to do me a favor. Just a small one."

"Sure." The pleasant Island girl joined him at the counter. "What is it?"

"Well, I have this client who wants to know where his soon-to-be ex goes when she flies over to Kauai. Maybe a place with a private air strip." Casually going around the counter he grabbed one of the large maps she had under the counter and spread it out for reference. From the corner of his eye he spotted Dan Williams exiting the sports car and coming toward the store. Thomas pulled out a ring box. "He gave me this for collateral. What do you think?"

The bell rang in Magnum's mid sentence of, "…and I think this place is really romantic."

Kelly took the case. "Oh, it's beautiful."

Both innocently glanced up to see Williams. "Oh, hi Dan."

Hatsuyuki gave the ring back to the PI. "Hi, Dan, how are you this morning?"

A little nonplussed, Williams stammered a greeting. "So, what are you two up to?"

"Oh, Kelly was just helping me with a case." Magnum flashed his most winning smile. "What are you up to?"

"Uh, just uh, wanted to check on that tour for Aunt Clara." He glared at Magnum while Kelly took some folders out of a package. "We're going sightseeing."

Explaining the details of various shows and meal vouchers, Kelly gave him the tickets for the Polynesian Cultural Center. "She'll love it. So will you. They've changed the show in the last few years."

"Mahalo." Dan shot another glance of irritation at the tall PI. To Kelly, he admitted, "I was hoping you could spend the day with us and kind of -- uh -- give us a -- uh -- good historical perspective."

Sincerely disappointed, Kelly's face scrunched with regret. "I'm sorry, Dan, but I can't. Leilani's in Maui with a special tour and she doesn't come back until Friday. Besides, the people at the Center are from the countries represented. You'll be surrounded by plenty of pros up there."

"Sure, I understand," he sighed, momentarily at a loss, glancing again at the intruder, then back at Kelly. "Well, we don't leave until this afternoon. Maybe you could have lunch with us? I'm meeting her at Ala Moana."

Magnum stepped forward. "Oh, you know, I was going to buy Kelly lunch at the Club, kind of a thanks for this research she's helping me with."

Glaring at the PI, Dan was about to comment, but the girl intervened. "Thanks, guys, I feel very wanted today, but I can't leave."

"Great, I'll have Rick send us over something," Magnum decided quickly. He grinned at the disgruntled Williams.

The young woman looked imploringly at Dan. "Maybe tomorrow?" she asked.

Dan brightened somewhat. "Sure." With a reluctant wave he said goodbye, throwing a final scowl at Magnum.

Pretending to bring his attention back to the map, Magnum was only slightly guilty, mostly amused, that Kelly longingly watched Williams leave. This easy job would be over very soon he was sure.
 

*****


All the way over from her house to McGarrett's beach place DuBois fumed. As casually as possible she had called up Clara Williams and asked how the dinner had gone. Well, not that abruptly, of course, she knew how to be tactful! Still, the report was not good. In-between the lines Clara sounded disappointed. Several times she commented on how nice Kelly was and what a good match she would be for Dan. Apparently things had just not 'clicked' at the meet. That impasse was unacceptable. Dan and Kelly were just too perfect for each other! She had to do something!

It was her day for cosmic surprises, DuBois surmised when she drove into the yard of McGarrett's beach house. A convertible Mercedes rental car was parked by the front door. Who did that belong to? Steve had many wealthy acquaintances but few dropped by unannounced. Since Steve had agreed to accompany her to a concert at the Waikiki Shell she knew he had not deliberately booked another engagement.

Knocking on the door, then entering without invitation, DuBois nearly collided with a slight, short man with blond hair and piercing blue eyes. Deftly saving the two cocktails in his hands from landing on the floor, he recovered instantly.

"Oh, my apologies."

He offered a polite, amused nod. "I should have heard you coming." His accent was lyrical, pleasant and mysterious. "It proves how paradise can dull my edge." He balanced both glasses in his left palm and held out his right hand. "Illya Kuryakin. May I assume you are the famous Agnes DuBois?"

Intrigued and entertained at the man with the fittingly exotic name, she shook the firm hand. "Yes, guilty as charged. Are you one of Steve's friend's from his murky past?"

"Guilty as charged," he grinned, his eyes twinkling. "Your reputation precedes you, but I shamelessly have the advantage. Let us just say the past is best left in the murk." With a nod of his head he gestured toward the ocean in back of the house. He started walking in that direction, then stopped. "Would you like a cocktail?"

"No thank you, it's a bit too early for me."

"Ah." His tone was matter-of-fact, as if that answered some universal question. "Well, as an excuse I will confess that we have just arrived from Hong Kong and are running on a different time clock than Hawaii." He started walking again. "Steve warned us you would be arriving and we were not to disrupt your evening plans. Think of us as temporary travelers pausing at a friendly way-station."

They emerged to the sand edging the mild surf of the bay. McGarrett and another man were standing at the nearby boat dock surveying an outrigger canoe. "We?"

"My partner and I. Security consultants."

"Like Steve and Dan."

The man with the odd name surrendered a secret smile. "Not exactly, but you may use that as a reference." He stopped and held up a hand. "Now, you must excuse my partner for any outrageous flattery. While it is obviously appropriate in your case he can be insufferable. As Steve's friend you should be warned."

Fighting not to laugh at the incredibly eccentric banter she smiled politely. "Thank you for the consideration."

At their approach Steve turned and waved. The dark-haired man with him turned and smiled at her -- a radiant, alluring smile that seemed to absorb her very being. She understood Mr. Kuryakin's warning. As if instantly defining territory, McGarrett met her on the beach and swept her up in a warm embrace, then shifted to face his friend while still holding onto her waist.

"You've met Illya I see. This is another old friend, Napoleon Solo."
 
The man with a name as engaging as his personality offered his hand. "Charmed." The brown eyes were alive with appreciation. "Steve would be a fool to leave you on your own tonight."

Solo was smooth and the vibes she was picking up from Steve indicated he knew it all too well. Not that there was anything as overt as jealousy or feeling threatened from her boyfriend, it was just an awareness that Solo was -- was a predator? The image pleased her -- feeling protected under McGarrett's care. The idea also intrigued and amused her. An old friend of Steve's with a mysterious past might be interesting to visit with. That didn't seem likely considering McGarrett's safeguarding attitude.

"You're both welcome to come with us toni--"

"Thank you, but we are recovering from jetlag." Kuryakin handed a cocktail to Solo. "We just stopped by to say hello to Steve, then we return to our hotel. I am sleeping for the next three days."

Solo sipped at his drink. "Rough job in Hong Kong. Illya's age is showing. I plan on taking in some sights tomorrow."

"Drop in at the office, we'll do something tomorrow afternoon," Steve suggested. "Right now I need to get ready." With a warning look at Solo Steve walked up the sand.

"We'll let ourselves out," Kuryakin assured as McGarrett disappeared into the house.

"If you don't know the islands well you could stop in at the travel agency downstairs from Steve's office," Agnes pointed out.

"Ah, yes, wonderful idea." Solo's eyes lit up with interest.

Kuryakin walked away along the surf line with a shake of his head. "There must be a pretty girl there."

"Don't you remember her from the last time we were here?" Shrugging at being ignored by his partner, Solo addressed DuBois as they slowly followed Kuryakin. "Lovely Island girl. I think Dan knows her." His smirk indicated mischief. "He refused to introduce me last time."

Kelly, he had to be thinking of Kelly. Boy, would Dan be jealous if he knew . . . . . A dangerous, diabolical idea popped fully blown into her furtive mind. The plot was outrageous and extreme and filled with hazard. If it backfired -- no it wouldn’t. The love she felt emanating from Dan and Kelly was real and solid. They just needed a little push to admit it and declare it to each other. A little jealousy might just work. Look what it did for Steve's disposition.

"Actually, Mr. Solo --"

"Napoleon, please. Think of us as old friends."

This would be easier than she thought. "Napoleon, I wonder if you would be willing to enter into a little conspiracy with me?"

The chocolate eyes twinkled anew. "Mmmm. A secret conspiracy? Those are the best kind."

"Yes. Very secret. And something that seems to come naturally to you. Let me explain the situation."

They strolled on the beach, past the house, and DuBois unveiled her plan. Solo loved it. All that was required of him was flirting in his usual outrageous manner. The rest would be taken care of by nature and Fate. Agnes was certain both those elements were on the side of Dan Williams and Kelly Hatsuyuki.

*****

 

Jogging down to the park past McGarrett's house, Solo did a few warm-up laps around the sand while he waited. Acquiring information on a target was second nature to him and it had been no trouble to discover Kelly Hatsuyuki's habits. Illya had entered into the game briefly in a purely intellectual manner, by scoping out Kelly and aiding with an itinerary, but the Russian refused to be party to the hoax. He warned there would be stern retribution from McGarrett if Steve heard of the underhanded plot hatched by Agnes and Solo. Used to playing with danger, Napoleon was unconcerned. It was all for a good cause. He had never conspired to form a love-match before and this was something fun and different. Besides he could harmlessly utilize his favorite past time -- flirting.

Around the curve of the beach came a tall woman with a leashed yellow Labrador. Ah, a girl and her dog. Easy targets. Jogging around a little more he started back toward Steve's house. Moments later his right foot hit a piece of driftwood and he tumbled to the sand.

"Are you all right?"

A dog's wet muzzle poked in his face and Napoleon pushed away the friendly licks. "Yes, fine, I think. Until now. I guess I wasn't paying attention. To jogging," he pointedly finished as he eyed her.

Laughing, she put a hand under his arm. "Here let me help."

Standing, he brushed the sand off his jogging suit, then looked up into her face. "Kelly!"

"Oh, Napoleon! Hi. I didn't know you were back."

 

"Just arrived. I didn't know you lived around here."

She jerked a thumb behind her. "Down the beach. I share a place with my friend Leilani."

Solo fondly petted the dog. "I'm just going back to Steve's. Want to come in and say hi to Illya? I don't know if Steve is back from work."

"His car was still at the office when I left."

They started back to the white beach cottage and Solo kept the conversation going with talk of the Islands and possible outer-island excursions for later in the week. Akamai, the dog, was right at home at McGarrett's and padded into the open lanai doors without hesitation.

"We come here a lot, as you can see," she explained. Greeting Illya, she accepted some iced juice he had just mixed in a blender. Akamai curled up on the living room floor.

Illya sat down next to her. "Maybe you can advise us on some local sights?"

"You'll have to come by the store and we can go over an itinerary."

Solo gave a slight nod, a slight grin. "My pleasure."
 
 

*****

 

"Danny, maybe we should invite Kelly to lunch. She's helped us so much with my vacation plans. This time maybe you won't be so distracted with business."

Shaking his head, Williams laughed at the obvious ploy by his aunt. A shameless busybody when it came to his love life, when she was in the islands it was worse. Every girl Clara met was a future wife for the former detective. This week it had been a forceful push toward Kelly. Several times he'd explained they were old family friends and he would never dream of dating the pretty Asian/Polynesian. It would be like dating a distant relative - kind of. Or at least like dating the kid next door. That had never been his type of girl.

Kelly was way too nice for him, he categorically denied. He was way too worldly and old. She was exotically beautiful and delightful and her smile could melt a heart from across a room. Yeah, way out of his style. Usually he went for the hot jet-setter types, never the girl next-door types. Especially when that was an almost literal example of their past.

Pulling up in front of the office Williams noted Magnum's Ferrari in the lot. The growl he felt inside he must have gurgled out loud because Clara gave him an odd look. When she asked what was wrong he denied anything.

"Aunt Clara, let me handle my own love live, please."

Here eyes narrowed, then she gave a sigh -- a long-suffering sigh. "I'm only trying to help. You don't seem to be doing such a good job on your own, Danny."

The former detective shook his head and sighed.

"My, that looks like that fast car that investigator drives, doesn't it?" She pointed to the red Ferrari in front of the travel agency. "It's so fancy."

"Yes," he scowled. "Wonder what he's doing here."

Williams jumped out of the car and tapped his foot as he tried to see inside the travel shop window while he held the door open for his aunt. As he was escorting the elderly lady toward the shop another car pulled up. Napoleon Solo bounced out of his convertible Benz and gave them a wave. In his hand was a handful of orchids.

"Hi, Dan! Beautiful day in paradise, isn't it? Of course, most are." He gave a brief bow to Mrs. Williams. "And you are in the company of a beautiful woman, as usual." He winked at her. "Outrageous lad, isn't he?"

Clara couldn't help laughing. "I'd say someone else was outrageous. You're a terrible flirt, sir."

Dan made hasty introductions while he craned his neck to spy the interior of the store. He could see Magnum at the counter and thought he saw Kelly. What was he doing here so much? A case? A likely story!

"Well, nice meeting you, Mrs. Williams. If you'll excuse me I have some business in the travel agency."

"Oh, that's where we're going."

"Planning a trip?" Dan wondered absently as he made his way to the door.

"I hope so." He raised his eyebrows. "I guess that depends on the agent." Solo stood aside as Clara preceded them. "Good morning, Kelly."

"Hello, Mr. Solo. Oh, Dan, Clara, good morning. Those tickets aren't ready for you yet, Dan."

"No problem, dear," Clara smiled. "We came to see if you were busy for lunch."

"Uh, she is," Magnum offered.

Kelly glared at the PI. "I didn't accept yet, Thomas."

"Good." Solo shouldered his way in between Magnum and the owner and delivered the flowers into her hand. "Hi, Thomas." To the woman he smiled. "Good morning, Kelly."

"Hello."

Magnum shouldered closer to Hatsuyuki. "Hi, Napoleon. What brings you to Oahu?"

"Oh, a little sun and surf and fun." To the woman he smiled, "I hope you'll wear these, Kelly. I thought they would perfectly accentuate your exotic charm." He tucked them behind the headband holding back her long hair.

Glancing at Dan, then Solo, Kelly bit her lip. "If the flower is behind the left ear it means you're spoken for." She started to remove the blossom placed behind hind her left ear by Solo.

Solo's hand stopped her, his grin seductive. "I know."

Irritated, Williams was about to intervene when Clara cleared her throat. "Solo. Not by any chance with the Wellington Solos from New York?"

Completely taken off guard, Napoleon lost his focus on the pretty girl and in astonishment asked Clara what she meant. Steering the former spy off to the side, in front of Lani's desk, Mrs. Williams recounted a brief history of her wartime experiences in London. They included frequent contact with American diplomats Douglas and Emily Thornton.

With a cry of amazement Napoleon happily affirmed that Wellington Solo was his paternal grandfather and the Thorntons were his maternal grandparents. When just a little boy he had frequented Clara's flat in London during the war. He had learned about the connection a few years ago and forgotten, until now, about his link with Clara Williams.

Hearing the conversation with only partial attention, Dan realized the old spy network from the past was going to have an unexpected reunion! Amazing that Solo's family knew the Williams family in those dark days of World War Two. {SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET} More pertinent was the problem of Thomas Magnum paying way too much attention to Kelly. He would never allow someone as questionable as Magnum to date Kelly. No way!

The phone rang and Hatsuyki answered it. During the distraction Williams physically took Magnum by the arm and steered him toward the door. Under protest. And not an easy task for a slight five-foot-ten man against a muscled six-foot-four PI. Determination on his side, Dan nearly pushed the PI out the door.

"What do you think you're doing"?

Mangum was innocent and surrendered an engaging smile. "Trying to get a date."

"Kelly's too good for you."

The smile didn't falter, neither did the amusement from the taller man. "She's old enough to pick her own dates, Dan." He eyed the former detective. "Going to give her a big brother lecture?" The smile widened. "Go ahead."

Sidestepping, Magnum returned to the travel agency. With an irate huff Williams stalked upstairs to his office. It wasn't his place to give Kelly any kind of lecture. He wasn't her big brother. So why was he being so protective -- so upset at other men falling over themselves for the beautiful, captivating, lovely Hatsuyuki? Well, he wasn't going to let it bother him any more. He had work to do. Let Kelly make her own decisions, he finalized. Feeling miserable and cranky he pushed into the office and didn't even respond when Ellen and McGarrett greeted him.

*****

Driving up to the side of the building complex, Kelly parked and cautiously glanced around the corner. As she feared, Magnum's car was there. Worse, Napoleon's rented Benz was parked in front too! They were talking to each other! How well did they know each other? How was she going to handle this? Trying to avoid the competitive suitors for two days, she thought by this evening they would have given up. Didn't they get the hint? How many times did she have to refuse them to make it clear she wasn't interested in dating them? Miserably she glanced at them again. Both were sexy, alluring men that most women (Lani particularly) more than appreciated. Why didn't they bother Lani? They didn't do a thing for Kelly's emotions. Because her passions were already irrevocably bound up to someone else.

Peeking around the corner again she noted Danny's Mustang was not in the front, but Steve's Continental was. Slipping up the stairs she quietly, quickly dashed into the AIKANE office.

Ellen was gone, probably a lunch break. Steve leaned over to look past his partition and waved to her.

"Hi, Kelly. Danno's not here right now."

She scooted over and sat in the chair next to his desk. "Steve, I need some advice."

His pleasant expression changed, grew serious, no doubt matching the urgency of her tone. "What's wrong?"

"I -- this is going to sound really weird, but the world seems to be going crazy! All of a sudden two of your friends are hanging around me like sharks to fish. I can't figure out what's going on! And Danny thinks -- well --" she sighed in misery, "he's not even returning my calls. I don't know what he thinks, but I can guess."

McGarrett pinched his lip, his blue eyes chips of cool irritation. "You're a beautiful young woman, Kelly. Naturally men are going to be attracted to you."

She buried her head in her hands and combed fingers through her thick hair. "I don't want them to be attracted to me. I've told them I'm not interested." Looking up, she bit her lip, wondering if she should confess all. Staring into Steve's compassionate blue eyes she caved in. "I think of you like a kind of father, Steve, since my dad and Chin aren't here any more."

"Thank you, Kelly, I am honored." He took her hands in his. "How can I help?"

"I don't know, because what I tell you could put you in a tough spot."

His smile was tolerant and easy. "I've been in those plenty of times and managed to get out again. Try me."

"Oh," she sighed miserably, then took a deep breath. "I'm in love with Dan. I can't help it," she rushed out before he could respond. "I just am and he doesn't even know I exist and now he probably thinks I play around with all these swingers and he'll never talk to me again --"

"Whoa, hold on." McGarrett's sharp tone brooked no opposition and she instantly quieted. His eyes narrowed. "Why would he think that?"

"Well, I don't want to hurt your feelings, Steve, but your friends are swingers. They're rich and sophisticated and they're completely out of my league. But I'm not interested in any of that. I've loved Dan from -- well -- I've had a crush on him forever, but I really fell in love with him after he left Five-0. He was so brave and -- and wonderful." Roughly she wiped away the stray tears that were seeping out of her eyes.

Tight with irritation Steve's voice rang harshly in the quiet office. "What friends? What are you talking about?"

"Thomas and Napoleon. They've been at my door every day this week and I don't want to hurt your feelings or theirs, but now Dan won't talk to me. And I never even dated them! But they're around and the circumstances seem -- well -- suspicious -- and I guess I shouldn't blame him." She buried her head again. "I don't know why I worry he doesn't love me anyway. Not the way I love him. He still thinks I'm just a friend of Suzy's. A kid."

McGarrett pulled her close and held her tightly. The news that Kelly was hopelessly in love with his closest friend was no surprise. It was something he must have known sub-consciously but never acknowledged. Recalling Williams' recent behavior, he realized Danno was just as desperately in love with Kelly. So what were all these dramatics about?

Patting her back with gentle taps he asked for and received a full report of activities that had been happening around his circle of friends for the past few days. The elements of Aunt Clara, Napoleon, Magnum and Agnes were separately non-threatening. Combined -- with the unusual interest in Kelly as the eye of the hurricane -- Steve started to sense a suspicious conspiracy.

"Let me look into it," he suggested sagely, gently. "For right now, don't mention we've discussed this. Not to anyone."

The unhappiness was still there, but she was also intrigued. "Okay."

Touched by her faith, he reminded himself he'd always found her a bright girl. Certainly too treasured to go through what he suspected was a diabolical plot. "And Kelly, I think you've got Danno all wrong. Give me a few days and I'll prove it to you."

Her face radiated gratitude and optimism. She hugged him mercilessly. "I hope you're right. Thanks, Steve. That doesn't seem enough."

"Oh, I'll get my reward in other ways," he assured. If what he suspected was right, there was going to be some big retribution around here. And lastly, he was going to have a long talk with Danno.

*****


When Williams finally arrived it was well after working hours. The sun, in fact, was behind the distant landmark of Diamond Head. McGarrett bided his time, waiting for the former detective to finish slamming doors and desk drawers and grumbling to himself. Having invested a great deal of thought to this problem McGarrett decided his usual blunt, straight-forward approach was not going to work this time. Subtlety was in order. Not easy when he saw things so clearly and other's visions were obscured. By love! Not one to be the advice-to-the-lovelorn type, McGarrett judged that this time his interference was the only thing to salvage the mess that others had created around the lives of his closest friends.

Walking over to his friend's desk, he leaned on the back of a chair. "Danno."

The younger man jumped and glanced up, his expression clouded, harboring elements of anger and distress. "Hi, Steve."

"Bad day in paradise?"

"Yeah, you could say that." Williams concentrated on shuffling papers.

McGarrett's voice was placid innocence itself. "Trouble with the Hayden work?"

"No. It's -- everything's fine there. This -- I don't want to talk about it."

"Okay." McGarrett drifted away to stand by the doors leading out to a small lanai overlooking Koko Marina. "How about a sail? You could find a date and I could give Agnes a call."

In the reflection of the glass he watched his friend stop moving papers and stare at the desk. Nearly ready to cave in and stop the suffering, McGarrett restrained his impulsive compassion. This was painful for Danno right now, but if Steve played it right he could turn this mess around. One way or the other. If this little pep talk didn't help then he was going to the source of the problem -- Agnes, Clara, Magnum and Solo. He hoped it wouldn't resort to that. Feelings would be hurt on all sides if the truth came out. Worst of all, the deep but unrecognized relationship between Dan and Kelly could be over. He didn't think the two sensitive victims could withstand the revelation of the conspiracy. It would embarrass them beyond measure. He could be wrong -- maybe their obviously strong affection for each other would be hearty enough to withstand this twisted plot, but he didn't want to risk the chance of finding out. So he would just have to make this work.

"Just trying to help you out of your blue mood." Steve threw in a sigh, almost cringing at his underhandedness. Was this ruse any better than the others? Yes, he decided and pushed away the guilt. "Sometimes it helps to get away."

"Sorry, Steve." The expression, the tone, were pure misery. "I don't think anything will help."

Heaven help him from lovesick friends. He'd never seen Danno smitten like this and knew if Kelly and Williams didn't get together everyone in the vicinity would be just as miserable as they were.

"How about hitting the driving range?"

Williams shook his head. "Nothing's going to help."

"Talking it out might." McGarrett followed the quiet, sincere advice by sitting down next to his friend.

"There's nothing to say." Williams launched from the chair and began pacing. "I certainly don't want to talk about how she thinks it's necessary to flirt with every man who walks into the agency! Doesn't she have any idea the sharks she's playing with?"

Casually McGarrett folded one arm across his chest and used the other to cup around his jaw and mouth. Intended as an easy pose, it was really to tactfully hide his mouth while he struggled not to smile.

'Oh, Danno, my boy you are in sooo deep. Terminal. You’re already sunk, dead in the water.' He tried to inject reason. "Who are you talking about?"

"Kelly!"

"Oh." He cleared away the knot of choked laughter from his throat. "And why do you care if she flirts with men --"

"They're sharks, Steve! Can't you see that?!"

McGarrett gave a sober shake of his head. "Doesn't sound like Kelly to me. Are you sure she's the one doing the flirting?"

"I SAW IT!"

"That bothers you?"

"Yeah. Magnum and Napoleon are womanizers and cads and they don't deserve her!"

"Why don't you just say something --"

"I can't do that!"

Steve leaned forward and intently stared at his friend. "Why not, Danno?" When Williams made eye contact he continued sincerely. "I think you should. I think both of you should figure out what your honest feelings are about each other."

Dan's fair face blushed. "We're friends."

"It's not a crime for friends to mean more to each other."

"No --" he burst out, shaking his head and adamantly denying the implications. "I couldn't -- I'm so much older than her! And she was like a daughter to Chin! And I've known her for years!" Running fingers through his hair he paced away. "And even if I felt something more -- she could never feel that way."

Taking a deep breath McGarrett slowly approached his friend and stopped just behind Dan's shoulder. "That's not what I see when she looks at you. Or what I hear when she talks to you."

Surprised, guardedly hopeful, Williams turned, his face bright with possibilities, his eyes sparkling with optimism. "You think she might -- well -- like me? I mean in a romantic way?"

"Is that what you would want? Is that how you feel?"

Resolve firmed up the lingering doubts in his expression. "Yes. That's how I feel." He surrendered an embarrassed laugh. "I love her, Steve. More than anything I'd like to think she could love me."

Grinning, McGarrett put his arm around Dan's shoulder. "I think you've already been granted your wish, Danno. Now why don't you go downstairs and confirm that."

"Steve I don't know how to thank you."

McGarrett tried not to release the deep sigh begging to escape his chest. "By going down there and making sure the love of your life knows how you feel."

"Mahalo." Dan started out the door, rushed back and gave his friend a firm, fast handshake. "Wish me luck," he beseeched as he rushed out of the office.

Grinning, Steve sighed quietly, "Good luck to you, Danno, but I don't think you'll need it."
 

*****

 

Running down the stairs Williams bursting to the travel agency, startling everyone who was there: Magnum, Solo and Hatsuyuki. Not waiting to interpret their expressions or even comment to them, Dan went straight over, behind the counter, and grabbed Kelly by the hand.

"We're going for a drive." While she was still speechless with surprise he guided her toward the door. "You guys can lock up."

With a slam the door was closed. Within moments the Mustang had pulled away, Dan and Kelly talking, the wind whipping the girl's long hair around her face. Leaning against the counter with an elbow, Solo smiled and sighed.

"Another assignment successfully finished."

Magnum scrutinized the older man, his eyebrows raised. Then a slow grin spread under his mustache. "Yeah, another tough case out of the way."

Laughing, Solo patted Magnum on the shoulder. "Really? That's funny. I suppose all's well that ends well. Why don't we go get Illya and go have a beer?"

"Great, I'll take you to my club." Thomas pointed above his head. "Shall we invite Steve?"

Solo scowled. "I would rather invite Leilani, actually, but since she's still off the island I'll have to settle for you guys." He fished car keys out of his pocket. "I'll get Illya and we'll meet you there."

Magnum grabbed a nearby flyer for sailboat rentals and turned it over, writing on the back. Then he grabbed some tape. "I'll lock up." He stuck the sign to the glass door.

As Solo pulled away he squinted to read the sign on the door:

CLOSED FOR ENGAGEMENT PARTY.

Laughing, Solo hoped McGarrett found all this so amusing IF Steve ever found out about the little cupid plots swirling around his longtime friend. Hopefully the ex-Five-0 cop would not figure it all out. He'd been on the end of Steve's wrath before and never wanted to repeat that kind of reprimand again.
 
 

*****

Nothing serious was said until Williams slowed the Mustang and pulled off Kamehameha Highway and onto a beach near Waimanalo. The afternoon sun at their backs, the salty sea-trades in their hair, they stopped all conversation. Kelly rubbed the palms of her hands on her jeans. That made Dan feet better -- she was obviously as nervous as he was.

The whole drive he kept up a pretty good front, he thought, but in the back of his mind he struggled to put into mental words what he felt. Why was he insisting on this impulsive dash up the coast? How could he tell her how much he loved her? He was never good with such bald confessions. He'd never, in fact, told that to any woman. What would she think? Would she tell him he was way too old to think she'd ever love him? What did he expect out of her? Why would she want anything to do with an old guy who had a history with most of the women Kelly knew! An ex-cop with a very dark past was no more worthy of her than an ex-spy or a PI.

The sand was hard-packed almost down to the edge of the high tide line. Dan stopped the car. Twisting his hands around the steering wheel he knew what his heart told him, but couldn't quite get the words out.

"I have a question for you."

She looked out at the rolling water. "What?"

"I -- uh -- was wondering -- uh -- do you think Akamai would like to come live with me?"

"My dog?" Flustered, she drew in a gasping breath. "Why? Why would Akamai want to live with you? I mean, why would you want Akamai?"

"I -- uh -- can I ask you another question?"

Guardedly. "Okay."

He turned to look at her -- absorbing her loveliness. The sinking tropical-orange sun, the multi-level clouds tinged in gold, the dancing, glittering water served as a paradisiacal backdrop. The sea breeze floated her long dark hair around her exotically compelling face and her deep, intriguing almond eyes.

The doubts, nervousness and speculations dissipated. Only the powerful emotions bubbling inside could surface. With shaking hands he held onto to hers. "I love you, Kelly. Will you marry me?"

Gasping, her eyes widening and pooling with tears, she yelped and leaned over to hug him tight. "Yes! Yes! Yes! I love you so much!" She pulled away, staring into his eyes. "Really? You mean it?"

"I love you I -- I can't even tell you how much," he giggled, then sobered, cupping her face in his hands. "Are you serious? You'll really marry me?"

"Yes!"

Gently he kissed her, allowing the long-denied mutual attraction to build into a lingering, loving kiss and embrace. Eventually Kelly squirmed to attempt a slight separation. "Sorry," she mumbled, trying not to break their lips apart, "but bucket seats and center gear shifts are not very romantic."

Laughing with tender ecstasy Dan shifted and tried a different angle. The sun was down and tropical night quickly blanketed the beach. Several kisses later they parted enough to look up to appreciate the stars dotting the night sky.

"How can life be so perfect?"

"Because you are," he whispered in her ear.

"No, you're perfect."

"Is this going to be our first argument?"

"No. I surrender," she acquiesced, plunging into another kiss.

"So do you think Akamai will like living at my house?"

"He'll love it."

When they stopped again he tilted her face up to look into his. "I have only one more question for you."

"Only one?"

"For now."

"What?"

"What are you doing Saturday?"

Kelly dissolved into laughter and smothering him with more kisses. Paradise couldn't get any better.
 
 

*****

The main beach house was dark when Dan pulled into the driveway of Steve's Aina Haina property. Too excited to live up to decent manners he went around to the back. Relieved that there was light on he went in the back and found no one on the ground floor. Seeing two silhouettes out on the dock he ran out. As he approached he was glad to see it was Steve and Agnes quietly talking in the moonlight.

Bubbling with excitement, he started jabbering before he reached their spot. "Guess what? You'll never believe it, Steve!" McGarrett stood and turned in time to receive a hug from his friend. "Kelly is going to marry me!"

"Danno, that's wonderful!" He thumped his friend on the back, laughed at the exuberance. "Great!"

DuBois was up and throwing her arms around him instantly. "Oh, I'm so happy for you both. What a lovely couple. When is that happy date?"

"Saturday."

McGarrett and DuBois both laughed. Steve mumbled something about pulling strings and it was a good thing Dan had friends in high places. Agnes seemed beside herself and actually jumped up and down with excitement, declaring that date to be perfect -- in a cosmic sense -- for lasting unions. She even volunteered Steve's place for the event and without much of a lag, McGarrett echoed the invitation. Williams shook his head and grinned like a fool, considering if life ever got any better he probably couldn't stand it.
 
 

*****


Aunt Clara took the tidings with the same degree of delight that Williams' many friends and family members received the glorious and not-too-surprising news. It seemed everyone in their acquaintance knew they were hopelessly in love and wondered how long it would take them to catch on. None of that mattered, however, because Dan was just too happy to care.

Between the Kulani clan and the Kelly clan everything was whipped into form immediately. Clara was naturally in the thick of things. McGarrett's beach house took on the look of a grand celebration.

Behind the scenes McGarrett did what he did best, organized and smoothed the way for a flawless operation. All the legalities were taken care of without problem. Kahuna Kulani would perform the ceremony. Tutu Kulani and Clara were in charge of the guest list and food. Suzy Kelly took charge of Kelly and the wedding dress. Leilani Kulani, when she arrived back from Maui the day after the engagement, organized the out-of-town guests. For those, like her Uncle Henry Kulani who worked in Beverly Hills, and the scattered Kelly children on the mainland, it was tricky finding air space to accommodate everyone for Saturday morning.

By Saturday afternoon the morning rain mist that had freshened the air and washed the beach was gone. Golden sunlight broke through the dappled clouds. The wide lawns and gravel driveways were packed with cars, some spilling into the yards of accommodating neighbors. In typical Hawaiian fashion there was enough food to feed an army and enough guests to pack the beach.

Standing in his living room, observing the deliriously happy couple, Steve couldn't stop smiling any more than Danno could. It was a marvelously magnificent day. So many friends had come for the wonderful occasion: Kono and family, Ben and family, all the Lukelas, all the Kulanis, many friends and colleagues from the old days. There were members from Dan's club -- tourist and university associates of Kelly's. Even Solo and Kuryakin had stayed.

Steve had thought this huge transition into another phase of their lives would be hard. Not much had changed, really, but emotionally he thought he would have felt cheated -- slighted -- that Danno was going to be selfish and spend a significant amount of time away from the business -- away from him!

That's not how he felt at all as he watched their glowing faces when the soon-to-be married couple looked at each other, or heard their laughing whispers as they greeted the guests. He was not losing Danno at all, he was watching two people he loved expand the circle of aloha around them. Both dressed in traditional white with maile vines and leis, the wedding couple seemed to exemplify all that could be right in his world. Maybe a living example of how good paradise could be.

Danno gave him a slight wave and broke through the reverie. "Steve, it's time for the ceremony. Do you have the ring?"

As best man McGarrett had seen to his various obligations including the all important ring. He showed it to the nervous Williams as proof that everything was going to go perfectly. They went out to the beach and gathered in front of the mass of people. Kahuna Kulani, a short, weathered Hawaiian offered a prayer and conducted the ceremony in Hawaiian and English. There were few dry eyes in the crowd when the new Mr. and Mrs. Williams kissed. The many spectators cheered and congratulated the newlyweds.

The rest of the day was spent mingling, eating and laughing. Hawaiians loved to party, but weddings were special ho'olaule'a -- celebrations. McGarrett couldn't believe how pleased he was at losing his best friend to marriage. Because he knew he wasn't losing anything at all. Everyone here was extended ohana -- his ohana.

Stepping outside his usual reserved nature he chatted with most of the guests, especially his old friends from Five-0 whom he rarely saw anymore. Toward evening he noticed Illya had acquired two shadows in the forms of Suzy Kelly and, strangely enough, Akamai the dog. Well, maybe the Lab figured if he was good enough for Suzy he was good enough for a four-legged friend. Napoleon was dominating Leilani's attention and she seemed to love every minute of it. Since those were very nice girls and ohana, he thought he better give them some warnings about the former spies. Later. He was enjoying himself too much at the moment to act like a policeman.

Aunt Clara had been chatting with the newlywed Williams', then left to get some of Jim Kulani's "special" Hawaiian punch. Maybe he should intervene there instead. He didn't like playing cop at the reception, but he didn't want the whole lot of them arrested for illegal booze. What was Jim thinking? Dr. Kana Kulani was over there talking to his brother, maybe that would take care of things.

About to interfere, he noticed a suspicious group off to the side. DuBois, Magnum, and now Aunt Clara were off at a corner table. Should he ruin their fantasies and tell them their little plots had been detected? Why did Cupid's little helpers think they could get away with it under the nose of the ex-head of Five-0?

From the corner of his eye he saw Danno and Kelly approaching. They thanked him and hugged him for probably the tenth time that day. He didn't mind a bit. They were planning to slip away and take off for the honeymoon. And again they thanked him for paying for their week's stay at a Maui resort.

"Will you two please just take off?" he grinned, hugging them one last time. "And if you thank me again I won't give you a wedding present."

"You don't have to," Kelly insisted. "All you've done --"

"I'm just taking my time, trying to think of something perfect." His throat tightened and he almost didn't say what he felt, but couldn't let pass the sentimentality that was smothering him. "For the perfect couple."

Kelly hugged him again, her cheek wet with tears. "I'm so lucky."

"So am I, sweetheart." He gave a wink at Dan, who seemed on the verge of a misty eyed moment. "Now get out of here while you can or you'll be mobbed by all the well wishers."

Dan shook his hand. "Mahalo, Steve. For everything."

The sincerity almost sank McGarrett again into a bog of melodramatics. "My pleasure. Now get out through the front yard while everyone is distracted. Even Akamai won't know you're gone."

Kelly kissed him on the cheek. "Aloha nui loa. Mahalo, Steve."

The couple dashed into the house. With McGarrett's help they had planned the escape with military precision. The Williams' would sneak through a few neighboring yards down to Kelly's cottage. They would change there and take her VW bug to the airport to catch a night flight to Maui. By the time the revelers knew the couple was gone they would be in the air.

Overly pleased with himself, McGarrett closed the glass lanai door of his house and looked back at the party. The suspicious Cupid-helper-three were now joined by Solo and Leilani, Illya and Suzy. All were having a very fun time, no doubt recounting their cleverness, congratulating themselves on an akamai coup for the sake of love.

To put them in their place should he go over and splash the cold reality of facts in their faces? It was not their blundering interference that brought everyone here to day. Their tampering nearly had the opposite affect! If he hadn't talked to Kelly and then Danno . . . . He smiled indulgently, the memory of the Williams' shining faces burning in his mind. Let the meddlers enjoy their little victory. They thought they knew the truth. Dan and Kelly were blissfully ignorant. And Steve McGarrett, he laughed to himself, had the last laugh indeed. Who'd have thought a tough old Irish ex-cop could play Cupid? And a very good one at that!

At that instant Agnes turned and stared at him with a look that seemed to sear right thought his core. Then she winked and gave him a glittering smile. As if she could read his mind . . . .

Chuckling, McGarrett returned her wink and shook his head. Maybe none of them were as akamai Cupids as they thought. Maybe some glorious cosmic serendipity had pushed the two lovers together. With a secret grin Agnes turned back to the conspirators at her table. Maybe not, McGarrett pondered. Maybe they would never know. Secretly, Steve believed otherwise and in the end congratulated himself again for his adept matchmaking.
 
 

PAU