TO THE WALL

 

by

GM

 

August 1968

 

 

 

 

 

"Look,  Leila, I'm sorry, but I told you this case is important."

 

The reply to that excuse could be heard all the way from the earpiece of the phone in Dan Williams' hand, to the doorway of his cubicle where Steve McGarrett leaned, eavesdropping on the latest not-too-successful exploits of his colleague.

 

"So your case is more important than the concert tonight?"

 

Williams pulled a cigarette from a pack in his pocket and deftly lit it using one hand.  "I didn't say that, honey."

 

If Steve would have known what a swinger Williams was, he might not -- no, Steve stopped the thought mid-formed.  Danno was a natural for this team and he would have placed Dan here under any circumstances.  If there wouldn’t have been an opening, he probably would have made a slot for the enterprising young officer.  McGarrett liked Williams and for months had thought about bringing him in when Ray Kaimano retired.  That blessed event occurred last year and Dan was recruited the very next week.  Steve had decided to make the change long ago, but didn't want anyone to know until he asked Dan AFTER Kaimano left.  Steve wanted Dan's first impressions of being a Five-0 detective to be fresh, not tainted with Ray's cynical view of the world of police work.

 

In truth, Steve wanted his youngest officer to focus on HIS teachings and advice as opposed to anyone else’s.  Some would label his idea egotistical (many labeled HIM egotistical!), but Steve considered it hedging his bets.  Danno was young, idealistic, fresh and moldable.  No, that was too strong an appellation.  Trainable.  Already a good cop, Steve hoped to make him a fantastic Five-0 officer. 

 

"Hey, Leila, come on, this is important!"  the sandy-haired cop rubbed his forehead in frustration.

 

Imploring to the girl apparently had little affect.  "And I'm not important Danny Williams?"

 

"I didn't say that."

 

"Oh, I'm just not as important as police work!  Well maybe you're not important enough for me to date anymore."

 

Steve heard the click all the way from his position.  Yeah, Danno was going to make a great officer around here.  Just a few little edges needed to be -- honed.

 

"Having a little trouble, Danno?"

 

Williams started, dropping his cigarette on some papers and hurriedly, gingerly stamping out the ashes with his hand.  "Steve!  Hi!"

 

Folding his arms, McGarrett tried not to smirk.  Yeah, still a few rough spots there on young Officer Williams.  "That's a nasty habit you know, Danno.  When you gonna give it up?"

 

"Oh, I -- uh -- I don't know, Steve.  I'm cutting back, but it's tough, you know?"  Brushing the ash onto the floor, then wiping his hands on his trousers, Dan straightened and finally focused his full attention on his boss.  "So, uh, how was lunch with the Attorney General?"

 

"Come on in and I'll fill you in.  Oh, and bring the Manapaka file.  Stuart was asking about our progress on that."

 

A voice boomed from behind him.  "I can help with that, Steve." 

 

Kono Kalakaua tried to wedge himself into the doorway of Williams' cubicle.  It proved a tight fit with McGarrett already there, so the big detective sidled into the small room.  "Got that info from HPD on Manapaka.  He's into some heavy stuff, bruddah." He spotted a donut box on the filing cabinet behind Williams.  "Hey, Danny, did you remember to save me that last jelly donut?  Man, I am so starved.  Can't expect me to do nothing else today without some sugar and jelly to give me some strength." 

 

The boss shook his head and grumbled under his breath.  "The case, Kono.  What did you find out?"

 

"Manapaka's spendin' more than a caretaker should.  Drug trade is good business.  But he's throwin' the money around big time."

 

"Good," McGarrett nodded.  "I'll want you to go out to Waimanalo to question him this afternoon."

 

"After lunch, right?"  Kono leaned over the desk to make a grab for the donut box and Dan leaped up, quickly snatching the pink box out of his reach.  "No!"  He darted an alarmed glance at McGarrett. 

 

Kono was upset.  "Hey, man, you promised!"  He grabbed the box.  "Well, I'll take whatever's left."  Something shifted inside.  "What else is in here?"

 

Danny tried to wrench it away, but Kono adroitly, for a man his size, shifted to protect his treasure and opened the lid.  "Hey, you trying to hoard the last jelly, Danny?  That's not nice, man."

 

Glancing again at McGarrett, swallowing hard, Dan made a grab for it again, not even coming close to the big man's donut.  "It's old."

 

Puzzled, Steve watched the byplay with amused confusion.

 

"Anything beats starving."  Kono bit into the big, fluffy confection and seconds later gave out a strangled cry, spitting out the mouthful, dropping the box, and reflexively smashing the remaining jellyroll in his hand.  Red oozed from his mouth, from the smashed donut and all over the front of his white shirt.

 

Fast on his feet, McGarrett managed to zip back out of the line of fire of the red spray.  The unmistakable odor of ketchup permeated the little office.  Over Kono's cursing and Williams' moaning -- both officers rushing to clean up the desk and floor, Steve dropped back, covering his mouth with a hand so no one would see his smile. 

 

Once more Kono -- the easiest target in the office -- the one habitually the most volatile and funny -- fell victim to a Williams’ practical joke.  May, the secretary, bumped into Steve.  An amused look passed between them as she scooted in and handed the detectives paper towels.

 

"Danny!"  Kono groaned as he beheld his ruined shirt.

 

Williams glanced up to McGarrett to check on his boss' mood.  Steve didn't really appreciate the jokes Dan liked to play.  He didn't think it was in keeping with the dignity nor the sober business of the police unit.  Finishing the clean up, Dan contritely patted Kalakaua on the shoulder. 

 

"Sorry, Kono.  I didn't think this would happen."  He scowled.  “Quite so --explosively anyway.” Joining Steve by May's desk, he sheepishly grimaced at the boss.  "Sorry, Steve.  Guess I filled it up too much."

 

Pinching his lip, Steve gave a curt nod.  "Kono, give Danno the file on Manapaka."  To his youngest detective he offered a bland comment to his neutral expression.  "Come on, Danno, we're going to Waimanalo."

 

Steve turned and walked toward the door confident his orders would be obeyed to the letter.  Yeah, Detective Williams was going to have to have a few edges smoothed out before Steve felt he was really fitting in and part of the team.

 

*****

 

Silence prevailed during most of the drive to the windward coast.  For the first leg of the journey, McGarrett was mute, allowing his officer to stew in his own juices.  Danno did indeed bring a lot of spice to the mix of detectives.  Pretty soon, he'd have to grow up and fit in the groove a little better.  Being a nightclub swinger, a practical joker, a little bit naive', detracted from his true value.  Underneath that youthful spirit was a core enthusiasm for the job -- for life -- that Steve wanted to mingle with the predictable, staid methods of Five-0.  Fresh blood. 

 

With a sigh Steve admitted that Danno was a little too fresh sometimes.  McGarrett had hoped, eventually, to name Williams as second-in-command of the unit.  Maybe after Chin retired.  That would be a few years.  By that time maybe the kid would be ready.

 

When they exited the freeway and were sailing along the coast on King Kam Highway, McGarrett broke the silence.  "Remember I might go to Switzerland in three weeks."

 

"Right."  He seemed a bit wounded.  "I didn't forget."  Now that the hush was finished Williams girded his courage and faced his companion.  "Listen, Steve, I know you don't like the practical jokes -- "

 

"I thought I told you no more.  Last week.  After you glued Chin's pipe to his pipe rack."  The clipped words echoed the curt mood of the boss.

 

"I just couldn't help myself.  Kono is so easy . . . ."   His voice trailed away at the ominous silence of his companion.  "No more, Steve, I promise."

 

Darting a glance at his detective Steve's expression was neutral.  "We're running the state police, Danno -- "

 

"I know.  I've never done -- "  Cutting off an explanation, he sighed.  "No more."

 

One of the great things about Danno was that their debates, their occasional disagreements, never lasted long.  When Steve proved his point, showed the kid he was right, Danno accepted it and moved on.  End of discussion. He knew how to take orders and worked harder than any detective Steve had ever seen.  Especially when it came to accomplishing what McGarrett wanted -- sometimes before he asked.  Trying to impress the commanding officer happened a lot in the Navy, but there were always ulterior motives.  So far, Steve hadn't seen any sign of hidden agendas for Williams.  Dan just wanted to stay on Steve's good side.  Score one for hero worship.

 

"So are you going to take some extra time and stay for a holiday in the snow?"

 

"I'm going for the International Drug Control Conference," he reminded needlessly."

 

Williams shrugged easily.  "Geneva.  Snow.  Girls."  The conclusions seemed obvious to him.

 

"I haven't taken a vacation since I was appointed to organize and run Five-0." 

 

"Wow!"  The alien concept was startling to the fun-loving Williams.  "Why?"

 

Steve laughed.  "I guess I didn't think I could."  A smirk played at his lips.  "I have this thing about being in control in case you hadn't noticed."

 

This time Dan laughed easily.  "Yeah, I've noticed."  More comfortable, he studied his mentor.  "So why don't you go to Switzerland and combine it with a holiday?  Bet there's some great chicks there on the ski slopes."

 

The idea was appealing to McGarrett, and he had actually thought of that himself, but he still vacillated about going.  Leave Five-0?  Whom would he put in charge?   When Ray Kaimano, his old second-in-command was around they always disagreed, but Ray had known how to run the shop.  Chin, of course was the unofficial second-in-command since Kaimano left.  Kelly was a solid cop, but Steve had hesitated officially naming him in the second slot.  Why, McGarrett asked himself now?  How would Chin handle daily crisis living at the decision making level of Five-0?  No problem, he was sure.  Then why did he not give the responsibility to the veteran detective?  Was he waiting for someone else?

 

Kono -- no -- too much stress for the guy.

 

Danno?  Absurdly, that's exactly what Steve wanted to do.  Despite all logic and reason, McGarrett's instincts told him Dan was a natural leader.  More importantly, he was someone completely in sync with Steve's goals about Five-0.  In addition, he had something neither Chin, nor Kono had in such a degree.  Ambition.  Not to take over Five-0, but to be part of Five-0.

 

Williams knocked himself out trying to be what McGarrett expected him to be.  If left in charge, Dan would do anything for the unit and break his back making sure everything went right while the boss was away.  Still, the kid was young, and at thirty, was he ready to handle such a big load?  Not that much younger than when Steve was given the job of organizing Five-0 -- but McGarrett didn't think the comparison accurate.   Danno was perceived as being so much younger.  And in this politically dependent job perceptions counted way too much.  Was McGarrett ready to sweep aside hierarchy and seniority, risk damaging the good will with Chin and Kono, to pop Williams up to the number two slot after just months on the job?  No, McGarrett decided, he wasn't ready to test Williams like that yet. 

 

As they neared the beach McGarrett adjusted his thinking to the matter at hand.  Their suspect,

Manapaka worked and lived as caretaker on the property of the Heritage Village, a reconstruction of an ancient Hawaiian community on the windward coast.  Hank Manapaka had been suspected of being the middleman in a lucrative drug business on this side of Oahu.  Five-0 wanted to put the criminal out of the drug business and squeeze him to find out who the big suppliers were. 

 

There was not enough evidence to arrest the man, but McGarrett thought leaning on him and making him nervous would cause a slip-up.  Kono would have been the logical choice for intimidation, but Steve felt he needed to get Danno out of the office and pin him with a lecture.  Maybe he would let the kid handle some tough talk pressure and see how he did in the field.  He had never had much interest in knowing about Williams' on-the-job performance on the beat, face-to-face with the lawless element.  Maybe this was a good time to find out.  Or maybe he should just handle it himself.   

 

 

*****

 

 

The Heritage Village was set off of King Kamehameha Highway just north of Waimanalo.  A small tour bus was there and about a dozen tourists were clicking away with cameras.  Chin was already there and walked over to meet McGarrett.

 

"Manapaka's in the gardens," he reported as they threaded through the brightly attired malihini crowd. 

 

A young, good-looking, blond tour guide was giving an introductory speech and McGarrett noted her giving Danno the once over.  Glancing behind him, he was not surprised to see "interested" eye contact and open appreciation returned by the young detective.

 

McGarrett paused at a stand displaying a colorful layout of the community.  "Danno, take the back path around to the ocean," he ordered, tracing the route with a finger.  "Chin and I will go in the front. Manapaka might try to make a break for it," he warned sternly, "so try to keep your mind on business."

 

Williams blushed.  "Don't worry, Steve."  He raced off on a back trail.

 

McGarrett shook his head as he watched the detective disappear.

 

"He's still young, boss," Chin reminded in a fatherly tone.  "Besides, his tricks never hurt anything.  Except Kono's shirts," he smirked.

 

So the Five-0 coconut wireless was working overtime.  McGarrett refused to cut the young man any slack.  "He's a detective, Chin.  He's got to come up to speed with the rest of the team.  Age and inexperience aren't excuses."

 

The tourist group had started up the main path and McGarrett crisply wove through the people, Chin close behind.  They took a side path up to the gardens and avoided the main knot of spectators.  There were a few people snapping pictures by the neatly hedged flowers and Steve slipped by them.  He had never been here -- never been to a number of the tourist traps around his home island -- and could not pause now to appreciate any of the beauty. 

 

The artist within would have liked to stop and absorbed the scenic splendor.  The blossoming flora; the rich, dark lava walls, the thatched houses, the breathtaking azure ocean crashing in the background of the village.  All things great and small around him were wondrously spectacular.  He promised he would come back here.  Next time he had a day off.  Whenever that might be.

 

The core of the ancient village was surrounded by a stonewall as tall as McGarrett.  Within the compound were small thatched huts and a long house in the back where craftsmen occasionally gave demonstrations on native woodcarving or canoe building.  The Five-0 detectives strode into the courtyard just ahead of the picture-snapping sightseers.  The tourists spilled through the narrow gateway while McGarrett and Kelly went around to a maintenance shed behind the open-sided long house.

 

Just before the detectives disappeared behind the huts, Chin noticed Manapaka enter the village compound in a small golf cart filled with gardening tools.  The suspect spotted them as they approached.  Quickly turning the cart to spin around and escape, the little vehicle tipped in the uneven, slanting, soft earth and tumbled onto it's side, wedging across the entrance.

 

Almost able to predict what was going to happen, McGarrett felt an instant of indecisive alarm. Manapaka was trapped and the look of panic on the man's face indicated he was frightened.  The man reached into the back of the cart and pulled out a rifle. 

 

Out in the open, Steve and Chin had no time to dive for cover.  Manapaka fired.  They dropped into the dark volcanic dirt and drew their weapons to get a bead on the shooter.  Before Steve could aim he was hit, sending his revolver flying.  Screaming tourists were scattering, running in all directions.  Chin used the confusion in his favor and grabbed the unconscious McGarrett, stumbling toward one of the huts on the side of the courtyard.  Before they reached safety a bullet struck Kelly in the leg and he skidded into the ground atop his boss.

 

 

*****

 

 

Walking around the wall of the compound, Williams continually recriminated himself for his poor judgement.  His fatal humor had really cooked him this time.  McGarrett was probably having second thoughts about bringing him into Five-0.  What if Steve cancelled his long awaited holiday because he didn't think he could trust Williams while he was away?  Danny would die of embarrassment.  What if Steve bounced him back to HPD?  Aside from the humiliation, Williams would never forgive himself for foolishly throwing away the best dream job in the world.  Worse, he would have lost the respect of a man he was devoted to emulating.  How was he going to prove to Steve that he could be trusted and was responsible enough, mature enough, to be part of this exalted team?

 

At the sound of gunfire Williams immediately raced back toward the entrance.  While his fast moving feet kicked up the loose, rich earth he automatically categorized the shots as rifle and pistol fire, even though his mind was bewildered at how a shoot out could be happening at the tourist village. Manapaka wasn't supposed to be a vicious criminal, but it looked like things had taken a nasty, unexpected turn for the worse. 

 

Revolver in hand, at the gateway he skidded to a halt.  In an instant he assessed the grim situation.  Several bodies were still in the center of the compound -- two more people leaned against a hut -- one or both of the women injured, one of them the blond tour guide.  No sign of Steve or Chin --

 

A shot whizzed past his shoulder and Danny flew into the bushes along the tree-lined walkway.  Several more shots plunked into the trees.  There was no returning small arms fire.  What had happened to Steve and Chin?  They weren't in the middle of the area.  Were they hurt?  Dead?  Danny swallowed down the terror at that possibility. 

 

"Don't you come near me, cop!"

 

Manapaka he guessed.

 

Never having been in a hostage situation before, Williams wondered what he should do.  What would Steve do?  Take charge and get those people out of danger.  And find his fellow officers.  Easier said than done.

 

"Manapaka, this is Danny Williams of Hawaii Five-0.  Give yourself up!"   Two shots smashed into the trees as his answer.  "You have nowhere to go, Manapaka!"

 

"I got all kinds of hostages in here, cop.  Including your other cops."

 

Williams released a breath.  Okay, at least Chin and Steve were alive.  "You've got a lotta big pilikia, bruddah," Williams shouted back sternly.  "Release the hostages before it's too late."

 

"Like you gonna make me, cop?  Now go get me somebody who's gonna help me.  I want a car -- no -- a helicopter to get me outta here.  Wikiwiki, go do it!"

 

An officious looking woman in a muumuu ran up to him.  "What is going on?"

 

He dragged her down behind the tree.  Succinctly he explained their situation and told her to call HPD and Five-0.  Needlessly, she reminded him of the affect this would have on the village's reputation and how terrible this was.  How could this happen in Hawaii?  Realizing she was going through her own kind of shock, Williams calmed his own nerves enough to present a composed appearance for her. 

 

"Everything is going to be fine," he reassured patiently.  "There are Five-0 officers inside with the hostages.  And I'm going to deal with the gunman out here.  Just go and make the calls, please."

 

Bolstered, she hurried away.  Dan leaned his head against the tree and sighed, rubbing his sweat-damp hair in frustration.  He had no idea if McGarrett and Kelly were okay or if they could do any good at all inside.  And he had no clue what to do on this side of the wall.  Amazing to think he actually wanted this job, he mentally berated.  Instantly he took back the silent thoughts.  Moments ago hadn't he been ready to move heaven and earth to prove he could handle himself as a Five-0 officer?  Well, here was his chance to prove he wasn't just talk -- that all the things he promised Steve were true about him.  Shaking on the inside, he turned back and studied the walls of the compound.  Somehow he was going to get the hostages -- including his friends -- out of this alive.

 

 

*****

 

 

"Steve?  You going to be all right?"

 

Dizzily McGarrett blinked his eyes, but the vertigo prompted him to close them quickly.  "What happened?"

 

"Manapaka opened fire."

 

"Chin.  You okay?"  McGarrett was having trouble focusing on anything.  It hurt like crazy -- the right side of his head throbbing in pain, the ache disorienting in its intensity, blood flowing freely from his scalp.  Both he and his colleague seemed covered in blood -- weak, disoriented with shock.  "How bad?"

 

"Can't move my leg," the Oriental cop replied, gripping onto his thigh.  Blood seeped out between his fingers.  "Got me good, boss."

 

Leaning next to his friend, McGarrett patted him on the shoulder, assuring him they would get out of this.  Their backs were against a hut to the side of the compound.  From their vantage they could see a few of the others trapped in the courtyard.  If McGarrett peeked around the shack he could see Manapaka pacing in the open long house. Manapaka had tried to come near them and the others in their area, but Chin fired off a few rounds to scare him off, which worked.  Fortunately, the criminal didn't know Chin had only a few bullets left, while McGarrett's revolver was still in the dirt somewhere in the middle of the yard.

 

"Manapaka must be crazy to try this on cops," Chin concluded darkly.  "We sure got surprised."

 

"Yeah."  McGarrett darted a glance at the compound.  His eyesight wasn't too clear, but he didn't mention that to his officer.  Tourists were vague blurs dispersed around the enclosure. Manapaka could pick them off anytime since only the policemen were armed.  There was no way they could help any of the ones far away from them.  He leaned back to rest his back and relieve the strain of his headache.  "Worries me about what he might do next."

 

Chin slid down to lay on his side, still curled over and holding his wound.  "Don't worry.  Kono will get us out of here."

 

McGarrett could hear the one-sided shouts that Manapaka yelled at someone outside the walls.  Danno?  He felt confident Williams was out there dealing with the crisis on that side.  It was up to the new, young officer to save them.  Inexperienced, yes, but despite the youth of the officer, McGarrett knew Williams would be doing everything humanly possible to successfully resolve the emergency.

 

 

*****

 

 

Kono and four HPD men with rifles jogged up to him on the manicured path.  Before they reached Williams' secluded location they were under fire.  All dove to the ground and took cover behind nearby trees.  Inching his way forward, Kono crawled behind bushes and benches until he could come up beside Williams.  In a low voice, Williams explained the situation, including Manapaka's demands and the uncertainty of Chin and Steve's conditions.  Kono looked ill at the news and Williams felt a new grip of fear seize his nerves.

 

"What?"

 

"Five-0 policy," Kalakaua replied glumly.  "No negotiations with kidnappers."

 

Williams was speechless.  "That's Steve and Chin in there with those tourists!"

 

"I know."  Kono shook his head.  "We gotta just threaten him or wait him out, bruddah.  No negotiations."

 

Kono motioned for one of the HPD men to throw him a bullhorn.  Staying safely behind the tree, he yelled out to the criminal.

 

"Hey, Manapaka.  You gotta give this up, man.  Ain't no way out."

 

"There is with a helicopter!  And I want it in ten minutes or I start killing hostages!"

 

Kono shook his head and looked at the HPD men.  "We gonna wait for the SWAT team.  Then we gonna have to rush him."

 

Danny instantly objected, explaining it could get the people inside killed, not to mention kill the HPD men.  Even with bulletproof vests it would be too dangerous.  They had no idea of the amount of ammo the guy had or what situation the hostages were in.  And the ominous silence from Steve and Chin was really agonizing.  Kono countered that he had not been in many situations like this, but Steve would not allow negotiations.  What else were they to do?

 

Disgusted, Danny crawled away from the line of fire to join the HPD officers.  He took one of the sharpshooter rifles.  "Get the chopper.  Have the pilot bring it in over the ocean and toward the gate to the village.  I'm going in from the back."

 

Distressed, Kono ordered him not to. 

 

"I'm not going to be party to killing the people in there."  He donned a bulletproof vest.  "After this is all over you can have Steve fire me.  You do whatever you need to, Kono, but I'm not standing around and waiting for that nut case to kill our friends."

 

Grabbing some extra bullets and pocketing them, Williams asked two of the officers to join him and they jogged toward the back of the walled complex. Crawling back toward a group of policemen, Kono ordered one of them to send for the HPD chopper.  He didn't like Danny's plan, but he didn't have one of his own that he liked either.  Kono shook his head, wondering how he was going to explain this to Steve.  Hoping Steve was still alive to yell at him for letting Danny go off on his own.

 

 

*****

 

 

Jogging along the wall Williams calculated the angle of the bullets.  He pondered what he had glimpsed when looking into the yard.  If he were the shooter, he would take up a position in the long house where he could have relatively clear visuals all around and an unobstructed view of the gateway.  Along the path, he stopped at a large relief map of the Heritage Village.  There he saw the details of the inner courtyard and hoped it was an accurate rendering.  The only obstacle keeping the back wall out of sight from the long house would be a maintenance shed disguised as a grass shack.  Toward the center were other little huts and various statues and artifacts.  If Williams went over the wall at the blind spot by the shed, then Manapaka shouldn't spot him.  If the nut-case was where Dan thought he was.  Well, there was only one way to find out.

 

When he reached the back Williams leaned on the course lava rocks and caught his breath.  He would have to land in top shape and ready for action.  This was his last chance to reconsider, and he again second-guessed his impulsive decision, wondering if he was right.  Spontaneity had gotten him in trouble with Steve already.  Would this plan endanger the hostages unnecessarily?  He did believe this was a better way to go than Kono's, so he was committed to seeing it through.  Personally, it was much more dangerous, of course.  And it could still get people killed, but he believed it was the best way to go.  Finally, it was quickest way to find out what happened to Steve and Chin, so he would do it.

 

Completely aware that many lives hung in the balance, perhaps even McGarrett's, he soberly summoned his courage around a layer of calm. If anyone was qualified for this operation it was him.   He was a surfer, a sharp-shooter, a cop.  He had a cool head under pressure and when he aimed and fired he nearly always hit his mark.  And he was desperate to save his colleagues.

 

With a palm he smacked the stones, the solid wall that separated him from a leader he would do anything for.  If this defensive barrier kept him out, he was going to climb it.  If Manapaka tried to kill him, he would shoot first.  McGarrett -- the man who brought him into Five-0, tutored him, and befriended him -- the man he admired most in the world -- was in danger.  Dan would do whatever it took to get him out.

 

 

*****

 

 

Manapaka's continued shots were irritating -- frightening to the other hostages Steve could see -- but McGarrett was glad for the noise.  It kept him awake.  Sitting in the warm Hawaiian sun, weak from loss of blood and distracted by pain, he could have passed out except for the annoying sound of the criminal's voice.  A few rifle shots in the air indicated Manapaka's frustration in the negotiations and Steve smiled in wicked black humor.

 

"He's not too happy," Chin observed with pleasure.  "Don't like what Kono is telling him.  He's mad there's no helicopter."

 

Kono?  Steve hadn't been able to distinguish the voice.  The buzzing in his head was too loud.  Where was Danno?  Well, Kono would have taken over, wouldn't he?  So what could he expect from his Hawaiian officer?  Something logical and standard.

 

"Kono won't give him one," Steve assured with dark satisfaction.  That would mean a frontal assault by the SWAT team.  People were going to die, he grimly considered.  Probably one of them would be Manapaka.  "Only one way out unless he surrenders."

 

"What's that?" Chin asked, sitting up to lean on the hut.

 

McGarrett listened.  The roar of the surf?  No -- a helicopter?  Anger bubbled within.  Negotiate?  Kono knew better than that!  What bonehead was in charge out there?  He wanted to peer around the hut to see what affect this had on Manapaka, but he didn't have the energy.  Instead, he spotted someone's sandy head pop over the top of the wall only about a dozen feet away.  In an instant, Dan Williams scrambled over the flat wall and dropped into the loose dirt.  Crouching, he ran straight for the injured officers.

 

Too late Williams realized he had attracted the attention of the tour guide and two of her tourist-hostages, who instantly scrambled to their feet and ran toward him.  The helicopter scooped low, then veered away and over the compound.  Manapaka's focus, however, had remained on the action inside the walls and turned toward the hostages.  Dan changed course for the nearest civilian.  He grabbed the blond tour guide and crouching, ran low as he grabbed a woman in a bright Hawaiian shirt with his other arm.  Bullet dust zinged at their feet as Manapaka fired at their running forms. 

 

A few feet before the side of the grass covered long house, he flung them into a dive.  They tumbled into a pile just beyond the edge of the house.  The corner was riddled with bullets and from that angle Dan realized Manapaka's was moving -- coming toward him.  He pushed the women away and rolled to the side.  When Manapaka came into view he loosed off round after round.  The criminal was hit and went down. 

 

Williams scrambled to his feet and fired, simultaneously dodging the bullets the gunman was shooting at him.  Now out in the open, Dan wanted to head for the position held by his friends.   But the wild exchange had shifted location in the scenario and Manapaka was now angling toward McGarrett and Kelly.  Taking another insane chance, he ran as fast as he could around a small hut, placing him -- like an armed and dangerous chess match -- at a perspective where he had a shot at the wounded criminal.  Breathlessly popping off a few shots, he did little more than force the thug to shift to a new hiding place, but that at least drove him farther away from the downed Five-0 officers.

 

 

*****

 

 

"What is he doing?" Kelly wondered in amazement.  "He's going to get himself killed."

 

McGarrett grimly narrowed his eyes, as if his wrathful stare could penetrate through the shack Williams was hiding behind.  "That's the only thing that's going to save him from me," he growled.

 

His eyes still weren't up to normal, but he had seen enough to know his young detective was using himself as a target to take the danger away from McGarrett and the other hostages. Away from him.  If this was some kind of sacrifice for his benefit, Steve was going to rebuke him like never before.  While he couldn't fault the kid for motives, he was not going to applaud self-sacrificing heroics for an officer he wanted around for a while.

 

 

*****

 

 

Knowing time was playing against him, Dan paused only long enough to catch his breath, and then he was off again, racing to the next grass shack that afforded some shelter behind a large tiki carving.  This spot was close enough to McGarrett's position that he could see his boss.  Both Steve and Kelly were hit it looked like.  Grimly he took a deep breath and dashed across the sand, bullets plucking up the dirt while he dove for cover beside his colleagues.

 

"Steve!" he whispered, sliding in on his knees beside McGarrett.  "You're hit!"  He glanced at Kelly, dismayed at the obvious wounds.  "You're both hit.  Bad?"  His face twitched in sympathetic ache.

 

"What are you doing here?" McGarrett barked, irrelevantly wondering if Danno had ever been wounded before.  He didn't act like it, and he was glad.  He wouldn't wish this on anyone, certainly not a friend.  "What was that all about with the chopper?"

 

"A distraction," Williams admitted with a grin.  He patted McGarrett on the left shoulder.  "I'm going to take out Manapaka.  Then we'll get you guys out of here."  Without waiting for a response he glanced around the hut and nearly took off.

 

McGarrett's iron grip stopped him.  "You're not going to making yourself a target!"

 

"Manapaka's hit, Steve.  I can take him out easy."  He glanced at Chin, then motioned toward McGarrett's head.  "You guys need help.  I can take care of this."

 

The confidence was undeniable.  The logic was, too, but the boss still didn't like it and clearly relayed that to his subordinate.  The young officer just offered a crooked grin and admonished them not to worry.  He would be right back.

 

"The boy's got guts," Chin offered with admiration after Dan sprinted away.

 

"Too much of a hero complex," he complained in return, knowing that was not entirely true. 

 

McGarrett asked for Kelly's revolver and received it under protest.  Then the boss leaned over and watched his youngest officer come up behind the armed criminal who was watching the chopper come in over the palm trees.  Sound was impossible to distinguish beyond the roar of the blades, but he saw the actions played out like a staged drama.  Williams aimed the rifle. Manapaka turned, surprised, and raised his weapon.  A crack carried on the wind and Manapaka fell into the sand.  Danno kept his M16 trained on the fallen man as he went to the body, kicked away the downed rifle and checked for a pulse.  Then he straightened and motioned for the spectators to go to the gate.  When the young officer turned to rejoin McGarrett, the rifle was shaking and Danny was pale.

 

"He might live," he sighed as he dropped into the sand next to his friends.  "Help is on the way."  He cringed when he got a better look at McGarrett's head and Kelly's leg. 

 

The world was unbalanced and Steve felt Williams push him back against the hut.  "Good job," he offered.  "Risky."

 

"Somebody had to get you guys out."  He waved over some medical attendants who had just arrived.  Backing away, he was quickly out of focus as McGarrett surrendered to the medics.

 

 

*****

 

 

Before the end of the week McGarrett entered his offices at Iolani Palace.  The morning routine had not changed at all in his brief absence, and it was comforting to know the staff carried on with his programs regardless of his status.  Not that he ever had any doubts.  He ran a tight ship.  And with his continued plan to leave for Switzerland, he knew things at the Palace were going to stay just as he wanted them. 

 

In the aftermath of the hostage incident, he had plenty of time to think.  Media coverage of the event had been amazingly favorable.  Public opinion for a change was on the cop's side.  The tourists were thrilled they had been rescued by the valiant and daring heroics of Officer Williams. 

 

Proudly, Steve could only echo the popular perception of his newest detective.  Not that he had showered Williams with praise.  The first time Danno had visited him in the hospital he had let him know how much he disliked his detectives putting themselves into danger.  The younger man had been suitably cowed and Steve concluded that such intrepid actions -- on his behalf -- would be kept to a minimum.  He appreciated the actions that had saved Chin and him from bleeding to death, but he was not going to allow a friend to risk his life so blatantly. 

 

He knew he was over reacting.  He should have been pleased and filled with praise, but the crisis had proven to him something he suspected about Williams.  Within Danno was a strange mixture of self-doubt and self-sacrifice that could be risky.  He would, indeed, go to the wall for McGarrett or anyone else on the team.  Great character integrity for a cop, but if not tempered with caution, it could lead to a very short life span. 

 

With Steve wounded, Dan had been desperate, making some risky choices.  He did so well in the crisis, however, never lacking for courage, wits, coolness under literal fire, or loyalty.  One major flaw, though, was that young Williams made perilous decisions based on feelings.  His commitment to Steve was a weakness.

 

To his ultimate credit, Dan had shown bravery and tenacity.  Steve sensed, if it came down to the wire, Danno would be willing to do almost anything to accomplish his duty.  To save a fellow cop.  To save McGarrett.  It was beyond the job, beyond being a cop.  Not even in the Navy had Steve known such complete loyalty and commitment from an officer. That worried Steve, because he wanted to keep Williams around for a long time.  He had big plans for the young man.  It cemented the trust, faith and affection he had in Williams.   The selfless actions led to Steve's decision to move Dan up in the ranks without hesitation.

 

"Steve, what you doing back?" Kono was the first to meet him when McGarrett entered. The big Hawaiian's surprise was obvious.  "You supposed to be here?"

 

"Why, Kono," he joked, "Something going on I shouldn't know about?"

 

The staff gathered around him, giving him plenty of room, but overwhelmingly happy to have him back.  Williams emerged from his cubicle and smiled uncertainly at the boss.  Concern shaded the blue eyes, but the grin was genuine.

 

"Couldn't stay away," he shook his head.  "You were probably afraid of what the office looked like with just Kono and me here."

 

"Yeah, Chin Ho has sense enough to stay at home when he's on sick leave," Kalakaua chided at his boss, never afraid to voice an opinion to the stubborn Irishman.

 

Spreading out his arms, Steve smiled.  "The bullet just grazed me."  He touched his forehead, just in front of the bullet crease that was hidden by his thick hair. He still had an incredible headache, but it was getting better every day.  Vision had returned to normal and his ears weren't ringing anymore.  Almost as good as new.  He should be able to leave next week and actually enjoy himself for the much encouraged holiday/business excursion in Geneva.  "I'm too hardheaded to have any real damage there.  I'm fine."  He started for his private office.  "Join me, Danno?"

 

"Sure."

 

Williams trailed him in and shut the door.  McGarrett slid into the chair behind his desk and settled in for a moment.  He was sore, but he really was okay.  Well enough for work, anyway.  He leaned back and studied his protégé.

 

"So how're things going?  Really?"

 

Danny shrugged, taking a seat on the edge of the desk, comfortable in the presence of the boss.  "Good.  Kono has everything under control.  And if you're worried about your trip to Switzerland, I know we can handle things here.  Don't worry about it, Steve, you deserve the holiday."

 

"Thanks.  I'm not worried.  Cause I'm going to leave you in charge."

 

Williams' eyebrows shot up and his mouth dropped.

 

Steve smirked, immensely enjoying utter command of his universe.  "Yeah, I'm naming you as the second-in-command of Five-0.  Effective next week.  I'm telling the Governor tomorrow.  It will mean a little bit of a raise.  And a lot of headaches.  You'll see when I leave."

 

Danno was still stunned, but managed to find his voice.  "Why?  Why me?  Chin deserves it."

 

"Chin and Kono are fine officers," McGarrett admitted readily.  "But they're not what I'm looking for in a second, Danno.  I need someone who can handle a crisis with a cool head.  Like you did this week.  And someone who will act in my stead.  Not copying me, but knowing how to handle things instinctively.  That's something that can't be taught, Danno, but a quality that you naturally possess."  He swiveled around and glanced out the lanai doors at the beautiful scenery of the Palace grounds.  "This is going to sound a little crazy, but I have a vision for Five-0.  I've organized this, I've run it, and I think about it's future.  My second needs to be someone who understands what I'm doing and works with me.  I know you will do that, Danno.  More than that, I think we share the same goals and ideals.  And I trust you to act as I would when I'm not here."

 

Williams collapsed into a nearby chair.  "Wow."

 

Steve leaned forward, conveying his intensity, his fervent wishes.  "It means sacrifice, Danno.  You won't have a normal life outside these walls or within them.   You'll get a lot of heat from the press, from HPD, from the Governor's office.  There'll be a lot less sleep and more grief, but nothing you've ever done will be more rewarding."

 

Williams straightened.  "And you think I'm ready for this?"

 

"Don't you?"

 

"I don't know," Danny admitted hesitantly.  "But if you think I can handle it then I promise I won't let you down."

 

McGarrett smiled confidently.  "I'm counting on that, Danno."

 

 

PAU

 

 

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