UNCHARTED TERRITORY
by
G M

 



Before Steve and Dan go into business for themselves, they help an old friend in trouble.
 

March 1980
 
 

The pleasant spring day offered a boost of exhilaration to Dan Williams as he pulled his Mustang into the parking lot of the Hawaii Kai shopping center. The bay area had always appealed to him, and now, looking at it from a prospective resident's point of view, the region was positively enticing.

The buoyant mood was due to more than just another perfect day in paradise. Today marked the beginning of a new life for him -- and for Steve McGarrett -- and that was the real reason for his excitement.

Accepting Steve's offer to start a partnership in a security agency [GHOST OF THE DRAGON] had been an easy decision. After his expulsion from Five-0, Dan jumped at the chance to regain some of the lifestyle he had lost. He would never be part of Five-0 again, but a private business with Steve was the next best thing.

Second thoughts came naturally in the few days following Steve's surprisingly wonderful offer. Sailing uncharted seas was always a little unnerving, but at least his companion in adventure was his North Star, his mentor, his friend. McGarrett assured him this was more than just an effort to give Williams decent employment. Steve was serious about using the new company, AIKANE SECURITY CONSULTANTS, as a retirement venture, and Dan accepted that as the easy truth.

Weeks of pleasant groundwork followed with legal charters, contracts and other tedious matters, bringing Dan to the favorable task he was engaged in at the moment -- finding a suitable office for their business.

Keeping, so far, to his word, Steve remained the silent partner, allowing Dan to be the front man of the business. Williams' first task was to choose a location for their firm. Hard to think of a center of gravity that was not Iolani Palace, Dan focused on what he felt would be best for everyone: customer access, nice ambiance, close proximity to Honolulu.

Logically, Dan started out in the downtown area of Honolulu and slowly worked his way farther out -- Waikiki, Kaimuki, Kahala -- and now near Hawaii Kai. Appealing more to the beach bum in him than the businessman, this was a fantastic location. The shopping center was relatively new, set next to the Koko Marina. To the side of the marina and main set of shops was a building of six offices in a white, plantation-styled architecture. Four of the suites were occupied, but the center and corner spaces on the second, and top floor were still vacant.

Just observing the place from the parking lot, Dan liked it. Ocean view on one side, marina view on the other. French doors opened to a lanai on either side. Plenty of parking, but not as busy and noisy with tourist and pedestrian traffic as the main shopping center. The bottom suites held an environmental headquarters, a travel agency, and a dive shop. On the Koko Head side of the top floor was a real estate office. Dan had his sights set on the other top corner office for Aikane Security.

Before getting the sales pitch from the realtor, he wanted to check with the other occupants for a general assessment of the place. On impulse he chose the center suite -- the travel agency -- perhaps because of the neat, green convertible Malibu parked in front. Or perhaps because in the back of his mind he knew pretty girls usually worked the desks of travel agencies? Anyone who drove that cool classic car had to be worth meeting. There was something familiar about the name -- although he'd never been here before -- this place was ringing bells in his memory.

Hawaiian Heritage Tours used the smaller, center office to great advantage. Specializing in historical sites and outback tours (according to the window ad), gave the place cultural appeal which Dan instantly liked. The main reception area was decorated with copies of the drawings (like the ones on Steve's office wall) of John Weber's, Captain Cook's naturalist on his first voyage to the Sandwich Islands. Tapa cloth patterns checkered partitioned walls on the two back offices.

A woman with long, dark hair had her back to him when he stepped up to the front desk. She was filing something in a low cabinet and held up a hand. "I'll be with you in a minute."

"That's okay, no rush. I was just going to ask you about the building. I'm thinking of renting one of the offices upstairs."

The woman closed the file drawer, stood and turned around. And gasped. And smiled. "Danny!"

Dan drew in a surprised breath. "Kelly!"

The young woman rushed around the counter and hugged him. Returning the hug easily, he was still in a state of amazement when she pulled away.

"What a great surprise."

"Oh, of course!" He gestured to the office. "This is your place. I thought you were over on Ala Moana."

Smiling at his fumbling, she made a smooth correction. "E komo mai. We moved here a few months ago. Since you do all your arrangements by phone you wouldn't have known that." Gesturing around, she completed, "I love the new place. Great location, great view and out of the city. We don't need much walk-up business, so this is a good spot."

Now he was completely embarrassed. Of course the agency was familiar, it was co-owned by Kelly Hatsuyuki and Shelly Brice. When Dan had been restructuring his life after leaving Five-0, Shelly had offered him a tour guide job to hold him over. Never seriously considering the position, he'd appreciated the support from her and Kelly. Through phone calls and credit cards he'd used this agency to book his recent job hunting excursions. Initially he'd worked with flighty Shelly, but recently talked mostly with the more responsible and consistent Kelly.

She pretended to frown. "You mean you didn't just drop in to see me?" Quickly her smile returned, dazzling and warm. "After all our talks on the phone I thought you were coming by for a personal visit."

"No, I forgot you -- as in you -- were here. And you're -- uh -- a little -- uh -- older than I remember . . . ." Traces of the young girl he had know for years were still there, but served only as an outline for the refined beauty and knock-dead charm exuding from this self-possessed and graceful woman. He managed to hide his embarrassed blush behind a self-conscious smile of his own. "Sorry."

"We're all older, Dan. Good thing some people only get better with age."

Wow, was she flirting? A girl he remembered as a young teen hanging out with the Kelly kids now exuded charisma, easy wit and an elegant attractiveness.

Feeling his flush deepen, he tried another stammering explanation. "I just wanted to talk to whoever was here. As a tenant."

"You really are thinking about renting an office?" She led him over to a chair. "I guess I need to catch up on things. You want a soda?"

With her youthful demeanor and attractive face he guessed her age to be about twenty-five or so -- a little young for a Master's degree, but he recalled she -- like the Kelly kids -- was a bright student. Kelly shined with the beautiful physical traits of her mixed Polynesian/Caucasian/Japanese heritage. Long dark hair with auburn highlights draped far down her back. A pretty oval face hinted at her exotic ancestry. Her features were not overwhelmed by the traits of any one of her several ethnic backgrounds. All pleasantly framed the dark eyes tinged with an allusion of deep blue. Coming up to his shoulder, she was pleasingly average and normal in a lovely and radiant kind of way. Not the sort of person to qualify as a cover model, but someone who would stick out in a crowd.

Over soft drinks Dan explained more of what she already knew -- his retirement from Five-0 and going into business with Steve. She held no judgements or questions about his abrupt exit from law enforcement and sincerely wished them success. He had forgotten what a nice person Kelly Hatsuyuki could be, and easily talked the afternoon away in a delightful visit.

They discussed the building, landlord and location of the offices. The view and proximity to the marina lead them off on tangents of scuba diving, snorkeling and sailing. Before long they were discussing where he needed to shop for appropriate tropical office furniture and color coordinating the offices according to Oriental traditions.

After learning how much time Dan had invested in getting the security firm going, Kelly advised him to take a break. From experience she knew the difficulties of owning and operating a business. So she forced him into a commitment to go snorkeling with her at Hanauma Bay on Saturday.

"I'm afraid Shelly won't be joining us." She didn't seem disappointed. "She's busy with our branch office in Lahaina."

"Great. I'm glad you guys are doing so well."

"Yeah, who'd have thought the tour business would be better money than a professorship?"

"And more fun?" Dan counted it as his good fortune he had landed her as a travel agent. Her recommendation for the office made him like the place before seeing it. Having her nearby would make this neighborhood a lot of fun. In a friendly kind of way. Not that he would ever date someone who almost qualified as a member of Chin's family. No, she was a friend. As he had learned in the recent and painful past, good friends were a treasure to hold onto. "Hey, after I check out the place would you like to go to lunch?"

Her charming face clouded. "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm booked this afternoon, Dan. How about a raincheck?"

"Sure." He was more disappointed than he expected. "How about dinner?"

"Oh, that would be great." Her brightened face seemed to reflect his own cheered mood. "I know this great club in Waikiki. Do you like to dance? It's a fun place called Sally's."

"Sally's? No kidding? Yeah, I know Sally." It was amazing how much they had in common. He was ready to sign the lease just on the feeling of welcome he had bubbling inside right now. If omens meant anything, this was a cosmic sign that his life was emerging from a cloud of dark anguish into the brilliant light of hope and a bright future. "Dinner sounds great." The phone rang and he took it as his cue to leave. "I'll call you later."

She nodded her agreement as she answered the phone.
 
 

*****


On the way up to the real estate office, Dan recalled Kelly from years before. Friends with Suzy Kelly, she herded Chin Ho Kelly's children -- to the ball games, to the Five-0 parties, to the community events. Kelly Hatsuyuki was named after Chin Ho because the Hatsuyuki family lived across the street from their best friends the Kellys. When the Hatsuyuki father and mother were killed in a car accident Kelly finished her high school term living with the Kellys. When Mai Kelly died of cancer, Kelly helped care for the youngest two kids still in high school.

By the time Suzy, Kelly's fast friend, returned from mainland college, Kelly already had her Master's degree in Pacific History. They shared an apartment somewhere in the city now that Suzy was an HPD officer.

Now that Dan thought about it, he realized he should have remembered Hatsuyuki owned this travel business with Shelly Brice. Well, when Shelly and he experienced their brief, fiery encounters the last few months they didn't spend much time with meaningless chatter. The recollections made him blush. Obviously Kelly must know of his occasional trysts with the torrid Brice. Why did that make him embarrassed? Because Kelly was Suzy's close friend? Well, he was an adult and so were they -- his affairs shouldn't be any big surprise. Still, by the time he reached the upstairs office he decided he was relieved Shelly was over in Maui.

*****

The office was perfect. The makai view from the lanai convinced him. Steve would adopt that corner of the huge room immediately. Fine with Williams. He'd be happy watching the boats in the marina from his lanai. Partitions would lend a sense of privacy, and decorations and furniture would make it comfortable. Without waiting for Steve's input he signed the lease. Being the front man in the new company had some nice advantages. He'd even be able to write off his Mustang as a business expense -- along with the mobile phone Steve insisted he install. The big instrument was a little bulky for a sports car, but the convenience was great -- except for Steve's over-indulgence with checking up on him. Well, that would wear off with time. He hoped. For eleven years he'd grown accustomed to McGarrett's quirks, it wouldn't be that much different in their new venture.

Downstairs he turned toward the travel agency to let Kelly know they'd be neighbors. Then he'd call Steve (getting some use out of the mobile phone) and convince him to come out here.

Parked next to the Mustang was a white Impala HPD private sedan. Officers received transportation allotments for using their own cars and much of the force consisted of various models of personal cars with blue lights attached to the roofs. Concerned, he wondered if there was a problem at the business and hurried his pace.

Near the door he heard Kelly's raised voice. Something crashed into the wall and he rushed in. An uniformed HPD officer was on the floor, broken glass and a fallen picture strewn about the area. Steps away, Kelly stood in a fighting stance, fierce, tough and ready for a fight. Her persona only slightly altered when she saw who had entered.

"Dan!" Still wary, she edged over toward him, keeping an eye on the man on the floor. "Hi."

"What's going on?"

The officer came slowly to his feet. "This is none of your -- "

"This is Officer Danes," she interrupted sharply. "He was just leaving."

Dan didn't need a scorecard to figure out what was not being said. Or to read the livid expressions and tense body language. "It doesn't look like you need any help, Kelly, but if you do -- "

The young, muscular, Samoan-looking officer towered over Williams. Glaring at the former Five-0 cop, the man's tone was insolent, his sneer vicious. "Just stay out of the way, haole." Staring at Hatsuyuki, he seemed so angry he had trouble finding the words. "Kelly -- you -- man -- you just don't understand me."

Her eyes, her tone, were ice. "You don't understand me, Todd. When you walk out that door don't ever come back. Ever."

"You'll be sorry about this."

Irate, Dan pressed a finger into the young man's chest. "And you better remember who you are, mister. As long as you're a cop you better act like one. Leave Kelly alone or you're going to be in more trouble than you can handle."

Danes leaned close, snarling in contempt at the intrusion. "You gonna be sorry if you interfere with me, old timer." His scowl at Kelly was malice itself. "You dump me for this old creep? He got money or something?"

Kelly stepped right up to his toes. "I didn't have to dump you for anybody, Todd. One date with you was enough to show me what you're like. Now get out of my store!"

Seething, the officer flung out the door. Tires squealing, his car sped away from the building. When the white car was out of sight, Kelly sunk against the door. Dan put an arm around her and led her to the nearest chair.

"I don't know who's shaking more, you or me." The joke elicited a shadow of a smile from her and he hugged her tighter. "You were incredible. Good work. Don't take this wrong, Kelly, but you know your moves."

She took several deep breaths. "Thanks. All that time helping Suzy train for HPD came in handy. You were pretty great yourself. He could have stomped both of us, you know."

"Yeah. But not easily."

She laughed, hugging him back. "Your timing is beyond perfect. And so are you." He blushed so deeply his face felt hot. She laughed even more at his expression. "Really, I don't think it's exaggerating to say you just saved my life." Sobering, she released him and patted his arm. "I owe you big time for this, Dan."

"Glad to help you out. I'm taking you downtown right now to file a report --"

"No, let's just drop this, please, Dan. He'll leave me alone now."

"He threatened you!"

"It'll be okay, really. Please, let's just let it go."

The lack of responsibility seemed inconsistent with Kelly's spunky personality. "You're not afraid, are you? I promise I won't let anything happen -- "

"No, no, not for me. For Suzy," she insisted. Taking his hand she looked into his eyes and he easily read there the fervent commitment to protect her friend. "Suzy needs to work with these people -- with Todd. If I file a complaint it will only reflect badly on her."

Sincerely he tried to convince her that no special shield would protect Danes from action because of his behavior. Suzy would not be penalized, but Kelly adamantly believed certain cops would stick together to protect a man against a woman. He didn't want to believe her paranoid ideas, but could not convince her otherwise.

Dan hated to drop it, but Kelly should be the one to file a grievance. It was not his place to do so. He finally shifted to learning more of the background information. "You want to explain what's going on?"

Her smile swept away the vestiges of fear. "Over dinner. My treat since you're my knight in shining armor today."

He might have blushed again but he was getting too used to these compliments. "You don't have to ask twice. Where and when?"

"Meet me here about seven?"

"Deal."

*****

Knowing Suzy Kelly worked second shift, Dan hoped to catch her at the station instead of on patrol. She had been doing a lot of work with the special Chinatown unit -- probably utilizing her father's old contacts -- a prestigious and important step up for a rookie patrol officer. When Dan arrived at HPD he felt a nearly overwhelming wave of familiarity and regret sweep over him. The nostalgia was severe and he fought to keep up a normal front as he stopped at the front desk to get a visitor's pass.

Lieutenant Nephi Hilton was the duty officer for second shift and he immediately ushered Dan into the office. Hilton was young to be in the upper echelons of administration, but his record and skill kept him on the fast track of promotion. Well aware of Williams' status and controversial exit from law enforcement, Hilton settled his guest and then got straight to the point.

"Surprised to see you down here, Danny. You treating my Mustang good?"

"Even better than when you owned her."

Nephi's laughed was filled with doubt. "Well, at least I'm happy she went to a good owner. What can I do for you? Is it this new business of yours? I heard you are starting some kind of security company."

"Coconut wireless travels as fast as always, Nephi. Yeah, I'm here on business, but not for our company. A friend of mine is having some trouble with an HPD officer. I wanted to make sure you're aware of the problem."

Hilton was instantly concerned. "One of my men? What's the problem?"

"He's harassing a young woman who doesn't want to date him any more."

Settling his big frame into the chair, he leaned back and studied the former officer. "Coming from anyone else, Danny, I'd have to wonder about the girl. Since you're worried about it -- and it's obvious that you are -- I'm taking it seriously. This is not just a case of a girl trying to play hard to get, you figure?"

"No, not this girl. I've known her since she was a kid. She is not leading him on." Dan leaned forward, trying to make his point clear. For the first time he realized how bad it must look -- jealousy of an older man after a younger woman -- eliminating the young competition? Anyone but Nephi probably wouldn't believe him. "And before you get any funny ideas, I'm not involved with her. We are really just friends. I happened into a situation where she had to physically discourage your officer. That should never happen!"

Hilton's dark face scowled in stern displeasure. "You're right, Danny. I don't have to know anything else. This cop is out of line. Who is it?"

"Kid named Todd Danes. You know him?"

The surprise was clear on the officer's expression. "He's got a solid record, Danny. Never a discipline problem. This girl got under his skin, huh?"

"I don't know all the details. I just know he's out of line and you need to know about it."

"I'll deal with it, I promise you."

Dan thanked him and insisted he not take up any more valuable time. They shook hands and Nephi elicited a promise that they would go fishing soon. Feeling more comfortable in the cop HQ, Dan headed for the detective division. Rounding a corner, he literally brushed shoulders with James Carew barreling out of a room.

"Williams!"

"Carew."

"What are you doing here? This is for cops only." He antagonistically flipped the laminated visitor's pass clipped to Dan's pocket.

Was this thickheaded malihini the most obnoxious person on earth, or did he just put on an especially repulsive act for Dan? He really didn't want to know.

"I'm here on business. Excuse me." He angled past the broad man.

"Heard you were a PI or something, Williams. Couldn't find anything lower, could you?" He stabbed his finger at the former detective. "Just don't come nosing around Five-0 for any favors. You won't get anything but a quick kick down the front steps."

The urge to throw the insult back in Carew's face was nearly overwhelming. It would shut him up pretty quick to know Steve was an associate in the new security firm. But McGarrett was a silent partner and they needed to keep it that way. The satisfaction, although private, came from the knowledge that Dan knew the truth.

"Don't let me keep you from something important, Carew. If you can find something important to do, that is."

Without looking back Dan resolved not to let his nervous aggravation show. Hating to admit it, Carew's insults hit too true to the mark. Somehow he felt inferior coming here as a civilian instead of a policeman. It would probably take years to make the transition from cop to business owner. So far it was not easy. He went down the hall to the special gang task force and was happy to see Suzy Kelly at her desk.

There was no attempt to hide her surprise. "Danny! Not that I mind, of course, but what are you doing here?"

"Business, actually. Have you got a minute?"

"Always for one of my favorite sponsors." She had him sit in her desk chair and she angled onto the edge of her desk. The blue uniform looked like a second skin to her -- being a cop was a perfect fit. Most importantly, she was happy with her career. "What's up?"

Now he was glad he had supported her desire to go into the family business. She was a good cop and she was thriving. Chin couldn't have asked for more for one of his daughters.

"It's about Todd Danes."

Suzy was wary. "What about him? Are you friends?"

Dan gave a brief explanation of his encounter with Danes and Hatsuyuki. Trying and failing to be objective, at the end of the narrative he let his words and face reflect his ire at the incident.

Suzy was angry and disturbed by the report. "When I see him I'm gonna -- "

"You're going to let his superiors handle this. I'm dropping by Kelly's tonight. I'll ask her again to file an official grievance against him."

Suzy's eyebrows nearly hit her hairline. "You're going out with my roommate tonight?"

Dan scowled. This was getting out of hand. "Not a date, just dinner." At her skepticism he cleared his throat. "Come on, Suzy, I knew her as a kid."

"A teenager."

"Okay, a teenager. She's like a -- a -- well -- like you! I'd never date someone who was like -- "

"Like a friend of the family?" Suzy's grin broadened, delighted to tease her mentor. "I'm just joking, Danny. And don't flatter yourself. What makes you think I'd approve you to date my roomie?"

Startled that the shoe was on the other foot, Dan stammered out a defense. "Wha -- what's wrong with me dating one of your friends? Not that I would, of course."

She slapped him on the arm. "I grew up hearing about your reputation, Danny. I think that says it all."
 
 

*****


Steve was refilling his coffee cup when Carew sauntered into the Five-0 office. The new detective didn't waste any time informing his boss of his encounter with Williams at HPD.

"What a pathetic piece of work he is." Carew snorted his derision, oblivious of McGarrett's glower. "Working as a PI or something, sniffing around his old buddies at the cop shop to scrape out a living. Disgusting."

The derogatory remarks about Danno hit home like few insults could. McGarrett ground his teeth together, the seething anger barely restrained. He didn't want to give Carew the whole story of the security agency. Not a secret, they were trying to keep it a low profile partnership -- as much for Williams' independence as for Steve's ability to work unrestrained in Five-0. The public knowledge of their association would only bring more complications and unfavorable attention to Dan's exit from Five-0.

"Just leave Williams alone." The terse warning came out in a low growl. "You've got more important work to do." He put down the coffee cup. "Stay on top of the Halloran situation. I'll be out of the office for a while."
 
 

*****

Seeing Suzy Kelly in an HPD uniform still unsettled McGarrett. He always thought of her as Chin's little girl. Just as he would always think of Williams, who was chatting with Ms Kelly, as his detective. By the time he stepped to the desk his mental gears were readjusted and he greeted them briskly.

Anticipating his curiosity, Dan explained his mission to the police headquarters. Outraged at a police officer physically attacking an old friend -- someone who amounted to ohana in his mind -- Steve focused on Suzy's assessment of Officer Danes.

"Personally, I don't like him." She started out bluntly. Explaining she had introduced him to her roommate, she felt responsible to get him out of Kelly Hatsuyuki's life. "He's so overbearing that Kelly ended the non-relationship after one date. Then he became really possessive and keeps harassing her."

"Why didn't you go to your superiors before this?"

Suzy had mentioned it to the patrol captain, but he insisted it was a private matter, nothing to do with the department. Williams informed him Lieutenant Hilton now knew the situation. He also mentioned Kelly's reluctance to bring the matter to official personnel because of possible retributions to Suzy.

While Suzy guardedly dismissed the idea of men sticking together to protect men in the police department, Steve's attitude was clearly belligerent. He would allow no cover-ups that might endanger friends.

Used to cutting through red tape, Steve promised he would take care of the matter. Going straight to Chief Charles' office, he walked in on the slight, greying commander. Familiar with McGarrett's blunt approach, the chief wryly commented in passing that appointments were available, even to the head of Five-0! Without wasting time, Steve related Danes' confrontation with a civilian and demanded an interview with the officer.

Calmer and more objective than his counterpart, Chief Charles awaited judgement until he could get both sides of the story. Also, he reminded, there was nothing they could do in a harassment case until the perp made a move. Asking the secretary to locate Danes, both men were frustrated that the officer did not answer his home phone. By tomorrow Charles promised to report on his interview with the young man. Without an alternative, Steve accepted the vow and returned to the detective division.

Steve informed Dan and Suzy of his interview, then requested to see the new office Williams had found.

On the drive to Hawaii Kai in the convertible, McGarrett subtly interrogated his friend about Kelly Hatsuyuki; finally satisfied this was simply a case of Williams coming to the aid of an old friend and not a romantic triangle gone wrong. Sometimes Danno didn't have the best luck with women. Jin Wu[TALONS OF THE DRAONG/GHOST OF THE DRAGON] came so shockingly to mind Steve twitched with discomfort. Mellisa Cole [A LONG TIME AGO - EPISODE] -- another recent tragic encounter -- still left a sour taste in his mouth.

Not that he could cast stones himself, but his love life of late was in a lot better shape than his friend's. Grudgingly, he admitted to himself, he and his friend shared a weak link -- their chivalrous tendencies with women -- which often landed them in hot water. Knights with tarnished and chinked armor. Perhaps he was jumping to conclusions with the incident, but in the back of his mind he made a note to keep an eye on Danno and make sure this rescue business didn't get out of hand.
 
 

*****

 

"I couldn't have done better myself, Danno. This is perfect."

The location was great, the view wonderful, the building quiet and tasteful. Steve's generous pronouncement, however, had not been delivered until he swung open the double French doors to the makai lanai. Stepping out onto "his" lanai stamped the office with his seal of approval.

Dan seemed to sigh with relief, but his response lacked modesty. "I thought so." He leaned on the lanai. "I even thought you'd pick this as your territory."

McGarrett smiled, patting his friend on the shoulder. "Pretty good course you've plotted, sailor. But don't be so smug." The view, the sounds, even the railing and texture of the lanai were different, but reminiscent of his nest at the Palace. Close enough to be welcoming, but different enough to avoid nostalgia. After all, they were breaking new ground here, not trying to recapture the past. The whole feel of the building and neighborhood lent him comfort if not familiarity. Again, perfect was the only word he could summon to mind. "I could have insisted on something in the city."

"Yeah." Williams' voice didn't lose any confidence. "But I didn't think so." He breathed in the misty sea air. "Sometimes it's a little scary being out there in the front, charting the course, Steve, but I think it's going to work out great."

"Me, too, Danno."

Tearing himself away from the magnificent view of the bay, Steve toured the large empty room. Before long they mapped out tentative plans for partitions, desks, a reception area and furnishings. Dan would see to the details. In a stroke of inspiration, he asked his partner to consider placing some of McGarrett's seascapes on the walls. Obviously pleased, Steve even considered the idea of trying his hand at a mural for one large wall by the front door.

Lack of light irritated Steve until he realized it was nearly dusk and with no electricity their expedition for the day was over. Walking downstairs, Steve requested they stop by the travel agency to talk to Kelly.

Unlike his mental images of Suzy, McGarrett had vague memories of Ms Hatsuyuki. She was a nebulous recollection -- one of several kids synonymous with the Chin Ho clan -- except she had a certain impish twist of humor he now remembered. The real live grown-up version was a pleasant surprise. When they entered the shop she turned from the desk and greeted them with an engaging smile.

"Mr. McGarrett, hello. Hi, Dan."

For someone who had suffered a disturbing assault hours before, Kelly presented herself as a confident and friendly woman. Her handshake firm, she welcomed them like old, dear comrades.

"So, do you like the new office? I think this is a wonderful location." Her eyes glittered as brightly as her grin. "Plenty of excuses around here to take the day off."

"I'm not sure I like the sound of that." He eyed Dan meaningfully. "I'm hoping Danno will get some work done. Other than that possibility, I'm delighted with the place. And call me Steve, please."

"Sure, Steve." Self-consciously she wrinkled her nose. "But it feels a little funny, since I remember when I was -- younger," she fumbled tactfully, "Visiting Mr. Kelly at the office, or seeing you at the ball games, you were always the -- uh -- Mr. McGarrett of Five-0. Very serious."

Steve cleared his throat, uncertain how to respond to the sober assessment. She was about to say something else -- less complimentary? Probably something about his grave demeanor, or even the overwhelming impression he often had on younger people.

"Like the grave," Dan supplied, amused at seeing his friend at a loss for words. "But he'll be a respectable neighbor, I promise."

McGarrett shot a glare at his colleague, then turned to speak to the young woman. "Danno told me about your encounter with Danes."

Her expression clouded. Behind the firm resolute personality, the dark eyes shaded with fear. "Yeah, he's become a real headache."

"I've asked Chief Charles of HPD to look into it. Danes won't bother you anymore, I promise."

"Oh." Kelly's exotic features shifted from anxiety, to guarded acceptance, to trust. "Thank you Mr. -- uh, Steve, but don't go to any bother. I don't want Suzy to get into trouble. I can handle him."

"No bother." The slight smile reported that McGarrett was not up for negotiations.

The younger woman took the hint. "Thanks. You and Dan are great to help out. Suzy tried talking to people there, but it didn't do any good. I don't think they took her seriously." She shrugged. "Or maybe they don't care."

With a not-quite-modest grin, Steve accepted the gratitude. "Well, I have a little more clout than Patrolwoman Kelly. And I promise you after I am through with Danes a lot of people at HPD will care about proper conduct."

Once again Hatsuyuki's face, her whole demeanor sparkled. "Well I promised Danny I'd treat him to dinner for being my rescuer this morning. Will you please join us tonight so I can offer proper thanks? Please. Wherever you want to eat, my treat."

Charmed in spite of himself, Steve readily agreed. Almost a half-hour before closing time, Steve asked Williams to drive him back to Honolulu to get his car. They would return at seven. In parting, Dan warned her to bring lots of money -- Steve's tastes were expensive.

Traffic entering the marina was heavy. Dan peeled out quickly to cross the lane and head for the highway. McGarrett held onto the armrest, deciding not to comment about the speeding. He'd put Danno through a lot as a passenger over the years.

"Hey -- did you see that!"

Dan skidded to the shoulder of the road.

Steve gripped the dash. "What?"

"That white Impala in back of the office building had an HPD light on the top. It's Todd Danes' car!"

Barely avoiding collisions with cars in both lanes, Dan swung the Mustang around and raced back to the rear of the offices. Gun drawn, McGarrett was the first one through the open back door of the travel agency. At a glance he took in the situation: Kelly laying on the floor, a hefty, uniformed officer crouching over her -- his revolver held barrel-in-fist -- raised to strike at the downed woman.

"Freeze! McGarrett -- Five-0! One move toward her and I fire."

McGarrett's deadly tone penetrated the room above the heavy breathing of the assailant and the sniffling of the victim. Danes stood still as a rock. Williams swept past his friend, slamming the much bigger HPD cop against the counter. The gun went flying as the breath went out of the younger man, his head banging onto the solid wood with help from Dan.

Smoothly shouldering Williams out of the way, Steve insisted he could handle the rest. After taking possession of the patrolman's revolver, he glanced at the victim. "See how Kelly's doing."

Gently Dan turned the girl on her side over. Blood rippled from a gash at the top of her head. Gulping back sobs, she covered her face in her hands. With tender, slow shifts he eased her to a sitting position, leaning her against his chest.

"You're all right now, Kelly."

Nestling closer, she nodded, holding tightly to her protector, who squeezed back, sheltering her in his arms. Williams glanced at McGarrett, who had already cuffed Danes, securing him as far away from his victim as possible in the rather small office space.

"I'll call for an ambulance and a unit to pick up this scum."

"I'm okay." The weak protest came between sniffs. "Did you get him?"

Steve growled the affirmation. "You bet. You're safe."

Kelly struggled to sit up straighter, glaring at the prisoner. "Why couldn't you just leave me alone, Todd! I never wanted things to turn out like this." She brushed back her long, dark hair, wincing at the sore spot. "Are we going downtown? Do I need to give a statement or something?"

Softly, Dan hugged her shoulders. "Not tonight. First you need to go to the hospital." With a handkerchief he pressed the wound. "Don't worry, everything will be fine."

"No, I'm okay. I've had worse bumps surfing."

Smirking at the near quote he himself had uttered in the past, Dan shook his head, trying not to make his amusement seem impertinent. "It's a head wound, you need to have a doctor check it out."

"Listen to Danno," Steve advised wryly, "he knows from a lot of experience."

"Really?" The proclivity seemed to turn her concerns to sympathy. "I didn't think policemen were hurt that often."

"You'd be surprised," Dan countered easily. "And we recover, too. I'm sure you'll be fine, but it's best to be safe."

With a curt nod she leaned back onto his comforting shoulder. "This wasn't at all the way I wanted the evening to turn out."

"I know." Covertly he checked the gash in her scalp. It seemed superficial, but he'd feel better after an official medical opinion to confirm his amateur diagnosis. Quietly, he kept his reassurances light. "Don't worry, we'll make sure you give us a rain check on that dinner. You want to keep the neighbors happy, don't you?"

"You bet. You're my knights in shining armor."

Silently, McGarrett raised his eyebrows at Williams, who seemed equally impressed by the ironic labeling. Chivalry was not dead, but alive and well in Hawaii.
 
 

*****


The next day Steve was slightly embarrassed when an elegantly wrapped fruit basket arrived at the office. The card was simple and sincere:

To Steve,
Mahalo nui loa,
Kelly.

Suspecting his young friend's whereabouts, Steve asked the secretary to get him Hawaiian Heritage Tours on the phone. Unaware the staff was abuzz with speculation on who Kelly was and where Steve was going for a holiday; he closed the door to his private office and stared out the lanai doors until notified the call was ready.

"Kelly, what are you doing back at work already?"

"Ah, the detective got his fruit basket and knew to track the suspect here!" Her impish humor was still intact. "The doctor said I was fine, Steve."

"I was there, young lady, and that's not exactly what I heard!" Liberal interpretation of medical orders was all right for him, but not for his injured friends! Keeping an eye on Hatsuyuki was like shepherding the Kelly kids after Chin died. They were all old enough to take care of themselves, but like any good Dutch Uncle, Steve felt responsible for their well being. "You need to take some time off."

"I will. The other diligent watchdog is growling about me getting plenty of rest. Because of his extensive history of head injuries I guess I'll take him seriously." The impertinent girl didn't sound anything close to serious. "And he's a pretty quick learner, too."

That's all he needed in his life was another charming, headstrong friend. "Let me speak to Danno, please."

"Hi, Steve."

Crisply, Steve wondered why Williams hadn't fulfilled his promise, which was to keep an eye on Hatsuyuki. Danes had made bail overnight and Steve had assigned his friend to act as a guard to the young woman. That was to also cover the restoration of her health, not for part time work as a travel agent. If she could twist Williams around her finger so easily, perhaps being her office neighbor was not such a good idea after all.

"Don't worry, she's really doing fine." After the initial assurance, Dan explained they were only at the office until noon. Then a secretary was coming in to cover the office for a few days. "Then I'll take Kelly to the beach house. Oh, and Kelly promises tempura tonight. Six o'clock, so don't be late."

"Just keep her safe, Danno."

"Oh yeah, I promise." An amused sigh sounded over the phone. "Who'd have thought starting our security agency would turn out like this?"

"Yeah, who'd have thought?"

"I'm just glad Kelly's all right. See you at six, Steve."

"Bye, Danno."

McGarrett's Aina Haina house seemed to be the best spot to protect Kelly until Danes' trial. In a few weeks it would be over, with Danes behind bars. Then the threat would be over. Until the next time someone in Hawaii needed the aid of two old knights in rusty armor.
 
 

PAU