companion piece to



Takes place within the time frame of Part Two - Ghost of the Dragon







December 1979




Pulling along the curb under a wide shade tree, Dan Williams parked the Mustang and stared at the high-rise condo. Not intending to come here, it seemed almost an involuntary instinct that he found himself in his old neighborhood on Kalakaua Avenue. The condo brought back mostly good memories; the bad ones faded in intensity and terror. That last night when Jin Wu came -- he could think back to that now without much more of a reaction than sadness, regret and a flinch of diminished pain.


Sorry the condo was gone (it had been his best apartment ever), he determined not to look back. Life was different now and while he still missed Five-0 [TALONS OF THE DRAGON, GHOST OF THE DRAON], he felt living conditions were improved with his temporary relocation at Steve's beach house in Aina Haina. The beach location was a great place to live, but as he continually reminded his friend, he could not remain a leech forever. One of these days he would have to find a job, get back on his feet, and go on with life.


Sighing, he put the car in gear and drove down the tree-lined, quiet street, pulling into the driveway of the KING KAMEHAMEHA CLUB. Years ago his schedule at Five-0 became too busy to continue coaching kid's baseball teams. As a replacement diversion he joined the club for a variety of reasons -- proximity to his condo, sports activities, clientele (many of Honolulu's rich and beautiful singles). Now that his life seemed stable again, he wanted to get back into a social groove. At this place he felt secure, known, and hopeful that his reputation would overshadow the controversial exit from Five-0 and would not have any relevance at the Club. Here he was known as a surfer, volleyball player and energetic single, not an ex-cop with a shadow over his head.


In the parking lot he stopped, self-consciously checking himself in the mirror. The gray hair aged him, no doubt, but his friends would remember him. Pushing the light hair forward to conceal more of the scar on his right temple, he felt a little more confident. Taking a deep breath, he pulled up to the front door.


A valet came around to the driver's side. "Good morning -- oh, Mister Williams, good to see you again." The greeting, the smile of welcome, was genuine. "I shoulda recognized the car."


Dan exited and shook the hand proffered by Lani, the parking attendant. "Good to be back, Lani."


"You been away, den? Thought so. Can't stay away too long from the moana and wahini."


Laughing, Williams wondered why he had been so worried. Lani didn't know a thing about the ugly intrigue which left him wounded and exiled from Five-0. Others inside would know, would wonder, would stare at him and whisper speculative gossip. The regular guys he surfed or played volleyball with would probably know, but wouldn't care. To Lani, and the others, life meant more than idle scandal.


After being released from intensive therapy after the shooting, Dan slowly returned to mingling with people outside his immediate circle of friends. Having just returned from a nice Christmas with Aunt Clara on the mainland, Dan felt prepared to take this next step in his social progress. Aina Haina was a picture-postcard place to live, but it was a little isolated for his taste. Naturally gregarious, Dan felt ready to get back into some fun interaction.


"Your smooth car still lookin' good, bra." Lani ran an appreciative hand along the dash.


The valet would be surprised to know the Mustang just came out of the shop that morning, thanks to Dan injudiciously taking his anger out behind the wheel last month.


"One o' da best cars here. Except for Magnum's, course."


Dan glanced at the flashy red Ferrari parked near the front. Thomas Magnum, a local PI, owned the hottest car in Oahu. Rumor had it he didn't really own it at all, but leeched off his rich employer by living in a beach house on his employer's estate on the windward side and driving the rich man's imported sports car.


Almost sounded like his own life, Dan mentally winced. Except for the detail about cars, the roles were all too similar. He would really have to do something about a job. While Steve McGarrett remained his closest and truest friend, he could not live off Steve's generosity for much longer. Pretty soon he needed to find a decent job. So far, finding one that met McGarrett's exacting standards seemed impossible.


Dan handed the young man the keys and went inside. The club, an old rock exterior set of buildings, stood at the end of Waikiki on the slope of Diamond Head, for many years. Duke Kahanamoku and many early swimmers and surfers frequented the country club/sports fraternity. Always an emphasis on beach activities, the patrons now were largely the lively rich set -- too energetic for the nearby, sedate, Waialae Country Club.


Inside were comfortable conversation areas, a formal dining room and meeting rooms. Open to the back lanai fronting the beach, were a cafe/bar. More casual near the sand, swimwear was acceptable attire for the outside tables. Within sight of the relaxation area were volleyball courts, tennis courts and a strip of beach for surfers, swimmers and sunbathers.


Stepping out into the sun, Dan scanned the people at the lanai tables. Some were familiar, most were not. He never knew a lot of the patrons of the Club, his Five-0 schedule keeping him too busy to mix with many of the rich and influential. Most of the times he came were nights after work, sometimes early mornings, or on an occasional day off. Timing never seemed quite right for the rich beauties of Honolulu's jet set, much to Williams regret. Now, he was glad he was known more by the waiters and valets than the socialites. The limited exposure saved a lot of embarrassed explanations.


Crossing to the bar, he was greeted enthusiastically by Keoki, the bartender. Also there was the manager, Rick Wright, his Vietnam Vet pal TC Calvin, and his other Vet pal, Thomas Magnum. All seemed sincerely happy to see him again.


"Heard you left the islands for a while. Glad you're back, Dan." Rick made room for the newcomer.


Short, slight, Rick Wright packed a street-savvy attitude when things became tough. Casual acquaintances, Dan came to respect and like the manager of the Club over a year before when Tony Alika's son, Alekema, tried to extort protection money from the Club. {fanstory -- ASPECTS OF FALLING STARS}Wright, raised in the mean slums of Chicago, refused to give an inch. Asking for Williams' help -- not necessarily Five-0's -- Dan, Rick, Magnum and TC were able to set up a sting operation to trap Alekema and a small number of his hoods from the local mob, Kumu. Still livid about the arrest, Tony Alika continued to trouble Five-0 and last month severely hampered McGarrett's organization. [episode --GOOD HELP IS HARD TO FIND]


"Yeah, I've been away for a while." Vague greeting, obscure rejoinder. The three gave nods of acceptance. As easy as that. Meaningfully, Dan concluded. "I'm back now."


Theodore Calvin seemed the opposite of Wright. Big, muscled, black ex-Marine that flew rescue choppers in Vietnam with Wright as his gunman. A former POW, the helicopter pilot now owned his own tour business and retained his Marine training and bravery on the case against Alika. Seemingly the levelheaded member of the trio, Calvin still liked the swinging/casual life-style of Hawaii. He also still retained his loyalties to his two closest friends, their bonds not only forged in combat, but TC and Magnum's forged as former POW's together.


Thomas Magnum seemed the enigma of the group. Former Naval Intelligence, former POW, decorated combat officer, now a private investigator in Hawaii. Twice Magnum came to the attention of Steve McGarrett while Dan was still with Five-0. Steve's disapproval of the former officer was intense, resentful that a fellow former Navy Intel officer could sink so low as a PI leeching off a rich employer.


Dan understood the resentment from his friend, but during the Alekema investigation he also came to appreciate Magnum's courage, tenacity and cunning. Now that Williams had been on the rough side of the coin of life, he better understood Magnum's lifestyle. He didn't know why the PI turned out like this, but he knew life's trials could change a promising future forever. Dan was in a unique position to understand that perfectly.


After a round of handshakes, and an order of his preferred beer (on the house, Rick insisted) he sat down next to the three men.


"Hey, we were just discussing our volleyball team." Magnum pushed over a bowl of Maui chips to share with Dan. "You're going to play this year, aren't you?"


"Yeah, we need some good players. That new resort in Kaanapali, they've challenged us to a match." Rick leaned in closer. "Besides bragging rights, winners get a free weekend at the defeated Club. And we'd all like to go over to Maui and check out The Kaanapali Harbor Resort."


TC corrected in his deep voice. "And check out the classy wahinis. But there ain't no way we'll win, they're going to kick our behinds and we'll end up with the bill."


Williams smiled, feeling more relaxed than he had in a long time. After leaving the March Foundation where his mind was restored after the brainwashing and the shooting, life had been strained trying to readjust. Fitting back to a normal life was a challenge.


Christmas Eve with McGarrett had been a little tense, both on edge from coping with Dan's separation from Five-0, the melancholy of enormous changes in the past year, and Dan leaving the protective sphere of McGarrett's influence for the first time since the March Foundation. Usually a happy time, this holiday season was strained. Christmas with Aunt Clara had been good, but emotional. The first time seeing each other since the shooting incident, the few short days were rife with fervent highs and lows.


Upon his arrival home this morning, he'd called McGarrett at work to let him know he was back in one piece. They were meeting for lunch and Williams knew McGarrett remained concerned about the still-recovering ex-detective.


Coming to the Club was the smartest thing Dan had done in a long time, he was certain. The biggest controversy -- a volleyball match, the greatest stress -- losing a bet. It had been too long since he thought about how simple and fun island living could be on the beach.


"I know the guy who runs security over there and he's a good player," Dan contributed. "They're probably a good team."


"You're playing again, right?" Magnum urged. "You're our most consistent server."


Incredibly cheered at the sincere invitation, Dan felt like his life was really coming back together. He modestly reminded he might be good at serves, but he couldn't spike worth anything. Patting the husky pilot, Magnum reminded that was what TC did best. Together, they would make a great team. Smiling, Dan accepted the invitation. What else did he have to do?


"Hey, Higgins! Look who's back!"


Wright waved to a short man with a thin mustache and thinning dark hair. The staid gentleman in a sports coat bearing the Club emblem came over and shook hands with the former detective.


"Mister Williams, good to see you again."


"You too, Mister Higgins."


"Dan's going to be on the volleyball team again," Magnum supplied.


"Just in time for the meet against the Kaanapali guys."


Rick's coup seemed to impress Higgins none at all. "Mister Williams, during your absence, I am afraid your membership has lapsed."


While the constrained, British member of the King Kamehameha Club board of directors delivered the news in his clipped tone, it was neither condemning nor curious. Jonathan Quayle Higgins held several prestigious posts around the islands. In numerous boardrooms and committees he represented interests for the millionaire, reclusive author, Robin Masters. Dan, grateful for the continued anonymity and ease of acceptance, promised to pay the annual fee that very day.


"No need," Higgins insisted. "Our bookkeeper can send you the paperwork. Are you still at the same address?"


"No, I'm out in Aina Haina now."


"Oh, man," Magnum complained sourly. "I thought you were still just down the beach. That was so convenient for last minute practices."


"Which could be avoided if you would only plan ahead, Magnum."


Thomas grimaced at the Brit. "Higgins, with my schedule -- "


"Your schedule?" Higgins laughed in ridicule. "I was unaware you had any agenda whatsoever except consorting with jealous husbands on wretched divorce cases."


Insulted, Magnum passionately defended himself. "Hey, I perform important work in divorce cases, Higgins. Besides, I have lots of other work I do besides divorces."


TC hooted. "Yeah? Like what?"


"Well, it just so happens I'm on a case right now. And I can't tell you anymore about it because it's strictly confidential."


"Yeah, until you need our help," TC refuted. "Which you never pay for."


"I give you gas money! And what about all those referrals I give you, TC --"


"All right, all right," Rick interrupted. "We were discussing volleyball."


Higgins corrected. "No, we were discussing Mister Williams' membership. "Where shall we send your dues? To your new house, or to your office?"


Dan didn't allow the discomfort of the coming explanation to reach his expression. "Well, it's not really my house, I'm just staying there . . . . " He looked to Magnum, who appeared completely sympathetic. "And I'm -- uh -- between jobs at the moment. Anyway, I'll give you the address of the Aina Haina house."


Higgins' manner became perceptibly more formal. "Perhaps we should discuss this in my office, Mister Williams?"


Rick jumped to his defense. "Oh, come on, Higgins. After all Dan did for us with that Alika trouble, you're not going to hassle him about not having a job, are you?"


"I don't need favors." Williams' tone cut sharply into the debate. "I can pay for the entire year's dues today."


Higgins came closer, lowering his voice. "I have no problem with that, Mister Williams. No doubt you are good for the membership fee. And we are not so ungrateful as to forget the service you rendered this Club last year. I merely meant, due to your -- notoriety -- I thought you might wish to move this conversation to the privacy of my office." He glared at the others, daring them to comment.


"Thanks, Mister Higgins." Dan felt suitably chagrined. "Sometimes I get a little defensive. I guess you heard a lot of rumors about my leaving Five-0."


Higgins gave a nod of his head, acknowledging the apology. "Rumors mean very little when compared to the truth. We know you to be a man of integrity, Mister Williams, and that is the basis of membership here, not gossip." Ever so slightly, he smiled. "And you are an excellent volleyball player. Good to have you back."


With a reminder to stop by the office before he left, Higgins went on his way.


Confidentially, Rick repeated his indebtedness to the former Five-0 officer, and offered to find something around the Club for Dan to do to hold him over 'till he found a regular job.


"No thanks, I'm doing okay," Dan assured the concerned trio. They may be casual pals and drinking/sports buddies, but these guys were still friends he could count on in a fix. "At least for a little while my finances are all right." Wryly, he assured, "I can afford the membership fee for this year. But I do need to find a job. I'll wear out my welcome at Steve's before long."


TC was practical. "Can't be easy for an ex-cop to find a job." Left unspoken were the details of Dan's messy departure from law enforcement.


"Yeah, after being a cop for my whole career, I'm not qualified for much else."


Magnum brightened. "I could use you, Dan. With your experience --"


Rick and TC both laughed uproariously. "What, following divorcees?" Rick warned, "Experience -- he means your contacts at HPD and Five-0 to get insider information. Just make sure he pays you first."


Magnum glared at Wright. "Hey, my work is important. And right now I have a tricky case -- not a divorce -- that Dan could really help out with."


TC was skeptical. "Yeah, like what?"


"Confidential. I can only tell Dan -- if he wants the job." Imploringly, Magnum asked if he would consider the offer. "The pay on this will be pretty good. You'd get a percentage --"


"A small percentage." TC added his warning from experience. "Get it upfront, Dan."


Dan agreed to think it over. Noticing the clock over the bar, it was already past noon.


"Look, I've got an appointment, I've got to run."




Rick asked if he should hold onto the paperwork until the next day.


"Yeah, please. I'm already late for lunch."


Steve hated waiting, and Dan's punctuality lately hadn't been notable. Also, Steve would be anxious to meet after Christmas -- over-protectively concerned about the whole holiday season affect on the recovering Williams. Steve would probably want to talk, maybe even impulsively take the afternoon off to catch up on things. Williams would shelve the Club business until later.


"I'll give you an answer tomorrow. Is that too late?" Magnum said that it wasn't. "How can I reach you?"


"He's always here," Rick supplied.


With a wave, Dan left, making a hasty get-away and driving over the speed limit to Aina Haina. Encouraged by the good reunion at the Club, Dan felt like his life really was moving forward again. Assisting a PI. Not the best work -- certainly not something he could ever admit to Steve -- but something where he could use his skills and experience in a probably questionable cause. He'd have to see about that. Pulling up at the beach house, he waved to a rather stern-faced McGarrett, pacing the beach. Jumping over the door, he smiled at his friend, determined to cheer up the sober (a frequent mood lately) cop. Steve looked like he could use some light conversation.




Winding his way through the tables and chairs on the lanai of the Club, Dan observed his future boss, who was sipping a beer, admiring the bikini-clad girls on the beach. Outwardly, Thomas Magnum seemed to have it all: handsome, tall, intelligent, driving a fast car and living on an estate in the most beautiful spot in the world. Envied by most, Magnum held those desirable qualities people yearned to possess in one way or another. Why did he settle for a meager living as a PI?


In many respects, Dan recognized the parallels between them and subconsciously felt people must think similar things about him. After being on top of the world, how could he stand to be at the bottom? Perhaps he and Magnum would find those answers together.


"Nice scenery."


Magnum turned his attention from the beach and kicked out a chair. "Have a seat." He waved at Keoki and the bartender came over with a beer.


Dan watched the girls and guys in the surf testing a narrow, flat, one-man kayak-type board. When seated on the top of the board, feet were placed in scoops in front of the passenger, with an oar used to paddle.


"What is that?"


"A surf-ski. You've never seen one?"


"I've been out of touch."


Magnum shrugged, not asking for more of an explanation. "Well, did you think it over?"




Dan recalled the previous afternoon. Steve and he had enjoyed a good lunch, then taken a drive up the coast for heavy discussion. Deliberating deep, heart-cleansing forgiveness and reaffirming their friendship, the day had resolved a lot of Dan's insecurities about his brainwashing and suicide attempt, about Steve's role in his life. Briefly, McGarrett had laid down the law about Dan straying too far away either through a new job or new location. Determined to protect Dan, McGarrett discouraged any work he felt demeaning to his friend.


Williams appreciated the friendship and commitment of McGarrett, but practically speaking, knew he needed a job. [fanstory - GHOST OF THE DRAGON] Weighing the pros and cons of PI work, Dan had come to a conclusion just that morning. The bottom line: he needed to earn some money and get more meaning -- even excitement -- in his life again. Helping Magnum seemed a combination of all those items.


"I'd like to take you up on the offer."


"Great." Magnum beamed. "You won't regret it."


Ignoring what sounded like 'Famous Last Words', Dan forged ahead. "So, is it a divorce?"


"No. It's a lot more complex than that. I usually ask Rick or TC to help, but since you probably need the money more than they do, I'm offering you the chance."


Initially appreciating the gesture, Dan took it as a kind of backhanded compliment. While he wasn't hurting for money, he required some kind of job. He also doubted the veracity of Magnum's opinion about his friends and Williams' needs. From the conversation the day before, he figured Rick and TC did not want to help the PI, so Magnum was stuck with whatever sucker came along.


"Okay." Dan agreed, feeling that he was figuratively jumping into the unknown blindfolded and with hands and feet tied. "What's the case?"


An older British gentleman named Arthur Terrell had retained Magnum's services, the PI explained. The Brit, a travel writer turned novelist, lived in Kahala. His assistant, a Ms Anna Fujita, recently acquired a flashy boyfriend named Buddy Anders. Terrell wanted Anders investigated to see if he was worthy of Ms Fujita's affections.


Dan groaned. "This is worse than a divorce. A jealous old man -- "


"Come on, he's not jealous. He has an honest regard for Ms Fujita --"


"Yeah, right." Dan shook his head. What had he gotten himself involved with? "Translation -- he's paying you big bucks?" Dan thought he was catching on pretty fast.


"Look, we can't assume anything. We're private investigators and we have to believe our client, especially when he's wealthy. Did I mention he's a pal of Higgins? Higgins would have an attack if he knew his buddy was hiring me. Anyway, now here's what I need you to do, Dan. Get with your friends at HPD and Five-0 and let me know the scoop on this Buddy -- "


"Oh, no." Dan flatly refused the first assignment. "Five-0 is off limits."


"I'm hiring you for your expertise and background, Dan, and -- "


"I don't have dealings with Five-0 anymore." Williams' glared intently at the investigator to underscore his point. "If you expect that, then you can forget me working with you."


"Okay, okay. I didn't now it was such a sore spot. I thought you and McGarrett were still chums."


Still wary, Dan sternly corrected. "We're friends. It has nothing to do with cop business."


More cautiously, Magnum backed off, explaining he would just have Dan follow the girl, Ms Fujita, while Magnum followed the boyfriend. Not that he minded, but Dan wondered why he should follow the girl?


Magnum's reply was simple. Because he might trust the employer, Terrell, but he didn't know anything about the other players. Everyone, including Terrell, would be scrutinized. Besides, he reluctantly admitted he was not too sure about the whole set-up anyway.


Dan laughed. "I could have told you that. An older man, a younger secretary -- I don't need a PI's license to know something else is going on there."


"Private investigator," Magnum corrected.


"All right. Private Investigator. So when do I start?"


"This afternoon." Magnum handed him a paper. "Here's the address of Terrell's place, and Ms Fujita's apartment in Hawaii Kai. She meets her boyfriend every day for lunch. You can pick them up at the Regent towers."


Dan's eyebrows elevated. "Pretty pricey for daily lunches."


"Yeah, Anders lives like he's got money behind him. Then be at Terrell's again at Five o'clock, that's when she gets off work"


Dan pocketed the paper. "I'll meet you back here tonight and let you know what I find."




Ten minutes before noon, Williams arrived at the restaurant and cornered a friendly contact. Mei Lu worked her way through college by waitressing at the beachside restaurant at the Hawaiian Regent. A few years back, Dan had met her while on an investigation at the hotel. Several dates and some pleasant memories came out of the relationship, plus a few favors for Five-0. Renewing the friendship came easily to both of them. Mei, as always, seemed happy to help Dan in his investigations, giving him a great deal of information she had picked up from the frequent visits of Anders and Fujita. Then she threw him off guard and invited him out on a date for the weekend. Insecure about dating again, Williams neutrally promised to get back to her on that.


Anna Fujita and Buddy Anders arrived. Mei gave Dan a small booth within sight of the couple. Mei told him Anders discussed business - investments-- paid with a company credit card (Pacific Trades Inc.), and never came to the restaurant except for lunch with Fujita. Ms Fujita also talked job, discussing Terrell's latest novel about East/West trade.


After lunch Dan followed Anna back to the house in Kahala. Then, to use his time wisely, he drove to downtown Honolulu and checked out Pacific Trades Inc. The small office was nestled in the business district near Chinatown and for a few minutes Dan observed the secretary inside at the reception desk. Walking to a nearby phone, he checked out the yellow pages, finding the company listed in the import/export section, not the financial pages. Intrigued, Dan dialed the number and watched as the secretary answered his call. Asking for Anders, the secretary asked him to hold, then she immediately dialed an outside number. Nodding at some conversation, she then hung up and came back on the line with him, saying there was no one working there by that name.


The whole proceeding was odd, but he couldn't put a finger on what it might mean. At the least, Buddy Anders was not what he appeared. If still a member of Five-0, Dan would run a check on Anders through the HPD, FBI and Interpol computer databases. Not to be outdone by limitations, Dan considered calling Duke, but reservations about the investigation, and the lack of more change, altered that plan.


Returning to the Mustang, he pulled away, turning at the nearest corner. Something odd flashed in his rearview mirror and he stopped at the curb, looking back at the public telephone he had just left. Two black sedans screeched to a halt. Duke Lukela, Jim Carew, Lori Wilson and two suit-men who were -- almost certainly -- Federal agents of some kind - jumped from the cars and checked the phone.


Appalled at the implications, Williams gunned the accelerator and sped away, racing to the freeway. Either Pacific Trades was a front for the government, or it was under surveillance by Five-0. Either way, Dan barely escaped a nasty scene - or worse - and felt humiliated at his compromising situation. If Steve found out he had almost blown a Five-0 investigation - while working for a PI!!! He would never hear the end of it. Worse, it would embarrass Steve, and Dan refused to allow that. Especially after the debacle with Alika last month. [episode -- GOOD HELP IS HARD TO FIND]


By the time the Mustang squealed into the King Kamehameha Club parking lot, Dan was livid. Barely acknowledging acquaintances, Dan rushed through the building, going straight to the beach side lanai where Magnum sat at a table.


"I told you I wouldn't have anything to do with Five-0! What are you trying to do, Magnum?" The rebuke was hissed from only a few inches from the detective's face so as not to attract attention. Dan pulled out a chair and sat in front of the tall PI. "You don't have any idea how bad this could have been!"


"Whoa, whoa." Magnum held up his hands stemming more protests. "What are you talking about?"


Taking a breath, Dan, more calmly this time, explained the near miss with the official force of Hawaii. Amazed, Magnum assured he knew nothing of what might be going on with Anders. Agreeing that Pacific Trades must be under investigation, Magnum related he had followed Anders from the restaurant to the man's condo in Waikiki and left him there just a half-hour before.


"I didn't see anyone suspicious at the restaurant."


"Neither did I," Dan admitted. "I would have noticed Duke for sure. And Mei didn't mention anything about other people making inquiries."


"Oh, you know Mei, too?"


Guardedly, Dan admitted he'd known her for some years.


"Great girl."


"What do you mean?"


Magnum shrugged. "We've dated a few times."


Williams was unaccountably depressed. While he had hesitated to renew his relationship with the Oriental beauty, he resented that Magnum was involved with her.


"She's too young for you." Dan's verdict of finality surprised even him.


Magnum smiled. "I'm closer to her age than you. You're jealous, but you're not dating her, are you?"




"And while we're at it, what's this big paranoia about Five-0? Bad blood? Is that why you left? So McGarrett isn't a pal anymore?"


"No." Irritated, frustrated, and cornered, Dan pushed out of the chair. "I mean, he is, but - never mind, Magnum. I'm off the case. Let's just leave it at that."


Stalking off down the beach, a nice long walk on the sand might help get his head on straight. All he could think of was the possible ramifications if his involvement in the case were discovered. The Feds would have fits and put the heat on Steve. A confrontation with Carew - somehow that worried him and he didn't understand why. Carew was a detective under McGarrett's authority. Carew could do nothing to him, but the new detective discovering Dan's involvement with Magnum would be demeaning and demoralizing for both he and Steve. He had forgotten what a small, closed society Honolulu could hold.


Stopping at a palm tree, he sat down in the shade and stared out at the water. Giving up and walking away from his first real job after Five-0 made him feel like a failure. How could such a simple little stakeout job turn so sour? It made him believe his skills, his instincts as a cop, had been lost when he fell under the final influence of Jin Wu. Playing at a cop, rousting Maki and trying to solve Kevin Wilson's murder had been a waste of time. [fanstory --GHOST OF THE DRAGON] He might as well go become a tour guide somewhere because he certainly couldn't cut it as a cop anymore.


"I think we need to talk."


Dan didn't look at Magnum as the other man sat down in the sand. "I have nothing else to say."


"Okay." The hard edge of Magnum's tone contradicted the easy phrase. "Ignore the problem. Maybe it'll go away." The sarcasm was dripping. "And it's such a big island, you'll never have to worry about running into Five-0 people again."


Sourly, Dan turned toward the PI. "Look, Magnum, you know the rumors -- most of them are true probably."


"I've heard a lot of them," the tall PI admitted bluntly.  "The one about you having a break down -- couldn't take the pressure of Five-0 anymore.  And another that McGarrett pushed you so hard," his voice dropped to a compassionate deeply sincere tone, "that you shot yourself."


"It was not Steve's fault!" Dan snapped back with a growl.  "You want the real story? Okay, yeah, the rumors are true, I shot myself."


Magnum nodded his head and allowed silence for a time.  "But there's more to it than that."


Williams gave a curt nod. "Yeah, but I can't say more."


Magnum understood. "Okay. I've been there."


Williams continued. "For a cop, there's no living down a suicide attempt. Steve's stuck by me through the whole mess, and he doesn't keep that a secret, but anything I do reflects on him. And messing up a government operation would splash back on him like red lava. Everyone on the island would know I blew it. I won't do that to him."


Solemnly, Magnum nodded. "I was in NI, remember. I've seen some dirty deals, and I know there's details you can't talk about. No matter. You want to quit the case, fine, you're out. No hard feelings. But, Terrell hired me to find out about Anders and that's what I'm going to do."


"I know. I'm sorry to let you down like this. Can you manage on your own?"


"I think so. I had a friend at the DMV run down Anders' license and -"


"That's illegal."


"Only if I'm caught. Anyway, no one matching Anders' description, with the name of Anders, owns a valid license in Hawaii." Magnum climbed to his feet. "I'll figure it out. Good luck, Dan."


As Magnum walked away, Dan called out, "Thanks, Magnum. For understanding."


Magnum waved a 'shaka' sign and left. Dan stayed on the beach, watching the swimmers, surfers and surfskiers, sorting out his conflicting emotions. Now that his tirade was spent, he felt guilty at leaving Magnum high and dry on the case. If Anders was involved in something so serious he was under investigation, then Magnum shouldn't be working the case without back up. To involve himself further in the case, however, would be disastrous for himself and McGarrett. If anything happened to Magnum, however . . . Cursing PI's and life in general, he walked back to the club and followed Magnum out to Kahala.






Now alerted to the potential complications surrounding Terrell, Williams drove past the white, pillared house on Kahala Avenue, across from Waialae Park. Along the side of the mansion, a scenic canal ran from the back of the neighborhood, through the park, to the sea. Sure enough, there was a government-issue sedan parked down the street from the house. No sign of Magnum's red Ferrari. Dan drove on to the nearby Kahala Hilton and parked his Mustang in the lot. Jogging back along the beach, he sat in the park's windbreak on a picnic bench, observing the house. He was not surprised when Magnum jogged up the beach from the Black Point side of the neighborhood.


"Are you having a lapse in reason?" Magnum joked.


"Yeah," Dan admitted ruefully. "My conscience wouldn't let me leave you stranded."


"Thanks. Any thoughts?"


"Not yet. Fujita's car is in the drive."


"That's Anders' Benz in the drive, too. I think I might have an idea. Wait here."


Magnum jogged off toward the Hilton. Not long afterwards he returned, in a kayak. He urged Dan to help him. They carried the kayak across the sand, to where the canal was deep enough for the craft. They paddled under a bridge in the park, under Kahala Avenue, and beyond to Terrell's house. Out of sight of the stakeout team, they tied the kayak to a tree and hopped up to the bank along side the two-story house.


"Breaking and entering is illegal."


"I'm not breaking anything." True to his defense, Magnum tried the sliding glass door at the back of the house and it opened. "See." Calling into the house, he said, not very loudly, "Hello? Anyone here?"


Magnum stepped into a tiled breakfast area furnished with wicker table and chairs. To the right, Dan noted a sunny kitchen decorated in bright colors. Just ahead of them were a conversation area and a staircase. Somewhere above them an object 'THUMPED'.


"I think someone's in trouble."


Before Dan could stop him, Magnum raced up the stairs, Dan jogging after him, but Magnum was already out of sight in the upper rooms. A 'GRUNT' then a louder 'THUMP' stopped him. Automatically he reached to his left side, startled, in the adrenaline rush, that he no longer packed a gun. Following the PI at a slower pace, he fortuitously avoided a body rolling down the stairs. A few steps above him, Buddy Anders sprang to his feet, holding a gun on a defenseless Magnum. Before the criminal could properly aim, Dan delivered a karate chop to his hand and wrestled for possession of the gun.


"Magnum? You okay?"


"Yeah. Come on up."


Maneuvering the suspect ahead of him, Dan joined Magnum in an office room and handed the weapon over to the PI. The PI was just untying a white-haired man, presumably Terrell. Anna Fujita, showing remarkable strength, shouldered the much larger PI out of the way so she could finish the task of freeing her employer. As soon as the older man was unrestrained, they wrapped arms around each other, falling into an impassioned kiss.


"What happened?"


With effort, Magnum turned his attention to his colleague.


"Anders, or whatever his name is, tied up Fujita and Terrell."


"Trying to steal my manuscript!" Terrell accused.


Moving swiftly for an older gentleman, the British novelist swept across the room and punched Anders with a resounding right hook. Magnum moved to restrain him, but Fujita managed by hugging him, murmuring words of gratitude.


Irritated he did not have a handy pair of handcuffs, Dan shoved the dazed Anders into a nearby chair. Staying near the suspect, he listened as Terrell gave an explanation. Crowing on his astute judgment, the writer said he knew all along that Anders was up to no good. Sure enough, this afternoon the ex-boyfriend arrived unexpectedly. Pulling a gun on Terrell and Fujita, then tying them up, Anders searched the room for Terrell's secrets.


"You see, my novel is a threat to the movers and shakers in the East. I've threatened them and they're scared."


Magnum looked to Anders for confirmation, but the injured man was not inclined to talk. The muted screech of tires from outside came loud and clear. Dan moved to the window. The Feds along with McGarrett and Carew had just pulled up in the front driveway.


"I've got to get out of here." Over his shoulder, Magnum observed the arrival. "I'll take Anders down to the front and head them off at the pass. You take the kayak back."


"Thanks, I owe you one."


Magnum smiled. "I think that's my line."





The next day at the King Kamehameha Club, Dan bought a round of drinks for Magnum and the rest of the group of regulars, including Higgins. Between the PI and the British major-domo, the full story of the novelist came out.


"Terrell, the dear old chap, really did have an inside angle on some underhanded stockmarket dealings in Japan and Hawaii." Higgins' tone reflected his pride in his old friend. "Anders was hired by the criminals to steal the book. And Terrell will have the last laugh as well. His novel is already at the publishers. With the publicity of the arrests and trials, he should have a best seller."


Magnum shook his head, staring into his been bottle. "And he gets the girl, too."


Dan also gave a glum shake. "Yeah, imagine a good looking chick like her falling for an old guy like that."


"She's closer to my age than yours," Magnum reminded, as if it made a difference. "Turned out you were right about them, too. Claim they loved each other all along."


Rick passed around another set of drinks. "So, Dan, you ever going to team up with this guy again?"


"Bet not," TC predicted. "He's not that hard up for money."


Dan laughed at the banter. "You're right on both counts." To Magnum, he admitted, "Thanks for giving me a try, Magnum, but I don't think I'm cut out for your lifestyle." He thought of the close call at nearly getting caught by McGarrett. "So no one ever mentioned me to -- anyone official?"


"Too much else going on for them to think about you." Magnum grinned smugly. "And I impressed on them that your presence there was on a need to know basis. They bought that hook, line and sinker."


Dan raised his glass to the PI. "I still owe you one, Thomas."


Magnum gave a slow nod. "All in a day's work for a fellow investigator."


"Uh, oh," TC warned, "watch out when he uses that tone."


"Don't try to involve Dan in another scheme of yours, Magnum," Higgins chided.


Rick guessed, "it's a divorce case I bet, the usual sleazy PI stuff."


"Private investigator," Thomas corrected. "And it's not a divorce . . ."